tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN March 5, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
>> fascinating how intense the russians watch everything that's going on here in washington. fred pleitgen in washington, thanks very much. to our viewers, thanks for watching. follow me on twitter and instagram. tweet the show. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, trump in a fight. stonewalling democrats as they launch sweeping investigations. what happened to the man who 24 hours ago said he cooperates with everybody and anybody? >> plus, trump organization facing new questions tonight. a big subpoena coming. and the u.s. citizen allegedly beaten while held captive in saudi arabia, and yet there is silence from the president. let's go "outfront." >> good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, trump says no. refusing to hand over documents. we're learning tonight that the white house is finalizing plans to fight back against the democrats who have put sweeping requests out for documents. the white house wants to limit
what they're going to give up. the top white house lawyer already rejecting democrats' requests for information about jared kushner's security clearance, sending the chairman of the oversight committee this letter which slams democrats for, quote, overly intrusive document requests. that, of course, after the president, according to "the new york times," lied about not overruling the intelligence community to give kushner that request. and the president tonight is not hiding his anger and frustration at the document requests. >> i guess we have 81 letters. there was no collusion. there was a hoax. there was no anything. and they want to do that instead of getting legislation passed. 81 people or organizations got letters. it's a disgrace. it's a disgrace to our country. i'm not surprised it's happening. the people understand it when they look at it, they just say presidential harassment. >> presidential harassment. the president tweeting those exact same words later today. and some republicans are leaping
to his defense. senator lindsey graham, who i guess it's important to reference back in the day made the case to impeach president bill clinton is now telling cnn that the president believes they, he's referring to democrats, are out to take a wrecking ball to his life as graham defends him. the president and his team's refusal to cooperate, though, at most when you look at hypocrisy here, flies in the face of the president's own words just yesterday. >> are you going to cooperate with mr. nadler? >> i cooperate all the time with everybody. >> all the time with everybody. well, that was yesterday. and today is today. tonight, according to a democratic leadership aide, we have some new numbers. since democrats took over the house, there have been six refusals from the trump administration to appear before house committees, 33 refusals to respond or stalls on document requests, and of course, now the white house trying to point blank not give over documents. it all comes as, according to a new quinnipiac poll out today, nearly 60% of voters think
congress should do more to investigate michael cohen's claims about the president's unethical behavior, and when it comes to trusting the president, only 30% of americans say trump is honest. abby phillip begins our coverage "outfront" live outside the white house. obviously, they're now trying to point blank refuse, deny, fight what is going to be the strategy here? >> well, erin, the scope of congressman nadler's request to the white house this week came as a bit of a surprise to white house aides because of how it really touched upon every aspect of the president's life and his presidency. and in response to that, they have come up with a strategy that essentially involves stalling and stonewalling these committees, trying to restrict the number of documents that they hand over, restrict the information that they hand over, especially as it relates to president trump's conversations as president, and particularly his conversations with his counsel here in the white house. the idea here is to try to exert
some kind of executive privilege or confidentiality around some of this information. and the white house also suggested that the president himself suggested today that they would be looking at president obama as a model for how to do this. the president suggested president obama didn't respond with a single letter to congress when they requested it. that's not exactly true. but the obama administration did similarly try to restrict the scope of how they would go forward with responding to some of these requests. that's what the white house is looking at now. how much they'll actually be able to do is yet to be determined. i think the lawyers are going to have to really take a fine toothed comb to all of this and figure out where they can thread the needle and figure out where they can hold back when it comes to some of these requests, erin. >> thank you very much. i want to go "outfront" now to the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, democratic congressman eliot engel in the midst of all of this. i appreciate your time tonight. the president today, you know,
