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Inside Politics

Daniels Releases Sketch; Judge Rules on Seized Records; Hannity's Relationship With Cohen; Southwest Makes Emergency Landing; Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired April 17, 2018 - 12:00   ET


[12:00:11] JOHN KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

Republicans make a giant tax day push hoping to reset the political debate over the big tax cut plan. They hope there's still time to change what has so far been a terrible midterm election climate.

Plus, the president promised there would be a big price to pay for that Syrian chemical weapons attack. The big surprise, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is the one paying it, not Vladimir Putin.

And James Comey's book officially out today. Part of his sales pitch is a warning, President Trump, he says, so often ignores traditional rules of policies and decency that the outrageous becomes the expected.


JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: The rule of law is such an important value in this country. And key to that is that the president doesn't get to decide who goes to jail.

We're numb to it. We wake up in the morning and see the president of the United States is accusing people of crimes without evidence and pronouncing them guilty and saying they should be in jail. That should wake all of us up with a start. But there's been so much of it that we're a little bit numb, and that's dangerous.


KING: To Comey in a moment.

But we begin the hour with Stormy, Sean and that court case that is a mix of bizarre and high consequence. The adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, was on "The View" just moments ago. She says she won't be threatened to stay quiet, but she says her newfound fame is not her central goal.


STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: Yes, there's a lot of publicity, but I didn't do it for that because this isn't what I want to be known for. As a matter of fact, I hid for quite a while, and it's overwhelming and intimidating and downright scary a lot of times.

Show me somebody who wouldn't be like, oh, we want you to do the same job you've always been doing and we're going to pay you more. Like, who would ever say no to that?


KING: Now, Daniels also released the sketch of a man she says threatened her not to talk publicly about the president or her deal with the president's lawyer. She explains here why she's now breaking her silence.


DANIELS: I would have gone to the police and would have gone, OK, a man approached me. This is what he said to me. He told to leave -- you know, leave Mr. Trump alone. And their very next question the detective would have asked me, why would somebody tell you to leave Mr. Trump alone? And I would have had to answer that question, which was not public at the time, and I would have had to tell the police, an entire police department -- and police reports are public record, I know that for a fact -- I had sex with Donald Trump.


KING: Tabloid, yes. Reality TV, yes again. But news also because the president's lawyer is now under criminal investigation, and the president is trying to both get a sense of what the feds know and trying to get some control over who gets to see the material seized from his long-time attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen. Materials that include conversations about Stormy Daniels.

Shimon Prokupecz is live from New York.

Shimon, still real legal implications here as we watch what is a tabloid story playing out yet again.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, certainly, John, I think you said it right, there were some serious decisions that the judge made yesterday. We had our shiny object with the Sean Hannity. You had the theater with Stormy Daniels. And it really -- I have not seen this many cameras and reporters covering a case here in New York like this in quite some time. So you had all of that.

But legal implications here is that the judge has ordered the federal investigators, the prosecutors and the FBI agents, who seized some 10 boxes, hard drives, electronics, all sorts of information, that they now have to share that information with Michael Cohen's attorney. Now, that's pretty significant. The prosecutor in court said he didn't want to do that. There were arguments, obviously, all day on that. But, in the end, a judge -- the judge sided with Michael Cohen's attorney, and they're now in the process of waiting to get this information.

So what happens is, the prosecutors are going to have to duplicate all the material that they have seized and send that -- forward that to Michael Cohen's attorney. And then what's going to happen is whatever material may be in there that pertains to the president, to Donald Trump, they will give that to his attorneys. So the president's attorneys will be able to see whatever material that is related to him that was seized by the FBI early on in this case.

This is unprecedented, and that is why the prosecutors here did not want to go ahead and do that.

KING: But, Shimon, am I correct in saying the president's attorneys will get to see the materials that relate to him, but not before the prosecutors? The prosecutors can look at it at the same time, is that correct?

