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Smollett's Bail Set at $100,000 and He Must Surrender Passport; Roger Stone Admits Inflammatory Post was a Stupid Lack of Judgment; GOP Candidate Now Calling for New Election in North Carolina; Judge Says Stone Chose to Do Something that Could Incite Others. Aired 3:30- 4p ET

Aired February 21, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] RYAN YOUNG CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And of course, we're here to ask to questions. And of course, we'll try, but they do have plenty of security to keep up back to a certain point. There is a line here that we can't cross. In fact, you see that gentleman right there. I call him "the warden." He takes care of these hallways. He makes sure it's all clear as we cover our cases here. So you see them moving people who have nothing to do with this case out of this way. I can't even see the family anymore.

Let's go back to that. Because when she was talking about the phone calls and the illicit drug use and how detailed this was and how they picked the camera. This was amazing in terms of just how they laid it out. And I'm not sure if we've ever been to a day where you had two back-to-back news conferences. I really think this is sort of the city pushing back to having this allegation, especially during black history month. A noose, the words that were used, the outpouring of support, people who are in the federal government saying that there needs to be federal oversight over this investigation. And I think you're basically seeing the city saying, no, we didn't need all that because we don't have these issues. And it's playing out just the way he maybe didn't want it. So I'm going to try to stand up in a second. I don't know if I can stand up because if I stand up, Brooke, in control room --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You'll block the shot.

YOUNG: -- every channel person in the city will yell at me.

BALDWIN: We don't want you to get yelled at, Ryan Young. We like you a lot. Stay down for me. We're going to stay in close contact with you. Let me continue this conversation. As soon as you get anything, just kind of wave your arms or jump in. But, you know, Faith and Mark, just on the legal piece of this. And, Mark, actually, can you just take us inside? Obviously, the lawyer for Jussie Smollett, I mean, they know the ins and outs of this courthouse. They've got the family there. I don't know if they're sort of hiding around the corner and I don't know where Jussie Smollett is, but what are the decisions that are happening right now with that side?

MARK O'MARA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I'm sure they made the decision not to talk. There is nothing that they can say or no question that they can respond to in response to all of those fact that were just laid out. I'm a bit surprised that they separated from the family because normally the lawyers will offer and help protect the family. Whether or not that was strategic to get one of them out of the courtroom or out of the courthouse a certain way, so be it. But at this point after that evidence, and I say wait until most of the evidence is out. There is now enough out there that I truly believe it is time to cut your losses, work something out with the state quickly, try to avoid the felony conviction. Because becoming a convicted felon in this country still causes an enormous amount of negative. And try and work something out to maintain his liberty so he doesn't go to jail. Although the cops are going to be very frustrated with false police reports. And get this thing behind him as quickly as possible. It is not going to get better.

BALDWIN: Adrienne Gibbs, I appreciate your patience through all of this. You know, you and I were talking earlier this week. And you were just on the set of "Empire" in January and talking about how the respect that Jussie Smollett on set was getting and how, you know, how he was, you know, revered. What I want to ask you, you know, we've all just listened to that litany of all of that evidence that was just laid out in this case. And it's my understanding the piece that you're sort of like what the, you know, what -- is the $3,500 that these two brothers, what, were willing to take that amount of money to risk all of this for that?

ADRIENNE GIBBS, FORBES COLUMNIST: Yes, it's a really -- I'm super interested in the financial transactions here. You know, as a reporter, I'm sitting here and I'm so glad they came forward and said what I asked for when I was here last time with you was bring down some charges so we can put a face to it, we could put a name to it.

BALDWIN: There you go.

GIBBS: And I'm glad they did that. Because it gives us some sense of relief that those of us who have to cover it. You don't want to cover conjecture. You just want to cover what they say and attribute it to someone. So that's great. Now we can move on to the court case and I cannot wait to get to court and to listen to someone explain this financial transaction. One of those brothers apparently -- according to Jussie's lawyers -- was his trainer, his personal trainer, getting him ready for a video. So there's already been an existence of some sort of financial relationship for the -- for the personal training. So now there's a $3,500 check written for allegedly the setup of this attack.

BALDWIN: And by the way, can we just stop on that? He wrote a check. He wrote a check.

GIBBS: A check.

BALDWIN: With his name on it for $3,500 to these guys.

