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CNN Live Event/Special

Now: Michael Cohen Back On The Witness Stand; Now: Michael Cohen Testifies About Aftermath Of FBI Raid. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 14, 2024 - 11:30   ET



STEPHANIE WINSTON WOLKOFF, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO FIRST LADY MELANIA TRUMP: To make sure that everyone knew that she was not crying and that she was strong, and she was independent. But that she and Donald together, were victorious. And that was something she kept pushing for which I did make a statement for her about.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: But -- I mean, I'm -- I guess I'm just a little confused. Did she give the statement about the locker room talk, about it just -- you know, dismissing it saying it's not important what Donald Trump said in terms of grabbing women by their genitals when you're starting to get away with it, etcetera? Did she -- did she defend it because she actually believes it wasn't a big deal was he just being silly?

WOLKOFF: No, She really --

TAPPER: Or is she said -- what she's saying that because she supports Donald Trump and supported their march to power?

WOLKOFF: I think it's a little bit of both, Jake. I can't separate the two when it comes to Melania because of how close I was to her. She genuinely believes that whatever it takes to get to that seat of power is what she is willing to put aside.

And as I said to her, aren't you concerned that everything that you've ever known about Donald and herself would come out to the public? And she said I told him he better be ready. And I thought to myself, well, so should you.

TAPPER: And there's a statement that Michael Cohen made in court yesterday where he said, actually, it was Melania that came up with the idea of saying this was just locker room talk. He said "We needed to put a spin on this. And the spin that he wanted to put on, it was that this was locker room talk, something that Melania had recommended, or at least he told me that that's what Melania had thought it was."

So, it wasn't just -- at least according to this, and again, you know, take Michael Cohen's testimony, anyone out there watching with whatever grain of salt you want. But according to Michael Cohen, it wasn't Melania Trump backing Donald Trump's justification saying this is just locker room talk. It was actually Melania who came up with the idea. WOLKOFF: Again, Jake, many times -- and I think if we pay closer attention to what happens on a day-to-day basis when they were in the White House and afterwards, Melania is very strategic and plays a very large role in what is going on with Donald. You know, as far as the dog being in this -- in the -- in the room -- she comes up with ways to make people accept the situations that are going on around her. And it does not surprise me that it would be she who came up with it.

She did not tell me that. She just forcefully at that lunch explained to me that that is all that it is. That is the way that you know, her messaging was, and no big deal, right? For her, it was always it's no big deal.

She -- as she has said to me over and over. I know who I married. I'm to be nothing like his other two wives. And she accepted what that role was.

TAPPER: Stephanie, last question for you before you go. Do you think that we will see Melania Trump accompany her husband to court, and why do you think we have not seen her do so yet?

WOLKOFF: I don't think we're going to see Melania Trump accompany Donald to court. Melania is Melania's home person in regards, again to a marriage that you want to consider to be something that most people are trying to still understand. Don't. I do not see her supporting him this way because she is not someone who, you know -- I think that you can feel that humiliation without having to put yourself in front of the cameras.

Melania -- everything Melania does is stage. So -- and everything is articulated in a way for her before she does her interviews. So, everything I said is very strategically planned. She is not going to put herself in a position where she's given anyone the opportunity to say anything negative about her.

TAPPER: All right. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, thank you so much for your time and your insights. And the court is reconvening. Michael Cohen is back in the witness box. The judge has called for the jury to be brought back into the courtroom. Donald Trump is back in the courtroom.

Kasie Hunt, the insights provided by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, former friend of Melania Trump, certainly add to one of the subplots of this courtroom drama, which is what was his wife thinking and the legal issue here, how much was he motivated by keeping the story of Stormy Daniels from her --


TAPPER: As opposed to keeping it from the voters.

HUNT: Well, it doesn't seem to me that it'd be nobody would want their wife to learn about something like this necessarily, right? But there also does seem to be she was describing something of an arrangement where what goes on, goes on. Melania kind of knows this is a situation where we are all playing our parts. But if it gets out and it's embarrassing, that's a problem, right? And so, I --

TAPPER: Not the first political couple -- if that actually is their understanding? Not the first political couple to have that understanding.

