tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN February 28, 2019 10:00am-11:01am PST
duty, power." don't go anywhere. a lot of news today. brianna keilar starts right now. have a great afternoon. > . i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, a president legally exposed, his former fixer implicating president trump in several crimes while one lawmaker warns there is another shoe to drop. plus, turns out the republican at the center cof th emotional loss has -- and president trump walks away from kim jong-un without a deal. michael cohen is back in the hot seat on capitol hill as we
speak, a day after dropping bombshell after bombshell in an open hearing. the president's former personal attorney is testifying at the house intelligence committee behind closed doors. manu raju is on capitol hill. this is his third day testifying. what are you hearing in the fallout from his public appearance yesterday? >> he's been in there since 9:00 a.m. eastern time. we expect this to go on through most of the day today. they're questioning about the false testimony he previously gave in 2015 about the trump organization and its pursuit of a project, why he initially lied to the committee. as well as what he said yesterday about roger stone telling the president about his alleged efforts to reach out to wikileaks in advance of that
data dump that hurt the clinton campaign. they'll expect to hear more about that. republicans already going after cohen's testimony saying he perjured himself on several accounts. mark meadows and jim jordan, two of president's closest allies, just sent a letter to the attorney general about criminal prosecution of several statements he made. they're saying that is not true based on the evidence prosecutors have uncovered. he also said he committed bank fraud even though he did not defraud any bank. he pleaded guilty to making false statements to a bank but not bank fraud. brianna, lawmakers are planning to investigate a whole slew of matters that came out in his testimony. the chairman of the committee told me a few minutes ago that a big focus of his committee going forward would be the president's role while in office of those
hush money payments to silence the trump affairs right before taking office. not over yet. today's testimony the final on capitol hill but a lot to follow up on. br brianna? in michael cohen's testimony, there were many threads, including this exchange about the president's refusal to release his tax returns. >> can you give us any insight into what the real reason is that the president has refused to release his tax returns? >> statements that he had said to me is that what he didn't want was to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces, and then he'll end up in an audit and he'll ultimately have taxable consequences, penalties and so on.
>> so that's an interesting point that basically said, he didn't want to release his tax returns because he might end up in an audit. so could you presume from that statement that he wasn't under audit? >> i presume he is not under audit. >> that was an exchange with jimmy gomez who joins us now. so you are a member of the house committee as well as the ways and means committee, which is a pretty important tax committee, and where the chairman has the power to at least request tax returns. when michael cohen said what he said yesterday about the president's tax return, what did you think? >> it was a big deal. i think it really told the american people that every excuse that the president had for not releasing his tax returns was just a complete lie. and if you really look and listen to what cohen said, he said that potential tax penalties. you only have tax penalties if
you cheated on your taxes or you committed some kind of fraud. so i think it helps set up the request and provides some justification that the chairman needs to request president trump's tax returns. >> so there gives a reason for asking, which would be an investigation, and in that case, as you look at the tea leaves here with what michael cohen said with what the tax returns could show, do you think the president could be prosecuted for tax fraud or for bank fraud or for insurance fraud if what michael cohen said can be corroborated? >> one of the things we need to do is really kind of get more information. we need to take the financial statements that cohen released yesterday and we need to compare those to the tax returns that the president has filed and then see if there is any skr discrepancies. also i would love to compare what cohen has in his because there could also be some discrepancies. we'll be setting the foundation to get those tax returns.
