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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump "Apoplectic" Over Info Seized By FBI During Raids; Fox News "Unaware" Of Hannity's Questionable Relationship With Michael Cohen, But Still Has Network's Full Support; Haley To White House On Russia Sanctions: "I Don't Get Confused;" Trump, Abe Meet As Cohen And Russia Probes Intensify; Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dead at 92. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 17, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:02] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next. The President fixated on the Michael Cohen raid, concerned the Feds have everything he has ever told Cohen. What is he afraid of?
Plus, Sean Hannity firing back as Fox News admits they're surprised by his relationship with Cohen. What exactly was that relationship?
And a southwest jet engine breaks apart in midair smashing a window panic. A woman almost sucked out of her seat. Let's go "OutFront."
And good evening to all. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, President Trump "apoplectic" about the information seized from his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
A source says the President is fixated on the raid of Cohen's home and office even as the President met with the Japanese prime minister at Mar-a-Lago, as you see. We are learning tonight the President's concern that the Feds have everything, every single thing that he has told Cohen and every single thing that Cohen has done for him over the past 12 years.
Keep in mind, the investigation into Michael Cohen is a formal, criminal investigation. Everything is at stake for him and for the President of the United States. We've all heard about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, of course, but that could just be the very tip of the ice berg here.
The legal pressure on Michael Cohen is as intense as it gets, raising the question of whether he will turn on the man who has given him his career and his livelihood.
Now, CNN today catching Cohen outside his Manhattan hotel. He didn't have much to say, refusing the even answer why he said Sean Hannity was one of only three legal clients when Hannity says he's not a client.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MAE: Are you going to tell us whether or not Mr. Hannity is a client of yours?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, that came as Sean Hannity is lashing out in a much more verbose manner saying this isn't about him at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST I find some of it amusing and I will tell you this, I've understood my whole life the dangers of the size, scope, power of government. I've understood it. I understand deep state actors, but I've never seen it this bad. They really want to undermine and get this President out of office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Unfortunately for Sean Hannity, this is not just about the President of the United States right now. Hannity is involved with the President's personal lawyer, who, let me say it again, is under formal, criminal investigation.
Hannity says it's nothing. He said, "No relationship here, just kind of friends, maybe occasionally talked about real estate." Cohen says, "No, in fact, one of my clients may be the President of the United States, but the other two are so important." And I have to mentioned, there are three and one of then is you, Sean. And now, there's this treasure-trove of documents. The big question tonight is what could be in them.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT. And Evan, what are you learning about why Sean Hannity could be so important here?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a reason, Erin, that he was listed as somebody that they didn't want to reveal the name of as a client for Michael Cohen, and so there's a lot of puzzlement as to exactly why that is.
And, look, we know that Sean Hannity is a sort of an informal adviser to President Trump and we know that Michael Cohen kept meticulous records. He was kept detailed records, including notes, electronic records, tapes, and we know that the FBI has in its possession.
And so the question is, you know, was he present for any conversations perhaps between Sean Hannity and members of the administration, perhaps even the President himself? Did Michael Cohen keep notes of those conversations and is that what they're so alarmed about?
It is clear that the President who -- people who were close to the President say that he is apoplectic, as you said, in part because he doesn't trust the FBI team, what they known as a clean team, that's supposed to go in and look through the records and determine what is relevant to the investigation and what has to be taken out.
He doesn't trust the FBI to do this work and that is the reason why he hired these very good lawyers in New York who worked before the judge and successfully got a chance to -- at least get a take a look at what exactly Michael Cohen has.
What was puzzling about the court case over the last couple of days in New York, Erin, is the fact that Michael Cohen's own lawyers were standing there saying, "We have no idea what he kept and no idea what these records are that the FBI now has."
PEREZ: And so that's the reason why you see the alarm that is happening here over what exactly he may have kept notes on and what that really goes to in this investigation.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan Perez. It's pretty shocking and pretty frightening, right? You have a lawyer who can't even tell his own lawyer. It is either can't or won't tell them what was taken. It's pretty incredible.
OUTFRONT tonight, Harry Sandick, who is the former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, so of course he's familiar with what's happening here in the criminal investigation and the players involved, Wendy Murphy, former Prosecutor, and Mark Preston, our Senior Political Analyst.
[19:05:11] So, Harry, this treasure-trove of documents that Michael Cohen's lawyers don't even know what's in them, now they're going to get to look, everyone is going to get to look here. But, how important could they be, these documents that Cohen desperately wants to keep private that could involve Sean Hannity.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: One has to think that they have great value given the full- court press that we've seen both from Cohen's own lawyers and from President Trump's lawyers who ran into court on Friday and over the weekend to try to stop the disclosure. Now, it's true, anyone who has dealings with the lawyer doesn't want those dealings to become public.
SANDICK: But the intensity of the concern here and the ongoing 2investigation into Michael Cohen for several months now by career prosecutors, nonpartisan, apolitical prosecutors, is that some have said maybe the most serious threat that the President is facing and that Michael Cohen is now in the process.
BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty stunning because, Wendy, you know, if Sean Hannity version is true here, right, which is there is nothing to see, we had casual conversations about real estate, then there would be nothing to hide, right, other than maybe Sean got ripped off in a deal, right? And the point is it wouldn't matter. But it does seem matter.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes.
BURNETT: Obviously it seems to matter in a very significant way. What do you think could be in the Cohen-Hannity communications?
MURPHY: Well, you know, it's anyone's guess, but I guarantee you it's more than real estate. I think that goes without saying. And for exactly the reason you suggested, Erin, if it was just chitchat about real estate there would have been no objection at all.
And here's an interesting thing. So last Friday, the judge says to Cohen, "I want you to bring in on Monday your list of clients." I would imagine, because it's a court order, that Cohen then would have gone and made a phone call to Hannity and said, "Look, I've got to name you, do you want me to object? Should I say that, you know, he wants to remain confidential or should I reveal your name?" And yet I haven't heard yet whether they had a conversation at all.
But if they did, if they did, that means Hannity told Cohen to object and that means Hannity was a client in Hannity's mind and in Cohen's mind because you can't object unless there's an attorney client relationship there. And if there is one, and I think that's a big if, but if there's an attorney-client relationship there, then I guarantee you it has a lot to do with something far more important than real estate chitchat.
BURNETT: I mean it certainly would seem just from a lay point of view that you're stating a fact, right, because it just would seem impossible to understand this in any other light.
I mean, Mark, it is undeniable that when it comes to the President and Hannity, right, that they bolster each other constantly. It's a symbiotic relationship. Both people are getting something out of it and nobody is altruistic here, but they talk all the time. Here's the proof.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have this witch hunt constantly going on for over 12 months now and actually, much more than that.
HANNITY: Mueller's witch hunt investigation is now a run away train.
TRUMP: They're not looking at the Hillary Clinton horrible things that she did.
HANNITY: You think Hillary Clinton's attorneys had their offices raided during this e-mail investigation? Not a chance.
TRUMP: The reason why Democrats only talk about the totally made up Russia story is because they have no message, no agenda.
HANNITY: This is more proof that Democratic Party is in total disarray. They have no agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, it is word for word, Mark. It's just pretty incredible. I mean, they certainly are close. MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No doubt. You know, their relationship above being friends is actually real and it's something that I spoke to a several people today that are -- that know both gentlemen very, very well.
This is what they tell me. They say, listen, the fact of the matter is the President does talk to Sean Hannity often on the telephone. He does seek him out for advice. And what I'm told to is that the President realizes that he needs Hannity and Hannity realizes that he needs the President. They to have that symbiotic relationship as you noted, Erin.
And what else is interesting is that one of these folks who knows these two men very, very well said, "This is a relationship that we've seen evolved over the past 14 or so months, basically since Trump went into office. And we've seen so much churn within his press office and with his senior advisers is that Trump as we've been talking about finds himself alienated by himself in the west-wing." So he's trying to reach out to folks that he thinks think the same way that he does and that's what we're seeing with Hannity.
BURNETT: I mean, the word that go there is pretty incredible just to hear it. I mean, Harry, Hannity says Cohen was not his lawyer, right? That is the point Wendy was just discussing.
Cohen says Hannity is so important that he is worthwhile to mention if only three clients, right? Two of whom obviously we know about Hush payments and obviously with the President of the United States, there'll be many other transactions, some of which could be the center of this criminal probe, perhaps.
[19:10:07] But clearly, someone is not telling the truth here when it comes to Cohen and Hannity. Who and why?
SANDICK: Right. What is going on? So Hannity in that initial tweet yesterday starts off by saying, "He's not my lawyer. We don't have any engagement letter." But then he says later in the same tweet, "But I do sometimes talk to him about legal advice." And then he had subsequent statements, "Well, we talked about real estate occasionally."
This is what I think is going on here. Hannity and Cohen don't want these statements to come out. And when a person talks to a lawyer and they're trying to think of a way that keep statements out of the public eye, out of the government, why not say the conversation was privilege.
But the truth is this, if a lawyer and a client talk b about things that have nothing to do with legal advice, that have to do with political advice or business advice, or current events, those statements aren't privileged. It doesn't matter that your friend is also a lawyer. I have friends. It doesn't mean everything we talk about is privileged. Usually nothing none of what we talked about is privileged unless I'm representing them and giving legal advice.
BURNETT: On a very specific matter. I mean, Wendy, you know, Fox News clearly wants to sweep this under the rug, right? They put out a statement today acknowledging that they had no clue and like the rest of us, they were probably dumbfounded, right? OK.
So it comes out, "While Fox News was unaware of Sean Hannity's informal relationship with Michael Cohen and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full report -- support." Sounds like they think this is all just going to go away, Wendy.
MURPHY: And they may be right and they may know more about what's in those documents that implicates Sean than anybody else. I mean, certainly Cohen knows what's in there.
I don't think it's true that Cohen isn't telling everybody what he had in those documents and their recordings and so forth. I think he knows very well what is in there. And in some ways, his actions in the near future I think will be revealing about whether there's a lot of there, there because look, they're trying to squeeze him. He's got the information on Russia.