PROKUPECZ: Right. So the prosecutors -- so there's two things here, John. The prosecutors who are actually investigating this case cannot view any of that material. They can only duplicate it. There's a taint team. That team is now charged -- that's separate. They're not investigating it. They can review the materials just for duplication purposes. They cannot share anything that they find or anything that they duplicate with the prosecutors who are investigating the case.

KING: Complicated as we go forward.


KING: But, again, high consequence. The president's attorney, the president involved, Stormy Daniels involved, because she says some of those materials likely relate to the settlement with her.

[12:05:06] Let's continue to talk about both the legal arguments and the politics. With me to share their reporting and their insight, CNN's Dana Bash, Michael Shear with "The New York Times," Sahil Kapur with "Bloomberg," and "The Daily Beast's" Jackie Kucinich.

It is -- I guess it's not so bizarre anymore because it happens just about every day. But before you can start a noon show, you have to watch an adult film actress on "The View" because -- because, look, she's trying -- she's making money off this. People are going to say James Comey's making money off his book. And we'll get to him in a minute.

But, besides that, there are some fundamental giant consequential legal questions here that cast a giant cloud over the Trump White House.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right. Well, part of what's going on, right, and this -- you can look back at the Bill Clinton scandals and you'll find the same thing, which is, the underlying salaciousness of what everybody is talking about often leads to questions that are much more fundamental about truth and lying and documents and proof and all of the stuff that involves the legal system in a way --

KING: Where did the money come from?

SHEAR: Where -- and following the money and --

KING: In this case, it was during the campaign --

SHEAR: Exactly.

KING: And who knew and --

SHEAR: And so -- and so, you know, I think we all struggle, you know, because these are not the kinds of topics that we want to be sort of talking about. But at the same time it -- you can't avert your eyes to what are these really serious questions, you know, involving the president of the United States.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And you've mentioned involving the president of the United States. I just want to mention that Kara Scannell, who was also in the courtroom yesterday in New York, she's a CNN reporter, she pointed out that it was sort of made public that in the search warrant for Michael Cohen's office and so forth, there are five paragraphs in one of the attachments that deal directly with seeking papers of the president of the United States in possession -- this is the -- Michael Cohen's attorney saying that was in possession of my client. So therein lies the whole crux of why we care about this.

KING: Right.

BASH: And we didn't know about that. And we still don't know what exactly is in those five paragraphs. But that's one of the things that came out yesterday. And it reminds us that this isn't just salacious as it regards -- as it is regarding Stormy Daniels or Karen McDougal, the other woman who had an affair with the president, or Sean Hannity. Who knows what that's about. At its core, it's about the president of the United States.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, and you mentioned Sean Hannity. While it's not really surprising that -- I mean Sean Hannity is one of the president's biggest supporters, obviously. That said, the fact that he has been reporting about the Cohen situation, about the raid, about all of this and hadn't disclosed -- whether or not you think Sean Hannity is a journalist, he does have a platform, he has a microphone. He didn't disclose that he had this relationship with Michael Cohen.

Yesterday there were several -- he had several conflicting explanations as to what his relationship was. He said that he wasn't his attorney. Then on his radio show he said he was his attorney, kind of, privilege, gave him $10 and then he was just asking him about real estate deals. So we don't even know the truth there yet and, you know, what that involves. But he seemed to try to make it clear it didn't involve a third party. So perhaps there's no NDA involving Sean Hannity. But the fact that that was kept a secret from his viewers and the American people, that's a problem (INAUDIBLE).

KING: And did he ask Michael Cohen to keep it a secret when they went into court?

KUCINICH: Right. KING: I just want to show you "The New York Daily News" take on this. Again, at the center of this were questions about the president and whether the president's attorney broke the law. But, there you go. That's the cover of the day. And there's -- I want to -- I want to come back to the -- I want to come back to the point that you just made. I was going to get to this in a minute, but let's get to it now.

