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Rudy Giuliani Joins Trump's Legal Team; Gun Violence Protest in Wake of 19th Anniversary of Columbine Shooting; Forbes Jourmalist Says Trump Tricked Him. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 20, 2018 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00]

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In terms of a person to lead the special council investigation and he believes that Mueller will be fair. That being said, the president doesn't necessarily believe that. He said that Mueller is conflicted, and that the investigation is a witch hunt.

So, Giuliani joining the team soon -- or is joining the team, he says that he's going to be doing at an unpaid capacity. And he joins a team of lawyers, including Ty Cobb who was at the White House dealing with the Russian investigation, Jay Sekulow an outside lawyer and two additional white collar attorneys based in Florida who are also joining the team -- the president's legal team announced this week.

So the president really trying to -- to step up ahead of what seems to be a growing investigation, not just from the special counsel but also in to his lawyer Michael Cohen, John.

BERMAN: All right, Abby Phillip for us in Florida, Abby thank you very much. There's another really interesting story this morning. A former reporter for Forbes Magazine claims we was tricked to (inaudible) by Donald Trump decades ago.

He said that Donald Trump pretended to be someone names John Barron, got on the phone and lied about his wealth to get on the Forbes 400 List. Listen to a little bit of the audio that he says he rediscovered here.

(BEGIN CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP SPEAKING AS "JOHN BARRON": Most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump, you know, because you have down (inaudible) Trump. And I'd like to talk to you off the record, if I can just to make your thing easier.

JONATHAN GREENBURG, JOURNALIST, FORBES: OK, sure.

"BARRON": Is that all right?

GREENBERG: Yes, that's fine.

"BARRON": All right, but I think you can really use Donald Trump now, and you can just consolidate it (ph). I think last year somebody showed me the article and I think it had 200 and 200, and really it's been pretty consolidated now for the most part. As I also think somebody had mentioned that you had asked about that or somebody had, and it's been pretty well consolidated, OK?

(END CLIP)

BERMAN: So once again, John Barron sounds an awful lot like Donald Trump, and once (inaudible), it's questionable to say the least. Our national correspondent -- senior national correspondent Alex Marquardt here with that.

ALEX MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and Jon Greenberg actually, that was off the record but he said he didn't feel bad releasing it now because he was being mislead by the person you believe was Donald Trump.

We of course know that Trump has -- has used his (inaudible) in the past, as well as the (inaudible) John Miller to reporters. In fact, Trump admitted that he used the (inaudible) Barron when he was running for president in 2016. Of course his youngest son is named Barron, now that clip was from 1984, the third time that Trump was trying to get on the Forbes 400 list.

Now, rewind two years, 1982 was the first time that Forbes out this list. He called up Greenberg and told him that his family was worth for $900 million. So he deserved to have a really high placing on the list.

Forbes eventually decided that Trump was worth just $100 million. And then Greenberg later discovered that in fact it wasn't $100 million, it was a paltry $5 million, certainly far lower than Trump would've wanted people to realize.

Greenberg now says it took them sum 35 years to realize that he'd been conned, that was his word that Trump had used this list to embellish himself both publically and in the business world.

Greenberg had some very harsh words about Trump early on New Day, let's take a listen.

(BEGIN CLIP)

GREENBURG: He is a (inaudible) con man. He understood what I was doing, going around the country putting people on, asking them, and he figured out what he had to do in order to deceive me, and get on to that list.

And he did it very well. And he maintained that persona of just sort of talking about his assets with any sense of debt, and lying about it.

(END CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Now Trump of course during his presidential campaign claimed to be worth sum $10 billion, different offer any sort of proof. And we of course have still not seen his tax returns.

John, we actually have reached out o the White House and the Trump organization, we haven't heard back.

BERMAN: I'd like to see his tax return -- and John Barron's, then compare the two to see how they --

MARQUARDT: Which we now know he's not going to be filing until October.

BERMAN: Alex Marquardt, great to have you with us, thanks very much. All right, there are student walk outs across the country right now to protest gun violence. We'll take you there next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:38:05] BERMAN: All right, happening now across the country, groups of students are walking out of school to protest gun violence. These walk outs coming the 19th anniversary of the shootings in Columbine.

And joining me now, the co-founder of New York City Says Enough, Arielle Geismar, she's part of the protests that are happening today in New York City and Washington Square Park. And Arielle, you marched in March a month ago as well. This is what you said, in March we mourn, in April we act. What are you hoping to achieve today?

ARIELLE GEISMAR, CO-FOUNDER, NEW YORK SAYS ENOUGH: Today I think that we're trying to show the persistence of students. We're trying to show that we stand united, we have one cause and that's to end gun violence in all of it's forms, you know. We're taking action; we're taking to the streets. Most of us can't even vote yet, but we're working extremely hard to make sure that no one has to suffer the way that people have.

BERMAN: How did the shooting in Parkland Florida, which were so horrible to see, how do they affect you personally?

GEISMAR: I think it has to do with the fear that students face every single day. Although I'm not in Parkland, I'm not in Columbine; I've grown up in the generation with students who are realizing that we have lockdown drills all the time. We live with the constant fear that there is a possibility of a school shooting. No one should have to live like that.

