Return to Transcripts main page


Roger Stone Trial Date Set For November 5th; O'Rourke: My Wife Is Raising Our Kids "Sometimes With My Help". Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 14, 2019 - 12:30   ET



[12:32:40] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Roger Stone now has a trial date, November 5th 2019. So and also got a reprieve but a renewed warning from the judge handling his case.

This morning in court, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she expects full compliance with her gag order and that Stone should have told her and the court about this, a new version of a book published after Judge Jackson had restricted what Stone is allowed to say about his case. In the updated book, Stone, despite the gag order called this prosecution political. Said he's on hit list, and borrow some Trumpian language to describe the Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller calling him, "crooked".

CNN Sara Murray, outside the courthouse. Sara, there was some question about whether Roger Stone might go to jail? The judge gave him a break.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: She did. She essentially gave him a reprieve, at least for now. She said today in court, she didn't want to dwell on the issue of whether Roger Stone had violated his gag order. She said she's still reviewing it and she did lament that they spent so much time on what she called essentially collateral issues that, I assume, are costing Roger Stone a pretty penny in legal fees.

It was very fair that Judge Amy Berman Jackson wanted to come to court today and she wanted to get the guts of this matter done which is to set a schedule to move to trial. And she did exactly that today, she set the trial date for November 5th. So it's clear this is going to drag on for many more months and, you know, it's still an open question whether Stone will be able to abide by the gag order in the months still to come.

And, again, John, just because Roger Stone did not get into trouble today, does not mean he's not going to be in trouble with the judge in the future. It's very clear for some of the filings from Stone's legal team that they were very concerned that his new book, which is very critical of the Special Counsel, could land Roger Stone behind bars. That certainly still a possibility, but it didn't happen for him here today.

KING: Sara Murray outside the courthouse. Sara, appreciate that and that is a big bet. Can Roger Stone bite his tongue for seven to eight months? Good luck with that.

But, it's interesting. Not in the courtrooms, I don't want to go too far here. But this is the same judge who -- judge (ph) of the Manafort hearing yesterday. She is a, try to keep things on the legal tract, but b, acutely aware of the politics.

Talking about, you know, don't bring the collision argument up with me. That's not what this case is about in the Manafort case. In here, I think, deciding yes she can put Roger Stone in jail for a few days if she wanted to say, look, I'm serious about this gag order, but then you create a mark.

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: Plus they're looking -- there maybe so many more chances between now and November. So, why expert make sure that.

[12:35:01] KING: And his whole thing is raise money for his legal defense and she puts him in jail and then, you know, they are not way doing him a favor.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Things can couple of ways, right? If you -- if the judge comes down really hard especially on these interim stages with any of these accused, then yes, you can make them into heroes for the people who support Trump. But by the same token, there's a lot of frustration by people who are critical of Trump especially because of Manafort's first sentence being so comparatively like to what the next one could have been that are these guys getting a pass on all of these things, small or large.

And so, that's out there on both sides. There is a passionate sentiment on both sides and passionate sentiment can be followed by dollars that flow into various different things whether it's Roger Stone's defense or mounting some more campaigns against in defeating the President in 2020. All of these things can be motivators.

KING: And help me if you can, clear up a couple of confusions, I guess, about these investigations. One is, Michael Cohen, in his big debate, did he ask for a pardon? He cleaned up his testimony the other day when he told Congress last week, I never asked for a pardon and he cleaned it up and say, I meant, never after I left a legal agreement with the President.

Yes, we are all rolling our eyes of that because he should know better. He should know better. But that is the question about, was the President dangling a pardon or is Michael Cohen pursuing a pardon? We know investigators in Congress want to look at this. We know, we're told in this report the "New York Times Wall Street Journal", investigators meaning the feds are looking at this as well.

This is an e-mail from a lawyer that Cohen had hired to him. There was never a doubt and they are in our corner. Rudy, meaning Rudy Giuliani, said this communication channel must be maintained. He called it crucial and noted how reassure they were that they have someone like me whom Rudy has know for so many years in this role. Sleep well tonight. You have friends in high places. Now, is that a lawyer spinning Michael Cohen, you hired the right guy. I'm in it at the White House, we're good. Or could you read that as Rudy says we can't give you a pardon today, but I know you, I trust you, keep in touch, we've got this.

AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, NPR: I'm no lawyer, but I would think that, that probably is vague enough that you could argue. It means a lot of different things.

