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Report: Trump Says Unfair to Send Manafort To Jail; Cohen Ready to Cooperate Angry Over Treatment by Trump; Cohen Concerned About His Family; Trump Says IG Report Exonerates Himself; Inside Former Walmart Housing 1400 Plus Immigrant Children. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 15, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there, I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you for being with me. President Trump's former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, sent to jail on alleged lobbying crimes. A federal judge just revoked Manafort's bail and remanded him into custody. Prosecutors told the court Manafort is, quote, unquote, "a danger to the community." They also said that he has committed new crimes, namely witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice, all the while being under house arrest. Manafort, as you well know, has pleaded not guilty. And when he entered court today, he was greeted with shouts of "lock him up."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock him up!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lock him up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock him up! Lock him up! Lock him up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Manafort had actually been trying to lighten the conditions of his house arrest. He was let out of the courtroom without handcuffs and gave his wife a little bit of a wave. President Trump just tweeted out a couple minutes ago, quote, "wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, and many other top political people in campaigns. Didn't know Manafort was the head of the mob. What about Comey and crooked Hillary and all the others? Very unfair."
Let's go straight to Evan Perez with more color from inside the courtroom. Evan, I know the judge was tough. She said this case has no room for politics and she have, quote, "no appetite for this." Tell me about what she decided.
EVAN PEREZ. CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, exactly, Brooke. I will tell you real quick when Paul Manafort walked in and he was going through those shouts, I was just ahead of him in the line of security to get into the courthouse, and he had this smirk on his face. You could tell that he did not expect that this is the way his day was going to end, with him being led away with U.S. Marshals. And look, the judge really was struggling with this decision. She
said she had the prosecutors and the defense make their respective arguments, and then she took a 15-minute break and then came back and rendered her decision. Everyone was very, very surprised. She said that this was about the integrity of the court system, and really, she said that there was no way she could think of crafting any other kind of order that could cover all the possible violations that Paul Manafort could commit. She said he had been given many, many chances before, and he had violated the terms of his house arrest.
He's been wearing ankle bracelets on each leg, because he's facing charges, not only here in Washington, he's got seven counts here in Washington, but he's got another 18 charges, counts, over in Virginia, where he's facing a federal trial in July. The federal trial here in Washington is not until September. So, for now, Paul Manafort is going to be spending time in jail. As you said, the governor described what they said is a five-week campaign by Paul Manafort to try to craft the testimony of some of the witnesses, reaching out to people in Italy and Moscow and using encrypted apps and different cell phones in order to hide what he was trying to do.
His defense attorneys argued that he didn't know these people were witnesses, and they said that revoking the bail was going to be a very, very harsh testimony. He also said that, you know, the way to do this was for the government to provide the list of witnesses, 50 or so witnesses, and then Paul Manafort would know these are the people that he could not get in touch with. They also said, we promise this will not happen again. The judge did not buy it, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Yes. Do not commit crimes while out on house arrest. Evan Perez on the latest on Paul Manafort. We're going to come back to that in a second. Let's get to this one now that the other once close Trump associate facing legal troubles. One source familiar with the matter tells CNN the president's long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen has indicated he's willing to cooperate with federal investigators. According to sources, Cohen is feeling angry and isolated about his diminished role as the president's one-time fixer. The president responded to frequent questions about Cohen during that whole press scrum this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven't spoken to Michael in a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he still your lawyer?
TRUMP: No, he's not my lawyer. But I always liked Michael. And he's a good person. And I think he's been -- excuse me. Do you mind if I talk? You're asking me a question, and I'm trying to answer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to know if you're worried if he's going to cooperate with federal --
TRUMP: No, I'm not worried, because I did nothing wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: CNN national correspondent Brynn Gingras. What changed?
BRYNN GINGRAS: Every day it feels like it's different. That's what we keep hearing, there is more pressure building for Michael Cohen, and now were learning from friends and family, yes, he's feeling isolated, angry with comments made by President Trump, by his current attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
[14:05:00] it's unclear if those comments you just showed your viewers helped in any way. We've also been hearing from the inside of the hotel where he's been staying for the past few months that he just looks worn out. He looks tired. He's got a lot going on. Remember, today is a big day. Today is a big day in the case currently building against him where there is a deadline, of 3.7 million files had to be reviewed by his attorneys to determine attorney-client privilege, and then turned over to the special master in that case.
