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The Immunity Bombshells; Longtime Trump Money Chief Granted Immunity To Testify; What Do New Immunity Deals Mean For President?; Can A Sitting President Be Indicted?; Congressman To Trump: Resign Or Be Impeached; Johnson Ad: "Fiscally Responsible And Socially Cool"; Libertarian Presidential Candidate Jumps Into NM Senate Race; The Latest Church Abuse Scandal; Pennsylvania Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandal; License Plate Fetches $410,000 At Auction. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired August 25, 2018 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Well there is more news straight ahead.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: "SMERCONISH" is up next. We're going to see you again in one hour for
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Federal prosecutors grant immunity to two of the President's closest chums in the Michael Cohen case, but were those immunity deals really about Michael Cohen or about another focus of the federal probe?
And he was the first congressman to call for impeachment. Now he's calling for the President to resign. I'll ask Representative Al Green if he's hurting or helping the President's cause?
Plus, he came in third in the 2016 presidential race and now Gary Johnson has jumped into the senate race in his home state of New Mexico. Might he be the first Libertarian ever elected to the U.S. Senate?
And while the pope visits Ireland, the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal is exploding, including the case here in Pennsylvania with over 1,000 victims. Why no public hearings on the scandal or any politician taking on the church?
Plus, how much is a low digit license plate worth? Well, if you live in Delaware, would you believe $400,000. That's what this plate sold for this weekend. I'll explain.
But first, what are the larger implication of this week's revelations that federal prosecutors granted immunity to two long time Trump cohorts. Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump organization, and David Pecker, the CEO of American Media, publisher of the "National Enquirer".
Both were granted immunity for providing information about Michael Cohen and the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential campaign, which Weisselberg is said to have reimbursed and Pecker helped with the catch and kill McDougal's story. "AMI"'s chief content officer, Dylan Howard, was also granted immunity.
Look, I have no dog in this fight. I'm not rooting for or against the President. I don't wish for his political demise. I simply want to know the facts. They will determine where this story will go. But from a distance, here's what I see. I have to think that the Feds would not provide immunity to all three of these men if all that were at stake was silencing a couple of women about affairs or even a larger issue of election fraud. Something bigger is going on here.
As I tweeted as soon as the Weisselberg news hit, I don't buy giving Weisselberg and Pecker immunity to only go after Cohen or to only lay a foundation for a conspiracy to commit election fraud case against the President. It's got to be something bigger. What they know and are willing to say beyond the Cohen case has not yet begun to leak.
The "Associated Press" revealed that Pecker kept secrets about Trump locked in a safe which has been removed and/or destroyed. And Weisselberg also has knowledge of all of Trump's finances.
The only thing I know for sure is that there's more here than meets the eye. You don't need to immunize Weisselberg, Pecker and Howard just to prosecute Michael Cohen. Micahel Cohen is not a mob boss. Michael Cohen cooperated without preconditions and as far as we know, Michael Cohen was never offered any immunity deal.
It all begs the question of whether the three are cooperating against Michael Cohen or Michael Cohen and/or Donald Trump. And if it's the latter, it has to be for non-Russia activities given that is Mueller's turf, not the Southern District's.
Even so, this level of immunity seems excessive if the only thing that you're investigating is conspiracy to commit election fraud. Meaning implicating the President in undisclosed campaign contributions that paid off a playmate and a porn star. What it all suggests, at least to me, is that the South District is circling the legal wagons around the President.
Joining me now to discuss is Ross Garber. "The New York Times" calls him the arguably the Nation's leading impeachment lawyer. He's a white collar criminal defense attorney. He teaches political investigations law at Tulane Law School. Ross, what do you make of what I just said?
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good to be with you and honestly, I agree with you. You know, I view the campaign finance issues here and the Michael Cohen piece of that almost sort of like a broken taillight. The presidency doesn't immunize you completely from prosecution. DOJ policy right now is that a sitting president can't be prosecuted.
