tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN November 29, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PST
baldwin continues our breaking coverage right now. this is cnn breaking news. hello, everybody. i'm kate baldwin. the essential question this morning once again is this, what did the president know and when did he know it? the breaking news in the russian investigation. donald trump's long time attorney may be his greatest threat. in a surprise appearance in court today, michael cohen told a federal judge that donald trump was aware of and looped in to negotiations over a potential real estate deal in moscow well in to the 2016 campaign, much longer than previously discussed. even after the president was the presumptive republican nominee. cohen pleading guilty to making false statements to congress about this very thing, now saying that he misled congress about the timeline of the project and how much donald trump knew about it.
pamela brown is starting us off. the special counsel told the judge they believe what cohen is saying, president trump just called him a liar. >> that is what is so significant here, kate. the president coming out today and saying michael cohen, his former attorney for more than a decade is lying to reduce his sentence. here's why that's significant. robert mueller doesn't believe michael cohen is lying in this version of events that was laid out in the court documents, that he misled congress about the trump tower moscow meeting. he is now saying that, in fact, there were communications about the deal throughout the campaign for president, through june 2016 when donald trump is a presumptive republican presidential nominee, not january 2016 as he initially had told congress and also that donald trump had been briefed on trump tower moscow project that never came to fruition on multiple occasions, not just the three times that michael cohen had initially told congress. now what stuck out to me is that
the fact that this is the version special counsel believes, but also it appears we're getting a window into what the president's response is in those questions from robert mueller that were returned last week. we know that some of those questions centered around trump tower moscow and what the president knew about it, what his involvement was. the fact that the president is saying that michael cohen is lying now with this new version of events indicates that the president's responses do not align with what michael cohen is saying the version that special counsel robert mueller believes. that is significant and it appears that robert mueller's team wanted to wait to get those responses before having michael cohen plead guilty to misleading congress providing false information. all of this is significant and the fact that there's a cooperation agreement we're learning about between robert mueller's team and michael cohen and they're saying that we will soon learn about the extent of that cooperation agreement and the nature of it so this big
picture here appears to be more than just about trump tower moscow. there appears to be a lot more here that michael cohen knows that is providing to special counsel that they find useful in this investigation, kate. >> real significant turn here. thank you so much. i really appreciate it. let's go to the federal courthouse here in manhattan for more on this and shimon prokupecz was inside the courtroom for that plea for everything that played out. walk me through what you heard, what's important, what we need to know. >> reporter: right. key things here from what happened in court essentially, the one probably most important thing that yet again what we have is michael cohen admitting that he lied, that he was trying to protect the president, came into court here today, said as much to the judge, said he lied to members of congress on behalf of the president, essentially. at one point saying that he lied because of his loyalty to the president, because he wanted to protect the president politically.
just to give you some more context of what was going on inside the courtroom, he said that i made these statements, these are the statements to congress, to be consistent with individual one's political messaging and to be loyal to individual one. now individual one is the president, is donald trump, even though did not name donald trump in court and he's not named in any of these court documents. that's who individual one refers to. the other thing in some of the court documents, some information certainly that the court documents that have come out show sort of the extent of which michael cohen went to conceal some of his contacts with a russian government official, talking about this project, talking to the president about this project, so all in all, really, one of the most probably devastating days here in terms of this investigation certainly as it relates to the president, perhaps maybe members of the president's family, other people who may have been involved in
this project, the whole point here, really, is why was this all concealed? yet again, we see people consistently coming in eventually -- maybe not in the beginning, but eventually admitting that they were lying to protect the president. >> it seems more than -- you think it was 11 times individual one is mentioned in this court document which we know is president trump. thank you so much. he hit on something that's really important in the document. laying out the context the extent of the contact that michael cohen and others had with the russian government. i want to bring in my colleague. this is an important part of this piece as well. if we need to just put a really fine point on it, we're talking about michael cohen in contact with the russian government about this real estate deal, potential travel for donald trump to russia to ink said real estate deal in the middle, the heart of the campaign. >> that's right. what we've learned from the
