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Trump Indicted on 30 Counts; Michael Cohen Weighs in on Trump Indictment; Gwyneth Paltrow Found Not Liable in Ski Crash. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 31, 2023 - 00:00   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: For being here. So Katelyn, what should Americans expect on Tuesday when Donald Trump is scheduled to turn himself in?


KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, this will be a highly-coordinated and historic moment, obviously, with Donald Trump being the first president, former president to ever face criminal charges like this.

And he will be going to New York City. We know that already. We also know from the district attorney in Manhattan that they're -- they have been in touch with Donald Trump's team to coordinate this, to make sure that he is going to be surrendering.

So what's going to happen is he does have to travel to New York, and he is going to be facing his charges, arrested like anyone else. He will be able to voluntarily self-bring -- voluntarily bring himself in, but he will have to appear in court. He'll be fingerprinted and such.

And there are going to be pain -- there will be -- they will make -- painstakingly make sure that he is treated like any other type of defendant. He will be photographed. He will be provided a room to talk to people in. He will be brought before the judge. He'll be read his charges. His lawyers will then be able to enter a plea for him, which by all indication, it appears he'll say he is not guilty and that he is going to fight these charges.

And then of course, though, there is always the political side of this. And the scene, it is Manhattan, and there's always a question of what Donald Trump and his supporters will be doing in there and to keep the focus on that proceeding in the courthouse.

CAMEROTA: Alayna, do we have reporting on what the mood is inside Trump world?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We do, Alisyn. I mean Trump's team is scrambling. They had been expecting, potentially, an indictment at some point, but I spoke with some of his advisers tonight, and they said that they were, quote, "blindsided" by the fact that it came this evening. So they're really scrambling right now. And I'll also just add that I'd actually say, increasingly in the past several days, given that there hadn't been an indictment from the grand jury, I think that Trump and his team had increasingly been thinking maybe this isn't going to happen after all.

We also saw Donald Trump on Truth Social say in the last 48 hours that he has great respect for the grand jury and seemed to believe -- and he projected this himself on Truth Social -- that he seemed to believe that maybe they were second-guessing a potential indictment. Of course, that did not happen.

Now I'll also say that Donald Trump, as much as he is projecting confidence and thinks that he's going to be -- come out on top of this. We saw this in his statement tonight. He argued that he thinks he'll be victorious in the end.

This is a really jarring moment for him. He has not been arrested before. He's, I think, really scared of actually having to go through this process. And as much as him and his team are saying that they're projecting confidence, it is a scary moment.

And I remember -- it reminds me of just thinking about this -- all of this coming out tonight. It reminds me of my reporting during Donald Trump's first impeachment when, even though a lot of his allies thought that a potential impeachment trial would be potentially politically beneficial to him, he did not want to have an impeached president on his resume.

And it's very similar, I think, right now. As much as I think a lot of people are arguing that, potentially, this indictment could politically benefit him in the long run, he doesn't want to be indicted.

And he's going to say otherwise. Publicly, he's going to say otherwise to reporters. but at the end of the day he's been trying to avoid an arrest and indictments for the past several decades, and I think it's really a scary moment for him tonight.

CAMEROTA: Alayna, Katelyn, thank you very much for your reporting.

I want to bring in now CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers, a former U.S. attorney; also former congressmen Max Rose and Lee Zeldin are back with us. We're joined by L.Z. Granderson, an op-ed columnist for "The Los Angeles Times." Thanks so much for being here tonight.

So Jen, this was -- this had been this widely anticipated moment, and then it had sort of simmered down over the past couple of days. And then it was back tonight, and it really happened.

Given everything that you've heard -- Michael Cohen was on earlier with us live -- everything that you know about this case, do you think it's a strong case?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do think it's a strong case, and it's not only because of the fact that they have Michael Cohen and David Pecker as two strong witnesses. They have documents and so on. But I believe in Alvin Bragg and his team. I mean, these guys are

smart people. And if they say that this legal theory, to the extent that this is what we think it's going to be, right, the hush-money payments with the campaign finance enhancement to the misdemeanor, making it a felony. They're the experts in New York state law.

There's a first time for everything. So all of these kind of questions about is it the right legal theory; you know, is Michael Cohen going to be destroyed on the stand, like I think that they know what they're doing. I think they got this. So I do think it's a strong case.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, your thoughts?

MAX ROSE (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: You know, this is a moment in time right now where we have to ask ourselves questions we've never asked ourselves before.

