Return to Transcripts main page


Shooting Kills One in France; Paul Manafort in Court; President Trump Accepts Blame For Potential Government Shutdown. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired December 11, 2018 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hour two. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

Right this very moment, attorneys for Paul Manafort are back in Washington, D.C., in a courtroom where for the first time they will respond to special counsel Robert Miller's accusations that the former Trump campaign chairman lied to him, including about contacts with unknown senior Trump administration officials this year.

The special counsel's office says the move violated Manafort's plea deal. And that hearing is just one of several developments in the Russia investigation taking place this week. You can see for yourself.

We are also expecting Michael Flynn to ask a judge for no jail time today. Prosecutors will have their chance to reply Friday. Tomorrow, Trump's former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen will be sentenced. And then, on Friday, a mystery grand jury case that's all part of the Mueller probe is scheduled.

So, for more on this Manafort hearing, let's go straight to senior national correspondent Alex Marquardt.

And so what should what should be happening there today?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, a lot could happen or very little could happen.

This is a scheduling hearing. This is something that could take place on paper traditionally, but, for some reason, the judge has called on both sides to show up today. We do know that Paul Manafort himself, who is in jail in Virginia about 30 minutes away, he has waived his right to not -- to be there, so he will not be there.

And the fact that this is taking place in a courtroom may be some indication that the judge wants to do something, that she wants to say something. But essentially what we're expecting is, this is the first time that the two sides, the Mueller team Paul Manafort's defense team, have been in court since Friday, since the Mueller team made that filing detailing what they called the crimes and lies that Paul Manafort has committed since he struck that plea deal three months ago.

They, of course, accuse him of breaching that plea deal. And in that Friday filing, they detailed in a largely redacted filing five major lies that Paul Manafort has committed in the past three months.

One of the biggest ones was about his meetings with Konstantin Kilimnik, who is a Russian who is known to have ties to the intelligence services. They say that he has also lied about his contacts with the Trump administration since they came into office.

So, today, we could see Paul Manafort's defense team respond to that, but that would also open a whole other can of worms. That would allow the Mueller team to then respond to them and detail what they do know.

In all likelihood, Brooke, because this is a scheduling hearing, the judge will set a time for a another hearing to take place to discuss Paul Manafort's alleged breaching of that plea deal -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: That's all happening this hour. We will keep our eyes on that. Alex, thank you.

But let me get everyone to really just the craziest piece of video you're going to see all day. But before we show it to you, know this. The government will shut down in 10 days if lawmakers and the president cannot strike a deal.

The president wants $5 billion for his wall. Democrats are willing to give him essentially $1 billion. That's the setup. So now to the circus.

A meeting to go over this between the president and Chuck and Nancy, as he refers to them, Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi, totally goes off the rails. Here you go.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The wall, that will be the one that will be the easiest of all. What do you think, Chuck? Maybe not

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: It's called funding the government, Mr. President.


TRUMP: So we're going to see. But I will tell you, the wall will get built. We'll see what happens.

One way or the other, it's going to get built.

I would like not to see a government closing, a shutdown. We will see what happens over the next short period of time.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I think the American people recognize that we must keep government open, that a shutdown is not worth anything, and that you should not have a Trump shutdown. You have a...


TRUMP: Did you say Trump?


PELOSI: You have the White House. You have the Senate. You have the House of Representatives. You have the votes. You should pass it.

TRUMP: No, we don't have the votes, Nancy, because in the Senate we need 60 votes, and we don't have it.

PELOSI: No, no, but in the House, you could bring it up right now.

TRUMP: Yes, but I can't -- excuse me, but I can't get it passed in the House if it's not going to pass in the Senate. I don't want to waste time.

PELOSI: Well, the fact is, you can get it started that way.

TRUMP: The House, we could get passed very easily, and we do.

PELOSI: OK, then do it. Then do it.

TRUMP: But the problem is the Senate, because we need 10 Democrats to vote, and they won't vote.

PELOSI: That's not the point, Mr. President. The point is, is that there are equities to be weighed. And we are here to have a conversation in a...


PELOSI: ... way.

TRUMP: Right.

PELOSI: So I don't think we should have a debate in front of the press on this, but the fact is, the Senate -- the House Republicans could bring up this bill if they had the votes immediately and set the tone for what you want.