HUNT: I remain surprised when I hear these kinds of things.

TAPPER: Not even necessarily the first president. Yes, I understand. Yes.

HUNT: But it does seem to be you know, something. Sometimes people go along with that. So, it is interesting that she kind of described it that way, and that Melania was as invested in Donald Trump gaining this power. And I think that does help explain why she did that interview with Anderson when she did it, the things that she said.


And again, it created this permission structure for voters in a very, very close election to say, well, you know, this is what his wife thinks about this. I'm willing -- you know, if she's OK with it, I'm OK with it, too. So, that's an important piece of this. But I think that also --

TAPPER: Not the first would-be first lady to offer a permission structure to voters before a presidential election, also I might observe. Keep going.

HUNT: Yes. Not -- you know, your point is well taken, Jake. But it also does suggest, honestly, that they are both potentially involved in this as an election-focused idea, right?


HUNT: And, you know, I think it's very, very difficult to pull up -- pull this apart. It's clearly about both of these things. But it is again -- and I think I've said this before in our coverage.

When you are covering a presidential election, this is my personal experience, there is nothing that overtakes your life. And when you work with, it overtakes your life as a reporter. But one of the things I had to learn was how overtaken the principles were in that reality.

So, the candidates, the people working for the candidates, if you underestimate for that bet for a second, you are going to make a mistake. And so, the idea that they could separate all of this from an election that was playing out in just days is simply implausible.

TAPPER: So, some color from inside the courtroom from our esteemed colleague, Kaitlan Collins. Eric Trump is back in the courtroom. His wife Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee now back in the courtroom. Alina Habba, his attorney from a less successful case or at least a predecessor case, back in the courtroom. They all took spots in the first row of the spectators.

The politicians who were there in the morning -- the Republican politicians there to demonstrate support, Speaker Johnson, Governor Doug Burgum, Congressman Byron Donalds, and Cory Mills. And entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has not returned. That has been a pattern for these trials and the politicians coming to display support for Donald Trump or fealty if you will -- if you will. And that is they come in the morning and do not return after the morning break.

Susan Hoffinger, the attorney for the prosecution is talking to Michael Cohen back in his testimony. Are you familiar, she asks, with an attorney by the name of Robert Costello. And Michael Cohen says yes, I was introduced to Robert Costello by another lawyer, Jeffrey Citron.

HUNT: Can I just note quickly before we dig into that? Mike Johnson, the House Speaker is already fundraising off of his appearance putting out this note saying live from President Trump's trial. President Donald Trump is on trial for one reason and one reason only, to interfere with our election. Democrats are weaponizing the justice system. And he says he's never seen a more egregious perversion of our justice system than what he's seeing right now.

TAPPER: It's interesting --

HUNT: But again, a fundraising appeal.

TAPPER: It's interesting because two top-profile Democrats are also being tried right now. One across the street, Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Henry Cuellar. Is that who it is, who were --

HUNT: He's been indicted, yes.

TAPPER: And that been indicted in Texas. They probably would take issue with the idea that Democrats are weaponizing the Justice Department. If so, that they're not benefiting from it at all. Maybe they need to get in on that.

Jamie Gangel, I'm not sure where this is going, this Robert Costello and Jeffrey Citron things. Lanny, do you know who Robert Costello was? Where's this line of questions?

LANNY DAVIS, MICHAEL COHEN'S FORMER ATTORNEY: Yes. He was -- he was a Giuliani friend and lawyer who reached out to Michael at the time that they were getting nervous about Michael deciding to turn. And just in that time period, there were meetings with Mr. Costello, and he was, through written and verbal comments to Michael, saying stand to the tent. You know who is going to take care of you.

TAPPER: Yes. He told me that he was a criminal defense attorney, Robert Costello and that he was incredibly close to Rudy Giuliani. This is at a point in 2018 where Cohen says his emotional state was distraught, nervous -- concerned as one would be if one's home is raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

DAVIS: And I keep reminding everyone that the family was turning heavily on Michael. This is the time to make your break.

