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Kid Rock Golfs With Trump After Mueller Report Completed; Barr May Give "Principal Conclusions" To Congress Sunday; Robert Kraft Breaks Silence, Publicly Apologizes To Family, Fans, And Patriots Team For Disappointing Them; Midwest Farmers Reeling From Trump Tariffs And Flooding. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 23, 2019 - 20:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: You are live in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Here is what we know this Saturday evening, as the nation waits to see how much of the Mueller report the attorney general is willing to give to Congress and the world.

House Democrats tonight are threatening to launch subpoenas to get the full results from the Justice Department where they are working through the weekend. Democrats held an emergency conference call this afternoon. Twenty-seven hours have passed since Attorney General William Barr confirmed the Russia probe is now over.

President Trump remains silent on this matter this evening, since the moment the special counsel's findings were turned in. That doesn't mean he's been out of sight today. We begin with CNN's Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez who has been tracking every move at the Justice Department. Evan, it seems like lawmakers might have good reason to cancel their Sunday plans. What are you hearing?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. The attorney general, Bill Barr, spent more than nine hours at the Justice Department today working with the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and a small group of aides. They are, so far, the only people who have seen what is in Robert Mueller's report that was submitted yesterday, according to the Justice Department.

Now, what Bill Barr is trying to do is come up with, essentially, a distillation of summary that he's going to send to members of Congress. And what that looks like, we still don't really know. Now, what we -- what we were told by Justice Department officials is that this not exactly going to be a word-for-word summary from the Mueller report. That there'll be more of -- essentially, a way for the attorney general to distill what he found from the -- from the Mueller findings.

And so, the question is, of course, how much of this is going to be satisfactory for members of Congress who have been demanding that they want to see everything. They want to see the more the better, obviously, for them.

We do know that, in the weeks since Bill Barr took office, that one of the things he's been wrestling with is exactly how much detail he can provide. As you know, that one of the things that the Justice Department rules say is that if charges are not brought against anyone, then you can't really go out and describe what their conduct was. And what evidence you found of any wrongdoing that did not reach to the level of bringing charges.

So, that's one of the things they're wrestling with. How much detail did Mueller include in his report makes it more difficult for Barr as he tries to prepare this summary? And, as you mentioned, you know, it's being eagerly awaited. Both at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue and Congress where lawmakers want to see this. And, of course, at the White House where they're anticipating. They want to see exactly what this report says before they decide to comment publicly.

CABRERA: But it was Barr who planted this expectation --

PEREZ: Right.

CABRERA: -- that we should have news immediately. And I'm reading his official letter --

PEREZ: Right.

CABRERA: -- notifying Congress them of the probe being closed. And he writes, I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend. So, does --

PEREZ: Right.

CABRERA: -- this delay suggest that this is really a long report? Because we heard last night, from a DOJ official, that it was, quote, "comprehensive."

PEREZ: Right, exactly. I think that's what we're all guessing. Again, because the information from the Justice Department hasn't really described how long Mueller's report is. We don't know exactly how detailed this is.

But we are told that Barr still expects to try to meet that deadline, which is to provide sometime this weekend what he calls his -- the principal conclusions from this -- from the Mueller report.

But, as you said, I mean, one of the things -- one of the big questions for all of us at this hour is whether this comprehensive report from Mueller includes so much information that that is making it more difficult for them -- for them to be able to come up with what Barr calls the principal conclusions.

But, you know, one thing you can bet, Ana, is that this won't be the end. Because once Barr sends this information over -- and, by the way, he expects to make that public. Once he sends to it Congress, he also plans to show the public what it is he provided to members of Congress. But you can bet, they're going to want more than that.

CABRERA: They've said so. Thank you, Evan Perez, for staying late for us. In the meantime, House Democrats are ramping up their fight to see the

full Mueller report. Not just the summary that Attorney General William Barr is preparing. And, today, party leaders made clear they are prepared to use subpoena power to get it if necessary, insisting public opinion is on their side.

