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Mueller Looking at Trump Tweets for Obstruction Probe; Trump's CFO Subpoenaed in Michael Cohen Case. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 26, 2018 - 17:00   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in -- where is he? -- THE SITUATION ROOM.

[17:00:10] BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Trump's money man. The financial chief for the Trump Organization reportedly is subpoenaed in the Michael Cohen case. And a source tells CNN he knows everything about the president's business, including where all the financial bodies are buried.

Tweet intentions. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now reportedly examining the president's tweets as part of a wide-ranging obstruction of justice probe. Could the president's seemingly unbreakable Twitter habit lead to legal trouble?

Some conservative lawmakers are pushing to impeach the man who oversees the Mueller investigation, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. So what's behind the move?

The Trump administration faces a deadline tonight for reuniting parents and children forcibly separated after crossing the border illegally. Why are hundreds still being kept apart?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is looking into the president's tweets, especially those about the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and the former FBI director, James Comey.

This from the "New York Times," which says it's part of a wide-ranging obstruction inquiry. And "The Wall Street Journal" reports the finance chief for the Trump Organization has been subpoenaed in the Michael Cohen case. A CNN source says Allen Weisselberg knows anything and everything about the Trump Organization, including where, quote, "all the financial bodies are buried."

I'll speak with Senator Ben Cardin of the Foreign Affairs Committee. And our correspondents and specialists are also standing by with full coverage.

Let's begin with a new twist in the Mueller investigation. Our White House correspondent, Abby Phillip, is joining us right now. So Abby, what's the latest? ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good afternoon,

Wolf.

We are now learning that the president could be facing some new legal troubles. His penchant for Twitter attacks on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and former FBI director James Comey have become of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

And it could be the subject of a potential interview that Mueller is seeking with President Trump. All of this is happening as the president is still trying to clean up the mess that he made with his press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. White House aides now telling CNN that the president could be turning his attention to potential Russian interference as early as this week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIP (voice-over): President Trump's social media counterpunching could soon become a legal liability. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the president's Twitter attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and fired FBI director James Comey as part of the probe into whether Trump obstructed justice, "The New York Times" reports.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this and when he recused himself.

PHILLIP: Comey and Sessions have now become key witnesses in Mueller's probe because of tweets like this in June when the president said, "The Russian witch hunt continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn't tell me that he was going to recuse himself." And appearing to threaten Comey after firing him, writing, "James Comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press."

Mueller's team also scrutinizing the president's actions to see if he violated U.S. law that deals with tampering with a witness, victim or an informant.

All this as Trump's still struggling to clean up missteps in Helsinki.

TRUMP: Dan Coats came to me and some others. They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.

The sentence should have been "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia," sort of a double negative.

PHILLIP: A White House official telling CNN the president will convene a meeting of the National Security Council on Friday to focus on election security. That as Trump attempts to flip the narrative, claiming that Russia will tamper in the 2018 elections to help Democrats.

Amid bipartisan backlash, the White House now postponing the president's invitation to Putin to visit Washington this fall. In yet another reversal, President Trump declaring a victory on trade with the European Union after threatening massive tariffs that could hurt U.S. manufacturers and farmers.

TRUMP: I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe.

PHILLIP: Now declaring --

TRUMP: The biggest one of all happened yesterday. Other than China, the E.U.. We just opened up Europe for you farmers.

PHILLIP: The president abandoning his tough words for little more than a promise to keep talking.

[17:05:05] TRUMP: We signed a letter of intent or agreed to a letter of intent. We're starting the documents. But the relationship is very, very good. So we're very happy.

PHILLIP: Declaring in a tweet that the E.U. and the United States love each other and sealing it with a kiss.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIP: And President Trump just moments ago wrapped up an economic tour in the Midwest. He's been in Iowa and in Illinois touting his trade policies.

But of course, all of this seems to be undercut by the fact that the administration is seeking to use 12 billion in aid to help farmers who have been hurt by those same trade policies.

Meanwhile, the White House here has been very light on details on what exactly he agreed with, with the E.U. yesterday. But for now, it seems that very the status quo is what we are seeing here. And President Trump is not letting that get in the way of him taking credit -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Good point, Abby. Thank you very much.

More now on the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's focus on the president's tweets.

Let's turn to our CNN contributor, Mark Mazzetti. He's the Washington investigative correspondent for "The New York Times."

So Mark, how is Mueller now approaching this question of obstruction of justice as it relates to Donald Trump's tweets?