GIBBS: Exactly. And that's why I have questions about the financial transactions. Because to be frank, you know, I'm no expert on hiring criminals to do bad things, however, the risk here is tremendous. Is it worth $3,500? And as I've talked with people reporting this story, many people said where are the extra zeros? Because that doesn't seem worth it, if that's what it is. But there is existing financial relationship. So I wonder if some money's been mixed up or if there are other things that are going to come out as we go to court and listen to what they have to say.

[15:35:00] That's key. It's $3,500 and a check seems really bizarre. Also, you know, I've interviewed Jussie for stories about World Aids Day and for general coverage of "Empire," where he's an actor and he's also directed an episode or two. And he is super, super smart. He is super smart. And people who know him far better than me, who are his friends have said the same. He super smart. So --

BALDWIN: This is the family just as we're talking.

YOUNG: Guys, come on.

BALDWIN: We got you, Ryan. We're here.

YOUNG: Here is the family walking out. They're walking out the door. We have another camera outside. So there's probably about 100 cameras outside right now that's waiting for this family to get outside. And so, there is a crush. They are kind of stuck in the middle now. Once they get between this exit. If you look outside here, there is a swarm of people. I don't know how they're going to make it to the car without being just sort of mobbed. There are more than 100 cameras out there. I think it just shows just how --

BALDWIN: We're on it. We're on it. We see the outside shot now. Look at this.

YOUNG: There you go. I think the power of Jussie's story and how many people cared about this is unbelievable. This touched all the rails in terms of what people thought, and then the idea --

BALDWIN: Hang on a second, Ryan, let's just listen. Give me one second. Let's just dip into this real quick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there something you would like to say to the city of Chicago?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give him some room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let him walk. Let him walk. Let him walk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give him some room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say to gay kids?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to the supporters who believed you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything you'd like to say --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing to say, so let us walk.

BALDWIN: All right. Ryan, we're back. We're back. What were you -- you were making a point? We're with you, Ryan Young. Ryan Young, can you hear me? We're just taking this -- we're taking the --

YOUNG: I can.

BALDWIN: Say it again there.

YOUNG: It's unreal. And I will tell you, as a reporter who has done that before, it's tough to do those. You don't like doing that, but this might be the only chance we to get to talk to the family. Nick Watt's back here. What sort of struck you about what we just witnessed in terms of the crush and everyone just running after the family right now?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, we were thinking that we might see Jussie Smollett. Listen, the superintendent of Chicago police said this morning said, we are pissed off. They are really annoyed with Jussie Smollett for doing this. So, you know, one thing that the police can do is that they can then parade him out in front of us. But the sheriff's department is actually in charge of this courthouse so that didn't happen. So we have not seen Jussie Smollett. But we just saw the family looking pretty much the same as they were in the courtroom, stone faced.

And you know, a couple of other details that we heard there, that Jussie Smollett had asked those brothers to buy red hats to look like MAGA hats. That was something that has struck me again and again since I was in there, that he was really, Ryan, just directing this whole thing. And you know, he pointed at that camera. Then when he was giving his police statement, he mentioned to the police, oh, I think the attack was probably caught on that camera. Those are the things sticking out to me right now.

YOUNG: You know what scared me was the idea, especially being from the South, the idea of a noose and gasoline being poured on a black man shakes me to my core. The idea that you go to some communities and people talk about that was the lynching tree, that would be very scary to know that someone could try to invoke those feelings in the country, especially when we're moving to a point where people are trying to talk about lynching in a different way. The drug use is something that stood out to me as well.

WATT: Yes. Well listen, I just want to mention that we had a conversation the other night where I said I hope he didn't fake this. And you said, you know, for a black man I hope he did in a way, because the thought that that could happen is very, very shocking. The drug use, yes, so they were -- Smollett apparently started his friendship with these brothers in the fall of 2007 and the text message evidence shows that one of the brothers would supply molly, ecstasy, to Smollett on occasion. So that's another connection between the three.

YOUNG: You know, the thing that stood out to me and I heard some conversations earlier, so many people love Jussie. And I saw the outpouring of support for him. Being in Chicago, people love the show "Empire." I actually got a chance to go to one of their premier parties one time. And you could just see the people who just wanted to meet him because he was more than an actor, he was someone who actually took a position and he wanted to be part of the community. This is devastating.

W ATT: And I think that's one thing his lawyer was saying. He said, listen, he has lived here for a number of years. He is embedded in this community. He does philanthropic work. He is at his core a good person.

