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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Sources: Manafort's Son-In-Law Pleads Guilty Under Deal Must Cooperate With Mueller Probe Other Investigators; PBS: Giuliani Says Mueller, Trump Teams Spoke, Now Narrowing Questions For Possible Trump Interview; Giuliani: Mueller Told Us He Can't Indict A Sitting President; Trump: Kim Jong-un Will Be 'Very, Very Happy' With Nuke Deal; Trump Offers Kim Jong Un "Protections" for Nuke Deal; Official: White House Cancels Daily Communications Meeting Indefinitely. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 17, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. Paul Manafort's former son-in-law reaching a plea deal. What does this mean for Manafort and the Russia investigation?
Plus, the White House canceling its daily communications meetings. They're not going to do them anymore, after a staffer's cruel joke at one of them leaked about Senator John McCain. Is it really the right answer to stop having meetings?
And the racist rant heard round the world. A lawyer threatening to call ICE on Spanish speakers in a New York restaurant. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT this evening, the breaking news, possible new legal trouble for President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. His former son-in-law has flipped. He's now cooperating with the feds. As part of Jeffrey Yohai's plea agreement, that's the name of the son-in-law, he is now cooperating with New York's Attorney General's Office as well, which is working with Bob Mueller's investigation, which as you may know turned one year old today.
Yohai first met with investigators back in 2017, and according to sources, he provided information to federal investigators as -- for the Manafort probe in possible money laundering, tax evasions violations, all that was under way. He started to provide information which was turned over to Bob Mueller. Manafort has been charged with a whole lot of things, including money laundering, failure to disclose himself as a foreign agent, bank fraud, and tax fraud. He continues, though, to maintain his innocence.
I want to go straight to Kara Scannell OUTFRONT live in Washington breaking this story. Kara, what are you learning about this plea deal with Manafort's former son-in-law? KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Erin, that's right, so Manafort's
former son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, has reached a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. Now, those prosecutors there have been investigating Yohai for over a year relating to real estate dealings that he has had in that area. There -- Yohai has been sued in many civil lawsuits alleging he defrauded his investors, including actor Dustin Hoffman.
So as part of this plea agreement, Yohai will have to cooperate with authorities, any authorities, so that could be the New York Attorney General's Office which is investigating Manafort, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller's team. Now, one person familiar with the agreement says that it really has to do with Yohai's own real estate development deals and is not obviously related to Manafort, so it's not clear how much information he will be giving -- or be able to provide Mueller. But he certainly will have to answer any questions that any investigators in the state or federal have for him.
BURNETT: And Kara, as you report, right, you're talking about Los Angeles, but as part of this, also cooperating with the New York Attorney General Office, which is working with Bob Mueller's investigation. So, does that -- I guess as you point out, the crucial question is, what does this mean for Bob Mueller? It's the second person close to Manafort who's cooperating with federal investigators of some type or another. Rick Gates, the other, Manafort's long-time deputy.
SCANNELL: That's right, Erin. And Manafort has two trials coming up. One scheduled in July and one in September, on those indictments that special counsel Mueller's team brought against him alleging allegations of, you know, tax fraud and bank fraud. And so the question will be, what does Yohai have, if anything, to offer the investigators in that case? He could be called as a witness if he has something relevant to those investigations. And that's something that we'll see how that plays out in the next couple of months.
BURNETT: All right, Kara, thank you very much, breaking the story. And I want to go now to former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, and the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick.
So Harry, let me start with you. Paul Manafort, obviously, is a very important player here. He was the chairman of the president's campaign. He was in that meeting in Trump Tower. You now have his deputy, Rick Gates, and now his former son-in-law essentially flipping.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes.
BURNETT: So what is the significance of his son-in-law flipping when you talk about -- we're talking about L.A. and New York, cooperating with Mueller, put all that in English, what does it mean to Mueller?
SANDICK: Sure. I think what it means is that as we get closer to the trial date, in order to try to convince Manafort to cooperate with the investigation, they want to appear to Manafort like the walls are closing in. So your former business partner, Gates is going to be testifying against you. We knew that a couple of months ago.
Now, your own former son-in-law. Who knows what things he was privy to. When I say who knows, the answer is Mueller and these other investigators know. And --
SANDICK: -- it may well be that the allegations in his own -- in Yohai's case have nothing to do with what he's going to be talking about about Mueller, but once you're a cooperator in the federal government, you're a cooperator for all purposes. You don't just limit it to what you've been charged with.