MARK MAZZETTI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the tweets and the public statements kind of wrap into the larger obstruction of justice investigation.

And what he's looking at is exactly was Trump trying to tamp down the Justice Department investigation, intimidate witnesses, tamper with witnesses, specifically Comey and Sessions, by making those statements, by making those tweets?

Now, the bigger question here is, you know, does -- was this all, in fact, having criminal intent? That's what Mueller ultimately has to decide. Or was this something that would be passable? It's hard to make an obstruction of justice case. This is one of the things, the question that's out there is will Mueller try to stitch all these things together in order to build a case?

BLITZER: The other argument, the legal rationale that Mueller supposedly is referring to is not just obstruction but witness intimidation. What about that?

MAZZETTI: It would be part of a wider obstruction probe. The question is, by his public statements and his tweets, would he be trying to change witness testimony, intimidate, tamper with key witnesses in the investigation? Some would say that's really a hail Mary pass, and it would be very hard to make that case.

Overall, an obstruction cases, as I said, is hard to make. But it is -- we haven't had a president like this who has made public statements in the middle of an ongoing federal investigation like this that could be used against him.

BLITZER: The president has tweeted, as you know -- and I'll read one of those tweets -- "There is no obstruction. It's called fighting back," close quote.

How hard, actually -- and you suggest it's very hard -- but how hard is it to prove obstruction of justice from a president?

MAZZETTI: Well, it would be pretty hard, I mean, especially if we're going from the baseline that, you know, maybe Mueller wouldn't indict the president, as current DOJ law guidance says.

But if you were to take the tweets, the actions behind closed doors, the reports of offering pardons for potential key witnesses before they were indicted, as "The Times" and "The Washington Post" have reported, you know, some believe that Mueller could try to build a case, this sort of composite case of obstruction.

But at the same time, the president, as president, has enormous power to hire and to fire. Firing Comey could, in many ways, be right within his purview as president. So this is why this kind of a case is pretty hard.

BLITZER: Thanks very much. Mark Mazzetti with the latest on that investigation.

MAZZETTI: Thank you.

BLITZER: Let's get some more right now. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland is joining us. He's a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator, thanks for joining us.

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Wolf, it's good to be with you.

BLITZER: So do you believe, Senator, the president's Twitter habit has exposed him, potentially, to some legal jeopardy?

CARDIN: You know, I have a great deal of confidence in the Mueller investigation. I'm not going to try to second guess the timing or what's going to be done. I know there is a treasure-trove of information that they're looking at. The president, of course, was attempting to do certain things. Whether he crossed the line or not, I'm going to let that up to Mr. Mueller.

BLITZER: Are there any specific tweets that jump out at you that point, potentially, to obstruction of justice or witness intimidation?

CARDIN: Well, as you know, obstruction of justice is when you intentionally try to interfere with an independent investigation or interfere with the witnesses or make it clear that you're going to do things that will make it difficult for that investigation to go forward.

So certainly, there have been an incredible number of tweets by the president, statements by the president that I'm sure are of interest to Mr. Mueller.

BLITZER: What do you make of the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani's, defense that obstruction of justice is done, in his words, quietly and secretly, not in public?

[17:10:05] CARDIN: No, that's not necessarily true. We know that sometimes it can be done in a very open way. Other times, it's done in a way that is pretty direct to the parties involved.

This president operates in a different manner than any other president has operated. So I don't think there is one path that goes towards obstruction of justice. That's, again, a matter that Mr. Mueller has got to look at all the circumstances.

There's so much information here. But I think it's quite clear that President Trump has made it clear that he wants this investigation over. So he's been pretty aggressive about it.

BLITZER: Do you think the president's threat to rescind security clearances from several former national security officials and intelligence officials, some of whom, by the way, may be witnesses in the Mueller probe, constitutes, potentially, obstruction of justice?

CARDIN: Well, again, this is another area that you're looking at individuals who could be relevant to this investigation, that it could be a message being sent to the president -- by the president to these individuals that "If you start messing around with me, you see what I do to people who disagree with me."

We saw that in the United States Senate when we had Republican senators who stood up to President Trump. So it could very well be a message that "You'd better not cooperate with an investigation."

But again, I'm not going to draw those conclusions. I'm going to let Mr. Mueller do that.

What I ask my colleagues to do and I ask the president of the United States to do is stop interfering with Mr. Mueller. Give him the space that he needs to get his job done, and let's not prejudge and not interfere with the progress that he's making.

