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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Source: Cohen Investigation Is "Consuming" Trump; Longtime Trump Lawyer Warns Cohen Will Likely Turn On Him; Rudy Giuliani Joins Trump's Personal Legal Team; Source: Rosenstein Told Trump He's Not A Target In Cohen Probe; Comey Memos on Their Way to Capitol Hill Tonight; Trump's New National Security Adviser, John Bolton, Meets with Russian Ambassador. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 19, 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: That's it for me. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next breaking news, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein revealing Trump's standing in the Michael Cohen investigation. This as one of Trump's long-time attorneys warns Cohen will turn on the President. He is my guest.
Also breaking, Rudy Giuliani now joining the President's personal legal team, is this a game changer for Trump? Plus, Comey's private memos now on their way to Capitol Hill, it could be released. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a major warning to President Trump. The lawyer who handled both his divorces says beware of Michael Cohen, that Cohen will flip on Trump, joining other former Trump advisers and start cooperating with the Feds. That lawyer sounding the alarm to the President is Jay Goldberg, and I'm going to be speaking with him in just one moment here.
Today, a reporter asked the President if he was afraid of Cohen flipping, and here is how the President responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried he is not loyal?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, everybody. I hope you saw the crowds in Key West. You've never seen anything like that. It was really very inspirational.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Talking about crowd size, of course turning to his favorite topic as a crutch to avoid addressing a possible major threat to his presidency. Michael Cohen is under criminal investigation by the Feds in the Southern District of New York, an investigation that has been going on for months.
And then after a referral from the Special Counsel Bob Mueller, turned into a raid of Cohen's home and office. Private recordings have been seized along with a whole trove other information.
And even though CNN is learning the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the President he's not the target of the FBI investigation into Cohen, it's unclear. It doesn't mean he couldn't become one, which may explain why sources say Trump is consumed by this investigation.
Cohen flipping on the President could be a seismic event. Cohen has been the President's fixer, his personal attorney for more than a decade. Back to 2007, here he is with Trump in 2011 at the time helping the President, then Mr. Trump, set up the Web site, "Should Trump Run?"
Here he is with the President in New Hampshire in the same year, at that time telling CNN he takes care of Trump's problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: I protect Mr. Trump. That's what it is. If there is an issue that relates to Mr. Trump that is of concern to him, it's of course concern to me. And I will use my legal skills within which to protect Mr. Trump to the best of my ability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Then 2013, traveling with Trump to Las Vegas to meet with wealthy Russians. Cohen dined with them as well and you see him here with Emin Agalarov, you remember the guy who eventually helped organize that infamous Trump Jr. meeting at Trump Tower.
Cohen was also at the President's side during the campaign through 2015 and 2016, introducing him there, and during the presidential transition, and even the presidency. They're close. And the President has returned Cohen's loyalty with praise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Michael Cohen is a very talented lawyer. He is a good lawyer in my firm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Federal prosecutors could threaten Cohen with some serious jail time. Trump defender, Alan Dershowitz, even says Cohen could be facing life imprisonment, which makes you think about the choice of loyalty versus spending the rest of your life in jail.
What Cohen chooses is significant and that is why one lawyer, who also has intimate knowledge of Trump's business empire is raising the red flag. I mentioned here Jay Goldberg, he's known Trump for decades, much longer than Michael Cohen. In fact, he helped negotiate Trump's two divorces decades ago. He is predicting Cohen could end up cooperating with the Feds. We're going to talk to Jay in just a moment.
I want to go to Jeff Zeleny, though, OUTFRONT first in West Palm Beach. And Jeff, how concerned is the President tonight?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it's interesting because so much focus had been on James Comey. But I was talking to a White House official who said he has weathered James Comey, it is Michael Cohen that is consuming him.
And the key point, Erin, is this. Michael Cohen is viewed in the west-wing at least as a wild card, someone who never came in the administration, although he wanted to, but he was blocked for a variety of reasons, so he never came inside the administration. And frankly, the White House officials have no control over him.
So I am told the President has been asking multiple people what he should do about this if he thinks that Michael Cohen will flip. I'm told the President still does not think that he will, but that has not sort of calmed all these questions here.
And Erin, again, we have pointed out again and again how different Michael Cohen is than all the other advisers, all the other people's names who are mentioned. It's probably confusing to some viewers here, but Michael Cohen is as close to the President as it gets here, so that's why the President is concerned.
[19:05:02] All this coming as the President is adding new lawyers to his legal team, a familiar name Rudy Giuliani. He was here in Florida meeting with the President in Palm Beach for some 30 minutes or so at Mar-a-Lago at least the other night, talking about this. Rudy Giuliani being brought on board here, but is those questions about Michael Cohen what he might do that I'm told is worrying the President tonight. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much and a very fair concern.
OUTFRONT now, Jay Goldberg, long-time attorney, personal friend of the President who as I mentioned represented him in both of his divorce cases. And you spoke to the President about Michael Cohen. He -- let's just -- you're also a former federal prosecutor --
JAY GOLDBERG, PERSONAL FRIEND AND LONGTIME ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes.
