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Trump Slams FBI Raid of His Personal Lawyer; Cohen Raid Mostly Related to Stormy Daniels; New Search Warrant on Paul Manafort's Actions During Trump Campaign; Tom Bossert Resigns as Homeland Security Adviser; Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired April 10, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] DIPAYAN GHOSH, FELLOW, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL AND NEW AMERICA: -- what Congress needs to really understand and drive forward on right now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Dipayan Ghosh, thank you so much for your insight. I know you'll be watching with us today. As we said it is a watershed moment.
GHOSH: Thank you so much for having me.
BERMAN: All right. The next hour of NEWSROOM begins right now.
Good morning, everyone. John Berman here back with you. The president went to bed fuming and he woke up ranting. We are told he is in a whole different level of angst after the FBI searched the home, office and hotel room of his personal lawyer and right-hand man Michael Cohen.
This morning, the president wrote this, "Attorney-client privilege is dead," which actually is not true. Nor exactly was this analysis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now. And actually much more than that. You could say it was right after I won the nomination it started. And it's a disgrace. It's frankly a real disgrace. It's an attack on our country in a true sense. It's an attack on what we all stand for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: An investigation of one of the president's closest associates is an attack on the country, he says. Listen to that. You can see the president's anger.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Kaitlan, what's the latest?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we actually have some breaking news, John. The White House just announced that the president will no longer travel to South America this week as has been scheduled for several weeks if not months now for the Summit of the Americas. And the press secretary Sarah Sanders in her statement said that this was because the president is going to remain at home so he can oversee the American response to Syria.
But, John, there is no denying that the cancellation of this trip comes just one day after FBI agents raided the office of his longtime attorney Michael Cohen and this comes as the Mueller probe is continuing to intensify and we're seeing the president continue to essentially be consumed by this, as he was last night, during that stunning dinner with senior military leadership, a dinner where they were supposed to be discussing Syria, but when they had the cameras come into the room, the president had quite an outburst.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself. Why don't I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens. This is the most biased group of people, these people have the biggest conflicts of interest I've ever seen. Democrats, all, just about all, either Democrats or a couple of Republicans have worked for President Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Now, John, rarely has the president's anger erupted so publicly like that. Typically when we talk about his reaction to the Mueller probe, it's what he's privately saying to people how angry he is privately, certainly something we've reported at length, so this is the first time we've heard from him so publicly angry over that, and part of that, we're told, is because Michael Cohen hits closer to home for him because this is someone, a long-term fixture in his life, someone who has an office on the same floor as he does in Trump Tower.
And it's certainly struck a lot closer to home for the president, but for right now, John, the White House is insistent, they have canceled the president's trip because of Syria, but you can't deny that this comes just one day after those FBI agents raided Michael Cohen's office -- John.
BERMAN: It is all happening at once overseas, it happened at news conferences, doesn't face questions, might not want to be doing that.
Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you.
Our Shimon Prokupecz, he is monitoring the developments on the raids themselves here.
Shimon, how would you explain what went on, exactly?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, certainly a significant and aggressive move by the FBI. I mean, there's really no other way to explain this. Fanning out across really three locations in New York, one of them Michael Cohen's office. Another one it would be his home and then the hotel that he was staying at. And what we're told is that the search warrant, though very broad in its nature in terms of what they were -- had permission from a judge to look for, we're told that they seized documents related to Stormy Daniels. The search by the FBI included bank records. They also as we said
visited his home, his law office, including the hotel where Cohen had been staying at. And then the "New York Times" certainly and the "Wall Street Journal" yesterday were reporting more details on what the FBI was looking for, including communications and e-mails between Michael Cohen and the president.
You know, John, certainly a significant move here, certainly would require a lot of approval from the high levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI for investigators in New York to go ahead and move like this. And we know we'll see where this goes. So certainly everything indicates that this means that they're building some kind of a criminal case perhaps against Michael Cohen.
BERMAN: All right. Shimon Prokupecz in Washington, thank you very much.
Joining me now to discuss, CNN legal and national security analyst, Asha Rangappa, and former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman.
[10:05:03] Dan, I want to start with you here because in order to get this search warrant, yes, it takes probable cause to investigate this, but this is so politically charged that you get the sense that the bar had to be even higher. I mean, this has got to be the highest imaginable bar for FBI investigators to walk into three separate locations.
DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: The bar is higher for any lawyer. You have to take other steps in order -- first, in order to see if you can get the materials that you want before you go to a search warrant because the Department of Justice recognizes the importance of the attorney-client privilege.
