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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Top Republicans Break With Trump and Discredit Spy Claims; Trump Praises Cabinet Members Except For Sessions. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 6, 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] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: -- in the media, we have to take that on first.
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ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, two top Republicans breaking with the president tonight. Pouring cold water on Trump's conspiracy theory about an FBI spy planted in his campaign to help Clinton. Will the rest of the GOP stand up?
And Trump keeping praise on his cabinet, over the top compliments to every single one except for one. Who was it?
And breaking news, the husband of Kate Spade speaking out tonight. What he's saying about the final months before she took her life.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, better late than never. Two top Republicans today getting up the nerve to publically debunk Trump's conspiracy theory. Trump's theory of course is that the FBI planted a spy in his campaign with the purpose of helping Hillary Clinton.
Now initially, only Republicans Trey Gowdy and Mitch McConnell had the guts to stand up and say, nay. They met with top FBI intelligent officials about the president's conspiracy theory and appeared to believe that the FBI did everything right. And now Paul Ryan who saw that same classified material, was at the briefing is breaking his silence to say Gowdy is right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with Trey Gowdy?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Normally, I don't like to comment on classified briefings. Let me say it this way, I think Chairman Gowdy's initial assessment is accurate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the speaker of the House is not alone because today also the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, who by the way is investigating Russia and Trump and was also at that classified meeting tell CNN, quote, I think Trey Gowdy's description of the process was correct.
OK. So now, you've got Ryan and Burr joining Gowdy and the highest ranking Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, all saying there was nothing there. Nothing to support what the president says. That is four of the top Republicans in the United States who saw the classified info and are suggesting the president's accusations about a spy planted in his campaign by the FBI to help Hillary Clinton have no basis in any of the single facts they've seen.
And yet, as recently as (INAUDIBLE) the table on what appears to be a total (INAUDIBLE). Here's his tweet. "Spy gate, full force, is the mainstream media interested yet? Big stuff and spygate at the highest level. Who would believe?"
Who would believe? It's a great question, MR. President because no one we know who has actually seen the facts does believe what you're saying. Not Paul Ryan, not Richard Burr, not Mitch McConnell, not Trey Gowdy. That is every single Republican who saw the classified facts except of course Devin Nunes. And while Burr and Ryan speaking out today is better late than never, they have allowed the president to pedal this conspiracy theory for weeks without calling it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE United States: All you have to do is look at the basics and you'll see. It looks like a very serious event. But we'll find out. I hope it's not true, but it looks like it is.
So how do you like the fact? They had people infiltrating our campaign. Can you imagine? Can you imagine?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He's pedaling it to people who believe it. Poisoning the system. The president is also tweeted or said some variation of the word spy at least 17 times since April. Making wild claims like, quote, he was only there to spy for political reasons and to help crooked Hillary win.
So why now? Why are Ryan and Burr drawing a line today of all days? Well, could it be in part because they both have their eyes on the exit? Burr has said he's not running for re-election and Ryan is in his final months in Congress.
The reality is, that right now in the GOP, Trump's toughest critics are not running for re-election. Senator Jeff Flake, right? He says his concerns about Trump have made him unelectable. Senator Bob Corker comparing Trump to a toddler saying the president will be remembered for the, quote, debasement of our nation.
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill. And Manu, why are Ryan and Burr finally speaking out now because as we point out, Gowdy and McConnell obviously came out days ago.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Remember, these are just -- those members were the only ones in the entire Republican side of the aisle in Congress who have actually reviewed that classified intelligence. And they -- Ryan in particular is very close to Trey Gowdy, the House Oversight Committee chairman. Someone Ryan clearly may have been taken aback by all the backlash that Gowdy got over the last several days after Gowdy himself said that the FBI did exactly what it was supposed to do based on those classified briefings that Ryan himself attended. But after Gowdy made those remarks, Rudy Giuliani, others on the right, came out to repudiate Gowdy.
[19:05:05] And Paul Ryan in a lot of ways did this to essentially say that Trey Gowdy into -- made the claims that Trey Gowdy is credible on this very issue. He's been the person that the has gone into these classified briefings along with Devin Nunes who has taken a much different approach with partisan investigation.
And Erin, tonight, really Devin Nunes is the only Republican and only member of Congress who has seen this classified intelligence who has not yet poured cold water on the president's so-called spygate claims. He said earlier today he would not comment the me but he's previously talked to Fox News and he said that he's criticized the media coverage and demanded more records, but he's not going to where Gowdy, now Chairman Richard Burr, Paul Ryan and even Mitch McConnell have gone in the last several days here, Erin.
BURNETT: It's very significant moment. Manu, thank you very much. Manu getting all of these individuals to speak to him.
OUTFRONT now, republican Congressman Lee Zeldin. And Congressman, it's great to have you back on this show
So, look, I know you have supported the president on this concept. I mean, do you accept what your leadership is now saying? Top Republicans who were in the briefings, have seen the classified intelligence. In fact, every single one of them except for Devin Nunes, who as you heard today, didn't want to comment.