we've got to be careful. we don't want to make this go the wrong way. listen, if i was running for president, i would release my tax returns. all you're going to find is that i owe $55,000 in student loan debt. i'm one of the poorest members of congress. but hey, when you're running for the highest position in the land, that's something you should do. >> and the president, obviously, is much more complicated with his business interests. and michael cohen pointed that out, that there's many, many pages. he's seen it, he didn't pore through it, he said. michael cohen brought up donald's family at times. do you think they need to hear from family members or even alan
wei weisselberg? >> i don't know how much ivanka trump or don jr. will play. i would love to hear some of the information they have, but alan weisselberg is probably the key person we should all hear from, not only here in congress but the american people. >> one of the things michael cohen said yesterday was that he saw donald trump walk behind his father's desk, which was odd, and tell him something to the effect of, it's set up, or say something secretly to his father. would you want to speak to donald jr. about that? >> i would want to speak to donald jr. and the oversight committee. ways and means is a little bit different. personally i think the american people have a lot of questions from what occurred yesterday. a lot of statements that trump made during the campaign have proven to be false. a lot of statements he made on
his payments to stormy daniels have proven to be false. i think the american people, a lot of my constituents, want to hear the truth and that's what dem kramts are coming back. the tax issue is always what gets people in the end. it's not the crime, it's the tablg taxes and the invasion of paying taxes. >> do you think that hearing of michael cohen that you and your colleagues would be leaning more toward impeachment? >> impeachment is a different matter, but i want to make sure we get all the information regarding his taxes. what is trump's role when it came to a loans to. it raises more red flags tharn
anyone else, have contact with mernt people that involved in t. bombshells came out of michael cohen's testimony. sometimes it sounded more like a mob trial than a capitol hill hearing. >> mr. trump called me a rat for choosing to tell the truth, much like a mobster would do when one of his men decides to cooperate with the government. >> have you ever heard mr. trump threaten people with physical harm? >> no. he would use others. he doesn't give you questions, he doesn't give you orders. he speaks in a code. i understand the code because i've been around him for a decade. >> how many times did mr. trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf? >> quite a few times.
>> 50 times? >> more. >> 100 times? >> more. >> 200 times? >> more. >> 500 times. >> probably. everyone's job is to protect mr. trump. every day most of us knew we were going to come in and lie for him on something. >> laura coates is a former federal prosecutor, dana bash chief correspondent with us as well. this was one of the more interesting parts -- there was so many, honestly, r i thought wait you than talking with a former fixer of the president of the united states. because of those kind of answers, and also more importantly, beyonded way he communicated closely to him, but
the allegations michael cohen was moving forward. we have been so. especially with things percolating in the southern district of new york. insurance fraud, obstruction. it's almost hard for the committee to even ginl. there's so much, the volume is so high. >> how do you see the president's legal ex inspection. think about it. even if he went for, oh, sex, some role even aside from mueller's. this is kind of that bookend. you had the rock and the hard
place. ly. you're always grappling with was cohen a yes man, or was he a people pleaseer which i gleaned from a public pause. if you're an approximate if -- i have a legendary hook to. so it's a harder case. to your point, though, mob trials are often tried on that circumstantial evidence of other corroborate ration. other things that say, based on that implicit understanding, i acted. and i was either trade. it's a heard case, and what he did was significant. it's a harder sell. >> that's if there is no
corroborating evidence, right? >> if. >> if you're talking about his charity, the application he put in alone from deutsche bank, there should be -- >> a personal check of 35,000 there a35,000 collars. >> he does have a credibility issue but he also had reason to tell the truth yesterday, as so many people have pointed out. the chairman of the committee, elijah cummings, says there's so much material to go through now that they're going to have to coordinate between five or six committees. >> that's exactly right. it's hard to imagine how much they have to go through and that if you kind of take a step back, it's not like this stuff wasn't out there the past two years. this is one of benefits and one
of the burdens of having an opposition party in the majority. one thing, though, that i have been listening for very carefully is the i word, impeachment. from everything that i've heard both on air and conversations i've been having with house democrats, they're not going there yet. they're focused on what you just said, elijah cummings, that committee, other committees digging in trying to get more. they don't even want to talk about impeachment quite yet, perhaps not ever. they understand the rock and the hard place. you're talking about that legally. it's maybe even more so politically. >> laura coates, dana bash, thank you so much. one of the more stunning things at the hearing, the claim of racialism. trump used a black employee to. we're now learning what advisers
warn him against. trump gives kim jong-un cover on death of an american. ♪ did you know you can save money by using dish soap to clean grease on more than dishes? using multiple cleaners on grease can be expensive, and sometimes ineffective. for better value, tackle grease with dawn ultra. dawn is for more than just dishes. it provides 3x more grease cleaning power per drop, which cuts through tough kitchen messes, pre-treats laundry stains, and even tackles grease build-up on car rims. tackle tough greasy messes around your home, and save money with dawn ultra.
