tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN February 27, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PST
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down like none seen against the sitting of the president of the united states since watergate in a 20-page opening statement last night. he called his boss a man who he once claimed he takes a bullet, a racist, a con man and a cheat. he says the president knew his campaign, roger stone, -- he says he believes the president knows in advance of the trump tower tower meeting. it is understood that cohen would lie to congress about an attempt to build a trump tower in moscow. that's one of the crimes that cohen is about to serve a three-year prison. >> aware that his credibility is under attack. he's going to backup the claims today with documentary evidence. one is a personal check that
cohen says is partial reimbursement of hush money for stormy daniels days before the election. through it all, the president is of course half a world away, 12 hours away, holding a summit that at other time would claim the world's undivided tension. the president is expected to watch the cohen's testimony live. cnn's raju manchu, set the scene for us. >> reporter: members of congress should arrive shortly. each member will have five minutes to ask questions. democrats are trying to get him to lay out his story and details and allegations against the president and allegations of the president involved in criminal
scheme to silence women who made allegations that they had an affair as well as new information about what the president may have known about that effort to obtain wikileaks hacked e-mails that the president himself denied. republicans are going to go after him graggressively. the question is credibility and character. expect a lot of fireworks and hearing and it is going to take all day long just to hear on capitol hill. the one that's public and we'll all see. >> manu raju, thank you so much. >> there are several what they call presidency threatening scandal that michael cohen details in this 20-page opening statement. >> yes, i think it does. >> we have the president saying and evans knows about this because he was apart of the story cnn did and interview of the associated press of no recollection or any recollection of roger stone and wikileaks.
we have michael cohen testifying that stolen told mr. trump that he got off the phone with julian assange and there would be a massive dump of e-mail that's going to damage hillary clinton and the cam papaign campaign re would that be great. >> i was in mr. trump's office when the secretary announced roger stone on the phone. mr. trump put there stone on the speaker, phone. mr. trump said he just got off the phone with assange. there trump responded by stating to the effect "would that be great," that contradicts of what we heard from the president. >> exactly. there is another large
contradiction involving the payments to the mistresses, michael cohen, describes going into the oval office for the first time in february after the president had been elected is all excited about it and the president shows him around and eventually the president says don't worry, those checks will come to you. we know the president denies any knowledge of payments to stormy daniels and it seems from michael cohen's testimony is just the opposite. there is a cancelled check which i may point out does not have a memo on it that says payment for mistresses to be quiet. but he does have this cancelled check that he's going to show to the committee. >> how monumental is this? >> the president in his tak take-home test and his lawyer came up with that answer that protects him. you can say it is a
contradiction but from a lawyer's perspective, it protects the president. i don't have a recollection of having a discussion with roger stone about julian assange and wikileaks. from the president's standpoint, he feels very protective. i think you are right, this is a monumental day simply because we never had someone this close to the president is going spend several hours talking about all of the intimate details of conversations and all of these things. i think the president's team is going to point out that he admitted to lying so the question is when do you believe him and when do you think he's lying. >> what do you think is the most significant part? >> the cancelled check. the corroboration of michael cohen's story that the whole payment to stormy daniels was ins ga instigated by donald trump and
not by michael cohen himself. that's a crime to which michael cohen pleaded guilty for if he can establish that this was done at trump's instigation. why would cohen do it? the fact that the check exists and presumably other checks exist and federal records of the check being delivered, that's in criminating. ? this one is dated august in 2017, is it significant that he was president at the time of this check being processed? >> it is not significant as a legal matter. he's a sitting president so doj says he can't be indicted. it matters in terms of the optics, here is someone as he's president, oh, i don't know anything about this and we learned that much less far back in the past that he would have originally thought he's writing
these checks so legally no but politically possible. >> everyone stick around, i want to bring in our congressman, democratic, congressman, thank you for joining us. what do you think is most significant in cohen's prepared testimony? >> well, he's given us a specific documentation and the president's involvement and criminal activity that he had pled guilty to. we'll want to kneel down the details about the president's involvement in the hush money pay offs to the various women which constituted illegal campaign and contributions and expenditures at the same time. there is clearly a conspiracy to circumvent the law of the united states. that's pretty significance. there are hits and glimpses of