You know, Sean Hannity is not a journalist. But Sean Hannity speaks on a platform that calls itself a news network. He speaks every night to people. A lot of people who support the president of the United States have every right to support the president of the United States. And he is a -- he is many times an advocate for the president's policies almost always.

This is -- this is Sean Hannity on the night of April 9th. Michael Cohen's offices have been raided. Sean Hannity has a relationship with Michael Cohen. Sean Hannity has sought legal advice from Michael Cohen. He needs to say that on television. Instead he says this.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: It is clear, as I have been warning, Mueller is out to get the president and it appears at any cost. Here's what happened. Upon referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the FBI has raided the office, the home and the hotel room of Michael Cohen, the personal attorney of the president of the United States. Keep in mind, Cohen was never part of the Trump administration or the Trump campaign. This is now officially an all hands on deck effort to totally malign and, if possible, impeach the president of the United States.


KING: Number one, Michael Cohen was never officially part of the Trump campaign or the Trump administration. He's the president's personal lawyer. He, early in the administration, came to the White House quite frequently. He was a frequent surrogate on television. And the search warrant for his materials asked for communications between Hope Hicks and Corey Lewandowski, the campaign manager and a key communications aide in the campaign. So the facts, the context of what Sean Hannity says there is not correct.

[12:10:04] But he just also -- he just needs -- it is, forgive me, dis-sean-ist (ph) to not tell your viewers -- to not tell your viewers, look, I've had a relationship with this guy and I want to make clear, it wasn't a big deal. Sought a little legal advice on real estate matters. I just want to be honest with you up front.

Why not?

SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "BLOOMBERG": It's a major breach of trust, whether he wants to call himself a journalist or a talk show host or whatever, to be reporting on it, to be covering this without disclosing his own personal relationship with this man, whether he wants to call him his lawyer or not. Now, there's a complicated situation here for Sean Hannity. If he is his lawyer -- you know, if he's saying that Michael Cohen is not his lawyer, then there's no attorney-client privilege to protect him. He can be called and investigated, he can be questioned as part of this. So I think one way or another, he's stuck in a bit of a box here.

As far as the legal implications of the Cohen raid and what we're talking about with Stormy Daniels goes, there is the aspect of what they find in Michael Cohen's offices that can be used on him and potentially regarding the president. There's clearly a lot of information there. And there's the campaign finance violation possibility.

KING: Right.

BASH: Yes.

KAPUR: $130,000, if that's viewed as a campaign contribution, that is $127,300 above the legal limit.

KING: And you keep hearing from the president's defenders, you know, fire Rosenstein, shut this down. Look, the deputy attorney general, got the original plant (ph) here from Robert Mueller, said, look what I found. And the deputy attorney general says, sorry, Bob, this is not your jurisdiction. I'm going to hand this off to New York.

It goes to the federal prosecutors in New York, where not only does the prosecutor say, let's go forward, this is credible, then takes it to a judge and gets a warrant. Hard to get a warrant against an attorney. There are FBI agents involved in serving that warrant.

If this was a deep state conspiracy, don't you think of the hundreds of people, or dozens of people now involved in this, we would know about it?

BASH: Especially given the fact that I realize that the U.S. attorney in that district recused himself. But let's -- let's just be clear --

KING: A Republican named by Jeff Sessions.

BASH: A Republican named by Jeff Sessions, who was recommended by Rudy Giuliani. So even though -- I mean we all watch billions, we know, recusals are a wink-wink -- no, in all seriousness, he did recuse himself. But the fact of the matter is, as you mentioned, there are real career officials there who are doing what they believe is right because of evidence that we don't know about that exists.

KING: Right. And the judge, Kimba Wood, a Democratic appointee, clearly not giving the prosecutors whatever they want here, creating a process through which everybody gets to see the documents, trying to be -- it appears to be, we'll see how it plays out -- it appears to be trying to find a middle ground so that everybody gets to see the documents and protect themselves. The president has every right to legal counsel. He should be able to protect himself.

