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Three U.S. Service Members Killed, One Wounded in Afghanistan; Special Counsel Mueller Staffs Up In Russia Probe; Sources: Trump Lawyer To File Complaint Over Comey Leak; History of White House Recordings; Prosecution Rests in Bill Cosby Case; Sessions Won't Testify Before Senate Intel Committee Instead of Appropriations Committees. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 10, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:46] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Live in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Dave Briggs in for Ana Cabrera.
Breaking news. Three U.S. service members are dead, a fourth wounded in apparent insider attack in Afghanistan. The US officials tell CNN the shooter is believed to be a member of the Afghan military. The shooting happened during a joint operation with the Afghan military in the Achin District near the border with Pakistan. Troops have been caring out of months long offensive there against ISIS. The White House says, President Trump has been briefed on the situation. Vice President Mike Pence spoke just a few moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE (R), UNITED STATES: On my way here I was informed that the U.S. service members were killed and wounded in the attack in Afghanistan. The President and I have been briefed. The details of this attack will be forthcoming. When heroes fall Americans grieve. And our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these American heroes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Staying on top of this story we'll bring you any updates as we get them.
Turning out, politics deadline is set, the House Intelligence Committee is giving the White House two weeks to turn over documents including any possible secret recordings of the President's conversation with former FBI Director James Comey. And that's not all. Senator Diane Feinstein now asking the Judiciary Committee to investigate potential obstruction of justice in the events leading up to Comey's firing in the Russia probe. Comey claiming the President wanted a pledge of loyalty as well as end of the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
But the President not backing down, labeling Comey a liar, a leaker and saying he would quote, "One hundred percent" testify under oath about the discussions he had with him. All of this as we learned special counsel Robert Mueller is staffing up, building the equivalent of a small U.S. attorney's office with legal minds who have worked on everything from Watergate to Enron. We have this story covered from every angle.
I want to begin though with CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones. She's live in New Jersey where the President is spending the weekend.
Athena, the President leaving the world in suspense when it comes to whether there are secret recordings that turned over. What do we make of that?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Dave. Well, it is a huge mystery, it seems to be something along the lines of the President's show business background always teasing for the next episode. But remember, it was May 12 that he sent out that very suggestive tweet that there might be tapes and yet, ever since then despite repeated questions, no one on the White House staff and now the President himself will answer whether there are tapes.
But I will mention to you that one of the issues being raised in the wake of the former FBI director's testimony before the Senate Intelligence panel on Thursday is yet another request this time by the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary panel as you mentioned, Senator Diane Feinstein who has written a letter to the Chairman of that panel Chuck Grassley, calling on him to investigate all issues related to obstruction of justice when it comes to the firing of James Comey, and also the Russia investigation.
Here is part of her letter, she said, "It is my strong recommendation that the Judiciary Committee investigate all issues that raise a question of obstruction of justice. These issues should be developed by our legal staff, presented to us and be subject to full committee hearings." She also goes on later in the letter to say that she is supportive of issuing subpoenas in those cases where we do not receive cooperation. That's an indication that she would support compelling the White House to cooperate in this.
And I should mention that Senator Feinstein is on, not just on the judiciary panel. She's also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, so she was one of the people who were questioning Director Comey and also was in that closed session with the director afterwards.
BRIGGS: He's also on State of the Union tomorrow which should be interesting. I want to ask you about what we mentioned a short time ago, this fascinating edition to Rob Mueller's special counsel team, Michael Dreeben, the one that really stands to people of course, for those that don't collect legal minds baseball cards, why is this so significant?
[17:05:04] JONES: Well, this is interesting, it's significant because Michael Dreeben is a deputy solicitor general, he has a prolific Supreme Court advocate having argued before the Supreme Court dozens and dozens and dozens of times. And he oversees as of right now, the Justice Department's criminal appellate docket. Now, you mentioned some legal minds who have held this choice. Those include Preet Bharara who you'll remember is the U.S. attorney or the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired by President Trump.
Barrera called Dreeben a top legal and appellate mind. One of the top legal and appellate minds. And said, it appears that Bob Mueller, the special counsel is recruiting the smartest and most season professionals who have a long track record of independence and excellence. Others have said that Dreeben is the top criminal law practitioner in the US. And that certainly shows that they're taking this probe very very seriously -- Dave.
