tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN February 26, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
in my mind." this is michael cohen speaking. "i remember being in the room with mr. trump probably in early june 2016 when something peculiar happened. don jr. came into the room and walked behind his father's desk, which in itself was unusual. people didn't just walk behind mr. trump's desk to talk to him. i recall don jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice which i could clearly here and saying, "the meeting is all set." and then he says, "i remember mr. trump saying, "okay, good, let me know." >> he's going to need more than just a gut feeling, though, to -- because he's going to be questioned about the meeting and about -- >> the testimony's -- >> julian assange. >> it's kind of a road map. so prosecutors know all this stuff already. he's told them all this. and what they've been doing with this testimony that we're now going to hear tomorrow for the first time is they're going out and trying to find more things. when he talks about phone calls, they're looking for phone records. when he talks about a conversation they're thinking about who else could have been in the room to give them corroboration of that. so they already know this and they've been working on it. we're seeing it for the first time. but that's what they do with
stuff, try to fill in the gaps. >> stand by, everyone. this is "cnn tonight." i am don lemon. it's the top of the hour. we've just received the testimony, the michael cohen who's going to speak today publicly, he's going to testify live in front of the house oversight committee and the house of representatives. we're going through the testimony now. we have a bunch of people here who can help us out with that including shimon prokupecz, elie honig, jennifer rodgers, also michael dantownio and garrett graf. michael wrote the book on this and michael has sort of said that this is what we would be finding out, he saw it coming. let's talk about this. we're going to read a lot of it, we're going to go through it and then we're going to break it down with our attorneys. okay. back here in the studio in washington. by the way, we're live in washington in anticipation of that testimony in the morning. so here we go. it starts off, it says, "testimony of michael d. cohen. committee on oversight and reform. u.s. house of representatives.
february 27th, 2019." lu guys read along with me? okay. >> that's today. >> that's today. "chairman cummings, rachking member jordan and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me here today. i have asked this committee to ensure that my family be protected from presidential threats and that the committee be sensitive to the questions pertaining to ongoing investigations. thank you for your help and your understanding. i am here under oath to correct the record, to answer the committee's questions truthfully, and to offer the american people what i know about president trump. i recognize that some of you may doubt and attack me on my credibility. it is for this reason that i have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are irrefutable and demonstrate that the action you will hear is accurate and truthful. never in a million years did i imagine when i accepted a job in 2007 to work for donald trump that he would one day run for president, launch a campaign on a platform of hate and intolerance, and actually win. i regret the day i said yes to
mr. trump. i regret all the help and support i gave him along the way. i am ashamed of my feelings and i publicly accept -- and i publicly accept responsibility for them by pleading guilty in the southern district of new york. i am ashamed of the weaknesses and misplaced loyalty of the things i did for mr. trump and in effect to protect and promote him. i am ashamed that i chose to take part in concealing mr. trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. i am ashamed because i know what mr. trump is. he is a racist. he is a con man. he is a cheat." whoo. and that's how he starts. then he goes on. and this is where the rubber meets the road. he says, "he was a presidential candidate -- he was a presidential candidate who knew that roger stone was talking with julian assange about wikileaks, a wikileaks drop of
the democratic national committee e-mails." lawyers, talk to me about this. >> i will say this. and roger stone, we should say, has denied he had any kind of communications with wikileaks. obviously he's under investigation. he's been indicted. for lying to members of congress who asked him these questions. but this is really interesting to hear this. obviously from michael cohen to say this, to say that the president knew about this. and i think we were making this point before. what does he have to back this kind of stuff up? he has a lot of documents. he has a lot of records. but these are some very strong accusations that have been at the center really of what the entire russia investigation has been about. >> go ahead, elie. >> they have to get that phone record, first of all. he talked about the call when he's in the office and roger stone calls in, and i think he puts a month on it. i wrote "get that phone record," right? because that's the kind of corroboration we're talking about. this is proven out. i mean, all the cries of no collusion are going to have to fall away because now you have