Do you accept what they're all saying, which is they just -- they don't see anything there?
REP. LEE ZELDIN (R), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, a couple of things. One is the documents were not actually given to them to review. So they have -- they went to this meeting but they did not review the documents. They didn't come back to Congress --
BURNETT: So you think they were lied to by the FBI, is that what you're saying?
ZELDIN: No, no. I'm saying that there are documents and the speaker mentioned it this morning that there are documents that they haven't been able to review yet. So that's part of this. Additionally, we could have a difference of opinion with colleagues regardless of whether they're on my side of the aisle, Republican, Democrat and several liberals doesn't matter to me. I believe that if for whatever reason, the FBI, DOJ, the Intel Community has any reason to believe that there is a foreign government that is trying to get involved with a presidential campaign that they should sit down with that major party presidential candidate and let them know.
I'm not aware of any evidence that this counterintelligence effort was launched targeting the president of the United States. I'm sorry, the nominee for president of the United States.
BURNETT: Well, he was told in August 2016 personally by the U.S. intelligence officials that Russians were going to attempt to infiltrate his campaign. So they did have such a conversation in August of 2016.
ZELDIN: So upfront as the decision was being made to send at least one person to infil -- I mean, essentially, that at that point in time, I don't see any -- I believe as a matter of practice, that it'd be really important going forward. We can't recreate history going backwards but it'd be really important going forward to sit down with a major party presidential candidate and let them know as it's happening before you start sending individuals to start surveilling the campaign like what happened.
BURNETT: What I'm confused about though is just -- and just right now Politico has come out with a story. They just spoke with Representative Tom Rooney, a top Republican lawmaker of course on House Intel. So he's been involved in the investigation. He said to them, quote, what is the point of saying there was a spy in the campaign when there was none? You know what I'm saying? It's like let's create this thing to tweet about knowing the it's not true. Maybe it's just to create more chaos, but it doesn't really help the case.
Does he have a point? I mean, the president just says OK, I can throw a fire bomb out there, Congressman, and I can say it to people who come to my rallies and who gives a hoot if it's true, right? I mean, that's what this is looking a whole lot like.
ZELDIN: Yes, I think the president believes that his campaign was spied on. That he's not just saying that.
BURNETT: But what basis does he have to believe that, right? There's not a single fact --
ZELDIN: Because --
BURNETT: -- to support it. Every single Republican but Devin Nunes who has been briefed has said there's not a single fact that they have seen to support it. So it sounds like he's making it up out of thin air.
ZELDIN: Well, no -- I mean, you do have -- you have at least one person who was sent to the campaign who was meeting with members of the Trump campaign. That -- you know, at the beginning of this counterintelligence effort before they sat down with Donald Trump, the nominee to let him know that they were, whether you want to call that someone was there surveilling, infiltrating, spying, informing, you know, like there's a lot of different words that are getting thrown around. And just the fact is, there was a person sent there by the government, at least one person.
BURNETT: But there's a really big difference, Congressman, between sending someone -- and I agree with you. Some of these words to the average person distinction without a difference. But sending someone in to spy on, to help Hillary Clinton, which is what the president specifically alleged is extremely different than someone coming and saying hey, guess what, we think Russians are trying to get into this campaign.
[19:10:06] OK, why don't you just go find out what's going on there. Those are two extremely different things.
ZELDIN: Well, you know, as far as motive and individuals who are making the decision, that is one of the reasons why I believe it is important before concluding that the Justice Department, the Intel Community did nothing wrong. It would be important first to read the documents that they were not provided when they went to that meeting.
And I also -- I'm one of these people throughout this entire process, I'm in favor of more information being provided not less. I would like to see as much of that FISA application be declassified as possible. And let the American public read it and decide for themselves. That, you know, there have been documents that have been provided to the American public. There's been some transcripts of testimonies that have been provided to the American public. The DOJ, the inspector general's report is due out here maybe in the next few days.
So, you know, I think that information coming out to the American public is most important so they're not just taking my word for it, yours or colleagues of mine here in Congress.
BURNETT: The inspector general's report of course about the Clinton e-mails. But I mean, we're talking specifically about the accusations made by the president of the United States that a spy was planted in his campaign with the express by the FBI, with the express purpose of helping Hillary Clinton. It is an incredible accusation, Congressman Zeldin. I mean, we all know this.
You have the people who have been briefed, Ryan, Burr, McConnell, Gowdy, all Republicans saying nothing has supported that. I mean, what I'm asking you is, at what point if someone just keeps say something and throwing out bombs, is it not worth running down everything -- every single thing they're saying just because he says it.
ZELDIN: Well --
BURNETT: It's like Congressman Rooney just said. What's the point of saying there was a spy when there was none? It's like let's create this thing to tweet about knowing it's not true. That is a Republican saying this about the Republican president of the United States.
