tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN March 7, 2019 10:00am-11:01am PST
investigation continues. don't go anywhere. busy news day. brianna keilar starts right now. have a great afternoon. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, he lied, he cheated and he is one of the people at the center of robert mueller's investigation. today the president's former campaign chairman learns his fate. anti-semitism is bad, yet democrats can't agree on how to say it's bad. plus, in the 2020 race, it turns out it's the week of not running. why sherrod brown just decided against a bid. and hiding the consequences of war. ordering his administration to stop publicly reporting the number of civilians killed in u.s. zone strikes outside war
zones. we begin with breaking news. former trump attorney and fixer michael cohen is suing the trump organization. we have reporter cakara scannel in new york with details on this. what is the basis of this lawsuit, kar snara? >> the lawsuit filed in new york basically says he's not paying his legal fees. he was owed these fees as part of his duties of a trump organization employee, all the work he had done there, his televised part of the campaign, the hush money payments to stormy daniels and karen mcdougal and this was all part of his testimony and cooperation with the trump organization. he said trump stopped paying once he was let go from his
legal team. he is saying he is owed money as one of trump's employees as well as work he did for the campaign and after the campaign, brianna. >> toii want to bring in cnn le analyst carrie cordero into this. does he have a basis for this? it's a suit saying the trump organization failed to fulfill their obligations to indemnify him or pay hmoney he is owed. does he have a case? >> one question would be, what was that contract? what did it actually say? what were its terms, and was it actually enforceable? for example, we know the trump organization has a practice of using non-disclosure agreements, but oftentimes when those r actu --
when those types of agreements are litigated, they turn out to be non-enforcible. it will depend on the type of agreement he had and whether a court would find that to be an enforcible contract. but i have to wonder what the benefit is of michael cohen to bring this suit at this time if all he's seeking is legal fees. again, i'll look forward to reading the actual pleading documents. if all he's seeking is legal fees, the money he would spend on legal fees to bring this suit would perhaps sort of counterbalance that out. so i'm very curious what the motivation is of this suit. >> kara scannell, i appreciate that report. from a life of excess to a possibility of a life behind bars. from a python jacket to a jail uniform. paul manafort will be sentenced today. it highlights a pinnacle fall.
last summer a jury convicted manafort of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of hiding foreign bank accounts. political analyst sara murray is outside the courthouse in alexandria, virginia. what is the sentence he's facing here? >> reporter: prosecutors have asked for him to face up to 25 years in prison, so essentially paul manafort is going to learn today whether he's going to spend the rest of his life behind bars. prosecutors say their suggestion for the sentencing really fits the crime. they believe paul manafort has shown very little remorse. they pointed out the fact that after they had struck a plea agreement with him, after he was supposed to be cooperating that he lied to them after the fact. and we haven't heard paul manafort speak on his own behalf. he didn't take the stand during the trial in virginia, and he will have the opportunity to speak one last time in this virginia courtroom today. he can speak before he is sentenced and we'll see if he chooses to do so. if filings he's asked the judge
for leniency, and i suspect if he does speak, he'll do that again. he's 69 years old. his health has begun declining. we've seen him at times with a cane, at times with a wheelchair. this is his last shot with his attorney today to essentially beg the judge to lessen the sentence they've asked for. we're going to see the sentence today in virginia, but next week he'll be sentenced before another federal judge in washington. >> that's very important to point out. sara murray in alexandria, thank you, and we're also keeping an eye on capitol hill where there has been a messy debate over an issue that normally wouldn't take that much debate: anti-semitism. later this afternoon the house is expected to vote on a resolution that condemns all forms of hate in the wake of congresswoman ilhan omar's remarks slamming religious groups and anti-semitism.
there was a resolution brought up about anti-semitism, but there was backlash saying omar was being unnecessarily attacked. we heard from the speaker earlier this morning. where do things stand now? >> reporter: it's very clear, brianna, that the house democratic leadership are very eager to move past this episode. they will have a vote on this resolution at some point later today, and this response was after that controversy originally sparked by ilhan omar, but it was really onreal s snowballed this debate over what exactly should be included in this resolution, what language should be in this resolution, and that was a very hard 48 hours for house democratic leaders. we did hear from nancy pelosi earlier today and she was asked if she felt ilhan omar should apologize.