information today is that michael cohen had initially said that these talks about building the trump tower moscow ended in january in 2016 and he also said that he had sent -- he made an email into the office of president putin's spokesman peskov and he said he never heard back. he did, in fact, hear back. if we pull up on one of these screens, we can see what's in the information. cohen did not recall that in and around january 2016 cohen received a response from the office of russian official one, the press secretary for the president of russia and spoke to a member of that office about the moscow project. now in this phone call, it was a 20 minute call that cohen had with the assistant and he discussed with her ideas about moving the project forward and wanted to talk more about how to finance the ro ject. now this would have involved the russian government financing the project or helping arrange that financing. it also says in the information
that the day after cohen's call with assistant one, individual two contacted cohen asking for a call. seder wrote to cohen saying its about the president of russia, they called today. seder is someone who has had a long history with the trump organization. he helped them build two projects, one in florida and the trump hotel in new york city. so seder is someone who's known to the trump organization and so what we're learning here is that seder was also arranging with cohen and discussing with him possibly traveling both cohen and the president to moscow in may and june of 2016 and cohen said that he would go before the convention, that the candidate trump should go after, kate. >> yea. i think that's really important when you laid out. the conversation was after he becomes the republican nominee for president, the conversation was to have him traveling to moscow to ink this deal. thank you so much. i want to get over to kaitlan collins now at the white
house. the president didn't miss a single opportunity before heading out of town to tell reporters, essentially, in his view there's nothing to see here. >> reporter: that's right, kate. he came outen prompted before any reporter had even shouted a question at him and began addressing the situation with michael cohen painting him as a liar, saying he's just trying to get a reduced prison sentence and saying that the only reason he hired him was because he did him a favor a very long time ago. >> he was convicted of various things unrelated to us. he was given a fairly long jail sentence and he's a weak person and by being weak, unlike other people that you watch, he's a weak person and what he's trying to to is get a reduced sentence. so he's lying about a project that everybody knew about. >> reporter: so, kate, the president was clearly irritated but you could tell he was trying to downplay the discussions about trump tower and moscow and
project calm saying that it was out in the open and arguing that he's allowed to do business while running for president. he didn't say that he had no business dealings with russia and didn't elaborate on why then michael cohen lied to congress about this. now the president got on marine one after that. he's boardinnd he's got about a ten hour flight to argentina for the g20 summit where he's scheduled to meet with vladimir putin. we may get some tweets from the president on this during that flight. >> he's probably still going to be meeting with putin he said. let's see what the conversation is -- yes, first and foremost, let's see what happens aboard that plane. thank you very much. we have much more to discuss. a really critical day. a lot to understand. a lot to work through. we'll do that right after the break. lilly.
thank you so much for joining me. we are continuing to follow our breaking news. the special counsel says michael cohen is telling the truth. donald trump is saying that michael cohen is weak and a liar. this all coming back to michael cohen pleading guilty over lying to congress dealing with the russian government specifically. with me right now asha rangappa, she's a former national security analyst. elie hoenig and chief political analyst gloria borger is here as well. we talked a lot about michael cohen before. what is happening right now, this cuts to the heart of the russia investigation. >> reporter: look, it absolutely
does and i want to sort of take a step back for a minute, kate, to put this all in context because i went back and looked at the story i wrote more than a year ago, september 8th, 2017, when we first got this letter of intent about trump tower moscow and now i realize that i was fed a pack of lies. that doesn't feel very good, but it was the scenario that michael cohen's team was putting out there which was that this was a deal that never went anywhere and it was quite -- quite stunning deal, by the way, because trump would have been given $4 million in an upfront fee without costs. this would have been a spa in this trump tower moscow that would have been named after ivanka and its clear that ivanka had some involvement in all of this, and that i was told, you know, that this went nowhere because we were -- we didn't think we should pursue it, we
