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tv   Inside Politics  CNN  August 14, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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be a liar. the fact she taped in the situation room in the white house is not the right thing to do. but those tapes may be very revealing of a very ugly president. >> i have to cut in because we have more breaking news coming in. thank you for your time. i'm going to wrap up here. the defense has just rested in the paul manafort trial. with that, i'm going to hand this over to my colleague john king. "inside politics" starts right now. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. big breaking news this hour. a big development in the paul manafort trial. just moments ago the defense resting without presenting a case, without calling any witnesses. also, the judge throwing out a motion by manafort's lawyers. they hope to dismiss bank fraud and other charges against the
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former trump campaign chairman. let's get straight to shimon prokupecz. this is a big risk taken by the defense team here, deciding no witnesses, no case. >> yeah, it's a huge risk. this just happening moments ago. so we're sort of digesting it. certainly we were not sure if paul manafort was going to put on a defense. attorneys had not indicated to us they would. we did not expect manafort, of course, to take the stand. nonetheless, there is overwhelming evidence here by the prosecutors, the special counsel team, and the evidence and testimony they put forth. it is a little surprising there's no case here, that they're not putting on any kind of defense. it is a risky move. we'll see what they argue in closing arguments. of course, as you know, they've been making a big deal about rick gates here and how he was the person who was really responsible for this. it looks like that's what they're going to stick with and probably just use information that they gathered during the trial on cross-examination of
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rick gates and other witnesses to sort of establish that. but it is, john, absolutely a huge risk not to put on any kind of defense. it'll be interesting, you know, once this trial is over, to see how jurors react to that and what they were thinking. usually, you know, you're told by the judge -- jurors are told if a defendant has not put on a case, you shouldn't view that negatively. but nonetheless, jurors perceive things. so that's going to be interesting. and i guess now we'll have closing arguments and perhaps, you know, a verdict in the next day or two. certainly this case is now over. closing arguments will begin. and this is, john, no doubt a huge risk by the defense. >> shimon, stay with us. i want to go to our correspondent joe johns, who has been in alexandria, virginia, for the trial. joe, i understand as this played out, there was some interaction between the defendant, the former trump campaign chairman, paul manafort, and the judge. >> reporter: yeah, but very little. the judge essentially asking him if he wanted to testify, and he
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said no. shimon is absolutely right. it is a risky move for the defense, not only because jurors expect to hear from the defendant, but also because the defense loses the opportunity to humanize this defendant who has through the prosecution's case been demonized to some extent. also important to say even the judge himself in a gentle way, i would say he's not a very gentle judge, but in a gentle way encouraging earlier in the trial paul manafort to testify, suggesting that if he did, the judge might have been more likely to allow in evidence that the internal revenue service never audited paul manafort. so a lot of reasons why manafort might have wanted to get on the stand. if he did get on the stand, certainly he would have been subjected to a very harsh
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cross-examination, which might have not only hurt him in this trial but could potentially also hurt him in the trial that is at least scheduled for september on related but different charges. so manafort will not testify. they're now working on instructions to the jury. after that, they'll move toward closing arguments. back to you, john. >> and after closing arguments, of course jury deliberations. joe johns, appreciate it. keep us posted on any developments. shimon is standing by as well. i want to bring into the conversation our cnn legal analyst michael zeldin, who's worked with the special counsel robert mueller in the past. i want to be clear up front. there's absolutely no requirement for a defendant to present a defense. give me your analysis of this decision by the manafort defense team. so they're not going to come up with any witnesses of their own to say to his character, his integrity. obviously no new witnesses to challenge the prosecution's case. they're simply resting on the