It doesn't mean a former president can't be prosecuted. It doesn't mean a president's company can't be investigated and prosecuted and it doesn't mean a president's associates and even children can't be investigated and prosecuted. [09:05:06]
SMERCONISH: If you have Pecker and if you have Pecker and Howard, you don't need Weisselberg or vice-versa. Why in the world would you need all three and immunize them to go after a guy who's only going to do, Michael Cohen, two, three years? I mean he's not exactly a mob boss, right?
GARBER: Yes. So the way investigations work, as you know, Michael, is you head up the chain and the other point is, related to that, is that arguably Weisselberg is higher on the chain than Cohen is. And so you're right. This does seem to be looking at something potentially much broader.
And I credit the reports that have come out that the grant of immunity was narrow, that it was limited to, you know, issues related to this campaign finance issue and issues related to Michael Cohen. But that doesn't mean that's where the situation ends and it also doesn't mean that prosecutor's questions have to be so tightly tailored to that issue.
In other words, yes, they're asking about Michael Cohen, they're asking about the campaign finance issues, but you can imagine they also need to ask about how the Trump organization works and what Weisselberg's role in it is and whether he had conversations about these issues with Donald Trump and with Donald Trump Jr., with Ivanka and with others at the company.
SMERCONISH: What should most concern the President of the United States? The Mueller probe, the Southern District, the Attorney General of New York, or the Manhattan DA?
GARBER: So, in short, all of them, but we've heard very strongly from the President that from his perspective, there was no collusion. And so again, let's credit that. If I were the general counsel of a company that had been operating in New York for a long, long time and my CFO were testifying to the grand jury or in anyway cooperating with prosecutors, I'd be very concerned and especially if it were my children who are running that business now.
SMERCONISH: Finally, you can't indict a sitting president. Says who?
GARBER: Yes, so you make a good point. So here's how that works. Current DOJ guidance says you don't indict a sitting president. In the last investigation of a president, Ken Starr, when he was an independent counsel, disagreed with that. He said you can indict a sitting president, although, in that case, he decided not to. But current DOJ guidance says you don't indict a sitting president and Bob Mueller is governed by that, but that's not to say Bob Mueller can't ask for that guidance ...
SMERCONISH: It couldn't be changed.
GARBER: Yes, exactly right.
SMERCONISH: It's guidance. GARBER: Ask that guidance be changed.
SMERCONISH: I've heard all week long, I've heard this whispered down the lane all week long by legal pundits, accepting this as gospel. Guidance can be changed.
SMERCONISH: And the reason, Mr. Garber, that I asked you not only about Mueller and the Southern District, but also the New York Attorney General and the Manhattan DA ...
GARBER: Yes, yes.
SMERCONISH: Is that for sure the latter two wouldn't be obligated to follow that standard.
GARBER: No. Although, you know, the notion of a state indicting and prosecuting a sitting president raises all sorts of other constitutional issues and I doubt a state would go out on a limb and potentially, honestly mess up a federal investigation by doing that. I think right now the state investigations are probably more concerning for, number one, coordination with the Federal folks and then post- presidency issues.
SMERCONISH: I appreciate your being here. Bottom line is you and I agree, there is more than meets the eye with regard to immunizing these three individuals relative to Michael Cohen. Thank you for being here.
GARBER: It's good to be here.
SMERCONISH: Is pursuing impeachment of the President something that will hurt or help the President? My next guest was the first member of congress to call for his impeachment back in December. Tried again in January. Now, as "Newsweek" reports, Texas Congressman Al Green has called for President Trump to resign or be impeached warning Congress, "Silence is betrayal."
Congressman, thanks for being here. You know, a week ago, we would not have known if Michael Cohen and his guilty plea. A week ago we would not have known of the immunization of the CFO of the Trump organization. Doesn't that speak to the prematurity of the your wanting to impeach the President? Aren't you better served just waiting it all out?
REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: Thank you for having me. This is a sad time in the history of our country and allow me to make it clear, perspicuously so, that I do not speak for the Democratic Party.
[09:10:03] I only speak for those who agree with me and apparently about 70 percent of the democrats do. I do not believe that it's premature. I do believe that the President is now an unindicted co- conspirator and I think that that carries a lot of weight with it.
I think members of congress have a duty and obligation to fulfill the mandate of Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution. If the President has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, he ought to be impeached.
