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Mueller Report Says The Trump Campaign Expected Benefit From Russia's Illegal Actions; Trump Not Cleared Of Obstruction; The President has lied and misled us again and again and the Mueller report proves it. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 18, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CUOMO PRIME TIME: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT: When you -- there's been a lot of reading today. You see -- you've got it too, right? When you start reading all of this, you realize why the Attorney General wanted to come out and get ahead of this because it is not as glowing as the President of the United States, as he has said, it's not a complete exoneration, and as that the initial the letter from Barr has said. All you have to do is read it.
CUOMO: That's right. Now, here's the sad thing though. I sound like you for a second here. Rudy did an effective thing tonight that plays to our political
reality. You can read that report and say, wow, they were lying, they did a lot of wrong things. It's good to know they weren't Russian agents, that there was no criminal conspiracy, but they did a lot of wrong things and then lied about it. Or you can look at it and say, I don't believe Mueller. He's just another part of the deep state. They're all in on the same thing. And that's the sad part for me.
LEMON: Yes. Well, as you and I have said it would be a political Rorschach test, I thought, yes, it is, but I actually think that there are things in here, again, maybe some of it didn't rise to the level of criminality, it probably would have with an average citizen.
CUOMO: Sure, Mueller said that.
LEMON: Right. But it's still very damning.
LEMON: And politically embarrassing for the President.
CUOMO: Absolutely, and shameful.
LEMON: And shameful and unethical.
CUOMO: But they have no shame in their game.
LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: And that's why when Hogan Gidley came on tonight with coop, he wouldn't even own that Sarah Sanders got busted for lying and admitted it. He couldn't even say it. And when he said the President also lied about it, he wouldn't admit it. The President never lied, never lied to me. As long as they have that mentality, there will never be transparency. But they better know this. Forget about fake news, it's all about fake views from the White House.
CUOMO: They've been lying to the American people about what happened and that's why they did it because they knew it was wrong.
LEMON: Well, I'm glad you said that. So stick around, everyone, I'm going to point to tell you -- I'm going to point out everywhere -- well, not everywhere but just a lot of it.
CUOMO: You don't have enough time. Even with your two-hour show you don't have enough time.
LEMON: Can you imagine trying to read all of this? But I have to say, it's just very interesting to me that in certain places here, when there was so much evidence that some of it didn't rise to the level of criminality --
CUOMO: It's a high bar.
LEMON: It is a high bar.
CUOMO: Beyond a reasonable doubt means to the layman, layman and laywoman, no other explanation except the prosecutors makes as good sense. That's tough.
LEMON: We're not sure if their intent was to break the law. But some people knew better than to carry out the President's orders. So, I mean, to me --
CUOMO: And they're lucky they did. Otherwise they would have been like Cohen and wind up going down for helping and doing what he asked him to to.
LEMON: He's the only one so far, so far.
CUOMO: It's crazy. With all these other people in there, I mean, it's really bizarre that that's what happened. That and the fact that those lawyers, I mean, you know, people think I'm joking, they think I was being sarcastic. I'm clapping for real. The Raskins, Giuliani, Sekulow, they kept this President safe from himself. If he had sat down, we'd be telling a different story right now.
LEMON: Well, they did a good job for the President, not for the American people.
CUOMO: Well, that wasn't their job.
LEMON: Yes. you're exactly right about that. And speaking of Michael Cohen, you're going to hear from Lanny Davis and see what he has to say about the information, the evidence.
CUOMO: He is a very sophisticated parser of information. It will be interesting to see what he takes.
LEMON: Lanny Davis, by the way, is Michael Cohen's attorney. So we will talk.
Thank you, sir. Nice job tonight.
CUOMO: Big night, D. Lemon.
LEMON: Yes. We've got a lot to talk about. I want everybody to stick around because I'm going to lay it all out for you.
This is CNN Tonight, I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.
Here it is. I'll hold it up. I mean, that is a lot. Look at that. This is the day that we finally learn what is in this report. This is the Mueller report, a big report, the redacted one, anyway, and what's not redacted, we learned what's in there.
Based on what we can see, this report is stunning. This report is not exactly what the Attorney General laid out. It's not exactly what the President has been saying. It's not exactly what the President's apologists have been saying. Okay, you hear me? And I'm going to tell you why. If you don't believe me, I want you to stick around and let's see if we can convince you. And if not, you should still listen.
So the main takeaways, Mueller found the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systematic fashion. That's what the report said. And even though the investigation did not establish that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government, it did find that the Trump campaign expected to benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts. That is important. Mueller was unable to clear President Trump on obstruction of justice, saying, this is, again, he cannot conclude, quote, no criminal conduct occurred.