she said it was up to her to make that call and then said this. >> i don't think the congresswoman perhaps appreciates the full weight of how this is heard by other people, although i don't believe it was intended in an anti-semitic way. the fact is that's how it was interpreted. we have to remove all doubt as we have done over and over again. >> now, very clear, and i should note that they do not still have the final resolution released to members up here causing some concern among many members and aides, brianna, but very clear in listening to nancy pelosi, this is going to be a lot broader than they originally thought, not just condemning anti-semitism, but we heard nancy pelosi say it would condemn anti-semitism and white supremacy. that is responding to many members in the caucus that felt it unfairly singled out ilhan omar.
we're following some breaking news in the 2020 race. a little bit of a surprise here. democratic senator sherrod brown of ohio has announced he will not run for president, instead choosing to remain in the u.s. senate saying, quote, i will keep calling out donald trump and his phony populism. i will keep fighting for all workers across the country. joining me now, cnn chief political correspondent dana bash and democratic strategist and cnn political commentator hilary rosen. are you surprised by this? >> i am surprised by this, and i don't think i am the only one surprised. >> you're always surprised. tell me why. >> he was preparing a run, there is no question. he did this dignity of work tour. that's what he called his listening tour, and not just in the state of ohio but in the four early caucus and primary states. and he wanted to kind of get a sense of what's out there. and look, he is one of the -- when you look at the very, very big field of people, particularly those who have decided to go in, i think it's
fair to say there was maybe less of ahankering who are in than sherrod brown than a lot of democratic voters because they saw someone who not only strategically can do well among working class democratic voters, because he already has in his home state of ohio, but has the right message. i interviewed him on "state of the union" a couple weeks ago. he also has very, very specific ideas, policy ideas, that it looked like, and clearly he was preparing for, to be aimed at 2020 voters. >> so what do you think about this, hilary. >> i'm glad some democrat wants to stay in the senate. i think, you know, sherrod brown would be a compelling candidate on paper. you know, a democrat who won in a pretty red state in ohio and with good numbers, and that was
sort of his sell. but i think beyond that, the progressive lane really is pretty clouded right nrowded ri democratic primary. he wasn't going to the centrist lane where people claimed there was a little more room, maybe. i think he looked at it and said, i can have more influence influencing the candidates that wouldn't be trapsi itraipsing t ohio. >> you can't do both jobs at all effectively. you have to pick one, and normally it's running for president that gets picked. >> i like what you said about staying in the senate. you have almost every member except sherrod brown in the democratic senate running for president. it doesn't seem like a place you can do work, but you can. >> the news is reporting that joe biden is 95% committed to running and his family is on board. so where is he now? what's the delay? >> i don't know.
there's apparently a .1% chance that he won't run. but look, joe biden is really beloved in the democratic party. i think that he does have a lane. you know, people want him to run. he's still polling at the top of the pac. he's got a long history of policy. he's one of those people, maybe unlike sherrod brown, and i've been with him places over the last year, no matter where he goes, people say, you're going to run, right? you're going to do this, right? sometimes the problem is nobody says don't run to folks tlik, but he has a lot to offer, and god bless him nrl. one of the speeches he gave 25 years ago was getting a fresh lip. >> we have predators on our streets that society has, in fact, in part because of its neglect, created.
