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Former First Lady Barbara Bush in Failing Health; President Trump Doubles Down on Attacks as James Comey Interview Near; Inside a Syrian Refugee Camp Following U.S.-led Airstrikes; Avenatti, Daniels Appearance Not Intended To Provoke Cohen; Trump Doubles Down Aon Attacks As Comey Interview Nears; Trump Attorney and Porn Star Due In Federal Court Tomorrow. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 15, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] ZAKARIA: To run for Congress this year.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, renewed outrage by the president over Comey's tell-all book.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The president tweeting this morning, "Big questions in Mr. Comey's badly reviewed book aren't answered, like how come he gave out classified information? Jail. Why did he lie to Congress? Jail."

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Is the president asking the Justice Department to investigate James Comey?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not aware of a specific ask of the Justice Department but I do think if they feel there was any wrongdoing, they should certainly look into that.

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The reason he wrote his book is because he got fired. Not because he thinks President Trump is untethered from the truth, not because President Trump's ties are too long, not because he thinks he wears tanning bed goggles. It's because he got fired.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER FOR STORMY DANIELS: I strongly believe that within the next 90 days we're going to see an unsealing of an indictment against Mr. Cohen for a host of very serious offenses.



WHITFIELD: Hello, everyone, and thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington, D.C.

This just in to CNN. We are learning new details about the medical condition of former first lady Barbara Bush.

CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel joins me right now on the phone from Washington.

So, Jamie, what do you know?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): Fredricka, so we have some sad news of 92-year-old, the former first lady Barbara Bush, I am told, is in failing health. This is according to a source close to the Bush family. We're told that she's being cared for at home in Houston and that she decided she does not want to go back into the hospital.

This is not a complete surprise. If you've seen her in public recently, you would notice that she's been on oxygen for some time. And we have learned that she had been battling with COPD and congestive heart failure. She's been in and out of the hospital multiple times the last year. As recently as about a week ago, she was in the hospital. But she'd decided that she wants to be at home now.

The family has said that they want to thank everyone for their prayers and their messages and remind everyone that Barbara Bush, you've heard her say this over and over again, that she's always felt like she was the luckiest person in the world.

She is at her home in Houston. Her husband, former president George H.W. Bush, is there with her. I am told that it is understandably a very challenging time. They've been married for 73 years. Their children are there, three of their children are there, Marvin, Dora and Neal, and former President George W. Bush, their son, and Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, have been in and out visiting as well.

So that is where we are. She is in failing health but she is at home now.

WHITFIELD: And Jamie, I know you've struck quite the relationship with the Bush family, particularly, you know, former president George H.W. Bush. In your view, as family members there have gathered because of her failing health, her choice to be there at home, is there a way in which to describe how the family, how the former president is holding up in all of this, how they are accepting this and coming together?

GANGEL: Look, I think that this is clearly not a surprise to the family. She's 92 years old. She's been struggling with these health problems for about the last year. She's been in and out of hospitals. But it's really difficult for any family, and I'm told that it's very hard on him. You know, in his book of letters, he wrote about their relationship, that we are two people but we are one and that says a lot about their marriage and their relationship.

So, you know, I'm certain that this is very challenging. I also think a lot of people have known that former President Bush suffers from a form of Parkinson's. We've seen him in a wheelchair for some time. Not everyone maybe have been aware that she was struggling with her health as well, Fred.

[14:05:04] WHITFIELD: Yes, I think most did not. I think most would think top of mind has been the health of the former president and how family members have come to his aid on a number of occasions that perhaps is a surprise that it is her failing health that is the centerpiece right now. So when she's been in and out of the hospital as of recent, Jamie, do you know much about what things were being addressed, how she had been doing along the way, and how it has led to this point, this decision to be at home now with family by her side?

GANGEL: So my understanding is that about a year or two ago, she started having trouble breathing. And that was when they diagnosed her with COPD. But I also know that while you can have that, it can go on for a long time. It's hard to predict how someone's health is going to stand up. That said, over the last six months, I do know she's been in and out of the hospital a couple of times.

