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President Trump to Meet Kim Jong-un in May; Stormy Daniels and President Trump's Saga Continues. Interview with Ted Lieu (D-CA). Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 8, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: We look forward to that. Thanks for watching 360. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. CNN Tonight starts right now.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Our breaking news tonight. President Trump agreeing to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong-un reportedly by May, less than eight weeks from now. That is according to South Korea's national security advisor who says Kim promise to, quote, "refrain from any nuclear, further nuclear or missile test."
The press secretary Sarah Sanders tonight confirming that the president will meet with Kim both not giving a timeline for the meeting.
The stunning news catching White House officials completely off-guard tonight. One administration official telling CNN, quote, "This was not planned. It was all him." And it's not just the president's own staff caught by surprise. Some Pentagon officials telling CNN they didn't know the announcement was coming.
This is a president seizing the moment and going rogue in the midst of a White House in disarray. We saw the same dynamics a few hours earlier today when he signed a measure putting a 25 percent tariff on imported and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum even though republican after republican begged him not to, even though his top economic advisor quit over the tariffs.
And then there is the increasing White House anxiety over the lawsuit by porn star Stormy Daniels. The president said to be furious at Sarah Sanders tactically acknowledge, or tacitly, I should say, acknowledge he was a party to the lawsuit when she claim -- when she claimed to reporters, quote, "the arbitration was won in the president's favor."
And that was we learn today that a woman who previously accused Trump of inappropriate sexual contact was named in the non-disclosure agreement signed by Stormy Daniels as having confidential information about Daniels allege affair with Donald Trump.
Also today, a former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort answered a plea of not guilty to charges of bank fraud and tax crimes. His trial set to begin July 10th.
And on Capitol Hill, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was back before the House intelligence committee but again refused to answer questions about that infamous Trump tower meeting with Russians.
There's a lot to discuss. We want to begin with our breaking news on North Korea. And I want to bring in now CNN senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski, White House reporter Kaitlan Collins, CNN military and diplomatic analyst Rear Admiral John Kirby, and CNN political commentator Matt Lewis.
We have a lot ground to cover, everyone. So thank you for joining us this evening. Admiral Kirby, I'm going to start with you. CNN is told that President Trump was being counseled not to even go along with this invitation. And yet, here we are. He's going to meet with North Korea's dictator by May. That's what he says. The president is doing what he wants. Is this a good idea?
JOHN KIRBY, MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST, CNN: You may not like my answer, Don, but I think it depends. I was flabbergasted that the invite was accepted today. That it was accepted with a time line. And that time line as you pointed out in the intro is only eight weeks away.
That's incredible to me the amount of work that has to be done between now and then to try to have any kind of an effective summit with Kim Jong-un, a man who is a brutal dictator and who's wanted more than anything. The sort of status that comes with a presidential dialogue like.
So, I'm a little concerned. Very concerned actually about the time line and about the chances for success. But look, I'm always a fan of diplomacy. I think in general we need to look at this as a positive development and we need to hope that the administration will work diligently to make this a success.
It's going to be that much -- not only the time line is going to be hard for them but it's going to be even harder because they don't have a lot of expertise. The State Department is not fully manned, we don't have an ambassador in Seoul, the special envoy to North Korea has decided to resign. So they have a long, long road to go in a very short while to get it done.
LEMON: Admiral Kirby, I can't let that very concern slip. Why are you very concerned about this?
KIRBY: Because we're dealing with a regime that has been developing nuclear and missile program for a very long time. And they've accelerated that development. They know what they're doing. And it is their insurance policy.
What they want more than anything else is regime survival. So, I see very little incentive for them to give that up unless we're willing to offer them something that really ensures that survival in a tangible way. I don't know what that means. (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: And legitimacy. And they want legitimacy. And standing on the world stage with the leader of the free world gives them...
KIRBY: Yes. They want to be the Soviet Union of today. That's what they really want. They want that recognition. And what are we going to give up for that? That's what worries me. What are they going to get from us in order to get us to get them to denuke them. I'm very concerned about what this administration would be willing to barter away.
LEMON: But we're at this point. So let's hope it works out. Maybe it will. Michelle, where is Secretary Tillerson in all this? The president said a few hours -- just a few months ago, I should say, the secretary of state was wasting his time on North Korea.
