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Trump Calls Raid an Attack on our Country; Battle over Cohen's Seized Records; Cohen Chance of Flipping; Cohen's Mystery Client; AT&T Calls More Expert Witnesses; Comey Escalates Media Blitz. Aired 8:30- 9a ET
Aired April 17, 2018 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:33:23] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, there's a war of words and it's not just between people anymore, it's about attacks on institutions. So let get some perspective because President Trump called the FBI search and seizure of his personal attorney Michael Cohen an attack on the country. Fired FBI chief James Comey responded this morning saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: He either doesn't know or doesn't care what the rule of law looks like. Nobody broke into anybody's office. It doesn't happen. The FBI gets a search warrant from a federal judge and conducts itself professionally, completely and politely by the accounts of the people involved. So I -- it's a total distortion of the way things work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Let's discuss with CNN legal analyst and defense attorney Mark Geragos.
It's great to see you, counselor.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good to see you too.
CUOMO: Now, look, both of us know that what James Comey just said is not always true, right? The government can go sideways on things. They can show prejudice. Guys like you have made a career out of fighting against the due process of law and how it goes.
But in this instance, how this was carried out and what we saw from Judge Kimba Wood yesterday, do you believe this is an attack on our country?
GERAGOS: No, I wouldn't characterize it as an attack on the country. But, remember, this is an astonishing place that we are. We are at a place where the Department of Justice, which is already under siege, has approved a search warrant -- going and getting a search warrant on the personal attorney of the president of the United States. I can't think of anything that's comparable. I mean I've been saying all along that this whole investigation is reminiscent, it's deja vu all over again of Whitewater. But this is next level.
And this is -- I can understand why the president is so upset because he's used to fighting. And having represented guys like this, titans of industries or whatever you want to characterize them, they're used to going to the mat. But they don't understand, the FBI, the Department of Justice, these are the guys with badges and guns. And that's a different calculation than you normally have to do if you're just going toe to toe with civil lawyers.
[08:35:18] CUOMO: Well, you saw the arguments yesterday and I thought, you tell me, I've come to you for advice for a long time, that Kimba Wood was very fair in how she dealt with this.
CUOMO: But also clearly reflected that she wasn't out of her depth. This is something that happens occasionally, even when privileged communications are involved. They have mechanisms. They have perspective on it. They have precedence. Was my read right?
GERAGOS: Absolutely. And, you know, the interesting thing is, the federal system, I think, is flawed when it comes to this specific area. If this were in California and it was a state court warrant, they would go in, they would have a special master already. They would -- you would have had a hearing, if you're the law office, and you would have gone into a court and do what's called a privilege log (ph) list. You'd say, this is my client, this is what this reflects, and this is what this pertains to.
The federal system doesn't really have that, but she was giving it a lot of thought. She was talking about a taint team, which is -- we always call it the dirty team versus the clean, erecting a wall and making sure that they don't communicate. She gave thought to -- a lot of thought and depth to all of those issues.
CUOMO: And the prosecutors made an interesting case. They said, we're not going after him as a lawyer. We're going after him as a businessman. And, by the way, I don't know why the president's lawyer is here because we didn't find any communications between Cohen and Trump as a private citizen, so we don't understand what their concern was. They were interesting arguments.
GERAGOS: Yes. I -- and that reminded me, there was a case years ago in California where a judge ruled that there was no spousal privilege because it was a bad marriage. And just because this may be a lawyer who's doing business stuff, I don't think that gives you a free pass. That's where I would disagree with the government. And I would push back and say, I don't care what you say. The fact that you're looking at the work he's doing already proves our point that you shouldn't be in there. That a special master should be sifting through and saying those kinds of things.
CUOMO: Is Cohen -- is the president right to be nervous or be anxious about what's going on here with Cohen?
GERAGOS: Absolutely. I mean I have seen the most loyal lieutenants to clients flip when they get into this situation. I mean this is fraught with danger, having done this for going on almost four decades, I can tell you that when you're faced with the prospect of somebody who's just executed search warrants at your home and your office and you're not so sure that a president could pardon your way out of this, somebody's going to make some calculation, do I do what's best for me or do I do what's best for him? And I think, in this case, the president should be nervous.
CUOMO: Well, Cohen, if nothing else, has been 100 percent consistent and clear in his desire to defend President Trump to the death.
GERAGOS: Which are usually famous last words of guys right before they flip.
CUOMO: Do you believe that -- although he could pardon him. I mean all this is federal.
GERAGOS: But the -- but the problem is with -- he can't pardon his way out of this because he can pardon him federally. This is part of the chess move. They've already brought in the state attorney general in New York. So you can pardon him for the federal aspect of this, but not the state.
CUOMO: But not the state. Well, we'd have to see the New York AG actually do something. That hasn't -- that hasn't happened yet.