As recently as about a week ago, she was admitted on Good Friday to Houston Methodist Hospital. She had been having some trouble breathing. She was in there for about a week, a little bit more. There had been a lot of concern at that time, but she rallied and she went home. And she was doing better again. But I think that the combination of the COPD, the congestive heart failure, and we've said it before, she's 92 years old. It's taken its toll over the time.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jamie Gangel, thank you so much. Keep us posted. Of course, all of our prayers are going out to the Bush family, particularly for Barbara Bush. I think most people agree she is an incredible lioness and has a lot of people pulling for her in this struggle.

Thank you so much, Jamie.

All right. Quite the juxtaposition now, another major headline that we continue to watch. President Trump now unleashing on his former FBI director. He's waging a rhetorical war against James Comey on Twitter. This ahead of Comey's highly publicized book tour which essentially starts tonight with a television interview.

Perhaps to upstage Comey's accounts, in one tweet, the president suggesting Comey should be in jail, writing this, "The big questions in Comey's badly reviewed book aren't answered like how come he gave up classified information? Jail. Why did he lie to Congress? Jail. Why did the DNC refuse to give server to the FBI? Why didn't they take it? Why the phony memos, McCabe's $700,000 and more?"

The president's press secretary was asked those allegations and those tweets just a few hours ago.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the president asking the Justice Department to investigate James Comey?

SANDERS: I'm not aware of a specific ask of the Justice Department but I do think if they feel there was any wrongdoing, they should certainly look into that just as they do on a number of other topics.


WHITFIELD: All right. CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House for us.

So, Boris, the president seems like he's trying to get ahead of this Comey interview airing tonight. He's got a lot on his mind.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. At a point when the White House would probably rather be talking about other topics like the successful airstrike in Syria this weekend or a healthy economy, the president is on the defensive trying to counter program against this media blitz, this tour that James Comey will be going on, a portion of which he says is claiming that the president is not tethered to the truth.

He has quite a few negative things to say about the president, and so we're seeing Donald Trump now going on this barrage of tweets Sunday morning, and he specifically focuses on one portion of Comey's book in which he discusses his mindset shortly before the 2016 election.

As he announced that the FBI was reopening their investigation and to Hillary Clinton's e-mails, I want to highlight this specific part of one of the president's tweets in which he writes that Comey was, quote, "making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win and he wanted a job." He then refers to James Comey as a slime ball.

Now there are a few questionable portions of that tweet, but I do want to play some sound from Sarah Sanders in which she was asked about Comey's claim that he doesn't remember consciously making Hillary Clinton's poll numbers a factors in his decision. Listen to this.


[14:10:07] SANDERS: Look, it's been very clear that James Comey is a self-admitted leaker. He lied to Congress. He's been inconsistent --

STEPHANOPOULOS: What did he lie to Congress about?

SANDERS: Look, he said that he opened the Hillary Clinton investigation on its merits. Now we're finding out certainly that it had something to do with the political landscape. I find it outrageously unbelievable that Jim Comey, the man that takes these copious notes and recollects every detail of every conversations that he had, can't remember why he would have specifically opened an investigation into a presidential candidate, particularly somebody he thought would become the president.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He does remember --


SANCHEZ: Now to be clear the FBI reopened that investigation because there were previously undisclosed e-mails that Hillary Clinton had sent at that time. Comey is saying, again, that he can't consciously remember that her poll numbers played a role in that decision to make that announcement.

It's also curious that the White House would try to make this argument considering that the president over and over again has called for greater scrutiny in the FBI's analysis of Clinton's e-mails. And for the president to suggest that he was somehow trying to curry favor with Hillary Clinton and get a job, in his words, a job which he already had, by the way, by doing something that Clinton acknowledges hurt her in the long term, that is simply illogical.

The president's tweets obviously now drawing more questions and more scrutiny as we get closer to the airing of this Comey interview -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

Lots to talk about with all of this volleying. Joining me right now, CNN law enforcement analyst and retired FBI supervisory special agent, James Gagliano, Washington bureau chief at the "Chicago Sun-Times" Lynn Sweet, and CNN political commentator David Swerdlick.

All right, good to see all of you. Appreciate it.

All right, so, James, you first. You know, Comey seems to have responded to the president's tweets now. Just minutes ago, he actually tweeted, Comey did, "My book is about ethical leadership and draws on stories from my life and lessons I learned from others. Three presidents are in my book. Two help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership. One serves as a center point. I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful."

