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Trump Lawyer: "Not Under Investigation" Despite Tweets; Prosecutors Vow To Retry Bill Cosby After Mistrial; U.S. Fighter Jet Downs Syrian Warplane; House GOP Whip Steve Scalise Improving After Shooting; Voters On The Russia Investigation. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired June 19, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What is the right way to defend these tweets and still keep the public informed? We have a debate for you, next.
CUOMO: All right, the joke here is what do you call it when you have the president's tweet is creating confusion and his own people don't know how to defend it? We call it Monday. But this is actually a very serious matter about the understanding of the probe of the Russia investigation. Here's the confusing part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: So there should be no confusion -- no confusion. The president is not under investigation.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": But it is -- it is -- it is confusing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: And the reason that Jake is right, it is confusing, is because Jay Sekulow, the president's attorney who you saw there on this matter, is contradicting the president. The president tweeted, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI director." So what's going on here? Is this a legit line of questioning or another smokescreen to undermine the probe?
Let's bring in former South Florida U.S. attorney Kendall Coffey, and former George W. Bush political director Matt Schlapp. And I want to direct you to just one more piece of sound -- gentlemen, thank you for being here -- before we begin the discussion, which is from Sekulow, saying the exact opposite of what you just heard him say to Jake. Listen to this.
[07:35:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: But you don't know that he isn't under investigation now, do you?
SEKULOW: Well, no one's notified us that he is, so I can't read people's minds but I can tell you this. We have not been notified that there is an investigation of the President of the United States, so nothing has changed in that regard since James Comey's testimony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: That's a different non-issue because there's no mystery. If they want to know whether or not the president is being looked at by Mueller for anything they can just pick up the phone. Clearly, this White House doesn't have any problem meddling. But, he said to Chris Wallace that he is being investigated. He said it more than once. What do you make of all of this, whether or not he's being investigated? Legit issue?
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTH FLORIDA: Well, it's a fair issue because if we're all Americans and we care about our presidency, the fact that the President of the United States is actually being investigated, that's a very, very serious thing. But I think we're at the point now where, sadly or not, we have to accept that in some form or another there's an inquiry going on and that part of that inquiry -- call it a matter, call it an inquiry, call it an investigation -- is whether something done by the President of the United States could be seen as an act of obstruction. That's our reality and we can't spin away from it.
CUOMO: Why isn't it is simple as that, Matt? Why all this twisting by Sekulow, by the president? Why play this game?
MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Well, I think the frustrating part about this is that the leaks keep happening and after the story was knocked down that the president was being investigated by the FBI, there was a new leak saying that he was now being investigated by the special counsel. And I think, Chris, the problem here is the definition of terms. I think it all gets fuzzy.
The question is this. The president -- I would -- when I come on your show I've said it for, now, months. Team Trump is being looked at for collusion with the Russians. So there's no question that Donald Trump and everybody around him is going to be part of what Kendall just talked about -- this matter, this investigation, trying to figure out if there's anything to this. It's a very different thing to say that he is the target of the investigation.
CUOMO: But nobody's saying that.
SCHLAPP: That's he's the focus. But what is it -- Chris, it all goes back to this leak and I think -- what I encourage CNN to do -- I think "The Washington Post" is a perfectly legitimate source to go to but run it down yourselves. Who is this leak? What are they saying because it all gets fuzzy from that --
CUOMO: Yes, I get it, but Matt, I mean, let's call a spade a spade here. The idea that you're upset about leaks is only when the leaks are against you. You weren't talking about leaks when they were coming out about Hillary Clinton's emails. Why make this about leaks? It's such a bogus premise.
SCHLAPP: You want to run the -- CUOMO: Either the information is good or it isn't good. That's always the standard. This isn't about leaks, this is about the substance of the matter.
SCHLAPP: That's right, so -- that's right and, actually, Iwas against those leaks, too. I said it on your show dozens of times but I think the fact is this. Let's find out what this information is. You guys are trying to figure out why the president tweeted as he tweeted and it all goes back to this question about whether or not, once again, these investigators -- different investigators this time -- have leaked the fact that the president is being investigated.
CUOMO: I don't think that's an issue at all.
SCHLAPP: That's why all --
CUOMO: I don't -- I mean, you want your situational integrity. No White House --
CUOMO: -- I've ever been involved with gave information the way this one does. If you want to worry about leaks maybe you should start there.
SCHLAPP: I agree.
CUOMO: I don't understand how you can equate --
SCHLAPP: Fair point.
CUOMO: -- Comey telling the president that he wasn't the subject -- or whatever language he used about the investigation -- to what Mueller might be doing.