All right, we're going to take a quick break. We're getting some breaking news just into CNN right now. There's been

an emergency landing of a Southwest Airlines plane. That plane landing in Philadelphia. You see the scene on the tarmac right now. We're working on getting the details of exactly what happened. You see emergency responders and others on the scene in Philadelphia. More details in just a moment.


[12:16:52] KING: Some important breaking news we're monitoring here at CNN. You see that airplane on the tarmac in Philadelphia. A Southwest flight that was forced to make an emergency landing. Live pictures right now on the ground in Philadelphia.

If you look at the left engine, the right of your screen, you can see some visible damage there, and the foam appears to be firefighting foam on the ground there. Emergency responders on the scene as well.

It is hard to get information in these early moments, but let's bring in one of our aviation experts. Miles O'Brien is a CNN aviation analyst, joins us on the phone from Boston.

Miles, it's nice to see you, but not under these circumstances right here, as I see you on Skype. I thought you were on the telephone.

Just looking at this. It's Southwest. So we know it's a 737. You can see some damage around that engine. Just from your expertise, what can you see and what are your questions?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: What we're seeing, John, is what's known as an uncontained engine failure. Jet engines fail more frequently, probably, than we all care to recognize. They're very reliable. But almost always when they fail, they're designed to fail so that all the parts stay internal or go out the tailpipe and not cause any further damage, making it sort of a non-event, which is why we don't hear about it so much.

Every now and then, though, you get what's called an uncontained engine failure where something, some piece or part escapes from the cowling of the engine. And this could be a very hazardous situation because essentially those are, you know, pieces of shrapnel that come off at very high rates of speed and can easily pierce the skin of the aircraft. We've had some initial reports that that might have happened in this case very early.

I remember back in the mid-'90s there was a Delta flight in Florida, it actually happened in Escambia County Airport in Pensacola, where an uncontained engine failure there caused the death of a passenger as a result. And that was on an MD-88, which is where the engines are tightly fitted right close to the fuselage in the back.

In this case, the 737, you see it highlighted there, the left side, the engine hangs underneath the wing, and so the risk of jeopardy is slightly diminished because it's just farther away from the passengers. And the seating arrangement and window arrangement of these aircrafts is designed so that if these things happen, people are not in harm's way.

So that's what happened. Obviously the aircraft is perfectly fine to fly on one engine. And it did, in fact, land safely. Obviously the flight crew made the right decision and did an emergency evacuation, as you can see, based on all of this. And we will have to just see what sort of damage was caused to the aircraft. And, of greater concern, were any passengers injured by this shrapnel?

KING: Right. To that point, Miles, stand by for me, if you can.

I want to bring CNN reporter Jason Carroll into the conversation. He's in New York. He has some details on where the plane was headed.

And we do have reports, Jason, preliminary at least, one passenger perhaps injured?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is correct, Miles. And let me just give a recount of what happened here.

According to what we've learned, this was a Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. It left this morning from New York City, initially headed to Dallas. Headed to Dallas. And then suddenly, when it was midway through the flight, something happened with one of the left engines. This according to a passenger who was on board that flight. He says once on board, something from that -- something from the engine injured -- ended up injuring a passenger who was on board.

[12:20:30] We have calls out to emergency responders there on the ground, including fire, the FAA, airport as well. Again, this was a Southwest Flight 1380, a 737 from New York City headed to Dallas. Just when they were apparently somewhere west of Philly, something happened with the left engine. And, again, a passenger on board was injured.

You can see the flight there on the tarmac. Emergency crews are there on the ground. We have calls out to fire, the FAA, the airport as well. As soon as we're able to get some more information, we're going to bring it to you as soon as we can.


KING: Jason, I'll let you continue your reporting, Jason, and please come back as soon as you do have more information.

I want to go back to Miles O'Brien, our aviation expert.

