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Report: Jury Seated in Manafort Trial; Facebook Discovers New Fake Accounts Run by Russians; John Kelly Says Trump Asked Him to Stay on Through 2020; Trump Echoes Giuliani's Collusion Is Not A Crime Defense; GOP Campaign Ad Uses Child to Show Love for Trump by Candidate. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired July 31, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The jury has just been seated in the first federal trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The case against Manafort is also the first high-profile test of special counsel Robert Mueller and his whole investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Manafort is facing 18 charges of banking and tax fraud. He is accused of hiding millions of dollars in income for lobbying work done on behalf of pro-Russian politicians in the Ukraine. So, let's go straight to Joe Johns, our senior Washington correspondent outside that federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia. And so, Joe, now you have details on the breakdown of this jury.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke. And here we go. Six men, six women on this jury, four alternates, three women, one man. And sworn in very quickly here on what they call the rocket docket in Alexandria, Virginia. Things moved very swiftly in the federal courts here. So, we're also hearing that the judge intends to have opening arguments. This afternoon. This means this trial is on its way. It's a very important trial, as you know, Brooke, this is the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election facing off against Donald Trump's campaign manager. Of course, he was only there briefly, but for a very critical period.
And as you know also, this means a lot of things for the state of play, at least in politics during a midterm election here in the United States, especially because the president has said so many times that in his view the Russian investigation is a witch hunt, if Paul Manafort ends up being convicted, it will be a lot harder for the president to throw shay on the investigation. If Paul Manafort is found not guilty, that gives a lot of support for the Trump side in this national conversation over Russia meddling in the 2016 election. So, Brooke, we have 18 charges in this indictment. And we don't expect to hear even a word about collusion, but what we will hear about is the charges Paul Manafort is facing, those charges include bank fraud, those charges include tax evasion, allegations from the prosecution that he got 16 million dollars from Ukraine, parked it in overseas banks and did not tell the tax collectors, the internal revenue service. Of course, he's pleaded not guilty. And we're headed very quickly to trial in this case, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Joe Johns, thank you so much. In Alexandria, we also know the jurors have just been seated to answer questions like, have you mortgaged your house? Have you ever opened a foreign bank account? Do you know any Ukrainians? What they weren't asked, who did you vote for president in 2016? A judge ruled in either proceedings, neither side could have potential jurors whether they voted for Donald Trump.
So, with me to talk more about this, Roy Futterman, a jury consultant. And so, Roy, thank you so much for being with us. And let me just read in as we're just getting some more information, joe just reported it, six men, six women have been sworn in. It took seven rounds in this election process for attorneys on both sides to reach these 12 jurors. I mean, I get this nickname, rocket docket, but in the case that is so highly politicized, how do they do that so quickly?
ROY FUTTERMAN, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, listen, it's a judge's choice to go very quickly. And certainly, the judge did go very quickly. If the judge decides this is how to play it, it means there's very little content, very little spoken words coming from the jurors. There's less information for the lawyers to choose from in order to understand who these people are. But it can happen as we saw today.
BALDWIN: There's fast and there's really fast. Another bit of information, the initial jury pool of 65 people from northern Virginia was largely white, but the group that will decide Manafort's guilt was quite diverse with at least three of the jurors not being white and three not white alternates as well.
[14:05:00] All right, so these lawyers on both sides, they couldn't ask these potential jurors who you voted for. What other questions, how do you get at that without directly asking that?
FUTTERMAN: The attorneys were very well prepared in advance to try to figure out political leanings from things like general demographics. And to get an understanding of, in advance, who do we think is going to be probably more of a Republican, probably more of a Democrat.
BALDWIN: How do you figure that out?
FUTTERMAN: There are demographics like if you look at someone particularly wealthy and has a higher-level job, intend to be more on the conservative side. In a case like this with political issues and taxation issues, those people are particularly good for the defense side.
BALDWIN: Looking ahead to just the next couple of steps of this case, how does a jury avoid outside influence? In a case like this where every little everything is found right here on their phones?
