Return to Transcripts main page


Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort Indicted in by Special Counsel Mueller. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired October 30, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: They did not initially do that. They have now corrected that. They filed retroactively a registration under the Foreign Agents Registration Act earlier this year, Chris and Alisyn. So both of these men, we knew, were certainly the focus of this investigation, at least parts of the focus of this investigation. And so it's not a surprise that these charges would be brought, you know, against Manafort, and as you said, I believe bu "The New York Times" is reporting that Rick Gates may also have been notified about possible charges.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Evan, it's the top of the hour here on the east. It's 8:00. So for people who are just joining us let's recap the big breaking news this morning. CNN had reported on Friday that charges would be forthcoming this week as early as today.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Charges were presented, indictments were returned, but under seal, but now we have new information.

CAMEROTA: Right, and that an arrest might be happening as early as today, but there was no word on who that might be. And in just the past few minutes Evan Perez has new reporting that, in fact, Paul Manafort, who you know was the Trump campaign chairman, will be surrendering today to the FBI.

CUOMO: That's what's expected from Evan. Do you want to fill that out a little bit for you, Evan, and we'll wring you some helpers. CNN legal analyst, Michael Zeldin, and former federal prosecutor and candidate for Illinois attorney general, Renato Mariotti. We also have CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz. So we've got the whole complement of people in here. But Even, do we still have Evan? Do we have enough boxes? Evan had to go. He is going to do more reporting.

So Shimon, just bring us up in because you're part of the team that's filling the reporting on this in terms of what we know about what could happen today with Manafort. "The New York Times" reporting that one of his business associates may also be involved. Give us some context.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And we're working to verify that Gates is also expected to surrender. So basically within the last few hours what we've learned is that Manafort was told to surrender. He was seen leaving his home. And presumably, he's now on his way to FBI offices here in Washington, D.C., where he will be processed. FBI agents will take him into custody, and it is there that they will begin the process of fingerprinting him, taking his photo, and then later today he will appear at district court here in D.C., where there will be an arraignment or a presentment on the charges. And it is at that point, or perhaps maybe sooner, we hope, we will learn exactly what he was charged with.

CAMEROTA: Michael?

PROKUPECZ: As Evan said earlier, some of this has to do with his financial dealings with Ukraine, with some other financial dealings. We don't yet know how this relates in the larger Russia investigation. That may come out. That may come out in the documents once the indictment is filed. But we don't know that yet.

CAMEROTA: Michael Zeldin, your thoughts?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it will be interesting to see whether this is pure tax in the domestic sense of failing to report this income, or whether this is also these laws they call FBAR, which is a money laundering tax reporting statute or a FATCA, which is also a money laundering tax reporting thing, because if it is, it implicates the Flynn Intel group and others who have earned income overseas. So it may have tentacles beyond Manafort.

Also, it was reported that Manafort at the time that he disclosed this $17 million that he received from Ukraine, which had not previously been reported, that was taking simultaneously with purchases of New York property, using limited liability companies, shell companies, and the passage of money to his children.

And so we'll see again whether or not this has money laundering implications that, if it does, could implicate others who are doing real estate deals in New York, Cohen and Kushner, and Trump businesses themselves. So, it could be very narrow or it could be roads leading to a broader view of where Mueller is looking to take his charges.

CUOMO: Right. It's very important for people to remember, Renato, that this indictment is just a first step. They get multiple bites on the apple, not on these charges, but in terms of bringing in other ones.

Now, let's fill that out as an idea a little bit because when that name, Tony Podesta popped up, the politics obscured the practicality from a legal perspective. Podesta is only relevant because of the operation that Manafort set up there as part of the lobbying and PR effort. Podesta was one of the firms that came in to help him. And that was a big indicator to people that prosecutors were really drilling down on that. How do you see this moving forward in terms of tax and Russia influence?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure. So, look, what today's news suggests to me is that Mueller is pursuing an early indictment in an attempt to get Manafort to flip.