[20:05:00] Joining us now is CNN's Senior Political Analyst and former adviser to four presidents, David Gergen, and CNN Legal Analyst, and former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.

David, are the Democrats right? Will the American people back them in this quest for full transparency?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: All the indications are, yes, that they will, the public will demand it. And, by the way, both parties, the Republicans have already voted, as part of a resolution in the House to release this. And, very importantly, the president of the United States has said he wants to see the full report given out to the public. So, I think there is going to be enormous pressure.

But it's a step by step. The conclude -- the principal conclusions are going to have serious news in them. We don't know which it's going to cut yet. I think it's understandable that the president -- President Trump's team, right now, is claiming victory because no one was indicted for collusion which was at the heart of this investigation. And no one will be indicted, apparently, for this.

But, you know, the details matter. And the story matters. I think what we're all going to be looking for is not just, OK, why did you decide to indict this person and not that person? But we're looking for the narrative. What's the major narrative here? What really happened? There are so many mysteries still unsolved about this -- the peculiarity of this. Why is a president of the United States is so different -- you know, differential to Putin?

CABRERA: The Russians.

GERGEN: Yes, to the Russians.

CABRERA: Yes. Well, and you talk about the narrative. I keep thinking about the many documents that have come out of the Mueller probe already that we've seen over the course of the past couple of years, Ellie, where he's really crafted a picture of what happened. As he was indicting the Russians and these 37 people and entities who have -- who have received indictments.

We know that the White House has, at least leading up to this moment, said they want a chance to look at this report. To make sure they can weigh in on executive privilege. Do you expect the White House will look at the conclusions before Barr notifies Congress?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's such an interesting decision point. And Barr has complete discretion under the regulations. The regulations are silent as to whether William Barr can, must, should, give the -- get an advance copy to the White House. Now, I think, legally speaking, it's a reasonable thing for him to do. Because the White House needs to have a chance to exert executive privilege. Executive privilege is a real thing. It is a real legal doctrine. It was recognized in the Richard Nixon case in 1974. It was -- it was ruled he could not use it there. But it certainly exists.

And so, just thinking about this legally, it would be fair to give the White House a chance say, we object to this, this, and this. But, politically, I think it's fraught. And I don't -- I don't think there's a lot of patience and I think Barr recognized that by saying, I'm going to get you something this weekend. That's a really short timeframe.

And I think if you do send it to the White House and then they do object, you can really get bogged down in legal proceedings. So, I think the political considerations will probably win out here.

GERGEN: Yes, I wonder if Barr intentionally made it this weekend so the White House wouldn't have too much time to fiddle around with it.

HONIG: That's a good point.

GERGEN: Yes. And he wanted to compress it and force it through.

CABRERA: You're thinking expectations for everybody, in terms of what he was laying out, speaking through this letter.

David, if you think about the way the Mueller investigation has really colored the first half of the Trump presidency. Now, you know, this idea of a witch hunt. And, you know, the constant attacks that President Trump has, sort of, thrown at Mueller, his team, what he called the witch hunt and no collusion. Let me just remind everybody what he said all along.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC.

How many times do I have to answer this question? Russia is a ruse.

This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.

The entire thing has been a witch hunt.

The Russia story is a total fabrication.

Russia did not help me, OK? I call it the Russian hoax.

They made up the whole Russia hoax.

That was a Democrat hoax.

It's a Democrat hoax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: I mean, so often, he has brought this up, when he hasn't been asked directly about it. I wonder what a Trump presidency looks like, David, without this as a talking point?

GERGEN: Well, I don't think we'll know what the Trump presidency is going to look like without a legal investigation of some sort going on. It appears we're going to be in for four years of that.

But I -- you know, the whole notion, I think, why there's such a mystery here is, OK, how -- and when if you wake up tomorrow and say, nobody got indicted for collusion. And, therefore, the White House can claim victory.

But think of this. Think if there had been a secret Mueller probe that we didn't know anything about. And one morning, we woke up and we're told, Mueller has indicted three dozen people because of this. There have been 100 contacts between the Trump Organization and the Russians as we went through this. There are now a dozen investigations of President Trump that have been spawned by this. We would all think that's a big, big deal.

