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CNN NEWSROOM

R. Kelly Case Examined; Latest from Venezuela; New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Facing Charges Of Soliciting Sex, Warrant Of Arrest Expected As Early as Monday; Dems Working To Block Emergency Declaration, Trump Vows Veto; U.S. Intel: Foreign Adversaries Trying To Influence 2020 Elections. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired February 23, 2019 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DANA BASH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: And Kelly turned himself in last night hours after Chicago police issued an arrest warrant.

The 52 year old is accused of committing sexual acts on four victims including three under the age of 17. If convicted, he could face up to 70 years in prison. Kelly's attorney says his client is innocent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN GREENBERG, ATTORNEY: Unfortunately, the states attorneys now succumb to public pressure, to pressure from grand standers like Michael Avenatti and Gloria Allred and brought these chargers.

Mr. Kelly is strong. He's got a lot of support and he's going to be vindicated on all of these charges. One by one if it has to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: CNN's Sara Sidner is in Chicago for us and has been all over this story. Sara, what are we expecting later today?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So there is a bond hearing that will happen in the next hour or so. We know that the states attorney had asked for no bond, which means that they would prefer that he be kept in jail up until the trial and up until a decision by the jury.

The judge will have to make a decision on that. The judge may decide that since he is innocent until proven guilty like everyone else in the criminal justice system that he is allowed to come out, pay a certain amount of bond, and leave.

We will wait for that decision today. What we can tell you is this all started yesterday with the states attorney coming out and saying that there had been an indictment, an indictment that included charges - 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four women.

Those four women, as you mentioned, three of whom were under age at the time - were girls at the time under the age of 17, 17 being the age of consent here in Illinois. The time frame is very interesting.

It spans back to 1998 and all the way to 2010 in these four different cases. We have been hearing from attorney Michael Avenatti that you heard mentioned there by attorney Steve Greenberg who is the attorney for R. Kelly.

Michael Avenatti is representing six clients, he says who are in some way connected or involved in the case. We know that two of those clients he says are whistle blowers who say that they can prove that R. Kelly tried to obstruct justice in the 2008 trial where he was acquitted.

Now in that trial, and this is significant, there was a video tape and that video tape, prosecutors back then said showed a girl who was the age of 13 or 14 years old and R. Kelly having sexual intercourse on that tape and other sex acts, but they were unable to get a conviction.

The jury did not agree. They could not decide whether or not they could beyond a reasonable doubt be able to actually identify R. Kelly or the girl on the tape. So that ended in an acquittal.

Now fast forward 11 years after that trial and now we have more charges. They are different charges.

Steven Greenberg, R. Kelly's attorney has said that he thinks that double jeopardy may apply in one of these cases but they are different charges and that's something that the prosecution has certainly looked into.

They are different charges then in 2008. In 2008 he was charged with 14 counts of child pornography. Here he was being charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. We will wait and see what happens at this bond hearing.

It is a big day for the women who have come out in droves really over the past decades but particularly in this latest series on Lifetime called "Surviving R. Kelly" who have said to me, a couple of them, that this they hope will finally see justice in this case, Dana.

BASH: Sara, thank you so much and we will get back to you next Sara when that bond hearing is expected and he is expected in the court, as you mentioned. And you also mention the docu-series "Surviving R. Kelly", which aired last month.

It was the thing that reignited the public's interest in the accusations against the singer. Well this morning, the executive producer and one of Kelly's alleged victims appeared on CNN to give reaction to the charges.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA VAN ALLEN, alleged R. Kelly victim: I'm really not surprised. I guess I am surprised at how quickly Cook County acted on with the evidence they had. So I commend them for that, but I'm not surprised that they were able to find charges on him - we knowing (ph).

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN NEW DAY HOST: What is your reaction to the attorney there saying, "All of these girls are lying"?

VAN ALLEN: I can't speak out for everyone else, but I know I'm not lying so for him to say everyone's lying is a lie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Joining me now is Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst, Joey good to see you. Walk us through what you expect will happen at today's hearing.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, Dana good to see you as well. Here's the reality, the reality is that today is about whether or not he will be detained or otherwise released.