TAPPER: Thanks to your question, and like you say that -- and I just wonder -- I mean, we had this been building up for a decade. I mean, had they not like Donald Trump? Cohen says they met in a conference room in the Loews Regency Hotel where he was staying in the spring of 2018 because his -- there was flooding in his home. Like, I mean, had this been building up, or was it just enough? Like, why exactly --

DAVIS: So --

TAPPER: Was his family -- I mean, were they Democrats? Like I -- explain this to me.

DAVIS: I'll have to stay general because I've been in --


DAVIS: Family discussions. But let me just answer your question generally. Over a period of time, his family was becoming more and more unhappy as to what he was doing for Mr. Trump.

TAPPER: Because of the seediness and the lying and the -- the hush money payments and all that, everything he did, the effects or quality of it?

DAVIS: I'd rather just fill in the blanks and not say the words that I've heard. But I can answer your question.

TAPPER: I'd rather you -- I'd rather you didn't --


TAPPER: I'd rather -- that you fill in the blanks.

DAVIS: The family was getting --


DAVIS: Increasingly upset with what Michael was doing for Donald Trump over a period of time.


ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And a little more context about Costello.


WILLIAMS: He actually testified before the grand jury at the request of the prosecution almost as an exculpatory witness.

DAVIS: Robert Costello did.

WILLIAMS: Robert Costello.


WILLIAMS: Yes, for the defense. TAPPER: Right.

WILLIAMS: Right. And was quite critical of Michael Cohen, and quite critical of Michael Cohen's credibility. Now, again, this might be the prosecute -- we'll see in a few minutes. It might be the prosecution's way of putting more of this uncomfortable or character-evidence about Michael Cohen onto the record, so that -- because sometimes, we do --

TAPPER: Costello says, according to Cohen, there are certain things you need to know. First is that you have to obviously try to remember what might be in any of those boxes, referring to what was taken in the FBI raid. Bill?

BRENNAN: Jake, no matter how you see this trial, whether you think you know, it's a sham trial, whether you think it's a prosecution, it needs to be -- but it's got to be electric in that courtroom today. You know, it's got to be Shakespearean. You know, this is Macbeth and Macduff. This is Brutus, and Caesar.

I mean, this -- these guys had a relationship almost like a father-son relationship for years. And there's a thin line between love and hate. And that jury is going to pick up on all this. They're going to have a hard time figuring out what's up.

HUNT: Shakespeare or The Godfather, though.


BRENNAN: We could do that.

TAPPER: At the -- at the -- so, at the meeting -- at this -- at this with Bob Costello, Michael Cohen says that Costello "also said to me, that this would be a great way to have a backchannel communication to the president." Now, at this point, I'm not even sure if Michael Cohen knows that he's not allowed to talk to the president anymore. He is -- he is -- had his final conversation with Donald Trump, but he realizes that in retrospect.

Here he is being suggested by an attorney -- an attorney who is an associate of Rudy Giuliani, I might be the best way for you to talk to Donald Trump from now on. Cohen says he wasn't sure about Costello at the time because of Costello's close relationship with Giuliani.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is the classic Donald Trump playbook when he tried to keep someone in the fold, when he's trying to keep someone from flipping, and we've seen it play out.

TAPPER: Cohen say, by the way, if it hadn't been drummed into your head, visually interpretively. Cohen says there was something really sketchy and wrong about Costello.

HONIG: So -- and he's -- Michael Cohen's now receiving this pressure on various fronts. Donald Trump is tweeting and making positive public statements. He's loyal, he's going to stay in the fold.

There's the phone call that Michael Cohen testified about as soon as the raid happens, where Trump tells him stay strong. They connected with this lawyer who -- Bob Costello, who apparently is close with Rudy Giuliani, and presumably sympathetic to Donald Trump. And so, this is all the pressure coming on Michael Cohen from one side while his family and maybe his conscious is pushing him the other way towards just making a clean split and saving himself.