[22:04:57] MICHELLE KOSINSKI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Wasting his time trying to negotiate with North Korea. So that would hardly be the first time that the president has very publicly undercut what the secretary of state has either done or said and the work that he's trying to do.
I mean, just a few hours before this stunning announcement, Secretary of State Tillerson who is traveling in Africa was asked about the situation. And he talks a lot of skepticism and saying that he thinks we're a long way off from negotiations and we're going to have to have talks about talks before we even know that North Korea is ready for negotiation.
So in the past several weeks we've really seen a separation in the language that the administration is using between talks and negotiations. It used to be just we're a far distance away from talks. But now it's more along the lines of well, we can talk. We can talk about what we're going to do before we start to negotiate.
So it was a much different tone from the secretary of state, so you can kind of see why this announcement then from the White House might have come as a surprise to Tillerson. There is a time difference. He is in Africa. But we do know that he was up and talking to the president before the announcement.
We know that he talked to the Japanese prime minister. But Tillerson was still characteristically silent during this. He didn't make a statement an hour after the announcement.
The State Department did put out a kind of paper statement. But at the end, again, referring to the White House for more details. And that's pretty consistent with what we've seen.
In fact, on just days ago as this was brewing, as we knew that the South Korean delegation was about to come to the United States, the president was talking about North Korea having called up and said that they wanted to talk. Everybody wanted to know what that was all about. And we asked
Tillerson directly what he thought about the situation or could he lend some clarity? And as he stood there as the secretary of state, he had absolutely nothing that he wanted to say.
LEMON: It's interesting. Because I was reading something by Nicholas Kristof who is saying that essentially they think -- they don't think that Rex Tillerson is even a player in Washington. You know, the North Koreans at least -- Rex Tillerson.
Here it is. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would also be a possibility. But the North Koreans have scoffed at me because Nicholas Kristof has been there. That he isn't a player in Washington. I'm going to talk to Nick a little bit more about this. But it's interesting in our conversation that we're having. Michelle, let me ask you this, though. Where might this proposed meeting happen?
KOSINSKI: That's one of those question mark surrounding all of this. You cannot in a million years imagine Kim Jong-un coming here to the United States...
KOSINSKI: ... and what that looks like. You know, we're not even sure if we're ready for negotiations. We're not ready for a visit like that even though people kind of like to speculate about the spectacle and the strangeness and kind of the new era that that would show.
So that's likely not going to happen. It would be something too if President Trump traveled there maybe to the demilitarized zone. I think South Korea is a likely place.
LEMON: But it is still being seen as the president going to Kim Jong- un.
KOSINSKI: Exactly. So, either some neutral zone that would show goodwill on both sides. I mean, South Korea has really been motivating this. That seems like that could be a likely spot. But somewhere you would think that would be neutral.
But, you know, you don't like to really predict what's going to happen with this administration.
KOSINSKI: And remember, we're dealing with president Trump and Kim Jong-un. So you know, we don't know what ideas they might have.
LEMON: Two unpredictable characters or personalities to say the least. I want to bring...
LEMON: Yes. I want to bring Kaitlan in on this. Because Kaitlan, we saw the president came into the briefing room and notified reporters. Our reporting is saying that he was running around everyone. They were caught off guard.
The chaos emanating from this White House has been constant. It seems like the president is taking charge. Maybe creating more confusion in the process. But he's doing what he wants.
KAITLAN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, CNN: Certainly is, Don. But that chaos is on full display especially on a day like today when something as big as this happens. And it ranges from the small to the very big things. As small as the president not letting his other officials know that he's going to pop into the briefing room, something he's never done before to my knowledge, to tell reporters that he's about -- there's going to be a big announcement from South Korea on North Korea soon.
Something that caught the officials in the White House and the West Wing off guard. But also to think as big as he's not on the same page as the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, those comments that Michelle is referencing that he just made earlier today.
He also doesn't seem to be on the same page as the Vice President Mike Pence who just a few days ago was making it sound like any kind of negotiations with North Korea are a ways off.
[22:09:57] And one thing that caught my ear today was when that South Korean national security adviser was on the driveway here at the White House making that announcement. He referred to the national security adviser of the United States, H.R. McMaster as a good friend.