BURNETT: -- so I want to people to know that you've known him a long time. You know New York extremely well. He called you.
GOLDBERG: He did. He called me on April 13th.
BURNETT: So this is after the raid. How --
BURNETT: OK. So what did he ask you?
GOLDBERG: He asked me about a number of lawyers and what I thought the lawyer best suited for him would be. And I didn't accept the notion of flip. Flip means to me that when faced with the potential of spending time in jail, he will tell the truth. I don't think that's what the President was concerned about and that's not what I'm concerned about.
I'm concerned about a person whose facing a lengthy prison term is likely to say those things which in the witness' mind would best position himself for a 5K1 letter which would enable the government to recommend that he'd be shown leniency. That doesn't necessarily mean that he tells the truth.
Flipping is an expression that we use when a witness is of a mind to tell the truth. But history has shown that people under the threat of heavy litigation glean what the prosecutor is interested in hearing, and they can form their conduct so that they can get what's known as the 5K1 letter. That's what I'm worried about.
BURNETT: So you're saying he will turn on the President. That he'll say what they want -- basically, he will indict the President, but it wouldn't necessarily be by telling the truth.
GOLDBERG: That's right.
BURNETT: That's what your concern about. So do you know Michael Cohen?
GOLDBERG: I do.
BURNETT: What makes you think that?
GOLDBERG: I do that.
BURNETT: Why do you think that?
GOLDBERG: I do know him. Well, he is of a type that I've recognized in the past as one not suited to stand up to the rigors of jail life. And don't forget, he is under pressure not only from his own personality, but from his family. They don't see Michael as taking pressure or a fall for somebody else. And if the government requires a certain kind of cooperation or gives out a hint as to what could be necessary, the record has shown --
BURNETT: So you think he is a weak character, basically?
GOLDBERG: I do think so. I think in many ways, and it's difficult to say this, prison has a racial overtone. And the person like Michael doesn't see himself walking down Broadway while people are clamoring, "You're going to be my wife." And so he is under pressure from his family to try to figure out what it would take to bring the government aboard as his sponsor.
BURNETT: So, but -- so you're saying, I want to make sure I understand.
BURNETT: You're saying Michael Cohen, it sounds like you believe did do something wrong, that there could be something criminal here. You wouldn't be worried about jail, otherwise. But you don't think that he would have the goods on the President. He would simply say what they wanted to hear to get out of his own prison which you believe he could very fairly have deserved?
GOLDBERG: I don't say that the government has importuned him to say certain things that are not true. But a witness in Michael's position is able to glean what it would take to get a letter of cooperation from the government and thereby avoid a lengthy prison term.
The record is clear. It corrupts the system, said one important federal judge that witnesses under a threat of going to jail for a long period of time generally try to conform their conduct in such a way that they can earn what's known as a 5K1 letter.
BURNETT: The leniency, they say.
GOLDBERG: I guess that's what the President is worried about.
BURNETT: And so what did he say when you told him this? Did he share your concern about Michael Cohen?
GOLDBERG: He said he understood.
BURNETT: He said he understood.
GOLDBERG: Now, I said to him that the Southern District of all the districts in the United States, some 96 districts, engages in body recordings. They tapes, wires --
[19:10:02] BURNETT: Wires, essentially. Yes.
GOLDBERG: -- that doesn't require any judicial oversight. That just is the prosecutor's decision. They educate the witness to say certain things and then the witness can say something that would possibly jeopardize his position. And this is a case where you run the risk of a perjury trap. Calling a witness, calling Donald to testify, and knowing that you have a couple of witnesses who can --
GOLDBERG: -- contradict him. That would be a perjury trap. The government does that.
BURNETT: So when you told -- he said he understood. He didn't say, I'm worried about Michael Cohen or I agree. Did he give you any color as to why he is so deeply concerned about the Cohen situation?
GOLDBERG: At one point I said to him that the chief deputy of Mueller is a person of questionable honor, in my view.
GOLDBERG: That is my -- no, no.
GOLDBERG: Andrew Weissmann.
BURNETT: OK. Andrew Weissmann, OK.
GOLDBERG: And he said he heard that from a number of people. I was then told that Andrew Weissmann has been walled off. He is not going to involve himself in any investigation involving the President. And I thought that was a naive assurance given to a member of the President's staff, because even though he may not be out front, his disciples, people he has chosen to be on his staff, after all Mueller is not sitting and working on the case himself, it's the chief deputy that calls the shots.
BURNETT: So you were telling the President you think the Mueller investigation could be compromised and unfair? What did he say?
GOLDBERG: I think people are starting to lose interest in Mueller's investigation. I think his approval rating has gone down. America doesn't like a marauding black hooded individual with a lance going around the country with few restraints and trying to indict people.
Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky said that few people could withstand the scrutiny that Mueller has placed upon Trump. And after all, Erin, please understand that while he is not involved in any collusion, collusion is not a crime.
BURNETT: Well, of course it's not a criminal crime.
