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NEW DAY SATURDAY
President George H.W. Bush Has Died At Age 94; Sources: Cohen Thought Trump Would Offer Him Pardon For Loyalty; Trump: President George H.W. Bush Was A "Truly Wonderful Man"; President Trump Pays Tribute to Late George H.W. Bush; A CNN Hero Florence Phillips Helps Immigrants Integrate into American Society. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired December 1, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: All right. Frederik Pleitgen, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This CNN BREAKING NEWS.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Well, this morning the nation and the world remembering former President George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States. Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: And I'm Christi Paul. The former president died overnight. He was 94 years old and was in Houston. This, of course, after months of declining health, but George H.W. Bush dedicated his life to serve in the United States, first as a Navy pilot and as a congressman, a diplomat, as the head of the CIA. CNN's Jake Tapper looks back at the legacy of his work here in the United States, the President's work. Not just here in the U.S., but on the world stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Historians say that President George H.W. Bush's international dealings set the gold standard for the modern presidency.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. It is a big idea, a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind.
TAPPER: President Bush charted U.S. policies that promoted Eastern Europe's peaceful emergence from communism, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of U.S.-Soviet proxy wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
BUSH: Some have felt that we were so infatuated with the change in Eastern Europe that we were in the process of neglecting this hemisphere and that is not the case.
TAPPER: President Bush used U.S. military power to remove a drug- dealing strongman, Manuel Noriega, who was turning Panama into a narco-state.
BUSH: Hey, good luck to you fellas. TAPPER: And in what, at the time, was the biggest U.S. military operation since the Vietnam War, President Bush put together an international coalition that liberated Kuwait after it had been invaded by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The skies over Baghdad have been illuminated.
TAPPER: After just over five weeks of aerial bombardment, coalition ground forces pushed the Iraqi army out of Kuwait in just three days.
BUSH: We stood our ground because the world would not look the other way. Ambassador Al Sabah, tonight, Kuwait is free.
TAPPER: The Gulf War started just after "Time" magazine declared George Bush it's men of the year. The cover, the two George Bush's still sums up his presidency. The uplifting world leader on the international stage and the one in Washington D.C. weighed down by a sputtering economy and D.C.'s endless political wars. President Bush tried to be bipartisan from day one.
BUSH: I'm putting out my hand to you, Mr. Speaker. I'm putting out my hand to you, Mr. Majority Leader. Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress and sometimes even his fellow Republicans slapped that hand away. Alarmed by then record deficits, the President broke his most memorable campaign promise.
BUSH: Read my lips. No new taxes.
TAPPER: Convinced it was in the national interest to compromise, he agreed to a bipartisan deal cutting spending and raising taxes. He broke a major campaign pledge and then saw the deal shot down by House conservatives. A second attempt passed, but did not stop the recession in time. Bush's nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court provoked another acrimonious fight. Democrats dug up claims of sexual harassment.
CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a circus. It's a national disgrace and from my standpoint, as a black American, as far as I'm concerned, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.
TAPPER: And Bush's approval rating, an unheard of 91 percent by the end of the Gulf War, slowly eroded. The recession he could not stop ended up costing him a second term, but President Bush left indelible marks on the nation as well as on the world. He signed the Clean Air Act of 1990, calling it one of his administration's greatest domestic achievements. He also signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibiting job discrimination and to this day, opening buildings and public transportation to millions of Americans. It is no wonder that modern presidents from both parties looked up to him.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. President, I'm one of millions of people who have been inspired by your passion and your commitment. We are surely a kinder and gentler nation because of you and we can't thank you enough.
TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, President George H.W. Bush was born into privilege, but lived a life of service to the American people. He and his wife, Barbara, raised their children with the same values.
PAUL: Yes. Grandson George P. Bush tweeted, "My grandfather was the greatest man I ever knew. His life spanned the American century. He fought in World War II, took part in the Texas oil boom, served our a distinguished career in public service, including serving as president during the final days of the Cold War."
[09:05:07] CNN's Kaylee Hartung is in Houston, the city, of course, that is honoring the former president. What's happening there, Kaylee? And good morning to you.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning, Victor and Christi. As so many people are waking up to the news of George H.W. Bush's passing, so too are Houstonians. The people who called him their neighbor were here outside of the residence that George H.W. Bush and Barbara shared together for so many years. Houston's mayor reminding us that following their departure from the White House, they could have gone anywhere, but they chose to come back here to their beloved city where his political career first began.