didn't have the land for it and we were in the middle of a presidential campaign, so michael cohen decided to drop it. and the president at the same time was telling the american public that he had no business dealings with russia and, of course, we now know that he knew very well about this and that the activity about a trump tower moscow continued beyond where we were told it ended and these are people who believed that they were never going to win the election and they wanted to continue their business and what we now know from the special counsel is that he believes that michael cohen lied to congress about this in order to clearly protect his boss then donald trump. >> that's very important context, gloria. i was looking back actually at your story as well for some
context on this and you can see it all right there. glory gloria's hitting on something important that the special counsel says robert mueller's on board with this, robert mueller believes michael cohen in what he is saying now, why is that significant because the president's calling him a liar and saying this is nothing? >> the first thing i did when i got to this information was turn to the last page and see who signed it. remember, mueller farmed that piece out because he saw it as not down the center of what he was looking at. today's information is signed by mueller. mueller scenes this as being right down the middle of the plate for his mandate. what we know is robert mueller has vetted michael cohen, asha can confirm. prosecutors and the fbi are making sure they're accurate and backed up and confirmed. this means that the fbi have signed off on cohen and ready to
bank on him as a witness. >> president trump said -- the deal was scrapped so it doesn't matter and it wouldn't matter if the deal wasn't scrapped any way. does it matter? >> it absolutely matters and here's why. you have a candidate for the president of the united states, the most awesome power in the land was in active negotiations and it wasn't disclosed at the same time he is taking a favorable foreign policy stance toward russia, wanting to change and did change the platform on ukraine at the republican national convention and even though it didn't go forward, it matters because then russia had leverage over trump because it was secret and because his campaign continued to lie about it. >> dana bash is joining the conversation as well. thanks for jumping on. i also think what the change in what trump knew when he knew it and the full extent of what he knew with regard to this deal, that's what this all comes down to which of course takes us back
to what he has said in the past and it doesn't take you very long to see in july 2016, for the record, i have zero investments in russia. russia has never tried to use leverage over me. i have no deals, no loans, nothing. february of 2017, i can tell you speaking for myself, i own nothing in russia, i have no loans in russia, i don't have any deals in russia. >> yea. and those are the public comments. one is the deal didn't go through, at least this one, so he's on terra firma there. most importantly, i really think its important to underscore, the president of the united states has given a list of written answers formally to robert mueller. he has them. he knows what the president has said to a host of things. we reported on two of them yesterday, now the question is, what it the president say
basically under pain of perjury. our lawyers can talk about the exact language but it is a criminal offense to lie, whether you're the president or anyone else to special counsel, so what was his answer to the question about business dealings with moscow, what was his answer presumably and we're trying to get to the bottom of this, specifically about conversations he had with michael cohen? because its hard to imagine robert mueller not asking that specific question of the president knowing what he knows and having the conversations for months that he's been having with michael cohen that we now know about. that's first and foremost. another thing that hasn't been discussed but it is all related to this in this time period, the summer of 2016, is another question that we know that the special counsel wanted the president to answer and that is
the republican national committee platform. language was changed in a way dealing with ukraine that made the russians happy. why was that done? and the fact that that time period was right around when these discussions were happening with michael cohen and the russians about a potential trump tower moscow deal is very interesting. >> dana, you hit -- of course you hit on something important. elie, asha, do you think there is something to the timing of michael cohen goes in for this surprise court appearance today, last week donald trump handed in his formal questions and the assumption would be or the reporting is, is that he's asked about the trump tower -- potential trump tower deal, is it coincidence? >> no its intentional.
i think the president wanted to get -- mueller wanted to get the president committed before he rolled out his evidence and there is some of the evidence in here. >> asha, let's assume the two stories are different. >> yes. >> and this is his sworn statements under oath that he's turned in. what happens then? >> its a big problem. >> for a nonattorney at the table it sounds like a big problem. >> it is. its the same problem we've seen throughout this investigation but its a problem because it self is a crime. on the question of false statements, that when the president says that this isn't a big deal, remember that false statements is a charge, its a criminal offense when it is about a material fact, which means that the fact that michael cohen lied about this to congress is something that was material. its not inconsequential, its not something oh, who cares, people might have known it or not?