So here's what he does. Mueller lists ten instances of possible obstruction and provides even more details about what happened. And in the report, Mueller seemed to clearly open the door to Congress saying that it can still investigate and potentially find that the President obstructed justice. So look for that. That's where we're going to next.
So the report even goes on so far as to reveal how Trump, how Trump reacted to Mueller's appointment as Special Counsel, okay? So Trump first learned that the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, appointed Mueller, this was in May of 2017, when he heard that, and this is, again, according to the report, the President slumped back in his chair and said oh, my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed. You can say a lot of things on cable TV, but I can't say that. So it's a very interesting reaction. And ever since that day based on the report and those ten instances it looks like the President has been trying to make things less terrible, shall we say, for himself. Attorney General William Barr even went so far as to excuse what could be obstruction saying this, okay? Follow along with me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: There is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.
Apart from whether the acts or obstructive, this evidence of non- corrupt motives weighs heavily against any allegation that the President had a corrupt intent to obstruct the investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Okay, so I have a lot and we're going to read along in a little bit. You heard what he said, except being -- think about this, okay? He's saying that this is a reason not to call it obstruction, being upset, except if you're being investigated and acting on that anger, then acting on the anger and then trying to shut down the investigation. In the real world, under normal circumstances, that would sound a lot like corrupt intent. And corrupt intent would point towards, you guessed it, obstruction.
The report also shows us exactly who the President of the United States really is. This is a president who, again and again, lied and misled us, a president who is morally challenged, a president who tried to obstruct justice and pressured others to do that for him. Again, this is all in the report. I'm not making this up. Instructed others to do it for him. That is not normal.
There have been so many lies, so many contradictions from this president and his administration over the past two years. So many times, they resorted to shouting denials. When we reported facts, they would shout denials. We would report facts, facts that have now been supported by Mueller and his report, okay?
So this is where I need you to follow along with me. Let's go back to -- this is January of 2017, seven days after President Trump took the oath of office. The New York Times reported about a private one-on- one dinner that night at the White House between the new president and then FBI Director James Comey, the President reportedly pressing Comey multiple times to pledge his loyalty to him. Comey promising his honesty and, quote, his honest loyalty.
The President fired back at The Times report Tweeting, I never asked Comey for any personal loyalty. I hardly knew this guy, just another of his many lies. His memos are self-serving and fake, okay?
We know now that that is not true. Mueller's report describes the whole thing in detail, okay? It says, quote, from volume two, this is page 35. After Comey's account of the dinner became public, the President and his advisers disputed that he had asked for Comey's loyalty. The President also indicated that he had not invited Comey to dinner, telling a reporter that he thought Comey had asked for the dinner because he wanted to stay on. But substantial evidence corroborates Comey's account of the dinner invitation and the request for loyalty.
The President's daily diary confirms that the President extended a dinner invitation to Comey on January 27th. With respect to the substance of the dinner conversation, Comey documented the President's request for loyalty in a memorandum he began drafting the night of the dinner. Senior FBI officials recall that Comey told them about the loyalty request shortly after the dinner occurred.
And Comey described the request while under oath in congressional proceedings and in a subsequent interview with investigators subject to penalties for lying. Comey's memory of the details of the dinner, including that the President requested loyalty has remained constant throughout. So the President's tweeted denial, accusing Comey of lying was, itself, a lie.
Let's jump to February 13th. This is 2017. The National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who was under investigation by the FBI for his contacts with Russians, he resigned. The next day, President Trump asks Comey to shut down the investigation. The Times reports that Comey details a request in a memo he writes shortly after the meeting quoting the President as saying he is a good guy. I hope you can let this go. The President taking to Twitter again to deny everything, quote, I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn, just more fake news covering another Comey lie. Not true.
This is what Mueller says. Quote, this is from volume two, Page 44. After Comey's account of the President's request to let Flynn go became public, the President publicly disputed several aspects of the story. The President told The New York Times that he did not shoo other people out of the room when he talked to Comey and that he did not remember having a one-on-one conversation with Comey.
The President also publicly denied that he had asked Comey to let Flynn go or otherwise communicated that Comey should drop the investigation of Flynn. In private, the President denied aspects of Comey's account to White House advisers but acknowledged to Priebus, that's Reince Priebus, remember, that he brought Flynn up in the meeting with Comey and stated that Flynn was a good guy. Despite those denials, substantial evidence corroborates Comey's account.
So, again, Mueller finds that Comey was truthful, t85he reporting about him was truthful and the President wasn't.
Let's turn to May 9th of 2017, the day the President abruptly fired Comey, claiming he did it on the clear recommendations of the then Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein. The next day, Sarah Sanders told reporters that the President, the DOJ, members of Congress and the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in Comey. When reporters pushed back she said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What's your response to these rank and file FBI agents who disagree with your contention that they lost faith in Director Comey?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, we've heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That is not true, okay? Because the Mueller report states in volume two, page 72, quote, Sanders told this office that her reference to hearing from countless members of the FBI was a slip of the tongue.