[08:05:02] You know, really, federal prosecutors usually wait until the end of the investigation to bring all of their indictments. The reason to bring it early here is because he has some charges against Manafort that he feels are very strong, that he feels very confident he can prove.

CUOMO: And he has time sensitivity, also, right? Just to bring in that one fact, time sensitivity on the tax charge?

MARIOTTI: For sure. You know, absolutely. So what he can do now is he can bring, for example, on the statute of limitations, you have a great point. He has to bring that tax charge. And whatever he knows he's got Manafort on now, then he can do what we call supersede later on. At the end of his investigation, he can bring all the rest of the charges against Manafort. He can charge other people. So this doesn't prevent him from doing, you know, continued investigation. In many ways, it may actually help because it's going to show people that he's serious and he's found something.

So what I would expect is, you know, this only to intensify the investigation going forward.

PROKUPECZ: And if I can add a point to that, Chris. We've learned that some of the tax charges or some of the tax activity that Bob Mueller has been looking at in relation to Paul Manafort dates as far back as 2005 and 2006. So they have gone all the way back to look at some of his dealings, his financial dealings with the Ukrainians and other people. Again, you know, as part of, also, the counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling, there's always been this concern that Russia has worked these people, for many, many years, to develop these relationships with them, with someone like Paul Manafort, so that perhaps they can influence them. And I think that's going to be interesting to see where all of that plays in the elements of the indictment.

CAMEROTA: So, Michael --

ZELDIN: May I add something on that?

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

ZELDIN: What's an interesting point, and I agree with Shimon on that, is that the so-called Steele dossier reflects this exact point that Shimon is making, that these relationships were being cultivated back as far as 2005. And so this may be some form of corroboration of the veracity of the Steele findings, as well, ehich, if that's true, sheds a whole different light on the matter.

CUOMO: Right. We're just showing a picture now of the field office here. What do we --

CAMEROTA: This is the scrum of media, you know, like everybody's getting in position because they think that this is where Manafort is going to be surrendering momentarily. People had seen -- one of our local affiliates got some video of him leaving his apartment, so they believe he's going to be going to the Washington field office to surrender.

CUOMO: It sheds more light on the nature of this being sealed. Jeffrey Toobin this morning was not wrong when he suggested that often in federal cases you seal an indictment so the person who's being indicted doesn't know. But it was always suggestive here that that wasn't the case. This was about cutting deals for a surrender. Renato, give us some perspective. What happens next? Manafort comes in, suggestively, with counsel, and what happens?

MARIOTTI: Right. So we will be asked booking questions, so they're just simple questions about who he is, where he lives, things like that. He will be -- he will be fingerprinted. Then there will be what's called an arraignment today. An arraignment is just your first appearance after there's been an indictment in court. He will be advised of his rights. He'll be told that, for example, he has the right to a lawyer and a right to counsel, that, you know, his attorney will be provided a copy of the indictment before the arraignment.

Manafort will plead not guilty to all the charges. That happens in pretty much every arraignment or almost every arraignment. So that's something we can expect, as well. And the nature of the charges and the maximum penalties under law will be provided to him there. So in some ways it's more of a ceremonial thing, but it is part of our process. It's part of what we do to make sure that people are aware of what they're facing. And in the case of Paul Manafort, he obviously has very fine and, you know, very experienced lawyers, so he doesn't need all of that procedure, probably, to know what's going on, but that's how our system works and he's afforded the same rights as every other American.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Shimon, we're looking at the front entrance there of the FBI field office. That's probably not how Manafort is going to enter, but we saw that other garage entrance, we have a slightly different shot, where you see a guard's booth and you see a garage. My guess is that he will be ushered in that way in a car, so anybody wanting a perp shot might not get it. He will probably be like shaded windows and you probably won't have that moment of seeing --

CUOMO: Well, he's surrendering, also. So they're not going to walk him in in trench coats, although, they were hard on him when they went to his house. That was very atypical protocol in a situation like this to do a bang and bust on that warrant. Michael Zeldin, I'm sure you were aware of that. Imagine the phone calls you would have gotten from your client if they were -- if they thought they were talking and working with investigators and all of a sudden they came knocking on the door with guns drawn.