says look, these investigations are presidential harassment. those are the words he's using. and obviously, the requests are extraordinarily broad in terms of what they're -- documents they're asking for, people and organizations they're requesting information from. are democrats in danger of overreaching by making such broad requests? >> no, not at all. we are just upholding our end of the constitution, which says that we have the right to do this. article i, and i can just speak for me. i'm not out to get the president. i'm out to get the truth. >> you know, obviously, i mentioned lindsey graham, who had back in the day been one of the leaders of the impeachment charge against president clinton, but he's not alone. there are other republicans defending the president. senator john cornyn among them. here he is today. >> i think what the democrats are worried about now is that after all of the hysteria over the alleged collusion that they're worried the mueller
report will come up with basically nothing against the president. as regards collusion. so that's why i think they're launching this full frontal assault, which as i said, is a prelude to impeachment and will make sure we can't get anything else done. >> would these investigations, chairman, be happening if you actually believed mueller had something on the president? if he had collusion locked down? >> i don't think that these investigations are moved one way or another by whatever mueller has or doesn't have. i know i can say that for me. i think that mueller will come out with his report. i think the report should be made public. i think the american citizens have the right to know. and we're going to keep doing what we do as an investigatory body of congress. it's got nothing to do with another. >> i want to ask you, look, you have been saying you're speaking, going for the truth. and you have obviously said impeachment is not your goal in the past, but there are some in
your party who are moving aggressively in that direction. some of them in congress. democratic congressman maxine waters today tweeted for the feint of heart who have been waiting for every t to be crossed and every i to be dotted, now is the time to demonstrate your patriotism. support impeachment. i guess she's referring to people like you, the feint of heart. what do you say to her? >> i think impeachment is premature. i don't think that we should be doing anything that simply works up to impeachment. i think that we should be doing things because we care about the republic. and i think impeachment is the farthest thing from my mind. first of all,iment rr not a matter of just impeachment. it would be a matter of impeachment or conviction. and we are nowhere near that. we should not waste our time right now talking about what may or may not happen down the road but do our job in terms investigating. and that's what every congress is supposed to do to the executive branch. >> you are investigating, requesting, right, along with the chairman of the intelligence
and oversight committees you sent letters requesting details communication between president trump and vladimir putin. you want the documents, interviews with knowledge of the context, translators. do you think you'll get everything you want? have they responded? >> we haven't gotten a response yet. i would hope we get a response. look, it's been several months, a long time since helsinki, when putin and trump met. we still don't know what went on there. there's all kinds of conflicting reports about documents being shredded or torn up or the interpreters are the only ones in the room with putin and trump. we don't know. we want to know the truth. that's all we're looking to find out. >> i want to ask you about another big story tonight. you're in the center of, you helped draft a resolution condemning anti-semitism after more controversial comments from the freshman congressman johan omar, who is one of muslim women now in congress. so our viewers understand the story because it is a
significant one, here's suzanne malveaux. >> i know how it feels to be hated. because of my religious beliefs. i am proof that as americans we can embrace our differences. >> freshman congresswoman ilhahn omar sworn into office just two months ago. now facing an extraordinary public admonishment from her own party for several controversial comments about israel's supporters and american politics. >> her remarks were reprehensible. >> house speaker nancy pelosi to take the floor with other top democrats with the resolution. which does not mention omar by name. acknowledges the dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-semitic stereotypes and rejects anti-semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance. the most recent issue for many of her fellow democrats, omar's remark criticizing israel at this town hall last week. >> i want to talk about the
political influence in this country that says it is okay for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. >> the adl and some jewish lawmakers strongly denouncing her comments as anti-semitic. president trump seizing on her past comments. >> and congressman omar is terrible, what she said. and i think she should either resign from congress or she should certainly resign from the house foreign affairs committee. >> omar fighting back. tweeting, i am told every day that i am anti-american. if i'm not pro-israel. i find that to be problematic, and i am not alone. i just happen to be willing to speak up on it and open myself to attacks. it's not the first time omar's comments have generated controversy. last month, pelosi called omar's tweet deeply offensive after omar described the impact of pro-israel lobbyists in the u.s.
