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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  April 10, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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the president did not spend the day grumbling about the person that would [ inaudible ]. pamela brown has the latest. what are the thoughts on firing rosenstein or the statements. >> reporter: the president's consideration of firing rod rosenstein has gained urgency following the raid of the office
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of the president's personal lawyer michael cohen. sources familiar with this matter say this is one of several options on the table right now, including going so far as to fire attorney general jeff sessions as well. all of this is what the president is weighing. now officials say if trump's acts, rosenstein is the most likely target because installing a new deputy attorney general could provide the check on mueller trump has been seeking for quite sometime. now we should note that not all of trump's legal advisers are on board but others are telling him they believe they have a stronger case against rosenstein and they believe he has crossed the line in what he can and cannot pursue and consider him conflicted since he is a potential witness in the special counsel investigation because he wrote that memo that justified the firing of former fbi director james comey. so even though trump has considered firing him in the past, anderson, this possibility has taken on a more serious tone in recent days, according to sources we have spoken with. >> and what about the meeting
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between mueller's team and the president's lawyers yesterday. what you have learned about that. >> reporter: so the timing of the raid made for a very awkward meeting between mueller's team and president's lawyers yesterday. sources familiar with the meeting said it was previously scheduled as part of the preparations for a possible interview between the president and mueller's team. but a source close to the president said there had been these ongoing negotiations between the two and the mueller team and president's legal team for a potential interview but the raid on the president's potential attorney has upended the discussions. the president's anger over the raid and a new assessment of what the implications could be for cohen most prominent client trump, they are taking into account. the president's attorney jay sekulow declined to discuss the meeting saying we do not discuss conversations we have had or not had with the special counsel, anderson. >> and just lastly, i understand we're learning more about what the fbi was seeking in the
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searches yesterday. >> reporter: that is right. we have learned that the search warrant carried out by the public corruption unit of the fbi, the manhattan federal attorney's office sought information about karen mcdougal, an ex playboy model who claims she carried on a year-long affair with mr. trump shortly after the birth of his son in 2006. now mcdougal was paid $150,000 by american media inc. the inquirier parent company whose chief executive is a friend of mr. trump. agents were also searching the office for information rell late -- rell ated to stormy daniels who said she had sex with mr. prtrump while was marrd which they have denied and they acknowledged the $150,000 was part avenue nondisclosure agreement to secure her silence days before the 2016 presidential election. anderson. >> pam brown, thank you very much. news that broke a few minutes ago concerning the possible firing of robert
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mueller. new details on the president's thinking on that subject and jim acosta joins us with more. and based on what sarah huckabee-sanders said today the white house feels confident that the president believes that hes had the right to fire mueller if he so chooses. >> that is right, anderson. and i'm told by a source familiar with the discussions that the president and his top aides have been discussing the possibility and the legality of firing robert mueller for months and you heard sarah huckabee-sanders saying this today that the president believes he has the power to do this. it is not clear whether or not they had this discussion about the legality but i'm told by sources familiar with the matter that not only has it been discussed as to whether or not the president has the authority to do this, but that the prevailing legal interpretation inside of the administration is that, yes, the president has the authority to do this. the question is whether the president will ultimately fire robert mueller. but it seems, aerpd, they've been talking about this for sometime. i talked to one source earlier today who said this is a subject of conversation since the indictments of paul manafort and
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rick gates, the former trump campaign aides so the discussions have been going on for a long time. >> i understand the president is talking directly to members of congress about firing mueller. >> reporter: right. that is something else we're hearing from our sources, that the president has been talk to members of congress about this. it hasn't been a great number of members of congress. but he has been bouncing this idea off of those lawmakers and what i'm told by a source familiar with these conversations is that essentially these lawmakers have been counseling the president, don't do this and urging caution and the advice is described as more level-headed than what he is hearing from legal advisers saying the president may need to get tough and that means firing robert mueller. but he's been told by lawmakers that could be devastating and disastrous for the upcoming midterms and the democrats would use that as a campaign wedge issue to try to pull the trump voters in their column come november. >> thank you very much. breaking news from cnn