Now, I'm not saying to you that we can impeach today. I do say to you that we ought to have our judiciary committee perform its function. We have outsourced the function of the judiciary committee to a special counsel. I don't believe it's a good idea.
I'm not standing in the way of his continuing, but I do believe what happened with Nixon would have been the kind of methodology that we should have utilized with this president because there was transparency. And when Mr. Butterfield testified, when Mr. John Dean testified, the public was aware. Public opinion drove the process and as a result, the president resigned as opposed to having been impeached.
SMERCONISH: Right, but, Congressman, public polls alone don't warrant the resignation or impeachment of a president. Really all that's in the public record that we think we know for sure according to Michael Cohen is that the President directed him to pay hush money to a porn star and a playmate. Didn't we learn in the '90s with the Clinton intern scandal that at its core, sex and a related case is not enough to rise to that level?
GREEN: Well, we also learned something else with the Nixon case. We learned that once you start the investigation, you find out things that you don't necessarily expect to find. Once you start the investigation you have transparency. And unfortunately, many persons are driven by polls. I personally think you should drive the polls. I think that leadership is about changing public opinion rather than bending to it, especially if it's a righteous cause.
The President, with his pervity, with his insidious prevarication, with his bigotry and policy, with his literally resuscitating Jim Crow, with his breathing new life into the KKK and with his firing of Comey, we have more than enough for a judiciary committee to start an investigation. It can act later on, But here's what I assure you ...
SMERCONISH: Right, but respectfully ...
GREEN: I assure you of this. May I just say this? I assure you that if the judiciary committee doesn't do its job, then any one of the 435 members of Congress can as compared to.
SMERCONISH: OK. Finally, I want to show you what went down on Bill Mahr last night because former CIA Head John Brennan said something on this issue, I think, relevant. Roll it and then I'll get a reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF CIA: And so he's dividing Americans and so I'm really concerned that, as he continues to play to his base, he is further dividing us and I'm really concerned about whether this could spill over into the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Do you share his concern that this could spill over into the streets? Short answer if you don't mind. I'm limited on time.
GREEN: I do share the concern, but I also know that there's a remedy for this and it is the House of the Congress of the United States of America. We ought not allow this to continue without our engagement. Our silence, at some points, becomes betrayal. I hope that we're not at that point.
SMERCONISH: Thank you, Congressman. Appreciate your time.
GREEN: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: I want to know what you think. Go to my website. Please do it now. smerconish.com. Answer this question. Does impeachment talk at this point help or hurt President Trump? Results at the end of this hour. Keep tweeting me and going to my Facebook page as well and I will incorporate some during the course of the program.
Catherine, what do we have? "Smerconish, shameless Mueller and his communist agenda. No longer a Russia collusion investigation, but a further attempt to smear @realDonaldTrump before the November election. This is dirty politics, not justice."
Well, Sergio, that's the President's point, right? I was going to say get ready for the sound byte, but he's already offered it to you. They went looking for Russian collusion and the best that they could come up with was an allegation that I directed a payment to be made to a porn star or a playmate. I get it. That will be his sound byte, but you can't ignore illegal conduct. This is the nature of investigations.
Whitewater began as an investigation into a shady land transaction and ended with an intern scandal. That's the nature of the beast. But you just articulated well what the President will say about all of it.
Up ahead, he ran for president in 2016, got 4.5 million votes. Now, Libertarian Gary Johnson has jumped into this year's senate race in his home state of New Mexico against the incumbent Democrat.
[09:15:07] I'll ask him about the odds he faces hoping to be a critical swing vote in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's fiscally conservative and socially cool. "GQ Magazine" described him as absurdly honest and smart. Gary Johnson isn't the norm in politics, he's the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: That's an ad by a PAC. Libertarian Gary Johnson running for office again. He famously came in third in the 2016 presidential election getting almost 4.5 million votes and 3.3 percent of the national vote, the highest for a third party candidate since Ross Perot in 1996. Many accused he and Green Party candidate Jill Stein of playing spoilers in a race decided by in the electoral college by slim margins in a handful of swing states.
