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Trump About to Meet with Kim Jong Un; Cohen On Trump: "He is Racist, He is a Conman, He is Cheat"; Interview with Democratic Congressman Denny Heck of Washington. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired February 27, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You could tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, CNN: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett and OutFront tonight the breaking news, the Chairman on the House Oversight Committee which just wrapped up a dramatic seven-hour hearing with the President's former fixer, Michael Cohen, telling reporters moments ago that he now believes the President broke the law while he has been in office.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that the President committed a crime while in office?

ELIJAH CUMMINGS, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Based on what - looking at the text and listening to Mr. Cohen, it appears that he did.


BURNETT: It's a big moment for this country. What Chairman Cummings is saying, let's be very clear, breaking the law while in office opens the door to impeachment proceedings. Cummings' comments come on the heels of that hearing with Michael Cohen where Cohen left nothing unsaid.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: I am ashamed because I know what Mr. trump is. He is a racist, he is a conman and he is a cheat.


BURNETT: Cohen today detailing never-before-heard information about Trump's hush money payments to women and on Russia. Now, Cohen, of course, originally covered up for President Trump on paying hush money to Stormy Daniels. Today though we saw it, $35,000 check reimbursing Cohen for the payment.

You see that check. It was one of the exhibits produced by Cohen today, signed by Donald Trump. Signed by Donald Trump, look at the date. He was President of the United States when that check was signed. Cohen testifying today that President Trump called him while he was President to make sure that he continued to lie about the payments to Daniels.


KATIE HILL, VICE CHAIR, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Did the President call you to coordinate ...


BURNETT: And she's talking about those payments. Cohen is going to prison, of course, for his part in that conspiracy. So far the other alleged players including the President of the United States not yet paying a price. Also, new tonight, Cohen says Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks was planning to publish hacked emails. Let me play that exchange.


PETER WELCH, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: January of this year 2019, the New York Times asked President Trump ...


BURNETT: Now, that is something both Stone and Trump deny. But the question of whether Trump's people were in touch with Russian linked WikiLeaks is central to the Russia investigation, of course, and on top of these two big issues, the hush money payments to women, and the Russia investigation, there could be more we found out today.

Cohen also saying federal prosecutors are investigating Trump for crimes that have not yet been publicly discussed.


RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of ...


BURNETT: Cohen, of course, famously said he'd take a bullet for Trump. Do you remember that and figuratively let's be honest he has. He's going to prison in part because of crimes prosecutors say were done at the direction of President Trump.


JACKIE SPEIER, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: What do you want your children to know?


(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: So why did Cohen do it? Why did he continue to serve and

work for a man that he specifically today said was a racist, a conman and a cheat for more than a decade.


COHEN: Being around Mr. Trump was intoxicating ...


BURNETT: Manu Raju begins our coverage tonight OutFront on Capitol Hill. Manu, it was very emotional and I think as we saw from some of those sound bites, I mean, it was emotional, it was in a sense sort of soul-baring and yet there was a lot of new information in there.

When Chairman Cummings tonight said that crimes happened while the President was in office, do you know what he's referring to when he says it appears that this happened?

MANU RAJU, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It appears he's referring to the fact that the President was involved in this hush money scheme all the way and through at least 2017 when he was still President and he was President in signing a check that Michael Cohen produced today for $35,000 as part of series of - in payments that were part of that hush money scheme, a criminal act in the view of a lot of people.

A lot of the Democrats noting that also that the Southern District of New York implicated the President in those crimes. What Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman just told me was that, well, the Southern District of New York had already implicated the President in those crimes but, "What we saw today was those crimes continued while he was in the Oval Office."

So now the question is where do the Democrats go from here. We expect this to be a key part of the investigations that are happening going forward. Elijah Cummings told me that probably they'll bring Allen Weisselberg who's the CFO of the Trump Organization as well as Donald Trump Jr. whose name was - he signed at least one of those checks, to come to Capitol Hill as part of an investigation into those hush money payments.

Adam Schiff said they're going to drill down much further tomorrow when Cohen comes back to a classified setting about those topics. But today's testimony only going to fuel the investigations on Capitol Hill and will that begin that discussion over impeachment proceedings right now the Democratic leaders are trying to tamp that down.

Cummings himself, I asked him today of any impeachable offenses. He said that, "Well, I want to proceed very cautiously." They want the investigation to continue. They want to see what the Mueller report ultimately produces, but yes this information revealed today is significant to how the Democrats here plan to pursue it and, of course, we'll see how the federal prosecutors also decide to pursue it.

At least we know that, at least, the Southern District of New York still investing the President according to what Cohen said today.

BURNETT: All right, certainly, according to what Cohen said, Cohen was pretty blunt about it. He was cooperating and in the hopes he said in part that he could get his sentence reduced further. All right, thank you very much, Manu, and I want to go now to a Democrat who question Michael Cohen today, Congressman Gerry Connolly. He's on the Oversight Committee.