BURNETT: Right. So as Kara said, anything they ask --
BURNETT: -- and they are cooperating with Mueller. So anything Mueller wants. I mean, this is now essentially open-door policy, basically.
SANDICK: Exactly. So --
SANDICK: -- he's sitting there, Manafort, imagining, what did I tell him? What was he privy to? What calls was he present for? What e- mails did I forward to him? What did we talk about around the house, at family gatherings? All of this could be used.
[19:05:12] BURNETT: And John Dean, I mean, what is the significance here? You know, Manafort has said he's not guilty, right, he's fought everything. Obviously, he lost an important, you know, case moving forward in D.C. this week but he said he's not guilty of tax evasion, not guilty of bank fraud. Is the goal here to get Manafort to flip? And I guess the question has always been on whom, is that then the president?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I think that is the ultimate goal, that the special counsel would rather have Manafort talking rather than in prison or in the courtroom fighting cases. This case, this plea, according to the current reports, was -- the indictment (ph) was handed down in January. There's been local press about his son-in-law out here. They were tearing down properties, and investing money, and taking a $3 million property, and making it into purportedly a $30 million property. But there are a lot of unhappy investors. He was accused of Ponzi schemes.
So, there's also reports that Manafort was investing in this. So, there may be part of the case in Virginia against Manafort is based on this son-in-law's testimony.
BURNETT: So how much pressure, April, does this put on Manafort if the ultimate goal is to get him to talk, open his mouth, and flip?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: It's a lot of pressure, because someone who was at least once in your family, you know, when you sit around the kitchen table or at dinner somewhere or just in conversation, some things slip out. And the question is, can that be used against him? And any time you get a family member or even a former family member, you don't know what the relationship is right now. So it does put pressure on him. And it also not only puts pressure on Manafort, even as the president says this is a witch hunt on this year anniversary, if you will, it puts pressure on this White House.
Even though, you know, Mueller has told, allegedly told Rudy Giuliani that he will not be indicted, it still does not bode well that the president's former campaign manager, his son-in-law, is now going to flip on him to possibly get to the president or maybe the children or somewhere in that realm. It's a lot of pressure on all involved.
BURNETT: And you know, Harry, of course, as April brings up Rudy Giuliani --
BURNETT: -- you know, the reporting was, you know, he says they said they won't indict. But it's possible they could say, well, Congress, we recommend you impeach. There are other things they could do that would be incredibly damning for this president. PBS spoke to Rudy Giuliani today and he tweeted out, "He", meaning Giuliani, "says Mueller's team communicated with Trump lawyers last night and are narrowing questions for possible interview with President Trump. "It would be going a little too far to say he's going to sit down but it looks more hopeful than it did a day or so ago."
Assume Giuliani's accurately putting this out there. OK, that's an assumption.
BURNETT: But let's just say that that's the case. What's the strategy here?
SANDICK: I think the strategy is that Mueller would really like to interview Trump. And he'd like to do it in the near future. He doesn't want to go into court and take all of this litigation risk that the Supreme Court might view something differently within the past.
BURNETT: With a subpoena or something.
SANDICK: Exactly. So if you're the prosecutor, you're still better off, even if it's somewhat narrow, with a face-to-face interview, voluntarily undertaken, no assertion of executive privilege or the Fifth. And I think Mueller's probably willing to give a little bit in order to avoid the risk.
BURNETT: John, do you think that Mueller really wants this interview with the president? I mean, there's just so much gamesmanship going on, on both sides, obviously publicly from the president's side vis-a- vis Giuliani. But does Mueller really want this interview or does he not need it for whatever he may or may not have?
DEAN: Well, we obviously don't know what Mueller knows or doesn't know. He's a black box. I would think the president would want to give this testimony. This is a counterintelligence investigation as well as a criminal investigation. And I would think if he can clear himself, he would want to go in there and do it and be on the record of doing it rather than hiding behind any kind of privilege or what have you. That's what Bill Clinton ultimately did. That's the reason he decided to testify.
DEAN: That he thought politically it was wiser. He got himself in trouble, but that drove his decision.
BURNETT: And April, you know -- remember we all heard that the former Trump attorney, Ty Cobb, had said to the president, hey, this is going to be over at Thanksgiving. And then it was going to be over at Christmas. And, you know, I don't know who was mismanaging whom here but obviously the president got really mad about it because it never ended. And here we are one year in, by the way, average special counsel investigations go on, what, three to six years. So, are we almost done? Or are we barely started?
