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Friend: Trump Is Considering Firing Robert Mueller; Soon: Attorney General To Testify Before Senate Panel;Cabinet Members Take Turns Praising Trump; Jury Deliberating Bill Cosby's Fate. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired June 13, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:33:10] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. So, a friend of President Trump goes to the West Wing, doesn't meet with the president, but comes out and says that he thinks the president is considering firing special counsel Bob Mueller. So, the media goes to the White House -- says is this true? Sean Spicer says Ruddy speaks for himself. Then some hours go by -- because that's not an answer -- and it turns out that he says well, the president speaks for himself and he doesn't think Ruddy ever spoke to the president about this.
So then, Chris Ruddy, the friend of the president, attacks Sean Spicer. This is what he just said. "Spicer issued a bizarre late- night press release that a) doesn't deny my claim the president is considering firing Mueller, and b) says I didn't speak to the president about the matter when I never claimed to have done so. Memo to Sean -- focus your efforts on exposing the flim-flam" -- which is a term that means deceptive nonsense -- "Russian allegations against POTUS and highlighting his remarkable achievements. Don't waste time trying to undermine one of your few allies." Which is exactly what Chris Ruddy is doing, is undermining the legitimacy of the press secretary of the man to which he claims to be a friend -- odd.
Let's discuss. Congressman Chris Collins of New York. It is a laugh or cry moment, Congressman. What is going on?
REP. CHRIS COLLINS, (R) NEW YORK, ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE: You know -- you know, Chris, why don't we talk about Aaron Judge and the Yankees? Now, there's something we can agree on.
CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you what. You know, the -- you know, the Yankees have a little way to go but, yes, we're also pro-New York, you know that. But we're not going to dwell on this too much but I don't get it. How do you make sense of this? Is the guy a friend of the president or not? I mean, what's going on here?
COLLINS: I can't make any sense of it. It is hearsay. I think the important thing to note is it would be a disaster -- a true disaster if that ever occurred. And from what I've heard Rosenstein say -- the deputy attorney general -- Mueller couldn't be fired even if someone wanted to. So I think, you know, we'll put this into, you know, kind of a bizarre category because I guess Ruddy's saying he didn't meet with the president. I don't know why he would have made those statements then, so --
[07:35:12] CUOMO: All right.
COLLINS: Yes, what we've got to say is it's not going to happen anyhow.
CUOMO: You don't think it will happen? I mean, look, it could happen. It would be complex. Rosenstein would have to do it. The president could order him to. He could refuse.
COLLINS: Oh, Chris, it would be a disaster. It would be --
CUOMO: And you've heard nothing to suggest the president is considering this?
COLLINS: No. It would be a political disaster. We -- I mean, certainlythat's obvious, so I think we'll leave it that Rosenstein has said it can't happen anyway so I don't understand the back and forth with Ruddy --
CUOMO: All right.
COLLINS: -- and Sean Spicer so we'll let it go at that.
CUOMO: All right, and we'll leave the -- it could happen but we'll leave that to the side. You have not heard --
CUOMO: -- any reason to --
CUOMO: -- believe that the president is considering. We'll take you on record at that.
COLLINS: None whatsoever.
CUOMO: Jeff Sessions, the attorney general -- do you believe that he should refuse to answer any category of questions before the Senate today?
COLLINS: No, I don't not. As you know, Jeff Sessions is a good friend of mine. He's a man of integrity. He will speak very directly. I am confident he has nothing to hide and I think at this point everyone should speak clearly, directly with -- giving answers to questions because America needs that. We need clarity on this. It's got to run its course but at this point in time we just don't need more questions.
Comey left more questions unanswered than he answered, and I think Jeff Sessions can fill in the blanks very directly. I'm assuming there's going to be some disagreement, both of them under oath, but they're going to still disagree is my guess on some of what the conversation was when Comey supposedly said don't ever leave me in the room with the president alone again. We'll see how that goes. And I think Sessions will be forthright. I know he's a man of integrity and I look forward to his testimony. CUOMO: What do you think was the right thing to do if, in fact, the president asked him to leave the room so he could speak privately with the FBI director?
COLLINS: Well, the President of the United States, if he asks someone to do something in that regard, I don't know anyone who would say well, I'm sorry, Mr. President, I'm going to stay right here. That doesn't work that way. I think you know that. And I'm assuming if the president did direct him -- and I'm not thinking that may have happened, but if it did I'm sure Jeff Sessions left the room.
CUOMO: Boy, that would be some development. If the attorney general says that never happened that will certainly be a twist in this tale.
CUOMO: Let me ask you about a couple of things that we know did, in fact, happen -- one political, one policy. The political one, the cabinet meeting that turned into this -- you know, this profession of faith and love of the president is getting a lot of heat. What did you make of this?