it was material fact that is relevant to what the committee was investigating at that time. >> can i throw one other thing in there? donald trump then and now operates how he communicates, he's not an emailer. he's not a texter. and so the other open question that we just got a little piece of is what the evidence that robert mueller and his team have that back up what michael cohen is saying. >> that makes them comfortable. >> that michael cohen is telling the truth when he says i had these conversations with donald trump. we don't noel tknow the answer that. he did have tapes. was some of that on tapes? >> there are some tapes in that regard. >> gloria, one thing that the president said as he was leaving and i want to make sure i get it correct. he says that michael cohen is weak, unlike some of the other
people that you've seen. we can all guess some of the other people we're talking about paul manafort we've been reporting so much on, that was -- that statement stuck out to me. >> yea. of course it, what it means is, is that, you know, paul manafort's now a hero to the president because he's no longer cooperating with the special counsel and michael cohen, he understands, can do him a great deal of damage. they have two completely different stories now about trump tower moscow and, you know, while its not a crime to lie to the media, it is a crime for michael cohen to lie to congress and it is -- it would be a crime if the president in the answers to his questions as dana bash was talking about did lie to the special counsel. we don't know the answer to that, but what you have are these two completely divergent
stories, one which i was fed, i might add, in the september of 2017 saying this went nowhere, it wasn't going to go anywhere, michael cohen saying i couldn't even get the spokesman for russia -- for putin and of course now we know according to what we've read today that he did communicate with him and that this project was going to continue. it didn't just die and we need to know what the president said about it. we also know that the president's signature at some point was on these documents, the document that i looked at did not have the president's signature, because it belonged to somebody else, but he signed it. i was told at the time that the president doesn't pay attention to these things. he signs lots of documents for people all the time. well, was the president paying attention? this was a sweetheart deal he was going to be getting in moscow. were his children paying attention to this? there was going to be a spa named after ivanka. did they testify -- did don
junior testify, for example, to congressional committee about this or anything else that now mueller might be looking at because now for the first time he is saying, i'm willing to take up lying to congress as something that i'm willing to pursue -- >> gloria, when you think of michael cohen lying to congress and being caught and then now he is the biggest potential threat to the president of the united states in this investigation, i mean, the parallels are so very clearly there, is michael cohen turning into the john dean of this story? >> right. its kind of shakespearian, you know, in a way. the man -- the man we all knew during the campaign who described donald trump as the greatest person in the universe is suddenly now the person armed, potentially, with enough
who could really cause the president great damage and it is shakespearian in nature because of their relationship previously and his relationship -- i can't emphasize this enough, his relationship to the rest of the trump family, you know. michael cohen was not only donald trump's fixer. michael cohen fixed a lot for everybody and so you now have the cfo of the trump organization alan weisselberg being giving immunity here. this whole thing is going to unspool itself eventually. we just don't know in which direction. >> how do you deal with the fact that you've got this key witness who has lied, has admitted he's lied, has lied in the past? how do you deal with that? how does a prosecutor, how does mueller deal with the fact that this is an untrustworthy person.
how do you trust him now? >> its all about corroboration. >> they wouldn't go on this just with michael cohen going on and saying, guess what, i lied to congress. just take my word for it. >> absolutely. he's a liar, he's a turn coat and this and that. dana raised a good point. we have the answer to who's telling the truth and who's lying right in this document. the key thing that cohen said is this deal carried on into june of 2016. trump says he's a liar. there's text or emails quoted in here, black and white hard documents in may or june of '2016. its not that regard to resolve that dilemma and as prosecutors and agents, that's what we're looking for am i going to bank on this guy. >> asha, how does the president's attorneys deal with this because -- because -- >> i don't know. >> they have -- if this -- if these facts are there, if the corroboration is there, you have the statement that the president
gave to the public and you assume he said the same thing in his sworn statement which is i knew nothing about it. >> uh-hum. >> you immediately go as a human being if there's nothing to be worried about, why aren't you telling the truth about it? >> what his lawyers are thinking about right now, we know that from some of his other answers, for example, they built in that legal wiggle room of to the best of my recollection, this is what i know. >> could that save him here? >> it depends on how he answered the question. he could use some kind of legalese like that, but, you know, i think that at the end of the day what's going to matter is the weight of the evidence that mueller has collected and i think what elie is saying that mueller has the goods, he has the goods to back up what he's putting on paper and everybody who's testified in front of congress, dana mentioned there are other people that testified, they should be worried. mueller would be willing to come after them.