And as we reported extensively, the president and the national security adviser actually do not have a good relationship. The president has been searching for a replacement for him and it seemed likely that his departure could come as early as by the end of this month.
So we got all of that going on while such a monumental decision as this could be made with the president. So it really goes to show the stories. Sometimes it seems humorous that White House can be so chaotic and so complicated.
But on a day like today when decisions like this are being made very big decisions like John Kirby said, very stunning that the president so quickly accepted North Korea's offer to meet. It really makes you question how things are going down in this White House.
LEMON: Well, Kaitlan, let me ask you. Why would sort of third party, another leader outside of the White House not even inside of the White House make this announcement and read a letter from -- it was just odd.
It seems like something that maybe the president wanted to do or maybe it would be some sort of joint news conference. At least it would be done inside the White House. It just -- the announcement seemed very odd. What happened? COLLINS: It certainly is odd. Why wouldn't the president not himself
make this decision that he had accepted North Korea's offer to meet with Kim Jong-un. But he did it. He came to the briefing room after...
LEMON: It was an oral letter not a written letter. Go on.
COLLINS: Right. It was essentially a message, basically given to him. That raises the question of after he had been briefed by the South Korean officials here at the White House today as well as H.R. McMaster being briefed, that was a short time period and that this decision was made.
So it certainly those question. But this is a president who likes to outdo other presidents. That is something we have to keep in mind is his decision-making here. He likes to do things differently. If you advise him, well past administrations have done x, y, z, the president like to go k.
He goes in a very different direction. He is very pleased with that. So you can certainly see that playing into his decision here to accept a meeting like this. But we still have so many questions surrounding this. It's important to keep that in mind that the White House is not given any indication of when, where this meeting would happen.
So we do not know for sure that this meeting would happen. Because just a few days ago the president was expressing skepticism about something like this happening at all.
LEMON: And there is still a lot of ground to cover between now and then.
LEMON: Even when this meeting happens, there is more ground to cover after that. Matt, you've been sitting by patiently so let me bring you in here now. I want to talk about the president going his own way on a different issue and that's issue of tariffs.
Pretty much every republican didn't want the president to do this. They warned of a trade war. He didn't listen. Are we going to see the president go his own way -- go his own way even more now do you think?
MATT LEWIS, COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes, I think so. So the tariff issue is something that he's been talking about for 30 years, you know. There is a sense early on that Steve Bannon was pulling the strings, Steve Bannon is calling the shots leading him down this nationalist populist path. Trump has been in favor of protectionism and tariffs.
He was complaining about Japan, you know, basically gaming the system. Thirty years ago on Oprah Winfrey's show. So it all comes in full circle. This is Donald Trump being Donald Trump. I don't think he's going to be able to pass a lot of maybe anything really substantively through the legislative process this year with the midterms around the corner. What he's going to do is probably going to be unilateral. What good is it to be president, to get elected president if you can't
do the thing you've been complaining about for 30 years?
LEMON: Well, let me ask you this. You mentioned the midterms. How much is this special election for congressional seat in Pennsylvania and the steel country a factor in the president's decision to impose these new tariffs?
LEWIS: I definitely think it has something to do with the timing. Look, again, this is something that Donald Trump wanted to do for 30 years. There was a story, you know, back in August that he was taking bring me tariffs. I want tariffs.
So this isn't Donald Trump suddenly deciding to do this. But the timing of it, I think, you know, Don, it's really hard to say that the timing isn't suspicious, right?
LEMON: Yes. Let me get your thoughts before we go on North Korea. How is this going to play in Peoria?
LEWIS: I think it will play well in Peoria. Look, Donald Trump this is a guy who I think the American people are want to see something good come out of it. They hope that -- maybe it's the triumph of hope over experience. But they want diplomacy to work.
I do think it's fair to, you know, hypothesize that Donald Trump's tough talk as well as the sanctions might have driven North Korea to the bargaining table here.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you all. I appreciate it. When we come back, President Trump's porn star problem not going away. Why the attorney who represented the president in both of his divorces thinks Stormy Daniels has a case. He joins me to explain why next.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: New developments in the saga of the porn star and the president. Stormy Daniels is suing President Trump over a nondisclosure agreement that she signed but says he didn't sign it.
Here to discuss now, the attorney who represents Donald Trump in both of his divorces. He is Jay Goldberg. And he joins me now. Jay, it's good to see you. Thank you coming in.