FUTTERMAN: It's not easy. They're going to do their best. And usually they try their hardest, but things are likely to seep through. We don't know what, we don't know how, but it is likely the jurors will have contact with some information no matter what they're told in advance.
BALDWIN: Your biggest question, thought, challenge, moving forward?
FUTTERMAN: Well, I think the big question here is, how is this going to play out in terms of, is it going to play out the way a political trial would? Or will it play out more like a general white-collar fraud case? It seems to be laid out pretty much like a regular white- collar fraud case. We'll see how it develops.
BALDWIN: Roy Futterman, thank you so much for coming by.
More breaking news, an announcement by Facebook that they are shutting down dozens of Facebook and Instagram accounts believed to be run by Russians. CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is out on this.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, here we go again. Russian actors continue to infiltrate, disrupt, whatever, the U.S. political debate. If not our elections themselves, Brooke. Facebook is finding the inauthentic behavior. Whoever set up these pages, which Facebook shut down, isn't who they say they are. Though they are not sure Facebook believes it is Russians, typical of the behavior we saw around the 2016 elections, set up these fake sites, get real Americans to like and follow these pages, then sending out this disinformation to encourage division in the U.S. and it worked, Brooke, again.
Nearly 290,000 users followed the 32 fake sites. One of the most followed pages called Resisters. And actually, set up a counter protest to white nationalist rally that is being planned in DC less than two weeks from today. That's why Facebook got this out today. They wanted to call attention to this. The event was called, No Unite the Right. And the people behind the Facebook page communicated with real American citizens in five different Facebook groups who agreed to co-host this event.
2600 Facebook users said they're interested in attending. Remember, this is fake setup by Russians. That is just one of 30 events the fake accounts set up in the past year. As for who is behind it, Facebook cannot say for sure it's Russians. But it has all the hallmarks of the activities the Russians did around the presidential elections. A few differences this time, the pages didn't lead back to IP Russian pages. And it encouraged people to follow the pages. Brooke?
BALDWIN: What is Facebook doing about this?
GRIFFIN: Obviously, it shut them down, but it is also trying to be transparent. It seems like Facebook is trying to do the right thing here. They are actively looking for the fake accounts. Immediately took down the pages. Now they are reaching out and reaching back to the people who said they were going to go to one of these events. For instance, to left them know listen, the Russians may have been behind the whole thing.
BALDWIN: Wow, Drew Griffin. Thank you, drew. A major development for the revolving door at the White House. Chief of Staff, John Kelly just marked his one-year anniversary on the job. And now it appears that he will be around for his second one. Let's go to the White House to our senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny. We reported before the president's trip to Europe that John Kelly maybe was in a little bit of trouble. And now you have why John Kelly wants to stay.
JEFF ZELENY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, we do. Good afternoon. It's not just that John Kelly wants to stay, but more importantly that president Trump has asked him to stay. That is the question here at the White House, whether you are the chief of staff, occupying the largest office in the west wing with the exception of the oval office, or if you're just a low-level staffer.
[14:10:00] But President Trump, we are told, wants his chief of staff to stay through at least the next election, through 2020. Now, this is something that was perhaps even more interesting, the fact that this is seeping out by design, we are told. John Kelly clearly wanting to send a message to the staff here at the White House. Some of whom have liked him, some have been at odds with him, that he is here to stay. He has the trust of the president. Now, interestingly, for the last year there have been questions of is the president going to fire John Kelly? Of course, that's what happened to the first Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, more than a year ago.
But now it seems much more likely, will John Kelly decide to stay for that long? Or will he, perhaps, re-evaluate these things after the midterm elections? Now, Brooke, we should point out the standing with the president, with any president, but this one, in particular, is a day-by-day sort of basis here. The president could always change his mind, but this is largely a reflection of, he wants some stability, but also with politics now front and center in the midterm elections in 20, of course, not that far along, John Kelly doesn't have much to do with that. He's largely in charge of the staff at the White House. So, the president seems to be happy with that. And for now, Brooke, he seems to be staying.
