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Romney Not Committing To Support Trump in a 2020 Bid; "Mini Me" From "Austin Power" Films Dead AT Age 49; Reporter: Trump Lied About Wealth To Get On Forbes 400 List; Trump's History of Using Fake Names; Former First Lady Barbara Bush Laid To Rest Today; Syracuse University Expels Fraternity For Racist Video. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 21, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:15] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. So glad you are with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
And tonight, will the fixer flip? A "New York Times" report that President Trump's long time lawyer, Michael Cohen, could turn on him to avoid potential jail time has the President pushing back hard on twitter.
The President slamming the paper before tweeting this. Michael is a business man known for his own account lawyer, who I have always liked and respected. Most people will flip if the government lets them out of trouble even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible witch-hunt and the dishonest media.
It was nearly two weeks ago that federal agents raided Cohen's office home and hotel room and seized documents, including ones related to the hush money payout to Stormy Daniels. The porn star claiming she had an affair with Trump.
According to the "New York Times," Trump's lawyers and advisers has become resign to the possibility that Cohen, who has a wife and two children, and faces mounting legal fees could end up cooperating with investigators despite showing Trump unflinching loyalty in the past.
CNN White House correspond Boris Sanchez joins us live now from West Palm Beach near the President's Mar-a-Lago estate.
Boris, in in the past, Cohen has said he would take a bullet for President Trump, but has the President shown Cohen that same affection?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not according to this report in "The New York Times," Ana. Maggie Haberman citing six different sources that indicate that historically, the President has treated his personal attorney poorly. And I want to point to two quotations in that piece now.
The first from Roger Stone, a long time Trump confidant and adviser. He is quoted as saying that Donald goes out of his way to treat Michael Cohen like garbage.
I actually got a chance to chat with Roger Stone today, asked him about this piece. He mentioned the President's tweet this is morning saying that he does not believe they were related to him and he would not have any comment about the piece.
Further, another quote from Trump, former Trump aide, Sam Nunberg, he says whenever complains to me b about Trump screwing them over, my reflexive response is that person has nothing to complain about compared to Michael.
Again, those two sources, just one of several that essentially told "the New York Times'" Maggie Haberman that they believed it would be possible for Michael Cohen to ultimately flip against the President because of previous mistreatment allegedly by President Trump, again, according to these sources.
One other note about the President's tweets that I wanted to point out. At one point, he talks about someone who is a drunker and drug user. There's been a lot of speculation about who the President was talking about online. CNN has reached out to the White House to clarify who the President was talking about. They have not responded, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez. Boris in Florida, thank you.
Let's get perspective some from our panel. Toluse Olorunnipa, White House reporter from "Bloomberg News," CNN law enforcement contributor Steve Moore is a retired supervisory special agent with the FBI and Steven Levin, a former federal prosecutor and former assistant U.S. attorney. He also worked with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
So everybody, thank you for being here this evening.
Toluse, the President says publicly that Michael Cohen won't flip. Privately, how concerned do you think he has about that possibility?
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: You have to imagine the President is very concerned because these federal investigators a couple of weeks ago went into Cohen's office, executed the search warrant, got allegedly tapes of discussions that Michael Cohen had been having with various clients. We don't know if those included the President himself. And part of the season the President has sent his lawyers to intervene in this case is because there's a lot of uncertainty about what federal investigators have and whether or not they have incriminating evidence against President Trump's lawyer and whether or not that includes evidence that includes things that the President's business was involved in before he became President and some of these settlement payments, some of these quote- unquote "hush money" to various people right before the election. Evidence about that, whether or not that evidence is on tape. These are also things that the President is concerned about.
Now if Michael Cohen has incriminating evidence that can be, you know, seen as negative against the President and he is facing other criminal allegations and as your report showed, he has you know u, a wife and two young children and could be facing potentially decades in prison, would he want to flip on the President and turn into a cooperating witness. We saw that with Michael Flynn.
So that's something the President privately has to be very concerned about and that's part of the reason you're seeing these tweets sort of encouraging Michael Cohen behind the scenes, saying, you know, I don't think he is going to flip.
And also another tweet basically saying that he has the power to pardon people. He floated a pardon for Jack Johnson, a boxer from early in the 20th century. And it sort of seemed like a random tweet, but it could be linked to the idea the President does have the power of a full pardon. That's something he's been dangling in recent weeks.