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political analyst and white house correspondent maggie haberman voting on an incident in which the president wanted to fire the special counsel in december. he was angry that mr. mueller was seeking financial records from deutsche bank. now perspective from preet berrar, from the southern district of new york. >> what do you make of this new new york time report that as early as in early december the president was wanting to fire robert mueller because of a report about subpoenaed had made to deutsche bank. >> it is consistent with everything we understand about donald trump. he doesn't like the investigation. he said quite clearly in in all caps with multiple exclamation parks in his twitter account he thinks it is a witch hunt and that he's preyly tried to -- previously tried to file robert mueller through don mcgahn and that is specificity -- >> and he had drawn a red line with the new york times in a previous interview saying don't look at my past testimony
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records. >> but robert mueller is allowed to investigate things that he comes across ain the course of doing other things. if you are investigating someone for narcotics and you come across a deaded abou-- a dead br home -- it is not a great analogy but the point remains. and so donald trump based on the reporting, he wants robert mueller gone and he's trying to figure out way to do it to minimize the impact on him and politically the congress or someone por pliable as a deputy attorney general. he wants robert mueller gone and can he succeed in doing it on his other terms. >> his legal advisers think he has a better case of firing rosenstein than mueller because rosenstein is a potential witness in the counsel investigation. >> there is nothing that protected anyone else in the department of justice from being fired for any reason at all. i was the person who -- who
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knows that firsthand. jeff sessions could be fired at any moment. but there is a particular regulation designed to protect some independents and ongoing work of the special counsel and so that is why they are probablien ga probably -- engaging in hypothetical maneuvering with the less possible blowback for mueller. >> and sara sanders said the president does have the right to fire mueller. >> she said the president believes he has the right. she said a lot of things that are demonstrably false and the president believes thing that are false and i brought my handy cheat sheet that the regulation is clear with respect to the special counsel. they may be disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the attorney general. and he may remove the special counsel for a number of reasons including misconduct, dereliction of duty andin capacity and some other things and has to provide reasons in the writing. so it is very clear that if the president of the united states under the current circumstances
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and as long as the regulations are in effect, called up robert mueller and said i'm firing you, he would not heed that. you could rescind the regulations but that would involve a process and look terrible also. >> neal ketal who drafted the regulations, he said the president can fire mueller and all he has to do is repeal the regulation -- >> you could repeal the regulation and you have to take that act and that carries political consequenceo on the minds and ears of people in congress so far what they are saying said this will be hell to pay ant beginning of the end of the trump presidency if he did it and so it matters how you go about doing it. >> and that is a direct line from the president to firing -- it would be i have obvious move by the president publicly firing the special counsel which would as you said raise all sorts of political problems. >> i don't know how much camouflage the president gets by
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firing rod rosenstein given how angry he is and getting rid of robert mueller. but it is a much more direct line as you say. >> finally, it is easy to get in the weeds on all of this stuff and start to think, this seems -- this isn't that unusual. just big picture, how weird is what is happening right now? i know that is not a legal term, but just how -- in your experience, how unusual, bizarre, out of the ordinary is this. >> it is really weird. it is weird that you have, a., a president decided to have a lawyer who has acted like michael cohen has who himself has a lawyer. who is having his home and his hotel and his office searched. but from time to time, you get search warrants to look at lawyers offices. it is a big deal. and the regulations that say is requires a personal approval of the united states attorney and consultation with folks in washington. we did it from time to time but you have to believe that particularly in this sensitivity that -- the sensitivity that is
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present here, if i were still the united states attorney no matter who the president was and i was being asked to personally approve as someone had to in the southern district of new york, a search of someone's home and office who was counsel to the president, i would want a lot more than the bear minimum proof of probable cause. so i predict as we saw with paul manafort, if they decided they have enough evidence to engage in a aggressive move, that the likelihood that michael cohen will be charged is high. >> fascinating. thank you. the panel joins us next. no shortage of things to talk about. and later the ceo of facebook, senators had no shortage of questions for him today about the social media he founded. the impact it has on american democracy and what it does with the data users reveal online. [man] woah. ugh, i don't have my wallet, so -