COLLINS: I'm not sure which one you're talking about.
CUOMO: Well, there's only one to discuss. He had a cabinet meeting -- let me play for you a little taste of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- to serve as vice president to a president who's keeping his word to the American people.
ALEXANDER ACOSTA, SECRETARY OF LABOR: Mr. President, I am privileged to be here. I'm deeply honored and I want to thank you for keeping your commitment to the American workers.
TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Mr. President, what an incredible honor it is to lead the Department of Health and Human Services at this pivotal time under your leadership. I can't thank you enough for the privilege that you've given me and leadership that you've shown.
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. President, thank you for the honor to serve the country. It's a great privilege you've given me.
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So that's how it went. It went around the room, all complimenting the president, and it seemed to be a reflection of the president's feeling that people aren't nice enough to him. What's your take?
COLLINS: Well, I do know that he's assembled the best cabinet that's ever been assembled, bar none. And I think it is important with all the turmoil in the country today to reassure the president, quite frankly. He's being attacked at every front, much of it inappropriately. And like any human being, I'm assuming the cabinet would say, you know, we know things are going well. The accomplishments are real. We've got a great team and, Mr. President, I'm honored to be here. So, not surprising. I did not know about that until, you know, you just played the tape but I know most of the folks in the cabinet and I would find it quite appropriate to reassure the president all is good because, I mean, the attacks are coming left and right, unrelenting, so good for them.
CUOMO: Why is the criticism of the president inappropriate?
COLLINS: Well, because it is based on a lot of fake news and there are distortions and exaggerations left and right. I've been in the middle of it myself.
CUOMO: How so?
COLLINS: Oh, I've been attacked by Sen. Schumer, Elizabeth Warren. I've been attacked by Louise Slaughter. I actually had -- "The Buffalo News" had to retract a story. You know, that happens about once every 100 years. The story wasn't an exaggeration, it was not a distortion, it was outright fabrication. So, I mean, I've been living in the middle of --
[07:40:08] CUOMO: Oh, but you find -- yes, all right -- but all I'm saying is, Congressman, you know, you've got one story from "The Buffalo News" that someone had to retract. I'll look into why it was but that certainly can't serve as proof of all media coverage being inappropriate and wildly wrong, and based on fake news. You've got one little example of that.
CUOMO: Isn't most of it pertinently appropriate because it all stems from what the president says and does.
COLLINS: Well, but we know the press tends to lean in a particular direction and when things are reported, whether it's true or not or hearsay or not, it gets reported as though it is true. So if, you know -- we could agree to disagree but I believe, and I know many of the Trump supporters in my district would agree, the press has certainly exaggerated the negative and has, you know, not talked about some of the positives. And, you know, what's the shame is we're not talking about our rollback of Dodd-Frank and what it's going to do for the community.
CUOMO: Well, we should be. Look, that's something that we really want to talk about because rolling back some of the only protections put in after that huge fiasco to keep it from happening again, done under the cover of the Comey moment, seemed like a real sneaky move, to be honest with you. COLLINS: Oh, we've wanted to talk about this. I mean, 25 percent of the community banks in America have shut down because of the onerous regulations they can't afford.
CUOMO: But those regulations were put into place because you guys in Congress had allowed wild speculation and then bailed out the same people who wound up bankrupting thousands of Americans.
COLLINS: It went way too far and if we're going to get this economy moving with small businesses -- they tend to borrow from these community banks who are going down every day because of the regulatory burden. The fact that they have to set aside reserves for mortgages that they've written for Aunt Sally down the street.
CUOMO: But it -- but what you roll back is going to help a lot more than just community banks. Isn't that true, Congressman?
COLLINS: Oh well, what we're rolling back -- and by the way, we are keeping the Durbin Amendment on the debit card fees, so that's an acknowledgment that at least one part of Dodd-Frank that's good.
CUOMO: Big banks are going to be able to get freedom to speculate in a way that they couldn't before because of what you just rolled back. Isn't that true, Congressman?
COLLINS: Look, sure, we are removing regulations. This is America and --
CUOMO: So it's not just about community banks and the little guy and who the little guy borrows from, and Main Street versus Wall Street. You also freed up the Wall Street guys that wildly speculated and caused the problem. Isn't that true?
COLLINS: They're -- well, lessons learned, Chris. You know, some of that speculation clearly was not -- well, clearly after the fact, not in the best interest of America.
CUOMO: And now they can speculate more because of what you just rolled back.
COLLINS: They can run their business the way they see fit for their shareholders. We're not going to bail them out. If they make a mistake, they make a mistake. This is -- this is --
CUOMO: You cannot guarantee that you will not bail them out right now. That is nowhere codified in law and it happened the last time and now, you made it easier for them to speculate again. True or false?
