tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN August 20, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
tomorrow morning. "at this hour" starts now. i'm erica hill in for kate bolduan. president trump unleashes new tweets. the trigger, white house counsel don mcgahn, cooperating extensively with the russia investigation. the president's legal team is in the dark about what mcgahn said. the president is attacking the special counsel. bob mueller and this democrat thugs spent over 30 hours with the white house counsel, only with my approval for purposes of transparency. anybody needing that much time where they know there's no russian collusion is just someone looking for trouble. they are enjoying ruining people's lives and refuse to look at the real corruption on the democrat side. the lies, firings, deleted e-mails and so much more. mueller's angry dems are looking to impact the election.
they are a national disgrace. the president's tirade on the heels of comments made by his personal lawyer rudy giuliani, declaring, with a straight face, truth isn't truth. >> i'm not going to be rushed into having him testify so he gets trapped into perjury. when you tell me that he should testify because he is going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry, that's silly. it's somebody's version of the truth, not the truth. he didn't have a conversation -- >> truth is truth. i don't mean to -- >> it isn't truth. truth isn't truth. the president of the united states says, i didn't -- >> truth is truth. >> no, no, no. >> this is going to become a bad meme. >> don't do this to me. >> jeremy diamond is at the white house. this morning, rudy giuliani appears to be trying to bat a little cleanup? >> reporter: it seems like it has become a bad meme, the
images of chuck todd going like this while rudy giuliani is saying truth isn't truth. the president's personal attorney is trying to clean up those comments. he wrote, my statement was not meant as a pontification on moral theology but referring to the classic he said she said puzzle. further inquiry it reveal truth. other times it doesn't. this goes to the president and his attorneys' concern that mueller will try to get them into a perjury trap. the notion that other people might offer a version of the truth that doesn't match up with the president's, most people will say, action long as you stay truthful, you won't be caught in perjury. there's this concern among the president's attorneys that several other people could offer a different version than the president. this falls into the president's attorne attorneys' broader attempt to poke at the investigation.
while we did see mueller's approval ratings backslide for several months as the president and his attorneys raised the critiq critiques, now we see a bounceback in the numbers. you see 47% of the american people approve of how mueller is handling the russia investigation. that's up from 41% in june. it does appear a big part of the poo boost is from democrats who is growing tired of the attacks on the investigation. many republicans still disapproving of the mueller investigation. it does appear there's a consensus among the american people that folks would like to see the investigation wrap up shortly. what that hinges on is the mueller team getting back to the president and his legal team as far as an interview is concerned. it appears a lot more back and forth could still be in the works. >> jeremy diamond, thank you.
joining me now, ross garber, and mark preston. as we look at all of this -- go back to whether truth is truth. >> can't wait. >> you have been preparing lines for this. the white house was taken by surprise with this reporting about don mcgahn. how concerned should the president be if at all? >> let me say this. we have known for a long time that mcgahn has been cooperating to some extent. i think what was probably surprising over the weekend is the extent, the number of times that he went in and probably how little the white house knew about it. those things alone, i think, the white house should be very concerned about. the notion that the white house counsel, the senior lawyer for the presidency, was in cooperating with federal investigators, that the president and the chief of staff and others around the president don't know what he said, that is troubling. i have represented a lot of public officials.