GOLDBERG: And the only thing they worry about is --
BURNETT: But we don't yet know what Mueller's conclusion of that would be.
GOLDBERG: The only thing you worry about is like with Nixon, a cover- up can be worse than the alleged crime itself.
GOLDBERG: And so I urge the President not to let his guard down when he has a conversation with wise -- with Michael, and to be aware of the penchant for tape recordings.
Now, nobody knows this better that Giuliani. And for somebody to say, well, he hasn't tried a case in like 20 or 30 years is beside the point. He knows the way the system works. He is a person of great intellect.
BURNETT: And I want to ask you one important thing. Yes, there are many things, but one thing before we go. You represented Trump in his divorces.
BURNETT: So you've worked with him.
BURNETT: OK. You know a significant amount about his personal life, probably more than many people.
BURNETT: Obviously, a part of all of this, maybe a small part, but we don't know when it comes to perjury we just don't know, is alleged payments including the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels.
BURNETT: Do you know of this being the way the President would act, would use this sort of nondisclosure agreements to pay off women?
GOLDBERG: Well, I was with him for 20 years. I was in the office majority of the week. I never saw the President engage in conduct that he couldn't be proud of. It may --
BURNETT: So, I mean, he was cheating on his wife.
GOLDBERG: Look, that's -- when I think of Bill Clinton, it fades in significance. And when I think of John Kennedy, it fades in significance. I don't think these people --
BURNETT: So you're talking aside from personal morality?
GOLDBERG: Yes. I don't think people are that concerned that the President may have an affair or may co-chief in some regard. I don't think that is of the interest to the people in the heartland. I don't think so.
BURNETT: What you're talking to me about me is professional morality?
GOLDBERG: It is profession -- no, I'm talking about his personal morality, Stormy Daniels. Let's assume there was a relationship. I don't think people are that concerned about it. They're concerned about larger issues, Syria and North Korea.
BURNETT: Well, they may not be, I'm simply pointing out. It would still be a weakness in moral character.
GOLDBERG: It could be -- it wouldn't be the first time it happened between sexes, I grant you.
[19:15:07] But when I think of past presidents, be it Kennedy or Bill Clinton, what Donald is accused of fades in significance.
BURNETT: All right. Jay Goldberg, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much tonight.
GOLDBERG: OK. Good to be with you.
BURNETT: All right, thank you. And next breaking news, Rudy Giuliani, you heard Jay mentioned it, joining the President's legal team tonight. Could this be a game- changer for Trump?
Plus breaking news, Chief of Staff John Kelly's role in the White House, big change tonight to talk about and two new hires gaining power tonight. We'll tell you who they are.
And Michael Cohen dropping his suit against BuzzFeed, this is something he is personally passionate about. Is this a sign he is ready to cave to Stormy Daniels? Her attorney is my guest.
BURNETT: Breaking news, Rudy Giuliani joining President Trump's legal team. That's the announcement from Trump Attorney Jay Sekulow tonight. Giuliani telling CNN he's going to focus on trying to end Special Counsel Bob Mueller's investigation saying, "It needs a little push."
Giuliani is a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Sources telling CNN he met with Trump for half an hour this week at Mar-a-Lago. Also joining the team, Jane and Marty Raskin, both former prosecutors white collar crime attorneys.
[19:20:03] OUTFRONT now, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Harry Sandick, former Counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Carrie Cordero, and our Political Analyst, Mark Preston.
All right, a lot to talk about, Harry. Let's just start here with Rudy Giuliani. He said he's going to push for an end to the Mueller probe. You know, Trump says Giuliani wants to end this quickly. We know that's been the President's, you know, drumbeat for a long time here. Is that just big talk?
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I think it's going to be very hard to deliver. Rudolph Giuliani has certainly had a long and distinguished career, but he's not a magician. And he can't disappear an investigation that's been going on for 11 months. There are multiple people who plead guilty as cooperating witnesses. Who are they cooperating against? And that's really not a rhetorical question, we don't know. But the idea that the investigation will just fold up because Giuliani asked Bob Mueller to do it, it seems hard to imagine.
BURNETT: Right. And I think it's fair to point out, right, you have guilty pleas. You have indictments. You have charges, right? I mean, this is -- it is not as if any of those things have not happened. They have happened, putting Michael Cohen aside in the Southern District.
Carrie, we know that President was turned down by a multiple a-list lawyers, right, that he had gone out to and asked to join his legal team and none of them wanted to. Giuliani, though, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he's worked with Mueller, the other two hires who are married, which I find to be a fascinating part of the story, are white collar crimes prosecutors, decades of experience there. All of this announced together. How significant is it?
CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER COUNSEL TO THE U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: Well, Erin, I think one of the most important things as the President continues to build his legal team is are these new lawyers, Giuliani and the additional two lawyers, are these lawyers that the President is going to listen to? Is he going to trust them? Is he going to take their advice?
Because what's evidenced from the interview you just conducted is that the President is just sort of on the phone asking different people who he happens to know, who he has a history with, what he should do. And that indicates to me that he is struggling to have trust in his legal team that he feels like he's getting advice he can rely on.