at some point its going to be hard to refute what's in black and white. >> note to everyone, don't lie to congress because -- we've said it over and over again that it is a crime. it is really, still, a crime. dana, i did just get this handed to me. pamela brown received a statement from rudy giuliani, the -- obviously the attorney for president trump. let me just read it to you in full. okay. he wrote it as if he was a breaking news note. breaking news alert from rudy giuliani. michael cohen is a liar. its no surprise that cohen lied to congress. he's a proven liar who is doing everything he can to get out of a long-term prison sentence for serious crimes of bank and tax fraud that had nothing to do with the trump organization. the documents the special counsel is using to show that cohen used to lie to congress, its hardly coincidental that special counsel files a charges as the president is leaving for
argentina. he did the same thing as he was leaving for the world a summit in helsinki with regard to the hotel proposal. the president has been open and transparent. there's a lot there. grab what you will. >> well, what matters is not what the president and his attorneys think about michael cohen's credibility, what matters is what the special counsel thinks and, more importantly, what the special counsel believes he and his team can prove about michael cohen's credibility in a court of law or in the short-term as this investigation winds its way wherever its going to head. that's all that matters. sure, maybe they gave the trump organization documents voluntarily, but again, what he hasn't answered and we're trying to get the answer too from somebody on team trump is what did the president say in his written answers to robert mueller on this very subject. if it doesn't, you know, match
or comport with what cohen has said, the president has a problem. >> this last statement, the president's been completely open and transparent with regard to the hotel proposal in moscow. that doesn't -- i don't know, does it give you much? >> no. its clear the president is sticking to the original story. it seems to me that, you know, that michael cohen and donald trump at some point and i remember at one point michael cohen did go to mar-a-lago. i'm not sure what they discussed there and this was after the stormy daniels thing so it might have been about stormy, who knows if it was about this, but, you know, it seems to me that what donald trump is saying is what michael cohen was saying back in september of 2017 when the letter of intent was leaked and that, you know, this was -- this was something -- you know, we were going to do business and who knew we were going to win and trump was publicly saying
i've never -- i'm not contemplating business with russia, even though he was, and saying, you know, this never went anywhere, so what is the big deal about it? and now we are learning that, in fact, it was continued to be pursued and that michael cohen, according to the documents we've looked at today was the one who was continuing to pursue it. i think the question we now have to ask is, did he continue to pursue it with the candidate's knowledge at the time and again to dana's point, what did trump tell the special counsel about this letter of intent which we're presuming that the special counsel asked him about? >> kate can i just underscore what gloria is saying here about her reporting to -- that you were sold a bag of goods back in the fall of 2017 by people around michael cohen and the whole reason for that, their
strategy was, to protect the president or to protect something. strategy lying to congress which is a crime was to protect the president. why was he trying so hard to protect the president? why did he not want -- why did he go to these lengths to prevent the public and congress and the prosecutor from knowing and the public from knowing why the president was doing what he was doing or what else was happening vis-a-vis trump, his organization and russia during the campaign? that's the big open question. maybe robert mueller has the answer, but that's fascinating. >> especially in the context and especially in the context of how the president is talking about it today, which was it doesn't matter if i did or didn't, what i knew and didn't know doesn't matter because its all good because i thought i might've lost so i needed to have opportunities and options available. guys, stick with me. we do have much more to come
including the reaction coming from from capitol hill to michael cohen pleading guilty, what it says now about donald trump. the top democrat on a key senate committee joining me live next. ...and i found out that i'm from the big toe of that sexy italian boot! so this holiday season it's ancestrydna per tutti! order your kit now at ancestry.com about medicare and 65, ysupplemental insurance. medicare is great, but it doesn't cover everything - only about 80% of your part b medicare costs, which means you may have to pay for the rest. that's where medicare supplement insurance comes in: to help pay for some of what medicare doesn't. learn how an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan,
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vladimir putin in the coming days. let's get back over to the white house. kaitlan collins is there for us. what are we learning now? >> reporter: just when the president was leaving the white house, he said that meeting with putin was probably still on but now on twitter he has canceled it writing that based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to ukraine from russia, i have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in argentina with president vladimir putin. he adds, i look forward to a meaningful summit again as soon as the situation is resolved. of course, the president was still scheduled to meet with him until this happened but right when he was leaving the white house, he told reporters that he had received a final report essentially briefing him on the situation happening since the russians seized those three ukrainian vessels and he was going to be reading that while he was on marine one and air force one and then make a decision from there. and clearly he has made the decision to cancel this meeting