Congressman, good to have you with me.

Gerry Connolly, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Good to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: So you heard Chairman Cummings, he said, "Look at today's testimony and it appears that the President of the United States has committed a crime while in office." Do you agree?

CONNOLLY: Yes, I do and I don't think that's new. In the filing in the Cohen case by the Southern District of New York, the words used were he committed a crime, he, Cohen, that was coordinated and directed by individual number one and we know individual number one was identified as Donald J. Trump. o there's nothing particularly new. I think we had a lot of throwing of lines.

BURNETT: Now, you understand more about what it was.

CONNOLLY: That's right.

BURNETT: I mean, this is about the payments and around those checks that we saw.

CONNOLLY: That's right. I think all of us were shocked today to learn that the payments continued from the Oval Office and that Donald J. Trump was unwise enough to actually sign one of those checks himself.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, we'll show it again. I mean, that check is there. His name is on it. The date is 2017. But when you take that together and I know that the Mueller report is not out there and I know there's things we don't know. But what we know is that the President of the United States wrote this check as indeed he did and it's for hush money payment that would be a crime, so then do you believe --

CONNOLLOY: I believe it's at least one crime and that is a violation of the federal election law, because he was clearly circumventing the law which is why he was hiding both the nature of the payment under a false retainer arrangement when Mr. Cohen did not exist and try to hide the payments themselves by lying about it.

BURNETT: Okay. So is that impeachable? I mean, if there's a crime in office isn't that definitionally impeachable?

CONNOLLOY: I'm going to let this process unfold before I decide what is and is not impeachable. But let me just say illegal acts by the President of the United States that come to the attention of Congress like this cannot be ignored. [19:10:01]

BURNETT: So you're saying there's other things that you could do besides impeach?

CONNOLLY: I'm saying they cannot be ignored.

BURNETT: So what does that mean? I'm just trying to understand.

CONNOLLY: The Congress simply can't turn a blind eye to this and at some point the process will have to start to work. What the outcomes are I can't determine right now, but we take a constitutional oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States. And when we have a bad actor in the White House which the founders very much had in mind when they provide it for impeachment, we can't ignore that and so it has to be addressed at some point in some fashion.

BURNETT: Okay. So you don't want to go there quite yet on impeachment and chose the words that you --

CONNOLLY: Well, this is our first hearing. We want to be methodical. We want to be fact-based. We want to make sure that Mueller has the opportunity to give his report and take final actions before we do.

BURNETT: Okay. So when you say at least one crime and we were just there talking about the payments, the hush money payments that continued while he was in office. There was also new information today that we learned about relations with Russia and what the President said to Michael Cohen about what he was supposed to say when he testified about Russia. And I wanted to play an exchange between you and Michael Cohen today.


BURNETT: And this is specifically about whether the President directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Russia, Moscow Tower. Here's the exchange.


CONNOLLY: Did the President in any way from your point of view coach you ...


BURNETT: He referred to that as a code, the way the President spoke. The way he would direct people to do - I mean, when he say, "Go, lie." He would say, "You know there was no this and no that," even though it might be counterfactual, right?

CONNOLLY: Right. Right.

BURNETT: Do you believe the President was telling Cohen to lie and does what he said to you there approach the same level of criminality as what you heard about the hush money payments? CONNOLLY: I think that's a great question, Erin. I think certainly

he was coaching a witness before our critical hearing in-camera, before the House Intelligence Committee just a few days before that hearing. And remember that's why Cohen is going to jail on that part because he lied to that committee. And so this isn't just any feel- good meeting in the Oval Office. This is Trump telling his personal attorney how he ought to handle the whole subject matter before he goes before that committee which involves lying.

And secondly, I think it can be construed as suborning perjury, because he knew that Mr. Cohen would be under oath when he testified. The last time we had a President do that it was during the Watergate and that most certainly was seen as a criminal offense by the President of the United States, suborning perjury.

BURNETT: All right, look, and I understand as you're saying, I'm asking you about impeaching and again will bring up Watergate, so it's raising that specter. But what you're saying is you want to proceed cautiously and you're waiting for Mueller, but when you have these things put out there today, are there more people now that you want to call in, that you're going to put under oath to testify to get answers and if so who.

CONNOLLY: Well, certainly Weisselberg. He's on everyone's favorite list.

BURNETT: Allen Weisselberg, the Chief Financial Officer of Trump Org.

CONNOLLY: That's right. He's on everyone's favorite list and there may be others. I demure a little bit on the family members. I think it would be the better part of wisdom for us to allow the Southern District to call Donald Trump Jr. before them if there are criminal matters they're investigating.

