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THE SITUATION ROOM
Manafort's Bail Revoked for Witness Tampering; Trump Attacks in All Directions But Praises Kim Jong-un; Cohen Signals Openness to Cooperate with Feds; Giuliani Says Things Might Get Cleaned Up With Pardons After Former Trump Campaign Chair Manafort Sent To Jail; Cohen Signals Openness To Cooperate With Feds; Trump: I Want "My People" To Sit Up At Attention Like North Koreans In Videos Of Kim Jong-un. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 15, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:10:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Behind bars. A federal judge revokes bail for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, sending him to jail for alleged witness tampering while he awaits trial on a slew of federal charges. Why is presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani already talking about pardons?
Relieving the pressure. The president's longtime fixer, Michael Cohen, may be closer to cooperating with prosecutors, who have pieced together shredded documents found in a raid. Will Cohen act to relieve the pressure on him and his family?
Off the rails. In an extraordinary free for all with reporters, President Trump goes off-script and off the rails, attacking in all directions. Are the legal actions against his associates taking a toll?
And sitting up. Heaping praise on North Korea dictator, the president says that when Kim Jong-un speaks, his people sit up at attention, adding, quote, "I want my people to do the same." So what does that mean?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Breaking news. As his former campaign chairman is ordered to jail and his long-term lawyer and fixer considers cooperating with federal prosecutors, President Trump takes to Twitter, television and the White House driveway, aiming a stunning tourney of attacks and falsehoods at his critics and his rivals, his predecessor, law enforcement, the news media and America's allies, while defending and praising America's foes, like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.
I'll speak with Congressman David Cicilline of the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees. And our correspondents and specialists, they are standing by with full coverage.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now in custody, his bail revoked for alleged witness tampering.
Let's get straight to our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider.
Jessica, take us through this truly extraordinary turn of events.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Extraordinary indeed, Wolf. For months now, Paul Manafort has been under House arrest, only permitted to leave his House for certain family and religious events.
But with prosecutors now charging him with witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice, the judge said today she had no choice but to revoke his bail and send him to jail until his trial.
Sources are now telling CNN Manafort's friends are shell-shocked but the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, he is defiant, telling "The New York Daily News" today he doesn't understand the justification for sending Manafort to jail, and then saying this: "When the whole thing is over, things might get cleaned up with some presidential pardons."
And the president today himself also weighed in.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Tonight former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is headed to jail. A federal judge revoked Manafort's $10 million bail after prosecutors alleged that he spent five weeks contacting witnesses in the case and asking them to lie.
SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's rare to put a white-collar defendant with no prior criminal history in jail pending the trial. It terrifically ratchets up the pressure on Paul Manafort.
SCHNEIDER: The judge said she didn't have many options to ensure he didn't continue to contact witnesses. She said, "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."
Prosecutors from the special counsel's team called Manafort "a danger to the community" in court, two weeks after filing details about Manafort's repeated contacts with two people who had previously worked for him. Court filings refer to them as person D-1 and D-2.
Manafort and a confidant allegedly asked them to make the false claim that Manafort had lobbied on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians only in Europe when investigators say, in fact, he lobbied the U.S. Congress for those Ukrainian politicians from 2011 to 2013.
Prosecutors say Manafort used phone calls and encrypted apps for messaging, beginning in February, and allegedly wrote to person D-1, "We should talk. I have made clear that they worked in Europe."
They say he also used a system called foldering, where multiple people have access to an account and write messages to one another as draft e-mails that are never sent. One of the witnesses alerted the FBI to Manafort's messages.
Manafort's attorneys tried to argue he didn't know he was contacting witnesses in the case and promised it wouldn't happen again. But now Manafort will await a September trial in D.C. and a July trial
in Virginia from behind bars, a factor that will make it harder for his defense and ramp up the pressure for Manafort to cooperate.
All this as President Trump tries to distance himself from his former campaign chairman.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I feel badly about a lot of it, because I feel a lot of it is very unfair. And they went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago?
[17:05:07] You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time.
SCHNEIDER: And later tweeting, "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."
