Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Temporarily Ends Shutdown Without Out Wall Money; Trump Threatens a National Emergency if No Deal in 3 Weeks; Democrats View Reopening of Government a Win against Trump; Roger Stone Faces Arraignment Tuesday, Says No Evidence of Collusion with WikiLeaks, Russia; Florida Agriculture Chief: Shutdown Fight Dealing Blow to Farmers; Pompeo Tells Venezuela "Don't Test U.S." & Urges U.N. to Recognize Guaido as President; Cohen to Testify Before Senate & Lawyers Say Trump, Giuliani Threatened Cohen's Family. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 26, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Be sure to tune in to the award-winning CNN original film, "THREE IDENTIFICAL STRANGERS," premiers tomorrow, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
Hello, again, everyone. Thank you for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We start with this, the temporary relief from the historic partial U.S. government shutdown. For the first time in 35 days, nine federal departments and smaller agencies are reopening, for now. The president and lawmakers have just three weeks to hash out a permanent spending deal after reaching a temporary one that does not include border wall funding.
President Trump is trying to spin this into a win, saying he made no concessions in the deal. The bottom line remains, there's still no funding for the president's wall. Now Trump is threatening a national energy if no agreement is reached over the next three weeks. The threat of another shutdown looms, an unbearable thought for the 800,000 federal workers and their families who have gone weeks without paychecks.
CNN's White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez, joining us now.
What more can you tell us about where things stand and what's on the horizon?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Fred. It's unclear exactly where negotiations go from here. The president tweeting that he did not concede to Democrats in these negotiations. He's threatening to declare a national emergency to get funding for his long-promised border wall. Let's be clear, that option has been on the table for quite some time. The president hasn't taken that step because there's no guarantee that it would actually work. Even allies to the president are wondering exactly what the White House gained from shutting down the federal government. The president not really giving -- rather getting what he wanted from Democrats. Doing what they wanted by reopening the federal government and moving forward and negotiating border security with no money for his long-promised border wall.
The president did tweet this earlier today. He writes, quote, "21 days goes quickly. Negotiations with Democrats will start immediately. Will not be easy to make a deal. The case for national security has been enhanced by what has been happening at the border. And through dialogue. We will build the wall."
It's unclear exactly what the president means by the conversation about national security being greatly enhanced. He is right about both sides being dug in.
It's not just Democrats publicly bashing the president. It's also some of his allies and conservative media. People like Ann Coulter, who we know the president listens to when it comes to the issue of immigration. Yesterday, Fred, she tweeted out that the president was a wimp.
WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez, at the White House, thank you so much. Got applause for promoting that as well.
The Democrats are taking this deal with the president as a win. Here is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on what could come next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Speaker Pelosi, did the president under estimate you politically and can you assure the public there won't be another impasse in three weeks?
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I can't assure the public on anything the president will do. I do have to say I'm optimistic. I see every challenge or every crisis as an opportunity, an opportunity to do the right thing for the American people, and at the same time, make people aware of what the decisions are that we have here. And, hopefully, that will make everybody come together in a way that is unified for our country. I can't characterize the president's evaluation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Joining me, national political correspondent for "Time" and CNN political analyst, Molly Ball. And the Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times," Lynn Sweet.
Good to see you both.
Molly, you first.
This is a temporary deal but it includes no wall funding, which is what all this shutdown was about in the first place. You know, there are three weeks for all of these sides to hash something out. House speaker said she isn't overly confident but she is optimistic. Why?
MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think she wants -- she is hoping that perhaps the president learned something from this whole episode. Learned that the public doesn't like government shutdowns. Learned about the far-reaching effects, which I think we have reporting to suggest the president did not understand how far reaching the effects of the shutdown would be until they started to happen. The hope is that -- at the same time, though, the signals the president started sending immediately, even before he signed this extension, were that he still is just as determined to get that funding as ever --
WHITFIELD: That was my point. If he learned a lesson, if he did learn something here about the process, you know, and at what cost, he's already tweeting and sounding very confident that he is not budging on the whole wall thing, Molly.
