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Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Reports to Prison; Boeing Admits It Knew of Flaw in 737 MAX Jet Before Crashes. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired May 6, 2019 - 19:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Congratulations to the new mom and dad. Our best wishes to them. I'm Wolf Blitzer. Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, hundreds of prosecutors claim Trump committed multiple felonies and would have been charged if he weren't President of the United States. Rudy Giuliani's former principal assistant at the DOJ is one of the those former officials and he is out front. Plus, breaking news, Trump's Treasury Secretary refusing tonight to turn over Trump's taxes, why? What is in there that they're afraid of? And the fight for 2020, Trump won Michigan by the smallest of margins, but even Republicans they are split on whether they'll vote for him again. We're on the ground tonight. Let's go out front.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, overwhelming evidence to charge President Trump, that's a quote. It's the belief of more than 400 former DOJ prosecutors. They write in this statement that Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he were not president.

Let me just read a couple of the most important lines here. First, "Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report would, in the case of any other person result in multiple felony charges." Multiple felony charges.

And then they continue, again, I quote, we emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment. Not even close. OK, first of all, this is a huge rebuke to the Attorney General of the United States Bill Barr who you may remember wrote in his summary of Mueller's report that he did not see any reason to indict the president. The operative line from Bill Barr, quote, "I have concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense."

So he says it's not even sufficient. Look at the list of people who say he's just absolutely dead wrong and it's not even close. The list is growing. It started out as 370 former DOJ prosecutors just two hours ago. It's now more than 450. Former Department of Justice officials who have served every presidential administration since Dwight D. Eisenhower. And in a moment, I'm going to speak to two who signed the letter

including Jeffrey Harris. He was the Principal Assistant to Rudy Giuliani when he was at the Justice Department. Pamela Brown is out front live outside the White House tonight. And Pamela, look, it's stunning and detailed rebuke. It is now, I mean, the number of people, right, originally we started it at 370 and now we're north of 400, almost 500. Any response from the White House?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that number continues to grow. No official response from the White House tonight, Erin. But one official I spoke with brushed off this letter, seizing on the fact that Special Counsel Mueller didn't conclude that Trump committed a crime saying, "That's the only prosecutor's opinion that matters, not the opinions of those who signed onto this letter, according to this official."

Now, even though Mueller didn't exonerate the President on obstruction, President Trump has repeatedly touted he has been completely exonerated which is raising the question now, Erin, of why he is now seemingly reversing course and saying Mueller should not testify after saying just last week that he leave that decision up to the Attorney General who said he had no problems with smaller testifying.

Now, the White House official I spoke with said that President Trump's tweet wasn't intended as a direction or demand from the President, but it's part of the broader attitude here at the White House that the Special Counsel investigation is over and that everyone should move on and not give in to the democrats demands. But as you know, Erin, the Attorney General takes his direction from the president, so whether or not that's what was intended, what the President says publicly certainly could have an impact on whether an agreement is reached for Mueller to testify, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Pamela, thank you so much. It's so interesting as long as that an official says, "Oh, don't take it as a direction or demand." It's exactly how the President of the United States does things. He doesn't direct or demand, he just directs or demands if you know what I mean.

All right, out front now, two former federal prosecutors who signed that letter. Jeffrey Harris, worked as the Principal Assistant to Rudy Giuliani when he was at the Justice Department in the Reagan administration, also served as Deputy Associate Attorney General during the Carter administration. And Jack Weiss, was Assistant United States Attorney during the Clinton administration.

So Jeffrey, let me start with you, one of the lines that I quoted, quote, not a matter of close professional judgment. Why do you believe this is so black and white when you read the Mueller report and there is more than enough to indict, I'm sorry, on multiple felony charges?

JEFFREY HARRIS, FORMER PRINCIPAL ASSISTANT TO RUDY GIULIANI AT DOJ: Well, when you read the Mueller report, it's not just one instance of what is conduct that would be obstruction of justice. For example, if you tell a witness to lie, that's enough. That's obstruction right there. If the witness is a witness in a federal criminal case. if you read the statute, it's pretty clear. And what the Mueller report describes is multiple instances over a long period of time, any one of which would probably be enough to indict a person who wasn't the president.