We've received so many statements coming in overnight, but most poignantly, one from George W. Bush which says, "Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41's life and love for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for dad and the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."
Of course, we anticipate the Bush family congregating in Houston over the next couple of days. We expect there to be a private service at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, which is just a couple of blocks from that home that George and Barbara shared together. Then, of course, his body will be taken to Washington D.C. where he will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol as former presidents before him have and most recently, Senator John McCain.
He will then, eventually, after a service at the National Cathedral, be brought back here to Houston for a larger service, again, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church. And then he will finally be laid to rest at Texas A&M University, the home of the Bush Presidential Library. And overnight, we saw a vigil led by students developing there, bringing candles to his statue and remembering our 41st president.
You may remember, Victor and Christi, following Barbara's death, just this past April, there was a cartoon in "USA Today" that went viral. It showed Barbara entering the gates of heaven, being greeted by their daughter Robin who died when she was just three years old of leukemia. Well, the cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey, has outdone himself with a follow-up to that cartoon that you'll see in the paper today. Here you see George H.W. Bush there, arriving in heaven by way of the plane he flew for the navy and World War II and there he is reunited with Barbara and his dear Robin.
The cartoonist, Marshall Ramsey, says that following that first cartoon, he received a note from President Bush's chief of staff. President Bush no longer able to write the handwritten notes due to Parkinson's disease that he was so familiar to write over the years to friends and to strangers, but the cartoonist said that that note he received from Bush's chief of staff really conveyed the President's sentiments. It was humble and gracious he said.
But this, Victor and Christi, just one of the many ways that we can imagine this 41st president being remembered as now a week-long journey will begin for all of us to remember his incredible life and legacy.
BLACKWELL: Yes. A real tribute to an American hero and former American president. Kaylee Hartung, thank you very much. Let's put that back up. That most recent cartoon here (ph).
PAUL: It takes your breath away.
PAUL: I mean, you saw me and you know I'm -- it just -- wow.
BLACKWELL: We waited for you.
PAUL: We waited for you. That is something.
PAUL: And you, know, you hope for his family that they look at that and they go yes.
PAUL: All is well.
BLACKWELL: Well done.
PAUL: So George H.W. Bush spent the majority of life in public services. We've been talking about two terms as vice president under Ronald Reagan before becoming president in 1989. This picture here. This right here you see the last time that he appeared in public performing his civic duty. That is George H.W. Bush voting earlier this month in Houston with one of his best friends to the right ...
BLACKWELL: Yes. James Baker.
PAUL: ... and one of his best friends to the left.
BLACKWELL: Yes. CNN's Abby Phillip is live in Buenos Aires where President Trump is attending the G20 summit this weekend. Abby, detail for us, what has been the response from President Trump, from this White House? ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Victor and Christi. The President has been here for the last day or so taking meetings at the G20. And overnight, we heard from the White House a first statement from them offering their condolences, a lengthy statement, a tribute to President George H.W. Bush. And let me read you part of that statement here. It says, "Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit and unwavering commitment to faith, family and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service.
[09:10:08] To be, in his words, "a thousand points of light" illuminating the greatness, hope and opportunity of America to the world. Our hearts ache with his loss and we, the American people, send our prayers to the entire Bush family as we honor the life and legacy of 41."
This is a White House that is actually full of Bush veterans, though this president has not necessarily had the easiest relationship with the Bush family, but we have seen, in this statement, the President and First Lady Melania Trump and the White House at large offering really a broad a tribute to the legacy of a former Republican president, a president whose wife passed away earlier this year and Melania Trump was the representative for the Trump administration attending her funeral.
President Trump was not invited to that funeral and we haven't gotten much of a response yet in terms of how this event will be honored, but it is customary for the president and for a lot of the administration to be there. We did see Melania Trump herself separately offering a tweet of condolences, retweeting the message from the White House and offering her condolences to the Bush family as well.
So over the next couple of hours, I think we're going to hear more from President Trump as we see him here at the G20. The flags at the White House have already been lowered and I think we'll hear much more over the course of this weekend, Victor and Christi.