[08:10:05] ZELDIN: Yes, it was a shocking act, I think, by the bureau. But it struck me, as well, there must have been some level of distrust or mistrust of Manafort, that they would enter in a no-knock sort of way. Usually in these cases, it is cooperative. Obviously, because of the manner in which they feel Manafort has been dealing with them, remember, they subpoenaed his attorney, they subpoenaed his press spokesman. So they're leveraging him as if he's a non- cooperating person.

It's nice, in a sense, that they let him voluntarily surrender rather than have the show of arresting him in front of his apartment with a so-called perp walk, the perpetrator walking to the car in handcuffs. I never liked that. Maybe in organized crime cases it was appropriate, but in a case like this, it never struck me as necessary. So I'm happy for that.

CUOMO: So Michael, also, just to fill in one thing about what's going to happen today. You know, sometimes you -- the arraignment comes later, because this is just an initial arrest. But that's not this situation. They've handed down an indictment preceding this. So, you know, that Sixth Amendment tool of the arraignment to have these charges presented to him could likely be today.

ZELDIN: Well, I would -- you know, it could be, as described, that today is an arraignment, which would means an entry of a plea. I would have thought perhaps it would be an initial appearance where charges are read and rights are advised, and then time is set down for an arraignment. You won't have a preliminary hearing because that is where, you know, you get to test the charges. But those charges have been returned by indictment. So I think you'll have today presentment and initial appearance, and then an arraignment where he'll plead and then it will be set down for trial. And probably in a case like this, it will be set down for the lawyers to start talking about whether there is a way for them to find a negotiated plea. The fact that they went in with this no-knock sort of thing, you know, leads me to believe that they don't trust this guy. And if you don't trust this guy, you're not going to enter a plea with him.

CAMEROTA: So Shimon, it's impossible for us to know if any of these cars entering the garage there are significant to our breaking news of Paul Manafort surrendering. You don't know if he's driving himself, if he surrendered right there at his house to FBI agents somehow.

PROKUPECZ: That's exactly right. We've been told, usually in these kinds of cases when someone does surrender, either you go directly to the FBI office in whatever district you live in. But sometimes what they do is they have a meeting point, so the FBI will say meet us at this hotel or this gas station or this area and we will then take you into custody and drive you into the FBI offices. They will not allow his own vehicle into that garage, so that if he was to arrive at that location, at the FBI offices here in Washington, D.C., he would have to walk in. So then we would see a shot of him.

But he could be meeting FBI agents at a location that they've designated and said show up here at 9:00 a.m. and we will then take you into custody. And then they will drive him in through the garage and take him up to their offices. And then we will not see him until he's in court again.

CUOMO: Right, and just to kind of close the loop on this, Michael, we really don't have any better sense of what they want out of Manafort from this, because if they do, as "The New York Times" is reporting, and I know Shimon and Evan and the rest of the team are trying to track it down, but if Gates, his business partner from that time when he was working in Ukraine, if they're both coming in, then both possibilities are still open, right, that this is about how he moved money for himself and arguably others, or how this leads to relationships that came to play during the campaign? ZELDIN: Yes, probably both. It would seem to me, logically, that if

it's Gates and Manafort, that this deals with the business that they ran, their consulting group and how they acquired and reported income. And it also well could be the first step toward a fuller analysis of Manafort's activities, as I mentioned. Schneiderman and the U.S. attorney in New York and Mueller all are looking at these shell purchases of real estate in Manhattan. And then we also know, of course, that there's a Don Jr. June 9th meeting that Manafort was at. We know that Manafort supposedly offered an intelligence briefing to Ukrainians in return for moneys that were owed. So there's a lot of opportunity here to expand this beyond what was probably driven by the statute of limitations on the tax charges.

