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AT THIS HOUR
Trump Not Criminal Target of Mueller but a "Subject"; Manafort Tries to Get Some Charges Thrown Out; Dow Down Amid U.S. & China Trade Spat; Memorial Ceremony Marks MLK's Death 50 Years Ago; Police Update Expected on YouTube Shooting. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired April 4, 2018 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now, President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is trying to get some of the charges against him thrown out for money laundering and making false statements about his foreign lobbying work. Manafort claims that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had no right to indict him for work that he did before he took over the Trump campaign in 2016.
And this comes as we are learning that President Trump is not a criminal target, as you would say, for Mueller at this point.
Joining me more to talk about this is former Trump White House lawyer, Jim Schultz, Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the Justice Department. Michael Zeldin with us as well, and CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.
Gloria has new reporting about conversations between Mueller and the president's legal teams.
What can you tell us?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: The "Washington Post" first reported this last night, and my colleague, Evan Perez, and I have been doing some more reporting on this. It is correct that the president's team was told in March sometime, when they were having conversations about whether the president was going to testify about special counsel, he was not a target of the investigation, but he was more than a witness. What does that leave in between? That means that you're a subject. A subject can become a target, as you know. And -- but in practical terms, they were told he's unlikely to be considered a target because they believe that Justice Department guidelines did not allow for the indictment of a sitting president. There's been some controversy about that but -- and the belief by the president's team is that Mueller is a straight shooter. And I was told by one source that they believe Mueller would only go after the president himself if there was something that was momentous or indisputable evidence. So they continue to believe there's no "there" there. Now you go to the conversation, does the president testify, and my source said the president continues to go back and forth on that.
KEILAR: There's a lot of pressure on this legal team, Michael Zeldin, from the president to give him good news on this. This could certainly -- this could be worse. He could be a target. This could be way better. He could be seen as a witness. He's a subject. Explain to those of us, who don't know this, all of this legalese, what does this mean?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hypothetically, there's a car crash, two cars hit one another. The person standing on the corner who observes the crash. That's the witness. The two parties are then parties as to whom the law enforcement agents have an interest. They are the subjects. When one of them is deemed to be culpable and likely to be charged, that becomes a target. So the president sits there in the middle of his car wreck as a person of interest to the grand jury, that's what he started out as, and what he continues to be. And if it works out for him, that's where he'll end up being. But there's no guarantee that if you start out as a subject, you don't end up as a target. The easiest way to become a target is to lie to the prosecutor under oath.
KEILAR: But, hey, if I'm in that car wreck and I'm a party to the car wreck and I really feel strongly that it wasn't my fault and didn't do anything, then I am feeling pretty good for having the authorities tell me I'm not a target.
ZELDIN: Except that you much rather would be standing on the corner having observed it. The reality is that the president here remains a person of interest to the grand jury and he's going to always be in that situation at least until he testifies. Gloria is right, they are going back and forth about this. But when you talk about obstruction of justice, which is a crime of intent, there's no real way of knowing what the person's intent was unless you speak to them. That's the big conundrum.
Jim, if you're in the Trump White House, how are you reading this?
JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER & ROBERT MUELLER'S FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPECIAL ASSISTANT: I'm feeling pretty good right now. Because we now know it's coming to a conclusion at least as it relates to -- and if you believe the reports -- at least as it relates to the obstruction and collusion piece. I would say, as it relates -- if you believe the reports -- what they are looking at is the obstruction piece. Michael said it succinctly in that you're looking at the intent is the important part here. Now, that also allows the president's lawyers, should they choose to allow him to be interviewed, to limit the scope of that discussion to those particular issues. So I think it puts them in a good bargaining potential as it relates to a potential interview.
KEILAR: Would you, Jim, allow him to be interviewed?
SCHULTZ: The president has said publicly that he has no problem and would welcome an interview with Mueller's team. Whether or not you allow him to testify or not or be interviewed or not depends on what you know as the lawyer in the attorney-client relationship. But I think politically, it's -- folks are expecting the president to go out and discuss this with Mueller to bring it to some type of conclusion so there aren't these open questions. But there is some peril in doing that, as Michael said, as it relates to potential perjury or lying to -- lying under oath or lying to an investigator that may be asking questions.
[11:35:19] SCHULTZ: So that's always a risk whenever you have these types of discussions.
KEILAR: And that's why there's so much debate inside the White House about this --
KEILAR: -- the legal team about this.