[20:05:15] CABRERA: And using in fact with Scooter Libby just last week.
Steven Levin, Michael Cohen has been unwavering though in his praise of President Trump. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Look, Donald Trump is Presidential.
I think he is wonderful man.
He is actually a tremendous unifier.
He is a man of great intellect, great intuition and great abilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Just a few examples of his loyalty and praise, but at what point does legal jeopardy outweigh loyalty?
STEVEN LEVIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: That's a great question. Mr. Cohen has to weigh a number of factors. He has to consider the financial cost if he chose to go to trial assuming he gets indicted. He has to determine if the evidence against him is strong. And if that will translate into a lengthy prison sentence. And ultimately, he has to determine is it worth the risk of going to jail versus the likelihood that Trump going to issue him a pardon.
We saw as you just heard a few minutes ago, Michael Flynn weighed those factors and he decided to plead guilty and cooperate. Paul Manafort, no doubt, considered those same factors and to the extent he had information that would hurt President Trump, he has decided to go to trial. So Cohen has a lot to think about. And ultimately, there's one other factor. He has to decide if there's a potential of a state charge because Trump can't help him if he gets prosecuted in New York State.
CABRERA: It sounds like what you are saying though is there's not an obvious path for how this may play out. Steve Moore, special counsel Robert Mueller has persuaded some pretty
high profile defendants to plead guilty, to cooperate with his Russia probe. George Papadopoulos, the former Trump campaign foreign advisor has just mentioned Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and Rick Gates recently, former deputy campaign manager to Paul Manafort. What does that say about Mueller's investigation and the pressure he can bring to bear?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: It means if he's got a lot. He's not playing a bluff hand right now. And when he has got all this, what you are really trying to do is just bring some reality into these people's lives. And what I found when you are trying to flip somebody like this is that thing that works against you is not so much sometimes your fear of reprisal. It's that you have a relationship with somebody who you don't want to betray.
The more the President cuts this guy loose and says things about him, the less, the less Cohen has a relationship with him, it's really unwise when you are afraid somebody is going to flip on you, to break the personal relationship.
CABRERA: Toluse, President Trump, he has been using the Comey memos to try and undermine the Russia investigation. Earlier today, he tweeted this. James Comey illegally leaked classified documents to the press in order to generate a special counsel. Therefore, the special counsel was established based on an illegal act. Really? Does everybody know what that means?
Toluse, clearly, he has a political strategy here. What do you make of it?
OLORUNNIPA: Yes, the Republicans in the House were pushing to get these memos released. It doesn't appear that the memos actually really support the President much because much of what Comey said publicly during his testimony last year was backed up by these memos which were contemporaneous and also included information about his interactions with the President. Times when he was troubled by what the President was telling him to do, telling him to lay off of the Michael Flynn investigation.
So the President is trying to spin this and undermine the credibility of James Comey, calling him a liar. Saying that the things that were reflected in the memos were not true. And also calling him a leaker, saying that there was classified information in those memos and the fact that he used a friend to get those memos or get some of the information from those memos into the press last year was an illegal act.
So we see the President really pushing hard against the former FBI director. We have read the President wants there to be charges against some of his political opponents. You could call them that because that's how the President is categorizing them, James Comey, Mr. McCabe, the FBI's deputy director and even Hillary Clinton. People that the President has said should be in jail for illegal acts. So we see the President really pushing hard trying to put pressure on anybody who can undermine some of the things he is trying to do with his presidency.
CABRERA: Pertain to the Comey memos, we do know there's now an IG investigation into who these memos were share with. Whether there was indeed classified information when they those memos were shared. We know four of the memos did have classified information. It's unclear whether that was deemed classified after the fact or before. We know Comey also said he had put down some classified information. He admitted to that in his interviews since his book tour started.
So Steven Levin, is there legal validity to the President's argument?
[20:10:16] LEVIN: No. There's not. It's not a logical lead that the leaking of the memos somehow invalidates or undermines the legitimacy of the special counsel's investigation. Politically, it may have been a smart move on behalf of Trump. But legally, there's just no basis to make that claim.
CABRERA: All right, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us.
Now you have heard what James Comey has had to say. And now, it's your turn to ask questions. Tune in Wednesday for the only live town hall with the former FBI director. Anderson Cooper will moderate. It is live at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.
