tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN February 28, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PST
good morning everyone. i'm poppy harlow. jim sciutto is in hanoi covering a historic summit. this summit happened with not a lot to show for it. we will talk about all of that, back state side in washington, michael cohen is answering questions as we speak behind closed doors behind the house intelligence committee. it is the third congressional hearing in three days for the president's former lawyer and fixer who is headed to prison this spring for lying to congress in part. >> even here in hanoi amid a summit that we now know was teetering, president trump was
watching cohen's grueling appearance yesterday before the house oversight committee. here is what he had to say about the testimony earlier this morning. >> he lied a lot. it was very interesting because he didn't lie about one thing. he said no collusion with the russian hoax. i say i wonder why he didn't just lie about that like he did about everything else. >> cohen said he had no direct evidence that the president or his campaign colluded but he does have suspicions. he talked about the president having knowledge of the wiki leaks releases. >> clearly cohen had a lot to get off his chest. he had shown things we hadn't seen before like the $35,000 check. now what? now where do we and congress go from here? >> reporter: well, this specific committee that michael cohen is
meeting with today in the house intelligence committee is focussed almostclusively on the russia issue and the topics that he did bring up yesterday. adam schiff told me they want to drill down much further into the topics that were not fully explored yesterday or may have been broached briefly including whether there was a white house role in the statements that he gave false to the committee in 2017 in which michael cohen down played the role of the trump organization and of trump himself in trying to pursue that trump tower moscow project. cohen testified that there were attorneys close to the president who edited those statements. those attorneys have denied that to be the case, but expect it to be a big focus today. adam schiff very interested to learn more about the allegation
of michael cohen that roger stone had reached out to then candidate trump about his outreach to julian assange, the founder of wiki leaks, that they had advanced notice of those damaging e-mails hurting the clinton campaign. that is something the white house has denied and roger stone has denied. that will be a focus of today and whether there is corroboration to that. we'll see what they learned. that is what we are expecting for a full day behind closed doors. >> thanks very much. jim. >> so we have had a lot of purported turning points in this story from the very beginning. is this one of them? is it for real? what does it all mean? we are joined to discuss with former prosecutor. the democrats have another crack at michael cohen this time in closed session. after that public testimony yesterday, how do democratic
lawmakers and the republican colleagues if they choose to, what can they do in this closed session to follow up on what they heard from cohen yesterday to move the ball forward? >> reporter: well, first in the interest of full disclosure, i did help one of the members yesterday write questions. i will say that i do think that the private testimony can be more helpful than the public testimony because all of us who watch the public testimony i thought there were very interesting moments. i i think some of the members did get useful information. that said, i also think that there is a lot of wasted time in grand standing in politics. i think in closed session there can be much more. it can be a lot of staff members getting into the weeds. there were some really good questions towards the end of the day yesterday where you saw, for example, cortez walking through some tax issues, representative
going through a check and talking about the implications of a check. that sort of in the weeds drilling down i think will be very helpful. and as to the question about who was involved with this false testimony to congress, i thought it was interesting that he mentioned the name of a lawyer during the hearing yesterday, cohen did. he came out with a public statement that didn't fully contradict what cohen said. if i was in the committee i would try to drill into the weeds of what he is telling you and what changes did he make and what did he know. >> and it's a good point that you raise because in the midst of many revelations yesterday, the idea that white house lawyers participated as cohen alleged in his false testimony to the hill last year, if true, that would be consequential. on the big issue here, was there
something that we learned yesterday that raises the bar into the category of high crimes and misdemeanors? you had one democratic representative who was one of those who questioned michael cohen say in her words there is growing evidence that an impeachment pleading can be made. as a lawyer, though, did you hear revelations from michael cohen that gave evidence that could be impeachable? >> well, there is a lot of evidence of potential financial wrong doing with the trump organization particularly around those payments. to me, if you are looking for substance there where we really move the ball forward legally, it is really on two fronts. one is i mentioned the check and looking at the payment from trump. for the first time we actually saw trump signed one of the checks that was used to pay michael cohen that was the basis of charges that michael cohen is
going to be going to prison for. that i think testing out his level of involvement, we learn about what weisselberg's role was there, trump jr. signed the check. there are details that the public didn't know before and i'm sure prosecutors in new york knew. similarly there is a lot of discussions regarding businesses like taxes and so forth. to me that is all in the very early stages. in other words, we have charges that prosecutors brought on hush money payments. that could potentially reach the finish line in the near future. the other stuff are lines of inquiry that congress and investigators might have to pursue for years to come. >> kind of lost in the cloud of revelations you had michael cohen raise the possibility of the excuse about not releasing taxes, the idea that they are under audit may not be true. many things to check outgoing
forward. thanks very much. quite a moment yesterday. we will be digesting that for some time. >> we certainly will. we'll see what we will learn from the closed door hearing. let's discuss all of it. good morning to you. thank you for being here. do you believe hearing what you heard from michael cohen yesterday that the president committed crimes while in office? >> well, i found cohen's testimony absolutely alarming. he pointed out possible campaign finance violations, ethics violations, tax and insurance fraud and other criminal activity. yes. >> so the answer to that is yes. so do you believe that those crimes that you believe michael cohen on apparently rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, meaning a
threshold for impeachment? >> there was a lot of information that came out that i wasn't aware of. we have numerous investigations taking place in congress. we'll follow the facts where they take us. i think it possibly could lead to impeachment. when you look at the fact that cohen is going to jail for hiding the hush payments and he clearly presented the check that the president signed that he knew about it, was involved in it and tried to hide it. >> he is also going to jail in part because he lied to congress. so i'm interested in your read on this that michael cohen said as it pertains to the question of alleged collusion. let's play it. >> questions have been raised about whether i know of direct evidence that mr. trump or his campaign colluded with russia. i do not. >> do you believe him there?