She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank and file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made in the heat of the moment that was not founded in anything. Not founded in anything, otherwise known as a lie.
And there is more. Just one month after Robert Mueller was named Special Counsel, the President orders him fired. The Times reports he only backed down after then White House Don McGahn threatened to quit. The President at the World Economic Forum in Davos says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, did you seek to fire Mueller?
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Fake news, folks, fake news.
REPORTER: What's your message today?
TRUMP: Typical New York Times fake stories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Okay, fake news, but Mueller's report details even more lies. Quote from volume two, page 113 in late January of 2018, the media reported that in June of 2017, the president had ordered McGahn to have the Special Counsel fired based on purported conflicts of interest. But McGahn had refused, saying he would quit instead. After the story broke, the President through his personal counsel and two aides sought to have McGahn deny he had been directed to remove the Special Counsel. Each time he was approached, McGahn responded that he would not refute the press accounts because they were accurate in reporting on the President's efforts to have the Special Counsel removed.
The President later personally met with McGahn in the Oval Office with only the Chief of Staff present and tried to get McGahn to say that the President never ordered him to fire the Special Counsel. McGahn refused and insisted his memory of the the President's direction to remove the Special Counsel was accurate. And that's a meeting.
[22:14:57] The President challenged McGahn for taking notes of his discussions with the President and ask why he had told Special Counsel investigators that he had been directed to have the Special Counsel removed.
Lies, lies and more lies, lies on top of lies and on and on and on.
So like I said, the Mueller report shows us exactly who this president of the United States really is. He lied, misled, tried to obstruct justice and pressured others to do it for him, to do his dirty work. The question is, what are we going to do with what we know? What are you going to do with what you know? Until today, this has been all about what Robert Mueller would do. Now, it is all about what Congress will do.
It is a breathtaking report by Robert Mueller. There's a lot of information to analyze and discuss over the next two hours here on this show. John Dean knows all about this. He's been through similar. Laura Coates is an expert, as is Garrett Graff, he is the author of The Threat Matrix -- excuse me, author of Mueller's War. Excuse me. Good evening to all of you.
So let's talk about this. Laura, the legal angle here, Mueller lays out a key reason why obstruction by Trump failed. It's because people around him had refused to carry out orders. Okay. I just want to read that part. So the President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful but that is largely because of persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or see to his requests. That is volume two, page 158.
The President was protected by the people around him but his intent is still there. So did he obstruct?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, absolutely. According to the Mueller report, remember, the idea that there were adults in the room is comforting. However, obstruction is a crime where if you endeavor to do so, meaning you even try to do so, even if it's not successful, even if you don't undermine or stop an investigation, which none of the things that were outlined by what you talked about, those 10 or 11 different categories of information and instances where the President was thought to have obstructed justice, they did not do anything to actually stop the investigation and we have a Mueller report.
But had they not stopped it is not the actual criteria. The litmus test is whether you tried to do so. So it did fail to stop it but it didn't fail to actually substantiate a basis to say there is obstruction of justice here. Their hands were tied largely because of that Office of Legal Counsel and DOJ guideline memo that says that perhaps you should never indict a sitting president. So the combination of that left Mueller in a conundrum but not the ineptitude that was alluded by Barr initially in that four-page summary.
LEMON: John Dean, I want to bring you in now, because you were the White House Counsel under Richard Nixon. You have these calls President Trump made to Don McGahn in June of 2017, directing him to call Rod Rosenstein and tell him, Mueller needed to go. McGahn refused. And here is the key part, which I'm sure you'll appreciate this. This is in response to that request, McGahn decided to quit because he did not want to participate in events that he described as akin to the Saturday Night Massacre. Volume two, page 88 is where that is. That is a reference to Nixon ordering his Attorney General to fire the independent -- special prosecutor investigating Watergate. You know this all too well.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Indeed I do, and Elliott Richardson refused. The Deputy Attorney General refused. They finally had to get the Solicitor General, Robert Bork and lean on him to undertake the assignment.
But, don, you know, my overall reaction to this reported today resulted in me pulling some books down from my library shelf. This is the Senate Watergate Committee. This is the Iran-Contra Committee. I have an entire shelf full of Nixon's impeachment documents and I have about 5,000 words in five volumes of Ken Starr's report. And I've got to tell you, the report today is more damning than any of those documents.
LEMON: Why do you say that?