Coming up in the NEWSROOM, the stunning announcement from North Korea. Kim Jong-un says they no longer need nuclear or missile tests. Will it hold or is this all a ploy?
Plus, tale of the tapes. Newly uncovered audio of a mysterious John Barron calling a reporter to sing Donald Trump's praises. Who is it as this man nobody has ever seen, but who sounds suspiciously familiar?
And she was witting and warm and unlike those trademark pearl, as real as they come. Mourners remembering former first lady, Barbara Bush.
[20:15:39] CABRERA: North Korea says its quest for nuclear weapons is now complete. Leader Kim Jong-Un saying today he no longer needs to test nuclear weapons or a long range missiles. This comes just days ahead of Kin's scheduled meeting with South Korea's President and his planned meeting with President Trump. That is expected to come in late May or early June. Now Trump praised North Korea's move on twitter calling it big progress.
CNN's Ivan Watson joins us now live from Seoul, South Korea.
Ivan, what's the reaction there in Seoul to Kim Jong-un's stunning statement?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the government here has welcomed it saying that it's a positive move. It's probably going to help create a good atmosphere and environment for the north and South Korean summit, which is going to take place in less than a week. The first ever meeting between Kim Jong-un and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. And the South Koreans say this could be good for the subsequent meeting, the location and time of which is yet to be determined, where President Trump will be expected to meet with Kim Jong-un.
It's surprising I think to many because North Korea has worked so hard to develop nuclear weapons. It was only last September it conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapons test last November that it fired something like it is 82nd missile in some six years. And now, North Korea said hey, we have accomplished this. We have nuclear weapons. We figured out to how to miniaturize them. Suggesting you can put them on the tip of an intercontinental ballistic missile. And hey, now we don't need to fire missiles anymore. We don't need conduct anymore nuclear weapons test. We can actually discard the nuclear weapons testing site in the north of the country and now we are going to focus on economic development.
Anybody will try to tell you they know why North Korea did this or the real thinking behind it. I think it's hard to even imagine the thinking that is going on in Pyongyang right now. This is a very difficult regime to try to understand and nobody really has an insight into the real thinking of the leadership there. But it is being interpreted as an olive branch ahead of the summit. That will take place next Friday.
CABRERA: But Ivan, just to be clear, North Korea isn't suggesting it is going the get rid of these nuclear weapon, right?
WATSON: No, it has not said that. And presumably, that's what the South Koreans, President Trump and other governments are going to be pushing for in the upcoming diplomacy that we will see. North Koreans made it clear in the past that it is a nuclear state and it made that declaration again while announcing it would suspend nuclear weapons tests. And I think a lot of experts and certainly Japan are skeptical that North Korea would be willing to immediately bargain away its nuclear arsenal. It would have to have major incentives I think most of the experts argue to do away with something you spent years and untold treasure to try to build in the first place and suffered incredible international isolation as punishment for that -- Ana.
CABRERA: Ivan Watson in Seoul, South Korea for us, thank you.
Joining us now to discuss these latest developments, Democratic congresswoman Karen Bass of California. She sits on the house foreign affairs committee.
Congresswoman, thank you for spending part of your weekend with us on this new, North Korea reporting, the president tweeted this. North Korea has agreed to suspend all nuclear tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the world big progress. Look forward to our summit.
Is this does seem to be pretty big announcement coming out of the Korean Peninsula. What is your reaction to this development?
REP. KAREN BAA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, a couple of things. My initial reaction is with caution. In a way, the announcement sounds a little ominous. As your reporter just described, they say they don't need to test anymore. So I guess that means that they are ready to fire.
But the fact that there might be discussions between our two countries, I mean, I think it's very interesting. One of the concerns I have though is whether or not either side will be consistent. We know President Trump is very inconsistent. And we also know that Kim Jong-un is very inconsistent.
So whether or not both sides even make it to a summit, will be one issue. But I do think that the point that you raised a minute ago is that there has been no discussion on Kim Jong-un's part about getting rid of nuclear weapons. All he is saying is that we tested. It is almost like we are ready to go. We don't need to test anymore. So let's have a summit.