So, look, if Rudy is the guy that the President will listen to, will keep confidences, will establish a proper attorney-client relationship, then that potentially could be useful to him.
BURNETT: So, Mark, speaking of loyalty and a relationship, right, Giuliani and Trump, they go back, right, when nobody, and I mean nobody. We remember the weekend when this "Access Hollywood" tape came out, right? Chris Christie wouldn't go on the weekend shows. Nobody would go. But guess who went out there and just ate it, Rudy Giuliani and here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Well, first of all, I don't know what that he did this to anyone. This is talk. And gosh almighty, you know, he who hasn't sinned throw the first stone here. But that the fact is that men at times talk like that. Not all men, but men do.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You've talk like that?
GIULIANI: He was wrong for doing it. I am not justifying it. I believe it's wrong. I know he believes it's wrong. I believe that this is not the man that we're talking about today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean that was a pretty incredible moment, Mark. No one else was willing to do it. No one else was willing to say it. And now I guess this is his reward, if you can call it that, to represent the President in this investigation. Will the President respect, listen to, adhere to the advice of Rudy Giuliani?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he will. But the question is at to what level and will he go through with all of his advice. What's interesting about Rudy Giuliani right now is you have to wonder why wasn't he brought into this case earlier than what we've seen right now. Is he being brought in because we keep on seeing, and as you noted, that these really top shelf lawyers are refusing to join this legal team and Donald Trump's looking around and realizing, "My god, I got to get somebody else in there."
But what else Rudy does bring to this, you know, not only his knowledge of the Southern District of New York and understanding of how these prosecutions move forward, but he does give a sense of comfort to Donald Trump.
Look around Donald Trump right now, he doesn't have very many people surrounding him that he can trust. He has his daughter, Ivanka, his son-in-law, you know, I guess to some extent, his two sons, but there isn't very many other people that Donald Trump can trust.
PRESTON: And Rudy Giuliani is one.
BURNETT: And, you know, Harry, this also comes, you know, we're learning, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, right, who had referred this Michael Cohen matter to the Southern District of New York --
BURNETT: -- told the President at a recent meeting that he is not a target in the investigation of Michael Cohen. Now, obviously the Southern District of New York had been looking into this in a very serious way for months before Mueller referred whatever Mueller referred to them that also happened to be about Cohen. What does this mean when Rod Rosenstein tells the President, "Don't worry, you're not under criminal investigation right now."
SANDICK: Well, I think it means two things. First, the target of the investigation is -- only the target wants the government to essentially decide that they're ready to indict. So the bigger question as we saw with the Mueller investigation is, is the President the subject? Then we don't know the answer to that. The second --
[19:25:06] BURNETT: So you're saying it's the cherry on the top. You don't hear about it until it's done.
SANDICK: That's right.
SANDICK: At the very end of the investigation. The other thing is that the real concern as it has been reported is that the Southern District investigation into Cohen is very strong, and that Cohen has the motivation to cooperate. And who will he cooperate against?
It may not be that he cooperates against people relating to the crimes that are under investigation in the Southern District. If Cohen cooperates, he'll be made to cooperate against anyone about whom he has that information. BURNETT: And on that note, you know, Carrie and Mark, we just heard Jay Goldberg, right, who knows the President for 20 years, knows Michael Cohen, thinks Michael Cohen is a weak character and will turn on the President. But he said I wouldn't use the word flip essentially saying the President didn't do anything wrong, but Michael Cohen will tell the Feds whatever they want to hear to avoid going to prison. Here is what Jay Goldberg said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLDBERG: The weakness in Michael's position is able to glean what it would take to get a letter of cooperation from the government and thereby avoid a lengthy prison term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Carrie, is that what the fear here is?
CORDERO: Well, that seems to me, you know, the advice that Mr. Goldberg gave the President at Michael Cohen. Look, somebody under the investigation that Michael Cohen is obviously under in the Southern District of New York, given the search warrants that were executed, given the proceedings that we're seeing, his whole life is being turned upside down.
And so I think the point that Mr. Goldberg is trying to make is that is a person who might be in his experience motivated to try to cooperate with the government in any way to try to bring some better resolution for his own self in this case.
But, the advice that Mr. Goldberg is giving really just seems to be based on his experience. You know, he said one thing about the special counsel's investigation that I just wanted to point out, that I disagree with, which is that he said he didn't think the special counsel was sort of managing the case, or was running the investigation on that side.
CORDERO: And knowing how Mr. Mueller, the former Director Mueller operates, I just -- I think that that is probably incorrect advice if that's what Mr. Goldberg told the President.
BURNETT: Yes. It doesn't fit with what we've heard about Bob Mueller, that's for certain. Thank you all very much.
And next breaking news, the President's new National Security Adviser John Bolton meeting with the Russian ambassador at the White House, we have details on that.
And also breaking this hour, the President bypassing his chief of staff, sources say it is clear two new advisers are basically reporting directly to Donald J. Trump. Is John Kelly headed out?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:31:13] BURNETT: Breaking news: Fired FBI Director Jim Comey's memos on his conversations with President Trump are expected to be delivered to Congress any moment. It could be this evening.