ZELDIN: And again, I do believe that the president when he says that his campaign was being spied on, his definition, his use of the word and many other people who are calling it spying, that it's being consistent, it's not being misleading. And there are other people --
BURNETT: But, again, I got to push back on you because that's not what he's saying. He's saying planted by the FBI to help Hillary Clinton. He has been very specific about it.
ZELDIN: So as far as that second part with regards to helping Hillary Clinton, there is clear as day evidence. I mean, Peter Strzok had a role in this entire process with regards to -- you know, what we're talking about now with regards to the end of the Clinton e-mail probe, with regards to the beginning of the Trump Russia probe, with regards to the FISA application. This entire process, Peter Strzok played a hugely important role. Now he hasn't even come to Congress to --
BURNETT: But this isn't about the Clinton e-mail investigation.
ZELDIN: Well, he was also involved in the Russia investigation. He also was the person who interrogated Michael Flynn. So, you know, he had a role to play in the overlap. He was definitely involved. He was the deputy head of counter Intel. So -- I mean, through that role, the job function as the deputy head of counterintelligence, when the FBI is launching a counterintelligence campaign --
BURNETT: Again, I'm just confused about is, you're trying to make a case and I get it. You're supporting your guy, you're supporting Trump but all the other people who've seen the intelligence in your own party are saying if there's just no there there. I'm wondering what it will take for you, Congressman Zeldin, to say he's full of it.
ZELDIN: Well, first off, I think it's important to get all the documents that the people who are making conclusions have not read yet. So in order to be able to say this is what the document say, you have to be able to read the documents first. But again, the deputy head of counterintelligence and we've seen all the evidence --
BURNETT: And to be clear, you have not been briefed or seen any of them so you're basing everything you're telling me --
ZELDIN: No one.
BURNETT: -- upon what?
ZELDIN: No one has seen those documents. The documents that --
BURNETT: Right, but Burr, McConnell, Ryan, Gowdy have all been briefed by the FBI in a classified setting about that.
ZELDIN: Well -- and again, I would point you to part of Speaker Ryan's comments this morning where he said that there are still documents we need to review. BURNETT: Yes, he did say that.
ZELDIN: He was referring to the documents that when they went to the meeting they were not allowed to review. Now, those documents did not come back to Congress with them. I'm not aware of those Congress -- those documents being here in Congress.
But you know, to the second part of what you're asking me with regards to, you know, motive and intent and the personal involved in a decision, to -- you know, we have to understand that the FBI -- the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI, and Peter Strzok in the position that he is in, and the role that he is playing, he clearly was -- I mean, his -- it's in his text messages -- I mean, he was anti-Trump, he was pro-Hillary --
BURNETT: (INAUDIBLE) a text messages there's no there there.
ZELDIN: Well, no, that's not true. I mean, he was --
BURNETT: If you look at all of them, it is.
ZELDIN: Well, I'm not going to repeat the expletives of, you know, of F Trump not only his text messages --
BURNETT: Oh, he had a personal political point of view, but he made it clear that he didn't think that there was anything on toward, but yes, he had a political point of view as does everybody.
ZELDIN: Right. So I think though -- but, you know, to answer your question as to when President Trump is making a conclusion with regards to the counterintelligence department of the FBI and their motives, and you do have evidence that he is aware of Peter Strzok being involved, being the number two, in this process and knowing his biases --
[19:15:12] BURNETT: So he knows Peter Strzok personally, right? Personally wasn't going to vote for him, right? He could assume that. But, Congressman, it's a big step from that to say the FBI is corrupt, planted a spy on my campaign to help, as the president put it in his tweet, crooked Hillary.
I think we can all acknowledge that's a totally different thing. That is a whole new ball game. It doesn't --
ZELDIN: But to say that he has no evidence -- to say that there's not evidence so --
BURNETT: Well there isn't as of yet according to Gowdy, Ryan, Burr, McConnell. There is not that they all -- they have been very clear that as of yet, they have seen no evidence to support it and clearly, they believe it is important to say that to the American people.
ZELDIN: And I would encourage my colleagues before concluding as to what these documents say to read the documents first. By the way, I'd like to read them and whatever is possibly releasable, I'd love for the American public to read them and for all of us to be able to do more to form our own independent judgments rather than taking everybody else's word for it.
Those documents though have not been read by the people who are saying this is the conclusion being made based off of those documents. I'm just saying they have to read them first.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman Zeldin, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
ZELDIN: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And next, the president heaps praise on his cabinet, except for one person.
Plus, breaking news, Stormy Daniels filing a new lawsuit tonight saying Michael Cohen, I'm sorry, colluded with her former lawyer to benefit Trump.
Plus, Rudy Giuliani, he went out of the country, so I guess he thought people might not actually be rolling tape, but they were.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: I don't even think there's a slight suspicion that it's true when you -- excuse me, when you look at Stormy Daniels.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:20:21] BURNETT: New tonight, love feast. President Trump heaping glowing praise on member after member of his cabinet and team today during a round table at FEMA.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Secretary Michael Pompeo, what a job you've done and we appreciate it. The whole country appreciates it. Secretary Ryan Zinke, great job you're doing. Secretary Ben Carson, what you're doing is great. Ben, it's really inspirational. Elaine Chow, secretary. All you do is produce. You do it in a very quiet way and so effective and so incredible.
