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Tom Arnold Meets with Cohen: "He Has All the Tapes"; "National Enquirer" Sent Stories About Trump to Attorney Michael Cohen Before Publication; EPA Commissions Congratulatory Coin on Puerto Rico Hurricane Response; Trump Meets with Families of People Killed by Illegal Immigrants. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 22, 2018 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: The photo is raising eyebrows. Arnold clarified with this, "Michael Cohen didn't say me and him were teaming up to take down Donald Trump. Michael has enough Trump on his plate. I'm the crazy person who said me and Michael Cohen are teaming up to take down Donald Trump. Of course, I meant it."

CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, and CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, are with me now.

(CROSSTALK)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Brooke, is the story weird enough for you?

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: It is not weird enough yet.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: So I think just to back up, Brian Stelter, starting with you. You have Tom Arnold and he's like there has to be some unsavory stuff out there of Trump on tape and I want to find them and do a show about it, and that is what he is essentially doing.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Yes. He has a suspicious that the "Access Hollywood" tape is not the only tape out there. There's been talk about the "Apprentice" archives and what might be in there. So apparently, Arnold's show for Vice, if it really does go on television, it is a search for other tapes. And that leads him to Michael Cohen.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: And if you wanted to do investigative reporting, who better to do it than Tom Arnold? Like what is this? Like what --

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: Also how is Michael Cohen so available for an interview? I thought he was hunkered down, not talking to anybody.

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: -- Tom Arnold.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: -- Tom Arnold: They didn't deny that the interview happened, but everybody is trying to read the tea leaves and try to figure out if he was going flip on Trump. And he was retweeting a photo, "I love New York and Tom Arnold" --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: -- "question mark, question mark, question mark."

TOOBIN: I think Michael Cohen is in a very difficult place because he is sort of a man without a country at the moment. He is part of the Trump organization, but, you know, they got a search warrant to search his phones, computers, tapes, everything.

BALDWIN: Pieces of evidence.

TOOBIN: They had to have probable cause that it is evidence of some crime. But in fairness to Cohen, he hasn't been charged with anything yet. We talk about will he flip, will he flip. We don't even know if he is going to be charged with a crime. But he is in a problematic situation to say the least.

BALDWIN: Good way to put it.

The other headline today, and we want to have you on because you wrote a ton about it.

But, Brian, first to you.

Here is the deal. From the "Washington Post," that "National Enquirer" executives let Michael Cohen review articles and photos featuring Trump and his opponents before they were published.

STELTER: A sign of how cozy the relationship is between David Pecker, who oversees the "National Enquirer," and the president and his allies. And Cohen was the intermediary, the fixer, helping to arrange this. Let me show you what the "Enquirer" says. Notice it's not a denial. Let me put it on screen.

It attacks the "Washington Post" reporting saying, "It is unfortunate that disgruntled ex-employees, who had no access to how decisions are made, without access to our executives, have been given a platform, hiding behind the protection of being anonymous sources, to grind their ax on the back of their former employer." And the "National Enquirer" is complaining about the sources in the "Washington Post," but that is not a denial. And what we seen in the "Washington Post" story lines up with everything reported about how the relationship works.

BALDWIN: Cozy, cozy.

TOOBIN: But again, it is bizarre how close David Pecker was and how he used the "Enquirer" to advance Donald Trump's candidacy.

BALDWIN: Talk about that. Talk about that.

TOOBIN: He attacked Hillary Clinton, how unhealthy she was, attacked Ted Cruz, attacked Marco Rubio at times when they were Trump's rivals. But I don't see what the crime is in any of this. All of this, it is true, is perhaps unsavory --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: For Michael Cohen to be shaping coverage of the "National Enquirer" to favor his client Donald Trump?

TOOBIN: Yes. It is certainly not how journalism is supposed to work, but I don't see that as a crime. Now, the one issue possibly is was there some sort of unlawful campaign contribution.

BALDWIN: What about --

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: But, again, what is the crime. They paid her $150,000. They never ran the story. Is that a campaign contribution? Maybe. But again, it is really weird and distasteful, and not how we imagine journalism should work. But whether there's a crime there's something that nobody has been charged with.

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: We'll find out because the "Journal" reported this week, American Media, the "National Enquirer's" parent, was subpoenaed this week. So apparently, the company is cooperating. So if there was something, we'll find out.

BALDWIN: Maybe Tom Arnold needs to get on it.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Get him on the case.

[14:34:36] BALDWIN: Jeff Toobin, Brian Stelter, thank you guys so much.