BLITZER: Nor the man that's overseeing the investigation --

CARDIN: Absolutely.

BLITZER: -- the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, a man you know.

CARDIN: Absolutely. And I thought the articles brought in the House are just outrageous. Mr. Rosenstein, who by the way, was appointed by a Republican president as the U.S. attorney in Maryland, a person who Senator McCloskey and I supported from a Republican who did a great job as the United States -- U.S. attorney in Maryland, doing a great job as deputy attorney general, trying to do his job without partisan politics. Now has to put up with this just outrageous conduct, partisan comments -- conduct in the House of Representatives. These articles of impeachment are terrible.

BLITZER: The Senate, as you know, is preparing for the confirmation hearings for the president's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has previously expressed some skepticism about the constitutionality of criminal investigations into a sitting president. Should senators raise those concerns during the confirmation hearings?

CARDIN: Oh, absolutely. What we want to make sure is that we have a Supreme Court that will be independent and will speak up for the individual constitutional rights against the halls of power, whether it's the White House, Congress or corporate America. So very much saying that a president of the United States doesn't have to comply with the law that the president says is unconstitutional, not our courts, is something of great interest to us as to whether he will be, Judge Kavanaugh will be an independent voice on the Supreme Court to defend the checks and balances of our system.

BLITZER: You're a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. You were there yesterday during the hearing with the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. Do you agree that President Trump, as he said, is entitled to a private meeting with Putin?

CARDIN: I think it was a major mistake. I think it's clear that a lot of his advisers think it was a major mistake. We heard from Director Coats as that he would not have recommended this.

We now don't know what happened in that meeting. We don't have an account of it. We were certainly not satisfied by Mr. Pompeo's testimony yesterday as to what happened in the meeting. So we don't know what agreements were made. That's because it was done in an unorthodox way. We know that they are cheering in Moscow, and we know they're scrambling at the White House.

BLITZER: We're also just learning now, Senator, about a bipartisan group of senators introducing a bill -- listen to this -- to prohibit President Trump from withdrawing from NATO. The bill was introduced by Republicans John McCain, Cory Gardner, Democrats Tim Kaine and Jack Reed. First of all, do you expect that to pass? And what does it say to you that they're even thinking about a bill along these lines.

CARDIN: Well, I think it's telling that you have Republicans along with Democrats saying, "Look, we don't know whether we can know what the president is planning to do. He's so unpredictable. We've got to get stability to that relationship between the United States and our NATO partners.

Therefore, as a matter of protection, we need to pass a law that says that, that the president can't do it unilaterally. It shows a lack of confidence in this president in standing by our traditional allies.

There's good reason for it. Look how he's offended our closest allies. Look what he does before every meeting with a foreign leader who's an authoritarian, strong person. He first meets with our allies and offends our allies.

[17:15:11] So I think this is a clear message that the United States will stand by our NATO allies, and Congress wants to make it clear that the president unilaterally can't remove us from that partnership.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens to that legislation.

Senator Cardin, thanks so much for joining us.

CARDIN: My pleasure, Wolf.

BLITZER: Up next, the breaking news: the Trump Organization's financial chief reportedly subpoenaed in the Michael Cohen case. And a source tells CNN he knows everything about the president's business including, quote, "where all the financial bodies are buried."

Plus, some conservative House members pushing to impeach the official who oversees the Robert Mueller investigation. Why are they targeting the deputy attorney general of the United States, Rod Rosenstein?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:20:14] BLITZER: Our breaking news, the financial chief for the Trump Organization reportedly is subpoenaed in the Michael Cohen case, and a source tells CNN he knows, quote, "everything" about the president's business.

Let's go live to CNN senior national correspondent Alex Marquardt.

So Alex, what are you learning?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this could be a really major blow to both Michael Cohen and to President Trump. Allen Weisselberg, the CFO, has been around Trump since the '80s. As one former Trump Organization employee told us here at CNN, he, quote, "knows where all the financial bodies are buried." It was Weisselberg who was left in charge of the Trump Organization,

along with Trump's sons, when Trump became president. And it was Weisselberg who Cohen mentioned repeatedly on that secretly-recorded tape with Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: In the secret recording Michael Cohen made of him and Donald Trump discussing a possible payment for a "Playboy" centerfold's allegation of an affair, they reference Allen Weisselberg.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: And I spoke to Allen about it when it comes time for the financing, which will be --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wait a minute. What financing?