other things that the committee would want to follow. obviously, this is a man who's burdening himself and he's called the president a racist and a conman and a cheat. but, we also want to know, tell us some things that we don't know. there is going to be a lot of you know fruitful information everyday. >> it does seem that michael cohen is opening donald trump's closet and spilling out as many skeletons as he can. we have information in here about in the cohen's testimony about his vietnam deferment about how much his network is actually is. it is kind of like a greatest hit if you will of everything the president does not like to talk about. i don't know how legally significant these details are and i wonder if you are concerned that it will come off
as michael cohen is trying to get rerevenge. >> some are significance and some are not. that's the job of the oversight committee and other committee to determine -- the big story in my mind is that we have a president who has turned the government of the united states of america into a money making operation for himself and his family and business and for his friends. nowhere is there any mention in any of these documents about the president asking what's best for the american people and the public' interes public's interest. and it is all about how much money he can make and what mattis inside deal he can accomplish. we are trying to get the best portrait that we can of what's taken place in the trump's organization and legality. we have to ask a question
whether this is the president that's an actual threat to the character of the republic. >> democrats have called michael cohen to testify before congress and in may, michael cohen is going to go in prison partly because he had previously lied to congress. how do you square the circle there? how do you know he's going to be telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth when he had already lie to congress. >> this is a president who at least the washington post have told more than more than 8,000 lies and he's surrounded by a team of liars. >> not under oath though. i am not defending it. >> the point i am making is lying is demoted of the trump's white house. what do you expect the refugee from the trump's axis to be in
my republican colleagues, let's be clear, they're not upset because michael cohen is lying. they're upset that he stopped lying. he's somebody going to jail for having told these lies but he's coming clean now. we are trying to get the truth here. obviously, he's under oath today and we are looking documentations that he's saying. >> congressman jamie raskin. thank you so much for your time. >> it is a pleasure to be with you. >> this cohen's testimony today, the president is watching from 8,000 miles away. we are going live to hanoi when we come back. hi i'm joan lunden.
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explosive testimony even though it is after 9:00 p.m. already in hanoi, vietnam. the president is back to his hotel after meeting with kim jong-un. let's go to our jim sciutto. >> reporter: good morning, the president is here in hanoi meeting face-to-face of the immediate threat of u.s. national security, that's north korea program and while at home he faces possibly to his presidency of michael cohen's testimony. it is certain that president trump is aware of that as he's here. he was tweeting about it. his staff took the extraordinary steps of attempting to exclude all reporters from asking any questions of him as he had dinner with the north korean leader. it is certain that the north korean leader is aware of the problem at home with this president. this is a leader seeking for any
advantage in these negotiations. i will tell you this, jake and wolf, going into this, i was told by members of the president's own national security team that they were concerned of a softening of u.s. positions and demands coming into these talks and a wider concern that the president may give up too much to get a wins it were from these talks. he has a greater incentive for a win with the concerns of what michael cohen is going to testify today. tough economic sanctions will win them something in these talks. we'll see today and the president will be attempting this while watching this testimony back in the u.s. >> is it your sense over there that the cohen's testimony that's about to begin on capitol hill and we already have his
20-page opening statements? did they send the people's president entourage over there that this is over shadowing the important meeting of kim jong-un? >> reporter: well, certainly shadowing it, right? you would only attempt to ban reporters from asking questions about it if you were concerned about that and that banning and again only allowing one end for that dinner happening because reporters asked the president questions and shouted questions to him at that moment were showing there as pictures as he stood with the north korean leader. they were upset with those questions. he certainly is thinking about it. whether it over shadows in the end may come down to what is agreed to in these talks. there were a lot of expectations and management coming in and burd burden of the north korean leader saying progress is up to him and also concerns internally
in the white house that president trump will go rogue if it were and agreed to concession as he did in june or singapore, that summit giving military to the south without consulting his allies. is he going to do something similar here? a concern for some of his advisers. >> jim sciutto in hanoi, we'll stay in close in touch with you. how do you think the president is handling this extraordinary development meeting with kim jong-un in hanoi, vietnam and at the same time we are about to hear this explosive testimony from his once very close fixer/lawyer. >> you have to say this is a classic trump's era split-screen store story. the president with this meeting with the dictator of north korea
and his former fixer is testifying before congress calling him a racist and a cheat and a conman. there is no doubt that this story is stepping on that story. i think what jim sciutto, people should be a little concerned about because does the president feel the need to come up with something spectacular out of this meeting, something that he can taut as a historical agreement in order to over shadow what we are going here on capitol hill today. >> especially clinton were praised or criticized to be able to aconpartmentalized. >> he tweeted this morning, michael cohen was one of many lawyers represented me, he did bad things and he's lying in order to reduce his prison time.
