Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Trump Defense Ends Cross-Examination Of Michael Cohen; Now: Prosecutors Questioning Michael Cohen; Michael Cohen Admits To Stealing From Trump Organization; Now: Cohen Back On Stand After Admitting He Stole From Trump Org. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired May 20, 2024 - 12:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: So, Michael Cohen was on the stand for almost 16 hours over the course of four days. Now it's time for the prosecution to do cleanup on IL (Ph) 59 -- there in courtroom 59. What do you expect from the prosecution on redirect? How should they address this testimony that Cohen stole $60,000 from his boss?

ALYSE ADAMSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTION: I think they need to do it very carefully. First of all, the cross-examination that we just saw from the defense, I think went on a little too long. With these types of things, they say it's kind of like a bank robbery. You got to get in and get out. The same is true for redirect. You don't want to go on too long. You don't want to be too defensive. And you don't want to bore the jury.

So here, the prosecution is want -- you don't want to go in and they're going to want to have this explained a little bit better. Because the impression they've been left with is that Michael Cohen is a thief, and that the D.A.'s office for whatever reason, let him get away with larceny.

So, again, I don't want to speculate on how the D.A.'s office plans to spin this. You would hope with years of investigation. They have kind of a line or a theory kind of ready to go. But we could expect to see them get in, have him tell his story. And then stop because the more he talks, the more it opens up to the jury not believing him, right? So, I think it's going to be -- I think it's going to be surgical, surgical precision is what they should do. But we have to say.

TAPPER: All right, Alyse. Thank you so much, really appreciate it. And prosecutor Susan Hoffinger is going to handle the redirect of Michael Cohen. And that is a task. She's got some work ahead of her. What would you do? What's the first thing you would do -- were you on the prosecutorial team?

LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I would go right to the issue that likely the jurors had been talking about, which the idea of whether or not and why -- to Alyse's point, what was the -- is there a narrative that would be appropriate to actually have one. I don't know there's a satisfactory answer. He's also going to correct the testimony that he lied to Congress in 2019 because he lied in 2017, not 2019. All right, listen, Susan Hoffinger.


COATES: But I mean if the goal is to pick on the date that -- this is not the issue of the date of the lie. The lies are the issue and the idea of whether or not he was stealing in a way that made it such that Donald Trump would not have knowledge that there was a falsified business record or an invoice.

They've gone to great lengths to talk about how he was somebody who was very miserly that he was a micromanager. She asked to get to the court --

TAPPER: Thrifty.

COATES: Thrifty advise -- are you the person? Are you the person who would have not only paid him for 20,000 hours? What else would have paid him money you didn't know about? And let me -- as Jamie talked about focusing the mind. Can I just show you for a second, one of the things that will be as part of the jury instruction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to go with the tablet -- where is the tablet?

COATES: (inaudible) tablet is the idea of --

TAPPER: Do we have a choice?

COATES: There's no choice on the tablet. But we're going to right now.

TAPPER: What time (Ph) it is up?

COATES: OK. To have that people. About intentionally eating something, right. They have to submit -- this has all been about Michael Cohen's conduct to date. What is he done wrong? They have to focus on this issue, that when one person intentionally aids such a person to engage in the conduct.

The intention or requests or commands the behavior, they have to go back to this very important point. Did Donald Trump who was the defendant, not Michael Cohen, did he intentionally aid? Was he not only complicit to deconstruct your command? If they cannot show that that's the issue.

Now, finally, when you talk about the amount of money we're talking about, and how much he's made off these different issues. They've got to rehabilitate him almost singularly on whether or not he has knowledge that Donald Trump was aware that any sum of money was paid in a way that violated the law or had another crime. In other words, not just what was padded.

TAPPER: So, Hoffinger -- the prosecuting attorney Susan Hoffinger notes that the defense counsel brought up how busy Michael Cohen was in October 2016, asking if he was busy all the time. Cohen confirms he was, Kasie? KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yeah. Can I just say the dates? I understand your point. There's so many lies, it's hard to keep them straight. I think the reason that the dates matter in terms of lying to Congress is that what is before Michael Cohen has supposedly flipped and started telling the truth and when it's after, right.

That 2018 in the summer, his FBI office or his hotel gets raided by the FBI. And the jury is supposed to believe that from that point forward, Michael Cohen is telling the truth about Donald Trump, right? So, it does seem important to me --

TAPPER: Were you too busy to work? So Hoffinger is asking Cohen. Were you too busy in October 2016? Because it's obviously this picture that's been painted by Todd Blanche and Michael Cohen. How busy he was in 2016. Were you too busy in October 2016 to finalize the Stormy Daniels payment? And will it pay off with Mr. Trump? And Cohen says no, ma'am.