[19:05:16] BURNETT: All right. So Jack, I want to play what the Attorney General said to Congress last week when he was asked whether there was just enough there.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The government has to prove things beyond a reasonable doubt and as the report shows there's ample evidence on the other side of the ledger that would prevent the government from establishing that.


BURNETT: All right. But you also think that that's just not true and you all very explicit here on the areas where you think he's dead wrong that you think it's very black and white. Tell us what those are, where you think the charges are so clear, Jack?

JACH WEISS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. No, he's dead wrong. It's black and white. And I'll just say that it's not only former prosecutors such as Jeffrey and myself, but I dare say that if people in DOJ currently were allowed if it were at all proper which it isn't to sign such a letter. You'd have an overwhelming response as well.

I'll just give you one example of why I feel strongly about it. When Trump orders Corey Lewandowski to go, make that back channel to Jefferson Sessions to try to get Sessions to unrecuse himself. That's not an official act. He's not acting as president directing a subordinate. Those are the sort of things that Barr has said in the past that the President is immune from prosecution for. Just the Corey Lewandowski episode alone is enough to convince me that this is a prosecutable case.

BURNETT: Right. And then obviously you all go through in the letter multiple other examples of the President's efforts to fire Mueller, obviously, Don McGahn, all of those detailed in this letter. Now, Jeffrey, the thing is though and this is what I think it's important for us to all try to understand, because it is so important, Mueller writes in his report that he didn't make a charging decision because of Justice Department precedent, the so-called OLC opinion which is you don't charge a sitting president.

So just for a moment, if we could separate from the issue of a crime, OK, whether there was a crime committed or not, and I know you both agree it's black and white, they were multiple. Do you agree with Muller's view that he can't charge a sitting president?

HARRIS: Well, no I don't and I'll tell you why. That OLC opinion doesn't contemplate a set of facts in which the criminal conduct put the person in office. So if a president while he's in office commits a tax evasion, having nothing to do with getting him elected, the OLC opinion contemplates a set of facts like that. It doesn't contemplate a set of facts wherein the criminal conduct assisted the person in achieving the office. And I think if OLC were to look at that with that set of facts, it would have arrived at a different opinion.

BURNETT: So just to be clear, I mean a lot of the things here when it regards McGahn or Comey, those were about things that happen before he was president in some case but obviously the acts were committed while in office. But you also think there are specific acts before he came into office, Jeffrey.

HARRIS: Right. And I think obstruction of justice to obstruct an investigation of those acts before he came into office would be prosecutable as well for the reason I said, the OLC opinion is old and it doesn't contemplate a set of facts where the criminal activity in the cover-up so to speak was done and helped that person achieve the office.

BURNETT: So Jack Mueller was a bit confusing in his report on one point, I want to give you all a chance to explain it. On the one hand he says he didn't make a decision because of that OLC opinion, but then he also writes that he didn't conclude the President committed a crime. I'll quote him there as Bill Barr did, "While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

So you're saying it's black and white, Mueller's report does conclude the President committed a crime, but Mueller refuses to write that. Is he saying he's not as confident as you, and Jeffrey, and nearly 500 other DOJ prosecutors? What is the reason for that?

WEISS: No, he's not. But it is this passive voice construction. The couple paragraphs at the beginning of the obstruction section of the report that are the reason we're in this mess right now. It would have been a lot cleaner. It might have been bolder and I get that Moeller is not necessarily known for his bold action behind the scenes, but it would have been cleaner if Mueller had simply gone to, OLC kicked it upstairs and said, "I have a prosecutable case. This is a case that should be charged. What do you think?"

If he had kicked it upstairs and asked for permission to indict, we would have an answer. That OLC memo that Jeffrey is referring to was drafted against the background of facts that were far, far lighter than the ones we have today.