PAUL: All righty. Abby Phillip, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: All right. More breaking news we're following this morning, the President's former attorney, Michael Cohen, believed that President Trump was going to protect him if he faced any charges. Plus, the extent of Cohen's cooperation with the special counsel. We'll talk about that ahead.
PAUL: We're also taking a look at one of Bush 41's key diplomatic achievements, helping to end the Cold War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The biggest thing that has happened in the world, in my life, in our lives is this. By the grace of God, America won the Cold War.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:15:00]
BLACKWELL: Well, President George H.W. Bush will be remembered for many things, but one of his key achievements was helping to end the Cold War.
PAUL: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted this. Quote, "When the iron curtain came down, the world needed politicians with visions and will. President George H.W. Bush was capable and committed. He seized the moment and shaped history. He'll be remembered as one of the architects of the post Cold War era and as a true transatlantist."
BLACKWELL: CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto has more on President Bush's push to end the Cold War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The biggest thing that has happened in the world, in my life, in our lives is this. By the grace of God, America won the Cold War.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Many Americans associate Ronald Reagan with the fall of communism.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
SCIUTTO: But when the Berlin Wall came down, the nations of Eastern Europe renounced communism and the Soviet Union fell apart, George H.W. Bush was President of the United States.
JAMES BAKER, BUSH 41'S WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And the Cold War didn't have to end peacefully. It could have ended with a bang instead of a whimper, but he made sure that it ended peacefully and took a lot of heat in the process for not being willing to be -- to emote more about winning the Cold War.
SCIUTTO: Only months into President Bush's term, China's communist government brutally crushed a pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The President, who had been the top U.S. diplomat in China under President Ford, condemned the bloody repression, but refused to slam the door on the U.S.-Chinese relationship.
BUSH: The process of democratization of communist societies will not be a smooth one and we must react to setbacks in a way which stimulates rather than stifles progress toward open and representative system.
SCIUTTO: Hoping to stimulate progress, Bush funneled U.S. support to nations where communist leaders chose to negotiate with reformers. He visited Poland and Hungary in July of 1989, receiving large and enthusiastic welcomes. As reform in Eastern Europe sped up, the President stayed cautious and deliberate. Reporters were astonished at his low-key response when the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989. BUSH: I'm very pleased with -- with this development.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't seem elated and I'm wondering if you're thinking of the problems ...
BUSH: I'm elated. I'm just not an emotional kind of guy.
SCIUTTO: We now know that, in reality, he was elated, as well as intensely worried that the peaceful transition would fall apart if he gloated.
BAKER: Dance on the ruins of the -- of the Berlin Wall. He said, "I'm not going to do it"
COLIN POWELL, AMERICAN STATESMEN AND RETIRED UNITED STATES ARMY GENERAL: He knew that gloating would not help us as we tried to reunify Germany and see how the Warsaw Pact nations would transition to democracy. I think it was brilliant the way he handled the end of the Cold War and the transition to a Europe whole, free and in peace.
SCIUTTO: The Soviet Union broke up peacefully and Gorbachev resigned on Christmas Day, 1991 Gorbachev called President Bush to tell him what he was going to do peacefully and Gorbachev resigned on Christmas Day 1991.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENTIST AND DIPLOMAT: Gorbachev called President Bush to tell him what he was going to do and he said to President Bush, history will judge us well, yes? We did the right thing, didn't we?
[09:20:10] BUSH: Good evening ...
SCIUTTO: That same Christmas night, President Bush addressed the nation from The Oval Office.
BUSH: Eastern Europe is free. The Soviet Union itself is no more. This is a victory for democracy and freedom. Welcome, sir.
DICK CHENEY, BUSH 41'S DEFENSE SECRETARY: He was able to sort of manage the process. It'd been easy to come across as sort of taking advantage of the collapse of the Soviet Union. You know, go pound your chest and turn it into a political event to his advantage perhaps domestically, but certainly not in terms of how the whole thing unfolded. It was managed very, very smoothly, I always thought and that was his doing.
SCIUTTO: Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN's Senior International Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen live from Moscow with us now.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Fred, there are many people who in the, you know, the rhetoric of President Reagan, often credit him with the wall coming down, but it actually happened during Bush 41's presidency. Tell us more about his role leading up to the wall coming down there.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. Good morning, Victor. I think it was -- it was a massive role that President George H.W. Bush had not just in the wall itself coming down, but especially the aftermath as well. And obviously, all of this was really very much in partnership with Mikhail Gorbachev, the then leader of the Soviet Union. And simply understanding that Mikhail Gorbachev and his administration could be a partner in all this is obviously a huge feat that I don't think many Europeans will ever forget and certainly Mikhail Gorbachev won't forget.
