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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Denies White Nationalism Is on the Rise; Hundreds of Documents from FBI Raid on Cohen's Home & Businesses Released; Prosecutors Offer Robert Kraft a Deal But There's a Catch; CNN Report: Anti-Vaccers Go After Anyone Speaking in Favor of Vaccinations. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 19, 2019 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00] HODA HAWA, DIRECTOR OF POLICY AND ADVOCACY, MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL: And in light of the horrific terrorist attack in Christ Christchurch, New Zealand, both presidents chose not to bring that up as an issue that needs to be dealt with. I thought that that was a very significant part of the press conference. It was missing. It was obviously not top of mind for either leader. And I thought that that was an opportunity that was missed by both gentlemen.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think, John, it would ring hallow all these days later for him to finally condemn white nationalism? Obviously he believes it's just a small group of people. We know it's not. We talked to the ADL and all kinds of folks that track white nationalism globally.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. Look, it's one thing when the president reads these statements, it's better than saying nothing, but he reverts to the meme. If the president has actually taken time to look at the incident, take in the data and say, if there's any confusion from the heart to make it completely clear for anyone that might misinterpret what I'm saying, I denounce, I renounce not in a perfunctory way, but don't commit anything in my name. This idea of white supremacy, white nationalism, not in my name. I think one of the reasons it was a curtailed press conference, frankly, very contained with a conservative and Brazilian and foreign policy, was because they wanted to avoid that kind of a question because that's what one of the things that's on everyone's mind. When are we going to get the moral clarity from this president on white supremacy terrorism as he's had about radical Islamic terrorism?

BALDWIN: John Avlon, thank you so much.

And Gloria Borger and Hoda Hawa, ladies, my thanks to you as well.

We're getting news just in. Prosecutors in Miami have reportedly made an offer to New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, but it comes with a significant catch. We'll have that for you.

Also, right now, we are still pouring over hundreds of pages of documents related to the Michael Cohen raid. What we've learned so far about spending from a shell company and a half-million-dollar payment from a Russian oligarch. And new CNN reporting that the White House will get to see some of the Mueller report before it goes to Congress.

We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:36:28] BALDWIN: Just released today, hundreds and hundreds of documents that provide new details about the investigation of President Trump's former lawyer and fixer and now convicted felon, Michael Cohen. So we're now learning that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had eyes on Cohen long before the raid on Cohen's home and office and hotel room last April.

CNN's Kara Scannell has been going through the nearly 900 pages of filings and exhibits.

And let's just start there. It's a lot of paper and we're talking emails, iCloud, et cetera. Run me through what we have.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: That's right. What we've learned from this huge cache of documents is that just two months after Robert Mueller was put in as special counsel, he had already obtained from a judge approval to search Michael Cohen's emails that went back to June of 2015, so going back two years even from when they're starting to look at all of Cohen's emails from multiple email accounts. They had gotten these pen registers which means they'll able to see what numbers are calling Michael Cohen and who they're calling.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Not wiretapping? Not listen to the content of the calls --

(CROSSTALK)

SCANNELL: That's right. Just seeing who's dialing him and who he is dialing.

BALDWIN: OK.

SCANNELL: They also were able to get a warrant to watch historically and actually right after the raid, Michael Cohen's movements through his cell phone, what cell phone towers his phone was pinging off of to have a sense of where he was and to go back historically, so to be able to piece together his life. You get a sense here that the special counsel's office had just so much information on Michael Cohen, able to see his emails, who he's communicating with and then seeing where he was moving. When the Southern District of New York gets the referral in February of 2018, they get their own search warrants that's continuing on that, so continuing to seek email records and then forward-looking phone data as well.

BALDWIN: OK. So some of this stuff is quite redacted and that is because there are all kinds of ongoing investigations and those are the things we can't look at, the public can't look at. But of what you have been able to read through, talk to me about why Mueller would have thought that Cohen would have been working on behalf of a foreign entity.