MURPHY: He faces very serious criminal charges. If they're trying to squeeze him and he doesn't role, I think we can safely assume that there's not much in there. And on the other hand, if he starts cooperating it is fair to say there is an off a lot there.
BURNETT: Bottom line, Harry, will Michael Cohen turn on the President?
SANDICK: He has a lot of incentive to turn if this case is what we all think it is. When the government filed their briefed, they blackout the interesting parts, the parts that tell us, that told judge what is Mr. Cohen under investigation for. And if it's as serious as it appears, he will have every incentive to flip.
Decision to flip is a very individual decision. It's not for everyone. They have to decide whether testifying against friends and associates is something that they want to do. But there's a tremendous incentive, particularly in the federal criminal system where judges can vary from the otherwise, not quite mandatory, but very compelling federal guidelines. The best way to get out from under is to flip to cooperate.
BURNETT: Right, right. And, of course, you could be looking at the alternative of many years in prison.
SANDICK: That is right.
BURNETT: When you comes to that choice, we'll see what happens if that indeed ends up being the situation. Thank you all.
And next breaking news, Nikki Haley fighting back moments ago. You know, the White House today said Nikki Haley was ahead of the curve on Russia sanctions, but why is she punching them in the face tonight? Well, Stormy Daniels saying this is the man who threatened her, threatened her life if she talked about her alleged affair with Trump. And her lawyer tonight says he thinks he knows who this man is.
And panic on a Southwest Airlines flight, a deadly explosion in flight. One passenger almost sucked through a broken window. New video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTY MARTINEZ, WITNESS ABOARD DEADLY SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT: Everybody was going crazy and yelling and screaming. Her, like arms and her body was sucked in that, like in that direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:17:37] BURNETT: Breaking news, a smack down against the White House. The U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is firing back at the President's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, over this comment to our Jeff Zeleny. The comment was Haley got "ahead of the curve," by announcing on Sunday publicly to the whole country that new sanctions were coming any minutes against Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: She got ahead of the curve. She's done a great job. She's very effective ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Oh, no. Haley has responded. This is what I call the punch in the face. You don't mess with her. "With all due respect, I don't get confused." And the White House official just confirming, Kudlow in response to that has apologized to Haley.
Jeff Zeleny is with the President in West Palm Beach, Florida. And Jeff, look, this is a huge thing because you're coming out and saying, "We're going to bomb Syria and Assad over what's happening here with chemical attacks, then we're going to come out with the U.N. ambassador and say there's going to be sanctions."
And then, "Oh, wait, hold on. The President says not so fast, maybe not sanctions." I mean, it's a pretty significant thing that happen here and the White House then try to blame Nikki Haley for this and say, "Oh, she got ahead of the curve."
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, certainly as we end the day here, there is more confusion about the confusion over these sanctions. I mean, the day started the fact and the President, of course, is meeting with Shinzo Abe here, the prime minister of Japan, but this is hanging over the White House still.
They could not answer the question of what happened in that one day period when Nikki Haley, the U.N. ambassador, who's been one of the most polished cabinet members cannot make a mistake or has not made a mistake that I can recall unlike many of her others in this administration, she went on to television on Sunday and said this is going to happen. There are going to be new sanctions.
The President clearly rejected that idea on, you know, 24 hours after that. There was this sense here today, the administration officials were trying to throw her under via process. They were explaining it all on background, but that is why I asked Larry Kudlow at the White House briefing here today about this.
He ends up having to apologize for, you know, accusing her for being out of the loop. Again, there is not any clarity on what happened, you know, in this matter and certainly there is not any cohesion to what the Trump administration's policy stands towards Russia is.
[19:20:09] So, I suspect the President, Erin, will be asked about this tomorrow when he has a press conference at Mar-a-Lago with Shinzo Abe.
BURNETT: Certainly -- well, certainly will. All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
As Jeff was speaking, you were looking live at the President, Melania Trump and obviously Shinzo Abe of Japan and his wife on the lawn there at Mar-a-Lago getting ready to head into dinner tonight.
OUTFRONT now, former Senior Economic Adviser to the Trump Campaign and Informal White House Adviser, Stephen Moore, and former Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, I have to say, not only was Nikki Haley clear on Sunday, sanctions are coming, if not right at this moment basically they're coming by tomorrow latest. Larry Kudlow comes out and says, "Oh, she got ahead of herself."
Nikki Haley does not back down, fires back. "With all due respect, I don't get confused." All right, now you have Kudlow apologizing to her. What the heck happened here?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, the President clearly changed his mind or left the impression that he was for the sanctions and she went out.
Let me just make this clear, a cabinet secretary worked for two of them does not go on a Sunday morning national network show without properly vetting every, you know, every the and I and sanction. I mean, it is the most sort of overseeing process for cabinet secretary because you want a singular voice because she's making policy.
The other thing is that the White House is clearly --I mean, I don't know which one to choose at this stage in terms of the sanctions themselves. Are they naive? Are they compromised? Are they confused?