DEAN: Just this -- the nature of Trump's actions. His obstruction is so much more venal than is that of Richard Nixon. It's just a remarkable comparison. Someday, I'm going to sit down when I have a -- can catch my breath and compare these charges against these presidents. Because Trump is in a whole league of his own. He's actually making Nixon look good.
LEMON: Wow. Garrett, I just want to read how Trump reacted when he learned about the appointment to Mueller, okay?
When Sessions told the President a special counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, oh, my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed, volume two, page 78.
Garrett, you say this goes to intent in terms of establishing obstruction. Why do you say that?
GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And I think that John Dean is absolutely correct here, which is, in some ways, this is a much simpler story of obstruction than the American people were told either during Watergate or during Whitewater. And that this is -- you have the President in the opening minutes of realizing the Special Counsel's appointment, saying that, you know, this is terrible, this is the end of my presidency, I'm f***ed and then proceeding to act upon that based for the next, basically, 675 days.
Through these demonstrable episodes that Mueller lays out in great detail, that at every turn he is trying to shut down or stymie or block or even outright obstruct the investigation as it is unfolding. And so, you know, you start right there on -- in the first minutes of the Special Counsel's probe with the motive and then you watch as he acts upon that motive time and time and time again. And simply because he was blocked or stopped or people refused to go along with his attempts to obstruct along the way doesn't, in any way, make his own pattern of behavior any less troubling.
LEMON: So, Laura, it seems like, you know, Barr made the decision about obstruction with Rod Rosenstein, right, in conjunction with Rod Rosenstein. Mueller though is telling Congress here in this report, here are the facts, you guys can now investigate and take action if you choose to.
COATES: Well, of course, the stark contrast here is what is so infuriating for people listening who perhaps gave the benefit of the doubt to William Barr that he would be a straight shooter, that his initial four-page summation or distillation, whatever word he chooses to use to describe it, the bottom line or top line conclusions that it was so misleading, not only at that first bite of the apple, Don, but the second bite of the apple today and another preemptive strike that took place before we were able to actually view the report is mischaracterization.
We had everyone thinking, because of what he said, that Mueller just was wringing his hands, befuddled, didn't know what he was going to do with of his story career, had no idea what his choices were going to be and that he didn't know whether it was going to punt to Congress. He said it again today. I had no idea. It wasn't explicitly said to me that Mueller wanted it to go to Congress. And the reason he couldn't reach a conclusion is because we may have had some differences. Well, in fact, neither could be further from the truth.
In black and white in the writing, and we are a literate nation here, which I think maybe Barr did not understand we would actually be, it clearly says that he wasn't wringing his hands. His hands were tied with respect to having all of the information, those 10 or 11 instances of obstruction of justice, having that corresponding report or a memo that says, you cannot indict a sitting president. I am teeing it up for Congress and it actually says Congress could actually use the information that I have right here. And the idea that he was simply saying, listen, I don't know what I want to do, it's just false.
So you have to wonder, was this investigation at this point about whether the President is above the law or whether the Head of the Department of Justice sought to simply not enforce the law and then to mislead the public about what the Special Counsel actually found.
LEMON: Laura, Garrett, thank you so much. I appreciate it. John, I want you to stay with me.
Democrats are split on whether they should impeach President Trump. But someone who is vehemently calling for impeachment might might surprise you. Kellyanne Conway's husband out with a scathing op-ed, making his case for Trump's removal from office.
[22:25:00] LEMON: So, tonight, the husband of a top White House aide, Kellyanne Conway, is calling for Congress to impeach President Trump. George Conway says, the Mueller report shows Trump is a cancer on the presidency and Congress should remove him.
I'm back now with John Dean and we're joined now by Jack Quinn, the former White House Counsel to President Clinton. Welcome, Jack, to the program. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm going to start with you.
JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
LEMON: So this is what George Conway writes. He said the President may have the raw constitutional power to say, squelch an investigation or pardon a close associate. But if he does so, not to serve the public interests but to serve his own, he surely could be removed from office, even if he has not committed a criminal act. Is Conway right, Jack?
QUINN: Absolutely. You cannot exercise presidential powers corruptly. And there's nothing more corrupt than exercising your presidential powers in order to protect yourself from a legitimate law enforcement investigation.
I do think it's worth mentioning, by the way, that, you know, a lot of this discussion in the earlier part of the show turns on this whole question. I mean, the Attorney General parachuted into this, which is frankly infuriating. But a lot of this disagreement, seeming disagreement, between the Attorney General and the Special Counsel turns on one of the biggest lies of the day. And that is the assertion on the part of Attorney General Barr that his decision reached after, you know, purportedly flipping through the 400-page report that it turns not at all on the fact that the Department of Justice has had a long standing policy that a president sitting in office cannot be indicted. He denied that was the case.