SCHNEIDER: Now to clarify, Paul Manafort has not been sentenced, as the president tweeted. Instead, he'll be in jail while he awaits a trial on his charges, which have now mounted to 25 criminal charges in federal courts in both Virginia and Washington, D.C. And Wolf, if he were to be convicted on all of those charges, he'd face up to 305 years in prison -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. The pressure is clearly mounting on him. Jessica Schneider, thank you very much.
President Trump lashed out in all directions today via Twitter, television and a stunning ad-lib session with reporters. Let's go our senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown.
Pamela, clearly, the president has a lot on his mind.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSES CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. President Trump seemed eager to speak with reporters today, going off script, answering their questions on everything from North Korea to the I.G. report.
And he caused some confusion with his response opposing an immigration bill that his own White House staffers helped negotiate, sending lawmakers on Capitol Hill scrambling.
BROWN (voice-over): President Trump making an unusual appearance on the White House North Lawn today --
TRUMP: Listen, I'm doing an interview over here.
BROWN: -- telling reporters, the inspector general's report on Hillary Clinton's e-mail practices issued Thursday absolves him from Mueller's investigation.
TRUMP: I think that the report yesterday may be, 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.
BROWN: But the report did not address anything about possible collusion or obstruction and determined the FBI's handling of the Clinton e-mail probe was not politically motivated.
But it did chastise FBI officials Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who worked on the Clinton and Trump investigations, for exchanging a series of anti-Trump text messages.
And it found that former FBI director James Comey acted in an extraordinary and insubordinate manner at times during his investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So from what you've seen so far, should James Comey be locked up?
TRUMP: Well, look, I would never want to get involved in that. Certainly, he -- they just seem like very criminal acts to me. What he did was criminal.
BROWN: But the president today stopped short of putting an end to the Russia investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you thinking of suspending Mueller?
TRUMP: No, but I think that whole investigation now is -- look, the problem with the Mueller investigation is everybody has got massive conflicts.
BROWN: Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, went a step further, telling FOX News --
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Peter Strzok was running the Hillary investigation. That's a total fix. That is a closed book now, total fix. Comey should go to jail for that, and Strzok. Let's investigate the investigators. Let's take a halt to the Mueller investigation.
BROWN: The president today also talking about his newly-minted relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
TRUMP: 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 the same.
BROWN: Later telling reporters he was joking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean just now when you said you wished Americans would sit up at attention when you spoke?
TRUMP: I'm kidding. You don't understand sarcasm.
BROWN: He was also pressed on his previous statements about the North Korean dictator loving his people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can Kim love his people if he's killing them?
TRUMP: I can't speak to that. I can only speak to the fact that we signed an incredible agreement. It's great.
BROWN: The president causing angst on Capitol Hill today after a White House source said he misunderstood a question on immigration, saying he would not support the House's compromise immigration bill.
TRUMP: I certainly wouldn't sign --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does the bill need?
TRUMP: I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that.
BROWN: Trump today also inaccurately blaming Democrats for the new Department of Justice policy that separates families at the border.
TRUMP: That's the law, and that's what the Democrats gave us. And we're willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate. But they just don't want to negotiate. They're afraid of -- they're afraid of security for our country.
BROWN: And Wolf, I spoke to one White House official today who was watching this FOX News interview with the president inside of the White House, and this official said there was an audible gasp in the room when the president said he opposed that immigration bill.
Now since then, White House officials have anonymously been trying to walk back the president's comments, saying he misunderstood. But no one from the White House has gone on the record to correct what the president said. And lawmakers are hesitant to put weight on anything other than the president's own words on this matter -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown at the White House. Thank you.
Joining us now, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island. He's a member of both the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees.
[17:10:00] Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. And I want to get your reaction to our top story. As you know, the former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, he's headed to jail after prosecutors alleged he tried to tamper with witnesses ahead of his trial.
How much additional pressure is this going to put on Manafort to cooperate with the special counsel?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: Well, I think a tremendous amount of pressure. Look, this is now an individual who will remain in custody pending his trial, who's been found by a grand jury to have been -- more probable cause than not that he attempted to tamper with witnesses and interfere with the testimony or change their testimony. This is a very serious charge.
And it's going to be obviously -- give Mr. Manafort an opportunity, you know, to think long and hard about whether or not he wants to come clean and tell the special counsel what he knows or whether he wants to remain in jail and face some very serious charges. So I think this is a very, very important development.
