Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Longtime Trump Attorney Says Cohen May Lie to Get Leniency; Giuliani Says Trump Hired Him to End Mueller Probe; National School Walkout to End Gun Violence; Cruz Mocked for Gushing Tribute to Trump. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 20, 2018 - 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: There we go, and Erin is with me now. If this whole concern is about Cohen flipping, to avoid any leniency that doesn't necessarily mean that he tells the truth not because Trump thinks Cohen will tell the truth.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: That was a pretty incredible thing. He's not talking about flipping. Flipping is when a witness flips against someone else and tells the truth about them. What he and the president are worried about with Michael Cohen is that he will turn, which means that Michael Cohen is sophisticated enough to know what the federal prosecutors want to hear and will tell them that, but that it will not be true. So, it was a pretty stunning statement about the system --

BALDWIN: So, he'll lie.

BURNETT: Yes. So, Jay Goldberg is 20-some years working with the president, completely believes the president. He believes Michael Cohen will lie, that he's not suited to the rigors of jail life, as he puts it and that he is of weak character and will not stand up for the president.

BALDWIN: Goldberg also told you Cohen faces pressure from family and friends and he's not, quote, suited for prison life.

BURNETT: It's a stunning and strange thing, referring to some unpalatable things but saying Michael Cohen will do whatever he has to do to stay away from jail and what is expected to be a lengthy prison sentence. It was interesting, Brooke, he also said the president called him, Jay Goldberg. They have worked together for more than 20 years. Goldberg represented Trump in both of his divorces. He said the president called me. I warned him all about Michael Cohen.

He said, "I understand." that's how the president responded. He said the reality of it is that there was no collusion. This is what Goldberg believes. But he brought up Nixon himself. He said it is the coverup that is worse than the crime. He warned the president to be wary of someone like Michael Cohen to wear a wire and not to let his guard down.

BALDWIN: He genuinely believes that?

BURNETT: He genuinely believes that, that he is the type of person to do it and could already be doing that. That is where he was coming out from this.

BALDWIN: In the meantime, student after Trump called him up for advice, then he talked to Cohen on the phone? A couple days ago I think that's what was reported.

BURNETT: That the president talked to Cohen?

BALDWIN: Yes. And we don't know exactly what happened in that conversation, how much he took Goldberg's advice. I think it does say so much now we've seen him build up his legal team but that When he was sitting there alone and livid about Michael Cohen, that he would pick up the phone and call somebody that had been his attorney for more than 20 years, a person that he trusted and thought he could bounce something off of and talk to. That's the position that he's in. He picked up the phone and called Jay Goldberg. It wasn't the way around.

BALDWIN: That was quite an interview, Erin Burnett.

BURNETT: It was an unusual exchange.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much. Of course, watch this wonderful woman at 7:00 "OUTFRONT" right here on CNN. After getting passed over for secretary of state and attorney general, Rudy Giuliani is finally an official member of the Trump team. The former New York Mayor now joining the president's legal team. We will discuss why he thinks he can help bring the Mueller investigation to a close.

[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. President Trump has added a new and intriguing name to his legal team, former mayor and lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He said he'll be pushing to end the Mueller probe. Certainly, no small task. He was part of the campaign that's being investigated and has said on record when it comes to Russia and Trump, there is no there, there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: I know of no such contacts with the Russian government. I was pretty deeply involved in the campaign. I was with Donald Trump day and night for about a hundred days actually at one period. So, if that's going on, it's going on somewhere where I didn't see it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: With me now, Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator who worked with Rudy Giuliani back in 2006 on his presidential exploratory committee and Brian Karim, CNN political analyst. Margaret Hoover, we know they have a history he has pointed that out. Mueller and Giuliani the fact that they worked at DOJ together Once upon a time, the fact that Giuliani was mayor of New York when Mueller was head of the FBI. Still, why did he take the job so many people have been turning down? MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not sure anybody was

offered this job. I think Rudy is stepping into a role he can uniquely fill. I just want to be clear we've seen a lot of clips today on television as we cover this of Rudy in campaign mode. What we forget, aside from Rudy in campaign mode is that Rudy also has a profile that is highly respected and a long pedigree in law enforcement. He was associate attorney general, he was the attorney in the U.S. southern district of New York.