This morning, and I'm obviously in Moscow right now, we got reaction from Mikhail Gorbachev and here's what he said. Quote, "I have a lot of memories associated with this person," obviously speaking about George H.W. Bush, "We had a chance to work together during the years of tremendous changes. It was a dramatic time that demanded great responsibility from everyone. The result was an end to the Cold War and the nuclear arms race."
So obviously some very warm words there from Mikhail Gorbachev, but, you know, having gone through that time -- I was in Germany, obviously, at the time that the Berlin Wall came down. When the Berlin Wall came down, we all believed that there still was going to be two German states, that obviously the whole Warsaw Pact nations that were affiliated with the Soviet Union were still going to be around.
And it took visionaries like George H.W. Bush to understand that this transformational process that was taking place was actually a lot bigger than most people thought. Understanding he could work together with Mikhail Gorbachev and making this all happen in a peaceful way.
We just saw Jim Sciutto's report there about how important that was. You know, back then, there were tens of thousands of Soviet troops still on East German soil and getting them to leave and getting them to leave in a peaceful way was certainly a gigantic feat that took a lot of professionalism, but also a lot of understanding about what the other side was up to and what was going on in their minds as well, Victor.
PAUL: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: And this morning, leaders, really around the world, are reacting to the passing of Bush 41. Joining us now, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst and former Army Commander General of the Europe and Seventh Army there. General Hertling, good morning to you. You were in Germany during the Bush presidency, at least the first half of it. Tell us about that.
MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. Listening to your comments with Fred Pleitgen just a second ago, Victor, it really brought a rush of memories because we had -- in 1989, we had forces on border patrol between East and West Germany at the time. I was a young major back then. I consider myself a cold warrior. I spent 12 years at different times in Europe and we didn't know what was happening when the wall came down. There was this great momentum building toward it and then when it finally happened and there was this rush of East Germans into West Germany through the gates that had been closed in kilometers zones between the two countries up to that point, it was challenging for a long time in 1989. And then, truthfully, we went off to war again under George Bush -- and by the way, I should mention, there were about a quarter of a million U.S. soldiers in Germany in 1989. Some of us went off to war.
President Bush sent us to Iraq for Desert Storm and then later on during an assignment in Germany when I came back to command there in 2007, it was a completely different environment with the nations that had formerly been part of the Warsaw Pact now part of our alliances that were, in fact, contributing forces to Iraq and Afghanistan, you know, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, all different kinds of forces that had formerly been our enemies as part of the Warsaw Pact were now our friends. It was fascinating.
[09:25:00] PAUL: You said that you were thankful for Bush's leadership at that time. So when you -- when you look back to that time, what specifically was it about him, about his leadership, that makes you pause today?
HERTLING: Well, Christi, you know, soldiers and military people look at their leaders in a very unique way because we have a doctrinal manual that explains what leadership is. It has to do with the person's character, their presence, how they comport themselves, their intellect, how they understand the issues and can be a part of it, their empathy and humility. All of those things President Bush exhibited in spades. He walked among the soldiers.
I mean, he came to Desert Storm on Thanksgiving before we attacked North -- Thanksgiving of 1990. Our family members who remained in Germany, I remember coming back as a major and they all said, boy, did we have faith in our leadership, President Bush, Colin Powell at the time, Secretary of Defense Cheney.
So that just example of leadership, of understanding what's going on, of knowing the plight of the service member is all a role of the commander in chief. And I saw one of your earlier takes this morning where he said the toughest decision of a president is to send forces to war. That certainly is difficult and he understood that, I think, more than many other presidents of our recent time.
BLACKWELL: Let's expand this conversation about leadership. You talk about it domestically during Desert Storm, but really, globally, the President's leadership leading into Desert Shield and Desert Storm in creating the Coalition of the Willing. Now, his son used that term in the lead-up to Iraq, but talk about, if you would, the work that he did and his administration over the State Department as well ...
BLACKWELL: ... to build a global support before going into Kuwait and how that is now, in many parts, the yardstick by which these coalitions subsequently are measured.
