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Anonymous Author's Portrait of Trump; Audio Released of Stone's Testimony; Trump Ordered to Pay $2 million; Voters React in Minnesota; American Victims Laid to Rest. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired November 8, 2019 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, please help! My husband left me! They're useless. They do nothing for our country. At least if they came in with a husband, we could put him in the fields to pick corn or something.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: I -- Julie, I don't know, what -- how -- what do you think?

JULIE PACE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's both shocking and also not entirely surprising given a lot of the reporting that has happened over the last almost three years of the Trump administration. This book does seem to put some more detail on the table. Certainly the fact that this apparently comes from someone who has been in close proximity to the president and wants to share this as a warning to the public is powerful.

And it, again, it is -- it is -- a lot of this does seem believable based on what we know from reporting, that this is a president who certainly does not act in traditional ways and doesn't seem to be concerned at all about being offensive, being derogatory, particularly when it comes to minorities and ethnic groups.

SCIUTTO: And, remember, it's not just private accounts of this. The president, in public, has mimicked accents during the campaign. He mimicked Chinese accents. He mocked a disabled reporter. You know, a lot of this, as often with Trump, does not happen in secret.

One of the excerpts that struck me, Josh Dawsey, is this, and something of a change of heart from the author since this person wrote the anonymous editorial in "The New York Times." It goes, I was wrong about the quiet resistance inside the Trump administration. Unelected bureaucrats and cabinet appointees were never going to steer Donald Trump the right direction in the long run or refine his malignant management style. He is who he is. In other words, in the editorial, this person had said, hey, we're pushing back so he doesn't drive this plane, you know, into the ground, saying now, that's not enough.

JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, the president, in the early parts of his presidency, had, you know, Gary Cohn, John Kelly, Jim Mattis, a number of folks who kind of fashion themselves as adults in the room who are trying to push him maybe against some of his more unorthodox or what they saw as wayward tendencies. And those folks aren't really there anymore. I mean Mick Mulvaney, the chief of staff, has now said he has a let Trump be Trump ethos. There are very few people around the president who are pushing back on him now.

And what we are seeing right now, particularly in the past six months or so as he's handled impeachment and a number of, you know, the end of the Mueller report has been kind of unfiltered Trump. And I think there's kind of a perception that has increased across the people who know the president that this adults in the room mantra was never really going to work because eventually he was going to be unbridled and do what he wanted.

HARLOW: You it's interesting if you -- part of the book also talks about why the author did not put themselves forward or who they are. It's almost as if, Julie, they were anticipating the White House's statement that we got this morning calling them a coward. They write, some will call this cowardice. My feelings are not hurt by the accusation, nor am I unprepared to attach my name to criticism of President Trump. I may do so in due course.

Would that give it more heft eventually to know who it is that -- you know, apparently it's a senior administration official.

PACE: I do think --

HARLOW: And -- yes, does this make you think that they will come forward with their name?

PACE: I do think it would give it more heft if this person put their name forward --

DAWSEY: Right.

PACE: Because, one, it would give us real clarity about just how close they were to the president in a lot of these interactions.

SCIUTTO: Right.

PACE: Is this somebody who was in the room, who was, you know, in real-time observing and advising the president. It would give us real clarity on that piece of it.

But also, you know, we have lived in this -- in this space for several years where a lot of people have anonymously leaked details about the president --

DAWSEY: Right

PACE: Pretty shocking details, but haven't been willing to come forward. And that has been something that has frustrated the president's critics who say, if you feel so -- if you are so concerned about the state of the presidency and the state of the president, it is your obligation to come forward, to be straight with the American people. And this -- this author is still holding back somewhat. They're putting out tremendous detail but not willing to put in a name with that and put their own credibility on the line.

SCIUTTO: Well, what you do see, though, is a consistent picture. I mean a lot of these qualities you're hearing, and from senior officials who left as well, is consistent here.

Listen, folks, we're going to stay on top of this. We're going to learn more about this book as it does come out in the coming weeks.

Julie Pace, Josh Dawsey, thanks to both of you.

Prosecutors in Roger Stone's trial, remember him, unveiling audio that they say proves the longtime Trump confidante lied to Congress under oath. We're going to have a live report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:39:36]

SCIUTTO: Day three of the trial of Roger Stone, a key Trump confidante, is underway. And as we are hearing audio from the key moment federal prosecutors say the longtime Trump confidante lied to Congress. Stone is accused of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to Congress as well during Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Prosecutors say that Stone downplayed his efforts to get details about stolen Democratic emails, emails stolen by Russia to influence the election.

[09:40:05]

CNN's crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, joins me now.