[19:09:55] BURNETT: Right. Now, there's this dispute, Barr says, Mueller says if it wasn't the OLC decision he wouldn't have charged anyway, we don't whether we're going to hear from Mueller in testimony, we're going to get some answers here. Jeffrey, what do you think Rudy Giuliani would think of you coming to this conclusion? Do you think in his heart of hearts he agrees with you and now nearly 500 others?

HARRIS: Well, I worked with Rudy in a daily basis for five years in a variety of positions. First, we were prosecutors together. I have absolutely no doubt that the prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani, would have indicted someone who committed the acts that are put out in the Mueller report in a heartbeat. I am 100% confident to that.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate both of your time very much. And next breaking news, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refusing to hand over President Trump's tax returns to Congress. Will Democrats hold Mnuchin in contempt? Plus, the fight for 2020, it's a county President Trump barely flipped but he won it. He needs to hold on to it. Can he?


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How important are places like Saginaw going to be in 2020?

STEVE GERHARDT, CHAIR, SAGINAW COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: From our perspective, Miguel, this is ground zero.


BURNETT: And before heading off to prison, Michael Cohen takes a parting shot at the man he once said he would take a bullet for.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day that I can share the truth.


[19:14:52] BURNETT: Breaking news, defying the deadline to turn over Trump's taxes. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin tonight refusing to hand over President Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee. Mnuchin telling the Democratic Committee Chairman Neal, quote, in reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, I have determined that the Committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose and the Department is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns.

Out front now Democratic Congressman and presidential candidate Eric Swalwell. And I appreciate your time, good to have you with me. So Secretary Mnuchin just come out with this news, Congressman, saying this is unprecedented, no way, not going to do it, it's illegal, there's no legitimate legislative purpose, your reaction?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening, Erin. It would actually be breaking news if Steve Mnuchin was turning over the tax returns, because in this lawless White House no one seems to follow the rules anymore. It is troubling though that it appears that Attorney General Barr was involved in this decision if Mnuchin's advice was coming from the Department of Justice which is all of the more reason that we should move immediately to impeach the Attorney General who has lied to Congress, missed his own subpoena deadline and now is encouraging as an accomplice to others to not follow the law.

BURNETT: All right. So I want to ask you about that impeachment because first of all, obviously, your Committee is moving to a vote on holding Attorney General Barr in contempt. So when it comes to Mnuchin who is as you point out, that's why I kept that preface in there to that sentence, in reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, do you think Mnuchin should also be held in contempt?

SWALWELL: I think there have to be consequences and I'm going to leave that to the chair for now, but I personally think, yes, that if you're not going to follow the law, it's time for people to start having consequences. For far too long we've allowed this president and his underlings to continue to obstruct. And when we lose the rule of law in America, it's not just a concept, it's everything. It allows free markets, free ideas, and a freedom to dream and we don't want to look like countries that don't have a rule of law.

BURNETT: So let me ask you, because you say we need to move now to impeach Attorney General Barr. Obviously, your Committee, Democrats on your committee, House Judiciary, are merely trying to have a vote on Attorney General Bill Barr regarding contempt. Why do you think they're not willing to go as far as you are?

SWALWELL: Well, some members of the committee have already called for that, Veronica Escobar from Texas has also called for impeachment of Attorney General Barr. I think that's where we ultimately end up. We got a letter today from the Department of Justice which was frankly insulting, which is showing that they're not going to cooperate with giving us the full Mueller report. We're not going to hear from Attorney General Barr who didn't show up last week.

And there seems to be no acknowledgement that he lied to Congress a few weeks ago when he said he had never heard from Bob Mueller or any of the complaints that he had when indeed Bob Mueller had sent a letter to him.

BURNETT: So you mentioned this insulting letter. I want to ask you, because Barr obviously doesn't think he's being insulting, he's trying to work with your committee in good faith over an unredacted version of the Mueller report and what exactly that entails vis-a-vis Grand Jury and other information. He wants to meet with your Committee on Wednesday, his staff does with your staff to resolve this dispute.

Obviously, Wednesday is the day you're supposed to hold your vote on contempt. Are you willing to try to work with him in good faith or this is all way too far? You're done there.