COHEN: We'll have to pay him something.

TRUMP: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) pay in cash.

COHEN: No, no, no, no, no.

MARQUARDT: Allen Weisselberg is the longtime chief financial officer for the Trump Organization. Now, we've learned he's been subpoenaed as a witness in the criminal probe of Cohen, according to "The Wall Street Journal."

TRUMP: Replacing George this week is my chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

MARQUARDT: He appeared on Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" and has handles President Trump's financial matters for years, as Cohen did his legal affairs, a relationship Trump has tried to downplay as Cohen's legal problems have grown.

RUMP: Well, as a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction. He's got other things. He's got businesses. And from what I understand, they're looking at his businesses.

MARQUARDT: Cohen has complained of feeling abandoned by the president and his inner circle, telling a friend, "I don't understand why no one's calling me. I don't understand why no one's communicating with me."

The newly-released recording by Cohen is just one of more than 100 recordings seized in a raid by the FBI.

COHEN: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David, you know, so that I'm going to do that right away.

MARQUARDT: Both the Cohen and Trump legal teams have claimed the recordings work to their advantage. But the release of the tape by Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis was made without notifying the Southern District of New York, which is investigating Cohen, risking their wrath.

CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It severely hampers their -- their ability to move forward with this case, and it just makes them look weird. I mean, it makes them look like they've been played. So, you know, I -- I don't know what Lanny Davis was thinking when -- when he did this.

MARQUARDT: Since the tape came out Trump has evaded reporters' questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, did Michael Cohen betray you, sir? Mr. President, did Michael Cohen betray you, sir?

MARQUARDT: But lashed out at Cohen on Twitter, writing, "What kind of lawyer would tape a client? So sad. Is this a first? Never heard of it before. Why was the tape so abruptly terminated while I was presumably saying positive things?"

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: Cohen was, of course, one of Trump's most loyal foot soldiers. No longer.

Weisselberg has also been one of the people most loyal to Trump, closer even than Cohen. Now, we don't know whether the subpoena, which was reported by "The Wall Street Journal," is in reaction to that secret tape, because according to "The Journal," it's unclear exactly when Weisselberg was subpoenaed or even whether he's testified yet before the grand jury.

But what is clear, Wolf, is that this is yet another major cause for concern for the president.

BLITZER: Yes. There's no doubt the president is not happy about this. Clearly worried, should be worried, in fact, according to all sorts of legal experts.

Alex Marquardt, thank you very much.

Coming up, the president's tweets are now reportedly a focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Could his early- morning Twitter tirades land him in legal hot water? And a judge allows a lawsuit to proceed, alleging that foreign payments to President Trump's businesses violate the U.S. Constitution.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:28:55] BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories right now, including "The New York Times" revealing that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is examining President Trump's tweets in what the paper calls a wide-ranging inquiry into possible obstruction of justice. Let's discuss with our political and legal experts. And Laura, could

the president's tweets potentially result in some legal problems for the president?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. You have to wonder why he did not anticipate this self-inflicted wound actually bleeding out. Remember, he's been warned for a time about the idea every single word he says mattered, not just in the court of public opinion but in the court of law. It speaks to his actual mental intent of things. There's no one else, nowhere else you can get information about what the president is thinking directly other than from his own mouth.

So when he tweets things that are, you know, part of what he's actually thinking and he relays that in black and white for the world to see, how can Mueller's team not look at it? They'd be negligent if they didn't do that.

BLITZER: What about the president's threat to rescind security clearances for top national security/intelligence officials from the Obama administration? Could that be seen, potentially, as witness tampering, witness intimidation? Because some of those individuals could be called as witnesses.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It could possibly in terms of trying to use the media, social media in this capacity, as a vehicle to intimidate. Now, it's a little bit more of a tangential relationship and actually saying to the person directly, do not speak at any grand jury hearing, don't give any information. But because you've got this kind of go-around working out and it's been a consistent pattern, I suspect while I was looking at this and say, well, what are you trying to accomplish by talking to the media or social media? Are you trying to undermine their ability to speak? If you are, that all goes to the support their claim of his mental state of intentionally trying to undermine the investigation.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Kind of a hard case to make, though.

COATES: It is because --

BORGER: Because you have to kind of piece it together like a mosaic and just say that, you know, he was trying to intimidate a witness publically maybe.