[15:40:00] And of course, the lawyers are saying that this, you know, chain of events that we've been told by the prosecutors, they're saying our client is innocent. And they said this morning, you know, we are going to aggressively fight this.

YOUNG: Brooke, I'm at a point where I'm almost at a loss for words because I really want to ask the question, why. I don't know if we'll ever get to ask that question. I don't know if we'll ever hear from it, but, you know, when you talk to people who know him, they have such an outpouring of support and love for him. You can only wonder what's going through his mind right now. I feel for his family who is going through this as they walk down the street there and everyone's asking questions, right? We want to know what's next.

BALDWIN: And you heard the police superintendent who was pretty phenomenal this morning, you know, saying I'm praying for him. He's angry but he's praying for him. Guys, you all have been phenomenal through this whole thing. I want to thank you so much for that scene. And Jussie Smollett there in Chicago.

But someone else really important is also in a courtroom right now, and that is Roger Stone. President Trump's longtime friend. And he has been in this courtroom, he has been testifying. As we've been listening to what's going on in Chicago, I've been getting all these updates on color happening in that courtroom. So let me just read -- I'll just read the most recent one.

He's been testifying and he's been apologizing over and over for this post that was uploaded on Instagram that appeared to be threatening to this judge. And so, the latest update is this, that the judge has taken a 15-minute break. The government attorney here arguing that the image -- this is the image of the judge with the crosshairs, although he's arguing it was something else. Once again arguing to -- the image could reasonably be construed as threatening.

Quote, not just messages of articulating innocence, says this government attorney. Once again arguing to expand this gag order, right. This is all about will he get a slap on the wrist. Will the gag order extend or will he be in jail? Roger Stone's attorney is again addressing the gag order that further restraint isn't necessary.

The quote, the jury pool argument isn't a credible argument now that we're months away from a trial, he says. The judge is questioning that attorney at length about the argument that Stone has learned his lesson. This judge says, how could you craft an order that he would find clear enough to follow? And Stone's attorney responds, it can be done. He asked for more time. The attorney says that the press will keep talking about this case and then the judge says -- Judge Jackson says, I'm not trying to impose an order on the press. And then the attorney says that if there is an order, it should be that Stone can't criticize the court or the judge. So Kara Scannell has been covering this for us. And I just wanted to read every bit of that update. There's just been so much going on. Bring us up to speed.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Brooke. So the judge is still on this 15-minute break as she considers whether to modify the gag order in this case or take some other action against Stone. But what we learned from our producer inside, Katelyn Polantz, is that the judge was interjecting when Stone was on the stand, really pressing him with questions, even when the prosecutors were asking questions. And we learned a little bit more about this. And Stone was a bit evasive on the stand here. He was talking against, you know, not really clear in what he was saying.

And so, one of the things the judge was really pressing him on was just how did this image get posted. And Stone's said that his cell phone was used to post it. And the judge said, well, what are you talking about? Who used it? And he said a volunteer but no one would own up to it. And he was also pressed on who wrote the text on this, which was the #fixisin, that the judge was biased because she was appointed by Obama. And he admitted that he wrote that text.

So then the prosecutors were asking him further questions saying, you know, they asked him if he could volunteer -- give the names of the volunteers. And Stone said he couldn't remember. Prosecutors say you can't remember who used your cell phone four days ago? And Stone said, no, his House is like headquarters with all these volunteers coming in and out. So Stone being a bit evasive. Not really answering questions straight up about who posted this, who found the image. But he did acknowledge that he wrote the text, that #fixisin.

The judge also was hearing from the government asking him to expand this gag order. Saying that this image was threatening. It wasn't just him proclaiming his innocence. And then when Stone went on TV, Infowars afterwards, he was trying to manipulate the media, trying to keep the story going by continuing to talk about this.

So the judge is now also asked Roger Stone's lawyer, well, what kind of modification could I give to this gag order that Stone would actually follow? And Stone's lawyers said, well, that he can't criticize the judge or the court. So that's where they're really trying to not have this gag order be extended. They're hoping for the most narrow tailoring of the order. The judge is considering all these arguments. She's taking a 15-minute break. She should be aback on the bench soon. And we'll look to see if she does make a ruling in the case.

She quizzed them on various aspects of the law. So it's not clear exactly which angle on this she is weighing.