Were you too busy to get his approval to make that pay off? She asks. No, ma'am. Cohen's asked if he ever said, Allen Weisselberg, the CFO of the Trump Organization at the time a retainer agreement? No, ma'am because there was no legal work that I was to be paid for. There was no representation agreement within which to send. Cohen explains.


He says he was owed to a $420,000 as reimbursement -- Hoffinger says, was $420,000 owed as reimbursement. Does that have anything to do with a retainer agreement, Hoffinger says. And we think -- I think we know the answer. Kasie, I'm sorry.

HUNT: No, no. I sort of made my point. I think that's what I'm looking for here. I mean, this seems very clear, right? They're trying to show that this was reimbursement. This was not the legal -- this was not a legal retainer. And that's very important in terms of proving the crime at hand.

I'm still waiting for them to get to the part that we learned about, you know, last week where Michael Cohen is apparently maybe not telling the whole truth to the jury in this very case. And then I'm also curious if they're going to address this larceny question that we learned about today, which she obviously has not -- had that much time to prepare for.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think what I would do is what it seems like the D.A. is getting to which has tried to reorient the jury to the key facts that relate to this prosecution. I would start with -- you paid Stormy Daniels $130,000. Yes. Did Donald Trump know about that? For sure. Then you worked out this $420,000 reimbursement? Yes. Was Donald Trump on board with that? Yes, he was.

I would just try to bring them right back to the fundamentals. Although, they do have to be careful because she just asked him that $420,000 that was for reimbursement. Not some -- not the party stole, that wasn't for reimbursement. So, but you're right. And I think then, Kasie, you need to drill back down into damage control, including the phone call that we learned about last week that was actually -- apparently at least -- what about the prank calls? And then about this theft issue. But you start with the big picture, bring them back to the charges and then you do your damage.

TAPPER: So, Hoffinger is asking Cohen if he was ever paid or billed Trump for the work he did for him or Melania Trump? No, ma'am, he says. She also asked the $420,000 he was paid in 2017, whether they're covered any of the work he did for Trump or for Melania Trump. No, ma'am.

And by the way, did you ever get paid a dime for the work you did in 2018? Hoffinger asks. No, ma'am, Cohen says. I'm not sure what she's driving that -- maybe that he had every right to steal $60,000. That seems to be where she's going with it. But we'll see where this ends up.

Let's turn to contributing writer for The New Yorker Ronan Farrow, author of Catch and Kill, which brought a lot of these shady dealings to the public's attention. Ronan, good to see you. So, the prosecutor Susan Hoffinger has now started to redirect of Cohen. How much work do you think she has to do after this morning's cross-examination?

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, she's obviously going to have to try to rehabilitate his credibility in the eyes of the jury. This somewhat surprising admission that you were just talking about, about the theft of these funds is something that goes to the heart of the effort that the defense has had with respect to Michael Cohen, which she is to suggest. A, that he has a track record of dishonesty, and B, that he has a track record of self- interest, along multiple lines of profit interest.

There was a lot of back and forth about that. And also, an interest for revenge. And, you know, I think, certainly with respect to the profit motive, there were some dents made, some points up on the board in the defense's favor. However, I think when all of a sudden done here, Jake, it's going to be easy for jurors to say, does this really get at the heart of the matter?

TAPPER: Yeah. Hoffinger is asking what Red Finch did for Trump? That's the organization that the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign or somebody owed $50,000. Michael Cohen gave them 20 and pocketed the other 30. And that's part of this repayment of 420,000. And so, she's bringing up. What exactly were you paying Red Finch for?

Trump notes that he was -- I'm sorry, Cohen notes that Trump was polling low in an online CNBC poll. Online polls are complete nonsense and utterly without any worth whatsoever. And I don't even know why any organization does them. But in any case, Cohen testifies it upset him. And so, you know, he come to my office and provided me a sheet of paper that showed this online poll where he was not doing well.

And basically, I know what's coming here, which is that they then hired this firm Red Finch to goose the polls, just like they -- according to Lanny Davis, Red Finch also provided crowds at Trump's announcement. I guess what they're getting out here. The prosecution is like, this is just such a -- this is such an inherently dishonest world that maybe Michael Cohen was just part of it. What do you think?

