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Report: Kremlin on Sanctions Saying Trump Got Outplayed; Mueller Impanels Grand Jury in Russia Probe; Trump to Spend Time at His Golf Club. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired August 3, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Mathew, I still -- I come back to you just on point of still President Trump over here is not taking Putin to task for the 755 American diplomats that he's expelling because of this sanctions bill and it was Putin earlier this week that didn't blame President Trump. He blamed congress. Do you think there's any love lost between these two, or is the relationship done?
MATHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's difficult to say, but I mean, I think you're probably right in that Donald Trump sees, just like Vladimir Putin does, foreign policy in terms of the quality of the relationships he has with other leaders. That's certainly how President Putin here in Russia operates. He tries to make a personal bond with these political figures like Donald Trump and other people around the world and he uses that as a basis on which to sort of forge the sort of broader policy. The problem with this act of congress, and the real significance of it, I think, from a Russia point of view, is that it takes personality out of this.
The Russians want their relationship with Putin to lead to a lifting of the U.S. sanctions on Russia. No matter how well they got on, no matter what the chemistry is like between Putin and Trump now, he can't lift the sanctions. And that speaks, you know, loudly and clearly to the Kremlin. They're not interested in relationships that can't deliver them anything so it's kind of undermined the value for them of playing nice with Donald Trump.
BALDWIN: They don't care that the meeting of the G20 lasted two hours and 16 minutes. They want the sanctions lifted and that is precisely, that is the best point just on how, well, that obviously isn't happening with this -- what was a veto-proof bill. Matthew Chance, thank you so much in Moscow. David Andelman, thank you for coming by.
Coming up next, President Trump is one day away from a couple weeks of vacation, Bedminster, his New Jersey golf club, but didn't he always say he'd be too busy as president to golf? We're going to discuss his history with the game and how emblematic his golf game is of the man. Reports are in that he does cheat, according to some who have played with him. Stay here.
[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: The president is about to take off on his summer vacation to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and chances are that will include a lot of tee time. Since becoming president, he has visited one of his golf properties 43 times that has, you know, some people asking, what does Trump's golf game reveal about Trump the man.
So "The Washington Post" writer Ben Terris is here and CNN contributor and Donald Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio is here. Ben, we've talked before about this. I remember your piece in "The Washington Post," it was September of 2015 and you wrote a piece entitled "Does Donald Trump cheat at golf." You quoted the great sports writer Rick Riley, who hit the links with Trump and a number of other people for his book and he said this. "Golf is like bicycle shorts. It can reveal a lot about a guy. When it comes to cheating, Trump's an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10." How does he play, then?
BEN TERRIS, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, so, the investigation did find that -- bear that out, that he does seem to cheat at golf. Basically, you know, the way that people describe the way he plays is that he'll, you know, sometimes change the number that he has on the scorecard, he'll pick up balls and place them in other places when he thinks people might not be looking. He'll take second shots after he hits a first shot into a pond somewhere.
BALDWIN: For people who don't play golf, is that really that big of a deal? Or is it that big of a deal?
TERRIS: I don't know. It's a big deal to Trump, because he claims to be kind of one of the greatest golfers in the world and if he can't quite live up to the expectation he sets of his golf game, it bothers him when this gets pointed out. So, the article I wrote, I felt like it made him look kind of good because, yes, on the one hand, he cheats and people might not love that. But on the other hand, every single person who plays with him has a ball. He's a great time on the links. He compliments everybody's game, it's his golf course, his world, everyone has a really good time, and so I wrote the story not thinking that he was going hate it, but when it came out, eventually he called me a dishonest reporter and a real creep. And a year later, he was still grousing about this article to colleagues of mine at "The Washington Post" and I think it's because whether it seems like a big deal to me or you or people who play golf or watch golf, it's a big deal to him because he cares what people think of his game.
