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CNN Live Event/Special

Now, Trump's Defense Making Closing Argument; Trump's Attorney to Jury, Cohen Lied to You; Trump's Attorney Says, Cohen's Testimony Not Corroborated by Anything. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired May 28, 2024 - 10:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think -- and, by the way, Todd Blanche is arguing that Michael Cohen did the legal work in 2017 because there was a retainer agreement pointing to the other retainer agreement he had as a consultant in 2017. The whole question of whether or not Michael Cohen actually had a retainer agreement has been an important part of this case.

Do you think -- I mean, from what you're experienced in talking to jurors after cases, do the closing arguments matter to them that much?

RENATO STABILE, JURY CONSULTANT AND ATTORNEY: I really think that the jurors are entering into these summations with their minds made up, especially after an extraordinarily long break. I mean, a week between the close of evidence and closing arguments is very, very long. I think right now they're listening to the summations, but the summations are basically confirmatory for the jurors. They've already pretty much, I think, decided the case. You're not going to sway anybody in the closing arguments at this point. You're just confirming what they already think.

COOPER: That's really interesting. Todd Blanche specifically knows that Michael Cohen was paid $100,000 for six meetings with Novartis, again, trying to lay the foundation that Michael Cohen was doing legal work for him and that there was a retainer.

That's really fascinating. So you believe the jurors have already made up their minds. Will a closing argument help? Do you think it does it -- it doesn't change any minds? It just sort of helps them bolster the conclusions they've already made, do you think?

STABILE: I think it probably solidifies the positions that the jurors have now. Look, again, we don't know the political makeup of this jury. I think that is the absolute super factor here. So, I think jurors are viewing this evidence through whatever political lens that they walked into jury selection with. And these closing arguments are going to solidify their positions because if there's going to be -- look, either the jurors are all going to be aligned and we're going to have a very quick verdict, or there's going to be some dispute. It might be across political lines. And you're using these summations to arm your jurors, to arm your jurors, to give them the arguments, to give them the evidence so that they can fight for you in that jury room if there's a dispute.

COOPER: All right. Renato Stabile, appreciate it. Todd Blanche repeatedly saying Michael Connors lied to you, punctuated each of the words, Cohen lied to you.

Jake, back to you.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Anderson, I'm going to take a little bit more liberty there. I think he's, did it more, probably more like this. Cohen lied to you. Although we don't know, we don't know how he did it, but I'm trying to just give a little dramatic flair here because that's -- well, put cameras in the courtroom.

We're back here and we have with us a Tim Parlatore, former Trump defense attorney. So, Tim, let me ask you a question. What do you make of the tasks right now that Todd Blanche has, the Trump defense attorney, that Mr. Steinglass has, the prosecutor? Who has the more difficult day right now? They're both giving closing arguments, defense first and prosecution. Who has the bigger challenge ahead of them?

TIM PARLATORE, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: I think the prosecution, just because they do have the burden of proof in this case. And so by going second, you know, they have certain advantages, but also certain disadvantages. They're going to have to, you know, react to a lot of the things that the defense says.

But really the big thing, and I think that they're both making a big mistake, and I know other people have said this, by going so long.

TAPPER: How long would you go?


TAPPER: For each?

PARLATORE: Absolutely. I'd go an hour for each. Because, ultimately, trial is all about storytelling for the jury, if you can't hold their, their attention, if you're doing a four hour closing, whether it's for your client, for your boss, or for your own ego, it disregards the number one principle of trial law, which is that there are only 12 opinions that matter. Yours isn't one of them.

TAPPER: Yes. So, right now, by the way, just to interrupt, I apologize, Todd Blanche is noting that an email being introduced here that's, this is one that Allen Weisselberg, the CFO for the Trump Organization, sent to Michael Cohen when Cohen was leaving the Trump Organization. It stated, please prepare the agreement we discussed so we can pay you monthly, and this is -- he says, quote, you didn't see a retainer agreement. There's no evidence that there was one ever put together, Blanche says. And this is all about basically the argument, like there was no reimbursement. This is crazy. This whole theory of the case is based on this one testimony. It's a very flawed witness' testimony, that there was a verbal retainer agreement from Mr. Cohen and President Trump is consistent with the practices of lawyer Keith Davidson, Blanche saying. Meaning, there was a retainer agreement, not a reimbursement agreement, right?