COLLINS: Well, I can -- I can assure you I would never support bailing them out.
CUOMO: That's one vote.
COLLINS: The shareholders bear the risk. The shareholders ultimately elect the board who picks the officers -- CUOMO: All right.
COLLINS: -- and if some bank does stupid things and they overspeculate and something happens, they can go down.
CUOMO: Well, we'll see what happens but, certainly, it's more possible now than it was before. Congressman, always a pleasure to have you on the show --
COLLINS: Yes, good to be with you, Chris.
CUOMO: -- always. Be well.
COLLINS: Thank you.
CUOMO: Alisyn --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Chris, there is a heat wave in the East and wild weather in the Midwest. We have the video to show you, next.
[07:47:22] CAMEROTA: OK. So, a heat wave is breaking records in the Northeast but severe weather is tearing through the nation's midsection as well. (Video playing) Watch this as that apparent tornado in Nebraska ripped apart an entire barn. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast. What are you seeing, Chad?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Thirty tornados yesterday, Alisyn, across the country -- really, the High Plains where the farms and the ranches are. More to the East today where more people live. This weather is brought to you by Purina -- your pet, our passion.
The heat and the cold -- the cold to the west, the heat to the East will clash to cause more severe weather but also more record highs. Twenty-seven record highs set across the country yesterday. Air quality alerts for New York City. Don't be doing your first marathon at 2:00 this afternoon, it's that simple. The high will be 95 in New York today. Cooler tomorrow but not for Chicago or for St. Louis. Your normal high in Chicago should be 79. Tomorrow it will be 92, 13 degrees warmer than you should be at this time of year. We'll watch this severe weather for you, though, this afternoon, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, my friend. Thank you very much. Keep an eye on it. We'll check back with you in a little bit.
A jury is now deliberating Bill Cosby's fate. What are the big questions for that jury? What seems likely based on the evidence? We've got top legal minds for you, next.
[07:52:42] CUOMO: All right. We are at the moment of truth in a Pennsylvania trial. The jury deliberating the aggravated indecent assault case against Bill Cosby. The embattled comedian's defense team calling just one witness before both sides traded fiery closing arguments. CNN's Jean Casarez has covered this case from the very beginning. She's outside the courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania -- Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. You know, the stakes are so high because this is all about Bill Cosby's liberty, and to the prosecution it's all about justice and the truth. The jury is going to reconvene here at 9:00 this morning and they've already requested to be read back testimony, not from this trial but from Bill Cosby's -- in part -- his deposition back in 2005.
According to my notes, because we just got exhibit numbers, but it's going to be in part an educational foundation that he wanted to establish for Andrea Constand when he called her mother after the fact and apologized. Now that is something the prosecution really tried to drive home as consciousness of guilt actions on the part of Bill Cosby.
In addition to that, the prosecution talked about the pills he gave Andrea. That Andrea said, "Are they herbal?" "Yes," but he later says they're Benadryl. When her mother asked, "Can we know exactly what they are" he said,"I'll get back to you." He doesn't, and in his statement to police he produces pills but no blue Benadryl at all. The defense is saying that it is absolutely a consensual romantic relationship and that that is the fact, and that Andrea Constand is lying.
CAMEROTA: OK, Jean, thank you very much for all of that background. We're obviously watching with rapt attention so let's discuss it first with our legal team. We have CNN legal analysts Danny Cevallos and Joey Jackson. Gentlemen, great to have you. Danny, is Bill Cosby going to jail?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He should be acquitted and here is why. This was a case that the prosecution had no interest in for over a decade. There are multiple inconsistencies. There are real problems with this case. But, ultimately -- and Joey will tell you this, too -- sometimes a jury, if they find a single complaining witness credible enough --
[07:55:01] CAMEROTA: Yes.
CEVALLOS: -- will disregard all of those inconsistencies. And the problem here is there are a lot of convenient memory losses from over a decade ago for this complaining witness.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joey, is he going to jail?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I do share Mr. Cevallos' opinion in this regard. Now, just to be clear, the prosecution certainly, Alisyn, has much to argue in this case, right? Consciousness of guilt. In the event you had no relationship, why are you calling her offering to fly her to Florida, offering to pay for stuff, et cetera, et cetera?
CAMEROTA: But he says that they had a consensual relationship. JACKSON: Exactly, but when I say no relationship in terms of, you know -- remember what happened here, all right? What happened here is that it's all about consent but when she, Ms. Constand, is approached by the police and she's talked to by them, what she says is I had minimal contact with him. I was neve alone in the home with him. We find she was there three times. It happened in March. No, it happened in --
CAMEROTA: So those are the inconsistencies that he's talking about?