SCANNELL: The documents here is all to present probable cause to get these warrants. The Mueller documents we don't have and that's something we really want to see because it will fill in the blanks of why Mueller was interested in some of these things. But from the little bits of details we can learn on this, it's because Michael Cohen set up a bank account and a shell company for essential consultants that happens to be the same shell company that was used to pay the hush money payments. But he also used it to set up these consulting deals. And some of these consulting contracts were with foreign entities, including Korean aerospace industries, a bank in Kazakhstan. And a U.S. entity, Columbus Nova, but one that has ties to a Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg. Viktor Vekselberg is someone the FBI stopped when his plane landed in the U.S. to question him and that was done by special counsel's team. Piecing together, where they're looking into, hey, was he one of these unregistered foreign lobbyists, the same crime which he was not charged with, but the same one that was being investigated. And we've seen other charges with Paul Manafort, with Rick Gates. And it's something that there's really been an increased attention on by the Justice Department now.

BALDWIN: It sounds like -- I appreciate this judge's interest in transparency, seeing the prosecutors off, continuing your investigations and bring it back so he can continue to redact some of these portions so he can see what is up.

Kara Scannell, thank you so much for that update. I appreciate that.

Now just in, prosecutors in Miami have reportedly made an offer to New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, but it comes with a key catch here. We have that.

[14:40:05] And should the United States eliminate the Electoral College? Why that is gaining traction among some states and 2020 contenders. We will hear arguments for both sides.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Just in, an offer is now on the table for New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, who is charged with two counts of solicitation in connection with a south Florida day spa. The "Wall Street Journal" is now reporting the prosecutors have offered to drop those charges if Kraft admits he would have been found guilty at trial.

Let's go first to CNN correspondent, Rosa Flores, who is in Miami.

Tell me more about this deal.

[14:45:07] ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, you hit the nail on the head right there because there's a catch to this offer. And I should reiterate that this is according to the "Wall Street Journal." We are still trying to confirm this information. We've reached out to prosecutors and attorneys to try to get more information. But you're absolutely right. What we're learning, according to the "Wall Street Journal," is that prosecutors here in Florida have offered Robert Kraft a deal, some sort of prosecution deal that would drop the charges, but the catch is that he would have to admit that if this were to go to trial, that he would be found guilty. Now, the punishment -- this would also include some punishment. It would include 100 hours of community service, an education course about prostitution and a screening for STDs.

We talked to Mark O'Mara, a CNN legal analyst, and also an attorney here in Florida, who say that this is fairly routine, fairly routine. And he called it a deferred prosecution agreement. And he says that this is probably the best that Kraft can get because it would include no jail time, no conviction, and no affirmative plea. Because, Brooke, here's the thing. Even though Robert Kraft would have to, according to this agreement, have to say that if this were to go to trial that he would be found guilty, in legalese, Brooke, according to Mark O'Mara, that is still not considered a guilty plea. And on top of all of that, according to state law here in Florida, every citizen has the right to seal one court record in their lifetime, which means that if Robert Kraft doesn't have another court record here in Florida, he could ask for this one to be sealed -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: OK. Rosa Flores, thank you.

I've got two lawyers next to me who can walk us through this. Eliot Williams is a former federal prosecutor and a former deputy assistant attorney general, and CNN legal analyst, Elie Honig, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

You first.

You're new.

ELIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yay.

BALDWIN: Welcome to the family.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

BALDWIN: He basically gets to say, yes, OK I would have -- I would have pleaded guilty had this whole thing gone through, therefore charges are bye-bye?

WILLIAMS: No, I would have been convicted --

BALDWIN: I would have been convicted.

WILLIAMS: -- which is different, which is not a guilty plea. He ends up not being a convicted sex offender. The government would have met its burden to convict me but I'm not going to confirm or deny whether it actually happened.

BALDWIN: On the state level, this is par for the course or were you surprised by it? WILLIAMS: You don't see this kind of plea in the federal system, so.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't like it. There's no accountability here. It's a soft plea offer. It looks like he's getting special treatment. When they made the announcement of this arrest, the prosecutor gave a sermon about the evils of human trafficking.

BALDWIN: Yes.

HONIG: Well he should have. I've done human trafficking cases.

I'm sure you have, too.

It is as bad as he described, yet he has not charged anyone with human trafficking. Robert Kraft and people like him are the demand that drives human trafficking. Even if he didn't know about the conditions, he is the demand that drives it. When you give a free pass essentially like this, it's a terrible message to send to the public.