So, Shimon, this is the first audio released from this investigation. And prosecutors at least consider it damning.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: They certainly do consider it. It's really their entire case. This audio, they say, points to the ways in which Roger Stone was lying to members of Congress about his contacts. Most significantly in all of this about his contacts and his conversations with members of the Trump campaign and then Donald Trump himself, about his activities, about his actions to try and get information on what WikiLeaks was doing, what information WikiLeaks had from the hacked emails.

And that is the crux of this case. Obviously, there's another part of this case that has to do with intimidation and that has to do with Randy Credico. But the key -- the key point of this case is the fact that Roger Stone spent time in -- before members of Congress, lying to them about his contacts with the then Trump campaign.

Jim.

SCIUTTO: Text messages here key as well. Text messages that Stone sent to comedian and radio host Randy Credico as something of a role in all this is -- cameo appearance, you might say. In one of these messages -- let's look at these messages and what they tell us. I know you're on top of it. PROKUPECZ: Yes, so the importance of these messages certainly go to

the fact that Roger Stone was trying to, prosecutes say, intimidate Randy Credico. Randy Credico, a comedian, impressionist, has been on the stand there. He's back today. It's been kind of a more lighthearted, at times funny moments in the courtroom. But it's very serious when you see these texts in the ways in which Roger Stone was trying to get Randy Credico to take the fifth, to stonewall, not cooperate with those same congressional investigators and members of Congress that Roger Stone appeared before where he'd lie, prosecutors say. Roger Stone spent time texting him, emailing him, trying to get him not to cooperate with that investigation.

SCIUTTO: I mean those words in that second text there, anything to save the plan, seems like he's describing a plan to lie, possibly to protect the president.

We'll see how the jury and the judge view that.

Shimon Prokupecz, thanks very much.

Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, also an important development. The president is settling a lawsuit and ordered to pay $2 million to various charities after a New York state judge ruled his foundation violated charity laws by working with his presidential campaign. The settlement ends a lawsuit brought by the New York AG that accuses Trump and his children of repeatedly using those charitable funds for personal and political gain.

Our Athena Jones is all over this.

Good morning, Athena.

The president has already shut down the Trump Foundation, but he tweeted he would never settle, nothing wrong, but he has.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He tweeted that he would never settle this lawsuit. He believes that it's politically motivated. We heard more of that in his statement in response to this settlement.

So, in fact, he did end up settling. Not only did he settle, he admitted to a long list of the allegations that he was accused of.

HARLOW: In the settlement he makes admissions.

JONES: In the settlement there's a long -- it's call a -- a final stipulation and he stipulates, he admits, to doing several things. Some of this has to do with self-dealing. For instance, $100,000 that was sent from the foundation to settle a lawsuit involving Mar-a-Lago. It had to do with a flagpole. There was also $10,000 spent on a portrait of Trump himself that was displayed at the Trump National Doral Golf Resort. So that's some of the self-dealing.

I should also mention, there was $25,000 sent from the charity to then-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondy. And that was fraught in a way because she was looking at the Trump Foundation and some misdoing there.

HARLOW: Right.

JONES: So that's on the self-dealing side.

But then the other part of this is this huge fundraiser he held for veterans ostensively just days before the Iowa caucuses in January of 2016. He skipped a debate with the -- other Republicans to have this fundraiser, raised $2.8 million. But then it was his campaign that doled out those funds. So they did it in a very political way to benefit him.

So these are among the things that the president has stipulated to or admitted to as part of the settlement. But in his statement he says, look, this is politically motivated. Every penny of the $19 million raised by the Trump Foundation went to great charitable causes. He's admitted the opposite.

HARLOW: Yes. Just proving that's not true.

JONES: Exactly.

HARLOW: Thank you very much, Athena. We appreciate it.

Still ahead, a Democratic lawmaker who represents a pivotal swing district in the state of Minnesota speaking out about why he opposed the impeachment inquiry. What do his constituents think? That's next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES DEHNE, FARMER AND REPUBLICAN: Very impressed. Happy he did it.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you more likely to support him in this upcoming election now?

DEHNE: Probably.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:49:39]

HARLOW: All right, so we're waiting to see if the president will take reporter questions when he walks out of the White House at any moment. He's heading to Atlanta. Of course, questions about the impeachment inquiry, et cetera, which is a polarizing topic and puts some lawmakers in a tough spot, including Minnesota Congressman Democrat Collin Peterson, one of only two Democrats in the House who voted against the impeachment inquiry resolution.

[09:50:01]

SCIUTTO: He says it's a mistake to go forward without any Republican support.