That is simply an untruth, and it's a massive one. Because this is -- at the heart of what led the Special Counsel to come to the conclusion that it was not for him at this point to undertake an indictment of the President, that's why he did it. And, you know, instead, he invited the Congress in the clearest terms, after saying, if we could conclude that the President did not obstruct justice, we would do so. But we cannot reach that conclusion. Instead, they detailed more than ten instances of obstructive behavior on the part of the President.
The Attorney General's refutation of that -- not even a refutation, he didn't even try to defend his conclusion, he just brushed it aside. He said it doesn't matter, you know, we have disagreements. And, you know, he said he came to a well reasoned conclusion that the President had not obstructed justice despite all of these instances of obstructive behavior.
LEMON: And then he held a press conference and answered some questions he wouldn't explain about when the reporter said, what did you disagree on? He just brushed over that. So you're right about that. John, I want to bring you back in because Kellyanne mentioned --
DEAN: He can't explain it.
LEMON: Yes, he can't explain it. He mentions you in the piece too, okay? Here's what he writes, John. He says White House Counsel John Dean famously told Nixon that there was a cancer within the presidency, and that it was growing. What the Mueller report disturbingly shows with crystal clarity is that today, there is cancer in the presidency, President Donald J. Trump. Congress now bears a solemn constitutional duty to excise that cancer without delay.
46 years, is there a cancer on this presidency too, John?
DEAN: I think there is, Don. I used those words to make sure I had the President's attention that morning and that he was listening to what I had to say. And I took him through all the problems that he was confronted with. That's the morning I have met the real Richard Nixon. He responded exactly the opposite the way I thought he would when I thought he would end the cover-up after raising every single problem I could raise in an hour and 50 minutes.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: -- the opposite the way I thought he would when I thought he would end the cover-up after raising every single problem I could raise in an hour and 50 minutes.
We know have a president that's in his 800th day of his presidency. And I've got to say, it's very grim. It is not a healthy presidency and I don't know that we can wait until 2020. This is man is learning how it operates and he can do great damage.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT: So are you agreeing with Conway that this is heading to impeachment or it should?
DEAN: Well, I don't know if it -- that, obviously, is going to be the congress's decision. It's clear right now that there's no way to remove him from office, or even find him guilty if there's a bill of impeachment that gets through the House. The Senate will not do anything. So until a makeup of the Senate changes, that's not very likely.
But the question -- what I think should happen is that the House should commence hearings that will start educating the public for 2020, so they'll know what they're dealing with with this president.
LEMON: Jack, this is what the President actually Tweeted. He said this, and he said, I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, but that he chose not to. What do you think he's getting at here, Jack?
JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know I think the President -- I mean, you saw him on the back lawn of the White House walk out to that helicopter and not make comments. I think he's gotten some decent advice, finally, from people who've said, leave well enough alone and let's start moving away from this whole issue. They're not likely to impeach you. They are more than not likely to remove you from office. Let's just get through this period of time and leave well enough alone.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate your time. Good to see you Jack. It's good to see you well. Thank you for coming on.
QUINN: It's good to be back. Thank you so much.
LEMON: Now, I want to bring in Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee. He sits on the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman, thank you, I appreciate your time, what a day.
Chairman Nadler, the leader of your committee, says that the report outlines disturbing evidence. So what are you going to do about it? What's your path forward?
REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Well, a lot of people would like to impeach. I'd like to impeach. I feel like he's committed impeachable offenses. But just as John Dean said, and everybody knows, the Senate Republicans are mostly composed of invertebrate creatures. And without spine, you'll not have a conviction. So the process is not worth going through if you're not going to get a conviction. And most people's minds, particularly politically, although a lot of the folks that are followers of mine would like to go forth and think it's good just to do it.
A middle ground is a censure and the House can't censure the President for conduct, it doesn't remove him from office, but it does puts a notation there for history that the House of Representatives will have found that his conduct was so opprobrious that they chose to pass a censure resolution. And I'm going to discuss that with leadership as possible with middle ground. It would be wonderful if we could get rid of him. Another Steve Cohen, the chamber magician, can make people disappear. I wish I had his powers, I'd just do that. But since I don't, I'll have to I'll have to try a censure resolution.
LEMON: So what do you think of what accounts to the President, Kellyanne Conway's husband, George Conway wrote, talking about the President may have raw constitutional powers, but now it's time for Congress to act, basically saying in the public interest that he could surely be removed from office even if he has not committed a criminal act because of his actions. What do you think of that?
COHEN: Well, it's like he's the House and he can impeach and that's great, but Kellyanne is the Senate, she's not going to vote for it. So even in his own house, he can't carry the proposition.
LEMON: Very interesting way to put it.