again, it does not mean because we created them that we somehow forgive them or do not take them out of society to protect my family and yours from them. they are beyond the pale, many of those people. beyond the pa lerk arkpale. it's a sad commentary. we have no choice but to take them out of society. >> he voted fort 1994 crime bill which ushered in the era of mass incarceration that democrats and republicans are currently trying to reverse. how does he explain that? >> it's going to be hard. he's going to have to explain it. we've seen in recent history the candidate you followed around in 2016, brianna, hillary clinton. she used the same language. >> i think he explains it two ways. one, he was actually talking about violent criminals who nobody is for. let's face it, there is no constituency for a violent
criminal. that tape will get taken out of context a lot, but that's what he was talking about. >> but let's just be clear that is a violent crime precipitated by two -- you could have drug crimes is the third strike. let's just be clear about what that was. >> for sure. he led that crime bill at a time when crime rate was really high, and the assault weapons ban was in that bill. violence against women act was in that bill. there was extra money for rehabilitation for drugs in that bill. so there are a lot of things that i think he can say, you know what, you take the good with the bad approximately. i don't think he'll have to answer for this all the time.
that was 25 years ago, crime is down and i think he'll actually learn from it. chief of staff john kelly completely contradicting the president on immigration and the separation of families on the border. and more on our breaking news. michael cohen sues the trump organization in what looks to be the next big fight. ♪ t-mobile will do the math for you. right now, when you join t-mobile, you get two lines of unlimited with two of the latest phones included for just one hundred bucks a month. whand we still need to renovate the nursery...
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that rids the country of all forms of hate. they described a messy, intense, behind-the-scenes debate over omar and this resolution. we have democrat tom swazi with us from capitol hill. >> you're on the house side there, right outside of the house chamber. how difficult is this for democrats to agree on when you hear these descriptions. people are saying this is messy and intense. >> you know, we have to start out with a basic concept that anti-semitism is real. it's not a made-up thing. it's a real thing in our country, it's a real thing in our world and it's actually growing right now. so we have to be very, very firm in clearly speaking out against anti-semitism. what happened in this instance of representative omar, my colleague, having made these apologies in the past for
statements that she's made now doing something again, we have to be very firm and say, you can't do this. it's wrong to question people's loyalty because they're pro-israel. i'm very pro-israel. i'm pro-israel and i'm a proud american because israel is our great ally and we have to support them every way we can. >> you have been very vocal. last month after the first controversial tweet that congresswoman omar made about political donations and the pro-israel lobbying glroup apac you tweeted this. congresswoman omar's tweet went too far. to suggest that pro-israel support is all about the benjamins and her follow-up that she is referring to aipac, is not only inaccurate but conjures up the worst anti-semitic stereotypes. are her comments more critical
of israel, or whatever she said in the past just makes whatever is said about israel problematic, in your view? >> she's a member of the united states congress. she's 37 years old. she knows what she's doing. and she's made these statements in the past. she has to be much more careful going forward because people are listening very carefully to what she says. this is like, you know, president kennedy when he ran for president and they said, oh, if he becomes the president, he's going to have a phone call to the pope to ask what to do. my father went through this as an italian american, people questioning his loyalty. he fought in world war ii as an italian american. this is a real problem. with the jewish population, we have to understand rk, there ar 2.5 billion christians in the world. there are only 15 million jewish people in the world and many were killed in the holocaust. it's no wonder people are sensitive when others bring out
comments that can be determined as being anti-semitic. >> i heard some democratic observers say that doing this gives someone, congresswoman omar in this case, who has been very damaging to the democratic brand just more publicity. what do you say to that? >> i think she's getting more and more well known. you would always see a lot of the young people that have come in as freshmen have been very, very effective in being very well known. alexandria ocacio-cortez, representative omar, they're some of the most -- they're more well known than i am well known and i've been doing this for a long time. that's a positive in a way, but now you have to take that notoriety and use it to address very real problems we face in our country and the world. i think this is a great opportunity for her to demonstrate leadership. you can't condition with these type of, i believe, irresponsible comments. >> the democratic presidential candidates have been coming to her defense.