BLITZER: He'll have a lot of time in jail right now to think about all that.
The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says things might get "cleaned up," in his words, with some presidential pardons, when, quote, "the whole thing is over." Does that sound like a signal to Manafort to keep his mouth shut and refuse to cooperate?
CICILLINE: Well, I think the president and his team have been signaling the likelihood of some pardons for folks if they keep their mouths quiet for a number of weeks now. He's issued pardons which particularly focus on people who testified or gave false information in ongoing investigations. I think he's been very clear about his willingness to do more pardons. And I think Mr. Giuliani's statement today is certainly a signal of, "Look, don't forget what the presidential power of pardon could mean for you."
I think what he has failed to understand is there are a number of potentially serious state charges that many of these witnesses face that the president has no power to pardon. So I think their lawyers are telling him that, and they'll obviously understand that before they take any decision that relies on an expectation of getting a presidential pardon.
BLITZER: Do you believe the president, using his pardon power, which the Constitution, of course, grants him, to essentially, though, buy Paul Manafort's silence? Could that potentially constitute obstruction of justice?
CICILLINE: I think so. I think it not only could constitute obstruction of justice, it could constitute an impeachable offense. I think, look, the presidential pardon is a serious one. It certainly exists. But it is certainly not ever intended to be used as a way to conceal or cover up or prevent the president from being held accountable for his misconduct.
So I think the American people would react very negatively to that. I think the special counsel would take note of it. It certainly would be an abuse of the presidential pardon power. And I think everyone should -- Republican and Democrat should make it very clear to this administration and this president that that would not be tolerated.
BLITZER: Some legal scholars have put forward this notion that, if the president does issue a pardon, that could potentially backfire, because Manafort would no longer be protected by his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination; therefore, could potentially be compelled to testify. Do you think Manafort will end up talking one way or another?
CICILLINE: Yes, I mean, I think that legal argument is a very sound one. I mean, the Fifth Amendment protects you from being compelled to give testimony that could incriminate you.
If you are given a presidential pardon, that threat no longer exists, and so there is no basis for you to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege. And I think that would, in fact, result in Mr. Manafort being required to.
So I think his lawyers have -- are gaming this out for him. But I think he's going to learn that it will be best if he comes forward, he comes clean, says what he knows and allows Mr. Mueller to complete his investigation.
BLITZER: Do you believe Giuliani's comments were a signal to other witnesses and targets in this investigation?
CICILLINE: Well, I mean, it's hard -- you listen to Mr. Giuliani who, you know, between him and the president, who is saying, "There's no collusion. There's no obstruction of justice."
First of all, to have people -- or the person who is the subject of the investigation think he's going to tell what the outcome will be is kind of laughable.
And the notion that this -- all of this discussion about pardons was -- is clearly an intention to remind people that here is a president who has enormous pardon power, who is willing to use it. I think that's the only reason they're speaking about these things.
Fortunately, there are a number of state investigations underway. This new case that was filed, in fact, with respect to the Trump Foundation just today or yesterday. I think there are a number of reasons that -- that investigations are underway that are beyond the pardon power of the president.
But that's clearly the intention. To let people know, "Look, the president has power. If you keep your mouth quiet, the president has the ability to protect you."
BLITZER: Congressman Cicilline, thanks so much for joining us.
CICILLINE: Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: Up next, the president's longtime fixer, Michael Cohen, he's said to be angry over the treatment that he's received from the president and from Rudy Giuliani. Is Cohen ready to cooperate with prosecutors?
And what would it mean for the Stormy Daniels case if Cohen flips? I'll talk to her lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Stay with us.
[17:19:37] BLITZER: Our breaking news, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has his bail revoked and is ordered to jail pending trial, and another Trump associate is facing growing legal trouble. The president's longtime personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, may be getting ready to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
CNN's Kara Scannell is joining us from New York right now. Tell us what you're learning.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, sources told CNN that Michael Cohen is now willing. He's considering -- he's telling friends he's willing to cooperate with the financial investigation into him.