And you're right, John, it's even higher when you have such a high profile target of this search warrant and someone so close to the president in such a sensitive investigation. So it's sort of two steps higher than what you would normally see.
BERMAN: They would have to have something pretty solid in order to get through this magistrate judge who would have to approve the warrant, not to mention, you know, U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, Jeffrey Berman, who, you know, is a Republican, who maxed out to the president's campaign, $5400 worth of donations there, again it would have to be something fairly so solid one would imagine.
GOLDMAN: I think it has to be I'm sure this was reviewed by main justice down in Washington, D.C., and in addition to the U.S. attorney's office, but this is my office and I will say we are known for being nonpartisan and recently we've done -- you know, we, I say, no longer there, but that office has done public corruption cases against both Democrats and Republicans. It's not going to factor in to the job they have. They're going to look at the evidence. And I think you're right. I think the evidence must have been quite strong.
BERMAN: All right. Asha, this statement from the president this morning, attorney-client privilege is dead. Explain to us the facts here about attorney-client privilege.
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right, John. Attorney-client privilege is not dead, it's just that sometimes it doesn't apply in particular circumstances. So first, the attorney- client privilege is between the attorney and the client when the attorney is representing you on a matter. And if you waive it, for example, if you disclose the contents to a third party, if there are e-mails where you've CC'd someone, you know, you now waived the privilege in that regard.
There is also something called a crime fraud exception, which means that you can't use your attorney to facilitate or cover up the commission of a crime. So, you know, for example, you can tell your attorney that you killed somebody and that confession is going to be covered by the scope of the privilege. But your attorney can't help you figure out how to dispose of the body in a way that you're not going to get caught. That becomes a new crime and that is going to be subject to a crime fraud exception that will pierce -- that will make the privilege not apply to those things.
So some kind of waiver or exception would have applied in the case of getting communications between Trump and his attorney.
BERMAN: You know, Asha, I know this might seem obvious, but also explain, it is not a good thing when your attorney, your personal attorney has his office, his home, and his hotel room raided by the FBI. If you're any client that would have to be a source of enormous concern and when this personal attorney is more than just a lawyer, but also a personal friend, fixer and a confidant, it's got to be even more troubling for the president.
RANGAPPA: Well, it's an extraordinary step to begin with, John, as we just heard in terms of the levels of approval that it would have gone through internally. The fact that a judge would have approved this. And so, yes, and obviously, you know, your attorney is one of the people that you confide in the most. So I would expect that the president would be incredibly anxious about what would have been recovered if there are documents that might point to, you know, potentially criminal liable act -- activities.
BERMAN: Right. So, Daniel, explain more to us about the fact that your office as you put it is now involved here, the Southern District of New York, where you used to -- you used to work. What does it mean that this separate entity as a part from the special counsel's investigation was part of this raid? We don't know 100 percent because we haven't seen the exact order here, but it does tell us something.
GOLDMAN: It does tell us something. We know at least some aspect of -- was referred to the Southern District from the special counsel's office. It may just simply be a matter of staffing. The special counsel's office does not have, you know, excessive amounts of staff, they have a trial that they must prepare for against Paul Manafort coming up. And what we're seeing in the last month is a sprawling investigation and it may simply be that they recognized, you know what, this is outside of what our original mandate was. And rather than seek authorization from Deputy Attorney General Rod
Rosenstein to expand our investigation, we'll send this piece up to the Southern District of New York, which is a different office -- a different prosecutorial arm within the Department of Justice.
[10:10:07] It's still federal and it's still -- it can be shared, information can be shared back and forth. And my guess is that there is an ongoing working relationship where anything that comes from this search and I would be paying close attention to the computers and the electronic data, that relates to the president will likely flow back to the special counsel's office.
BERMAN: You know, the question is, are they working apart from or on behalf of the special counsel, we don't fully know yet the parameters.
GOLDMAN: That's right.
BERMAN: But it is interesting to think about.
Daniel Goldman and Asha Rangappa, great discussion. Thank you very much.
So we're following all the breaking news surrounding this raid, the legal fallout, and up next the political fallout.
Plus, the president vows a forceful response to the deadly chemical attack, apparent chemical attack in Syria. The big question is, what and when?
And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, just a short time away from a grilling on Capitol Hill, a major watershed moment not just for Zuckerberg, for all of social media, as Congress weighs the possibility of regulating social media.
[10:15:11] BERMAN: We've been talking about all the developments surrounding Michael Cohen, the personal attorney and confidant of President Trump, the raids, the searches on his hotel room, his home and his office. But there was another major development overnight. We learned details about the search warrant on the president's former campaign chair Paul Manafort, very telling details.
