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CNN NEWSROOM

Ex-Lawyer Blames Trump in Campaign Finance Crime; Manafort guilty on 8 Counts Including Bank and Tax Fraud; New U.S. Coal Standards Could Lead to More Deaths; 89 War-Torn Korean Families Bid Their Final Goodbyes; Police Arrest Undocumented Immigrant for Murder; Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft Removes Malicious Content; Microsoft Takes Control of Six Websites. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired August 22, 2018 - 00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.

Ahead this hour, a legal one-two legal punch just moments apart for the Trump administration like never before. President Trump's former personal lawyer and his campaign chairman both now felons and likely heading for jail time.

But the president tried to distance himself from both men and once again taunted the special counsel in the Russia investigation to find any collusion.

And new evidence of an ongoing effort by Moscow to undermine American democracy while, at the same time, President Trump again says if it was Russia.

Hello. Welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm John Vause. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

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VAUSE: The man who once claimed he would take a bullet for Donald Trump may now be holding a gun to his head. Former attorney Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, including tax fraud, bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

Cohen says his boss, Donald Trump, directed him to pay hush money to two women, alleging extramarital affairs with the future President of the United States.

Meanwhile, in a Virginia courtroom 300 miles away, a jury found former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort guilty of eight financial crimes with a maximum penalty of 80 years in prison.

Notably, the president called the verdict "a disgrace." He described Manafort as "a good man" while saying nothing about the plea agreement made in the Cohen trial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paul Manafort's a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of different people over the years and I feel very sad about that. It doesn't involve me but I still feel -- you know, it's a very sad thing that happened.

This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion. This has absolutely nothing to do -- this is a witch hunt and it's a disgrace. This has nothing to do what they started out, looking for Russians involved in our campaign. There were none.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: A big day in politics. Joining me now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Dave Jacobson; California Republican National Committee man Shawn Steel; CNN's legal analyst and civil rights attorney, Areva Martin; and criminal defense attorney and former assistant U.S. attorney for Los Angeles, David Katz.

OK, Shawn, I'd like to start with you.

But what about Hillary's missing emails and the server?

No. OK. Let's start with the statement --

SHAWN STEEL, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Great question.

VAUSE: I thought you'd like it. Let's start with that statement from the president with regard to Manafort and the guilty verdict. You know, this is a witch hunt. This has nothing to do with how the investigation was meant to start. It was meant to find Russians. That's true.

But you can ask the question as well, what did Monica Lewinsky have to do with a botched real estate deal in the Whitewater investigation?

STEEL: I think Paul Manafort had a really bad day, probably may spend the rest of his life in jail. But he's a tax cheat. There's not a whole lot of Republicans that are losing sleep or sympathy for Manafort. He was the campaign manager for the president for four months. He's had a sordid background.

But these charges go back years and years before he worked for the president or even knew him. So it's a tax trial. But there's two big, huge stories today. One is kind of not important, the other one's huge. But Manafort, I don't think people like -- people don't want to forgive people that are cheating on taxes.

VAUSE: But if he's such a dodgy character -- and, Dave, this is to you, why was he hired by the Trump campaign in the first place? His reputation, first propping up oligarchs and being propped up by oligarchs and dealing with Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine was well known.

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, look, the saying, you are who you surround yourself with.

VAUSE: You lay down with dogs, you get fleas.

JACOBSON: Precisely. You have Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's national security adviser; you have Paul Manafort, who, by the way, I wouldn't minimize it. He served there for five, six, seven months on the campaign.

But he was the chief strategist that ultimately clinched the Republican nomination and ultimately propelled him to the general election, which then he, of course, won. So that was a game changing position in the context of the political campaign.

Look, the reality is, Bob Mueller is putting the squeeze on Paul Manafort and now it's a question of whether or not he's going to flip. He's facing 80 years-plus potentially in prison.

So the big question, he's got this other trial coming up in September, right?

In the district court in Washington, D.C.

The question is now will he flip on the president?

VAUSE: And Areva, to you.

With regards to what the president was saying about this had nothing to do with finding Russians who interfered in the election, if is a crime is uncovered in the course of the investigation unrelated to the original allegation, that doesn't make it anything less of a crime, does it?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely not. The prosecutors in this case did exactly what they were supposed to do, which is to refer the criminal activity that they observed over to the Southern District of New York so that the case --

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MARTIN: -- could be prosecuted in the proper venue. I think what's so stunning about the president's statement, he's saying Paul Manafort is a good man.