>> well, he is going to jail for lying to congress. if he lied to us yesterday, he'll be going to jail for longer. i thought one of the most eyebrow raising moments is when he turned to republicans and said you are doing what i did for ten years, covering and supporting him when he is doing things that are not appropriate and just plain wrong in many cases. >> do you find him, congresswoman, credible yesterday? and do you believe him when he said that he does not have evidence that president trump or his campaign colluded with russia? >> i believe him. i know he is going to jail because he lied to congress. if he lied to us yesterday i know he would be going to jail longer. the information will come out and we will follow it. >> i think the follow-up to that
is if you believe him that he has no evidence of collusion with russia, look how intertwined michael cohen was in sort of everything in trump land during the campaign and how much the president trusted him with things like alleged hush money payments. don't you think he would have known? do you think he would have known if there was collusion? >> i really don't know. but to your point that he was involved in everything in trump land, what was surprising to me yesterday is how much mr. trump was involved in trump land. he testified that no important meeting took place without briefings before and after from the participants and that he was completely and totally involved in every decision, every action and a very hands on manager of his organization, campaign and his life. >> you asked michael cohen a really interesting question i thought yesterday. you said to him, who else should i, should we, congress as a body
be talking to? he named david pecker, dylan howard of a.m.i., allen weisselberg, the cfo of the trump organization. of those men, to whom do you want to speak with the most and what is your most pressing question for them? >> i think we should follow absolutely every lead that he gave us and law enforcement should follow every lead that he gave them. >> of those men, i'm interested because we heard elijah cummings say we definitely want to have -- we think we will bring in allen weisselberg who has limited immunity agreement. what would your most important question be to him? >> weisselberg, he was mentioned more than anyone. his name kept coming up. so if i were to single one particular person it would be him. he seems to have been involved in the tax insurance possible
fraud, the campaign finance violations and the ethics violations. i would have to -- there are so many leads. i guess i would go to the russian collusion interaction area to question him. >> i'm interested finally congresswoman in where congress goes from here. what did you learn yesterday that was most critical to where you believe congress should take this next? >> well, what i learned was how deeply he was involved meaning the president in all of the decisions. and there was concrete proof of shown in my opinion of a campaign finance violation with the payments right before the election to stormy daniels, the hush money. i think the leaving off the disclosure on your financial disclosure form is a violation of law. and that seemed to be very clear
that that was a clear violation of law. i guess i would look at the clear violations of law that came forward. and there were allegations of other violations which we don't have the information on. so there are numerous investigations. we will follow the facts and see where the facts take us. >> before you go, congresswoman, the jacket you are wearing is a black firefighters jacket and there is a reason you are not taking it off. what is that? >> i'm working double time. i'm also working to pass the 9/11 health and compensation act. we passed health care for the 9/11 heroes but the compensation, those who lost their life and their families have no income now, for those that are now can't work because of the illnesses and cancers that they have now, we need to replenish the account. it has been cut 70% to 50%. that is unfair. they were there for us. we need to be there for them.
i pledged to them that i would keep wearing it until we convince enough members of congress to pass them and give them the compensation and health care they justly deserve. >> thank you for your time today. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> that fireman's coat well spotted there. an important issue. before leaving his second summit with no deal, president trump says he took the dictator's word that kim did not know about the mistreatment of the american student. we will discuss that. a the dangerous border crisis is escalating between india and pakistan. what you need to know this morning ahead. was ahead of its time. still, we never stopped making it stronger. faster. smarter.