Remember now he's a criminal defendant having been indicted and the judge has to make a decision about custody. That decision could be that he remains and is remanded or it could be that he's released with conditions.

I certainly would suspect that he would be released with some conditions, perhaps the surrendering of his passport and other things, but it's...

[12:05:00]

JACKSON: ... a bailable offense even though they asked for no bail and that is based on the severity and significance of it. Prosecutors, Dana, want to ensure that he appears to fight the case, but remember as Sara Sidner has said it's a presumption of innocence, right.

And so as that presumption applies, a judge may very well say that, you know what you can go out just make sure you return to court. I should also note that the purpose of bail is for that very reason, right, to ensure you return to court. It's not a preventative detention, it's not punitive. So I would suspect that he would get bail later today.

BASH: So, Joey these allegations took place from 1998 to 2010. So what does that - what challenge does that pose for prosecutors as they try to look for a conviction on one or all of these counts?

JACKSON: Yes. So there are many challenges here and just for the viewers benefit, he's been indicted and an indictment is an accusation. That means that 16 members in this community has got together and having heard the evidence there's no judge inside the grand jury - there's not cross examination inside the jury.

It's just a prosecutor laying out for people what happened and in that type of environment, at least the majority that is (inaudible) and have to vote that there's reasonable cause to believe that a crime was committed and he committed it.

Now to the point about the fact that these are charges of some time ago it's a question of veracity. The whole reason that you have statute of limitations is not that these appear to be statute of limitations limited, meaning in this jurisdiction apparently you have 20 years from the time that you're 18, in you're a minor, that's 28 years old, in order to move forward with charges. And as long as it's within that applicable period you can. Now the

whole reason of statute of limitations is memories fade, witnesses certainly are not as available as they might be and so you have those.

So there are significant challenges in moving forward in terms of where it happened, when it happened, what you remember happened, what the specifics of it are, but there are certainly, in my view, challenges in the defense case as well.

BASH: OK. So on that, you are a criminal defense attorney. If R. Kelly were your client, would you have stood up before the cameras as his attorney did and say every single one of his accusers is lying?

JACKSON: So you know, Dana, every defense attorney handles matters different and no one has...

BASH: I take that as a no.

JACKSON: ... right. Well no one has monopoly on wisdom and everyone sort of - look he's coming out swinging and that's his prerogative. I'm very concerned though about some things that the defense has to overcome.

The first thing I'm concerned about if I'm him certainly is the climate. We are in a "me too" times up generation. People are mad as heck. They're not going to take it anymore and we've seen we could talk forever about people who have become accountable for things of the past.

The second thing I'm concerned about is the sheer number, Dana, and that indictment of alleged victims. There are four. Is everyone lying?

And then the third thing that I'm worried about are of course whether the judges allows prior bad acts that is other acts that R. Kelly engaged in, which are not crimes that he pled guilty to. We're not suggested that. He was acquitted to those crimes, but if the judge allows either woman to testify it's problematic.

And finally, Dana - I know I said three but I'll add another one and that is re-victimizing the victims. And so you have to be very careful from the defense side when women are really telling their story to say, "You're a liar, aren't you? It's fair to say that you're here with an ax to grind, you want to see R. Kelly go to jail".

And so jurors are watching and there stories - if you look at some of the tapes, are very compelling and you have to be a little bit compassionate, a little sensitive but at the same time fighting like heck to challenge the veracity of their statements.

BASH: Before I let you go I want to ask you about the Lifetime docu- series, which is "Surviving R. Kelly". How do you think that might be an impact on the trial, if at all?

JACKSON: Well you know, Dana, great question and I think we've seen it impact already. The impact already is the fact that's been indicted. The district attorney came forward, Mrs. Fox and said, "Hey, I've seen this thing. I'm open for business. If you guys want to talk to me I'm here".