i have never seen something like that. >> it's remarkable. it obviously struck a nerve with this president. we can tell that by the number of treweets and the focus of th tweets and the comments from rudy giuliani. take a look at this. >> our recollection keeps changing. it's in the eye of the beholder. >> facts are not in the eye of the beholder. you are welcome to argue the case. >> it's somebody's version of the truth, not the truth. he didn't have a conversation -- >> truth is truth. i don't mean to go -- >> it isn't truth. truth isn't truth. >> as we look at this, yes, the memes are on there this morning. rudy giuliani was trying to clear things up a little bit as jeremy reported. this is part of the push to reshape and discredit this investigation. >> yeah. there's no question, there's this very public effort on behalf of president trump, his allies and rudy giuliani, specifically his lawyers, to try
to put any discredit upon this investigation. if you think about what he is trying to do, he is going out there right now, erica, and what he is trying to do is he is trying to cloud any question about what exactly happened, what the president's recollection was of any of these events. in addition to that, he is also trying to create this cloud to also show that the president might not have had intent. the president didn't knowingly try to include with russia. the president, you know, knew a meeting was happening but didn't realize that he shouldn't have allowed it to happen. i think at the very end, that if we see charges or some kind of outline from mueller given to congress that says the president did try to include, that's going to be their defense. >> to your point, we have seen a lot of that. ross touched on this a little bit. the fact that we hear from this white house that no information incriminating the president was provided and yet they do not know exactly what was said,
because there wasn't a full debrief. you can't -- this goes back to truth isn't truth. you can't have both of those things be accurate. >> truth is not on the president's side. truth is not on rudy's side. all they can do is create confusion and try to create alternative facts. if we go back to inauguration weekend, alternative facts. the end of the road is truth isn't truth. that's the plan. that's the strategy. to the extent there's a strategy at all. >> i think two things we should note. one is, rudy and the president, they are talking to the president's supporters. that's first. the second is, there is a kernel of truth in what rudy said. the three of us can walk away with different recollections of a meeting, different senses, different perceptions. assuming we're both telling the truth, trying to tell the truth, which version is the truth? who knows? i think there's a seed of the right idea there. >> does trump earn the benefit of the doubt at this point? does rudy giuliani earn the
benefit of the doubt at this point? i wrote a story about rudy going on tv and lying. he has been lying all along, as the president's lawyer, and the president's been lying ever since he took the oath of office. do they have credibility left? >> that's one of the big problems. it's a credibility issue. it's a communications issue, too. >> you are right, he is speaking to the base. speaking is the base is working for the president's fan base, truth isn't truth anymore. >> that's true. this brings into account, we could walk away with a different impression from the same meeting. that's true. that's where you get the he said he said. there's a kernel there. if we go back to the point of, there was nothing incriminating but we don't know what was said because we didn't do a full debrief, what's to stop the white house from getting a full debrief saying don mcgahn, we need you in here today, monday, we want to know everything you talked about? is there anything that could get in the way of that? >> what would normally happen is that would happen lawyer to
lawyer. i would be shocked if it didn't happen a long time ago. maybe it didn't. >> our reporting is that full debrief did not happen with william burke, who is his attorney. >> it's incredible. it can happen now. it can happen lawyer to lawyer. it seems to me it should happen lawyer to lawyer. >> there's also, as we look at the president stepping up these attacks -- the president is calling the investigators thugs. it doesn't sound like, despite his tweets, the president is comfortable with don mcgahn speaking with investigators, trying to downplay all of it and reminding everyone, but he did it with my blessing. >> if you remember, there was a different legal team when mcgahn started cooperating and going in for these meetings. that was their decision to move forward. they thought by having don go in and having him do this, they are are not hiding anything. we have seen a 180-degree turn in strategy with a different
legal team that are very aggressive and continue to confuse. one thing brian did say and i think it's important, because it's really what's happening right now to this country, is credibility is really in the eye of the beholder. right now, we have 40% -- four in ten americans that are okay with the way president trump is acting. even more surprisingly, you have 80% or 90% of republicans right now in general who think that he is doing a good job stewarding the country. that's a big divide. >> it is. to brian's point about credibility and facts, let's see what rudy giuliani said about the trump tower meeting. >> they knew a woman with a russian name wanted to meet with them. they didn't know she was a representative of the russian government. she's not a representative of the russian government. >> of course, we actually know that's not true. they did know. it was in the documentation. >> the e-mail said this is part
of the attempt to help your campaign and to support you and help you get elected. that was attempted collusion. >> here is the thing. >> it's a shame we're debating these basic facts. >> it's a shame we still are. but we are because the messaging is out there. this works with the president's base. they will follow what they want to believe to be true as so many are doing as mark pointed out. the larger issue is, when does it start to erode more away at those numbers we see that mark was talking about? four in ten americans don't have a problem with it. >> look, i don't think rudy was lying. i don't think he was intentionally misstating the facts. >> he keeps hurting his client. my god. >> i don't think he knows what happened. i think it may be a reflection of the notion that it may not matter exactly to them exactly what the facts are because, again, they are talking directly to their base. their base is saying, it doesn't matter. rudy is focused on all sort of
other issues instead of the nitty-gritty facts. it's one of the issues that happened all along. it's why they don't know what mcgahn said. >> by the way, i think we know how this ends. rudy has said, we will release our own report. give us a report, we will release our own. at the end of this, there's two sets of facts. >> like there was a memo from the republicans and the democrats. we remember how that played out. mark, ross, brian, appreciate it. thank you all. coming up, sources telling cnn federal prosecutors are preparing criminal charges for president trump's former lawyer michael cohen. what could those charges be? that's next. first lady trump speaking out about sign are bucyberbully. did she reference the president and his behavior? >> be a man. just relax. just relax. bed.