SCHLAPP: Because --
CUOMO: Comey could not logically have been looking at his own ouster, right, because it hadn't happened yet, so what does that have to do with whether Mueller is looking at this situation, which Comey said on the stand he is sure he is, which makes perfect sense that he would be?
SCHLAPP: Well, that's -- yes, I would just say it's to say we're reliving the same nightmare which is investigators working for Jim Comey leaked that the president was being investigated. Jim Comey had to personally knock that down with the president three times. Then everybody reported he's not being investigated. Then there's a brand new leak and now they're saying the president --
CUOMO: All right, so --
SCHLAPP: -- is being investigated. Jay Sekulow was right to say hey, why don't you just tell us.
CUOMO: Well, first of all, Jay could pick up the phone and he could know as counsel for the president, so the idea that it's a mystery or that unless he's told, which is very unusual, by the investigators themselves, he can't know that is specious premise. But Kendall --
SCHLAPP: It's not --
CUOMO: Of course, it's specious -- but Kendall, let me bring you in on this discussion. The idea that well, you know, Comey said that he wasn't being investigated but there were leaks that said he was, do you see that as something that sheds doubt on whether or not it is knowable that Mueller would be looking at the firing of Comey? Does that mean anything to you?
COFFEY: Well, in an odd way, the Comey era is almost old news.
COFFEY: We have a new investigation now and Mueller is looking at everything --
COFFEY: -- and there's no reason to believe that the president is excluded from this broad examination.
CUOMO: And I get that it was leaked. Does that matter to you? Does that change your perception of whether or not Mueller would be looking at the circumstances surrounding Comey's firing or do you think that that's a matter of fact?
[07:40:06] COFFEY: The leaks are, in many ways, irrelevant. They're disquieting, they're disturbing. Nobody on the law enforcement side likes them either. But what we have now is a serious investigation where the president needs to listen to lawyers and act like somebody who's dealing with a serious legal matter. I mean, Trump being Trump may have gotten him elected, but Trump being Trump in the midst of a serious investigation could get him in a lot of trouble.
CUOMO: I mean, Matt, the reason I'm coming after you about the leak thing is that it just smacks of a partisan spin. I mean, if you're worried about the integrity of the investigation on that level -- there shouldn't be leaks -- OK, fair point. But are you worried about the President of the United States trying to undercut the legitimacy of a functioning process of our democracy which is this inquiry? Doesn't that bother you as an integrity issue as well?
SCHLAPP: Look, I have said a bunch of times that I think the president ought to comply with the investigation, that we ought to bring it to a close. If they can't find collusion with the Russians I don't think there's much political consequences here, so I agree. I think go along with the investigation and comply with it. I just think the frustration -- it's nice to know what's true and what isn't true and I can see why people who are -- who are involved in these things get frustrated when they have to read about it in the paper instead of through their attorneys.
CUOMO: Matt Schlapp, appreciate you making the points, as always. Kendall Coffey, value added. Good to have you here. Good to have the perspective of a former prosecutor -- Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris, another story. Prosecutors vowing to try Bill Cosby again. Next, in an exclusive interview with CNN, we'll find out what Cosby's attorney thinks about the comedian's future.
[07:45:20] CAMEROTA: Prosecutors are vowing to retry embattled comedian Bill Cosby after a jury comes back hopelessly deadlocked in his aggravated indecent assault trial, and CNN's Jean Casarez was in the courtroom from the start. After the mistrial she spoke exclusively with Cosby's lead defense attorney. Jean, tell us what that conversation was about.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brian McMonagle said that during deliberations it was very difficult on him personally. He would go out to a grassy area and just sit alone because he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders and he truly felt personally responsible for the fate of his client, Bill Cosby.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MCMONAGLE, COSBY ATTORNEY: There are no winners here. We tried a case for a week. The jury deliberated for 50-some hours without a verdict. But, you know, as I've said many times before, as long as you can leave that courtroom with your client presumed innocent, as he began, then I'm satisfied.
CASAREZ: Do you believe, though, that Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted women for decades?
MCMONAGLE: I don't because he swears to me he didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: I was in the courtroom when the judge sat on the bench on Saturday. The jury had not come in yet and he told the entire packed courtroom "this is a hung jury" so there were no surprises, there was no emotion. Everyone was just stoic. The jury filed in. I saw a young man look directly -- juror -- at Andrea Constand. When they sat down I saw a female juror close to her just give her a very strong, sad look. I saw a box of Kleenex that was passed and I didn't know what that meant. I mean, I could assume, right? But Mr. McMonagle told me on Saturday that two female jurors were crying, that he saw from his vantage point at the defense table.
And I want to tell you that Dolores Troinan, Andrea Constand's lawyer, told me that she saw Andrea walk in with prosecution team members to the courtroom and that Andrea was calming them all down, saying it's going to be all right, and that -- from everything I've heard, that's Andrea Constand. She is the calm, strong force that calms everybody down and very religious, very spiritual -- always has been, even during that time.