using crooked's lawyer, that's a reference to hillary clinton. i know many are concerned that the president has this on his mind instead of this audacious hope, we all hope that he would succeed to denuclearize the peninsula. >> we should know those diski discussions with kim jong-un are in the long-term more important in many ways of what we are seeing on capitol hill today. if he enters into an agreement that his national security adviser don't believe that's of the interest of the country, that's a long-term implication of national security of all of our people and our allies in the region. it is a concerning thing. his mindset is a concerning thing. if you have someone called a fixer. he was not just one of the president's lawyers. we know that. if you have someone in your
employee calling you a fixer or everyone knows as the fixer, do not antagonize them or piss them off or do not encourage them be come your enemy because the returns can be bitter. >> well, that would be the other thing. that's plan b. >> he's a lawyer and confidante for decades. what's the most startling thing? >> the fact that he knew about the e-mail and the conversation that roger stone was having was the thing that jumps out to me. i did not get to hear what edits he made. did they encourage him to change any of the timelines in his testimony but, you know the other thing that struck me was, i thought peace was undually
gratutive. i am n it may be reducing the power of the substance of this i thinks that michael cohen had to offer. >> it seems like this was based on revenge, calling the references of a sore subject to the president deferments to get out of vietnam. >> the stuff about his academics and not wanting his transcripts to be shared. i think it does have the fingerprint of lanny davis here, his own television lawyer who we know have a tension for being provacative. if he's behind this, i don't think he'll serve his crime
here. >> thank you very much, we are minutes away from michael cohen's testimony to the house oversight committee, stay with cnn with the latest. we'll be right back. as well as all the things you want to do. and on the way, you'll get timely investment help to keep you on the right track, without the unnecessary fees you might expect from so many financial firms. because when you have a partner who gives you clarity at every step, there's nothing to stop you from moving forward. who gives you clarity at every step, when you switch out an old car part.$200 but you do when you switch to jackson hewitt. at jackson hewitt we help lots of people like you. that's why you get $200 when you leave your old tax service for us. so switch to jackson hewitt today and get $200.
. welcome back to cnn's special live coverage of michael cohen under oath on capitol hill. i am wolf blitzer. >> i am jake tapper. >> we are minutes away from a congressional hearing even by the standards of the trump era is explosive. former long time lawyer and fixer is coming to house oversight committee before he heads to prison. it is shocking to hear and the power is now wielded by democrats and the divided
congress. let's discuss it with the congressman from kentucky. he'll be among those questioning michael cohen. what's the most important thing from the most startling revelation that you read in michael cohen's statements? >> well, there are so many. a couple of things raised a suspicion for me. you at cnn got the testimony before we did. the republicans were not able to have a minority witness on the stand to testify as well. it is the first time of my entire two-year in congress that we never been able to have our own witness there, too. i look forward to the testimony today and we'll see how it goes. >> it was not just us, cnn and all the major news organization got an advance copy of his opening statement. it is a significance statement
and i want to ask you what you were planning on asking michael cohen. >> well, i want to talk about the bank fraud. i think we have to first determine if michael cohen is a credible witness. the fact that he once lied to congress, that's a question mark there. the fact that so many things he's going to accuse trump doing he himself had done in the private sector and he was president trump's personal attorney. so, you know i just think that the credibility of the witness today is certainly a suspect but hopefully we'll be able to find some truthful information out if that's possible from michael cohen. one of your members tweeted this that caused a lot of shock. hey michael cohen, do your wife and father-in-law know about
your girlfriend, maybe tonight is a good time for that check. over night gaetz apologized and he deleted the tweet and he got a lot of push back and including nancy pelosi. >> i am glad that representative gaetz deleted the tweet. this is an emotional time for people at both parties. you have so many democrats who want to see the president fail and so many republicans want to see the president succeed. hopefully we'll keep it in check and find some element of the truth about michael cohen. did you see that tweet from congressman gaetz as a threat witness intimidation? this is on the eve of his testimony as a critically important witness before your committee. >> i see tweets from members of
both parties that would be suspicious in my mind as to why they would tweet something like that. unfortunately, things like that happen but congressman gaetz is not apart of the committee today so it don't matter much. you will see professionalism on the parts of the republicans on the oversight committee. we have serious questions of michael cohen. the fact that he's a soul witness and the fact that he lied once to congress and he's a convicted felon who was disbarred this week from the new york bar. the credibility factor with michael cohen is the lowest we have seen for a major witness in congressional testimony history. >> you are raising questions of your committee chairman, elijah cummings that you feel he's not doing a fair job in organizing this hearing today? >> absolutely. every hearing that i have been apart of, on the agriculture
committee or education committee, the minority side has a witness that they can question as well. we were not given that opportunity. many of us would like to attest and subpoena rod rose stenstein. i think that you know if you are going to be fair and be fair and valid then you have to have a fair and valid groups of people testifying. michael cohen who obviously has a grudge and convicted felon. he's someone in my eyes is a very selfish person. he's someone that's supposed to be representing trump but it appears to me that he's representing himself. i am going to get to question michael cohen today. i am going to sit there for four hours and listen to my colleagues on both sides. i will be better to have a better opinion after the testimony today. i can tell you right now. i think the democrats have a flawed witness.