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he is president trump's longtime attorney. his so-called fixer. could he be known as a defendant? cnn learning federal prosecutors in new york are preparing criminal charges against michael cohen, charges that could be announced in days. cohen is being investigated for possible bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations linked to a six-figure payment to a certain adumelt film star. one of the "new york times" reporters who broke that story joins me now. based on what you are learning here, the charges could be filed before the end of the month. how much of the focus in terms of the charges is on those hush
money payments that were made by michael cohen? >> i think that it's hard to divide it up by percentages, so to speak. the bank fraud and tax fraud charges, possible charges, are more serious and carry potentially longer sentences. >> those are related to the taxi medallions mostly, business-wise? >> that's my understanding. >> then the other charges -- maybe not as weighty. they produce a better headline. >> i think they are more sensational. they have attracted more attention over the last several months, since the search, certainly than the bank and tax fraud charges. it's all been under investigation, i think, pretty much over the same period of time. >> we're learning that -- you are learning the charges could come before the end of august.
if that doesn't happen, if the charges are not filed before september 1, is it simply waiting until after election day? >> i think there are a lot of moving parts here. i think it appears or it would seem that the government and mr. cohen's lawyers are having or have had some sort of discussions about cooperation. he has made clear that he is interested, you know, through his lawyers, his own public statements hinting at it that he is interested in cooperating. so those talks may still be going on. they may be completed. how that goes and how far along they are and what decisions both sides made will have some affect on when there might be some action. if they have reached an impasse, if they're not going to -- if they can't reach a deal and they want to charge him, they may
choose to do that before the end of august. >> in terms of any sort of cooperation on the part of michael cohen, how much of that deal would also include something for the mueller investigation? this is all happening, obviously, in the southern district. >> it's hard to say. you know, it's -- we don't know -- i don't know what information mr. cohen has that might be of interest to mueller's people. he could have information that would be of interest to the southern district that would have to be of some significant heft to get him a deal. but it's sort of a wild card. many people assume that he has information that would be of value to either or both of those prosecutorial agencies. but really, we just don't know. >> we don't know. here we all sit waiting to find
out. appreciate you coming in. >> thank you. also with us, defense attorney and former federal prosecutor shan wu. anything to read into us being at this point today, august 20th? >> i think of those charges -- first of all, i think this is michael cohen's worst nightmare come true. any time you get a raid on your office, you worry what they will find. this is everything he would have feared, bank fraud, tax fraud as well as campaign finance possibility charges. the one most dangerous for the president is actually the campaign finance issue. that can lead to the president's knowledge or direction of cohen to do this. i think that for the prosecutors, the bank fraud and the tax fraud are really their leverage on him. the potential sentences for that, whatever they are on the
books, it really comes down to the federal sentencing guidelines. that's going to depend on how much money is lost. when you are talking about anything over a million, it's significant and you are looking at jail time. >> it's well over a million, at least from what we have learned. all of this is happening as it is day three for the jury in the paul manafort trial. waiting on a verdict there. could that have any impact on the decision as to when to file charges and also be any possible deal for michael cohen? >> i don't think the manafort trial will affect when they file charges. i think that issue is probably the traditional notion of avoiding the midterm elections. i think for michael cohen, he would be happy to have taken a deal yesterday. he has been signaling he wants that. with this news now, there's no question he will be facing charges. i think we would be looking for that to happen very quickly. >> what's your sense of -- a lot
has been made of whether rick gates is a credible witness, as we know, in paul manafort trial. how does cohen stack up in terms of credibility? >> i think it's hard to know right now. he has been in the right position to be very credible, because he is in the right place to know things. i think we don't know yet what else is in the closet with him. if he were to come and give testimony, they are going to find dirty laundry for him. most importantly, his first step will be undergoing extensive interviews with prosecutors. they will leave no stone unturned. they will know about anything that is sort of untoward or improper in his background. >> a lot we are waiting on today, that's for sure. shan, good to see you. >> good to see you. coming up, a little bit of irony. melania trump speaking out about cyberbullying this morning. how does that square with her