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prosecution and the big decision not to put manafort on the stand. what do you make of that? >> i think it was foregone that manafort was not going to testify. he could not survive cross-examination. his best hope was that gates would be so bloodied by the cross-examination that they'd be able to say to the jury, you should have a reasonable doubt as to his voracity and therefore as to the government's case as a whole. so he can't testify. if he puts on character witnesses, they get to cross-examine them in terms of did you know that paul manafort was this, did you know paul manafort was that. again, it's an effort to bloody up manafort's reputation. so really, this case should have been a guilty plea. that said, you could get a non-guilty verdict. but the closing arguments left to say essentially we damaged gates, we impugn the integrity of a few of the financial witnesses. therefore, one of you guys, please, have a reasonable doubt
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and either hang this jury or all 12 of you acquit him. but this was pretty foregone, paul, that this guy was not going to be able to testify, and there was no defense to the documentary case. >> and as we watched this, important to note for anybody watching who hasn't tracked it on a daily basis, these charges have to do with paul manafort's work before he joined the trump campaign, before 2016. however, there has been some suggestion he tried to use his influence in the trump campaign to get a bank loan, to maybe promise jobs to people who were helping him get what the government says are fraudulent bank loans. michael, just a quick observation from you. on what we learned about bob mueller's special counsel team, their prosecution style here, you're right. the defense went after gates very hard, but then the prosecutors came back in after that with more clinical witnesses, if you will, saying here's the documentation, here are the financial experts to back up what rick gates told you. what's your assessment? what did we learn about the methodical approach, the evidentiary approach of the special counsel?
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>> right. as i watched the case unfold, i liked very much the way the prosecutors told their story. they started out with manafort has lived a luxurious life with high-end purchases of jackets and houses and the like. then they said, but that money was not declared on taxes from financial witnesses. then they said his business partner can corroborate that. then they close with additional people saying this is what rick gates told you, we're confirming what rick gates told you, and we are the bankers who were defrauded. as a story, you want to tell the jury something that they can understand because it's a complex matter. taxes and foreign bank accounts and the like. i think they did a very nice job in telling that story. i think they were very well prepared. i think it's a portend of the future of anyone else who wants to go to trial against these guys. because downing and company, manafort's lawyers, are themselves very good lawyers.
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he had very able representation, and i don't think they were able to do much with the prosecution's case. >> michael zeldin, appreciate those insights. now here in studio for insights. we're waiting for the judge to give instructions. then it goes to the jury. sort of the pause button as to what happens here. but to michael's point, no expectation of paul manafort to testify. did anyone think he would take that dramatic risk? >> i think it was going to be very difficult for him to testify. the question was going to be what kind of defense were they going to put on without him on the stand and would they be raising the question even more prominently in the minds of the jurors of why they weren't hearing from manafort if they were hearing from defense counsel and from his defense team. i think i would have been surprised to have seen him take the stand. i think that this decision was probably made with all of that in mind. that said, i think what your previous guest said was
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important to keep in mind, the prosecution put on a very orderly kind of methodical case that is going to be very difficult to take apart. so it seems that the defense counsel calculated that their best play was to try to raise as many questions as they could about what was being said about paul manafort by rick gates and others and sort of rest on that as their best hope of getting him acquitted. >> again, nothing in these specific charges has anything to do with russian collusion w the trump campaign, with the president himself. as a building block here, if you're the president, you're watching this. if you're the other people facing charges or being looked at by the investigation, you're watching this. how important is it for the special counsel to get a win here? >> i think if we're sitting on
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this set the day after or the day of the verdict and it appears to be an easy conviction, i think we're all going to be saying, okay, this is a win for the special counsel, and this shows that, you know, this case, this very first case they brought was a slam dunk. if that's not the case, it will raise a whole host of questions about, first of all, whether the president's political attacks on the special counsel have made it impossible for any jury to consider these charges fairly. second of all, about whether they know what they're doing, having brought, you know, what seems to be a case on tax charges supported by a mountain of evidence and witnesses, and if they can't land that, i think it'll raise other questions. >> shimon, you're still with us, i believe. at one point, the prosecutors objected successfully to defense questioning of the star witness rick gates. we did see a small portion in which they said you can't ask him those questions because that would disclose sensitive