But what about our jury system?

What about the rule of law?

What about the man that said he would be the law and order president?

He said nothing about the legitimacy of the jurors, who spent hours and days deliberating over this very complex trial and came to a very, you know, reasoned decision with respect to those eight charges and deadlocked on 10.

He didn't applaud them for their service to this country. He didn't, you know, applaud the judicial system for working the way that it should in this country. He made this just really baseless kind of, you know, off the cuff statement about Paul Manafort being a good man.

Paul Manafort is not a good man. Paul Manafort is a criminal and the president needs to accept that. And so is Michael Cohen and, from what we've heard today, so is Donald Trump.

VAUSE: Back in April, the president was asked specifically about the hush money paid to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump before he -- many years before he was president. Listen to his answer on Air Force One.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did Michael Cohen make it --

TRUMP: You'd have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney and you'll have to ask Michael Cohen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: I don't know, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: We didn't actually ending up having to ask Michael Cohen because he ended up telling the court what happened, at least in his version. He violated campaign law in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office. That candidate being Donald Trump.

Shawn, it's hard to see what Cohen has to gain by making this admission. So it means basically the president appears to have been caught in a great big, fat lie.

STEEL: What I heard the president say is, you have to talk to my attorney.

VAUSE: And the attorney said, I did it at the direction of the president.

STEEL: And I think the president is going to have to make better selections of attorneys. Certainly he's learned that lesson.

Michael Cohen, very little we understand about the guy. But he really seems like a classic sleazy New York attorney, I have to -- you know.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: And, again, he's largely a tax cheat. He's cheated the Feds out of millions of dollars. They got him on that. Then there's -- he wasn't in any way convicted or admitted to anything about Russian collusion. But what's interesting about this, several things. There's no trial. That's actually good.

VAUSE: Everything would come out.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: Secondly, there's no deal. The deal is that -- and he's going to spend four to five years in jail, no matter what, and not contest it.

VAUSE: OK.

STEEL: So thirdly, he gets the most political, partisan lawyer in America and that's hard to say. Lanny Davis, who is Hillary Clinton's personal lawyer.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: David, on that issue of whether or not Cohen can be forced to testify, whether there's a deal, whether there's immunity, can he be granted immunity by Congress, by the special counsel and then essentially be forced to tell what he knows in any kind of, you know, investigation or trial of the president or basically go to jail?

DAVID KATZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I don't think Michael Cohen is going to be granted immunity by Congress or by anyone else. They had this happen in Oliver North and it ended up being a big mess in the Iran-contra scandal back in the day.

So I don't think that's going to happen. But the fact that Michael Cohen is going to get between about four and five years for the campaign violation, for the tax evasion and also for lying to banks -- that he's going to get four to five years for that, doesn't mean he has to accept that as his ultimate fate.

He can turn around tomorrow or anytime after that and make a deal with the special prosecutor and a lot of people think that's what he's going to do. And what he has to say is potentially very bad for the president because he admitted today in court, in his factual basis, under oath that what he did regarding Stormy Daniels and the former "Playboy" model, he did at the direction of the presidential candidate, meaning Trump.

And he did it with the aim of helping Trump maintain his image during the election, which is one of the elements for the campaign violation. In other words, Trump didn't do it, so he wouldn't be embarrassed in front of his wife.

So this was very damning today; if Cohen ends up cooperating with Mueller, which I think is quite a possibility, if not a probability going down the road.

VAUSE: On a scale of one to 10, 10 being do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to jail, one being the president is OK here, you know, what would you say is the president's legal jeopardy at this point in time, given what Cohen has said in court?

KATZ: I think his jeopardy is very great and he can't even -- Trump can't even fire Mueller because this is all being done by the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York.

And on top of that, Cohen also has state tax problems. So it's not even a remedy for Cohen in his fantasies to get a pardon. So I think that Cohen may end up --

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KATZ: -- being a bigger problem than Manafort is, because a lot of people think that, after Election Day, if Manafort's a good soldier, he's going to get a pardon from Trump. That's what a lot of people think is going to happen here.