TRUMP: If we thought we were going to get it passed in the Senate, Nancy, we would do it immediately. We would get it passed very easily in the House. We would get it.

PELOSI: That's not the point.

TRUMP: Nancy, I would have it passed in two seconds. It doesn't matter though, because can't get it passed in the Senate because we need 10 Democrat votes. That's the problem.

[15:05:01] PELOSI: Well, again, let us have our conversation. Then we can meet with the press again. But the fact is, is that legislating, which is what we do, you begin, you make your point, you state your case. That's what the House Republicans could do if they had the votes.

But there are no votes in the House, a majority of votes, for a wall.

TRUMP: We need border security. It's very simple.

PELOSI: Of course we do.

TRUMP: We need border security. People are pouring into our country, including terrorists. We have terrorists.

But we caught 10 terrorists. These are over the last very short period of time -- 10. These are very serious people. Our border agents, all of our law enforcement have been incredible, what they've done.

But we caught 10 terrorists. These are people that were looking to do harm. We need the wall. We need -- more important than anything, we need border security, of which the wall is just a piece, but it's important.

Chuck, did you want to say something?

SCHUMER: Yes, here's what I wanted to say.

We have a lot of disagreements here. "The Washington Post" today gave you a lot of Pinocchios because they say you constantly misstate how much of the wall is built, and how much is there.

But that's not the point here. We have a disagreement about the wall.

TRUMP: "The Washington Post."


SCHUMER: Whether it's effective or it isn't, not on border security, but on the wall.

We do not want to shut down the government. You have called 20 times to shut down the government. You say, I want to shut down the government.

We don't. We want to come to an agreement. If we can't come to an agreement, we have solutions that will pass the House and Senate right now and will not shut down the government, and that's what we're urging you to do, not threaten to shut down the government.

TRUMP: Chuck -- you don't want to shut down the government, Chuck.

SCHUMER: Let me just finish -- because you can't get your way.

TRUMP: The last time you shut it down, you got killed.

SCHUMER: Yes, let me say something, Mr. President.

You just say, my way, or we'll shut down the government.

We have a proposal that Democrats and Republicans will support to do a C.R. that will not shut down the government. We urge you to take it.

TRUMP: And if it's not good border security, I won't take it.

SCHUMER: It is very good border security.


TRUMP: And if it's not good border security I won't take it.


PELOSI: Sixty people of the Republican Party have lost -- are losing their offices now because of the transition. People are not...


TRUMP: And we gained in the Senate. Nancy, we've gained in the Senate. Excuse me. Did we win the Senate? We won the Senate.


SCHUMER: When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he's in real trouble.

TRUMP: I did. We did. We did win North Dakota and Indiana.

PELOSI: Let me say this -- let me say this. This is the most unfortunate thing. We came in here in good faith, and we're entering into a -- this kind of a discussion in the public view.

TRUMP: But it's not bad, Nancy. It's called transparency.

PELOSI: No, and -- I know. It's not transparency when we're not stipulating to a set of facts, and when we want to have a debate with you about saying -- we confront some of those facts. We have...


TRUMP: You know what? We need border security. That's what we're going to be talking about, border security. If we don't have border security, we'll shut down the government. This country needs border security.

I also know that, you know, Nancy's in a situation where it's not easy for her to talk right now. And I understand that, and I fully understand that.

We're going to have a good discussion, and we're going to see what happens. But we have to have border security.

PELOSI: Mr. President -- Mr. President, please don't characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory.

SCHUMER: Elections have consequences, Mr. President.

PELOSI: Let me just -- let me just say...


TRUMP: That's right. And that's why the country is doing so well.

PELOSI: What the president is representing and...


PELOSI: ... his cards over there are not facts.

We have to have an evidence-based conversation about what does work, what money has been spent and how effective it is.

This isn't -- this is about the security of our country. You take an oath to protect and defend. We don't want to have that mischaracterized by anyone.


TRUMP: I agree with that. No, no, I agree with that.


PELOSI: So, let us have a conversation where we don't have to contradict in public the statistics that you put forth, but instead can have a conversation about what will really work, and what the American people deserve from us at this uncertain time in their lives.