this is obviously their first step in trying to set up a process to ip peampeach the president. i don't think the american people are supportive of political theater in an attempt to impeach the president. >> you and your colleagues on the committee, there is a lot of them, you will have a chance to say whatever you want and question michael cohen with whatever you want as well. we are looking forward to this hearing. congressman james comer, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolff. >> the ones blocking deputy attorney general rosenstein, it is interesting to blame it on elijah cummings. it is the republicans who run the trump administration blocking ro rosenstein. >> let's discuss this with carl
bernste bernstein. >> it gets to the idea whether or not there is a conspiracy with russia to impact the election. cohen will testify today, quote, questions have been raised of whether i know of direct evidence that mr. trump and his campaign colluded with russia. i do not and i want to be clear but i have my suspicion. i recall don jr. leaning over to his father speaking in a low voice saying the meeting is all set. i remember mr. trump said, okay, i know. i looked back, don jr. would never set up any meeting with any significance alone and certainly without checking his father. i concluded that don jr. was referring to the 2016 trump tower meeting about dirt with hillary. it is a suspicion. >> like the allegation about wikileaks and like the picture of the trump organization is a
criminal organization. all of these goes into the mueller investigation and brick in the investigation by the southern district of new york. if indeed cohen is telling the truth, it is the morter between those bricks and the contents. we have to assume that mueller is beginning to tell a full story and now we are seeing the foundation of that story is partly through this extraordinary witness. this is a potential john dean moment that we are about to see. john dean who was once the president lawyer at the white house and went before congress and testified against president nixon and we know what happened in the weeks and months followed. is this today potentially a john
dean's moment? >> the dynamic is a john dean moment but there are big differences. cohen was never in the white house al house. also, this guy was a fluixer. if you look at the history of the relationship between the two men, very different with john dean who was a principle in the cover up. what's similar is both witnesses explained the white house cover up and the presidential cover up if indeed this testimony is credible. it goes to helping us understand why the president had been lying day in and day out about all things russia. it is serious business for the american people particularly to
he hear. it is also serious business to hear what the republicans are going to do. as we saw with representative co co comer, the instinct throughout these two years is the republicans blindly support the president of the united states despite the fact the washington post says there are 8,000 something lies. using the word lies told by the president and the most important of which consistently deal with these matters that he's going to testify to today. >> carl bernstein, thank you for your expertise. >> as moin just moment, michaeln will face his explosive testimony. stay with us. at&t provides edge-to-edge intelligence, covering virtually every part of your healthcare business. so that if she has a heart problem & the staff needs to know, they will & they'll drop everything can you take a look at her vitals? & share the data with other specialists yeah, i'm looking at them now.
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moments away from michael cohen's public testimony before the house oversight committee. he's expected to elaborate on those accusations. a lot of accusations that we'll be hearing about with new details. let's go around to see what most everybody is interested in? what you have been covering from the scandal from the beginning of the trump administration. what will you be looking for? >> i would like to hear of how it is that michael cohen feel he was being directed or encouraged to lie. in the coming days, we'll see the mueller report go up to the attorney general and to barr, he's going to prepare his own summary to congress.
we don't know if mueller is going to look at this issue or if the president had any involvement with any of cohen's crime. how it is that michael cohen says i knew he wanted me to lie. >> it says in the testimony that mr. trump did not tell him to lie to congress, that's not how he operates. that's more a suggestion, this is what i am going to say. it says you need to know mr. trump's personal lawyer reviewed and edited my statement to congress of the timing of the moscow tower anywnegotiations. what did the lawyer tell him? >> he's trying to say that the lawyers knew that i was lying and the president's lawyer helped me with the cover up. and so there were a lot of statements being reviewed.