I don't see an upside to our doing that. I think it just frankly adds to the narrative and the other side of the aisle that we're just out to get the Trumps or something like that. I don't think we need to do that to make a pretty compelling case.

BURNETT: Interesting. All right, about the President which is who you're focused on.

CONNOLLY: That's right.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. I appreciate your time as always.

CONNOLLY: My great pleasure.

BURNETT: Thanks.

CONNOLLY: Thank you.

BURNETT: All right, and there was another revelation today from Michael Cohen about Russia and this was about the Trump family and that they were much more involved in talks for that Trump Tower in Moscow which was very important for Donald Trump. Then, they have previously claimed, let me play this exchange.


STEPHEN LYNCH, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Who were the family members that you briefed on the Trump Tower ...


BURNETT: All right, 10 in total, that is - well, I mean, let's just be honest it's a complete contradiction of what Ivanka Trump has said. She said she literally - knew, I'm sorry, literally almost nothing. Those are her words about the project and Don Jr. who told Congress that he was "only peripherally aware of it."


Obviously, neither of those things square with about 10 briefings and discussions which went on all the way until the President won the White House.

OutFront now, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean who, of course, came up several times today due to your comments that you said last night on this program, Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan, former Prosecutor with the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, Berit Berger, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Harry Sandick, and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of The Making of Donald Trump, David Cay Johnston. All of you with us here for the hour as we try to understand what happened.

John, let me start with you. You said today was a turning point, how?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, it was certainly a serious punctuation mark and how far it's going to turn is the remaining question. I think that the fact that the President wrote checks as a sitting President, took for a pay off or a hush money is the most damning testimony that came out.

But he also indicated there are many other investigations that are going on in the Southern District. So this is a bad day for Donald Trump and the public is beginning to now pay attention and being made aware of this through someone like Michael Cohen.

BURNETT: Harry, how did Michael Cohen perform from your perspective?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I thought on the whole he did well. There were some times early on where he seemed like he was getting a little angry with the questioning from some of the Republican Congressman with getting under his skin a little bit, but he kind of calmed down and hit his stride.

I thought it was very persuasive for him to blame himself for wrongdoing, I thought that gives you credibility. I thought it was persuasive for him to bring documents, that gives you credibility. And I also thought it was persuasive that he didn't overdo it. He says, "Well, there was a whispered conversation between Trump and his son and I think I know what that was about." If you were making something up, why not go for broke and say you heard them talk about the meeting.

And so he was restrained in certain ways. Those are things consistent with truth-telling. He's a damaged witness. He's convicted of perjury before Congress, but I think this was a good day for him on the whole.

BURNETT: And Evan, one of the things as I just played that sound bite when he's saying at least 10 briefings in total and saying that those were to Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., both of whom have denied anything that would resemble that sort of briefing. What is the significance of that in the broader context here, Evan?

EVAN PEREZ, SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, I think the significance there is I think the Democrats on that committee may want to test exactly what Ivanka Trump and what Donald Trump Jr. meant in whatever previous answers they've given to that very question. Look, I think what we know so far is that the answer, at least from that from the Trump side, has been that their communication about this project ended in early 2016 in January, I believe in January of 2016.


PEREZ: And so that's what their answer was. So they didn't know that Michael Cohen was lying when he lied about it. The new answer, obviously, from Michael Cohen is that it went much more extensively, 10 briefings that it was both Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. And so I think that their excuse or their answer has been that, "Look, we just didn't remember and the answer we gave was because that's all of the documentation we have."

And so it's going to be - I think that it's going to be interesting to see, I think the previous guest, the Congressman there seemed a little hesitant about whether or not they wanted to hear perhaps an open testimony from the family members.

BURNETT: From the family members, yes. I mean, Berit, one of the interesting things here is, obviously, that would be significant if they want to leave that for the Southern District. But the question that I have is you have Michael Cohen saying Donald Trump would say, "I wouldn't say go lie." He would say, "You know, Michael, there's no Russia, there's no collusion, there's no -" that's exactly how Donald Trump would speak. But why would he do that? Why would Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump have been briefed around 10 times if what Michael Cohen is saying is true and lie about it if there's nothing to hide?

BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: That's a perfect question and every time you talk to somebody who's witness or a defendant in a criminal case and they've lied about something, that's always the first question is why lie about this if there's nothing to hide. To your first point though about Cohen's testimony about how the President talked, that really tracks with my experience, and I'm sure with Harry's experience as well as a prosecutor. This is very common that you see defendants and organizations very

rarely does somebody actually come out and say, "Hey, why don't you and I go commit a crime together," or, "Please don't tell anybody about the crime we just committed together." They don't do it for a number of reasons.

BURNETT: As if they're always sort of wink, wink, nod, nod.

BERGER: Exactly.

BURNETT: Code is the word that Michael Cohen used.