as all about the benjamins, baby. omar later apologized, saying anti-semitism is real and i am grateful for jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-semitic tropes. this is why i unequivocally apologize. and i just wanted to make sure everyone had the full story there, chairman. obviously, you have written this resolution. you do not name her in the resolution by name. but it's clearly aimed add her, just like the resolution about steve king and white supremacy was aimed at him, even though he wasn't mentioned. congresswoman omar has a pattern of similar comments. do you think she is an anti-semite? >> i don't throw names around. i think the remarks she's made have been very troubling. i have spoken out very publicly and forcefully about it in saying she should apologize. look, you hope that people who
get elected to office and they grow. i would hope the same thing would happen to her, but i'm not going to sit silent as long as there are people who are yelling out anti-semitic tropes or anti-anything tropes, by the way. anti-i'm opposed to islamopho a islamophobia. i'm opposed to hatred of any group. i'm certainly not going to be quiet when there's anti-semitism. i fought against anti-semitism my whole life. >> i want to ask you, when you mention islamophobia, there was talk you may add language into this. it's not just about condemning anti-semitism. it's also anti-bias. are you going to keep it specifically to anti-semitism. >> it's not up to me. the leadership has been looking at it and a bunch of people have put their imprint on it. a lot of things are still being decided as we are talking now. >> i know, you know, when we
talk about white supremacy, people understandably in some cases want to call something out as racist or white supremacist, and not say that the person doing it is a racist, so they'll say that's a racist comment, but they don't want to say the person is a racist. with congresswoman omar, it's clear you're saying some of the things she has said have beenan don't want to lob the charge anti-semite at her? >> i'm hoping she'll grow and change. i'm hoping. some people change their beliefs. i'm hoping she'll change hers. i think what she said was wrong and hurtful. i think she should understand that. and i have been very vocal about it. and i feel very, again, strongly, certainly against anti-semitism, but i think these tropes are not to be washed away, and the same thing, again, for anti-anything. you need to have discussions here in washington not on the basis of race or religion or
national origin, but on what's best for the american people. >> you're the chairman of a really important committee, right? foreign affairs. this is the center of a lot. and it certainly is the center of this discussion about israel. at what point do you say to her, congresswoman omar, look, you're not on this committee anymore? you strip her of her seat. are you close to that or at that point? >> no, i'm not close to it. first of all, it's not up to me. this is done by the leadership. i don't know that that would do anything except exacerbate the situation even more. i'm looking to get rid of anti-semitism, not looking to punish anybody. i think that it's very important that we keep our eye on the prize. and i think that whenever there is hatred being spewed or again racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, islamophobia, we have to speak out. that's what i'm doing here. >> i appreciate your time. thank you very much, chairman. >> thank you. and next, president trump
says the growing number of investigations are nothing but payback. >> they cannot stand the loss. they could not stand losing in 2016. >> plus, the house intelligence committee hiring a former federal prosecutor to investigate trump. a man whose experience is going after russians. what does that mean? >> and other than trump's family, she may know the most about president trump. so just who is trump's longtime assistant, rhona graff, and what do democrats want from her now? things happen. and sometimes you can find yourself heading in a new direction. but at fidelity, we help you prepare for the unexpected with retirement planning and advice for what you need today and tomorrow. because when you're with fidelity, a partner who makes sure every step is clear, there's nothing to stop you from moving forward.
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that's what trump claims is behind house democrats' sweeping investigations on him. >> what the democrats want to do, they cannot stand the loss. they could not stand losing in 2016. the anger. the anger. and they just haven't gotten used to the fact that we won a lot of states that haven't been won by republicans in a long time. but essentially what they're saying is the campaign begins. >> the campaign begins now. while, "outfront" is keith boykin and scott jennings, former special assistant to george w. bush. keith, the campaign begins now. he says it's all about anger and sour grapes. >> i think the campaign began a long time ago, actually, when president trump won the election. he never stopped campaigning. what happened is republicans were in control of congress for
