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Attorney General Barr's Letter Under Heavy Criticism; House Ways and Means Committee Ask IRS to Release President Trump's Tax Returns; Rep. Ro Khanna (D) California Interviewed About President Trump's Taxes and Mueller Probe; Michael Cohen Says He Now Has Millions of Files in a Hard Drive; Update About the Timmothy Pitzen Story; Robert Mueller's and His Team's Thoughts About Attorney General Bill Barr. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 4, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Look at the kids. Go to place. Show the faces. Show you care. Be bigger than the man you have been.
Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts right now.
Is that a golf clap you just gave me?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: No, it's my papers because I --
CUOMO: Here it comes.
LEMON: He's never going to do it. He's never -- I love what you said. I love it. That would be great. He should go see them. Let's just say he does, do you think people will think that its sincere after everything that he has said, do you think that he would even be welcome there? Maybe you should go anyways. But why, if you demonize, why do I want to see someone who demonizes me?
CUOMO: Life is change. Politics is quick change where perception is often reality.
LEMON: Well, do it when it's not politically expedient. Do it without the cameras.
CUOMO: But this is politics, they do everything because its politically expedient.
CUOMO: But you go there. I don't want to be too jaundiced. A lot of people do for the right reason. But if you go there tomorrow you show the kids, say I care about them, I just happen to care about the drug dealers also, that's why I wanted to do the fencing. But I'm going to do this too. I've got the emergency declaration. I'm going to make it happen. I have the operative authority.
Congress should do this too. I don't know why they don't. And by the way, there happens to be a legit argument, I don't know why Congress is sitting on its ass about this problem. I don't get it. I'm totally befuddled. LEMON: I can tell you why they're doing it. It may not be the right
reasons. But they're doing it because this president divides people. They don't -- Democrats don't want to seem like they're helping him in any way. That is just the truth of it. Because --
CUOMO: Help people.
CUOMO: Help the Customs and Border Patrol people.
LEMON: I get it. I'm not saying it's right. I'm just telling you, I'm explaining to you the strategy or what is behind it.
CUOMO: What strategy is that?
LEMON: I guess, you know --
CUOMO: Let's hurt the kids?
LEMON: I don't know.
CUOMO: Let's watch bad things happen to CBP because they're overwhelmed so we don't give the president a win. The fence was his deal --
LEMON: I think they feel like if they indulge in any way then they legitimize the whole thing about we need -- it's an emergency and we needed --
CUOMO: It is an emergency.
LEMON: -- emergency fund -- no, emergency funding and shutting the government down and all of that. So, I can understand -- I can understand what you're saying. And they should be helping. They all should be coming together. I'm just explaining to you the strategy behind it. And --
CUOMO: I'm just saying that I don't get the calculation.
CUOMO: I hear you. I think that there are some who probably ascribe to the notion that you're laying out.
CUOMO: But I think that there's got -- I don't -- I honestly, I keep asking people, they don't give me answers. And you know, then we had on somebody who is really living proof of how this can go the right way. You know, the congressman we had on Monday who was on undocumented immigrant himself, and then he obviously got his citizenship, now he's in Congress --
LEMON: From Texas.
CUOMO: And he says, you know, look, you're right. By the way, he's not the problem. It's not like he doesn't want to act on this, he just doesn't have the power. He's trying to get something done and I'm still waiting to hear like if they actually have a hearing about it or not. I don't get it.
Because I'm telling you, Don, I've seen worse, OK, I've seen worse.
CUOMO: But this situation could go nowhere but downhill what's going on down there and that's going to mean kids in bad situations, vulnerable people in bad situations, and it's going to mean CBP in vulnerable situations and I don't want to see that for any of them.
LEMON: You need the president and the administration to lead.
LEMON: They are. And so, if they start leading on it in an honest and fair and accurate fashion, I actually think you may see more, even Republicans who disagree with the president, Democrats and independents, I think you may see them start to come around.
But as long as it -- he leads with division, it doesn't offer an incentive for anyone to help, even though people are being hurt. I get your point.