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>> in today's global society, social media is an integral part of our children's daily lives. it can be used in many positive ways. but can also be distractive and harmful when used incorrectly. this is why we choose to focus on the importance of teaching our next generation how to conduct themselves safely and in positive manner in an online setting. >> in a positive manner. that coming in contrast in the manner of her husband. here is a few of those moments to refresh your memory. >> i don't know what i said. i don't remember. a very low i.q. individual. wacky jackie. i think somebody said she's in
nevada right now campaigning with pocahontas. the guy on cbs is -- what a lowlife. there's no talent. they're not talented people. >> those are the spoken words. but there is, of course, the online behavior. how about the frequent twitter tongue did t tongue lashings? kate bennett is with us from the event in maryland. we are joined by kate anderson. kate bennett, it's almost impossible to ignore what we have seen. i know the first lady addressed it in the past. how is she addressing it today that she's promoting this initiative and teaching kids about behavior online while the very large elephant in the room is looming? >> this is a very independent --
we have seen this very independent first lady. we have to acknowledge the split screen marriage happening in the white house with this first couple. the first lady's spokeswoman said to me this morning, this is the first lady aware of the criticism. she will go forward anyway. i think with melania trump, she takes it right up to the line. is she doing this because of her husband? is she doing it in spite of him? is she not thinking about him at all when she addresses this? i think it might be the third, the latter thing. she's not considering it at all. all of us are. however, she's moving forward with this initiative about cyberbullying. it was strange and ironic to be in the room as i was watching the first lady, meantime looking at my phone and seeing the president tweet calling a name that john brennan the worst cia director in history. this example is happening while this discussion is ongoing. you can't help but sort of link the two. it's inevitable. the first lady again is moving
forward. she does not want to be judged by her husband. she's more saying, don't do this. do this instead. >> kate anderson, does that help or hurt her in terms of how effective her messaging it? >> she's got a higher approval rating by her husband by far. in some ways i think people like and respect that she's diverging from him. as kate says, there are obvious charges of hypocrisy. she takes it right up to the line of disagreeing with him, not only today but you saw her coming out in support of lebron james, going down to the border. almost veiled messages today. one thing she said was face it, most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults. you can't hear that and think, maybe, this is a message for her husband. we don't know. it leetd leads to speculation a she's very smart. she's aware of how hypocritical this can seem. she's asked her husband to tone down the tweeting. it hasn't worked.
how does she justify what she's doing now given the reality of her mother and who she is married to? >> kate bennett, you have had reporting on this. there's not a move the first lady makes that isn't thought out in advance. she knows what she's doing. there was an interesting profile in "the new york times" which made the point that the president's lack of support for the firstinishi -- he is not cheerleading this move in a way we may have seen from other presidents in terms of other first ladies and their platforms. >> i mean, i think he has supported her. he was in the front row when she kicked off her initiative in may. during the speech today, during this conference, he tweeted seven times, none of which were about his wife or her event. they were about other things. in practice and in theory, there are two different things. i think this is a president --
when people say she should start at homed or she should control him. i don't know if that's her position. i think she has tried. she said, i tried to tell him not to tweet. he knows the consequences. i think there's a bit of unfairness to expect she's going to stop him. therefore, she shouldn't do this if she can't. at the same time, i don't see the president -- we don't feel him fully getting behind her and supporting her, one of those seven tweets this morning, while this conference was ongoing could have been so proud as she attends this bullying and promotes be best, we all think that. it didn't happen. i don't think she's expecting it. i don't think it's going to prevent or motivate her. this is what we're going to see moving forward. >> she's her own woman. a lot of women around the country are cheerleading that. really appreciate you both being with us. coming up, fallout from the president's move to yank the security clearance of john brennan.