When he was mayor of New York, he had very, very strong relationships with the NYPD and all federal law enforcement. He has a pedigree here that goes back decades not just with Mueller but with Comey also. So, this is somebody who is in a position because of his trust with the president to bring the temperature down in terms of how the parties are working together. And while I don't think Rudy is in a position to miraculously solve a special counsel investigation in two weeks, he is in a position to help the gears move a little quicker and better.

BALDWIN: That is what he said. He said he hopes to because of his experience and relationship with Mueller, he hopes to end this thing in a couple of weeks, which I said earlier is no small task.

BRIAN KARIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think that de-escalates it. Now why he took it, A couple of reasons why I think he took it, I think he does think he can make a difference. Two, I think he also likes the spotlight. Remember, he's going to take a limited role.

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: Do you think it will be limited?

KARIM: I think it will by necessity think it will be limited. I don't doubt that in the slightest. The limited role he's going to take is to try and end it. By coming in and saying I think I can clear it up in two weeks, I think you have to be realistic. Mueller is going to work at his pace, is not going to be influenced by Rudy Giuliani. What Rudy Giuliani is going to do is placate the president and play both ends against the middle and hope to mediate things, so they don't explode. But I don't think that is going to work.

I think the moment Mueller says this is going to take as long as it's going to take, and he has to report back to the president and say I don't think it's going to be a couple of weeks, I think that's an explosive moment that you have to be wary of. You can't oversell the fact and I think he has oversold the fact by saying he can end it in a couple of weeks.

BALDWIN: I want to hear from you. But just quickly I was talking to Giuliani's biographer last hour and he was saying he thinks because of the Mueller relationship he generally believes that may be part of Giuliani's role is to get Trump to sit down with Mueller.

KARIM: That would be nice.

HOOVER: That's one possible outcome. I think we're putting too much on the wrap it up in two weeks. I don't think there's anybody reasonable and I don't even know if Rudy --

BALDWIN: He said it, that's why.

HOOVER: But that's what everybody's focusing on. I think a lot of things are said and -- but maybe that's true, too. He does play this unique role. He really is the only person who has both of trust of law enforcement, all of this personalities who are at the forefront of this law enforcement investigation on all sides and true respect and the president. That is a unique role to play in a limited way.

KARIM: He also knows as a prosecutor you cannot go in, I've worked with these guys, you're not going to walk in and go, hey, I love you, let's wrap it up in a couple weeks. It's not going to happen. In no world will that ever happen.

BALDWIN: So, you're saying maybe he was saying that to speak to the president, saying, Mr. President, I've got you, I want to help --

KARIM: I got your back.

BALDWIN: Even though we all know it ain't going to end in a couple of weeks.

KARIM: They've been saying that for a couple of months. I mean, from the White House they've been saying that for six months. It's Robert Mueller and the people working for him.

BALDWIN: What has Giuliani been up to recently?

HOOVER: I haven't talked to him about his personal life. He's been in private. He hasn't actually been in the public eye lately. This is a way for him to serve his country in a way who hasn't been able to do. We saw him in campaign mode. We see him assert himself in a way he can add some real value to the national discourse.

BALDWIN: By taking is limited role as a lawyer doesn't rule him out for potential jobs at the administration for the future?

HOOVER: Don't put the cart before the horse in this administration.

KARIM: Anybody who is breathing in the GOP will have a shot at a spot in this administration as quickly as the turnstiles turn people in and out.

BALDWIN: Where has Chris Christie been lately? Right?

KARIM: I think definitely Giuliani has been mentioned a couple of times replacing Jeff Sessions. But for right now, it's a very limited role. It will change in give it 30 seconds.

BALDWIN: Margaret and Brian, thank you both.

Coming up next, 19 years after the tragedy at Columbine High School, we are watching students all across this country walk out of class to try to put an end to gun violence. We'll speak to the daughter of a teacher killed at Columbine to talk about what this movement, this day and this walkout means to her. Stay with me.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Students across the country, look at these pictures, they are walking out, and they are demanding action on gun violence for the second time in two months. This day is a significant day to remember victims of school shootings and survivors, it marks 19 years since the Columbine school massacre where two gunman killed 12 students and a teacher.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE GOLDSTEIN, STUDENT PARTICIPATING IN WALKOUT: We're honoring the victims and the survivors and all of the students who don't want to see this happen to them or anyone they know and care about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: While so many young people are begging for change, today a student was injured in a school shooting in Ocala, Florida. You could see the desks and chairs students stacked up to barricade inside of the classroom. Connie Sanders with me, her father Dave Sanders was the teacher and beloved coach at columbine killed while protecting his students. So, thank you for being with me and thinking about you and your family especially today, welcome.

