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Prosecutors Implicate Trump in Two Crimes in 2016 Campaign; Manafort Tried to Hide Contacts with White House Officials; Transcripts of Comey Testimony Expected Today; CBS Still Paying Sex Assault Claim for "60 Minutes" Creator; Army-Navy: 119th Edition of America's Game. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired December 8, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:59:59] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thank you so much. Good to see you both.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Likewise.
WHITFIELD: Great morning.
BLACKWELL: Yes, very good morning.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, very good.
WHITFIELD: All right. Very good.
BLACKWELL: A lot going on.
WHITFIELD: Have a good day.
BLACKWELL: You, too.
WHITFIELD: All right. Take care you all.
All right. It's 11:00 on the East Coast. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
NEWSROOM starts right now.
And we start with major revelations in the Russia investigation. Federal prosecutors are implicating the President of the United States in two federal crimes during the 2016 presidential campaign. The stunning new memos give us an unprecedented look into the probe and say former attorney Michael Cohen acted according now at the direction of Donald Trump when he committed campaign finance violations for hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
But it doesn't stop there. Special counsel Robert Mueller also believes the Trump Tower project in Moscow is relevant to Russia's 2016 meddling. And it is not just a matter of Cohen lying about the time line.
All of this happening as Mueller says former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about five major things, including how long he stayed in touch with White House officials after he was indicted. Mueller indicating communication was going on as recently as this year.
Let's get right to it now.
CNN politics reporter Jeremy Herb is on the President being implicated in two federal crimes now. Good to see you. So what more can you tell us?
JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, that's right.
Now, this was one of the most revealing windows we've had so far into what the Mueller investigation has uncovered. And what's most significant here is that for the first time, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said that Trump directed Cohen to commit crimes during the campaign when he asked women and paid women not to speak about the alleged affairs with Trump.
Now the big looming question is what does this mean for the President? Trump tweeted last night that the filing clears the President. But he is implicated in these crimes that Cohen committed.
Now, the DOJ has not accused the President of a crime and said that in fact a sitting president cannot be indicted. But this is certainly a matter that Congress is going to take up once Democrats take back the House next month.
Now, in addition to talk about the women, Friday's filings revealed that new contacts between Michael Cohen and Russians as part of the Trump Tower-Moscow project early on in the campaign. And what Mueller did here was he connected the Trump Tower-Moscow project which was pursued in 2015 and into 2016, with questions about Russian election meddling, saying that Trump stood to benefit business wise had the project gone forward, and that discussions were on-going at the same time that Russia was actively meddling in the election.
Now prosecutors recommended a substantial sentence for Cohen as part of this memo last night, after Cohen's attorneys had hoped that he would get no prison time and requested that on their side.
Cohen is facing charges of tax fraud, campaign finance violations that are tied to these payments to women and also lying to Congress about the Trump Tower-Moscow project. He is set to be sentenced next month -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Herb, thank you so much. Appreciate that.
All right. If you ask President Trump, he is free and clear. The President tweeting this morning saying this. Quote, "After two years and millions of pages of documents and a cost of over $30 million, no collusion."
Our White House correspondent Boris Sanchez joining us right now. So Boris -- what else is the White House saying about all this? BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there -- Fred.
Yes. The White House is essentially saying this is no big deal. The President as you noted earlier today tweeting out that there is no collusion.
However, this isn't Robert Mueller's final report. These are just sentencing documents for his former campaign chairman and his former attorney.
Sarah Sanders put out a statement yesterday addressing both of these filings. Here's what she wrote about Michael Cohen's filing. She wrote quote, "The government's filings in Mr. Cohen's case tell us nothing that wasn't already known. Mr. Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court Mr. Cohen is no hero."
Not included in her statement is an explanation of whether President Trump was aware or not of that national that approached Michael Cohen suggesting that the Russian government could have political synergy with the Trump campaign.
She also writes about Paul Manafort and she writes quote, "The government's filing in Mr. Manafort's case says absolutely nothing about the President. It says even less about collusion and is devoted almost entirely to lobbying related issues. Once again, the media is trying to create a story where there isn't one."
That's certainly not the case, especially considering that it was revealed yesterday that Paul Manafort was having conversations with a senior administration official as recently as May something that was not addressed in this statement either, as we noted previously.