SWALWELL: No, no, no, absolutely, if he's going to give us the full report, then I think we could start to back off. I still think there have to be consequences for lying to Congress.

BURNETT: Yes, but he's clearly not saying he's going to give you the full report. He wants to negotiate with you.

SWALWELL: He's not going to give us the full report.

BURNETT: You're saying it's hopeful report or impeach, there's no middle ground for you?

SWALWELL: For me, yes, and also again I want people to understand why this is important. The report lays out 200 pages of links between the Trump campaign and the Russians and there was never a sentence that said, "By the way, these contact stops."

So if we're going to protect the country from future interference campaigns, we need to understand just exactly what Russia did and we are not in the position to do that if the Attorney General is going to protect the President and act as his lawyer and not as Americans.

BURNETT: So obviously you're running for the Democratic nomination to face President Trump in 2020.

SWALWELL: There's also that going on, yes.

BURNETT: So, OK, yesterday the President tweeted, quote, "Despite the tremendous success that I've had as President, they have stolen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back." And this came after, Congressman, Trump had retweeted Jerry Falwell Jr. when he said, "I now support reparations, Trump should have 2 years added to his first term as payback for time stolen by this corrupt fail coup." How seriously do you take this talk from President Trump, talking about people stealing years of his presidency, retweeting someone talking about a coup?

SWALWELL: I take it very seriously. One, it's an insult to the African-American community to even talk about reparations in that manner. But, second, again this is what we are up against, a president who does not respect the law at all whether it's an oversight function from Congress, whether it's enforcing the law at the border and allowing refugees to come here and be processed, whether it's defending the right to have not be charged more for pre- existing conditions on your health care. He doesn't respect it at all.

The best thing we can do is to just absolutely show up, overwhelm the ballot box in 2020 and then make democratic reforms. And to your last panel, I'll just say this, I pledge as president on day one I will get rid of that OLC opinion that says a president cannot be indicted, because clearly he feels like he's immune right now and able to do this.

[19:20:26] BURNETT: So you talk about an overwhelming victory at the ballot box and the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend talked to The New York Times. She said she's concerned that President Trump will not give up power voluntarily if he loses reelection by a slim margin. She's making that same point, it's got to be an overwhelming victory. But what she said is she's concerned he won't give up power voluntarily. Is that any more responsible than Trump tweeting about a coup?

SWALWELL: That relates to a president when he was a candidate said that the election was going to be rigged, who during the midterm elections talked about illegal votes. After the election said that votes in California were coming from illegal sources. He has tried to set this up for a long time and so you're in this position of like, do you voice your concern now before it actually happens or do you say it when it's too late and now he's refusing to leave office and insisting that he can stay for two more years. I think you have to do it now and take this guy at his word otherwise we could all pay the price for it later.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time as always, Congressman.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the fight for 2020, moderate Republicans in Michigan benefiting from Trump's economy.


MARQUEZ: How big does the economy factor in to the 2020 race?



BURNETT: But does that mean they'll vote for Trump? And it's called a castle behind bars, a revealing look inside the prison where Michael Cohen is spending his first night tonight.


[19:26:19] BURNETT: Tonight, the fight for 2020, President Trump riding high from a strong job support tweeting, "You can't impeach a president for creating the best economy in our country's history." Best economy in history? Well, the big question is whether voters in the swing states think that's true or not. Miguel Marquez is out front in Michigan a state Trump won by only 0.2 percentage points.


MARQUEZ(voice-over): Saginaw, Michigan for several years now the once thriving industrial city growing again. Many Republicans here credit the President.


TOM ROY, SAGINAW REPUBLICAN: I believe that the economy is going to help him take victory again in 2020.


MARQUEZ(voice-over): Early in his 2016 run then candidate Trump campaigned here, it paid off. He carried Saginaw County by a little more than a point after Barack Obama won it by double digits in his two runs. Trump became the first Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984 to capture Michigan by a margin of fewer than 11,000 votes.

Construction here booming with projects started long before 2016.


GREENE: This is all electrical here, instrumentation ... (END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ(voice-over): Jimmy Green trains apprentices for the construction industry. In 2012, he had 126 trainees. Today he has over 600.