COHEN: I mean, I think he's committed impeachable offenses, emoluments, obstruction, derogation of the office, how he's referred to the press and he's done a lot of things and he has no connection. Now, I was thinking, when you were talking earlier, this whole thing has been sex, lies, but we didn't have any videotapes.
You've got the Southern District that has got the sex, which the President denied, he said he didn't know Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal and knew nothing about the payments. And then he says no collusion, no obstruction. That's as close to the truth as Mexico's going to pay for the wall.
I mean, the man has no regard for the truth. And now, we know that Sarah Huckabee lies too. She just kind of goes around and spins it. But she knows not to perjure herself, but lying to the public as the Press Secretary is okay.
This administration is full of just the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
But they are and they're in power and they're taking care of their cronies and they're making a lot of rich people richer and they've got a lot not so wealthy people, pretty much poor people brainwashed to make them think that he cares about them and he's helping them. He could care less about anybody except himself and his family, maybe.
LEMON: You know Eric Swalwell is a Congressman who is running for president. He says -- he's also in the Judiciary Committee. He says that Attorney William Barr should step down. Do you agree with him?
COHEN: Yes, I think he shouldn't have ever stepped up. But he did it for some purpose. There was some group that wanted him to come in and do the deed. He agreed to do it. I don't think he's just looking out for his daughter and son-in-law, both of whom work for the administration.
LEMON: What about Barr being impeached?
COHEN: That's a possibility. But I don't think the Senate would do it either. The fact is the Senate is not going to -- they're not going to convict anybody except Hillary Clinton. They're still worried about her. Barr -- we could do a censure on him too and maybe he should be censured.
Trump could fire him within four or five, six months. He doesn't keep people around long and you don't stay in his favor for long. And he could accidentally do something right and get fired.
LEMON: Congressman Cohen, thank you for your time.
COHEN: You're welcome, Don.
You know, Chris had on Giuliani, the spin was unbelievable.
LEMON: Well, you know.
COHEN: Right, you don't do the spin.
LEMON: Yes, and it's nighttime, and it will be morning tomorrow, what else is new? Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
COHEN: Yes. You're welcome, Don.
LEMON: I want to talk about this now with James Clapper. He is the former Director of National Intelligence. Director, I appreciate you joining us. Let's talk about this now. The Special Counsel lays out how the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systematic fashion. Do you think that this is the most important part of the report? Why is that?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I do, Don. And the reason is the -- you know, we sort of lost sight of what, to me, is really important, which is the threat posed by the Russians. And the Mueller report lays this out in unassailable and exhausted detail about the magnitude and depth and breadth of the Russian interference in our election in 2016.
I was very gratified at that. I think that alone, Mueller rendered a great public service for this country and I hope Americans take the time to read, at least that portion of the report, about the Russian interference.
And I still am not confident that we're doing all we can do to thwart what they're kind of going to continue to do to interfere in our processes and undermine us.
LEMON: Considering the inconsistencies coming out of the administration on whether or not it actually happened.
Director, let's move on now, because, incredibly, tonight, the President, President Trump Tweeted this. Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 election was done while Obama was President. He was told about it and did nothing. Most importantly the vote was not affected. You were the Director of National Intelligence at that time. What is the truth?
CLAPPER: Well, the truth is we did a lot. You can do the could have or would have, should have this all day about whether we should -- could have done or should have done more earlier, but we did a lot.
Most prominently, I would mention, or for example, is the fact that President Obama, unlike his successor, directly and pointedly confronted Putin and asked him in very forceful terms to stop the interference. And so I think -- and then, you know, the assertion that the Russian interference had no impact on the outcome of the election is absurd.
Facebook alone, the Russians reached 126 million people, according to the Mueller report. And remember, the election was turned on less than 80,000 votes in three states, which the Russians targeted. And put aside the number of people that because of what the Russians did just didn't bother to go to the polls. So to suggest that it had no impact on the outcome of the election just stretches credulity. In fact, in my book, I make the assertion that the Russians turned the election in Trump's favor. LEMON: you personally briefed President Trump on Russia's campaign to interfere in the election. Do you think his administration has done anything to stop this or is our country, do you think, still at risk?
CLAPPER: I think our country is still at risk. That's not to say we haven't done some things. Each department, each relevant agency, DHS, FBI, the Intelligence Community, have all done things, I think, to try to thwart further such efforts by the Russians.
But what we're lacking is the force of leadership that ought to be coming from the President himself and the bully pulpit that only he occupies and we need that leadership to galvanize the country and make the electorate aware of the profound threat posed by the Russians and we're not doing that.
LEMON: So, Director, Mueller's report also says the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts. Do you think Russia's interference was so extensive because they had such willing participants in the Trump campaign?