GERAGOS: Well, we're not going to go there for a variety of reasons.
CUOMO: Now, let me ask you something else, let me have you on this, because this threw me. I actually had to go back and do some Googling on this yesterday.
They say you have to expose your clients. Tell us their names. Kimba Wood says, if you're going to say that this is privilege, we have to know. They don't want to give one of the names. She gets into it with this lawyer and says, you're going to tell me the name. You can pass it on a piece of paper if you want or you can tell me. He opts to say in open court it's Sean Hannity. All right. All the media goes ha. Why? Because he is a hero or villain, depending on where you are politically.
So he then starts talking about it and he seems to go both ways. I've never used him for anything. There's no third party. Maybe I gave him ten bucks. I thought I had a privilege. Is he his client or not?
GERAGOS: You have a duty as a lawyer, when somebody consults with you for legal advice, you have an absolute duty to assert the privilege. The privilege is held by Sean Hannity. It's not held by Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen can't waive that. Michael Cohen, frankly, should not have even sent it over -- the lawyer shouldn't have set it over on a piece of paper. He should have just said, I'm asserting the attorney/client privilege. Do what you will. But it's up to Sean Hannity to waive it or not.
CUOMO: So you believe he's a client? GERAGOS: I think, when you go and seek advice, under most state
interpretations, that establishes an attorney/client privilege. It's not yours to waive.
CUOMO: To be continued. We will need you as a virgil (ph) throughout this process.
Good to see you, as always, counselor.
GERAGOS: Good to see you too.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris. James Comey is speaking out as we speak. So we will bring you all of the highlights of everything that he is saying to his critics and his enemies. That's next.
[08:43:44] CAMEROTA: OK, now to the latest in the legal battle over the AT&T/Time Warner merger. AT&T called more witness -- expert witnesses as the Justice Department tried to block it. And, of course, we should note that Time Warner owns CNN.
Hadas Gold has been following this case every day. She is live in Washington with more.
So tell us about these witnesses yesterday.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, these last few days have really been the battle of the experts in this trial. AT&T has brought up a few more professors, experts and things like economics and arbitration to try to question the government's expert economist. He did an analysis that showed that the Time Warner and AT&T merger would cause what he claimed would be a price increase for consumers in their cable bills month to month. AT&T is not only trying to question the results of that analysis, but also how that economist reached that analysis. Everything from the data he used, to how the surveys were conducted. They are really getting into the nitty-gritty here to try to bring some doubt into the judge's mind into how these were conducted and the fact that this data might not be completely sound.
CAMEROTA: So how did it go over with the judge?
GOLD: Well, the judge has been pretty circumspect in terms of giving any sort of clue to his opinion. However, we have heard from him in the past few weeks questioning some of these online surveys that are used to try to gauge how likely people would be to switch cable provider if they lost access to channels like CNN or HLN, which is something that the government is alleging might happen as a result of this type of merger.
[08:45:07] Now, the judge has said, you know, I don't know how much you can believe an online survey. How can you -- how can you really know whether the person responding to the online survey actually believes what they are answering versus just trying to get through the survey and get the prize at the end they might get. So that might give us some sort of clue as to how the judge sees this type of data. But it's always hard to determine, just based off of a judge's questions, because sometimes they're just trying to question themselves, trying to question their own beliefs.
CAMEROTA: OK, Hadas, thank you very much for the summary. We will check back with you later in the week.
CUOMO: All right, so, should President Trump be concerned by the latest twists and turns in the criminal case surrounding his personal attorney Michael Cohen? The answer is, yes. Why? That's "The Bottom Line," next.
CUOMO: All right, there are new legal developments involving the search and seizure of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Should the president be worried?
Let get "The Bottom Line" with CNN political director David Chalian.
Your answer is, sir?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. I don't -- I -- how could he not be worried? There is -- there is nobody in Donald Trump's professional life who has been more intertwined with all of his dealings, all of his trouble spots. This guy is -- is the fixer, Michael Cohen. So it would be befuddling to me, Chris, if Donald Trump just was like, ah, no problem, I'm not worried at all.
[08:50:03] I mean we know he sent his lawyers to court to try to prevent learning more about their relationship or what dealings they had. So, obviously, there was some level of legal concern or potential exposure. But like I said, nobody is really closer to Donald Trump in sort of all of his potential weak spots than Michael Cohen.
CAMEROTA: John Avlon described it as a spit take moment yesterday when during the court hearing about Michael Cohen and what was seized, the third mystery client was revealed to be Sean Hannity. The significance to you?
CHALIAN: Well, first of all, I was disappointed it didn't play out as long as who bit Beyonce, right? But I do -- I'm glad that it was revealed to show what we know to be true, right? I mean it should surprise no one that Sean Hannity, if you watch his program, if you see -- we know he doesn't do journalism. He does advocacy work on behalf of the president and Michael Cohen as recently as the FBI raid.