If Donald Trump stays as a candidate, which he most certainly will, now his chances of winning the primary have dramatically increased. Will we actually have a presidential election where one of the candidates is standing trial? What happens if he's convicted?

These questions that we are just -- does the Secret Service escort him from prison if he wins?


I mean, I'll leave the legal analysis to you, but thinking politically now, it is awfully scary, and I say this as a Democrat.

We need to be judicious. We need to make sure that this process is separated from politics. And we have to make sure that we are considering the answers to these questions every single step of the way, because nothing is for certain any longer.

CAMEROTA: L.Z., your thoughts tonight?

L.Z. GRANDERSON, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": You know, Omar Little from "The Wire" had a phrase that everyone likes to repeat, which is, "If you come for the king, you best not miss."

So I'm going to assume, like everyone else, he has seen "The Wire." He knows that quote, and so the D.A. has enough information that he doesn't think he's going to miss.

Because to your point, if he does miss, if he goes after Donald Trump, and it comes out to be weak or flat or found not to be guilty, I don't know if that's going to be sail or wind beneath his wings to help him get to the White House.

But what it will do is put even more question into our judicial system, which we cannot afford to have considering what the Supreme Court looks like and also considering what the federal court looks like because of all the appointees from the previous president.

CAMEROTA: Congressman? LEE ZELDIN (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: A lot of people are going

to view this as a political prosecution. I have a slightly different view of Alvin Bragg.

He is somebody, on his first day that he came into office, he issued his day one memo. All different kinds of crimes across the board he said that he would not charge. A bunch of other offenses, he said he would treat his lesser included.

CAMEROTA: Some of those, he -- I feel like you and I have had this conversation. Some of those he said were outdated. One of the crimes was adultery. He's no longer going to prosecute. Some of them, he was doing this because they were outdated. I feel like sometimes Republicans --

GRANDERSON: It's a good thing he included adultery. Because the indictment could e a little longer.

CAMEROTA: My point is, is that it's not -- he didn't do this about murder. He didn't do this about, you know, really violent.

ZELDIN: So a couple things on that. One is my opinion is if you're the district attorney, and you don't like all these different laws, you go up to the state legislature, and you say, we need to change the law, in my opinion. You don't just decide, I'm just not going to prosecute any of these offenses.

Secondly, there's also been an issue on the specific application of the law in individual cases. The Jose Alba case, for example. This Dominican American, he works at a bodega in Manhattan. He gets attacked. He's defending himself.

Alvin Bragg sends Jose Alba to Rikers Island, asks for hundreds of thousands dollars of bail. He had an open stab wound at the time. The person who stabbed him never got charged with anything.

You can analyze that case all different kinds of ways.

Or the ax thrower on Delancey Street at the McDonald's in Lower Manhattan who went swinging at customers and tables and walls and ended up getting released as -- a moment after he got arrested, essentially was laughing it all off and got interviewed by the media the next day.

And it was -- it was bragging about how he carries this hatchet around with him.

So I think that there is a perception issue that you're not -- you're not dealing with a law-and-order prosecutor.

Now there are other people out there who are defending Alvin Bragg, and I get it. I'm just saying that there are some people who have been pretty critical of Alvin Bragg, and by the way, I'm on him.

GRANDERSON: Are you upset at open-carry hatchets, but not open-carry guns? Is that what I just heard? ZELDIN: Well, if you show up with a hatchet into McDonald's, and you

start swinging it at customers --

GRANDERSON: I'm just -- I just picked up on the open hatchet sort of issue.

ZELDIN: -- walls.

GRANDERSON: That seems new to me.

ZELDIN: And you start hitting tables and you end up getting instantly released back out on the street.

And by the way, if he was out there with, you know, with any type of a weapon, I would say that you shouldn't be instantly released right -- right back out on the street.

I would say one thing, by the way, on the politics.


ZELDIN: If -- if I was Donald Trump on Tuesday, I would go on a plane to wherever I could get, you know, a record-sized crowd and show strength. He is running. I agree with Max that he is actually going to end up, I believe, as far as the Republican primary goes, I think he's going to become stronger because of it. I think he's more likely to become the nominee.

GRANDERSON: What does that say about Republican voters, if you become stronger after an indictment?

ZELDIN: Well, there's a belief that it's a political prosecution, that --

GRANDERSON: I understand that.

ZELDIN: -- he's being targeted.