So, in some ways, the way this has played out has very definitely bolstered and helped the Trump people.

CABRERA: And to that point, Elie, this investigation really is not the end.

[20:10:00] We know there are other investigations in not just Congress but other jurisdictions. For the District of New York. We know New York State. Attorney general's office, for example. What will you be watching for?

HONIG: Well, two big things, Congress and my old office, the Southern District of New York. Congress, I think we're going to have a really interesting -- potentially a constitutional showdown. Because we've already started to get a hint of this with some of the document requests that Congress has sent out where the White House is just saying, no, make us, basically.

And what's Congress' next move? I think it's going to be a subpoena. But what happens if the same answer comes back? What happens if the White House says, no, we're not doing it? Do we end up in courts? And I don't know if we've ever had this kind of, sort of, separation of powers, checks and balances conflict before. Does the legislative branch have the authority to compel the executive branch to produce documents and testimony? That's going to be a huge constitutional issue. It's, like, law school come to life.

GERGEN: Well, Richard Nixon had to turn over the tapes.

HONIG: Right. But the difference is that was to a Grand Jury.

GERGEN: Right.

HONIG: Right. And now, we're talking about to Congress. So, I think the courts may give the Grand Jury a little more heft (ph).

GERGEN: Right. Show more respect.

HONIG: Yes. And the other place I'm looking is -- I googled it this morning. Four miles from this building, the Southern District of New York, my old office. Look, they are not constrained by any specific mandate. They can investigate whatever they want. We know they already have the Cohen case. It seems like a long time ago.

But we saw the Cohen search warrant documents three days ago. That tells us they redacted out 20 pages on the campaign finance. They're into the Trump Org. They're into the inaugural committee. I've worked there. I know they're tenacious and I think that's where the focus is going to be.

CABRERA: And then, I think about if this Mueller report exonerates the president. We never know. It could come out and say he's vindicated. He really is. How does that shake up or what's the impact on the 2020 race, David?

GERGEN: Well, I think the immediate impact is the strength and the loyalty of the base to the president. And that will help it. It will also -- as long as the economy is strong, and that's a big, big if about how long it will be strong, he's going to also be able to draw some in some independents.

I don't think he's going to be a more formidable candidate in 2020 if he's cleared now. If he's basically cleared, he's going to be a much more formidable candidate. And the Democrats realize now, this could be a very, very tough fight in 2020. They thought after the mid- terms, well, we're bound to win this. Now, not so clear. Not so clear.

But I would come back to this again and again. I do think that as this has played out, people have taken a bigger -- the public is starting to judge Trump, not just by the Russian question. But by the question of fitness for office. Because they're increasing all these other things, we have to live with with President Trump. And a lot of Americans love him for that, but there are also a lot of Americans who think he's unfit because of that. Whether he's temperamentally unfit or even mentally unfit.

CABRERA: Another thing we learned today is that the president's son- in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, has greed to hand over documents to House Committee, the Judiciary Committee who is -- which is continuing its obstruction of justice probe. How significant is that?

HONIG: I think it's real significant in two respects. First of all, substantively. I mean, Jared Kushner is inner, inner circle. He was right there for the Trump Tower meeting. Apparently, he was part of the deliberations about Comey, about the Moscow project, about the hush money. So, it goes right to heart of a lot of the important issues.

But bigger picture I think it's important because it's setting an example, right. If this person, the president's son-in-law, one of his senior advisers, is willing to comply with Congressional subpoenas, turn over documents, be at least somewhat transparent, then hopefully that will set a little bit of a tone that the rest of the White House has not been setting the last couple weeks and will keep us out of the kind of constitutional crisis we were discussing before.

CABRERA: All right, gentlemen, thank you so much for the conversation. As we wait with bated breath for the findings, then we'll have you back in another 24 hours from now.