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relief and remission within reach. in a rare event, north korea's foreign minister holding a late night press conference. this is something that just hardly ever happens. and this is what was said that north korea only wanted, quote, partial lifting of sanctions. now, this is contrary to president trump's citing the lifting of full sanctions. and this is something that is really extraordinary as the president has walked away from the summit without anything,
reall really, without a deal, lowering some of the expectations going into it. we have a senior adviser during the george w. bush administration, b arkbalbina wod susan glasser. i guess my question is, there are many questions left unanswered, right? balbina, when you look at this, the idea that it would be sanctions, the article on sanctions according to north korea that hamper the livelihood of our people. what's your take on this? >> that actually does meanf ful sanctions. >> that's what it means. i don't think the u.s. walked away with nothing. i think this was actually the best win outcome possibility for the united states. i was actually shocked. i was not expecting this out of all the possible options.
this is actually a great outcome for the united states. >> why is that? is it because walking away and saying no way, this is not something we're going to sta for, it's just important to make that statement? >> absolutely. and it was critical that president trump did it face to face, eyeball to eyeball, with kim jong-un. and what's actually quite surprising to me, president trump did it in a very measured manner and he didn't come off, you know, flying off the handle which everybody thought he might because he's distracted with domestic issues at home. and, in fact, it was very important to keep this convivial relationship going with kim jong-un. i think the north probably understands this president is going to stick with his policy. >> susan, read between the lines if you can between what north korea is saying and not saying. >> i think you see some relief
from members of both parties that president trump walked away rather than accept a bad deal, which was a concern among many of the petition own advisers walking into the summit. but i think clearly that is a little bit after-the-fact ju justification. the president himself was looking for a big breakthrough to answer. they actually had a signing ceremony scheduled which they canceled. it wasn't as if this was the plan all along. it was an embarrassing defeat for the president on the world stage and a blow to his prestige. i should also note that to many long-time aobservers to america policy in the world, his meetings with kim jong-un have been particularly shocking. these are not matters of niceness. the president has sort of kowtowed, if you will, to the dictator of north korea over and over again, including in the le lead-up to this summit.
all those flattering words led to embarrassment for the united states. >> he does portray himself as a deal maker, balbina, and he left without a deal. >> that's what surprised me the most, the president walking away and saying, i could not accept this deal. i thought he would turn a deal no matter what. >> a bad deal, in your estimation. >> yes, and just give north korea something. what i find amazing about this, and i'm clearly against the tide here, but i think this was actually an incredible victory if -- i think the issue is we are misdefining what the original goals were going into this summit. everybody thinks it was just about denuclearization, and president trump had moved himself away from that goal, actually, already am siin singa. >> the president of the united states went publicly and told the country and the world and repeated it in writing and said it over and over and over again
that in singapore, there was no more nuclear threat as a result of the negotiation that he had achieved. that was not misleading and he put his own staff in an impossible position of having to negotiate after the fact a deal that he already claimed to have achieved. he didn't claim that. in fact, just a few weeks ago, they were threatening to fire the director of national intelligence for testifying accurately that the conclusion of u.s. intelligence agencies was that, in fact, the kim regime was not prepared to give up its nuclear weapons, which what we saw in these failed negotiations, was exactly the case. the president didn't want to accept that finding and fire his own intelligence adviser because of it. >> i completely agree with you and your analysis and i wasn't in agreement with you. that's precisely my point. he had undermined his own process right up until he walked out of that summit. that is why i'm claiming this summit outcome is actually a very positive win. because what president trump has
finally done is turned back on the track that originally was and was supposed to be. and, in fact, now what president trump managed to do which i actually thought was impossible, exactly because singapore had set the stage for the wrong path. he finally managed to put the ball back into north korea's court. >> just final words, susan. do you think the ball is heading in the direction it should be now, to borrow whatever sports analogy we're using? >> i do. i'm not going into a metaphor, but i think it's an important point, and i do agree that everybody seems relieved, in a way. whether you attribute it to conscious action on president trump's part or simply, you know, being dealt a bad hand in these two days of negotiations. either way i do think it's fair to say that north korea experts, that american foreign policy experts, many republicans and many democrats are relieved that president trump chose not to take a bad deal here in vietnam.
