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FBI Raid Sought Info on Access Hollywood Tape; House Speaker Paul Ryan Announces He'll Retire; Trump: "Get Ready" for Syria Missile Attack; Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry Erupts. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired April 12, 2018 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: That is on top of what we know investigators are seeking information on efforts to prevent the eruption of stories on two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

CNN's Gloria Borger has been reporting on this story. She has the latest for us.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Alex and Christine, sources tell me that the FBI agents who raided Michael Cohen's home, office and hotel room on Monday were looking for communications between then-candidate Trump and Cohen and perhaps others about efforts to prevent the release of the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape. And you all remember this, that captured Donald Trump making lewd remarks about women before the election.

The warrant's specific reference to Trump is the first known direct mention of the president in the search warrant. And sources say it appeared in connection to the tape.

This warrant is also the first indication that the investigators suspect there was an effort to suppress the "Access Hollywood" tape. But we don't know what, if any, role Cohen or the president would have played in that.

In addition to what we already know about the warrant, we're also learning that investigators wanted records pertaining to bank fraud and wire fraud investigations. And on top of that, the warrant involved communications about other potential negative information about Trump that the campaign might have wanted to contain ahead of the election. What we don't know is what additional information that might be -- Alex and Christine.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thanks to Gloria Borger.

Now, a former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is pitching a plan to President Trump designed to crush the special counsel's investigation. According to "The Washington Post", Bannon's strategy involves firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and having the president end all cooperation with Robert Mueller's team. He is calling on the president to invoke executive privilege retroactively, claiming that that would render all the interviews completed with the White House officials null and void.

ROMANS: A potentially fierce race to be the next speaker of the House set off by Paul Ryan's announcement he will retire from Congress at the end of the year. In the interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Ryan said he is leaving to go home to Wisconsin to spend more time with his family and the Republicans' top prospect from the 2018 midterms played no part in his thinking.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I was able to make that personal decision because I feel like we have put our majority in a good place, because we have gotten a lot done, it's making a big difference in people's lives. So, I'm confident we're going to be able to hand -- I'm going to be able to hand this gavel over to another Republican speaker and because of that list of accomplishments, I actually feel content and confident.


ROMANS: Ryan also denied he is leaving because of a reportedly difficult relationship with President Trump.


RYAN: We're very different people. I'm from the Upper Midwest. I'm not from New York. We are from a different generation. So, we definitely have different styles.

But what we learned after we got to know each other, because we didn't know each other at all in the campaign, and, yes, we had a pretty -- we had a lot of friction in our relationship. What we learned is we have a common agenda that we agree on, and we want to get it done and we know it's going to make a difference in people's lives, and that's what we were elected to do.


MARQUARDT: Now, Paul Ryan rose to prominence as a sharp pencil deficit hawk. Yesterday, he touted his role in passing the tax cuts that will actually balloon the deficit to a trillion dollars starting in 2020.

Even so, Ryan's departure is a real blow to Republicans who saw him as a stable policy-driven leader in the midst of this tumultuous presidency. The House GOP now faces a possibly months-long battle for leadership as it grapples with the upcoming midterms.

Among leading contenders for the gavel are House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Both of the men appearing alongside Ryan with this photo tweeted out by President Trump, ahead of a White House dinner with Republican leaders last night. All seven of them holding up the president's patented thumbs up.

ROMANS: Seven dudes and one on the wall. Let me say, eight dudes altogether in that picture.

CNN political analyst Jackie Kucinich joins us now.

Good morning. Nice to see you.


ROMANS: Paul Ryan, so, you know, in political circles, when you say, I'm going to spend time with my family. It means you're not going to spend some time with your family. You're either pushed out or you're leaving.

But Paul Ryan really is -- I mean, people who know him -- he loves his family, lost his dad when he was a teenager, wants to be a dad to his kids.

KUCINICH: Right. Every time I've interviewed Paul Ryan, he mentioned his kids. This goes back 10 years or so. So, that part of it I believe.