RYAN: Well, I have no clue as to if we are almost done. But looking at what happened during the Clinton years, it looks like there's more. Because I mean, this seems to be the gift that keeps on giving, it keeps flowering, there's always some nuance.
[19:10:08] And what we do know is that Mueller's group or his team, they're watching and listening to the president, they're listening to the briefings, they're listening and they're watching and they're finding new things. So, I think the president is doing the right thing by not talking as much, as well as his press secretary. But the question is, what do they have, and what more are they looking for?
So, you know, Sarah Huckabee Sanders said they wanted it to be done, they were hopeful within that first year. It looks like it could go into the second year, maybe even a third. But we'll see what happens.
BURNETT: All right, thank you all very much.
And next, President Trump congratulating America on the one-year anniversary as his lawyer says Trump can't be indicted. So is he telling the truth or not?
Plus, President Trump offering Kim Jong-un "protections" in exchange for a nuclear deal. Contradicting his own national security adviser. What protections are we talking about?
Plus, the White House canceling the daily communications meeting because things keep leaking out of it. Is that a mistake? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump marking one year since Bob Mueller was selected as special counsel and the president did it, of course, as he is opt to do in Twitter saying, "Congratulations, America. We are now into the second year of the greatest witch hunt in American history, and there is still no collusion and no obstruction. And despite the disgusting illegal and unwarranted witch hunt, we have had the most successful first 17 month administration in U.S. history, by far."
[19:15:18] Trump's own FBI director, of course, says it isn't a witch hunt but the White House doesn't seem to care about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Found no evidence of collusion and still strongly believe that it's a witch hunt. I'm not sure how we could be any more clear and certainly not sure how the president could be any more clear about his beliefs and his opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, the Democratic congressman from New York, Jerry Nadler, he's the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Great to have you with me as always. The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tells CNN he was told by Bob Mueller that Bob Mueller will not and cannot indict a sitting president, no matter what he finds.
Do you think that Rudy Giuliani is accurately portraying this conversation with the special counsel's team? And do you agree, no way Mueller will indict?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I don't know whether the -- Mueller will indict or not. But the -- but Giuliani's been all over the map in what he has said on this. But the fact is that there is a -- an open legal question as to whether a sitting president can be indicted. The Office of Legal Counsel's ruled that he has opined that he cannot be. But, the counsel to the special prosecutor, Ken Starr, and others have said he can be.
And my own personal opinion is a president -- a sitting president can be indicted because of the bedrock constitutional principle that no person is above the law. So, I think he could be indicted. Whether he will be, who knows, that depends on what the evidence is. And, one thing we know about this investigation is they have not been leaking, so we don't know what evidence --
NADLER: -- there is. All we really know is who they've indicted, they've indicted quite a few people, they've had quite a few guilty pleas.
NADLER: And we know what the court filings are.
BURNETT: So, you know, Giuliani is saying, of course, right, Mueller -- that Mueller says he will indict the president. Giuliani also says that Trump cannot be subpoenaed either. And here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: We're pretty comfortable that in the circumstances of this case, they wouldn't be able to subpoena him personally. They could probably require you to testify in a civil case. Possibly even as a witness in a criminal case. But they can't let -- they can't require you to testify in what would be your own case because after all, it's all about a possible impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Obviously, so they're discussing this whole, is the president going to sit for an interview or not, and will he do it by choice, and will there be a subpoena? You know, if you take it, though, congressman, that there wouldn't be an indictment, for whatever reason, should, would, doesn't matter, there isn't one, Mueller could refer his findings to you all, to the House, for possible impeachment. Is that something that you would actually proceed with, that you would ever have --
NADLER: Well --
BURNETT: -- the votes for?
NADLER: Well, first of all, the president will testify before Mueller, because Mueller cannot complete the investigation of possible obstruction of justice without the president's testimony. And if the president doesn't do it voluntarily, he will subpoena him.
BURNETT: You're confident in that, OK.
NADLER: And the president will have to submit to a subpoena, even if there's a court fight, there's no question that a president can be subpoenaed and will be if necessary. And they can't wrap up the investigation until the president is interviewed or testifies.
As to an impeachment, we are far, far from ready to consider any such thing. We do not know -- I mean, the first thing that has to happen is the special prosecutor has to finish his investigation, has to come to conclusions. Issue whatever indictments and trials there are going to be. And issue a report to the American people which will tell us what he found. And that report will have to be made public. And based on that report, and based on any other evidence that there may be, and the evidence that comes out and whatever indictments there may be --
BURNETT: Yes. NADLER: Then we'll see if there's a case that would justify
congressional proceedings or impeachment or not. But it's far from clear what that will be. We'll have to wait and see.