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quiet. i'm blasting my quads. janice, look. i'm in a meeting. -janice, look. -[ chuckles ] -look, look. -i'm looking. it's easy. you just answer some simple questions online, and you get coverage options to choose from. you're ruining my workout. cycling is my passion. looking at the white house, a very busy but not pleasant place to be, according to the reporting, the president is conferring about firing the special counsel and counsel is on the broadcast tomorrow night and as all of the russia news is breaking, the president is considering new strikes on syria. i'll bring in the panel. i'm not even sure where to begin because frankly there is so much moving parts right now. asha, if the president does fire rosenstein, what effect would
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that have the mueller investigation. >> that does have more repercussions on the investigation than firing mueller himself. because as we've seen from the raid, mueller is required right now to get the approval of the deputy attorney general to take significant steps in his investigation. like executing a search warrant. so what you could start -- what could start happening if trump gets a lackey in there, that person could be behind the scenes essentially not approving things, slow rolling it, not approving funding, things like that that would allow that to be shielded because it looks like mueller is still able to do his investigation. >> but the solicitor general would take the place of rod rosenstein right now temporarily, correct? >> i think -- based on the way that this investigation has gone, and the fact that judges have approved things, there are clearly evidence of criminal violations that any lawyer who is following the professional
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duty will have an obligation to continue. so but i think we have -- looking at the other appointments, we don't know who could come into that role. >> i don't know that people understand just how amazing a situation we are in. >> explain. because it is easy to start to think this is just normal. >> i am glossing over this, but if you are in the criminal justice system right now and you understand that the fbi just executed a search warrant in the -- both the home and office, whether it is the hotel or not, of the lawyer for the president of the united states, that is stunning. i don't know there is any press den -- precedent for that. and the president and all of the talk about firing mueller gets him nowhere. firing mule ser a useless act. it might be symbolic politically or feeding to somebody else. but that doesn't keep him out of harm's way. pardoning or doing a preemptive pardon of michael cohen does nothing because then michael cohen has no ability to assert
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any privileges and then has to cooperate and unless he wants to pull a susan mcdougal. so the only person that makes any sense for him in this death struggle -- because this is clearly a death struggle. somebody has authorized and it is obviously rod rosenstein this, so this came over and i'm not so sure what is speculated that this is -- it was lateral over to the southern district for a separate investigation. i frankly think and preet had indicated, this is a taint team -- >> i agree. it is stunning. it is stunning in the audacity that the department of justice is trying to usurp the power of the presidency. it is stunning that right now in -- >> how are they doing that? >> because the american people have been promised since the beginning of this investigation this was about russia. and what do we see now? it is not about russia. it is about sex, a one-night stand allegedly 12 years ago. >> we don't know.
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>> with a porn star. >> it wasn't just about russia. >> where this is going -- it is not a crime. there is no crime. where this is going is impeachment. and that has been the base case -- >> let me -- >> since the beginning, this sham investigation -- >> so you think the fbi raided the home and the office and the hotel room where michael cohen was staying -- >> with judicial approval. >> with judicial approval not because there is any criminality, but just because they are interested -- >> not related to the president -- >> how do you know that? >> because he's been investigated for two solid years -- >> and what i said in -- >> this is mueller's attempt at a hail mary pass. we have nothing on russia, but look over here. look at this shining -- >> that is not the -- >> he's indicted 13 russians. how much more russia can you get. >> and josh was saying -- >> during the course of the investigation, the american people weren't promised anything. the special counsel was put in place to determine were there ties between the trump campaign and russia and the second
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corollary -- or during the cause of the investigation additional crimes were unearthed, they would go after that. they would -- you know, during the course of an investigation you uncover criminal activity, you don't simply ignore it. so if anything this is a service to the american people to say that we're going to ferret out criminal activity. >> let him finish. >> on your second point. if you are robert mueller, you come across criminal activity and you just don't sit on that because it doesn't impact what you are doing. you farm that out to the attorney's office and in this case it is the southern district and that is taking place here. but it is not related to russia, it is something that investigators can't ignore. >> that is where i don't think it is correct. i don't think that he farmed it out because it was separate criminal activity. i think he used the southern district as what they call a taint team because they are going into a lawyer's office. and they want to have a -- they don't want to have -- >> a did you ever. >> they have to have a wall. they don't have a special -- >> everybody who would have approved this is a republican.