CAMEROTA: So now what? Now, what happens to this case? CASAREZ: Well, the prosecution, Kevin Steele, stood up and he said, "Your honor, we are going to retry this. We want to do it as soon as possible." The judge said, "All right, I do, too. Within 120 --
CASAREZ: -- days I want to do it." So --
CUOMO: And the question becomes what do they do in those 120 days? This judge made a ruling early on that was influential, denying the believability, the credibility of all of these other witnesses that have been talked to and that may be something that's contested as well.
CASAREZ: Right, and a lot of the accusers there said they feel so good for having brought so much to light but they believe more prior bad act witnesses -- other alleged victims should be able to be in that courtroom testifying.
CAMEROTA: All right, Jean. Thanks so much for following it all for us.
So, we have some other headlines to tell you about because a U.S. fighter jet has shot down a Syrian warplane. This happened near Raqqa. The U.S. military says the Syrian jet dropped bombs near U.S.- backed fighters prompting this action. This is the first time since the U.S. began fighting ISIS in 2014 that the U.S. military has downed a Syrian warplane. Russia is calling this an act of aggression and says U.S. officials did not use established communication channels to notify them before downing this warplane.
CUOMO: And we have some encouraging news for you as well, an update on last week's Congressional baseball ambush. House GOP Whip Steve Scalise -- doctors say his condition is improving. He's actually been officially upgraded from critical to serious. In a statement, the hospital says he's more responsive and speaking to loved ones, including his children who spent Father's Day with him.
Meanwhile, former Congressional aide turned lobbyist, Matt Mika, who was shot multiple times in his chest and arm and suffered a massive trauma, is now expected to make a full recovery.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that's such good news on all fronts.
CUOMO: Still a long way to go for both gentlemen and we will stay on it. It's important to track it, as always.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. So, of course, we talk a lot about the Russia investigation but is it important to voters? I sat down with a group of Republicans, Democrats, and an Independent. Hear what they had to say about it, next.
[07:53:20] CAMEROTA: For months, the cloud of the Russia investigation has loomed over President Trump's administration, but how do voters feel about it? Well, I sat down with a group. They are Democrats, Republicans, and an Independent. They're from Ohio, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania and they shared their views on the investigation and the president's relationship with the truth.
CAMEROTA: How many of you -- show of hands -- are troubled by what you've heard thus far in the Russia investigation? Was that a half hand or no hand?
LYNNE ANNE RANSOM, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: No hand.
CAMEROTA: OK, why aren't you?
RANSOM: All the evidence are pointing that there is no collusion and I think that we just need to look a little further at the investigations that are going on now to clarify things.
A.J. BRIGHT, VOTED FOR GARY JOHNSON: I just don't see how this is any different than what Russia has done before and what we do. We go out and meddle in everyone's election so I just don't see how this is any different.
CAMEROTA: Do you think that there's something noteworthy about how many of the Trump campaign team did meet with Russians?
JOHN ROGERS, VOTED FOR DONALD TRUMP: I think every incoming president's campaign meets with international cohorts. I mean, that --
CAMEROTA: But -- I mean, countries that are considered adversaries.
ROGERS: Well, is Russia really adversary? I mean, you know, we are involved in a war with them so I get it, but I'm not troubled by that.
MICHAEL MILLISITS, VOTED FOR HILLARY CLINTON: It's a crime to not disclose contacts with foreign entities on your application for a clearance --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
MILLISITS: -- and it appears that we have multiple members of the Trump administration who have done that so we can't just allow a pass on that. Whether they hacked a voting machine or not, it's more they were targeting the voters directly through a propaganda campaign. That they were using social media to manipulate people's thoughts and behaviors and that's a disturbing thing.
[07:55:14] BRIGHT: There's a due process -- a right to due process in this country because where do all of the Trump people go to get their reputation's back if they're found to be innocent of all these charges? I just think it's unfair.
CAMEROTA: Do you believe James Comey?
BRIGHT: I do not. CAMEROTA: Why?
BRIGHT: Because when James Comey felt strongly enough about the torture memos he threatened to resign. And then, in the hearing when he testified, he said that had he not been fired he would still be the FBI director, so that tells me a lot about where he is and how much he believes Trump really did wrong. Trump has denied it. He's denied any collusion and I take the president at his word.
CHRISTIAN TAMTE, VOTED FOR HILLARY CLINTON: I disagree completely. He's a -- he's a liar. I mean, he's a proven liar over and over and over again. I don't know how many more lies we have to hear from him and I don't know how you can say you trust him at his word for anything, which is also a problem because he's the President of the United States.