CUOMO: It can start tomorrow. Now he's going in the wrong place.
LEMON: It can start right now.
CUOMO: He's going to the wrong place, going to a place where they have fence, that isn't new fence. It's fence that they replaced old fence with.
CUOMO: Those budgets two years ago. But there's a new plaque.
CUOMO: So, he's going there but that part of Calexico where he's going they don't have this flow issue there.
CUOMO: But if he -- look, he can just jump back in the plane, go somewhere, it takes an hour. He goes in, he walks around with the people, you all right, well maybe some people aren't going to like him. Most of them will be in shock that he's in there because they didn't -- they think that he hates them.
CUOMO: It could be a huge day.
LEMON: Well, we'll see tomorrow. Good to see you. I'm glad you're here and safe because you didn't have on a flak jacket at the border. But anyway --
LEMON: No, see, I've got to go.
CUOMO: You're going to have to start wearing a black suit because you are just bad news.
LEMON: I've done that before. I know, I've done the whole thing before. We'll talk about that. I've got to go. I've got lots to talk about it. I'll see you tomorrow. It's a great show.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Washington is an absolute pressure cooker right now, pressure cooker tonight. And what's happening now is really putting the pressure on the president and on his attorney general.
[22:04:53] The judiciary chairman, Jerry Nadler, upping the ante and demanding that Attorney General Barr release all the summaries reportedly written by Mueller's team as soon as possible, but that's not all.
In his letter to the attorney general, Nadler also writes this, he says. "In light of the reported disagreements between the special counsel's office and yours, we all request that you produce to the committee all communications between the special counsel's office and the department regarding the report."
More on that in a moment.
And, first on CNN, we have learned that Michael Cohen, who is the president's former lawyer, keeper of secrets, who's sure not keeping those secrets anymore, that Michael Cohen has discovered a hard drive containing over 14 million files, 14 million.
Says it's e-mails, it's voice recordings, and attachments. New information that he is offering to House Democrats, information that he hopes will keep him out of jail, just a little while longer, since as of now he is supposed to report on May 6th. Cohen says he's gone through less than 1 percent of what's on that
hard drive. And that he'll need more time to review the rest. We have a lot more on that coming up as well.
All this is happening as Mueller's team is keeping the pressure on the attorney general, seemingly putting him on notice, with all those reports of frustration about the way the Barr described -- the way that Barr described Mueller's findings.
A source telling CNN some investigators saying Barr's letter didn't adequately describe that the case for obstruction included derogatory information about the president's actions, another source says there's frustration on the team that they cannot address discrepancies between Barr's summary and the actual findings.
And the fact that such a notoriously tight-lipped team would express their frustration at all tells you this could come to a head and soon. All of it, keeping the pressure on the A.G. and the president.
And Rudy Giuliani, responding pretty much exactly the way you'd expect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: They're a bunch of sneaky unethical leakers. And they are rabid Democrats who hate the president of the United States.
I'm absolutely confident that the report will bear out the conclusions, the conclusions no obstruction, no Russian collusion of any kind. It will bear that out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Democrats -- of course Mueller is a Republican by the way, but don't let facts get in the way. Of course, all of this could be straightened out if we could see Mueller's report.
And now it's beginning to look like the calls are coming from inside the House and the Senate. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley bluntly tweeting, "I support release of the Mueller report," while Republican Congressman James Comer says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMES COMER, (R) KENTUCKY: I think we're all going to be able to see the Mueller report very soon. I voted to make the Mueller report public, as did every Republican in the House of Representatives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That's as House Democrats are determined to proceed with caution on the Mueller report subpoena that they authorized yesterday. They wanted to be clear to the courts that a subpoena was their last resort. The DOJ defending Barr's summary saying every page of the nearly 400-
page report was flagged for potentially containing confidential grand jury information, every page. And therefore, could not be publicly released, which doesn't address multiple reports that Mueller's team wrote summaries of their findings and expected more of that to be used in Barr's letter.