WILLIAMS: The other things is, this week, we've been hearing a lot about wealthy white-collar defendants and the justice they get. And even if that's not at play here, even if that's not what's going on, it just doesn't smell good to the public and people who are looking at a case like this and the fact that Robert Kraft is engaged in quite horrible conduct that's involved in a former modern -- a form of modern-day slavery and barely a slap on the wrist.

BALDWIN: It looks like special treatment. This is the deal for any of these guys involved.

HONIG: It sounds like all of them have been offered the same deal. It's too soft as to all of them. It sends a terrible message that you're going to forgive this conduct and especially when you make a big deal. If you're going to talk the talk, walk the walk.

BALDWIN: All right, Elie and Eliot, thank you, guys, very much.

Just in, a new CNN "K-FILE" investigations discovered past views from Beto O'Rourke about the government, it's debt problem and spending. So we have that.

Also, fascinating new reporting about the relationship between President Trump and Deutsche Bank. How he received a number of loans, how he lost them, and what investigators may be interested in hearing.

[14:49:25] We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Now to a CNN investigation that found so-called anti-vaccers harassing and intimidating and threatening doctors and parents who speak out in favor of vaccination.

CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, has the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you all say the science has settled, vaccines don't cause autism, you are bearing false witness.

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Extra security was on hand at this recent Centers for Disease Control meeting because anti-vaccine advocates have come to give a piece of their mind.

There's a reason the CDC was worried. When doctors state the truth that vaccines save lives, some anti-vaccers have threatened to kill them. Anti-vaccers told Dr. Paul Offa (ph) he should be put in front of a firing squad. Dr. Peter Hotez (ph), another vaccine expert, needs a security escort.

On Facebook, anti-vaccers called for Dr. Richard Pan (ph), a pediatrician and California state Senator, to be shot. And wrote, "I hope they stone you to death."

And it's not just doctors who have been attacked by anti-vaccers, one of their targets, mothers whose children have died. Jill Promoli lost her 2-year-old son, Jude McGee, to the flu. He'd received a flu shot but it didn't work. When she posted online about her son's death, anti-vaccers attacked, telling her she'd caused her son's death because she gave him a flu shot. Some anti-vaccers even went so far as to say she'd intentionally killed her son.

JILL PROMOLI, HARASSED BY ANTI-VACCERS: I got a lot of people accusing me of actually murdering Jude and using the flu as an excuse to cover-up my crimes.

[14:55:05] COHEN (on camera): You were called a murder of your own child?

PROMOLI: The first time, it made me feel really sick. The idea that somebody could even suggest that I would do something that would hurt any of them.

COHEN (voice-over): Often these attacks are not random.

(on camera): So you infiltrate anti-vaccination groups.

ERIN COSTELLO, ANTI-VACCER: Yes.

COHEN (voice-over): Erin Costello, a stay-at-home mom, uses a fake Facebook account to spy on dozens of anti-vaccination groups.

(on camera): When a child dies --

COSTELLO: They ask the other group members, come on, let's go hit them with our truth with our information. Let's go educate them. Basically, let's go harass them.

COHEN (voice-over): Then she warns the parents. Larry Cook, a leader of the anti-vaccine movement, says his Facebook

group generates half a million comments per month. "Any discussions about parents who lose their children after those children are vaccinated would be minor in number," he wrote. He added that anti- vaccers get harassed by pro-vaccers.

Jill Promoli says she won't let the anti-vaccers stop her. She's launched a campaign in Jude's name to encourage people to get flu shots.

PROMOLI: I don't want anyone to ever lose their child again.

COHEN (on camera): You're not giving up?

PROMOLI: Absolutely not.

COHEN (voice-over): Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Ontario, Canada.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Elizabeth, thank you for that.

Also, big news out of CNN's presidential town hall. Senator Elizabeth Warren says every vote should count and she is calling for the end of the Electoral College. We'll take a look at how that could happen and who else is behind it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

Blunt talk, inflammatory tweets, slamming the press as fake news, something we have come to expect from President Trump. And today, he welcomed his Brazilian counterpart and a man who was singing from the same hymnal to the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:00:05] JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: May I say that Brazil and the United States stand side by side in their efforts to ensure liberties and respect.