At this stage, all we know is after the missile hit -- strikes in Syria, we were told that there would be continuing sanctions that it wasn't just going to be military solution. That included going after Russian companies that were giving arms and weaponry to the Syrians and that's what we assumed was going to be in the sanction report of this sanction and that's not happening. So, it's connected to the Friday strike.
BURNETT: Right. And I think that's an important point to make here, right? We're not talking about the overall Russian economy where there might be more nuance. I mean, talking about companies that provide helicopter parts and financing very specifically to what's happening in Syria shouldn't be that hard to do. Nikki Haley didn't think it was that hard to do.
BURNETT: Stephen, let me play exactly for you what she said on Sunday just so everyone understand. She didn't misspeak. She didn't say casually. It was a very, very specific and formal thing. Here's Nikki Haley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn't already.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That was pretty clear, Stephen. And it sure sounded like she was being thrown under the bus today when Larry Kudlow said she was getting ahead of the curve or getting ahead of herself.
STEPHEN MOORE, INFORMAL WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, look, Erin, I don't think there's any question of what happened here. The President did change his mind with respect the Russia sanctions. I think that was the policy on Saturday and Sunday and I'm told that over the weekend Donald Trump change his mind. Now, why did he change his mind?
BURNETT: Well, that's the big three word here and why.
MOORE: Yes. What I'm hearing from my White House sources in France is that Donald Trump believed that Russia stood down after the Syria strike. That they did not in any way, you know, retaliate and Trump was happy with that reaction. And so the fact that Russia stood down was something that Trump took into consideration.
By the way, it still may be that there they be these sanctions. I think Trump is still considering it. The good news here is that my two favorite friends in the White House, Nikki Haley and Larry Kudlow, have kissed and made up so there's no ripped between the two of those.
And, you know, just for the record, by the way, I am in favor of Russia sanctions. I hope Trump does decide in favor of getting very tough with Russia, very much in the way that he has with China.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, just to describe it a standing down is kind of absurd on the face of it. I'm not blaming you for saying that, Stephen, I'm just saying for anyone to describe it that way. They're backing Bashar al-Assad. They're denying Bashar al-Assad had anything to do with these chemical attacks. I don't understand how that's backing down, if that's what the President is trying to say, Juliette, or why he would say that.
MOORE: Well --
KAYYEM: I agree. I don't even know what the backing down means. Does he mean that the Russians didn't strike New York City? Is that his idea of not backing down? The Russians supported Assad. They've been backing him. They haven't let down. They are doing all sorts of stuff as we saw in London. They are -- the Department of Homeland Security has announced today --
BURNETT: I'm sorry, let's go -- and I'm sorry to interrupt, Juliette.
KAYYEM: That's OK.
BURNETT: I'm sorry to interrupt. The President is speaking live right now at Mar-a-Lago. Here he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, thank you everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Have fun.
TRUMP: Thank you everybody. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go, let's go. You make your way out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, obviously, we're going to see if we can play that back and find out exactly what he said, but that's the President there. Four of them at the dinner table getting ready to eat. Press reporters are coming. You saw the President just make a very brief statement there.
[19:25:08] You know, Stephen, when we're talking about Nikki Haley, though, look, you don't mess with Nikki Haley. She is one of the few people who says what she thinks in this administration even when it goes against with the President says and thinks.
And this comes as Joe Scarborough who host "Morning Joe," the President often watches that program, Joe Scarborough said Nikki Haley would beat Donald Trump if she ran for president in 2020. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: I think Nikki Haley would beat Donald Trump. I actually think that if she ran in 2020, and I -- this is not me making troubling, it's really not. I think if she ran in 2020, she would have a very good chance of being the first woman President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's not something he likes to hear, Stephen.
MOORE: Well, I like her chances in 2024, you know. Look, Donald Trump obviously will be the nominee. There's no one who could touch him at this point. I mean, he's so popular with conservatives and the Republican base of voters.
But look, there's no question. Nikki Haley is a rising star. One of the reasons she was put in that position at the U.N. is because she's establishing her foreign policy credentials. She was a very successful South Carolina governor, so I love the idea of Nikki Haley being the first Republican -- first woman President. And I think that may very well happen in 2024.
BURNETT: All right, thank you both very much.
And next, Michael Cohen skipping court to smoke cigars with some buddies outside his Manhattan hotel. So, we will look who these guys are. And guess what, there's a Russia connection.
And Stormy Daniels on the man who she says threatened her and told her not to talk about her alleged affair with the President.
BURNETT: Breaking news, the identity of this man, Stormy Daniels releasing a sketch of the person she says threatened her in Las Vegas, at a parking lot, telling her to, quote, leave Trump alone and not talk about their alleged affair.
Tonight, Daniels' attorney says he has a good idea of who this man is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: She has reviewed, Jake, a number of photographs over the last few weeks, couple of weeks actually, and we've narrowed it down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. So, he's narrowed it down and he says the man likely worked indirectly for Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen or the Trump Organization itself.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After more than a week of teasing it, porn actress Stormy Daniels revealing this sketch of the man she says threatened her back in 2011 to keep her from talking about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM ACTRESS: The thing that I remember so
clearly about him is that nothing was alarming about the way he looked at first.