And as a result of that people have commented and they've spoken. And I think it also has an impact in terms of the jury pool. People have watched that. These are women who really feel aggrieved and really feel like he has to be held accountable.

And so you're worried in terms of jury selection and then the next thing you're worried about is some of the women who were in that tape coming to testify. We can all have opinions about whether their credible, not credible, et cetera, but it's hard, Dana, not to have a visceral reaction.

When you look and you see and you listen to what their saying it really affects you no matter how hard hearted you are. And so I'm very concerned about the documentary and it's impact on this potential trial.

BASH: Joey Jackson, thank you always good to see you.

JACKSON: Thank you.

BASH: I'm going to thank you there because I want to get to Venezuela for some breaking news.

Humanitarian and political crises are continuing. Let's get straight to Nick Paton Walsh. I understand that police are firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Tell us what's going on.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tear gas I can say yes. Rubber bullets...

[12:10:00]

WALSH: ... I haven't seen much of. There are some rounds being hired by them now. So about ten minutes ago a large number of aid workers moved up this bridge in large number and then on the edge of the lawn a matter (ph) of riot police.

They began to scuffle -- somebody pulling on a shield and that I think caused everything to snap. And we saw quite quickly afterwards tear gas being fired into the crowd.

A lot of these unarmed opposition protesters rushing back in a great hurry away from that scene there and they continue to fire tear gas at this point. Now you can see down the bridge there the crowd continuing to move forward so I have to say this reminds me of the sad scenes we've seen in Caracas where young protesters face off against riot police who are much better equipped and fired tear gas and kicked them off.

The problem here is that this is so much symbolic. This is the moment that the opposition wanted to see. Humanitarian aid pushed through that bridge and they got up to it and it seems that the Venezuelan riot police, for now, held that particular line (ph) a lot of tear gas.

You can see around me the chaos that has caused and there's another wave of people running towards us now presumably from (ph). But around the world these pictures will feed into the image of the Maduro government has not been willing to allow aid into its country.

We know that's been their position for years, but there is a lot of anger here. People throwing plastic water bottles at anything they can and this is chaos - this purposeful desire to push the aid convoy back by Venezuelan rioters is what I think many people feared could possibly happen.

We've seen it happening on the other side of the border inside Venezuela. My colleague (inaudible) has been reporting on that during the day, but we haven't seen this kind of tension and I have to say I think they're firing into Colombia these Venezuelan riot police.

I mean I haven't crossed myself, the border into Venezuela and I have Colombian police around me here. Some of them giving aid to people (ph) who are caught in this tear gas. So the riot police there are very keen to be (inaudible) and they (inaudible) managed to (inaudible) speak to or have a policeman here.

We're going to walk further towards the front here mindful of the fact that obviously its tear gas is still potentially coming in, but this is exactly the kind of scene which everybody was hoping to avoid.

(Inaudible) for this area here (inaudible). Natalie, could we just find out a little bit about this if you don't mind?

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

WALSH: So I'll just keep explain to you here as we find out what's happening over there...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have a national police officer.

WALSH: ... in the corner. Who gave himself up (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. (Inaudible) has given himself up.

WALSH: (Inaudible) we're not going to show his face because we don't know what's happening here. Protesters are embracing him or holding him. He's doing this and saying "no, no, no leave me be" because he's given himself up they say to them here.

Now I don't know the full circumstances about this at all, but this would be possibly the (inaudible) so far I've seen today on this bridge in this area and - there we go more what looks like tear gas. (Inaudible) I can see the smoke emanating from it.

We have heard reports of rubber bullets being fired further inside Venezuela so this is still a very volatile situation. You can see rocks being thrown back by the opposition protesters on this bridge here, but this volatile scene as I kept saying earlier is literally what those looking to exacerbate this situation were perhaps imagining might occur.

There are a lot of angry men going past me now carrying rocks and there's more tear gas being deployed further down there. The man who has changed sides here - the policeman I can see his police uniform at his ankles so he's moving.

So protesters are shouting at him now very angrily but this scene now where the rocks continue to be thrown you can see a lot of tear gas now on the bridge there now. They're moving some of the angry young protesters down the bridge.