All right. So, James, what do you find perhaps appropriate or useful in terms of the former FBI director talking in this manner, tweeting and writing this book, and campaigning for the book via interviews?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Fred, first here, I want to be careful because I don't know James Comey personally. But in the 110-year history of the FBI, I served for 25 years under four different FBI directors. So I spent my -- 20 percent of the FBI's history, I was there to witness it.

I think what we're witnessing right now is a diminution of the stature, the 6'8" stature of this man who has now shrunk down to basically a Lilliputian. And why is this? I don't think James Comey is a bad man. I think James Comey is a decent person. What I think happened here is because of the weight of the consequences that were thrust upon him, and we can talk about how he ended up there and why he had to make these decisions, I think it was his feckless leadership, and the word feckless I choose carefully because it means lacking the strength of character.

What should have happened after he was put to the position on the Phoenix tarmac, where he had to make that July 5th statement which was unprecedented for an FBI director to do, he should have punted the ball back across the street to the Department of Justice after Loretta Lynch recused herself and put that squarely on the desk of Sally Yates. He didn't do it. He allowed political capitalists to come into his decision making as an FBI director. And he's right to be criticized.

Now the director's manner of doing -- I'm sorry, the president's manner, not the way I would choose to do it. I think it's beneath the dignity of the office. But I do believe his decisions and this book tour are worthy of criticism.

WHITFIELD: And so I wonder, James, you know, I mean, those were a number of different, you know, markers in the last year particularly of the former FBI director's career. But do you believe because of the firing and the manner in which the firing took place, that is what compelled him to say, I want to get my version of events on paper, you know, whether it be by, you know, handing over notes to a friend way back when or now in the manner of a book? And that's what compelled him to have this tell-all?

GAGLIANO: James Comey owned the high ground. On May 10th, I came on CNN first thing in the morning and I was angry. I talked about the repugnant, reprehensible actions of firing a career public servant, dispatching him the way that the president did. I was angry.

But the revelations that have since come through, the things we've seen when he testified in front of the Senate Intel Committee and he told Senator Dianne Feinstein that those nine interactions with the president which left him feeling, you know, nauseous, he wished that somebody, maybe with a stronger backbone or character, would have acted differently.

[14:15:15] He talked about Loretta Lynch and her asking him to call the investigation a matter. The one into Hillary Clinton's e-mails. He says, I felt queasy but I felt it wasn't a hill to die on. Well, I disagree, as many former agents and current on--border employees do, with that. I don't think James Comey is a bad man. I just think he was the wrong person at the wrong time to prevent the politicization of the bureau we love.

WHITFIELD: So, David, you know, James Comey, you know, he admits that some of the actions particularly in those public statements, you know, as director were influenced by, I believe, that Hillary Clinton would win. And he thought that, you know, if he didn't reveal that, then certainly if she were to win, it would look like she is an illegitimate president.

So his explanation now of his actions making public, particularly the two times as it pertained to Hillary Clinton and the e-mails and investigation on-off, et cetera, does that sound like, you know, justification that merits him telling all now in this manner?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, so, Fred, Jim Gagliano has served as an FBI agent and I don't want to discount that. I see this quite a bit differently than the way he just laid this out.

Look, go back in time to the summer of 2016. Director Comey is leading the FBI. He's investigating Secretary Clinton's e-mails. There's the tarmac meeting between President Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. We don't know every detail of what went on behind the scenes in the Obama administration, but we do know at some point it became clear that Director Comey was taking the lead in the investigation and what the FBI and Justice were going to do about it.

So Director Comey comes along, decides they're not going to recommend charges and decides to make that statement. Republicans howled at the time because that meant that Secretary Clinton wouldn't be charged.

Fast forward to two weeks before the 2016 elections, then it was Democrats' turn to howl because Director Comey made a decision to announce that he was providing Congress with an update about new e- mails that had been found with regard -- in the Weiner laptop, Anthony Weiner laptop, that potentially implicated the investigation.

Both sides have reason to complain, both sides have a thread to pull on here, and both sides, I think, would say, why in the world now is Director Comey making these statements in his book and in his book tour?

That being said, I think Director Comey was in a situation where he was looking out for his own reputation, for the bureau, and to be really, really clear here, you can say he made the wrong judgments, but I'm unaware of what laws he broke. He went back to Congress two weeks before an election. That was not against the law to do. People said it was against the Justice Department guidelines.