SIDNER: Daniels appeared on ABC's "The View", revealing more details about the incident she says happened in a Las Vegas parking lot while she was headed to a mommy-and-me workout class with her infant daughter.
DANIELS: He had his hands in his pocket and he looked at my daughter and I just remember him saying like, oh, it's a beautiful little girl, it'd be ashamed if something happened to her mom. Forget about this story. Leave Mr. Trump alone.
SIDNER: But she didn't go to the police, saying she feared her husband would find out about the alleged one-night stand with Trump in 2006.
DANIELS: First of all, I was scared. I would have had to tell the police -- an entire police department and police reports are public record, I'd know that for a fact, I had sex with Donald Trump. And then the whole world would have known and I was in the process of trying to quiet that or figure out what to do and honestly, I was just afraid and I didn't want everyone to know.
SIDNER: But she did tell her story that same year for a deal worth $15,000 to "In Touch" magazine, which didn't publish the story until this past January reportedly because Trump's lawyer threatened to sue.
Daniels is talking openly about the alleged threat, insisting she can recall vividly what the man looked like enough to commission this sketch drawing from her memory seven years prior.
DANIELS: I knew it would be asked the question that you were asked, you just asked me, like why didn't you say anything, and I did tell quite a few people actually from back then and --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who did you tell?
DANIELS: I told family members and two friends and people that I worked with.
AVENATTI: I mean, it's obviously she just didn't sit down with the sketch artists and, I mean, fabricate this. I mean, this is a very detailed sketch.
SIDNER: Pushed on why she's coming forward now, Daniel sent a message to Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen.
DANIELS: I'm tired of being threatened and intimidating me and trying to say that you'll ruin my life and take my -- you know, all my money and my house and whatever is -- I'm sorry, I'm done, I'm done being bullied.
SIDNER: Michael Cohen has denied ever threatening Daniels.
SIDNER: Now, not only has Michael Cohen denied ever threatening Daniels, he says he's never emailed her, talked to her, talked to her on the phone, emailed or texted her, that he had only talked to her attorney. Her then attorney was Keith Davidson.
Now, as for whether Daniels believes that President Donald Trump knew nothing as he claimed about the deal that was made with her, she simply doesn't believe a word of it -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara.
And, of course, part of the reason why there is such focus on this criminal probe against Michael Cohen in the state -- Southern District of New York.
OUTFRONT now, Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Congressman, team Daniels says they have a good idea who the man is who threatened Daniels and that this person worked at least indirectly for Michael Cohen himself or for the Trump organization. Just put the honest question, do you think -- do you think Daniels really can remember his face at this level of detail to identify him seven years after the incident and how important could this be?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Oh, I don't know. People often do remember that the things especially if they were shocked at the time. People remember details seven or eight years later. That's entirely possible.
What's interesting to me about all this besides these specific allegations is the president's reaction, the president went ballistic at the news of the search of Mr. Cohen's office he was very disturbed he's acting in every way as if he has a consciousness of guilt and as a direct result, he is threatening the special counsel's investigation. And we have to make sure that the world knows and the country knows that no man, not even the president, is above the law and that that investigation and the Southern District investigation to for that matter have to continue un-interfered with.
[19:35:03] And that's why we have bicameral, bipartisan legislation we've introduced to protect the special counsel against the president's interference.
NADLER: And I think it's -- and we have a lot of Republican support for it now, but it's outrageous that Senator McConnell has said he won't put the --
BURNETT: He said he will not bring it to the floor, right, today.
NADLER: He will not bring it to vote. BURNETT: Yes.
NADLER: And that that is outrageous because we have to show that the president is not above the law and the president cannot be his own judge, he cannot decide what a red line is, what he can be investigated about and what he can't. No person has that power.
BURNETT: So, what is (AUDIO GAP) the president's (AUDIO GAP) work together for more than a dozen years, sure, Cohen's at the center of the Stormy Daniels case, but he's going to be the center of a lot of other things involving the president as well and I want to play something that Daniels attorney said about Michael Cohen. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AVENATTI: I think Michael Cohen's going to be indicted in the next 90 days. There's little to no question in my mind that's going to happen, and I think those charges are going to be serious they're going to potentially carry decades in a federal penitentiary. I also predict that within six months thereafter, maybe sooner, he's going to flip on the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Indicted in 90 days, decades in a federal penitentiary and within six months flipping on the president. You know the Southern District of New York well. Is Avenatti just bluffing here?
NADLER: Well, I don't know. Avenatti, so far, has been pretty accurate in what he has said, and I don't know what's going to happen there. But what I do know is that the process has to play itself out, justice has to play itself out, both in the Southern District and in the special counsels office and we have to protect the investigation against interference with the -- by the president or anyone in his behalf.