Look, we've seen these scenes play out inside Venezuela over the last two years, sadly, as the tension - the hunger has got stronger within the population, but this was the day of great symbolism where people were hoping to get aid in - where they were looking to the outside world for help.

The U.S. AID had flown in a lot of aid as well to assist. And so the question has been in everybody's minds here how this would play out and the fear had been we would see clashes like this (inaudible) youth covering their face from the tear gas as more tear gas is fired in.

There appear to be...

[12:15:00]

WALSH: ... a scuffle over there. I think that might be further members of the police who may have changed sides. That seems to be the reason, yes another police officer there.

(Inaudible) The chants are of freedom as they lead away, but Venezuelan police officer, you can see there.

I think the same one as we saw earlier so this is a crowd reaction to the same event I believe rather than a separate one, but here we are on the bridge which was supposed to be a scene of humanitarian aid's passing into Venezuela.

This is an acute crisis. This caused 3.4 million people to flee their homes, many of them here into neighboring Colombia. The hope had been the aid would fly (ph) across the aid workers - the opposition workers moved in great number across this bridge and it was a human wave really. It did stop, but then I saw in the corner a dispute.

I don't know who started it but it's clearly an opposition member demonstrating (ph) with a member of the riot police pulling on his shield. I don't know how that (inaudible). That was the spark.

And then behind that line we saw a Venezuelan riot police officer load his tear gas canister into his rifle and fire it into the crowd (inaudible). And then the rush back which is always often the most dangerous moment where people flee from (ph) the capacitating effect of tear gas.

But in the wider context of the chaos you're seeing behind me this was supposed to be a symbolic moment sought (ph) by the White House, sought (ph) by the Colombia government, sought (ph) by the Venezuelan opposition in which aid crossed into Venezuelan (inaudible) United States (inaudible) tear gas now on the edge of the bridge.

Extraordinary, inter (ph) Colombia proper. It appears that pellet shots (inaudible) here (inaudible) there's some distressing images you're about to see. I warn you there, but it appears to be (inaudible) from (inaudible) so these images were (inaudible) of what I think those who (inaudible) successful were hoping for.

Are you hearing me there?

BASH: Yes. I just wanted to let you keep going because I understand that's quite a harried (ph) scene there. If you can still hear me, what you just showed us the man with his legs, those are from rubber bullets fired by the Venezuelan police?

WALSH: I think. (Inaudible) I think that could be possibly - it didn't seem to penetrate your skin too fast. It may have been some kind of bird shot or shot gun pellet perhaps of some description. Sort of unclear how he got those injuries, but we've heard a number of cracks further inside here.

Now you can see more tear gas. The problem is that this will continue to escalate as the youth get more angry, throw more stones. Eventually the Venezuelan riot police run out of tear gas then they go back or this continues, but you can see now this scene turning from what people had hoped was going to be the free passage of aid.

They're throwing rocks back that (ph) was going to be the free passage of aid in Venezuela has turned into (inaudible) ugly scene, frankly. I don't know who's been injured here. We've seen some people hurt, but this is an extraordinary (inaudible) the moment of symbolic hope that people were imagining.

Now at this point we're going to move back the crowd (inaudible). All right, hold, hold. We'll move on (inaudible).

Obviously, sometimes the crowds the instincts are overwhelming. We're going to move back slowly anyway. I think this is probably (ph) going to escalate a little bit given the nature of the people (inaudible) in the protest crowds here.

But going - let me go back to my larger point about what people were hoping to see would be for us and that was a scene of unity. Now this was a symbolic moment. This was the moment in which Venezuelan military were called upon to (inaudible) to allow the aid in. That call came from - anywhere from the White House all the way through to Colombia.

