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Comey Contradicts Himself on Role of Politics in Clinton E-mail Decisions; Trump Lawyer in Court over FBI Raid & Stormy Also Appears; Starbucks Manager No Long at Philly Store After Arrests; Sean Hannity Named as Third Cohen Client. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired April 16, 2018 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Certainly that letter from James Comey did not help in it is something that hurt her in the polls. Some people will level criticism at James Comey and say, this is someone who's self-righteous, he's examining others and not turning a finger on examining himself. There's an argument to be made that Hillary Clinton started out in that campaign with the original sin of her e-mails. It was a self-created problem for herself. And partially her behavior was problematic in this. Something to add to that, you do hear some folks in her camp say this is the thing that cost her the election. And you have to fake a really broad look at that claim.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Dana, what do you think?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL REPORTR: I think Brianna's exactly right. There were so many factors in Hillary Clinton's loss. But if I am Hillary Clinton or any Democrat, I am incredibly unsatisfied by the answer that James Comey gave last night. The reason is because, on the one hand, he said, I had to be transparent. It was 11 days before the election, and I had to do this, because maybe in the back of my mind I thought she would win and it wouldn't be legitimate. What he couldn't answer, Brooke, was the follow-up question, which is, but why didn't you just get the answer to whether or not these e-mails that were found on Anthony Weiner's computer, Huma Abedin's then husband, whether it mattered. At the end of the day, it didn't. It was a nonissue. He didn't have an answer, Brooke for why he didn't quickly do the investigation, not make it public until and unless it was necessary to make public. And at the end -- it was a couple of days before the election he had to come back out and say, never mind, this isn't anything we care about. Well, he doesn't have an answer for that in a real way. And I think -- I remember, I'm sure as do all of you, covering this, real time, that was the question, if you don't know if this is a thing, why not wait?
BALDWIN: Why make it a thing?
BASH: And it's not something that he could answer.
BALDWIN: Let me move on.
Chris, I remember the day, we were all sitting here, the breaking news that Comey was fired, and remember then we learned later, it was because he was watching the news, is how he found out. It's the first time we're hearing him talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: The room had televisions on the wall, and I saw "Comey resigns" on the back screens.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Resigns?
COMEY: Yes, it said "resigns." And then that changed to, "Comey fired." And now I'm staring at it, and the audience can see my face change. They turn around and look at the back. I went into a room to find out, have I been fired. I did not expect to be fired.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're in that private jet basically alone. What did you do?
COMEY: I drank red wine from a paper coffee cup and looked at the lights of the country I love so much as we flew home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: First of all, as someone who's drank red wine out of a paper coffee cup
BALDWIN: You're so classy. You're so classy.
CILLIZZA: Let's not run that down.
But, yes, this was an inkling into what would come later, in terms of Donald Trump's M.O. when he wants to get rid of people. Comey should have been looking for a tweet. That's what we've seen of late.
I think it's worth pointing out the irony in someone who got famous under the phrase, "You're fired," is loath to actually be the guy to say, you're fired to people who work for him.
There's also a piece in that interview that I didn't know but maybe others did. Comey was banned from going anywhere near the FBI after he was fired. This is someone -- whatever you think of his handling during the election, which most people hated him, Democrats and Republicans. They thought he was trying to influence the election. It's hard to argue this is not a guy that's spent his entire professional life in the service of the Justice Department and the FBI. It felt a little much to me. I don't think Jim Comey is going to go in there and do something dastardly that he has to be kept away from the FBI.
I urge people, if they can -- the interview ran for five hours. The transcript is very long but I would urge people to go through it. There's a ton in there, yes, the things -- many of the things we knew about. There's some smaller things, observations of his on Trump. It also paints a portrait of Jim Comey. He keeps talking about how his biggest weakness is his ego. He shows his ego is quite large. You learn about Trump, but I think you learn more about Comey who, frankly, is just sort of just a -- you know, a flat figure for most of us. We don't really know all that much about him, except in relation to Trump.
[14:34:58] BALDWIN: Chris, Dana and Brianna, thank you all so much on all things Comey.
Moving on, getting back to our breaking news, President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is in court right now for the first time since the FBI raided his home, office and hotel room a week ago. Should those seized materials be protected under attorney-client privilege?
And why is porn star, Stormy Daniels, in that same courtroom today?
We're back in a moment.
BALDWIN: We are closely watching federal court in Manhattan right now as porn star, Stormy Daniels, seen, moments ago, arriving. There she is in the purple suit at this hearing for Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, who paid her that $130,000 to keep her silent about an alleged affair with the now president. Michael Cohen also showing up there at court today. The judge's request to turn over his client list. All of this one week to the day after the FBI swept up boxes of document and phone recordings in a raid of Cohen's home, office and hotel room.