Watch Brian on "RELIABLE SOURCES" every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern here on CNN.

Thanks, guys.

Just ahead, more than 4,000 people estimated to have died, and the Trump administration still being criticized for its response. But now the government commissioning a congratulations coin for its response to Puerto Rico. One watch dog calls it disgusting. We'll discuss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The EPA is spending more than $8500 on hundreds of coins to thank emergency responders who helped with some of last year's deadly natural disasters, the wildfires in California and the catastrophic hurricanes that hit both Puerto Rico and parts of Florida and Texas. They are called challenge coins. Here is a protype. They are usually handed out in the military, but they have gained popularity among civilian agencies.

But some environmental advocates are calling it inappropriate because they believe that the Trump administration's response, particularly in Puerto Rico, was not nearly enough. More than 4,000 people are estimated to have died. And some people there still lack basic needs like clean water and electricity.

So with me now, Jamie Harper. She started a nonprofit, Harper for Humanity, to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. She has family on the island.

Welcome back. Good to see you again.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: And just, first, beginning with -- listen, let me say that I think a lot of people worked incredibly hard in the hurricane responses. Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico. And they shouldn't be denied this congratulations. My two cents.

But do you think that this coin is appropriate?

[14:40:49] JAMIE HARPER, FOUNDER, HARPER FOR HUMANITY: It is not to take from that part that people were there and they did help. But the response was not fast enough in the beginning. There were a lot of people struggling and then the delay of the help that still people don't have roofs, there are people that are going through very harsh times. And I don't think that it should be -- we don't even know how many people really died. So out of respect of the people that died in Puerto Rico, it should not be celebrated like, oh, there's a coin for the great job. Because I don't think when people die, and we don't know if it is 4,000 or 8,000, why would you congratulate. I don't get it.

BALDWIN: Jamie Harper, let me come back to you.

I'm being told let's go now to President Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- who join us here today.

If you could stand up, please.

These people are also special people.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. And they're good looking people, aren't they?

(LAUGHTER)

Good looking people. Thank you very much for being here and for the bravery, what you do and what you endure is incredible. I also want to stand and have the brave men and women from all over government agencies, we have a lot.

Just - maybe just raise your hand or stand, but we really appreciate the job that you've done, especially during the last year and a half because I know you've really put in a lot of extra. So please, thank you very much, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

We're gathered today to hear directly from the American victims of illegal immigration. You know you hear the other side, you never hear this side. You don't know what's going on. These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones.

The word permanently being the word that you have to think about. Permanently - they're not separated for a day or two days, these are permanently separated because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens. These are the families the media ignores, they don't talk about them, very unfair.

TRUMP: We have to look at everybody, but this is a very unfair situation and I knew that years ago when we would be together, out campaigning and I said if this ever happens, we're never forgetting you. You know that Laura (ph), everybody. Incredible people, and they're dedicated.

These are the stories that Democrats and people that are weak on immigration, they don't want to discuss, they don't want to hear, they don't want to see, they don't want to talk about.

No major network sent cameras to their homes, or displayed the images of their incredible loved ones across the nightly news. They don't do that. They don't talk about the death and destruction caused by people that shouldn't be here, people that will continuously get into trouble and do bad things.

For years, their pain was met with silence. Their plight was met with indifference, but no more. I told them three years ago, when we were together, day one, just about day one, I would say. I said, "I hear you, I see you, and I will never let you down," and we've been working together, and their loved ones have not died in vain. We all know that.

We call these brave Americans "the Angel Families" -- Angel moms, Angel pops. These are the Angel Families. Your loss will not have been in vain. We will secure our borders, and we will make sure that they're properly taken care of. Eventually, the word will get out. We've got to have a safe country. We're going to have a safe country, and your loved ones are going to be playing, and will continue to play a big part of it. You know that, right? You know that.

So here are just a few statistics on the human toll of illegal immigration. According to a 2011 government report, --

[14:45:00]

-- the arrests attached to the criminal alien population included an estimated 25,000 people for homicide, 42,000 for robbery, nearly 70,000 for sex offenses, and nearly 15,000 for kidnapping. In Texas alone, within the last seven years, more than a quarter million criminal aliens have been arrested and charged with over 600,000 criminal offenses. You don't hear that.

I always hear that, "Oh, no, the population's safer than the people that live in the country." You've heard that, fellas, right? You've heard that. I hear it so much, and I say, "Is that possible?" The answer is it's not true. You hear it's like they're better people than what we have, than our citizens. It's not true.