BORGER: I think most of the legal team right now is agreed they don't want him to testify. And I think --
KEILAR: It's high risk, low reward, right?
BORGER: Very high risk. They all know him really well. The president thinks, oh, I can game this out and talk to these lawyers and I've got nothing to hide. And lawyers understand how much Bob Mueller knows about everything. So I think there's general agreement. Ty Cobb, who is not representing the president in this, but is an inside White House counsel, may be the person who says, look, let's discuss this with the special counsel's team and find out what they want to know. And they have gotten buckets of information about the areas that they may want to ask the president. But I think, in the end, they may decide that it's too risky. And don't forget, the president is laying the predicate for this by saying he doesn't trust the FBI, that they have no credibility here, that the investigation has been contaminated. So politically, he can always come out and say, why should I talk to these people who I don't trust --
KEILAR: Talking to them, Michael, is maybe that's where you're no longer a subject. Maybe you're worse.
ZELDIN: That's right. You can talk your way into becoming a target. The problem here that the Trump legal team has is the United States versus Nixon case gives them very little wiggle room to say that they can resist a grand jury subpoena for the testimony. They can game this out a bit with Mueller to try to gain some knowledge of what's going on. But, in the end, if Mueller says I want your testimony and serves them with a grand jury subpoena, it's not clear they have any legal basis to resist it. They may resist it and take it to the Supreme Court and get another "I know nothing" decision against them, which will take two years and keep a cloud over the presidency, but it's not easy to think about how they avoid this interview.
KEILAR: Michael Zeldin, thank you so much.
Gloria Borger and Jim Schultz with us as well. We appreciate it. We're standing by in northern California where, in a few minutes,
police are going to hold a news conference and give us new details on yesterday's shooting at YouTube headquarters. We'll have that coming up.
[11:42:01] KEILAR: Let's look at the breaking news coming to us from Wall Street. Just more than two hours into trading, the Dow is really struggling to battle back during this trade spat between the U.S. and China.
Let's check in now with Richard Quest there at the New York Stock Exchange.
Richard, the Dow opened down 500 points. It's recovered a little bit throughout the morning. Tell us about that.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS": That recovery, Brianna, is really quite impressive because it is facing these headwinds of tech issues and the president's tweets about trade and, of course, China's moves overnight. You can see actually the Dow has managed to pull back somewhat. We're down 176. And that graph, which is the S&P 500, that actually tells the story of the morning, a slow but gradual. Now some traders here are even suggesting to me that it could actually go positive in the next hour or so, which would be interesting because -- cue for shameless plug -- in exactly one hour from now, Brianna, we'll be presenting a new show live from the New York Stock Exchange. It's called "MARKETS NOW LIVE." And you can watch it at CNNmoney.com. We're streaming. The new age has arrived for Quest.
KEILAR: You sold it so well, Richard. I think I'm going to tune in, in an hour.
Richard Quest, at the New York Stock Exchange for us, thank you so much.
QUEST: Thank you.
KEILAR: And we'll be right back.
[11:48:14] KEILAR: Today marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's assassination. And you're looking at live pictures of the memorial ceremony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where the civil rights leader was killed.
CNN's Victor Blackwell is live from outside of the motel.
Victor, you spoke to those who were with him when he died. Tell us about that.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did, Brianna. I spoke with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Ambassador Andrew Young. They are the two living members of his entourage from that day. And this was a historic meeting. For first time together, Reverend Jackson and Ambassador Young returned to the Lorraine Motel balcony to talk with me about their friend and that very tragic day.
BLACKWELL: Does it feel like it's been 50 years?
ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. & FORMER ATLANTA MAYOR: It feels like it was yesterday.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): It was April 4th, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, before Andrew Young was an ambassador to the world and before Jesse Jackson became a reverend and ground breaking political figure. They were dedicated to the cause of equality led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And it was a chilly Thursday afternoon at the Lorraine Motel.
YOUNG: I was talking to him, telling him he needed a coat. And he sort of raised his head to kind of see -- test the weather, and pow.
BLACKWELL: A single shot to his chin and King was dead. He was 39 years old.
Now, a half century later, Young and Jackson returned to the very spot where their friend and leader was assassinated.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: His shoes got caught under here and it knocked him out of his shoes.
[11:50:00] YOUNG: A photographer who was staying three rooms down snapped this iconic image as King lay dying.
JACKSON: We were pointing over there, because the police were here. They were running over this way. We were trying to tell them to go back that way. That's where the shot came from.