[11:05:01] Jeremy noted the President yesterday tweeted out that these documents clear him. The question of whether he understands that he is Individual One in these documents is still out there. Of course, Individual One directed Michael Cohen to commit campaign finance violations.
We'll get a chance to ask the President that as he departs the White House later today. He's heading to Philadelphia to attend the Army- Navy game -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. He doesn't usually, you know, pass up an opportunity to speak. So we'll see if he'll do that today.
All right. Boris Sanchez -- thank you so much.
All right. Joining me right now to discuss: former assistant to Robert Mueller and former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin; and "Politico's" congressional reporter and CNN political analyst Rachael Bade. Good to see you both.
All right. So Michael -- you first. You know the President, you know, has been implicated in now two federal crimes. The President of course, tweeting out no collusion, down playing this but in your view how significant are these connections, are these sentencing guidelines, these two crimes now being connected to the President?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the southern district of New York has determined in its pleadings that Michael Cohen committed felonies at the direction of the President, then candidate Trump, and therefore by inference the President has likewise committed two crimes.
Whether they would ever be prosecuted by a prosecutor, leave aside whether or not you can indict and prosecute a sitting president is probably unlikely. These are cases that require a lot of complicated proof about the intent to influence the election.
But that all aside, this is what the southern district of New York says, the President instructed Cohen to violate the law. And there's just no way that that's helpful to anybody.
WHITFIELD: And Rachael, you know, so his fingerprints, you know, allegedly are on it, the President's fingerprints here. But then the President tweeting that this news totally clears him. And we've heard him, you know, in the past, you know, imply that he is above the law, even saying, you know, he could shoot somebody, you know, in Manhattan and nobody, you know, would really flinch at that and he would still get elected.
So is this the President really realizing that this is very serious or is he, you know, dismissing this? Is he, you know, naively dismissing this?
RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, there's probably a difference in what he, you know, feels privately and says publicly. Very contrary from clearing him, this digs him in several feet deeper.
You have not just a former lawyer who has turned on him and who has lied before saying that Trump directed him to pay off these women, which was illegal given the campaign finance laws, but these are federal prosecutors who are saying that Trump directed it, calling him Individual One, directly implicating him.
Another thing I would say is, you know, the plot is thickening when it comes to the whole collusion aspect and question of collusion.
You know, Democrats even on the Hill had sort of let go of that narrative because there wasn't a lot of proof that something was going on. But these filings, what we saw this week, was that Mueller is getting very close to connecting and is very much saying there's a connection between Trump having business interests in Moscow, and trying to get a Trump Tower built there and approved there and what the Russians were doing in terms of offering this political synergy and then later interfering in our U.S. elections.
So he's really building this case right now. I think it's going to be interesting to watch. Obviously you cannot indict a sitting president, at least there's no precedent for that. It would be very unprecedented if they did.
So Democrats on the Hill when they take over, they're going to have to ask themselves are they going to try to impeach the President? What are they going to do about this because it's really probably going to come down to them.
WHITFIELD: And so Michael, you know, an example of the interest that the President, the stakes that he has in Moscow with the development project of this Trump Tower, you know, Moscow. But how do you explain why all the lying? I mean what do you suppose is at the bottom, you know, of this investigation or the focus of this investigation into why would there be so much lying?
ZELDIN: Well, it's a good question. I think fundamentally Donald Trump when he was candidate and perhaps even as president, what matters to him most is money and that the Trump Tower-Moscow project according to the prosecutors' documents filed yesterday, he stood to make a lot of money if that project went through. And he was not about to do anything that would interfere with the success of that project.
At the same time, he is running for president, and it is a bit unseemly to be doing both those things simultaneously. And I think therefore --
[11:09:51] WHITFIELD: But you heard the President say but if I didn't win, you know, to miss out on this opportunity, this business opportunity. He essentially is justifying having these irons in the fire without saying specifically, you know, this Trump Tower-Moscow project, but saying what's the matter with looking into business opportunities while simultaneously running, just in case I don't win.
ZELDIN: Well, there's nothing wrong with it, and had he been transparent during the campaign to say I'm a businessman. I'm running for president, but I have a business to run, and let me tell you, let me disclose to the American people that I am pursuing business in Moscow while simultaneously doing this. And if I win, of course, I'll, you know, set aside my business, which actually he didn't do. But there would be nothing wrong with it.