This is all before criminal charges are even filed in this case. So, there's a lot going on, and he has said to friends and family that his family is the top priority. So, if it comes to him having to cooperate with federal investigators, he's putting them first.
BALDWIN: And, again, you heard the president this morning at the White House this morning saying, hey, no big deal, I did nothing wrong so questions on whether or not he cooperates. Let me ask you, we know Michael Cohen has been trying to get this restraining order against Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' attorney to stop speaking up so much about the lawsuit. A federal judge has just ruled on that. Which way?
GINGRAS: This is a different case.
BALDWIN: Totally separate.
GINGRAS: Remember, talking about pressure, this is totally separate. So that judge actually ruled later on this month, they'll make a decision. But for now, they didn't see a reason to put a restraining order against Michael Avenatti and Cohen and his attorneys filed this, saying basically he's been on a publicity tour. Had 120-plus media events, talking sometimes about Michael Cohen in a disparaging way. And that could impact the case if it were to go to a case or trial for Michael Cohen. So that we'll have to see how it plays out in the next month. But for now, no restraining order against Michael Avenatti.
BALDWIN: Thank you very much. So much to talk about here between this judge sending Paul Manafort to jail in the president's one-time fixer Michael Cohen indicating he may cooperate. Let me bring in former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin and former federal prosecutor, Joe Moreno. Gentlemen, welcome.
Happy Friday. Michael Zeldin, this judge in this whole Manafort case, let me go back to her. Her name is Berman Jackson, and this is another quote from her today. "This is not middle school. I can't take his cell phone. I thought about this long and hard, Mr. Manafort. I have no appetite for this." Woo! MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Tough stuff. But what happened
here was that Manafort really abused the privilege she gave him by allowing him out on bond in the first instance. And this was not his first strike. Remember, he violated the no gag order -- the gag order, the no communications, by penning an op-ed. So, this was the second time that Amy Jackson felt that he was taking advantage of her. She felt, therefore, he was a threat to the administration, the new administration of justice, and she stepped him back, and he'll spend his time now either in Alexandria or Orange, Virginia, where the U.S. Marshal Service finds space for him. And that's where he'll stay until there is jail unless the court of appeals overturns it.
BALDWIN: And this is after, Evan reminded us, he had those GPS ankle bracelets on, you know, tracking his every move. They were worried he would be some sort of flight risk. Remember, they had already bonded him out at $10 million, and now with this -- with the charges of witness tampering, we saw how the judge ruled, Joe. I mean, just knowing what he is -- what those suspect that he was up to while he was out on this house arrest, is that just -- how do you view that? Is that just a reckless view of the justice system? What's your interpretation?
JOE MORENO, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Brooke, it's so hard to get into the head of someone who does this. Someone who has dug themselves into a hole and then just keeps on digging. It's like they're insisting on hurting their own case. And as we have seen, there's fewer things that a federal district judge will tolerate, less than someone who has violated the trust that has been put in them in allowing them to remain out on bail pending trial. And so, to do these things, you know, I mean, I heard the report that, you know, Paul Manafort was surprised, perhaps, that this happened. I wasn't surprised. When I saw the evidence that was presented about these individuals he had made contact with and the different apps he had used and the different cell phone he had used, I mean, it flies in the face of what the trust that was placed in him. So, I'm not surprised that he was yanked back and now put in jail.
BALDWIN: What about Michael Cohen, Michael Zeldin? Because, listen, we've talked so much about him. We've heard him say I'd take a bullet for this man, being Donald Trump. That he's this fixer. They go back years and years.
[14:10:00] I understand what Brynn is reporting, that he's irked with the president, that he feels like the way the president is characterized, who he is and his role as being diminished maybe hurts his feelings. But can you just -- take us behind the curtain. We know that he hasn't talked to prosecutors, so why would he change his mind? And go back on his word and actually cooperate?
ZELDIN: There's a big difference between theory and practice. So, in theory, he's, you know, the Ray Donovan who was going to take a bullet and fix everything. In practice he's a human being with the family. Who is facing potentially an indictment in federal court that if the charges are serious, and he's convicted of, he'll spend a long time in jail. And that informs a person's behavior. Whether he, you know, is sending a message to Trump saying, look, I'm about to flip, unless you pardon me, who knows?