OK, today, President Trump, he's waiting. And he's at Mar-a-Lago. He's playing golf, amazingly not tweeting. Details about the White House strategy, those details ahead. Plus, Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, is speaking out for the first time since he was charged with soliciting a prostitute.

And stranded at sea, hundreds of passengers are trapped aboard a cruise ship after a mechanical failure in rough weather. A rescue operation is underway right now. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

[20:14:12]

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CABRERA: Robert Mueller's report done. His two-year investigation over. The response from President Trump? Twitter silence. Crickets. Nota. Not even one single tweet from President Trump in more than 24 hours. That makes for a very unusual Saturday in the news world. All this comes as Democratic lawmakers from coast to coast are ratcheting up their calls, demanding full transparency. And that the whole Mueller report, not just its conclusions, be made public.

Just this afternoon, House Democrats held an emergency conference call to hammer out their strategy moving forward. Moments after that discussion ended, I spoke to one of the leading Democrats participating in today's call. And here's my conversation with Congressman John Garamendi of California.

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REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: We've seen chapters. We've seen Manafort. We've seen Cohen. We've the Russians. We've seen indictments. We've seen guilty pleas. And now, we're going to see the conclusion. We can be patient for one day. But, really, it's the American public. It is not the Democrats that are demanding that everything be made public. It's really the American public. Everyone wants to know what this is all about --

CABRERA: Right.

GARAMENDI: -- and draw their own conclusions.

CABRERA: For sure. What does principle conclusions tell you, though, about how much of Mueller's report Barr plans to reveal?

GARAMENDI: Well, whatever he plans to reveal, I will just assert that the American public will stand for nothing less than the total report, with the exception of the things that show how they, through the intelligence sources, gathered information. But the American public will not be satisfied. Democrats or Republicans will not be satisfied. And all the American public out there who's worked on -- listened to this for more than two years, really wants to know what the details are.

[20:20:00] CABRERA: And they know the House took a vote on just that and it was unanimous. More than 400 people said that full report should come out.

But here's the argument from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Quote, "Punishing wrongdoers through judicial proceedings is only one part of the Department's mission. We also have a duty to prevent the disclosure of information that would unfairly tarnish people who are not charged with crimes."

So, do you disagree with Rosenstein on that point?

GARAMENDI: He, apparently, has a very short memory. Do you remember what the Justice Department did to Hillary Clinton during the campaign? She was never tried.

CABRERA: That wasn't Rosenstein, though, and everybody was critical about how the Justice Department handled her case.

GARAMENDI: No, what I'm saying is, he has a short memory. Not of his own work but of what the Justice Department did just two years ago, about two and a half years ago.

So, the facts are the public really needs to know all of the information. This is not about protecting people. This is really about our democracy.

CABRERA: The numbers are impressive, 37 people and entities --

GARAMENDI: Yes.

CABRERA: -- who faced criminal charges. We know 199 overall criminal counts are part of this. All the indictments, the plea deals, the person convicted at trial, Paul Manafort. Now, if these final numbers are what's it and they equal no collusion, then isn't this, though, a big political victory for the president?

GARAMENDI: We don't know. We do know that each of those indictments, each one of those people that have been charged, those are the opening chapters in what is the biggest scandal that the American public has endured in its presidency forever.

Now, whether the president is involved or not, we don't yet know. Clearly, there was an effort to stop this investigation. There's no doubt that that was -- that that happened. Was that a cover up? Was that a crime? Well, perhaps the final chapter of Mr. Mueller's report will reveal that.

But, in any case, we do know that there was a serious effort, by Russia and by people that were involve in the Trump campaign, that were working with the Russians or their people that are associated with Russia.

CABRERA: Their communication with the Russians.

GARAMENDI: We don't know. Yes.

CABRERA: Right, we know there were at least 16 communications.

GARAMENDI: That's correct.

CABRERA: -- 16 different people who were part of the Trump orbit who communicated with Russians that didn't initially disclose those communications. So, I heard what you're --

GARAMENDI: Yes.