BALDWIN: I think what you said is key, that the news has seeped out by design. Jeff Zeleny, thank you.
Is the president trying to get ahead of something? He's echoing Rudy Giuliani's defense that the collusion with Russia is not a crime. Let's dig deep into that.
Also, U.S. intelligence agencies are saying North Korea is still developing missiles, begging the question, did the president get played in Singapore by Kim Jong-un?
And they are untraceable, un-trackable and just hours from now Americans will be able to see plans and print 3D guns. Even the president tweeted out that he may be concerned. We'll show you how they work and the effort underway to stop them. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Welcome back to CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The president is embracing a new line of defense from his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on the Russia investigation. Trump is highlighting the criminal code that it has no criminal offense called collusion. Today the president tweeted this, collusion is not a crime. And then he went on to say something familiar, some sort of fa familiar phrasing on collusion. Take note, the president just said collusion is not a crime. In what a lot of people are wondering is, is this a new strategy out of the White House? Because since before today when the president says the word collusion, there is almost some sort of negative connotation around it. Remember, this single answer he gave during a news conference in January. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There has been no collusion, no collusion. They all say there's no collusion. And there is no collusion. I can only say this, there was absolutely no collusion. It has been determined that there is no collusion. When they have no collusion, and nobody's found any collusion --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: From no collusion to collusion is not a crime. With me, Michael Zeldin, CNN legal analyst, who was Robert Mueller's special assistant at the DOJ. Let's start, Michael, on sheer legal definitions. Collusion is not a legal term, but conspiracy is. Talk to me about conspiracy.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, ROBERT MUELLER'S SPECIAL ASSISTANT AT THE DOJ: Right. Collusion actually is a legal term, but it's mostly applied in the antitrust area where companies collude to keep prices stable and things of that sort. In the criminal law context that we're talking about, it's conspiracy, and that is to interfere with the federal election or coordination, which is a violation of the federal election laws that make it illegal to receive a value or solicit something of value from foreign nationals. Or filing of false declaration with the federal election commission about those funds that you received or didn't receive. So, there are three crimes that fall under the umbrella of the shorthand expression collusion.
BALDWIN: OK. And now this whole collusion is not a crime, it has become a thing now, which fits this pattern, talking about Rudy Giuliani, he's constantly going on TV and dropping bombs to get out in front of the story. Maybe take away some of the power of shock value and control of the narrative. Would that be fair? A fair assessment?
ZELDIN: Well, you know, I'm not one who has ever credited Rudy Giuliani with strategic thinking in this case. I think he freelances much more than he strategically thinks. But it seems as if what he's trying to say here is even if there is collusion to been found, it's not a crime, which makes no sense to me. Because were there a charge against a normal person, not a president, who may not be indictable, then you would charge them with conspiracy or false statements or coordination. They wouldn't be charged with collusion. So, I'm not sure exactly what it gets him to say something which isn't a crime, isn't a crime when there are other crimes, which would be charged.
BALDWIN: Are these the actions of someone who is innocent?
ZELDIN: Well, you know, Trey Gowdy and others think that a president who behaves this way is not acting as an innocent president. I don't know how the president is processing all of this stuff. I just think he's mad that the investigation is ongoing. He believes himself to be innocent. And rather than take counsel from his lawyers to be quiet and let the system play it out, he can't in almost an obsessive- compulsive disorder sense, resist tweeting about it.
[14:20:00] And really, none of the tweets really help him. And Giuliani is keeping the story alive doesn't help the president because he can pivot to the economy or other stories he thinks are better for his presidency.
BALDWIN: In keeping the story alive, we'll take three steps back because the centerpiece of the story is the Trump Tower meeting, right? And the Trump campaign met with Russians. And they were promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had won and you flipped those names around, Michael, that it was the Clinton campaign who met with the Russians and they were promised dirt on Donald Trump, and we -- listen, we don't live in that reality right now, but hypothetically, couldn't Trump or Republicans be calling for a recount?