WHITFIELD: And the same are applied to when the president tweets out, you know, jail. I mean, that perhaps there needs to be an investigation.


WHITFIELD: You know, focusing on James Comey, whether his decisions really broke the law or not.

SWERDLICK: There is the Holder memo that says the standard FBI procedure is not to get involved in a political activity 60 days. But that's not a law, that's departmental guidelines.

WHITFIELD: So, Lynn, it appears a lot of people have different arguments about mistakes that were made. Congressman Adam Schiff had to say earlier about there were lots of mistakes and a lot of people, you know, should be blamed for many of those mistakes. Listen.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I do think that he made a very serious mistake in discussing the Clinton investigation two weeks out and then a few days --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Releasing the letter.

SCHIFF: Releasing a letter, violating a department policy. I think it's interesting. I think he made the same mistakes in many respects that the Obama administration made more broadly and for the same reason. And that is the Obama administration didn't aggressively take on the Russians while their hacking and dumping was going on, while the social media campaign was going on, because in part I think they felt that, like Comey, Hillary Clinton was likely to win and that it would feed into Trump's argument that they were rigging the process. So I think both the Obama administration and James Comey made a similar mistake.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, it's Comey --

SCHIFF: In presuming the outcome.


WHITFIELD: So fair criticism?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": It's a fair criticism. But the larger context, though, is that this criticism is coming at a time when Comey's book is out, which has reignited all these questions that had been out there. So these questions aren't new, even the question of why didn't they reveal more about what was the scrutiny looking at then-candidate Trump.

So the -- as lawyers like to say, Comey knew or should have known that coming out with his tell-all or at least tell-almost-all book right now would thrust him in the conversation because Special Counsel Mueller is doing his work. It's not done and there are these cases that are unfolding now.


[14:20:04] SWEET: So, you know, this is not any coincidence. This is a very quick turnaround to get a book done, to get it -- you know, run through whatever traps you have to do at the Justice Department.

WHITFIELD: So perhaps it was helpful that he took all these copious notes that he talked about.

SWEET: It's always good to do that when you're trying to write something. And another quick point.


SWEET: When the president says that he was really -- when he tweeted the reference about he wanting a job, FBI directors have a 10-year term. He was in the midst of that term when Trump took office.


And so, James, I wonder now, Lynn is talking about the timing of this book, the investigation still under way. And we see, you know, it's splintering off to other investigations as well involving the New York, you know, attorney's office. So in any way does the release of this book impact the Mueller investigation?

GAGLIANO: Yes. And David and Lynn make great points. And the most important point I pulled out was what David said about broken laws. And he's accurate there. Here's where James Comey runs afoul. He runs afoul of the fact that he's still an FBI employee. No, he's not. He was fired. An FBI employee is defined as someone who holds or previously held a position of trust within the agency.

As an FBI employee, one of the prohibitive disclosures, and his book is ripe with them, says that you are not allowed to talk about anything related to open or ongoing cases or investigations.


GAGLIANO: Fred, the Russia probe, the IG report that has not been released in its entirety, and a number of different investigations on Capitol Hill.


GAGLIANO: James Comey is not just a peripheral witness, he is a central witness, and that's where I think he's going to run afoul of, if not the law to David's point, he's going to run afoul of the Department of Justice.

WHITFIELD: Interesting. All right, James Gagliano, Lynn Sweet, David Swerdlick, we'll leave it right there for now. Thank you so much, all of you. Appreciate it.

All right. Straight ahead, tensions running high between the U.S. and Russia following Friday's strikes on Syria. This as Ambassador Nikki Haley teases new sanctions on Russia. Plus the president's personal attorney and Stormy Daniels expected in court tomorrow. Daniels' attorney speaks with CNN about the high-profile hearing. Hear what he has to say, coming up.


[14:26:36] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

Following this weekend's airstrikes in Syria, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says Washington is preparing new sanctions on Russia over Moscow's support of Syria, among other things.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: So you will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down? Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn't already, and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used.


WHITFIELD: The strikes were carried out in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians in a Damascus suburb.