JAY GOLDBERG, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Good to see you, Don.
LEMON: Let's discuss this now. Ultimately, are we going to hear Stormy Daniels' story?
GOLDBERG: Well, she's making an attempt to go on the road with her story. But the nondisclosure agreement is a solid agreement because she took the money. And an agreement even though it has a provision for a signature, that can be waived by the conduct of the other party. And these agreements are upheld all the time. LEMON: Earlier you were on another network and you said it's true an
agreement you need a signature of both parties and if there's no signature by him, it's not valid.
GOLDBERG: Well, I have to acknowledge that I was incorrect. A study of the patent jury instructions were given to all judges to guide them and what they should do. Makes clear that even though the signature was not there, if she took the money and acted in a way to waive his signature because she took the money, then she can't have it both ways. She can't take the money and then claim the agreement was invalid. As I told you, I have the leading case on this subject.
[22:20:03] LEMON: Let me ask you, I'm going to go on. But if she -- so she -- what if she forfeits the money still it is...
LEMON: ... legal and binding.
GOLDBERG: No, the agreement, the conduct spells out a waiver of the need for him to sign the agreement. It spells out how her condoning the fact that he didn't need to sign the agreement. Unless the agreement says itself that it doesn't become binding unless it's signed by the party. He can rely on the action of waiver, stifle. It means just what it sounds like. You can't assert a right if you are taking a benefit.
LEMON: You told me that you don't believe she has a case. You think she'll lose this case?
GOLDBERG: She'll lose the case without question.
LEMON: Why so?
GOLDBERG: Because these agreements are upheld. A party can waive the first amendment rights, waive -- they can waive the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, constitutional rights can be waived. And she chose to sign the document, take the money and run.
GOLDBERG: To use Woody Allen's expression took the money and run.
LEMON: If she had waited for his signature, for the execution of his signature then maybe she might have a case? But she didn't.
GOLDBERG: She wouldn't have.
LEMON: She acted as if the agreement was valid? Correct?
GOLDBERG: Valid. If he allegedly signed it, then she would be clearly out of court. And that's what the appellate division held and the court of appeals.
LEMON: You said that you had the leading case in New York?
LEMON: In regards to.
GOLDBERG: yes, in regards to enforceability of a nondisclosure agreement. It went to the appellate division and the court of appeals who refused to review the decision of the appellate division. It's a reported case. And it stands for the proposition that these agreements are enforceable.
Now conduct is also a great moment. And she took the benefits of the agreement and now claims that there was no agreement because he didn't sign it. Assuming her story is correct that he was involved with her, I don't flow whether that's true.
LEMON: You said that you were -- you've just now said that you were wrong after your initial appearance this morning.
LEMON: Did you speak with anyone?
GOLDBERG: No. I consulted -- and I still have it here for you, the patent jury instructions. I have the pages for you. This lays out what the law is and all judges in the state have to comply with the patent jury instructions. And there's no question, it's 100 to zero that she will lose.
LEMON: If you were advising Stormy Daniels now, what would you -- what would you advise her, Mr. Goldberg?
GOLDBERG: Well, she can't give the money back because she wouldn't give the money back. I mean she's off on a tour and attempting to profit from the great publicity. I wonder whether her story is correct. The fact that she has a picture with Trump means nothing to me. People have pictures standing next to politicians all the time or people of note, and that doesn't prove her case.
LEMON: The payment of a, the admitted payment of $130,000 in arbitration, that doesn't mean anything?
GOLDBERG: Well, I have to speak to Cohen on that and I haven't done that. All I'm here to tell you is that her taking of the money condones the lack of a signature. The agreement doesn't say -- it doesn't become valid until he signs it. It doesn't say that. And these agreements are like written in cement. They are upheld all the time in New York. I was mistaken when I said to the contrary.
LEMON: But let me ask you something. With the whole what's happening now with the Me Too movement, there is a discussion about these nondisclosure agreements.
LEMON: It is believed by some of the accusers and the people who are fighting for the women that it takes away their right to free speech. What do you say to that? GOLDBERG: Well, the lower court in the case that I was involved in
held that very same thing. That it impacted negatively on the right of free speech. But the appellate division held that a person can waive the right to free speech, can waive constitutional rights.