BALL: Exactly. Those are signals that -- the question is, it's like a poker game, is he bluffing? Has he realized what's actually in his hand at this point? He's bluffing whether to, you know, convince his base he didn't lose this fight. The other notable thing about that news conference with Speaker Pelosi was she repeatedly declined to gloat, declined to spike the football. She wants to make this painless for the president so that he concludes that he can give her what she wants and not suffer for it.
[13:05:29] WHITFIELD: Right. She continues to be very gracious.
And, Lynn, you were one of a handful of journalists who actually had a lunch meeting with the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And publicly in front of the microphone and then also, you know, in that luncheon, she's not gloating. You know, how is it, you know, she -- what is she revealing about her approach to how to go mano a mano with the president and, at the same time, you know, keep her caucus together, unified?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Here's what was fascinating about being in the room with her and these other reporters as the deal was unfolding and she left dramatically for a few minutes during one point during this briefing to take a call. Turned out to be from the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer. Here's what she knows. Even though she will say jokingly, I'm not psychoanalyzing President Trump, but she reads him very well, and she understands that he will declare victory no matter what on saying there's a wall. So when you know going in, you will give him something he can call a wall.
The other thing going on now, because she understands the process and Trump does not, as part of this deal yesterday this hasn't gotten a lot of attention yet, but there's going to be what they call a conference committee. There will be rank-and-file members from the House and Senate, Democratic and Republican, together, talking about border security. What they come up with is going to be harder for the White House to say, no, no, no, since they agreed to go by this process.
WHITFIELD: Molly, that is potentially very encouraging. BALL: Yes. I think that's a really good point that Lynn made, that
this does now, the responsibility officially belongs to the Congress. And that was what helped to end this process as well, right? It was the Senate Republicans starting to defect, starting to get angry at their leadership for not giving them a way out of this mess. If both Houses of Congress feel it's their job to solve this, rather than to wait on the White House, then there's a much better chance of something getting done. The problem is both Houses of Congress, not that interested in the wall.
WHITFIELD: Except for the president is sign posting. I mean, he is blatantly letting everybody know that -- and threatening really that, you know, he is willing and very eager to use this, you know, national energy moment. Then he's got to sell it to the American people, to Congress, you know, to these departments that there's an emergency.
WHITFIELD: And so if it's 21 days out, Lynn, doesn't it make it harder for the president to say there's a crisis, there's an emergency? If so, what's taken you so long?
SWEET: Every almost supposed fact or point of data that Trump has been talking about, including yesterday, is an exaggeration or outright falsehood as to whatever he is assembling to make the case for an emergency. Now, what could happen, as long as the Senate Republicans are now back in play, which they were not during the shutdown and the run-up to it, is that you have -- if you have Democrats and Republicans working together, that means people who have to vote no on the deal. The hard-core people, Republicans who want a wall, and the progressives and liberals on the Democratic side who will reject any fig leaf to suggest there's a wall, to make the president happy, which Pelosi's happy to do if it's not meaningful, you will have plenty of votes to let these people vote no, move on, get government going.
Molly, the president runs a risk of being very isolated, being on a tiny island that's shrinking.
BALL: Yes, it's felt like that at a lot of points in the presidency, to be fair. But I think, as a sign of things to come, this is the first confrontation between the president and the new political reality, the new sheriff in town, if you will, between him and Pelosi, who now has power, is the speaker of the House. This is going be to the dynamic going forward. He's realizing that he's going to have to get used to sharing some of that power because it's not just all in his hands anymore, as it's pretty much been for last two years.
WHITFIELD: All right, Molly Ball, Lynn Sweet, we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much, ladies. Appreciate it.
BALL: Thank you.