CAMEROTA: Renato, Michael has done a great job about talking about the tentacles that might stretch out from this, even if it is charges, what could happen next. And you know, he's talked about some of the other names that we've obviously heard connected possibly to some sort of wrongdoing. And you know, when you say the name, Jared Kushner, obviously, everybody's ears perk up. What do you think? Where do you think a Paul Manafort arrest leads from here?

RENATO MARRIOTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Wow, well, certainly, the possibilities are pretty extensive, as he was just --

CAMEROTA: OK, here he is!

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we're seeing Manafort come in now with counsel.

CAMEROTA: He is entering through the front door.

CUOMO: Walking through the front door, which shows that this negotiation went pretty well, by his standards, right, Renato, speak to this, because, again, they banged on this guy's doors with guns drawn to execute a warrant. That does not show that you're giving him much benefit of the doubt. This is a little bit of a different disposition.

MARRIOTI: Exactly right. So, I will say, it is very highly unusual to execute a search warrant at all in a white-collar case, and I spent many years investigating white collar crime. To have a no-knock warrant means that they had specific information that he was going to destroy evidence.

CAMEROTA: We're just watching him walk up there. We're just replaying again him entering the FBI field office in Washington, D.C. All we see is him approach from the curb. We're not sure how he arrived, but we see him there with his lawyers marching up and through the front door. Continue. Go ahead.

MARRIOTI: OK. So, that meant that there's actually specific information that they had that they had to present to a judge to get permission to do a no-knock warrant, which just so viewers understand, that literally means that the FBI picked the lock on his door and showed up and, you know, woke him up without even knocking on the door. And to do that, that means that there's specific concerns about destruction of evidence. By now, it's fairly clear, I think, that, you know, at this point, they got the evidence that they need. You know, Paul Manafort, by all accounts, there's been a lot of reporting, you know, he's defiant and says he's going to fight the charges, which is not surprising at this stage.

Most folks in white collar cases have a similar tack. What I'm interested in, if I was still a federal prosecutor, investigating a case like this is, how is that associate who's also charged, how does he feel about this? Is he going to flip on Manafort? You know, that is the sort of thing that a federal prosecutor is thinking about at this point.

CUOMO: Well, we haven't seen him yet. We only saw Manafort come out. "The New York Times" is reporting that he may be involved with the indictment today. I guess that would have to mean that he has an indictment of his own. Does Manafort go home today, Renato?

MARRIOTI: Yes, he will probably go home today, unless there's some specific information about a flight risk. I would expect that prosecutors would agree a bond today. But that issue of bond will be determined today, because in addition to I had mentioned an arraignment earlier, this is also the initial appearance in court.

And that is one of the matters that is discussed and there'll be limitations, generally set, on what he can do, where he can travel, without, you know, getting prior permission from the court and an agency of the court called pre-trial services, which monitors defendants before trials.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Shimon.

MARRIOTI: He'll probably have to turn in his passport.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Yes. So, it's symbolic here, in some ways, of Manafort walking in to the FBI offices. That was sort of planned, right? You know that this is almost, in some ways, theater. You could see him walking in, being greeted by an FBI agent.

That's an FBI agent there, greeting him, shaking his hand, and now they're walking in, where he's going to be processed, but look, there was all planned probably for some time. And there's a reason it's being done this way, right.

The Washington field office, the FBI here, in Washington, D.C., has been investigating Manafort for several years before even the Russia collusion investigation started. We've talked about the Ukraine stuff. We've talked about the Ferris stuff.

So, they have been on this case for quite some time and you know, that is kind of symbolic. He is coming to them, he is -- it is something that they have worked on for years, and now he is surrendering to the FBI. It's quite a big deal for them because they've been working this case for many, many years. CUOMO: And it's something that a lot of people around Trump certainly, when this first came out, said we'd never see, that it would never happen. What do we know now about his business associate, Gates?

PROKUPECZ: Well, we don't know much more. We're obviously still trying to verify that. But as Evan said earlier, they worked together on this Ukraine deal. So, you know, going back to what we had heard on Friday, we did hear that they were going to be surrenders, that at least two people were expected to surrender.