While we wait for some details to start creeping out of this hearing, let's bring in defense attorney and CNN legal analyst, Mark Geragos.
[14:40:15] MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: How are you, Brooke?
BALDWIN: I'm well.
So we've talked through the purpose of the hearing today. What I want to hear from you is, why is Stormy Daniels even in this courtroom period? Is this totaling spectacle?
GERAGOS: It's so that CNN and the other cable news networks will cover this, start to finish, because there's no other reason for her to be there. Other than Michael is a shrewd consumer of the culture and knows, if he just shows up, as handsome as he is, there's not going to be this media coverage.
GERAGOS: -- doubles down on the media. BALDWIN: Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, who -- by the way, I was talking to one of our lead reporters covering the hearings, and he reminded me, this morning, this judge, this woman allowed for Avenatti to speak last Friday. He told me, it's very possible -- and I want to hear what you think -- that this judge today will let Stormy Daniels address the courtroom.
GERAGOS: I doubt she would let Stormy Daniels address the courtroom. I can see where Michael Avenatti would have a basis to address it. It would surprise me if she would let Stormy do it, especially in the middle of her Make America Horny Again tour that would make this more of a spectacle. Most Article III judges try to avoid the spectacles. But I think today she -- my guess is, this judge will be focused on whether or not they can identify specific issues and other clients and legal work.
BALDWIN: We've gotten, Mark, some sound just in speaking of Avenatti. Let's hear what he just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does your client, does Stormy Daniels, does she - (INAUDIBLE)?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Not at this point in time, no.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Should Michael Cohen be representing himself?
AVENATTI: There's an old saying that any attorney that represents himself has a fool for a client. I think that would certainly be true in this instance, no doubt.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does Michael Cohen have anything to be afraid of if the judge has recordings of him or you and your client or something to do with your case?
AVENATTI: I don't know that the judge would have any such recordings, but if Michael Cohen was making recordings of anyone without their permission, that could cause a serious problem for Michael Cohen.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Materials that were seized first.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
AVENATTI: I'm sorry?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to weigh-in on who should look at the seized materials first? The taint team to be appointed by the judge or Mr. Cohen or Mr. Trump?
AVENATTI: We may weigh-in on that. We're going to see how things progress today.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why do you think the president --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to try to get the documents first?
AVENATTI: No. I don't think there's any question that this matter should be handled similar to any other matter, and that is the taint team should review the documents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: OK. Just wanted to hear what Avenatti just said, taint team reviewing the documents. That's what we want. We know Team Cohen, they want this temporary restraining order. They want to get a look at the documents that the FBI seized before anyone else does.
Michael Cohen -- look at these pictures, Mark Geragos. I don't know if you saw them. Last Friday, Cohen has this hearing in downtown Manhattan. He and his buddies are kicking it with cigars outside of this hotel where he's been living for anyone and everyone to see. Would you advise your client to do this?
BALDWIN: Is there strategy at all in play?
GERAGOS: I think if you were to do a time line, it would show the judge was already irritated prior to this being broadcast. Now that this has been broadcast wall to wall over the weekend, I can't imagine that doesn't increase her agitation. Remember, they were asserting that he has an attorney-client relationship, that he was asserting privilege on have various things, and the judge wanted to know why he wasn't in the courtroom. And when you see things like this, I've been there, done that when judges are not too happy when you're somewhere else. This was probably not the smartest move. Yes, if this were my client, I probably would, behind doors, knock his head in.
BALDWIN: Mark Geragos, always candid. Thank you. Thank you, thank you.
GERAGOS: Thanks, Brooke.
[14:44:40] BALDWIN: Coming up next here, this Starbucks in Philadelphia forced to shut down amid protests after the manager called the police on two African-American men who were sitting in the store waiting for their friend, hadn't ordered yet. Does the Starbucks manager still have a job? We will talk to a woman who witnessed the whole thing.
BALDWIN: The protests are growing outside this Philadelphia Starbucks. The store manager who set off this racial firestorm is no longer working there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starbucks coffee is anti-black.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A whole lot of racists and a whole lot of crap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Those are the demonstrations.
Let's back up and I'll show the incident we're talking about. The arrest of these two black men as they were sitting there, waiting on a friend. They were asked to leave when they wouldn't buy anything off the menu. The store manager called police. The men were accused of trespassing.
And the CEO of Starbucks spoke out today, blasted the whole incident and issued this public apology.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:50:14] KEVIN JOHNSON, CEO, STARBUCKS: The circumstances surrounding the incident and the outcome in our store on Thursday were reprehensible. They were wrong. For that, I personally apologize to the two gentlemen that visited our store. Certainly, it's my responsibility to understand what happened and what led to that and ensure that we fix it. There are some scenarios where police should be called. If there's threats or disturbances, those may be appropriate times. In this case, none of that occurred. It was completely inappropriate to engage the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The two men were released without being charged. They've agreed to meet with the Starbucks CEO.