MARQUEZ: Have you seen new big projects in Saginaw since the 2016 election?



MARQUEZ(voice-over): Green, a lifelong moderate Republican, he's no fan of the President who he says will have a tough time repeating his Saginaw County win in 2020.


MARQUEZ: How big does the economy factor in to the 2020 race?

GREEN: It is the factor. There is absolutely nothing else that President Trump can hold his or hang his hat on.


MARQUEZ(voice-over): Still the unemployment rate here lagging the historically low 3.6 percent national average. In the worst of the recession, Saginaw County saw 14 percent unemployment. Today, it's around 5 percent.


MARQUEZ: How important are places like Saginaw going to be in 2020?

GERHARDT: From our perspective, Miguel, this is ground zero.


MARQUEZ(voice-over): He says voters will see through controversies in the Trump administration and base their vote on their pocketbook.


GERHARDT: It's not so much to just ask the question are you better off. Make the statement. We are better off because we're together and we're moving this economy forward with strength.


MARQUEZ(voice-over): Cody Smith, Co-Founder of Oracle Brewing says at least in the brewing world business could be better.


from 20 percent growth to about 5 percent growth year after year.


MARQUEZ(voice-over): For now he and Saginaw holding on and growing both trying to diversify and looking forward to better days ahead.



MARQUEZ: Now, one thing giving Democrats hope here in Saginaw County is that the county voted for both the Democratic governor and senator. They went on to win their races in Michigan in the midterms last year, but all voters here is saying that the economy will loom large to whoever wins Michigan in 2020, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Miguel. I want to go to now to Jennifer Granholm, former Democratic Governor of Michigan and Rich Lowry, Editor of the National Review. All right, Governor, you know the State well, you heard a Republican voter there saying, "I believe the economy is going to help Trump take victory again in 2020." Obviously, we're talking about two-tenths of a percentage point of the county Miguel was in. Is he right?

[19:29:58] FORMER GOVERNOR JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D-MI): Well, certainly for some people in Michigan, the economy is going to be doing better if you have investments in the stock market. The economy is going to be doing better for you except for maybe today and yesterday, after the China stuff.

[19:30:02] But the bottom line is half of Michiganders don't own stock. Half of Michiganders don't have pension, I mean, they don't have retirement.

I mean, it's like there are -- I want to get back to the time when John Edwards used to say, it's like there are two Americas. And that's very true in Michigan, it's true all over the country, that there are so many people who do not feel it.

In fact, there was a "Wall Street Journal" poll last month when tax season was around that said that 17 percent only -- 17 percent felt like they got a tax cut. The rest did not. So it's not trickling down to real people on the ground.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: It's interesting you say that, because on that, it's one of those things, the reality is the vast majority got a tax cut. People don't perceive it. It's a complicated thing with refunds. Perceptions matter, though, Rich.

But also this point of two Americas. Kamala Harris is campaigning in Michigan. She's been there yesterday and today, and here's one of the things she just said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's speak the truth. The economy of our country is not working for working people. Well, how do we know that? Almost half of American families cannot afford a $400 unexpected expense in our country today. And 99 percent of the counties in our country if you are a minimum wageworker working full-time you cannot afford market rate for a one-bedroom apartment.


BURNETT: Look, she's speaking to something there. Miguel had another Republican voter who's saying he's not feeling the effect of Trump's economic policies. You know, the governor referred to one poll. There's another, right, 12 percent of Americans feel they're benefitting a great deal from the Trump economy.

How big of a problem is this for Trump?

RICH LOWRY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think this is actually one of the hallmarks of the Trump economy we're finally beginning to see wage growth down at the lower end of the income scale. So the Obama administration you saw higher wage growth at the top driven by corporate profits at the bottom. Wages are usually driven more by a tight labor market and demand for workers.

And with unemployment finally getting so low and job growth continuing to be so high, you're seeing wages begin to increase down for blue collar workers and -- the president has to hope so but conditions are finally beginning to reach -- economic growth is finally beginning to reach further down than it has since this recovery started.