[20:20:18] CABRERA: Well, this comes also days after President Trump vowed to walk out of this summit meeting with Kim Jong-un potentially or not even attend one if he didn't believe the talks would be fruitful. Let's listen to what the President said exactly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I think it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we are not going to go. If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting. And we will continue what we are doing or whatever it is that we will continue. But something will happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: What do you think of the President's strategy and what he is saying leading up to these talks?
BASS: Well, my biggest concern is I'm not sure he has a strategy at all. I mean, he starts by completely humiliating the guy, calling him you know, names. And then humiliating his secretary of state saying that there' is no cause for us to have negotiations. Now to say he is suddenly going to have a summit. That's why I said that there is no real - we don't have any real proof that there will be consistency on his part.
Can I mention to one thing, though, is that the Korean-American community is looking at this, you know, Los Angeles has one of the largest Korean-American populations outside of Korea. And part of the community is very excited about the idea that there might be a summit. And one of the things that they are hoping that the U.S. offers is family unification so that Koreans that live here would be able to travel to see their relatives in North Korea, many of whom don't have many years left. And so they are pushing very hard that the United States use that as, you know, as a token of good will to allow family unification to take place.
CABRERA: You talk b about this optimism of a meeting period happening because it has been so many year where people weren't talking to each other. Democrats have though criticized this President for some of his rhetoric on North Korea. Here's a quick reminder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
If the sanctions don't work, we'll have to go phase two. Phase two may be a very rough thing. Maybe very, very unfortunate for the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Congresswoman, given we are where we are today. Could some of that tough talk have actually worked?
BASS: Well, that's the point of who knows. You know, again, Kim Jong-un has not said he's getting rid of nuclear weapons. He just says he has done testing. So how do you go from rocket man to saying let's have a summit. Then when you say you are going to have a summit, say well if it's not going the way I like, I'm going to get up and walk away and I might not even have it.
So that's why I said a couple of minutes ago that I don't believe the President has a strategy. You do remember when he decided to have the summit, he did it on a whim. No one knew he was going to make that decision. He walked into some people talking in the White House and said yes, I think I will do a summit just a few weeks before he had completely ridiculed his own secretary of state at the idea that he would even think about having negotiations with North Korea, so who knows what this President will do leading up to the summit that doesn't even have a date.
CABRERA: Since you're from California, I also want to switch topics for a moment, ask you a little about what the President said this week as it pertains to immigration and some comments from the President on sanctuary cities. Here is what he tweeted. There is a revolution going on in California. So many areas want out of this ridiculous crime infested and breeding concept. What do you think the President is getting at there?
BASS: Well, I think the President has been very consistent with racist comments and I think that is a perfect example of one. But it's interesting because he tends to throw out bombs like that, especially bombs regarding race, when things aren't going so well. So all the controversy over the Comey memos, the Comey book, the interviews and now all of a sudden, he goes back to what he feels appeals to his base.
Animals breed. Humans do not. That is a racist dog whistle term. When he uses terms like that and talks about crime connecting it with a community of color, like the immigrant community that he is talking about, he is doing that to me, to gin up racism in the country. And I think it's so sad, but he is very consistent about doing this. Tomorrow it will probably be the NFL again. Today, it's immigration.
[20:25:12] CABRERA: Congresswoman Karen Bass, thank you very much for joining us.
BASS: Thanks for having me on.
CABRERA: I appreciate it.
Coming up, live in the CNN NEWSROOM, President Trump is supporting Mitt Romney's run for the Senate, but moments ago in Utah, the former outspoken critic of the President was far less enthusiastic about a Trump 2020 campaign. A live report, next.
[20:29:57] CABRERA: We are getting some breaking news out of the political world right now. It involves former presidential candidate and current Utah Senate candidate Mitt Romney.
CNN national political reporter Maeve Reston is on the phone with us.
Maeve, I understand you just interviewed Romney. What did he say?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER (via telephone): Well, it's very interesting convention here in Utah, Ana, and I had a chance to sit down with Mitt Romney where he said that he could not yet commit to supporting Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2020. Essentially making it clear that he really intends to be an independent voice for Utah. He said that he'll make that decision down the road about whether to support Trump's campaign and as a person of political experience, if I endorse someone quote, I want to know what's in it for Utah and what help he would provide for us on key priorities in Utah. So this is kind of a trend that we're seeing now among a number of Republican lawmakers in Congress.