two years and they had no oversight, no accountability. they didn't ask questions about his violations of the emoluments clause, his nepotism and hiring people in his family, they didn't ask question about jared kushner's security clearance, they didn't ask questions about the $25 million fraud settlement he paid two days before he took office. they spent years investigating hillary clinton over benghazi and they won't ask the basic questions the american people need to know, where are president trump's tax returns. what are his finances about? he hasn't divested his business from his personal holdings. americans are finally getting to know the answers to the questions and it's overdue. >> what do you say, scott? is this actually what the president wants? the more investigations, the better right now? >> well, i think the democrats may have played into his hands a little bit. the sweeping nature of all of these letters that went out today may appear to some americans like a festivus like airing of grievances rather than legitimate government oversight. this looks like they're going
after everyone who has ever been within 100 feet of donald trump. that's not to say there aren't legitimate areas of oversight they could explore, but when you do it in this omnibus fashion, the president is going to find sympathy from people who think these folks don't have any interest in governing. >> will the sympathy ever come from you, keith, when the president says just get back to work, right? let's do infrastructure. fill in the blank, jobs, you name it. let's do immigration, whatever. it sounded a lot like somebody you know. >> i would rather see them do legislation. we negotiate out legislation where so many things, things we agree on like infrastructure, but they want to focus on nonsense. >> these allegations are false. and i need to go back to work for the american people. >> go back to work. all of this is a side show. it sounds exactly like --
>> yeah. >> his friend bill clinton. >> remember, republicans including lindsey graham and mitch mcconnell voted to impeach and remove bill clinton from the white house as president. and now they don't want to do any investigation over donald trump, who is the least transparent president in american history, the first president since nixon not to release his tax returns. and the only president in the entire history of the united states who had no public service, government experience before coming to office. we know nothing about him except for this carefully calculated, curated public relations facade that he presented to us through reality television. we don't know anything about his background. just what he tells us. the american people have trusted this man to be our commander in chief of the military and leader of our country, and we don't know anything about who he's really working for. this is not an overreach. it took so much time to get to this point, but that's the reason why you have to have 81 different letters sent out. >> scott, when you hear chairman engel say this is about the truth and chairman nadler say
the same thing yesterday and you have 81 letters. do you believe them? impeachment is the farthest thing from his mind, the chairman just said? >> i do not believe them. if you look at all the polling out there, democrats overwhelmingly want to impeach this president. number two, these people in house leadership have to respond to the left wing of their party who have desperate and blood thirsty to get this president. i do think donald trump has a point. a lot of this is about revenge. a lot of this is not getting over an election. there may be legitimate areas of oversight, but a lot of this is looking like overreach, and this is the great danger for the democrats. overreaching and hurting themselves. >> you do have a fight within your own party. chairman engle couldn't have politely slapped down maxine waters any more than he did. come on, you faint of heart, and the response from him is it's the farthest thing from my mind. it would be irresponsible. >> well, there are some people who want to see donald trump impeached, leerily. there are some people who want to wait and see what happens.
this mueller investigation is still going on. the one thing that is clear, i think that is true for all democrats, is there is a clear sense of hypocrisy between what donald trump did when he was candidate and a private citizen and what he's doing as president. he demanded everything about barack obama, his birth certificate, his college transcripts, and he won't release any information about his own life or background. he's even hiding his high school transcripts. this is the exact element of hypocrisy from donald trump. >> scott, you gotta agree with that. >> you know what. i think if the democrats want to fight about and complain about donald trump's high school transcripts while he's talking about having a revved up economy going -- >> what about his tax returns, scott? what about his tax returns, scott? how do kw know who he's working for? how do we know his interests with russia or saudi arabia or any other government he seems to be coddling unless we have full disclosure. this is not the position republicans took when barack
obama was president or bill clinton was president. at least admit you're being inconsistent. >> i think these kinds of issues that you're raising are legitimate issues for a political campaign, which is different than trying to ruin 81 lives with congressional oversight that has the intent of paralysis and not legitimate governing. >> all right, we'll hit pause on that. "outfront" next, the trump organization facing new questions tonight. a new investigation. and it came from michael cohen's testimony. was it a crucial tip-off? >> plus, president trump's longtime gate keeper, rhona graff, one of the 81 people democrats want to hear from. why she could be the key to the trump investigations.