Meantime, President Trump today is defending his tweet on the Syrian airstrikes in which he said mission accomplished, tweeting out again this morning, "The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out with such precision that the only way the fake news media could demean was by my use of the term mission accomplished. I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great military term, it should be brought back. Use often."

Ambassador Hailey was asked if the U.S. will act if there is another chemical attack, and here's what she said.


HALEY: Well, I don't think there's any way that I can answer that. I mean, we don't know what he's going to do, the level he's going to do or anything else. I will tell you that the president is watching and I think the National Security Team is ready. So basically we will watch his actions. He now dictates his life and he dictates what happens between the United States, our allies and his regime.


WHITFIELD: All right. CNN's Arwa Damon has been following the developments and joins me now from Turkey, not far from the border with Syria.

So, Arwa, the Assad regime is assessing the damage from this weekend's strikes. Also you have encountered some of the human toll?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. The president met with a delegation of Russian politicians talking about the need for both countries to now begin cooperating when it comes to the arena reconstruction, estimated that could take well over a decade to even try to rebuild, so that may be optimistic. Meanwhile, it is and always does go back to the civilians who suffered not only the consequences of this alleged chemical attack but also various other bombardments.


DAMON (voice-over): There's definitely something that stinks.

(Voice-over): These backpacks belonged Malaz and Masa, 7-year-old twins from Douma. They're a little shocked, hesitant. You smelled something, Malaz says.

Their mother Umm Nour tells us they remember everything vividly. They were hiding in the basement when the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma took place. They could barely breathe. She felt her body go limp. She clawed her way up, dragging her daughters. But then, the other strikes began.

"We were between two deaths," she remembers. "Either from the chemical strikes or the others on the rooftop."

(On camera): The smell is still quite strong. These are the things that they weren't able to wash yet. And look, that's the toy that her daughter hid away to try to keep her safe, and she would tell the toy, you know, you might -- you might suffocate, but at least you'll be safe from the bombing. That's how -- that's how the kids' minds work.


(on camera): Yesterday, they were digging a tunnel for the ants so that the ants wouldn't suffocate just in case something happened.

(voice-over): In another tent we meet a boy with a jagged scar run ago cross his abdomen to his Adam's apple. His uncle, who doesn't want to be identified, was among the worst affected in the family in the chemical strike.

He said his blood sample was taken the day before. This new camp is inhabited by those who survived the siege of Douma. It's relentless, months-long bombing that drove families underground, so something as simple as feeling the sun on their skin was a luxury.

(Inaudible) and her family thought there was a lull in the bombing and went outside when she says three airstrikes slammed right next to them. The next thing she remembers is being in the hospital.

(on camera): She had just gotten out of surgery in the hospital when the wounded from the chemical strikes began coming in.

(voice-over): The scene was so horrific, she said she forgot her own pain. What she doesn't know, what no one has the heart to tell her, is that her husband is dead. Her son, just 2 years old, is too young to remember his father.

The limited U.S. front U.K. strikes may have sent a message to the Syrian regime about chemical weapons, but not about the rest of its arsenal. For those who have endured the unimaginable, it's a little more than a move on a gruesome chessboard.

The 68-year-old (inaudible) arrived here four days ago from Duma. She has buried too many relatives (inaudible) including her son and two grandchildren. She says her country has caused her too much pain.

She says her country has caused her too much and remembering the long- lost days when her family was around her, when they were all alive, when feeling safe wasn't a luxury, it's all just too much.


DAMON: And Fred, even though they're there, even though they managed to get out of these various different neighborhoods, people are still so profoundly afraid, many of them were coming up to us and asking if they were safe in the camp, because they feel vulnerable and as if there is no one, nothing that is going to protect them.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Incredible point of view. Thank you so much for bringing that to us. Arwa Damon, appreciate it.

All right. Straight ahead, back in this country, Stormy Daniels' attorney says his client will be at the Michael Cohen court hearing tomorrow. And that's not the only bombshell he dropped during his CNN interview today. Hear what else he had to say, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. This just in. We have learned that former first lady, Barbara Bush, is in failing health, suffering with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, and congestive heart failure, according to a statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush.

She will not seek additional medical treatment and instead focused on comfort care at home. And at 92 years old, Mrs. Bush has been suffering for some time with multiple hospital stays in the last year.