BURNETT: You know, Giuliani says there's nothing illegal, by the way, I don't know if you heard this, congressman. But he said Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower, there's nothing illegal about that, even if they thought it was all about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. He was very explicit about it and detailed. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: When I ran against them, they were looking for dirt on me every day. I mean, that's what you do. And so maybe you shouldn't, but you do it. Nothing illegal about that. And even if it comes from a Russian or a German or an American, doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Doesn't matter. Russian, German, American. Agree?
NADLER: Well, no, I don't agree. Now, he's right in one sense, there's nothing illegal about opposition research. So there was nothing illegal, for example, about Hillary Clinton's campaign paying for that -- for the research that resulted in that famous dossier. That's opposition research.
[19:20:05] What there is illegal is involving a foreign government in an American political campaign. And the real question over there is, we know that the Russian government stole e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and the question -- and was that for the benefit of the Trump campaign? It was used for the benefit of the Trump campaign. Was the Trump campaign aware of that in advance? Did they help plan that? Did they help use it? If they did, that would be criminal conspiracy, against the laws. But that's one of the open questions of the investigation.
BURNETT: And congressman, I want to ask you about another story we're confirming tonight here at CNN, and that is that a Qatar-linked company from the Middle Eastern company of Qatar -- country of Qatar is near a deal to acquire a stake in the Kushner family's flagship building. That building, of course, is under financial duress, it's here in New York. It's a very important building to the Kushner companies.
I want to know, the Brookfield's spokesperson says no Qatar-linked entity has an involvement in or knowledge of this potential transaction, they're saying it's in a separate fund. But I want to lay out the timing here, congressman, because it could be relevant. In March, Kushner's father confirmed he met with the finance minister from Qatar. That was three months after the inauguration is when this meeting happened. They discussed funding for the project, right? So they had a discussion with Qatar about funding it, didn't reach a deal. That was what happened. Kushner's father said, I'm not going to take foreign money because I
don't want to have a conflict of interest for my son. But he took that meeting with Qatar. No deal was reached. Then in June, all of a sudden, Qatar gets blockaded. The president of the United States comes out and says he supports it, right? The Qatar is funding terror. Kushner backed that move at the White House.
And now here we are, May of 2018. And all of a sudden, the Qataris, who are still under blockade, could be -- you know, they are involved in the Brookfield companies. Again, Brookfield says, not in this particular fund. But this lifeline to the Kushner building appears to be imminent. Is this timeline all coincidence?
NADLER: I don't know. I mean, it certainly raises a lot of questions. And maybe there's quid pro quos there, and maybe not, I don't know. But this illustrates the problem that the president hasn't divested himself of his business interests. And the business interests of the Kushner family with Jared Kushner being adviser to the president as well as his son-in-law.
So all of these raise questions as to whether decisions of the United States government are being influenced by business considerations of the Trump businesses or of the Kushner businesses. And that's one reason why every president before this has divested himself of all those interests. And the fact that the president hasn't is very troublesome. And may lead to real problems.
BURNETT: Right, and of course, Jared Kushner did not either. Thank you very much, Congressman Nadler, appreciate your time.
NADLER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, President Trump contradicts his own national security adviser on North Korea. What lengths will Trump go to get a deal with Kim Jong-un?
Plus, new details tonight about the New York lawyer who went on a racist rant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when he should be speaking American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And he's talking to reporters tonight.
[19:27:16] BURNETT: Tonight, Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy. So says President Trump, the president detailing today how far he's willing to go to make sure the historic summit scheduled for June 12th actually happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What security guarantees are you willing to --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'm willing to -- we're willing to do a lot. He'll get protections that will be very strong. We're going to say that he will have very adequate protection. I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy. I really believe he's going to be very happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It's just such an unusual and jarring choice of words. I mean, President Trump is saying he wants to make sure that a dictator who's accused of assassinating his own half-brother, executing his uncle, starving hundreds of thousands of his own people is "very, very happy." So happy that Trump is also willing to publicly contradict his own national security adviser, John Bolton, whose recent comments comparing plans for North Korea to what the United States did in Libya made Kim very, very unhappy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Libyan model isn't a model that we have at all. What we're thinking of North Korea. And I think when John Bolton made that statement, he was talking about if we're going to be having a problem. Because we cannot let that country have nukes. We just can't do it. So that's the way it meant. It really just the opposite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So -- OK. It's just confusing, right, because the whole point was Libya gave up their nukes, that's what he wants Korea to do, and then Gaddafi was killed, and well, you see Kim's problem with that, OK. Could Trump be saying this because he wants something his predecessor, President Obama, has?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you deserve the Nobel Prize, do you think?