But what the problem is, is that while he was running for president, he claimed not to be doing that, which we now learned from the prosecutor's documents that actually his business was doing. Whether he knew about it has to be proven for there to be, you know, criminality or lack of transparency, but that I think is what is at the heart of the lying.
BADE: And I would just add there, I feel like there's, you know, sure legally nothing wrong with what he did in terms of not disclosing this and saying I have no Russia contacts during 2016, while privately trying to get something approved for a project in Russia.
But I mean you have to ask the moral, ethical question, too which is that Republicans probably would want to know this when they were choosing their candidate. You know, they took his word when he went out there publicly and said no, I just want to build this new friendship with Russia. I want a new relationship with Russia to Russia rebuilding, et cetera. So I would think that, you know, Republicans would be upset about this. The interesting thing, of course, is they're sticking with the President on all of this stuff and are not turning away from him because of these revelations.
WHITFIELD: And let me just ask you quickly Rachael, on the timing of what CNN has now learned that, you know, Mueller also questioned the chief of staff, John Kelly, and then there are rumblings that, you know, his days are numbered, that he and the President are not even speaking.
What do you make of the timing of news that they're not speaking, that he may be planning an exit?
BADE: It could be pure coincidence. It's tough to say at this point. But we have known that John Kelly and the President have had a rocky relationship in recent months and that he's been thinking about leaving.
I know a lot of Republicans want him to stay because they trust him and they think he has good judgment and they think he reins in the President, pulls him back when Trump is about to make, you know, a bad decision of some sort.
But you know, it could have something to do with these filings. We learned yesterday that in regards to Manafort specifically, Robert Mueller talked to people in the White House who confirmed to him --
WHITFIELD: This year.
BADE: -- this year, that Manafort was in touch with people at the White House when he was told that the prosecutors that he was not talking with anybody in Trump world.
So somebody in the White House is talking to Manafort, and again, you know, ratted him out and now he's paying for it.
WHITFIELD: There's a lot at stake for a lot of people. A lot of people are worried.
ZELDIN: If we can add to that --
ZELDIN: -- Rachael's right. If we can add to that Michael Cohen also was talking to the White House in 2017 and '18, according to these documents, and was talking to them about it seems his testimony which was proven to be false before Congress.
So there's a lot still to be uncovered.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much for all of that.
Michael, Rachael -- appreciate it. All right.
Still ahead -- more bomb shells from Mueller's court filings. We're now learning that Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, as we just mentioned, has been in contact with current White House officials this year and lied about it. We'll talk further about all of that and what does it mean for the current administration.
[11:13:28] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: Special counsel Robert Mueller is laying out proof that Paul Manafort lied to his investigators. In all, Mueller accuses Manafort of lying about five key issues after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. The big one has to do with texts that show Manafort lied about contact with the Trump administration this year.
Here's CNN senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Mueller's team outlined in a heavily redacted filing how they believe and why they believe Paul Manafort lied in quote, "multiple ways and on multiple occasions".
Manafort they say lied to the special counsel's office regarding his contacts with the Trump administration this year. Even after his indictment last October, he said he didn't talk to anyone in the administration or conveyed messages to them.
But Mueller says that's not true. His team says Manafort told a person he talked to a Trump administration official just this past May and had contact with administration officials, including a senior administration official in February and May of this year.
And so this new and damaging information for the White House comes at a time when every move by Mueller appears to bring his investigation deeper into the White House and Trump's inner circle. And it shows it has expanded well beyond what may or may not have happened in the 2016 campaign.
So these revelations in Mueller's filings certainly raises questions about why Paul Manafort may have been lying about these contacts and who the contacts were made with.
Now Sarah Sanders, the press secretary released a statement in response to this saying that it has nothing to do with the President and that the media is making up a story.
Pamela Brown, CNN-- Washington.
WHITFIELD: All right. Lots to discuss here.
Let's bring in assistant editor at the "Washington Post" David Swerdlick and Shawn Turner, the former director of syndication for U.S. national intelligence.
All right. Good to see you both.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Ok. So big question here. You know, who was Manafort talking to in the White House and why? Shawn, well -- investigators knew about it. Mueller's team knows who that might be. But, you know, what's at stake? Why would these conversations continue?