SCHUMER: The one thing I think we can agree on is, we shouldn't shut down the government over a dispute. And you want to shut it down. You keep talking about.

TRUMP: I -- no, no, no, no, the last time, Chuck, you shut it down.

SCHUMER: No, no, no.

TRUMP: Twenty times.

And then you opened it up very quickly. And I don't want to do what you did. But, Chuck...

SCHUMER: Twenty times -- 20 times, you were called for, I will shut down the government if I don't get my wall. None of us has said...

TRUMP: You want to know something?

SCHUMER: You have said it.

TRUMP: OK, you want to put that on my... SCHUMER: You've said it.

TRUMP: I will take it.

SCHUMER: OK, good.

TRUMP: You know what I will say? Yes. If we don't get what we want, one way or the other, whether it's through you, through our military, through anything you want to call, I will shut down the government, absolutely.

SCHUMER: OK, fair enough. We disagree. We disagree.

TRUMP: And I am proud -- and I will tell you what. I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don't want criminals and people that have lots of problems, and drugs pouring into our country.

So, I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn't work. I will take the mantle of shutting down, and I'm going to shut it down for border security.

SCHUMER: But we believe you shouldn't shut it down.


TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.




So, I have with me CNN chief political analysts Gloria Borger and CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly to talk about what we just witnessed.

Obviously, to both of you, the money sound bite for the Democrats is the fact that they got Trump to say, you know, I will shut it down. I will take the mantle and I won't blame you.

And I want to get to that in just a second.

But, Gloria Borger, I just got handed this piece of paper. This is -- this is what we got from Phil and all of our colleagues, Manu Raju up on the Hill. This is what Nancy Pelosi apparently has now said privately about this whole thing.

She said -- and I'm quoting her -- "It's like a manhood thing for him," him being Trump. "It's like a manhood thing for him, as if manhood could ever be associated with him, this wall thing."

(LAUGHTER) GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, you could see it in the way she was responding to him when he said to her in -- and I thought was kind of a condescending way -- well, this is kind of a difficult time for Nancy, implying, of course, that she doesn't know if is going to be speaker, and so it's difficult for her to speak for her party.

And she kind of let them have it right back and said, don't -- don't do that. I know -- I know what I'm doing.

And I think that that's where the manhood thing comes from. She was clearly trying to school him that she can count votes, and that she knows what she's doing and wanted to move on from that.

So, what we witnessed there was the new world order here. Divided government, here it is. And this kind of lack of decorum and mutual respect for each other was completely obvious from both Pelosi and Schumer to Donald Trump.

BALDWIN: But, Phil, here's what I want to know from you, because is this the new world order, or is this just what happens behind the scenes between people like this? We just don't actually ever get to see it because there are never cameras in the room?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was just joking with a source of mine that I was a little bit frustrated. These are usually the types of anecdotes that you pull out of private meetings with a lot of reporting, and now it came out on live television, robbing me from that material in my ticktock.

I don't think -- I think you need to look at it in isolation for the moment. One, the issue itself, obviously, is one that's very divisive between both parties.

Obviously, it's a crucial issue for the president. And, Brooke, you know quite well the president has repeatedly said that he's willing to shut down the government over this issue. Republican leaders have repeatedly told him, wait until after the election, don't do it before the election.

Well, here we are. It's after the election. And the president continues to believe that this is a big issue for his base and a shutdown wouldn't be bad for him. On the other side, you have Democrats who know that this is a viscerally opposed issue inside their caucus with their people, with their supporters.

And so that's why you have this position that you're in right now. Is this going to be the course of things over the course of the next two years? I would be surprised. I think there's going to be areas where they can agree. But on this specific issue at this particular moment, particularly given the politics involved in this specific issue, it was only a matter of time before this happened.

The surprising thing was that it happened, as you noted, on camera.

BALDWIN: Well, I was talking to a former chief of staff of Nancy Pelosi's last hour, and he was saying basically these two Democratic leaders caught Trump -- Trump in a trap, he walked right into it, essentially saying, I will take the mantle, I will shut it down, I won't blame you.

And, Gloria, I'm sure Republicans are like, what did you just say? And how will Democrats take this -- take this to the bank for the next 10 days?