[15:45:00] But we expect to hear from her any minute now back on the bench inside the courtroom where this is all is playing out in a very kind of surreal unexpected way with Roger Stone taking the stand where he's dodging and weaving on these questions -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Dodging and weaving, thank you, Kara. On the dodging and weaving, Gloria Borger, let he bring you back in. And for the people who are just sort of tuning in, you know, we had this conversation just a little bit ago about how contrition and Roger Stone don't exactly go in in the same sentence. This is not the kind of guy who apologizes. He's had to mea culpa several times. Obviously, there is a push and pull here. What are you thinking as you hear the details coming out?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm thinking how risky it was to put him on the stand. I mean, it seems to me the judge is kind of picking him apart piece by piece. And the part that Kara was talking about, which is really striking to me, is that this is his phone. Somebody used it, he said, some volunteer, to post this. But he can't quite figure out who it was. Even though it happened just days ago. And even though there are probably not 500 people in his house, one would presume. So that if he needed to get to the bottom of this, he should have been able to.

So the question is who is he protecting? Is he protecting somebody? Why would he be protecting somebody? Particularly since he admits that he wrote the #fixisin. I think putting Roger on the stand was really questionable. The judge is obviously a very good attorney. And she's been able to kind of pick apart his story because he's unable to answer a very key question. Who did this?

BALDWIN: Caroline -- Caroline Polisi.

CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, but I don't know that he had the option. Meaning I don't know that it was a choice at this point. The judge was saying really wanted to hear from the defendant himself. I think it's pretty obvious that a potential here is that he was just lying on the stand. That he had a knee-jerk reaction initially to say, look, I didn't post the photograph so he said somebody else posted it. It's pretty fishy that he can't come up with the name. I don't think he's necessarily protecting anybody.

BALDWIN: That's not helping his case.

POLISI: Yes, there are real first amendment issues at play here. But often times a first amendment right will take a back seat to another constitutionally protected right, which is the right to a fair trial. And the government gets that right as well as Roger Stone.

BALDWIN: What do you think?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It sounds like Roger Stone was being Roger Stone based on the reporting we got from Kara. He said he didn't know how the image got up. He didn't who posted it. And apparently, he had other images of the judge -- according to Shimon and some other reporting that we're seeing -- on his phone. All of which is very strange.

But one thing that jumped out at me, the stakes have now been raised because apparently the prosecutor -- according to the reporting we were handed -- said on the record that he or she found Stone's testimony not credible. Now, what that means is when Stone gets sentenced someday, if he's convicted. There is a sentencing enhancement. The sentencing goes up if there is a finding that the defendant tried to obstruct justice, gave untruthful testimony. And there's a sentencing reduction if he accepts responsibility truly and fully. And someday the prosecutor can point back at this and say he tried to obstruct justice and he never accepted responsibility. Those are sort of key buzz words when the prosecutor says I find him not -- I argue he's not credible.

POLISI: And the underlying crime here, is that the backdrop of all of this is obstruction and lying. So, I mean, it's interesting that that's the backdrop here.

BALDWIN: So what next? Do they come back from this break, when will we find out if he's reprimanded, how he's reprimanded?

POLISI: Any moment.

HONIG: And the challenge is going to be how do you craft an order? Other than telling Roger Stone you can't say anything, any middle ground, you can't say anything that is potentially prejudicial. He'll do what he's trying to do here. He'll try to walk the tight rope and say, well judge, it wasn't meant that way. It was misinterpreted. So, there is a real challenge in crafting this gag order.

BALDWIN: Stay with me. Because I just been handed a little bit more color and then we can analyze. So, let's see. This is after he's been called to testify. When Stone took the stand, this is just going back for a second. When Stone took the stand he was asked, is this -- is this a serious matter for you? And Stone replied that it was. Stone said that the posts were a lapse of judgement and an outgrowth of the extreme situation.

He says, "I don't offer any rationalization or excuse or justification, this is just a stupid lack of judgement." Stone told the court that he was, "having trouble putting food on the table and paying rent". Saying that he was not using illegal donations for personal expenses. He says he has let his attorneys, the court and his family down.

And then we talked about this earlier. But if you're just sort of jumping in, the question from the judge here was, "do you know how to do a Google search? How hard was it to come up with a photograph that didn't have crosshairs on the corner?" Right? This is all about this photo uploaded to his Instagram account with the judge's face with what appeared to be crosshairs in one corner of this picture. Then this judge asks if it's an occult symbol. What does it mean? And Roger Stone responds, I don't know, your honor, I'm not into the occult.