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. You know, this is really interesting because Paul Manafort had to know at the time, Fred, that he was violating the terms of his plea deal when he was communicating with people in the White House. And so the real question here with regard to who he was communicating with kind of gets to the substance of those communications.
[11:19:57] But Paul Manafort is sitting in a prison cell someplace. So, you know, the question is I think there are two things that he would be interested in considering his current state.
One -- is he communicating, is he taking this risk, this major risk because he wants to understand what the White House is thinking with regard to his future, his potential long term sentence and he wants to get some information from the White House with regard to what may ultimately happen to him. That's the first point.
And I think the second point is, as the documents point out, there were five different things that we know that Manafort lied about. Maybe he wants to get information to the White House to be very clear to the White House that he is still working to protect some aspect of things that they are concerned about.
So I think that perhaps --
WHITFIELD: Because perhaps there's a presumption that he would be pardoned?
TURNER: Yes, exactly. That's exactly right. So it really comes down to what he was communicating about. And that I think leads me to think that there's probably someone who is pretty close to the President who can go in and talk to him, someone in the inner circle or perhaps someone in legal chains within the White House.
WHITFIELD: So then David -- you know, the President comes across rather aloof, you know, and not at all, you know, worried. His tweets this morning, look, there's no collusion, you know, there's nothing there. How concerned should he be?
SWERDLICK: Good morning, Fred.
So I think the President and the White House team should be concerned. The President hasn't been charged. The Mueller documents that we got yesterday don't specifically say that there was any crime committed by the President. But the idea that this is all just, you know, something that's to be waved away I think has been demonstrated time and again isn't the case to Shawn's point.
If Manafort after being charged last October, 2017 was in communication with senior White House officials in 2018 and lied about it, I mean he can communicate with people but the question is why would he lie, according to Mueller's charge, to the special counsel team about that? And then also, as Shawn said, what was it about.
It could be about what he was or wasn't telling the special counsel team. we don't know. Some of those dots haven't been connected. And it might have to do with timing as well.
I think that the President's team -- and also I should just add, right, a few weeks ago, the President's team gave written answers to questions from the special counsel team. Will there be a mismatch between those written answers and what the special counsel team knows from the Manafort end of this?
WHITFIELD: Right. Because those written questions pertained to a certain time line, right -- Shawn? It may not have necessarily -- or I think the feeling is those questions did not pertain to 2018. Is that your understanding?
TURNER: Right. That's exactly right. So once the Mueller team had the answers to those written questions, they were able to compare that information with what they had been told by other individuals like Manafort and Flynn and several others.
And so it's at that point that Robert Mueller was able to say conclusively that information that he was getting from Manafort and others was not consistent with what he was getting from the White House.
WHITFIELD: So now can Mueller go back and say wait a minute, I now have new questions, whether they be in written form or whether it be face to face with the President? Is the door shut on that or is that still possible -- Shawn?
SWERDLICK: Go ahead -- Shawn.
TURNER: Yes. So I'm not a lawyer but I know that it is certainly the case that Mueller can certainly go back to President Trump's attorneys. He can go back to the team and say that, you know, we've got some additional questions we'd like to have you answer.
Now, just like before, you know, there was a long negotiation leading up to the President actually answering those questions, or his attorneys answering those questions that they did. So that could start another lengthy process that, you know -- and we don't know where that would end up.
But I think at this point, you know, when you look at these documents and you look at redactions, it appears to me that Mueller really has a substantial amount of information that's going to allow him to go ahead and wrap this investigation up pretty soon.
WHITFIELD: And so David -- as it pertains to Manafort you've got then perjury, right -- lying and then violating the plea deal, if the conversations indeed with the White House were taking place in 2018. Does this also lay ground work, or add another layer to any kind of investigation of the obstruction of justice? Or does it depend who the communication was with?
SWERDLICK: Sure. So if it proves out based on what we know so far from the special counsel's investigation that there were these communications that were lied about. And if information was being passed back and forth between senior White House officials and Manafort, that might suggest -- we don't know yet, dots still have to be connected -- that there was communication about potentially being pardoned that might suggest that Manafort might have wanted someone else to know what he was and what he was not telling the special counsel team.
Remember, at some point he has been under indictment and then more recently in jail.
And then lastly there's other information related to Manafort, related to a potential collusion case that still hasn't been established with regard to the President. But Mueller is slowly but surely connecting dots here.