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we are live from hanoi. president trump said he could not agree to kim jong-un's demands that he remove all u.s. sanctions on north korea immediately without full de-nuclearization by north korea. cnn has learned that the president's top advisers warned him going in that that is exactly what pyongyang would likely to demand and that a break through was far from certain. we are told that the president was surprised and disappointed that he could not bring kim around when they spoke face-to-face. joining me now to speak about this, cnn senior diplomatic correspondent and former special env envoy. joseph, if i can begin with you, his advisers warranted based on their conversations leading up that north korea was digging its heels in and unlikely to make
concessions, make a significant concession on the nuclear program. the president according to our reporting confident that he could get it himself face-to-face. was that a mistaken impression? >> i don't think it was a mistaken impression, but he should not have walked into a bad situation. this is a summit. it's not just an ordinary meeting. really the situation should have been better prepared. and if it's not better prepared, he should not have walked in. >> twice this has happened now. you walk in the face-to-face. you have the great loving relationship and yet you don't walk away with progress. do you believe that this will change his calculation going forward, making it less likely to do the one-on-one without a clear plan for what will be agreed to? >> i would certainly hope so. i think there has to be a lot
more legwork. summits happen with so much work between. reams of paperwork, many, many meetings. we saw the special representative for north korea policy have one meeting in hanoi. and that's not enough. and that's essentially to draft the joint agreement. you cannot start negotiations with that kind of draft. you start way before. and if it's a bad situation, don't walk in. >> you bail before you walk in. at the president's news conference earlier this morning which we should note was moved up when a working lunch at a signing ceremony were cancelled, trump was asked what exactly he wants from kim jong-un. have a listen to his answer. >> are you still thinking that you want north korea to give up everything, to do complete,
verifiable de-nuclearization before you lift sanctions? >> it's a good question. i don't want to say that to you because i don't want to put myself in that position from the standpoint of negotiation. we want a lot to be given up. we'll be helping them along economically, us and many other countries. >> we want a lot to be given up. he didn't say we want complete de-nuclearization. based on your conversations, did the president move the goal post there? >> they have been moving the goal post somewhat. but it's mostly in just the way it is presented. we have gone from many times several members of this administration saying no sanctions removal until complete de-nuclearization. we have heard that so many times. it's only when you drill down and have more conversations with these people that you start to hear again multiple members of
the administration from steve beingen to mike pompeo to president trump saying there is some nuance there. he didn't want to state today complete de-nuclearization is the only way we will remove sanctions because there is nuance to the sanctions. i think one of the things that could have happened here if they have gotten enough from north korea was to not remove the tougher u.n. sanctions on north korea. they insist they want to keep that pressure on. they could have removed some of the secondary sanctions on countries that are preventing them from trading with north korea. they could have allowed more trade to kind of sweeten the deal. they do insist they want to keep the bulk of the pressure on until complete de-nuclearization. >> joseph young, a young american was taken hostage by north korea. he was sent home brain damaged
and he died. president trump asked about it today said that he took kim jong-un at his word when he denied knowledge of this. this is the third time he has taken the word of a dictator. tell me about the damage that does to america's standing and defense of human rights as a matter of policy. >> well, you know, jim, i'm very familiar with the warmbier case. when we got him out it was june 2017. to say that kim jong-un did not know about it, well, to me it is not credible. and i just cannot really accept that. >> it's a great point about the
timeframe there. it's a top heavy organization in that country in terms of leadership. so for that whole year, it's just incredible to claim that he would not know or have been involved or updated on it. >> and human rights is a very important pillar of our foreign policy. and we cannot dismiss it. and i think one big disappointment of mine is that the current u.s. administration have really put very little priority on human rights. ultimately, even if we reach a deal with north korea, we're going to have to discuss human rights. there is no escape. >> not a priority, even de-emphasizing it. thanks very much. back in washington, it is day three of testimony on capitol hill from the president's long time lawyer and
fixer, michael cohen as the fallout from yesterday's stunning revelations on the hill keeps growing. the third stair always creaked. and your mother told me all her life that i should fix it. now it reminds me of her. i'm just glad i never fixed it. listen, you don't need to go anywhere dad. meet christine, she's going to help you around the house. the best home to be in is your own. from personal care and memory care, to help around the house, home instead offers personalized in-home services for your loved ones. home instead senior care. to us, it's personal. home instead senior care. super emma just about sleeps in her cape. but when we realized she was battling sensitive skin, we switched to tide pods free & gentle. it's gentle on her skin, and dermatologist recommended. tide free and gentle.
