Skip to main content

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  November 29, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

7:00 pm
he was doing because he knew it was wrong. and all the twisting and attacking and fake this and hoax that can't make mueller believe that the president was lying about it any less. as we teach our kids and as walter scott explained perfectly, oh, what a tangle web we weave when first we practice to deceive. that's all for us tonight. thank you for watching. "cnn tonight" with d lemon starts right now. okay. so it may not have been illegal, but it certainly shows you where his priorities were, right? at that point. >> he just said it. >> if you want to be -- >> he just said it, i may have lost. >> i may have lost. >> i was going to go back into the business. why would i deny myself any opportunities? >> an opportunity missed. he couldn't pick up an opportunity a year later for a building? >> he wanted to be in russia. they'd been trying to do a deal for while. he liked very much to do the
7:01 pm
miss universe there. he was enamored with putin. he wanted to get in there. >> chris, you can do that any time. there is no timeline on when you can build a building in moscow. if your priorities are -- if your priority is to win the presidency, to do the business of the people of the united states, basically become an employee of you and me, the people of the united states, then why not do that? that's where your priorities should be. his, according to him, his daughters, his sons are perfectly capable of running the business without him and if there -- if it even smacked some some sort of impropriety or of some sort of collusion as he says then maybe he should have not done it and wait until he figures out or until it's determined if he's going to be the president of the united states. there is no timeline. >> right. right, of course that's what he should have done but he didn't want to do that. >> but he didn't. >> and you say, well, the kids could have run the business.
7:02 pm
i don't think the president believes that. we don't even have any proof for all the papers they showed us that day, all the mountains of trees he had in papers, i don't know what was in those documents. i don't know he walled himself from any of the business. the reporting is he's still very much in the loop. >> that's what i was going to say. >> what happens in the business. >> he's still running it. hey, can we talk about michael. you've known michael for, what, decades now, right? >> i've known of him. i really got to know him through the campaign. >> same here. it's weird because i was coming back from the beach here in new york one weekend. he called me out of the blue and we had a conversation, talking about the campaign, just general stuff as a reporter. and we started -- so we developed this rapport where we speak occasionally. so today i spoke to him. nothing specific that i would give away anyone's confidence or that would mean anything except for how he's doing and how he feels about what the president is saying, what rudy giuliani is saying about him. and everyone, you know, the president is saying, oh, he has
7:03 pm
no credibility. he's doing this because he wants a reduced sentence. well, the fact is it's been reporting. you know as an attorney a 5k 1 cooperation agreement. he doesn't have a signed deal. i think they will write a letter to the judge saying that the information he gave to the special counsel was helpful in this investigation and that might help. >> that's what -- that's what today did also. bob mueller putting his name on this pleading. >> right. >> asserting that michael cohen was valuable and credible is very helpful to his cause. which works for and against him in terms of public perception. >> public perception, but what's the incentive, though, for him to lie right now? why would he lie about the lies that he lied about? >> none. he would be really reckless to lie to mueller's investigators when he already has guilty pleas under his belt. i do not believe his counsel, which is highly competent, would have ever allowed it. >> yeah.