CLAPPER: Well, willing or gullible, I'm not sure which, or unwitting, or some combination thereof. So if we didn't have collusion or conspiracy that was, you know, reached the evidentiary bar of a crime, we certainly did have, I think, as the Mueller report shows, what I would call passive collusion and the fact that the Trump campaign realized that getting help from our arch-adversary would help them electorally. That says volumes.
LEMON: The report describes in detail, Director, how again and again the Trump team worked with Russians, like the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Papadopoulos' meeting with Putin's so-called niece, trying to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. And we've learned about several meetings between Paul Manafort, Konstantin Kilimnik. How concerning is this? Tell us.
CLAPPER: Well, it's very concerning, and particularly Manafort sharing polling data with a person who has connections with Russian intelligence, which really plays right into their hands the kind of information they probably had anyway, but they just made it easy for them. So the notion that this campaign was consorting, I won't use the word colluding, or coordinating in any way with our arch- adversary, to me, is profoundly dangerous to this country.
LEMON: It's encouraging in some way.
CLAPPER: And what we need to think about among other things is the future and how to prevent this.
LEMON: Yes. Let's talk -- can we talk more about the polling data? Because the report says this about Kilimnik and Manafort that says, they also discussed the status of the Trump campaign and Manafort's strategy for winning democratic votes in Midwestern states. Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused an internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.
So to drill down, why would Kilimnik care about polling data or Midwest states?
CLAPPER: Well, as it turned out, the Midwest states were crucial for the election and the Russians realized that. So this would be, you know, what we would call an intelligence essential, relevant information that the Russians would want to have. And the fact that -- I was kind of under the impression from the previous indictments that this is a one-time deal with Manafort sharing as polling data, but this went on. So, to me, this is just incredible that we would be -- the campaign and the United States of America for a President of the United States would be sharing polling data which would ultimately find its way to Russian intelligence. It's just amazing.
LEMON: Director Clapper, thank you for your time.
CLAPPER: Thanks, don.
LEMON: Someone named multiple times throughout Robert Mueller's report, Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer. Well, Cohen's lawyer responds next.
LEMON: So the Mueller report, making clear President Trump has not been exonerated, and on the question of possible obstruction, Mueller's, he was unable to determine that no criminal conduct took place.
Let's bring in now Lanny Davis. Lanny is an attorney for Michael Cohen, the President's former personal lawyer. Cohen is about to serve a three-year prison sentence for campaign finance violations and lying to Congress. Good evening, thank you for joining us. I think it's fascinating to hear Michael Cohen's perspective from this because he's mentioned a lot today. What is -- has he read the report, this redacted report that's finally coming out?
LANNY DAVIS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL COHEN: He's just about finished it. And he's counted 62 or 63 times where Mr. Mueller mentioned his name. He spent 70 hours and seven days with Mr. Mueller, hundreds of hours voluntarily with members of Congress. And he has seen the lies adding up over a period of time during the campaign that convey to him an intent to obstruct the Mueller investigation. And obstruction of justice clearly is a possibility. The lie by Donald Trump that he was exonerated on obstruction doesn't even the smell test for Donald Trump.
So I'll give you one example of a lie that's an anecdote that Michael told me, that every Trump supporter, even, will nod their head and say, yes, that sounds right. So Michael is walking to a car as Donald Trump is about to go to a rally during the campaign. And Trump asked him, what's going on with our Moscow Russians? What's going on with the Russians, implying something about the Moscow Trump Tower project. Michael says, we're still talking, we're still trying to figure it out, we're still working on it.
Two hours later, he's watching television, the same Donald Trump is now talking to a rally and he's saying trust me, no Russians, no deal, no contacts. And Michael's thinking, wait a minute, just two hours ago, he was asking me about what I was doing involving the Trump Tower, which was not allowed to be disclosed.
The only lie that Michael, literally, one lie, was a lie to Congress that he stopped his discussions with Trump Tower before Iowa caucuses, so Donald Trump could lie and say, no contact, no Russia. This was a pattern of lies that can only be called obstruction of a Russian investigation conducted by Mr. Mueller.
LEMON: Okay. Look, so two things with that. The first one is, and then I'll ask you the second one, did he tell the Special Counsel this, when he talked to them, did he tell him this? Any reactions?
DAVIS: He told the Special Counsel everything, and he was called by the Special Counsel credible as opposed to Mr. Giuliani --
LEMON: How did they react to that story?
DAVIS: They were dumbfounded and even surprised at how truthful it sounded because it was consistent with what they had heard from others about Trump blatantly lying. On Air Force One, Trump wrote out that the Trump Tower meeting was about adoptions. Even his son couldn't go along with that because the email said dirt on Hillary Clinton.