BRIGGS: Pete Bharara will also appear on our Sunday show tomorrow. It will be intriguing to hear what he has to say. Athena Jones, thank you.
I want to bring in our CNN political analyst, professor at Princeton University and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer and Ellis Henican, writer of the Trump's America column for the Metro papers.
All right. Ellis, the President teased everyone in true Reality show fashion as we've just mentioned there. Tapes, do they exist? Will we ever see them and what do you make of the notion that you'll be disappointed by the answer?
ELLIS HENICAN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's a dig at the press I think suggesting, I don't know that they wish there were tapes and there aren't going to be tapes. And maybe we don't want to read tapes.
JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Right. It's hard to know --
BRIGGS: You really don't know. And I don't want to pretend and my guess is if there's no tape, not only because of the shining the light on this dispute with the former FBI director but where would the tapes stop if there were tapes? Does Donald Trump really want us to hear every one of his important conversations in the White House? I am highly doubtful with that.
Washington, DC is one of those one party situations where you don't have to tell the other person. But of course the President Julian, tweeted said that he's completely vindicated here, no obstruction, goes on and on. You write on CNN.com not so fast. Why should he not feel completely vindicated?
ZELIZER: Well, look, this is A, not a very serious investigation that keeps expanding, it is as he said the cloud looming over this administration. It has taken him out of some of the legislative ball game and it doesn't allow him to move forward some big bills. His polls remain very poor and many Republicans are starting to think at 2018, where there's a lot of indications we have a wave election which will leave Democrats in control. So, this is a very serious situation and I don't think Comey's testimony somehow vindicated him, I think it only fuelled this investigation.
BRIGGS: All right. So, the President in that really quick press conference, just a couple of quick questions, essentially accused James Comey of lying under oath. Let's listen to what he had to say yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he said those things under oath, would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?
PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES: One hundred percent. I didn't say under oath. I hardly know the man. I'm not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath. I mean, think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn't make sense. No, I didn't say that and I didn't say the other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that?
TRUMP: I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: There is the key. Not backing down from testifying under oath to Bob Mueller, did he back himself into a corn?
HENICAN: So, we have a little disagreement here, don't we? As the American people supposed to believe the FBI director who served three presidents from two parties or the guy who told us that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, you know, make your choice I don't know.
ZELIZER: Right. This is where that credibility gap comes back to haunt him. I mean, he is not so impressed with Trump who has spoken the truth. He's often said things that are not true, he's made misstatements and now it's going to be hard for him to take on someone who has many flaws and he's criticized by both sides but not for his veracity.
BRIGGS: But you talked about who will believe, that matters in the court of a public opinion. Does it matter though in the broad scope of this investigation? Ultimately, if there's no tapes, 37 percent of America believes Trump and the rest don't, does that matter?
HENICAN: You're asking the right question and it's who's the jury here, right? And first of all, it isn't the criminal law system. I mean, this president whatever he's done isn't going to be prosecuted in criminal court and go to prison, that's not with this, could even conceivably hit. Where it's going to go is Congress who makes the decision about impeachment or non-impeachment. And so, what do you do, who pressures those congressmen, what's the public reaction to it. What are the facts come fall?
BRIGGS: Making my job easy, transitioning to what happens with Congress because Republicans have not shown one glimpse of breaking from President Trump. And here's what Paul Ryan said, I want to ask you about this Julian. What Paul Ryan said somewhat in defense of the way President Trump is handling this entire situation. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The President is new at this, he's new to government and so he probably wasn't steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses, he's just new to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:10:26] BRIGGS: Okay, what do you make of that? And do other Republicans share that notion that he's just sent a political neo- fight?
ZELIZER: Well, I think that has been the talking point that he's either a neo-fight or that he's an outsider and so he doesn't understand all of these rules, this past rules that Washington has put into place. And I think most Republicans are still, as you say, going along with that. That partisan firewall remains in place. But I don't think it's inevitable that it doesn't fall apart. This is a major scandal, they are feeling pressure and now you have a special counsel who can take this in a different direction.
HENICAN: He's not the president so much, let's go for presidential intern, I think.
HENICAN: No, but isn't that kind of the argument?
ZELIZER: Well, that is the kind. Right.
HENICAN: It is kind of the argument.