Miles, I want to caution our viewers, often in the early moments, as you well know, the information you get it, it turns out you either get additional information or the context can be a little -- tiny bit off. But if that information is indeed correct -- I'm sorry, Miles, stand by for me.

Christopher Johnson was a passenger on that flight. He joins me now on the phone.

Christopher, please tell me, you were heading from New York to Dallas. What did you hear and what happened on that plane? CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON, ON FLIGHT THAT MADE EMERGENCY LANDING IN

PHILADELPHIA (via telephone): Yes, hi, John.

So we were leaving LaGuardia, heading to Dallas. We were west of Philadelphia, probably about 30,000 feet, and all of a sudden we just heard this loud bang, rattling, and then it felt like one of the engines went out. The oxygen masks dropped and then flight attendants did a good job. The pilot came on and said we're diverting to Philadelphia.

And, you know, there was a serious medical injury. I don't know much about that. But I was sitting in the front with a couple of passengers and we just got the masks on. And as soon as we landed, you know, we were thankful. The pilots did a great job. The crew did a great job. Got us down to Philly. And then that's when I took the photo of the engine. And it appeared that it just shredded the left side engine completely.

So we -- we were coming down -- we dropped probably from 30,000 feet to 25,000 feet. And then the pilot just kind of regained control and brought it down safely to Philadelphia. And that's where we are (ph). So we got off the plane and on buses and now we're trying to head over to the tarmac over in Philly.

KING: And, Christopher, as this played out, you were -- so you were seated in front of where the engine would have been on the plane, is that correct?

JOHNSON: That's correct. So I was in the first row in the bulkhead. And I felt it on my side. So, I mean, as soon as we -- we just kind of calmed down and then got -- there were several medical people on board that attended to the injured passenger. But like I said, I don't know much more information about that. I just know it was pretty scary. But the pilots did a great job.

KING: Christopher, appreciate that. I don't know if you can stand by for one second, but I want to get back to CNN's Jason Carroll, who has some additional information I believe a statement.

Jason, step in.

CARROLL: Right. Well, first of all, we can tell you that, again, that that flight left from LaGuardia Airport. It was bound for Dallas. It left at 10:43 a.m. this morning. It was supposed to land at 1:43. And according to a passenger that we spoke to on board, apparently there was an issue with the left engine. A bit of shrapnel, you know, flew off from the left part of that engine. Ended up somehow injuring a passenger on board.

We do now have a statement from Southwest Airlines. I want to read part of it to you. It says, we are aware that Southwest Flight 1380 from New York, LaGuardia to Dallas Love Field has diverted to Philadelphia International Airport. We are in the process of transporting customers and crew into the terminal. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-700 has 143 customers and five crew members on board. We are in the process of gathering more information. Safety is always our top priority at Southwest Airlines. And we are working diligently to support our customers and crews at this time.

Once again, you can see the aircraft there on the tarmac. It appears as if the passengers have already been evacuated. And, once again, a passenger who was on board that flight says there was an issue with the left engine. He says a bit of shrapnel flew off from that left part of the engine and somehow ended up injuring a passenger on board.

Again, we are (INAUDIBLE) more information, John. As soon as we're able to bring it to you, we will.

KING: Thank you, Jason. Appreciating the reporting. Please come back when you have more.

[12:25:01] I want to go back to Christopher Johnson, who was a passenger on that plane. And Christopher we're showing the photo you took out the window that shows clear damage to that engine.

To the point Jason Carroll was just making -- I may be asking you a question you cannot answer -- but when you heard the big bang, did you see anyone injured on the plane, and was there -- was there a breach? Did shrapnel break a window or break through the plane in any way?

JOHNSON: From what I'm hearing, yes, from passengers from the back side, it did breach. But as far as -- I wasn't there, so I didn't -- I didn't see exactly what happened.

KING: You didn't see exactly what happened. We appreciate that.

Christopher, stay with us, if you could.