[11:25:01] If there were deals made between White House officials and Manafort in violation of his plea agreement that might, to your question, Fred -- go to the idea of obstruction of justice or witness tampering. Whether or not that would be charged is another question.
TURNER: And Fred -- I would just say at one point here --
WHITFIELD: And to that point Shawn. Ok, go ahead.
TURNER: -- that we have been looking at this for a long time from the perspective of how deep this penetrates into the White House. How deep this gets into the President's inner circle.
So one of the things that Mueller is going to have to look at are the people who actually receive those communications and the speed at which they actually can pass that information onto the special counsel, and whether or not there was actually discussion in the White House among White House officials about the communications that were coming in. How pervasive this is, is going to be a major issue for the special counsel.
WHITFIELD: Right. If the argument at least from the White House or the President's perspective was, you know, it was on the periphery when you've got contact between Manafort and the White House now this year that, you know, that's going to the core.
All right. Shawn Turner, David Swerdlick -- thank you so much. Appreciate it.
SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Next -- an exasperated James Comey reveals details of his closed door testimony on Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: When you read the transcript, you will see that we're talking again about Hillary Clinton's e-mails, for heaven's sakes. So I'm not sure we need to do this at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: I talked to a Democratic lawmaker who was inside that room interviewing the former FBI director, next.
[11:26:27] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
Today, we expect to see transcripts from former FBI director James Comey's closed-door session with members of the House. After yesterday's hearing Comey was clearly disappointed about what was being discussed saying House Republicans chose to focus on the Clinton e-mail investigation.
In a tweet he said, "Today wasn't a search for truth but a desperate attempt to find anything that can be used to attack the institutions of justice investigating this President. They came up empty today but will try again. In the long run, it will make no difference because facts are stubborn things."
Here now is CNN senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For more than six hours, James Comey fielded questions from Democrats and Republicans alike on Capitol hill, grilling him about a range of issues but namely the Clinton e-mail investigation and Republican concerns that he mishandled that investigation, that Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted, as well as of concerns about how the Russia investigation into the Trump campaign started to begin with.
Now, he fielded a lot of questions from Republicans that some of which he could not answer because of the on-going Mueller investigation. A Justice Department attorney who was seated in the pew beside him said he would not answer those questions, angering Republicans.
Democrats pushed him on issues why he reopened the Clinton investigation late into the campaign season in 2016 at the time that upended the Clinton campaign. He said that he labored over that decision but ultimately felt he had to announce that publicly.
This discussion, however, is not going to end today. In two weeks James Comey is going to come back, answer more questions from Republicans who are leaving power in the House. It's the last chance to ask him questions and use their subpoena power to bring him in.
The threat of a subpoena is forcing Jim Comey to come and talk to the Republicans. And he expressed concern about what he said was an obsessive focus on the Clinton investigation.
COMEY: We could have done this in open setting. And two, when you read the transcript, you will see that we are talking again about Hillary Clinton's e-mails for heaven's sakes. So I'm not sure we need to do this at all. But I'm trying to respect the institution and to answer questions in a respectful way.
You'll see I did that in the transcript. You'll see that if you get a transcript of my return visit which I think will be week after next. And then this will be over.
RAJU: Now, Comey would not respond to a number of other questions that we had, including I asked him specifically if he was aware about whether Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general wore a wire or discussed wearing a wire in any of his conversations with the President. He would not discuss that.
He also wouldn't discuss how extensively he himself has cooperated with the Mueller investigation. He said he would not discuss that as well but Republicans and Democrats may try to broach some of those subjects when they talk to him in just a couple of weeks.
Manu Raju, CNN -- Capitol Hill.
WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me right now from Chicago, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi a Democrat on the House Oversight Committee who was in yesterday's session with James Comey. Good to see you -- Congressman.
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D), ILLINOIS: Same here, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Ok. So you heard from Comey there who says, you know, they could have done this in an open setting and they wanted to concentrate on the Hillary Clinton e-mails. Did you learn anything from this closed door talk yesterday?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, first of all, I agree with him. I called for an open session. Overall, I think that he was the right man for the wrong investigation being conducted yesterday.
As Manu alluded to in your earlier piece, it was mainly focused on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation which to me has run its course, it is old news.
And instead of that, we should have been focused on what happened with Russia in 2016. And how do we prevent Russia from meddling in our democracy again.