With the mid-term less than three months away, Johnson has jumped into the Senate race in his home state of New Mexico where he served two terms as governor. He was nominated by the party this month after the previous Libertarian candidate withdrew. Johnson is running against incumbent Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich and Republican construction contractor Mick Rich in what had previously been thought to be a safe Democratic seat.
[09:20:07] Does he have a shot despite his late entry? Well, the "FiveThirtyEight" blog posted this story, "Could a Libertarian win a Senate race this year?" Suggesting Johnson has already surpassed Rich as the choice of both Republicans and Independents
Gary Johnson joins me now. Hey, Governor, great to have you back. Fiscally conservative and socially cool ...
GARY JOHNSON, (LP), N.M.: Michael, thanks ...
SMERCONISH: Yes. Thank you. But here's the point, right? There are fiscal conservatives in Washington, there are socially cool representatives in Washington, but there's nobody who's both. Is that your void?
JOHNSON: Well, what's at stake here is potentially being the swing vote in the Senate. So if you've ever ever heard me talk about running for the U.S. Senate, I've said no way. It's a job about bellying up to the trough and the last thing we need is more spending in Washington. We should reduce the size and scope of the Federal government. Deficit this year's going to be $1 trillion. Look, if deficit spending were the key to success, Zimbabwe would be the center of the universe.
SMERCONISH: The question I'm trying to get at, though, is that in my travels - and you may say that this is a reflection of where I live or where I go. I don't think so. I meet people who are fiscally prudent, socially liberal, but you just don't see representatives in Washington who bridge those two worlds. Why not?
JOHNSON: Well, that was - that was my pitch running for president and I really did put it on the line. I did run for president. Why not? The largest political affiliate - and I know you talk about this all the time, Michael. You really are the voice for where is the representation when 45 percent of Americans are registering as Independent. That's the way it is in New Mexico.
So you've got to - paraphrasing George Washington, he said if this country ever devolves into political parties, we're done for. That it should be about independent people, getting into office, getting out, making their contribution. I'm a firm believer in term limits. I think that would be a silver bullet. But, hey, where is the independent representation that I believe are fiscally conservative and socially don't give a damn as long as what you do in your life doesn't adversely affect mine.
SMERCONISH: Did you wait too long to get into this race? JOHNSON: Michael, this came as a complete surprise. This was Aubrey Dunns' idea, the Libertarian nominee for Senate in New Mexico. Total surprise. He came to me six weeks ago. He said I'd like to drop out and I'd like you to be my replacement. I think you have the possibly of winning and we looked at it and that possibility exists.
SMERCONISH: I don't think I've heard Governor Johnson assess the Trump presidency since the election of 2016. So take 30 seconds or 60 seconds and lay it out for me. How does Gary Johnson see the presidency of Donald Trump?
JOHNSON: Well, so, as the swing vote, the fact that taxes got reduced, terrific. The fact that rules and regulations have been knocked down significantly and I think they will continue to be knocked down, look, that's a good thing. If regulations only add time and money to our lives and don't really do anything else, isn't that a good thing?
But where is the spending reduction to go along with this? His words regarding immigration and the border and building a wall, I completely disagree with. We're a - we're a country of immigrants.
And bottom line, I don't think he tells the truth. There is a lack of integrity with Donald Trump and that's what I built my career on is telling the truth and having integrity and let it lay. Look, we're all human beings and I'm a human being. I think I was born with an overdose of common sense. That doesn't appear to be the case with Donald Trump. Good, bad.
SMERCONISH: You know the prospect exists the Democrats retake the House and have an impeachment vote, throwing it to the Senate where you hope to serve. Have you thought through the prospect of Gary Johnson sitting in the Senate as there's an impeachment trial for President Donald Trump?
JOHNSON: And that's what excites me about the job. That's what excited me about having been Governor of New Mexico for two terms. Looking at both sides of these equations.
[09:25:03] And as Governor, look, ultimately I sign or veto legislation. I may have vetoed more legislation than the other 49 governors in the country combined, but I really enjoyed that process and I think I ruled over that process with just common sense. I think the people of New Mexico saw that and that's, right now, what I'm reaping. I'm reaping a lot of good seeds that I've sown in New Mexico my entire life.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, I think the seeds he is sowing right now are going to have some negative implications for all of us for decades to come.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Governor, nice to have you back. Thank you for being here.