BURNETT: So, Governor, how important are those polls? How closely are you watching people's perception?

GRANHOLM: Totally watching. The guy on the piece you just ran who said the economy is the thing, and it is the thing in Michigan. You know, obviously Michigan used to be the state we proudly brag that we created the middle class, we had unions who were negotiating over time and pensions and health care. And the union numbers have dropped significantly because of right to work legislation that was passed.

And so, people feel economically insecure. You've got -- Forbes did a survey that said a third of Americans are participating in the gig economy. Those numbers are counted as employment. So, if somebody is driving an Uber and they don't have a pension and they don't have health care and they're don't have overtime and they're working 14 hours, they don't feel secure.

So, no matter what's happening at the top of the economy, on the ground, people aren't necessarily feeling that.

BURNETT: The reality, Rich, is usually, you know, say, it's the economy, stupid, right? I mean, everybody knows. That's what you're supposed to focus on.

And yet there's something about this year some people think could be different. And Kamala Harris refers to part of it. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, transphobia is real in this country, and these are old forms of hate that have in the last two years received new fuel.


BURNETT: Does that message resonate?

LOWRY: It resonates to the Democratic base. I don't think it's a winning message for the middle with such an emphasis on -isms.

But I think this is a big question for the election going forward. Do people care more about Trump's personal conduct, which is clearly suppressing his job approval numbers, or they care, at the end of the day, more about material conditions which are definitely improving and definitely for the lower end of the income scale? And you saw the CNN poll last week, Trump's approval rating in the mid-40s, where it's been for the very long time, but he's above water on the economy, which is usually the indicator that it's most important to an incumbent president.

GRANHOLM: Erin, can I just quickly say, you know, what Kamala Harris is referring to is that people are feeling insecure and unsafe.

[19:35:00] I mean, it's not just isms. I mean, when the Anti- Defamation League just came out with a report saying hate crimes against the Jewish community have doubled since 2018, in 2018, but that's feeling insecure.

So there's economic insecurity and there is physical insecurity. People feeling unsafe because of the culture that's been created. Both of those are really important.


LOWRY: Well, I would not bank on -- I wouldn't bank on the methodology of that study but that's a longer discussion. But wages are definitely growing, for the first time really robustly down further the income scale. So, you're right. A lot of people feel economically insecure in this country. They have for a very long time, and it's finally improving thanks in part to Trump's economics.

BURNETT: Well, we'll see. Character versus cash, maybe what it comes down. Thank you both.

LOWRY: Good iteration. (INAUDIBLE)


BURNETT: And next, Michael Cohen about to spend his first night behind bars. Only this is no ordinary prison.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you like diner food, then you're going to like the food at Otisville.


BURNETT: Plus, a shocking admission from Boeing. The company revealing it knew about a flaw with one of its alert systems a year before one of two deadly crashes involving that system. Why would the airlines never notified?


BURNETT: Tonight, the man who once said he'd take a bullet for Donald Trump now taking a parting shot at him instead.

[19:40:02] Here's what Trump's former personal lawyer and long time fixer Michael Cohen said before beginning his three-year prison sentence tonight.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends, that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country. There still remains much to be told, and I look forward to the day that I can share the truth.


BURNETT: Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The prospect of heading to federal prison sounds ominous to most people, but if you have to go, prison experts say Michael Cohen made the right choice.

LARRY LEVINE, PRISON CONSULTANT AND FORMER INMATE: It's like a boys camp. It's like when you're a kid and you're going to summer camp. They don't lock the doors. There's no fences there.

CARROLL: This is the federal correction institution at Otisville. It's where Cohen is serving his three-year sentence for among other things campaign finance violations. The facility nestled about 70 miles northwest of New York City has been called a castle behind bars. "Forbes" magazine once ranked it one of America's ten cushiest prisons.


CARROLL: It's the prison where fictional character Gordon Gecko played by Michael Douglas did his time for white collar crimes in a 2010 film "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1993, he was sent off to Otisville --

CARROLL: It's a who's who among real life white collar criminals. Bernie Madoff wanted to serve his sentence in Otisville. Disgraced InClone founder Sam Waksal spent time here. Fire Festival convicted con man Billy McFarland and Jersey Shore tax evader Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino now on the roster of the facility's infamous inmates.