BURNETT: I don't know if you heard the reporting but our Pamela Brown is reporting tonight the president is, quote, apoplectic about the raid on the criminal investigation into Michael Cohen. He's fixated on it, above anything else, including his feud with Jim Comey. He doesn't trust the FBI to separate what's privileged and what isn't.
Do you think there's something specifically that he is afraid about or is it just on principle in general?
NADLER: Well, I think it's obvious that he's afraid of something or some things. He's reacting that way as I said before. He's certainly reacting as if he has a consciousness of guilt of something, what that may be, we don't know, but we will find out. But he is clearly very upset in a manner that he wouldn't be if he thought everything was fine and that the investigations weren't going to find anything incriminating about him.
BURNETT: Congressman Nadler, thank you.
NADLER: Thank you. BURNETT: And next, Michael Cohen skipping a court appearance and choosing instead to hang out with some of these guys, including this one and we're learning a whole lot more about all of them, including this man's deep ties to both the president and Russia.
And a deadly mid-air engine explosion on that Southwest Airlines flight today. Passengers clinging to a woman to try to keep her from being sucked out of the window. We're live on the scene.
[19:41:42] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BURNETT: We do have breaking news and it is sad news to share with you at this moment. Former First Lady Barbara Bush has died. She was 92 years old.
The first lady was being cared for at her home in Houston. According to the Bush family office, the first lady had been suffering for some time. She'd been in and out of the hospital multiple times, battling with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. The first lady and her husband, former President George H.W. Bush, had been married for 73 years.
CNN Special Correspondent, Jamie Gangel joins me live on the phone.
Jamie, we're going to be able to remember more of Barbara Bush here in these next few moments. You had the chance to speak to her many, many times. This was a moment she had chosen to have happen this way. She wanted to be at home.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): That's absolutely true. You know, it's many people were familiar that her husband was struggling with his health because of Parkinson's and we've seen him in the wheelchair. But not so many people knew that for the past few years, she had had struggles of COPD and with congestive heart failure. Then this past weekend, she had been in the hospital multiple times but she decided she did not want to go back in, that she was at least and she was going to do this on her terms, in the very elegant and forceful way the Barbara Bush would.
So, their family made the announcement and I am told that she was at home. Her husband was with her. Her family had been in and out visiting. But that this morning, she really started to fade and that she went into a coma early this morning and that they knew that the end was coming this evening -- Erin.
BURNETT: And, of course, that end has come. They have announced that Barbara Bush has passed.
Jamie, stay with me. I want to give everyone a chance to remember her right now and Wolf Blitzer has taken a look back at Barbara Bush's life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America loves Barbara Bush.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barbara Bush was the woman behind two U.S. presidents. The wife of one, the mother of another.
Barbara Pierce was born in Queens, New York, on June 8th, 1925. She grew up in suburban New York. At a Connecticut country club dance, she met a young man who would change her life, George Herbert Walker Bush.
BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: I have a square all through high school. I just tried to do the best I could. I was like I married the first man I ever kissed. You talk about a bore, I am the world's worst.
BLITZER: George Bush focused on building an oil business. Barbara Bush focused on building a family.
George Bush eventually entered a life of public service and while Barbara's candor might not have made a good match for his job as CIA director --
BARBARA BUSH: That's because I can't keep a secret.
[19:45:00] BLITZER: -- her charm was a definite asset to her husband's political career.
BARBARA BUSH: Find the joy in life because as Ferris Bueller said on his day off, life moves pretty fast and you don't stop and look around once a while, you're going to miss it.
BLITZER: George Bush served two terms in Congress and in 1980 was elected as Ronald Reagan's vice president. Eight years later, he sat in the Oval Office.
Barbara Bush loved living in the White House, keeping diaries of her time there and using them to help write her memoirs. Two other books showed her lighter side and a dog's eye view of the executive mansion.
Mrs. Bush knew well her vision of a first lady's role.
BARBARA BUSH: I think the person who has the courage to run for the office is the one you should hear, not the wife or the husband. Having said that, of course I told George how I felt.
BLITZER: For George and Barbara, their more than 60 years together included decades of devotion. This letter to her written by George while he was serving in World War II.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I love you precious with all my heart and to know that you love me means my life. How often I have thought about the immeasurable joy that will be ours someday. How lucky our children will be to have a mother like you.
BLITZER: Two of those children George W. and Jeb would solidify the Bush political dynasty as president and Florida governor. But in a surprising comment in 2013, as talk of a presidential run by Jeb's swirled, the matriarch told NBC's "Today Show" there should be a limit on the family's White House claim.
BARBARA BUSH: There are other people out there that are very qualified and we've had enough Bushes.
BLITZER: But after Jeb did decide to run for the Republican nomination, she fully backed him and hit the campaign trail.
BARBARA BUSH: He's decent honest. He's everything we need in a president.
BLITZER: In or out of politics, the legacy Barbara Bush nurtured will live on through her family children and grandchildren.
BARBARA BUSH: I know that I'm the world's luckiest woman. I think if I sort of put it in a nutshell, these are the things that are important to me -- faith, family and friends.