SWEET: Thank you. Still ahead, a bold and unapologetic Roger Stone proclaims his
innocence in the Russia investigation right here on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:10:05] ROGER STONE, ASSOCIATE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: No senior campaign official told me to find out anything about WikiLeaks. That doesn't mean Mueller can't induce somebody to say that but there will be no collaboration for it. And no other person in the campaign who is a junior official inquiry about what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This, as six Trump associates have been indicted in the probe. Is the president now more than ever in legal danger?
WHITFIELD: Longtime Donald Trump associate, Roger Stone, will be back in federal court on Tuesday for his arrangement. Stone was indicted on multiple counts on Friday, including making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering. Part of the indictment claims Stone lied about his ties between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. He says the charges are politically motivated and plans to plead not guilty.
Stone was arrested during a dramatic FBI raid of his Florida home early Friday morning. He spoke to CNN's Chris Cuomo last night and downplayed the charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:15:15] STONE: First of all, I always said there could be some process crime.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
STONE: There's still no evidence whatsoever that I had advance knowledge of the topic, the subject, with the source of the WikiLeaks disclosures. I never received any of the WikiLeaks disclosures. I never communicated with Assange or WikiLeaks, other than the limited communication on Twitter, a direct message, which I gave to the House Intelligence Committee last September, I guess it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are central to that indictment.
Let's go to Phil Black, who is London outside the Ecuadoran embassy where WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has been living, staying for quite some time.
Phil, what's the latest?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, WikiLeaks says the Roger Stone indictment proves what it has always said. It always maintained there was no direct communication between Stone and WikiLeaks or Stone and its founder, Julian Assange. Instead, it believes it proves its other theory, which is that Stone was simply happy to promote the idea he was able to obtain information directly from WikiLeaks, happy for people to think there was some back channel direct to the heart, even direct to the man who is still staying in the embassy behind me, even though no such back channel existed.
STONE: The charges today relate in no way to Russian collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration, or any other illegal act in connection with the 2016 campaign.
BLACK (voice-over): The essence of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone's indictment that Stone saw stolen e-mails from WikiLeaks that could damage Hillary Clinton's presidential race in coordination with the Trump campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Anyone in the Trump campaign tell you to contact WikiLeaks?
STONE: No. I addressed that before. That's incorrect.
BLACK: The Mueller probe paints a different picture. Back to July 2016, when WikiLeaks releases thousands of stolen documents from the DNC damaging to Hillary Clinton. After that, a senior campaign official is directed to ask Stone about more damaging information Organization One, WikiLeaks, might have.
By August, Stone gets an e-mail from Person One, now confirmed to CNN as Stone associate, Jerome Corsi, including these words: "Word is friend in embassy plans two more dumps, one shortly after I'm back, second in October, impact planned to be very damaging."
That friend, WikiLeaks co-founder, Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, evading a feared arrest on an unrelated matter and potential extradition to the U.S.
Within a few days of the e-mail, Stone claims direct communication with Assange.
STONE: I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation. But there's no telling what the October surprise may be.
BLACK: And sends this e-mail to former Trump adviser, Sam Nunberg, "I dined with my new pal, Julian Assange, last night."
Stone would later explain it was a joke. But it wasn't. Both WikiLeaks and Stone's camps deny Stone and Assange ever meeting.
WikiLeaks maintains there wasn't even a back channel, tweeting Friday, "These are only Stone, Corsi attempts at braggadocio. No evidence of a back channel with WikiLeaks." Amid all these conflicting statements, we know Stone and WikiLeaks
have communicated directly from these private messages on Twitter. October 2016, Stone messages WikiLeaks, since he's been defending them and Assange, "They may want to re-examine the strategy of attacking him." A WikiLeaks staff member replies and attempts to distance WikiLeaks from Stone, "We appreciate that. However, the false claims of association being used by the Democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Don't go there if you don't want us to correct you."