ZELIZER: Except he has the nuclear codes.
BRIGGS: It is hard to believe a 70-year-old man didn't know that those steps would have been improper. But Julian, what might there be that cause Republicans to break ranks?
ZELIZER: Well, obviously, if Mueller produces some kind of stinging report where either obstruction is clear, or back to the original story that there was a massive intervention in this election. And even without President Trump doing it directly, many of his officials were having conversations or working on this, that would be very damaging and I do think that could break down Republican support.
HENICAN: One other thing, the poll numbers go from 35 and 37 to 25 and 27, you watch that.
BRIGGS: What about that then? Let's put aside Congress and talk about that base that is around 37 percent. They seem long step with President Trump, they defend everything that happens this past week. There appears to be two different entirely political narratives, what would cause them to fracture?
HENICAN: You know, maybe some of facts that Julian is talking about, maybe this repetition or maybe they'll never fracture. I mean, maybe those people, maybe Donald Trump is right, that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose the base. I got to tell you, the evidence supports that argument so far.
BRIGGS: That may have been the truest thing that the President ever said then as a candidate. What about legislation here? What about been an agenda Julian? What about getting anything through Congress?
ZELIZER: Well, so far he doesn't have anything. He has this zero major legislative accomplishments. There has been some momentum on healthcare, the House passed the bill, the Senate is quietly working on one. Although the same tensions in the Senate are emerging between conservative Republicans and those in the center, and he's not in a position right now to really move this through. So, you know, by the end of August, Congress needs legislation, the Republicans need legislation to go back to those districts and say, vote for us again. And that's going to be critical I think.
HENICAN: Yes. You know, I had high hopes for infrastructure week, I think we're now on day six of infrastructure week.
ZELIZER: How did it go?
HENICAN: Happy infrastructure week.
BRIGGS: It has been the bunt of a few jokes. I want to get your quick thoughts on Jeff Sessions. The possibility, the third meeting with Sergei Kislyak, that may have been talked about the high closed doors, he testifies on Tuesday and that's about budget issues, cuts to the Justice Department. Will Russia take center stage?
ZELIZER: Well, it might. I think he is one of the figures who's now emerged both because of the meetings, and Comey's saying how he essentially, you know, turned away at a meeting he should have stayed in the room. And he is one of those prime examples in the administration where there's a lot of questions about why aren't they being forthcoming with meetings that they say we are not problematic.
BRIGGS: Another Senate hearing, we all will be watching on -- maybe not watch parties and sports bars opening early. Ellis Henican, Julian Zelizer. Thank you both.
HENICAN: Good to see you, man. Thank you.
BRIGGS: On a quick programming note, Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein and Republican Senator Susan Collins, both members of the Intel Committee will be guest on CNN's State of the Union tomorrow morning, that's at 9:00 a.m. Don't want to miss that.
Coming up, celebrating with the cigars, Trump's attorney takes a victory laugh before James Comey is even done testifying. Is the Washington outsider in over his head?
And the President still not saying if there are any tapes of his conversations with James Comey but the White House certainly has a history of secret recordings. We'll take a look back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[17:18:43] BRIGGS: Welcome back. Sources now. CNN's President Trump's attorney is planning to file a complaint against fired FBI Director James Comey. Attorney Marc Kasowitz focusing on Comey's testimony that he leaked a memo about his living with the President. Kasowitz was hired late last month to represent the President, the Russia investigation, he's clearly front and center.
CNN's Tom Foreman reports.
MARC KASOWITZ, PRIVATE ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: The President never informed or substance directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): As soon as Comey's written opening statements emerged, the source tell CNN the President's attorney was buying cigars and celebrating what he calls vindication for his client.
KASOWITZ: Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told President Trump privately, that is, that the President was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference.
FOREMAN: At $1,500 an hour Marc Kasowitz who's been seen chatting with first daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump is widely acknowledged as a powerhouse attorney, the toughest of tough guys. He's been enlisted by the President to beef up his legal team after a special counsel was chosen to lead the Justice Department's probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. And after a former CIA director talked about --
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign --
FOREMAN: Kasowitz has precious little government experience but his firm has represented some big names.
BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly --
FOREMAN: Former FOX News host Bill O'Reilly, actors Robert De Niro and Mia Farrow and for about 15 years, Donald Trump. When journalist wanted to see records of Trump's first divorce from his first wife Ivana, Kasowitz kept them sealed. He handled the lawsuit about the author of a book on Trump, financial battles over Trump's casinos, disputes about Trump University and the claims of women who say Trump touched them improperly. And now Kasowitz is taking on Comey.
KASOWITZ: Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press, of privilege communications with the President.
FOREMAN: Kasowitz has potential issues of his own at least in terms of public perception since he is represented some interest. But his vigorous response to the Comey testimony shows that won't back him down a bit when it comes to defending the President.
BRIGGS: Tom Foreman, thank you. I want to bring in someone who's very familiar with representing high-profile clients. CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos worked with everyone from Michael Jackson to Winona Ryder. Mark, great to see you here.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
BRIGGS: In the single press conference rather remarkable. The President, they called James Comey a liar and a leaker but yet his testimony completely vindicated the President. How do you square those two things?
GERAGOS: I don't think that they were looking to square it, that press conference was for public relations purposes and trying to say that he was vindicated yet he's a liar at the same time doesn't make any sense. But I get it. It's a good sound bite.
BRIGGS: If it was for pr purposes, did it succeed?
GERAGOS: Well, obviously with they're audience that they're trying to communicate with, which is their backers, I suppose. The problem is here is they have to understand, they're not out of the woods by any means. The appointment of Mueller is their worst nightmare, that is the assembling of the team that he's putting together is beyond their worst nightmare. If there is anything there, and by the way, generally what the feds do is they start with the underlings and flip the underlings.
So, if they're focused on Flynn right now and they say Trump is not a target, that's always what the Feds do. The Feds start with somebody and say, we're just going to go where it leads us. But when Flynn gets caught, Flynn, what's he's going to do, he has to go up to the ladder. That is the food chain.
BRIGGS: Okay. You say the appointment of Bob Mueller as a worst nightmare, then what is Kasowitz thinking when Donald Trump, the President says, under oath, sure bring it on, 100 percent? Is that the worse nightmare? Is President Trump the nightmare client?
[17:23:10] GERAGOS: President Trump is about as challenging a client as you will get. The fact remains that generally when you're dealing in the world of criminal defense, you're generally it's a one-off situation with a client. The client, unless you're somebody whose involved in organized crime there's not a repeat relationship generally with clients in the criminal defense world. Here he's got somebody that's represented him before.
Tom Foreman piece says for 15 years, probably somebody he defers to or listens to, but at the same time it's a completely different world. I've lived in both in the civil and the criminal world. The criminal world is totally different, and the rules of civil defense and the rules of tough guy civildom (ph) do not translate really well into the criminal world.
BRIGGS: If there's anything that tells us though about this relationship, this link, perhaps it's the cigars that we hear Marc Kasowitz was according to our Jim Acosta lighting up before Comey even testified, just about the opening statement. It's clear Trump didn't do anything wrong, so that bravado, that confidence that he's completely vindicated, does that speak to why Kasowitz was selected?
GERAGOS: I think there is something to be said. The lawyer/client relationship, a lot of what clients want when they come into the office. And I always tell them if you ask me a question, I'm going to give you the honest truth, I am not going to blow a smoke or whatever. But understand, a lot of clients want to hear that, they want that bravado, they want that confidence, they want that sense of I'm invincible and we're going to kick ass and blah, blah, blah. That's great, as I said in the civil realm. That does not translate in the criminal world.
BRIGGS: So, what's the biggest mistake that's been made thus far, do you think Kasowitz is doing a good job in representing the President?
GERAGOS: He's doing what he's supposed to do at this point. I don't think if you're Donald Trump, you go out and you hire a Ben Brafman or criminal defense lawyer at this point because the optics are bad. And the problem is maybe you've got somebody on speedy dial who's giving you some advice or tactical information. But, you have to understand something, once you've got -- and I've dealt with the old independent counsel back in the '90s, once you've got a special counsel out there whose got one mission and that mission is to turn over every rock, that should scare the bejesus out of you.
BRIGGS: You mentioned optics, and what are the optics after Comey's testimony when Kasowitz puts out the statement and we have some examples what went wrong there. And the first line he misspells president.
BRIGGS: Yes. He added an E to the last name of National Intelligence Director Coates. Grammatical errors, this guy charges $1,500 bucks an hour, what is that indicative of?