The White House is circling the wagons, complaining that Mueller's report should not reveal information that could be embarrassing to the president if he is not being accused by Mueller of committing any crimes.
An administration official calling that possibility quote, "shitty," but you've got to wonder whether Mueller's team would be reacting the way they are now if the president hadn't been shouting exoneration from the rooftops ever since Barr's letter came out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was no obstruction, and none whatsoever. It was a complete and total exoneration.
The Mueller report was great. It could not have been better. It said no obstruction, no collusion. It could not have been better.
The finding was very, very strong, no collusion, no obstruction.
The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction. I could have told you that two and half years ago, total exoneration.
Beautiful conclusion. I haven't seen the report. But there was no collusion at all, there never was.
[22:10:04] They said no obstruction and so there's no collusion, there's no obstruction and now we're going to start this process all over again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, let's remember, the attorney general's letter about Mueller's report said that he did not establish that anybody on the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government. He explicitly did not exonerate President Trump of obstruction.
Again, we could clear all of this up if we could see Mueller's report.
And then there's what may be the president's biggest secret, you know what that is, his taxes. The chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee, Richard Neal, who has formally requested the president's returns from 2013 to 2018, saying today the next step is up to the IRS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. RICHARD NEAL, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: We're going to have to wait and
see. I think that we've asked for these tax forms from the IRS commissioner, incidentally and we hope that within the next 10 days we will get some sort of answer from them and then we will do a follow-up request, and then part of strategy, we will try to figure out what the next step in the process is. But surely there will be one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, the president, as you may expect, refusing to cooperate tonight, repeatedly punting the whole thing to his lawyers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They'll speak to my lawyers. They'll speak to the attorney general.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you direct the IRS to do that?
TRUMP: They'll speak to my lawyers and they'll speak to the attorney general.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Sixty-seven percent in our most recent poll say the president should release his returns, 67 percent of Americans. But here's something that might go under the heading of things that make you go. Listen to this.
This is what the New York Times is reporting tonight, that earlier this year the president asked Mitch McConnell to fast track a vote on his nominee to be chief counsel of the IRS. The president indicating that nomination was a higher priority than voting on William Barr for attorney general.
Ultimately, though, the Senate confirmed the IRS counsel two weeks after Barr's confirmation. And for the second time this week the president is suddenly doing a 180, this time on his threat to close our southern border this weekend.
Now, the president says he's giving Mexico a one-year warning to stop what he calls massive amounts of drugs from coming into this country. It's the same old strategy that he used with health care, make an empty promise, then back off, until next year.
The year he's running for reelection, by the way. So, like I said, the president is feeling the pressure tonight, pressure from the Mueller team, pressure from all the many congressional investigations and the question is, how will he handle the pressure when we learn, as we will eventually, the truth from those investigations?
I told you about the frustration in the Mueller's team that the attorney general didn't use the summaries they'd written. Will we learn if there are discrepancies between those summaries and Barr's letter? That's one of the questions for Kirsten Powers, Renato Mariotti, and Garrett Graff, next. [22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The House judiciary committee ratcheting up the pressure on the attorney general, demanding he release any summaries written by Mueller's team and turn over any communications between Mueller and DOJ officials about the report.
So, let's discuss now, Kirsten Powers is here, Renato Mariotti, Garrett Graff as well. Garrett's latest is "Mueller's War," an e-book this book and it's on Scribd, very interesting.
OK. Good evening, everyone. Good to see you. Renato, I'm going to start with you. Chairman Jerry Nadler demanding the DOJ release communications between Barr and special counsel's office, they also want the summaries prepared by Mueller's team. Is it becoming clear that the American people don't know the truth?
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think its crystal clear at this point, Don. We have not seen literally one single sentence, full sentence from start to finish from the Mueller report. So, almost 400- page report and we don't have a single sentence and the Attorney General Barr is saying that his letter was not a summary of the report. And I think that speaks volumes.
In other words, he -- instead of releasing these summaries that were prepared essentially for the public to see, he writes a four-page letter and he's not willing to say it's a summary of the report. Presumably because it's -- it leaves something out that's important or is misleading in some way.