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information about an ongoing investigation. the tease being rick gates is cooperating on additional potential cases that go beyond his work for paul manafort that ostensibly because the questions were about his work in the trump campaign do include 2016 forward, if you will. the judge said that would be eventually unsealed. do we have any idea when? >> no, we don't know. in fact, there's been a couple of these moments where the judge has sealed conferences. this morning, that's how court began. we expected we would begin s summations, closing arguments this morning. then around 9:15, the court informed folks in the courtroom the judge was closing the hearing. there was another sealed hearing. we don't know what that was about. the next news we got was that the defense was resting. rick gates, we don't know exactly his entire cooperation. we will eventually probably learn it once other cases are
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brought. it's clear based on what prosecutors have said in court that they're using him for other parts of this investigation that they do not want to be public. that's why they objected to the questioning from paul manafort's attorney when he started getting into, well, you've met with the special counsel 20 times, right? and rick gates said yes. then he wanted ask him questions about what he may have said regarding other investigations. because they're attacking rick gates' credibility. there's no doubt that paul manafort's attorney probably has a good idea of the kind of cooperation rick gates has been providing because he has certain statements that the special counsel had to give him. he may have some idea of what that investigation is. you know, maybe that's why he wanted to bring it out. who knows. certainly rick gates is a key part of this investigation for the special counsel. >> and to that point, if you're the president's legal team or
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anyone else, roger stone, whose fre friends are being called before the grand jury right now, the idea that rick gates is still cooperating, stuff that involves 2016 or forward looking, windshield not rearview mirror. if you're watching this from the outside and if you're team trump and trying to say this is isolated, precampaign, so paul manafort turned out to be a bad hire, not a nice guy, but has nothing to do with the president. that part makes you think what is going on, right? >> right. this is something we know the president is very closely watching, as is rudy giuliani. because rick gates was still part of trump world for so long after the president made claim that paul manafort and rick gates were only involved for a few months. that is really not the case. so whatever happens on that front and the level of cooperation that rick gates is doing with the special counsel is probably part of the reason why the president has been on the attack as much and calling out mueller by name in tweets more so in the past few weeks. >> it also plays into -- i mean, basically the same thing, how
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they're using this as their pr campaign. they're probably glad paul manafort is not testifying so he couldn't give anymore insight into perhaps how this would weave into the 2016 campaign. >> he has another trial after this one. then we continue to move on. you're right. the president's attacks continue, but we shall see. big test for the special counsel. up next, the president and his staff escalate their attacks against a former aide. she says she's got more ammunition. this is your wake-up call. if you have moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems,
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more developments today in the explosive showdown between president trump and his estranged former white house aide omarosa, whose tell-all book releases today. president trump's campaign says it's now taking legal steps against omarosa saying she is in breach of a 2016 nondisclosure agreement she signed with the trump campaign. back to that in a moment. president trump, meanwhile, escalating personal attacks today, tweeting, when you give a crazed crying low life a break
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and give her a job at the white house, i guess it just doesn't work out. good work by general kelly for quickly firing that dog. thanks, mr. president, for making me repeat that. it's torreimportant to mention president trump is fond of insults, it's less common he actually calls someone a dog. it is obviously a dehumanizing insult, leveled in this case at an african-american woman. the president is angry because, among other things, omarosa claims president trump used the "n" word on the set of "the apprentice," and it's captured on tape. president trump's former campaign spokeswoman told cnn last night never happened. >> that is absolutely not true. i have no sources with that tape. i have no connections to anyone at "celebrity apprentice" other than omarosa. in fact, she was the only one that brought this tape up.