CABRERA: -- saying on that point. But you had this call with the Democratic Party leaders today. What did you learn and what is the next move by your party after you see Mueller's conclusions?

GARAMENDI: Well, the next move is demand transparency. Demand that all of the information be forthcoming. And there's plenty --

CABRERA: Does that mean you're going to subpoena people or documents? What does that mean when you say, demand transparency?

GARAMENDI: It is the American public that is demanding transparency. It's not just the Democrats in Congress or the committee chairman. It's the American public. And we will do the best we can to make all of the information available. Would subpoenas be necessary? We would hope not.

We would hope that the Justice Department would make all of the information available. Much as they did with the over 800,000 pages of information that was made available to the committees when the Republicans controlled the House of Representatives. They asked for it. They, the Republicans, asked for it. They got over 800,000 pages of information. That -- whatever information is out there, that should also be made available.

And let's keep in mind. I've said it three times. I'll say it a fourth time. This is the American public that wants to know. We're simply instruments in that process of making that information available to the American public. It's about transparency and it's about our democracy at the beginning and the end of this process. It's about how can we protect our democracy from foreign influence. And, perhaps, from Americans that chose to be involved with that effort by a foreign government to influence the election.

CABRERA: All right. Congressman Garamendi, good to have you with us. Thank you very much.

GARAMENDI: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CABRERA: So, while Washington remains on edge today about what may or may not be in the Mueller report, President Trump has been playing golf in Mar-a-Lago. What's the president's strategy for dealing with what the report reveals? We'll talk about it just ahead in the CNN Newsroom.

[20:24:26]

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CABRERA: Here we go. For more than 24 hours, Washington has been embroiled in a frenzy. The attorney general just left the Justice Department, after spending nine hours today reviewing the special counsel's report. And Congressional leaders are anxiously waiting for William Barr's principal conclusions.

But more than 800 miles away, the president spent the day golfing at one of his clubs, happy that the investigation is over, according to sources. CNN's Boris Sanchez is in West Palm Beach where the president is spending the weekend. Boris, is it still your understanding that the president is feeling pretty good about all this?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana. Yes, if the president is at all anxious about what may be coming from the Department of Justice in relation to the Mueller report, he hasn't shown it at all. As you said, the president went golfing today at one of his golf clubs here in South Florida. He also, apparently, according to sources, was very jovial last night during a dinner at his property in Mar-a-Lago. Sources indicating that the president is happy that this investigation is over.

But, now, he's taking a wait-and-see approach to find out exactly what is in this report. From what we understand, he was getting updates yesterday from one of his top attorneys, Emmet Flood. And he was in a spirited mood, according to sources at Mar-a-Lago.

[20:30:00] And he was in a spirited mood, according to sources at Mar-a-Lago. He also gave a speech in which he was telling jokes about the first lady's approval rating and also, about one of his close friends in the Senate, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina during a short three-minute speech in which he did not mention the Mueller report.

All appearances are now that the White House is optimistic about where this is going. But they have remained pretty tightlipped about how the president, specifically, feels about this. He hasn't tweeted anything about it. One aide today, gave a very short statement about how the president was doing saying like he was fine and good, Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Fine and good. But we know the president's lawyers are there with him at Mar-a-Lago. Trump had another special guest with him. For golf?

SANCHEZ: Right. His name is Kid. Kid Rock joining the president today for a round of golf at his property here. Add that to the long list of things. I never thought I would be saying on television. Kid Rock, of course, known for his string of rock metal hits.

Look at his pants. He clearly was dressed for the occasion. Unclear exactly what legal advice or political advice he may have given the president. He did actually flirt with a run for the Senate a couple years ago before ultimately deciding to pull the plug on that, Ana.

CABRERA: All right. One of the lighter moments today. Thanks, Boris Sanchez for your ongoing reporting.

Michael D'Antonio is here with us now. He is a Trump biographer who has written about his two books about President Trump. Also, Doug Brinkley, CNN's presidential historian. And a professor of history at Rice University.