7:04 pm
funny thing, though, i have to say, when i asked him -- i said, you know, michael, i saw your face when you were going towards the cars and all the media was there. what were you thinking? i was thinking, where's the car? >> i do not -- i do not envy his position. >> his position. >> and, remember, all of this -- >> yeah. >> for us, this is winding up. >> yeah. >> mueller's going to put out his report. we're going to see where it leads. we're going to see how much it offends the public's sensibilities and whether or not our congress wants to take action thereon. that's where it begins for us. he's going to be sentenced and life is going to be over for him, his wife, his kids, his family, his business, everything is going to change. >> one thing i will tell you, we can sit around and discuss -- before i get to that point, you know, it's -- with this whole thing about him and how much,
7:05 pm
you know -- what he has to die about. again, i don't understand why he would lie at this point, especially when you consider what this is going to do to this family and if he is caught lying then he is in the position of a man -- of manafort, right, where he faces something that's much stronger. so, you know, that part i don't get what people are saying. the only thing that really matters right now, we can sit around in these groups, people can speculate on television, rudy giuliani can say what he wants to say, the president can say what he wants to say, the information that michael cohen gave to the special counsel, someone thought it was important enough and credible enough -- >> 70 hours. >> and that's robert mueller. that's the only thing matters. >> remember why mueller and his guys, the men and women on his team believe in what michael cohen is saying. it's not a personality contest. they have documentation of the same. >> mmm-hmm. >> so they know what he can
7:06 pm
show. >> right. >> and that's why they have such high value on this. and, remember, michael cohen could have told them things that they've heard many times before. he could have just been corroborative of things. see, that's the danger going forward. there are two big takeaways for me from today. one, it's not over with cohen and mueller. there are a lot of things that he sat and bore witnes to that he knows and remembers, he recollects and he can help mueller with, at a minimum, even if he's not the main piece he can corroborate things for mueller. of that i am sure. second, this is not going to wind up in a trial. this is not going to be about a burden of proof. this is going to wind up being a political assessment of the president of the united states. and i don't know which way it comes out. that's why i always say to people, t the idea that this ret will injury the presidency in a very real way, i don't know. i just don't know that because the president is so insulated from prosecution. >> yeah.
7:07 pm
well, if his answers, the written ones, are inconsistent with what michael cohen said and there is proof in the documents and with what we don't know what robert mueller has, if it's inconsistent with that, i'm not an attorney but i would think it would spell big trouble for the president because that means he didn't tell the truth. >> it would depend on what. look, you're going to get him for lying. i'd be shocked if that doesn't come out in the report. i don't know about in the written interrogatories but it's going to come out because the man lies all the time, the president, so that's going to come out. he has been teflon to that kind of scrutiny in a way i've never seen in any elected official ever to this point. however, one of the things that's very interesting and irony here, they dragged their feet with their questions. months and months and months. we will. we won't. how? how many? let's negotiate. you know what mueller was doing during all that time? interviewing people. learn more. being able to put more into the questions.
7:08 pm
being able to cross-reference more things. i'll tell you something, i worked the at a great law firm. i was a student of some of the best minds in the business. lawyers at this level do not ask questions they don't know the answer to. >> yeah. well, i'm going to let you go, my friend, but i'll tell you, my friend, the late, great aretha franklin, what she used to say is lies on top of lies, and that's all that is. thank you. see you soon. >> all right, bud. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. thanks for joining us, everyone. this has been a really huge day in the mueller investigation. our blockbuster news, the peptide's former fixer and keeper of secrets apparently not keeping those secrets anymore. i'm talking about michael cohen. he's saying that he was lying to protect the president when he told congress that negotiations to put a trump tower in moscow ended before the iowa caucuses. cohen, as part of his surprise guilty plea today to a charge from robert mueller, now says those negotiations continued well into the presidential
7:09 pm
campaign until june of 2016. he also says he discussed the project with donald trump himself on more than three occasions and briefed trump family members working with the trump organization. that means then candidate trump was trying to do business with russia in the middle of a campaign that russia interfered in to help elect him. and get a load of this detail, which sounds like it would be straight out of the trump playbook. one idea for marketing trump tower moscow was to offer vladimir putin the $50 million penthouse. that's according to felix sater, a russian-born one time business associate of trump's who worked on the project with michael cohen. for what it's worth, rudy giuliani tells cnn the president never heard about the idea, but trump tower moscow was just one of the topics cohen discussed in
7:10 pm
over 70 hours of questioning by mueller's team. he's expected to continue cooperating with mueller. but here's the thing that's got to have this president really, really, really rattled right now, the news broke after he turned in his written answers to mueller's questions, including questions about the moscow project. and if the president's answers don't match what cohen now says, that spells big trouble. rudy giuliani says there's no contradiction and we haven't seen those answers but robert mueller has. the president reacting to all of this just about the way you'd expect because sources are telling cnn tonight that he is, quote, in a terrible mood, spooked and completely distracted. which sounds about right. a little over an hour after cohen dropped his bombshell this morning, the president stood before the cameras on the south lawn and did what he always does.