JOHNSON: Michael, thank you so much. Thank you for being this voice in the middle. Look, it's somewhere in the middle. It's purple. I wore my purple shirt. Did you notice? SMERCONISH: I did notice. It looks good on TV, by the way. Thanks, Governor.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: I want to know what you think. Go to my website at smerconish.com. Answer this question, "Does impeachment talk at this point help or hurt President Trump?" We'll see what you're all saying on my Smerconish Twitter and Facebook pages as you are voting. What do we have?
"Hang loose, Mr. President. Got to love Gary Johnson. Make him a senator. New Mexico wouldn't have had unity with him and build what we would have had. We would have had unity with he and Bill Weld and universal weed for all."
Hey, John, I knew the weed subject would come up, especially when Gary made reference to seeds. Was I the only one thinking that? But the guy was ahead of the curve in that regard and I'll say this about Gary. Fiscal conservative and social liberalism, that's, I think, where most of the country is. Not the ideologues that we see on television. You know, both in the pundit class and the media host class and the elected representatives, right?
That's not a representation of who's on the other side of the camera. People on the other side of the camera are not ideologically driven and conservative on everything or liberal on everything. They're somewhere in between. That's what he speaks to, in my view.
Pope Francis is visiting Ireland this weekend. He does so under the cloud new devastating details about 1,000 victims of sexual abuse here in Pennsylvania. Will the church do anything to address and redress the trauma and the pain it has inflicted? And where are the calls for federal action, hearings, speeches by national leaders? CNN's Erica Hill recently interviewed some of the abuse survivors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would get high before I would have to show up to mass (ph) and I could separate myself from what was about to happen to me. And I was in charge of the alter boys. I had to make that schedule. I would schedule myself so that others didn't have to take it. I did. I did it so that other people didn't have to take it because I knew I was stronger and I knew I could disconnect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Pope Francis visiting Ireland this weekend under the cloud of multiple sexual abuse scandals. He spoke out about the issue today saying, "The failure of ecclesiastical authorities adequately to address these appalling crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community." But he's under intense pressure to take action to insure accountability for church officials who have long ignored or covered up abuse. The latest case is in my home state of Pennsylvania where the attorney general issued a nearly 900-page grand jury report. It details abuse of more than a thousand individuals by hundreds of priests going back seven decades across all of the state's archdiocese.
Since its release a state hotline created for church victims has received more than 500 calls and other stories keep comes across the nation and around the globe. And yet, as an article in "Justia" called "Clergy Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania: No Justice Is Intolerable" pointed out -- Marci Hamilton wrote, "There has yet to be a single hearing or even a speech by a national leader addressing let alone condemning the systemic sexual abuse of thousands of children across the United States."
Marci Hamilton joins me now. She's a senior fellow in the program for research on religion at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of the non-profit think tank to prevent child abuse and neglect CHILD USA.
Are those words still true? I know that a few days have ticked off the clock since you wrote that piece. Has anybody with the national platform, an elected official spoken on this issue or called for hearings?
MARCI HAMILTON, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Not one and in fact I'm still waiting for anybody in Washington to say the three words, clergy sex abuse. It just hasn't happened.
SMERCONISH: Pennsylvania, Marci, I know from your work is unique insofar as each of our archdiocese has now been examines by a grand jury with appalling results. But do you think those results would be unique if a similar microscope were placed on any other state archdiocese?
HAMILTON: There's no reason to think that Pennsylvania is distinctive. We would see the same number, we would see the same callousness on the part of the institution.
Unfortunately, this is baked into the catholic system at this point. And it's not just true here in the United States, it's global.
SMERCONISH: You know the criticism, memories fade, witnesses disappear. These are all unproven allegations.
HAMILTON: Well, here's the problem with that line of reasoning coming from the bishops. It may be true in other crimes, it's not true for child sex abuse victims.
They remember the room, they remember what they had on. But in addition, the secrets that the Catholic Church holds are in what they call their secret archives. The reason we have this nearly 900-page report is because the secret archives were forced out of the hands of the bishops in Pennsylvania.