JACKSON: Yes, those are the inconsistencies he's speaking to. But to be clear, I mean, the prosecution certainly has made a great case of what they have, including calling a psychiatrist to corroborate why she wouldn't report.
CAMEROTA: But hold on one second.
CAMEROTA: Just one second. When you say it's all about consent, if he gave her drugs -- and he's admitted to it -- that made her groggy or pass out, how could she give consent? He admitted that he gave her sedatives --
CEVALLOS: Here's the answer.
CAMEROTA: -- of some kind.
CEVALLOS: Well, that part's true, actually. Under -- and that's why if Cosby's convicted it won't be on the strength of the prosecution's case. It will be on the ease with which you can convict somebody under the statute because of the three charges. Yes, there's one for lack of consent but then there's one that doesn't even deal with consent. It deals with intoxication or being drugged or being unconscious and that's, of course, the third one.
So, it is an easy statute to get a conviction but -- listen, in these cases, if the prosecution's case was that strong from the beginning they wouldn't have called the 404(b) witness, which is that prior bad acts witness. They wouldn't have needed an expert to explain why it took so long for this complainant --
CEVALLOS: -- to report the crime.
CAMEROTA: But hold on a second. They only called one prior witness. I have interviewed a dozen of Cosby's alleged victims. Why weren't more of them called?
CEVALLOS: Because -- well, I can answer that. They wanted to introduce 13. The court said no, you can have one, so if the prosecution --
CAMEROTA: Why? Why not more? CEVALLOS: Because they lacked the reliability. Now, think about that. The prosecution, in their zeal to convict, wanted to introduce over a dozen of these witnesses.
CEVALLOS: The court said no, you get one because all of these other prior bad acts are so dissimilar they're not alike or close in time enough --
CAMEROTA: Well, wait a second.
CEVALLOS: -- to be probative or fair.
CAMEROTA: One of the things that marks this case is that there's an M.O. --
CEVALLOS: Let's be clear.
CAMEROTA: -- that is so similar from the alleged women that we've heard.
CEVALLOS: But the judge disagreed with that. The judge disagreed with that.
JACKSON: It's not so much that. What happens, Alisyn, is this -- is that you cannot introduce -- cases are about what they're about. In other words, we can't introduce evidence to establish that Alisyn did something today to show what you did yesterday, the day before, the week before.
CAMEROTA: But they did call another one of his victims.
JACKSON: Hold on. What happens is is that it's about being -- you know, you're entitled to a fair trial and when it gets too prejudicial against you and it goes too far afield -- this case isn't about what Mr. Cosby did to 60 women, to 50 women, to 13 women.
CAMEROTA: Why? Why doesn't it establish a pattern?
JACKSON: Because it's about -- even if you could establish a pattern, if it's so prejudicial the jury now says wait, this is not about Ms. Constand, this is about what he did 13 other times. You need to focus the jury. The law says that propensity evidence, meaning evidence brought in to establish that you did something at some other time and place and therefore you did this, it's improper, it's prejudicial, and it's appealable.
And I also think even allowing that one witness particularly, Ms. Johnson, with her mother to corroborate and say yes, what she said, with her lawyers to say yes, what she said, presented an appealable issue. But I also think that the prosecution in bringing in -- remember, there were a couple of questions here. The big question on Ms. Constand not only in terms of the inconsistencies --
CAMEROTA: Yes. JACKSON: But it was also about you know what, what about the fact that she didn't report for a year later?
CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, I didn't know that that also often happens.
JACKSON: But they brought in a psychologist, Alisyn, to explain that and now that's pretty --
CEVALLOS: And that's also admissible. That's admissible evidence. The delay in reporting is admissible evidence on the issue of credibility.
CAMEROTA: OK. So to wrap it up, you say no, he will not be convicted. You say yes.
JACKSON: No. I say -- I say it's likely he will not be convicted, though I hate handicapping these things.
CEVALLOS: Oh, we both think it's time already.
JACKSON: Hold on. I say that it's likely he will not be convicted but if he is, I think it will go back on appeal. There are so many appealable issues in this case.
CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you.
JACKSON: You're welcome.
CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS RUDDY, NEWSMAX CEO, TRUMP FRIEND: He's considering terminating the special counsel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The echoes of Watergate are getting louder and louder.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president's been clear he wants this to get investigated as soon as possible and be done with it.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's an honor to be able to serve you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The attorney general's involvement is highly questionable.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn't be leaving, which is why he was lingering.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's up to the American public to decide whether they think that Sessions is telling the truth.
SPICER: He's going to testify. We're aware of it and we'll go from there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your new day. It is Tuesday, June 13th, 8:00 in the East.