BALDWIN: I think he also called Rick Riley dishonest and he said he killed him in the golf game, to your point. It is a big deal to him. And so, on Trump the man, Michael, this is someone who criticized President Obama for taking vacation and criticized him for playing lots of golf. Remember this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:40:00] DONALD TRUMP: Obama, it was reported today, played 250 rounds of golf.
Everything's executive order because he doesn't have enough time because he's playing so much golf.
Obama ought to get off the golf course and get down there.
I'm going to be working for you. I'm not going to have time to go play golf.
He played more golf last year than Tiger Woods.
This guy plays more golf than people on the PGA Tour.
I love golf, I think it's one of the greats but I don't have time. If I were in the White House, I don't think I'd ever seen Turnberry again. I don't think I would ever see Doral again.
I'm not going to be playing much golf, believe me. If I win this, I'm not going to be playing much golf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Michael, well, maybe he is.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Well, you know, the thing is, Brooke, he likes golf more than he likes presidenting. You know? I think that this is a guy -- when I was with him, we talked about golf at every single meeting.
BALDWIN: Did you?
D'ANTONIO: And I used golf as a way to -- oh, yes. yes. He's mad about the game. He loves golf courses. He likes the whole culture of golf. I actually tweaked him. I said, well, I heard that when you played with Bill Clinton, he cheated, and the president defended Bill Clinton. He said, oh, he doesn't cheat. He puts down an extra ball every once in a while, takes an extra shot. He asks for a mulligan. Well, technically, that's all cheating, but he defended him, and I give him some credit for at least standing up for a fellow cheater.
BALDWIN: Well, speaking of President Clinton, then, wasn't it Rick Riley -- who did Rick Riley say was the other person who cheated more than Donald Trump.
TERRIS: He basically said the same thing was that President Clinton cheated a lot too but in a similar way that President Trump, said about it. He actually thinks that Trump cheats more than President Clinton. But you know, maybe it's a presidential quality. Maybe it's the most presidential thing about Donald Trump is that he cheats at golf.
BALDWIN: OK. All right.
D'ANTONIO: Well, you know, Brooke --
BALDWIN: Go ahead.
D'ANTONIO: I have to confess, in another life, I was a golf writer, and I covered the PGA tour, and the players there would talk a lot about how golf reveals character because you have to call penalties on yourself, and it's a very honest game. But then they also secretly told me about how they cheat too. So, it's all part of the game.
BALDWIN: Yes, you have to have patience and precision. I enjoyed it for like a minute of my life, and I'll ride along in the cart, thank you very much. Michael and Ben, thank you so much on all things President Trump and golf.
Coming up next, we're going to talk about Anthony Scaramucci, just canceled plans to speak to the press about his 11-day tenure at the White House. This as the audio portion of that profanity-laced interview he did with Ryan Lizza over at "The New Yorker" has been released today. That's coming up.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: All right, a big breaking development here in this Russia investigation. The "The Wall Street Journal" at the moment is reporting that Special Counsel Bob Mueller has impaneled a grand jury here with regard to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. So, I've got a lot of lawyers I want to bring in to walk us through exactly what that means here in this investigation. I have Danny Cevallos, Jeff Toobin is on the phone, Paul Callan is here with me in New York and Chris Cillizza is in Washington.
But Jeff, let me just begin with you on the phone. How significant is this? What does this mean?
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's certainly significant but I don't think we should overstate it. What it means is that Mueller can now take sworn testimony in front of the grand jury and starts subpoenaing people, asking people to testify, and of course if he gets enough evidence, he can now ask the grand jury for an indictment of people. Now, just because a grand jury is impaneled, doesn't mean that there will be indictment but you can't have indictments without a grand jury. So, it is certainly a significant step. It shows that he means business. It shows that he is doing a serious criminal investigation, which he thinks should be -- should proceed, but it does not mean that criminal charges are imminent, nor does it mean criminal charges will ever even happen.