senators kamala harris, bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, kirsten gillibrand. they've all supported omar. do you think she's the best person to rally around? >> we have to do what we have to do. the policies in america for republicans -- >> would you do what they've done? >> i'm not going to defend this comment. i think this comment was wrong. i think it was a mistake. i don't think it should have been done. >> do you think it will hurt them for their election bids? >> no, because the problem for america these days is they are far left in prit marrithe prima republicans are in the far right of the primaries. we have to address what's happening in our country and our world, and anti-semitism is a real problem in our country and our world. as is muslimophobia sand we hav
to stand up and call out what's wrong with our votes. >> the clock is ticking here because republicans could put forward their own amendment on a similar topic. are you worried that they could condemn anti-semitism while democrats are in this intense mess rustl ing over how they do it? >> you have to remember we had an amendment that the republicans put up and the democrats voted for overwhelmingly to condemn anti-semitism. it was very clear that people are taking a very strong position on this. we need to continue doing that and calling out anti-semitism any time we see it. and call out racism islamophobia and other things. >> are you trying to do this before the republicans can? >> i hadn't even considered that.
>> tom swazi, thanks for being on. >> thanks for having me, brianna. michael cohen under fire for comments on the president possibly pardoning him. and keljohn kelly is breaki out from his former boss in a big way. itso chantix can help you quit "slow turkey." along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye.
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just weeks before he heads to prison, the president's former lawyer and fixer michael cohen is facing new questions about whether he told another lie to congress. cohen directed his attorney, stephen ryan, to ask about the possibility of a presidential pardon last spring just weeks after the fbi raided his home and office. but take a listen to what cohen told the house committee last week when he was under oath and under penalty of perjury. >> i have never asked for nor would i accept a pardon from president trump. >> well, we have former house intel chairman, mike rogers, he's a senior commentator with us and senior fellow at the new american security. carrie cordero is a senior legal analyst. listen to what susan cohen said about all this. >> if you find out that he asked the trump team for a pardon,
does that change your opinion of him or his testimony? >> if michael cohen asked for a pardon, i do think that that is problematic because it casts doubt over the veracity of all of his testimony. >> do you agree with that, chairman? >> i do, and for this reason. he came under a cloud of suspicion. he had a pretty big hurdle to get over for the credibility piece that he would be telling the truth. in that open hearing, there was a lot of personal animous that came out in that hearing as well, right, which i think taints -- >> toward president trump? >> yes, toward president trump, and you have to always be careful about taking those things with any degree of seriousness because of that personal animous. and if you add this in, he's already lied to the committee once, i think this will be big trouble for his credibility. you would have to go through and prove every allegation with lots
of physical evidence at that point. >> what do you think? >> i think that the staff of the committees, they'll go back and they're going to parse very carefully exactly what the words are that he used, and then determine whether or not they need to call him back or ask him to clarify his statements in writing. there might be an argument that if you take the exact statement that he said, "i did not seek a pardon" versus what's being reported that maybe he asked a lawyer to go ask about it, that that potentially could be a technical difference and it wouldn't actually fall under perjury, but certainly i think there is a strong argument that it will -- it affects his credibility just the fact that there might be some discrepancy there. >> he's in this court of public opinion which had this cloud. i think clearly the threshold is a little lower, if you damage your credibility again, what that means for congress' way
forward to using his testimony. >> that's what he has to square, right? was he splitting hairs, right? was he being extremely literal? because any reasonable person who listened to what he said would have taken that to mean that it was not asked about or a pardon was not inquired about. just in general even on his behalf, right? and to be clear, he said he didn't ask for a pardon. his lawyer lanny davis said cohen's former lawyer inquired about it. >> i think one of the best ways that perhaps the committee could proceed would be to ask him to clarify. they could do that in writing and lay it out, they could ask him to come back again, and that way they need to get a record. but now that michael cohen is in the position that he's in, it is in his interest to be truthful, and that last hearing in open session was the opportunity to be truthful. >> i guess i wonder why would he
lie about this? he came and said things that clearly did not make him look good, and i wonder, was there a reason to lie? because it seems like with the president granting a number of high-profile pardons, this might not have come as a surprise if he solicited this. why would he lie, chairman? >> in dealing with people in my former life as an fbi guy, some people will lie for a whole host of purposes, including to get out of jail. so you have to be really careful about when they're in that mode of, i am trying to protect myself first and i know what you want. they'll be great ringmasters. i know exactly the kind of information you want. that's why i was really interested in how all that personal animous that the committee allowed to come out, because we knew what he was doing, right? he's trying to paint a picture that "i would love for you all to go back to the prosecutor and tell him how great i was so maybe my three-year sentence is a two-year sentence."