Now, the other piece is, there were some real problems within the Republican conference. He could not herd these cats. There was a series of things that the conference does not want to be led, and then there's another part with his relationship with the president. How many times did we hear in those press conferences, I didn't read that tweet?

[05:05:01] ROMANS: Right.

KUCINICH: Or, you know, I guess, the tweet speaks for itself. You heard that a lot from Paul Ryan. He did not want to address it, because as he said, he's a very different sort of guy.

ROMANS: He always he goes back to the common goals, the common policy goals, the common policy goals.

KUCINICH: The policies. But, you know, we're talking about policies that tend to be mercurial coming from this White House. So --

MARQUARDT: It's a very problematic approach. I mean, a lot of Republicans have taken that chance.

Jackie, Ryan was also very quick to correct people saying that he's not resigning. He's actually retiring. Let's take a quick listen that.

ROMANS: Right.


RYAN: To be clear, I'm not resigning. I intend to full my serve term as I was elected to do.


MARQUARDT: So, basically what he's saying is he's going to ride out his term and he'll step down in January when is successor, Democrat or Republican, steps in.

But let me ask you this, do you think, given the differences that we just discussed, there's any chance that we will now see Paul Ryan unleashed? Like someone like a Jeff Flake kind of thing? Will he actually speak his truth or highlights differences he has with President Trump?

KUCINICH: I don't know about that. I think what's more likely is he gets pushed out because there's already -- you're already seeing, you're already hearing it percolating from the conservative corners and the more Trumpian corners of this conference, that they want to see someone in there who can get through the midterms, right, who will be more like minded with Donald Trump.

So, you are already seeing an effort, even though -- it hasn't been 24 hours yet, that really trying to get Paul Ryan out of there. I'm not talking about his congressional seat. When it comes to the speakership, a lot of Trump -- the closer you are to Trump, the more you want Paul Ryan out of there.

ROMANS: The history of Washington where and climb the ladder and look for more power and stay on forever. You know, he is retiring at 48 as speaker of the house. He was asked about his future ambitions. Listen.


RYAN: I'm not going to run for president. That's not my plan. I'm not going to do that. I'm always going to advocate for the causes I have. But right now, the last thing I'm thinking about is running for something.


ROMANS: What does he do next?

KUCINICH: It's a really good question. I mean, could he end up at a think tank? Could he end up -- I can't imagine Paul Ryan not being a thought leader, maybe that's because he has always been there for me in terms of being a politician. But he has been doing this for 20 years. He is a young man, but he's been doing this since he was 27, 28.

ROMANS: He has been a deficit hawk since 11 or something, you know?

KUCINICH: It is true. Jack Kemp was foundational for him. He was Jack Kemp's speechwriter very early in his career. That's sort of -- so, that sort of conservative has really been running to his veins. So, it's hard to see him staying quiet. But you have to -- at this point, we have to take him by his word, right? That he's going to go back to Wisconsin. He's going to raise his kids.

MARQUARDT: And the real indication of what he plans to do next is actually what he does next, if you can't go joining -- you know, be a lobbyist kind of thing and really come back into politics.

KUCINICH: Although, we are in a brave new world. You can say a lot of things.


KUCINICH: Right, seriously. Could he come back to Congress as maybe a senator? Sure. Could he run for governor somebody in his home state of Wisconsin, which is where he wants to be? Sure. Anything is possible. He is only 48 years old.

ROMANS: Forty-eight, all right.

MARQUARDT: A lot of options. Jackie, stick around. A lot more discuss.

All right. CNN has learned the president's national security team will meet at the White House today to hammer out a strategy on Syria. U.K. officials are expected to do something similar in London. On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted, get ready, Russia, missiles will be coming. Meaning toward Syria. At the time, the U.S. and its allies had no plan in place for a response.

Here's press secretary Sarah Sanders defending the president's threat.