BURNETT: Author of "First Women," Kate Brower, joins me on the phone. Jeff Zeleny is also with me, along with Mark Preston and Jamie Gangel is back.
Kate, you had a chance to speak to Barbara Bush. Obviously, you have covered the first lady, and she was a very vibrant and very vocal, very strong first lady.
KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, AUTHOR, "FIRST WOMEN" (via telephone): She was. I mean, I think she was one of the happiest first ladies and I talked to her about the resident staff actually at the White House, the butlers and maids at the White House and they all said that Barbara Bush was their favorite first lady to serve. She was like a grandmother to the staff. I mean, very sweet, very funny. She had a great sense of humor as its kind of biting wits, and she was really beloved. And it's very sad because she was the matriarch of the Republican Party, not just the Bush -- sprawling Bush family.
BURNETT: And, Jeff Zeleny, she was -- even as she was battling this illness which, of course, as Jamie points out, we were not as well aware of, of course. Everyone was aware of George H.W. Bush, and his suffering from Parkinson's and related complications, but not as much about her.
She even managed as you were covering this election to get out on the campaign trail for Jeb.
ZELENY: She did and that is something that -- I mean, boy, she is someone who, you know, if America had a royal family system, she would be the queen mom of America and politics certainly, and American life, Erin. I mean, I do remember when she was campaigning for George W. Bush, of course, back in those early days and who's running for governor of Texas, but then running for president as well, she did not think that that son would become president. She thought that Jeb Bush who she regarded as perhaps the smarter of the two sons would be president. But, boy, was she proud of President Bush, the son, certainly proud of the Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
But as Wolf was saying in the obituary there, that story of her life did not think that it was a moment for more Bushes in politics. So, she was very against the Jeb Bush run. We know that she had a view of this president, you know, that was not necessarily positives. She largely kept that to herself in her later years, but she certainly kept active and engaged in politics.
And we are told there will be a statement coming shortly from the White House, of course, on the passing of Mrs. Bush -- Erin.
And, Mark, you know, she the had spoken I think in ways that captured all of us, but if anyone doesn't remember some of the times, she spoke about her unique position as, you know, being -- you know, the wife of a president, and also, of course, the mother of a president.
[19:50:11] Here she is with Larry King. This is back in 2005. I want to play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: Was it like, Barbara, to be the mother of a president?
BARBARA BUSH: It's worrisome because you worry about the responsibilities. Having said that, not very much different from the other children. We were in Washington last week and I got there before, George and Laura was overseas, and it really touched me the president came out and met me at the door. And I would feel the same way if Doro stopped work, or Marvin stopped work and came out of the building, I really loved it. It was -- but it's not that much different do you think, except it's a huge.
KING: Does he call home?
BARBARA BUSH: Lots.
KING: He calls mom.
BARBARA BUSH: To see how a -- calls mom and dad -- to see how we're feeling, is it cold up there or tells us what he's going to do. We ask, what are you going to do today or is it hard going to --
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Checks in early in the morning and no agenda, no, no -- not -- doesn't want anything and he's -- you know, it's what he's got to do and he goes that and does it. But he still -- family means a lot to him.
You asked what it's like, it's about family, Larry. It's not about the big deal or the head table or all that stuff. It's about a father and mother and a son, and then you showed me a picture to your kids, I could whip out pictures of mine. I mean, it's that's what it's about and it's hard for people to realize that, that we've been there and loved every minute of trying to serve, and we take great pride in our boys that are in politics. But it's exactly the same for the others.
KING: Do you honestly say in his heart that you love every child equally?
BARBARA BUSH: Absolutely.
KING: That Marvin is as important to you as George?
BARBARA BUSH: Absolutely.
KING: Neil is as important as Jeb. And Doro as important --
BARBARA BUSH: Absolutely.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: No question. I think they know that.
BARBARA BUSH: They all love each other, which makes it -- I mean, they're very loyal. If George gets hurt, Marvin hurts. If Marvin gets hurt, Doro hurts. And all the way down the line, they're very loyal, loving.
And maybe that's what politics does for you. It draws you either apart or together. In our case, it drew us together I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Poignant ending there, Mark, you know, and I think part of what captures in that exchange not just the warmth that they had for each other, but also just the ex (ph) -- talking about, you know, their son, yes, he calls home, he gets up in the morning and calls home. Of course, that son was George W. Bush who at the time was president of the United States.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, no doubt. And just like -- let's take a step back and think about her role that she played for in the United States. She was a supporting spouse. She had six children. Her husband, you know, served a couple of terms in Congress, 12 years in the White House, her son does eight years in the White House, her other son is the governor of Florida. That is an incredible amount of pressure and stress that you can put on anyone, let alone one mother.
But yet she did it with grace and I do think that when we look back as historians now are going to look back on her life, they're going to look at Barbara Bush and say that she certainly was the prime example, if not nearly the prime example of the perfect spouse, partner that a president could have in the White House and I think we saw that with her.
BURNETT: And I want to share with our viewers a statement we are just getting tonight from the Bush spokesman Jim McGrath.