the president saying collude with the russians, collude with wikileaks to get these e-mails and to put them out there. could it be a crime? sure. it could make the president and others who are part of this, part of a conspiracy to hack including the follow-up. part of the conspiracy 20 defraud the united states, to undermine the united states governmental function. robert mueller's already charged that. we could be moving beyond the no collusion chorus here. >> at a minimum you're talking about foreign impact on -- foreign contribution to an election. right? he's accepting help from wikileaks. he's using it strategically. he knows that wikileaks is getting those things from russian intelligence. that was known by the time this was all happening. if nothing else it's the same kind of campaign finance contribution from a foreign source that's illegal that we've been talking about for months and months, which is less serious than what elie was talking about but still a violation of federal law. >> i want to bring in garrett graph and michael dantonio. this is the sort of thing you've
been telling us about the last few years, having written a book "the truth about trump." michael cohen is echoing what you're saying, that nothing that goes on in the trump organization or anything that has anything to do with trump and his businesses without donald trump knowing about it. >> well, that's absolutely true. and i think we have to consider what does michael cohen have left to lose? absolutely nothing. and what does he have to gain by this exercise? and i think he has to gain his self-respect and his sense of dignity. this is beyond the legal issues a dramatic statement about the president's character. as far as i am concerned, donald trump's entire life has been leading to this moment. he has been a cheat and a con man and a liar all of his life, and he's finally been caught out by the one person who i think has access to what is
essentially a second sket of books. in every mafia organization there are the books and then there are the real books. and i suspect that michael cohen has not only the evidence that he's going to present tomorrow but vast amounts of additional evidence. as garrett mentioned, there's 250,000 pages. that's millions of words that have been obtained by prosecuto prosecutors. this is a very bad moment for the president. we could be at the peak of the summit and the snowball's going to start rolling downhill. >> okay. so listen, we're going through this and i just want to read this. okay? and this is for you, garrett. michael cohen says, "to be clear, mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it," it says. "he lied about it because he never expected to win the election. he also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the moscow real estate project.
and so i lied about it too because mr. trump had made clear to me through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country that he wanted me to lie and he made it clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before i gave it to congress." garrett? >> yeah. as i was saying a few minutes ago, that's the type of thing that you can guarantee that michael cohen isn't saying in front of congress under oath tomorrow unless he has shown justice department prosecutors evidence that could back that up. that's the type of thing that he's not sort of out there freelancing, saying in an opening statement. and that is exactly the type of thing that donald trump could begin to be painted into a conspiracy, that you have sort of this business deal going on one track, you have these sanctions negotiations going on
this other track, you have wikileaks going on a third track. and suddenly you have something that as elie was sort of beginning to say begins to look a lot like collusion. i think the other thing that stands out to me in reading through this opening statement is that you me, this is someone who knows donald trump better than almost anyone. so he knows how to mix the devastating political with the insulting personal. he has sort of this jag that he goes on on page 16 about how it was his job to cover up for donald trump's purportedly suspicious medical deferments in vietnam, and he says -- he quotes the president as saying to him, "i wasn't stupid. i wasn't going to go to vietnam." and then michael cohen says, you know, this is on the literal day of the big summit in hanoi, "mr.
president, i find it ironic that you're in vietnam now." he has a message direct for the president in his opening statement tomorrow. or later today, depending on which time zone you're in. >> stand by just quickly because i want to get to someone very important on the phone who's actually going to be questioning him. i just want to ask you a couple things that garrett said quickly here. he said he wouldn't be testifying if he couldn't prove to investigators. is that -- >> i'm actually not so sure about that because he's brought some things with him. i think if he had real documentation or proof that he probably would be providing that. his testimony is his proof. and the problem is going to be does anyone else back that up? what you would do in a mob case is if you had evidence where someone says he didn't need to say it because he looked at me and said we don't have any business in russia and then he would be like oh, how's it going in russia, you would have other people saying that that is how he fuchxed, that he did the same thing to them. so that's what they may be looking to do to corroborate that. >> it's a mix of his testimony which the republicans will surely say you can't believe him but when he's supported every so often by documents that helps.