PARLATORE: You know, what I would be doing if I were Todd Blanche is try and take this relatively complicated case and make it as simple as possible. I would not only try and simplify it and say, okay, there's a lot of this stuff. None of that's really relevant. You know, set that to the side. What really matters is, you know, the retainer agreement or the actual checks themselves and, and what dropdown menu they used, I would be laser focused on that.


And another thing that I like to do with closings is, because I'm going before the prosecution, I would challenge them and kind of change their closing. I would actually walk over to the prosecution table and say, if he spends a whole bunch of time talking to you about the meeting with David Pecker, that's because they don't have the evidence to support the meeting with Allen Weisselberg.

And when he gets up after I sit down, I don't get to, you know, respond to anything he says, but listen to what he says. If he goes on for four and a half hours talking about all of this other stuff, that's an indication of the weakness of the case. But see if he can explain to you what other evidence there is that Donald Trump knew about this agreement other than Michael Cohen.

TAPPER: Yes. So, right now, what's going on is Todd Blanche, the defense attorney, is saying he, meaning Mr. Cohen, Michael Cohen, was President Trump's personal lawyer, period. Again, they're trying to -- the defense is trying to make the argument there was no reimbursement for Stormy Daniels. He was just being paid a retainer as they agreed.

Blanche sarcastically says Cohen was thinking at the time, for the first time in President Trump's life, he decided to pay me back triple, making fun of the defense -- of the prosecution's theory of the case. There's a reason why in life, usually the simplest answer is the right one, Blanche says, arguing that that's the case here, the Occam's Razor theory, don't be, somebody said, if you hear, you know, hoof beats outside, don't think it's a zebra, it's probably a horse. The story Mr. Cohen told you on the witness stand is not true.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. And they're also going into detail about all the different holes they perceived in the prosecution's case, and Tim's point, what did you not hear?

TAPPER: I'm sorry, Laura. There is no evidence that President Trump knew anything about this voucher system, no evidence, not a single word. This is the idea about this $35,000 monthly payment that's part of this reimbursement. If the government reads this to you quotes from a book, you should be suspicious. That's a red flag, Blanche says. Look, they're doing exactly, Tim, what you said. Heading them off at the pass, if they do the X, Y, Z, you should be suspicious. And then, of course, Mr. Steinglass probably is going to do X, Y, Z because that's his case.

COATES: And that's exactly what they did throughout the trial. You know, they also point out that Allen Weisselberg wasn't there. Dylan Howard wasn't there, Keith Schiller talking about all the people who could have come up, all of the president's men who were not there in the room, conversations about credibility. They're going to use this opportunity to talk about not what their burden would be. They have no burden of proof. They don't have to prove Trump is innocent. They know the prosecution has to prove that he, in fact, was guilty, if they can do so. And by pointing out all the areas that they did not hear testimony, they're going to try to make their case that way.

It's important also talk about they are raising the area of business records. That's part of -- and that's really the crux of this case. The documents are there are the most important part of this case. Witnesses are important as well. This is 34 counts of falsified business records. They talk about prosecution wants you to think Trump knew about the baptism because of a book by a ghostwriter decades earlier.

So, they're wanting you to focus on the 34 documents in this case and what could or could not have been proven. Also, Blanche says, to our point, there is a problem in the proof. That is what the defense must do to be successful in this case.

The jurors though have to now look at their statements and believe that there actually were these actual holes. Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not include a passage in the book from decades earlier, ladies and gentlemen, but we're talking about, not decades ago, we're talking about the documents in this case.