VAUSE: At that rally in West Virginia just a few hours after the court decisions came out and were known, listen to the crowd.

(VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, Dave Jacobson, that's obviously a reference to Hillary Clinton. It was the chant during the convention, lock her up. Ironically it was led by Michael Flynn, the disgraced national security adviser. He pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI.

But it seems that everything that happened in those two courtrooms had no meaning or resonance for those supporters of Donald Trump.

JACOBSON: Look, the fact of the matter is, if you're going to go turn out to a Donald Trump rally, like you're a die-hard supporter of the president, he's throwing red meat out there and you're not going to flip on him.

The question is, what are the long-term political ramifications for the election that's 77 days from now?

The big question is those independent swing voters, particularly in a lot of those states that Hillary Clinton won, those top of the ballot potentially in those down-ballot races where Republicans are still in those House seats.

That's the long-term domino effect that could impact this 77 days from now. The bottom line is Donald Trump campaigned on a brand, that Hillary Clinton was crooked.

And what did we find out today?

This gut punch that wasn't even a gut punch, it was a body blow to Donald Trump because he was injected into that court case with Michael Flynn (sic), underscores the fact that he violated campaign finance law. And the bottom line is he's the crook. He's the criminal.

And I think we're going to increasingly see that when Michael Cohen starts to coordinate with the Mueller investigation.

VAUSE: It's interesting you talked about how this was a central theme of the Trump campaign, that Hillary was the crook, that it was the Clintons who were the dirty ones with their snouts in the trough. It sort of began back in 2015, I guess.

Michael Cohen, he tweeted this out.

"Hillary Clinton, when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free."

Oh, Shawn, there's a tweet for everything, the irony.

STEEL: It's delicious irony but ultimately it's for about 5 percent of the people. It's really a political paradise for the political junkies. Most Americans don't care about that. Political campaign finance, tax fraud, it kind of runs over the minds of most of the people.

JACOBSON: I beg to differ.

STEEL: You can beg all you want.

You know what America cares about today?

Mollie Tibbetts and her murder in Iowa.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: I'm going to give you another stat: 80 percent of people still don't know who Manafort is, 90 percent don't know who Cohen is. That's not going to change between now and Election Day.

But here's the other problem Democrats have. There's no way that the president is going to be charged by the Justice Department because it's in their guidelines. You never charge or indict a sitting president. It's in the guidelines. We all know that.

What you can do is impeach him. And Americans do not want their president impeached.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: The Democrats will lose House seats if they appear to want to talk about impeachment. I guarantee you, this brilliant strategist here is telling his congressional clients, don't mention impeachment.

VAUSE: Dave, when Clinton was impeached, it did cost the Republicans.

JACOBSON: Bottom line, if you look at public opinion today, 538 is out with fresh polling that shows the Democrats have an 8-point advantage in terms of the generic ballots.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: -- now believe the country is heading in the right direction --

(CROSSTALK)

JACOBSON: You've got a president with historical lows in terms of disapproval rating.

STEEL: No, he's not. He's higher than Obama.

JACOBSON: Shawn, the generic ballot this close to the election is meaningful. It is going to have an impact. That's why you see races like Conor Lamb and you see Doug Jones beating out Roy Moore. Democrats have momentum.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: Two out of 10. You lost eight.

VAUSE: Let's get back to Donald Trump and that rally because, you know, he didn't mention Manafort. He didn't mention Cohen at all. But he did actually talk -- he could not resist talking about, you know, the Russia investigation and taunting the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Fake news on the Russian witch hunt. We've got a whole big combination. Where is the collusion?

You know, they're still looking for collusion. Where is the collusion?

Find some collusion. We want to find the collusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Areva, it seems they found, you know, lots of examples of collusion or conspiracy if you want to use the legal term for it. And this investigation, these proceedings, you know, they're only midway through.

MARTIN: You know, John, one thing that's so stunning to me is --

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MARTIN: -- listening to Shawn and other Republicans throughout the day try to defend the president and deflect from the seriousness of what we saw happen today.

We saw the campaign manager for the President of the United States get convicted on eight felony counts. We saw the president's personal lawyer walk into a federal court and admit that the President of the United States, then the candidate, directed him to engage in criminal conduct. No one is talking about what that does in terms of debasing the

presidency of the United States. And Republicans are willing to go to such great lengths and engage in such hypocrisy with respect to this president. And no one is willing to hold him accountable.