In 2016, more than 15,000 Americans died from a heroin overdose. More than 90 percent of the heroin comes from across the southern border -- 90 percent. As a result of sanctuary city policies, in fiscal 2017, more than 8,000 criminal aliens -- these are really hard-core criminal aliens -- were in police custody, and were released because of our weak laws, weakest in the world, weakest in the history of the world. They were released back into our civilian population, and these gentlemen had to do some of the releasing, and I don't think you were too happy when you knew, because you knew -- they know better than anybody -- you knew what you were releasing. You knew it was trouble, and it often comes back to be trouble.

TRUMP: Where is the media outrage over the catch-and-release policies that allow deadly drugs to pour into our country? Where is the condemnation of the Democrat's sanctuary cities that release violent criminals into our communities and then protect them, like the mayor of San Diego, when she warned everybody that "ICE is coming," and they scattered. A big operation, or expensive operation. They were all together. They all scattered. And what are they going to do about looking at her, by the way? I've been asking this question, now, for four weeks. She can do that?

And where is the outcry over the savage gang MS-13 and its bloodthirsty creed, "Kill, rape and control"? Because the news media has overlooked their stories.

I want the American people to hear directly from these families about the pain they have had to endure, losing not only their loved ones -- great people, great Americans.

People that would have been very successful. People that, in some cases, could have been here one day, could have been here. Right? I know the way you feel. Could have been right here, standing here.

First, I'd like to ask a friend of mine for, now, a long time, Laura Wilkerson from Pearland, Texas, to come and share her story about her incredible, incredible boy. Right?

Come on, Laura. Just say a few words.

WILKERSON: We want to tell you a little bit, today, about Josh. He was brutally tortured, strangled over and over. He was set on fire after death. His last hours were -- was brutal.

As -- and everyone standing up here, none of our kids had a minute to say goodbye. We weren't lucky enough to be separated for five days or 10 days -- we're separated permanently.

Any time we want to see or be close to our kids, we go to the cemetery because that's where they are. We could never speak to them, we can't Skype with them.

And I want to thank you so much, in this room, for what you're doing to under -- you -- you guys know the permanent separation. It's the media that won't share it with other people. It's permanent; we can never have him back on this -- this Earth. Thankfully, I'll see him again in Heaven.

But I want to thank you, Mr. Trump and -- Vice President Trump (sic) for -- I mean, Vice President Pence -- for keeping their commitment to us. It's -- it's been ongoing, it continues on.

And please understand, there are so many more of us than -- than what you see here, that had the same story. Over and over, drunk driving, killed. Over and over, and they don't prosecute it. They let go and blow (ph) bond, they're out in 30 days.

It's sad for our country and it's time to take it back, and I want to thank each and every one of you, law enforcement. You know it. You love it. You want to do your jobs.

And, thankfully, we have a president who will allow you to do that now. Thank you so much.

(APPLAUSE)

[14:50:00]

TRUMP: Thank you, Laura. Next, I'd like to ask Juan Pina from Greenfield, California to speak.

Juan, please come up. Thank you. Thank you, Juan.

PINA: My name's Juan Pina. First of all, I want to thank the Remembrance Project for bringing my daughter's name out to light.

And for President (ph) Trump to let me speak about her. And I've got a lot of people that I need to thank. My daughter was Chrissy (ph) Sue (ph) Pena. Back in 1990, she was kidnapped, strangled, stabbed, raped and sodomized and her nude body was found in an artichoke field.

I've been fighting for 28 and a half years. He's been fighting. He was loose for 25. The last 3.5 years, he's been fighting extradition. And on May 3rd, God answered my prayers. Mexico finally turned him loose to us, and he is now in the Monterey County jail and we can start court procedures for my daughter's death.

PINA: And I want to thank everybody that was involved in getting him over here. The sheriff department in Monterey County, for their investigator. The sheriff (inaudible) told her, "Don't give up on this. Just stay on it and stay on it."

And she pinky-swore that she was going to get him over there, and she did. And I just want to thank the President and everybody, and I just hope everybody can get what I just got.

And I'm out here speaking for the thousands of victims that we have here in the United States. And I want to thank you all, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So Juan fought for many years and it's hard to believe, but that's actually a great feeling.

PINA: Yes, it is.

TRUMP: ... that you just - incredible job, incredible job. Hi, Dom (ph).

Also here with us today is Steve Ronnebeck from Mesa, Arizona. Steve, if you could come up and share a few words, please?