TRUMP: Everyone thinks so but I would never say it.
That's very nice, thank you. That's very nice. Nobel. I just want to get the job done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think you have to achieve in the coming -- upcoming summit to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?
TRUMP: Well, I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT live in Washington. Jim -- OK, putting aside that, it always makes me laugh, the chance, OK. How sure is the White House that this meeting between Kim and Trump is going to happen and it's on?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, they seem more sure today than they were yesterday when --
SCIUTTO: -- the North Koreans injected some doubt into the conversation. And they are now on a footing where they're still in the planning stages. Assuming that they're without major disruptions, that this is still going to happen. But again, you know, the ball is constantly changing here. There was some news just in the last few minutes that the top South Korean negotiator said the following, it is true that there is a difference of opinion between North Korea and the U.S. on how to pull off denuclearization. You might say that's a pretty significant difference of opinion since that's a central question to these negotiations.
SCIUTTO: So, to those questions are going to stick with us right up until that meeting and certainly through that meeting to see what comes out of it. In the meantime what you don't have is a clear message coming from this very administration, because you heard the president there say something about John Bolton's offering up the Libyan model. But it doesn't -- it isn't clear the president knew exactly what John Bolton was talking about.
And just so folks can recall, here's exactly what John Bolton said regarding the Libyan model.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We have very much in mind the Libyan model from 2003-2004. There are obviously differences. The Libyan program was much smaller, but that was basically the agreement that we made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So, Bolton there was referring to that agreement as he said in 2003-2004 which had the Libyans question of up their nuclear weapons. Not to 2011 when there was -- when the U.S. participated in military action against Libya, decimating them as the president said.
So, it's not clear if he was mixing up the two, or he was also as you were saying, Erin, trying to send a message to North Korea, kowtowing to some degree to North Korea there saying, listen, trust us, you're going to be safe. In fact, I'm going to guarantee your safety if you sign this deal, which as you said would be a pretty remarkable promise for a U.S. president to make to the dictator of North Korea.
BURNETT: It certainly would when you consider his track record.
Thank you so much, Jim.
I want to go to now to Samantha Vinograd. She is the former senior adviser to the national security adviser under the Obama administration. And Phil Mudd, former CIA counterterror official.
Phil, does the president just want a deal here too much? You know, no matter what it takes, Kim is going to be very, very happy. I mean, that's something only Trump would say, but it's still pretty jarring to hear it said about Kim Jong-un of all people.
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISOR: I do think the president is now stuck. He's stuck in terms of saying he's going to show up for what he's explained will be a deal. I think regardless of what happens, he's going to characterize it as a deal.
MUDD: But I think we're overcomplicating this. Look, the president is playing the used car salesman. You, Erin Burnett, show up on the used car lot, and you say, that car looks pretty good. I think $15,000 is a good price. The salesman says, you're a terrific negotiator, we're going to do a great deal, when you drive off the lot, it's going to be wonderful.
The president wants a deal. He's buttering up the person on the other side who's now nervous after the Bolton comments. I don't think this is very complicated.
BURNETT: Well, Sam, of course, you can understand Kim Jong-un's view of Libya being brought up, right? Nuclear weapons were gotten rid of, it was a few years later, obviously, but Gadhafi's demise was brutal and awful and, you know, many do see it as a link between giving those up and regime change.
But the president, he constantly has been fawning over Kim Jong-un, right? Calling him excellent, incredible, the hostage release, open and honest, and now that he's going to be very, very happy. What is the strategy here in bending over so deeply?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I don't know that we have a strategy. I think, unfortunately, the president handed the reins over to Kim Jong-un on March 8th. You and I were together here when he agreed to a meeting without assessing the credibility of the offer, what we wanted to get out of it, how long it would take to actually prepare for a meeting.
So, he backed himself into a corner several weeks ago. Now they set a date and time. I think that the president is locked and loaded to show up in Singapore regardless of whether we assess that the North is serious about anything that they're saying at this point.
And I think John Bolton chose his words very carefully last Sunday when he spoke about Libya. He knows what happened in Libya, both in terms of denuclearization and Gadhafi getting killed. I think John Bolton was sending a message to Kim Jong-un, just like Trump was today, trying to walk that back, saying don't worry, you'll be OK, just show up at this meeting.