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slonly remfresh useseep one in ion-powered melatonin ht. to deliver up to 7 hours of sleep support. number one sleep doctor recommended remfresh -your nightly sleep companion. the number of current and former u.s. officials denouncing president trump for revoking john brennan's security clearance continues to grow. 175 people who worked with intelligence agencies, the state department, national security council and the pentagon, have added their names to the list, joining 75 former cia officials
who put out similar statements last week. brennan turned fierce critic of president trump, going so far as to call the president's actions with vladimir putin in helsinki treasonous. brennan is willing to take trump to court over the lost clearance. >> i will do whatever i can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future. if it means going to court, i will do that. >> this morning on twitter, president trump basically saying, bring it on. adding that brennan won't sue because he was, quote, the worst cia director ever and was involved in the mueller probe. critics say the president's prove reeks of nixon and his enemies list. among those critics, tim weiner. good to have you here with us. give me a sense -- you touched on this in your piece. we have 175 more officials who are jumping on here.
does it change anything to have hundreds speaking out? >> it's an extraordinary development. i think months and years from now, we may look back on the last few days as a turning point in the opposition to trump. the resistance coming from the establishment, from the national security empire. the critique is very, very basic and goes to the heart of who we are as a people. trump is trying to punish brennan and others for criticizing him. and that is a crime in monarchies like saudi arabia, where to criticize the crown is considered an act of terrorism. not in this country. that's why we fought a revolution against the mad king. >> do you think though, to that point -- what we are seeing is this play out. a lot of this comes, too, from -- there's the brennan issue but there's also the enemy of the people when it comes to
journalists and people calling out things like that. there isn't always as much of an appetite as some people would like for that thought of, yes, it's important to keep this free press here, it's important to keep a check on things, you should have the ability to speak out and say whatever you want. >> the president's extraordinary attack on the cia, the fbi, bob mueller, never mind the press -- we can take heat like that. he is attacking the pillars of national security in this country because why? he is terrified. he is terrified of the russia investigation. he is terrified that the walls are closing in on him. a man like john brennan who was part of the initial investigation in 2006 and the beginning of 2007, he knows thing that we don't. this is part what have trump fears. >> former director clapper spoke out over the weekend about what we're seeing from john brennan.
here is what he had to say. >> do you think john brennan's hyperbole is an issue here, is one of the reasons we're having this crisis? >> i think it is. i think john is sort of like a freight train. common denominator among all of us that have been speaking up is concern about the jeopardy or threats to our institutions and values. but john and his rhetoric have become i think an issue in and of itself. >> is brennan going too far? is he playing into the president's hands based on what we heard from james clapper? >> i think not. i think that the people who have been the guardians of national security in this country, they come in for a lot of heat. but when they take the extraordinary step as people did over this weekend, you have the former secretary of defense bob gates, you have admiral mcraven
who took out osamaed we ssama b. they say he is acting as if he thinks he is a king and not the representative of the people who took an oath to protect and defend the constitution. >> it's interesting -- it's not the only time we have heard mccam mccarthy thrown around. the president is bringing up mccarthyism. when you see that, what's your gut on that? >> rage tweeting at 4:00 in the morning and calling bob mueller joe mccarthy, i think the president has lost his mind. >> we will have to leave it there. appreciate you coming in. good to have you here. check out tim's book "enemies, a history of the fbi." the pope speaking out on the sexual abuse of children in the catholic church after the grand jury report from pennsylvania outlines decades not only of assault and abuse but of
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pope francis breaking his silence this morning on the stunning grand jury report out of pennsylvania. hundreds of pedophile priests sexually abused children with more than a thousand victims spanning some 70 years. the pope's letter cites a bible verse from corinthians. if one member suffers, all suffer together with it. these words of st. paul forcefully echoing in my heart as i acknowledge once more the suffering endured by many minors due to sexual abuse.