BORGER: Well, first of all, Nancy Pelosi flexed her muscle here. And so this doesn't hurt her with her Democrats, because she did stand up to the president.

You heard Mitch McConnell -- and Phil knows more about this than I do.

BALDWIN: Spirited.

BORGER: You heard Mitch McConnell saying -- OK, go ahead.

BALDWIN: No, I was just saying, no, Mitch McConnell said it was a spirited conversation.

BORGER: Spirited, yes.

But McConnell also said that -- I thought you had the tape. He also said that he thought that he hoped that they could work their way around it. So it's clear Mitch McConnell doesn't want a shutdown, but Trump is in charge. Donald Trump is in charge. He said he would be proud to have one. He understands his base and the Democrats understand their base.

So each of them are playing to their own base right now. And they have to figure out a way out of it. I'm not so sure that what we saw is always on display behind closed doors, by the way, because when -- and you tell me, Phil, if you agree or disagree with me -- but when Schumer came out and said to Donald Trump, when the president brags that he won in Indiana and North Dakota, he's in real trouble, which is, of course you won in Indiana and North Dakota.

And it was dismissive of the president. And I think that was kind of extraordinary, to be honest, that he said that to his face.

BALDWIN: That it felt personal.

Phil, go ahead, just quickly.

BORGER: Very personal.

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, I would agree. I think everybody recognized the lights were on and the cameras were on, and it turned into a little bit of a showpiece there, and that's traditionally -- behind the scenes, there can be heated discussions and very divisive debates, but usually it doesn't get that personal.

I would just note one thing, Brooke, kind of a contrarian take here.

BALDWIN: Yes. MATTINGLY: This moment needed to happen for a resolution to

eventually occur.


There needed to be a blowup before people could settle down and try and figure out a pathway forward. Will they find one in the course of the next 10 days? Obviously, it looks a little dicey right now. But this was part of the process. We will see where they go from here.


Phil and Gloria, thank you, guys, very much.

BORGER: Thanks.

BALDWIN: We need to pivot to breaking news out of Northeastern France. At least one person was killed and several others injured after gunshots were fire near the city center, according to Reuters, citing the local fire department.

A police spokesperson tells CNN the gunman has not been captured. Also, the public has been urged to stay and shelter in place, so more on that as that's developing from Strasbourg, France.

Coming up next, a key Republican senator says he doesn't care if President Trump is implicated in a felony, but, as you may imagine, the Democrats feel differently.

CNN just spoke to the congressman who will soon chair the House Oversight Committee. Hear what he has just said.

Also, an accused Russian spy who cozied up to Republican bigwigs is now talking to the feds. We will talk to the CIA's former Russian chief to ask what happens to Maria Butina if she decides to plead guilty.

Be right back.



BALDWIN: Just in, we told you about the hearing under way involving the president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, accused of lying to the special counsel, Robert Miller, which, in effect, broke their plea deal.

So, now the judge just told Mueller's team she needs more details on what he lied about.

So, with me now, Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general during the Obama administration.

And, Neal, thank you for coming by.

Your reaction to this judge in the Manafort case?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: Well, Amy Jackson, the judge, is one of the most conscientious, great judges in D.C. I have seen her in court a bunch of times.


KATYAL: So it's not that surprising to me, what happened today.

I mean, the Mueller team is balancing the public's kind of deep wanting to know what's going on with the privacy of various folks and so many other factors. And so they wrote something last week which probably did lack some details, for some pretty good reasons. And Judge Jackson, being a very careful judge, is like, before I really make this momentous decision, tell me a bit more.

And one of the most important things that wasn't in that document last week that team Mueller filed was the identity of the senior administration official that Manafort kept talking to up until...

BALDWIN: As late as this spring at the White House.

KATYAL: Exactly.

BALDWIN: We're going to come back to that in just a second.

Hang with me, because now to this.

Some Senate Republicans are essentially shrugging over the criminal allegations involving the president.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: We have to get all the facts and I'm going to wait.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Take a step back and wait until we have a more complete picture.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R), LOUISIANA: If you phrase it am I concerned that the president might be involved in a crime, of course.

The question is then whether or not this so-called hush money is a crime.