Juan Guaido, the opposition leader and self declared President he came across the border last night (inaudible) unprecedented into Colombia to simply say, "People rise up. This is a (inaudible) moment - a new moment in our history". And we've seen that reflected in the comments from protesters as they went face to face with riot police throughout the day. It's a sad (inaudible) sense of inevitability but with the level tense

here and the level of symbolism put upon this one particular bridge some say (inaudible) to focus so much aid on such a political cause at this point for a country that is hungry, frankly, many people on a daily basis. There were concerns we may end up in this position and we are, back to you.

BASH: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much for the incredible reporting on the scene there at the border with Colombia and Venezuela telling us - showing us the chaos and the violence...

[12:20:00]

BASH: ... going on there and reminding us that this is about something simple, which is trying to get humanitarian aid into a country that is starving and trying to get in there despite the fact that there is political unrest and that is probably the understatement of the day.

I want to go now to the other side of the border deep into Venezuela. Actually we're going to do that right after a break. We're going to Isa Soares in Venezuela. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL)

BASH: We continue to follow breaking news out of Venezuela where the political and humanitarian crisis has reached a boiling point.

Police are firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in crowds of workers who are demanding to cross the border into Colombia to work and this comes as the...

[12:25:00]

BASH: ... power struggle between President Nicholas Maduro and self declared acting President Juan Guaido is turning into a face off over international aid. Last hour I spoke with Senator Ben Cardin, a senior member of the foreign relations committee and he said the U.S. should still limit it's involvement in the crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BEN CARDIN, (D) FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I think military intervention could be counter productive. I don't think that is what's needed here. I think we need to continue to support the people of Venezuela.

We've seen the United States through out leadership get our European allies on our side. Most of the countries in our own hemisphere are on the side of the people of Venezuela and recognize that Maduro has lost all legitimacy in his country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now moments ago we saw and heard Nick Paton Walsh reporting from the border with Colombia and Venezuela. I want to now go to the capital of Venezuela, to Caracas. That's where we find Isa Soares.

Isa, what is happening where you are, obviously a much calmer scene but that is where the political is being waged.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much, Dana. Very different scenes from what we're seeing in the border with Nick there from the Venezuelan/Colombia border. These are the people that come out to the streets.

I will show you some footage that we shot just further day from where I am. Thousands of people retaking - walking towards the army barracks, the army base I should say just down here to call for support for the army to call on them to really stand on their side. Stand on the side of Democracy.

Really heating (ph) the call of Juan Guaido and now I'm trying to get some people to talk to me, bear (ph) with me.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: Why are you supporting Guaido?

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: This is unbearable.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: Explain to use exactly how unbearable it is.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: No food. No medicine.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: You can walk through the streets and you see people walking out of trash cans.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: There's no medicine and no food.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: If humanitarian aid doesn't get through, (FOREIGN LANGUAGE), what happens?

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: She's going to go through - it's going to come through no matter what.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: He said I think the same, but I won't tell you what I really think because that's not great for TV, he's telling me.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: Let me ask these younger people here.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: I see you've got your Venezuelan flags.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: Why did you come and support Guaido?

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: We have hunger, starvation. We have no medicine.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: There's no food.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: He said it's a shame we have to depend on (inaudible) boxes given by the government.

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: What's your message for Maduro?

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

SOARES: I can't translate that either, but let's just assume I will tell you it's the mood. This is what I've been hearing time in, time out.

Dana, and I've been speaking to people here in the Caracas and I've gone as far to ask them, would you want to see boots in the ground - military intervention? And so many people said to me, "look of course we don't want that but if that needs to be it so be it", Dana.

BASH: Well thank you for keeping the translation clean. I think some of that we didn't even need to hear in English. I think we got the point. These people are protesting for basics - the basics of life - of food, of medicine and other things that they need.

Thank you very much. We'll get back to you later in the next couple of hours and tomorrow on CNN be sure to watch "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper.

He's going to be joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will discuss what you've been watching here real time the crisis in Venezuela. That is tomorrow at 9:00 AM eastern right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:33:53] DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Soon a warrant will be out for the arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft after a bombshell report from Florida police. They say the billionaire and one of the most successful team owners in NFL history was soliciting sex at a day spa in Jupiter, Florida.