He has told this source that he is angry at how -- the treatment he's received from President Trump, who has really distanced himself and minimized his relationship with Cohen; and also the comments made by Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Now Cohen is considering this, we're told, to alleviate some of the pressure he's feeling and the pressure on his family. A source told Gloria Borger that the relationship between Cohen and Trump is not what it used to be.
And this has all led Cohen, our source tells us, to feel isolated and now more open to cooperate.
This comes, Wolf, as Cohen is looking for a new lawyer to represent him in this investigation. And we're told he's looking for someone from a boutique law firm in New York, a former prosecutor from the very office that's investigating him, hoping that that will help him either -- whether it leads to a negotiation, but also help him kind of understand how that office works and provide some insights into proceeding with this investigation going forward, Wolf.
BLITZER: It's very interesting, Kara, because as you know, Mueller, the special counsel, he referred this criminal investigation to the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.
What could Mueller, from all of your reporting, want from Cohen and what, if anything, would the president have to worry about?
SCANNELL: Well, I mean, Mueller's been looking at and asking questions about various meetings that Trump individuals and associates have had with Russians. We know that Michael Cohen was someone who was working with the Trump Organization to establish a Trump Tower in Moscow. That could be something that Mueller is interested in.
Cohen also had a role in the early days of the campaign. So that could be an area where Mueller might have some questions for him. You know, Michael Cohen has not been charged with any wrongdoing. We know the investigation in New York is really focusing on his personal financial dealings.
And of course, President Trump, when he was even asked earlier today what Cohen's cooperation could mean for him, he said, "I did nothing wrong, nothing." So it would really depend on what Cohen could bring to the table. And
that will also factor into whether prosecutors want to offer him a cooperation deal and what the terms of that deal might be, Wolf.
BLITZER: And the president today also said that Cohen is not his lawyer.
What did we learn today, Kara, about the materials the FBI seized when they raided Cohen's home, his hotel room, his office?
SCANNELL: Well, Wolf, there was a new filing from the government that indicated that -- remember those shredded documents that we learned about at the last court hearing? Well, they've now determined that they've put together 16 pages of documents that they recovered from that shredding document.
They also -- the forensic lab in Quantico has gone through one of two BlackBerries and uncovered 731 pages of newly-discovered encrypted messages from the app Signal and WhatsApp. And that they've also -- told that the -- the government also told the court that all this material has been handed over to Cohen's team and Cohen's team has indicated they will finish reviewing these documents and electronic materials by June 25.
So we're getting closer to the end of the line here as far as this whole process of reviewing the documents for attorney/client privilege. And that means these documents will be -- will go into the hands of the prosecution on a rolling basis now going forward, Wolf.
BLITZER: Very strong reporting from Kara Scannell. Kara, thank you very, very much.
Coming up, Paul who? President Trump acts like he barely knows his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who's being sent to jail now for alleged witness tampering, awaiting trial on a laundry list of federal charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think a lot of it's very unfair. And I look at some of them where they go back 12 years. But Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign.
[17:28:34] BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories, including a federal judge today ordering former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to be jailed.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team asked that Manafort's H=house arrest be revoked after accusing him of contacting potential witnesses and asking them to lie during his upcoming trial.
Let's bring in our political and legal experts.
And Susan Hennessey, break down the judge's decision for us today and what this means for Paul Manafort.
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So essentially what the judge did was she revoked Paul Manafort's bail. So Paul Manafort was out of jail pending his trial, subject to a number of conditions. And one of those conditions was he wasn't allowed to commit additional federal crimes.
And so now what he stands accused of is engaging in new obstructive -- obstruction crimes -- federal witness tampering -- and so the judge has now decided that he is going to have to return to jail, potentially, for a number of months until he actually stands trial.
You know, this is incredibly significant for Paul Manafort. Being incarcerated makes it far more difficult to coordinate your defense with your attorneys. So it's going to make it harder for him, actually, to defend himself. It's also a really unpleasant experience.
And so this is going to mount a lot more pressure on Paul Manafort and potentially raise the specter of whether or not he's going to be cooperating.
BLITZER: The president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told "The New York Daily News" that things might get, in his words, "cleaned up" with some presidential pardons when, quote, "the whole thing is over."
Is the president allowed to essentially try to signal that he wants to buy Paul Manafort's silence with a pardon?