there is an important indicator of credibility in here, which is i think it would be a more effective piece if he took out some of the personal stuff, some of the cheap shots about his grades and things like that. but when you look at the false testimony to the senate, cohen says he did not -- trump did not directly tell me to lie, he gave me these signals. and it shows me that cohen is not leaning out too far to try to put too much on the president. right? he could very easily say oh, yeah, trump called me into his office and said i need you to lie, that was that. that would be if he was making it up. it's a more complicated story and i think more credible to say it wasn't quite so clear but here's how i knew. >> he also said it looks like collusion. >> right. >> does it look like collusion? one second. >> sure. especially with the assange wikileaks stuff. that's been a sort of missing link all along. >> a lot of this is off his suspicions. he says questions have been raised about whether i know of direct evidence, this is on page 16, that mr. trump or his campaign colluded with russia. i do not. i want to be clear.
but i have my suspicions. and then he goes into the trump tower stuff and other things -- and also the one thing that troubles me by some of this is we know what the special counsel has kind of been looking at. there's been no evidence suggested by the special counsel to this point, we're two years into this, that there's any evidence that julian assange communicated directly with roger stone. there's no direct evidence or suggestion from the special counsel that the president knew anything about the trump tower meeting. there's a lot of things here that he's basing off of suspicion. he has exhibits for some things and he's talking about how he knows and he has evidence and pictures and -- >> but we don't know. didn't he say in this that the special counsel has some of this information? he said in the beginning of this. we don't know what the special counsel -- maybe they have phone records. >> they've also put out a statement, remember, after the buzzfeed story denying some of this that they had any direct evidence. >> and that's consistent with this because he says he didn't directly talk to me about it. >> stand by because i want to bring in congressman eric
swalwell. congressman swalwell is on the house intel committee. you're going to question michael cohen on thursday. as you're sitting here and you're getting this testimony, prepared testimony, and we're reading it and you're reading it as well, what do you think, congressman? >> well, don, where i start is michael cohen has very, very little incentive to lie. he has already lied to congress. he's going to jail for a number of years because of it. he has to know that paul manafort is facing longer jail time because he continued to lie to the mueller team. it's not in his interest to lie. they're already looking at him, and if he lied to congress he could face even more years. so i think there is going to be a lot that we're going to have to listen to just because his motivation is nothing other than to tell the truth. second, very interested in some of the color that is now being provided around what donald trump knew about roger stone's
work with wikileaks. it always seemed like this is something roger stone would have shared with donald trump. we have evidence roger stone and donald trump talked all the time throughout the campaign. it makes sense that this was something that was going on and that donald trump was informed of. third, same thing with don jr. and his father as it relates to the trump tower meeting. we had evidence that don jr. and his father throughout the campaign always talked. it just rings of truth for michael cohen to say he comes into the office around the time that this meeting's set up. steps around the desk. again, it's the little details you're looking for that stand out, that someone just couldn't and wouldn't make up. but again, going back to i think he's credible because he doesn't want to go to jail for a long period of time. the mueller team's already look at him. it's not in his interest to lie. >> mm-hmm. we have been -- you know, the documents that came out from mueller that we saw individual
one, he talks about that. he said yes, last year i pled guilty to federal court felonies for -- federal court 2 felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of and in coordination with individual 1. and then he says congressman for the record, individual 1 is president donald j. trump. it is painful to admit that i was motivated by ambition at times. he goes on. but he is confirming what everyone thought about individual 1, possibly the person who may have directed and so on in the mueller documents that were revealed. >> it looks now more than any evidence we've had before that there may be an indictment waiting for the president of the united states when he leaves office, which is, you know, something that is quite disturbing to think about and also it is worrisome in terms of what the president might do to escape that criminal exposure. but second, this shows the
shadowy way that his boss, the trump organization as a candidate and his friend as a president operated. and that should inform us as we look at how he did his taxes, how he did his businesses and whether or not he worked with the russians. >> when you hear about it -- listen, i'm reading this and going through it live here on the air. but i also read the piece about julian assange, that in july 2016 days before the democratic convention i was in mr. trump's office when his secretary announced that roger stone
>> i don't think it's silly. it's important because as he goes on to state, that he pressured and really ridiculed the former president for not releasing his college grades and then he is doing the exact same thing. >> there's a fine line between color and irrelevancy. i think this could be cast as color and sort of characteristic of certain behavior. the third bullet here, about the use of the non-profit charitable organization to purchase that portrait through a shell bidder, as the new york attorney general's office had a lawsuit, a civil suit that was settled when they brought the suit this past summer alleging exactly this, alleging that trump and his family used the charitable organization for non-charitable purposes and as a shell corporation to sort of funnel money when the lawsuit was first announced and shimon will correct me if i'm wrong, but the trump people said we'll never settle this, this is a bogus
lawsuit and three months later they settled it up. so this is corroborated as well. >> let's talk about trump tower moscow, shall we? he said there were the at least a half dozen times between the iowa caucuses and january 2016 and the end of june when he would ask me how's it going to russia referring to the moscow tower project. you need to know that mr. trump's personal lawyer reviewed and edited my statement to congress about the timing of the moscow tower negotiations before i gave it. "to be clear, mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. he lied about it because he never expected to win the election. he also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the moscow real estate project. so i lied about it too because mr. trump had made it clear to me through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country that he wanted me to lie.