Guys, good to have you with us. Michael, for a president who has tweeted witch-hunt more than 170 times who is constantly saying no collusion, no collusion. For him to be completely silent since this report dropped, what does that tell you?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: Well, I guess it tells us that every weekend, we should have a 600-page report issued about the president and maybe surround him with lawyers, but that's a good way to stop him from tweeting.

But in all seriousness, I think that he is not sure exactly what's in this report. David Gergen talked to you earlier tonight about the narrative that's contained in it and that's vital.

We may now know that there will be no more indictments. But we don't know exactly what Mr. Mueller's learned in this long investigation. And we certainly don't know what everyone has told him. And this is going to -- if we get the details, provide further insight into the campaign and to the people around the president and into the president himself. And he doesn't like for people to see him very clearly so I think that's bound to make him less confident about tweeting.

CABRERA: Doug, looking back at a couple of other presidential investigations through the years, Ken Starr's 1998 report. More than 400 pages and include a potential legal grounds for impeachment of President Bill Clinton, including obstruction of justice. The Watergate report, 55 pages. That set forth the special prosecutor's factual findings without any specific legal recommendations.

So as we wait to see the content of the Mueller report, how worried should the president be right now?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, first off, it's odd that Kid Rock is there. I went into presidential history not knowing a big historical moments Kid Rock is going become now part of the index of American history with the Mueller report. But he is for Michigan and I suppose that President Trump will be able to use Kid Rock try to win that state in 2020.

Look, Donald Trump is in a wait and see like everybody else. Wisely, there's no Twitter and the lawyers have gotten them derris at Mar-a- Lago. It's looking like pretty good news for him. But the big decision that he has to worry about is whether he goes with the -- allows it just to double down on principal conclusion or say, oh, what the hell? Open it up to the American people. Let the full report out. That's going to be a gigantic political decision that Donald Trump is going to have to make very soon. Whether he wants to say, because there's nothing much in it. Open it up to the public.

The he probably get this behind him, but he gets in a defensive crouch and know the principal collusion -- conclusion is enough. We're in for a brouhaha with Congress. And the Nixon tapes were -- went to the Supreme Court where Nixon had to give them over.

This is going to be -- this Congress have the authority to demand subpoena. A president that hasn't been indicted, hasn't been charged with any felony. Does this report have to be made public? And Democrats have to be careful that somehow it doesn't get leaked. Barr's got to make -- and be careful about that. So there are so many acts in the next two, three weeks coming that I don't even know where to begin. Right now, it's holding pattern time.

[20:35:11] CABRERA: Michael, in the past, you've said the president thrives in chaos. And that he likes having a defined enemy. How do you think the Mueller probe has really shaped Trump's presidency?

D'ANTONIO: Well, I think it's revealed who the president is, because of all the stress that it's placed on him. We tend to revert to our basic selves when we're under stress.

And so the lying that the president has done, the bullying he's attempted. The way that he has campaigned to get the American people to believe this is a witch-hunt and there's no collusion would suggest that he's been shaped by this investigation more than he's been shaped by anything during his presidency.

So the other thing that I would like to go back to a little bit based on what Douglas was saying with his references to Nixon is Donald Trump always believed that Richard Nixon didn't fight hard enough. That he should have been more difficult. That he should have resisted even more firmly.

So I think the chances for him to resist attempts for the background information, and perhaps for the whole report to be released is great.

CABRERA: That's interesting. And while we don't know a lot of Mueller's conclusions, he has revealed many of his findings throughout the past couple of years with all the indictments and the plea deals.

And David Chris, a former Justice Department national security division chief said this to the Washington Post, "It's so much. It's so gradual. It's so complicated. People don't have a chance to sort of pause, catch their breath, and really sort of survey the whole story that Mueller has found. I think if you took it all in in one day, it would kill you."

Doug, do you agree? Does he have a point? BRINKLEY: Absolutely. And it's working in Trump's favor in the sense that people are fatigued by the collusion Russia. It's gone up for two long years. It's going to be curious to see how the 80 percent of the American people want to see this report.