what comes next, obviously we don't know. >> susan glasser, balbina wong, thank you so much. it's always a good conversation when everyone doesn't agree. i enjoy that. coming up, a republican lawmaker attempting to prove that trump is not a racist, sparking a bitter back and forth. >> the fact that someone would actually use a problem, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee is alone racist in itself. they're setting a precedent that -- >> ms. chan? taking kim jong-un at his word, the president followed bipartisan outrage by defending kim jong-un in the death of an american college student. mthat i'm 19% native american,d
it came before the house committee and it set off an explosive chain of events. republican congressman mark meadows responded by introducing an african-american woman, lynn patton, who works for the trump administration and used to work for the trump family as an event planner and also was vice president of the eric trump foundation. >> she says that as a daughter of a man born in birmingham, alabama that there was no way she would work for an individual
who was racist. >> that set off a chain of e-mails between democrat rashida tlaib. >> mr. president, i reclaim my time. he is setting a precedent that the highest office can be obtained for legal activity. >> hillary shelton is director of the naacp's washington bureau. he's with us now. what did you think, mr. shelton, as you saw this? >> it was such a distraction. the issues going on at the time was testimony from the president's former lawyer, someone that's been close to the president and his family for years and years. >> you mean congressman meadows having lynn patton, that that was a distraction, or --
>> yes. the back and forth with lynn meadows and so forth. i appreciate what the congressman said in response to those issues. she's right on target in so many ways. lifting someone up to say that because you knew one black person that worked for the organization that somehow or another you're not racist even after looking at other evidence more specifically to the issue. quite frankly, perhaps we need to begin a conversation of what is exactly the definition of racism. we think about racial prejudice plus power being one of the most effective definitions. when you speak to someone who worked for him at the level she did, when we talk about the woman who stood behind him as a prop, as we think about the issues of president trump prior to becoming president, the issues of treatment in some of his apartment buildings became public as we went through this process. when we think about the things he's said and the dog whistles he created between hate groups
and other white nationalist organizations, if we think about the issues in those terms and the real fact, they're a part of the experience of donald trump. it's simply a distraction. >> you saw how offended he was. he insisted he's not a racist, he has nieces and nephews of people with color, he said he has very good friends. he seemed to look for a lifeline from elijah cummings, who seemed to grant one, i will say, but he said this about president obama back in 2012. >> the more we find out, the more we realize the direction we're going. what we're going to do is take back our country. 2012 is the time we're going to send mr. obama home to kenya or wherever it is. we're going to do it. >> when you look at that and you look at what he has said, do you feel like he can accurately say
he is not racist? >> i wouldn't want to get into an argument about calling someone a name like racist. but if you ask me if the things he said both at the hearing and the things he said on the campaign trail were racist statements, the short answer is yes. >> why is there such a distinction if someone has said or done repeated things that you deem racist to not say -- you clearly think it's an important distinction. why? >> only because i don't want to get into the art or process of reading someone's heart or mind. whether they heard something that was confusing that happens to be racist, which could very well be the case here, but the most important thing is the facts. the facts of the matter are what he did when he held that african-american woman up simply because she had a job with donald trump -- >> she still has one. >> exactly. but to say because of that
donald trump is not a racist is really flawed evidence from the beginning. if we look at someone like the former president of the united states, barack obama, somehow doesn't belong in this country and should be kicked out because his father happened to be a nationalist from one of the countries in africa, though we know his mother was born in kansas and we know the laws are of the land even written to our constitution as to how one becomes a citizen of the united states. but to carry out those kinds of things as donald trump did, quite frankly, is using his power in a very discriminatory manner to have an ill effect on someone else, and in this case, we're talking about president barack obama. >> thank you so much, hillary shelton, with the naacp. thank you for coming into the studio. coming up, michael cohen accusing the president of criminal conduct while in office. what is the potential fallout for the president? we're going to talk to one lawmaker who just interviewed cohen behind closed doors.