[17:30:00] HENNESSEY: Well, I think it is an open and complex question but an open question. I do think it's possible that this could qualify as independent obstruction of justice acts -- if the president is using his pardon power improperly. I mean, but this isn't just as simple as President Trump can make this all go away. Paul Manafort potentially might still face state charges; President Trump wouldn't be able to pardon those charges. And as was discussed earlier in the program, he might actually by issuing a pardon, Paul Manafort might no longer be able to assert the fifth amendment allowing federal prosecutors to actually compel his testimony maybe even against the president in a way they hadn't before. So, this is really a high-risk, sort of, activity for Manafort and the president, and there are no guarantees that it's going to work out.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Good point. Gloria, do you think Paul Manafort could count on the president to issue that pardon?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think he can. I mean, we certainly don't know. And the president, as you know, can change his mind at any moment. Even if he's thinking about it, maybe he'll say no. But I talked to somebody who is familiar with the president's thinking today about Paul Manafort. And while the source couldn't predict what the president is likely to do, particularly after what Rudy Giuliani said, he did say to me: look, during the campaign there was no chemistry between these two people; they were not close. The president regarded Paul Manafort as kind of a creature from the swamp -- the swamp being Washington -- and that he didn't really care for him personally. There wasn't -- you know, they weren't comfortable with each other. Whether that would affect a decision to pardon or not is anybody's guess, but it's certain they're not personally close.
BLITZER: You know, Chris Cillizza, I want you to listen to the what the president actually said today about Manafort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I feel badly about a lot of it because I think a lot of it is very unfair. I mean, I look at some of them where they go back 12 years. Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. But I feel so -- I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago. You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time. He worked for Ronald Reagan, he worked Bob Dole, he worked for John McCain, he worked for many other Republicans, he worked for me, what, 49 days or something? A very short period of time. I feel badly for some people because they've gone back 12 years to find things about somebody and I don't think it's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We should point out that Manafort was actually a Campaign Chairman for three months, not 49 days, and he was involved with the campaign for -- in some capacity for nearly five months. Chris Cillizza, what's your analysis of the president's comments?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, this is the latest example of: I've never heard of that person before. And Paul Manafort, campaign chairman was his title and campaign manager was his effective role. He was brought in, Wolf, if you remember back, he was brought it when there was a belief or suspicion among the Trump folks that the establishment would line up amazingly behind Ted Cruz and try to rob Donald Trump of the nomination in a, sort of, knife fight delegate battle. And that wound up not happening because Donald Trump just kept winning. But that's why Paul Manafort was brought in. He was seen as a guy who could operate the levers of the inside of the Republican Party in a way that Donald Trump knew he couldn't. He did play a critical role in that period. Donald Trump is right, he's not someone like Michael Cohen who's been with Donald Trump forever. But to diminish his role, I think is a mistake. It's not just the amount of time, it's the period of time. It was a critical period of time. Although, Gloria, I think is exactly right: they don't seem ever to have been a hugely natural fit, personality wise. But I don't think we can just dismiss out of hand that Paul Manafort played an important role no matter what Donald Trump says.
BLITZER: And during those five months, he was very visible in that roll. Nia-Malika Henderson, the president also reacted on Twitter after the federal judge's decision to send Manafort to jail awaiting trial. He tweeted this: "Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort who has represented Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn't know Manafort was the head of the mob. What about Comey and crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair." And first of all, it wasn't a sentence he's awaiting; he hasn't even been tried yet, hasn't been -- he's charged with the whole bunch of crimes but hasn't been convicted. He's still innocent until proven guilty. But what does it tell you, the president's statement, about the president's thinking?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I mean, noticeably he obviously didn't say in that tweet that Paul Manafort actually worked for him too. He's mentioning everybody else in that tweet but again sort of distancing himself from Paul Manafort. But also, I think, he is framing this whole investigation -- again, as unfair, as if there is some sort of plot against him and against Paul Manafort in this instance, and that there is some sort of overreach in terms of the justice or this investigation into Paul Manafort, that it's widened and that it's unfair. And that instead of going after Hillary Clinton, as they should be going after Hillary Clinton, they're going after Paul Manafort in an unfair way and this is something that we continuously hear from Donald Trump. This idea that people are out to get -- people are out to get people around him, people like Paul Manafort. So, yes, I mean, he's been very transparent and vocal about this idea in terms of trying to frame this, this whole investigation as unfair. He's obviously a plain to public opinion. I mean, it's not going to matter in terms of how this actual investigation proceeds, what Mueller and his investigators uncover and find, and go forward in this case but this is what we've heard from Donald Trump for months and this is likely what will continue here.