I mean, we paid for it. It needs to be released. I mean, whether you're having a BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico or whether it's the Iran-Contra report or Bill Clinton, the public demands transparency.

So the key that I think we'll see how Trump behaves coming up is, will he promote transparency or is he going to be in cover-up mode? If he's in cover-up mode, who knows where this is leading to? Because he -- that means he knows there are things in this report that are deeply damaging to him. And it could be a thread that congressional -- somebody in that judicial community Congress and judiciary follows that thread and it leads to an ugly place.

And remember, we saw the whole southern district on New York situation. This is a president that it's fair to say is deeply mired in scandal.

But this weekend, I think he probably enjoyed his golf game for the first time in a long time. It's the first time that asterisk has been kind of, perhaps, erased by his name that he's a president under a serious investigation about collusion.

CABRERA: Michel, let's say Mueller's report exonerates the president. Do you think we'll see a shift in how Trump governs?

D'ANTONIO: You know, I really don't think we will. He is who he is. The confusion that everyone feels around this Russia issue on the Mueller investigation, on all of the scandals, is caused in part by his preference for doing many, many things all at once, moving in many directions.

We saw just earlier this week how he undermined his own administration on North Korea which strengthened sanctions in one moment and then the president released them in the next. So he'll be as erratic as he's always been. We just won't hear about Russia. We won't hear about Robert Mueller, but we'll hear lots of crazy stuff about other things.

CABRERA: Although who knows if we want to hear about it? He's still talking about Hillary Clinton. And he's still prompting "lock her up" chants two years after the election.

Michael D'Antonio, Douglas thank you, gentlemen. Good to have you with us.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

CABRERA: Breaking his silence. New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft issue his first public statement since being charged into prostitution sting. His message to fans and the team, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:40:59] CABRERA: Welcome back. New England Patriot's owner, Robert Kraft, is publicly apologizing and it's the first time we've heard directly from Kraft since he was charged with soliciting prostitution at a Florida spa last month.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of Robert Kraft's statements today is significant as it is the first time we hear from the New England Patriots' owner since prosecutors in Florida announced this sex trafficking investigation. One that led to charges against close to 100 men. Among them, Kraft.

Investigators alleged that they sought out paid sex services at various day spas. Kraft and his legal team pleading not guilty, initially after that announcement was made.

However, today, the statements and end this, Kraft saying that he is truly sorry. A portion of that reading, throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being.

I have extraordinary respect for women. My morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years. And a reference to Mr. Kraft's late wife.

[20:45:06] Kraft also writing that he hopes to use his platform to make a difference. That's certainly something to look at here as this week, according to a source familiar with the case. That source telling CNN that Kraft will not accept a plea deal that was offered up by prosecutors.

That deal basically that they would choose to drop that misdemeanor charge in exchange for fines, community service, and an admission from Kraft that he would be found guilty, should this case go to trial.

Prosecutors saying that that is fairly standard for first time offenders. This week, attorney for Kraft also filed a motion seeking a protective order that would have essentially blocked the release of not just video evidence but also, really, other incriminating evidence, according into investigators that could potentially be made public.

But again, now, the statement released over the weekend from Robert Kraft saying that he is sorry for what happened. Ana, back to you.

CABRERA: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you.

Wild weather and a mechanical failure leaving a cruise ship and more than 1,000 passengers stranded at sea. Details straight ahead.

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[20:50:46] CABRERA: A painstakingly rescue is likely to go on throughout the night off the coast of Norway where this passenger ship lost power in rough weather earlier today. And look at the video taken from inside the Viking Sky as it started to tilt back and forth.

It's 1,300 passengers and crew members are now being rescued by helicopter. At last check, 115 people have been evacuated.

Now, the rescue efforts taking place in cold, rainy conditions and choppy seas with six to eight meter high waves, we're told. Here you can see water on board the ship. Flooding the decks in some places.

Officials say at least a handful of people suffered minor injuries. Norwegian emergency services says the crew sent a mayday distress signal reporting engine problems. Crew members are trying to restore power and get this ship back into court.