Secretary Nielsen, what do I say about you? You are doing great. General John Kelly is here some place. General? Good general. Great job, John.
Administrator Scott Pruitt. Thank you, Scott very much. EPA is doing really, really well. And, you know, somebody has to say that about you a little bit. A friend of mine for a long time, Administrator Linda McMahon, one of the real stars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Just didn't stop. I mean, everybody was gushed over except one person. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, thank you, Jeff. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Sorry.
OUTFRONT now -- since when did the words thank you just say so much? OK, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings, and former counselor to President Bill Clinton, Paul Begala.
Scott, let me start with you. Ben Carson is inspirational, Elaine Chow is incredible. The Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen whom Trump has berated to the point she reportedly threaten to quit. She's great. Jeff Sessions, thank you. It's all we got.
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes. Nielsen and Pruitt, I thought those were the two most interesting things today given the history that he's had with her and what's been on the news about Scott Pruitt. But on Jeff Sessions, look, clearly the president is mad, mad, mad about the Russia investigation. He's been mad about it since he took office. And Jeff Sessions is the person he most closely associates with that building. He's made no secret of his displeasure with Sessions' job.
The thing is, Jeff Sessions is doing a good job for the president. He just puts his head down and he goes to work every day. I think Attorney General Sessions has a thick hide after being in politics for a long time. And I think he sleeps easy at night because a, he believes he did the right thing on the recusal, and b -- and maybe Donald Trump doesn't know it yet, but when Jeff Sessions recused, he gave the president a gift which is this.
When this investigation is over, if they find there was no collusion and Jeff Sessions was not part of the investigation because he recused himself, he's taking a key argument off the board. Can you imagine if Sessions was still running this thing and they found no collusion? The Democrats would be all over the president. Absolutely.
BURNETT: So, Paul, look, to Scott's point, we know Trump despises Jeff Session when it comes to Russia. I mean, look, there was a tweet just yesterday. Trump said, "The Russian witchhunt hoax continues all because Jeff Sessions didn't tell me he was going to recuse himself. I would have quickly pick someone else. So much time and money wasted. So many lives ruined and Sessions knew better than most that there was no collusion."
So I guess if you look at that measure, Paul, the president held back today by thanking Jeff Sessions.
PAUL BEGALA, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Yes, he kind of wimped out when it was mano a mano there, actually. BURNETT: Yes, but, you know, easy there. Whatever, all over somebody on a tweet but when you're looking them in the eye, I guess you go to thank you?
BEGALA: I guess so. It's -- I think it's where the point. I think we find ourselves in a remarkable historic moment though where the president of the United States has a warmer relationship with Putin than he does with his own attorney general. He says lately, last few weeks, nicer things about Kim Jong-un than he does about Jeff Sessions. I mean, that's a really remarkable situation that we find ourselves in.
BURNETT: April, you know, here's the thing though. You know, the president, obviously you have the juxtaposition of the Jeff Sessions comment with everybody else. But what he was saying to everybody else is so Trumpian. Heaping praise on people indiscriminately and often disingenuously. It's easy for him to do. It's a crutch.
Here he is doing it on episodes of celebrity "Apprentice".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So governor, you have a hell of a lot of guts, I have to tell you that. I have friends where things have happened to them, they crawl into a corner, they die. You're out there punching so I respect that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I appreciate that.
TRUMP: Hi, Kim.
KIM KARDASHIAN: How are you?
TRUMP: You look great. I love your fragrance. I think it's really special. I'm going to get some.
KARDASHIAN: Thank you and Khloe design.
TRUMP: And Khloe is terrific. She really is. She did great on the show and she's a terrific person just like you.
Cindy, I love your hairdo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
TRUMP: You're a big believer in hair like I am, right?
[19:25:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TRUMP: Very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That was the disingenuous. I'm sorry.
All right. April, Trump only said 11 words about Jeff Sessions. APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBA RADIO NETWORKS: Yes.
BURNETT: Five of which were Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Jeff. So what's the game at this point because Jeff Sessions obviously has refused to resign?
RYAN: Well, there is no game. This president is sincere and strategic. He heaped all the praise on everyone around that table to include the embattled and investigated Pruitt. He told the transportation secretary, she produces quietly. I mean, he praised on Ben Carson. But when it came to Jeff Sessions, that was a jab. That polite thank you was a jab because he didn't get anything else.
But what I will say, Jeff Sessions is that fly in the ointment for this president for various reasons. One, U.S. senators are -- Republican senators are very angry with this president about messing with Jeff Sessions. Two, if the president does decide to fire Jeff Sessions, it's obstruction of justice.
And three, this is the interesting piece to me. Since the president doesn't like Jeff Sessions so much and really doesn't want to hear what he has to say, Jeff Sessions is allegedly the holdup to bringing a sentencing reform to the White House. They're only doing prison reform, not linking it with sentencing reform because Jeff Sessions does not want to do it. And that's interesting right there.