The statement from the former president says in part, "It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, working not for herself -- thanks to her abiding faith -- but for others. She is surrounded by a family she adores and appreciates, the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving." All of our prayers are going out to the Bush family and the former first lady, Barbara Bush.

All right. Now to turn to the latest legal drama surrounding the current president, personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen will appear in a federal courtroom tomorrow in an attempt to block prosecutors from using some of the evidence collected in raids of his office, hotel and home.

Also attending tomorrow's hearing, Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who claims to have had an affair with President Donald Trump when he was Citizen Donald Trump. She is currently locked in a lawsuit with Cohen involving their nondisclosure agreement and claims Cohen defamed her. Daniels' attorney spoke with CNN's Jake Tapper this morning.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, LAWYER REPRESENTING STORMY DANIELS: It's intended to send the message that this is a very, very serious matter for her, and she wants to make sure that the American people know that she is behind efforts to bring to light as much information and documents as possible. She also wants to ensure that she is heard and that she's represented at the hearing. It has nothing to do with getting in his head at all.


WHITFIELD: All right. CNN political reporter, Sara Murray, has more on tomorrow's hearing. So, what are we learning about this proceeding?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, of course, we know that Michael Cohen's lawyers have challenged the evidence from these raids. They don't want prosecutors to look at it because they believe it could violate attorney-client privilege.

And because they made this challenge we learned that Cohen is, of course, under criminal investigation. Prosecutors say, look, there is not a lot of evidence that Michael Cohen was actually acting much a lawyer and looking at his business deals.

But the judge said, look, provide a client list, show us who your clients are. That will help us determine what might be privileged information. They weren't able to do that on Friday and the judge got a little bit frustrated and said, look, we need you to tell us who your clients are, and we need to see Michael Cohen in this courtroom.

We need your client here on Monday. So, Cohen will be in court on Monday in what could be kind of an awkward showdown. Now we see Stormy Daniels is also going to be there on Monday.

[14:40:08] And you know, it seems Stormy Daniels turn his own kind of media blitz around all of this. And of course, he was talking to Jake Tapper and he predicted that things were going to go from bad to worse for Michael Cohen. Here's what he said.


AVENATTI: Well, I strong believe that within the next 90 days we're going to see an unsealing indictment against Mr. Cohen for a host of very serious offenses, and I believe, Jake, that is going to be a significant domino that's going to fall in connection with this.


MURRAY: So, you see him predicting an indictment will be unsealed. It's not a bad prediction, obviously. You know, his home, his office, his hotel room were raided. He's under criminal investigation, but so far Michael Cohen has not been indicted, and we will see what new we learn in court on Monday.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Avenatti's own version of telegraphing and have said that it's not really a stare down to get into Cohen's head, but something tells me all those parties in the same room --

MURRAY: There might be some game-playing going on.

WHITFIELD: Yes. All right, Sara Murray, thanks so much. Keep us posted on all of this.

All right. Much more coming up on the Cohen case coming up.



WHITFIELD: All right, President Trump is unleashing on his former FBI director an hour before that first official interview as part of his new tell-all book which comes out on Tuesday. The president firing off multiple tweets today, five of which specifically attack James Comey.

In one tweet, the president suggests Comey should be in jail, writing, "The big questions in Comey's badly reviewed book aren't answered, like how come he gave up classified information -- jail. Why did he lie to Congress -- jail? Why did the DNC refuse to give server to the FBI, why didn't they take it, why the phony memos, McCabe's $700,000 and more?

All right. Joining me right now, Democratic congressman from California, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Ted Lieu. Congressman, good to see you. So, what's your reaction to the president inferring something criminal may have been done here with James Comey and he should serving time in jail?

REPRESENTATIVE TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Fredricka, for your question. I think that's rich with irony. James Comey is a career FBI professional. When I was on the House Oversight Committee, I had a chance to interview him when he came to Capitol Hill in 2016.

And while people can have reasonable disagreements with some of his policy judgments, his integrity is rock solid. There is nothing that he has done that should land him in jail. He is now telling history to the American people and I encourage the American people to listen.

WHITFIELD: Do you believe the president's tweets may be a prelude to encouraging the Department of Justice to open up some sort of probe of the former FBI director?