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leading these committees and democrats trying to determine where the cohen testimony takes them next. in all the back and forth, did we lose sight of what we really learned yesterday? >> here with us to discuss, cnn political director david chalian. this is a frequent phenomenon. so much news comes across the transom, it's hard to take stock. help us take stock with how, if at all, michael cohen's testimony and revelations move the dial here. does it, for instance move the dial closer to democrats seeking possibly impeachment of the president? >> i think we have to look at this two ways, a little bit more microsort of what investigate was threads did michael cohen leave behind for democratic members of congress to sort of collect going forward, clearly insurance fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud kind of allegations having
nothing to do with russia but just into potential wrong doing that the president may or his organization may have been engaged in. that is sort of on the immediate investigative threats. to your point of where we are in the larger picture of donald trump's standing after michael cohen delivered what was clearly damning testimony yesterday, it is a sign of the times, i think that the american people got more evidence yesterday than at any time in the last two years that donald trump was likely committing a crime as president of the united states and yet i am skeptical that americans' minds will be changed. the perceptions about donald trump are so locked in. yet the country heard more convincing evidence than ever that they actually may have committed a crime. that is the state of our politics right now. >> i think you are so right. and what i wonder is if that's
why we really didn't hear the word impeachment yesterday. we haven't heard a ton of it in the aftermath. democrats aren't jumping all over that following the testimony. i wonder if that's because impeachment is a political mechanism and they see what you see. >> without a doubt. i think it is a really smart observation. when i heard nancy pelosi give remarks yesterday to reporters and she said she hadn't been watching all day, she followed up by saying i am not looking to get involved in all of this. my job is to fight the president as hard as polissible on policy decisions. he did not sound like a speaker who was trying to lead her party in the aftermath of that testimony toward impeachment. she sounded like she was trying to pull them away from that. >> she knows that a number of
the gains democrats made in the mid term elections were in flip districts where relatively moderate democrats were able to flip. you're a couple months into her leadership and democrats, you have the wall issue. you have the cohen testimony. a couple talking about impeachment there, but no progress or less progress so far on the bigger issues of what was an ambitious democratic agenda. is that a danger for the democrat party? >> i doubt that much is in danger. yesterday they did pass in the house gun control legislation, a big promise on the campaign trail but obviously that is not going to go anywhere in the senate. i think that will be a story that the house will pass but likely to be blocked and not get to the president's desk. they will be able to move through some of their big agenda
items. i think that the democrats will tell you that the shutdown over the wall allowed them to talk to some of their key items because they were on the political winning side of that shutdown when the president caved on that. i do think that you are right to note that much of the democratic majority, the reason they are in the majority is because a lot of republican districts were flipped so you do have these more moderate members but there is a real tension with the democratic base that wants to see every day donald trump be held accountable and a portion of that base wants to see impeachment proceedings begin. >> it's a good point. this is the tight rope that they are walking. always good to have you. thank you. still ahead, pakistan this morning attempting to diffuse rising tensions with india as the world watching the escalating crisis between the two nuclear powers. we will explain what is going on and the consequences ahead.
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the nuclear talks here in hanoi not the only nuclear stand off. this morning an attempt to ease the rising tensions between two of the world's established nuclear arm powers, the prime minister of pakistan promising to release an indian pilot who was captured. this after india had launched air strikes inside pakistani territory. >> the tension between the
nuclear powers has been rising this month. there is quite a history between the two. they both control different parts of kashmir. now there is increasing pressure within both countries for leaders to take military action and politics plays a big part of this. good morning. of course, you have modi with an impending election. pakistan's new prime minister put it this way which says a lot. all big wars are due to miscalculation. given the weapons we have, can we afford this miscalculation? what is your read on the ground there? >> well, poppy, it's been very, very tense and more tense than in recent times. if you go back and look at the not been this bad for a long, long time. india hasn't sent jets across the line of control.
india hasn't done that since 1971 when india and pakistan fought a war. india says that it only did so because it was going after a training camp run by a terrorist group that it says was behind a car bombing where 40 militaries were killed on the 14th of february. that was the worst attack on indian forces in that region in several decades. india is saying this is about going after terrorists and not about picking a fight with pakistan. pakistan is saying they came across our border and we pushed them back so we had to retaliate. we have two different narratives. it all boils down to the fact that you have two countries with a long history of animosity. no matter how the conflict begins, the concern is how will it end? when might it lead to? nobody wants to end up in a spiral when nuclear weapons are involved. >> exactly right.
thank you very much for the reporting. we'll stay all over this. so still ahead, president trump is on his way home right now after walking away from the table in these nuclear negotiations with kim jong-un. we have learned the president was warned weeks ago by his top advisers on this about how unlikely it was that a deal would come to fruition. what are the consequences ahead? upgrade to new tide pods 2.0. and get 50% more cleaning power in the palm of your hand, for a powerful clean in one step. #1 stain and odor fighter, #1 trusted. it's got to be tide.