Our Kara Scannell in Washington with that -- Kara.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. That's right. Last night we received new court filings which had new information about Paul Manafort in the special counsel's investigation into him. Of course, we know that the White House and Trump supporters have said that the special counsel's investigation into Manafort predated the campaign, only related to business dealings that he had with a pro- Russian Ukrainian group.
But the new filings that (INAUDIBLE) last night show that search warrants from Manafort's apartment that the special counsel's office was looking into any communications, documents or records that Manafort had with people who attended that July 2016 Trump Tower meeting. That's the meeting that Manafort attended with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and several Russians, relating to whether there was some dirt on Hillary Clinton.
We also know from the search warrant that Manafort -- that Mueller's team was looking into Manafort's communications with the Agalarovs, they're a real estate development family in Moscow. But this family was also involved with Trump previously, they helped finance the Miss Universe Pageant that was held in Moscow and they had also had discussions that never materialized, but they talked to them about creating and developing a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The search warrants also reveal that Mueller's investigators were looking at Manafort for whether there were any violations of financial contributions from foreigners. So that puts Manafort squarely in the mix of what Mueller is looking at, which is whether anyone associated with the Trump campaign had colluded with Russians in the 2016 election -- John.
BERMAN: All right. That's the whole Manafort side.
Kara Scannell, thank you very much.
Back to the Michael Cohen side and the president's rage over the raids and searches of his apartments. Moments ago we heard from the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a warning really to the president. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think it would be suicide for the president to fire him. I think the less the president says about this whole thing, the better off he will be. And I think that Mueller is a person of stature and respected and I respect him. Just let the thing go forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Senate Judiciary chair Chuck Grassley saying it would be suicide for the president to fire the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Joining me now, CNN political commentator Paul Begala, Amanda Carpenter.
Amanda, I want to start with you as the resident Republican here, albeit one who has had your differences with candidate Donald Trump and President Donald Trump. You just heard Chairman Grassley speak about the situation. What do you feel like you need to hear from elected Republicans today?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think what they're saying is this is a hot potato and don't you dare fire Mueller and put this in our hands. Senators tend to speak in, like, poetries, it's kind of hard and vague. What they should be explicitly saying is that you obstruct justice by firing Mueller, or otherwise tampering, obstruction, this investigation, you risk impeachment. I mean, I think that's what they're inching up to in their slow
senatorial ways because if Trump did fire Mueller, that is an admission that whatever political risk you take of firing Mueller is lesser than what Mueller might have. It's almost an admission of guilt in itself. It's a sign of weakness that he could not survive the investigation and so no one wants Trump to go there. And I think that's what you see Senator Grassley expressing in that clip.
BERMAN: So, Paul, our friend, Hugh Hewitt, who we all know and love, said something this morning. I wanted to get your take on it. He was -- the president said last night that this is an attack on our country. And Hugh Hewitt basically said, well, if Ken Starr had raided the office of David Kendall, President Clinton's lawyer, way back during Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky, that Bill Clinton would have had a similar response.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Nonsense. When you -- the commander-in-chief sitting with your military leaders debating and discussing how to respond to a chemical weapons attack in Syria, and you say that my lawyer getting in trouble is an attack on America? Actually the Russians attacked America, an act of war, in the words of John McCain, when they hacked into our election. To advantage Donald Trump.
Donald Trump never calls that an attack on America. It's really outrageous for him in the presence of military leaders to call his lawyer's political -- I mean, legal problems an attack on America. It shows you, as my now late friend Zell Miller used to say, a hit dog hollers. Mr. Trump is hollering because he knows this hurts. This is hitting him.
CARPENTER: Yes, I think we --
BEGALA: He's showing guilty knowledge.
BERMAN: Go ahead, Amanda.
CARPENTER: I think we have to keep these issues separate until we know that they are co-mingled, right? Like the raid on Michael Cohen's office is more than likely related to the Stormy Daniels payments, which is not related to the Russia investigation.
[10:20:05] That said, the reason why Trump is hollering, as Paul says, is that Michael Cohen is his lawyer. That means he is the perfect representation of how Donald Trump has conducted his personal and professional life. And any outward observer of Michael Cohen knows that he does business through threats, bluster, lies, and who knows what else. And we also know that for the feds to raid his apartment, the burden was pretty darn high.
They've not only had to draft a warrant, they had to get it authorized in there, and so do these roads eventually lead together? Perhaps. But it all gets back to whether it's Russia, whether it's Stormy Daniels, the lies and secrets the president has and how he has kept them from the public in his ascension to the presidency. BERMAN: Amanda, Paul, stand by if you will, because we have breaking
news, the unexpected kind of breaking news, we don't quite know what it means. The Homeland Security adviser to the president, Tom Bossert, we just learned he's resigning.