GRANDERSON: My whole thing about with the witch hunt is don't be a witch. So if it's a witch hunt, which you know, we could argue, but he's still a witch, right?

RODGERS: Here's the thing about this political prosecution argument. If Alvin Bragg is bringing this because Donald Trump is a Republican, that is so dumb. And I will tell you, Alvin is not dumb.

And the reason it's dumb is because, when you go to court, and you're in front of this jury, you don't get to tell them, Ladies and gentlemen, he's a Republican. He has these terrible, draconian policies. Let's please convict him on that basis.

You have to bring facts. You have to use the law. You have to convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt, unanimously. You don't get to use politics.

So if you do that in the charging, and you can't do that in the trial, it doesn't work. He hasn't done it.

ROSE: That's a fantastic point. And I would say that, obviously, a cornerstone of our constitutional democracy is an independent, trustworthy judiciary that has the faith and confidence of the people.


Now it is imperative -- and we have controls, as you just mentioned; they're known as the court of law -- for our prosecutors to have checks and balances.

But what's also critical is that our elected leaders express faith and confidence in the integrity of our system, because we cannot look at this case in a silo.

Every single person now that is arraigned or prosecuted or charged by the Manhattan district attorney or district attorneys across the country, we cannot have people saying, Well, that was a Democrat; that was a Republican. That's not what this country is based on.

And that's why it is disappointing the rhetoric being used by Republicans right now, charging this as political when they do not actually have any evidence that is political in nature, other than the fact that Alvin Bragg's a Democrat and Donald Trump is a Republican.

ZELDIN: I would just add -- add to that, though, I mean, Alvin Bragg before he even took office, he was saying that he was going to make this a personal top priority of his.

I mean, when you were interviewing Michael Cohen just a little while ago, he was telling you about his meetings directly with Alvin Bragg, over and over and over again. I think he said something like 10 times.

So Alvin Bragg personally, before even took office, before he even knew what the angle was going to be, which was part of the, you know, the CNN stories from 2021 as he was talking about this case. He didn't even -- he wasn't even yet briefed on the case, and he was talking about how -- how going after Donald Trump was going to be his highest priority.

ROSE: It is just so fascinating, how the basis of the argument in support of Donald Trump has actually nothing to do with the merits of the case.

In fact, the entire Republican leadership wants to avoid discussing the actual case and wants to go after the prosecutor. And that very fact alone shows that, as far as the prosecutor goes --


ROSE: It's embarrassing.

GRANDERSON: As someone who really has been in and out of court system my entire life, I mean, and that's not an exaggeration. What, 1970s, he was brought on trial? Like, so this is someone who's been a celebrity and has been dealing with the court system my entire life. So the idea that someone who was born and raised in New York, like the

D.A., wouldn't have that information, as well, as long as everyone else, knowing you're right. This could be politically motivated on the outside looking in. But we also know we're dealing with someone with a long history of having a disregard for the law.

CAMEROTA: But none of that should be relevant.

GRANDERSON: None of it should be, but -- but you do see other court cases bring up the previous cases that the defendant had. So if you have been charged with something, a crime, for instance, right? And we have a legal analyst right here, who can certainly back me up on this. If you have a prior record with similar crimes, they will bring that up to help support the case that there's a -- there's a pattern there.

RODGERS: Well, that -- No, not unless the person testifies. I mean, if Donald Trump can't help himself and he gets on the stand, then it's more or less fair game with some of his prior bad acts, but otherwise, usually not.

CAMEROTA: All right. Friends, thank you very much.

Stick around, everybody, because up next, Donald Trump's former lawyer and self-described fixer, who we were just talking about, Michael Cohen. He testified in the Manhattan D.A.'s investigation multiple times. He spoke to Don Lemon and me tonight, and our interview with him is right after this.


ROSE: We'll bring in more cards next time. (ph) A

CAMEROTA: All right. Donald Trump's indictment by a Manhattan grand jury was anticipated for weeks, but still tonight, it caught many people by surprise, including, according to sources, the former president himself.

One person who was not surprised was Michael Cohen. Don Lemon and I sat down with Trump's former attorney, Cohen, and he is candid about this case, his own conviction. And he talks about how he thinks Donald Trump is reacting tonight behind closed doors.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I do truly believe that this case is very different than the way that so many of these talking heads want it declared.

I mean, how many people have been on this station sitting there, Oh, Michael Cohen is a convicted perjurer. Yes, that happens to be accurate.