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it, two first ladies. now a new cnn original series is giving us an inside look into the iconing family. >> i would like to introduce you to my family. the fact is i would be nothing without them. ♪ our four sons, our daughter, my own barbara bush. >> it is hard to imagine any family that are more significant to american politics. >> i can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down -- ♪ >> bush family going back generations believe in public service, in helping their fellow man. people refer to the bush family as a dynasty. that's what it is and that's what it was. >> i'm running for president of the united states. there is no turning back and i
intend to be the next president of the united states. >> that's my boy. >> that is a clip from the bush years, family, duty and power that takes us into this iconic family. joining me now is the washington bureau chief for usa today. the author of the mate reeic. good morning, susan. >> we are talking about a family, one senator, two governors, two presidents, two first ladies all in the bush family. and from what i have learned about her, i am yet to read your book, it's on the list, is it that so much of this is because of barbara bush? >> barbara bush hated the word dynasty. there is no doubt that she was the ma the matriarch. one thing she was most proud
about is the way her grandchildren were active in all kinds of nonprofit organizations that provide food to hungry kids. she was a remarkable woman and i think with the benefit of hind sight we see that more clearly. >> i recently interviewed lauren bush for my contest. she talks about the impact that barbara bush had on all of them and that she was really about the power and the one you don't cross and really led the family in so many ways. it was very eye opening. in terms of the impact on american politics, what do you believe the legacy of the bush family is? >> you know, we can't really assess the legacy until some time has passed. a little time has passed since the two bushes left the white house. i think there is nostalgia for
the bushes. i think the trump era has made some people think that the tradition of honor and duty and service is something pretty remarkable for the bushes. i think it is particularly true for the elder bush who was defeated in his bid for his second term. you look back now and you see how he managed so skillfully the end of the cold war. we think we were lucky to have him in the white house at that period. >> that's right. what about how close knit the family was and has remained? i know a lot of that has also been attributed to barbara bush? >> they called her the enforcer. she was the enforcer. she was the one who made sure you picked up your towels. she was the one that i remember george p. bush who is now a statewide elected official in texas told me he spent a summer at the white house. she insisted that he volunteer
during that summer at a feeding program for homeless people. he had to go there once a week and work there because that was part of what she thought was important. the family was of privilege, went to great schools, had a big name. but she really had i think a sense that you had to give back. it wasn't enough to live off your name or have not a life that gave back to others. >> the quote that i thought of when of course former president george h.w. bush passed was what he said about his life and that he climbed the highest mountain. but all of it pails in comparison to being married to barbara bush and it was the true love story and how much she did for all of them is just remarkable. thank you for shining the light on what we will see here in this series. be sure to tune in to bush
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we're back with you. jim, you have done an amazing job working around the clock in hanoi. just give us a sense of what was most striking and how surprised you were that this whole thing fell apart? >> listen, for the second time in eight months the president of the united states flew to the other side of the world to meet face-to-face with kim jong-un and left without an agreement
and concessions on de-nuclearization and without also a time table or a clear path forward. what happens next? there is currently no summit scheduled again and no lower level talks. that leaves these negotiation in limbo after the president expended an enormous amount of presidential capital by coming here to meet with the north korean leader. >> i wonder on the human rights front which everyone cares so much about and you have been covering so much on the wake of the death of the murder of jamal khashoggi, how significant it is what the president said about who he believes when it comes to otto warm behibeir. >> it would be easy for an american president to say a hostage died in north korean custody and we will hold them to account. that's an easy thing to say.
the president did not say it. he says he takes kim's word. >> it was striking. great coverage. we'll see you back here on monday. thank you all for being with us. i'm poppy harlow. hello everyone. michael cohen back on capitol hill and serving up another dose of revenge. right now donald trump's long time personal attorney is testifying behind closed doors one day after publically accusing the president of committing crimes while in office. today cohen faces the house intelligence committee and those lawmakers could have new lines of questioning after his explosive seven hour long testimony before another house committee yesterday. that was huge. but was all of it overnight in vietnam president trump walked away with no deal, walked away without even having lunch and also making a breath taking declaration sin