BALDWIN: Paul, does this mean they're just deeper in the investigation, a new phase in the investigation, what does it tell you?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It means they're deeper in the investigation. You don't impanel a grand jury unless there's a suspicion that an investigation, a deeper investigation is going to reveal something. And remember, prosecutors have enormous power over the grand juries they impanel. A famous New York judge once said that, you know, you could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, and the reason he said that is that the prosecutor is alone in the room with the grand jurors as the investigation continues. Sometimes every day for a month, alone with the grand jury.
BALDWIN: You're saying there's no cross-examination, just the prosecutor and so they get what they want.
CALLAN: Sure. The grand jurors can ask questions of witnesses if they have questions that are different than the prosecutors, but it develops sort of a simpatico, a friendship between the grand juries and the prosecutor and they'll pretty much do what the prosecutor wants them to do. As a general rule.
BALDWIN: Walk us through exactly how this works. We talk about grand juries. They're just regular folks, right, in a grand jury like this. A dozen, two dozen people.
[15:50:00] DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly, yes. In the federal rules, the 16 to 23 persons and you only need 12 to return what's called a true bill. In other words, an indictment. Yes, we found enough probable cause, and we talk about grand juries in terms of accusatory or investigatory functions, but at their core, grand juries are about finding probable cause that a crime has been committed. The only reason we call them grand is because they're large, as opposed to what is a petit jury, the small jury that you see at trial. That is the only difference.
These are the same citizens that are drawn from the community but as Paul said, and Paul has sat in as a prosecutor on many a grand jury, you have a one-sided relationship with the grand jurors as a prosecutor. There are no defense attorneys. There's no cross- examination. So, it's no surprise that indictments are commons and relatively easy to get.
BALDWIN: In terms of -- so it will be easy to get the probable cause to then continue on to the next phase, is that what you're telling me?
CEVALLOS: It only means that probable cause is more likely than not that the crime was committed and the people accused are the doers. When you have only one side of the story and all the evidence that a prosecutor submits to the -- to a grand jury, they usually end up indicting. Would they indict a ham sandwich? I'm not so sure, but you get the idea.
CALLAN: The probable cause finding means that they're going to bring an indictment and there will be a jury trial to follow. I think -- you know, when I think of grand juries being impaneled and had why it's such an important thing, the prosecutor now has a tool, which he can use to get an indictment, but he has a big investigative tool as well because the grand jury can issue subpoenas and compel you to come before it to testify. If an FBI agent shows up at your house and says, I'd like to take your statement, you can say, I'm not talking to you. Get out of here. But you get a grand jury subpoena, you've got to appear in front of the grand jury.
Now, you can assert the fifth amendment once you do unless you are given immunity but that tool is in place and prosecutors will use it to get large amounts of evidence that can't normally get.
BALDWIN: Jeff, back to you on the phone. The public will never know. It's not a big deal that we know the grand jury is impaneled. It's significant in this investigation that the public knows. We will never know what happens within, among the grand jurors, correct? We will know if probable cause happens and the process continues. Did we lose Jeff?
TOOBIN: I'm sorry, I apologize, I lost you there for a second, Brooke. BALDWIN: My question was just, we will never know, whatever happens
with the prosecutor in these grand jurors, we will never know what comes of it as far as substance, we will just know if probable cause is reached and therefore continues on in the pros, correct?
TOOBIN: Well, most likely that's what we'll know. Although if there's a trial and the same witnesses are called in the grand jury -- are called in the trial, their testimony then is turned over to the defense as the prior statement, but for the most part, grand jury proceedings remain secret and all that we know is if and when they issue an indictment. So, they are secret proceedings, they usually stay secret forever, but, certainly we do know, if they issue an indictment, and of course that's the most important thing they do or don't do.
BALDWIN: OK. So, what about the politics of all of this? Chris, let me come to you there in Washington, you know, we know that despite all of the president's intel chiefs and what they've said about Russian interference, the president has yet to say definitively yes this happened, he doesn't like the fact that he or his aids are being investigated. How do we anticipate how this is responded to where you are?