TAPPER: But I guess this is when they introduced all these quotes from Trump's books. Remember, they had actually the authors or editors, rather, from various publishing houses about, like, how Trump says you deal with things, and I guess that was trying to create some sort of theory of like what Donald Trump's state of mind was.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, there was a memorable quote in one of the books where Trump wrote something like, in his principles of management, you know, you have to know where every paperclip is. What Todd Blanche is trying to do right now is put the jury in Donald Trump's shoes, because that's what matters. What Donald Trump knew and understood is really the crux of this case.

And the argument he's trying to make here is that when you're the CEO of a company and your long time attorney invoices you for legal fees and you pay them as legal fees, there's nothing wrong with that. That's not a crime. That's the argument he's making here.

And I think where he's going to drive it home is at the point where Michael Cohen stole from Donald Trump $60,000 on this very transaction. He's going to argue, do you think Trump knew exactly what was going on? Really? Because he was getting fleeced on this transaction. That's coming soon.

TAPPER: So, Todd Blanche right now is focusing on McConney's email. McConney, Jeff McConney, was the right hand man of the CFO, Allen Weisselberg, McConney's email to Tarasoff, instructing her to pay from the trust, post to business expense, and put retainer. This was Tarasoff, I believe, is the young woman who used to work at a grocery store, and then was hired by the Trump Organization, and she basically was the person who FedExed things to Donald Trump at the White House for him to sign. This has to do with the reimbursement of checks.

Each of these sentences should give you, without a doubt, reasonable doubt, Blanche says.


Blanche is reminding jurors at the Trump Organization always labeled any expenses coming from a lawyer as legal expenses in the company's system, arguing the government has tried to criminalize this practice. That's absurd. It's not a crime, Blanche says. There's really a disdain that Blanche is expressing there.

COATES: There is a disdain, but also remember the jurors heard testimony about there being only a certain limited, finite universe of categories to characterize payments being made, one being legal expenses. But, again, the government has to prove these are business records. The charge are falsified business records. It can't be personal records.

I suspect they're going to try to suggest that once Trump went to the White House, this is essentially akin to him sending maybe flowers or personal documents or personal invoices, some of which are, and they're trying to make those actually business expenses. Is the burden of the government to prove this very point?

but also one of the flaws and why the feds didn't necessarily want to bring this case is because they would have to have shown that he knew that what they were doing in the reimbursement was actually intended to commit a crime and got that direct dot connected, that's going to be a problem.

TAPPER: I want to bring in right now, former Federal Prosecutor Alyse Adamson, who we had on the panel last week as well. Alyse, thanks so much for joining us.

So, right now, the defense is presenting their closing arguments. We're told it will last anywhere from two to two and a half hours. Then the prosecution gets their turn. We're told that will last anywhere from four to four and a half hours. Some of the attorneys on the panel here seem to think this is way too long for closing arguments, that this is not strategically wise. What do you think?

ALYSE ADAMSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, I actually agree with that. I mean, jurors are people and they lose the ability to pay attention and hear. This is a very legally complicated case and both sides really need the jury to focus on what they are saying to either prove their case, if you're the prosecution, or to raise enough doubt that it becomes reasonable doubts for either to acquittal or for a hung jury.

If I were trying this case, I was listening to Tim earlier, I agree, I mean, maybe not an hour. I might need a little bit longer just because of the intricacies. But to hear that the prosecution is going to go four-plus hours, I'm not sure that's wise. I mean, I don't think any one of us could pay attention to every word for four and a half hours.

TAPPER: So, just to bring everybody up to speed as to what's going on, on the left side there of the screen with the tidbits of news coming in from inside the courtroom, Todd Blanche is right now showing the jury an email that Jeff McConney, again, that's the right hand man of the CFO, Allen Weisselberg, an email that McConney sent seeking approval for these payments from Don Jr. and Eric Trump. These are the president's sons who ran the Trump Organization while Donald Trump was in the White House.