And now, you know, really prominent candidates like Romney who are saying they're not yet ready to get behind Trump. And it kind of is very unusual, obviously, for that to be the case within the Republican Party. Usually the support for a Republican president would just be automatic, Ana.
CABRERA: We're looking at all these pictures of the president and Mitt Romney. They have quite the history in the past year and a half or so. Since the campaign and just a couple of months ago, the president backed Romney in his quest to be the next senator from Utah tweeting, "Mitt Romney has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful state of Utah. He will make a great senator and worthy successor to Orrin Hatch and has my full support and endorsement." And Romney replied, "Thank you, Mr. President, for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign, I can also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah. So, Maeve, I mean, they seem to have this goodwill going there. What happened?
RESTON: Well, I mean it's -- I think there's been an uneasy truth there for a long time. You know, I want to make clear that any interview today that Governor Romney said that he does expect Trump to be the nominee of the Republican Party in 2020, but again would not commit. But as you know, he was one of the harshest critics of then candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign. He criticized his tone on immigration and also his comments, Trump's comments about women and here in Utah, you have to remember that Donald Trump is much less popular than he is in other strong Republican states around the country. People here do not like Trump's position on immigration. They're much more moderate on that. And obviously, you have a huge population of formant here and they don't like the tone Donald Trump has taken in the Oval Office.
CABRERA: Just this week as you mentioned, we have this reporting, our Manu Raju asking more than a dozen GOP senators whether they are ready to back Trump in 2020. Most of them wouldn't commit. At least not yet. Among them less than 40 Senators Cornyn, Collins, Alexander, Sanford, Kinzinger, Kennedy, Thune and others. Maeve, what does it say about the state of the Republican Party under President Trump?
RESTON: Well, I think that it means we're going to have a very interesting 2020. Certainly, there will be challengers to emerge to the president. And there are just a lot of Republicans that you talk to around the country right now, who are just not sure about President Trump as to really like to see someone else in that office.
CABRERA: Which is interesting when you look at the recent polling and 85 percent plus Republicans still say among those voters, they do support President Trump.
Maeve Reston, thank you very much for your reporting, bringing us that news. Again, Mitt Romney, not ready to commit to supporting President Trump in 2020.
Coming up, what's in a name? Newly uncovered audio allegedly of a much younger Donald Trump acting as his own publicist?
JONATHAN GREENBERG, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: OK. What's your first name?
JOHN BARRON (TRUMP): John.
BARRON (TRUMP): John Barron.
[20:35:20] CABRERA: Sad news today from the entertainment world about a man who made an enormous impact on the Austin Powers movies. Actor Verne Troyer has died. He appeared in nearly 60 films and TV shows. His most memorable role was that of Dr. Evil's Mine-Me. At two-feet, eight inches tall, Troyer was one of the shortest people in the world. No word yet on how he died, but the official statement announcing it made a point to mention that depression and suicide are very serious issues. We just heard from his friend and costar, Mike Myers who says, "Verne was the consummate professional and a beacon of positivity for those of us who had the honor of working with him. It is a sad day, but I hope he is in a better place. He will greatly be missed." Verne Troyer was 49 years old.
An explosive new claim designed to hit the president where it hurts. His wallet. A former reporter for Forbes magazine says the president repeatedly lied about the scope of his personal fortune. A charge he's backing up with tapes he claims are of Donald Trump himself. CNN's Randi Kaye reports.
GREENBERG: OK. What's your first name by the way?
BARRON (TRUMP): John.
BARRON (TRUMP): John Barron.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: Does that voice sound familiar? That was Donald Trump posing over the phone as an executive from the Trump organization. He called himself John Barron.
BARRON (TRUMP): Most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump.
KAYE: The call was recorded back in May 1984 by then Forbes Magazine reporter, Jonathan Greenberg who is now sharing it, first with the Washington Post. Greenberg says the fictitious trump organization executive, John Barron, was trying to convince him that Donald Trump was rich enough to earn a higher spot on the Forbes 400. A list ranking America's richest people.
[20:40:03] GREENBERG: Are you saying that perhaps for tax purposes it's been -- the ownership had been transferred to Donald Trump.
BARRON (TRUMP): Correct. Correct. That's correct.