BERGER: And there's a reason that people do that, because it makes it more challenging for prosecutors to ultimately prove a case. It's much easier to present a jury a case where you actually have somebody admitting to witness tampering or something.


It's a lot harder when it was just like an eyebrow raised or a shrug of the shoulder.

BURNETT: All right, now, I want to David also play because we talked about a few new things that we learned and another thing that we learned, new from Michael Cohen today, was new allegations about Roger Stone.


BURNETT: Okay. Roger Stone and Donald Trump have said until they are blue in the face that they never had a conversation about WikiLeaks and all of these damaging emails, this hacking and emails that were done by WikiLeaks which, of course, is being used by Russia, let me just play what Michael Cohen said about that today.


COHEN: It was a short conversation ...


BURNETT: I mean, the significance of this - I mean, it could be hugely significant.


BURNETT: I mean they have both, if this is true, completely lied and Michael Cohen was very explicit. He said Rhona Graff then Mr. Trump's assistant would said, "Oh, Roger Stone is on speakerphone." He put him on speakerphone at that big desk and Michael Cohen overheard this whole conversation.

JOHNSTON: Right and, well, it's not conclusive. It certainly indicates and suggests with other evidence we have that Donald Trump knew perfectly well he was being helped by the Russians which is in itself not only a crime, but should outrage everyone in the United States. It's a crime to accept anything of value from a foreign government during an American election.

Now, it's also reasonable to assume, we may never see them, but it's reasonable to assume that since the conversation Roger Stone apparently had with some Julian Assange that there are intercepts of that. If not by American intelligence, then the Dutch, the British, somebody else, because government is very concerned about sources and methods. They might not put it out there.

BURNETT: And Julian Assange was seen - he's seen as an - Julian Assange would certainly, those communications could have been monitored. I mean, April, what I'm getting at here is again back to the question I had with Berit, if there was nothing to hide, if the President was going to say, "Yes, he mentioned WikiLeaks, but I didn't know WikiLeaks was. It was just - I take help from anybody."

If he was more innocent like that, then why have we heard so repeatedly the President and his team, Rudy Giuliani deny that what Michael Cohen said happened ever happened. Let me just play a couple of examples.


MAGGIE HABERMAN, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: Did you ever talk to him about WikiLeaks? Because that seemed to be what ...


HABERMAN: You never had a conversation with him?

TRUMP: No, I didn't. I never did.

HABERMAN: Did you ever tell him to - or other people to get in touch with them?

TRUMP: Never did.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Did Roger Stone ever give the president a heads-up on WikiLeaks leaks concerning Hillary Clinton and the DNC?



GIULIANI: I don't believe so.

TRUMP: WikiLeaks which I had nothing to do with.


BURNETT: I mean, April, if what Michael Cohen said, again, today is true and again I say if although certainly he appeared to be very credible today, then all of those things are just blatant lies.

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Right. Erin, someone along the way is lying. We don't know which side. The sad piece is that everyone has a credibility issue, who do you believe. But you ask the right question, why are people lying.

Okay, we understand why Michael Cohen would lie. He was being loyal. He was trying to protect. Well, it's not a good thing, but we understand. He said he was being loyal trying to protect this man. He thought he was larger than life.

But why is if the President is lying, why is he lying? Why would he cover it up? And that's the question that needs to be answered. But just looking at it, once you get into this piece of WikiLeaks and Roger Stone, Julian Assange and this - just pouring out of WikiLeaks, there are tentacles that leads - that could lead to other places and what is the cover? What are they trying to hide? What are they trying to cover up? That's the issue.

BURNETT: Harry, can I just once again because we're talking about two big issues that develop today, the Russia investigation with the Trump Tower, and the WikiLeaks connection and also the hush money payments. The checks that we saw. We saw a couple of them that Michael Cohen submitted as part of his exhibits. Donald Trump signing and paying to Michael Cohen with Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr. involved while he was President. Can you explain in English for us why that would be a crime?

SANDICK: So the reason why that would be a crime is that under campaign finance rules there are limits to how much money can be contributed to a campaign and there are also disclosure requirements about how you have to disclose the payments that you receive.


And here Cohen made significant payments and was then in these checks being reimbursed for those payments. And the reimbursements weren't being honestly held out as, "This is reimbursement for a campaign related payments."

BURNETT: Well, we knew about this retainer that was being paid, now we know ...

SANDICK: It's nonsense though.


SANDICK: It was not a retainer, it was a reimbursement and none of it was disclosed and the amount of money that was paid was far in excess of what an individual can contribute.

BURNETT: So we knew there had been a campaign finance violation, because we knew the hush payment's payment. The development today, obviously, I'm just making this very clear for everybody is that we now have evidence that those checks in that payment continued while Donald Trump was President of the United States.