Joining me now is Patriots writer from the Boston Globe, Ben Volin. Ben, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it. It's so important to get the expertise from somebody like you who knows the man and knows the impact on Boston and so forth.

First of all, let's just start with what's going on in Boston. I would imagine, knowing a little something about New England sports fans, particularly the Patriots that people in Boston are closing ranks or is there skepticism?

BEN VOLIN, THE BOSTON GLOBE, NFL AND PATRIOTS REPORTER: No, I'd say there is a healthy dose of skepticism. Maybe disappointment is a better word effort from a lot of people. Just to really disappointed to see Robert Kraft ensnared in this type of behavior and activity. He's still alleged of course. Nothing has gone to court yet.

BASH: Yes.

VOLIN: And charges may eventually be dropped. It's all alleged at this point but --

BASH: And he denies it.

[12:35:02] VOLIN: -- and this is a man who's a -- yes, he's a pillar of the community and very generous with donations around town and very prominent in that scene. And obviously has built quite a dynasty here with the Patriots, six Super Bowl titles, really secured the legacy of the team. They almost moved to St. Louis or Hartford before he bought the team.

So he's beloved in the region and I'd say there is certainly a lot of disappointment over him getting caught up in this.

BASH: What about the NFL policy, which is pretty clear-cut when it comes to personal conduct and I'll read part of it, "Everyone who is part of the league must refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL. It includes not just players, but owners, coaches, as well as players."

VOLIN: Yes, absolutely. NFL has a personal conduct policy that kind of is a broad outline of the various powers that Roger Goodell has to discipline players -- and their players and as you said coaches, owners, management, everyone is involved. In fact, the document also says that owners and management should be held to a higher standard than players because they are the ones who truly represent the league. And the last time Roger Goodell had to discipline an owner in 2014, Jim Irsay of the Colts was arrested on DWI charges.

Goodell even said explicitly, we have to hold owners to a higher standard. We expect more out of you. So, it does not take a guilty disposition either even if charges are dropped.

BASH: That's interesting.

VOLIN: Just some of the -- the shame that this incident and the bad publicity has brought upon the league, Robert Kraft could easily be looking at a suspension of six plus games, a maximum fine of $500,000. Of course, an owner being suspended six games isn't that big of a deal. It's not like he plays and got fired (ph) with that --

BASH: Yes, that was going to be my question. What's the impact of that?

VOLIN: Right. But, you know, it's also in the off-season two they do all -- they have these big meetings where they talk about rules for the next year and Robert Kraft wouldn't be allowed to participate in that. If Roger Goodell came down with something before the end of March when those meetings are held, he's not allowed to do anything related with the team. He's not even allowed to go to Gillette Stadium or be involved at the facility. He'd have to stay away from that.

So, you know, suspension would not hurt the Patriots on the field but it would certainly tarnish Robert Kraft and be a difficulty for him as well.

BASH: Now as you mentioned, it's important to note that Kraft and through his spokesman is denying any illegal activity? Police do say they have video evidence. What are you hearing from your sources within Kraft world about how they tend to battle this?

VOLIN: Well, the Patriots have certainly closed ranks other than releasing that one unattributable statement that was interesting. They say that no illegal activity was done but they don't exactly deny that Robert Kraft visited that spa. So imagine the defense will be that, that he -- if he doesn't plead guilty and that certainly could be a possibility as well, guilty plea, deferred prosecution, he could -- from the legal analysts I've talked to, he could actually most likely get the charges wiped off his record if he goes through some deferred prosecution or a class or something.

But if they do fight it, I think it would be he just was going there for a massage and whatever happened. He's a famous person and it's not his fault. I imagine that's the defense that they would use.

BASH: It's very important distinction. I'm glad you said that. That the denial is anything illegal, not necessarily being there or doing things that they might not consider illegal. Ben Volin, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:42:52] BASH: This is going to be a big week for President Trump and his national emergency declaration to fund the border wall. Democrats have introduced a resolution to block that and the President has vowed to veto the measure.