BALDWIN: Republican Utah Senator Orrin Hatch took it one step further.


SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I don't care. All I can say is, he's doing a good job as president.

I don't think he was involved in crimes. But even then, you can make anything a crime under the current laws. If you want to, you can blow it way out of proportion. You can do a lot of things.


BALDWIN: That is Senator Orrin Hatch here in 2018.

I want to show you a different Orrin Hatch from 1999. Back then, Senator Hatch slammed then President Bill Clinton for what he referred to as crimes of moral turpitude, while saying the following when voting to convict Clinton in his impeachment trial.

So, quoting Senator Hatch from '99: "This great nation can tolerate a president who makes mistakes, but it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up."

So, with that, I defer back to you, Neal, and hearing these Republicans, and even in particular Senator Hatch, he was like, I don't care. It's before he became president.

A, just your reaction to that, and, B, do you think this is foreshadowing for the next two years?

KATYAL: I mean, as someone who's dedicated my life to the study of the Constitution, I can't think of anything more dispiriting, and to come from Hatch, of all people.

I mean, I went to law school revering Hatch because he was someone who stood for the rule of law. And when you think about that, he's not just talking about anyone's attitude toward the rule of law. He's talking about the president of the United States, the one guy who has to take care of that the laws be faithfully executed. That's the language of the Constitution.

He swears an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. And now you have got to senator saying, oh, crime? No big deal.

Now, look, if the senator thinks that there's too many -- too many criminal offenses in America, he happens to be a senator. He can reduce weight and eliminate those problems from the books. But don't do this. Don't -- don't just pretend that this is like some everyday occurrence, the president the United States is out there committing crimes.

BALDWIN: So, that in mind, there were these 44 senators who wrote the -- bipartisan senators who wrote this piece in "The Washington Post," which posted today, but really how we're at this inflection point in this country.

And I spoke with one of the Republican senators, Senator Danforth, about this last hour.


JOHN DANFORTH (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: The idea of the Constitution was to provide a framework for keeping the -- keeping America as one country with all our differences, and we're falling apart. Our idea is to make an appeal to the United States Senate, which

should be the place where things are worked out, and to get on with -- on a bipartisan basis and to try to reach some sort of accommodation with each other.


BALDWIN: We know impeachment articles have been drafted in the House, but what he couldn't -- what I didn't hear was specificity as far as what these senators are looking for from this current crop of congress men and women.


What needs to happen?

KATYAL: Well, I think what needs to happen is a lot more Danforth.

And I know we're sitting here fixating on Hatch and some of these other senators who say, oh, don't worry about the law.

I actually think this is a pretty momentous moment in our politics that 44 senators from both parties coming together to say, hey, the rule of law matters. We're not just going to let people get by and say the Constitution doesn't matter.

So I actually think it's a moment for optimism about the future.

BALDWIN: What do you think will turn the tide on Trump? Will it be something more egregious that drops from this Mueller investigation? Will it be one major Republican senator, and the rest follow?

KATYAL: So I think two things are going to happen.

One is, what has dropped already is very egregious. What happened last Friday is that career prosecutors at the Justice Department said Donald Trump directed the commission of very serious felonies.

I think it's going to take some time for that to sink in to the public consciousness. The president's out there tweeting that totally clears him and all sorts of bogus stuff like that. And I think it's going to take time, but I think, when people see the facts, that's going to be pretty darn damning to the president. So that's number one.

And then, number two, yes, there's still a lot of stuff out there. There's Mueller. There's the Southern District of New York. There are state investigations.

I mean, Donald Trump has acted like a mob boss. And like every mob boss, there's a lot of different crimes out there to investigate. And so once all the reports are written and the indictments are handed down, I think we will be seeing a very, very different picture of Donald Trump than even what we're seeing today.

BALDWIN: Neal Katyal, come back. Thank you very much.

KATYAL: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Russian President Vladimir Putin today claiming he has no idea who this woman is. This woman is Maria Butina.

The accused Russian spy is expected to cooperate now with United States -- details on what could happen if she is sent back to her home country.

And we continue to follow this breaking news out of Strasbourg in Northeast France. At least one person was killed, several others injured after gunshots were fired near this Christmas market.

More when we come back.