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new tonight, another probe into the trump organization. a source confirming to cnn that new york's department of finance services sent a nine-page subpoena to trump's long term insurance broker a.i. after michael cohen accused him of inflating assets under oath. out front, laura coates, harry sandick, and our chief political correspondent dana bash. harry, let's be clear. if cohen knows about it, it would happen when trump was running trump organization, and so could trump org be in trouble? >> it's a very interesting development. you can see sort of the dominos falling. cohen somehow comes up in the mueller investigation. they send it to the southern district. based on what he pleads guilty to there, he gets called before congress. he gets asked questions about insurance issues by congressman ocasio-cortez. based on his answers, now there's an investigation by department of financial services. we can see the connections and
the links between all of these investigations. and so now it's another, and we have lost count, another possible path of investigation that should concern the president. >> right, and laura, let's be clear. if cohen knows about it, it means it happened when trump was running trump organization. they were there together. by all accounts, the president at the time, mr. donald trump, knew everything going on at trump org. no one would be cooking the books without him knowing. could this end up on his doorstep? >> absolutely. and in fact, you already see the parallel investigations going on into this thing. it's almost like we were all tipped off the second michael cohen used the first and last name of allen weisselberg, when he's talking about david pecker and ami, his name has come up about 200 more times even in the course of testimony linking him to the person who would have information about the inflation of assets among other things. it's very clear that not only will weisselberg have information about donald trump but also his father. he's been a long-running part of the trump organization. we already know there's been lots of investigations into all
of these things. >> so dana, as harry mentioned, it was the freshman democratic senator alexandra ocasio-cortez who raised this issue of, and i want to ask you whether i'm using the right word here, but inflating assets, possible fraud. here's the exchange. >> to your knowledge, did the president ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company? >> yes. >> who else knows that the president did this? >> allen weisselberg, ron lieberman, and matthew calamari. >> and where would the committee find more information on this? do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them? >> yes, and you would find it at the trump org. >> it was an important exchange for her. >> it was. now, to be clear, "the new york times" had done reporting based on anonymous sources about five days earlier talking about the fact that michael cohen -- >> that's where they got the question. >> exactly, had gone and spoken to prosecutors in new york about
this very issue. having said that, we know in our business and your business, a follow-up question is half the battle. and getting him to say that under oath was huge. absolutely huge. the question is how much does the southern district already have or know based on that reporting and also cnn's reporting from a couple months ago that they had already been looking into trump org, asking for documents, asking to talk to senior officials there. these are dots that are now be connected about what that topic was. and potential other topics as well. >> to be clear, harry, we talk about inflating assets. this could be fraud. this is a very serious thing. this isn't just trying to get a little extra money on your home on zillow. >> absolutely not. in the federal system, you have wire fraud and mail fraud to the extent wires and mails were used to commit this. in the state system, you know, separate and apart from the
department of justice headed by the president's appointees, insurance is typically a state regulated matter. that's why we see the new york department of financial services, it used to be the insurance commissioner of new york. that's part of what is conducting this investigation. so you could be state charges too. >> also new tonight, laura, adam schiff is hiring a man named daniel goldman to lead the house intelligence committee's probe into trump, and his resume is perhaps very significant. assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york for ten years. he was the deputy chief of the district's organized crime unit. he has a record of fighting russian organized crime in particular, racketeering, gambling, and money laundering, and he's won convictions against the acting boss of the genovese crime family. should trump be worried about goldman leading this? >> absolutely. and really, it's not so much the russian connection, although that does add a different level of intrigue to the fact that
adam schiff and members of the committee are probably looking at this in a similar way to the way the mafia operates. and precisely because the testimony of michael cohen that also corroborates that, the idea that a lot of this case will be built, if any, against the president of the united states and the investigation based not on direct statements or orders but a lot of innuendo and the assumption of what one wants through their body language or the pats on the back that come later. much the way you prosecute actual mob cases. what's most interesting about his particular resume is the themes that have manafort and cohen all over it, money laundering, conspiracy related crimes. these are things that have already met the intrigue of mueller and the sdny and they want someone to be able to unpack it and figure out where to go from here. he was also a frequent commentator on nbc and on this network talking about these issues. just the way the president looks for people to praise him, this person has been critical about these topics.
>> harry, schiff, selection of goldman is significant? >> a very sensible thing to look to the southern district alumni network, as other people have before, to try to find people like dan who have prosecuted organized crime cases, looking at organizations, people who feel loyalty to the leader of an organization, trying to work with cooperating witnesses. these are some of the challenges that the schiff committee will face. so it's sensible for him to have reached out to somebody like dan. >> and yet trump's response, dana, today, of course on twitter, you know, bringing crooked hillary clinton, as he always does, and saying the democratic heads of the committees have gone stone cold crazy, he putsz in caps. is it getting to him? >> it's obviously getting to him, but it's also tactical. it is part of now the classic trump move that we have seen so many times. which is go after the people who are going after you. you know, signal to the base
that they should be fired up. and throw as much as he can out there at the people who are trying to investigate. i wouldn't even say attacking. trying to investigate him in order to muddy it as much as possible for political reasons, never mind legal reasons. >> all right, thank you all very much. >> and next, her name came up again and again during michael cohen's testimony. >> ms. rhona. >> rhona graff is mr. trump's executive assistant. >> and now democrats want to talk to her. what does she know? >> and an american physician allegedly tortured in saudi arabia, reportedly blindfolded, beaten, and electrocuted. why is the president silent?