WikiLeaks tweeted this statement from an Assange lawyer Friday: "The charges against Mr. Stone do not allege that Mr. Stone lied about his lack of contacts with Assange. But rather about his contacts with others and about documents reflecting those communications." And goes on to say that, "The office of the special counsel has never spoken with Mr. Assange."
BLACK: Fredricka, as for Assange, he is now well into his seventh year of staying here in the Ecuadorian embassy. The Ecuadorian government is now enforcing new, tougher, stricter house rules on its guests, including a ban on him doing anything or saying anything with the intention of interfering in the affairs of another country -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: All right, Phil Black, thank you so much, in London.
Let's talk more about this. With me now is Josh Campbell, who is a former FBI supervisory special agent and CNN law enforcement analyst. And Asha Rangappa, who is a former FBI special agent and a CNN legal analyst.
Good to see both of you.
[13:20:10] JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hi, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Asha, you first.
Stone and his attorneys have been highlighting prosecutors have found no collusion, or they say Stone could have been charged with much more. Stone is talking about what's not there. What do you see in that indictment which, you know, he needs to be worried about?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the charges that are in there, although they aren't specifically charging conspiracy, do describe collusion. I mean, he is basically in communication, you know, indirectly with WikiLeaks, which the CIA has called an intelligence arm of the Russian government. We also know from another indictment against 12 GRU officials that WikiLeaks was doing Russia's dirty work. And that indictment actually references Stone, you know, not naming him, acknowledged it's him, as being in contact with Guccifer 2.0, which was doing the DNC hack. I'm not sure if this absolves him of collusion. And there could be many reasons they haven't charged him with conspiracy.
WHITFIELD: You feel like this is just a prelude? Yes, you feel like this is just a prelude? It seems as though, you know, Mueller, thus far, has been operating with the first layer of charges involves being dishonest, lying. That perhaps there are other things on the horizon. Asha?
RANGAPPA: Absolutely. I'll let Josh take over, but I think, yes, there's more to come.
WHITFIELD: So, Josh, Stone has not only criticized the charges but he's blasted the FBI for the way in which they show up to arrest him, you know, from his home and even taking items from his home. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STONE: I don't have a valid passport. Either that or it's about to expire in a few days. I have no previous record. I do not own a firearm. I am not violent. And there was no need to have 29 FBI agents with adult weapons and side arms and hand grenades and a battering ram to smash in my front door. They could have simply called my attorney and I would have surrendered voluntarily.
So when you don't have evidence, you use theatrics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Josh, what might have the FBI assessed as to the method in which to make the arrest and carry out the warrant?
CAMPBELL: There are two aspects. The first of which being, why did the FBI show up unannounced to arrest him. We've seen throughout the Mueller investigation where Mueller has allowed people to self- surrender. We know, because Robert Mueller told us through a court filing, basically convinced a judge that it should remain sealed, that Stone should not be tipped off to the fact he was under indictment because the special counsel feared he would either flee or he would attempt to destroy evidence. That first part has been answered.
To the second part of the equation, why the show of force. We saw from that dramatic video from the CNN exclusive video on the scene of the arrest. One thing we have to keep in mind, that every person in that operation that shows up has a job, has a role. This is something that is practiced. They brief right before the arrest. And --
WHITFIELD: Meaning someone's going for the computer, someone's going for papers, that kind of thing?
CAMPBELL: Correct. That's the second aspect. The first was get the person safe in custody. If this is someone with a large residence, for example, you want people to be able to surround that so someone doesn't go out another side entrance or rear entrance, for example. So everyone had a job. And to your point, we know this is not an arrest, this was also a
search. So the FBI had personnel show up to actually go through and conduct a court-ordered lawful search to gather evidence.
One thing that's so important to keep in mind -- Asha knows this as well -- every FBI agent is taught at the academy that you don't look at people that may be potentially nonviolent and assume everything's going to go well. Every FBI agent that shows up in the stack at that residence is there for the primary purpose of taking the subject into custody safely to ensure he defendant's safety and also to ensure that every one of those FBI agents goes home safely that night.