COHEN: I did. I pled guilty to 1,001 violations. CAMEROTA: And does that make the case more -- on more flimsy grounds?

COHEN: No. No. Why? Well, first of all, you have to finish the sentence, and what's the sentence? The sentence that you have to finish is -- which I did at the direction of, in coordination with and for the benefit of Donald J. Trump.

So, yes, I was in the camp. And yes, I made a mis-statement. I lied. However, what was the lie? The lie was the number of times that I spoke to Donald Trump about the failed Trump Tower Moscow deal.

I had told the Senate permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that it was 10 times. I'm sorry, three times when, in fact, the real answer was I had told him 10 times.

CAMEROTA: You know who else is talking about this? Donald Trump. So today, he put out a fundraising email -- tonight, I should say, after this information came out. And he basically said in this email to his supporters, Alvin Bragg is relying on the testimony of a convicted felon and a disbarred lawyer.

So what is your response to Donald Trump tonight?

COHEN: Well, he's right. I am a convicted felon. I am a disbarred lawyer. But I also brought the documents. There's plenty of testimony, corroborating testimony to go around. And come Tuesday --

CAMEROTA: How do you know that? How do you know that all these witnesses were corroborating your testimony?

COHEN: Let's just say I know. I was there 22 times, so there's things that I -- that I know, things that I believe corroborate. And at the end of the day, we have an indictment today.

So clearly, that means that the information provided was more than enough for the grand jury to come back with the determination for an indictment.

Oh, by the way, for Donald, since we're talking about convicted felons, see on Tuesday, pal.

CAMEROTA: We've also learned today that the D.A. was looking into the payment to Karen McDougal. So she is the "Playboy" model who also alleges that she had an affair with Donald Trump.

So did you provide documents and testimony about that?

COHEN: Yes, I can't tell you what I provided. But I can tell you that that is an accurate statement.


CAMEROTA: Talking to both?


LEMON: How about your conversations with -- between yourself and David Pecker?

COHEN: Like I said, I really don't want to go into the sum and substance of any of the conversations, the documents and so on, other than to say, again, these prosecutors, they've been working on this case a long time.

Not only did they work themselves incredibly hard, but there was a significant amount of information that was left over from the previous investigation.


They're very, very knowledgeable about all of the alleged counts against Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: There is an audio tape of you speaking with Donald counts Trump about these payments, so let's remind everybody about that conversation.


COHEN: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David.

So I'm all over that, and I spoke to Allen about it when it comes time for the financing, which will be --


COHEN: Well, I have to pay.

TRUMP: So no cash?

COHEN: No. No, no, no, no, I got -- no, no, no.


CAMEROTA: Michael, honestly, it doesn't sound as though Donald Trump is giving you instructions there. It sounds like you're giving him instructions. You're saying, here's how it's going to go. I have -- you know, he says, Is there going to be cash? You say, No, no, I've got it all covered.

So were there more payments made like this.

COHEN: Again, you're -- you're going into the sum and substance of conversations that I may or may not have had with the district attorneys --

CAMEROTA: But this is about Donald Trump. You have -- how many conversations like this did you have Donald Trump?

COHEN: One. One. It's the one and only recording that I ever had of Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: But conversations. Forget the recorded part. COHEN: I've had many conversations with --

CAMEROTA: About payments to women?

COHEN: -- with Donald Trump. Again, you're going, in a very clever way, Alisyn, you're going into, again, conversations that I may or may not have had with the district attorneys.

And to be very honest with you, I don't want to provide Donald or his team with any insight yet into what's coming. I want him to be able to enjoy it.

Personally, I don't want to see him paraded that way.


COHEN: Remember, because he's a former president of the United States. Because I actually care more about the office of the presidency of the United States than he does. I don't want to see this made into the laughingstock of the world. He was still a former president.

I mean, these aren't the things that -- these are the things that you see from other countries, like Venezuela, right? I mean, you don't expect to see the former -- this is a first time ever in the history of this country that the president, a former president has been indicted. This is unprecedented.

And the more that we keep this -- we'll call it classy -- the better it is for our position in the world.

CAMEROTA: Well, on that personal note, Michael, obviously, you know or knew Donald Trump very well; worked with him very closely for many years. What's he doing tonight, behind the scenes? How is he handling something like this tonight?

COHEN: He's seething. And to the world, he wants to, again, appear to have this thick skin. He's not thick-skinned. Right? I think we've also saw that during the -- what was it? The correspondents' dinner? He is not thick-skinned. He's actually very thin-skinned. And he has a very fragile ego.