CHRIS CIZZILLA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: What's interesting, Brooke, last week between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., we would get five, six, seven, tweets of Donald Trump's thoughts throughout the day. We haven't had as much of that this week. Now I really hesitate to ascribe pattern to this, you know, maybe he's just not doing it, but if there was going to be a moment where Donald Trump would break his -- three-day long Twitter hiatus on Twitter being a little bit better politically speaking on Twitter, this would probably be it and you're right about the Russia investigation.
And also, he's been very public about his dislike for the Mueller investigation, very mad at Jeff Sessions for recusing himself, saying he was disappointed. Saying that the investigation is nothing but a partisan witch hunt and a total hoax.
[15:55:00] That's the kind of thing you might expect to see here from Trump because as Jeff Toobin and everybody else points out, this is not for sure that Donald Trump or the folks around him did anything criminal, but it is a step that suggests Mueller is moving forward, right? We just heard word yesterday Mueller hired at least 16 lawyers for this special council probe. We now have this news that the investigation is at least taking a preliminary next step. Those are the kind of things that in the past have set him off and he usually uses Twitter as his preferred medium. I'll add, he's got a big thing tonight in West Virginia, sort of campaign-style rally before he heads on vacation. So, I --
BALDWIN: Might be an opportunity for him.
CIZZILLA: I'd look to that to see how much message discipline he's going to be able to exert. BALDWIN: Good way to put it, Chris, thank you so much. Gentlemen,
thank you, we have more on the breaking news that's all on "The Wall Street Journal" here that the Special Council Bob Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in this Russia investigation. Back in a moment.
BALDWIN: Back with the breaking news here on CNN. The fact that the special council in this whole Russia investigation, Bob Mueller has now officially, according to "The Wall Street Journal," impaneled this grand jury looking into -- investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. I have the great legal minds to my right, just broadening the discussion, Paul, to you first just on we're talking about this grand jury. It's all about whether or not there's probable cause to then lead to this indictment, but it doesn't always end in an indictment, to be fair.
CALLAN: No, it doesn't. And I think we have to be very clear about this. The investigation of a crime is done by the grand jury. And it's used as a tool of the prosecutor, but, the grand jury may decide, there is no criminal activity. And grand juries sometimes do lengthy investigations, and they close with no indictments. Sometimes they'll close and ask to issue a report if they discover some kind of malfeasance in government that is not of a criminal nature and of course other times they issue indictments.
[16:00:00] And it's too early for us to know which way this grand jury is going. Although, I think the one thing we can say is, Mueller will steer the grand jury. And if Mueller feels criminal charges should be brought, there's a good chance they will be brought, if he thinks on the other hand, there's no evidence to support criminal charges, you'll see no criminal charges.
BALDWIN: When I think of grand juries, I think of secretive. Will anything come out from this process? The public can know about?
CEVALLOS: It shouldn't, but it could. We were just talking about this with Paul, that grand jury witnesses, not police, not the government --
BALDWIN: These are the people questioned before the grand jury.
CEVALLOS: Come in, it could just be somebody who saw go down on the street or one of the major sort of targets. They're not bound by the rule of secrecy. They can walk out of the grand jury and you better believe people are going to want to hear what they have to say. And they're going to have to make a decision whether or not they feel like talking after testifying in front of a grand jury or maybe even asserting their fifth amendment because they are always, these witnesses, privileged not to testify. And they can let the prosecutor know in advance. And usually they'll be excused from even going.
BALDWIN: What about these grand jurors, these are presumably people in Washington, D.C., just regular folks. Would they be inherently biased at all in this? CALLAN: They take an oath just as the jurors in a regular case take
an oath. To be fair and impartial and judge the case only based on the evidence. Grand jurors also take an oath of secrecy. And if a grand juror were to leak information to the press about what was going, that grand juror would could wind up in jail. So, the system is very protective of grand jurors, of their identity, and their secrecy requirements.
BALDWIN: OK, thank you both so much. I'm sure Jake is going to pick up where we left off with the news from "The Wall Street Journal" on this grand jury here and Bob Mueller.
I'm Brooke Baldwin, thank you for being here with me. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts now.