LIEU: I do not. They're five tweets by Donald Trump this morning showed that he is quite scared of James Comey. He's scared of what the book is going to reveal, and he should be, because James Comey had an up close, intense, and personal review of what was going on in the Trump White House. And the firing of James Comey is pretty clearly to me an obstruction of justice.

WHITFIELD: OK. Let's shift gears, Ted, tomorrow, President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen will be in court for a hearing on evidence that was collected during last week's FBI raid.

[14:55:10] The judge is also ordering Cohen to turn over his client list, which could shed new light on some of his business dealings. The president has made it very clear that's his personal attorney.

It's also been reportedly said that Michael Cohen's singular most important, if not only, client is Donald Trump. So are you convinced, A, that the raids are appropriate, and then B, do you believe that it will reveal something untoward?

LIEU: Kathleen Rice and I are both former prosecutors, and as members of Congress, we wrote a letter to the FBI last month asking for an investigation of Michael Cohen and the "National Enquirer," because both of them made large, monetary payments to silence women who had stories about affairs with Donald Trump.

And our review was that these were campaign finance law violations because they were done during a presidential campaign to assist the campaign of Donald Trump. So, it's not surprising to me that Michael Cohen's office and home were raided. I think he violated the federal law, and I think he's in a lot of legal trouble. WHITFIELD: This morning, the president, also taking to Twitter, talking about attorney-client privilege now a thing of the past. Does this rhetoric from the president of the United States trouble you?

LIEU: It does. It also shows once again that the president often says things that are not true. Every first-year law student knows there is a crime fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. You cannot use attorney-client privilege as a shield to cover up crimes.

And the fact that the U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York did this with search warrants against Michael Cohen and a federal judge authorized it shows that they saw something very compelling in the evidence that Michael Cohen committed crimes and was covering them up and was likely to destroy evidence if they didn't go and immediately seize the evidence. So, this is all very, very bad for Michael Cohen.

WHITFIELD: OK. Here's another subject because there are lots in which to tackle. Last week's events also precipitated a greater concern among your many colleagues in Congress to try and call for protections for the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The Senate introduced bipartisan legislation last week, the House forming a bill as well. In your view, if there is some agreed-upon language, a proposal, is it your feeling that the president would actually sign off on this kind of protection for Robert Mueller?

LIEU: I don't know. I think it depends on the vote in the House and in the Senate. I am a co-author of the legislation in the House of Representatives to not only protect Robert Mueller but also Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions.

If any of them were fired, it would be another example of obstruction of justice. And why do you think Congress is even introducing these bills? It's because it's clear to us that the president thinks lawlessly while trying to make sure he doesn't act lawlessly.

WHITFIELD: You might be able to put some protections in place for the special counsel, but would you be able to put protections in place for the deputy AG -- clearly the AG has recused himself from the Russia probe, but what kind of protections would you be able to legitimately put in place for the deputy AG, Rosenstein?

LIEU: We could actually put in the same language that says the deputy AG cannot be fired for the same reason that Special Counsel Mueller can't be fired, and it can only be done with good cause by a panel of judges or another entity.

It's important to keep in mind that firing Robert Mueller could only be done if Rod Rosenstein was fired, and then Donald Trump would have to stick in somebody else who would agree to fire Robert Mueller. I'm sure that's what Richard Nixon did, and I'm pretty sure the White House understands they don't want to look like Richard Nixon.

WHITFIELD: And trying to get that kind of approval or confirmation would be tough to accomplish. All right. Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you so much. Appreciate that.

LIEU: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up next, the president is in attack mode today calling James Comey among other things the worst FBI director in history. Much more on this feud between President Trump and Comey ahead.




WHITFIELD (voice-over): Happening now in the NEWSROOM, renewed outrage from the president over Comey's tell-all book.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president tweeting this morning questions that aren't answered, like how can he give up classified information -- jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the president asking the Justice Department to investigate James Comey?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not aware of a specific ask of the Justice Department, but I do think if they feel there was any wrongdoing, they should certainly look into that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason he wrote his book is because he thinks he got fired. Not because President Trump's comments are far from truth, not because the petition ties are too long, not because he thinks he wears goggles on the tanning bed, because he got fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I strongly believe that within the next 90 days we're going to see an unsealing of an indictment against Mr. Cohen for a host of very serious offenses.


WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington, D.C. So, this just in to CNN, we're learning new details about the medical condition of former --