SANDERS: We are maintaining that we have a number of options and all of those options are still on the table.

REPORTER: The president says, get ready, Russia, they will be coming. The missiles are coming. How is that anything but an announcement of pending air strike?

SANDERS: Certainly one option. But that doesn't mean it's the only option, or the only thing that the president may or may not do.


MARQUARDT: CNN's Arwa Damon is tracking the latest developments from Istanbul.

Arwa, at this point, it seems like it's not a question of if, but when.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really does seem that way. A lot of people were taken by surprise when it came to the president's tweet, especially given how contrary it runs to military strategy in terms of secrecy. But there also has been quite a bit of diplomacy, it would seem, happening with Trump talking to Turkish president, President Erdogan. Not a lot about what they spoke about, but just as the two remained in close contact as the situation continues to develop.

Turkey, of course, is in a fairly unique situation in a sense that it is a NATO ally, but at the same time, does have open channels of communications to both Russia and Iran. Syria, itself, also understandably obviously on high alert, with various different reports as the government is moving assets away from locations that could be targets of the air strikes. It is worth talking about what Syria and possibly Russia and Iran could do to retaliate should these air strikes take place.

[05:10:03] When you talk to Syrians living within the rebel-opposite held areas, living in areas that are still under siege, their concern is that they will be the target of the Syrian government's wrath and there is no one, Alex, to protect them.

MARQUARDT: And, of course, Russia warning any U.S. intervention amid fears of a possible escalation.

Arwa Damon in Istanbul, thanks very much.

ROMANS: All right. Mark Zuckerberg survived his first grilling on Capitol Hill. The second day was a bit rougher. Lawmakers hit the Facebook CEO with top questions on privacy, while ramping up calls for regulation.

Zuckerberg begin the five-hour hearing smoothly, apologizing once again for failing to protect user data. But he faltered when asked if Facebook would reduce data collection.


REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: I don't think that's hard for you to say yes unless I'm missing something.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: Congressman, this is a complex issue that I think deserves more than a one word answer.

PALLONE: Well, again, that's disappointing to me.


ROMANS: The hearings come a month after news brook that Trump campaign consultants accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users without their consent. That angered users, advertisers and lawmakers, already angry with Facebook's role in spreading misinformation and allowing election meddling. In fact, Zuckerberg revealed his own data had been exposed, prompting the Facebook CEO to admit the industry needs regulation, but with this warning.


ZUCKERBERG: I think a lot of times regulation by definition puts in place rules that a company that is larger, that has resources like ours can easily comply with, but that might be more difficult for a smaller start-up to comply with.


ROMANS: A lot of criticism, though, that this company since it was small to now very large has been apologizing for years about your privacy. Zuckerberg avoided saying how tech should be regulated. After ten hours from questions from 100 lawmakers, there was no consensus about what kind of privacy legislation Congress would even pursue.

Investors like that, by the way. You know, investors don't like regulations. Facebook stock rose 5-1/2 percent over Zuckerberg's two days of testimony.

MARQUARDT: There's also seemingly consensus that Zuckerberg emerged basically relatively unscathed, reflected in that stock price.


MARQUARDT: All right. Well, a familiar refrain from a politician in trouble.


GOV. ERIC GREITENS (R), MISSOURI: This is a political witch hunt.


MARQUARDT: More on the sexually explicit allegations in the new report on Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

ROMANS: And a cruise ship headed straight for the dock. We'll tell you how it turned out, just ahead.


[05:16:47] MARQUARDT: There are stunning allegations this morning against embattled Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. A statehouse committee report has detailed lurid allegations against the governor of sexual misconduct and violence.

An unidentified woman is claiming Greitens staged and photographed her bound and blindfolded, then threatened to release the photo if she disclosed their encounter.

Governor Greitens already faces criminal invasion of privacy charges in addition to multiple ongoing investigations.

Here he is on Wednesday defending himself before the latest bombshell dropped.