TAPPER: So, Cohen says he did not disclose everything that happened at that meeting because he believed that everything would get back to Rudy Giuliani. E-mails between Costello and Cohen are being introduced into evidence. I understand we also have our first courtroom sketch because of course, it is the year 1832 and we do not have television access in that New York courtroom.

This looks like a Christine Cornell special. There's Donald Trump in -- prominently, looking towards the jury in this interpretation, although in reality, he stares to the other direction towards the judge, Judge Merchan. And then obviously Attorney Susan Hoffinger and witness, Michael Cohen.

Again, these are interpretive. My -- from my vantage point, Donald Trump spent his time in from every description, I've heard, looking straight ahead, which is not in the direction of the jury as depicted in this. It is actually towards the left, like quanta towards that white screen behind Judge Merchan.

BRENNAN: But, Jake, you were in that courtroom recently, right?

TAPPER: Yes, I was there last Thursday.

BRENNAN: And I spent eight weeks there a year and a half ago.


BRENNAN: And these sketches are interpreted -- (INAUDIBLE)


BRENNAN: There's a huge visual block when you're sitting at the defense table which --

TAPPER: Correct.

BRENNAN: Facing the benches to say your left, and you just can't see. I would have to see -- if I really wanted to see like when Weisselberg testified, I got permission from Judge Merchan to sit closer to the jury because I just couldn't see him.

TAPPER: Oh. And there are some big cops in that room that service --

BRENNAN: Great -- all great guys.

TAPPER: All fantastic people but not transparent.


TAPPER: So, in any case. E-mails between Costello and Cohen are being introduced into evidence right now. So, this is a little part of the trial that I didn't know was coming today, this idea of what exactly is this Rob Costello fellow and what exactly was going on?

Cohen describes him as sketchy and wrong. He doesn't know if he can trust him. He believed anything he said to him would be spoken and told to Rudy Giuliani. But this is apparently at least initially, Costello was --is expressing some, hey, what's going on, how you doing, can we help you, like where are you right now.

HUNT: Right now.

TAPPER: This might be -- this might be a good way that you can communicate with Trump through me, etcetera.


HUNT: When Michael -- when Michael Cohen thinks you're sketchy --

GANGEL: I mean, any try as we might, Lanny will not break his client- lawyer confidentiality for what's going on at this time. But I would describe this as the good fella's moment.


GANGEL: People are scared. People are -- Lanny says yes, so we break it. But he says yes. People get scared. People get paranoid.


What do we know about Michael Cohen? He's not the mastermind in this. He follows Donald Trump's instructions, but he knew he was in trouble. And when he says it was sketchy, he had an instinct. He wasn't going to say too much because he knew it was going to get back.

TAPPER: Yes. Costello writes to Cohen on April 19, 2018. I'm sure you saw the news that Rudy is joining the Trump legal team. Costello continues, I told you my relationship with Rudy, which could be very, very useful for you. Laura Coates?

LAURA COATES, ANCHOR: Yes. I want to revisit this because, Paula, I have you here and of course, Kristen. For many people, they might be wondering, who is this Costello figure? Why is he relevant? You know a great deal about why not only has he's been mentioned right now --


COATES: But also, why he's not going to be called to testify here?

REID: Which is a huge question because he was the only witness that the defense put before the grand jury right before Trump was indicted in this case. Now, let's go back. They've touched on some of this.

Rob Costello is a Trump loyalist kind of lawyer. He works with Trump associates. Most notably, he worked for a long time representing Rudy Giuliani. Now, he also, as they testify for a time represented Michael Cohen. They eventually had a falling out. Now when he was called here to testify before the grand jury, his role was to undermine the credibility of Michael Cohen.

He testified to the grand jury that Michael Cohen couldn't tell the truth if you held a gun to his head. Now, he also testified that Michael Cohen told him, when he did represent him for a time, that the whole hush money payment was his idea. That was the purpose of bringing Rob Costello before the grand jury, was to undercut his credibility and try to stave off an indictment. Clearly, that wasn't successful.