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>> today, though, on cbs, here's omarosa releasing a new recording she says has several campaign aides, including katrina pierson, discussing allegations trump used that word. >> pierson and lynne path sonto saying no one ever denied the
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existence of a conversation about a reported "apprentice" tape. this just in to cnn. pierson says during the 2016 campaign, we heard rumors about an alleged tape from "the apprentice." it's clear these rumors were always being circulated by omarosa herself, and her alone. her recording of me, it was one of many times i would placate omarosa to move the discussion along because i was weary of her discussion on this alleged tape. i'm going to stop reading the statement because it has information we haven't discussed in the program. essentially katrina pierson now saying omarosa is wrong, crazy, whatever you want to say. she'll be on erin burnett "out front" this evening to explain her side of this. let's go to cnn's jeff zeleny at the white house. i was going to ask you to help untangle this. i don't think it can be untangled. >> reporter: john, what it speaks to is the fact that new statement there from katrina
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pierson, now she says she acknowledges there was a secret tape recording. she said she was trying to placate omarosa at the time. what this all boils down to, let's take a step back. this boils down to who president trump, then candidate trump, decided to surround himself with. at the time he brought omarosa on to the campaign, it was unclear he was going to become the 45th president of the united states. it was unclear that she would end up here at the white house, but that is what happened. this is a huge mess, largely of everyone's making. as we untangle this, there is potentially some legal action here. there has been an action filed in new york state, potentially with the trump campaign, seeking arbitration. what that means is to have a judge or a legal representative essentially handle this and see if omarosa essentially violated that nondisclosure agreement she signed with the presidential campaign. more controversial, though, is a potential disclosure agreement she signed with the president when she left, at least
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discussion of that. that's highly unusual. when you break down all of this, i assume this will be the subject of the white house press briefing this afternoon. it is a huge mess by all sides. now we, i think, have a reason why general kelly was trying to fire her or certainly remove her. and this is the fallout from that. and of course let's not forget someone here is trying to sell a book. john? >> yes, indeed. someone here is. jeff zeleny at the white house, appreciate it. let's bring you to the studio. a he said/she said between the president and omarosa. now you have a she said, she said, she said. i don't think we're ever going to sort this out. i think we do know that of these cast of characters, a lot of them have said things in the past that we can document as not being true. the president primarily among them. omarosa among them. to jeff's point, isn't this more about -- we were just talking about paul manafort, who was known not to be a boy scout when brought in by the trump campaign. the president himself in this tweet essentially says, i know
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omarosa was a crazy, wacky person, but i gave her a job with $170,000 a year of your money, but i did it because she said nice things about me. this is the president's best people, right? >> it's extraordinary. he's essentially admitting here that he, you know, when he was thinking about who he wanted in the white house, he was okay with the idea of hiring someone that he knew to be dishonest, that he thought was crazy, that he thought was wacky, essentially because she was on his side. the whole entangled situation we have now about the tape or was there a tape or wasn't there a tape and what was on the tape, i mean, i think that it's clear the president wants to quiet omarosa down. he wants to deny these charges that are in the book. i assume that's the reason they have filed this arbitration. but it also is the case that everyone else that worked on that campaign, including katrina pierson, and everyone else who's a part of this discussion now probably also signed one of
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those nondisclosure agreements with a nondisparagement clause. it's a signal to them and everyone else still around the white house and the people who left the white house or never went into the white house after the campaign that he will come after them if they say what they heard or what they saw in this particular way. it's extraordinary as well because this is a person, omarosa is a person, who actually worked in the white house. public officials are typically not subject to this kind of confidentiality agreement. they have to sign something that says i will not disclose classified information to someone without the proper clearance. but they don't -- it's the opposite when you're a federal employee. you are supposed to say what you saw and what you witnessed if you see something inappropriate or see wrongdoing. >> and if you're the president of the united states, and if this never happened, if he never used -- there's a lot she says. the one thing in particular is she has a tape of him on the set of "the apprentice" using the "n" word. let's assume that never happened. you can see why he would be