7:11 pm
first, deny. >> he's trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story. so very simply, michael cohen is lying and he's trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me. >> then backpedal. >> we were thinking about building a building. i guess we had in a form it was an option. i don't know what you'd call it. we decided -- i decided ultimately not to do it. >> and then there is a formula here, and then make excuses. >> now here's the thing, even if he was right it doesn't matter because i was allowed to do whatever i wanted during the campaign. >> so it has nothing to do with me, but i was thinking about doing it and deciding -- and decided not to and it doesn't matter because i could do whatever i wanted. pure trump. you know what else is pure
7:12 pm
trump? lying. >> so michael cohen has made many statements to the house, as i understand it, and the senate. he put out a statement talking about a project which was essentially i guess more of less of an option that we were looking at in moscow. everybody knew about it. it was written about in newspapers. it was a well-known project. so he's lying about a project that everybody knew about. this deal was a very public deal. everybody knows about this deal. >> so that is not true. the potential deal for trump tower moscow never came to light until after trump took office. long after the deal was cancelled. cnn did some digging and found that the project was first mentioned briefly in an article in "the new york times" in february went. -- 2017. the details were few and far between until cohen testified on
7:13 pm
capitol hill in august of 2017. so, no, it was not a very public deal and it certainly was not public while donald trump was running for president, and that is because trump never mentioned it. despite question after question about any involvement with russia, on july 26th, 2016, he tweeted this, "for the record, i have zero investments in russia." and the next day he said this -- >> i have nothing to do with russia. i have -- john, john, how many times do i have to say it? are you a smart man? i have nothing to do with russia. i have nothing to do with russia. >> not one word about the trump tower moscow deal. in fact, he never mentioned it. not once. in all the times he was asked about russia during the campaign, after he was elected and after his inauguration. >> you said you have no investments in russia but do you owe any money to russian individuals and institutions? >> no. will i sell condos to russians on occasion?
7:14 pm
probably. i mean, i do that. i have a lot of condos. >> i don't have any deals with russia. i had miss universe there a couple of years ago. other than that, no. >> we could make deals in russia very easily if we wanted to. i just don't want to because i think that would be a conflict. >> i own nothing in russia. i have no loans in russia. i don't have any deals in russia. >> i had the miss universe pageant, which i owned for quite awhile. i had it in moscow a long time ago, but other than that i have nothing to do with russia. >> don't have -- i could but i didn't because i think it would be a conflict. he said it right there. listen to what happened when cbs' nora o'donnell asked then campaign chairman paul manafort about russia back in 2016. >> so to be clear, mr. trump has no financial relationships with any russian oligarchs? >> that's what he said -- that's what -- that's obviously what the -- our position is.
7:15 pm
>> just a little awkward. yeah, we got to play it one more time. let's play it, please. >> so to be clear, mr. trump has no financial relationships with anyone russian oligarchs. >> that's what he said -- that's what -- that's obviously what the -- our position is. >> oh, that was really, really awkward. i still have no idea what he said there but that's -- doesn't that just sum all of this up, the whole day, just all of it? that's what he said -- that's what -- that's what -- i mean, if that's what he said that's what happened. but as we always say around here, facts matter and as more facts emerge from the mueller investigation, the real question is what will this president do? lots to talk about.
7:16 pm
laura coats, harry littmann. we're going to dig into it next.
7:17 pm
carl, i as my broker...invite here. what am i paying you to manage my money? it's racquetball time. ♪ carl, does your firm offer a satisfaction guarantee?
7:18 pm
like schwab does. guarantee? ♪ carl, can you remind me what you've invested my money in. it's complicated. are you asking enough questions about how your wealth is being managed? if not, talk to schwab. a modern approach to wealth management.