FARROW: And I think that that's a fair argument. Ultimately, the important thing that the prosecution needs to convey to jurors here is, yes. Michael Cohen may have a dubious track record with respect to honesty in his public statements. He may be something of a hustler, aAs the defense was suggesting in many of its lines of questioning today.


However, none of that necessarily entails him being untrue in his characterization of Trump's business practices and the motives and details of how these transactions to Stormy Daniels came about and were allegedly concerned. Both things can be true.

Michael Cohen can be a self-interested hustler at times, can have questionable honesty. And he can be making statements in this case that hold up to scrutiny. That's the case the prosecutors are going to have to make. And I think to your point, you're absolutely right, and suggesting that it helps them make that case to convey. Hey, he was in a business that had dubious dishonest practices across the board.

TAPPER: Yeah. We in this case contain multitudes, no doubt. So, Cohen said Trump wanted to be number one in the CNBC online poll. But after Red Finch's work, which they -- you know, were billed $50,000 for -- Trump ended up at number nine. Cohen says, quote, despite cheating, unquote. Trump felt he didn't get his money's worth for the poll. So, Trump didn't pay Red Finch. And so, he didn't feel he had gotten the benefit that for the services they provide.

So, ask why he took $50,000 back pay for Weisselberg. For Red Finch, even though he only paid Red Finch 20 grand. Cohen said, quote, for a long time, I had been telling him about the $50,000 so that I could collect it for the president of Red Finch. I was angered because of the reduction in the bonus. And so, I just felt it was almost like self-help.

I wasn't going to let him have the benefit this way as well. I wasn't going to correct the conversation I was having with Allen Weisselberg about it. I had not only protected him to the best that I could. But it also laid out money to Red Finch in a year and a half earlier. And again, $130,000 to have my bonus cut by two thirds was very upsetting, to say the least.

You know, none of these are sufficient justifications for larceny. But I guess if you're in this world of smoke and mirrors the prosecution is trying to get at, this is what you get. I mean, you think that the jury might buy that.

FARROW: I think it's a relatively thin argument, as you're suggesting. What they're trying to achieve here is to suggest that Michael Cohen was in a state of genuine need that doesn't really dismantle the most effective parts of the defense's argument today, which is, he had ulterior motives, right? They talked a lot about his taxi medallion business, about other things he had going on at the time that could have fed into his decision to engage in unethical and deceptive business practices, setting up these shell companies, for instance. Saying that he's in a state of need, he doesn't really do much except reinforce that.

But again, I would go back to the central point here, I think, which is some of this back and forth about Michael Cohen's other interests in the world and his financial duress and so on, doesn't really go to the heart of the matter. It's something of a sideshow. I think that the idea that Michael Cohen is at times a person with checkered honesty in the public domain, it's something that jurors are going to know by now.

And the question that they're confronted with here as to whether they can trust his account of Trump's involvement in covering up these transactions. That's something that was a question set up from the outset and remains a question.


FARROW: It's not really moving the needle on it in my view. Honestly, all of this back and forth that's happened with Todd Blanche and that's happening now on redirect.

TAPPER: So, Hoffinger asked, but you admitted on cross that it was wrong, the commission of grand larceny or larceny, I should say. It was, Cohen acknowledges. Hoffinger now returning to the letter that Cohen's attorney sent to the FEC in 2018 on the Daniels payment. This is again a falsehood that Cohen told. Cohen says what's omitted is the fact that it was paid for by Mr. Trump or the Trump trust, because the letter to the FEC said that there was no payment made by the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign.

But what Cohen has now on the standard meeting is what's omitted is the fact that was paid for by Mr. Trump at the Trump trust. Did you intend for it to be misleading in that way, he's asked? I did. Now there's an objection.

You know, Ronan, it's interesting to me to have you as a guest right now because having read -- I think virtually all of your work, but especially, Catch and Kill. Journalists all the time deal with a world of flawed narrators with competing agendas. And especially when you're writing, Catch and Kill, you're dealing with -- like a whole bunch of shady operations.

Disclosing that to the reader is an important part of this. And I wonder if the prosecution could have taken a page from your book and just acknowledging here are the players. Here's all the shady business, but this is what we think is true.


FARROW: You're exactly right. Journalists all the time have to deal with this exact dynamic around unreliable narrators. People who may at times in a story be lying, but other times could be telling the truth. And it's a really important precept of what we do that we have to fact check everything really thoroughly. Whether it comes from a person with a great track record of honesty who's very sympathetic. Or it comes from a frankly terrible person with a -- with a really checkered track record.