WHITFIELD: Well, might that be in the next meeting?
WHITFIELD: Might that be in the next scheduled meeting?
[11:34:59] KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think the Republicans are going to continue with their Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. Folks like me are probably going to continue to raise questions about Russia.
WHITFIELD: So his tweet, Comey's tweet -- he described the hearing as, you know, a desperate attempt, you know, to attack institutions of justice investigating the President. Is that how you see it as well?
So just for background for your viewers, the whole reason why the other side, the House majority, Republicans are rehashing the Clinton e-mail investigation is to try to paint the DOJ and FBI as politically-motivated or biased organizations. And the reason why they want to do that is they want to say just as they mishandled the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation for political purposes, the same is happening with the Mueller investigation.
WHITFIELD: And what is your feeling when Congress -- or a new Congress is sworn in in January. What is your feeling the direction will be particularly from the House as it pertains to these two new document filings that took place from both the Mueller team as well as the southern, you know, district of New York investigators.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, first of all, this Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as far as the House Oversight or Judiciary Committees are concerned is going to be over. And so I think this Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation is going to fully run its course in the House.
So I think in the next Congress, I think we're going to take up some of the themes that were brought up in yesterday's memos from the southern district of New York and the Mueller investigation -- namely, you know, how did people like Michael Cohen or Paul Manafort help the President connect with Russians in an attempt to meddle in our democracy? And how do we prevent that from happening again.
The other thing that --
WHITFIELD: But won't that be with the Mueller probe what the findings will do that, you know, that x, y, z happened. These were the players involved. But then it would be up to Congress to do something with it?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Correct. Exactly. So my expectation is that hopefully the Mueller investigation goes unimpeded, and that's of great importance right now because we still are not in the majority.
WHITFIELD: You're still worried that it is vulnerable?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, exactly -- at least for the next month.
After we take the majority, my expectation is that Mr. Mueller will complete his investigation, produce a report. And then it will be up to Congress to act upon that report.
WHITFIELD: And have there been rumblings? Are you and your colleagues talking now about what your options are in terms of how to deal with that report?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Not so much because quite frankly a lot of us, including myself are, you know, supremely concerned about making sure the Mueller investigation is not prematurely terminated in these coming weeks. We saw acting Attorney General Whitaker make noise about that.
And as you know, Mr. Barr was nominated yesterday. Bill Barr was nominated to be the next attorney general. And he in the past has said that terminating the Mueller investigation is appropriate.
And so I'm hoping that in the Senate when he is being confirmed, they're going to ask him very pointed questions about that because we cannot allow for this Mueller investigation to be interrupted.
WHITFIELD: And so you might like William Barr as a candidate?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I want to see what he says in the senate, like of overarching importance to me and others is just keep your hands off the Mueller investigation. It has to run its course.
Mr. Mueller has done a very good job of, you know, basically keeping a tight lid on what's happening so as to, you know, not bring others in the mix who, you know, might be unfairly tainted by the investigation. I think he's doing a professional job. Let's let him finish it.
WHITFIELD: All right. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi -- thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you -- Fredricka. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Next, a new report says CBS has been making payments since the 90s to a woman who accused legendary "60 Minutes" producer Don Hewitt of sexual assault. Details straight ahead.
[11:39:31] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
CBS continues to pay a settlement to a woman who accused "60 Minutes" founder and executive producer Don Hewitt of sexually assaulting her and destroying her career. That's according to the "New York Times" which cites an internal CBS report on workplace culture at the iconic news show. Chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES" Brian Stelter joining me right now. So Brian -- the man who replaced Don Hewitt, Jeff Fager was himself fired in September over allegations of misconduct.
What is the report saying about the culture at "60 Minutes"?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is really revealing. I think a form of rot inside CBS, including inside "60 Minutes" which is such a shame to learn about because obviously there are so many great people that work at a news magazine like "60 Minutes" at a company like CBS.
And yet there was inappropriate behavior that was tolerated, that it was allowed to go on for decades. That's according to the "New York Times" reporting about this draft law firm report.
It says that there was a woman who accused Don Hewitt, then the head of "60 Minutes", of harassment back in the 1990s. She was paid a settlement and then that settlement grew over time, now it has grown to the point where it's been several million dollars over time.