Meantime, the company confirmed this manager who is the one who called the police, no longer works at that Starbucks. The company did not say if she was fired or will be given another job.
CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on the fallout.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Starbucks has been in full damage control the last several days because of what took place in this store last week. Kevin Johnson, the CEO of the company, is here in Philadelphia right now, offering a face-to-face apology with the two men who were arrested in this store, calling what took place reprehensible. He's calling for a closer look across the board for Starbucks. We are hearing from Philly's top cops saying the offices who responded to management didn't want to make the arrests in the first place, they were obligated to. They simply performed their job here when they received the call that these two men, by all accounts, were not paying customers, who refused to leave, even told to do so by officers, but had to be placed in handcuffs and taken away. We now know, Brooke, eventually, Starbucks chose not to press any charges. Really, the main focus of the criticism here is for Starbucks. We've seen plenty of protests here. Expect to see more even later today -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Polo, thank you.
To the woman who witnessed and recorded the video. Melissa DePino is with us.
Melissa, you're there, you notice the police officers roll up in this store. How did this escalate?
MELISSA DEPINO, WITNESS: You know I was sitting there in Starbucks like everyone else was and two police officers came in and started talking to the two gentlemen who were sitting across from me. Just sitting there. And then a couple more police officers came in, and a couple more. And you see in the video, the two men. Their friend came in and was wondering, why are the police officers talking to them, what's going on. They were being asked to leave. The two men were saying, why do we have to leave, what did we do. A bunch of us in the store were saying, what's going on? Why are they doing this. Why do they have to leave? We were talking to employees, the police, and the police put them in handcuffs and they were walked out of the store and put in a patrol car.
BALDWIN: See in the video, here are the guys getting walked out. You see the third friend showing up, can you hear if you watch the full video, him saying this is discrimination. Here's what I want to know, were you within earshot of hearing either of these guys saying to the police we're just meeting our friends, like what were they saying to the police?
DEPINO: I did not -- I didn't hear what the two men were saying, their voices were low, they weren't acting in an aggressive manner, they weren't shouting or anything like that, but from what I could tell where I was and when I spoke to their friend they were saying, why do we have to leave, what did we do? Why are you here for us? And they weren't leaving until the police put them in handcuffs.
BALDWIN: What do you think -- the czar bucks CEO is saying they want to meet with these gentlemen. What does Starbucks need to do to make it right?
DEPINO: It's really not my place to answer that, I don't think. I think the whole thing is, the story isn't about what I think or how I feel. Those two young men were humiliated. They were racially profiled. And the story needs to be about them. It needs to be about how this happens every day in all kinds of places and how we just don't talk about it enough. I mean, you know, my video got 10 million views, at least the last I looked it had 10 million views. I'm glad that happened, but I think now it's time for us to sort of turn the conversation away from what I think and talk to the people who experience it every day.
[14:55:12] BALDWIN: We would love to have the two men on. We are efforting that at CNN.
BALDWIN: I've got you, Melissa. A lot of people are probably grateful for your foresight in that video.
Thank you for your voice and your words. I appreciate you there in Philadelphia.
I want to move along --
DEPINO: Thank you.
BALDWIN: You've got it.
I want to move along, though. As we've been covering this hearing in the federal courthouse in downtown Manhattan involving the president's personal attorney, and in the wake of this FBI raid a week ago today where these FBI agents seized all kinds of materials, electronics, documents, out of his hotel, office, et cetera. What's the latest from this hearing?
Shimon Prokupecz is there are he's live.
What do you have, Shimon?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, the hearing is still ongoing. I quickly came out of court. Clearly, a bombshell here. We learned this morning, the judge ordering Michael Cohen's attorney to release the name of a client who he wanted to not disclose, he filed court papers this morning, saying this client wanted to remain anonymous. And the judge did not buy those arguments. His attorney tried to make several arguments as to why that person should not be revealed. A short time after that, it was revealed to be Sean Hannity. Clearly, a bombshell here in court. Many people, those of us who were sitting in the audience, were shocked to hear that name. But that is the name that the judge has ordered his attorneys to release as a person who was Michael Cohen's client. He did not want to name him. Since Friday, the judge has been fighting with Michael Cohen's attorneys to release the names of clients who could potentially be affected by this claim of privilege as it relates to documents that were seized during the raid. This new name, Sean Hannity, FOX News, his connections to the president, other issues, certainly, a huge surprise here, coming within the last few minutes -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: Sean Hannity is that third unnamed client. I have so many questions.
We got to take a break.
Shimon, do not move.
I have two lawyers who just sat down. More on this development, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[15:00:09] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BALDWIN: OK, we've got some --