Let's go to Kaitlan Collins at the White House for the latest on this.
Kaitlan, what have you learned?
COLLINS: Well, John, we have confirmed that Tom Bossert, the Homeland Security adviser, has resigned. The White House actually just issued a statement from the press secretary Sarah Sanders. I'm going to read it to you. She said, quote, "The president is grateful for Tom's commitment to the safety and security of our great country. Tom led the White House's efforts to protect the homeland from terrorist threats, strengthen our cyber defenses and respond to an unprecedented series of natural disasters." She ends with, "President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well."
Now, John, we've seen a lot of departures at this White House in recent weeks. This is not one that is expected at all. This is quite a surprise for a lot of staffers even here in the White House that Tom Bossert is leaving. And I should point out that he was actually just dispatched to do the Sunday talk shows this past Sunday, where he was discussing that chemical attack in Syria and discussing what those potential American responses could be.
He said that all options were on the table. Certainly was speaking on behalf of the administration just on Sunday. And this also comes as the White House has just announced in last hour that the president will no longer be traveling to South America for a scheduled trip, so he can stay home to monitor the American response to what they're going to do in Syria, something the president said yesterday that decision could be made as early as last night or over the next 24 to 48 hours.
But now Tom Bossert, his Homeland Security adviser, someone who the president has liked, has praised in the past, has briefed reporters in the press briefing room, is now leaving the administration. And though it's not clear when he's leaving or what the reasons are around his departure here, John, we will certainly find out more and keep you updated.
BERMAN: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House.
Again we don't know why Tom Bossert has chosen to resign. But a heck of a day to choose to do it in the midst of the turmoil here and politically surrounding the president when his personal attorney and confidant Michael Cohen had his home searched by the FBI. Also interesting time diplomatically with the situation surrounding Syria as well.
Back with Amanda Carpenter and Paul Begala.
Paul, you know, on Bossert, again we don't know the why here, but we do know that in the midst of all the turmoil here, a departure like this, as unexpected, and we saw Bossert on TV fiercely defending the president on Sunday to have this happen on Tuesday is strange.
BEGALA: Well, and we need to keep in mind that we are still a target for terrorists around the world. We talk about Russian cyber terrorism, but there's also the actual terrorism. Bossert by all accounts, even from the Democrats, was doing a good job for our president. For that, seriously, I think I should thank him and I do.
Here is my prediction. You'll find the murder weapon, stabbed in his back, a knife with the initials JB. John Bolton is the new National Security adviser. My guess is, it's just a wild guess, but my guess is a new National Security adviser is going to want to come in and say I want a completely new team, the spokesperson for the NSC is out. Now Bossert who is not really an NSC guy, is out. I wonder if there is a connection.
BERMAN: It's good, but Paul, while I have you, I do want to ask one question about Michael Cohen here. You've been in politics for a long time. Michael Cohen is the type of guy who is as close as you can get to a principal, a political principal. So when someone like that is targeted for any politician, it's got to be the biggest of big threats.
BEGALA: Absolutely. This has completely unnerved the president. And you could see that yesterday. Instead of focusing on Syria and those kids who were gassed, he was focused on himself. But I do see why. This is a category five storm for President Trump and I don't know if there is a six, but I think we're about to find out.
BERMAN: Amanda, we got about 30 seconds left here, back to this development in the White House. You know, Paul is suggesting, he may be right, we don't know, that John Bolton could be behind this. Obviously the National Security team shifting. What do you see this next step of the turmoil, what we have called chaos in the past about the White House staffing?
CARPENTER: Well, I think it's difficult for anyone to perform their job well when there is lack of clear direction and mission. You outlined some of the things swirling around. And I wouldn't gloss over the fact that Donald Trump made -- you know, went into a lecture about the Russia investigation surrounded with the, you know, Homeland Security and military type officials yesterday. But not only that, there is the rushed decision to deploy National Guard members to the border last week, that was announced by the secretary of DHS.
[10:25:09] And so there may just be a lot of turmoil, lack of direction, and I think it would be very reasonable if this man made the decision he couldn't perform effectively in this environment because that's the conclusion that many people do come to.
BERMAN: All right. Amanda Carpenter and Paul Begala, thank you so much for being with us, helping us understand these breaking developments, all through the morning. Appreciate it.
President Trump, we learned just about an hour ago, has canceled a planned foreign trip the White House says to focus on the military developments surrounding Syria. What could come next there as the president says that all options are on the table.