The facts were forced into the light. That's how you get these grand jury reports. They have the facts.
When there is no justice, when there's no ability to go to court, you can't get to those facts. The bishops hold them all.
SMERCONISH: In Pennsylvania if we had a hypothetical 50-year-old victim of child sex abuse a prosecutor could pursue a claim against the perpetrator of that 50-year-old. However, that same 50-year-old would have no civil redress.
What explains that disconnect?
HAMILTON: What explains the disconnect is the lobbying by the catholic bishops and insurance companies in the state of Pennsylvania against even extensions of the civil statute of limitations. When the 2005 grand jury report came out from Philadelphia, which I worked on, we were able to persuade Harrisburg in the past an extension from age 30 to age 50 for criminal. No one would do anything for the civil claims in the state of Pennsylvania and they haven't done anything since.
SMERCONISH: Well, is the concern that this could financially wipe out the church?
HAMILTON: That's what they say. In fact, the church is the largest land holder in all of the United States. The Philadelphia archdiocese owns so much property it's impossible to track it.
So, no, that's not what they're really worried about. What they're really worried about is that there are even more secrets they're holding on to, they're worried about their reputations, their worried about their power.
SMERCONISH: One final aspect, I think it's really significant. The standards of proof differs between a civil and criminal prosecution. So you can be 50 and theoretically still meet a burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt but somehow who are deemed unworthy by a preponderance of the evidence. Help me explain that.
HAMILTON: For the civil claims, it's just the preponderance of the evidence, over 50 percent certainty about the truth of the evidence.
What has happened in Philadelphia and across the country is that we have facts coming out. We have facts now across the entire state of Pennsylvania. But we have lawmakers that continue to take the side of the bishops.
They don't want these civil claims. Why? Because when you file a civil claim you don't get a line that's in a report. You get a full complaint, you get all the fact.
What this grand jury report is, is a summary. The lawsuits would open the door and if we were to revive the expired claims, that would open the door to finding out what really happened. And that's what the bishops are fighting.
SMERCONISH: I'm so glad you are here. We have put this on the radar screen as a challenge to elected officials to see who will stand up and want to pursue this in the same way that if there were thousands of victims of any other perpetrator they would be chomping at the bit for TV time.
Thank you, Marci. I appreciate it.
HAMILTON: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, how much do bidders in Delaware pay for the privilege of a low digit license plate? Would you believe nearly double the median house price? We'll get into it in a moment.
SMERCONISH: So what's a license plate with a low digit worth to you? I'm talking about a current plate that you can actually put on your car? Would you believe $410,000?
That's what a Delaware license plate with the number 20 sold for at a recent auction in a state where the median house price is $224,800 and some have sold for even more. What the heck is the case here?
Joining me now is Butch Emmert from the Emmert Auction Associates of Rehoboth, Delaware. He's been doing auctions for 40 years. He did this auction.
Mr. Emmert, explain this to me. It's baffling.
WILLIAM D. "BUTCH" EMMERT, PRESIDENT, EMMERT AUCTION ASSOCIATES: Well, it's something that's really pretty much only individual to Delaware, Michael. I mean, you know, it's been going on since the '50s, originally in the mid to late 50s. You know, these low digit tags were traded for political figures, you know, to political figures and, you know, people of means as political favors.
And then in the '60s they started really trading for, you know, a fair amount of money. We've seen tags like -- you know, tags like this number 20. We've seen them go from $5,000 say in 1962 to $405,000 today. You know, it's like in Delaware, Michael --
SMERCONISH: It's not exactly -- it's not exactly an attractive plate. I mean, I'm look at it as you're holding it up it's a non-descriptive license plate I think I've ever seen.
EMMERT: Yes, Michael, it's -- it's -- they like them in original beat up condition. You know, you can get that -- this tag remade right now for a couple hundred dollars. But it will lose a lot of it value.
[09:45:02] So, you know, just -- this is the Delaware thing. They like them low. They like them beat up and they like them on their cars.
SMERCONISH: OK one through three, I know you told me on my "SiriusXM" radio program are held by state officials. So the first one up for grabs is number four.