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>> okay, but -- >> appointed by the president. >> and i hear that constantly. that is a -- an illogical cover. the republicans in d.c. have been every bit as obstructionist. >> and so the president appointed people who were secretly against him. >> he himself said he made bad appointments starting with sessions. and that was a mistake. but this isn't a republican or democrat issue, this is the swamp protecting itself and trying once again to nullify -- >> who is involved in this -- >> you don't know that. you are just saying that but you don't know any of that. you don't know -- >> here is why -- >> you don't know rod rosenstein or the guy who approved this raid. >> we know it was rod rosenstein. >> do you know chris wray? >> we know it is rod rosenstein who needs to be fired -- >> and you are saying the swamp. >> and i think he is a united states attorney for 20 years. >> he started his career as the -- in the independent counsel office pursuing bill clinton. that is where -- i first met rod
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rosenstein was down in little rock, arkansas when he was an independent counsel -- >> rich, how do you see this? >> we have to acknowledge that any president of the united states would be extremely upset if what was supposed to by counter intelligence investigation into the meddling of the election has morphed into a personal raid -- raid of his personal lawyer's office partly at least over a toddry payoff to a porn star. there is no president that will say that is a natural progression and that is great, i'm fine with that. so it is natural that he's very upset about this. he's angry about it. i don't think there is any way he's going to fire his way out of it. don't think firing rosen steen gets himself or mueller gets him anything or pardoning cohen gets him anything. the best policy and baton down the hatches and sit tight and
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wait to see the conclusions and litigate them aggressively in public and if the democrats take the house, in an impeachment hearing. >> is this the swamp just rearing its -- >> i don't think so. if you take in a very practical terms and ask why did donald trump say there was a red line. which first of all he doesn't get to say. it is like a 14-year-old telling your parents you can search my room for pot but i draw the line at the closet. never do such a thing. but you don't get to make the red line, and b., we're going to look in the closet. so he doesn't get to say the red line and why is he still obsessed with his personal finances. if i was under investigation and they said they would look at my personal finances i would be like, okay, there is nothing there. it is not a big deal. so why did he highlight that as something that you can't do. as for everything you are saying, we just don't know. >> he draws a red line. you know why? because this isn't the congress, he can't draw a red line.
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this is his own department of justice. mueller answers to him. he is not an independent counsel. this is not ken star. >> it is not a real investigation -- >> and rosenstein -- >> but he answers to the president. >> it is not a real investigation -- >> he does not -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> and we're blasting through norms because they no longer matter but in the united states of america there is a norm that the department of justice, that the fbi and they are independent. and they can investigate all of the way up to the top of the country. that is how this country exists. no one is above the law. to say because they work for him they can't be investigated is simply false. >> and mueller shouldn't be above the law and he has been. >> how so -- >> mueller answered -- >> everything he wants to do. >> mueller answered to rosenstein. firing mueller will have no effect from a legal jeopardy stand point. that does nothing for them. >> and then fire rosenstein. >> if he's going to try to get out of this, number one, he's got to get the heck out of -- i said this for weeks, i don't
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understand the end game of them filing the lawsuit in california to get relief which is why he's in this mess today. that makes absolutely no sense. i don't know what advice he's getting or who is telling him to do this because there is no end game that makes any sense except he's going to get -- he's going to find himself in the predicament he's in. if he's going to get out and he will fire rosen steen and he will have somebody who will come up and tell him kind of along the lines of what asha is saying, i'm going to rein this in. if i could take this job, i know what is spelled out for me and what is spelled out is to protect the president. >> and if that person is not already somebody who is in the department whose past -- passed review by congress, that person has to appear before congress and get approved, right? >> i don't know that that is necessarily true. i think he could put -- and an enterpretation and why he had
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him over for dinner and put somebody in that spot to clean house and if somebody is accepting that position, if somebody said i'm willing to take it. i know what he wants me to do. that person will not care about the legal niceties. >> and one big repercussion here is that mueller periodically is going to produce reports on the various threads of his investigation. we know he's going to do one on obstruction. i don't think he's going to recommend indicting the president because that is against the department of justice policy but he may say there is evidence of it. a new d.a.g. could decide to not make that report public. and that -- i think -- and then subsequently that is under wraps and the american public will know. >> and we'll take a break. and the president trump is claiming the fbi broke into the office of michael cohen and mr. cohen told cnn what he said really happened an it is much different. we'll tell you that, next.