that may be appropriate, that may be accurate, but now you have to go through and prove it. i think he wanted to be the victim in this. i would never ask nor never take a pardon. would he rather go to jail for three years than take a pardon? i doubt it. that credibility part is key. now they'll have to go back and prove every single attllegation with something other than his testimony. >> i want to talk about speaker of the house. he said they got ahead of its skis in determining a national emergency on the border. thank goodness we have this thing called the courts. he said, i would always look for another way to do it. on the board wall, don't need a wall from sea to shining sea, and that migrants overwhelmingly are not criminals. we've heard something like that before about them not being
criminals, although we've seen some critical things. what do you make of this? >> he had security when he was the secretary where many of the aggressive measures that the administration happens taken came to fruition and that the ground worked for the ill-conceived and poorly implemented family separation policy. that groundwork was laid when he was secretary and then when he was at the white house. so it is difficult to hear at this point given his role both at the white house and at the department of homeland security that now he is somewhat potentially, and i'll have to read his full remarks, distancing himself from all of those policies. on the other hand, it is not unusual for a senior leader or an adviser to a principal or to a president to personally disagree with policies that are
implemented. so now he's out of government and so he's free to say what emts. but he was very in the middle of these specific policies for quite some time. >> carrie cordero, mike rogers, thank you so much to both of you. up next, ace mixed rule that will require civilian deaths to be reported in drone strikes. more on breaking news. a surprise in the 2020 race that ohio senator sherrod brown is not running for president.
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in a very quiet move, president trump rolled back another obama era reform aimed at government accountability. with an executive order, the president entered the mandated public reporting of micivilians killed in drone strikes. tom is a former member of the obama era. thank you for coming in. these are reported civilian deaths in places like yemen, pakistan. what's the effect of getting rid of that? >> i think it's a mistake,
frankly. it's a pattern of reducing transparency. you come to the white house and to not have a white house briefing at all for weeks is a historical thing. you saw him trying to answer questions about saudi arabia. in 2016, they asked for an annual reporting on the dni of the lethal strikes that were taken and the number of civilian casualties. i think it just makes sense. the united states is not just another nation. i think that, brianna, is kind of a theme here that i would like to get across. we hold ourselves accountable and we actually undertake extremely careful efforts not to kill civilians. it undercuts that. >> do you think that with this repeal more civilians will die? >> we don't know, right? we don't have the same level of accountability. when you do have this level of transparency, when you do have this level of accountability, of
publicly reporting on this, you do have outside groups take a look at this. you put pressure on yourself and the government. as you know, i oversaw, for a number of years, our counterterrorism efforts in the united states government. it makes you better. we have an example right now. the pentagon under general mattis undertook a really serious study last year of civilian casualties. why did they do that? because there was a discrepancy of what they were seeing and the entities were reporting. that discrepancy caused the pentagon to undertake a serious sudd study as to doctrine and accountability and investigatory methods to ensure that we can do better. >> part of that may be because what is the definition of a civilian. the ngos may be more liberal in that description. so to play devil's advocate here, i want to ask you if the effect of repealing this is more of a value statement about transparency or is it
effectively going to mean more deaths? i know you said it's hard to tell. because human rights advocates will look at the obama-era policy which the president did just months before leaving office, and they'll say, you know, it wasn't particularly tran tra transparent. it didn't say the names of those killed, or even the countries where they were killed. it didn't include the definition of what a civilian was. they felt the obama administration had moved the goalpost on that. is it a value statement? >> it is. we should hold ourselves accountable and hold ourselves accountable publicly when the united states involves itself in lethal action where it kills a combatant. it's also an effective statement. we will be more effective, we will have less casualties if we