GREENBERG: OK. And when you say, you know, in excess of 90 percent of the ownership maybe?
BARRON (TRUMP): I'd say in excess of 90. In fact, well, it's really closer to even the ultimate, but it's in excess of 90 percent, yes.
GREENBERG: He figured it out what he had to do in order to deceive me and get on to that list and he did it very well.
KAYE: In the end, Forbes estimated trump's 1984 net worth to be about $400 million, earning him a higher spot on the list.
GREENBERG: He lied about his father that he owned all his father's assets. He didn't own any of them until his father died in 1999. Greenberg said Trump posing as Barron, spoke with a slightly stronger New York accent and switch up the rhythm of his voice.
BARRON (TRUMP): I'd like to talk to you off the record if I can just to make your thing easier.
KAYE: CNN has reached out to the White House for comment about this recording, but so far, no response. Trump meanwhile has been hiding behind fake names for decades. Back in 1980, Trump apparently also acting as John Barron, gave The New York Times this quote after Trump, the developer had smashed two sculptures at a demolition site in New York instead of giving them to a museum as promised. Notice the source is John Barron. Turns out in 1990 lawsuit, Trump himself reportedly admitted under oath that on occasion, he has used that name. In the heat of the 2016 campaign, another alter ego resurfaced. The Washington Post published an old interview with Trump posing as a publicist name John Miller. A name he appeared to use so he could handle media calls like this one with a People Magazine reporter asking about Trump's break up with girlfriend, Marla Maples.
JOHN MILLER (TRUMP): He's somebody that has a lot of options. And frankly, he gets called by everybody. He gets called in the book, in terms of women.
KAYE: Trump later told People Magazine it was just a joke, but then on NBC, this.
TRUMP: It was not me on the phone and it doesn't sound like me on the phone.
KAYE: An audio forensic expert disputed that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm confident that it's Donald Trump.
KAYE: John Miller, John Barron, whatever the name. Seems they all lead back to Donald Trump. Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.
CABRERA: Joining us now, Gwenda Blair, "The Trump: Three Generations of Builders and A President." Gwenda, thank you for being here. What an interesting story, right? When you hear this tape, what do you think?
GWENDA BLAIR, AMERICAN AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: It's Donald Trump. I don't think we have any doubt about it. You know, he's -- he didn't invent this idea. His father did this. His father posed as someone else on the phone.
CABRERA: Seriously? Tell us more about that.
BLAIR: His father was Mr. Green. That's the name he used when he spoke to reporters and said, or in various phone calls he represented himself as Mr. Green and Donald's sister, Maryanne, said it was kind of like a joke in the family. She said that she and her husband, a lawyer named John Barry, used to joke that they were going to send a pretend subpoena to Trump Tower for John Barron and then see what happens.
CABRERA: So you have heard of John Barron before.
BLAIR: Absolutely. Yes. Yes. It's a family story.
CABRERA: Back during the campaign, I remember there was this report that Trump had routinely made calls to reporters in the '70s, '80s and '90s, pretending to be a publicist named John Miller. And here's what then candidate Trump told Jimmy Kimmel about this report. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: To me, that didn't sound like my voice.
JIMMY KIMMEL, AMERICAN TELEVISION HOST: Well, nobody sounds like themselves when they hear themselves. You go, oh, that's me, but to me, it sounded just like you.
TRUMP: Really? It was 30 years.
KIMMEL: And if it was you, I think it was a very funny thing to do, to call a guy and take him through the ringer like that.
TRUMP: Over the years, I've used aliases.
KIMMEL: What names did you use?
TRUMP: I would use -- I actually use the name Barron. And I ended up using my son because I made a very good deal using that name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: There you go. I think it's interesting when you hear him initially deny, but then as soon as Kimmel said he thought it was funny, he goes from the denial to admitting he used these aliases. Why do you think that is?
BLAIR: This is somebody who, you know, he's always looking for the advantage. Suddenly, the advantage looked like it was in a slightly different place, so why not? Why not flip? Why not do that? I think it's interesting that when he had, you know, a let's see, a third son, his fifth child, he couldn't really name him Donald Trump, Jr. because he already had Donald Trump, Jr., so he named him Barron, after John Barron, perhaps.