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more now on the raid by on michael cohen. >> i just heard they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, good man. and it is a disgraceful situation -- >> they didn't break into his office. he's not daniel ellsberg psychiatrist and even mr. cohen backs that up. here is what he told don lemon this afternoon. i'm unhappy to have my office and resident raided but i will tell you that remembers of the fbi were professional. >> what do you make of the president's remarks and how he's handling this publicly and privately. >> well i think it is the concerning part is the private reporting that we're getting. that he feels that the -- the
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doj hasn't protected him enough and that is a theme all along. that he sees first jeff sessions and the attorney general his primary job which is i don't think is the primary job and when people are recusing themselves he feels he's being let down and not protected. so that is concerning. that he feels they are supposed to be protecting him and pursuing justice and the idea of him trying to fire people would are doing the investigation is also contrary to what steve is staying. i find it very troubling and i don't think we have -- this idea that these are all of the swampy political backs is not backed up by the facts. >> jeff tubin in the last hour said all of the people are doing their job. rosenstein is doing his job, the head of the southern district is doing his job and recusing himself and the guy who stepped in is doing his job and you could agree with their job. do you agree -- the president is angry with them for essentially doing their job? >> it is hard to know without seeing the evidence directly yourself. the raid in cohen's office, if
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it is indeed just entirely about the stormy daniels matter, and a potential campaign finance violation, it is going after a nat with a sledgehammer, and also reporting about possible branch fraud. >> which i wonder if it sntd something more than that. >> and rich, if they are going to -- with a sledgehammer, let's compare and contrast versus hillary clinton and the careless way with which she handles her mails. >> that is a feather. no one was raided there. nobody. >> if you are comparing things to deserve comparison, wouldn't it be like whitewater and this -- >> that is a valid comparison as well. and by the way, ken star was -- was totally out of bounds to voir into the bedroom when he was commissioned to look into whitewater and what we're seeing now -- i wrote an article about that, in monica 2.0.
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>> janet reno adopted -- >> as someone who lived through that -- >> you believe the only republican arguing that -- >> it is just as wrong. it is even more wrong because at least ken star had legal standing. he was a truly independent counsel and could not be fired. he was commissioned by law. >> and this complicates. >> and that is morally dubious because this is coming from the executive branch. this is less constitutionally proper. >> and talking about actions if they occurred, occurred -- >> did you speak up about that during the investigation? >> no. >> it's -- look, we complained about it 20 years ago during whitewater. they could -- there is an easier way. they could have issued a grand jury subpoena and compelled him to do a privilege log or compelled him -- him being michael cohen, so there was a less intrusive way, which leads me to believe that the only way some judge signed off on this is
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some judge was convinced in the application that there was some kind of exigent circumstance because there is no way some federal judge is going to sign off on a search warrant when he could have said, wait a second, fbi agent, just issue a grand jury subpoena -- >> for the president's lawyer. >> for the presidents a lawyer. it is mind boggle. so they felt evidence will get destroyed. >> i'm going to borrow from the wisdom of kirsten and one of my favorite lines is they are slowly trying to drive us insane. you see what is going on. we just heard was in 2018 a reference to hillary clinton. now as a former law enforcement investigator or someone who was down the middle, i didn't care about politics and the same way here as i try to analysis and if you look at the totality and the comparisons, it does a disservice. there is an echo chamber out there that unfortunately tends to inform our national policy on news networks.