But in the intervening years since he was indicted, a lot of things have happened with Rob Costello. Number one, he and Rudy Giuliani have also parted ways because Rudy Giuliani owed him millions of dollars in legal fees that he did not pay. Now, at one point, as Kristen and I actually broke the story, they went down -- Rob Costello and Rudy Giuliani went down to Mar-a-Lago and asked Trump to help -- for help, to pay these legal bills. And Trump acknowledged that he would help but so far Rob Costello still has -- Costello still has not been paid.

So, when we got a sense of who the witnesses were going to be in this case, it was quite surprising to me and others that Costello would not be called. And the question is, OK, did they not need him for the case to undercut Michael Cohen's credibility, or is their concern that there is now bad blood between the one-star witness for the defense from the grand jury meeting, and now when they need him here because Trump didn't pay those Rudy Giuliani legal bills. So, only in Trump world can you find a telenovela like this, but that explains who Robert Costello is.

He is someone who could potentially maybe be helpful to undercut Michael Cohen's credibility, but they're not calling him. And I spoke with Rob Costello a couple of weeks ago, he too, was shocked that he hadn't been called. He'd had some brief contact with the defense team, but the fact that they're not using him at all when he was so central to their efforts before the grand jury, it is notable. But it just speaks to the fallout in Trump's world, right?

COATES: Is there some notion that perhaps -- and again, to reiterate, the defense as in Donald Trump's team is who they wanted to call for the grand jury to avoid an indictment?

REID: Exactly.

COATES: So, is there some indication that Robert Costello, in their minds, did not provide helpful testimony to Trump and therefore they think there is bad blood for that reason?

REID: I think the moral -- it's certainly possible but it's been explained to me that no Trump source has confirmed that yes, we're worried there's bad blood because Costello didn't get his money even after Trump promised he would. It just appears that they don't want to bring him now. Also, note that at the time that Costello was brought, Joe Tacopina was also on the defense team. He is no longer here. Now, this is being run by Todd Blanche, which also might explain why Rob Costello is not -- is not being used in this case.

As I've reported, they only expect to call two witnesses. Alan Garten, maybe an election expert. Unclear if their clients going to testify. But no Rob Costello here. It's just -- it's fascinating because he's one of these reoccurring characters in Trump world. We're seeing him you know, consistently pop up over seven or eight years.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And just one thing to put on here. I mean, Michael Cohen now is kind of prefacing this in case it gets brought up, and the defense saying he thought that Costello was sketchy. I mean that -- this is intentional in terms of dirtying up this potential witness who, as you say, they will have as a critical witness in terms of the defense.

So, right now, what they're having a back and forth on is Costello, essentially being the orchestrator talking about this back-channeling relationship between Rudy Giuliani, who was now with the president. Costello, talking to him who was close to Giuliani and Michael Cohen. Back and forth. Michael Cohen says, let me know that I was still important to the team and to stay the course and that the president had my back. Of this e-mail that was sent from Rudy to Costello and then shown to Michael Cohen, essentially saying we all think this is a great idea, you're in good hands, your "love."


COATES: So, this really speaks to -- I mean, the part of the story this all is fitting into, in part is trying to get at the idea of how their relationship change. Because we've already heard testimony today about an FBI raid. We heard yesterday's testimony about it being a family organization. He really, really wanted the praise and validation from Donald Trump.

He thought he was on top of the world when he got it. He was hoping to get that phone call after the raid because it concerned Trump because well as phones had been confiscated, remember, on June 7, 2018, and that Costello e-mailed Cohen, "to prove to you that Rudy Giuliani called me, and I did not call him." He photographed the pages from his iPhone, apparently. So, you've got some tension here, this grilling about, well, whose loyalties are where --


COATES: And who does the boss maybe actually want to help? It goes back to the same theme.

REID: Yes, trust issues clearly.


REID: And Costello is very much a Trump-tent person. If you break with Trump, you're going to break with Costello, which is part of what happens between them. But it's a little more complicated than that.