Trump is leaning back in his chair. We're told he's turned slightly toward the jury and to Todd Blanche while Blanche is making his presentation. Blanche says, if there was actually an agreement between the three of them to pay Cohen as a cover-up, then this does not exist. Meaning, if this is a cover up, why are they seeking permission for the check to be written to Donald -- I'm sorry, to Michael Cohen and seeking permission from Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.? There's no reason to get approval from Don and Eric if it's already decided that we're going to pay Cohen $35,000 a month, but don't tell anybody.

What do you make of the strength of this argument in the closing?

ADAMSON: Look, I think it is a good argument and it's a necessary argument, because, again, the business records themselves are the heart of this case. This is a case about falsified business records. I don't think if you zoom out, that necessarily carries a lot of weight because, again, what we're talking about is these installment payments where Donald Trump signed the checks personally.

And we heard testimony that Donald Trump knows what he's doing. He's a very smart businessman. He knows everything that is coming his way. This is about Donald Trump's intent, his awareness, what he knows, and what he was intending to do.

So, the defense is trying to create reasonable doubt. I understand the argument. But jurors do not check their common sense at the door. And they're going to be reminded by the prosecution that they need to see the bigger picture. Who had all the motive to do this? Who benefited from all of this? It would have been Donald Trump. It just doesn't make sense otherwise.

TAPPER: So, one of the things that Todd Blanche just said is there's no reason to get approval from Don and Eric if it's already decided that we're going to pay Cohen $35,000 a month but don't tell anyone. And he notes that the prosecution has not called Donald Trump Jr. or Eric Trump to testify if they were indeed part of this conspiracy, which the prosecution is alleging.


Both of these checks were approved by Eric and Don Jr. and President Trump had nothing to do with them. There's no evidence he had anything to do with anything involving these checks.

And a reminder at least that Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are in court today sitting right behind their father, which is an interesting bit of information for the jury to absorb. They're saying, you know, here are Donald Trump's sons, right here, sitting right behind him. I mean, they're not, he's probably not pointing to them, but they know. I mean, they don't live on Mars. And, you know, the prosecution didn't, didn't call them to testify. Supposedly, they would be part of this conspiracy. That seems like an interesting argument and one that the prosecution is probably going to have to address.

ADAMSON: Yes, absolutely. There are several witnesses in this or potential witnesses in this matter that didn't testify. And the defense is really going to harp on that, Don Jr. being one of them, Allen Weisselberg being another one. You make a very good point that now that they're in the courtroom. The jury is probably sitting there like, all these people were available. We're seeing them right there. Why didn't we hear them on the witness stand?

And so I think we can expect the government to explain we have the burden of proof here. And listen, you may not have heard from these people, but you don't have to because this is the evidence we have in the case. And remember, the jury can be invited to make permissible inferences based on circumstantial evidence. And there was a mountain of circumstantial evidence in this case. And so I think the jury can infer that Donald Trump was still part of this conspiracy. And this is only one email and part of a lot of other evidence that I believe can establish Donald Trump's intent and his knowledge here.

TAPPER: Very interesting, Alyse. Thanks so much.

And right now, Anderson, Todd Blanche, the defense attorney, in his closing arguments, is noting that the check stub description on these checks, $35,000 checks, signed off by Don Jr. and Eric, not by Donald Trump, to Michael Cohen, that the check stub description says retainer, Blanche says it's automatically generated from the system based on the voucher input by Deb Tarasoff, that's the young woman who was in charge of, of mailing checks for Donald Trump to sign or reimburse or whatever. It's based on the voucher input by Deb Tarasoff, not Trump.

So, here is a payment that, that there's no evidence, at least according to Todd Blanche, that Donald Trump had anything to do with it, and yet this is part of the business record falsification case, Anderson.