WHITFIELD: Asha, Stone has said a number of times publicly, he said it, you know, on the steps yesterday, he said it, you know, on the interviews, that he will not testify against the president. What does the Mueller team do with that kind of information, you know, as the subject continues to profess something even after an arrest?
RANGAPPA: I think Mueller -- their team is going to progress as they would with any criminal charge. At some point, Stone has a choice to make. He is looking at a fair -- fairly long term in prison, somewhere in the range of four years. So, you know, he might be angling for a pardon. That's not going to help him in the sense that, if he got a pardon, he would actually lose any Fifth Amendment right and would be required to talk to Mueller or be subpoenaed in front of grand juries or, you know, Congress. So I think that he's -- you know, we'll see if the walls close in on what kind of choices he makes. Manafort caved at the end and got himself in more trouble. So we'll see.
[13:25:30] WHITFIELD: All right, Asha Rangappa, Josh Campbell, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, President Trump reopens the government but the battle is only on pause for the next three weeks as lawmakers try to hammer out a permanent deal. I talk to Florida's agriculture chief who says this fight is dealing a serious blow to farmers.
[13:30:21] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. government shutdown may be over for now but, in Florida, its effects are threatening the state's agriculture industry.
Nikki Fried, the state's commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is warning of the dangers of reduced government oversight and assistance. She wrote a passionate plea earlier in the "Miami Herald" saying, in part, "This federal government shutdown is costly, it's unnecessary. It makes us less safe, less prosperous and less secure. Its consequences could touch every Floridian before it's over and it needs to end now."
Nikki Fried joining me right now.
Good to see you, Commissioner.
You got your wish. The shutdown is over. But, you know, what are the lasting, you know, impacts still being felt?
NIKKI FRIED, COMMISSIONER, FLORIDA AGRICULTURE & CONSUMER SERVICES: Thank you for having me on today. I was able to view a couple of your guests on earlier today. We realized that, you know, local politics and politics in Washington, D.C., affects everybody across the country. What has happened here in the state of Florida -- you know, my job is to feed the Florida families. And so what's happening is so many of our farmers -- we have 47,000 farms here in our state. It's $132 billion industry, over two million employees. And so when they don't have an opportunity to go after their loans, the grants, insurance, it trickles down to the food that we eat every single day. There's over 1,000 different facilities we've tested and seen they're high risk. When USDA was closed down, there was no place to take samples to and have recalls across the state of Florida. So --
WHITFIELD: Have you heard directly -- yes, you heard directly from many of, you know, farmers that -- about how this would impact them? What were you able to -- give me some examples of what the hardships were and how you were able to either help them or strapped and you couldn't assist.
FRIED: Yes, that was a big problem. So many of our farmers rely on federal dollars. It's not just farmers. It's all the way to -- we have three million students that receive federal dollars for the food lunch program. As long as this continues on, those children are going to have jeopardy of not even having food for lunches. We'll have to rely on school boards to step up to the plate. This is really something that has drastically impacting our farmers, impacting the food safety, the quality of the food we're providing for our citizens across the state of Florida.
WHITFIELD: A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with a farmer out of Virginia, who said the window of planting the next crop was closing, especially without the federal assistance you were speaking of many of your farmers were relying on. Are you worried there will be many farmers who just won't simply be able to produce for the next season, who, you know, were impacted so deeply? It's not a matter of just weeks but it's put them in a bind for the next year.