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this isn't that news network. so we should not sit here and say because hillary clinton was treated one way donald trump is being treated another way. it is a disserver to the viewers and those watching -- it is intellectually dishonest and to say well she in this case one thing happens and if it is not a perfect comparison, what are we talking about. >> maybe there is something more to this. but if it is just the potential campaign finance violation, this would be a way to go after an offense that just results in a fine. >> but you make a good point. if that is all it is -- it is usually just a fine. the f.e.c. can turn it over to the department of justice for investigation if criminal actions occur. but it is pretty minor find and it takes years and years. >> they have to be aware of what -- if that is it is, and that comes out, they're perfectly aware of how that will be perceived. >> a gift -- >> and so it is hard to believe that somebody would do that. that they would -- like you are
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saying, they understand the gravity of the situation. so i don't know why we're assuming that it is just some minor -- >> this is robert mueller. i mean, he was the director of the fbi for 13 years. the longest serving fbi director since hoover. he knows how to do these investigations. he led the scooter libby investigation under bush. he knows the sensitivity of these, how these are approved and what -- what the scope is. he's not a runaway train. >> and you say this is a sal itious thing, if a.m. >> the parent company of the inquiry is catching and killing stories for donald trump for years, and has filed of all of these stories that they own the rights to that are critical of the president, it gives the head of ami an awful lot of power over the president. if i'm donald trump and the president of ami wants to come in my office and bring saudi business people who i'm about to embark on business with to meet me, don't you feel pressured to
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meet -- >> that is a valid question but what is important in the election in 2016, i don't think people were voting for mother teresa -- >> he's susceptible for bribery and it was well-known and extremely broadcast -- >> and having people have their thumb on you because of files full of salacious and damaging information on you, that is being compromised. >> i don't know that that matter. >> no one would care that donald trump is -- >> it doesn't seem like it. >> it matters for national security -- >> it is something that he could get blackmailed on. >> i don't think for a second, call me jaded, that this is coming down to just stormy daniels or karen mcdougal. that may be the pretext but i think ultimately they have a connection and i think it is a manafort connection and they want cohen to -- they want to squeeze him. that is what happens. you know.
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you did it for how many years. they squeeze people to go to the next level. that is what is happening here. >> we're talking about 1990s president. i would think michael cohen would be the likeliest candidate to be the susan mcdougal of the situation, who went to jail rather than talk about bill clinton. >> and having represented her and in two trials, i will tell you that it takes a certain kind of individual who would rather go to jail than testify -- >> will tell you what michael avenatti said, in his experience the more someone talks about how tough they are -- and michael cohen portraying himself as i'll go to my grave holding all of these secrets, it remains to be seen. >> there is some precedent for that. the anthony pelicano in los angeles who -- it wasn't -- >> who is about to get out. >> about to get out. he went in and he could have rolled at any time and he didn't. >> and he may come out and
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fate of rod rosenstein is in flux. sources telling cnn the president is considering firing him and that could put the special counsel in jeopardy and new reporting in the new york times that as recently as december, the president was intent on shutting down the investigation. just before i spoke with republican congressman adam kinzinger of illinois. the breaking news that the president is considering firing
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rod rosenstein, is that a move you would support? >> look, i don't know. it is a rumor. let's see what happens. with all of these -- every day something new comes out. i said let's take the long game and look at what is going on. i think it would be smart of the president to not fire people involved with this investigation. >> if the president does fire rosenstein, do you think congress would step in or should step in and pass some sort of legislation to protect mueller and his investigation. is there any appetite in the republican side to do so? >> well i haven't -- besides speculation, i haven't heard any indication that the president is going to fire mueller. besides the speculation. so again, look, i think preemptively passing this, not necessarily, but i think it is clear and i think the president should understand and he does and i think a lot of people have said this both in the senate and house side that we want the independent investigation to go through and we'll get answers. >> and just one more on this -- if he did fire rosenstein, which he has actively been talking about, do you think that is a -- an attempt to impact mueller's
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investigation? >> well that is a big leap to say anything on that. i think it is probably wise of the president, unless he has cause, for rosen steen to leave him there. but that said, i don't like speculating in what-ifs until we see what happens because this is an investigation and a process that every day is different and it changes and it is new and i think it behoves us to get the final answers and stand by. >> given what is happening domestically, are you concerned it could behind the president's possibility to make an informed or swift decision when it comes to syria. >> i'm not worried about decision making or options in syria. it is important for the president to focus on the military response to make the case for why. i believe a military response is essential because this country has to stand for something. and standing for preventing chemical weapons to be used on the battlefield since world war i is important. and when you tweet different kinds of things and taking