COOPER: That's right, Jake. I'm back also with Paula Reid and Kaitlan Collins. Essentially, this is an important point that Todd Blanche is trying to make, that this is auto-generated, that this is just sort of how the computer software worked at the Trump Organization. It wasn't part of some larger plot, according to Todd Blanche, to have these illegal payments and then say it was for legal fees and it was done as a retainer.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. This is phase one of the closing argument that the falsified business records were not false. They were receiving these invoices from Michael Cohen. They're going to argue if anyone falsified business records, it was Michael Cohen lying part of what he was reimbursed for. COOPER: These are some of the check stubs that say retainer on them.

REID: That's exactly right. And that one of the multiple that he received over the course of the year. And each one of these, these invoices these checks, these are all rack up to 34 counts of falsifying business records. Todd Blanche is focused on this right now, putting space between his client, the defendant, and the actual creation of these documents.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. But their argument right now is about how the description says retainer and that it's automatically generated from that system for Deb Tarasoff was testing about. He's now walking through Madeleine Westerhout's testimony that Trump was very busy. Sometimes he would look at the checks when she brought them. Sometimes he would just sign them without looking closely at them.

But the argument that he was making there, you know, as a juror, I think we have no idea what they're thinking. But one question that could be raised is, well, yes, she's picking from a dropdown menu of options here that she has that they've always relied on, as he was saying, it was always labeled as legal services. Well, there's not going to ever be a drop down option for hush money payment cover-up. So, you know, it's not really logical to say, well, she didn't classify it as that, so it must not be that. That's not an option in any system that I've ever seen.

And so I think that's a question of how the jury takes this and who do they find more credible in this. I mean, the jury truly gives nothing away. They are basically expressionless. I've seen them in there multiple times. I think one time I've seen a juror smile, one smirk, I saw two look at one another, and that was during one of the craziest days inside that courtroom when Robert Costello was testifying. Other than that, they are very serious in their expressions, and paying very close attention.

COOPER: It's interesting, if the jurors -- I mean, I don't know the answer to this. But if jurors believe that Donald Trump lied about the sexual encounter with Stormy Daniels, if they believe that there was a sexual encounter with Stormy Daniels, does that color the way the other arguments that that he makes, that if they believe he, that there, that is a fundamental lie, do they then believe, well, all these other things are lies as well?


REID: It's a great question. And that's what I was getting to earlier about diluting your argument, right, by arguing these things that really strain credulity, like denying this encounter with Stormy Daniels, because this is what they're trying to do with Michael Cohen. They said, well, he lied about this, that, and the other things. So why would you believe him here? You would think that the same logic would apply to Trump and these arguments. If he denies the affair and no one really believes that, why should they believe these other arguments? There is a danger inherent for Todd Blanche here in diluting some of his stronger arguments that he has to make here, which is directly attacking the credibility of Michael Cohen and putting distance between his client and the actual creation of these documents. But, you know, this is the way they've chosen to proceed here.

COOPER: Blanche is saying to the jury, jury cannot convict because sometimes without being specific at all, Trump looked at invoices and somehow had full knowledge of what was happening. That's a stretch and that is reasonable doubt, ladies and gentlemen.

COLLINS: And that's why he's attacking Michael Cohen's credibility and why that has really been their main defense here, because Michael Cohen has testified beyond just the documents. Yes, that is powerful evidence, but Michael Cohen testified about his meeting with Allen Weisselberg and Trump signing off on the reimbursement plan for him and that it was triple what it was supposed to be.

Blanche says the leap that the government wants you to take, that he looked at the check and looked at the invoices and was part of the scheme, is really working on sowing doubt, putting a lot of distance between Trump and this entire effort.

What we do know though is, you know, we've seen Trump also on camera lying about this, because there's that iconic moment on Air Force One where he was asked if he knew about the payment to Stormy Daniels. He said, no, he did not. This is while he was already cutting checks to Michael Cohen after Michael Cohen had already been inside the Oval Office to talk about this very plan. And those are moments that have been brought up at this trial. And so that's the question here for the jury.

COOPER: Todd Blanche was talking about, look, the scheme was to book a legal expense as a legal expense. There's nothing sinister about Trump's personal checks being sent to Trump employees, personal addresses rather than the White House in order to get them to Trump for a signature.