This is his biggest fear, that he will be mug shotted. And that, you know, he's going to now have an "F," a felony, next to his name. These are not things that Donald Trump ever thought in his entire life -- nor I, for that matter -- that he would ever be confronted with.

He's seething right now because of all of the mistakes that so many people that were around him have made, from Jared all the way to Steve Bannon, Steve Miller. You know, this whole clown car of, you know -- of, you know, constituents that paraded around him.

He's seething because all the -- all the advice that they gave now landed him here.


CAMEROTA: All right. I want to bring back my panel: Jennifer, L.Z., Max Rose and Lee Zeldin.

Jennifer, it's interesting, as always, to listen to Michael Cohen. And some of -- well, all of Donald Trump's supporters and attorneys have described him as a sketchy witness; can't be trusted. But nobody knows this case, and what we believe is this case in terms of the payment to Stormy Daniels, better than Michael Cohen.

When you listen to him, do you think that he'll be a good witness?

RODGERS: Well, you know, I hate listening to him on the air. Because, of course, if you're the prosecutor, you want your witness not to be speaking in public about the subject of your testimony.

But I will say this. It is not at all uncommon to have a witness who was part of the criminal activity at one point and then later, whether because you brought charges against them or you threatened to bring charges against them, or they saw the light some other way, came on board Team USA or Team Manhattan D.A., in this case, started telling the truth and then testifies. It's very, very common.

You know, you tell them in summation, I'd like to have Mother Teresa. I'd like to have, you know, rabbis and imams and priests and so on as my witnesses. But I don't. You know who I have. I have criminals, because the criminals are the ones that can tell you what happened inside of the criminal organization.

And that's what we have here. Yes, he was a liar. Yes, he lied on behalf of Donald Trump. And then he started telling the truth. And when he started telling the truth, he was consistent from then on about exactly what he said.

And he's the one who can give you the bird's-eye view into what happened in a way that the law-abiding rest of us cannot; because we weren't there, and we didn't see it.

So that's how you have to think of it, and that's how you tell it to the jury. Remembering, though, that in order to get them to believe him, you, of course, have to corroborate what he tells them with the documents, with the other witnesses and so on.


CAMEROTA: Congressman, what did you hear when you listened to him?

ROSE: First, I can't get enough of Michael Cohen's accent. You know, "the perjurer" of -- but, you know, I do think, though, he's getting

something wrong about Donald Trump. And I had a few interactions with him. Not as many as Lee has had.

But what struck me when I interacted with Donald Trump is that he is a true believer in the conspiracy theories and the extremist views that guide his governing philosophy and his policy beliefs.

And I do truly believe at this point that he believes that we, as a country, are at civil war between red and blue, and that he is under attack by the left. And in a sense, I think that he is becoming increasingly motivated by that; not fearful. And that's what I find so frightening right now, because there is this potential that January 6th was a prelude.

We have to constantly think back to that. And I appreciate, at the very beginning of this segment, that Congressman Zeldin called again for peaceful expressions of protest, if those moments of protest come about. because Donald Trump certainly will not call for that.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, what did you hear?

ZELDIN: I thought it was a really good interview, and I'm glad it was extended. You did a great job. And it gives you a little taste of what cross-examination may be like.

Wen you're in that grand jury room, you don't have the defense there putting on their case, cross-examining witnesses. The burden of proof is a lot less.

And when you actually have your day in court, because you're innocent until you're proven guilty, and you get to cross-examine the witness, we'll see how they do.

I thought, for example, you playing the one recorded conversation between the two and pointing out that Donald Trump says, you know, "Paying cash?" And it's actually Michael Cohen who's saying no, there's another way of doing this.

I'm sure that there's plenty of follow-up questions that a -- that a defense attorney would want to be able to ask him in cross-examination to -- to learn more. And only ask questions, obviously, you know the answer to.

And if it's a really skilled cross-examination, what does end up doing with the witness? Who by the way, also says to you, yes, I am a convicted felon.

CAMEROTA: I mean, that's just true.

ZELDIN: Right, and for a jury, ultimately -- and good luck finding a jury in this particular case. That's going to be quite a process of going through those candidates.

It's going to come down to a jury to decide, but I think it's important that both sides, both the government gets to make their case and the defense gets to make their case, which is a little bit different than what you see in a grand jury proceeding.