have more transparency. last, the programs will be more sustainable if, in fact, the american people have a sense, right, that we're being candid and we are doing things in the way we say we're going to do. we're following very tight procedures but you can't get zero casualties. >> especially in your tenure as national security adviser, you supported and would speak openly about support for the drone strike program, and we should put that out there, that it's necessary. you're saying people thought it was controversial and people won't sign on and be okay with it if it's lacking transparency. >> i think transparency adds to the ability to get support for these programs that's needed to combat terrorism. i think it is values, i think it's effectiveness, i think it's civility, i think it's a mistake. >> since i have you here, state tv has lauded the summit between
kim jong-un and president trump. north korea is reportedly putting back together long-range ballistic facilities it had dismantled. where does it leave the relations at this point? >> we didn't really have a set of fundamental things on which we agreed, including the definition. second was a political point, which i think you're getting to, which is the program, despite president trump's statements -- and by the way, i'm for reduced tensions and we should wish him success on this. but his statements that we are not having missile testing and we're not seeing nuclear tests, that doesn't mean the program is frozen. the fablct of the matter is the program has been progressing the entire time. the analytical mistake i see the president making in saying, "i'm in no rush" isn't correct. because the program, despite the
revelations we saw behind two profit groups, academic groups in the past few days that there was an advancement in a facility in northwestern north korea, that shouldn't be a surprise because, in fact, the program with missiles and every other element of the program, including production of fisul iri material, the numbers matter. we need to get a real freeze between the negotiations would be my advice to the president. >> we'll see if he hears your advice. tom donilon, thank you so much for coming in. really appreciate it. michael cohen says his biggest regret was lying to melania trump. how has she been spending her days since his testimony. and the cracks on online
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with all of the drama happening in washington involving president trump's closest former associates from michael cohen's now questionable testimony and him suing the trump organization to paul manafort's prison sentencing. first lady melania trump hasn't been in the spotlight, but she's been keeping busy. we have cnn's kate bennett following the first lady this week. so speaking of michael cohen, he made a very public apology to her. has she responded to that? >> she has not. she went on a trip on monday across the country and the question was shouted at her, do you accept his apology and she ignored the question. she has not officially responded
but that was a very note be moment in his testimony. >> so what does she think as she's trying to promote her agenda? what's really been lack of attention to her initiative? >> melania trump is doing things like she wants to do as she always does, whether it's on a right time frame or whether it's with a certain amount of marketability behind it, she doesn't really care. she's going to just push it. she took her first domestic overnight trip this week to tulsa, oklahoma to microsoft. that visit was important because she really, to be honest, has trouble having corporations want to partnering with you. that's new for a first lady. she has struggled to get big sponsors work with her. she saw technology that helps protect kids online, helps parents monitor kids online gaming. >> i actually cannot name them. >> it's children's well-being,
it's online safety. people often think of the cyberbullying and it's the opioid crisis in america. she spoke on tuesday at a town hall about that. she's really done a lot to help neo-natal abstinence syndrome which is a smaller part of the crisis that affects newborn babies. she also talked about making spaghetti for the family. and renovating the bowling alley. >> interesting. i clearly need to brush up because i failed that pop quiz. thank you so much. michael cohen suing the trump organization in what looks to be the next big fight. missi. the ceramides in cerave. they help restore my natural barrier, so i can lock in moisture... and keep us protected. we've got to have each other's backs... and fronts. cerave. what your skin craves. be right back. with moderate to severe crohn's disease, i was there, just not always where i needed to be.
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get $250 back when you pre-order a new samsung galaxy. click, call, or visit a store today. i'm ana cabrera in for brooke baldwin. michael cohen has just filed a lawsuit against the trump organization. the president's former personal attorney and so-called fixer says the company failed to fulfill its contractual obligations when the trump organization abruptly stopped paying his legal fees last summer, talking more about this with us now. cnn kara skinel. the trump organization originally agreed to pay cohen and the fees that he was acquiring through all these investigations, what's he claiming happened? >> that's right. michael cohen is alleging that the trump organizatio