BERMAN: One month ago, you largely had the support of school district she rein New York and other students did across the country. Today's a little bit different, it doesn't seem as if the school administrators are as pleased that you're walking out.

The New York City department of Education, the chancellor said quote, you don't have to be out of school all day to make your voices know. You've already made your voices known; what's your response to that?

GEISMAR: Our response is I would like to invite any school administrator down to Washington Square Park. Even though you think our voices are not (ph) heard, they are not heard, because clearly we still have people in the Congress, people in the White House who are arguing that we don't need more gun control.

So until they realize that we do, we will keep on fighting. These are the students you represent, I invite you to come down here and watch us in action, watch us protest and watch us speak our minds.

[10:40:00]

BERMAN: Has it been hard to maintain the passion that we can hear so clearly in your voice for this cause, which is so important to so many students and parents across the country?

GEISMAR: You know, I think that, that, passion is -- is deep within (ph) inside of us, you know. I think that, that, passion was grown (ph) in kindergarten when we had to do lockdown drills. When we had to realize that we're not safe in our school. When kids are getting shot on the street, when kids are getting shot in their school, that's where our passion comes from.

This isn't just a new thing. This is something that we've lived with for our entire lives. First graders were shot in their classrooms. We need to have that passion. We see those on T.V. and we know that, that could have been us, as student. That passion has always been there.

BERMAN: Are you getting the response that you were hoping for from your local, your state government?

GEISMAR: Yes we are. We recently had a meeting with Senator Gillibrand in her office, her state director, you know. We were able to sit down and start talking about gun control, start talking about a bipartisan solution, and that's really what we're looking for.

We're looking for the ability to talk to our senators, the ability to talk to our congress people because we want to take this up to politics. We talk to enact real legislative change.

BERMAN: Arielle Geismar (ph). We're (ph) looking at pictures of the protest around the country and we saw that a month ago as well, the number, at least from what we can see, don't seem to be as great today as they were one month ago. Is -- is indicative, you think, of perhaps a change in national focus that might be a struggle for you to refocus?

GEISMAR: Well, you know, I think that -- that there really is no change in national focus, you know. I think that we're realizing that the nation is actually focused on this, you know. I think, after parkland urban groups who have been working on this problem for generations and you know, I think that it's really starting to pick up, and that's the media is focusing on.

Although, there are people that the media hasn't focused on in the past, I think that it's really important that we keep on that traction (ph). BERMAN: Arielle Geismar, thank you so much for being with us. We will let you get back to this demonstration right now happening behind you. Meanwhile, I wanted to give you new details on a new shooting and this happened in Ocala, Florida. You're looking at live pictures right now. This is outside the church where students were evacuated.

What happened is, there, was a shooting incident that involved two male students at the Forest High School. One of the students was shot in the ankle. He is described as having, non-life threatening injuries. He has been taken to the hospital. The other male student was taken into custody at the school.

The incident, again, as we said, is over but all other students evacuated, led to this church, to meet up with their families. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:42:33] BERMAN: The James Comey memos are out so what happens now? Here to discuss CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ron Brownstein and Congressional Reporter for Politico, Rachael Bade. You know it's interesting Ron, I think that the biggest questions this morning about the James Comey memo are political, not necessary legal or investigatory.

It was Republican allies of the President who pushed for these to be released. Republican chairs (ph) of committees in the House. And I'm just wondering if you think they regret that they pushed for these memos to be released now.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well first of all, I agree with your point. I think the process by which they -- the release of these memos was -- was forced is more revealing in terms of advancing the story than anything in the memos. The most important thing in the memo, I think, is to reconfirm the central argument that James Comey made in his testimony and his book.

I think that President Trump asked him if he could find a way to let go of the Michael fund (ph) thing. And that is there in the contemporary -- erroneous (ph) memos. It's hard to see anything else on the ledger, on the other side that is more powerful than the revelation and the confirmation that that in fact was what he recorded contemporaneously from the President.

So it that sense, I don't -- you know it's unclear what the Republicans were -- thought this would accomplish but it did I think reveal their determination in the House to act in many ways as a defense squad for the President.

BERMAN: Rachael, what we've heard from the House Republican Chairs, you know Gowdy, Nunes and Goodlatte is that there is no writing about collusion. James Comey didn't say there was any collusion inside these memos.

And I've heard other people, other allies of the President; say that in the memos James Comey notes that it would be a good thing if Comey found out if any satellites, people connected to the President were perhaps dealing with the President. And those two things are revelatory they say. But as Ron puts it, enough to counter the -- the other side?

BADE: Listen, I -- I've been asking myself the same question all morning. Do Republicans regret putting these memos out and asking for them. I think it's having the reverse effect than they were expecting. I think what they were trying to do was catch Comey in a lie and see if he had exaggerated any of his communications with the President to sort of undermine him and -- and sort of put his creditability into question.

I think this has had the exact opposite effect. There's more detail and it's very consistent with what Comey has said in the past. And so what we're seeing this morning and last night especially, is that Republicans are starting to try and spend this a little bit.

They're trying to say nothing in these memos accuses the President of obstruction and nothing says he was threatened.