SANDICK: That's right. While he was President and obviously with his knowledge. This isn't like something that was done by some other person in some backroom. This is a check from his account, with his signature on the check. How can he plausibly deny knowing. BURNETT: And Berit, just another point to make to people because

people make this point, well, okay then it's impeachable because it's while he was in office. Well, I'm sorry, you can be impeached for things you did before in office ...

BERGER: But --

BURNETT: ... and maybe that's why they're being more cautious, because they're saying like, "We knew about the crime." Today, we found out that the crime continued while he was in office. Both of those things could be impeachable if they choose to proceed.

BERGER: That's absolutely right. I mean just because it continued while he was President I think in some ways it makes it more egregious because you would hope that somebody who is sitting in the Oval Office would hold themselves --

BURNETT: ... more jaw dropping of the headline.

BERGER: Exactly.


BERGER: Exactly. But it doesn't really change if it is a crime it was a crime before he was in office and it would be a crime if it continued while he was in office.

BURNETT: All right, all of you stay with me, because we have a lot more to talk about. Next, a Republican lawmaker attempting to prove Trump is not a racist and it sparked one of the most memorable moments of today.


RASHIDA TLAIB, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: The fact that someone would actually use a prop ...


BURNETT: At one point Mark Meadows is literally starting to cry. Plus, Michael Cohen handing over years of Trump's financial statements, things that we didn't thing were out there. So what does he claim they prove?



[19:30:43] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: President Trump today, right now, about to head to a one-on-one meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It is morning in Vietnam. But it might have been a very long night for him.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT from Hanoi where the president is.

Kaitlan, how closely Mr. Trump and his team watching Michael Cohen and those developments?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly closely. We saw the president's kids and his allies back in Washington reacting to Michael Cohen's testimony in real-time, even disputing parts of it, like when Michael Cohen said he never wanted to work in the White House. Which even our sources, Erin, say simply isn't true.

But we also know here in Hanoi, White House officials are keeping an eye on that testimony as well because they want to be able to talk about it when the president inevitably brings it up. And we also know President Trump was keeping an eye on it because he had a conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham where he said he was complaining about the fact and saying he was bothered that testimony was happening while he's here in Vietnam about to embark on the second summit with Kim Jong-un because the president believes it distracts from what he's trying to do here, by achieving nuclear diplomacy with the North Korean dictator and that is something that bothers the president.

Also, we know Michael Cohen has irritated the president but also the investigations tied to the president overall, because the president has said they interfere with his interactions with other world leaders and those questions followed him here because even right before he had dinner with Kim Jong-un last night, reporters were asked him questions about Michael Cohen's testimony -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan.

And back to our panel. You know, one of the moments today -- there were a lot of emotional moments and then there were some eye-opening sort of personal things that we learned.

John Dean, one of them came when Michael Cohen in an exchange with Congresswoman Speier was talking about his role. He was sort of the thug, the guy who went out and had to threaten people all of the time and the discussion was about what sorts of things he did. And let me just play the exchange because it is pretty amazing.


REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf?


SPEIER: Fifty times?

COHEN: More.

SPEIER: A hundred times?

COHEN: More.

SPEIER: Two hundred times?

COHEN: More.

SPEIER: Five hundred times?

COHEN: Probably. Over the ten years.

SPEIER: Over the ten years, he asked you --

COHEN: And when you say threaten, I'm talking litigation or an argument with --

SPEIER: Intimidation.

COHEN: Or a nasty reporter that is writing an article.


BURNETT: John Dean, something about the way that played out. It was a jaw-dropping moment.

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It was, indeed. In fact there are tapes around of people who recorded Michael Cohen when he was threatening people and he played really tough. He told them ugly things and ugly things he would do to them. So, that is a striking number that he's confessed to.

I'm sure he's not happy with it. I'm sure that some will try to use it against him but he's being honest in revealing it.

BURNETT: I mean, it was. And then, you know, there were moments where it got very heated today. Look, there were Republicans constantly and every time they came up except for maybe one exception, they said that he was a liar and a fraudster and a felon and therefore no one should pay attention to what he said and at one moment that got rather heated. Let me play this exchange with Congressman Jordan.


REP. JIM JORDAN (D), OHIO: His remorse is nonexistent. He just debated a member of Congress saying I really didn't do anything wrong with the false bank records that I'm going to prison for.

COHEN: Mr. Jordan, that's not I said. And you know that's not what I said.


COHEN: And I said I pled guilty and take responsibility for my actions.

Shame on you, Mr. Jordan. That's not what I said.


COHEN: That's not what I said. What I said is I took responsibility and I take responsibility. What I was doing is explaining to the gentleman that his facts are inaccurate.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: You know, Evan, what mattered most about that exchange in so much of today was not how this plays with Bob Mueller or anyone in the southern district of New York.