COATES: Well, that's the problem with all the intent-based claims. Intent is so difficult to find, you usually have circumstantial evidence of it or you have the smoking gun as a confession. Here's you don't have it, you have a more of a combination, but still, the underlying claims intent is only part of the elements to prove the crimes. And so, he could have that to support it. If he has other things that show there was no other mechanism or no other basis for doing so. It's a bit of an easier case, but you're right.

BLITZER: You know, Gloria, what jumps out to me is that Rudy Giuliani, the President's lawyer, has suggested the President might be willing to sit down with Mueller and talk about the collusion allegation during the campaign but doesn't want to talk at all about obstruction of justice which supposedly could have happened after he became President.

BORGER: Right. Look, I think -- I think the President's legal team is looking at this sort of in two parts. And one is pre-inauguration where they really can't claim any privilege because he wasn't president, and that would involve collusion because that would involve the, you know, the collusion with -- alleged collusion with the Russians. Obstruction is an issue that would come after the President was elected, and that's a very complicated matter because he can claim privilege on certain conversations, say, that he had with maybe with James Comey or that he had with Jeff Sessions, or that he had with General Flynn. And so, I think it's easier for them to say, let's just do one part and maybe do the other part in writing or not at all. And by the way, Wolf, our reporting is that right now they're nowhere, OK? This is kind of frozen.

BLITZER: Yes, not happening.

BORGER: Not happening now. Right, exactly.

BLITZER: That's correct. You know, because Giuliani also says -- Giuliani says obstruction of justice is done in his words, quietly and secretly, not in public. Twitter, of course, is very public. What do you make of that?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Sure, possible, but I don't think -- I don't think that the fact that Donald Trump tweeted and that Robert Mueller is looking at the tweets mean that it can't be obstruction of justice. I mean, of course, you can obstruct justice publically. And the most people probably do it privately, but I keep going back to what Laura said and what people often tell me which is never tweet. Donald Trump would have been better off and I'm sure got the guidance to scale it back, change his Twitter presence from the campaign and prior. He never did that. And so, as a result, you have this long running record of what he thinks in the moment. And do I think that that proves obstruction? No. But I also don't think you rule it out because it happens to be public. Donald Trump does lots of things that my guess is his legal advisers tell him not to.

BLITZER: Yes. And --

CILLIZZA: And that doesn't mean that he's not guilt, doesn't mean he's guilty either.

COATES: And by the way, notice that Rudy Giuliani for the second sort of case in defense in a row is not talking about the substance of the issue. It's about the form of it. Well, it was cash versus check, not whether there was an overall digression to pay somebody. And now, it's the discussion of, oh, no, no, no, it wasn't -- it was in broad daylight, not denying the underlying substance of the claim. And I think the prosecutor is looking at this to say, well, are you going to actually attack the meat of the matter or talk about the sauce?

BORGER: Well, remember the travel ban, the President's tweets were used against him by one -- by one -- (CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: And Sean Spicer said very publicly in June 2017, the President's tweets are official White House statements. Press pressed him on that, but --

BLITZER: Bianna, go ahead.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I was going to say it speaks to a larger issue beyond just the Mueller probe. Think about Mike Pompeo before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, sort of getting tongue tied trying to explain what the President says isn't necessarily policy. You have to focus on what are policy, and that's not necessarily what the President says. And then, he backtracks and says, oh, yes, what the President says is policy. I mean, the same applies to his tweets. You can go back constantly and read the President's tweets and they completely contradict what official U.S. policy is. And this seems to be their go-to response among his administration and whether it's the Secretary of State, whether it's Bolton, what they come out with is they say, well, this is not U.S. policy. And we're in a really unusual situation where you have the President not necessarily speaking parallel with what the policy is.

BLITZER: And on this issue, Bianna, the President's legal and political advisers maybe suggesting to him, cut back the tweets a little bit. It could potentially get you some sort of legal trouble. I don't anticipate, I wonder if you do, any serious change on the part of the President's Twitter habits.

[17:35:11] GOLODRYGA: If he hasn't done it by now, Wolf, I mean, I wouldn't be holding my breath, would you?

BLITZER: No, I'm not holding my breath with that either. We wake up in the morning and we wonder, what -- how many tweets are going to be coming forward and usually several of them each day. Let's turn, Laura, to another important development that's unfolding. A federal judge has just ruled that the lawsuit alleging that the President of the United States at his business interests violate potentially the U.S. constitution. And this lawsuit is going forward. There are enormous potential ramifications for the President.