But we have -- we were sort of cautious in how we dealt with that because we needed to verify it. And this morning, at least one of those people, we've been able to verify. You know, they will both appear together, you know, presumably, if it is Rick Gates, in court.

And then we will hear arguments from prosecutors, probably, but more importantly, it's going to be interesting to see what Manafort's defense lawyer has to say. Manafort's people have taken issue with the scope, with what Mueller, however he's been going, how far back he's been going.

They have always felt that this investigation has gone well beyond his scope. Well beyond the special counsel's scope and they were even preparing some activity to try to express that. So that's going to be an interesting moment there in court when his attorney gets up, presumably to argue for bail or whatever it may be.

It's going to be interesting to see how he argues, what Mueller has done here, and how far the special counsel has gone. And also, you know, when we did this big story about a month or two ago, about the investigation, about the direction of the special counsel investigation, and how now it's been focusing on the financial dealings.

And in that story, we talked about the president's view on that, and how, you know, he talked about this red line. That if he had some concern that the special counsel was now looking at finances of people close to him, of his family.

Some of that may also come to play today and again, it's going to be really interesting to see what's contained in the indictment in those documents, sort of the elements of this crime that will probably come out and bore out in those documents.

CAMEROTA: Yes. All of this is interesting. Gentlemen, stand by for a second. Do we have Evan right now? Evan is with us and I believe he has more information on Rick Gates, the business associate of Paul Manafort. What have you learned, Evan?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things that I couldn't talk about when we first broke the news a short while ago was that Rick Gates was also supposed to show up in court. He is expected to turn himself into the FBI. He has been notified that these charges have been filed. Now, these charges are still under seal, as we mentioned, so Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are going to be turning themselves into the FBI. We just saw Manafort and his attorney, Kevin Downing, walk into the Washington field office. We expect the same, perhaps to happen with Rick Gates.

And later this morning, we're going to see whether they go to court and ask for this indictment to be unsealed, which is the normal procedure for handling this type of thing. So, we now know that there are two indictments. This is information that we already knew from Friday.

We sort of -- as Shimon pointed out a little while ago, we held back some of this, because we wanted to see whether or not the attorneys were going to be notified. They were not immediately notified, which was a bit of a surprise to us on Friday.

We now know that those notifications happened earlier today, and we expect both of these men to appear in federal court here in Washington, D.C., to see what these charges are. Get these charges unsealed and then begin the proceedings there in federal court -- Chris and Alisyn.

CUOMO: Right, separate appearances, obviously, because they wouldn't be indicted together, they would be indicted on their own, maybe because of a joint set of facts.

So, Michael Zeldin, let's talk about what this means, all right? You guys are not a political panel. There's no question that the optics are bad. We have a president right now who was brought in to drain the swamp and one of his closest advisers just got indicted.

So that's not good from political perspective and the president conspicuously silent since this news came out. He had been tweeting this morning, talking about how Hillary Clinton is the real problem. Now he just had one of his main guys walk into a field office to surrender.

So, the optics have shifted. But legally, what do you say to the reaction of, this is all they got? Manafort on some money from a hundred years ago? Obviously, there's nothing to this, otherwise they would have started with something about this campaign?

ZELDIN: Well, I think Ty Cobb, counsel in the White House to the president on this matter knows better than to suggest that this is much ado about nothing. Because until, first, we see the indictment and see what charges are made, we don't know how much there, there is there.

But I expect you're right, that the president, if it is just collateral tax charges that are disconnected to the conspiracy collusion inquiry might well say, this doesn't involve me. Remember, the president said sort of famously, Paul Manafort, the name rings a bell, but I'm not sure that I remember him all that well.

So, it may well be that he distances himself from Manafort. Remember, he said he was with the campaign for a short period of time, even though he was campaign chairman. So, you may get that line. But I think the notion that Mueller is exceeding his mandate will be something that may play out politically if this is really just tax charges from 2012 forward.

[08:25:06] That red line that the president tried to draw in "The New York Times" interview is something I think has got to weigh on him, because if they feel that they have the authority to look at Manafort for taxes, then probably they want the president's tax returns.