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angry about that. does that give anybody, but especially the president of the united states, the right to call any human being, and in this case an african-american woman, a dog? >> no. i think that's the easy answer. no, there isn't an excuse. you shouldn't be name calling anyone because he's the president and also a person. she has really gotten under his skin. he tweeted about this, what, eight times today. the last time i counted. i don't know that he's tweeted that many times about north korea let alone something that is gossip from a book. so the rumors of this tape have been out there for quite a while. i know we've looked into it. i know a lot of other news outlets have looked into it. nothing has come of it. the other thing the president is dealing with is the fact that he doesn't really have a good track record on how he deals with african-americans. look at what he said about lebron james last week. there's a whole litany of things he said. so one of the things that he's going to have to deal with going forward is the fact that this
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isn't out of the realm of possibility. the fact he said this. i don't think if we found out there was a tape anyone at this table would be shock, shock, sho shocked because of how he's treated particularly black athletes but also omarosa, a whole litany of people. >> the racial undertones have been there since we first learned act the possibility of omarosa having any tapes and trump allies already going after her. this sort of fight -- in the last few days, we've seen words being used, especially when the president talks about not just black athletes but people who have worked for him and people like katrina pierson and lynne patton are being put out by trump allies to defend the president because they're the other most high-profile african-americans in trump world. i think kellyanne conway got call the out on that just this weekend because there's no one really out there who can defend the president strongly on racial
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issues. he's just kind of digging a hole for himself by clearly tweeting things like dog and other words. >> if president trump really wanted to silence omarosa, he could have ignored her. i know that we all assume at this point that's not a possibility for this president, but had he ignored her, this story would have gotten way less oxygen. instead, he explicitly acknowledged the allegation. i think had he chosen to rise above, take the high road, not at all even acknowledge this was happening, it would have been much less of a story. you know, it would have been noted that this was unverified, and everybody would have moved on. the book isn't even selling particularly well. he has chosen to magnify this feud and to put it in the spotlight. so to the extent that this has become a bigger controversy than it needed to be, it's because he's called attention to it. >> exactly right. he had the reality tv response, shall we say, not the more -- >> the world wrestling federation response. >> right.
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we'll continue -- i will say this with certainty, we'll continue to follow this story, much to at least my dismay. but we will. up next, trump looms large in the wisconsin primaries today. why some republicans are running toward the president, others steering clear. eligible for medicare.
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voters in wisconsin, connecticut, minnesota, and vermont are voting right now. these setting up some of the most crucial midterm matchups when we get to november. wisconsin has some big races to watch, including which democrat gets the right to challenge governor scott walker this fall. republicans also in wisconsin picking a candidate to face off against democratic senator tammy baldwin in november. that republican primary is one of those establishment versus outsider clashes. let's take a look. it's drawing a lot of outside money. more than almost $14 million in outside money spent in the one republican senate primary in one state, wisconsin. take a peek. kevin nicol son is t kevin kevin nicholson, he's the outside candidate. anti-nicholson money, a small amount.
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you get the impression more than $11 million of that outside money to help him, including by hurting her. it's a republican primary. she's establishment. he's outsider. what do they share in common? look at their tv ads. hug the president. >> president trump needs an ally he can trust in the u.s. senate. that's not kevin nicholson. fortunately, there's a consistent conservative running for u.s. senate. >> president trump needs fighters in the senate. fighters like kevin nicholson. nicholson has a real plan to help trump drain the swamp. kevin nicholson for senate. >> we've seen this before. interesting to me in this particular state because this was a blue state the president turned red. democrats are determined to prove that was a fluke, number one by getting scott walker, they hope, this time. we'll get to that in a minute. but you still have these republicans running these pro-trump ads, even though tariffs and the president's
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personal war with harley-davidson. is that a risk? >> i think in the primary we've seen across the country in every primary this year, every republican primary, this is clearly the message that the campaigns, the candidates, the pollsters have tested and found wins republican primaries. be the strongest trump ally you can. similarly, we've seen otherwise well-qualified candidates lose because they were perceived as less loyal to president trump. the question i'm waiting to see answered, i think like clockwork, as soon as these primaries are over, you're going to have democrats attacking republicans who are too close to trump. so will the trump hug turn out to be a double-edge sword, to mix a metaphor. >> i think when you have two candidates backed by two different republican billionaires, the other aspect is they didn't want to get too negative in the primary to attack the other candidate because it's so close. one way they went positive is by hugging trump even closer. >> and most people won't know