I think, you know, it's unclear to me, you know, what other possible reason there could be for him to go back on his promise for full transparency.
LEMON: So, let's talk more about the summaries because several investigators, Garrett, on Mueller's team are frustrated because they wrote the summaries, expected more to be used by Barr. How quickly could things escalate, do you think?
GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's hard to say in part because we don't know how quickly Barr might move towards releasing more information. But, I mean, the idea that it's just amazing how much Barr has fumbled the rollout of this report, in part because obviously Mueller's team was thinking about this.
You know, Barr has sort of thrown up this series of objections, things that he has to go through to redact the confidential grand jury testimony, sources and methods, ongoing investigations, et cetera.
And, of course, again, Mueller was surely thinking about all of that as he was working on this. You know, he probably understood very much what would ultimately be subject to redaction and what was fair game in the public domain.
And probably could have worked very closely in order to shape a much more thorough summary that accurately did depict what his report actually found with Barr but Barr wanted to rush out his own version that left a lot to be desired.
[22:20:09] And some of us have been saying that since night one. And it's clear the longer this goes on the more -- the more that Barr left out.
LEMON: Yes. But Kirsten, the Justice Department is pushing back saying that the four-page letter wasn't meant to be a summary, it was just meant to be the bottom line for findings. I mean, does that wash with you?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I guess the question is, should the finding have been done ultimately by the attorney general that was hand-picked by Donald Trump? And that's what happened.
And I think that in a more ideal circumstance you would have it going to Congress and having, you know, Congress looking at it. That's what happened with Watergate. I mean, it went to a judge who then sent it to Congress. The law has since changed post, you know, the Clinton era when all sorts of salacious information was released.
And so, I understand why you would want to protect information that doesn't need to be in the public domain. But at the same time sending it to Congress isn't the same thing as putting it in the public domain, even when people talk about, well, they have to scrub the report because there's classified information maybe, or information that shouldn't be public.
But, you know, members of Congress have security clearances. They can see things that other people can't see. So that's not necessarily an excuse. So, you know, I think that the fundamental problem is that he made a ruling that I don't think he was really in a position to make and I'm not even sure he was being asked to make it.
POWERS: It's something that he decided to make.
LEMON: I just wonder why not write in the letter that, you know, Mueller and his team have summarized their findings as such, maybe place those in there or whatever instead of just doing what they did and as you guys say, you characterize it as fumbling the rollout. But, will we ever learn if there are discrepancies between Bill Barr's letter and the summaries, Renato?
MARIOTTI: I think there's no question we're going to learn. And that's because in my mind Congress has an absolute right to see the full and complete report. I mean, don't forget the United States Constitution gives the House --
LEMON: Even with the grand jury material?
MARIOTTI: Even so because, look, the United States Congress has the full power of impeachment. And the reason that the president can't be indicted is because the House has that power. How could you possibly have the executive branch investigate its own
chief, right, the president of the United States for a potential criminal offense and then keep the results of that investigation from Congress? How could that possibly be the case? The House wouldn't be doing its job if they didn't get the full report. I don't see how that could possibly happen.
LEMON: Garrett, does it matter that in this case this is a special counsel and not an independent counsel, meaning Mueller's reports to -- he reports to Barr, Barr gets to decide how this plays out?
GRAFF: It may. And that's one of the reasons we need to see the underlying report. We need to see how Robert Mueller himself has framed these questions.
As Kirsten and Renato talk about, one of the challenges here is that we know from the Barr report on the Mueller report that Mueller decided not to make a traditional prosecutorial decision on the question of obstruction.
Instead, laying out evidence on both sides and saying very explicitly in some of the few words we have seen out of Mueller's own words, that he does not exonerate the president.
Now, one reason could be that he did not make a traditional prosecutorial decision was because he felt as operating under the Justice Department policy he can't bring an indictment against the president, and so, he was using the tools of the criminal justice system as an independent fact finder in order to ultimately turn that evidence over to Congress to weigh the question of impeachment.