FRIED: Absolutely. Besides those local farmers relying so heavily on the next paycheck coming from the federal government, we had a devastating hurricane that came through the panhandle last year and that has really hurt so many of our timber industry, our cotton industry, our peanut industry. When we have been unable to get federal dollars for disaster relief, that is drastically impacting our community in the panhandle. That's why I said that the federal shutdown has really had a drastic impact. And elections have consequences. As the president continues to play chicken with the speaker, you know, we are seeing that the impact is making sure that, you know, our security here in the state of Florida is in jeopardy. Instead of taking the priorities and focusing on the wall down in Mexico, we need to be protecting the people already here in our country. And that needs to be the priority. The food and safety and security. And it has a drastic economic impact. People are living paycheck to paycheck and are not receiving funds. We have tens of thousands of federal employees that are here in Florida as well as 4,500 of our National Guardsmen are here in the state. When they don't receive paychecks, that means they can't pay their rent, they can't pay for gas for their cars. And so it's a trickle-down effect. And we really need to prioritize protecting the borders of our own country and own state and people that are already here in Florida.
WHITFIELD: What is your warning to, say, consumers, who are relying on the strawberries that come from Florida, the citrus coming from Florida? What are you telling them they need to expect as a result of the government shutdown or perhaps as a result of what may or may not happen in the next three weeks?
[13:35:00] FRIED: The state of Florida stepping up. We have food safety inspectors all across the state. Luckily, they're still out in the fields. We're doing our part. We're saying to you, keep buying fresh Florida produce. We're OK. But the longer that this lasts -- we're hoping, three weeks, things in D.C. gets better and they figure out how to make this work. But the longer this goes on, the more drastic our impact is going to have on our citizens in the state of Florida. I say to consumers, we're on top of it, we're fighting for you, we're making sure that our produce and our farmers and the food we're putting on our plate is a top priority. We have your back. But we need our leaders in D.C. to step up and to make sure that their priorities are set straight and that is getting past the next three weeks with a deal.
WHITFIELD: All right, Nikki Fried, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
FRIED: Thank you for having me today.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, crisis in Venezuela amid widespread violence. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling that country, do not test the United States. This, after threats to leave U.S. diplomats unprotected during fierce clashes over that country's election.
[13:40:20] WHITFIELD: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at the United Nations today where the Security Council is addressing the deepening crisis in Venezuela. Pompeo was critical of the U.N. for not taking more action and urged countries to reject Nicolas Maduro as that country's president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: Now it's time for every other nation to pick a side. No more delays, no more games. Either you stand with the forces of freedom or you're with Maduro and his mayhem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The U.S. wants new elections in Venezuela and for self- declared President Juan Guaido to take interim power. At least 20 people have died in protest-related violence this week, according to the U.N.
CNN senior diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kosinski, is here.
Maduro says he's cutting diplomatic ties with the United States. What does that mean for the relationship between the U.S. and Venezuela and allies?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we heard a real battle of words today on the floor of the U.N. Security Council. For the U.S. to have extremely strained relations with Venezuela is nothing new. Over the past few years, we've seen this incremental tightening up of the economy. As the Venezuelan economy has collapsed, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on top leaders. It took the extraordinary step of putting sanctions on Maduro himself.
Here we are now with Maduro declared not the legitimate leader of Venezuela anymore by the United States. With him saying he's cutting off ties completely. The U.S.' response has been, well, we don't see him as a president anymore, so anything he says about that is not legitimate, that he doesn't have the authority either to tell U.S. diplomats to leave, which he has tried to do. And the U.S. says he doesn't have the authority to pull his own diplomats from the U.S.
So how this works out practically, although it's pretty precarious right now. The U.S. has not closed its embassy in Venezuela. But it did pull all but emergency staff out. It's prepared to do more if necessary.
Today, the secretary of state issued a warning to Venezuela to make sure that those diplomats that are still there are protected. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: And I want to be 100 percent clear. President Trump and I fully expect that our diplomats will continue to receive protections provided under the Vienna Convention. Do not test the United States and our resolve to protect our own people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: So Maduro also said that Venezuelan diplomats had to leave the United States. He's shuttered the embassy here in Washington. I mean, it's dark. The phone lines are disconnected. But will those diplomats listen and obey his orders and leave? The U.S. says he doesn't have any authority to do so. So we may see some changes on that front within the next couple of days as the world watches to see what steps are taken next, not only within Venezuela but among the U.S. and its allies -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: All right, Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much.