And, again, that's one of the explanations Donald Trump made to Michael Cohen about the delay in first payments to Michael Cohen because he was already in the White House and the system there slowed it down. It's common sense, Blanche says, once you understand the slow moving mail system at the White House.

REID: It's the challenge with having a client like this. This is one of the most famous people in the world and he's known, among other things, for lying, for not being honest. And that's something that the jurors know going into here. So, how is the government going to ask you to convict President Trump based on the words of Michael Cohen?

Now this is, of course, I would say, you know, their thesis statement in their closing argument. And like I said earlier it's our understanding they're really going to try to personalize it. Instead of going just through his rap sheet, as they always do, instead just asking the people in the jury, would you want your sister or your child, would you want their freedom, a potential conviction for them, to rely on the words of Michael Cohen?

Now, Blanche, what the people have done, what the government did for the past five weeks, at the end of the day, is ask you to believe Michael Cohen. But as I was saying, you know, their client strongly has issues with the truth with honesty, with credibility. And that's something that has been a challenge for them since they walked in the court, which is why they are hoping at best for a mistrial here, for a hung jury, because they believe they're at a disadvantage when they walk into this courtroom because of who their client is.

COLLINS: But that's the other question about how the jury has just had over a week off is what they've looked up what they've talked about with this case. Obviously, they're not supposed to, but they're normal people who live in 2024 and have their phones attached to them and are watching T.V. and are online, and Michael Cohen being such a big part of this.

Because the Michael Cohen who was presented in court is very different than the Michael Cohen that we are familiar with, there are audiences familiar with, listening to his podcast, seeing his television interviews, he was much calmer and collected on the stand. He maintained a pretty even tone, even under the cross-examination with Todd Blanche. He said, yes, ma'am, no, ma'am, yes, sir, no, sir.

Right, now he said, when we get to Mr. Cohen's testimony about the issue that we're talking about the retainer agreement, he said it's not corroborated by anything. There's not a shroud of evidence. I mean, they're arguing that it was normal that he didn't have a retainer agreement, which he has argued it's because he was doing no legal work and that's proof this was reimbursement, not money for legal fees.

COOPER: Blanche says Michael Cohen is asking to believe he was just going to work for free. Do you believe that for a second, Todd Blanche asked the jury.

COLLINS: Michael Cohen is pretty transparent with that in the sense of his argument. If the jury believes it is that he was making money doing other things by being the personal attorney to Donald Trump when he was not inside the White House and did not get that job, that he made clear he was using his clout connected to Trump to get other jobs that Trump actually introduced him to some of the executives that he later went to work for.

COOPER: Blanche turned to the meeting Trump Tower and Cohen's testimony that Weisselberg turned to him and said they were going to pay him over 12 months. This is a critical meeting with Allen Weisselberg, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen at the White House, where, according to Michael Cohen, this scheme was sort of laid out.


That's the evidence that the government gave you about President Trump's knowledge and role in this scheme, Todd Blanche says. They're going to attack the veracity of what Michael Cohen has testified. The idea that President Trump would agree to pay Cohen $420,000 even though he only owed him $130,000 is absurd, Todd Blanche says.

COLLINS: I think the prosecution would say, yes.

REID: Yes, it is. They love to make this argument. They're like, look, you've heard so many people testify that our client, the defendant, is cheap. Why would he pay him more than he owes? So, this is one of the sub themes that is sort of woven throughout this argument. I don't know if the jury is going to believe it, but that is something that Todd Blanche has brought up throughout this trial. Why would he overpay?

COOPER: Explain the reason for it. Part of it is to cover him for taxes on the $130,000.

REID: Exactly. Part of this was grossed up to help cover him for taxes to make him whole. Part of this was for other things, not just the hush money, also other payments that he had made. And, of course, when it comes to that one technology company, he admitted on the stand that he lied about how much money he actually gave them and stole $60,000 from the Trump organization.