So, if Mueller framed this in such a way that he says, look, I was never going to bring a charge on obstruction, this was always a matter for Congress, then obviously we need to be seeing that information publicly.
LEMON: Yes. One administration official, Kirsten, says that it would be, quote, and this is a quote, "shitty" to release embarrassing information in the Mueller report if the president is not going to be accused of any crimes, and yet Republicans and Democrats are saying it needs to be public.
POWERS: Yes, look I don't think that you should gratuitously leak embarrassing information that's not relevant to the underlying, you know, case. So did some stuff come up that might be personally embarrassing but it's not something that we needed to know? I don't have any problem with that being held back.
[22:24:58] But I think that the information fundamental in terms of determining what happened, that does need to be released. And at a minimum it needs to be released to the Congress.
And I think, you know, going back again to Watergate, in the Watergate road map, the special prosecutor did not -- probably for the same reasons, did not say that Nixon should be indicted. It was left to Congress. He merely laid out the facts. Here are the facts. You can make a decision looking at this on -- its a political decision on whether you think that this is something that merits impeachment.
But -- so, I think when people point to the fact that there was no indictment on the part of Mueller there's no reason to think that there would be.
LEMON: OK. Listen. I've got -- I've got a lot more to -- I'm going to talk about Michael Cohen. But this is the thing that is I find perplexing. I think that if you're not president of the United States, if it's a family member, or whatever, if there's something embarrassing and it has nothing to do with the case, then it shouldn't be released.
But when people run for office, they say embarrassing things about each other all the time. Isn't that what oppo research is about? I don't understand why it's such a big deal in this matter and when you run for president of the United States you're exposed, your entire life, to everything.
Why is it different in this case, especially for something that is so important to the American people? What is a double standard going on here? Any one of you -- can any one of you answer that question for me?
POWERS: Well, I would just say that I don't think we do need to know a lot of the information that we get about candidates. For example, the information that people think is relevant in terms of their personal lives. I actually don't think it's their business.
I think that people should be able to run for office without us digging through their closets and pulling out every skeleton that's not relevant to whether or not they can do the job. So, I don't -- I actually don't think that -- I think this is the reason it's hard to find good people to go into politics.
LEMON: That's not the real world, right, I agree with you.
POWERS: It's not, but --
LEMON: But that's not the real world.
POWERS: I just don't think it's necessary to -- information that's not relevant, that's not going to make a difference I don't think, I personally don't think needs to be released.
POWERS: That's just my opinion.
LEMON: Garrett, quick, because I've got to go to break.
GRAFF: I don't think that that's the case we're facing here, though, the Constitution does not lay out definitions of high crimes and misdemeanors and there's all sorts of behavior that is not technically a federal felony that might be stuff that we don't want political candidates engaging in or that we don't want the president of the United States engaging in.
GRAFF: And if we have Robert Mueller going out and investigating this, he needs to be turning that evidence over to Congress to make their own decision about whether what's happened is an impeachable offense. That's not putting out oppo research, that's doing the constitutional duty of the House of Representatives.
LEMON: All right. Everyone, stay with me. Michael Cohen says he found 14 million more files in a hard drive and is offering them up to Congress, just weeks before he is supposed to report to prison.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, trying to stay out of prison or at least get a reduced sentence. CNN has learned that he is now telling Democrats in Congress that he's found a new hard drive that contains millions of additional files that may be helpful to their investigations. He wants to stay out of prison to help investigators go through them.
Back with me now, Kirsten Powers, Renato Mariotti, and Garrett Graff, there's always a twist and a turn in this case. And so here we go. Kirsten, what do you make of the timing here, that he was due to report early next week, and then now he's discovered 14 million files on a drive?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. It's kind of unbelievable. I also don't -- I actually don't understand 14 million files.
LEMON: That's a lot, right?
POWERS: I am getting a little hung up on that. It's like I don't know how you have 14 million files and somehow lose the ability to access them. So this is pretty incredible. And then you finally are able to access them right before you're about to go to prison. It's just a very, very strange situation. And I -- it's -- it would seem like he probably held this back.