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executive assistant. >> would she be able to corroborate many of the statements you have made here? >> yes, her office is directly next to his, and she's involved in a lot that went on. >> after michael cohen pointed lawmakers to rhona graff in his congressional testimony, the democrat-led house judiciary committee followed up with an expansive document request aimed at 81 individuals and enttdys including graff. she's worked for the billionaire businessman for three decades. she was trump's gate keeper. those who wanted to reach trump often had to go through her first. >> rhona, let me have the call please. >> trump reportedly doesn't use e-mail or text message so she often coordinated his calls, even providing at times a coded system for callers who needed to get through. the woman behind the scenes also took her occasional turn in the spotlight. >> rhona, come here. i'm going to make you a star. >> even appearing on nbc's "the
apprentice." >> he asked me to call you and tell you to meet him tomorrow morning at the new york stock exchange. >> despite her loyalty to trump, she passed on a job at the white house to remain in new york with her family, but soon, washington came to her. investigators from the house intelligence committee then led by republicans interviewed her as part of their russia probe in december 2017. now, democrats are following up with a lengthy wish list for her. which includes documents pertaining to payments to michael cohen or american media inc. the parent company of the national enquirer, to benefit trump or his campaign. russian investments in the trump family business. trump tower moscow. the 2016 trump tower meeting between trump campaign officials and a russian lawyer. contacts involving wikileaks, and communications involving trump and russian president vladimir putin. >> if there are bodies buried somewhere in the trump organization and somewhere in donald trump's campaign or even his more distant past, rhona graff would be able to point out
where they lie. >> now, we obviously don't know what kind of documentation rhona graff has and if she will willingly hand it over to the committeer. if she does cooperate, she will be a potential treasure trove of information. >> over many years, calling over there, always a very gracious person. fascinating now that she's in the center of this. thank you so much. >> and next, saudi arabia accused of torturing a u.s. citizen. so why is president trump not speaking out? >> and the president doesn't just salute the american flag. no, no, no. -jamie, this is your house? -i know, it's not much, but it's home. right, kids? -kids? -papa, papa! -[ laughs ] -you didn't tell me your friends were coming. -oh, yeah. -this one is tiny like a child. -yeah, she is. oh, but seriously, it's good to be surrounded by what matters most -- a home and auto bundle from progressive. -oh, sweetie, please, play for us. -oh, no, i couldn't. -please. -okay.
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with retirement planning and advice for what you need today and tomorrow. because when you're with fidelity, there's nothing to stop you from moving forward. tonight, president trump's silent, not speaking out about an american held in saudi arabia who allegedly has been beaten, tortured, and jailed. the doctor studied and trained at george washington and harvard. he is a dual citizen. he returned to saudi arabia to found a hospital, speaking out on human rights. he was then among those detained in the saudi crown prince's purge of his arrivals on an anticorruption spreed in 2017. he was held in the ritz-carlton and he's yet to be charged with a crime. he says he's been beaten and tortured to had point he's had to be sent to a prison hospital.