Sorrentino's former co-stars have been in touch with him. Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi says he's been getting in workouts. Vinny and D.J. Pauly D weighing in with details.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, Snooki quoted as saying he's having the best time of his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a little treat. It's a little Snookish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a getaway and it's not what I thought it was going to be. There's no bars, like, you know, there's not that many people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. If they let you sleep-in late, I would go in a second.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a vacation from your life.

CARROLL (on camera): Don't take their word for it. The prison's own website describes all of the activities available to inmates here including bocce ball and tennis. Perhaps it's no wonder Waksal once described his time spent here as a sleep away camp in the Catskills.

(voice-over): And then there's the food.

FRANK J. RICCIO II, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER: If you like diner food, then you're going to like the food at Otisville. It's not what is commonly referred to as prison food.

CARROLL: Our check of the snack items include raw almonds, creamy dill potato chips, turkey bacon, herbal tea. Not bad choices. Perhaps it's no wonder prison experts call it a Club Fed if there ever was one.


CARROLL: And, Erin, a little bit more about Cohen here at Otisville, wakeup is at 6:00 a.m., lights out at 11:30. He'll be assigned a job while he's here, but as you heard there in the piece, he'll have plenty of time for extracurricular activities. But having said that it's still a prison and he's still going to have to adjust to life as an inmate.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

Next, Boeing engineers knew they had a problem with their 737 MAX jets one year before the first deadly crash. Why are we just learning about this now? Drew Griffin investigates. Plus, Jeanne on why there was a coffee cup in final scene of "Game of



[19:47:40] BURNETT: Boeing knew about a flaw with its 737 MAX plane and did nothing about it. Boeing admitting that a full year before the first fatal crash, it was aware a safety alert system was not working on all of its MAX planes. But Boeing did not disclose this until the first of two fatal crashes.

Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: A year before the doomed Lion Air flight crash, Boeing engineers discovered they had a problem with their new 737 MAX airplane. An alert system that was supposed to be standard on all the 737 MAXes was mistakenly made optional, part of an upgraded safety package that cost airlines extra. The disagree alert system tells pilots whether one of the two AOA sensors on the side of the plane is malfunctioning, sending incorrect data about the airplane's angle and flight.

In both 737 MAX crashes, a single malfunctioning AOA sensor triggered a powerful anti-stall system called MCAS which forced the nose of the plane down as the pilots struggled for control. Boeing engineers decided the missing alert was not a safety issue, didn't have to be fixed immediately and didn't tell anyone until after the Lion Air crash.

The reason: AOA sensor on alerts have never been considered safety features on commercial jet transport airplanes. But Boeing 737 MAX is different from other planes. It's powerful MCAS software can take over the plane's controls and flight and that system is triggered by a single AOA sensor, a sensor that's known to fail.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: You can fly an aircraft without an AOA sensor, you certainly can. But can you do it when it's pushing the nose of the aircraft down erroneously? No, you can't. You have no hope. It has to go down.

GRIFFIN: Former FAA safety official David Soucie says the accidents have proven Boeing's reliance on past procedures is flawed, and today, the chairman of Ethiopian Airlines says Boeing needs to go back to square one with its 737 MAX.

TEWOLDE GEBREMARIAM, CEO OF ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES: Their entire flight control system design needs to be reviewed.

GRIFFIN: As CNN previously reported, Boeing never flight tested what would happen if the sensor malfunctioned. A former Boeing test pilot telling CNN: Apparently, we missed the ramifications of the failure of that AOA probe.

AOA censors have been known to fail. [19:50:01] A CNN review of FAA records shows AOA sensors have problems

on at least 216 commercial flights since 2004.

Sometimes forcing pilots to make emergency landings or abort takeoffs, 42 of them happened on Boeing planes.