LEMON: Let me read this and then maybe -- I don't know if this will help you. This is what his attorneys wrote. Working along with Mr. Cohen has only had the time to go through less than 1 percent of the drive or approximately 3,500 files. Mr. Cohen needs time, resources, and assistance to separate out privileged and personal documents from these 14 million files to make the rest available for review by various congressional committees.
And also on the letter indicating that, you know, that's it is helpful and that they want this information, does that help anybody here?
LEMON: Renato, do you think it will be helpful in reducing his three- year sentence?
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't. I mean he's -- you know, the judge took into account his cooperation. Mueller's team said that he cooperated. Look, I mean -- you know, they can subpoena the documents and he can hand them over. But to be frank with you, it's pretty coincidental, right?
What a coincidence that Michael Cohen finds all these files right before he's about to go to prison. Look, somebody else can review them. His attorneys can review them. And to be frank, he only reviewed, what, 4,500 files?
LEMON: Thirty five hundred.
MARIOTTI: Yeah, you know, I could review more than that in a day. I mean, the reality is Michael Cohen's trying -- there are some shenanigans from Cohen. I think it's pretty transparent.
LEMON: All right. Garrett, listen. Can we just talk about all the investigative threads that have come out because of Michael Cohen? You have the hush money payments. You got campaign finance violations, where the president inflated his assets, his tax returns. And it's Congress, it's New York, there are a lot of loose ends here.
And just remember, in the questioning. Remember when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked him those questions and really set in motion people going after that information and Michael Cohen turning it over. I mean what gives here? What do you think of that, Garrett?
GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. This is one of the most newsy things, I think, in that Cohen letter tonight, is he says that he has been approached since his congressional testimony by at least six different investigative entities, both criminal prosecutors, federal and New York state officials, as well as congressional committees.
And that that's a sign of the ongoing legal problems that the president faces, that, you know, we've sort of treated the Mueller report and the end of the Mueller probe as if sort of -- oh, well the president is totally in the clear now. He's not, and not by a long shot. Russia is obviously the big question, and has been and will continue to be.
[22:35:19] But the SDNY, the Southern District of New York, New Jersey prosecutors, now we have Florida prosecutors going after Mar-A- Lago and the China question. There is all sorts of legal exposure still out there for the president, much of it potentially much more damaging criminally than anything that Mueller might have found in Russia.
LEMON: Kirsten, there's also this. There's a new report from the New York Times that President Trump asked Mitch McConnell to fast track the confirmation of IRS Chief Counsel Michael Desmond. They're reporting that it raised questions of Trump's motivations. I mean what do you think given -- they have a relationship, by the way, right?
LEMON: What do you think of this? Because the Democrats are saying they're promising to get Trump's taxes.
POWERS: Yeah. I mean, I think it shows that he's, you know, nothing is really surprising to us in terms of his concern about anybody getting their hands on his tax returns, which is very --
LEMON: Does it look like he's trying to put someone in place who is --
LEMON: Much like Barr and other folks. Go on.
POWERS: Yeah, it does. I mean, it looks that way and it looks like he's -- it's something that's on his mind. I mean the fact he would try to fast track this isn't necessarily -- I mean doesn't -- setting aside everything, it wouldn't seem more important than the attorney general, right? And so the fact that it was for him, is something that he wanted fast tracked I think says he really, really, really does not want anyone to see his tax returns, which I think is something that people should be very concerned about.
LEMON: The chief counsel of the IRS, important stuff. Thank you, all. Appreciate it. Will Congress accept the documents from Michael Cohen and help postpone his prison sentence? I am going to ask Congressman Ro Khanna next.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So Michael Cohen is offering new information recently found on a hard drive that he claims could be of interest to congressional investigators. So let's bring in Democratic Congressman, Ro Khanna. He sits on the House Oversight Committee and would be particularly interested in this story. Congressman, appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much.