[10:50:00]

But I don't know that Comey would have put that in these memos. I mean, this was very early on. He didn't know what was going on. He just knew that it was very odd, what the president was doing and so he felt he needed to record this. And if anything, I think this makes the president look even worse, not better.

BERMAN: Yes, it's interesting, Rachel. There's been a new development just within the last few minutes and I want your take on it. This is a reporting from our Laura Jarrett at the Justice Department.

She's heard from the lawyers representing Andy McCabe, of course the fired former FBI Deputy Director, who is saying again that James Comey, when he was the FBI Director, was informed of Andy McCabe's contacts with the press that got him fired; these leaks that Andy McCabe allegedly, according to the Inspector General, then lied about.

The lawyers for Andy McCabe are saying the FBI Director was informed -- James Comey in his interviews saying he wasn't. It's interesting Rachel, now, because if you're looking at the different players here and where they agree and disagree, this really does seem to pit Andy McCabe against James Comey in a way that might have an impact, at least politically in terms of public relations going forward.

BADE: Yes, absolutely. Let's get Comey back on TV and ask him this question and see what he has to say. I can't speak for him, but yes, absolutely, inconsistencies here.

And I think this really -- the whole McCabe situation; the criminal referral, by a nonpartisan, non-bias, non -- not leaning Republican or Democrat -- a watchdog saying that he was not forthcoming and that he lied. This really undercuts McCabe.

It really undercuts the FBI and it gives Republicans ammunition to use against the FBI, which I just can see them totally taking this and running with it and using it to try to discredit the Russia investigation from here on out.

BERMAN: Ron Brownstein, on top of all of this we now have Rudy Giuliani, you know, counselor --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

BERMAN: -- legal counselor, of counsel to the president in the matter of the Russia investigation in dealing with Robert Mueller.

When you saw this headline, what did you think of it?

BROWNSTEIN: I though Rudy Giuliani was a heck of a federal prosecutor, but a very long time ago. And it's been awhile since he's been relied on in a courtroom. And this (inaudible) this year, it's kind of (inaudible) with the special counsel, which seems almost like a contradiction in terms.

Look, I mean, I think you know Rachel's point, someone should ask James Comey this on TV; don't worry. We'll have a chance. You know, we are in a position where these controversies are just dominating the news, whether it's this or Stormy Daniels.

And I do wonder, I mean you know the polling is pretty clear. President -- they've taken a toll on president Trump. And his approval rating is way below what it should be, at around 40 percent, with the economy this good.

The question, I think for Democrats is whether there is really many more voters out there beyond those who've already said they morally -- they consider him morally or by temperament, unfit to be president. And whether the intense focus on all of these scandals, as opposed to the issue debate over questions like taxes and healthcare in particular, really has that much more to benefit them.

And again, not that there hasn't been a cost to the president. It's pretty clear what the cost is, with an approval rating far below what you'd expect with a 4 percent unemployment rate. But (inaudible) voters there are out (inaudible) turn against him (inaudible) kind of controversies. And then that way they're sort of back in the position they were in the 2016 election.

BERMAN: And it's just this subject you write about this morning. Where can people see this piece, Ron?

BROWNSTEIN: In the Atlantic.com.

BERMAN: Very good. Ron Brownstein, Rachel Bade, thanks so much for being with us, I appreciate it.

There is a new legal battle looming over the president. Of course this is the Stormy Daniels case. There's a hearing about to get underway. We'll take you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:58:14]

BERMAN: All right. Happening shortly, a federal judge will hear new arguments in the Stormy Daniels lawsuit. This time, they're going to discuss whether or not to delay the case. Our Sara Sidner, in Las Angeles with the very latest, Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What is interesting here is we're seeing some of the documents from Brent Blakely. That is the attorney for Michael Cohen and for Essential Consultants, LLC, the company that Michael Cohen used to pay $130,000 to Stormy Daniels. This case is all about whether or not the judge is going to stay the case, the stay meaning that it would be put on hold for 90 days.

That is what Cohen's representatives are asking for, but what is interesting in the paperwork is that, Cohen's own attorney is now confirming, in these court documents, that on April 12th, during that FBI raid, that the FBI was seeking documentation relating to the payment that Mr. Cohen made to Stormy Daniels attorney for Stormy Daniels, and we all know what that is all about.

This whole case about that non-disclosure agreement that Stormy Daniels signed, that she says she should be able to get out of because she's saying it is invalid because Donald Trump didn't sign it, himself, as a party to the agreement.

In court today, we're expecting Judge James Otero to -- we don't know whether he will rule. We also don't know whether Stormy Daniels will be here. We know that her attorneys will be here, as will Michael Cohen's attorneys and Donald Trumps attorney.

BERMAN: It will be fascinating to see every time there is a hearing, every time it is public, we tend to learn a little bit more. So we will keep our eyes on this throughout the day, the interaction between the civil and the criminal case here, also, vital to see. Sara Sidner, for us in Las Angles, thank you very much.

That is all for us today. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm John Berman. Enjoy your weekend. At this hour, with the star of screen and stage and everywhere else, Kate Baldwin, starts right now.