He says: A former first lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush, passed away Tuesday, April 17th, 2018, at the age of 92.
She is survived by her husband of 73 years, President George H.W. Bush, five children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren, seven great- grandchildren and her brother Scott Pierce. She was preceded in death by her second child Pauline Robinson "Robin" Bush, and her siblings Martha Rafferty and James R. Pierce.
The official funeral schedule will be announced as soon as is practical.
You know, in that statement should they talk about what matters so much to her, Kate, but they also I think it is it is so important to note and maybe some were not aware, she was preceded in death by her daughter, her sixth child who died when she was only four years old, and that shaped her forever.
BROWER: It did. I mean, their daughter Robin was diagnosed with leukemia in the early 1950s and it was Barbara Bush who was by her side in New York. They were told by their family doctor to just go home and that she would pass away within weeks and Mrs. Bush and President Bush said, no, we're going to do everything we can to keep her alive and so they did a lot of experimental treatment.
And they have since done a lot of work for cancer research and specifically leukemia, which is what Robin passed away from. And I just -- I also would point out that in the conversation, it's interesting that people say, well, Abigail Adams was the other first lady who was also at the mother of a president, but what distinguishes Barbara Bush is that Abigail Adams passed away before John Quincy Adams was president.
So, Barbara Bush is really the only first lady to have a son who was president and to go through those ups and downs and those emotions, and there are some wonderful scenes in in the residence of the White House where she is celebrating George W. Bush's inauguration and then dealing with a setback that Jeb Bush was going through as governor at the time.
And so, if she just had an incredible journey and to be married for 73 years, the longest presidential marriage in history, American history, it's remarkable.
BURNETT: We now have a statement that has just come in to CNN from the former President George W. Bush who has just issued a statement about his mother, saying: My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna and I are sad but our souls are settled because we know hers was.
Barbara Bush was a fabulous first lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I'm a lucky man that Barbara Bush was our mother, was my mother, our family will miss her dearly.
And we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.
Very eloquently and beautifully written, Jeff, by the former president.
ZELENY: Certainly, the words there from President Bush are now being echoed on social media from her grandchildren as well, George P. Bush, of course, the land commissioner in the state of Texas. He is also paying his respects in online, in social media, which of course shows how she really did span the test of time.
He's saying: My grandmother didn't just live life, she lived it well, and the sorrow of her loss is softened by the knowledge of her impact on her family and her country. I will miss you.
So, clearly, Barbara Bush really is unparalleled in American history as we've been talking about. Of course, be a wife to a president, but so much more than that. Her wisdom certainly will be missed.
BURNETT: And I want to share something. She did an interview, a solo interview. This is actually in 1994. But she talks about her wonderful life and how lucky she feels, let me play for you, Barbara Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA BUSH: Well, because I always knew that I was lucky and that life had been good to me. But I really remembered again how really good it had been.
KING: For some people, when they faced the catharsis of a book and in order for a book to be successful has to be honest, have a difficult time --
BARBARA BUSH: No.
KING: -- for letting it out?
BARBARA BUSH: I loved writing the book and let me just give an example. I told George this on the phone this morning or last night before I went to bed, he called. I awakened Monday morning in New York's today having said goodbye to George Bush, and I looked and the airplane, went into the White House and a lot of things happened, the pope, Arafat met with Rabin, a lot of things happen, and I sat and watched the news darling Jessica Tandy died and Hume Chrome (ph) I thought about Cronyn.
And I thought you know I knew every single person or place that was on that television set, thanks to George Bush. With the exception of Arafat and George did meet in this year, but every other person knew me and I knew them.
KING: What a life.
BARBARA BUSH: That's an amazing life. I knew it from running the book, but I told George, I said, it really struck me how really great a life you've given me.
KING: But also from looking at the book, aspects of it Barbara Bush didn't like. BARBARA BUSH: Of course, nobody likes a child to die or losing an election. Nobody likes, you know, the ugly parts of politics.
KING: Did you like the public life?
BARBARA BUSH: Sure.
KING: You did?
BARBARA BUSH: I love people. I really -- I really loved living in the White House, but I don't miss it at all. I miss the people.
KING: Explain that.
BARBARA BUSH: I miss the people.
KING: Don't you miss what you love?
BARBARA BUSH: No, no, because it got more. We're having the best time you've ever known.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Such an optimist.
Former FBI senior intelligence officer Phil Mudd joins me and, of course, Phil, George H.W. Bush at one time was a director of the CIA. They were a beloved couple there as well, and her comment I love people.
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: A beloved couple. Let me offer you a simple message, for everybody who sees this as a dark moment for every young person who never experienced the Bushes, let me tell you for just 20 seconds what I witnessed from my friends who dealt with that family and with her and her husband at the CIA. If you think there is no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of courtesy, gentility, kindness, if you want to research somebody who will give you hope that this America is a great country, look at Barbara Bush. That's all you need to do.
BURNETT: Beautifully said.
And thanks so much to all of you. Thanks to all of you for joining us.
And our breaking news coverage continues now with "ANDERSON."