The important thing is how do the facts stand up to scrutiny? Now, that doesn't mean that character evidence isn't relevant when considering trustworthiness. Sometimes that's part of a constellation of factors that you need to give to readers to allow them to judge how truthful facts that a sorcerer is putting on the table might be.

Now, you're exactly right that here in the courtroom, the defense is trying to impeach him on character grounds and in terms of the other motives you might have. And a journalist might greet that situation and say, hey, that's something that the jurors should know up front.

In this case, they're doing a more traditional set of courtroom tactics. And the prosecution is saying, hey, wait a second, not so fast. Actually, there are reasons to trust Michael Cohen. It's a less journalistic approach more of a courtroom tactic.

TAPPER: I guess we'll see if it's as effective as your book Catch and Kill was. Ronan Farrow, always good to have you on. Thank you so much. Kaitlan Collins, back to you.

FARROW: Always a pleasure.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, Jake. Michael Cohen is audibly exhaling as I think many of us are, as there're as a sidebar happening right now between the defense, the prosecution and the judge here. And Paula Reid as the prosecutor started questioning Michael Cohen.

They very quickly got to one, the most damaging moment last week in Michael Cohen's testimony about that October 24 phone call, where you know, they were kind of saying it belies -- belief that you could have a conversation about a prank caller and Stormy Daniels in 90 seconds with Keith Schiller in this phone call where Michael Cohen said he talk to Trump. That was right out of the gate. And Susan Hoffinger moved on very quickly from that.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. And this is similar to how they tried to rehabilitate Stormy Daniels. They move through very quickly. They didn't try to match point for point, punch for punch with the defense. She made her point there and then very quickly moved on to the next issue.

And so far, that this redirect is moving along swiftly. I expect that you'll probably be wrapped up before launch. They believe this is the best way to rehabilitate their witnesses. Don't get dragged down into the weeds. Just go back to the point, try to rehabilitate and move on. But you can see everyone's getting restless.

As you said, Cohen just let out this audible sigh. Trump is stretching in his chair, holding his arms up towards his head. And as our colleagues have reported, even the jury has been somewhat disengaged during the cross. JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Look, if Todd Blanche was occasionally meandering, although at times very, very effective. This redirect isn't. I mean, this redirect is going point, point, point, point moving very quickly through it. One reason may be the Susan Hoffinger doesn't want to telegraph. What the world has been saying about the testimony from last week.

Maybe the jury doesn't think that moment where Michael Cohen testified about that phone call. The other 14-year-old prank caller was as big as others are. She just wants to address it quickly. Have Michael Cohen say, my memory is, we talked about the Stormy Daniels' deal. Why is that your memory because it was so important to me at the time, Michael Cohen said.

COLLINS: It's kind of a game of chance because you have to say -- you have to think, does the jury think that was a huge moment, like others did? And do they need a lot of reassurance on it? Or maybe they don't think it was a big moment. I don't want to spend a lot of time on it.

BERMAN: And then specifically on -- we keep talking about that Michael Cohen today says or answered the question. Yes, he did steal from the Trump Organization. That came up in testimony last week. He admitted to taking money off the top basically of that that deal with Red Finch. The company that did the big bowl.

But in the redirect, one of the things Susan Hoffinger got in there and it's completely irrelevant to this case, is the fact that Trump didn't like the fact that this firm that was paid to rig the poll in his favor, didn't do a good enough job rigging it.

COLLINS: And she's reading now about an FEC letter that he sent -- that he said had an omission. She's asking was it a true statement? He says, no, ma'am. And on that Red Finch part and what Michael Cohen conceded that he did steal from the Trump Organization. His explanation which he did not provide when the defense was questioning him.

But he did provide to the prosecution, Paula was, he said, well, for a year and a half, I've been telling them it was $50,000 that I owed them. And so, I just didn't change that at all as we were in this line of questioning. It's not clear how the jury will see that defense for Michael Cohen. But he basically said, I'd already done all this other work for Trump I'd already paid the $130,000 for Stormy Daniels that I didn't feel like I needed to be fully forthright about what he owed me and to the precise amount.

REID: He's justifying what he testified was stealing, so really unclear how that's going to land with the jury, but it doesn't appear that the prosecutors really want to go too deep on that issue. They I'm sure that they understand that they did not get out in front of it as well as they could.