7:19 pm
and then, more jobs robegan to appear.. what started with one jobspread. because each job in energy creates many more in this town. we knew it wouldn't take long. president trump in buenos aires for the g20 tweeting tonight
7:20 pm
about the mueller investigation. quoting alan dershowitz, criticizing the investigation and falsely claiming it's what he calls an illegal hoax that should be ended immediately. going on to quote greg jarrett and calling it, wait for it, a witch hunt. less discuss now with laura coates and harry litman. good evening. laura, to you first. >> hey, don. >> the president has been reluctant to condemn russia and it seems we may be learning why. >> well, you're very generous about the word reluctant. it seems like all this time one of the main questions that robert mueller has had and everyone looking at the collusion investigation has been to figure out why would there be a foreign country, particularly russia, that would think that they would have a receptive year to a united states campaign for the presidency? why would there be some inclination on their parts that they had a safe haven? and when you follow the money trail and follow whether or not
7:21 pm
someone would be a mayor net or have some self-interests or financial ties that might give you the motivation why, one, russia would feel they have that receptive ear and why perhaps the president has acted, at least to the outward eye, that he is beholden to russia and not criticizing them. what you saw from this cohen guilty plea, if we are to believe it, and certainly robert mueller who has much more access to information than we do and corroboration, if we're to believe what he has to say then michael cohen is telling you what that motive may be. there may be that financial tie. answering the question why they had a soft landing in the president's campaign. >> you know what, harry, i mean, clearly robert mueller wouldn't accept cohen story without corroboration. do you think there could be some audiotapes maybe? >> i don't know about audiotapes but you're certainly right about corroboration. we saw it this week with both manafort and corsi.
7:22 pm
mueller had true evidence of what had happened. he questioned them and they refused to come clean and he -- and he severed any further relationship with them. i think laura is spot-on. and the cohen deal exposes a whole sort of welter of personal, commercial and political connections between trump and russia. we're not exactly sure what is the point of acute vulnerability that he obviously was so concerned about in lying throughout the campaign. but there's a lot of griss for the mill. we have family members involved here. we have the lured allegations of the steele dossier. his imperial ambitions to big the buildest building in europe and all that might have entailed. as you reported, the fifth largest condo for putin.
7:23 pm
there obviously is another level of the story that basically will reveal, why was it so important to trump and cohen who was then lock add the hip with him to keep it quiet and under wraps? >> laura, there is no other way to put it, the president lied today. the president claimed that his proposed moscow tower was well-known during the campaign. that's simply not true. we only learned about the deal after he was elected. we've seen, you know, this song and dance before. what does it say that trump is getting caught in another lie? >> well, this lie in particular is unique because, again, a lot of the lies you're talking about and misstatements or alternative facts, if they'd like to call it that, at some point in time have been made to the media, to the american people, have been made with his twitter thumbs, have been made through people who are his mouthpieces. this time we're actually talking about he has written these questions down. one of the questions he was asked by mueller according to our cnn reporting has been about
7:24 pm
that trump tower moscow. so as before, he had opportunities to backpedal, to clean up and sanitize his answers. now that era of backpedalling is over because it's written in the pavement in front of mueller's office. now he can use that as a contradict to show whether or not the president has made -- not just misstatements but actually has made false statements to federal officials and investigators. now that era of backpedalling is done. the president is probably paranoid, confused, irritated, all of the range of emotions about it. he's probably mostly concerned that his answers are now stuck with him. >> written out. so here's what i -- and that's the reporting that we have about this mood and the way he's acting. that's what the reporting shows, laura, exactly what you say. but what we learned -- harry, what we learned from michael cohen today. michael cohen could have told, you know, mueller that in just a couple of minutes. let's think about this.