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these names. if you followed scott walker's career, he won three statewide elections in just a couple years, including a recall election. he is reviled by democrats in wisconsin. but he's proven himself to be a survivor. democrats think this is the year they finally get scott walker. one way you know that is look at all these democrats running to win the primary against scott walker. i think we have that graphic as well. eight candidates running. that tells you they think there's a chance. the question is, is this their year? they say scott walker keeping winning is a fluke, wisconsin is a blue state. president trump winning was a fluke, wisconsin is a blue state. scott walker keeps winning and the president won. is wisconsin a blue state? >> i don't know that it makes a difference. it gets weird whith the governo. you have that in vermont as well, actually. with scott walker, he's such a formidable fundraiser. you can't discount -- that's all we were talking about all the way back in 2015, how formidable a presidential candidate he was
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going to be because of that fundraising network. that hasn't dissipated for him. that is going to matter. >> his performance as a presidential candidate was pitiful. >> it was not good. >> i want to get into the dynamics. this state fascinates me. you look at a state where the president, to his credit, turned pennsylvania, turned wisconsin, turned michigan. you study those states. was it just a one campaign? was it the clinton campaign's failings? was it some way the president talks? since then, you have scott walker, national republican figure as your governor, the speaker of the house, paul ryan, the president loved the fact -- he likes to give out his maps. look at the states i turned. now he has tariffs, and he's saying boycott harley-davidson. listen to speaker ryan and governor walker trying to dance around that one. >> yeah, the president has a style that's different. he knows that i don't like tariffs either, but i think at the end of the day, we hopefully can get an agreement here that opens up more access to our products in europe. i think that's good for everybody, including h harley-davidson. >> i want harley-davidson to do
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well here in the state of wisconsin. i think one of the best ways for that to happen is for us to do what the president himself talked about. that's get to a point where there's no tariffs. >> spin. >> i think the question is how big of a factor trump will be in this particular race, as jackie said. scott walker is a well-established figure in this state. he has a formidable fundraising apparatus, which is very important in a race like this. will trump, sort of the specter of trump that has encouraged all these democrats to throw their hats in the ring to get the nomination, will that energize democrats more than it energized republicans, who has you point out are already worried about the effect of tariffs, worried about the effect of some of his policies on the manufacturing sector, on companies like harley-davidson. this whole idea that the tariff issue is going to be taken care of later, like it's a pain now, but for down the road, it will be better for us, that does not
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motivate voters. voters take a look around themselves on election day and say, what do i feel now, what is happening now, who do i blame for that? if they make the calculation that trump has created a situation and that scott walker is allied with him and created a situation that is hurting them now, they're not going to care about what might happen down the road. >> the president thinks we'll be out of that tunnel by 2020. my guess is he's not going to ask the president to come up and help. just a guess. up next, details on another big primary in the spotlight, one that features two extraordinary candidates. okay we need to get
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i knew at that exact moment ... i'm beating this. my main focus was to find a team of doctors. it's not just picking a surgeon, it's picking the care team and feeling secure in where you are. visit topping our political radar today, another noteworthy primary we're watching featuring two remarkable candidates. it's vermont's democratic primary for governor. trying to become the nation's first ever transgender governor. among her opponents on the primary ballot, a politically passionate 14-year-old who thought, why wait, after learning vermont has no minimum age requirement for its top
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office. here's both making their case. >> my age hasn't played as large a role in my campaign as one might think. everywhere i go, my message transcends age. >> for some vermonters, i think my being transgender might be an issue. i think it's going to be a small minority. i think vermonters are going to vote for me for what i'm going to do for vermont. >> let's just call this next story about karma. remember the former trump white house aide and one of the president's most vocal side kicks throwing around the fake news label? well, he got busted using a fake business card. a gorka card suggesting he works for fox news. he doesn't. the piece points out the card features all the usual info and an outdated fox logo. the current one is on the right. no comment from fox. a congressional candidate in oklahoma thinks he's found the effective attack line ahead of his republican runoff in the
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district one race. harris supports the mueller investigation. hern hopes the position is a turnoff to voters, especially in a state where the president carried every county in 2016. >> hi, i'm kevin hern. a christian businessman and constitutional conservative. i'm a political outsider who supports president trump. my opponent wants the mueller investigation into the president to continue. up next, we'll follow up on that. do americans want robert mueller to take his time or wrap it up? your brain changes as you get older. but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. and something amazing happens. that's our inspiration for fancy feast medleys. wild salmon primavera. tastes amazing. also in pate. fancy feast medleys.