and he made it clear to me because his personal attorneys reviewed my statement before i gave it to congress." jennifer? >> yeah. so you know, the lying during the campaign is not the problem. right? it's the testimony. it is the suborning perjury, the first time michael cohen went in front of congress and lied. the question is what did trump do in connection with that? he said he was involved in it, he knew he was lying about that, he caused me to lie about that because his personal lawyers edited my statement to congress. one of the big questions we had coming into this is is he going to put donald trump in the middle of his perjury? and he has done that. >> the trump tower moscow thing, there's still so many questions i think surrounding that and exactly what the president's role was, who else was involved. this is something that the special counsel obviously has been looking into.
michael cohen was charged with lying to members of congress. remember all he did throughout his life was protect -- or throughout the last ten years of his life was protect the president. and he said he's coming here tomorrow, later today, he's no longer protecting the president, he's letting it all out and he's making it very clear. he said he's been smeared by the president. the president called him a rat. you know, and then he goes on to describe his life. but the moscow tower project, there are questions around that are going to linger for quite some time. >> and i want to know which personal lawyers -- >> that's the thing too. that's always been the question. what lawyers were involved, what did the lawyers know, did they in any way i guess help suborn perjury? >> doj has already signed off on this. if you look back at michael cohen's plea documents, what doj says in one of the sentencing memos is that cohen provided cooperation about "the
circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the congressional inquiries." so we know that doj knows that there was a process where cohen circulated his false testimony. and now cohen is saying trump's personal lawyers, we don't know exactly who that is, were the ones who were involved in this. >> he puts trump into a whole bunch of things in this document. he doesn't implicate anybody else. one of the questions going in, is he going it tell us who executive 2, is he going to tell us wholesale is involved in all this conduct. he hasn't done that in this document. will he answer questions about that? i don't know. he may fall back on there's an ongoing investigation, i can't. we still have to wait. >> the infamous trump tower meeting. okay? sometime in the summer -- this is page 17. "sometime in the summer of 2017 i read all over the media that there had been a meeting in trump tower in june 2016 involving don jr. and others from the campaign with russians including a representative of the russian government and an e-mail setting up the meeting
with the subject line dirt on hillary clinton. something clicked in my mind. i remember being in the room with mr. trump probably in early june 2016 when something peculiar happened." don jr. came into the room and walked behind his father's desk, which in itself was unusual. people didn't just walk behind mr. trump's desk to talk to him. i recall don jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which i could clearly hear, and saying the meeting is all set. i remember mr. trump saying okay, good, let me know what struck me as i looked back and thought about the exchange between don jr. and his father was first that mr. trump had frequently told me and others that his son don jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world. and also that don jr. would never set up any meeting of any significance alone and certainly not without checking with his
father. i also knew that nothing went on in trump world, especially the campaign, without mr. trump's knowledge and approval. so i concluded that don jr. was referring to that june 2016 trump tower meeting about dirt on hillary with the russian representative when he walked behind his dad's desk that day and that mr. trump knew that was the meeting don jr. was talking about when he said that's good, let me know. michael d'antonio. >> this is consistent with everything i saw in trump tower. it's consistent with what i witnessed, actually. no one went behind donald trump's desk. it actually is a difficult thing to do. there's a window right behind it. this would only have been done to communicate something sotto voce, you know, under the breath, and something that was delicate. and we also know that donald trump jr. really didn't make a