[20:45:05] CABRERA: That's interesting. Right? Well, it seems to be a bit of a pattern with Trump because besides posing as a fake person, which is extraordinary on its own, there's also the fake Time Magazine covers that hung in his golf resorts. The fake Renoir painting he tried to pass off as real to an interviewer. What do you think is at the root of this hunger for affirmation?
BLAIR: It's a hunger for acclimation to always be the winner. Always be the one on top. Always be the absolutely number one person in every respect. And to have, you know, the idea of surrounding yourself with, you know, marble columns, foundations, gilt furniture, gilt window frames. I mean, this is sort of this kind of regal notion of success, the ultimate splendor. His architect told me it was like the court of Louis the XIV on LSG. The over-the-topness of it. CABRERA: Over-the-top. That's a good description. He likes to speak over the top too. We talk about hyperbole and how he uses that as well. Gwenda Blair, good to have your take tonight. Thank you for being here.
BLAIR: Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up, remembering Barbara Bush. The former first lady. A matriarch of a political dynasty is laid to rest as thousands celebrate her grace, her wit and above all, her love of family.
[20:50:08] CABRERA: Former First Lady Barbara Bush was remembered today as the secret sauce of an extraordinary family about 1,500 mourners filled the Houston church to say a final farewell to the matriarch of the Bush political dynasty. This was a service filled with touching tributes lasts and of course years. CNN's Kaylee Hartung was there.
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: As I stand here today to share a few words about my mom, I feel her looming presence behind me. And I know exactly what she's thinking right now. Jeb, keep it short, don't drag this out.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Barbara Bush wanted a simple funeral service, perhaps more important to the former first lady, she wanted it to run on time and it did. With 1,500 invited guests her extraordinary life and legacy was honored.
JON MEACHAM, HISTORIAN: Barbara Bush was the first lady of the greatest generation. She was candid and comforting, steadfast and straightforward.
RUSS LEVENSON, ST. MARTIN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH: What you saw was what you got, what was in here came out here.
HARTUNG: There was laughter courtesy of Barbara's own jokes.
SUSAN GARRETT BAKER, BARBARA BUSH'S FRIEND: He may not be able to keep a job but he's certainly not boring.
BUSH: She called her style a benevolent dictatorship but honestly, it wasn't always benevolent.
Mother and son need each other to the end. In her final days while the 43rd president was visiting, Mrs. Bush asked one of her doctors if she'd like to know why George W. had turned out the way he had, and then she announced, I smoked and drank while I was pregnant.
HARTUNG: There were tears as her granddaughters read scripture and her grandson served as pallbearers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She opens her mouth with wisdom. HARTUNG: And an overwhelming sense of appreciation and respect for the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The little things we learn became habits and they lead to bigger things like be kind, always tell the truth, never disparage anyone serve others.
HARTUNG: The service to celebrate Mrs. Bush, her wit, candor and her commitment to literacy was also a tribute to the love she shared with her husband of 73 years.
BUSH: My dad is a phenomenal letter writer and he would write mom on their wedding anniversaries which total an amazing 73 years. Here's one of them written on January 6th, 1994. "Will you marry me? Oops, I forgot we did that 49 years ago. I was very happy on that day in 1945, but I'm even happier today. You have given me joy that few men know. You've made our boys into men by baling them out and then right away by loving them. You feel that will be the sweetest greatest daughter in the whole wide world. I've climbed the perhaps the highest mountain in the world but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara's husband.
HARTUNG: On the way to her final resting place at George H.W. Bush's presidential library in College Station, Texas, a motorcade through the city of Houston they gave this community an opportunity to join in the final good-bye.
Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Houston, Texas.
[20:55:03] CABRERA: Syracuse University has permanently expelled a fraternity whose members were caught on camera using racial and anti- Semitic slurs. The school's counselor calls this video disgusting.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I solemnly swear, I solemnly swear to always have hatred in my heart for -- always have hatred in my heart for (BLEEP)
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CABRERA: Enraged students have been protesting on campus since this video of the Theta Tau engineering fraternity surfaced earlier this week. The frat members could face suspension or even expulsion. Before the fraternity was expelled, the chapter apologized saying this video was part of a satirical skit.
[21:00:55] You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us this weekend. And tonight the big question is, will the fixer flip? The New York Times report that President Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen could turn on him to avoid potential jail time, has the president pushing back on Twitter. The president slamming the paper before tweeting --