CAMEROTA: Are you comfortable with his connection to the truth?
BRIGHT: Anybody want to take that? (Laughter)
CAMEROTA: A pass. Is that your answer, you're passing?
BRIGHT: I mean, listen, the president has said some things that have been untrue and I think -- again, this goes back to his quirkiness as -- he's very eccentric. You have to understand this is how celebrities are. They live in this alternative world --
CAMEROTA: So you're giving him a pass --
CAMEROTA: -- on his connection to truth and when he misrepresents things because he's a celebrity?
BRIGHT: I think that plays a lot into it.
CAMEROTA: Is he honest?
BRIGHT: He is. He has said some things that aren't true. He has said --
RANSOM: You can't be honest and untrue at the same time.
BRIGHT: He -- because I think every -- has anyone here not lied before?
BRIGHT: Who hasn't -- wait, wait, wait. Who hasn't lied before? Who hasn't ever said a lie before?
CAMEROTA: You don't think that President Trump is more given to --
BRIGHT: Yes, I --
CAMEROTA: -- untruths as other people? BRIGHT: Yes, I just think that that's the nature of --
ROGERS: Not than any other president.
BRIGHT: Yes, that's just the nature --
CAMEROTA: You think that President Trump lies at the same rate as other presidents?
ROGERS: Well, I don't know that we could the math on it, but --
CAMEROTA: I mean, fact-checkers have --
ROGERS: -- all presidents have an interesting relationship with the truth.
CAMEROTA: Fair, but fact-checkers have put him in his own category.
BRIGHT: I agree with the fact-checkers. He's said a lot of things that are not true.
TAMTE: This is the problem that I find with a lot of Trump supporters that -- or people that are backing Trump in any way -- this argument that it's OK for him to lie because well, he's a celebrity. It's OK for him to lie because he's new. It's OK --
BRIGHT: That's now what I'm saying.
TAMTE: Well, but that's what you -- that's what it sounded like.
BRIGHT: That's not what I'm saying.
TAMTE: It sounds like you're saying well, he's a celebrity, we should expect him to be able to go and do this. But then, yet, we were just talking about Comey and/or some of the other people that we were going to talk about and you're saying well, he's either truthful or he's not. Now, because he lied back here I can't trust him here, to be honest.
CAMEROTA: Do you see the double standard that she's talking about?
BRIGHT: I hold everyone to the same standard, actually, and I have said --
BRIGHT: I have said where Trump has been untruthful is wrong. He shouldn't do that. But I just don't think that's any worse per se than most other presidents.
CAMEROTA: So you think President Obama -- let's just use him --
CAMEROTA: -- misrepresented facts as often as President Trump?
BRIGHT: No, definitely not.
CAMEROTA: That's the case you were making.
ROGERS: But that doesn't mean he didn't lie.
BRIGHT: When you're very, very famous you live in this bubble. You live in this little alternate world --
TAMTE: But that's not how the rest of the world sees it. That's not -- the rest of the world sees this is the President of the United States --
TAMTE: -- not let's give him a pass because he's a celebrity and this is the way that --
CAMEROTA: Lynne, they're saying it's not acceptable, the level at which President Trump misrepresents things. Is it acceptable to you?
RANSOM: It's not acceptable but it's understandable in some circumstances.
CAMEROTA: So when he tells you there's nothing to see here with Russia collusion, there are no ties, do you believe him or not?
RANSOM: No, I don't necessarily believe him and that's up to me to find out what is going on, you know as an educated person that's -- want to read up on what's going on, that's up to me.
CUOMO: So what'd you take away this time?
CAMEROTA: That the people who support President Trump feel they like what he stood for in the campaign in terms of the agenda. That he's going to be business-friendly, that he's going to bring back jobs, that's he going to be "America First." They like it so much that they're waiting to get to that. They're holding their breath to get to that stuff and they're willing to overlook or at least press pause on all of these other things because they're just hoping that he can work his way around to getting to the agenda that they voted for.
CUOMO: The guy who voted for Gary Johnson -- it's interesting that he sees all of this as understandable without actually knowing any of the things that have actually happened yet. And that's one of the problems with all the noise in this, is that people are making conclusions before we know any of the facts.
CAMEROTA: One of the things that he feels -- the guy who voted for Gary Johnson there, who you heard who was one of the most vocal people -- is that he feels so many people are attacking President Trump that he sort of has to be on President Trump's side --
CAMEROTA: -- as, you know, the underdog.
CUOMO: Interesting stuff.
CAMEROTA: All right. Tomorrow, tune in because we play a little word association with them. The one word they would use to describe President Trump. So, we're following a lot of news today. President Trump's attorney is going to join us live in just a few minutes. Let's get right to it.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, June 19th, 8:00 in the East and we do have breaking news.