7:25 pm
a number of -- 70 hours, right? okay. he knew about this. we had this tower thing. that takes what, two, three, four, five minutes max? but he spent more than 70 hours speaking to mueller. he also worked for trump for ten-plus years. i mean, what else could he have told? >> right. so we certainly have a very rich account on the whole sort of dirty dealings side of trump's period before he was a candidate and they are bolstered by the immunized testimony of the cfo of the trump organization who was there all the way back to trump's dad, weissleberg, and by pecker, the ceo at american media. so we have a lot of rich stuff here. and yet this part -- i don't know percentage wise how much it was that cohen told him, but this is the discreet part of cohen's involvement that really overlaps and forms part of the tangled web of the russian
7:26 pm
connection. we have the re-emergence of the cleverly charact colorful character of felix sater, the russian organized crime guy who said, buddy boy, we're going to make trump president. >> and we can orchestrate it. >> we can orchestrate it. we have cohen pulling the plug on the russia trip just at the time of the trump tower meeting. so i think you're right, much of what he has told mueller has much to do with the previous probably questionable transactions. but this is the one rich part, and as laura says, this is a really important point that was filled in today. we now know one of the questions was -- that trump answered was about this point. and so he is locked in. i mean, he was locked in also to the wikileaks point and locked in also to steele, but he probably was able to hedge that. here, no, he didn't know it was coming and he may, in fact, now
7:27 pm
be committed to a false account. >> harry, laura, thank you so much. i got to run, laura. sorry about that. thank you so much. >> it's okay. we want to know who put this deal together and when. my next guest has lots of details about the players and the timeline of this trump tower moscow deal and he's going to connect the dots for us next. this is dell cinema technology uninterrupted streaming brilliant sound clarity and life-like color. experience dell cinema on the xps 13. shop the biggest cyber week ever at
7:28 pm
(intel chime)
7:29 pm
7:30 pm
the full value ofe your totaled new car. the guy says "you picked the wrong insurance plan." no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with liberty mutual new car replacement, you won't have to worry about replacing your car because you'll get the full value back, including depreciation. switch and you could save $782 on home and auto insurance. call for a free quote today. liberty mutual insurance. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ tonight, a source telling cnn the president's in a foul mood, spooked and completely distracted by michael cohen pleading guilty to lying to congress in an effort to cover up trump's knowledge of the moscow tower project. joining me now is michael is cough. he's the co-author of "russian
7:31 pm
are you let: the inside story of putin's war on america and the election of donald trump." good evening. your book. wow. so let's discuss now. in this new filing by michael cohen, cohen says that he was trying to protect individual one, that's president trump. there is also individual two, that's felix sater, a russian-born one-time business associate of trump's. so talk to me about who this guy is and his role as it relates to trump and that -- and trump tower moscow. >> sure. look, felix sater had been on the scene with donald trump for some years. he was a real estate adviser. he had a card that identified him as such. and he had a somewhat checkered past. he was a convicted felon who had been implicated in a mobbed up scheme on wall street and then turned government informant. in september of 2015, which is after donald trump has already declared for the presidency,
7:32 pm
he's -- the campaign is under way. sater pitches this idea for the trump tower moscow project to michael cohen. there's e-mails saying, you know, he shows, you know, this is a way to help make world peace, bring russia and the united states together, help get donald trump elected president and for us to make lots of money. that was clearly the prime motivation here. and, you know, the public story, the narrative from the trump folks, starting with michael cohen after all this emerged after the election was in january '16, michael cohen tries to get in touch with somebody in putin's office, dmitry peskov, the press spokesman. don't even know how to get in touch with him. calls up maggie haberman of "the new york times" for an e-mail address. she doesn't have it. he finally sends it to the public address and never gets a response. that was the public story.