move without consulting his father and it has always been preposterous for anyone to suggest that the then candidate, now president trump, didn't know that that trump tower meeting was happening. it was happening within feet of the candidate himself. so we've got here in michael cohen's testimony i think an accurate portrayal of how the trump organization operated. and i'll say one last thing. i do believe him when he says that he understood what was expected of him. this is classic operating style for donald trump. he didn't have to tell you explicitly that i'm going to lie and you swear to it. it was expected. and it was a condition of michael cohen's employment. >> this meeting has been part of your reporting as well. garrett. >> yeah. and this is -- we sort of have to -- we sort of held up this
facade that the trump organization or the trump campaign could be these big sprawling things where there are lots of moving parts that mr. trump doesn't understand at the middle. but as elie and jennifer were talking about last hour, you know, when you start talking about executive number 1, executive number 2, there just aren't that many people involved in these organizations whose name isn't trump. so the idea that you have this campaign meeting taking place that involves paul manafort, jared, and don jr. and all three of these people are working on the campaign, working in the same building the president is in, and that this meeting is taking place in that building and that these are people who are in constant contact with him, that they are sort of all -- just happen to have this meeting with these russian officials in the midst of the campaign without mentioning it to mr. trump at all, i don't
think that's ever really been believable. and certainly michael cohen is beginning to tell us that it's not. >> here's the interesting thing for me. that this president and the reason that a lot of people voted for and supported this president is because they believed what he said, that he was the ultimate dealmaker and businessman. right? that he could -- that no -- i alone can do it he said. i just want to read this as we continue on here. he says, "as previously stated, i am giving the committee today" -- first of all, he starts this by saying, "mr. trump is a cheat. as previously stated i'm giving the committee today three years of president trump's financial statements from 2011 to 2013, which he gave to deutsche bank to inquire about a loan to buy the buffalo bills and to forbes. these are exhibits 1a, 1b, 1c to my testimony. it was my experience that mr. trump inflated his total assets
when it served his purposes such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in "forbes," and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes. i'm sharing with you two newspaper articles side by side that are examples of mr. trump's inflating and deflating his assets. as i said, to suit his financial interests. these are exhibit 2 to my testimony. as i noted, i'm giving the committee today an article he wrote on and sent me that reported on an auction of a portrait of mr. trump. this is exhibit 3a of my testimony. mr. trump directed me to find a straw bidder to purchase a portrait of him that was being auctioned at an art hamptons event. the objective was to be ensure that his portrait, which was going to be auctioned last, would go for the highest portrait of any portrait that afternoon. the portrait was purchased by the fake bidder for $60,000. mr. trump directed the trump
foundation, which is supposed to be a charitable organization, to repay the fake bidder. despite keeping the art for himself. please see exhibit 3b to my testimony. and it should come as no surprise that one of my more common responsibilities was that mr. trump directed me to call business owners, many of whom were small businesses that were owed money for their services, and told them no payment or a reduced payment would be coming. when i advised mr. trump of my success, he actually reveled in it. and yet i continued to work for him." >> and then he goes on -- >> "mr. trump is a con man." >> the bad businessman thing is important politically because as michael cohen says it paints him as a fraud. but it's also important because there might be a criminal element to that. inflating your assets for purposes of bank loans, that is what bank fraud is. there could be another sort of new financial element opening up here. >> it is going to be very interesting to watch his testimony.