leading up to warmbier's death. >> i did speak to him. he felt very badly about it. he knew the case well but he knew it later. a lot of people, big country. a lot of people. in those prisons and those camps, you have a lot of people, and some really bad things happened to otto. some really, really bad things. but he tells me he didn't know about it, and i will take him at his word. >> warmbier went to north korea on an educational trip. he was put in prison and he was returned to america in a vegetative state. at the state of the union address, with warmbier's parents in the audience, the president blasted warmbier's character. you, sir, served on the armed
services committee. you're watching this very closely. what was your reaction commenting on otto warmbier. i would like to remind people of what his parents said happened to him. they said when he returned, he was blind and deaf, his arms and legs were totally deformed, he had a huge scar on his foot, and his dad said, quote, it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth. do you find it hard to believe that kim jong-un wouldn't have known about this? >> totally hard to believe. the president was right a year ago and wrong today. i don't know why in the world he would take the word of a dictator for something like this. particularly a country that's under such tight control. it doesn't pass the straight face test that kim jong-un didn't know exactly what was going on with this young man, a high-profile hostage and american. i'm just amazed that the president would say what he did today. on the other hand, i think he did the right thing by walking away from the summit, but then
this was an unforced error. there is no way the dictator of north korea wouldn't have known exactly what was going on with this young man. >> the president has cited with authoritarian leaders before, this is a pattern. listen to what he said about the leaders of russia and saudi arabia. >> i have president putin. he just said it's not russia. i will say this. i don't see any reason why it would be. i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> i hate the crime, i hate what it's done, i hate the cover-up, and i will tell you this. the crown prince hates it more than i do, and they have vehemently denied it. the cia points it both ways. as i said, maybe he did, maybe he didn't. >> those were comments about russian meddling in the 2016 election and also the killing of
jamal khashoggi, the killing of a washington columnist in saudi arabia. what do you make of this pattern? >> it's really shocking and disappointing. in the first two cases he was going against the clear statements of his intelligence community and taking the word of the perpetrators, if you will. in this case i'm not sure. i'm not familiar with intelligence on what happened. but again, it just -- it's obvious that the dictator of this country would know exactly what was going on with an american hostage. and to take his word for it, that's -- it's shocking. i don't know why the president keeps doing this. he just seemed to have a propensity for listening to dictators and ignoring his own people. >> we heard -- i want to change subjects now and talk about michael cohen who testified very publicly to much interest yesterday. you also heard from him
privately. he's testified before the senate intel committee. he testified that the president got a heads-up from roger stone after stone said he had spoken with wikileaks founder julia juliana -- julian assange, and he said he was aware of those e-mails that were dumped before they were dumped. is that a crime? >> it obviously san allegation of michael cohen at this point, but it is a very, very serious one. i don't want to judge whether it's a crime or not, i'm not a prosecutor, but i think it's a very important piece of evidence in the investigation of whether the president's campaign or the president himself was somehow involved in the russians' efforts to interfere in our elections. it's important to put that call into context. if indeed that call occurred, it was just two or three days before a major dump of hillary
clinton's e-mails from the democratic national committee, and there's a lot of coincidences piling up there. so i think krocorroboration is going to be very important here. >> what would you like to see happen at this point? >> we're trying to see things confidential, and we've had hearings when we can. but i think we need to distinguish whether there was a relationship between the trump campaign and the russians. if there was one, there are