GREITENS: This is exactly like what's happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C. Smearing, lying, and attacking people who want to change how things are done is wrong in Washington and it's wrong in Missouri.


MARQUARDT: Calling it a witch hunt.

The new report by state lawmakers could set the stage for impeachment proceedings against Missouri's Republican governor. ROMANS: All right. Stunning video out of Honduras. Watch as this giant cruise ship smashes into the dock on the island of Roatan. People can be heard as shouting for others on land to get out of the way. This is a 65,000 ton vessel. It tore out a section of the docks.

Fortunately, miraculously, no one was hurt here. After inspection, authorities gave the MSC Armonia the green light to head to its next destination in Belize. MSC Cruises says it is launching an investigation into that accident.

MARQUARDT: Yes, dramatic.

And bad blood in Beantown. The Yankees and Red Sox involved a bench clearing brawl. We get Coy Wire's take in the "Bleacher Report", next.


[05:22:45] MARQUARDT: And welcome back.

Bad blood on the field in baseball's most heated rivalry. The Yankees and the Red Sox renewed their hatred for each other in a bench- clearing brawl.

ROMANS: It didn't take much to renew that hatred.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Coy.


We are here to wake you up either with a bunch of coffee or show you some brawls. This rivalry resurrected. Red Sox thumped the Yankees 14-1 at Fenway Park Tuesday. Well, last night, New York jabs back a 10-7 win.

They threw some little jabs too. Boston's Joe Kelly slammed a ball to Yankee's Austin Kelly, 98-mile-per-hour fastball to the ribs. That will leave a mark.

So, a whole bunch of punches thrown. The benches clear. The bull pens clear. They are coming from everywhere, people.

Last thing Red Sox wanted to see 6'6" Giancarlo Stanton and 6'7" Aaron Judge of the Yankees, those are some big boys.


BROCK HOLT, RED SOX 2ND BASEMAN: I didn't grab anyone. As soon as you see Judge and Stanton come in there, they were the first two on. You have to backing up at that point. I'm not trying to get involved with any of those guys. You know, not just those two. They got a pretty big team over there.


WIRE: Another bowl of base-brawl in the morning, here's another serving, Padres, Rockies. Look at this, Colorado's three-time all star, Nolan Arenado, he's just looking at there, and Luis Perdomo, like what are you doing man? You're going to throw a pitch at me, really? I knew it was coming. Look at Mark McGwire. There were fights everywhere going on after rock-em sock-em robots, the Rockies eventually come out on top 6-4 win.

Now, NBA, instant overtime classic in Minneapolis. Stakes are high. T-Wolves and the Nuggets, win and you're in the playoffs, lose, you're going home. Karl-Anthony Towns and the T-Wolves punching their ticket to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, snapping the NBA's longest post-season drought. Jimmy Butler serving up all his points in the third quarter. Minnesota has the Rockets, the top seed in the first round of the playoffs.

[05:25:01] The spotlight turned full blast on the NHL last night for the playoffs. Every single team using the stage before the game to put out their sticks and pay tribute to the 16 members of the Humboldt junior hockey team in Canada who lost their lives in the fatal bus crash last Friday. Every player wearing a sticker on their helmets with Humboldt community on their minds.

Game action in the playoffs, Sid "The Kid" Crosby doing what he does and doing it like he is doing it for TV. The Penguins, human high light reels, flying high against the Flyers. Pittsburgh seeking the third straight Stanley Cup, something that hasn't been done since 1983. What are you doing back then, Alex?

They are looking like champs out there. Penguins 7-0 win at home. Looking good in there. Still, good stuff, guys.

MARQUARDT: Totally intentional.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Coy.

WIRE: You too. Good morning.

ROMANS: All right. Guess who has a plan for President Trump to beat the Mueller investigation? Steve Bannon. He's got a strategy, just ahead.

MARQUARDT: He's back.

And the "Access Hollywood" tape is also back in the news, posing potential trouble for the president.