The public expected to see the memos as well. Now they will be, you know, redacted for security reasons, for parts of them at least.
Comey in an interview with CNN says that's fine by me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I'm totally fine with transparency. I've tried to be transparent throughout this. And I think what folks will see if they get to see the memos is I've been consistent since the very beginning, right after my encounters with President Trump, and I'm consistent in the book and tried to be transparent in the book as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Justice correspondent Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.
And, Evan, look, these memos are very significant, you know, at the heart of all the conversation here as it began about the obstruction of justice possibility with the president. They could pay a very important role in the Russia investigation.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPODENT: Absolutely, Erin. And we know that the fact that these memos existed and the fact that Comey decided to have some of them, or at least one of the contents of one of them leaked to a "New York Times" reporter is partly the reason why Robert Mueller's investigation even exists. He wanted for there to be a special counsel because he didn't believe that the Justice Department could handle this investigation.
And let's remember that at least four of these memos according to Chuck Grassley, the senator from Iowa, he says that at least four of them have some classified information, which is why as you mentioned perhaps some of them are going to be redacted before they're made public. We're told that the White House did review these memos. The president himself didn't read them, Erin. But --
PEREZ: -- but he was aware of what the contents were and the White House didn't make any redactions. The Justice Department is making them.
And let's remember also that one of the memos talks about Comey and the president having a one-on-one meeting in which he asks for the investigation to Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser to be dropped. And that is why this forms an important part of the investigation into whether or not Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice. That's a key part of this investigation that is still ongoing, Erin.
BURNETT: Evan, thank you.
And I want to go now to the former White House special counsel under President Clinton, Lanny Davis, author of "The Unmaking of the President 2016." Also with me, former FBI supervisory special agent Josh Campbell, who was a special assistant to the former FBI Director Jim Comey, knows him incredibly well. You were there with him the moment he found out he was fired. I chose not to use the word inform because that's not how we found out.
But, Josh, let's start with this. You were close to Comey. What are we going to learn from these memos? He says it's going to be consistent, don't worry. Every single thing I've said adds up. Will it?
JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO FORMER FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY: Well, let's focus on what these memos represent first of all, which is quite stunning. I mean, Jim Comey didn't document every single conversation he had with everyone throughout the day. But what he said, as we will continue to see that he was so concerned with the nature of this relationship that he wanted to document in contemporaneous fashion, in real time, so that he would have later on down the road a representation of what took place during those meetings.
So, we're going to see that come through. I'm a big fan and favor of transparency here in seeing these because I think it will tell a side of the story, especially with a lot of the noise that we see coming from the other side.
BURNETT: So, Lanny, we now can confirm Congress has the memos which means we will see them. We've been told from GOP members of Congress they're coming out, right? They'll be redacted.
Comey says he is fine. Go to congress. Go public.
Does this carry risk or not? I mean, they will be some significant redactions, we presume.
LANNY DAVIS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSOCIATE COUNSEL, PRESIDENT CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: No, I think he has laid it out in his book and in his interviews. But there is something he needs to be asked in, the new attorney for President Trump needs to be asked. Rudy Giuliani on October 25th, 2016 went on Fox and said, something big is coming, ha, ha, ha. Three days later in the morning, October 28th, he said current FBI agents are telling me something big is coming.
[19:35:04] I want to see the day when he meets with Mueller, and Mr. Giuliani representing Mr. Trump is handed a subpoena by Mr. Mueller saying, now you're called before a grand jury. We want to know who leaked this information to you, and was it Jim Comey? I want to see all your e-mails between you, Giuliani and you Jim Comey.
BURNETT: So, Lanny, you're saying Jim Comey leaked that to Rudy Giuliani?
(CROSSTALK) DAVIS: -- that Mr. Mueller should have to be interested in.
CAMPBELL: What does it have to do with memos?
DAVIS: Well, I just said that I think the memos have been revealed. I actually admire what Mr. Comey did in standing up to Mr. Trump. It's one of the few things I admire about his conduct.
What he did on October 28th in the afternoon when it busted with his letter to Congress that violated Justice Department policies, I'd like to know about his communication with Mr. Giuliani. How did Mr. Giuliani know three days before? Is he the subject of a Mr. Mueller investigation as well? Because I think what Giuliani did may have been a crime.
CAMPBELL: We're talking about memos. That's what I'm trying to get to the bottom of.
BURNETT: You're saying -- it implies what you're saying is Comey did too if you're saying Comey is the leak. And I'm just --
DAVIS: That's correct.
BURNETT: -- trying to understand where would you even -- where that even come from? To allude to the guy that was going out and defending the president on the "Access Hollywood" tape, that would be the last guy you're going to leak to, isn't it?
DAVIS: It's a question that hasn't been asked by anyone of Mr. Comey. Did you talk to Giuliani? Is that he how he knew on October 25th leaking information, which Giuliani admitted could be a crime. And it's another part of this irony that now Giuliani -- remember, he is supposed to be secretary of state and attorney general. Suddenly, he disappeared.