7:33 pm
in fact, we now learn none of that was true. the day after cohen sent that e-mail, peskov's office responds. there's somebody identified as a special assistant who wants to know more, takes notes, asks how the kremlin, putin's office, can be helpful in this project, and then it goes on for six more months, all during the primaries while donald trump is running for president and saying kind things about vladimir putin. we now learn that he -- his business was in contact with putin trying to secure this business deal -- >> so -- >> there's talks about trump flying to moscow to meet with putin as late as june -- >> but there is also this, michael -- >> 2016. >> there is this, because he's saying that the deal, he didn't know about it, right? >> that trump didn't know about it? >> yeah. he signed a letter of intent. he knew the kind of deal could
7:34 pm
hurt him politically. why would he lie? >> well, i think it's obvious why he would, but it's more than that if you read the plea deal. michael cohen says he briefed trump on this multiple times. you know, more than three times. and members of the trump family, and we have reporting from my colleague tonight, hunter walker, about how ivanka and donald trump jr. were very much involved in the plans for this project. but the really stunning thing is that, you know, all of this was known to the trump organization. >> mmm-hmm. >> the whole time the russia story was blowing up, and, you know, the e-mails, the texts, they all had access to it and they never said a word while michael cohen went to the senate and brazenly lied about it and, you know, which he has now pled guilty to. and so, you know, just from a pure political damage control 101, the idea that you knew that all this damaging information
7:35 pm
was out there and they did nothing to correct the public record. in fact, the president was saying, you know, as president i had nothing to do with russia. as far as i know, nobody i was doing business with was in contact with anybody in russia. it was all not true. >> all right. as we just say, a lie. >> well -- >> thank you. >> i'll let you say that. >> thank you, michael. i appreciate your time. >> any time. >> get the book, "russian are you roulette." robert mueller isn't the only investigation, right? congressman eric swalwell is here to talk about the house's investigation. with democrats in power how are they going to move forward? gs y? no. and do you want to get things you love for free? who wouldn't? exactly! right. dad, apple music. he gets it. this guy gets it. (vo) get six months free apple music, on the network you deserve.
7:36 pm
7:37 pm
7:38 pm
♪ [ telephone ringing ] -whoa. [ indistinct talking ] -deductible? -definitely speaking insurance. -additional interest on umbrella policy? -can you translate? -damage minimization of civil commotion. -when insurance needs translating, get answers in plain english at ♪ -he wants you to sign karen's birthday card. it's a high honor.
7:39 pm
so, robert mueller's investigation isn't the only one looking into potential ties between the trump campaign and russia. both the senate and the house
7:40 pm
intelligence committees are also investigating. the blue wave now puts democrats in charge of the house intel committee. under the chairmanship of devin nunes followed by congressman mike con away. republicans on the committee focused on leaks and ultimately debunked claims that the obama administration improperly unmasked sources. the committee shut back -- shut down back in march. well, but come january they're going to be back in business so democratic congressman eric swalwell who is on the house intel committee, he joins me now. good evening. i remember when that was shut down you came on and you were beside yourself, as were many democratic congressmen. >> i was pretty fired up, don, but we're not powerless anymore. >> you just heard your colleague say some of the witnesses who testified before the committee, that they -- that they lied. i'm sorry, that's the wrong thing. you said earlier today -- that
7:41 pm
was wrong, sorry. you said earlier today buried in the basement of the house intelligence committee are pages of lies and testimony from trump family and associates. talk to us about that. >> so we have heard from dozens of witnesses from the trump family, the trump campaign and the trump businesses, and their transcripts are buried beneath the capitol under lock and key and devin nunes, every time we requested that those transcripts would be sent over to bob mueller and his team has blocked that. and the reason we have requested that they be sent to the mueller team is because we believe that there have been lies told to us and that it would be important for the mueller investigation to know about that. >> do you think you'll be able to get those? >> yes. so we're 34 days away from a new congress and one of the first things we're going to do is we're going to fast-track that testimony over to the mueller team. >> all right. so, listen, your committee investigation ended on a pretty ugly note. what are you hoping for once it