now, before his murder, jamal khashoggi tweeted about the man's detention, drawing attention to it. khashoggi wrote in part, what happened to us? how can we arrest the likes of the doctor? how can we justify it? many people, of course, asking those same questions after khashoggi himself was murdered in a horrific fashion. a murder the u.s. intelligence community has concluded was directed by the saudi crown prince himself. "outfront" now is cnn exclusive interview howard cooper, the attorney and friend. i appreciate your time. i hope that by talking to you, we can draw more attention to this and hopefully change this horrific situation. howard, what do you think the saudis have done to your friend, the doctor? >> well, erin, as you said in your lead-up here, it's clear that the doctor has been both physically tortured and psychologically abused. he's been incommunicado for the
most part for about 15 months, since november of 2017. the reports of his torture are obviously horrific. but this is a man who has been imprisoned, kept away from his family, with no charge, with no understanding as to why he's there. and you know, in violation of really just basic human rights. >> have they given any reason for his detention? and alleged treatment? >> none. >> none, none at all. no response. >> none whatsoever. no response. >> so they haven't even said what they allege he did, nothing? >> nothing. >> all right. you know, look, it's awful when you hear this, and it's awful when you hear the response, which of course, has been deafening silence. i want to play for you, howard, something president trump said about the saudi crown prince, mohammed bin salman's involvement in jamal khashoggi's
murder. here's the president. >> i hate the crime. i hate what'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. >> of course, i gotta say it again, >> i have to say it again. that's not the reality the the cia concluded that the crown prince directed the murder. do you think mbs is giving the same story about dr. fitaihi? >> it's impossible for me to know. if doctor fitaihi has been languishing in a prison without any process. he's an american citizen. what's happening to him in a country that's supposed to be allied with the united states and enjoys the relationships with the highest levels of our government is mystifying. that said, there's man here and
family involved here and the hope is that now that dr. fitaihi's situation is coming to the attention of the public, that president trump or his son-in-law, jared kushner will use their close relationship to somehow convince the saudis and to call upon the saudis to release dr. fitaihi and let him and his family travel to the united states. >> jared kushner was just over with the crown prince and he's been over there multiple times since his imprisonment. do you know that he's said anything to mbs yet? >> we have no information that there's been any communication at all at that level. let's keep in mind this is a gentleman who is non-political in is a man who got his medical degree at george washington university and at harvard. he was in the united states for many years, several decades.
worked at the joslin clinic outside of boston and went back to saudi arabia to use his family's wealth to build a hospital. before he was arrested, dr. f dr. fitaihi was running a hospital and was a motivational speaker. someone talking about mental health issues in saudi arabia. he had a huge following. mr. khashoggi had it right. what could possibly have been the thinking about arresting a gentleman like this. he's an intellectual and it's really just impossible to understand how he is being held for this long or at all in a saudi prison. >> i want to make a point. people who are arrested as part of that 2017 purge, there's no one on that list. there's no one in prison now. there's no one that's gone through anything that's happening right now who has not done so at the direction of mbs.
>> that is certainly our understanding. this is a situation where with a telephone call to mbs, the white house could insist that dr. fitaihi be released and he and his family will allowed to leave the country and come to the united states. >> last week the president tweeted about another american who had been released from yemen, a hostage. his tweet said we will not rest as we continue our work to bring the remaining american hostages back home. we work every day to bring americans home. why do you think that hasn't happened? >> my hope on behalf of walid fitaihi and his family is that president trump will do what he said in that tweet and work tirelessly to bring this man home. he's an american citizen. it is simply outrageous what's been happening to him. >> all right. thank you so very much for
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>> ever since the flag hugger in chief did this the other day. the president holding and murmuring tweet nothings to the stars and stripes led to strife. >> who does that? >> if that flag could tweet, it would say hashtag, metoo. theglorified with the white house tweeting america. supporters posted i love when he hugs the flag. makes me teary. we hug our precious flag that stands for so much. the other side burns it. >> i believe that's the first time flag has ever volunteered to be burned. >> colbert concocted a soft core commercial. >> are you physically attracted to flags?
just can't keep your hands off then call today. >> also flogged the flag. >> now you can own a piece of history. a flag embraced by the united states. gaze proudly upon the orange stain left by the president's face. >> in real life you can buy vinyl stickers of the presidential flag embrace as well as posters. some would rather unsee it. someone oels tuelse turned it i sale. critics pointed out that president trump isn't the only flag loving leader. that's venezuela's former leader planting a smooch on his flag. snuggling with the stars and strikes is nothing new. he's a serial flag hugger. he's done it around half a dozen times. at least he's consistent. he only locks his arms around the american flag.
cnn. ♪ new york. >> why did he hug the flag? thanks for joining us. you can watch outfront any time. go to cnngo. we begin tonight with breaking news you'll only see it hear. pamela brown learned president trump demanded a security clearance for his daughter ivanka over the objection of two top advisers. for the president, family came first. special treatment for both. cnn pamela brown joins us with details. what have you learned? >> he pressured john kelly and don mcgahn to grant his daughter a security clearance against their recommendations. this is according to three people familiar with the matter speaking to me and