So Jeff Sessions wields a lot of power and the president to a certain extent has to eat it even though he's jabbing him with just a thank you and making those little tweets about his --
BURNETT: You know, the first sitting senator to come out and endorse him and all this and now, Jeff Sessions basically, you know, the guy just every single day, Trump a thorn in his side.
All right, I want to ask before you go, Paul, Bill Clinton. The fallout to his remarks about in his defiance about not apologizing personally to Monica Lewinsky. Here he is in the initial interview when he discussed it and then ever since, trying to fix it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever apologize to her?
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE United States: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've apologized to her?
CLINTON: I apologized to everybody in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you didn't apologize to her.
CLINTON: I have not talked to her. The truth is, the (INAUDIBLE) because I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked and I was mad at me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said in the interview you did apologize.
CLINTON: Here's what I want to say, it wasn't my finest hour.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What wasn't his finest hour, Paul? The way he's handled himself to Craig Melvin or the fact that he still has not tried to personally apologize to Monica Lewinsky and he's defiant about that.
BEGALA: That he mishandled that interview so badly. He's publicly apologized to Miss Lewinsky and her family as he showed and he did again this week.
BURNETT: But Paul, that's not the same thing.
BEGALA: No, it's not, but I don't -- I have said, never had an affair, but if I do, I don't think my wife is going to want me to call somebody I used to have a relationship with. He did this -- the damage -- so much of the damage to this young woman was done in public and the apology was in public. And I think that's the appropriate venue.
And if you go back, viewers ought to take a look at their Google machine. Google the speech he gave. I was there, September 11, 1998. The New York Times described it as one of the most remarkable speeches in presidential history. He publicly and tearfully apologized to Monica Lewinsky and her family, rightfully so and his own family and to the rest of f the country.
That's what a person does when he takes personal responsibility for his flaws and mistakes. A far cry from the current president who won't apologize for anything. And I think that's a pretty important lesson there.
BURNETT: All right, thank you all. And next, porn star Stormy Daniels filing a new lawsuit tonight. This time, and this would be hugely significant if it's true. Saying her former lawyer was colluding with Trump's lawyer. Do newly revealed text messages make her case or not?
Plus, Trump's testy call with America's closest ally, slamming Canada and talking about how Canada burned down the White House. Did Trump get history right?
[19:32:24] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news: Stormy Daniels suing her former lawyer Keith Davidson and President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen. Now, Daniels is claiming that Davidson who is the one who negotiated her nondisclosure agreement and the hush payment colluded with Cohen, not to benefit Daniels, who is, of course, his own client, but to benefit Donald Trump.
The lawsuit comes out and reveals text messages between the two lawyers from earlier this year. In the text messages, they're trying to get her to appear on Fox News and disavow the "In Touch" magazine interview that Daniels had given about her alleged affair with the president. Cohen allegedly texting Davidson, Keith, the wise men all believe the story is dying and don't think it's smart for her to do interviews. Let her do her thing, but no interviews at all with anyone.
Why are they talking about this if they represent clients who are against each other? Less than a moment later, Davidson replies to that text, 100 percent. Cohen texts back, thanks, pal.
But the ties between Cohen and Davidson don't stop there.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ties that bind these two men could spell trouble not only for President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, but the president himself. CNN has learned some of the case that the FBI is investigating involved not just Cohen but also Los Angeles-based attorney Keith Davidson, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation.
KEITH DAVIDSON, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DANIELS & MCDOUGAL: I get involved when the situation or relationship has gone bad.
SIDNER: Now, everyone knows about the two big cases. Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two women who say they had sex with Donald Trump, both initially represented by Keith Davidson.
(on camera): Both of those deals were silenced. It just seems like an awfully strange coincidence that they both landed in your lap. Don't you think?
DAVIDSON: No, not at all.
SIDNER: Why not?
DAVIDSON: No. I mean, I have a very active practice. And when there are very -- there are few attorneys that would go against large corporations, powerful celebrities, and that's one thing that I'm known for.
SIDNER (voice-over): But there are three other cases involving both attorneys. Like big time Republican fund-raiser and vice chair of the Trump Victory Fund, Elliott Broidy. In 2017, Davidson represented a former Playboy model who says Broidy got her pregnant during their affair. Cohen represented Broidy, and Cohen and Davidson negotiated a deal to pay her $1.6 million and to keep quiet about the deal.
Then, there's the case of television executive Chuck Labella, who worked with Trump on "The Apprentice" and his beauty pageants.
[19:35:04] According to a source, Cohen connected Labella to Davidson, who filed a cease and desist letter on his behalf after actor Tom Arnold wrote a barrage of unsubstantiated tweets about him. And a source says Cohen also steered another strange case to Davidson involving a GoFundMe account set up for a homeless woman who was trying to protect Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Someone ran off with the money collected for her and Davidson represented the Trump supporter who set up the account.