So, that math, that is a complicated math equation, but what they're arguing there is no way, if this was just the reimbursement for the $130,000, would they have paid for $20,000? But you see the notes there, it's more than just the hush money that was allegedly agreed to.

COLLINS: But this is one of the most important parts of this closing argument is this document that the jury saw where it's Michael Cohen or it's Allen Weisselberg's handwriting about how they would pay him. Todd Blanche is saying, that is absurd, placing extra emphasis on those three words about how Michael Cohen was paid back.

But in addition to Trump repaying Michael Cohen for what he paid to goose his numbers in an online poll, it is no Trump ally that I have spoken to during this trial has been able to explain why legal fees would be grossed up. That is not how legal fees are paid. You don't gross them up for taxes. You pay them the amount and that is what they put on their income. And so that has really been a hole here.

And, of course, a reminder, there are two attorneys on this jury who know how this works and know that you don't get grossed up legal fees.

COOPER: The other thing I wonder about -- I mean, I often try to put myself in the mind of a juror, and if I'm a juror watching this cavalcade of, you know, characters coming in and testifying and all their credibility is being attacked by one side or the other, the common thread through all of them is Donald Trump that these are the people that Donald Trump had in his orbit, this, you know, like Jake is referred to and I think it's a bar scene out of Star Wars. I mean, these are the people credible, you know, scheming, lying. These are all the people --

REID: Not the best people.

COOPER: -- around Donald Trump. And, again, does that influence a jury to think, well, Donald Trump is the one common force connecting all these people, does that make them question the credibility of Donald Trump? Blanche shared the bank statement where Weisselberg summed up the $420,000 repayment.

REID: And I guess that's where it's Todd Blanche's responsibility to say, look, it's not a crime to have an affair. It's not a crime to pay hush money. It's not a crime to have shady friends. It is a crime to falsify business records, but my client was not involved in that here. That's his challenge, because he's up against a lot in terms of what this jury knows about the defendant, what they've heard about the defendant. He has an uphill climb here. It's certainly possible that he could win over at least one juror and sow the seeds of reasonable doubt. We'll see. He's got a few more hours to go.

COOPER: Often listening to sort of the portrayal of these people around Donald Trump, it's as if Donald Trump is a frail, elderly, 85- year-old woman who's being taken advantage of by sleazy attorneys. I mean, that is certainly not the case. He was quite aware and --

COLLINS: And the other interesting aspect of this is Trump has been fuming over the weekend, publicly and privately, I've been told about, not being able to use the advice of counsel argument to the jurors here in this closing argument. That was something that was debated when the jury was out of the room between the judge and the two parties here, the prosecution and the defense. They had agreed even before this trial began that that would not be a line of defense, that Trump was relying on the legal advice of attorneys when people like Michael Cohen told him agreements were bulletproof and airtight.

And Trump has been complaining that they could not use that argument here, which is interesting though, because Trump obviously is the person who often directs his attorneys what to do as opposed to vice versa.

COOPER: Blanche says, again, you have to accept. If you accept Mr. Cohen's version of what happened, that Cohen, Weisselberg, and Trump were all in this together.

COLLINS: What he's in reverse asking them to do though is to believe that every other person was in on it with the exception of Donald Trump.

COOPER: Jake, let's go back to you.

TAPPER: All right. Let's bring up the image of the document that Todd Blanche, the attorney for Donald Trump, is showing the jury. This is the so called Weisselberg memo. This is where Weisselberg summed up the $420,000 repayment, according to the prosecution's theory of the case. And Todd Blanche, the defense attorney, is saying, the point of this document is it contains lies.

Again, you have to accept, if you accept Mr. Cohen's version of what happened, that they were all in this together, Blanche is showing the jury the copy of Cohen's bank statement now, with Weisselberg's handwritten notes, calculating the payment to Cohen, saying it's full of lies.

Blanche argues that both Cohen and McConney testified they didn't know why Weisselberg grossed up the money.


Cohen said he didn't care why the figure was $360,000, he just wanted to get his money.