HERTLING: Yes. That's a great question, Victor. And you know, one of the things that happens is our leaders should exhibit our national values because that drives our national interest and our national interest drives our strategies and our policies and our actions, but it all starts with values. And when President Bush said in 1990 this will not stand, he was talking about an attack on the Kuwaiti people that just was in violation of the values of the freedom and liberties that all people should have.
Those are our national values. Understanding that there is a requirement for respect for all people, to treat people equally and with the dignity they deserve. Now, we don't always get it right as a country, but certainly when you're a leader and you exhibit those values, and especially at the national level when you're exhibiting our national values of dignity, liberty, respect, freedom, other nations will join in and they won't treat you as an outsider. They will want to be more like you are.
And I think that's why President Bush, in 1990, was able to create that Coalition of the Willing to contribute to the freeing of Kuwait, the mission that Desert Storm had.
PAUL: Theresa May released a statement saying this about President Bush, "Navigating a peaceful end to the Cold War, he made the world a safer place for generations to come." Do you agree?
HERTLING: I do. And again, it's how you use force. It's how you use military force. There always has to be an end state and our end state since the end of World War II in Europe has been to help create a better society to -- the Marshall Plan, the establishment of NATO, all of those things were put together in order that people who had suffered the wounds and casualties of war could rise up again and become a stable people with stable governments.
It took a long time to do that, but that was the end state and that's what presidents like Bush were really focused on as they countered the Soviet Union at the time who were oppressing people. And there are many nations in Europe right now who still feel that oppression and who celebrate the freedom that they were given when that wall came down and they were able to begin planning their own future as a nation -- as sovereign nations.
BLACKWELL: All right. General Hertling, thanks so much for your memories and your insight this morning.
PAUL: Thank you, General (ph).
HERTLING: Thank you, Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: All right. We've got a new statement here from President Trump via Twitter and I'm going to read it here, just out in the last few minutes.
[06:30:00] "President George H.W. Bush led a long, successful and beautiful life. Whenever I was with him, I saw his absolute joy for life and true pride in his family. His accomplishments were great from beginning to end. He was a truly wonderful man and will be missed by all."
That's the latest statement from President Trump after releasing a statement just a few hours ago. We'll see if we hear more from the president once the president is in front of the camera in Buenos Aires there for the G20.
CHRISTI PAUL, CO-HOST, NEW DAY SATURDAY: Yes, a little bit later today. I mean, this is a president, president 41 who was loved by so many people, few, of course, loved him more than his children --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
PAUL: Did, as we go to break here, listen to what Jeb Bush says about his father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: My dad is just the kindest person. He's been an extraordinary role model. I mean, I can't -- it's hard for me to be objective, I honestly believe he's as close to perfection as any person I've ever met.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PAUL: If you're just waking up, we are sad to tell you that the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush has died. He was 94 years old.
BLACKWELL: He passed away overnight in Houston after several months of declining health. His death comes a little more than seven months after his wife, Barbara Bush's passing at the age of 92.
PAUL: And President Bush, he's remembered as a public servant and a statesman, a World War II combat pilot and a dedicated family man.
BLACKWELL: Now, former President George W. Bush called his father, and this is a quote, "a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for." Jeb Bush Jr. said, quote, "nothing gave my gampy -- that's what he called him, more joy than service to others. His leadership taught us to be kinder and gentler.
PAUL: Cnn special correspondent Jamie Gangel sat down with more members of the Bush family to talk about their father and grandfather.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Give me some words to describe your father.
BUSH: My dad is just the kindest person. He's been an extraordinary role model. I mean, I can't -- it's hard for me to be objective, I honestly believe he's as close to perfection as any person I've ever met.
NEIL BUSH, SON OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: If everybody was like George Herbert Walker Bush in trying to find the best in others and trying to lift other people up, just in personal relationships, the world would be a way better place than it is today.
GANGEL: What would surprise people about your grandfather?
JEB BUSH JR., GRANDSON OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: He's a big crier. He cries easily. There's a genetic -- I guess, trait for all the Bush men and that they just were -- you know, you put on a Disney movie and they're tearing up.
PIERCE BUSH, GRANDSON OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Well, he likes to play ranks too, yes.
GANGEL: Explain the ranking committee --
BUSH: So the ranking committee was this way that he used to judge down on kind of different disagreements between cousins, different disagreement between his own kids. And he'll say, we're going to have to take this before the ranking committee.