I think, it does seem like the President at least publicly tries to be a little careful about the pardon issues. I'm not thinking about, and I do. But, it also seems when we talk about Manafort and his lawyer talking about collision that there's an audience that they are speaking to and that they are trying to get a message to, look, there's no collusion. The judge said it, even though that's not what they said.

They seem to be trying to send a message to maybe President Trump that we're still in your corner for Manafort, and why would you do that? Like what would be the motivation for that unless you're thinking that maybe you could get some help in a little bit.

DEMIRJIAN: The Cohen pardon issue is that you can even tell members of Congress are getting exhausted and mentally tired of trying to sift out because there's so much he said -- he said, but then he corrected himself and said, he corrected himself --

KING: And all of the people involved are no liars.


RASCOE: It does going to say, there's no angels here.

DEMIRJIAN: There's no angels here and what you're talking about fundamentally is how that people interpret hints that were dropped and what about private conversations that were never transcribe? Can they remember exactly who picked up the phone each time, and now that the insinuation that this was about public dangling at first, you know, can that be construed as casting, hints of casting of social media and television.

RASCOE: As long as the President has the pardon power.

KING: I want to get in this more -- and here's additionally confusing. One of the things that the, you know, .Congress had Michael Cohen up there and they had Matthew Whitaker up there, the acting attorney general. They ask the acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, when you were attorney general essentially, did you talk to the President about the Cohen case? Did the President ask you to intervene and do anything in the Cohen case?

Whitaker in his public testimony said I didn't do anything improper. The President never ask me do anything improper. They had and can back up for private testimony. And this is the chairman of the committee try to follow this.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What did he admit to discussing with the President?

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: He did not admit to discussing with the President anything, but when presented with the opportunity, when asked if it -- by Mr. Collins at the end of the interview if it was correct that he had not spoken to Mr. -- the President about the Cohen case, he said he that, that had not been his testimony.

BERMAN: Do you have -- ?

NADLER: So presented -- and so presented with the direct opportunity to deny that he spoke to the President that he refused to do so.


KING: When, DOJ officials are pushing back saying Whitaker did nothing wrong. Didn't say he did anything wrong and now there's mischaracterizing because and this is I said the same thing when you had Devin Nunes, chairman of the House of Intelligence Committee (INAUDIBLE), these guys have a responsibility to speak English and to be clear, and to not true like while he didn't deny and he did this. It's just, I'm sorry but that's not the way to do this.

DEMIRJIAN: I had privilege taking out that meeting yesterday in the Rayburn House Office Building and it was -- it's confusing because now there is a whole thing was that he did not deny having these conversations. And then the pushback from the Republican side was like, yes, we didn't deny because he said he couldn't completely remember if he had ever maybe discussed it in passing these questions about while they're having internal discussions about what's going on at SDNY and the recusal over the top prosecutor there. Is that also a suspect of maybe those conversations, you know, were not intensely with the President.

[12:40:00] And there are so many interpretations of what happened in the nondenial silence part of Whitaker not completely being able to recall things. Is that a cover up or is that honest assessment of not remembering and it's so messy. And there's no transcript to this and so it's still it's going to save us.

LISA LERER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: And some and beyond the legal back and forth and the legalese there's also this question of when Manafort and its when Roger Stone gets up and really baits these judges and baits these courts, is that because they're trying to, is that because they're trying to create favor with the President or is that just the world, the pool you that they're all swimming in, which is how you behave in court and this defiance. It mimics the President, but is that just because they're all sort of in the same like political universe? And it's really hard to know. I don't actually know that it's a --

KING: In this polarized environment where people see opposite things when they're looking at the same thing, I just think that the leaders of the investigations need to speak with clarity and not be afraid to say, not today, not doing that with today. We got to move on. But that just not doing that with today, we got more to go on this.

And up next for us, a big ruling from the State Supreme Court and about guns, gun makers and the victims of a massacre.


[12:45:30] KING: Topping our political radar today, a big decision by the Connecticut State Supreme Court setting up a potential landmark legal showdown between a gun maker and families who lost loved ones in a massacre. The court ruling today, they're wrongful death suit dropped by families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims can now go forward.

That suit alleges Remington who makes the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the 2012 massacre that killed 26. The Sandy Hook family say Remington shares the blame for those deaths because of the way the company marketed the gun.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee for the first time since Democrats took control of the House. One of the first things they asked about, President Trump's tax returns and whether he would comply with the request to hand them over.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: If I receive a request, which I presumed from what I've read in the press I will receive, I will consult with the Legal Department within treasury and I will follow the law. We will protect the President as we would protect any individual taxpayer under their rights.