GRANDERSON: I disagree with Michael when it comes to how this is going to be perceived by the world. You know, there's this idea that democracy and American exceptionalism are one and the same. and they're not.

Democracy is a form of government, and then we have our form of perspective that we have American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is embarrassed to have a president be in jail.

Democracy shouldn't be. Democracy should want someone who's broken the law to pay for it. That's what this is about.

And so what we as a country have to decide is what's more important to us: How we look to the world, or what we do and say to the world through our actions. Because we truly believe in democracy, and we really believe in the rule of law, then prove that no one is above the law by going through this process and not being embarrassed that the world is seeing democracy at work.

CAMEROTA: Friends, thank you all very much for those perspectives.

So very few people have been so close to historic moments like this. Next, I'll speak with one of them. Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean is going to weigh in on what's happened tonight and Trump's indictment.



CAMEROTA: Donald Trump was indicted this afternoon by a Manhattan grand jury. What does this mean for history? And what happens next?

Let's bring in former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean.

John, great to see you, as always. Your thoughts about what's happened today?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It was a remarkable day, because we've been close before. We've never crossed the line and actually had an indictment.

Richard Nixon, they got as far as drafting one. They were going to charge him with obstruction of justice and bribery for the cover-up. But then he was pardoned, and that ended the drafting drill. So that's as close as we got with Nixon.

With -- with Bill Clinton, there was talk of it. The special prosecutor, Robert Ray, let him know that he was subject to an indictment. But they backed off and got a deal beforehand.

So we've never been here before. This is a new page in American history.

CAMEROTA: And is this bad for American history or good for American history? We were just having this debate on our panel. L.Z. was saying that, you know, this is what democracy is.

But, of course, it is unsettling to see a former U.S. president be indicted.

DEAN: It's unsettling, but it's not the first public figure or presidential aspirant or senator or member of the House or judge or what have you to be indicted. So our -- all our other public figures have, indeed, been subject to the criminal justice process. Only a president so far -- and that's probably because of mostly good behavior -- has never been indicted.

So that is the new phase we're into, and Mr. Trump has more looking at him right now than the one that we think is coming down very quickly.

CAMEROTA: Well, the other theory, not -- is not based on good behavior, but that presidents aren't indicted. I mean that, you know, there's as you know, there's a whole school of thought that you can't indict a president.

And I will remind you of Richard Nixon's philosophy on this, when he sat down with David Frost. So let's just listen to that in 1977.



RICHARD M. NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.


NIXON: Exactly.


CAMEROTA: And I think that it's possible that Donald Trump has shared some of those feelings.

DEAN: I'm sure he does share that belief, but I think he's wrong. I know Nixon was wrong. And but for a pardon, he would have had the personal experience of testing that philosophy. And finally, it wouldn't work.

I think -- I think it is good for democracy to have this happen. I think a president has to be as accountable as everybody else to the criminal justice system or the whole system breaks down. There's a terrible hypocrisy in the system that shouldn't exist.

So I -- I think it's -- by and large, it's going to be -- It's going to be a circus at times, but I think it's going to be boring at times. Criminal justice does grind slowly. But I think it's going to be good for the rule of law, which is the basis of our democracy.

CAMEROTA: As you know, this is not the only investigation that Donald Trump is a part of. There's one going on in Georgia about interference into the election results there. The special counsel in Washington is looking into January 6th and the planning of that or the knowledge of that.

And so some legal analysts have suggested that this one is the least serious of those and shouldn't be the first. Your thoughts about that?

DEAN: Well, we didn't have any control over what was first. I agree that there would have been other cases. The -- the special counsel's cases are much more serious crimes. The federal government takes very serious the protection of national security information.

That's something that high officials have been -- been charged with and been held responsible for.

The January 6th is so unique. We've never had an insurrection in this country in modern times, so it's necessary to get to the bottom of it and hold those at the top as responsible as the thousands at the bottom who are being held responsible.

And I think that's going to come out very soon. We don't know exactly how far Jack Smith is on his investigation, but we certainly know he has expedited the proceedings since he's arrived.

As far as Georgia, I think that could happen any day now. And it's going to be, it looks, given the time she's taking on it, like it's going to be a very broad-based case, as I expect the 34-count indictment in New York will be a speaking indictment. I think all these indictments will tell the public exactly why this president, former president, is being held responsible, and that's healthy for the system.