I mean, as you heard Michael Cohen called Costello sketchy, I've dealt with him for seven or eight years. But on the record, I extensively for many complicated stories. And I'm like a lot of people in Trump world. He has never once given me false information.

COATES: And yet, he's not on the witness list for either the prosecution or the defense at this moment. I want to turn to Anna Cominsky. She's the director of the criminal defense clinic at New York Law School.

Anna, a really interesting turn of events and who is being mentioned. I mean, the jurors are probably writing down in their notebooks all the different people who have been introduced as very critical to the story or that a lot of time is being spent on, and then going to compare and contrast who they've actually heard from. And one of the things that's really interesting here is we're hearing a lot about this person, Costello, now.

But up to this point, we've heard a lot about Allen Weisselberg. And the only way we've been able to really get his information in is through subordinates or Cohen, or now, his handwriting, Weisselberg's handwriting that had $420,000, the amount of reimbursement to Cohen, divided by 12, $35,000, the exact number of frankly, the personal checks to Michael Cohen. Does that -- is that able to be disputed by the defense because Weisselberg is not there, and the jury has already seen it in evidence?

ANNA COMINSKY, DIRECTOR OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE CLINIC AT NEW YORK SCHOOL: Well, this is a really interesting issue. And what are -- there's a couple of things that we have to think about here, right? So, the first thing is, we've seen this a little bit outside of the presence of the jury, right?

There -- in front of the jury, they've heard this name over and over and over again, but they've yet to actually hear from this individual, right? And based on what we know, we -- he may never be called. And so, the prosecutor has to think about, what do I want to do with that. And so, we've seen outside the presence of the jury that the prosecutor -- the prosecution has asked the judge to be able to present some information about why he's not there, why he's not testifying. And that at this point, has been overruled by the judge.

The judge isn't allowing that in. And the judge has basically said to the parties, I want you to go back and do some more digging on this before I rule. But I'm going to allow anything other than maybe asking this person to come and testify.

I think the issue for both sides is as we know, he is someone who's playing a prominent role, but without actually being there. And one of the things that I don't really think has been discussed very much is what -- an attorney cannot call a witness who they think is going to perjure themselves. And so therefore, if the prosecution represents to the judge, the reason that we're not calling this person is because we believe they're going to perjure themselves, I'm not sure that the judge can push back on that. And ironically, I think that might be the very same thing that Trump's attorneys would say.

COATES: And, of course, the idea that he might come and just take the -- you know, plead the Fifth in a series of different questions. Not totally helpful to the prosecution, and not particularly, you know, able to be brought here. But there's still the idea of his absence. And while we -- you and I are having this conversation, the jury is now hearing not only about this Costello figure. We heard about Allen Weisselberg. Now, Rudy Giuliani is making an appearance in the documentation in the discussion about how to stay in the fold, how to demonstrate that you -- in fact, you're going to get the light of Trump shined on you if you're in close proximity.

For the jurors in this case -- I mean, we're talking about New Yorkers. They may not be familiar with an Allen Weisselberg. They may not be familiar with the Hope Hicks or Mr. McConney or even maybe a Michael Cohen in full, but they certainly know Rudy Giuliani. What's the impact of even having him be discussed in this way?

COMINSKY: Well, you know, I think one of the biggest issues here, and this equally applies for the prosecution and the defense, is that it is head-spinning. The number -- I mean, you just started naming people, right? There are so many characters to the story to keep track of.


And so, how are we expecting the jurors to keep track of that? And one of the jobs of a litigator, right, of a trial attorney is to make sure that your story is understandable to the jury, and that they can keep track of who all these players are. So, yes, they may very well know who Rudy Giuliani is outside of the courtroom, but what is his role here, how are the prosecutors helping fit this into the narrative, and what's the defense going to do with that? And so, part of this is just what are we doing to assist these jurors to actually make a decision at the end of the day? And part of what my concern is -- for both sides is really thinking through how are you going to help the jurors harness all of this information at the end of the day so that they come out on the side that you're hoping they come out on?