The fourth amendment, Fifth Amendment and the like and the court upheld it in the appellate division. And even the court of appeals which is the highest court refused to review it or disturb the holding below. These agreements are -- and this is a situation that is for sure a case.
[22:25:00] Taking the money. The benefits of the agreement. And then claiming the agreement is invalid. And it's, no judge would go for that. No jury would go for that.
LEMON: Fascinating conversation. I appreciate your expertise. Thank you for coming in, Jay Goldberg.
GOLDBERG: All right. Good to see you.
LEMON: good to see you. Thank you very much.
When we come back, much more on the president's upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un. Some staffers and Pentagon officials surprised by tonight's announcement. I'm going to get a reaction from a member of the House foreign affairs committee. That's next.
LEMON: Our breaking news tonight. President Trump accepting an invitation from North Korea's Kim Jong-un for the two leaders to meet.
I want to talk about with Congressman Ted Lieu, a California democrat who sits on the judiciary and foreign affairs committee. Congressman, good to see you. Thank you for coming on. First, I want to talk about...
REP. TED LIEU, (D) California: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: First, I want to talk about the big headline of the evening and that is President Trump set to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by May, by May. As someone on the House committee for foreign affairs, give me your reaction.
LIEU: Yes. Thank you for that question, Don. I previously served active duty in Guam. I can tell you the United States has exactly zero good military options against North Korea.
[22:30:02] So, any diplomacy and dialogue is good. I hope this high stakes first meeting is productive. But it does underscore the importance of diplomacy. And I find it totally unacceptable that as we sit here today Donald Trump still has not nominated a U.S. ambassador to South Korea. His own special envoy to North Korea recently resigned. It's like
playing a high stakes of basketball against your opponent with half of your team missing. It's disadvantageous to the United States.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: So you think it's a good first step. But you would hope that he was more prepared and more read in? What you are saying here?
LIEU: Absolutely. First of all, this is going to occur very quickly and a matter of a couple of months. And we don't have a full team there to prepare the president or even to prepare the State Department and other members of our negotiating team. Because we're missing the U.S. ambassador to South Korea and or special envoy to North Korea who has a lot of wisdom a lot of experience is resigning.
LEMON: Do you think that the president's unconventional style worked in his favor here, the tough language, you know, if this meeting is to happen, could this be a first, a historic first step?
LIEU: Yes. It's possible. We have not had good relations with North Korea. We still may not. Let's see what happens with this first meeting. But again, anything that talks about diplomacy over war is a good thing.
And this -- if we went to war it could be completely and totally catastrophic even without nuclear weapons. North Korea could devastate Seoul which has over 200,000 Americans. They could launch missiles at Japan which has a lot of Americans and potentially strike Guam.
LEMON: I want to ask you. And let me read, this is your tweet from last night and it's concerning Michael Cohen's payment to Stormy Daniels. OK, it's up on the screen. "This is only two possibilities. Michael Cohen he used $130,000 of personal funds to silence Stormy Daniels which means it was a massive in kind contribution in excess of federal election limits. Or Cohen would be reimbursed which means he concealed true source of funds. Both are felonies."
You're saying that either way Michael Cohen committed a federal crime?
LIEU: Absolutely. Our federal election laws say that a contribution is anything of value. Michael Cohen is $130,000 payment to silence Stormy Daniels was of significant value to then candidate Donald Trump or his campaign. The problem is...
LEMON: Even without Donald Trump's knowledge?
LIEU: Stormy Daniels' filing shows that there is an agreement with Donald Trump's name on it even though it's a pseudonym and it's really hard to believe that Donald Trump's attorney never talked to Donald Trump about this issue or about this payment.
That's just an inherently unbelievable claim. Wall Street Journal also says that Cohen was expecting a reimbursement. So if that's the case then that's actually a separate kind of campaign violation. There's been successful prosecutions all the time of people who conceal the true source of the contributions. So I think Michael Cohen is in big trouble either way.
LEMON: So the interesting thing that someone brought up last night was that how would Stormy Daniels know to go to Michael Cohen? How would she know that he's the personal attorney? Wouldn't she get that information from Donald Trump? Is that a valid perception or assessment?