They walk up to the line but didn't go all the way into how much he skimmed off the top and then even he believes that stealing. Now they don't want to get too deep in the weeds. They're sort of skimming over it and moving on to other issues, hoping that's enough to rehabilitate his credibility in the eyes of the jury.

COLLINS: Was it judges saying that they can -- is instructing the jury, they can consider this in evaluating Michael Cohen's credibility. These are moments in court where the judge takes a moment to -- which she normally is not speaking very much except to saying whether an objection is sustained or overruled.

He takes a moment to look at the jury and say, this moment that just happened right here. You can use that when you're evaluating Michael Cohen's credibility. This is what the letter that he sent to the FEC trying to say, it wasn't Trump who paid back for Stormy.

BERMAN: Right, exactly. And just the reason that's so important here is in this case, he was saying -- he was lying at that point for Donald Trump. Mr. Cohen's plea is not evidence of the defendants' guilt, and you may not consider it when determining Trump's innocence or guilt.

But I do think one of the things that prosecutions is doing here is, is almost everything they're asking about in rapid fire form here gets the very center of their case. They're not playing on the margins here. They're playing on payments to Stormy Daniels. The paperwork surrounding it in what you said about these payments to Stormy Daniels. They're really trying to focus it on those things that they are going to make or break this case with.

REID: And it's unclear whether this is going to be enough that Todd Blanche's cross was certainly meandering at times. We weren't exactly sure when it was going to end. He lost the jury at one point, which is never good. But he did get Michael Cohen to admit some significantly damaging things on the stand. Not only that he may have lied about that critical call, but also that he stole from the Trump Organization, also sort of muddied the waters on exactly what the accounting was for this $420,000, which is the heart of the case. That's what they're alleging.

Trump was engaged in a conspiracy to conceal hush money. Instead, Todd Blanche, laid out with some legal work that he did -- Cohen did for Trump during the year 2017, that he did for his family compared it to other fees that he was receiving. It clearly wasn't excessive. And noted that in his own email signature, he said, I'm the attorney for President Donald J. Trump.

So, Todd Blanche did what he needed to do. What is just absolutely unclear is whether this will be enough to protect his client from a conviction, only the jury will know that once they get in the room to deliberate. At this point, I think most people, it's really tough to call.

COLLINS: And we have criminal defense attorney Ron Kuby back with us. And Ron, if this was you, and you're sitting in that court at the defense table watching this play out. How long do you think the prosecution would take to try to rehabilitate this witness? RON KUBY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think they are going to be fast, which we've seen, and they're going to be short. They will -- if it were me anyway, I would certainly break before lunch. Maybe I would give the defense a few minutes before the lunch break to do a little recross, because they may have that opportunity to recross after the redirect.

But I would get through it quickly, hit the main points and move on. And the image that's created here after listening to Cohen now, it seems like forever. This is not how honest people do business. Honest people do not act this way. And that means Cohen and Weisselberg and Trump and the whole cast of characters. And I think that that is sort of a large high-level takeaway from what it is that we've seen. And I don't think that's going to be helpful to the defense.

COLLINS: And so, when Susan Hoffinger first started questioning Michael Cohen when she got back up there. That's the prosecutor here who initially questioned him. It was basically one question on Michael Cohen. And that call that came out last week that it was revealed. You know, Michael Cohen said, he didn't recall, but he was very clearly talking to Trump's body man, about a prank caller who was 14 years old, who was harassing him at the time. She spent a very brief moment on that in this cross examined -- or redirect. Do you think that was the right move?

KUBY: I do, because what else is there to say the ambiguity about that call is in fact in the record. And one of the advantages -- one of the many advantages the prosecution has is the defense has to sum up first. So, if the defense wants to make a big deal out of that, the prosecution is very much in a position to respond. If the defense sort of glosses over it, the prosecution can do the same thing.

But the facts that are in the record are there and it doesn't get better by reiterating and then repeating them. Yeah. When I get a bad answer and every lawyer who's ever practiced has gotten a bad answer from a witness. I don't accentuate it. I just pretend, there's nothing to see here, move right along.

And while the commentariat explodes with the larceny charges, as we have all morning, I as a lawyer, just say, all right, yeah. So, we already covered that. He didn't phrase it quite this starkly in direct examination, but he did -- Michael Cohen did admit that he took money that wasn't his. And so, if the defense wants to call it theft, they can call it theft, no big deal, move along.