COATES: An important point. And Cohen is testifying right now talking about all the backchannels. He's calling the backchannel communication sort of eyes spy-ish. And ladies -- I have Kristen, and Paula with me here.

I mean, it is a real issue just thinking about all of the collective knowledge the two of you have from the years of diligent coverage of the different figures in this case. The jury's learning curve is very steep. And again, they're not trying to figure out which may be an easier credibility issue, was there a sexual encounter or not?

That's not the trial. The trial is whether 34 different documents were falsified. Invoices, cheques, and beyond. This is a lot for them to bite off.

REID: It is. Obviously, they know the big players here. Everyone knows who the former president is. Likely knows who Michael Cohen is.

But if you sit in this trial -- and this jury is so incredibly attentive. You've been in the court. You know. I mean, they are watching every document, every witness. You really would --

COATES: And not showing their hand about how they feel about anything.

REID: Exactly. But on some level, they've got to say, wow, this is a shady group of people, right? I mean, that is the one thing I think they've proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Now, Cohen has testified that this cryptic messaging about Costello's "friend." And his friend's client encourages Cohen to get a message, something to do with Rudy Giuliani. Cohen says that by his recollection, that e-mail referenced the potential of pre-pardons.

So, here, they're floating the idea for Michael Cohen that even if he was to get into legal trouble, that there would be a pardon as long as he is legal -- as long as they -- he is loyal. As of course, the Paul Manafort plan, right? Play the long game here, stay loyal, and you can get a pardon.

COATES: And actually, there was a tweet at one point right that Trump mentioned about Paul Manafort juxtaposing the two men side by side. Manafort as having been convicted versus Michael Cohen as pleading guilty, using that in a way to be disparaging.

REID: Yes, exactly. I'm not sure who ended up on the better end of that deal. Both men went to prison for several years, though Paul Manafort does seem to be living his best life right back in the fold at Mar-a-Lago. But again, I think that for the jury to go through the story and learn about all these characters in this new way, these are all things that they'll take into consideration.

But I reiterate, we still haven't gotten to the real messy part of the Michael Cohen's story. We have not gotten to his criminal convictions or his turning on the defendant. That could potentially take the rest of the day.

COATES: You know, Kristen, that's an important point to think about where we are. Because some people might be thinking, well, hold on, we heard all day yesterday and the jury that this was the righthand man of the president. He liked to say that he had Ivanka's old office. He would go in and say, hey, boss, you got him, and he's able to talk to him.

We heard a recording, the jury did as well, about him having this conversation that he says he tried to use to placate David Pecker. But now, you're seeing a true falling out. And now, he's having to use proxies to try to get to Donald Trump. Give me the circumstance at this point in terms of why it had soured so much following that FBI raid.

HOLMES: Well, there's a lot of uncertainty as to what exactly was uncovered in that FBI raid at the time. Clearly, his lawyers were telling Donald Trump not to be contacting Michael Cohen directly, but instead, they were using different layers of lawyers to "communicate." So right now, it's -- Cohen says there was concern that I was going to go to another lawyer other than Costello and retain another lawyer to represent me in this matter.

Basically, the concern, of course, coming from Donald Trump's world because they want to keep Costello. At this point, Costello was communicating with Rudy Giuliani, who was communicating them with the president, or at least, Cohen was saying that is what was being told to him. They wanted to keep Costello. There's that they had some sort of insight into what exactly what's going on.

COATES: Take a step back, though in your -- I mean, this is obviously just one of the several matters that Trump is dealing with. We know that in other cases in Florida, for example, there is a conversation about who's paying the legal fees and retaining the counsel on behalf of co-defendants. We've heard earlier in the testimony in this trial about Hope Hicks retaining her own counsel. Rhona Graff having her counsel paid for by the Trump team as well. This is an important part, I think, maybe for the prosecution to try to get out to suggest where loyalties lie.

HOLMES: Well, exactly. And just to remember, I mean paying for people's attorney is just something that Donald Trump does routinely.