LIEU: That is possible. It's hard to know how this agreement actually happened. Keep in mind, there is nothing legally wrong with an agreement to silence someone. But it is completely illegal during a campaign and for purposes of helping the campaign and every indication was that this was going to help Donald Trump's campaign because she had all this negative information that could torpedo his campaign.
LEMON: OK. Representative Lieu, thank you for time. I appreciate that.
When we come back, a trial date was set today for the president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort facing a number of charges and a lot of potential prison time. What are the chances he'll make a deal? I'm going to talk to two former White House counsel. That's next.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Democrats not happy with what they heard and didn't hear when Corey Lewandowski appeared before the House intelligence committee today.
Let's discuss with CNN contributor John Dean, he's the former Nixon White House counsel, Jack Quinn is the former counsel in the Clinton White House. Good evening, gentlemen. Thank you for joining us.
I'm going to start with John Dean. Corey Lewandowski appear before the House intel committee today he seemed pretty pleased with how it went telling reporters he answered all relevant questions. The ranking democrat on the committee wasn't as happy as though.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: We have requested that he'd be subpoenaed to return to answer certain sets of questions. He was unwilling to answer today. That were very pertinent to our investigation these included questions about the production of the false statement concerning the Trump tower meeting.
Mr. Lewandowski did answer a whole set of other questions concerning his time after the campaign, but nonetheless, witnesses don't get to pick and choose when it comes to very relevant testimony to our investigations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So if he is answering other questions about events that occurred after the campaign and can he get away but answering the other questions, John?
JOHN DEAN, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: I think he can with this because there's...
LEMON: Because maybe he did.
DEAN: I think he can and he did. And, well, that seems to be the pattern in front of this committee. Republicans control it. They will not exercise any kind of contempt on anybody that they find is connected with the Trump administration or the Trump campaign. They're making something of a sham out of their investigative procedures. So he'll get away it with, Don.
LEMON: You know, Jack, the House intel committee -- can we go back to that? You said he's going to get away with it, John.
DEAN: I did.
LEMON: Then what is the purpose of this committee?
DEAN: Well, it is an intelligence committee. It used to be nonpartisan.
[22:39:59] LEMON: But it doesn't seem like it has any teeth.
DEAN: It has no teeth. And the reason they had no teeth is it takes a majority of the committee to put somebody in contempt and force their -- force them to testify. That goes to the full house. The full house is controlled by republicans. They're not going to do it.
Even if they did do it, it goes to the U.S. attorney who is a republican Dee (Ph) and he's not going to enforce it. So they're going to get away with it.
LEMON: And good night folks. That's it. I mean, seriously. Jack, go?
JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yes. I mean, it does go back to Speaker Ryan. If speaker -- believe me, if Speaker Ryan wanted this committee to act like a congressional committee and get to the bottom of these things and not allow witnesses to have their way with the committee, then things would be different.
But John is quite right. I mean, it's up to the majority whether to hold somebody in contempt until, you know, perhaps the other party after the elections is in the majority. Then things will be different.
The one thing I would add is that with respect to any witnesses before this committee and special counsel, they're not going to have their way with Mr. Mueller the way they're having their way with these House and the Senate committees.
LEMON: But, Jack, didn't they subpoena Bannon and he still refused?
QUINN: He did. But that -- you mean Mueller?
LEMON: He's cooperating with Mueller. I'm talking about the House intel committee.
QUINN: Right. And all I'm saying is that in the political investigative bodies, they have no desire to see this apparently move forward and be conducted as a true investigation would be. So as long as their party is in control, you can't expect to see anybody held in contempt.
LEMON: Well, isn't that something? That were the case in real life, the employees would take over the company, I mean, think about that. So, let me ask you this, John. I mean, Paul Manafort was in court today. He pled not guilty to bank fraud and tax crimes. His trial starts July 10th. Do you see any signs at all that he would make a deal before then before July 10th?
DEAN: Well, I'd say that today the judge put pressure on him because he's got a September date in the District of Colombia and now they get a July date, even earlier date in the eastern district. That is going to put a lot of pressure on him. So this actually helps the prosecutor if they're trying to flip him to get to that goal.
LEMON: After it was reported that President Trump spoke to his former chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Don McGahn about their interactions with the special counsel, White House officials told CNN that the chief of staff John Kelly has warned President Trump about speaking to witnesses from a legal perspective.