[17:35:53] CILLIZZA: And Wolf, just to add to Nia point. Remember, Donald Trump this morning in that round of talking he did on the north lawn said, and I quote that "the FBI was plotting against me". "Plotting against me." There's very little to -- well, I shouldn't even say very little -- there's no evidence in the inspector general report that that's the case. But to Nia's point, he clearly either believes this or is very invested in making sure that is a narrative out there. And there's a broader deep state -- there's more here than they're letting on.
BLITZER: Everybody stand by. There's more we need to report on the breaking news. We've got to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
[17:41:07] BLITZER: We're back with our political and legal experts. And Susan Hennessey, another Trump ally facing serious legal trouble -- we're talking about Michael Cohen, his long-time lawyer and fixer for a dozen years. He might be ready to cooperate, we're told, with prosecutors. So, what does that mean for his case?
HENNESSEY: Well, so, it does seem like Michael Cohen is sort of sending up smoke signals to the president. Look, if Michael Cohen's decided to cooperate, this would be potentially devastating. This is a guy who knows where the bodies are buried, metaphorically speaking, and in some cases, he helped bury them himself. You know, and I think if we look at those civil charges that the New York attorney general's office filed yesterday against the Trump Foundation, just sort of the incredible degree of open criminality and law breaking that is alleged there. You know, that's a context in which there are public filing and they know there's going to be public filings. So, really, you have to ask yourself, if that's what they are doing there, what is the Trump organization doing in other -- a less public element of the business and what does Michael Cohen know about?
BLITZER: Gloria, you have some new reporting on Michael Cohen's thinking and his relationship with the president. What are you hearing?
BORGER: I spoke with a source who talks to Michael Cohen, and you know, the source said, look, Michael Cohen is unhappy. He's confused -- was the word that was used to me. Because the relationship with Donald Trump is not what it once was. He's not happy also with what Rudy Giuliani has been saying. And so, I think this is somebody's whose family is under a great deal of stress. This case is costing him an awful lot of money and he is looking to hire a new attorney once the document review is done, who is very familiar with the southern district of New York. He's not met with prosecutors yet. But if you're hiring an attorney who can go in and sort of chat with southern district of New York and talk to them about what potential charges might be, and you would assume that they would also be chatting about the potential for cooperation.
BLITZER: Good point. Nia, the president is still clearly basking in the glow of the summit with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and continues to praise the young dictator. Listen to what he had to say about Kim Jong-un earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: 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 me team pima to do the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you mean just now when you said you wished Americans would sit up at attention.
TRUMP: I'm kidding, you don't understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So, Nia, does that sound like a joke to you?
HENDERSON: You know, it didn't sound like a joke to me and it probably didn't sound like a joke to Kim Jong-un either. Because we've had a situation where the president has lavished praise on Kim Jong-un. This murderous dictator calling him talented, at some point calling him open and honorable, saying that he understands him. So, you know, I think this came as a very much surprise. It seems like Trump was talking about his people -- meaning the folks who work in the White House, and he wishes they would do what he said and sort of relate to him in the way that people in KJU's regime relate to him. But the reason that those folks in North Korea relate to Kim Jong-un in that way is because he's a murderous dictator and they're afraid for their lives. So, I think, you know, this is concerning to a lot of people. I mean, I think some people say this is Trump trying to continuously flatter this dictator to get his way in terms of him giving up those nuclear weapons. But it's not really clear that this is necessarily going to work and we certainly know that Kim Jong-un is going to use this or he has used it most likely to -- as propaganda to essentially say look at the respect he's getting on the world stage, and partly he is getting that respect because he has those nuclear weapons, he's making that case to his people.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by. There's other news we're following. A new fury from President Trump as his former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort is ordered to jail.
[17:45:06] Also, the harsh reality between the happy pictures of North Koreans cheering and crying over Kim Jong-un.