COATES: There are. And this is one of the very first time he ever had to test the emoluments clause. Now, what the court largely said is the Trump administration wanted to have a very narrow definition of what it meant to get something from a foreign government. It meant a gift, almost a tangible object. Well, the other A.G.s involved said (INAUDIBLE) listen in a note, it meant advantage. It was far more expansive to try to guard against corruption and trying to pad your pockets literally and figuratively. So, the court looked at it and said if that was a foreign government, a foreign emolument, yes, this could fit.

In terms of a domestic emolument, when you got lease from the GSA and then fired the head of the GSA (INAUDIBLE) told you, you;ve got to divest, otherwise it's going to be a violation of the emoluments clause. Well, that combined to say, well, you're getting a foreign advantage and a domestic advantage. And the ultimate result could be he has to divest fully in the Trump International Hotel that is a hop, skip, and a jump from the White House, the Treasury Department, and any other interest that would say you are getting an advantage by being President of the United States.

BLITZER: And if this continues, Gloria, potentially, the President might have to release his tax returns which have been a very sensitive subject for him.

BORGER: You think?

CILLIZZA: Understatement.

BORGER: Understatement. Yes, it's through discovery that this is -- this is potentially something they'd want to look at. I don't know what it would show or whether they would get it, or whether, you know, I'm assuming Bob Mueller already has what he needs to have from the President's tax returns if he's -- if he's looking at it, but yes, I think this is something the President should have foreseen, honestly, that this would be a conflict and that people stay at the Trump Hotel and international governments stay at the Trump Hotel because they want to curry favor with the President of the United States and his family. I mean, that's just kind of obvious.

CILLIZZA: And it shouldn't -- Gloria's right, it's no -- it really shouldn't be a surprise to Donald Trump because remember, he wins and then the transition process, there's this whole debate about this is someone whose business is not just sort of this one thing. It's putting your name on things, it's very diversified now. And people say the only way is to fully cut ties to avoid these sorts of things. And he just refuses to do so. He said, well, Eric and Don are -- Don Jr., his son, are running the business. I'm not involved in it. But he doesn't -- there's no blind trust, there's no (INAUDIBLE) people with less complicated finances who've been President in the past have done.

BLITZER: There's been a lot of speculation that those tax returns, Bianna, could show some sort of Russian business dealings.

GOLODRYGA: I mean, who knows, Wolf. As Gloria said, Bob Mueller probably has what he needs from the tax returns. I don't think that you're going to see any Venmo transactions from the Kremlin to Donald Trump and any smoking gun in that fashion. There might be a lot of embarrassing things from a financial standpoint, from his past. But I think a lot of this is sort of baked in the cake. And on the one hand for his supporters, they may be tired of hearing about all of this. On the flip side, the President who has, you know, come across as the world's greatest businessman may be a bit embarrassed if in fact these things start coming out, which is why you may have seen him, why this week he specifically said don't believe what you read and hear on the news maybe gearing up for what could be coming.

BLITZER: Everybody, stick around, there's more we're following including a new fight among House Republicans over impeaching the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who oversees the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. Plus, the Trump administration misses today's deadline to reunite separated migrant families. Hundreds of parents still aren't with their children.

[19:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: As we follow the breaking news in the Robert Mueller investigation, we're also keeping a very close eye on the rather messy fight over a push by some House conservatives to impeach the man Mueller reports to, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Today, the House Speaker Paul Ryan came out against the impeachment. Let's bring in our Congressional Correspondent Sunlen Serfaty. Sunlen, why are conservatives even trying this?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this notably, Wolf, a very small group of House Conservatives who are pushing for this, only about 11 of them, but they are indeed pushing to hold the vote to impeach Rod Rosenstein, saying that he's been stonewalling them in their attempt for more information and for more documents. But today, this effort essentially got tabled for another day after a deal was worked out to essentially given another chance to the DOJ and FBI to turn over these documents that they have requested of them to Congress, that's according to Mark Meadows who, of course, is one of the driving people conservatives that the chair of the House Freedom Caucus behind this effort. Now, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, today, say he indeed supports their effort to get more information but he does not support the effort to vote to impeach Rod Rosenstein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[17:45:03] REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Do I support impeachment of Rod Rosenstein? No, I do not. I do not for a number of reasons. First, it takes -- I don't -- I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term, number one. Number two, I don't think that this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today says that politics are clearly at play here. She said this is a move by the Republicans in Congress to try to undermine the Mueller investigation. Here's what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The attack on Rosenstein, of course, is an attack on the Mueller investigation. And it is something that just when you think you have seen it all, the Republicans have no shame.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: Meantime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions today defended his colleague. He said of Rosenstein that he's capable and someone who has his highest confidence. Wolf?