So Michael Cohen says that he might have evidence for congressional investigators. You asked him back in February about hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. He turned over checks signed by the president and his son and Allen Weisselberg. Now he's asking Congress to help him persuade the SDNY to postpone his jail time. Do you think Congress should help him?
REP. RO KHANNA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, don I think he should have the opportunity to present his evidence. Here is what's ironic about this situation. Of all of the people, Michael Cohen is the only person going to jail. He did everything for the benefit of President Trump and the campaign. Yet, he seems to be the only one facing any of the consequences.
If he has more documents, if he has more evidence, we should see it. And if that means that he's going to have a delay of a few months before he starts his jail time, I think the interest of transparency outweigh that possible delay.
LEMON: Isn't that amazing to just fathom, especially if you're Michael Cohen. You did all of these things on behalf of someone else and they're not suffering the consequence you are. Can you imagine that?
KHANNA: I mean, I think that's what really frustrates people in this country. They think that the people with the power, the people with fancy lawyers, and the prestige get away. And some fall guy like Cohen has to take the punishment. What we really need to know is who else was responsible, and Cohen has testified that Allen Weisselberg, people in the Trump organization were involved in this cover-up.
He should at least have a chance to share all of the documents. I mean no one is saying that he doesn't go to jail. He's saying let me give you all the evidence I have.
LEMON: So let's talk about what Congress is doing. Democrats really turning up the pressure on the president this week, clearing subpoenas for the Mueller report and for the investigation into security clearances, other committees are demanding the president's taxes, and the Trump organization financial documents, inauguration documents. They want those too. Is this a turning point, do you think, where Democrats are using all the power that they have?
KHANNA: Well, what we want is basic transparency. You know, I was talking to Richie Neil, who is the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, who's made the request for the president's taxes. And he's been so deliberate. But here's the point that we should emphasize. Every president, for the last 50 years, including Nixon, including Reagan, including Clinton, has submitted their taxes, disclosed their taxes.
Why should this president have a different standard? And Richard Neil was so careful. He only asked for six years. The reason is because the IRS says that you only have to keep your taxes for six years. So this was a thoughtful process to have transparency, and we can -- same with the Mueller report. I mean, the American people paid for an investigation.
The president keeps talking about all the expense. Shouldn't they see what's in the report? I mean this is common sense and a call for transparency.
LEMON: See how it's spent and if its money well spent. Listen, Congressman, the committee you sit on, the House Oversight Committee, authorizes subpoena for the White House personal security director to testify regarding security clearances. You know, that's been, you know, a big story this week of concern. What do you want to know from him? KHANNA: I want to know why security officials, career officials were
overturned. Why was there a total disregard for the expertise of people who are tasked with figuring out whether people should be trusted with national security? It's very simple. Why were the 25 cases where there were issues of drug use, where there were issues of foreign conflicts of interest, why were they granted security clearances?
[22:45:12] LEMON: So a little bit more. I want to mention Michael Cohen again, because back in February he accused the president of financial fraud, gave Congress three years worth of the president's financial statements. This week, Chairman Cummings said that the firm that prepared those statements would provide more financial documents if they got a subpoena. What are you hoping to learn from the president's accounting firm?
KHANNA: Well, first of all, whether he was transparent in the taxes that he filed. Did he underestimate the value? And did he not pay fair tax? Second, did he have foreign conflicts of interest in any of his holdings? Third, are there any holdings that he has that are influencing his policies as president of the United States?
You know, as a member of Congress, I have to disclose in detail my finances, my family's finances. I don't understand why the president of the United States shouldn't have the same obligation.
LEMON: Congressman Khanna, thank you.
KHANNA: Thank you, Don. Thanks for having me on.
LEMON: Absolutely. A man found wandering in a Kentucky neighborhood claims he's a boy who went missing in 2011. But the FBI is now saying he's not. Remember, I said a man. But he claimed he's a boy that went missing. Why would he lie? I am going to ask a former FBI investigator next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight, we have an update on the story we first bought you last night about Timmothy Pitzen, the child who went missing back in 2011. The FBI says DNA results show that a young man found wandering in Kentucky yesterday claiming to be Timmothy is not him. They say police identified the person as 23-year-old Brian Michael Rini of Medina, Ohio.