7:42 pm
reboots in this new congress? >> well, first, to conduct the investigations the republicans wouldn't and fill in the gaps. not to be redundant. not to seek a pound of flesh. but especially when it comes to following the money, we want to know about the prior personal, political and financial connections that donald trump, his family, his businesses and his campaign had with russia. to be able to look where we weren't able to look before. to subpoena deutsche bank. so subpoena the bank records, the cell phone records, the travel records that the republicans wouldn't. don, we ran a take them at their word investigation where they would come in, they would refuse to answer questions and we weren't able to probe them any further. and many times republicans actually told them, you don't have to answer the democratic questions. if you want to get up and leave, you can just leave. that's the investigation we ran. those days are over. we're actually going to do the job to protect our democracy. >> well, the question is, what is your ultimate power in this because -- and the -- i guess what is the outcome here because
7:43 pm
you can get these folks back, and i'm not sure if michael cohen's going to tell you anything differently than what he's telling mueller. so then what gives here? what's the end game? >> well, mueller can only tell the public what he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt so he's got evidentiary limitations, but that's not our -- that will not be our focus. we're not prosecutors. we want to make sure that in the 2020 election a foreign adversary doesn't interfere again and the best way to make sure that doesn't happen is to understand how they did it before. so we can put those witnesses, you know, in front of our committee. we can subpoena those documents. but most importantly, it's going to be a future forward-looking investigation to just make sure that this never, ever again happens to the -- our democracy. >> but it will also expose, if it turns out the way you think it's going to turn out, right, it will expose your republican colleagues for something -- for somewhat of a cover-up. because that's what you're alleging, or at least -- >> they covered up, they
7:44 pm
protected, they obstructed and, again, those days are over. now, i can tell you, don, we've already had meetings where democratic members have all agreed that we don't want to go back in time, we don't want to hold a grudge, we want to extend a bridge to republicans to join us but we have a job to do and we hope that they hear the message that the voters sent this last midterm, which is that they want a balance of power against so many of these abuses of power. >> also in june of 2016, feelis sater invited michael cohen to russia for an economic, right, and then promised an introduction to the russian prime minister and possibly even putin. sater, he's been cooperating with the mueller investigation for over a year, turning over documents and e-mails. what else do you think sater knows? >> i've always thought that sater is one of the most critical witnesses, and, don, just to show you how the republicans tried to prevent us from even interviewing sater, they allowed sater to be interviewed just a few days
7:45 pm
before christmas in new york while we were about to have a government shutdown so no democratic member was even able to go to that interview. but what sater knows is he knows about not only the political interests that the trumps had in getting dirt from the russians but about the business interests they had at the same time this campaign was taking place and he extended that offer. connect trump and putin. we can engineer this. in his words, we can get our boy elected president. >> all right. thank you very much, congressman. i appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. michael cohen once said he would take a bullet for donald trump, but that's clearly no longer the case. the trump family and loyalty. that's next.
7:46 pm
7:47 pm
7:48 pm
7:49 pm
for each job exxonmobil creates, many more are created in the community. because energy touches so many industries, it supports 10 million u.s. jobs.
