tv Washington Journal Jonathan Turley CSPAN November 30, 2018 11:47am-12:01pm EST
military, thank you very much. we ask god to watch over this nation's heroes and said his almighty grace upon our nation and we pray america's light will shine more brightly and stronger than ever and it will. on behalf of milania and myself and the entire trump family, many of whom are with us tonight i want to again wish you all a very very merry christmas. may this christmas season bring peace to your hearts, warmth to your homes, cheer to your spirit and joy to the world, merry christmas, everyone, merry christmas and god bless you. thank you. thank you very much. [applause]
>> we want to open back to our table jonathan turley from george washington university here to talk about the trump administration, the russia investigation. what is your reading of the michael cohen guilty plea yesterday? >> there are more questions than answers. obviously represents an ominous stage for the white house but how serious it is is an open question. cohen is not exactly ideal witness for anything. he seems to have achieved this almost perfect record of being accused of lying to everyone on everything at every time up until this point. mueller is saying i think he's telling the truth now. what he is saying, his most damaging potentially to the president is he lied to congress about when the discussions are going on with regard to this project in
moscow and he did so in part to try to limit the russia investigation. if the president knew he was going to lie or encouraged him to lie that could represent a serious crime. the encouragement is subornation of surgery. those represent serious torpedoes in the water that could hit the white house depending on what he says next in terms of:'s narrative. in terms of trump allegedly continuing negotiations for the process in moscow during the campaign, that is not a crime but would his critics are saying is it supplies for them a possible reason the president was so solicitous to the russians that there was a quid pro quo. there is a lot of stuff floating in the air but we don't get anything concrete that would connect donald trump with a clear crime.
>> washington post reports what you are saying, some legal experts argue mueller is trying a picture of a candidate who was beholden to the kremlin. emails released in the plea show, plea deal, show trump seeking a financial endorsement from the russian government on a private project while vladimir putin was offering to say flattering things about trump. >> it is not the first of those allegations. the clinton class were criticized, huge amounts, tens of millions of dollars to the clinton foundation when hillary clinton was secretary of state, the washington post reported a lot of that money was an effort to buy influence and access to hillary clinton and once you left office the amount of money given to the foundation dropped at a huge rate. when you make those types of arguments there has to be a there there. you have to find clear indication of a quid pro quo.
couldn't find that with trump, that is the nature of washington. >> what is it robert mueller is doing with michael cohen's deal here and his guilty plea? >> what i find most interesting in the course the controversy that mueller wanted, pulled over the draft plea agreement mueller wanted him to sign, what is interesting about cohen and corsi, mueller is clearly hunting for trump. there was a lot of speculation about trying to bag trump. these are moves by mueller to get a clean shot at trump. patent succeed. does he have something more than these two individuals. >> listen to trump yesterday.
>> making statements to the house and senate, he put out a statement talking about a project that was more or less an option we were looking at in moscow. a well-known project during the early part of 16 and even before that, i didn't do the project, decided not to do the project so i didn't do it. we are not talking about doing a project. we are talking about not doing a project. michael cohen was convicted i guess without putting it into legal terms. he was convicted of a very long-term sentence on things totally unrelated to the trump organization. a lot of different things, i don't know exactly. he was convicted of various
things unrelated to us. and a week person, by being weak unlike other people you watch he is a week person and what he is trying to do is get a reduced sentence. he is lying about a project that everybody knew about, we were very open with it. >> this is one of the curious aspect about donald trump's defense of himself. he shouldn't be talking like this about cases he might be involved with but that is something he is not listening to his own counsel as many people in congress. the things that stand out is he call this guy a bomb and how unbelievable he is. he was your personal attorney, the guy you end up sending people to and really has the striking conflict.
when special counsel investigation began i said publicly one of the first thing the president needs to do is sever michael cohen. his reputation was well-known to most of us, really bad lawyer who had an awful reputation and that was my first priority when asking what legal advice you would give the president but ultimately lots of people soaked that but he didn't listen to that and double down. when michael cohen is most radioactive, he brought him to this resort to have a public dinner and embraced him. so a lot of it doesn't make sense to most of us, even just retaining someone like michael cohen. >> what do you make of paul manafort's cooperation with robert mueller? >> paul manafort is not the first one. he did not give mueller what mueller wanted or at least all of what mueller wants. the question is what he gave mueller enough.
we don't know. he spent hours and hours in these interviews with mueller so presumably he gave him something but this isn't the first time mueller has had a witness blowup on him. you had papadopoulos it was the first big plea and ultimately became almost a hostile witness and mueller pushed to convince the court to give him a longer sentence and the court refused, giving papadopoulos an exceptionally light sentence so things have not gone that welfare mueller so it is not clear what he has gotten. the witnesses seem to have pushed back on mueller. with manafort, there was this intriguing question of whether mueller played manafort or whether manafort played mueller. manafort looks like he had a plan all along to switch sides in the middle of this
investigation. consider this, a wonderful beltway sort of side quarterback. mueller got this plea right after manafort was handed his head in virginia. he was not only convicted of multiple counts became sarbanes vote of being -- the table swept of all counts and convicted on everything. he was heading to dc with a far worse trial waiting for him where he was looking at horrific allegations which seem quite supportive and he then flips with mueller, avoids those convictions, pleads to 10 counts and then sits there with mueller for months and when the google moment comes he basically bolts and many people believe trump is dangling out
of form for him. manafort may have played mueller, we don't know but mueller will try to send this guy away for the rest of his natural life and he could do that unless trump pardons him. >> in houston, texas. go ahead. >> i am trying -- all these different links to trump. why is everybody excusing trump of everything, all these other people, not credible, not -- there is something wrong. everybody coming in but everybody else is terrible. they had been here, hillary clinton, with hillary clinton, hillary is not there. trump's family and everybody
involved in collusion, russia, everything spoke out well. do this and do this. and ignore what he is saying and doing. what is going on here? is this man controlling everybody in the united states now? this is just wrong. this is so terrible. >> the best advice i would give is don't be played by either side. both sides are throwing stuff into the air and the key is to look solely at what facts have been released in terms of criminal conduct. in fairness to donald trump there has been no finding directly linking him that i can see of a clear crime. that doesn't mean mueller can't do that. when you talk about people who may be apologists for trump or people on the other side
accusing them of spin ultimately they don't matter. what matters is the special counsel and he is clearly driving hard. the last two weeks have shown mueller is trying to bag trump the only reason for these witnesses and conflict to come up is they didn't give him material on trump. you can rest assured that at least one person isn't falling for that type of spin and that is robert mueller. >> tony in florida, republican. >> a pleasure to speak with you. mister trump recently declassified documents that the doj and uk particularly didn't want released so my question is what happens when the declassified documents that show that the bad actors of the department of justice and fbi all become public and the truth
comes out that this whole investigation was paid for by the clinton gang and fusion gps was involved and possibly the british in my 6 involved as well so what happens when all this information comes out, what do you think? >> guest: i'm actually quite interested in the fish application and there are legitimate questions about what happened in that secret court. ..