CNN's senior national correspondent, Kyung Lah, went to Peterson's district to find out how people there feel about his vote.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM FALK, FARMER AND DEMOCRAT: It's a tough district for him. You know, it's a more conservative district than it was in the past.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Minnesota's 7th congressional district, land of crops, cattle and conservatives. But with Democratic roots still showing signs of strength.

FALK: Well, I think I voted for him every time. You know, I've been a pretty local Democrat.

LAH: Farmer Jim Falk is taking about his long-time Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson. Peterson is one of only two Democrats in the House to break ranks with their party and vote against an impeachment resolution.

FALK: I don't understand why we wouldn't vote to at least examine that.

LAH (on camera): Do you understand why he in particular would not support the inquiry?

FALK: I think it's a political decision on his part.

LAH (voice over): Peterson is in a unique position. He narrowly held on to his seat by four points in 2018, two years after Trump dominated this rural district by 30 points. Organic beef farmer Luverne Forbord.

LUVERNE FORBORD, FARMER AND DEMOCRAT: And this one is my pal.

LAH: Already unhappy about the trade war's impact on farmers, this Democrat believes Peterson is out to save his political hide.

LAH (on camera): What would you have liked to have seen him do?

FORBORD: Vote for impeachment, for one thing. We need somebody that's good for the country and not just for the Republicans or the Democrats.

LAH (voice over): So turned off that in 2020 Forbord says --

FORBORD: If it's a young Republican with progressive ideas, I'd be fine with that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I get you more coffee?

LAH: The voters happy with the Democrat? Trump voters.

JAMES DEHNE, FARMER AND REPUBLICAN: Very impressed. Happy he did it.

LAH (on camera): Are you more likely to support him in this upcoming election now?

DEHNE: Probability. Yes, I think I would, you know, just for that -- probably for that reason.

LAH (voice over): Swift County, part of Minnesota's 7th district, voted for Barack Obama twice, then flipped for Donald Trump. Those swing voters on their congressman.

GLORIA GIESE, MODERATE VOTER: A brave man. It takes guts to break away from your party.

LAH (on camera): How many years do you think you voted for him?

GIESE: How many years has he run?

LAH (voice over): A political gamble in rural America that Jim Falk says may pay off.

LAH (on camera): Will you vote for him again?

FALK: I will probably vote for him again just because of my association with the party.

LAH: Democrats we spoke with say they understand why Representative Peterson had to oppose the impeachment inquiry and they also add this, if he were somehow voted out of office, they're not sure if another Democrat could ever win in this congressional district again.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Benson, Minnesota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: A lot of their lawmakers going to have decision to make now as a vote in the full House on actual impeachment comes.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Of course we're going to stay on top of it.

The Mexican military on high alert this morning near a remote Mormon community. This after the murders of nine Americans, all of them women and children. More of them will be laid to rest today. Just incredibly sad losses for these families. We're going to have a live report from Mexico, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:57:50]

SCIUTTO: Later today, six more victims of Monday's deadly just horrible ambush on a family in northern Mexico will be laid to rest. That includes eight-month-old twins.

HARLOW: Unbelievable. The three other victims were buried yesterday in those plain, wooden caskets. Before the funeral, the Mexican military set up checkpoints and patrolled the roads leading to the remote Mormon community where the victims lived.

We still do not have a motive for this mass killing.

Patrick Oppmann is with us again this morning from Mexico City.

What more can you tell us, Patrick, about those being laid to rest today?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, four of them are small children. The majority of the victims of this horrendous attack were children. And it just goes to show, one, how coldblooded the killers were and the lawlessness that exists. And for many Mexicans, this is just a way of life. Over 30,000 violent deaths in this country last year. Reports in others part of the country today of other shoot-outs between cartels that cost the lives of innocent people, bystanders. It says a lot, though, that the killings on Monday of the American Mormons, this community in northern Mexico, has shocked people here because, obviously, people who have nothing to do with the cartels, women and children, were (INAUDIBLE) don't know why.

And it's interesting, you know, the government has not said anything more in the last day or so. The Mexican president was just doing a press conference this morning and said nothing about these attacks.

But the details that have been coming out are somewhat telling. And one of them is really striking is that, according to Mexican officials, there was an hour that passed between the first and the second attacks. So that means that the cartel gunmen that opened up on these mothers and their children, you would assume they would have known that they were firing at civilians and yet they waited an hour to then carry out a second attack. It just doesn't seem coincidental or by accident that these killings took place.

HARLOW: Not at all. Not at all.

SCIUTTO: Just disgusting. Yes.

[10:00:00]

HARLOW: The family deserves answers as soon as possible.

Patrick, thank you very much for staying on this for us.