BLITZER: President Trump insisting he was only kidding today when he expressed admiration for the adoring way North Koreans treat Kim Jong- un. Our Brian Todd has been checking with experts about what's really behind all the adulation we see in North Korea state videos. So, what are you finding out, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we've got new information tonight on what the North Koreans do behind the scenes to pull off those spectacular rallies, marches, and videos. We're told that inside Kim Jong-un's propaganda machine is a network of minders and enforcers who doll out swift punishment to those who step slightly out of line.
TODD: President Trump these days is full of admiration for Kim Jong- un, for his strength as a leader and the deference he's shown by his people.
TRUMP: He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.
TODD: The president later tried to clean up the comment by saying he was joking. But North Koreans aren't laughing, unless they're told to.
[17:50:49] GREG SCARLATOIU, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA: Just like the grandfather and the father, Kim Jong-un perhaps even more so, has ruled through fear -- the politics of fear.
TODD: That's especially evident in this propaganda video Kim's regime just produced to highlight the supreme leader's summit with President Trump in Singapore. Showing the kinds of displays of affection for Kim that President Trump says he appreciates. The video has the classic signatures of a North Korean production -- adoring crowds seeing Kim off at the Pyongyang airport, dramatic music, and upon his triumphant return, women in colorful robes, top officials, even normally stoic generals practically weeping at the side of them. But analyst say, what you're witnessing isn't spontaneous devotion; it's carefully choreographed. JAMES PIERSON, PROFESSOR, JOHN HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED
INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: They're here amassed early in the morning and standing around for hours with these flags. And when the moment comes, everyone knows exactly what they do to wave their flag or the flowers.
TODD: In one of the first propaganda films released after he took over from his father, Kim Jong-un is seen departing on a boat. The crowd of soldiers and civilians weep hysterically then do one better. Racing waist-deep into the water to see him off.
SCARLATOIU: If one doesn't clap for Kim Jong-un, that person is sure to be in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was your applause so weak?
TODD: In a 2016 documentary called "Under the Sun", a Russian filmmaker captured behind the scenes footage of a North Korean propaganda film being made. The minders often didn't know the cameras were rolling. At factories, dance classes, and elsewhere, minders are shown prodding, scolding film subjects to be more zealous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still too gloomy. Do it with more joy. You can do it more joyfully.
SIMONE BAUMANN, PRODUCER, "UNDER THE SUN": They would come to the scene and would tell the people what they have to do, where they have to sit, how they have to sit, how they have to smile.
TODD: But experts say, we shouldn't assume all this emotion is completely fake. Many North Koreans, they say, genuinely believe that their leader has god-like greatness because they've been indoctrinated in it.
PIERSON: The first thing they are taught in school is to revere the Kim family. And they're taught about the sacrifices of the Kim family to the state. Not just the individual Kim but the entire family going back generations.
TODD: A system that thanks to America's existing Democratic system, no president of the United States could ever recreate.
TODD: While the offense of not showing quite enough joy at a rally can be punishable with reeducation or jail time. For the average North Korean citizen, for top officials that kind of thing can be deadly. A top education official in North Korea was once executed by firing squad for showing a "bad attitude" at a gathering of the supreme people's assembly. Wolf?
BLITZER: Very interesting, indeed. All right. Brian, thanks for that reporting. Coming up, there's breaking news. A federal judge sends former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort to jail while he awaits trial on a long list of federal charges. [17:53:54] And as well in time, Trump fixer and lawyer, Michael Cohen,
weighs cooperating with the prosecutors. What would that mean for Stormy Daniels case? I will ask her attorney, Michael Avenatti.
[17:59:29] BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news: Manafort jailed. President Trump's former campaign chairman is locked up as a federal judge revokes his bail after Special Counsel Robert Mueller accuses him of witness tampering.
Cohen lashes out. The president's personal lawyer said to be upset with the way he is being treated by Mr. Trump and Rudy Giuliani and indicating he's willing to cooperate with federal prosecutors. Now, a federal judge has denied his request for a restraining order against Stormy Daniels' lawyer. Michael Avenatti joins me live this hour.
[18:00:04] Pardon cleanup. Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani says there may be presidential pardons when the Russia investigation is over. Is he sending a signal to Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and --