All these cases hint at a coziness between Donald Trump's attorney and Keith Davidson and that's what Karen McDougal alleged in a suit against AMI, "The National Enquirer's" parent company. She believed AMI conspired to kill her story with the help of Davidson and Cohen. McDougal later settled her case with AMI and she never sued Keith Davidson.
Davidson admits he called Cohen after brokering the deal with AMI, even though Cohen was not an official party to the case.
(on camera): It just seems odd you would pick up the phone to call Michael Cohen and say, hey.
DAVIDSON: I understand -- I understand the questions. And I understand, you know, why you may think that or other people may think that. But that's just simply not the case.
SIDNER: Now, Davidson points out that the three women who you heard about this the story, Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal and the mistress of Elliott Broidy, the Republican donor, all came to him through three different people. None of them were Michael Cohen.
He says that Michael Avenatti's lawsuit against him is frivolous. He said he believes he can now finally tell the whole truth about what happened with Stormy Daniels because he believes that his attorney- client privilege has been waived.
And lastly, the reason why they were communicating, there was a nondisclosure agreement they had all signed and agreed to -- Erin.
BURNETTT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara Sidner, which, you know, obviously, the big -- the only time we've had a chance to see Keith Davidson and hear him, and hear his answers to these questions.
OUTFRONT now, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick, where, of course, Cohen is under criminal right now, criminal case, and former federal prosecutor, Anne Milgram.
So, Anne, Stormy Daniels says Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen colluded basically to manipulate her and help Trump, which obviously would be completely wrong, considering he's supposed to be representing her. You see all these strange, whatever word you'd like to use, coincidences, overlaps. What's your take?
ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So, I think there's a couple of things to think about here. First of all, lawyers always have fiduciary duties to their clients. Meaning there's trust and confidence and lawyers have an obligation to act on behalf of the client. There are definitely some things happening here that feel unusual. I
mean, Sara described it as cozy and I would say unusually close. There's a lot of back and forth in conversations.
What's not clear in this litigation, the lawsuit is a -- looks to me as a way to keep this story in the news and sort of they are trying their case in the media in some ways. What's not clear to me is that there are any damages here, even if there is a breach, that there are damages, or that there's really a basis for this kind of litigation. You know, what harm happened to her in this?
It's just -- it's also not clear to me that they've actually proven that?
BURNETT: Even if they're right, what would be the harm. What does it mean for the president if this is true?
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, I think if it's true, the next question that always comes up when ever there's anything Cohen related, is what did the president know about it? Did he direct any of these steps to occur and if so, would he have complicity in whatever breach of loyalty that Davidson under investigation -- well, has been sued for.
BURNETT: So let's just do some more of the text messages here, Anne, between Cohen and Davidson. So, again, they're still talking about this interview where Daniels is going to go on Fox News or whether she will, right, to disavow the "In Touch" interview where she had gone into all the explicit detail about her rendezvous with the president that she said happened.
So, this is from this year in January. Cohen says, can you call me, please? Cohen texts again, 15 minutes later, please call me. Half hour later, Cohen texts again, anything?
And then Davidson responds, still trying. Less than a moment later, Cohen writes, this is no good. We need her. As by doing tomorrow, you just create another news cycle instead of putting an end to this one.
So, they're certainly on the same page about the strategy here.
MILGRAM: There's no question. I think what it appears to me is they have some sort of side agreement, and what's interesting -- and again, I don't think we know for sure what the side agreement was. But what's interesting is all the stuff Sara just went through, the Elliott Broidy case, they're both making a lot of money out of these types of deals.
And so, I think the real question and the problem with things like this is it absolutely leads to this question of, was Davidson representing Stormy Daniels and what was in her best interest, or was he actually working with Michael Cohen to get to what was best for the president?
BURNETT: And so, to your point, say there's a side deal. [19:40:01] Say it's totally unethical. Say whatever it might be.
BURNETT: Again, Harry, it does come back to did the president know about it or how does this in any way change what he says, right, which is that he wasn't aware at the during the election, right, of this payment.
SANDICK: Right. And the same question that always arises, you know, is it plausible that he wouldn't be aware of some of these things. One of the tweets, Michael Cohen says I'm with the first lady while he's talking to Davidson about these other issues. What actually was going on, it's not entirely clear that it was for her benefit.
At the same time, there was an agreement between her and Cohen. And at some point, obviously, the plan changed and she hired a new lawyer and went in a different direction. So, Davidson's liability I think depends on when the plan changed.
BURNETT: Exactly when Michael Avenatti got involved.
And, Anne, before we go here, though, you've got Davidson now reportedly cooperating with the feds in the criminal case against Cohen. So, if there was some side deal, whatever, you now have him cooperating against Cohen. She knows a lot.
MILGRAM: Right. And that's particularly interesting because he brought the Broidy case to Cohen and that really makes no sense, right? It makes sense if he represents a woman who's alleging that Donald Trump did something. He knows Cohen represents Trump.