[19:35:01] I mean, they have documents, they have a point of view. What mattered was whether in the court of public opinion, Michael Cohen convinced people that he was a deeply-flawed but now honest, repentant person telling the truth.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And I think you saw a lot of what Michael Cohen was trying to do there. I think one of the members of the panel mentioned earlier that if he wanted to just go all out and lie, I mean, he could have just said I heard Don Jr. say that they were going to have this meeting with the Russians in the summer of 2016. He could have said something like that if he wanted to just go whole hog.

And so, it seemed like he was also today, Erin, trying to walk a fine line. If you notice, he appears to balloon a little bit for the Democrats who have been sort of going on the theory that the president and his company essentially have been laundering Russian money for years. If you remember he was asked about that during the hearing today and he said he never saw satchels of rubles and in some ways maybe helped the president there.

He also helped the president a little bit on the WikiLeaks question because he said that Roger Stone was freelancing. Not at the direction of the president. Again, if Michael Cohen wanted to just lie during this hearing, he could have done a lot more. But today, he seemed to be trying to weave between all of the things that the Republicans were trying to catch him on and what he has already admitted to.

BURNETT: And not, Harry, going so far as in one of the filings where they said Roger Stone was directed by a senior member of the campaign or someone directed a senior member of the campaign to tell roger stone to do this. Michael Cohen, if he knew that was -- he didn't go that far but he did move the bar in a huge way on WikiLeaks by saying that conversation happened.

You know, one other thing that he did was -- there was a lot of talk about the catch and kill. Bad stories about Trump and the tabloids and they were paid to buy and bury. They were explaining how that happened vis-a-vis "The National Enquirer" and tapes about a love child and -- and physical abuse of Melania Trump in an elevator and Michael Cohen said clearly those things did not happen, right? I mean, he was very adamant they didn't happen and the president of the United States would not do.

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Absolutely, that's what Evan was saying, that, you know, to the extent there are other people who might know that and they could come up and say it, but Cohen would be in a position to know and he denied it and he certainly isn't looking to do any favors for Trump. So, it seems as if that's a pretty strong check mark that did not happen. BURNETT: Now on the personal side there were so many -- a lot of this

was deeply personal. You saw Michael Cohen crying at a couple of points, including at the end tearing up. He said that the president of the United States was a conman and fraud and a racist, which I played at the top of the program. In his opening statement, he gave a powerful set of examples of why the president is a racist and I want to play a couple of them.


COHEN: He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn't a shit hole. This is when Barack Obama was president of the United States. And while we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.


BURNETT: And then, okay, and then in response to this there was a very heated exchange. Congresswoman Tlaib and Congressman Mark Meadows have this exchange, right? Meadows brought Lynn Patton as an example to try to disprove what Cohen just said there. A black woman who had -- has worked for the Trump family, is now employed by the administration and brought her in and had her stand up and say, look, she is black and she said that Trump isn't a racist and so he's not a racist.

April, let me give you a chance to react to that. That moment there first before I play this very powerful exchange.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, there is a lot to unpack right there.


RYAN: I mean, I know -- Congresswoman Tlaib inartfully said that Congressman Meadows was a racist. You could not he is a racist just by that. Now let's put that there.

But for Congressman Meadows to ask Lynn Patton to stand up and she's a black person in this administration and she can't be racist because her father was in the South. Those are just points. That doesn't mean that --

BURNETT: The president was born in Birmingham so -- yes.

RYAN: Yes. And she just happens to be in the administration because of her relationship with Eric Trump. She planned parties for them. And favor for favor. So that does not equate to the president not being a racist.

Now if you want to get to the points, that was a bad exchange.

[19:40:04] You have to be very careful when you call someone a racist. The NAACP's definition of a racist is power and prejudice to oppress a person or people. I didn't see that in there today. But at the same time, was it insensitive? Yes.

It went down the line of oh, he did say -- he said I've got family members who are of color. It is almost like me saying, I've got white people who are my friends. It is -- it was -- there is a lot of racial insensitivity.

If you want to go to the fact that the president has accused of being a racist, talk about Charlottesville. Even before he become president, what we know, the Central Park Five. He still has not apologized for that. Putting C's on applications and housing applications, that went to the Justice Department.

So there are questions about his sensitivity when it comes to race. And the NAACP put out a statement today about the racist components, saying, look, this isn't nothing we haven't known before. When you see somebody do something the first time, believe them.

BURNETT: And, you know, it was a moments during this exchange that was so emotional on so many levels. I want to play for everyone exactly what Congresswoman Tlaib said to Mark Meadows when she invoked the racist word.

Here it is.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: The fact that someone would use a prop -- a black woman in this chamber, in this committee -- it alone racist in itself. Donald Trump is setting --

REP. MARK MEADOWS (D-NC), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Mr. Chairman, I ask that her words be taken down.