CAMPBELL: I see what you're doing there, Lanny. We can pose a question and say I wonder if Jim Comey talked to Rudy Giuliani. By posing a question you're implicit in that is an accusation. What's the accusation?
DAVIS: My accusation is Rudy Giuliani said he heard from current or former FBI agents and three days before the letter, it seemed that somebody told him.
CAMPBELL: But Comey is not an agent.
BURNETT: I have no idea. All I'm saying --
DAVIS: Information that should be looked into.
BURNETT: Who knows, Lanny, but completely out of right field. That's all I'm going to say. Rudy Giuliani knows a whole lot of guys in the FBI, right, because he had interacted with them significantly.
DAVIS: He said this on national television, Erin. It's all I'm pointing out, and you're not allowed --
BURNETT: He sure did, he sure did. And maybe someone told him. But for you to jump to Comey seems a very big leap indeed.
But, Lanny, I want to move to something else here.
BURNETT: Listen to what Comey says about whether it's possible Trump could be compromised by the Russians because I think this wording here will be something you both will be able to discuss.
Here you go, Lanny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: What you asked me now why did I say what I said when people asked me if I thought it was possible that the Russians had derogatory information on president Trump. I think it's unlikely, but I think it's possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Repeating "it's possible." What do you say, Lanny?
DAVIS: I say what Jake Tapper said. It's possible that men are from Mars sleeping under my bed. An FBI director should not say it's possible. Let me give you another --
BURNETT: He's doing to Trump what you're doing to him.
DAVIS: He's a direct quote on July 5th, 2016. Although the FBI had a forensic investigation of Hillary Clinton's server and found no evidence of hacking, a direct quote, it is possible her server was hacked.
He likes to do that. And Jake nailed him. Isn't that unfair to Donald Trump? Is that unfair to Hillary Clinton?
CAMPBELL: Only Lanny Davis could take a question into the actions of Donald Trump and somehow pivot that back to Hillary Clinton. Let's look at what we're dealing here with Trump. And I agree with what Jake was saying. That for someone in Jim Comey's position who was a director of the FBI and a former director, it says a lot to even bring that cloud to says, well, it's possible, this is possible, that.
So, I'm glad that they hit him on that. I think if you look at the book, if you look at what he said in the past, that based on the totality of the circumstances, based on the fact that the president, elect at the time, later on the president continued to bring up these allegations which he found a little bit peculiar, that led him to believe it's more probable than not. BURNETT: But he wouldn't use the word probable?
CAMPBELL: He said unlikely today which is a little bit of a walk- back.
DAVIS: Here is what josh and I appear to agree on, but he doesn't get the connection. He used the exact same device when he said it's possible that Hillary Clinton's --
CAMPBELL: Back to Hillary.
DAVIS: -- that Hillary Clinton's server was hacked, even though a year's worth of investigation found no evidence. Now he says something else is possible. Jim Comey does that.
BURNETT: You're making a case he is a guy who likes to use the same word all the time, I mean, you know?
DAVIS: It's the word it's possible, it's an improper word. I agree with Josh. In both case, it's an improper word because he is not stating a fact.
In fact, they investigated the server. When he said on July 5th it's possible it was hacked, that was just as irresponsible as what Jake called him on today during the interview.
BURNETT: You had the first word. Quick final word, Josh?
DAVIS: I mean, I think having a conversation with Lanny, who I really like, sometimes it's like swimming through jell-o because I don't really know what we're talking about right now. I thought we were talking about Donald Trump and his interaction with Jim Comey. We kept circling back to Hillary Clinton.
So, I have more questions at the end of this interview than I have answers to, but I look forward to doing it again with Lanny.
DAVIS: Nice to be on with you, Josh.
[19:40:00] BURNETT: Thank you.
And next, breaking news, the president's chief of staff, John Kelly, losing even more power tonight. We have breaking details just ahead.
And more Republicans refusing to say whether they will even back President Trump as the candidate for 2020.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't even thought about that election.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: It could be a completely difficult world by 2020.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a long ways off.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: Breaking news. We're learning President Trump's new national security adviser John Bolton met with the Russian ambassador to the United States, and that meeting happened at the White House today.
Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT.
Kaitlan, this is very significant, the first meeting between the two. It happened at the White House. What did they talk about?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Erin, it is significant. It's also significant for what they did discuss. Of course the White House has issued a readout of that meeting between John Bolton and the Russian ambassador, and they say that among the things that they discussed was Russian interference in the American -- in the 2016 American election, the poisoning of that former Russian spy, the situations in Ukraine and Syria.
And it's not typically what should be stunning because that should be what they're discussing. But, of course, it's stunning because when President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he discussed none of those things. So, now we see John Bolton, the new national security adviser, somebody who is carrying a lot of weight in the West Wing is talking about those things with the Russian ambassador.
BURNETT: So, that's very significant, Kaitlan, from what you're learning. And when you talk about John Bolton, clearly a star on the rise, you're learning tonight he is just one of two advisers, the other being Larry Kudlow, top economic adviser, that sources are telling you are incredibly now just reporting directly to the president. There is no John Kelly in there?