GERAGOS: I won't go there. I don't criticize other lawyers and I know the Kasowitz firm and stuff. I co-counseled with them on occasion. The problem is, as I've said here, is you're going to be under scrutiny and you have to understand that. And you have to understand what it is to deal with a high profile situation. And that is completely different also when you've got prosecutors, prosecutors -- when you're dealing in a civil world, you're fighting over other people's money, basically. That's what it is as a civil lawyer, when you're fighting in the world of criminal prosecution, potential criminal jeopardy you're dealing with people's lives.
And prosecutors come, you know the old expression send me lawyers, guns and money, there's a reason for that, because prosecutors come loaded for barrel. And you have to understand that they can lay back. But they have got the power of grand juries, they've got the power of subpoenas, they got the power of search warrants. And guess what, they control the court system. The judiciary is basically controlled by prosecutors. So what works in a civil context does not necessarily work in a criminal context.
BRIGGS: Marc Kasowitz has his hands full, we can agree on that?
GERAGOS: We can absolutely agree on that.
BRIGGS: Mark Geragos. Good to see you. Thanks for your insight.
GERAGOS: Good to see you too.
BRIGGS: I appreciate it.
BRIGGS: All right. It's may be unclear whether President Trump has any tapes of his conversations with James Comey. But plenty of other president says, have an open mic.
Coming up, a look at the history of White House recordings. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[17:31:40] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The House Intelligence Committee is asking the White House to turn over any recordings, including possible tapes, having to do with President Trump's meetings with now fired FBI Director James Comey.
When asked whether such tapes exist, the president gave a cryptic answer, only promising more information in the near future.
There is a history of White House recordings going back decades.
Our Brian Todd brings us that story.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): White House taping systems have throughout the decades been known to exist, quietly recording the color, and at times, the most explosive points of the executive branch. From President John F. Kennedy, captured here discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis --
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE)
TODD: -- to President Lyndon B. Johnson, ordering pants.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Is your father the one that made me the clothes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. We're all together.
JOHNSON: Y'all made me some real lightweight slacks. TODD: But the most infamous and damaging of any White House taping
system was during presidency of Richard M. Nixon.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, no, no, no. I'd rather use a nuclear bomb.
TODD: Nixon began secretly taping conversations and telephone calls in multiple locations of the White House in 1971, including the Oval Office.
NIXON: We up against a conspiracy. They're using any --
TODD: Time and time again, the president's words were clear.
NIXON: I want the Brookings safe cleaned out, and I want it cleaned out in (INAUDIBLE).
TODD: The president was acting like he had absolute power.
TODD: Even the president's own family was taped.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have Julie for you, sir.
JULIE NIXON, DAUGHTER OF RICHARD NIXON: Hi, daddy.
TODD: It was among Nixon's recordings one night in 1972, one week after the Watergate break-in, that proved to be the smoking gun.
NIXON: Good, good deal. Play it tough. That's the way they played it. That's the way we're going to play it.
TODD: Nixon did everything he could to fend off the investigation.
NIXON: People have got to know whether or not they're president's a crook. Well, I'm not a crook.
TODD: But the taping system became public when the deputy assistant to the president, Allan Butterfield, confirmed its existence before the Senate Watergate Committee.
UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?
ALLAN BUTTERFIELD, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT NIXON: I was aware of listening devices, yes, sir.
TODD: The tapes, ultimately, led to Nixon's resignation to avoid impeachment.
NIXON: America needs a full-time president.
TODD: When asked by ABC's Barbara Walters in 1980 why he didn't destroy the tapes, Nixon had this to say.
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC CORRESPONDENT: Are you sorry you didn't burn the tapes?
NIXON: Yes, I think so, because they were private conversations subject to misinterpretations, as we have all seen.
TODD: Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
[17:35:41] BRIGGS: Thank you, Brian.
Coming up, the prosecution rests in the Bill Cosby's sex assault trial. How they used the comedians own words against him. Plus, the big challenges for the defense begins Monday.
BRIGGS: An icon of early American television has died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM WEST, ACTOR: True. It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Adam West brought "Batman" from the comic books to the TV screen in 1966, saving the world from the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin over and over again, always just in the nick of time. The actor had been battling leukemia. He passed away at his home in Los Angeles. Adam West was 88 years old.