[15:50:00] POLISI: Classic Roger Stone there. Look, I think there is another iteration here. Which is that, remember, he posted -- somebody posted the initial photo. And then after it received so much backlash in the press, he took that down and re-cropped the photograph and put it back up. So that again shows a real serious lack of judgment.

I will say that, you know, we're all talking about how stupid Roger Stone is. And he is absolutely stupid but he does have a really -- he has a point, which is he has a first amendment right to speak freely. Not necessarily, again, about this case in particular, but his point is that he makes a living. He's a commentator, he's a writer. And you know, if free speech is something that we value very highly in our society. It's something that we stand proudly with. Not to say that it can't take a backseat if there are other issues at hand.

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Gloria,

BORGER: But posting a picture -- but posting a picture of the judge with a #fixisin is something that one would argue your lawyer would caution you never to do.

BALDWIN: Not to do.

BORGER: Not to do. And that Roger Stone, who is so used to dealing with people like me, journalists, right? There's no consequence for doing that about us. But this is your judge. And I can only imagine how his lawyers reacted. And now they're having to argue that he is so contrite that he will never do anything like this again. And people who know Roger Stone know Roger Stone. This is what he does. He's trying to raise money for his legal defense and one way to do it is to stir the pot. And one way to stir the pot is to stir the pot against the judge and say the fix is in against me.

BALDWIN: Well #pot stirred. Gloria and Caroline and Eli, thank you on all things Roger Stone.

I do want to sneak in this other quick bit of news here as we've been talking about Roger Stone. We now learn that Mark Harris, the embattled North Carolina Republican leading in that contested ninth Congressional district race there has made a stunning statement. Hold a new election, he says.


MARK HARRIS (R), NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Through the testimony I've listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called. It's become clear to me that the public's confidence in the Ninth District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.


BALDWIN: Let's go straight to CNN national correspondent, Dianne Gallagher, who is live in Raleigh. And that is stunning to hear from the Republican, that he says let's just do it again.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, quite the opposite of everything that he has been saying for three months now, Brooke. In fact, the room -- people started running out of the it. There were gasps. They could not believe this is what happened. We knew something was afoot. And that's because just before we broke for lunch, his counsel interrupted testimony. Mark Harris began testimony about 10 o'clock this morning. First time he has taken the stand. And they interrupted that testimony and said we would like to meet privately with the general counsel of the state board of elections. They said we've got to talk to the Attorney General about that.

But regardless, they went into some sort of session and they were gone for about an hour and a half, including the lunch period. Then they went into session again. When they came back out, that is when Mark Harris stood up, read that statement and said look, I have been sick. He had a severe strep infection that turned into sepsis and then he said he had had two strokes in January after that. And was having a difficult time recalling and essentially giving accurate answers to questions that he just didn't think he was up to the rigor of a hearing like this, as he had thought before this began. It seems that that is what in addition to all the evidence that has been presented since Monday that caused him to go ahead and ask for this new election to be called.

Now, Brooke, I do want to point out that just because Mark Harris is asking for it and now the state GOP is endorsing this as well, another 180 from what they've been doing for the past three, 2 1/2 months now. But the State Board in there in a few moments is likely going to go ahead and vote on whether or not they want to call a new election. It seems unlikely that they would go ahead and certify Mark Harris as the winner at this point. There are still so many questions. But it is their prerogative. It is up to them to do that.

Now I can tell you that as Mark Harris left -- he left with his wife, Beth. He was asked, are you going to run again if they do determine we need a new election in the ninth district? Mark Harris did not answer. His wife, Beth, said it's something that we will have to think about. But look, it has been an emotional roller coaster here for the past few days. You know, just yesterday their son, John, who is an assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Eastern District of North Carolina, got on stage and essentially just dismantled everything his father had said publicly up until then.

[15:55:00] BALDWIN: Wow. I want to continue the conversation on the North Carolina ninth. Dianne, thank you very much.

But I'm just hearing now that there is more news back on the Roger Stone case. So, Kara Scannell the floor is yours. What do you have?

SCANNELL: That's right, Brooke, the judge is back on the stand and she just told Roger Stone that his apology rings quite hollow.


SCANNELL: She is now going through saying that this is not just about speeches and gag orders but it's about threatening. She said Stone has not been chastened. She's not assured he is all talk and no action. She said he chose to do something, a deliberate action that could incite others. She said this was, let there be no mistake, a deliberate choice. She said she did not find his testimony credible on the stand today, that he couldn't keep his story straight. So she is now revisiting the order, the gag order terms.