Why would you bring something to Michael Cohen that doesn't directly involve Trump, right? So, he brings Cohen into the Broidy case to be Broidy's lawyer. Cohen personally benefits. It raises questions.
BURNETT: It raises serious questions, of course, because at this point, the Elliott Broidy case only appears to involve Elliott Broidy, obviously bringing Donald Trump into that would be a very big change in the storyline.
Thank you both so very much.
And next, Trump wrongly accusing Canada of burning down the White House in 1812. We'll talk about the factual issues the White House has to struggle to explain tonight.
Plus, Rudy Giuliani talking Stormy Daniels. But what is Rudy suggesting?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Beautiful women. Classy women. Women of great substance. Stormy Daniels?
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[19:45:56] BURNETT: Tonight, the White House trying to explain the president's tense call with the Canadian prime minister. This is a phone call that included Trump making an erroneous reference to the war of 1812. He did this to justify why he is slapping tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. Obviously, Canada has been called a national security threat by this.
Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT with this exclusive reporting.
I mean, Jim, it's pretty incredible when you think about it. But what exactly did go down in this testy call with Trudeau?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, as you know, they've been going back and forth for several weeks now over the president's decision to slap tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel and they were having this phone conversation on May 25th. It is kind of incredible to wrap your mind around and during this conversation, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, pressed the president and said, how can you justify these tariffs for national security reasons? As the president, the administration laid out?
And at that point, Justin Trudeau as he was pressing the president was told by the president, well, didn't you guys burn down the White House? Referring to the war of 1812.
Of course, there's a problem with all of that, historical problem with all of that. The Canadians did not burn down the White House during the war of 1812. That was the British.
But it does go to this very tense relationship that has suddenly developed between two very close allies and Justin Trudeau saying in recent days that it's offensive to him, insulting, that the U.S. would claim national security reasons for these tariffs.
BURNETT: Well, and, of course, in all of that, you know, to make some sort of a joke, not a joke, you know.
BURNETT: Look, the big question of course even when you talk about this, this whole imbroglio about the war of 1812, Jim, is why does Canada pose a national security risk? I mean, it's an absurd thing on the face of it, right, and they are using it as their justification. Have they been able to give any legitimate reason for that excuse for tariffs?
ACOSTA: You know, I do think it's a stretch. They are trying to give a justification. I talk today a senior administration official today who did not try to repeat the president's justification that the Canadians burned down the White House during the war of 1812, because that obviously is not true.
But this senior administration official said, listen, the steel and aluminum industry s so depressed in the United States that in the event of a World War II like world war across the country, that these industries would not be able to produce the tanks and the ships and the jets and so on to fight that kind of a battle. Obviously, you know, one would think if a war like that did break out, the U.S. would rise to the occasion. It's hard to think that that would not be the case.
But going back to your comment there about how the Canadians are not laughing, we did talk to a source familiar with this conversation who said, they're not laughing about this. The Canadians are not laughing about this and they think if a trade war breaks out, American workers won't be laughing either -- Erin.
BURNETT: You would think. I mean, you know, look, putting aside the fact there is some humor in it, the absurdity of it. I mean, why even bring it up if you don't know who burned it, anything about the war of 1812 as a sitting president of the United States.
Thank you very much, Jim Acosta.
ACOSTA: One for the history books.
BURNETT: Yes, one for the history books. Yes, you know, maybe just an alternative fact.
And now to Rudy Giuliani. So, Rudy's in Israel and he has been weighing in on everything from frump Trump's marriage to Stormy Daniels, how she looks, to whether she's a porn star or not, to whether he watches porn to Kim Jong-un.
Here's what Giuliani said about how Melania Trump feels about Stormy Daniels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: She believes in her husband. She knows it's not true. I don't think it's a slight suspicion that it's true when you -- excuse me, when you look at Stormy Daniels.
I know Donald Trump and -- look at his three wives, right? Beautiful women. Classy women. Women of great substance. Stormy Daniels?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. Political analyst Kirsten Powers joins me now, and Rob Astorino, former Republican candidate for New York governor, and also friends with Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.
Kirsten, let me start with you. I have to say, I am rendered a bit speechless and this is just one of many things he said today. Rudy Giuliani is right now the spokesperson for the White House in a lot of ways, and certainly in the Russia probe, right?
[19:50:01] KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
BURNETT: So, what do you say? You know, Trump has been married three times to classy women of substance and then, oh, Stormy Daniels? POWERS: Yes, I mean, it is kind of astonishing, and even the way he
is speaking about her, you know, supposedly a porn star, and denigrating her, and implication is clearly that who can take this woman seriously because of what she does for a living? I think it's pretty clearly what he was saying, and I guess he was making some -- casting some aspersions on the way she looks. Looks like a beautiful woman to me, but what do I know?
But, look, it doesn't matter what you do for a living. That is a -- in no way has says anything about your integrity. There are plenty of people who have, you know, I guess jobs that he considers respectable, who have no integrity and people who have jobs like hers who have immense integrity. And so, I think that she is a businesswoman, this is what she has chosen what to do with her life and she deserves to be treated respectfully.