Bill Cosby's lawyers will begin presenting their defense Monday in his sex assault trial in a dramatic week of testimony. On Friday, the prosecution rested its case with one last punch at the 79-year-old comedian, reading from a decade-old deposition in which Cosby admits, in years past, he got powerful sedatives to give to women he wanted to have sex with. Cosby's accuser, Andrea Constand, says he gave her pills that left her incapacitated and then assaulted her in his Pennsylvania mansion back in 2004.
CNN's Jean Casarez has been covering the trial from very beginning. Also with us, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos.
Jean, let's start with the previews. What you can expect from this defense that begins on Monday? Any hints as to where they will begin to defend Bill Cosby?
[17:40:22] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's what the defense has said they're very confidence. And their case, according to the judge, if they choose to present one, does start on Monday. They also said they'll have special witnesses. Now, this is a "he said, she said." So to give Bill Cosby as much credibility as possible is extremely important here, because the jury really has two choices, do they believe Andrea Constand, who said, yeah, she went to his home several times, but on the third time, he drugged and sexually assaulted her, a sexual offense, and she was unable to consent, or do you believe Bill Cosby, who in his statement, his police statement and his deposition statement, very, very specific of what he and Andrea Constand did together. And even at one point, where Andrea said, no, no, he stopped and stepped back, as the detective said, as a gentleman.
BRIGGS: All right.
Danny, part of the prosecution was a 2005 civil suit. In it, OK. Cosby said that he described the contact as consensual but admits to giving her Benadryl pills. What's the impact of that admission?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In any sex crime case, there are really two major elements. One is that there was contact. One is I never had contact with this person, whatsoever, or there was contact but it was consensual. So that deposition transcript concedes one of those major defenses, which is it never happened, right?
CEVALLOS: He's saying that this did happen, there was a pill, but it was something else. He has to convince that jury that it was, in fact, Benadryl and not what the prosecution's expert testified that it was. But even then, that expert's testifying based on symptoms testified to by the complaining witness. You have to believe her in order to believe the expert.
BRIGGS: But even if it's just Benadryl that doesn't look good.
CEVALLOS: It doesn't look good, but if she requested Benadryl, that would be one thing, if the jury believes that. The other thing, it's true, Benadryl, as an intoxicant, is something a jury can go either way on. I've seen court cases dealing with it in different ways, but usually in conjunction with other drugs, not solely as an intoxicant or a depressant itself. It's an interesting issue itself. Maybe a novel legal issue. But make no mistake, those admissions that Cosby made in his deposition years and years ago really harmed him in the fact he admits to giving her something. And the jury's going to decide what that is.
BRIGGS: A factor in here.
Jean, all right, we've seen famous faces come out and support Cosby, Keisha Knight Pulliam, who played his daughter, Rudy, in the show. Sheila Frazier, who played Cosby's wife in the movie, "California Suites." We saw some comic actors. But we have not seen his wife, Camille. You've been in the courtroom. Has that been noticed? Might it factor in at all?
CASAREZ: Well, I noticed the jury really looking out into the gallery. They are scanning it and looking. I will tell you the testimony last week was extremely graphic, very graphic, that Bill Cosby said in his statement to police in his deposition. Also, in that deposition, he said his he and his wife had been married for 41 years at that point, in 2005, and he did not want his wife to know about Andrea at all. So saying that, the defense begins his case on Monday. We have heard rumblings. I think we're going to have to wait until Monday morning to see if Bill Cosby comes by himself or with his wife by his side.
BRIGGS: We have also heard rumblings, Danny, that Bill Cosby will not take the stand. And we know jurors are not supposed to factor that in. First, what do you think of that decision not to have him testify, and how difficult is it for a jury to take that out of the equation in a case like this?
CEVALLOS: It's agonizing. It's an agonizing choice for a defense attorney. We realize, as defense attorneys, that the jury wants to hear from our client. But the burden is always on the prosecution. The court will admonish the jury that the burden is on the prosecution. And the reality is most defendants do not improve their case by testifying. It's a simple rule. Sometimes there's a good reason to put your client on the stand, but for the most part, rare is the defense case that improves when you put your client on the stand. And Bill Cosby has a lot of character issues. If he were to get on the stand and testify, it would probably make an already weak prosecution case stronger if he flailed about on the stand under cross-examination. Remember, the rules are against the witness and in favor of the questioner.