TLAIB: -- I reclaim my time.

MEADOWS: Mr. Chairman, I ask that her words -- when she's referring to an individual member of this body be taken down as stricken from the record. I'm sure she didn't intend to do this. But if anyone knows my record as it relates -- it should be you, Mr. Chairman.


BURNETT: She eventually did try to back down a little bit, John. But Meadows became incredibly upset over her accusations and you saw that there, he started to tear up at one point.

By the end of the hearing Michael Cohen was tearing up as well when Elijah Cummings was giving a summary about how this is important moment for democracies and how Michael Cohen has lost his life in all of this.

You've been in a room like this. What did you make of the emotion, John?

NIXON: Well, there is no doubt there was a lot of emotion. It started with the fact that Michael Cohen couldn't bring his family, which would have liked to have been sitting right behind him for moral support. But he was frightful for their security.

He did tear up a couple of times. And then Meadows did have that very emotional exchange. It was a -- it was -- there was a theater aspect in just the emotions of the hearing. No question. And it was pretty dramatic stuff.

I think everybody came out pretty well on that. I think Meadows did get the point made that he does not feel he's a racist and shouldn't be charged. And the chairman seemed to agree. They have a unique and apparently genuine friendship.

BURNETT: Yes, that is certainly -- there was this moment where Elijah Cummings talking about how close their friendship was.

All right. Stay with me, because Michael Cohen said federal prosecutors are investigating undisclosed wrongdoings, things we don't know about, we still don't know what they are tonight, and now we know they may be there. So, what is he talking about.

Plus, Cohen telling all about Trump's mysterious finances for the first time.


COHEN: It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes.



[19:47:16] BURNETT: Breaking news. President Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pointing tonight that there could be more, other investigations that we do not yet know about by New York prosecutors that involve the president.


KRISHNAMOORTHI: Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that you are aware of regarding Donald Trump that we haven't yet discussed today?

COHEN: Yes. And again, those are part of the investigation that is currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York.

I am currently working with them right now on several other issues of investigation.


BURNETT: All right. Harry, let me start with you on this. Is there any other wrongdoing or illegal act that involved the president that you know of that we're not talking about yet in the Southern District? How much more could there be?

SANDICK: Well, there was some communication between Trump and Cohen. And so, presumably, that's being looked at as possible obstruction- related offense, why are these two people talking with a microscope hovering over them, and there sounds like Trump Organization related investigations. We know they gave immunity to Weisselberg and to David Pecker and to AMI, and probably that wasn't all to get Michael Cohen. It is part of a bigger investigation.

And so, it seems as if, you know, to the extent people thought well Cohen is being sentenced and going into prison and that is all over. It is definitely not over. They're still doing things in the Southern District, we know about the inauguration investigation which may touch on Cohen to some extent.

So there is a lot going on. There is a lot of concern. Even if Mueller wraps up, the Southern District isn't wrapping up.

BURNETT: In the exchanges here, Michael Cohen was honest that, sure, he's cooperating with everything else he can in the hopes of reducing his sentence further. So, he was honest that he had a dog in the fight.

But do you think it is possible that there is something else big out there that could involve the president in another jurisdiction like the southern district?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's possible. And that is the likely outcome of once the special counsel office is sort of finished its report and is ready to wrap up, I think it is likely that they will farm out a few more cases to other U.S. attorneys offices around the country, maybe to the Southern District of New York, maybe to other offices. So, I think it is likely that there are still, you know, active investigations that will go to other offices.

I mean, I think you do have to Michael Cohen with a little bit of a grain of salt with this. I mean, there may very well be, you know, ongoing investigations at the Southern District of New York that he's trying to provide information for. I do not think that he knows all of the details of those investigations for the sole reason that prosecutors are not really in the business of telling defendants, especially ones trying to cooperate, sort of --

BURNETT: Everything, right. He doesn't know all the parts. He knows one, but not all of them.


BURNETT: So, David, when it comes to what else is out there, we know that the president of the United States has lied for a long time about his finances, right? And in some ways that are certainly not illegal, like lying to "Forbes" about your net worth.

[19:50:02] That sort of things happens all the time.

One thing, though, that Michael Cohen said today opened the door to something much more sinister and perhaps illegal. Let me play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COHEN: I am giving to the committee today three years of Mr. Trump's personal financial statements from 2011, 2012, and 2013. Which he gave to Deutsche Bank to inquire about a loan to buy the buffalo bills and to Forbes. It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes.


BURNETT: OK. Again, to "Forbes," not against the law. But lying to a bank to obtain a loan, totally different.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR, "THE MAKING OF DONALD TRUMP": One of the crimes that was committed -- admitted to by Michael Cohen.