we don't know if anybody paid close attention to that. it goes to the question of how much detail we can get to how it is that there is this history that michael cohen sort of knew and the president was encouraging h i encourag encouraging him to lie. >> it is interesting through his response and we reported this to the best of my recollection, is that good enough? >> yeah, probably is. . the president is in a political context and impeachment is only the remedy that's available. members of congress are not looking for the individual pardoning of words. they're making a general political judgment. i don't think anything - if it is just to the best of my recollection, you are never going get the congress to move on that. just one issue that i am going to be listening for is all the
surrounding circumstances of stormy daniels hanging. this is one area where there is now at least the possibility of serious corroboration. the check is the check. the trump people will have other explanation for what that truck is. if there is another truck signed by don jr. or weisselberg, what's the explanation for that? the fact that this check appears to implicate the president in an already proven conspiracy. that i think, the full story of how the stormy daniels payment happened to be made and all the surrounding circumstances, that's something i am going to be looking at. >> is that sort of baked in the cake? don't people sort of assume his
plea that the president was that individual number one tha that -- one of my questions of this whole exercises, how much will it be rebelaitory. >> a, it is probably right. everybody sort of assumes this anyway. remember he said the opposite. the air force one interview where he said i didn't know anything about these payments. is that okay? >> you are looking at it politically. >> i wonder how much is baked in the cake. i want you to tell us what it is in a second, gloria. roger stone has been indicted for lying to investigators. he's commenting about michael
cohen who's going to jail partly because he lied to congress to defend a president who's untinabeth piñu untethered to facts than the truth. >> that's a problem for everyone. and roger stone who had been loyal to the president who's looking for a pardon for the president of the united states. i am not going out of a limb here. this cohen's statement is not true, period. you have michael cohen saying that he was sitting in the president's -- the candidate's office listening to roger stone and saying he gotten off the phone with julian assange and he told him there will be damaging stuff for hillary clinton. would that
by the president. and i think they have to continue to dig on this because if he remembers, did he tape it? i don't think so. but they'll probably ask him that question, because he did tape a lot of conversations. i don't believe he taped this one. he's probably regretting it at this point. >> if it happened. >> if it happened, right. >> it is important to remember, i think to your point, jeffrey, this is sort of the one blow that's been landed directly on the president as a result of all of this investigation. i mean, so far mueller hasn't really land add blow against the president in any of the court filings, in any of the indictments. so i think so far that's why this is why this is important. >> we're looking at live pictures. members have arrived already. we saw the chairman elijah cummings of maryland. he'll make an opening statement.
then the ranking member jim jordan of ohio, he's the one who never wears a sport coat or a jacket, he'll be making an opening statement. each of the 42 members will have a bunch of questions. they'll have five minutes each this first round. manu raju is on capitol hill. what are you seeing? >> reporter: we're here with jerry connolly. he's a senior democratic member of the house oversight committee. he's had a chance to review this opening 20-page statement. what was the most revealing thing to you so far? >> i think both the remorse and reflection mr. cohen has on his own personal involvement and guilt. but also on just a pattern of deceit on the part of individual
number one that is chilling and really raises the whole question of the president's involvement to a new level. coming from his personal attorney. >> reporter: what are you specifically going to push him on when you get a chance to question? >> i have a lot of questioning about a meeting that has not yet surfaced to the public. we'll be asking him about that meeting. >> reporter: what kind of meeting? >> you can wait for the hearing. >> reporter: is this something you're aware the president had or michael cohen had? >> both. >> reporter: it has not surfaced publicly yet? >> correct. >> reporter: you think michael cohen has knowledge of this meeting? >> he attended the meeting. >> reporter: you had concerns about russia not being part of this questioning. do you think that now that you've seen the system, that the russia investigation is going to be part of the hearing going forward? >> we just had a meeting about that and russia will now be fair game. >> reporter: russia is now fair game? >> given the fact that the
witness has talked about the russian relationship both with respect to the tower in moscow throughout the 2016 campaign and the julian assange role in the wikileaks document dumps that involved the russians. russia is now fair game. >> reporter: a bit of news there. russia is now going to be part of this hearing. this was not expected heading into today but in light of that testimony, this is going to be a significant part of the questioning going forward, according to the congressman. >> originally you're absolutely right. the russia part was spoeupposed be discussed behind closed doors tomorrow before the house intelligence committee but that has now changed. >> it's very telling. that is the trump tower construction project in moscow. that is hugely important. it's really the sleeper question, i think, of this whole
hearing, because it goes to the question of the role of the trump organization throughout trump's business activities leading into the campaign when he used the campaign for personal purposes of making money, but especially he allegedly directed cohen to lie about the trump tower campaign and the trump tower construction and was it still in play. that, in fact, is what cohen is accused of having perjured himself for. so it becomes a central question both of, quote, collusion perhaps, of business interests of the trump family over that of the united states. >> that gets to another point which is one of the things on the list from chairman cummings was conflicts of interest. we haven't seen anything really about that in michael cohen's opening statement. to me, prosecutors have the
criminal stuff. they know more than we'll know later today. what we don't know, what really the house should be doing here is delving into these conflicts of interest. what was the trump administration doing in saudi arabia, russia, turkey, in the places we've seen administration action that may be not because of the interests of the united states but rather because of trump organization business interests. >> behind all of this i think the overlay is the way michael cohen described the campaign quoting trump saying it was an infomercial for his business, detailing half a dozen times before the iowa caucuses and june when the president asked me, how is its going in russia when he is saying there were no business interests in russia. >> here's an interesting element of this.