How much trouble could the president be in for talking to these witnesses? I mean, after the fact, I don't think it's not illegal, it's just unprecedented and it's not a good look, right, Jack?
QUINN: Well, look, first of all, he's clearly ignoring the advice not only of General Kelly but certainly of his lawyers who must be telling him not to do this. But you're right on both counts.
Number one, in and of itself, these probing of various employees is not -- does not amount to obstruction of justice or witness tampering. Having said that, it's incredibly unwise on his part. It's unwise because it creates a terrible appearance.
Look, you know, innocent people may get nervous and want to find out what other witnesses are saying. But guilty people do this all the time. And somebody is doing this looks to be guilty and this is...
LEMON: But he's just curious (Ph) though that you had all these people testifying about something that could potentially lead to your impeachment or put you in jail. Listen, I'm not saying I would ask but I would be curious about it. I would follow the advice of my attorneys and ask my attorneys did you ask them what did they say?
QUINN: Yes. The way to do this is for his lawyers to be talking to the lawyers of the people who are testifying.
LEMON: Got it. Yes.
QUINN: This should be a lawyer to lawyer conversation. The lawyers should have said to him, do not speak to any witnesses. Do not speak to any lawyers other than us and preferably don't talk to anybody.
LEMON: Yes. I'm going to -- I want to give you the quick last word here, John. Because we're hearing that it's pretty clear that Kelly -- this is what an official told Jim Acosta that Kelly admonishes him constantly and he's not the only one. Do you get the sense that those closest to the president they're starting to get nervous about this investigation?
[22:44:58] DEAN: I think if they haven't, they certainly should be. I think the drive is going to continues, it's going to be ongoing. They made a lot of mistakes so far. They're smart enough to make a lot more.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you, John. Thank you, Jack. I appreciate it.
QUINN: You bet.
LEMON: When we come back, the Interior Department is spending nearly $140,000 on doors for Secretary Zinke's office. That's a lot more than the $131,000 for Ben Carson's dining set.
LEMON: One of Donald Trump's major campaign promises was that he would drain the swamp in Washington. He might want to the start with his own cabinet secretaries. Some face questions about exactly what they are doing with your tax dollars.
I want to talk about this now with Ambassador Norm Eisen, he's a CNN contributor who's a former White House ethics czar, and David Jolly, former republican congressman from Florida. Gentlemen, good evening. Good to see you both this evening.
NORM EISEN, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Good to be with you.
LEMON: Norm, so listen, Ben Carson and his $31,000 dining set. Steve and Louise Mnuchin taking trips on government planes, Virginia Secretary David Shulkin using taxpayer money to fly his wife to Europe and accepted tickets to Wimbledon. The list goes on and on.
[22:50:00] And now you have the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke apparently spent $139,000 on books in his office. What do you make of this behavior?
On his doors. Sorry. Doors. I don't know where the word books came from. On doors. But that would be a lot on books as well, but n doors on his office. EISEN: They would have to be, so, Don, they would have to be some
very rare books.
LEMON: It would be my book.
EISEN: And they must be very rare doors for $139,000. Thanks for having me back. And look, I served in government as did Congressman Jolly. I had a series of positions six years. If somebody had spent $139,000 on doors in my office, I would have known about it.
Zinke claims he didn't know about it. It's hard to believe, Don, because there's been a series of other allegations about excessive expenditures. He is under investigation by the I.G. for travels, for planes, for going to political events, for meeting with donors. So and if he didn't know about it that's a problem too.
LEMON: Well, let me ask you this.
EISEN: I think in the pattern it stinks.
LEMON: Can I ask you this, Norm. Let me ask you this. So, I don't know, I don't know what the office looks like. I don't know how many doors it was. I don't know if there are -- maybe they are reinforced doors for security. There are lot -- I don't know.
But I mean would that make a difference. He still said he didn't know about it. Maybe it's an old building that requires, you know, special doors. I don't know.
EISEN: Well, here is what they say. They say it's -- that he didn't know about it and that it's a series of doors. It's an old building where they have to retrofit them. And that water was leaking in through these doors.
Don, maybe that's true. But how many lies do we need to hear from the Trump administration before we start to question the explanations they offer? The president alone who after all is the spender in chief, a quarter of his presidency at his golf courses is a third at his own properties.