GANGEL: And who was the ranking committee?
BUSH: It was always him. It's a -- where he revealed this picture where he had superimposed his head into all these different bodies.
BUSH: My dad dressed up in five different outfits including, I think, dressed in drag.
BUSH: I mean, one of the things that I enjoyed about my grandfather is he would always delight in a sense of humor. Whether it was his or someone else's. So when he was vice president and I had a chance to visit, he would often pull out a mask of Ronald Reagan to pretend that he was the president of the United States.
And as a kid who was about eight years old, I'd be scared out of my mind because I didn't know who Ronald Reagan was. I came to see my lovely gampy.
GANGEL: So one Summer, you wreck his boat in Maine?
BUSH: Long story short, the boat -- because it was so low tide, just went over, and was sitting on these rocks and we couldn't pull it off. The tide continued to go down. So there is this boat, his prized -- you know, his prized possession just beached on rocky Maine coast, the scraping and everything.
And I felt really bad about it. And my grandfather through this incredible graciousness that just defines him wrote me a letter and it's a note that, you know, I cherish, and it was basically saying, look, Pierce, I remember days when I could do no right. But then the sun would embrace me and a new day would begin. You
know, we love you, don't worry about the little boat incident. I mean, really would sound so silly. But it means the world. That's so full of love and I mean, everybody should have a grandfather or a parent that's like that.
GANGEL: One of your siblings talked about the look --
BUSH: Yes, he gave a --
GANGEL: He would give you the look --
BUSH: I never received that look.
GANGEL: That's because you're the perfect child --
BUSH: No, because I knew how not to get the look.
I would avoid everything I could to get that look.
GANGEL: I imagine that your parents if you ever did get in trouble had very different styles --
BUSH: Yes --
GANGEL: Of discipline.
BUSH: Well, mom, the nickname that -- one of many nicknames she has was the enforcer. So there were unwritten rules, and if you violated them, she would enforce the rules and do it in a way that was pretty effective. I don't remember my dad doing that.
GANGEL: Best advice he ever gave you?
[06:40:00] BUSH: Get your jersey dirty.
GANGEL: Which means?
BUSH: Which means just get in there and do something. It's important to be thoughtful and to think, but doing something is far more important. Just do something. Take action.
BUSH: Best advice is to follow my passion. Whether it was in politics, whether it was to pursue my dream to be a Major League Baseball player, which was ultimately unsuccessful or just to be a great father and a great husband.
BUSH: So he's been a great kind of a role model for how to live your life to the end with grace and dignity and calmness and peace and caring for others.
GANGEL: Classy to the end.
BUSH: Classy to the end. Classy to the end. That's a great way to put it.
BUSH: And I think we'll remember him as the embodiment, the human embodiment of love. That's it. He's just an incredible, loving human being.
PAUL: Human, humility, we've heard a lot of that this morning in describing --
BLACKWELL: That's a great legacy --
PAUL: George H.W. Bush --
BLACKWELL: Great legacy --
PAUL: Yes --
BLACKWELL: To hear from his family. And still to come, President Trump's former Attorney Michael Cohen says he thought his boss was going to protect him if he faced any charges. We've got new details in the Russia investigation ahead.
[06:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PAUL: We're going to continue our breaking news coverage of President George H.W. Bush, his death in just a moment. But we do have some other details we want to talk to you about in terms of the Russia investigation.
BLACKWELL: According to discussions with federal prosecutors, President Trump's former personal Attorney Michael Cohen thought the president would protect him if he faced any charges related to paying adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
PAUL: Cohen believed that the president would pardon him in exchange for staying on message in support of his boss. But after the FBI raided Cohen's office in his home, he noticed things changed and acted to protect his family and himself.
Now, a court document says Cohen has had seven voluntary interviews with the special counsel and expects to cooperate further. Cnn legal analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson with us now. So Joey, thank you so much for having us -- for making some time for us this morning. Quick question to you, first and foremost, how reliable is Michael Cohen at the end of the day here?
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good morning to you, Christi, good morning Victor. So in answering that question, let's start how with how we talked about, right, how the discussions started out. Well, he thought that as Michael Cohen, that the president would protect him.