thank you. i mean, this all came out. we were prermg to paring to go air and celebrate my friend's birthday. where is he? happy birthday, brother. >> happy birthday. >> it's serious business, but listen, we're all people and we have lives here and a lot of people around here who support you. who support us. so we want to support them. and so drinks on me after this. thanks for watching, everyone. a huge day of testimony beginning in just hours from michael cohen. our breaking news tonight, we now know some of what he is going to say. including calling the president a racist, a con man, and a cheat, saying that donald trump was aware of roger stone's efforts to reach out to wikileaks in advance of its release of damaging information about the clinton campaign and saying he's providing the committee with a copy of a check trump wrote from his personal bank account after he became president, reimbursing cohen for hush money payments to stormy daniels. the full text of cohen's prepared statement available right now on cnn.com. we're going to take a break now,
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[ cooing ] ♪ [ ding ] show me fish on youtube. say it and see it with the x1voice remote. from netflix, prime video,youtube and even movie tickets. just say get "dragon tickets". again our breaking news. michael cohen the president's former attorney, now convicted felon, says he looks forward to testifying publicly tomorrow on capitol hill. he brings baggage, a host of credibility issues after pleading guilty to several charges. still he could shed light on a number of things. after all, he has unique
firsthand insight as the top executive at the trump organization for years. joining me for his take on tonight's toft is tony schwartz who wrote trump's memoir "art of the deal" and most recently contributor to "the dangerous case of donald trump." >> you believe this is a historic moment. >> unequivocally. it kind of gives me a chill when i think i'm old enough unfortunately to have been mr. tl when john dean testified before congress, when alexander butterfield revealed that nixon was doing tapes. and this is that moment. >> potentially. we don't know exactly what michael cohen's going to say. but he -- i mean, from what you know of michael cohen, he had access to a lot of information about -- >> yeah. and we already know that he's planning on accusing him of criminal activity, that he's going to accuse him of lying -- >> the "wall street journal" has reported that. >> right. >> so what we know is it's going to be an accusation that if true would demand that trump be
impeached and convicted. now, that's a political calculation in the end but on any legitimate grounds if what cohen says tomorrow is true it should mean the end of the trump presidency. >> i wonder -- but the white house obviously is not waiting for this. sarah sanders has come out and said look, he's a convicted felon, he's an admitted liar. all of this true. he was a liar while he was working for donald trump. he lied during the campaign when he was defending donald trump.
and listen, trump has gathered around him including to be fair cohen himself a group of thugs and miscreants and grifters and lowlifes for his entire career. and the only people who will stand up and defend him now tend to be those very people who he has always sought out. >> but to me something about this tweet in particular. i mean, you know, i don't know matt gaetz personally, you know, nothing wrong with him being a strong defender of the president. but he's a career politician. his dad has been a politician. for him, you know -- i still have this idea of some sort of dignity in public service and dignity in the halls of the capitol and congress and senate. and for a sitting congressman to send out a tweet in which one of the lines is, you know, do you think your wife is going to stay faithful while you're in prison, like, this is what he's doing? >> no, i mean, the incivility that now characterizes political discourse is extraordinary. but we know exactly where that came from. that came from thousands and
thousands of words that have come out of trump's mouth himself. now, trump's done very much the same kind of thing. in fact, he himself accused and threatened cohen's father-in-law. this is the way in which the trump administration does business because it's really like a kossa cosa nostra family. >> the american people are going to have to opportunity to see michael cohen probably talking in a way we've never seen him talking before. because every tv appearance he's been on in the past, you know, he was the pitbull thug. thug defender of donald trump, like, you know, wannabe thug, pretend thug. >> you know, i've been thinking to myself, i've thought a lot about the issue of redemption, as you can imagine, having done "the art of the deal" with trump. i want to believe in the capacity for redemption. i'm talking about myself. >> you really thought about that personally. >> endlessly. >> you feel like because you wrote "the art of the deal" you need to redeem yourself for that? >> without question.
i feel that i have -- the reason i come on shows like yours is to try to right some of the damage that i think that book -- i mean, of course i didn't have any idea that it would do that. but what i did know at the time was trump was a bad man. i already knew that. and i made an expedient choice to write that book. i'm not the same person i was 30 years ago and part of the reason i'm not is because the experience with trump prompted me to take my life in such a different direction. i am willing to believe -- in fact, my gut tells me that michael cohen, however hideous his behaviors have been in the past, really does want to redeem himself. i actually believe that. >> we'll see tomorrow. tony schwartz, always good to talk to you. thank you. >> thank you. there is potentially huge news in the 2020 campaign for president. what joe biden just said about his entry into the race. next.