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people focus off it but i have no doubt that he's got the best people around him presenting him the best options and he'll make the right decision. >> if the u.s. does act in syria, does it need to act more aggressively than last year or on more more long-term basis than a targeted air strike or two. >> there is two ways to look at it. i look at this whole attack as one thing, which is making the cost of the use of chemical weapons far exceed any value by using them. so in the last attack, we destroyed a fifth of assad's air force. there is nobody that would doubt that the cost to assad was greater than his benefit. so i think an attack like that needs to happen. whether it is that kind of limited attack, or even attacking his command or control and making it clear not only will the cost of the regime be -- extensive but we stand for something and not wanting to make sure we have a good economy but people that stand for values
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and believes and will do that through the might of the milt. >> and they say they possess no chemical weapons, russian foreign ministry labelled it a hoax. should the u.s. wait for evidence that chemical weapons were used and trace it to assad before conducting a strike. >> we have pretty definitive evidence and i don't want to get into the details but i know what capabilities we have. when on the one hand russia said that u.s. special forces in a false flag operation did this, and then say there was no use of chemical weapons, and then block the umt n. attempt to investigate whether there was chemical weapons, i think there is no doubt the russians know there was and they're complicit. we can't take anything the russians say to their word and they like to play to the domestic audience and some bots on twitter or people willing to believe the crazys conspiracy theories like a false flag operation.
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facebook ceo mark zuckerberg was on capitol hill today, told a panel of senators that his company did not do enough to protect users data and combat fake news and foreign interference in election and hate speech. he confirmed his company is cooperating with robert mueller investigation into russian meddling in the election. >> i assume facebook has been served with subpoenas from the special counsel's office, is that correct? >> yes. >> have you or anyone at facebook been interviewed by the special counsel's office? >> yes. >> have you been interviewed- >> i have not. i have not -- >> others have? >> i believe so. and i want to be careful here because that -- our work with the special counsel is confidential and i want to make sure that in an open session i'm not revealing something that is confidential. >> i understand.
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i just want to make clear that you have been contacted have had subpoenas. >> let me clarify. i'm not aware of the subpoena. i believe >> joining me now is lori siegal. what more are you learning about between the interaction with facebook and the special counsel? >> actually, a facebook spokesperson said to me they're providing information with the special counsel, including ads and related content. you can assume that has to do with the i.r.a. it came up in september that they were working together. that they were looking into russian meddling. and something else mark zuckerberg said today during his five-hour grilling is he essentially said his biggest regret was just being too slow when it came to russian interference. i think he saw a lot of anger and frustration over the fact that it took too long for facebook to get on top of that, that they were too reactive and not proactive enough. >> zuckerberg was asked questions whether the company is
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too powerful. what did he say? >> he was asked, is facebook a monopoly, name your competitors. he said amazon, google, and tech companies that don't necessarily compete right with facebook. he acknowledged the right kind of regulation was needed. they're trying to get in front of the regulation talk, which is inevitably happening. one thing that was really interesting is he said we are responsible for content when it comes to the platform. for so many years, tech founders have just considered themselves the pipes, not responsible for the content going through them. that was an acknowledgement. he was then followed one a question are they a tech company or the world's biggest publisher. this brings up questions about free speech and artificial intelligence and how it will police content, which was also discussed, and whether or not facebook could be politically
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biased. so that's a conversation that shouldn't get lost in a lot of the political theater. >> we understand in the run-up to today, zuckerberg spent weeks preparing. >> yeah, a source said they took over a conference room and they did these mock hearings. they set it up like a congressional hearing room. this is a very new setting for mark zuckerberg. this is not an outward facing ceo. and the idea the source told me was to be contrite, humble, and respectful, which i think he was able to do. but a lot of the people that would criticize some of the questioning wasn't that tech savvy. >> thank you very much. a canadian digital advertising firm with ties to cambridge analytica to the brexit movement of the uk is temporarily banned from facebook over the possible misuse of personal facebook data. it says it has done nothing wrong, but drew griffin says the little known firm appears to be at the center of a new type of campaigning weaponizing target messaging.