But I think that my experience with individuals who are facing a situation that Cohen is facing is that when push comes to shove, all of the bravado falls away to the very human interaction they have with themselves and their families, and they --
BALDWIN: Family is a huge piece of this.
ZELDIN: That's right. And they behave in their best interests. They don't really stand up for the theory of protecting another person. You know, it's a very special person who is, you know, a secret service agent who can literally take a bullet for somebody. It's quite another person who can pretend to be that person that when it comes to it, cannot do it.
BALDWIN: So, you know, we'll wait and see. It's interesting you say perhaps this is his final Hail Mary message to the president. Maybe he will be cooperating. And Joe, we know that as we have been reporting earlier this week, you know, he's saying goodbye to his batch of DC lawyers who have been helping him go through the 3.7 million files of evidence that was due today and now he wants these lawyers familiar with the southern district of New York, right, because that's the way the case is proceeding. What are next steps to look out for?
MORENO: Well, I mean, a couple different avenues this could go in, right? He could cooperate. He could be charged. He has not been charged yet. We're assuming because of the aggressiveness we have seen by the prosecutors in the southern district of New York that charges could be coming, but it hasn't happened yet. So, the question is, will he fight it, ala Paul Manafort, and just kind of go at it or would he cooperate. And the question is, what does he know. And Brooke, as someone who --
BALDWIN: And what will he get for his cooperation, right?
MORENO: Well, I mean, it's -- what does he have that's valuable to the government, right? What does he have that helps their case, and is he seen as credible? Because the government does not like when someone who kind of, you know, plays games with them as far as what they know. So, the government will say, OK, let's hear what you have. Let's judge your honesty and how would you hold up as a potential witness, and then we'll talk about what we can do for you, based on what we know. And we don't know what's in those 3.7 or so million documents.
BALDWIN: No, we don't.
MORENO: But the government knows, and Mr. Cohen knows. So, it's a conversation that very well could happen.
BALDWIN: All right. Joe Moreno. Quickly, Michael.
ZELDIN: I was going to add one thing. He could also just enter into a plea bargain for himself with no testimony if he has nothing else to give. So, Joe is right. If he has something else to give, he may get a better deal, but he may want to plead guilty to a plea bargain to reduce the amount exposure that he has. So, a lot of options for him.
BALDWIN: A lot of options. We're going to watch this play out. Michael and Joe, thank you both so much on that. Still to come this afternoon here on CNN, a wild morning over at the White House. President Trump makes plenty of news, and false statements during this free-wheeling interview. CNN fact check is next.
Also, outcry growing over the situation at the border. Immigrant children being torn away from their parents. CNN takes you inside one of the 100 migrant children centers that's been set up.
Also, after a week of disagreements in his own party over handling North Korea, tariffs, the border, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham taking heat for his defense of Trump. His blunt remarks to CNN today, coming up. You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin.
[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: So, this morning was kind of extraordinary. The president walks out of the White House and goes straight over to the media. Who did he choose to stop and talk to? His favorite TV channel, Fox News. And talk he did. For 49 minutes on a wide variety of topics, everything from his recent trip to Singapore to former cabinet members to how many televisions are on board Air Force One. And standing there on the north lawn of the White House, a lawn that you and I pay for with our taxes, he lied. Again and again. And so today we got to call him out. So, let's go through it. First on North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hey, he's the head of a country, and I mean, he's the strong head. Don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Kim's people sit up at attention because they fear imprisonment and murder. Kim ordered 340 people to be executed in his first five years, about 140 were government officials, according to this 2016 report from the Institute for National Security Strategy. And the whole "my people" bit as the president said are Americans who have the right to freedom and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When leader challenged on those comments, the president said he was joking. Next, the Inspector General Report. Remember, this was 18 months in the making, a deep look at how the FBI handled or mishandled the Clinton e-mail investigation. And this morning, President Trump said this.
[14:20:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think that the report yesterday maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me. There was no collusion, there was no obstruction. And if you read the report, you'll see that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: No part of the 500 pages in the report addresses Trump's guilt or innocence in the Russia investigation. Next to his former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I feel badly for General Flynn. He's lost his house, he's lost his life. And some people say he lied, and some people say he didn't lie. I mean, really, it turned out maybe he didn't lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Uh, Flynn pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI, and President Trump himself in a tweet said, "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and to the FBI. Lastly on immigration here, and this administration's policy that is ripping children from their parents at the border. Here, once again, is the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The children -- the children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully and immediately. The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Fact. There is no federal law on the books requiring family separation as Fact Check.Org states, quoting them. "Instead, it is this administration's decision to criminally prosecute all immigrants who cross the border illegally that will cause children to be separated from their parents."