It just shows the length that CBS apparently went to, to try to keep some of this alleged behavior secret, to try to keep it and to never come to the public.
But now it is all coming out, Fredricka, because of these two law firms that were hired by CBS, by the board of directors, to investigate alleged misconduct. Initially by then CEO Les Moonves but also by Fager and others who have been accused of misconduct. The law firm apparently found a ton of inappropriate behavior.
WHITFIELD: So it is interesting here, too, is that this was discovered while, you know, having this review about, you know, whether Les Moonves should indeed have been, you know, let go, you know, on the grounds in which he was let go.
WHITFIELD: So CBS was actually making the payments, not Don Hewitt who is no longer, you know, with us. He died a few years back. But will CBS continue with those payments because of this agreement with, you know, this woman?
STELTER: Right. That's an interesting question. The "New York Times" does not identify the woman. We don't know all the details of this allegation. But it goes to show the length these companies sometimes go to, to try to keep things secret.
And that was true with Moonves as well. According to this draft report by the two law firms, Moonves destroyed evidence and tried to cover up accusers -- allegations from women who say that he harassed or assaulted them.
Here's a quote from the "Times" reporting that says Moonves destroyed evidence and misled the investigators all in an attempt to preserve his reputation and save a lucrative severance deal.
And Fred -- that's what this is ultimately really about, right -- about the money. Les Moonves according to the terms of his contract was owed $120 million when he was ousted back in September. So right now, the board of directors has to decide does he get the money? Is he owed the money? Or was there enough reason to fire him for cause that they don't have to pay him $120 million.
So there's literally a big pot of money on the line here. There's also something more important going on. It's important that these misconduct cases get exposed. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. The only way companies like CBS are going to improve is if this can't be tolerated in the future.
WHITFIELD: Right. All right. Brian Stelter -- thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.
[11:48:33] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. New today -- President Trump nominated a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He announced Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley will take over the job after General Joseph Dunford's term ends next year. The chairman is the highest ranking military officer in the country and serves as the principal military adviser to the President.
And in a few hours, the President will arrive in Philadelphia where he will officiate the coin toss at the annual Army-Navy game.
And you can see right there -- Coy Wire in the mix. You're there with a very boisterous handsome crowd there. You're in good company.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS Correspondent: It is game day and I'm with the people. You may recognize a special guest here. By day, he's in a suit and tie. He's CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. But today, he's Jimmy -- a West Point grad and fan of Army football. What makes Army-Navy games so special?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's special because you throw the records out. And for one day, for those three hours these guys are at war. And after that, they're all comrades in arms and brothers.
It's a lot of fun. We are behind in the series but today, we're going to continue to turn it around. This could be three in a row.
WIRE: It could be three in a row.
WIRE: Now, Benny -- you played football for Army. What is it about this game that brings out the best in the players? It doesn't matter what the records are going into this one -- anything can happen. BENNY: Absolutely, it's the last game of our army career. We've been fighting our entire lives playing football knowing at the end of this game there will be no others. We're not going to the league or any of that. So we're going to put it all out on the line. That's what it all means for the players.
WIRE: My goodness, the food smells good. There are drinks everywhere. We're having a good times. Santa is in the house today.
It is a party here in Philadelphia for the 119th edition of this storied rivalry, perhaps the greatest sporting spectacle in all of American sports.
I understand that there's something that I say here and folks will respond. If I say "go army", they say --
CROWD: Beat Navy.
[11:54:59] WIRE: There you have it.
From Philadelphia, Fred -- back to you.
WHITFIELD: Very fun.
WIRE: Game day just around the corner. It is going to be an epic one here in Philly.
WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh. That's wonderful.
And Coy -- I think was it last year it was like -- it was freezing cold? It was like near blizzard conditions? And now you've got sunshine. So this is a good day.
WIRE: It was. There was the snow-mageddon last year --
WIRE: -- but this year the sun is out. It's shining bright. These bald heads will shine up --
Look out everybody.
WHITFIELD: Hey, I wasn't going to say anything but you know, you all look really good. I like it.
Enjoy. Have a good time, you all. You all, I should say.
WIRE: Thanks -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks -- Coy.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, court filings shed new insights into the investigations surrounding President Trump. Prosecutors now implicating the President in at least two felonies. We break down the reports coming up.
[11:55:54] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)