Still ahead, President Trump's former personal fixer now subpoenaed to testify before the Senate after Michael Cohen's lawyers accuse the president of threatening his family. Why we might not know the full details of what he says, next.
[13:48:22] WHITFIELD: The public may not hear from President Trump's former fixer, personal attorney, Michael Cohen, but the Senate Intelligence Committee will. Cohen's attorney confirms his client will comply with a committee subpoena to testify in mid-February. But a source tells CNN Cohen has the same security concerns that led him to postpone his public appearance before the House Oversight Committee scheduled for next month. His attorney saying he felt he had to delay that appearance after receiving, quote, "threats from President Trump and Rudy Giuliani," the president's private attorney.
This is what the president had to say after Cohen first canceled that original public testimony before the House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would say he's been threatened by the truth. He's only threatened by the truth. He doesn't want to do that probably for me or other of his clients.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me right now, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor, and criminal defense attorney, Richard Herman.
Good to see you both.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Richard, you're up first.
Talk to me about this Senate Intel subpoena. And this is the same committee that Cohen, you know, admitted lying to, in testimony last year, about the time line of the Moscow Trump Tower negotiations. What's different is it won't be before the public but more of a private testimony. What should he and you expect?
HERMAN: It will be private. And it will be then related to the public. House representatives will be subpoenaing him. That will be public. There's really nowhere he can go on this, Fred. He has to testify. The allegations that he's being threatened or coerced or intimidated by the president of the United States and Giuliani, those are federal crimes, he's alleged are being committed against him. And it's almost as bad a s the Saints getting robbed last week, Fred. I mean, you just can't do these kinds of things.
[13:50:25] WHITFIELD: Of course, you had to get that in there.
HERMAN: I had to get that in. Because nobody can believe it.
(CROSSTALK) WHITFIELD: It's your third home away from home.
HERMAN: But he is going to testify.
WHITFIELD: Or your second home away from home. New York.
WHITFIELD: New Orleans.
HERMAN: But his lawyers already said, Fred, there's not going to be any great shakes in whatever he says. He will be limited and curtailed into what he can testify to. You will not get a lot of information. You're not going to get a confirmation on the "BuzzFeed" article either. He's not going to testify that Trump directed him to lie to Congress.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: I don't know about that. I don't know.
HERMAN: It is all going to be off the table. It will be minimal and we won't get much out of it either way.
WHITFIELD: Avery, before Cohen even testifies before the Senate Intel Committee, I mean, intimidating the witness, I mean, this is a pretty serious matter that Michael Cohen is alleging. But there's video tape, right? I mean you hear Rudy Giuliani, you know, who is talking about his father-in-law, you hear the president, too, saying that's who you need to go after, so does he have a point?
HERMAN: And his wife, too. And his wife, too.
WHITFIELD: And his wife.
FRIEDMAN: You know what? That's why --
WHITFIELD: So what should he do? What should he and his camp do with that kind of information?
FRIEDMAN: The fact is that felonies have been committed. But there's a policy at the Justice Department, you can't charge a sitting president. Giuliani doesn't have --
WHITFIELD: I mean, he's not, right?
FRIEDMAN: Right. There's a clear effort to intimidate this witness. Whether it is a federal court, whether it is before a congressional committee, no question about that.
I'm not sure I agree. I think that there will be significant testimony. The question of whether or not the "BuzzFeed" information is accurate or not, Michael Cohen can talk about that. Now there are going to be objections by his own lawyer. But ultimately, he will appear before both Senate Intelligence and House --
WHITFIELD: And that being -- and that being, you know, Michael Cohen is going to be asked about whether he got a directive from the president or even, you know, a directive from the president --
HERMAN: Yes. Yes.
WHITFIELD: -- or you know, about whether to lie in testimony.