the abuse of power and the abuse of conscious perpetrated by a significant number of clerics and consecrated persons. polo sandoval joins us why survivors are gathering outside the archdiocese. they're there because they have a message. what are they telling you this morning? >> reporter: a number of those victims who are obviously known as survivors here who say they endured abuse at the hands of various clergy members decades back. they were here at the door of the diocese of pittsburgh with various demands. the principal one you could say is the elimination, the potential elimination of the statute of limitations. what they want to see done is the prosecution of some of those clergy members who are still alive today who they say abused them in various ways. some of those allegations are spelled out by the attorney general of the state in that disturbing report that was issued about a week ago. we spent the weekend here in
pittsburgh. the reason why is because about a third of the clergy members that are named in that report belong to this diocese. we've been speaking to parishioners and survivors alike. that is their key demand. they want more than just an apology. i asked one survivor of sexual abuse a little while ago if the pope's words are enough for him. we heard from pope francis saying that they need to acknowledge with shame and repentance these atrocities committed decades ago. for this survivor, he said that kind of response falls short. this survivor has since left his catholic faith because of what happened. so not just members of the community but parishioners and even survivors themselves. >> the attorney general had actually reached out to the pope even before this grand jury report was released in a letter. it's my understanding he still hadn't heard back. what's the reaction from the a.g.'s office and other officials this morning to these words from the pope, to this
letter? >> reporter: sure, we've heard reaction from regular folks and as you mentioned from the attorney general himself. i want to read you a portion of the statement that was just released a short time ago. this is attorney general for the state of pennsylvania addressing the pontiff's letter from this morning to the faithful. writing, it's my hope that following the holy father's words and teachings church leaders in pennsylvania will cease their denials and deflections and now fully support the grand jury's recommendation so that survivors have the opportunity to obtain justice and ensure this widespread abuse and cover-up never happens again. certainly some aligning with his comments and also what we heard from the pontiff himself, who said that looking ahead to the future that more needs to be done by the catholic church, not only to prevent these kinds of situations but any potential cover-up of these kinds of situations. that's echoing the concerns we have heard from people here in pittsburgh. they want more than that apology. they want a full admission from the catholic church that not
only this happened but also that efforts happened decades ago to cover this kind of behavior up. >> and one survivor telling me last week, a survivor saying that he felt the cover-up was actually worse than the abuse in this instance. polo, appreciate it, as always. thank you. just ahead, could a verdict in the trial of former trump campaign chairman paul manafort come today? the jury is deliberating now for a third day. we are live at the courthouse next. liberty mutual saved us almost $800
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a new day of deliberations. at this moment, jurors back to work for a third day in the paul manafort trial. the former trump campaign chairman is facing 18 charges of tax evasion, bank fraud, and hiding foreign bank accounts. this is also the first real test for special counsel robert mueller's investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election. after three long days, could a verdict come today? cnn justice correspondent jessica schneider joins us from outside the courthouse. we know there's been a little bit of activity this morning. what's been happening? >> reporter: there has been some activity, erica. so while the jury began deliberations at 9:35 this morning, there's been some mystery inside the courtroom. twice already this morning we've seen the defense team and prosecution meet with the judge. it's been all out of the public view, meaning the doors to the courtroom have been closed, no
one has been inside except those parties. it's all sealed, meaning the transcripts for these bench conferences won't be released until after the verdict. so the question is, what was happening? well, we don't know. but what we do know is that the jury continues to deliberate. they're on day three. we haven't heard anything from the jury yet this morning. the question is, could they soon reach a verdict, or will there be more notes with potentially more questions? this jury really has a lot to go through. 18 counts. they're sifting through 388 documents. the testimony of 27 witnesses. a lot of people asked, you know, have they been sequestered? this jury has not. they've been free to go home every night. they went home over the weekend. they've been instructed not to read about this case, not to talk about this case, not to research this case. erica, the jury was asked this morning when they came back into the courtroom after that weekend, the judge said, did you read anything, did you research anything? all in unison, they all said aloud no.
this jury taking it very seriously. we're just waiting to see what happens. >> jessica schneider, appreciate it. thank you. thanks to all of you for joining me this morning. "inside politics" with john king starts right now. thank you, erica. nice to see you. welcome to "ed in politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. the president lashing out at robert mueller, accusing him of trying to sway the midterm elections, but the true source of his anger, learning his white house counsel answered prosecutor questions for 30 hours. plus, rudy giuliani defines or redefines truth and collusion. is the president going to regret his choice of lawyers? and as the president bullies the special counsel on twitter, the first lady says cyber bullying is wrong. and she adds this