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welcome back. some news cnn poll numbers to discuss on an issue the president says shouldn't exist. it does, and our new cnn poll finds 34% approve of how the president has handled the russia election interference investigation. that's not a strong number, but it is up five points since june. special counsel robert mueller's numbers also up a bit. 47% approve of how the special counsel is handling his investigation. that's up from a41% back in jun. still, most americans want mueller to pick up the pace. look here. two-thirds of americans, including majorities across party lines, think mueller should wrap all this up before
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the november elections. now, the president might like that last number, but we know he doesn't like the mueller probe. and we know just who he blames. this tweet today, if you needed a reminder. if we had a real attorney general, this witch hunt would never have been started. looking at the wrong people. >> jeff sessions cannot get any love at all. it's an interesting across the board result that the poll found, which is clearly for two different reasons. republicans want this over with because they want it over with. they want it to go away, by and large most of them probably agree with the president that maybe it shouldn't have started in the first place. certainly that it's gone on for too long. democrats want it over with because they think there's some there there and they want it out on public record before voters go to the polls. i am intrigued by the idea that people think that both the president and bob mueller are doing a better job with the
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investigation than they thought previously. what we had been seeing is the president's constant tweeting about this and constant discrediting and undercutting of the investigation was having a real effect. the public's view of the investigation had been slipping. i wonder what has made it bounce back. >> are people just in an overall better mood because the economy is better, so they're saying nicer things about everybody involved in politics? or the manafort trial is under way, so they say bob mueller is doing his job. it's a hard one to slice and dice. the president's numbers went up mainly among independents. >> i think it's always possible that the same effect is going on, as with the other question where trump's calling attention to this investigation, trump's continued obsession with the investigation is jacking up his supporters and also jacking up his opponents. so his supporters are getting more and more negative on the investigation. at the same time, his opponents are probably increasingly enraged by the way he's treating the investigation. it seems like just by calling
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attention to it, he galvanizes both sides, just as we've seen politically. anywhere trump goes, both sides are zbal havegalvanized. >> 66% want mueller to finish by november. that's common sense. but the president would like that number. we've also watched the president's attorneys out now especially on steroids saying this should be over by september 1st. there's zero presidential reason to testify. the president has prerogatives. should donald trump testify under oath if asked by the special counsel? yes, 70%. no, 25%. so they may be doing some business among republicans, but if seven in ten americans say yes, mr. president, you should testify if asked, that means a lot of republicans are saying yes, mr. president, you should testify if asked. >> i think that's part of the reason why voters want this wrapped up sooner.