The president alone told 2,000 lies in the first year. So he sets the tone. I'm not believing it. I think the inspector general should look into the case of the very expensive doors.
LEMON: David, are these republican values?
DAVID JOLLY, (R) FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Sure. No, of course not. And look, this may have happened before in incidents in past administrations. But that doesn't matter because it's happening right now under Donald Trump's administration.
You mentioned several examples. Listen, we've got interior under scrutiny, we have HHS with Tom Price's travel that we already saw the investigation of. We saw Carson at HUD, we see the V.A. and we see Mnuchin at treasury.
Some that is only one-third of the president's cabinet and under a year that's under investigation for financial scrutiny. This is bunch of first rate grafters; this is the Beverly Hillbillies Donald Trump edition without the innocence.
JOLLY: This is something that Donald Trump should be ashamed of. And Zinke knows better. He is lying when he says he doesn't know about these doors.
LEMON: I think it's important that we put the response. This is from the Department of Interior, OK, they're talking about these doors. It said, "The project was requested by career facilities and security officials at interior as part of the decade-long modernization of the historic FDR era building. The secretary was not aware of this contract but agrees that it is a lot of money for demo and install of materials and labor. Between regulations that requires historic preservation on outdated governments procurement rules the costs for everything from pencils to printing to doors is astronomical. This is a perfect example of why the secretary believes we need to reform procurement processes."
I just thought that it's fair in all fairness we need to put that up...
JOLLY: Yes, Don.
LEMON: ... there because we don't know what the underlying issues are.
JOLLY: Don, if I may, I serve with several people in the administration. And in public office once you are elected you either realize you are replaceable or you believe you've been coroneted.
And the reality is with Ryan Zinke we saw somebody come in and he insisted on having a flag put over the building when he is in office or in the building. We've seen him misused travel and now we're seeing the doors. The reality is even if there's a security reason to spend $140,000 there is not a wise taxpayer reason to do so.
JOLLY: Zinke is accepting that for his own...
LEMON: You are saying there are too many examples with this. So listen, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign in September following reports he spent $400,000 in taxpayer funds on private jets.
Do you attribute any of this to the fact that the president is a billionaire and known for lavish living? Is the cabinet, you know, trying to keep up do you think, Norm?
EISEN: Don, I don't think it's that. I think it's the president's example of exploiting government. Breaking a four decade-long bipartisan tradition of giving up his businesses. He is hanging onto them, he's raking in cash and benefits from foreign governments all over the world, expressly prohibited by the Emolument Clause of the Constitution.
He brought his son and daughter -- son-in-law and daughter into the government. They hang onto their businesses. So people see what he is doing and they say, well he is getting rich off the presidency. He and his family, why can't I live a little bit?
[22:05:08] Tone at the top, Don. It's the key to successful organizations and a rotten tone at the top is the key to failed ones. And that's the kind of administration Trump has created.
LEMON: We hear -- I've heard emoluments and divestment so much and divesting emoluments and nothing ever comes of it. It just keeps rolling on.
David, the president filed his -- filled his cabinet with many millionaires, even billionaires. He believes that these are the best and smartest people. (AUDIO GAP) think again about what public service is about that they are actually serving the public and not themselves and lining their own pockets?
JOLLY: Sure. Look and this also speaks to character, both of the president and of the people we put in office. And we can't overlook that. Some are plunders some are doing this out of some sort of enlightened self enrichment, if you will.
But at the end of the day this is a matter of character for our government officials. Look, members of Congress are in most cases to purchase first class tickets but they don't because they feel a certain level of accountability.
In this administration there is no accountability. And to Norm's point, tone is set at the top. And so whether or not these individuals are representing the president in the right light or in the light that he believes is correct, they certainly aren't reflecting the values of most taxpayers across the country. And it's fair to judge them on that.
LEMON: David, Norm, thank you.
EISEN: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: One hundred thirty nine dollars on books. Man, that's a lot of books. Must be good reading. I know it's a door. That was a joke. The producer are like, door. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. See you next time.
JOLLY: Thank you.
EISEN: Thank you. LEMON: When we come back, more on the breaking news tonight, the
White House announcing President Trump will meet with Kim Jong-un. And Nick Kristof is calling it a dangerous example and bad idea. He's going to join me live, that's next.
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