BURNETT: Right. And you know what, Phil? To the point the president has been bowing down to Kim Jong-un, there could an strategy in that, right? You butter him up, make him think everything is going to be great, and then you can come in with a much bigger stick. I mean, could that be part of it? Could all of Trump's fawning be very purposeful?
MUDD: Sort of. But let's lay out a simple scenario. The president has laid his reputation on the line to cut a deal. He goes to Singapore, there is some sort of deal, and he steps back. We realize that as we have for the past 20, 25 years, that the North Koreans aren't entirely honest.
That's where the president's credibility with truth over the past couple of years really comes to play. The president really, as we've just talked about, as Sam has said, has been invested in a deal. What if he learns from the CIA, from the State Department, and others, that the North Koreans aren't complying? Does he then come out, as Trump is wont to do, and say, hey, this is a great deal? Or does he actually say, like with Bush, like with Obama, like with Clinton, the North Koreans screwed us again.
That's what I would worry about -- the backend of this deal, and whether the president is honest on whether the North Koreans comply.
BURNETT: Well, you fall in love with your own deal, as some would say. Sam, you may not totally agree, President Obama got to a point he really wanted to get that deal with Iran, who knows whether it was the best deal they could get or not.
[19:35:01] I know you think it was.
But with President Trump, you know, this Nobel Peace Prize, it's something funny, he himself has laughed at it. But it keeps coming up again and again. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to have peace in the world. That's what I really want, more so than the Nobel Peace Prize or any other prize. I'd like to see peace in the -- ideally in the Middle East, but in the entire world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: How much does it matter, a Nobel Peace Prize, to him?
VINOGRAD: I don't know that I really blame him for wanting the Nobel Peace Prize. Look, I wish he would do what it took to actually get the prize. What I blame him for is telegraphing so publicly how badly he wants this to happen.
Again, he looks so overeager. And he's so overcommitted. I think that the North Koreans know that they can push him around now. And that he's going to do whatever it takes to make June 12th in Singapore some kind of success that can be marketed as a step forward.
BURNETT: So, quick question to you, this issue of protections. Can I play again what the president offered to Kim Jong-un today? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're willing to do a lot. And he's willing to, I think, do a lot also. I think we'll actually have a good relationship, assuming we have the meeting, assuming something comes of it. And he'll get protections that will be very strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What's he talking about, Phil, protections?
MUDD: Regime security. Will the family continue? One quick penalty flag. If they don't comply and the president says on the front end, we respect your government and we will allow you to continue in power, what happens when they don't comply? That's the problem here.
BURNETT: Yes, big problem. All right, thank you both very much.
And next, what's a White House to do when it can't stop leaking? The Trump White House cancels its daily communications meetings altogether.
And the New York lawyer's racist rant against Spanish-speaking people.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And my guess is they're not documented. So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country.
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BURNETT: And guess what, it's not the first time he's lashed out.
[19:40:52] BURNETT: New tonight, communications chaos. A senior White House official confirming to CNN that the daily communications staff meeting has not happened for several days and has been suspended indefinitely.
Now, the meeting is an important meeting. It involves about two dozen communication staffers on any given day, usually happens every morning. It comes in the wake of someone leaking from the meeting what Kelly Sadler, you see her in the screen, she's the one who made the joke about John McCain and said, didn't matter if he opposed Gina Haspel as CIA director because, quote, he's dying anyway, that leaked out. When they had a meeting chastising everybody for the leak, that leaked out too. And now, there's no more meetings.
OUTFRONT now, former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin and former adviser to the Trump campaign Steve Cortes.
OK, Keith, let me start with you, because you've been in these meetings, worked in the White House. How important -- people might say, meetings, roll their eyes. Most of them are worthless. Not this one, though, right? KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: This is a very
important meeting. There are two morning meetings that used to take place when I was in the White House. One a senior staff meeting in the Roosevelt Room, everyone get together and talk about what was going on throughout the government. And then the communications meeting followed that, we'd talk about what were we going to do to try to implement the message for the day? After we had all the information from the senior staff meeting.
And that's how you get message discipline. That's how you get everybody saying the same thing, being on the same page throughout the administration. Without that, it's a recipe for chaos.
BURNETT: Recipe for chaos which is what we see all too often. I mean, is the White House cutting off its nose to spite its face? Obviously, there's issues, right? Something leaked out of a meeting, then the discussion about it leaked out, right, I mean, that's a problem. But is canceling the meeting altogether the answer?