So where's the collusion?

The collusion is when Michael Cohen said the president directed him to pay hush money to silence two women so that their stories would not be injected into the presidential campaign.

And the irony of that is Donald Trump is so worried about protecting the legitimacy of his presidency. Well, today we now know that, but for his criminal activity, he probably would not have won the presidency and he wouldn't be sitting in the White House today, had he not engaged in that criminal conduct.

VAUSE: OK. Well, back in June, when Cohen, his personal lawyer, seemed to be sort of moving away from the president towards cutting a deal with prosecutors, the president was specifically asked if he had any concerns about Michael Cohen and if he could flip. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I haven't spoken to Michael in a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he still your lawyer?

TRUMP: No, he's not my lawyer anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your personal lawyer?

TRUMP: But I always liked Michael. And he's a good person. And I think he's been -- excuse me.

Do you mind if I talk?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to know if you're worried --

TRUMP: You're asking me a question. No, I'm not worried because I did nothing wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: David, you mentioned earlier that out of the two cases, Manafort and Cohen, it's Cohen which presents the most jeopardy for the president, at least in the long term.

Given what we now know, how worried should Donald Trump be at this point?

KATZ: Well, I think Manafort could present quite a problem for the president. He was the only non-family member who was at that meeting at Trump Tower, where the person came, according to Trump Jr., and sent the email that this person had come from Russia with information from the Russian government, with dirt on Hillary Clinton.

So I believe Manafort could create quite a problem. But I do believe that after Election Day, he's going to be pardoned.

And then the question is going to be, what are the Republicans going to do?

Are they going to have a profile in courage and say, you know what, we are not going to allow these pardons?

These pardons are an obstruction of justice. But regarding Cohen, there's no way that Cohen can be pardoned, I believe, in a way that's going to help Trump. So I think Cohen is going to be out there. He may be looking to see whether Manafort gets a pardon but I think Cohen is going to be out there. I think he knows an awful lot.

He is the lawyer that Trump chose. This is not somebody that Mueller chose. This is who Donald Trump chose to be his attack dog for all of those years. And he knows an awful lot of stuff.

And if he says that it was done to perpetrate a crime or fraud, it's not going to be covered by attorney-client privilege. It's going to be an exception to the attorney-client privilege. It's going to be as admissible in court as if he'd conspired with anybody else.

VAUSE: The Democrat leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, issued a warning to the president not to dangle the possibility of pardons when he was addressing that rally in West Virginia. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MINORITY LEADER: I understand the president's on his way to a rally. He better not talk about pardons for Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort tonight or anytime in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Shawn, the president seems to be being intimidated by Cryin' Chuck Schumer.

Is he going to go down this road of pardons or now that he's been put on notice, he's going to walk away from it?

STEEL: Who knows what's going to happen in the pardoning process?

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: You know, it's just idle speculation but Chuck Schumer is kind of a nobody right now. He's not terribly important. He's probably not going to gain the Senate. The Republicans are probably going to gain strength in the Senate.

But let's talk about the political realities. This really isn't important for most Americans. Nobody is ever put in jail for a corporate donation and a federal election. It's usually a civil fine 98 percent of the time. Very few people have had a criminal prosecution against them.

Every lawyer here knows this.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: I don't know why we're talking about it. We're talking about it because it raises the level of hysteria and it gets the hard Left really excited. But they're going to be really disappointed.

VAUSE: Dave?

JACOBSON: That was a really good job of deflecting the question.

(CROSSTALK)

JACOBSON: It's not just Chuck Schumer. It's Republicans. It's overwhelming consensus in both houses of Congress. Besides the die- hard extremist Trump fans in Congress and the House --

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JACOBSON: -- particularly, overwhelmingly, at least in the Senate, you know, moderate, common sense, level-headed, pragmatic senators who are Republicans do not want the president to pardon his supporters who are being investigated or have committed wrongdoing.

That could be grounds for impeachment by Republicans and Democrats if he starts pardoning all these folks.

VAUSE: Areva, there is questions about the president's authority when it comes to the power of the pardon.

Is it absolute?

Can he do it whenever he wants?

And can he be held accountable for that by Congress or through impeachment or through other methods?