A celebration today in what was very recently an ISIS stronghold. Coalition forces held a formal ceremony marking the complete defeat of ISIS in Eastern Syria.

And in a White House statement, the president said, "I am pleased to announce that together with our partners and the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS, including the Iraqi security forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces, the United States has liberated all ISIS - controlled territory in Syria and Iraq, 100 percent of the caliphate.

French president Emmanuel Macron says a major danger has been eliminated but he warns the threat continues.

In Nebraska and Iowa this weekend, people who make their living off a land are wondering if they will ever recover. And this is why winter storm's pushed floodwaters up and over some of the most productive and fertile farmland in the country.

And it's not just this natural disaster. Even when the floods go down, farmers along the Missouri River, are still dealing with their worst economic and trade crisis in generations.

Vanessa Yurkevich is in Iowa.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It came fast. And it hasn't stopped. The Missouri River flooded to record levels across Midwestern states, taking with it homes, crops, and livestock. Leaving farmers with hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

YURKEVICH (on-camera): As you stand here and you look at this flooding, what are the emotions that come to you?

DUSTIN SHELDON, IOWA FARMER: There's a lot of pain and uncertainty of your future.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): This, on top of new tariffs which have lowered prices on crops and livestock, implemented by a president many farmers here support.

Dustin Sheldon is a fifth-generation soy and corn farmer in Percival, Iowa. He hasn't been able to get to his 2,000-acre farm since Sunday.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How much of your land would you say is underwater right now?

SHELDON: Ninety-five percent.

YURKEVICH: What is the damage that you're looking at?

SHELDON: It's in the -- it's over a million dollars.

YURKEVICH: Over a million dollars --

SHELDON: Yes.

YURKEVICH: -- lost.

SHELDON: Yes.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): The Nebraska Department of Agriculture estimates losses of up to $1 billion. Here in Iowa, preliminary damage is estimated at $150 million, and according to their Department of Agriculture, it's expected to rise dramatically.

SHELDON: These are the people out here that feed America and without these people, America is going to suffer, the whole economy is going to suffer.

JEFF JORGENSON, IOWA FARMER: Boy, is it a mess.

YURKEVICH: Standing on the edge of his family farm, Jeff Jorgenson's cornfields are now lakes.

JORGENSON: That's just more money straight out of my pocket. I need to be able to farm this ground. I need to be able to do my job. We're passionate about what we do.

YURKEVICH: Just across the street is Leo Ettleman sixth generation farm.

YURKEVICH (on-camera): What should we be seeing right now?

LEO ETTLEMAN, IOWA FARMER: You'll see a farm field like you do on out in there. The crop that was harvested last fall.

YURKEVICH: What does this mean for your season?

ETTLEMAN: Well, it's -- we don't know yet, it's definitely a deep concern. The thing about this weather is it's affecting two years, because a lot of these green beans are holding our 2018 crop that we haven't gotten delivered to town yet or sold.

YURKEVICH: According to the American Farm Bureau, farm bankruptcies were up almost 20 percent in 2018, the highest level in more than 10 years. It's something Midwest farmers have been forced to consider.

[20:55:03] SHELDON: It's always a possibility with everybody. You know, you might sell everything you own to pay off what you owe and then you've got nothing. YURKEVICH: Key to their survival is aid. President Trump approved disaster relief funds for Nebraska and Sheldon is hoping he'll do the same for Iowa.

SHELDON: I don't think they're going to forget us because I think he knows how important that agriculture and grain farming, cattle farming, raising hogs -- it is to our country. Let's give him a chance to do it and go from there.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Yes.

SHELDON: If it works, it works. If it doesn't, I guess we'll have to see about making a change.

Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Percival, Iowa.

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CABRERA: Back to our top story. The U.S. attorney general spent hours, nine hours today, pouring over the Mueller report. And the candidates wanting to replace President Trump in 2020 are telling us how they want the AG to handle this. More on that live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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