COLLINS: Well, and right now what they are talking about, they're going through a litany of statements that Michael Cohen's at the time. One is that FEC letter, that he sent to the FEC saying, neither the Trump campaign nor the Trump Organization paid the Stormy Daniels payment. Of course, that was a lie, because we do know that Trump himself reimbursed to Trump, but Trump was locked out of that as the individual. And Michael Cohen says, he made those false statements with Donald Trump's approval. How does that work for what the defense has been trying to do, which is to paint Michael Cohen is a liar. Michael Cohen is saying, he often was lying to benefit Donald Trump.

KUBY: It's sort of the classic problem that you have with witnesses who begin their lives committing various sins and crimes and awfulness, but somehow are redeemed by the prosecution when they get on the witness stand. It's a very easy narrative to understand in American public life.

Yes, I sinned. Yes, I did wrong. I followed the great deceiver. And he misled me, I was slavishly loyal to him. But now, now I have seen the light. And now I am telling you the truth. That was the old Michael Cohen. That was the bad Michael Cohen. This is the born again, if I may use, not terribly apt religious metaphor. This was a born again, Michael Cohen.

COLLINS: Ron Kuby, we will see how the jury sees it. And if they are lending it a religious lens. Thank you for that. And right now, the prosecution is asking to approach the bench again, before asking her next question. Paula Reid, I mean, this is multiple times that now they've gone up to the bench to have this conversation with the judge about the lines of questioning that they are going through here on Donald Trump and what Michael Cohen was doing for him.

REID: Yeah, exactly. Look, it's clear that the defense is watching this very closely, not letting the prosecution get in any points that they don't want them to. But this has been a lot of side bar, a lot of going up to the judge, having private conversations. Now it looks like the objection here from the defense was sustained.

So, she's asking to go back up again. I mean, this is -- this is a lot of back and forth. We haven't seen this much halting, starting, stopping. And this is a change in approach to. The defense largely let the prosecution ask whatever they wanted to on direct, but here they've made their points, and they want to hold their ground.

So, this is taking a little bit longer. And also throwing Hoffinger pacing off a little bit. She was moving, as John said, really rapid fire. But this forces her to stop. Hold on, everything up to the judge, and then come back.

BERMAN: One of the things that the prosecution has done here is they use this 2018 statement from Michael Cohen, where he lays out a case that he is now saying was completely false. They're basically using Cohen's own admission that he broke the law several times to muddy up and make Donald Trump look bad here.

I think one of the strategies might be here, everyone knows Michael Cohen, you know, is a flawed character, but he's so flawed and he was doing it for Donald Trump. And they're introducing some kind of theories about campaign finance law here in the process, where they're saying, did you do this, you know, for a personal thing over said the campaign. And Michael Cohen said it was the campaign and that's getting out there now in this redirect. COLLINS: And just to -- for what's happening inside the room. This is John, to your point earlier. Susan Hoffinger asks Michael Cohen. I know, it may feel like you're on trial here or after your cross- examination. But are you actually on trial, Hoffinger asks. Michael Cohen says, no, ma'am. Obviously, Michael Cohen is not on trial. But she's just reminding the jury of the point you were just making that this isn't the defendant here that he is seated over there at the defense table.

BERMAN: Yeah. I mean, it's an obvious point, I think, to people outside and inside, but you can forget because we've been here now for a long time.


REID: How long Michael Cohen has been on the stand now?

COLLINS: I believe it's approximately 16 hours total, but it's been days and days. Obviously, the longest we've seen any witness on the stand in this case, but that was to be expected. We expected is going to be on there for a week, because what he says matters so much to the prosecution's case and also for the defense's case. Their defense is the cross-examination of Michael Cohen.

REID: Yeah. It's not even clear yet if the prosecution -- or if the defense is going to bring any witnesses. Jake, we know Michael Cohen is the last one for the prosecution here.

TAPPER: All right, very interesting stuff. And Jamie Gangel, let me go to you because one of the things that is going to be an issue for the jury to decide has to do with Michael Cohen's testimony about this call that took place at the end of October.

That was 93 seconds long in which supposedly he complained to Keith Schiller, Donald Trump's bodyguard about some 14-year-old that was prank calling him. And also, Keith Schiller handed the phone to Trump. And Michael Cohen told Trump that the Stormy Daniels matter was settled. Why is that significant?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, to me a minute and 36 seconds. If you are in the television business, that is a long time. If we all stop talking for a minute and 36 seconds, there will be some