So it certainly wasn't surprising to learn that he may have had some dealings -- business dealings or consultations or whatever it is that Sean Hannity was doing with Michael Cohen. But, to me, it just sort of underscored where the relationship is between Fox News and the Trump team.
CUOMO: Right, it's a bigger concern for Fox News, how they're going to handle this kind of thing. So far it's been awkward.
But, look, it's a clear point. He should have disclosed it. It just -- it makes sense.
Let me ask you something, in terms of the war of words, how is this battle going in Comey v Trump?
CHALIAN: It's a really good question, Chris. I just noticed in a new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, Jim Comey's favorability ratings, he's about 22 percent positive, 20 percent negative. So those that know of him are pretty evenly divided on him. Obviously the president, we know, is in much worse shape than that with the American people in terms of positive/negative impressions. So he's on better ground than Donald Trump. That gives him a good leg up here, I guess, to make his case.
But he's evenly dividing the country and I think that his interviews expose why. I mean there are times where he's delving into the petty or trying to score settle versus fact -- you know, just truth telling and his story and version of events, and I think that's why you see the American people sort of balancing Jim Comey evenly.
CAMEROTA: Very quickly. Here is what he just said on what he would do if he had a magic wand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I loved what I did. And what makes me sad is, I'm away from those people and that mission. And I have a hard time imagining myself back in government, but if I had a magic wand, I would still be FBI director with those people trying to protect this great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: There's something sort of disorienting about seeing James Comey in front of a live studio audience.
CHALIAN: I am sure that what he's saying is true. We know Jim Comey's love of the job. And I think that's sort of well documented and quite sincere. I have no reason to believe otherwise. But it also seems clear to me in that comment that he just made, he's keenly aware he's never going to serve in that role again. He doesn't even really envision himself serving in government again.
And I think part of this process, Alisyn and Chris, is that Jim Comey has sort of left the law enforcement above the fray world and is now a partisan political player.
CUOMO: Well, the irony is, he's supposedly a lifelong Republican --
CHALIAN: True. CUOMO: And now he's being given a blue jersey it seems. And it's -- it's sad that, you know, it's just supposed to be about common ground and him shedding light on something that should matter to everybody. And it seems like, just from those numbers, 22-20, it's all about where you're coming at it from a partisan perspective. It's just another Rorschach test.
CHALIAN: Right, all of our policies these days, right, everyone views everything through the seat they sit in and Jim Comey has sort of now entered that fray and so therefore the polarized world we live in now applies to him as well.
CAMEROTA: All right, David Chalian, thank you very much for "The Bottom Line."
CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.
CAMEROTA: So we'll hear a lot more from James Comey today and on Thursday he will sit down with Jake Tapper live on "The Lead" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.
CUOMO: All right, we have a special "Good Stuff" with a very familiar and handsome face to you all. Who is it? We'll see you after the break.
[08:58:13] CUOMO: It's time for "The Good Stuff" and it a question that has really staggered so many for years.
CUOMO: What can't CNN's John Berman do? J.B. battled pelting rain --
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
CUOMO: Ferocious winds.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
CUOMO: He finished the Boston Marathon four hours -- look at him flying down the final stretch, cutting quite a good-looking figure despite the conditions. And there he is, triumphant seemingly unfazed after running 20 -- there it is. That's the eye of the tiger -- four hours, three minutes, 22 seconds, Boston Strong all the way.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
John, congratulations. We're very, very proud of you, John. But -- but you did seem to be crossing over the finish line in great distress.
CUOMO: No, no, no, I didn't see it that way.
CAMEROTA: I did see it that way.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I -- CAMEROTA: It was the worst weather conditions ever.
BERMAN: Yes. I cannot imagine humanly worse conditions. "The Good Stuff" this morning is actually the soar stuff. I haven't seen that video. That's horrifying. It really is --
CUOMO: We could barely make you out zipping past people there.
BERMAN: It was -- no, I passed nobody like the last three miles. There were, you know, there were children crawling on the street who were passing me watching.
Look, it was -- it was -- I stepped in a puddle of mud this deep before the starting line.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
BERMAN: It was 26 miles of pouring, pouring rain and it was --
CAMEROTA: Oh, John.
BERMAN: It was incredible.
CUOMO: JB, so the shirt you had on, the West Side Boys and Girls Club --
CUOMO: John helped raise 16 grand for the nonprofit West End House. It's a boys and girls club. You can go online and you'll be able to see how you too can help.
[09:00:06] Part of an upcoming series, right?
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. "Champions for Change." So we'll all be watching that. But, good for you, John, to raise so much money for them.