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they feel like if the president testifies, then it probably comes to an end sooner. i think this whole investigation has really taken a toll on voters, just hearing about it constantly in the news and obviously as julie said wanting to get to the bottom of it. there's reasons for that on both sides. >> i think you're absolutely right. democrats think the president is going to end up lying and getting himself in trouble. and republicans who don't think he did anything wrong just want him to get on the record and get out of there and get this thing wrapped up. but as we've seen, the lawyers have been wrong. even though they're telling -- it's like, are we there yet? yeah, we're five minutes away. it's like that with the mueller probe. >> so it would be nuts to say why doesn't everybody who has relevant information testify. then we get a report put together by credible people, and we take the results with whatever they are and not come at it with a polarized, partisan preconception. nuts? >> that 70% number actually is really interesting to me because it raises the possibility that
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trump has actually done too good a job of convincing his followers that he's completely innocent and there is nothing there. seems like you have a lot of republicans and independents saying, i believe the president, he's done absolutely nothing wrong. hillary is the one they should be investigating. and so he should just go do this interview and clear the air. in that case, they may have a political problem when and if he refuses to testify. >> but it wouldn't be a relevant question if we had a real attorney general. don't forget that part. up next, a long time congressman running to be his state's attorney general suddenly fighting serious abuse allegations.
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democratic congressman keith ellison denying serious allegations against him as he competes today in the primary for minnesota attorney general. a woman who had a long-term relationship with congressman ellison says he was emotionally abusive and physically abused her on one occasion, which prompted her to move out of his apartment, she says, back in 2016. her name is karen monaghan.
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the allegations surfaced when her 25-year-old son posted on facebook that he saw a video in 2017 showing ellison dragging his mother off a bed while cursing at her. monaghan told cnn she misplaced the video during a move and wouldn't want it to be made public, calling it embarrassing. the congressman denies the allegations and released a statement saying, quote, karen and i were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and i still care deeply for her well being. this s this video does not exist because i've never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false. serious allegations. the timing, because the congressman is on the ballot today, what is to be made of this? his statement there leaves no wiggle room. this woman says it happened. i just want to note, some of our k-file team looked into this. they say three friends of monaghan who asked to remain anonymous did tell cnn she had confided in them about the bed incident in the months after she
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moved out of ellison's apartment. so there are friends of hers who say she did tell them at that time about this, which is important. >> we have no idea whether or not this is true, and because the primary is today, unfortunately, voters are not going to have a chance to have these allegations more strongly investigated or strongly vetted before they have to make a decision, which to me says that today's primary is going to be about how much sort of political capital capital, if you will, keith ellison has with his own home state democratic primary voters. he's long been a favorite of the progressive left. so i think, you know, this primary is going to test whether the progressive voters believe him based on his long service to the state or whether this creates enough qualms about what could be a quite competitive race. >> in a statement to cnn, karen monaghan said, me sharing my story has nothing to do with the primary election. it is never a good time for a
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survivor to share their story. if i waited a week later, it would become an issue between a democrat and a republican. i take her at her word for that. this is difficult to talk about. the fact is, to your point, this comes in the wake of the #metoo movement, countless allegations about others in power. i just want to note, groups have to make choices. you're right. keith ellison has a pedigree with the progressive movement. some groups have to make choices, not knowing where this ends up fact wise. one group says, we believe women, we believe karen monaghan. domestic abusers do not belong in any position of power. >> i think no matter what happens tonight, he has such a role within the democratic party, as molly was just saying. this is going to probably continue with further digging from reporters and trying to figure out what happened with this video, if it exists. there's just still so many questions out there. but i think that will continue no matter what the voters decide today. >> this is also a state that has had another person in power caught up in the #metoo movement
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in senator al franken. that will be top of mind for voters. we'll have to see. >> one of the races we'll watch tonight, this one because of these sad allegations, serious allegations. we'll watch these votes tonight and count them tomorrow. thanks for joining us today. hope to see you back here at noon tomorrow. wolf is in now to pick up our coverage. have a great day. hello. i'm jim sciutto in for wolf blitzer. 1:00 p.m. here in washington. wherever you are watching from around the world, thank you so much for joining us. we begin with breaking news. the defense in paul manafort's tax and bank fraud trial has rested without calling any witnesses. manafort telling the judge himself he did not want to take the stand. that now sets the stage for closing arguments tomorrow morning. with me now is shimon prokupecz, who's been following the trial. also, michael zeldin, a former federal prosecutor and former special assistant to robert mueller at the justice


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