with the russian president in argentina. now that meeting was already going to have a lot of scrutiny on it before today happened, but now with all of the news about michael cohen and the president now deciding to cancel this meeting, there will be questions raised about why he's canceling this now, now that this michael cohen news has broken because before in the days before this and despite all of the news reports about what was happening between russia and the ukraine, the white house had offered a pretty muted response. he said he wasn't pleased but he didn't go any further than that and he didn't condemn what russia had done as other world leaders around the world had done. so now the strong reaction is coming from the president now that he is on air force one on his way to argentina, kate. >> thank you so much. joining me now is senator bob menendez of new jersey, he's the top democrat on the senate foreign relations committee. i hope you would look down as your twitter feed because of what we just learned from the president that he's announced that he's canceling this meeting
with putin not because of news on russian investigation but because of the clash between ukraine and russian war ships. are you happy to hear that? >> no. i would have liked to have him meet putin and challenge putin to find his spine as it relates to the international order as well as the cyberattacks on our own democracy. i don't want to see another helsinki performance. this was his opportunity to redeem himself, stand up for american values and international law and our own national security interests and he had that opportunity and instead he's abdicating it. >> do you think, though, if he had met there would be anything different than helsinki, because what has changed since then, right? >> well, that's a good test, kate. we needed to see just avoiding the meeting doesn't speak to all the issues that are out there, it doesn't speak to the recent violations of ukrainian sovereignty, violations on the high sea, it doesn't speak to the continuous cyberattacks
against the united states, doesn't speak to this latest revelation of economic interests in russia and so, he avoids that by not having a meeting instead of confronting putin. and it is ironic that this president cannot find his spine to confront vladimir putin but can challenge the closest allies of the united states has across the globe. >> i do want to ask you about the other news regarding russia that is just coming out. i want to get your reaction to this disclosure in court today the surprise appearance by michael cohen that the president was discussing a real estate deal with russia while he was the presumptive republican nominee, the discussions going much further into 2016 than had previously been known, according to michael cohen? >> it says a lot of things. number one, there's a lot of people around president trump who are willing to lie for him it seems and the reason to do that is only to protect him from
potentially challenging or legal issues. number two is the tentacles into russia continue to grow as we find out more information and number three, this once again speaks loudly as to why the president should release all of his tax returns so that we can understand the degree of interests that he has in russia and if that's affecting his foreign policy views. he never seems to be able to stand up to vladimir putin. >> michael cohen admits today that he misled, he made misstatements to congress, he misled your colleagues on the intelligence committee he said, does this make his statements today any less reliable for you? >> does it make it what? >> less reliable for you. what are you saying today about him telling the truth now about when donald trump knew about these russia deals and how much he knew? >> i think he's obviously -- he tells -- he says this truth with
consequences with it. he's admitting to what now is the truth and that truth brings him consequences. he could continue to maintain he didn't and try to avoid the consequences or litigate them out. he's actually going ahead and facing consequences as a result of finally telling the truth, but this is a pattern that we see among everybody who's surrounded the president during his campaign and you only lie at the end of the day if you're trying to protect the principle, in this case now the president, then the candidate. >> donald trump says that michael cohen is today the liar calling him a weak person. the president is many times said that he's zero ties, zero investments in russia. this does somewhat fly in the face of all that is coming out now, but does that mean that the president it anything of legal, continues to remain a question. its not a crime to lie to the press, unfortunately. >> no, its not -- but as the
president of the united states you set a standard for the world that you don't lie to the press. we don't know that's why robert mueller's investigation is so important. we will ultimately know all of the facts because he seems to have more of the facts and more people plead guilty and are found guilty at the end of the day, but what we do know is there are far more tentacles into russia than had previously been disclosed. and so one has a legitimate question as to whether, number one, he does have economic interests there that are affecting his judgment, whether oligarchs have invested in his business and lastly, does all of this affect the way in which he responds to russia which seems to be incredibly benign as a time in which putin is violating the international order left and right and putin only understands strength and so long as he continues to do what he's done for example, in ukraine in
taking those ships, arresting the sailors, violating the international law on the high seas, he will continue to march forward in this regard and be a risk to the national interest and security of the united states. >> senator bob menendez, thank you so much for coming in. >> good to be with you. >> we have much more. we'll be right back. the hard work you put into lowering your
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his meeting with vladimir putin. live from buenos aires, a surprise to everybody considering what the president said on the way to air force one. what are you hearing there? >> reporter: it was. the president said less than an hour ago, it's time for a good meeting. a very good time to have a meeting. then he was tweeting as he was flying from washington to argentina he is now not having that meeting. based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to ukraine from russia, i decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my prefl scheduviously schedule. i look forward to it again as soon as the wagz situation.