COLLINS: John Kelly is still there. To be clear, the president has not expressly told Larry Kudlow and John Bolton that they're reporting directly to him. But my sources inside the West Wing say that is certainly the understanding of the new hierarchy, a dramatic change to the pecking order. Because of course when John Kelly first became the chief of staff, he had everyone, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner reporting to him.
And now, the president has really given John Bolton and Larry Kudlow a lot of leeway in their areas of focus, hiring and firing whoever they want. And he is viewing them as these mini executives, essentially how he ran things back at the Trump organization. And that's evidenced by several things. Of course we saw the scuffle between the United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Larry Kudlow this week, something that we're told the president was not that bothered when Larry Kudlow said that Nikki Haley had a moment of confusion there.
But then also with the departure of that homeland security adviser Tom Bossert. Of course, John Bolton was just a few days on the job when Bolton informed Bossert he was going to be dismissing him, and Bossert was stunned, and he asked to speak to John Kelly. And Bolton made clear it was not John Kelly's decision to make here.
So, clearly, he is reasserting his authority as the new national security adviser over the chief of staff. Of course, these two are favorites of the president right now, Erin. But we'll just have to see how long that lasts because we've seen this movie before.
BURNETT: Oh, we certainly have. Well put, Kaitlan, thank you.
And let's go to the "National Review" Editor, Rich Lowry OUTFRONT.
OK. So pretty clear from what is describe there that John Bolton, go ahead and talk to Kelly. He has no power. He's not going to do anything about it.
So, essentially, you have two new guys with a new favorite, who are going to report directly to the president, sidelining Kelly. What do you make of it?
RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: It might be a further diminishment of John Kelly's clout. But I'm also not sure whether the national security adviser has ever in any administration reported through the chief of staff. You know, this is a very assistant position itself.
LOWRY: And John Bolton is a very tough bureaucratic fighter. He learned at the knee of one of the best, James Baker, the former Bush secretary of state. And he has sharp elbows and he is going to protect his territory, as he should.
BURNETT: What do you make, though, of -- look, a president who thrives on chaos, who thrives on playing people off each other. Look, that's what we saw this weekend. Whatever word people want to put around it, letting Nikki Haley, you know, flail and be brought down by Larry Kudlow who I'm sure felt very, very upset when Haley was mad at him. Knowing Larry personally, I'm sure he felt upset about that. He is a gentleman.
But the president had no problem with any of that.
BURNETT: Having all these people think he is reporting to him but it's not clear and playing off each other. And they're the new guy, so they're the favorite. How long does it last?
LOWRY: Well, I'm not sure any of that was deliberate over the weekend. I think what happened was the president changed his mind about the policy of the Russian sanctions that had been briefed to Nikki Haley. So, she goes out and dually talks about them in the public. And then she feels as though she is being thrown under the bus --
BURNETT: Well, she was thrown under the bus.
LOWRY: Right. So she pushes back against Larry.
So, look, I think everyone who works for Trump realizes there's some expiration date on their service. And they're going to ride the bronco as long as they can. Do as much good as they can, push the ball along as far as they can.
BURNETT: I like the rodeo analogy. Giving me good visual.
LOWRY: It's not going to last forever.
BURNETT: All right. So, to this front, CNN lawmakers, more than a dozen of them, our Manu Raju has been talking to them, whether they would support the president's reelection. OK, this should be a no- brainer. He's a Republican, they're Republicans. It's their party.
And almost all of them refused to answer. Here is a few.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: It could be a completely different world by 2020. We have a 2018 election first.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I think it's far too early to be discussing what the political landscape will look like in 2020.
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I haven't even thought about that election. I'm worried about the midterm election.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I have no idea whether the president runs for reelection, nor what the field will be on the Republican side. So I think it's way too early to weigh in on who want might support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. They're all full of it. He has already hired a campaign manager. That's ridiculous. He knows what he wants to do. They know what he wants to do.
LOWRY: One thing certain he wants to run for reelection.
BURNETT: But one thing we can be certain of is I haven't thought than reelection is untrue.
LOWRY: Yes. But it's unusual, but I think like Ron Johnson saying we don't know what's going to happen, that's sincere. No one has any idea what's going to happen.
BURNETT: OK, that's true. That's true.
LOWRY: There is some chance. I think a primary challenge would be very unlikely if anything like the status quo obtains. But --
BURNETT: But other sitting presidents who have been challenged in primaries, they haven't been beaten by that person.
BURNETT: But they have lost reelection.
LOWRY: Right. Usually, it's a very bad sign.
[19:50:00] LOWRY: If you get a serious challenge, it's a sign you're going to lose. So, I think it's unlikely but if it happens, it's going to be very bad for the party.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Rich, great to see you.
LOWRY: Thank you. Appreciate it.
BURNETT: And next, Stormy Daniels attorney with a dire warning for the president. The worst is yet to come. Michael Avenatti is OUTFRONT, next.