Joining me now, here to discuss this is former top adviser to Paul Ryan, Brendan Buck, who also worked for former House Speaker John Boehner. Now, first of all, thanks for coming on.

BRENDAN BUCK, FORMER TOP ADVISER TO PAUL RYAN: It's great to see you. Thanks for having me.

BASH: Nice to see you out of the halls of Congress.

BUCK: Out of the circus.

BASH: Out of the circus, well said. You're gone now but you're obviously still in touch with your former friends and colleagues.

BUCK: Sure.

BASH: What are you hearing about what the Republicans strategy is to beat back this resolution?

BUCK: Yes. And it's going to be fascinating vote. I certainly expect it to pass the House with Democrats in charge. The question obviously is whether there's going to be that veto proof level majority. I don't expect there will be. I think you'll see a smattering of Republicans support it. But far short of the 290 or so votes you'll going to need.

If I know this conference well, I know that they are going to embarrass the President with a veto override on his signature issue. So it would probably pass. It will probably pass the Senate but I imagine only with a handful of Republicans.

BASH: But in the House, which you know so well, you do think there will be not a veto proof, number of Republicans to add to the Democratic vote. But there will be a significant Republican vote saying no, no, no, no, this is unconstitutional we can't do this?

BUCK: Sure. And I think it will be on both sides of the conference. You've see -- you'll see some moderate members. A lot of our -- a lot of more moderate members ended up losing in the last election but there are still are some.

And then you've folks like Justin Amash, who's even a Freedom Caucus member who is saying for constitutional reasons if you believe that the President needs to be bound by Congress, you should believe that whether you are dealing with Republican or Democratic presidents. So you'll have voices on both sides. I just know that conference feels very passionately about this issue and they are not going to embarrass the President on this issue.

BASH: And you use the v word which, you know, now is sort of part of the discussion and in around this resolution to stop the emergency declaration. But President Trump has never had to veto anything because he's had a Republican Congress until now.

BUCK: Yes. Right. Yes, so it is rare for a president to have to veto something when his own party is in charge.

[12:45:00] BUCK: Obviously, he hasn't had to do that at this point. I don't want to imagine he's still going to going forward. Mitch McConnell still runs the Senate and I don't think Mitch McConnell is really interested in sending a lot of bills with the president that he knows he's not going to sign.

BASH: But this one he will have to be to, you think it'll go to his desk?

BUCK: It's a privileged resolution so it's going to have to come up for a vote in the Senate.

BASH: Right.

BUCK: And I expect there will be the votes there order to pass that, so it'll get there but it will be far short in the 67 that it needs in the Senate.

BASH: OK, so I want to play for you something that happened in the Rose Garden a couple of weeks ago. Kelly O'Donnell our friend from NBC News was asking President Trump a question about not getting things done when Republicans, your boss, Paul Ryan, for example, were fully in charge of Congress. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very disappointed at certain people, particular one, for not having pushed this faster.

KELLY O'DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Are you referring to Speaker Ryan sir?

TRUMP: Who.

O'DONNELL: Speaker Ryan.

TRUMP: Let's not talk about it. What difference does it make? But they should've pushed it faster, they should've pushed it harder and they didn't. They didn't. If they would have, it would've been a little bit better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Speaker Ryan have any regrets in not?

BUCK: I think he's talking about Paul?

BASH: I think it's probable, yes.

BUCK: Probably. Look, people being upset with you is basically a job description of speaker of the house, that's what happens. You know, on the substance of this, it was never the House's -- the House was never the problem in this equation. In fact, we passed the $5 billion that the president was looking for. It was always the 60 vote threshold in the Senate. And the president himself said that. We all remember the Oval Office meeting with Chuck and Nancy where they talked about this and the president said it doesn't matter what I do to the House. Ultimately it's what gets through the Senate with the filibuster and the 60 votes. And the president himself has said that a number of times.