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and a simpler online application, getting into my dream home was easier than ever. get your human to visit wellsfargo.com/woof. what would she do without me? it's a family that's given america one senator, two governors, two first ladies and two presidents and sunday the all new cnn original series, "the bush years" will take us inside the iconic bush family to explore how they've influenced america. i've had the opportunity to sit down with pierce bush, president
bush's grandson and president george w. bush's nephew and he interviewed me about some of my memories of covering the bush family. >> brianna, it's so special to be here with you and turn the tables a bit and get to ask you questions. i'm sure this is somewhat weird for you. >> it is odd. but i love it. >> so, when you came to d.c., one of your first assignments was going to the white house in 2006 and you thought you were going to get an empty weekend at the white house. what happened? tell us about that. >> that's right. i was going to be filling in for white house correspondents while your uncle, president george w. bush was on his christmas vacation. i had never been to the white house. i had been a journalist in washington for less than a year, so i go for what i think is just this getting the lay of the land as i'm going to fill in at the white house and a press conference is called and it's the end of the year press conference which is custom mayorry for president's to give and it was december 20th of
2006. it was a hugely pivotal moment for your uncle because just the month prior, democrats had affectively swept into power in congress. we ended up learning that he was leaning towards a troop increase and not just any little troop increase, this was what precipitated the surge in iraq. so five combat brigades, 20,000 troops that were going to go in in the hopes and certainly at that point in time to turn around this terrible situation as it was in iraq. so just this amazing moment in history, but the thing that struck me was just the rapport, honestly, that your uncle had with reporters. it was something you could only really appreciate in person. and even though gets a grilling from reporters, he still has this affinity for them, i noticed. it was something that i hadn't seen quite transmit on television but in person that was actually the thing i walked
away with the biggest impression of, that for me it was a huge day, oh, my gosh, i've gone to the white house today so i would talk to my friends about it on the phone and i remember telling them, he really has an amazing rapport with the press corps. >> you mean respect and back and forth. >> there was a respect. he liked them. >> yeah. you've seen that rapport, if you will, dwindle in subsequent administrations since you've been up here in d.c.? >> i would say that was a pinnacle, yeah. >> let's talk a little bit about my grandmother. >> i'm anchoring the show the white house correspondent is doing her live shot and as she's giving her very serious report about some issue, i see your grandma on a segue but at first i can't tell it's her but it's so bizarre and this goes on for a long time, almost to the point where i'm thinking this is just too weird. i can't not acknowledge this and
i said to the reporter, elaine, is that barbara bush on a segue behind you? and she said, oh, yes. she sort of rolls aroundsegway. you tell me about that, will you? >> i mean, yes. my grandparents always liked to find new fun gadgets. they were very early adopters to the seg wway phase and my grandmother mastered it. thank you so much for doing this. >> thank you. be sure to watch the bush years, family, duty, power premiering at sunday night only on cnn. coming up, collateral damage, michael cohen points the finger at trump's children during the testimony. are they now legally exposed? you.
that protects what's important. it handles everything, and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi, this is xfi. simple. easy. awesome. xfinity, the future of awesome. you are watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being here. here you see the president of the united states there addressing troops in alaska during a fuel stop on his way home from vietnam where nuclear talks with north korea collapsed. we'll get into all of that in just a moment, but first for the past few days, michael cohen has been a fixture in washington shuttling between the house and senate while giving congress an up close look at his decade