RONNEBECK: Thank you, Mr. President. January 22nd, 2015, Grant was at work on his overnight shift. An illegal alien came in, wanted to buy cigarettes. Jumped a jar of change out on the counter. Grant went to count the change and wasn't counting fast enough, so basically this man pulled a gun, Grant did everything he was supposed to do and gave him the cigarettes.

The man went ahead and executed him and shot him point blank in the face. You know, you don't hear these stories and some of our - our media won't - won't talk to you about it. But this is permanent separation. For his birthday I go to his grave, for Christmas, we set up a Christmas tree on Grant's grave.

I received something earlier today from Director Homan, it's a challenge coin. And I want to thank you for that. To me this is a sign of integrity. I wish some of our media had the same integrity as our President, our Vice President.

Director Homan, all of you in law enforcement, I wish some of our media had the same integrity, and I want to thank all of you, especially our law enforcement for what you do. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, thank you.

Members of voice, Barbara Gonzalez, John Ferry (ph), AVIAC, I want to thank all of them too, cause they - they're helping get the stories out. 63,000 Americans since 9/11 have been killed by illegal aliens. This isn't a problem that's going away, it's getting bigger. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: 63,000 and that number they say is very low because things aren't reported. 63,000, and you don't hear about that. Also here with us today is Michelle Root from Modale, Iowa, great place. Michelle, please come up.

ROOT: Thank you Mr. President. My daughter Sarah Root was killed within 24 hours after graduating with a Bachelor's, 4.0 in criminal investigations, -- [14:55:00]

-- out celebrating, stopped at a stop light and rear-ended by Eswin Mejia going 70 plus miles an hour.

He was arrested, but then he paid a $5,000 bail and now he has fled. Our separation, like everybody has said, is permanent. Sarah never gets to go on to be a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt. My son does not have his only sibling any longer.

My life has been devastated, so has my daughter's family and friends. I want to thank President Trump and Vice President Pence, Barbara Gonzalez, John Ferry (ph) and Director Homan for all their support. They have never given up on us.

AVIAC was a group that we started because we were tired of not having anybody else to go to to get information. When Sarah was killed January 31st of 2016, I had nobody, but I was thankful for my politicians in my area, and you know President Trump was one of the first ones to reach out to my family, and he has been there from the beginning.

Never left our side, now we just need to get my daughter's killer found. Again, my separation is permanent, Sarah is never coming home. I never get to take a selfie with her again, I have no more pictures of her.

So please, thank you guys for everything. Keep up the great work, our police officers, our Border Patrol, please continue to fight. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

MENDOZA: Thank you. My name is Mary Ann Mendoza and my son, Sergeant Brandon Mendoza was killed on May 12th, 2014 on his way home from a work by a three time legal limit drunk who was also high on meth.

He had drove over 35 miles the wrong way on four different freeways in Phoenix before slamming head-on into my son's car. As you know, they could fill this stage up every day for the next five months of victims of illegal alien crime and it would just keep going.

Unfortunately, we are members of a club of our children or loved ones who have been killed by illegal aliens, but there's hundreds of thousands of victims every year who are affected by illegal alien crime, rape, assault, identity theft.

These are things that go unreported, unchecked. You know, if the public would go to illegalaliencrimereport.com and see the magnitude of crimes being committed against your fellow Americans by illegal aliens allowed to stay in this country, you will be sickened because mainstream media does not let you know what's really happening.

And we are here, the members of AVIAC are here to educate the public of what's happening. And if anybody's been a victim of illegal alien crime, contact us because we have close connections with Barbara Gonzalez at ICE, John Ferry (ph), we have connections at Department of Homeland Security that we are trying to get people the help that they need and sent in the right direction.

President Trump, Vice President Pence, you've just been there for us and there are no words to describe what your support and your caring has meant to each and every one of us, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you, darling. Your story is an incredible one.

DURDEN: I'm one of your legal immigrants. I came the right way, I paid lots of money, took me five years to become a citizen, a proud citizen, and I didn't drag my son -- he named himself German Chocolate, he was born in Germany.

I didn't drag him over borders, through deserts, I didn't place him in harm's way. I protected my child from harm, but I couldn't do that on July 12th, 2012. He was 30 years old. I couldn't protect him because an illegal alien from Guatemala with two felonies, one deportation, two DUIs, he was protected, Riverside, California, sanctuary. The judge, the D.A., they knew who he was. They gave him probation after his second DUI.

[14:59:00] Five weeks later, he killed my child. And if that wasn't enough to deal with, this is my only child. I have no family. That's it.