CONNIE SANDERS, DAUGHTER OF SLAIN TEACHER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: First, just when you see these pictures across the country today of the students, coast to coast, walking out and demanding change, how does it make you feel?

[15:50:00] SANDERS: It makes me feel hopeful. I, of course, I wish there was no reason to walk out. I wish that there were anything else that the kid could be doing today. But I think it is a good idea when people come together as a community and try to fight for change, whatever change that may be.

BALDWIN: Before Columbine, there were no code red drills? Right? This was a totally different existence 20 years ago. So, it is 19 years, we've seen in 2018 alone 20 school shootings, it is only April. When you see that the parkland students step up as activists and the students walk out, do you feel like this time is different?

SANDERS: I do feel like this time was different. My sister Angela today spent the day talking about some of the first responder changes at a conference and we're hopeful that when people talk about it, that something will be done, and this is the tipping point, parkland was the tipping point where everybody agrees we all want safety for our kids and families.

BALDWIN: On your list of items you would like to see changed with regard to state lawmakers, congress, what is at the top of the list?

SANDERS: The top of the list would be to listen to the people, not who is paying for the votes. And to really hear what we're saying. If our lawmakers spent even a small amount of time with the families and people directly impacted, or vicariously impacted, they would have a different response and it appears that corporate America and the people and the kids have had enough and so politics are not -- we're all moving forward with having a safer community.

BALDWIN: I just want to close the conversation with asking about your dad. How old were you when you lost him?

SANDERS: I was 24. My sister was 23 when he died.

BALDWIN: Just tell me about him?

SANDERS: He was amazing. He dedicated his life to students. He dedicated everything he had to coaching and teaching and his final words said it all when he said tell my girls I love them. Almost exactly 19 years ago right now.

BALDWIN: Tell me what he did that day, 19 years ago to protect students?

SANDERS: He ran through the cafeteria jumping up on the tables yelling at them to get down and move out and he ran up the stairs and ran at the shooter which is now protocol for our first responders to run at the shooters. He started -- he was the first one to respond to the shootings at columbine.

BALDWIN: He was the first one. Connie Sanders, our hearts are with you and your sister on this day. Thank so much.

SANDERS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: For your voice -- thank you.

We're also watching pictures as this is a live picture from Houston, Texas, the public getting the opportunity to pay they're respects to former First Lady Barbara Bush as she lies in repose there in Saint Martin Episcopal Church, she died at her Houston home on Tuesday night at the age of 92. Those who knew her well knew -- they called her the enforcer. She's remembered for her legacy of fighting for literacy.

The Houston metro system is offering shuttle to those wishing to attend in a handful of shuttle operators are wearing pearls to honor her and her most recognizable accessories and a couple of moments ago former president George H.W. Bush greeted visitors paying respects to his late wife. A private funeral for the Republican matriarch will be held tomorrow in Houston with Melania Trump, the Obamas and the Clintons all expected to attend. We'll be right back.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Want to take a moment to honor this week's CNN hero, a woman who suffered abuse as a teenager in Bolivia and started the first support center for girls just like her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRISA DE ANGULO, FOUNDER, A BREEZE OF HOPE FOUNDATION, BOLIVIA: I found out that I wasn't alone. There were tons of girls that were also being sexually abused and I had to do something. I had to use the rest of my life to prevent other girls from going through what I went through. I think the biggest thing is giving the voice back to girls and allowing them to speak up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Please read more about her incredible story or nominate someone you know to our next CNN hero, go to CNN heros.com.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz being mocked for his glowing review of the president despite the history of very bad blood. In his tribute in "Time" magazine Senator Cruz writes while pundits obsessed over tweets he worked with Congress to cut taxes for struggling families while wealthy celebrities announced they would flee the country, he fought to bring back jobs and industries to our shores, while talking heads predicted Armageddon President Trump's strong stand against North Korea put Kim Jong un back on his heels and that is a much different tone from this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS: Donald is a bully, this man is a pathological liar. The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist. A narcissist at a level I don't think this country has ever seen. The man is utterly a moron. And Donald Trump is a serial philanderer.

Donald had no substance behind him.

Real men don't try to bully women. It is an action of a small and petty man.

I don't make a habit --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:00:00] BALDWIN: Senator Cruz running for re-election this year against someone who is a vocal critic of President Trump. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Have a wonderful weekend but here it here. "The Lead" starts right now.