GRIFFIN: Erin, unbelievably, not only did airlines and pilots not know this safety alert wasn't working correctly but the FAA says it doesn't know, either, which is raising even more issues about who is overseeing the safety of the planes and if Boeing really can be trusted to essentially inspect itself -- Erin.

BURNETT: That's incredible. All right, Drew, thank you very much.

I want to go now to former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz.

I mean, Peter, it is pretty incredible what Drew just laid out there. I mean, Boeing knew a year before the Lion Air crash that this flaw existed, they did not do anything about it, and only admitted it yesterday?

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: It really quite extraordinary, Erin. This has been like peeling back an onion from the very first day trying to get Boeing and in some cases the FAA to be candid about what we were facing. The idea that the Boeing engineers at a midlevel felt confident enough to make the decision not to tell anyone, not even to tell upper management or to tell the FAA is just extraordinary.

BURNETT: So, you know, Boeing has more than 10,000 planes in service worldwide, just commercial, right? It's about half of all planes, right? They have a sort of duopoly there.


BURNETT: If they knew about this for a year and did nothing, what does it say about inspecting themselves, Drew raising that question? I mean, does it raise other questions about Boeing planes and other things we may not know about?

GOELZ: Well, I think it does -- that's the problem. It throws the whole system into question. If Boeing felt comfortably doing this and not telling anyone, is there something else there?

I think the review of the 737 MAX is going to be extensive and this plane is not going to go back in the air outside of the U.S. very quickly. It has lost the trust of other regulators around the world.

BURNETT: Which is, of course, a pretty scary thing. It's our largest exporter for the United States, Boeing is. And everything is built on trust. Politics, business, thanks.

GOELZ: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Jeanne on the "Game of Thrones "coffee cameo to go that has everyone buzzing.


[19:56:52] BURNETT: So, everyone was watching "Game of Thrones" when a really strange thing appeared in a fantasy land, a to-go coffee cup. Did the producers of epically expensive "Game of Thrones" make a mistake like that or not?

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "The Game of Thrones" gang were guzzling out of goblets, toasting out of horns when suddenly a Starbucks cup? See if you can catch it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people get bloody murdered. They stayed at ready.

MOOS: Sharp-eyed fans --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They left a coffee cup in the --


MOOS: -- were delighted to spot on icon of the modern world in the way back fantasy land of Westeros.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're drinking wine but prefer ale.


MOOS: Somebody prefers lattes.

Twitter exploded with mockups of Winterfell sports Starbucks signage. A cup was labeled with many names the dragon queen goes by, enough to make a barista wonder how do you spell that.

Maybe they were chugging dragon milk caramel macchitos.

We kept waiting for President Trump to tweet, after all, when he warned Iran sanctions are coming, he borrowed a phrase from "Game of Thrones".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winter is coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winter is coming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Winter is coming.

MOOS: And he borrowed "game over" in the wake of the Mueller report.

Hut how about the coffee cup finally prompted this tweet from the "Game of Thrones" account. The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.

(on camera): I would rank this "Game of Thrones" gaffe somewhere between grande and venti.

(voice-over): Will it linger like the watch that movie buffs thought they saw a character wearing during the chariot scene in "Ben Hur", or the water bottle spotted on the mantle in promo photo for "Downton Abbey". Maybe the dragon queen looked so pensive because she was trying to figure out how to order her skinny cinnamon dulce latte.

One thing is for sure, some of these gung-ho "Game of Thrones "fans don't need anymore caffeination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the cup! Look at the cup!

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: I have to say, I can't imagine that was a mistake. They have done everything with such precision and perfection. I kind of believe it is on purpose. The question is why.

All right. Thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. You just have to go to CNN Go.

Have a great night. I'll see you back here tomorrow.

"AC360" with Anderson begins right now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC360": Good evening.

There are looming questions tonight on whether Robert Mueller will testify to Congress and the American people about his findings in the Russia probe with conflicting messages from the president.

Plus, the attorney general has missed a deadline made by Democrats to turnover the full, unredacted Mueller report.

We're going to get to all of that but, first, we have breaking news on another defiant move, that's becoming a pattern. The Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is refusing to give six years of the president's tax returns to House Democrats.