MARTIN: The pardon power is pretty broad with respect to the president. As we've seen him exercise it to date, he doesn't go through the typical process. The procedures aren't followed. He just kind of decides on his own. He wakes up in the morning. He does a tweet and then someone is pardoned.

I agree with Dave on this point, though. He is getting into really, really precarious territory if he starts to pardon people like Paul Manafort and particularly Michael Cohen, given what Michael Cohen said in court today. So I don't think we're going to see a pardon. Paul Manafort may have that as a strategy but we don't know.

The convictions today and the looming trial in September may be enough to cause Paul Manafort to rethink his strategy and to think about trying to, you know, work some kind of deal with the prosecutors.

If he does, that whole trial in September may go away. The prosecutors may recommend a lighter sentence for the convictions today. We know that Michael Cohen, even though there's not a cooperation agreement in the plea that was entered today, he still has an opportunity to try to work a deal with the prosecutors so that he can also get, you know, less time than four or five years.

This is a guy with young kids and a family. He doesn't want to go to jail for four or five years. He's already made it clear that he's no longer Team Trump. He's Team Cohen and his family.

So if he can get the sentences reduced to two years or maybe even 12 months, we should expect him to try to do everything possible to protect his family and to stay out of jail.

VAUSE: No one wants to go to jail for four years.

Thank you, all, stay with us. We'll take a short break. When we come back, we'll have a lot more on Donald Trump's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

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VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. We have more now on Donald Trump and his very bad legal day. So our panel is still with us.

[00:25:00]

VAUSE: Shawn, here is a list of what happened just on Tuesday with regards to those sort of surrounded -- who surround the president.

STEEL: Please don't gloat.

VAUSE: I'm not gloating. It's a shocking day.

Michael Cohen, the Trump former personal lawyer and fixer, pleads guilty.

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, is found guilty on eight out of 10 charges of financial crimes.

Representative Duncan Hunter, one of the first in Congress to support the president, and his wife, indicted over allegations of misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds.

That comes just after Representative Chris Collins, another Republican, early endorser the president, the first on in Congress, was charged with insider trading.

We also have the White House adviser, Larry Kudlow, reportedly hosting white supremacists.

And then there's the continuing covering of the former White House senior aide, Omarosa Manigault-Newman and her tell-all book from within the administration.

What is it, Shawn, with all of these people who are attracted to the president?

That's just on Tuesday. I could go back to all the rest but just on Tuesday.

STEEL: OK. First of all, a lot of this -- half the details that you mentioned didn't happen today. But in terms of the three --

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: Attacking Kudlow is something that -- any reasonable person that watches the news or any economist, you just don't do that.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: But back to the actual prosecution, if you're going to have a bad day, have it all at once. So somehow, I don't know if DOJ plotted this together but it was a brilliant day. It was like one, two, three. And it's a shame for each of the individuals.

But I don't have a lot of love for Manafort. I just -- you know, I don't like the Russians. I don't like the Russian Ukrainians. I don't like the money that he got. None of that smelled good. And as far as I'm concerned, good riddance to bad rubbish.

On Cohen, who would hire a guy like that?

VAUSE: Donald Trump would hire that guy.

STEEL: I know. I know. I think he's learned from his mistakes.

VAUSE: He hired Omarosa as well.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: That's not the story today.

(CROSSTALK)

VAUSE: In 2014, Trump tweeted this.

"Entrepreneurs, set the example and you'll be a magnet for the right people. Great leaders determine the teams they assemble."

That seems pretty good advice, Dave, and maybe it's an explanation for what's happening with President Trump.

JACOBSON: Precisely. Let's not forget, John, this has been an enormously head-spinning week. Just yesterday we were talking about Don McGahn, the chief White House counsel, spent 30 hours with Bob Mueller's investigators. That's a bombshell in and of itself.

Then you've got this onslaught of news today. The reality is, this is a catastrophic week and frankly a game-changing week for this White House. A significant downturn, I think.

VAUSE: Areva, connect the dots here between Don McGahn's 30 hours of testimony to the special counsel and what we're hearing today from Cohen, in particular about the campaign finance violation and other testimony.

MARTIN: Well, I think what this is demonstrating, John, is that people in Trump's orbit know a lot of information about him, what he was doing, what other people in his orbit were doing and they're willing to talk.