BURNETT: Well, and there's also just -- I mean, Rob, the pure issue of whatever he may think about her, he has an issue with somebody who sells her body but not with people who pay them hush money to be quiet? I mean, let me just play something else he continued to say about Stormy Daniels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: The business you are in, entitles you to no degree of -- giving your credibility any weight. She has no reputation. If you are going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROB ASTORINO, FRIEND OF DONALD TRUMP AND RUDY GIULIANI: Well, she has a reputation, and, you know, look, how many moms and dads out there are praying each night that their daughter grows up to be a porn star. It is not what I want for my daughters, not casting any aspersions on her. But I'm just saying --
BURNETT: But you are.
ASTORINO: Well, she chose to do that. And she chose to do that her whole life. Do you -- I'm not going to -- it is a rhetorical question, but I don't think you or most people want their daughter to grow up to be a porn star.
BURNETT: I can tell you what do I think about men who decide to be with porn stars and their wife is at home with the seven-month-old baby. I --
BURNETT: So, but that side is fine.
ASTORINO: I'm not saying either side is right. It happens. Everyone saying it has happened. We don't know if it has happened. We do know that she has made a living doing this. She had an
agreement which she is trying to get out of. She got paid which may be she wants more, who knows?
But I mean, I think, what Rudy was saying, can we boil this down, this happened in 2006, has nothing to do with him being president of the United States.
BURNETT: I would disagree, but, Kirsten, I will let you make the point. I mean, Rudy is boiling it down to she is ugly, she isn't classy, she isn't a woman of substance, and she's a prostitute, OK? Let's just boil it down. That's what Rudy is saying. So, you can't listen to anything she said.
POWERS: Right. I mean, it's just misogynist, period, end of story. But, you know, look, anyone who's lived in New York City knows that Rudy Giuliani cheated on his wife, announced he was divorcing her, you know, in a press conference. I mean, he is in no position to be lecturing people about integrity.
There's nothing that Stormy Daniels has done that could even come close to that, in my book, honestly. Would I want my daughter to go up and act like Rudy Giuliani did? No, I would not. Would I want my son to grow up and act that way? No, I would not. So, he should just back off and just, you know, stick to the facts.
BURNETT: Rob, before we go, Rudy Giuliani, this happened in Israel. They were a lot of other things. You know, he talked about Kim Jong- un, getting on his hands and knees and begging for it. I mean, this was just one of many things that he said.
We have video of him dancing what looks to be a restaurant, waving a towel or a napkin of some sort, that's him, right, in front of the woman who's on the table. Is this the Rudy you know? You know him well.
ASTORINO: He's a fun guy to be with. He really and truly is. I mean, evidently, what happens in Tel Aviv doesn't stay in Tel Aviv. But he was having a good time and, you know, I would, if I were Rudy, I would be like, this probably someone going to tape me and put it on the Internet?
But, you know what? What is he doing there? He is having a fun time. The left is making Stormy Daniels to be Joan of Arc. I mean, please.
BURNETT: I don't think he was making her to be Joan of Arc, but I don't think you need to like disparage something that somebody has done --
ASTORINO: I'm not disparaging. I'm just saying --
BURNETT: -- with their life, you know, for no reason.
POWERS: Just wanting to treat people decently is not turning them into Joan of Arc.
BURNETT: Thanks. Thank you both.
And next breaking news, the husband of Kate Spade revealing new details about their life together.
[19:58:01] BURNETT: Tonight, Kate Spade's husband speaking out about his wife's apparent suicide. Any Spade revealing that he and his wife have been living separately for the past 10 months, and that the fashion designer had been getting help for depression and anxiety.
He wrote in a statement, quote, we were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication or no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn't her. There were personal demons she was battling.
Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT.
And, Jean, Andy Spade also addressed the reports about the wife's suicide note. The final couple sentences I think would bring anyone to tears. What are you learning?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's an amazing statement CNN obtained through a spokesperson written by Kate Spade's husband. He talks about that so much has been made about the suicide note, he says if there is one, I have yet to see any note left behind and I am appalled that a private message to my daughter has been so heartlessly shared with the media.
And what has been reported is that she spoke to her daughter in that note, saying, I love you. It's not your fault. Ask your father!
But he does go into great detail about the separation of the couple. He said that they have been living apart for ten months. He lived just blocks away from right here at the apartment where Kate lived. He had been sharing their daughter, family dinners together, family vacations together.
They never had an official separation, never mentioned the word divorce but were trying to work through their problems as the best friends that they were and he says this is the truth, Erin.
BURNETT: He did. And he also referenced her great love for her daughter in a very poignant way.
CASAREZ: Great love for her daughter, that she loved her daughter more than anything. That she'd been battling depression and anxiety for many years, that was currently under treatment. And he said there was no sign of this, we were in shock.
BURNETT: All right. Jean Casarez, thank you very much.
And thanks to all of you for joining us.
"AC360" with Anderson begins right now.