Our producers in the courtroom are sending us the latest information. It looks like she's still speaking about that. But she made it very clear, she did not believe Roger Stone testifying today. She thinks that this was a serious threat, that it was a deliberate action that he had taken and that one that she had taken quite seriously now that she's going to revisit the terms of the gag order that is against Roger Stone -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: That's quite the update. Kara, thank you so much. I saw out of the corner of my eye your jaw go, whoop, to the floor.

HONIG: Well, two things. First of all, it sounded like the judge may have been setting up to remand him. Now I'm not sure -- I'm not in the courtroom. But that kind of language is what judges say when the marshals come in the side door with handcuffs. So I don't know. I'm not there. But the other thing though is the judge -- you know, we talked about how the prosecutor said that was not credible. Now the judge has said that's not credible. That means when he gets sentence the stakes are way higher for him now.

BALDWIN: OK, rewind for a second. So when you see remand him, so we're on the same page, that means --

HONIG: Sent to jail.

BALDWIN: Sent to jail.


BALDWIN: Right, I just want to -- so it's eight like this judge could, you know, snap --

HONIG: Slap him on the wrist.

BALDWIN: Yes, thank you. Slap on the wrist or full gag order or sending him to jail.

HONIG: She does have that option.

BALDWIN: A very real possibility based upon the language of this judge?

HONIG: Yes, she said she construed it to be a threat and one of the conditions of bail always is you can commit no further crimes. Threatening a federal judge is always a crime. It's a federal crime. If she makes that finding, she doesn't need the prosecutor to even seek a remand into jail. She can do that on her own. Again, I'm not there. Not clear if that's had an she was going to do. But even the finding that he was not credible, that's enormous consequences for him down the line.

BALDWIN: What is your interpretation?

POLISI: There something out of her jurisdiction here as well. Which is that, you know, she found that this was a threat. Prosecutors could very well bring actual charges. I mean, I don't think they will in this context. But that's not up to her. Right? That's up to the prosecutors whether or not, as Eli said, it is a federal crime to threaten a judge. So there could be even more consequences to this action than we knew before. HONIG: That's a pretty good cue, though. When you're a prosecutor

and you're sitting there and the judge said I found that to be threatening I would go back to my office and go to my chief and say, we need to think about if we're indicting this guy for threatening the federal judge. I think there's a pretty strong case here. I think posting stands on its own. I think his sort of wishy washy, noncredible testimony today didn't help him on that potential charge either.

BALDWIN: Chris Cillizza, I hear you've got a microphone on and we're going to bring you in for your thoughts on this. I mean are you hearing from Eli and Caroline? And then, you know, seeing if you're a prosecutor, I mean this could be a handcuff going to jail situation, potentially, for Roger Stone.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Look, I think this is a classic situation for Roger Stone not understanding that the legal world is different than the political world. Right? So Roger Stone this is the kind of stuff he made a living on, right? His hero is Dick Nixon. He touts that. He has a museum dedicated to him in his home. I recommend people see, "Get Me Roger Stone," if they haven't seen it, an amazing documentary. But the point is, in the political world people say oh, tut, tut, now you shouldn't, that's bad. You shouldn't do that. Right?

But there's not a set of established penalties that exist. Dealing with a federal judge is not the same thing as dealing with a candidate your running against, or a candidate you're working against. He's never seemed to grasp that difference that he is in a whole other place now. In some ways I'd say Paul Manafort is the same way. Paul Manafort is continually operating as though he's in a political campaign. He's in a legal structure. Right? And we've seen what's happened to him in that regard. So, this feels to me like Roger Stone not getting it part 827.

I have 30 more seconds. Here's what I want to know. If you are President Trump and you are sitting there and know that Roger Stone is zigging and zagging on the stand, you know that this Mueller report is about to come out. You know that Michael Cohen is about to testify in five days, what are you thinking?

CILLIZZA: Well my guess is he's thinking I'm totally fine. But I also think he thinks that all the time. I also think don't be surprised if his Twitter feed doesn't throw out some red meat distraction. We've seen it time and time again. He tries to change the subject. The administration announces something. All of this is coming to a head. Mueller report. Stone, which is obviously a part of that. Cohen testifying. It's all starting to move together. This looks like that time. How Donald Trump reacts, who knows?

Chris, thank you so much.