BURNETT: And, right, and Michael Cohen, partly going to prison for that. What does it mean, if this is true, and again, we don't know, but if this is true, that would mean that was something that would appear to me that Donald Trump would have done all the time, if you're willing to lie to a bank once, then you're willing to lie.

JOHNSTON: In fact, we know that Donald in the past has entered false financial statements. He's hidden records from auditors in my biography, "The Making of Donald Trump," there's the whole hilarious -- dark hilarious story of hiding records to avoid an audit by the city of New York and coming up with stories to hide them. You know, the -- it's reasonable to think that prosecutors are looking at bank fraud, insurance fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax fraud. And not just income tax fraud, there's also issues about Donald Trump's property taxes, the charitable deductions he's taken.


JOHNSTON: Now, combine into this the Trump Foundation, which my organization, D.C. Report, pushed very hard to get a criminal investigation out by the state. Our state attorney general doesn't have inherent criminal authority. And you've got a whole package of financial wrongdoing for them to look at.

Donald Trump's finances have never been properly scrutinized. That's one of the reasons why he had a private bankruptcy, when he was the owner of three casinos. It was done outside the bankruptcy system so he could limit how much got out. A lot got out, but not what would have come out in a formal proceeding.

BURNETT: And the question is, of course, whether that will come out, whether that will be a part of this.

JOHNSTON: Absolutely.

BURNETT: You know, as someone pointed out I thought pretty fairly tonight during the hearing, that Michael Cohen himself, Republicans were quick to say he has no morals because he lied on his taxes, but they refused to ask the president for his.

All right. Next, Michael Cohen now preparing to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. That's tomorrow. One congressman who will be in that hearing is my guest. That's next.


[19:56:16] BURNETT: Tonight, just a few hours away from Michael Cohen again, back on Capitol Hill. This time, he will appear before the House Intelligence Committee.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Denny Heck of Washington who sits on that committee.

Congressman, you know, you saw today, you saw every moment of it. And what did you hear? Did you have a lot more questions?

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, Erin, first of all, I want to say that if you look the word "gravitas" up in the dictionary, there would be a video playing of the manner in which Elijah Cummings presided over this. It made me proud to call him colleague and friend.

I think in terms of kind of concrete things that are takeaways from it, we learned a lot. We learned, for example, that the president knew that Roger Stone was in touch with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. We also knew that the president knew ahead of time that Michael Cohen was going to come before Congress and lie, which is, of course, why he's lost his license to practice law and why he's going to prison for up to three years. So we learned a lot.

But I have to say, while the former two instances are examples of potentially crimes, I found at least equally offensive that Michael Cohen quoted the president or then non-President Trump as having said, I'm not stupid, I'm not going to Vietnam, which I find deeply offensive and very, very hurtful to the 58,000 approximately names and the families of those names printed on the 492-foot Vietnam War Memorial.

BURNETT: You know, the Republicans on the committee today slammed Cohen and his credibility repeatedly. They really didn't ask questions, right? It was a defense -- well, it was either disparaging him or to protect the president.

Here's what Cohen said at one point in response.


COHEN: I did the same thing that you're doing now, for ten years. I protected Mr. Trump for ten years. And I can only warn people, the more people that follow Mr. Trump, as I did blindly, are going to suffer the same consequences that I'm suffering.


BURNETT: What did you think when you heard that?

HECK: From Mr. Cohen?

BURNETT: Yes. HECK: I think he's coming clean. And to prove it, he brought

receipts. Look, the Republican strategy today, unfortunately, was abundantly clear. It was to engage in hyperbole and character assassination in an attempt to destroy his reputation, so that should the instance ever come that there is an impeachment question before the Senate, the base consolidated and won't enable the Senate to deliberate and get to a two-thirds vote in a fair, open-minded, objective way.

I think the tactic is clear. It didn't have much to do with getting at the truth. I join with my colleague and friend Chairman Schiff in asking them, finally, please, put country before party.

BURNETT: But, you know, when you say, look, there's now a crime -- look, you can impeach someone for a crime before office, but now there's a crime in office, right, with those payments. The WikiLeaks thing could move the bar in Russia here. But did you take away from your Republican colleagues that impeachment, if you move ahead with it, would be nothing more than a Democratic political move, because they are simply not going to get onboard. They did not seem to want to know the details today.

HECK: The short answer, Erin, is, yes, that is precisely what I take away from it. But, of course, things change over time and they evolve. And the fact of the matter is, we are yet to see the final work product or products.

I caution people to not get too invested in the idea that Bob Mueller is only going to create one work product. He may, but it may be multiple products. We have yet to see that.

And I'm going to at least extend some hope that they'll keep their minds open enough with new evidence as it continues to mount, and we had two big bricks of evidence today, if not more.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time. I look forward to having you back on. I know you'll be questioning him tomorrow. Thanks so much.

And to all of you, our breaking news coverage continues now with "AC360".