I just want to update our viewers, 143 passengers, five crew members on that plane. You're listening to passenger Christopher Johnson, who's crediting the crew and the pilots for being calm in the middle of all this.

Miles O'Brien is still with us on Skype, our aviation expert. Peter Goetz joining us as well.

And before -- Miles, I just want -- now that you heard from Jason Carroll and you hear Christopher Johnson describing what happened here, we -- one passenger injured. From one account -- and, again, often these initial accounts we get additional information, an injury on board and possibly some breach from shrapnel. Is that how you're taking it so far?

O'BRIEN: Well, I think that -- that could be the supposition here. You have what would cause the injury. I suppose the, you know, the rapid descent, if a seat belt wasn't on, there could have been an injury caused as a result of that. So we need to take this one step at a time.

This is an uncontained engine failure. Shrapnel does indeed spin out at very high rates of speed when this happens. And that can breach the skin of the aircraft and cause injuries. We -- you know, there was a double fatality involving a Delta aircraft in the mid-'90s. A similar situation. That was actually on the ground in that case. When is kind of unusual is, when these events happen at cruise (ph),

you know, the engines are most stressed on takeoff when they're near full throttle. And failures tend to happen in those circumstances. That's when you're stressing it the most. When the aircraft is at cruise and the throttles are back, less likely to happen. But, then again, there's a lot of moving parts that are moving very quickly in a jet engine. And one failure can, you know, tip some dominos and cause a failure like this.

Generally speaking, though, they're well designed to contain all that shrapnel. So when they fail, it stays outside or goes out the tailpipe. In this case, it did not. And we can only hope that the -- whatever injuries there are, are not too serious.

KING: Mary Schiavo also joins our conversation.

Mary, from your experience at the Department of Transportation, sadly you had some experience investigating these kinds of things.

A, from looking at the pictures and from what we've heard, a passengers aboard, number one, saluting the crew, the pilots and the flight attendants for taking care, keeping people calm. One injury. It's unclear at this point. One person saying perhaps a breach of the plane is from shrapnel. Miles makes a key point, it could also just be the loss in altitude. We don't have the information on that yet. The Southwest statement does not address the question of an injury.

But, Mary, as you look at the pictures and hear from these early accounts, what comes to mind?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, if there isn't an injury, or if no one is hurt, it's very, very fortunate. You know, Delta had an experience like this probably 1996, '97, except theirs was on the ground. It was an MD-88. And the shrapnel pierced the cabin and actually killed a woman and her son. A baby in a car seat, by the way, was saved because the shrapnel hit the car seat. So this just points to how really dangerous an uncontained engine failure is.

There have been many in the past couple years that have thankfully not resulted in any injury or -- other than emergency landing, of course. But it's very, very dangerous. And, of course, there are many things that they have avoided. An uncontained engine failure often leads to fire. It can lead to other damage in the plane. There have been situations where it has lost -- control surfaces (ph) have been lost, hydraulic systems have been lost, and that could affect your ability to actually control the plane. And, in those cases, the plane were lost.

So here, you know, I would have to echo, kudos to the flight crew for getting this plane down on the ground, quick thinking. If it was an uncontained engine failure that led to an explosive decontamination, meaning all at once you don't have the pressurization in the plane, planes have been lost because of that reason, too. So a very, very dangerous situation. I, you know, hope and pray that no one is hurt or no one's killed. But if that's the case, everyone's very fortunate and credit to the -- to the flight crew. KING: And, Mary, quickly, what kicks in from a government

investigator's standpoint right now?

SCHIAVO: Right now the NTSB is on their way. They might actually have people in the area working on some other things. But they're on their way. They will take control of this.

[12:29:44] The most important thing right now is going to be isolate those repair and maintenance records on that engine. Given there have been a number -- and not on Southwest -- on many different airlines, a number of uncontained engine failures in the last couple of years, they're going to want to see if there's a pattern? Is there one particular repair or part? Is there something in this engine, maybe right from the manufacturer.