BURNETT: Long time lawyer for President Trump warning him tonight that Michael Cohen will turn on him.
Here's what Jay Goldberg told me moments ago about why Trump should be worried about his personal lawyer's criminal investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY GOLDBERG, LONGTIME TRUMP ATTORNEY WHO WARNED HIM MICHAEL COHEN COULD FLIP: I'm concerned about a person who's facing a lengthy prison term is likely to say those things which in the witness's mind would best position him to enable the government to recommend that he be shown leniency. That doesn't necessarily mean that he tells the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, Michael Avenatti.
And, Michael, Goldberg obviously confident that Cohen is going to flip. Do you have any doubts that Cohen will turn on President Trump?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Absolutely none and I haven't had any doubts for weeks.
[19:55:01] You know, I first predicted that I think two or three weeks ago and I think that he now is on the bandwagon if you will, along with a lot of other people. There's no doubt that he's going to flip. The choice of serving prison time versus flipping on the president is no choice at all for Michael Cohen. He's got a family.
He's not going to want to abandon his family just to back the prison. It makes no sense. BURNETT: Now, the White House, of course, says there's no way that
this will happen and the president was asked about it today by reporters about Cohen flipping and he basically didn't respond at all. Let me play it for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are you worried he's not loyal?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, everybody. I hope you saw the crowds in Key West. I've never seen anything like that. It was really very inspirational.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you think, Michael, that the president has directly promised Michael Cohen that he will pardon him?
AVENATTI: I think that -- I don't know that he's directly promised it to him but I think he may have alluded to it, but that's a false hope if Michael Cohen is banking on that, Erin, and the reason is because they have effectively telegraphed that that's a possibility to prosecutors and I have to believe that the attorney general of New York will communicate with federal prosecutors as it relates to the charging decisions in order to guard against that. What I mean is they're going to leave a window open to the New York A.G. to bring state charges against Michael Cohen and Michael Cohen cannot get a pardon for the state charges from the president. It will do him no good.
So, they have effectively shot themselves in the foot by even alluding to this or by people believing it ahead of time.
BURNETT: Now Michael Cohen has done something pretty interesting and surprising today. He's dropped his libel lawsuits against "BuzzFeed" and Fusion GPS over the Russia dossier, right, which had allegations against him. And I've talked to him several times about that case. He always brings up the "BuzzFeed" situation. He was passionate about it.
So, dropping it is not a small thing for Michael Cohen, and his lawyer said, OK, we're backing out because we need to focus on other matter which is presumably is the criminal investigation here in New York. Is there any chance, Michael, that you would consider settling your current case with Michael Cohen given that they appear willing to do just that with almost anyone?
AVENATTI: I don't think there's any chance, Erin, because we will never settle this case and when I say never, I mean exactly that. Never settle this case unless it involves full disclosure by Michael Cohen and the president about what really happened here relating to the agreement, the cover up --
BURNETT: Who knew what when? What the president knew?
AVENATTI: All of it. BURNETT: "The Full Monty" here.
AVENATTI: "The Full, Full Monty." Without that, there will be no settlement.
I will say this, though, today, it appears that Michael Cohen is smarter than the president because Michael Cohen is cutting his losses on these other cases, appears to be focusing on our case and the criminal matter. It appears that he's focused where he needs to be. Meanwhile the president is focused on the crowd size in Key West.
BURNETT: Now, as you know, there have been questions raised, right, about for example why you brought Stormy Daniels last week to the Michael Cohen hearing in New York, right? He's under criminal investigation here in New York.
You know, here are what Josh Holmes that was the former chief of staff to the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Meghan McCain had to say about that. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH HOLMES, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL: At this stage, clearly she wants to be on camera. There's no need for her at all to be at the courthouse yesterday.
MEGHAN MCCAIN, TV HOST: It seems like a publicity stunt on some level. I mean, I think yesterday because you didn't have anything to do with the case, it seems a little like you were just trying to get attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What do you make of that criticism? Would it be better if Stormy Daniels and you stayed lower profile?
AVENATTI: Well, Erin, you didn't play my answer to Meghan McCain. I mean, I blew it out of the water when I gave my answer and the answer was she absolutely was entitled to be there. The judge on Friday, the previous Friday had stated that we effectively had standing to address the court.
Look, here's the bottom line. People that are supportive of the president on the right are getting very, very concerned. And so, now, what they want to try to do is distract away from the issues, the claim that somehow all of this is a publicity stunt. They don't like it. They are worried and they should be worried and, you know what, they're going to get more worried because the worst is yet to come.
BURNETT: The worst is yet to come?
BURNETT: Anything specific you mean by that?
AVENATTI: Well, again, Michael Cohen is going to be indicted. It is a near certainty. It is a near certainty that he is going to rollover on the president. There's a lot of evidence, Erin, I'll tell you that.
BURNETT: All right. Michael Avenatti, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.
AVENATTI: Thank you.
BURNETT: Thank you for joining us. And don't forget, you can watch out front any time, anywhere. You just have to go to CNNgo. We'll see you tomorrow night.
"ANDERSON" starts now.