[17:45:07] BRIGGS: Not likely to take the stand.
Jean, any outcome on this trial, could it vindicate Cosby, in the court of public opinion?
CASAREZ: I don't think that's for me to say. I think that's for history to say. I think this jury will determine what they believe is either guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or reasonable doubt to not convict him. I think the story at this point, nobody knows that answer.
BRIGGS: Should be a fascinating week. Defense begins on Monday.
Jean Casarez and Danny Cevallos, thank you both.
Tune in tonight, 9:00 eastern time, for a look back at "The Case Against Cosby," with CNN's own Jean Casarez, and a preview of the defense.
Coming up, breaking news in Washington. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will now be testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week. Stay with us for more on that.
[17:50:12] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BRIGGS: The breaking news just into CNN, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will no longer testify this Tuesday before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and instead, he will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett, joins me on the phone form.
Laura, what does this change mean?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dave, I think what you're seeing here is the attorney general wants to testify before the committee that is read in on some of these issues and that will have sense of what he can and cannot answer. Obviously, the Appropriations Committee was very interested in having him come on Tuesday. Senator Patrick Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said he wanted to press Sessions on his role as Trump made the decision to fire Comey as the FBI director. So clearly, there were, you know, talks of questioning Sessions on things that have nothing to do with the Justice Department's budget, and instead, had to do with Russia. So what Sessions is saying here, in these letters to Congress tonight, is he will appear before the committee, the Intel Committee, to clear up anything coming out of Comey's testimony on Thursday.
He said in the letter to the Appropriations Committee, quote, "In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum. The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant classified information."
Now, obviously the tricky part here is Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation. He did that back in March. And so the deputy attorney general, Rob Rosenstein, is the appropriate person to address those matters. And so you can imagine a scenario that he'll be asked questions that he doesn't have information on, simply because he's been walled off from everything having to do with the Russia investigation. But certainly, Comey laid certain aspects in his testimony on Thursday that had nothing to do with Russia, but most personal things. For instance, there was testimony about what happened after Comey's February 14th meeting with the president in which Comey said he went to the attorney general and said, "It's not appropriate for me to be having private meetings with the president, what are we going to do about this." According to Comey, the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was silent. Now Jeff Sessions, in a statement, says, "That's not what happened at all. And I said, you're right, the FBI and Justice Department has very strict lines of communication with the White House."
So I think the idea here is that the attorney general wants to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and clear some of this stuff up.
BRIGGS: At issue is a potential third meeting with Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel. That's what he will be asked about at this very pivotal hearing.
Laura Jarrett, thank you. Appreciate it. On tomorrow's brand-new episode of "Parts Unknown," Anthony Bourdain
takes us to a country on the Indian Ocean that he says is one of the friendliest places he's ever been. Here's a sneak peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PARTS UNKNOWN (voice-over): A uniquely fascinating country --
BOURDAIN: -- you probably can't find it on a map.
BOURDAIN: It has incredible beaches, mountains, pristine desert.
BOURDAIN: It practices a tolerant nonsectarian form of Islam.
BOURDAIN (on camera): One of the most beautiful, most friendly, generous, hospitable places I have ever been. I'm talking about Oman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIGGS: Sold. Tune in for "Parts Unknown, Oman," tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern time.
And this week's "CNN Hero" sold everything he owned, his house, his car to start a boxing gym so kids from Detroit's toughest neighborhoods could have a safe place to go. Meet Coach Cully.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: I've been shot at multiple times. He shot 26 rounds at the car. It was a reason he didn't hit me. I need to be for these kids.
I've been there, so when they hear it from me they're like, OK, he's not sugar coating it. No mentors, no positive role models. You put them in a position to be ready for prison or the country morgue. I don't see bad kids, I see a kid who haven't been heard yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:55:22] BRIGGS: To see how Coach Cully is changing the lives of children in Detroit, go to CNNheroes.com. And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero."
That does it for me. CNN NEWSROOM with Boris Sanchez is up after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[18:00:01] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Boris Sanchez, in for Ana Cabrera. Thank you so much for joining us.
This just in to CNN. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. He was already scheduled to appear before --