They probably want the Kushner financial dealings, the Cohen financial dealings, the Flynn financial dealings. So, all of those things get implicated in this and I expect that there may well be some attempt to push back politically.

Legally, I don't think they can push back. Mueller's mandate is Mueller's mandate and Rosenstein defines what it is along with Mueller. And you don't really have an opportunity in court to say, this indictment is no good, because we believe it exceeds Mueller's mandate.

That's, you know, for the president, he might say, I've had it. We see this as a fishing expedition. I order you, Rod Rosenstein, to fire Mueller. And that sets off another whole line of actions that could portend terrible things for the president legally, along the obstruction of justice, abuse of office continuum.

CAMEROTA: All right. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here with all of your little expertise. Please stand by. Obviously, this breaking story continues with developments. But we do want to bring in Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin. He's been a supporter of President Trump's. Congressman, great to see you.

I know that you've, watching this breaking news unfold, as have we, as have our viewers, since Paul Manafort just surrendered in the past few minutes to the field office in Washington, D.C. of the FBI. What are your thoughts?

REPRESENTATIVE SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: Well, listen, I don't have many thoughts quite yet, and that I don't know what this is about. Is this about collusion between the Trump campaign or Russia or is this about something that happened before the campaign and was it paying taxes, was it financial dealings with some foreign entity before Manafort was involved in the campaign?

Those are questions that we haven't answered yet and I think the seriousness of this will be determined as that information comes in. This could be a big old nothing burger if it was pre-campaign, but post-campaign, it's going to be serious stuff.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but I mean, look, our experts have said, it can't be a nothing burger if, in fact, he had some sort of shady deal with a Russia-friendly Ukraine, you know, leader, and took money and then became the chairman of the Trump campaign. Don't these things bleed into each other? DUFFY: No, well, listen, first of all, if he had these interactions before the campaign, that doesn't mean he brought Donald Trump into his mess.

CAMEROTA: But did he bring his mess to Donald Trump?

DUFFY: Well, that's a large leap to make, Alisyn. I just, I can't make that one with you, and so, to taint Donald Trump with things that Manafort did before the campaign, I think, is a leap too far.

But listen, we're going to look at this full picture, and as you reported, we'll see what the charges are for Manafort, but we'll also look at the campaign with regard to the dossier and the Clintons, we'll look at Uranium One.

The whole spectrum should be looked at and I think Americans should know, what involvement Russia had in our elections, who were they partnering with or colluding with, and what tools and techniques did they use to influence or change our election.

CAMEROTA: Yes, so, I mean, but the fact that the chairman of the Trump campaign today surrendered to the FBI, in terms of significance on scale of 1 to 10, you think that's what?

DUFFY: I don't know yet. It depends what the charges are. But Alisyn, let me tell you this. What concerns me is the leaks that happened. That CNN, and good for you guys for getting this story, it's a great scoop for the network. But as a lawmaker, I sit and go, why are we leaking information from the, special counsel to a news network? Good for you, but I think bad for America.

CAMEROTA: But, listen --

DUFFY: As we've seen all of these -- let me make the point. We've seen all these leaks take place. I'm sure that if there was evidence of collusion between Donald Trump and campaign with Russia, this would have been leaked out.

I mean, you had the meeting between, you know, Comey and Donald Trump on the dossier. You had this information, which is a crime to leak this information to you about an indictment. I believe that information would have been leaked out if it existed.

And it hasn't yet, which makes me go, well, I think President Trump's probably OK in that there was no collusion here and they have no evidence of collusion between Trump, Trump campaign, and Russia.

CAMEROTA: Do you still -- I hear what you're saying. Do you think still watching that picture of Paul Manafort surrender to the FBI, knowing that Bob Mueller's investigation has at least led to this indictment, do you think that this is all a witch hunt?

DUFFY: Well, listen, if you're Paul Manafort, this is not good for you. You know, Mueller's coming for you. You're sitting in the FBI building right now. You have serious problems on your hands. Let's not sugar coat that, Alisyn.