STEVE CORTES, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I think they're having a more senior meeting which is smart for the time being while they try to get their ship in order. I will say this --
BURNETT: So people might be leaking maybe, then they leak even more, but go ahead.
CORTES: Look, couple of things. I don't often criticize, certainly not the president nor the White House very often. The White House comm staff is not serving the president well. That is just reality, right?
And the leaks are exhibit A I think in that case against what's going on there. So, number one, I think people need to be fired. We need to find out who these people are, they need to be fired, they need to be rolled out of the White House in a very public way.
But number two, I'll also say this -- this is an important point. What's very different about this White House versus other White House is this president came into Washington, D.C. in many ways as an insurgent against Washington, D.C. And there are people, unfortunately, even on the White House staff.
And the White House staff, by the way, is a lot bigger than we think. I think a lot of Americans might think, well -- it's 4,000 people. There are a lot of people in the White House --
BURNETT: They're not all in the White House.
CORTES: There are a lot of people in the White House who are Washingtonian insiders. And they have dual loyalty, both to their swamp loyalties and a little bit to the presidential power structure, and it's time for them to be rooted out.
BURNETT: OK. So, obviously, there is -- there are a lot of leakers in the White House. One of them is the president. It's his choice to leak, right? He's allowed to do it. But he calls people up all the time and says things. So, there's an example there.
CORTES: Erin, come on, we can't say that as fact, do you know that? Has he leaked to you?
BOYKIN: Let's not get off on that diversion right now. Let's answer the question.
CORTES: Hold on, do you know that? You can't just say that as fact --
BOYKIN: Steve, stay on message.
BURNETT: I want to read something to you that Jonathan Swan of "Axios" --
CORTES: I'm trying to stick to the facts.
BURNETT: OK, when he talked to a current White House staffer about the leaks. And he said -- these are people that he's been talking to, why are you leaking? One of them said, to be honest it probably falls into a couple of categories.
The first is personal vendettas. And two is to make sure there's an accurate record of what's really going on in the White House.
OK. Keith, have you ever seen anything like that? They're admitting, OK, to your point, Steve, admitting it's personal vendettas. And then they're saying, accurate record, which, Steve, you would say is a swamp issue. I think you would say is people who think this president is not serving the country well.
BOYKIN: Well, yes. I think it's not unusual for people who have vendettas to settle them in the media in any administration, to be honest.
BOYKIN: But what is different, I think what Steve gets wrong here, is that communications staff in the White House is really not the problem.
[19:45:03] I'm going to stick up for them in this way, because the problem is Donald Trump. The communications staff is basically doing what they're being told to do. By the way, Steve, who is the communications director right now?
CORTES: There isn't one.
BOYKIN: That's the point.
BURNETT: President Trump.
BOYKIN: We've had four communications directors in one year, in the first year, Hope Hicks left two months ago. There is no communications director right now. So, Donald Trump is basically trying to be his own communications director.
So, it's illogical to blame the staff when he doesn't even have anybody in charge of managing the communications.
CORTES: By the way, Keith, in terms of his skills and communication, this is a man who got 63 million votes from the American people, who had no -- hold on, let me talk. No government experience --
BOYKIN: It doesn't go to being communications director.
CORTES: It has total relevance, hold on --
BURNETT: Wait, wait. How many votes are relevant to leaking in the White House?
CORTES: May I talk?
BOYKIN: Just stay on message.
BURNETT: Just talk about the votes. Talk about the leaking.
BOYKIN: You're worse than Donald Trump. Stay on message.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Steve.
CORTES: My point is, this is a man who understands communications better than any president we've had since Ronald Reagan, a man who masters social media, who masters speaking directly to the people very Twitter.
CORTES: Our first citizen president ever with no prior government experience. So, the idea he doesn't understand communications I think is pretty insulting to the record.
I will also say, though, this is important. The staff, I agree, is leaking too much. People need to be fired. But I'm not shocked, because he came into Washington --
BOYKIN: You need a communications director.
CORTES: -- is on an insurgent and that is not the case of George W. Bush --
BOYKIN: He needs somebody to stay on message.
CORTES: They did not come in as insurgents.
BURNETT: I'll hit pause here. The only thing I'll say, Steve, you've got a point on his communications but you do too, because clearly he doesn't understand communications well with his own staff because they obviously are leaking bad things about him all the time, that's the most important communication you can have is with your own staff.
And next, the man behind the racist rant seen across the globe.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here --
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BURNETT: His history of confrontations.
Plus, Michael Cohen's daily dance of, I don't know, courting or avoiding the cameras.