if everybody's hunting down whether there was collusion in order to help trump win the election and cohen is saying he never really expected to win the election, he really wanted this business in moscow and he expected to lose. you have stories that are sort of weirdly in conflict. was trump motivated by his pecuniary interests or was he motivated by trying to get himself elected? >> paul manafort describes, yeah, i committed bank fraud, yeah, i may have lied to various people, but i was doing it essentially to paper over my financial problems until tehe ed of the campaign. everybody around trump did not expect him necessarily to win and this is about making business after the election. it does create a little bit of a conflict. it will be interesting to see how the special counsel addresses that which goes to the heart of this investigation and
has been hanging over the president for two years. >> if the motivation was not conspiracy and treason but the motivation was just unvarnished greed, whether it's paul manafort or anybody affiliated with the trump organization, does that change what the special counsel will write in the report? >> i think they have to address that, because again, this is the central question of what they were appointed to investigate. if it holds up -- essentially this was the fbi's theory going into this investigation. back in 2016 we kept hearing from people connected to the investigation. look, it looks like what's going on is there's a bunch of hangers-on, people who were trying to grift, trying to make money from this campaign. >> that's congressman matt gates of florida. he's the one who last night tweeted that pretty awful tweet clearly threatening michael
cohen. >> alluding to unproven allegations about his private life. it was interpreted as a republican congressman very loyal to the president threatening, intimidating a witness. he first said that's not what he was doing. he was just engaging in the marketplace of ideas. then ultimately he deleted the tweet and apologized. >> that's my favorite quote of the day. >> marketplace of ideas. quite a lofty description of that tweet. >> i think if you listen to what people suspected was happening behind the scenes, again, if that's borne out by this investigation, i think it does create a kun noconundrum for a people trying to prove that the russians and the trump campaign were essentially conspireing to steal an election and defraud the american people. >> those are not necessarily mutually exclusive. >> particularly after he's the nominee. >> it's a kind of heads i win,
tails you lose. if i win i get to be president of the united states. if i lose, i get to be even richer than i am now. the idea that he was working with russian interests to win the election is not contradictory with the idea that he was trying to ingratiate himself with vice president so he would approve trump tower moscow. far be it from me to know exactly what was going on in donald trump's head, but there's certainly not -- >> i think that explains why a lot of this has been farmed out. >> there's michael cohen, the witness, the man going to prison in may, the president's former fixer and long time loyal confidante and attorney. obviously which this is a nerve-racking day for him and his family. >> he's be sworn in under oath. there's elijah cummings, the
chairman of this committee. it does underscore that this hearing is taking place in part because the democrats won in november pap they're the majority in the house of representatives. they can decide what to do. i don't know if michael cohen would be testifying if the republicans were still the majority in the house of representatives. >> i know. i know. >> i say that facetiously. >> the truth of the matter is oversight is congress's responsibility. if you like the guy in the white house and the party that controls congress is doing oversight, then you probably think they're a bunch of partisan hacks. if you don't like the guy in the white house, you probably think it is the most noble mission there is. i wanted to ask you about the credibility of michael cohen. we're talking about watergate, we're talking about john dean versus michael cohen. there are a lot of differences in terms of john dean