So the House did its job passing the money that he wanted, not only this time but previously. There have been two other charges (ph) of money for border funding, for physical barriers at the boarder $1.3 billion the first time, $1.6 billion the second time. It was now that we got to this escalation that we didn't get all we wanted but the House has provided the resources over the last few years.

BASH: But it's no secret that there have been a number now with this kind of -- this isn't the ultimate signature issue for the president. I guess it was politically during the campaign but legislatively it's no secret that a lot of Republicans thought that this notion of a border wall and spending all this money for a border wall which was a rhetorical device for the president during the campaign was folly.

BUCK: Yes, its remarkable how this ended up become a such semantics argument that led to the longest shutdown in government history. Certainly what the president was looking for is not marginally different from what Congress's have provided for many years.

In fact there was an offer on the table before the shutdown to provide funding for physical barriers at the wall or at the border. And the fact that this escalated to the query (ph) that it did I think ultimately just became a who's tougher question and a political question. And that was what the president and Nancy Pelosi were basically in a staring contest over who was going to be tougher on this and ultimately it ended in a bad way.

BASH: One last question before I let you go. I know you're still in touch with your former boss Paul Ryan. How does he feel about being a punching bag for the president now and still now that he's gone?

BUCK: I think he's having a very good time living his best life, hunting, fishing and obviously a lot of family time. So he's very happy right now.

BASH: Brendan Buck thanks for coming in.

BUCK: Thanks for having me.

BASH: I appreciate it.

BUCK: Yes.

BASH: Thank you. And the Bush family is no stranger to the inner workings of Washington followed their rise to power in CNN original series, The Bush Years narrated by Ed Harris. It premiers Sunday, March 3rd, 9:00 -- excuse me 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:53:15] BASH: A disinformation campaign targeting Democratic presidential candidates already appears to be underway, that's according to our recent review by Politico, a data from several online social media platforms. Here with me now to discuss that and more, Former Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow who is also a CNN Law Enforcement Analyst.

Thank you so much for being with me today. You know, I was out in Las Vegas this past week talking to Harry Reid who was recounting some of the things happened in 2016 his frustrations with not getting the FBI to focus enough on how Russia was trying to influence that election. And you're saying it's not only not over but could be worse this time around.

JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT UNDER OBAMA: Listen, disinformation campaigns has been going on in politics for years and years. You know, I think it's important to understand what the intent and what the purpose of this disinformation campaign that's ongoing right now is trying to do.

I mean, they're trying to undermine the credibility of the current 2020 candidates. They're trying to discredit the political process overall. You know, how many times have we heard, you know, the campaign is rigged. It's a rigged election. You know, all that type of narrative that keeps coming out. They're also trying to, you know, undermine the underpinnings of a political narrative trying to interject falsehoods into a political narrative of a candidate, again, trying to discredit.

And at the end of the day they're trying to promote disruptive activity within a group. What makes this really difficult, Dana, for, you know, the political campaigns is that the temporary nature of the campaign itself is not set up to defend against a disinformation campaign.

That countered with the, you know, artificial intelligence and, you know, emerging technology that's being used to disseminate this disinformation is really overwhelming and it will be for this campaign cycle.

[12:55:08] BASH: So, Jonathan, help me, help the consumers of information about campaigns understand when they are getting information that is being perpetuated by foreign adversaries. How do you figure that out?

WACKROW: Well, listen, you have to trust the source. And I think that's where, you know, social media companies are really struggling right now as to how to, you know, verify the data sets. How to verify the data veracity of information that's coming out.

You know, this is where candidates themselves are going to have to counter, you know, the false narratives that are being built around them to go and speak directly to their constituency to try to, you know, put an end to this disinformation campaign.

BASH: Yes, which is why the term "fake news" is real. That is fake news and why it's so important to differentiate between that and real news which you're watching right now. Thank you so much Jonathan Wackrow, I appreciate it.

WACKROW: Thank you.

BASH: Thank you. Coming up next, RNB star R. Kelly is set to face a judge for the first time since being arrested on new sexual abuse charges. His hearing is just minutes away. We'll go to Chicago live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)