I want to talk about this case now with Chris Swecker. He's a former FBI Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigative Division. What the hell is going on here? Chris, good evening, by the way, you know, I spoke with Sharon Hall. Sharon Hall's a woman who witnessed this young man talking to a teenager. And she believed it was Timmothy Pitzen. This was what she said after finding out his true identity. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON HALL, WITNESS: I really thought it was him, because I couldn't truly believe somebody would end up in New Port, Kentucky, on eighth and Columbia at 7:00 a.m. missing for seven years. I truly in my heart thought it was (Inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So when I said what the hell is going on -- what can motivate someone lie about being a kidnap victim?
CHRIS SWECKER, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: You know, Don, when you have extensive publicity around a case, it often does draw out the crazies, as we would say. And you really -- you have to balance out that publicity against all these false leads and hoaxes that will inevitably it comes in. But maybe something positive comes out of this.
Maybe there is a new lead here, you know, that reopens the case and puts more focus on the case. It's been sever years old now. And it's never a bad thing to put a focus on a missing child case.
LEMON: But wasn't this a cold case? I am sure its received lots of publicity, you know, in the beginning. But let me ask you this. His name is Brian Michael Rini, the guy who pretended to be Timmothy Pitzen. He's got a long rap sheet, just got out of prison in March after serving an 18-month sentence. What kind of charges does he face now?
SWECKER: Well, this is the old false police report. It's fraudulent. You know it does not carry a huge sentence. This guy is kind a low level criminal. He's 23-years-old. It is kind of hard to understand how he was mistaken for a 13-year-old. But, you know, we can bypass that issue for the moment. These kinds of people come out of the woodwork sometimes.
And maybe he came in contact with Timmothy. And that's why I say maybe he's drawn out some new leads. I think the FBI has gotten the story out of him by now. And if he was in contact, that would draw up some new leads.
LEMON: I never thought about that. That's a very interesting perspective. So Chris, obviously this is, you know, it is heart wrenching for his family. Listen to his aunt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARA JACOBS, TIMMOTHY PITZEN'S AUNT: This is devastating. It is like reliving that day all over again. And Timmothy's father is devastated once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: How closely do you think law enforcement will work with the family on this case?
SWECKER: Oh, I think they'll put the full court press on. And they you also have if the background here, the National Center for Missing Exploited Children. I was on their board for a while. You know, they provide extensive support to law enforcement. They provide photographs of progressive aging. They put out leads. They mine information off the internet to see if they are being trafficked and that sort of thing.
You know, these are gut-wrenching cases. These are the hardest cases for law enforcement to work. And, of course, it is a nightmare for the parents.
LEMON: But you talked about Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I'm just wondering. This is every parent's worst nightmare, right? What kind of support do families of missing children generally get, especially when a case goes on for so long?
SWECKER: Well, you know, initially, they get good support from the FBI's Victim Witness Program. But as time goes on, a lot of that support does come from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That center never forgets. Of course, the FBI never does either. And the investigating local agency doesn't either. But new cases sort of replace the old cases as they get called.
[22:55:04] But my faith is in NCMEC, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, mainly because they are really good at mining information off the internet, and doing things that the law enforcement agencies can't do and don't have the resources to do.
LEMON: Yeah. As a matter of fact, the FBI (Inaudible) tweeted out earlier, vowing that they will never forget Timmothy and saying that the bureau will support his investigation, this investigation in any way possible. Chris Swecker, thank you. Appreciate it.
SWECKER: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Robert Mueller's famously tight-lipped team kept quiet for nearly two years. But we are starting to hear how they think, what they really think now. And some of them are pretty frustrated with Attorney General William Barr. We'll tell you why, next.
LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I am Don Lemon. The pressure is on Attorney General William Barr tonight. The House Judiciary Chairman, Jerry Nadler, is now demanding the Justice Department provide.