You know, McGahn apparently wanted to get his story told to the special counsel because he was fearful that Donald Trump would try to throw him under the bus and make him the fall guy for the Comey firing.

We know that Michael Cohen also was very concerned that he would be the fall guy for activities that he engaged in with Donald Trump.

So people are no longer willing to sit back and be kind of, you know, the doormat that Michael Cohen said he would be for Donald Trump, you know, the, I'll take a bullet for him. That guy has left the building.

The new reality is people realize that this president has been engaged in some, you know, criminal -- near criminal activity and they don't want to be the ones that are subject to criminal prosecution because of the president's activities. And they're willing to come forward. They're willing to tell what they know.

And in Michael Cohen's case, they're probably willing to try to strike some deal to avoid jail time.

VAUSE: Democrat congressman Jerry Nadler tweeted, "If, as Michael Cohen testified in his guilty plea, his felonies were committed at the direction of Donald Trump, then the President of the United States would be part of a federal crime.

"The only thing limiting the Department of Justice from prosecuting being an office of the legal counsel ruling, saying a sitting president cannot be indicted."

So in other words, David, the President of the United States, according to this opinion and the opinion of many others, is an unindicted co-conspirator in all but name only.

KATZ: Well, you know, when Ken Starr was the special prosecutor and Brett Kavanaugh was one of his top aides, they took the position that President Clinton could be indicted. They recommended that the House impeach Clinton. But they said, you know, it's really your lucky day because we could have indicted you.

Now there's a difference of opinion and some people hang their hat on that OLC opinion. But a lot of people think Ken Starr was right and give him his due, that Mueller could indict the president. Also the authorization by Rod Rosenstein allows -- this is one of the reasons why the Republicans are angry and the Trumpsters are angry at Rosenstein but Rosenstein's appointment of Mueller, allowed him to investigate and to prosecute as the evidence may show is appropriate.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: OK. We're going to leave it there. But we'll have a lot more on this next hour, and all of you are sticking around. We're going to mix it up, put it in a different way, we'll look at the legal issues and the political issues.

Thank you all for being with us and I look forward to seeing you at the top of the hour. Thank you. OK. Stay with us. We'll take a short break. When we come back, they were reunited for just 12 hours after more than six decades apart, Korean families together for a brief moment.

Also ahead, the body of the missing college student has been found, and the man charged with her murder, an undocumented immigrant, an issue which is now being seized on by the President of the United States.

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VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Donald Trump's former lawyer admits he broke campaign finance laws in 2016 and that then-candidate Trump directed him to do so. Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts including bank and tax fraud. He arranged payments to silence two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.

And the President's former campaign chairman has been found guilty of bank and tax fraud. A jury convicted Paul Manafort of 8 counts but could not reach a verdict on 10 others. Prosecutors have a week to decide if they want to retry him on those charges.

The Trump administration will now let fate set their own carbon emission status to coal-fuelled power plants. The environmental and medical groups say the move will be bad for Americans' health and even the agency backing the plan admits the extra pollution could lead to as many as 1,400 more premature deaths a year, by 2030.

Briefly reuniting in North Korea, 89 families separated by war, now have to hug and kiss their loved ones for what will probably be the last time. They spent 12 hours together over the past three days, not nearly long enough to make up for almost seven decades apart.

Soon their South Korean relatives will return home, and thousands of others are still hoping to live long enough to see their relatives after a lifetime apart. Many around the world want to see these reunions offered to more families rather than just a select few. CNN's Paula Hancocks has our report from Seoul.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The final goodbyes and then boarding the buses to come back to South Korea after three days of this round of family reunions. Without a doubt, this is the most difficult and heart-wrenching part of these family reunions.

[00:35:03] Eighty-nine families from South Korea have been in North Korea for the past three days, 12 hours in all, a very choreographed 12 hours with their loved ones, trying to catch up on almost 70 years since they saw each other.

Countless families were torn apart during the Korean War back in the 1950s and only a fraction of them have been able to reconnect. Now, these families, we're seeing, many very emotional images of them reconnecting.

These families are considered the lucky ones. There are 57,000 more, here in South Korea, who would have been eligible for this first round of reunions. But only a tiny fraction are actually able to go.