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well, there's more breaking news tonight. former vice president joe biden has always said if he receives the blessing of his family he'll run for the democratic nomination. well, apparently he's got it. >> there's a consensus i should -- they want, they, the most important people in my life, want me to run. i have not made a final decision, but don't be surprised. [ applause ] >> there when he made that announcement. she joins us now. what else did the former vice president have to say today? >> reporter: well, anderson, i've been traveling around the country with joe biden for the past few months, and this is the most revealing answer i've heard him give when it comes to his 2020 decision-making process. and he said he's cleared that major hurdle as family considerations have been at the top of his list, saying there's now a consensus among his family they do want to see him run in 2020.
he did say he had some concerns about how the president -- president trump might approach biden's family during a campaign. but for the most part the biden family now does appear to seem -- appears to be on board with the 2020 run. biden also noted that he wants to make sure the campaign isn't a fool's errand and they have all the pieces in place should he decide to run. take a listen. >> i can die a happy man never having lived in the white house. but what i don't want to do is i don't want to take people's time, effort and commitment without there being a clear shot s i think we can. i think that's where we are, but there's still a couple of hurdles to go through to make
sure we have all this in place. and if we conclude that, i will announce i'd run for president. but, you know -- >> just say yes! [ applause ] >> well, but i'm not there yet. >> so biden heard those words of encouragement here from a home state crowd in delaware. and while he seems to have worked through some of those family considerations, anderson, it's still very clear there are other factors still weighing on his mind. >> yeah, it seems like i mean i guess he's still talking to advisers. did he describe what exactly those factors were that still weren't in place? >> reporter: he did. he talked through some of those issues that he wants to see addressed. we really haven't heard him go into that specific detail just quite yet, but he talked about wanting to make sure that social media engagement, they have a good strategy on that. he also talked about fund-raising, saying he wanted to raise money on his own terms, saying he didn't want to be part
of any superpac. and also noted he hasn't had some republican donors saying they might want to help out a campaign. and saying the appeal for a biden run runs deep. biden says he's very close to making a decision, but sources i've spoken to have said it's highly unlikely any formal announcement will come before april. anderson? >> arlette, i appreciate it. thank you very much. if in fact the former vice president does plan to announce what then? jeff zeleny plans to spend the next 18 months following the contenders. we thank him for that. how big do you think this is? >> particularly the family, that has been an underlying question here. is his family up for this run? we know one thing. joe biden wants to be president. this would be the third time that he's running. but he said, you know, flat out that there is a consensus among his family to run. so i think it was a pretty big step today. but anderson, i detected something else, that he knows he's a front-runner immediately. he know he's going to have all the arrows toward him. so i heard humility from him in saying, look, we're trying to
figure it out to see if if we can mount this type of campaign. i think he was trying to lower expectations there a little bit if he would decide to jump in. all signs are that there is a campaign essentially ready to go once he gives a signal. >> did you get any sense if biden knows how to run against president trump? because obviously republicans and hillary clinton last time around thought they knew and it didn't work out for them. >> that is an essential question here, but i think one of the reasons, one of the things he knows is pennsylvania, for example. that is one of the things that worries the president and his advisers the most. joe biden knows how to talk to working-class voters. he knows how to sort of bring this coalition together. so i do think he knows how to run against president trump. i think the trickier path for him is the democratic primary. is he the person who fits the moment, the mood, the energy of this democratic primary? he is not a shoo-in by any means at all. he would have to make the argument that he is the best one positioned to defeat the
president and the best one to govern. but anderson, there is a sense talking to voters, i was in iowa this weekend and a lot of people like joe biden, they say look, we like everything he stands for but is it time for a new fresh face? so he would have to contend with those concerns long before the idea of taking on president trump. >> biden also said if he were to run he would not accept money from a super pack. is that a move to appeal to bernie sanders or elizabeth warren? they made pledges to keep big money out of their campaigns. >> i think it's accepting new money in politics. he cannot do it like he used to, but the question is he will have to still have to rely on big dollars. will people send in $10 every month to support joe biden? i'm not sure about that. but a superpact at this point is pretty much what virtually everyone is doing. that's easy. the question is can he raise the money?