We are also on that final point, beginning to get our first look at the human toll caused by the separation of immigrant children who are being torn away from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico. CNN did recently go on a tour of this 100 migrant children center set up, as part of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy to arrest anyone who crosses the border illegally in Brownsville, Texas.
Nearly 1,500 boys between the ages of 10 and 17 are being housed inside a former Walmart store. That number has grown by 300 boys, just in the past month. With me now, Manny Fernandez. Manny is the Houston bureau chief of the "New York Times," and he visited that shelter just two days ago and wrote about what he saw in the "Times." Manny, thank you for being with me. And I just want to dive right in on the kids, really they're young men, mostly from Central America. How are they? One. And two, do they understand that they are on the front lines of this border crisis?
MANNY FERNANDEZ, HOUSTON BUREAU CHIEF OF THE "NEW YORK TIMES": You know, it was a quick tour, right? It was 90 minutes. And in my 90 minutes there, I saw a lot of the children. They looked well fed. You know, they seemed to be well supervised. They had clothes. They had classroom instruction. They were playing pool. They were watching movies. They were in medical offices. So, on a surface level in those 90 minutes, you know, I didn't see a lot of anguish. And we were not able to actually interview any of the children. But I met many of them very briefly, shook their hands. A lot of the boys waved at us, at the media, smiled at us. And a lot of them nodded their heads and said that they were OK.
BALDWIN: So, you said that's on the surface level. What about deeper?
FERNANDEZ: You know, deeper, there's just a host of other issues, right? You have -- one of the things that jumped out at me that I sort of wasn't really expecting to notice is that there is a difference between a 10-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy. And having those very young children with the older children in one facility together, that raises a whole host of issues for programming, for how you deal with the different issues that develop and the different children.
[14:25:00] Because those 10-year-old and 11-year-old boys, they really stuck out to me. You could really notice them, you could really see the very young ones. And that sort of -- that's at least one of the deeper issues.
BALDWIN: You wrote in your piece, you talked about how -- I think it was 2012 when you visited Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio when Obama was in the White House, where, also at the time unaccompanied youth were being housed temporarily. How is what you saw this week under the Trump administration any different from that?
FERNANDEZ: From what I saw, from touring that facility, it was similar, but bigger. You know, what I saw at Lackland in 2012 and what I saw on Wednesday, there was a similar structure, there was a similar orderly way that the kids were in a detention center, but they were also in a school type environment. And I saw that on Wednesday. It was just a lot bigger. Many, many more boys. Many more employees. And there was the sudden expansion, which is an important part of it. Just a few weeks ago, this facility, according to the state, was licensed to house 1,186 children. Just a few weeks, that number has boosted to about 1,500. And so that sudden expansion, I'm sure there will be problems that come out from that.
BALDWIN: Since you've seen so much of this with your own eyes, I want to play this for you. This was the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, speaking this morning on precisely this subject.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not hostile to immigration. We're not against immigration. We're not trying to punish good people who want to come here in a lawful way. We simply are responding to the decent concerns of the American people to end the lawlessness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: You saw it. Are we hostile to immigration?
FERNANDEZ: In those 90 minutes at that facility, I did not see any hostility. You know, but there's other things going on. But as far as a visual hostility of how the employees treat the children, you know, obviously, we didn't see that in those 90 minutes. But one thing that was not mentioned during the tour, are the number of violations that this facility and other shelters have gotten by the state of Texas, by regulators, for various things. For pushing youth, for giving the wrong medication to different youth, for a host of issues. And, again, those are the deeper issues that are more invisible in a sense that require a lot more digging.
BALDWIN: Keep digging. Manny Fernandez with the "New York times," thank you very much in Texas for us.
FERNANDEZ: Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: You got it. Coming up next, President Trump following through on his threat, imposing big tariffs on Chinese exports. What this means for you and your wallet.
Also, Senator Lindsey Graham not mincing words while defending his support a president Trump, hear what he said just a short while ago on CNN. Here's a hint. We had to believe it.