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here's dr ee's true's report. >> reporter: they created what they call a database of truth. the ability to collect shopping records, social media connections and voting records to create individual profiles on almost every voter in the united states. and according to chris vickry, used that information to influence voters in a way never seen before. >> kind of like being able to whisper in somebody's ear any message you want and nobody else is going to find out about it. think of all the things you can do with that ability. >> reporter: he's director at data risk security firm. it was slue hthrough his sleuth that he came upon this work product, used in targeting voters for the ted cruz pac, for texas governor greg abbott, a super pac for john bolton, along with several different campaigns supporting the uk's brexit referendum. >> ted cruz's actual personal
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e-mail is in here. >> reporter: he said it was out in the open until aggregate i.q. was notified. the company took just 11 minutes to take it down. what was there? he says a window into the type of campaigning that he says seeks to radicalize voters by changing how individuals receive political messages. >> let's say you get an e-mail from your uncle that loves donald trump, and there's a hidden tracking pixel in there, that as soon as your e-mail client loads that image of the tracking pixel, their server can figure out what your ip address is. >> reporter: from there, it can track everything you bought online, get your home address, and because aggregate iq was in possession of the republican data on u.s. voters, could determine your voter registration history. combined with facebook data, he says it's a blueprint into how you think. >> we know all this about you. what do we think we should target you with to engage you?
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how can we get you interested in downloading the app or get you interested if liking posts by ted cruz? >> reporter: it sounds genius and frightening. >> it is pretty genius and fairly frightening, yes. >> reporter: facebook continues to investigate how data from as many as 87 million users got into the hands of cambridge analytica. the london based data firm that worked for the dlt conald trump campaign. this week, facebook extended its investigation to include aggregate iq. the british parliament is investigating both companies over possible campaign spending violations tied to the brexit campaign. despite the evidence linking the two companies, aggregate iq said -- and it says it has never knowingly been involved in any illegal activity.
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phone calls to the company went unanswered. >> drew griffin joins us. mark zuckerberg was asked about this facebook data today and said again that the personal accounts of 87 million users got into the hands of cambridge analytica, the firm that worked on the donald trump campaign. did cambridge analytica and trump's campaign use the data to target voters? >> anderson, cambridge analytica emphatically says no. in fact, company disputes the numbers and says it only had access to 30 million users and it did not use any of that material whatsoever in the 2016 election cycle. i think it's going to take one of these investigations to determine if that's true. aggregate iq is denying it ever had that data and it's exposed records seem to show that company was not working on the trump campaign. >> thanks for the reporting. we'll be right back. but so began the year of me. i discovered the true meaning of paperless discounts... and the indescribable rush
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alo-ha. kayak. search one and done. that's all the time we have. thanks for watching. time to hand it over to don lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. here's our breaking news. sources telling cnn president trump is now considering firing deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. the only man who stands between the president and robert mueller. firing rosenstein is something that could put trump in saturday night massacre territory. but officials say even that may not be enough for a furious president. i want you to listen to this exchange from today's white house briefing. >> does this president believe he has the power to fire special counsel robert mueller? >> certainly believes he has the pow tore do so. we've been advised that the president certainly has the power to make that decision. >> so the president believes he has the power to fire mueller. even though the code of