an hour or so ago he said it was a good time. he is either trying to change the headlines from the michael cohen guilty plea or the president also we should point out, vladimir putin is going to be here at this g-20 summit and they will still cross paths. what it means though is apparently they will not have the formal meeting on saturday. this is very fluid and could always change. the president is trying to change the subject as he flies down here, clearly watching all of this. >> great point, jeff. thank you so much. my panel is back with me. i want to ask you what jeff was talking about. cancelling this meeting, he said it was about the clashes between ukraine and russia warships. it is surprising that that's a decision he announces now. just the statements coming out
of the white house. >> and it was written in a formal way that those of us who have been watching donald trump's tweets for particularly the last almost two years since he has been president for the most part when he is doing his own tweeting and he has to be carefully crafted. it was very carefully crafted to point the reason at ukraine. it was interesting what bob menendez said, the top democrat on the foreign relations committee. he should have kept the meeting and if this was the actual issue, the reason why he canceled it, he should have pushed vladimir putin on ukraine. no question there are a lot of republicans who agree with bob menend menendez. at the end of the day, he saw what happened in helsinki.
i know from talking to people who have been talking to the president about that meeting that they have been telling him there is no good politically with meeting with vladimir putin and with this michael cohen situation, that was weighing on him to the nth degree. politics and diplomacy dealing with an incredibly important adversary like russia are two very different things. >> they need to be handled delicately and that's a tough one. to dana's point, this comes after president trump has already been on a tear for 24 some ought hours about the russia investigation before any of this stuff with michael cohen came out this morning. when you look at the tweets that he has been sending out, i wonder, we heard from the
president, but i wonder what this will then do. what this all means and i just don't know. >> look, as you point out, the president seems to be growing more and more frantic day by day com paparing the mueller investigation to joe mccarthy and the rogue investigators and on and on and on. what we do know and of course we are all piecing all of this together, but we do know he finished answering questions in writing. we do know from reports that manafort's attorney has been talking to the white house about generally what's been going on in his part of the woods here after their negotiations fell apart. and things seem to have just been spinning and spinning and spinning since that time.
there is nongthing wrong with manafort's attorney talking to the white house, but his client is a cooperator or was a cooperator and attorneys have raised questions about that. what do they know now? what do the president's attorneys know and what does the president know about the areas that bob mueller intends to pursue? what he learned this morning is that there is an area involving -- and michael cohen and concerning this trump tower moscow because now the two men are telling divergent stories. i think you should expect that this spinning will continue and that the president could grow more frantic because it's possible that he sees the walls coming down around him. we just don't know at this point because we don't know what mueller knows. and that's the big question here. >> and maybe to that point, what
could be the most unsettling statement is they were leaving the courthouse this morning for donald trump's team is when he said he has been cooperating and will continue to cooperate. it's not over. that's the statement they are making. >> this is just the starting line. this is the point where the southern district and mueller said we are ready and banking on you. the indictments and the changes and whatever come out of this is going to follow. as gloria said, you wish the president of the united states had a better poker face rather than a public melt down. why he is panicking is everything mueller said in his public filings has come to be. mueller is batting a thousand. we are starting to get at the why here. people asked why is the president so indebted to russia. financially as we learned today and he probably believed that russia could help him with the election. >> even if it didn't happen? >> the fact that it departmeidn
happen doesn't matter. he was trying to curry favor with them. >> this is how an intelligence operation would work. you figure out vulnerabilities and cast out the net and real them in. then maybe that goes astray because he gets the nomination. that's around the same time the trump tower meeting happens with the offer for dirt. you pulled him in a little bit more. when all of that is secret, that becomes your leverage over the person. >> for it's assumed that donald trump's statement is in contrast and conflict with what michael cohen is putting out, does that make the case that likely donald trump would be asked to speak to in person, the special counsel? >> he might be asked to come, but we have come back to square one. i don't have to and i'm going to leave it where my written answers are and gamble. >> what's the thing you are watching for now?
>> i want to see the next round of indictments and if people get indicted on wikileaks. stone and corsi and others. >> i appreciate it. much more on all this breaking news right now on john king and inside politics. >> thank you, kate and welcome to inside politics. a blockbuster breaking news day. thank you for sharing it with us. the president's long time lawyer and fixer pleas guilty to a single charge, lying to congress. he now said trump organization negotiations with russia about a giant real estate deal extended deep into the 2016 campaign. cohen told congress the talks ended in january, 2016 in this new plea.
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