>> let's check in with chris. >> i don't think raising the money is going to be the issue. it's going to be how does he shape the message and become the messenger his party wants right now. will that party decide it's soul is in a new spot and it wants to fight a new fight and embrace the diversity of this country as a reflection of the future of the party, and if so is joe biden checking that box. or do they say, look, we need to beat trump and is joe biden checking that box? it's an interesting calculation for him personally. in the back of his mind and his heart, this is a race his son bo may have run. think about that. think about how emotionally confusing that is, that his son, bo, this could have been his race on the democratic side. so that's going to be a real point of intrigue going forward. that race doesn't start until he decides whether he's in or not. we have reporting to flush around the context of why tomorrow is going to be a historic occasion. >> do you think it will be? >> 100%. this will be the day that will be a pivot point in this entire situation about when it became
clear that this president does or does not have trouble. >> chris, we'll look forward to that in about 8.5 minutes. coming up next, jorge romose joins me. my conversation with him coming up. olumbia. it's just been a reconnection to my roots. 20 million members have connected to a deeper family story. order your kit at ancestry.com. to a deeper famiand relief from symptoms caused feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin by over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens. like those from buddy. because stuffed animals are clearly no substitute for real ones. feel the clarity. and live claritin clear.
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well univision anchor jorge romose and his crew were detained last night not long after they began an interview with nicolas maduro. it was shot by jorge of some young people eating out of a garbage truck. i spoke to him just before airtime. you just got back to the united states. explain what happened when you sat down with maduro? >> i started the interview with nicolas maduro asking him if he
was a president or a dictator. he just didn't like that. and then the interview went on for about 17 minutes. he was contentious, i have to admit. tough questions that's what i thought. and then he was saying that the revolution, the venezuelan revolution had been a success. i showed him on my ipad they were behind a trash truck eating the trash. >> and that's video you shot yourself or your crew shot. >> it's actually the day before with my cellphone we were driving through caracas and i saw these three kids incredibly hungry. they were eating trash. and i then i asked them what's happening, why are you doing that? and they told me we are very hungry and nicolas maduro is responsible sw we need a new president. so when i was doing the interview i just showed nicolas
maduro what had happened and he just couldn't take it. he broke, he stood up, he said the interview was over. and i had told nicolas maduro, why don't you simply answer the question, this is what dictators do, and then he left. and they confiscated our four cameras, the video cards for the interviews were kept, and a few minutes later they confiscated our cellphones. we were detained for two hours and some agents and border guards put me in a little room, in a dark room and they forcefully took my backpack and my cellphone. and this was happening in venezuela. so he didn't like the interview, so they took our cameras, our video. they detained us for two hours and then they excelled me this morning from venezuela. >> was it the venezuela
officials or mexican officials or u.s. officials? >> venezuelan agents were outside the hotel the whole night so no one could come in and they wanted make sure we were going to go directly to the airport. we were deported actually from venezuela. and this is really interesting thanks to the u.s. department and thank tuesday it american embassy in caracas, and even though the relationship between v venezuela and the united states is being broken because of maduro, the u.s. does not recognize maduro as the real president. they recognize juan guaido, so there's a u.s. embassy in caracas, and they helped us into vehicles with body guards. and the mexican embassy in caracas with an extra vehicle to go all the way safely from the hotel to the airport. it was -- it was a difficult moment because we didn't know what could happen. it's a dictatorship. so they can do anything they
want, and we were concerned that at the airport at some point during our journey that they could kid nap us or kept us in the country without our permission obviously. >> jorge, i'm glad you and your crew are back and safe, but obviously your thoughts and our thoughts are with the people left behind with what is going on there. >> thank you, anderson. the news continues right now. i want to hand it over to chris cuomo for "cuomo primetime." welcome to prime minister. michael cohen reportedly told the senate intel committee things they had not heard before, and that is 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.