KING: Also on the hill today, the acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, he's up before the Senate Armed Services Committee answering questions on the Defense Department budget for 2020, but he was also asked about the problems that led to the crash of two Boeing 737 MAX- 8s and he's ties to Boeing where he was once an executive.


SEC. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Independent watchdogs, citizens for responsibility in ethics in Washington recently asked the Department of Defense Inspector General to investigate whether you have broken any ethics rules by promoting Boeing while you served as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Do you support such an investigation?



KING: When we come back, more on the new candidate and the Democratic race for president, Beto O'Rourke who jumped in today with a tribute to his wife that raised a few eyebrows.


[12:51:39] KING: Good news just in to CNN and a big vote coming up on Capitol Hill next hour. An eighth Republican senator now says he will vote against the President, meaning vote for resolution voicing disapproval with the national emergency declaration, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Now the eight Republican senator who will vote against the President's position on this bill. We'll watch that count as it continues.

Back now to our top story this hour. The latest Democrat to jump into the 2020 field of the presidential candidates, Beto O'Rourke, this morning he paid tribute to his wife and his family his first event in Iowa.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just got a call from my wife Amy who's back in El Paso, Texas, where she is raising sometimes with my help, Ulysses who's 12 years old, Molly who's 10 and their little brother Henry who is 8 years old. And she's getting them ready, feeding them, and then taking them to school. I, even though this is the first day miss them terribly.


KING: Now, our friend Matt Viser of the "Washington Post" tweeted about that. You see there (INAUDIBLE) American women in politics tweeting on top of it. Do you ladies would translate all those eyes for me? I'm not taking that as a complement from the center women in American -- American women in politics.

RASCOE: A woman could never joke like that. Oh, I help raise my kids sometimes, ha, ha, ha. It's just like, that just wouldn't happen, right? I mean even, I think most working women, you can ask like where, who's with your kids?

LERER: Oh, how do you balance?


LERER: I mean, that's like the number one. I mean there are multiple female candidates with children including children who has like fairly young children about the age of O'Rourke's -- Mr. O'Rourke could, so. You know, they're just not -- they don't feel the need to talk about their role raising them.

And I think that is his ways perhaps clumsily of dealing with these dynamics in the party that there are people who would like to see a female candidate particularly after Hillary Clinton's defeat and that is something that as we said before, he'll have to navigate around.

KING: One of those female candidates by the way Kamala Harris just said on MSNBC the more the merrier.

LERER: Right.

KING: But she also sent out a fund-raising appeal this morning saying Beto and there using, yes, this is -- you talk about some candidates the other candidates just ignore. It doesn't mean they're not good candidates so the other candidates just ignore them. They don't acknowledge their presence or you say hi or whatever. But they say see try to raise money from everyone. And then Julian Castro, the former Housing Secretary of the Obama administration put out a press release noting he has a lot of support among the elected Democrats in the state essentially trying to say nice kid, but no.

TALEV: And say, increasingly the Democratic Party is made up of women and people of color and women of color. And the question to me, I mean, yes this one question is how would the female candidates' life experiences compare with Beto O'Rourke, but the other is for the female voters at home who are working moms, who are thinking I couldn't like -- I could never afford. I'm not -- I may not be married or I'm not married to someone who's worth millions of dollars and who wants to stay home and, you know, watch my children so I can go out and do these.

Will they resent him for that? Will they think he's out touch or they're willing to say, good for him? You know, he has a completely different life than me but he says the things that I want to hear. You know he represents how he feel. But I think that is a potential challenge for him. If the life's circumstances have liberated him to go do this campaign are very different from the people who might potentially be voting for him.

[12:55:00] LERER: And the reality is everyone knows of the demographics of the Democratic primary electorate is that it's really hard to see a pathway to winning without winning a sizeable share of black women. That's is just the reality of a lot of these states, in South Carolina and a bunch of the Super Tuesday states and that is a big open question.

KING: By women globally will be the majority the Democratic primary votes and once you move to South Carolina.

LERER: Right.

KING: And beyond through Super Tuesday states, African-American women, huge piece that's a big part. We'll see where it plays out.

First day in. Getting a lot of buzz. Some of the other candidates probably thinking getting a little too much buzz but that's the way it works. We'll see how it plays out.

It's an interesting race, I tell you that, I'm with Senator Harris. The more the merrier. Thanks for joining us today in INSIDE POLITICS, Dana Bash sit in for Brianna Keilar, she'll start after a quick break. Have a great afternoon.