We have been hearing across the world, really, reaction pushing for more of these reunions. The U.N. secretary-general saying he wants to see this more often. The South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, himself, part of a separated family and part of one of these previous family reunions, saying, that for him, it is a top priority from a humanitarian point of view to make sure that there are more reunions.

The head of the Red Cross here in South Korea saying he's talking to his North Korea counterpart, trying to push for more numbers to be involved because it is a race against time. The vast majority of these 89 families, the people who were chosen for this round, are 80 years and above, more than 20 percent are in their 90s.

Thousands have died before they even knew if their families in the North were still alive. So it is a race against time and something that certainly the South Korean president says he is going to make a priority. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: A tragic end to the search for a missing 20-year-old college student in Iowa with the discovery of what appears to be her body in a cornfield. Police have charged an undocumented immigrant with murder after he led them to a corpse covered in leaves.

Just hours ago, at a campaign rally, President Trump seized on the death of Mollie Tibbetts.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in, very sadly, from Mexico, and you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman, should have never happened, illegally in our country.

We've had a huge impact but the laws are so bad. The immigration laws are such a disgrace. We're getting them changed, but we have to get more Republicans. We have to get them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: For more now on the investigation, here's CNN'S Ryan Young, reporting in from Iowa.

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RYAN YOUNG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mollie Tibbetts has been missing since July 18th and every time we go to one of these news conferences, you could see people, sort of, showing up in the background and maybe questioning what would happen next.

Well, today, you heard people start crying as Mollie Tibbetts and the announcement was made because they were so upset about exactly what happened to this young lady. So many people were hoping for a better way for this to end.

But unfortunately, their prayers were not answered. In fact, as you went through this community, you saw her face everywhere, as people were looking for her. They gave us the details about a man who apparently was in a car, was following along behind her, circled three or four times, and then finally got out of the car and started jogging alongside of her.

When she said she was going to call 911, that man, tells investigators, apparently, he became enraged, blacked out, and did something to Mollie. Listen to investigators talking about some of the evidence that he provided them.

RICK RAHN, SPECIAL AGENT, IOWA DIVISION OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: We have certainly had extensive searches throughout the county. We just didn't have success in locating her. In this particular case, she was found in a cornfield, and there were cornstalks placed over the top of her. And so, we just weren't able to locate her at this particular part of the investigation.

YOUNG: Police have charged Christian Rivera with first degree murder. We've also learned some new details about him. According to police and investigators, he's an illegal immigrant who has been in this area for about four to seven years and has kept a small footprint in this area.

Of course, they'll be looking through his background to see if he had any connections with anybody else involved in this case. But right now, of course, a lot of people's hearts and prayers go to the family of Mollie Tibbetts, who was found dead in a cornfield. Ryan Young, CNN, Montezuma, Iowa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come in, it looks like they may be at it again. Just weeks before U.S. congressional elections, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have identified and removed malicious content, and it seems the source goes all the way back to Russia.

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[00:40:00] VAUSE: Very big tech companies, Twitter, Facebook, and Microsoft have identified and are now removing fake and malicious content. Twitter announced it has removed hundreds of accounts for "engaging in coordinated manipulation."

Many accounts originated in Iran and Twitter is now working with law enforcement, as well as other companies, to try to fix the problem. Facebook says it's removed 652 pages of accounts or groups that were part of a coordinated disinformation campaign. Some of the pages originated also in Iran but also Russia.

And Facebook says these pages were spreading misinformation not only in the United States, but also in the U.K., Latin America, and the Middle East, all posing as a group called Liberty Front Press.

Meantime, Microsoft has taken control of six phony websites created by hackers tied to Russian military intelligence. The sites were apparently designed to fool users into thinking they belonged to two U.S. based Conservative think tanks and the U.S. Senate.

It's just the latest evidence that Russia's attempt to interfere in U.S. politics did not end with the 2016 presidential election.

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BRAD SMITH, PRESIDENT, MICROSOFT: We have no doubt in our minds that these six websites were set up by this group called (INAUDIBLE) Fancy Bear that is associated with the Russian government. We have no doubt that this, in fact, resembles the same pattern of activity.

We saw the same group pursue in the United States during the 2016 election. We have no doubt that this is the same group that used the same tactic to attack every single major French presidential candidate last year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: As far as the kremlin's concerned, they didn't do it. They denied all knowledge of any involvement. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. You're watching CNN.

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VAUSE: This is CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles.

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