BLITZER: As you know, Sunlen, the House of Representatives is going on summer recess. When would impeaching Rosenstein even come up for a vote?

SERFATY: Very interesting here today, Wolf, they did adjourn for a five-week summer recess. The House will be back in early September. Very likely we will see them push again towards this vote. House conservatives very easy to continue to dangle this, of course, over the Department of Justice head, especially as they inch even closer to the midterm elections.

BLITZER: All right, Sunlen, thank you. Sunlen Serfaty up on Capitol Hill. Up next, despite today's deadline for the Trump administration to reunite migrant families separated when they cross the border, hundreds of parents still aren't with their children. Plus, we'll have more on the reports that the Trump organization's top financial officer has now been subpoenaed in the Michael Cohen case. A CNN source says he knows, quote, where all the financial bodies are buried.

[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Breaking now, today's the deadline for the Trump administration to reunite parents and children separated when they crossed the border illegally. While federal officials say at least 1,000 families are back together, they're missing the deadline for hundreds of other parents. Our national correspondent Miguel Marquez is near the Texas-Mexican border right now. So, what's the situation there?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The situation is that we've heard little more than crickets today from the government and whether or not these reunifications are actually happening. Places like where I'm standing, La Posada Providencia in San Benito, which has helped immigrants sort of get on their way once they come to the U.S. for decades have expected people to come. They've seen none. The bus stations where ICE or DHS often drops off people in this situation, in Harlingen, in Brownsville, in McAllen, nothing. It is not clear how this is being done. There are indications that the government is kind of doing it behind closed doors at facilities or places other than where a lot of these individuals and these families and kids have been for the last several months. It's not clear why. We expect to hear more in about a half hour.

We know that about 600 of that 2500 number of families, 600 of them were deemed eligible to be reunited today. We're not sure if they're going to make that. But there's another 900 families that are in sort of this gray area, either some of them have been deported, some of them are being locked up by other agencies, or some of them the government has just lost track of, and we don't know what's going to happen with those 900 families. The government says it has reunited about a thousand, little over 1,000 families over the last several weeks, but we are still waiting for that full number. We expect more from the government here shortly, and tomorrow, we expect this judge in California that has ordered all these reunifications to get together with both the ACLU and the government again, and go over it all, and see where we are. Wolf?

BLITZER: Miguel, what are some of the reasons these reunifications are not taking place fast enough to meet the court-ordered deadline, which comes up in about six or seven minutes?

MARQUEZ: It looks like some of these will just not happen at all. In many cases, about 460 or so, the government believes that the parents have been deported already. In some cases, the kids have been deported without the parents. In other cases, the parents might -- says the government -- might be in the custody of other agencies, state or federal agencies. And in some cases, they say that they just aren't quite sure where they are. That is probably the most disturbing category of all. But you know, a policy that was bad and perhaps inhumane to begin with is only proving it to the end. Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes, it's pretty shocking to think that some of these kids might not never potentially be reunited with their mothers and fathers. Let's hope that doesn't happen, but that's a deep, deep concern. Miguel, thank you very much.

Coming up, the breaking news, the financial chief for the Trump organization reportedly is subpoenaed in the Michael Cohen case, and the source now tells CNN he knows, quote, everything about the President's business including, quote, where all the financial bodies are buried.

[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news, Trump CFO subpoenaed. There's new reporting tonight that the Chief Financial Officer for President -- the president's company has been called to testify in the Michael Cohen case. We're going to tell you why one insider is calling it, quote, the ultimate nightmare scenario for Mr. Trump.

Tweet implications, the President's online attacks are being scrutinized in the special counsel's obstruction investigation. His tweets about James Comey and Jeff Sessions reportedly are raising questions about possible witness intimidation.

Lightning rod, GOP allies of the President launched an effort to impeach the Republican who oversees the Russian probe. Tonight, Mr. Trump's party is divided about the escalating feud with the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.

And getting Trump's taxes? A judge greenlights a lawsuit against the President accusing him of accepting illegal foreign gifts through his D.C. hotel. Will tax returns finally be exposed?