[19:51:05] BURNETT: Tonight, a lawyer who lashed out at employees and customers for speaking Spanish in a New York City restaurant has been identified. He called employees at a fresh kitchen restaurant undocumented and he's threatened call immigration, ICE.
Paula Sandoval is OUTFRONT with the details.
AARON SCHLOSSBERG, ATTORNEY: Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aaron Schlossberg is keeping quiet tonight. The New York attorney hasn't explained this racial tirade inside a midtown Manhattan restaurant on Tuesday.
SCHLOSSBERG: Every person I listen to. He spoke it, he spoke it, she's speaking it. It's America!
SANDOVAL: Emily Serano shot and shared the viral video.
EMILY SERANO, CONFRONTED SCHLOSSBERG FOR SPEAKING SPANISH: I think the ultimate goal was to expose him and make him aware of how wrong what he did was.
SANDOVAL: The New York native says Schlossberg paraded her and the restaurant employees, accusing them of being undocumented and calming immigration employees on them, starting it all, according to Serano, English wasn't being spoken.
SERANO: It was simply because a customer in front of him ordered in Spanish and then he heard myself and my best friend speaking to the gentleman making our food also speaking in Spanish. And it just set him off.
SANDOVAL: This is not the first Schlossberg appearance in a controversial video. Here he is in 2017, shouting at some ultra- Orthodox Jews protesting against state of Israel.
Then there is this encounter with a stranger in 2016.
SCHLOSSBERG: What country are you from? I'm going to call the police. You don't run into people. I'm a citizen here, you're not. You are an ugly (EXPLETIVE DELETED) foreigner.
SANDOVAL: That so-called foreigner was New Yorker Willie Morris, born in Massachusetts speaking out again hoping this latest incident renews the conversation about race and bigotry in America.
Some people may wonder, why do we give this individual a platform, why put this person on TV or a YouTube channel?
WILLIE MORRIS. CURSED AT BY SCHLOSSBERG IN 2016: Yes, and, you know, I struggle with that, like do I want to share this out, because do we give him more air time? But you have to call out those wrongs when they happen in order to address it, right?
SANDOVAL: What little we know about Aaron Schlossberg can be found on his law firm's Website. He's a commercial and business attorney offering services in multiple languages, including Spanish.
SANDOVAL: And tonight, we have learned that Schlossberg no longer has a place to practice. We learn from the landlord of the property where he used to lease space in Manhattan, he has essentially been evicted. The question now, Aaron, will he still keep practicing especially after a complaint filed against him by a U.S. congressman today?
BURNETT: Right, and what clients he would get and, of course, who in his office he was paying who spoke Spanish? To help with those claims as he said he couldn't. Thank you very much. Incredible story.
And next, Michael Cohen, the center of a classic New York moment. He loves that jacket, the New York stakeout.
[19:58:04] BURNETT: Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Michael Cohen leaves his hotel home, he is never alone, climbing into an Uber or on the phone.
MICHAEL COHEN, TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: Hello, sir.
MOOS: Every trip outside is a chance to be tripped up on camera.
For more than a month, Cohen has been the subject of a stakeout. Cameras camped out in front of the Lowe's regency. Cohen is staying in the hotel where rooms can run over $600 a night, while his nearby apartment is under construction.
And he's under the microscope -- every hug, every handshake, every back slap.
REPORTER: Are you worried?
MOOS: During these sidewalk encounter, Cohen is almost always polite.
REPORTER: Hi, Michael.
COHEN: Good morning.
MOOS: And sometimes answers questions.
REPORTER: How are you feeling today?
MOOS: Just not the ones that matter. Stop.
The dangers of walking backwards while shooting, the questions that count --
REPORTER: Alleged love child.
MOOS: -- tend to be answered with silence.
REPORTER: A lot of talk about you flipping. Any possibly for that? No?
REPORTER: Do you think the president still has your back?
MOOS: Only rarely has Cohen gotten his back up, telling a CNN cameraman, you guys are really starting to bug me.
COHEN: Believe me, it's no party for me either.
MOOS: The one time Cohen partied when he was hung out with cigar- smoking friends outside a restaurant. And even then he got mocked for his outfit. Michael Cohen wearing the jacket they give you in a fancy steakhouse when you forget to wear one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man who looks how cigarette smells, Michael Cohen.
MOOS: Still, he's kept his cool.
COHEN: Good fellows.
MOOS: Did he say good fellows?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.
MOOS: Someone even ratted out Cohen adding the them from the "Sopranos."
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Anderson starts now.