CAMEROTA: As you know, Donald Trump is no stranger to using incendiary rhetoric. He -- he warned of death and destruction if he was indicted. Do you worry about what happens next in terms of protests or them getting to them even becoming violent?

DEAN: I do worry because we know in the past it has provoked his most zealous of supporters to take to the streets and take action and violent action. So there is that prospect.

But I also think, because January 6th happened, and the results have been steady since the events over the last year or so. They that we've seen the department of justice move. We've seen the criminal justice system at work, and I think a lot of people who might have otherwise have had a visceral reaction to go protect their president Donald Trump are going to have second thoughts.

Do they want to go to jail for him? And not so many are are showing signs of protest.

So I think his call to his -- his supporters to come out and somehow exercise their displeasure with his plight may not hit the resonance it did over a year ago when he did it before.

CAMEROTA: Let's hope. John Dean, thank you. Great to see you and get your perspective.

DEAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We, of course, live in a country that is very divided. Will Donald Trump's indictment make those divisions even wider? We'll talk about that next.


[0043:35] CAMEROTA: President Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, talking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer tonight and calling the indictment of his former boss an outrage.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage.


CAMEROTA: I'm back now with Jennifer Rodgers, Max Rose, Lee Zeldin and L.Z. Granderson.

I wasn't kidding, L.Z. He called it an outrage right there.

GRANDERSON: He did. Who's his people?


GRANDERSON: Like, who --

CAMEROTA: What's his lane?

GRANDERSON: Yes. Where -- where is -- who is he hoping to appeal to?

CAMEROTA: Congressman, have any thoughts on that?

ZELDIN: Well, sure, I mean, he's -- he comes from a base out of Indiana.

GRANDERSON: Right, but --

ZELDIN: So that region of the country.

GRANDERSON: But when he was picked, his poll numbers as governor were, like, sub-50 percent. Like, he wasn't liked at the end before he became V.P.

ZELDIN: He has solid conservative views. There's a lane with some of the more religious members of the Republican Party on some of the social issues.

His polling, it seems like it's been coming back, poll to poll, somewhere around the you know, 7 percent or so range. And it's just a really difficult lane, though when you look at all the other candidates.

And I would actually say that, as each additional candidate comes into the race, that probably helps Donald Trump more. Like a Nikki Haley, coming to the race probably pulls more support from a Ron DeSantis than from a Donald Trump.

So if I'm Donald Trump, in some odd way, I'd probably want as many of these candidates in the race as possible, because they're splitting the rest of the vote.


CAMEROTA: It worked the first time around.

ROSE: Listen, regarding Mike Pence, of course, when your base is morally upright evangelicals, you come out and defend the guy who paid off a porn star involved in your affair. That makes perfect political sense only in the age of Donald Trump.

But here's the thing: every politician or aspiring politician every morning gets press clips. This is news of relevance to them. It used to be manually clipped, and then it became obviously digitized, and politicians prefer that they be in those press clips and right now, every single Republican politician the only way that they're going to get in the press, with this case right now and everything in the news being Donald Trump, is by defending Donald Trump.

And what's crazy about that is that when Donald Trump gets indicted again in several weeks, they will be unable to differentiate between the two, and they will defend Donald Trump yet again, despite the fact that he's caught on tape, actively trying to bend an election in his favor and disrupt our democracy.

CAMEROTA: But why can't Republicans be in the news by saying, I totally support this. You know, let the law act as it should. And I support this adjudication. Like why wouldn't they be in the news for that?

ROSE: You're 100 percent right. They would. In fact, they would make all of the news in that case.

And I'm very surprised that there has not been one Republican primary candidate right now, presidential candidate, who's gone out and done that. I think that there's actually a lane for that right now.

RODGERS: It's amazing. He's outraged by an indictment that he has not seen. He's outraged by a case that he knows nothing about. I mean, this is ludicrous.

Like, why can't they say, Let's wait and see what the charges are.

This is a charge. These charges are brought against people every day. This is not made up for Donald Trump. So it's good enough for everyday Americans like you and me, but it's not -- it's not OK for the former president. I don't know why people think that's a good message.

GRANDERSON: This is why I was curious about where is his people? What's -- what is his lane? Because you're right. I'm sure there are some evangelicals who would still support him.

In fact, I live in Texas. Mike Pence came through a church a couple of months ago. It was packed. He was selling his books. So there is an evangelical base still for him.

But then as you begin to peel back the layers of the last four years in the White House, you ask yourself, is this the best we can do as an evangelical?