That cuts both ways. From a defense attorney's perspective, right, the argument is going to be made, for example, that, hey, you were -- so say for example, Michael Cohen's in court, he's providing testimony, that testimony is damning to the president.
The president's lawyers are going to say it would be fair to say that you thought the president would protect you, is that right? You became angry when he wouldn't protect you, would that be fair to say? And as a result of that, now, you're motivated to talk about things, right?
But you don't like what the president did to you, do you? So what I'm suggesting to you is that, that goes to establish to your question that he's not credible at all. Because he's harboring animus as a result of his fallout of the president. The other way it cuts, of course, is, look, as a result of him not protecting me, I am going to tell all.
And in telling all, that is every secret I know including the fact that it wasn't the Iowa caucuses in January when these -- when these discussions about this Trump Tower in Moscow stopped, it was in June. And you thought I wouldn't tell it, but now I'm going to tell it since you didn't pardon me.
So all this goes to the issue of credibility. At the end of the day, Christi, I don't think this case rises and falls on Michael Cohen's word alone. I think that there has to be some independent corroboration, whether it's documentary via text messages, via e- mails, via contemporary statements that he was making about himself or notes that he was taking.
And other witnesses who could establish that what --
PAUL: Yes --
JACKSON: He's saying is factual --
PAUL: So some sort of --
JACKSON: Not going to be what he says alone.
PAUL: Some sort of tangible evidence.
BLACKWELL: So --
BLACKWELL: Let's talk to you about the new filing also claiming that Cohen had -- and this is a quote "a lengthy, substantive conversation with a personal assistant to the Kremlin official. We know that to now be Dmitry Peskov, but that would have been the first half of 2016.
At what point does this transition from being problematic obviously for Michael Cohen to being problematic for President Trump and potentially others in the Trump administration, others in his family?
JACKSON: You know, Victor, I think we're at that point. And remember that whenever you have a case in any court case, it's not about the smoking gun, in some cases there are smoking guns. Many cases though, we're not as fortunate. That's why we have this thing called circumstantial evidence, right? Direct evidence is the smoking gun, we know you were negotiating, we see the trip, you flew at this date, you met with this person, we have surveillance. That's direct. Often times in courtrooms, you have circumstantial evidence.
And to your question, at what point does it become problematic? Let's look at the dot, right? We have this meeting that junior and Manafort, you know, you engage in, where you're meeting with Russians about opposition, research and Hillary Clinton.
What's that about? Why did you lie about it? Why did the president dictate a narrative that was different as to the meeting itself and it actually happening? And then we have over here Roger Stone who was so close to you and these WikiLeaks and whether or not you had knowledge as to the WikiLeaks going.
And then we have this Trump Tower development. So what I'm suggesting to you is that you don't look at any piece of evidence in isolation. You take the whole, and the whole substantially, right, goes to the issue of the circumstance. And why is it that we have a president who slams everyone, but when it comes to Russia, they could do no wrong, particularly after the history that we've had with Russia.
[06:50:00] And so the point is, I think the issue is now. And just one last thing, Victor --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
JACKSON: We know that the House is changing hands, of course, in January, right? And as a result of that, I think there'll be more transparency with regard to actually what is going on, and they're going to check him unlike what the Republicans have been doing. So as this information comes out, I think it becomes highly problematic for the president.
PAUL: All right, Joey Jackson, always appreciate your expertise, thank you, sir.
JACKSON: Thank you, Christi, thank you, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Thank you. Coming up at the top of the hour, remembering the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, his life, his legacy, and his unwavering love for life and adventure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, FORMER LATE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just because you're an old guy, you don't have to sit around drooling in the corner. Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) PAUL: Well, as the daughter of immigrants who came to America not
speaking English, Florence Phillips says she knows firsthand the obstacles that newcomers face.
BLACKWELL: Now, one of the top ten Cnn Heroes this year, Phillips created a vital tool to help immigrants overcome those language barriers and get one step closer to achieving the American dream.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLORENCE PHILLIPS, ENTREPRENEUR: It's the immigrants that made the United States. It was the immigrants that came here to have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of doing whatever they wanted to do, and they're the ones that made this country. We are giving them the key.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on in --
PHILLIPS: To unlock all doors, and I see the pride when they say "I am an American."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Go to cnnheroes.com, now to vote for Florence or any of your favorite top-ten heroes, and thank you for doing so.