BLACKWELL (on camera): Do you think he heard the shot?
YOUNG: I don't think he heard the shot or felt it. I think it was a beautiful death.
My first reaction was to be mad. My second reaction was to say, well, if anybody's entitled to a reward, you have sure earned it. And, you know, take your flight to heaven.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Young went on to serve as congressman, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and as mayor of Atlanta. Jackson continued social and political activism and ran for president twice.
JACKSON: Every move I made was a demonstration. When running for the presidency, I always felt his spirit in some way, touched base with him to do it.
BLACKWELL: Jackson, now 76, and Young, 86, say King did not fear death. And even as they stand on the balcony that was once stained with King's blood, they're convinced that he will never die.
JACKSON: I've been to 152 countries. I've never been anywhere where people have wanted to ask me about Martin Luther King. He would be an old preacher who preached great sermons. His martyrdom is power. His spirit is alive.
BLACKWELL: Now, there will be musical performances and speeches throughout the afternoon commemorating the life of Dr. King. And at 6:01 local time, 7:01 eastern time, there will be a moment of silence and then a bell will toll 39 times here at the Lorraine Motel, once for every year of Dr. King's short life. Then bells will toll around the country, and then around the world -- Brianna?
KEILAR: Just an amazing interview, Victor. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.
Victor Blackwell, in Memphis.
And we are standing by in northern California. In just a few minutes, police there will hold a news conference. They're going to give us new details on yesterday's shooting at YouTube headquarters. We'll bring that to you next.
[11:56:19] KEILAR: We're looking at live pictures here from San Bruno, California, where, in just a few moments, police are going to give an update on the shooting at YouTube headquarters. Police have identified the woman who went on a shooting spree there at the YouTube H.Q. And her brother says he had warned the police that this might happen. The woman was apparently a disgruntled YouTube user, upset over the video-sharing site's new censorship policies.
Terrified people fled as the shooter opened fire, wounded three people before killing herself. Take a listen to this eyewitness account.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: First, I heard like three to four shots. So I ran around the building, went to go look. I encountered a girl running from the street to me, I grabbed her, told people to open the door, open the door, put her inside.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How was she coming out? She was coming out by herself?
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: By herself, running. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Was she saying anything?
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: Yes, "I've been shot in the leg, I've been shot in the leg." The second time I heard around 10 to 11 shots. That person just -- she shot that person up really bad. No remorse, no nothing. It was death row. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's go to CNN's Kyung Lah. She is in San Bruno for us live.
Kyung, tell us more about what you know on the shooter. Also, it's pretty astounding when you hear there were warnings from the family.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the family appeared to know about her anger at YouTube. Her brother telling a CNN affiliate in San Diego that the family was well aware of this. They knew that she had a prolific social media account and that she used it to advocate against animal cruelty. They felt that -- he says that she was angry because she felt she was being censored, that her channel was being filtered, and that's where her rage came from. But we don't know how much of that feeds into the actual motive itself. The family says that they were very concerned when she went missing over the weekend. That she did, according to the family, have contact with the local police, but the next time they heard about her was the shooting.
Now, we're hoping to have much of this answered at this news conference that's expected to begin shortly. We are understanding that the police are running behind, Brianna, but this is a very perplexing profile. A woman who for some reason, from San Diego, got in her car and drove 10 hours up to the bay area -- Brianna?
KEILAR: And, Kyung, tell us how the victims are doing.
LAH: Yes, the victims. I mean, if you're in this community, in the high-tech community here, the YouTube campus, it is something that you're certainly feeling throughout this area. There are a lot of thoughts about the people who were wounded here. There were a total of three gunshot victims. We understand from the hospital, three were transported. They range in condition from fair to critical. The good news, Brianna, is that they did not have to go through surgery. That certainly is a key into their prognosis here -- Brianna?
KEILAR: All right. And, Kyung, we're expecting that press conference to begin really any moment, right?
LAH: Any moment. Except they did say that they are running behind. We're not exactly sure why.
One question I did ask is whether or not the Mountain View Police Department would be showing up here. That is the agency that we understand had contact with this woman in the days leading up to this particular shooting. The timing of that we're not really clear on. But that's an agency that we want to know. How much contact did they have with her? How much concern did they have? And so that's going to certainly be a big question here in this news conference.
[11:59:57] KEILAR: All right. We will be watching, as there is that delay there in San Bruno that Kyung is talking about.
Kyung Lah, thank you.
And thank you for joining me.
"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.