So the pattern of lies, and there was only one lie, only one lie that Michael performed on behalf of Trump in accordance with his directives, the exact words used by his defense lawyer publicly. And yet he's the only person going to jail of the entire Trump organization, including Mr. Weisselberg, who was part of the direction to pay the hush money to Stormy Daniels, including Don Junior who signed the $35,000 check as part of the hush money after his father was president and, of course, including Donald Trump who signed another check for hush money.
And Michael Cohen was prosecuted for a non-payment of taxes at $1.4 million without any fraudulent intent. The bank account is on building (ph). And for some reason, the prosecutors went after Michael Cohen with a disproportionate sentence. You know he's serving more time than the Wolf of Wall Street who -- there was a movie made about it, and defrauded $200 million from investors, served less time than Michael was sentenced for this disproportionate and unreasonable targeting of Michael Cohen, the only person going to prison is completely incomprehensible.
LEMON: Okay. Lanny, you answered the second part of my question. But the other thing is because you're saying that Don Junior wrote a check and you said the President as well.
DAVIS: Yes, while he was president.
LEMON: But they declined to charge Don Junior with a crime.
DAVIS: So far. Now, I certainly respect the professionalism of the Southern District of New York. I do not understand the massive warrant that they wrote based upon an affidavit that was faulty, but they searched and ended up with a $1.4 million unpaid taxes account that has never been criminally prosecuted in the history of America without other signs of fraud.
LEMON: So why they're coming down on him and not others? Why do you think?
DAVIS: I don't understand other than I watched Attorney General Barr politicizing the job of Attorney General, being the Roy Cohn, personally representing the President rather than the American people.
LEMON: Okay. You said that there was one lie --
DAVIS: And I just don't understand why only one person, Michael Cohen, who's cooperated more than anyone, who knows more than anyone, is being sent off to prison in the next few weeks.
LEMON: Okay. So before I move on, you said there was one lie about how many times he had talked to him about or the contacts with Russians. Okay. But in the Mueller report, if you look at the redacted report, it illustrates a number of times that the President lied and that people around him lied. Yet Michael Cohen, they characterized him as a liar. Why not characterize the President as a liar as well when the evidence is right there?
DAVIS: Well, irony is immense. One lie and the man who is the expert at labeling people falsely, Donald Trump, he's made a career of it, calls Michael Cohen a liar, and all the republicans during the House hearings calling Michael Cohen a liar for lying for the President for the benefit of the President. And in accordance with his directives, the exact phrase used by Mr. Petrillo, Michael's lawyer, and yet, Don, you have to ask, is there a single republican right now in Congress who has asked Donald Trump why did you write as President of the United States out of your personal account a $35,000 hush money check? And do you think you can be above the law? And, Mr. Barr, are you going to ask the President of the United States why did you write that check and are you going to ask the Southern District why do you target and disproportionately prosecute Michael Cohen, the one person who turned to tell the truth about Donald Trump.
LEMON: If you -- because you said it was $1.4 million, and if you actually read it, it's over --
DAVIS: Over five years.
LEMON: Over five years. That's $260,000 per year in taxes that were enough (ph). It wasn't just in one fell swoop, but still, it is $1.4.
DAVIS: It is 1.4, but to Floyd Mayweather, $15.5 million civil.
LEMON: Okay. So let's move on because --
DAVIS: Criminalizing that is unprecedented in American history and I don't understand it.
LEMON: Because I've got a lot to ask you, and you know I only have a limited time. Mueller referred 14 investigations to other offices. That includes Michael Cohen's case. And is Michael Cohen aware of helping with any of the other 12 redacted investigations?
DAVIS: Yes. He is helping -- I can't say 12 and I can't say redacted, because he's the one person who can see by reading the report what's redacted and what isn't redacted based upon his 70 hours with Mr. Mueller.
LEMON: Can you give us specifics though?
DAVIS: I can't give you the specifics but he has shared information with the Southern District of New York, he has spent a lot of time with the New York Attorney General and tax authorities in New York and he spent a lot of time with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.
The one person who has been fully cooperative, who you would think having John Dean on reminded me that he was available, the Watergate prosecutors, he never went to prison. He was kept available. You would think that Congress and the prosecutors would want Michael Cohen around given all that he knows to help create this obstruction case that I think is there and should be brought against --
LEMON: One more question. Are we going to hear from Michael Cohen before he reports to prison on May 6th?
DAVIS: So, at some point, he has a family and personal affairs to take care of. But at some point, I hope that Michael will sit and talk and explain what does it feel like, what did he go through ten years lying for Donald Trump, deciding to tell the truth when he called me and explained why. He actually fears that Donald Trump would not give up this presidency peacefully, and he feared for his country when Donald Trump seemed to be disloyal in agreeing with Putin over our own country. I think he should tell his story.
LEMON: Lanny, I'm out of time. I appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much.
DAVIS: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.