FRIEDMAN: And the same questions are going to be put to him by House Oversight, by the Elijah Cummings' committee, by House Intelligence. The fact is I think the Senate outmaneuvered the House in this case. The Democrats wanted to talk with him first. There was an agreement worked out. Boom, he gets hit with a subpoena. So he will be before a closed-door session in front of the Senate. And I do think there's going to be significant information. And you know, the idea that it is closed door ultimately, I'm in a court, I think it will be leaked. And we are going to know finally what Michael Cohen knows.
WHITFIELD: Richard, if your concern is he is being subpoenaed, he said that -- it would be a problem to just not show up.
WHITFIELD: But the concern remains the same, right, for Michael Cohen, whether it is going to be a public venue of testimony or whether it is private. I mean, that hasn't removed his concerns. So then does that mean that might curtail what kind of information he's willing to be forthcoming about?
HERMAN: Fred, unless Avery has had conversations with his attorney, his attorney has said pointblank his testimony will be limited. You're not going to get much out of it. He's going to be testifying to anecdotes about his relationship with Trump, before he was elected president, and after. And that's it. He is not going to testify to criminal investigations.
WHITFIELD: Wouldn't he just say I'm under investigation --
WHITFIELD: -- so I can't divulge any more? I mean --
(CROSSTALK) HERMAN: He is limiting it.
HERMAN: He is saying I can't do it. And he is not going to.
HERMAN: And that's why it is going nowhere.
WHITFIELD: Avery, you can't force him, right? I mean --
FRIEDMAN: No, of course not.
FRIEDMAN: But the fact is that Cohen wants to do this. He wants to testify.
HERMAN: No, he doesn't.
FRIEDMAN: Whether his lawyers -- yes, he does.
WHITFIELD: How do we know? Does he really want to? It is like talking both sides of your mouth. You know what I mean? I really want to, wink, wink, nod, I really can't, and how does anybody know which it is?
HERMAN: Right, Fred.
FRIEDMAN: What it's going to be, it is going to be more than what it is right now. It is going to be more than what we know right now. So whether Mueller wants to limit that testimony, whether Lanny Davis wants to limit that testimony, it doesn't matter. There's going to be something that is coming out, even before the House, even before the Senate.
FRIEDMAN: We can't pretend there's not going to be revelations.
FRIEDMAN: There will be.
WHITFIELD: Richard, how will it end for Michael Cohen?
How and why would this be --
(CROSSTALK) HERMAN: It doesn't help him. It doesn't benefit him. It is disingenuous by Cohen. He is not a sympathetic figure. Think about him before he got arrested and his bullying tactics with people and threatening to take care of people --
FRIEDMAN: I agree with that.
HERMAN: -- and this and that.
FRIEDMAN: I agree.
HERMAN: Now, now, I want to come testify, but limit what you're going to ask me on cross-examination, I can't take. It is not going to happen. It is open season on him if he testifies.
FRIEDMAN: We'll see. We'll see.
HERMAN: His credibility is at issue and he's not going to say anything, Fred.
FRIEDMAN: We'll see.
WHITFIELD: We will leave it there for now. We shall see all of that.
All right, Richard, Avery
FRIEDMAN: See you later.
[13:55:05] WHITFIELD: Richard, Avery, good to see you guys. Thank you so much.
HERMAN: Saints got robbed, Fred. The Saints --
WHITFIELD: I knew that was coming. I knew you would get another one in there.
So much more right after the break.
But first, here is a sneak peek at the CNN original film, "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I tell people my story, they don't believe it. But it's true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always thought, what would it be like if you turned the corner one day, and you saw yourself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time the boys met, the three together, it was a miracle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was nothing that could keep us apart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's when things kind of got funky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something was just not right. I'd like to know the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was always a question mark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The parents had never been told.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to conceal what they did from the people they did it to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's still so much that we don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you not tell us?
"THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS," tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.