If he doesn't testify, where's the courage? Like I'm just sitting here like going, what's the play here, man? Because right now it looks like you're spinning your wheels.

CAMEROTA: But Congressman, let me ask you this, because you're somebody who does (ph) think that this is political, a political prosecution, as we are hearing so many Republicans say.

Would you feel the same way if Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton paid hush-money to someone who wanted to come out with a dirty story about them a few weeks before an election?

ZELDIN: First thought is that this wouldn't be the case. This wouldn't be your strongest argument against Hillary Clinton or, if you wanted to go there, this would be your strongest argument against Joe Biden.

And by the way, if -- if this was a Republican district attorney somewhere --


ZELDIN: -- who was getting an indictment against Joe Biden.


ZELDIN: There would be a whole lot of people who are very happy with this particular indictment who would be outraged otherwise.

I would say, if we're playing the hypothetical game of the different possible charges. I don't think that this would be the one that you would go at and say, you know, it's a hush-money case is the way to go after a Hillary Clinton or a Joe Biden.

It was an interesting interview with Van Jones a couple of hours ago where he was saying he's a little bit torn. And in one respect, you know, the voice on one of his shoulders, he was talking about how he feels great just that there is an indictment.

And you know what? There are people in this country who just don't like Donald Trump and --

CAMEROTA: That's not why they want an indictment. Not because they don't like him. Because they feel that there hasn't been accountability for the stuff that they feel he has done that's been illegal.

ZELDIN: Right. And in that particular case, it's -- it almost just doesn't seem like whatever you want to charge him with. It doesn't matter. It's just it's just charged him with something. Indict him with something.

GRANDERSON: I think there is a passion to see him get charged with something, because they want him to be held accountable for something. I don't think there those two ideas are separate at all. I do think there's a hunger there. And maybe that hunger does blind

people a little bit who are on the far left, who can't stand Donald Trump.

But that's still separate from the fact that he could be guilty, and I don't think you should conflate the two.

RODGERS: And that's not the district attorney, because they have to go in front of the jury and prove this case with evidence, on the law. You don't get to do it with, like, Don't we all hate Donald Trump? Let's convict.

It doesn't work that way.

ROSE: The thing is that there's two cases right now, right? One in which it involves an exchange of money and an affair; and the other in which the former president of states legitimately subverted our constitutional democracy.

Any rational human being would rather be -- have the constitutional democracy case be front and center. I'm actually certain that most Republicans would agree with that.


But you can't have both. You can't say that one case is more legitimate than the other and also say that there's some nefarious Democratic conspiracy at play right now. If there were, obviously, the Georgia case would be coming first right now.

So what is happening right now is the disjointed, decentralized process of law and order in the United States of America, and we have to let it play out.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much. Thank you for your expertise. Great to get all of your different perspectives. We will see what happens next week.

One more legal story for you tonight there's a verdict in the Gwyneth Paltrow ski collision trial. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Before we go, we have to tell you that Gwyneth Paltrow is innocent.

A Utah jury finding the Oscar-winning actress not at fault over that crash with another skier in 2016.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was Gwyneth Paltrow at fault? No. Was Gwyneth Paltrow's fault a cause of Terry Sanderson's harm. OK, let's skip that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just no response there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Was Terry Sanderson at fault? Yes. Was Terry Sanderson's fault that caused Gwyneth Paltrow's -- Did -- did Terry Sanderson's fault caused Gwyneth Paltrow's harm? Yes.

Comparative fault. What percent of the fault do you assign to Terry Sanderson? One hundred percent.


CAMEROTA: Paltrow was awarded $1. That was the amount she requested in her countersuit, plus attorney's fees.

In an Instagram post tonight, Paltrow wrote, quote, "I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity. I'm pleased with the outcome, and I appreciate all the hard work of Judge Hamburg and the jury and thank them for their thoughtfulness in handling this case," end quote.

And as Paltrow left the courtroom after the verdict, she touched the other skier, Terry Sanderson, on the shoulder and said, "I wish you well."

He responded, "Thank you, dear."

Maybe we can all get along.

Of course, the other big legal news: Donald Trump was indicted. Sources say that he's facing more than 30 counts. New information keeps coming in here, so make sure you keep it here tonight. CNN THIS MORNING will have all of the new details for you. Don, Poppy and Kaitlan are starting an hour early, at 5 a.m. Eastern.

Thanks so much for watching tonight. Our coverage continues now.