7:50 pm
so michael cohen once said that he would take a bullet for donald trump. that was then. and this is now. now cohen says he is guilty of lying to congress out of loyalty to this president. and hoilt has always been very, very important to donald trump. >> we could use some more loyalty. >> i love loyalty. loyalty can be a wonderful thing. >> loyalty is very important. i'm loyal to a fault, i'm loyal. >> loyalty. you know, some of these people have like a 10% loyalty meaning if they sneeze in the wrong direction, they're gone. >> what do today's developments say about loyalty in trump's inner circle and the future of the mueller investigation? frank bruni from the "new york times" and michael d and to beio the author of "the truth about trump." good evening, gentlemen. he talks about loyalty. it's kind of laughable, don't you think? >> yeah, any number of names could come up. i was thinking of jeff sessions, the first republican senator to
7:51 pm
endorse trump back before anyone knew his campaign would go anywhere. trump was loyal to jeff sessions. where is jeff sessions now? >> interesting. michael, listen, cohen was one of trump's inner circle, right? he was in a core group that included the family. it was suppose to be bound by loyalty. was today the ultimate betrayal in donald trump's eyes? >> well, i think it was. but i think this has been obviously unraveling very slowly. the president's been aware that michael cohen is sort of a lost soldier. he's the coppo who has gone over to the side of the investigators and prosecutors, and this is obviously very disturbing to the president. but we all in our lives, you know, we get this choice. are we going to be loyal to an individual and do what' wants us to do and take a bullet for him or loyal and true to ourselves
7:52 pm
to some level of morality that is higher than personality. i think you know, one thing you've got to say for michael cohen, he's made a really tough choice. he's decided to be his own man. i think he wants the love of his family and has decided you know, i'm going to try and do the right thing now. i'm going to tell the truth. >> i'm not sure i see it that sunnily. i'm not sure michael cohen has decided to be loyal to morality and do the right thing, per se. i think he wants a lighter sentence. trump is right about that. he's wrong that michael cohen's lying now. we know what michael cohen is saying now about what happened from january 2016 to june in terms of the trump tower or desire of trump tower in moscow, we know he's telling the truth because it's backed up by the evidence that mueller has. that's why he had to plead guilty to lying to congress before. i don't think he has suddenly found morality and public service. i think he's once again acting
7:53 pm
in his best interests and his family's best interests. >> it's part of -- he did say he's acting in his family's interests and today when the president said you know, he wants a lighter sentence. who the wouldn't? >> of course who wouldn't. right. >> who wouldn't want a more lenient sentence. he does not have a deal with the special prosecutor, michael, for a more lenient deal. how it would behoove him to lie at this point and then go back and lie to the special prosecutor? wouldn't that in fact, backfire and lead to possibly a longer sentence? >> right. you're right, don. he doesn't have a deal. i do have a pretty sunny outlook on life. so i'll cop to that myself. i'm loyal to my optimism. >> people do find religion so to speak in these times. honestly, they do. >> especially in prison. >> i'm somewhere in between you two. i think maybe he started out you
7:54 pm
know, the way you put it, frank. i think he may have ended up closer to the way you're putting it, michael. >> well, what's amazing to me is to think about how much michael cohen gave up to donald trump. so he was a young man who went to a law school that wasn't exactly harvard or yale. trump gave him all these rewards and status probably before he was ready for them. elevated him very quickly. and he gave in exchange essentially his ethics, his morality. >> what is this favor trump was talking about? he said he hired him today because -- didn't hire him today but he said he hired him because he was doing him a favor. what's he talking about? >> i think that's just silliness. i don't think there's a spec thing. i think he hired michael cohen because he met him in real estate circles and business circles. he saw this was a guy i think
7:55 pm
who had written all over him i'm vulnerable to this. i'll join into this, what is essentially a conspiracy. everything that donald trump did through his business life was to evade straight up competition. these are not people who wanted to go toe to toe with somebody. they always want to have an advantage. some way of gaming the system. and i think cohen indicated he was ready to do that. >> in the short time i have left, frank, if that is indeed so, then it would seem that donald trump picked up on a weakness of someone and knowingly exploiteded. >> totally. i think michael mentioned he didn't exactly go to harvard or yale law school >> he said he was weak today. >> well, i think what he did notice in michael cohen is someone who is not going to have had kind of life, who won't fly at this altitude for anyone else but me. he's going to be grateful and he is going to be me in the most
7:56 pm
subservient differential manner. >> isn't that what con men do? >> yes. that's why this is so tough for trump. the whole point of michael cohen was someone who was always going to do what he is told and he is now defying his master. >> very interesting. thank you, gentlemen. >> as stressed out as michael cohen might be, this is quite a day for him full think about him standing up for himself. >> thank you. we'll be right back.
7:57 pm
7:58 pm
7:59 pm
8:00 pm
this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. president trump touching down in buenos aires tonight for meetings with world leaders at the g-20. one of those has alre


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on