Who has it and what do you think it's worth?
EMMERT: Well, this is -- this is a tag that originally was owned by a very large and prominent banker named Tyler McConnell. His -- his bride, his widow, actually has that tag now. And I would have to say, I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here, but I would say it's worth over a million dollars.
We sold -- we sold number --
SMERCONISH: A million dollars?
EMMERT: Right. We sold number six about five years ago for $700,000 and number 20 set a record for a two-digit.
So, you know, it's --
SMERCONISH: And by the way, last week you -- you sold number 3200, a four-digit number. You sold that for $14,500?
EMMERT: That -- right. That -- that is actual a record other than 1234 we sold years ago for $40,000. But, you know, listen, in Delaware, it's always been -- not only is there a lot of prestige involved but it's always been a situation where, you know, they just keep going up in value.
Like owning a piece of great art, you know, you can enjoy it. It's on your car, it's prestigious. And it never goes anywhere but up, historically.
SMERCONISH: By the way, I know the veep has that '67 corvette that he loves. I have got to believe that Joe Biden has a low digit plate as well.
EMMERT: I think he does but I don't think it's real, real low. You know, he's a fiscal conservative. So, you know --
EMMERT: I can't -- I can't honestly tell you what Joe's number is but I'm sure he has probably got a fairly low number. Most politicians do.
SMERCONISH: Butch Emmert, thank you so much. That's a lot of fun. Good for you. EMMERT: Thanks a lot. I appreciate being on. Have a great day.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, your best and worst tweets and Facebook comments. You have got one last chance to go to my Web site at Smerconish.com and vote on the poll question of the day.
There it is. "Does impeachment talk at this point help or hurt President Trump?" Go vote.
SMERCONISH: Time to see how you responded to the survey question at Smerconish.com today.
"Does impeachment talk at this point help or hurt President Trump?" Survey says,7,906 votes, 52 percent say it helps. It helps President Trump -- 48 percent say it hurts President Trump.
I mean, you get the issue here, right? I think it is factually premature for Democrats to be talking in those terms about this subject.
As I pointed out to my guest a week ago we didn't know that Michael Cohen was pleading guilty and that the CFO of the Trump organization was given immunity. Who knows where this thing is headed would be my answer.
What else do we have, Catherine (ph)? Give me some of the reaction from this week's show. "It helps him because it will turn out voters."
Yes, Melissa, it fires up his base and it plays into his argument that this is nothing but a witch hunt and intended to overturn the lawful result of an American election. They went looking for collusion. And the best they can come up with is a payment to a porn star that I had nothing to do with. That's the line.
What else? "Smerconish, Democrats should stop talking impeachment and focus on getting voters out to vote. The Trump base, good bad or ugly are already in line. Impeachment talk will back fire.
But you know what, Frederick? The Democratic base, great piece and in the front page of "The Times" today about this, the Democratic base they love the hardcore, very far left, they love the impeachment talk. It both stimulates those most against the president and those most for him. That's the conundrum.
Give me another one. "Smerconish, who are you going to piss off today, the left or right? Proof of your balanced commentary."
Hey, Guy, I think I pissed off everybody. I think I pissed off everybody. You know, by the end of the hour, I'm accused of both being in the tank for the president and completely unfair to the president largely because of my affiliation.
Neither is true. Neither is true. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth.
Give me another. Hope you're really a dead guy, by the way, that's a good thing. "Hasn't Smerconish ever seen "The Godfather" movie? Michael Cohen is the consigliere, not a mob boss."
Right. But, General Kanye Trump Space Force -- wow! That's quite a name.
What I'm saying is that all the effort that went into immunizing three individuals just to get Michael Cohen who will do what, two or three years, doesn't make sense to me. I'll explain it to you this way.
If you have Pecker and you have his lieutenant, do you really need Allen Weisselberg? And if you have Weisselberg, do you need the guys from the "National Enquirer"?
Do you need all three of them and give them immunity just to go after Michael Cohen? That makes no sense whatsoever.
I'll go back to what I said at the outset of the program, and that is that the southern district of New York is circling the wagons around the president in my view.
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