ZELDIN: Well, they certainly would be calling for an investigation. They seem to like investigating Hillary Clinton quite a lot. But sure, if Hillary Clinton were shown to have colluded or conspired or coordinated with the Russians to receive support, then sure, they would be asking for the same thing that Special Counsel Mueller is investigating here. You know, there is no lack of hypocrisy in Washington. If you're a Democrat and you're a Democratic candidate who investigated the witch hunt, then if you're a Republican and the Republican candidate is being investigated, it's a witch hunt. So, it is what it is, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Michael Zeldin, thank you very much.
BALDWIN: As the president gets ready to head off to Florida this afternoon, CNN is learning he's nervous that Democrats might take back the House in November. One piece of his plan, campaign for candidates like this one who just released this wild ad with the help of his family and his child.
Plus, the urgency is growing as Americans will be able to see plans to build 3D guns at midnight tonight. The president says he may not be a fan. So, what could be done in the 11th hour?
[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: President Trump is getting ready to head to Florida this afternoon. He is participating in a rally tonight in Tampa. And this is a show of force for his candidate of choice in the gubernatorial race. And that candidate is Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis. He's showing a special kind of love for President Trump in an ad that has been called both bizarre and buzzy. Judge for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY BLACK DESANTIS, WIFE OF FLORIDA REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN RON DESANTIS: Everyone knows my husband Ron DeSantis is endorsed by President Trump, but he's also an amazing dad. Ron loves playing with the kids.
REP. RON DESANTIS, (R), FLORIDA: Build the wall.
CASEY BLACK DESANTIS: He reads stories.
RON DESANTIS: Then Mr. Trump said, you're fired. I love that part.
CASEY BLACK DESANTIS: He's teaching Madison to talk.
RON DESANTIS: Make America great again.
CASEY BLACK DESANTIS: People say Ron's all Trump, but he's so much more.
RON DESANTIS: Big league. So good.
CASEY BLACK DESANTIS: I just thought you should know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ron DeSantis for governor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go straight to someone who knows Florida politics, oh so well. He's the political editor at the "Tampa Bay Times," Adam Smith. And Adam, that ad, how much is it benefiting this DeSantis by the full-throated embrace of the president?
ADAM SMITH, POLITICAL EDITOR, "TAMPA BAY TIMES": Well, we're talking about it right now. And early voting by mail, which is a key part of winning an election in a primary, is underway. So, I think it is very helpful. Will it help in the general election? We'll see. But basically, this primary has been all about Trump.
BALDWIN: The big embrace of the president, which also helped with Kemp in Georgia, we'll have to wait and see how it works in the general. Some reporting we have from Dana Bash here at CNN, she's learning that the president is itching to participate in more and more rallies like the one there in Florida because he's nervous that Mueller is chipping away at his legitimacy as president. And apparently, he's nervous because he thinks perhaps the Democrats could take the House back in November. If you think about Florida, you know Florida, Trump dominated that whole, you know, the election cycle. He beat out Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. And I'm wondering, do you think he'll still have the same effect come November?
SMITH: I have to say, I've spent a lot of time the last few weeks talking to rank-in-file Republicans. And my sense is they are at least as energized as the very energized Democrats are in the state.
SMITH: So, I think the big question are some of the swing voters, Tampa Bay, where Trump is coming, that's the capital for swing voters, but this primary between Ron DeSantis and he's running against a fellow named Adam Putnam. Adam Putnam at one point not that long ago looked like a shoe-in to win the primary and probably be the next governor.
BALDWIN: So, what changed it?
SMITH: Trump. Really, it's Trump.
SMITH: And I think the sentiment that establishment politicians are not what the electorate wants these days. And Adam Putnam has been in office forever.
BALDWIN: Wow. We also, Adam, know that the president now is going to war with the Koch brothers. And we know that over the weekend the Koch brothers broke with Trump. And now he thinks the Koch brothers have become a total joke in real Republican circles. And I'm just wondering if warring with the deep-pocketed Koch brothers the answer for the Republicans is let alone this president?
SMITH: Well, the base, again, I mean, that old shoot somebody down fifth avenue thing that Trump said seems to hold.