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Did Trump Lie About Wealth to Reporter?; Michael Cohen Tries to Delay Stormy Daniels Lawsuit; Students Nationwide Protest Gun Violence. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired April 20, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. You're watching CNN on this Friday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
Fireworks inside this Los Angeles courtroom today, where President Trump and Michael Cohen's lawyers are trying to delay the Stormy Daniels case. Want to show you some pictures. Here's Cohen in New York today.
He, as you well know, is the personal attorney of the president. And now his own legal team is telling a judge that there is -- quote, unquote -- "a possibility of prosecution" regarding their client.
Let's go to Miguel Marquez, our CNN national correspondent. For that, he is outside that federal courthouse there in L.A.
Tell me more, Miguel.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, the judge in this case really trying to get through the weeds of these two different cases on the two coasts of this country, a criminal case in New York, the civil case out here.
At one point, the judge saying, you know, this case has kind of exploded a little bit since we first started. And that was absolute understatement. Much of the day was spent regarding whether or not Mr. Cohen would assert his Fifth Amendment rights here.
And the judge almost upset at points during today's hearing because he said that Mr. Cohen hadn't filed a declaration he would assert his Fifth Amendment right, asking time and again why he hadn't do that. By the end of the day, lawyers said that he probably would do that.
The other sort of big thing that came out of this is that both lawyers kind of saying we don't know what the feds have in New York, we don't know what they're after Michael Cohen for there, we don't know if he will be charged.
But at one point Michael Cohen's own lawyer, Brent Blakely, said he could be charged in the next 90 days. Ask Mr. Avenatti here. He's been saying it publicly. We don't know exactly what's going to happen, but that could happen. Mr. Avenatti in court saying, I don't know if he's going to be
charged. It might happen, it might not happen, basically saying this can go forward because that charge in New York may never come. But when he came out to the cameras just after the hearing, here's what Mr. Avenatti said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Do you think Mr. Cohen is going to be indicted soon?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Absolutely, I do. I don't know the scope of that indictment. And I think that was the point that I was raising in court. What I state in the press is not evidence.
The court is interested in competent evidence before the court, and, look, this investigation could take a long time. There could be subsequent indictments. We don't exactly know. My own personal belief, as someone with 18 years of experience who has some knowledge of what's going on, yes, I believe the indictment will be issued within the next 90 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: One thing in court, another thing outside of court. The judge basically telling both sides keep all that stuff in the media outside my courtroom. I only want to deal with legal issues here -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Got. Miguel, thank you in Los Angeles.
To the other breaking story here. At this point, there is no criminal case alleging the president's campaign conspired with the Russians, but there is now a civil one. The DNC, the Democratic National Committee, has just filed this federal lawsuit accusing this list of people in groups of racketing, hacking and conspiracy that harmed the Democrats during the 2016 race.
The DNC saying this: "Rather than report these repeated messages that Russia intended to interfere with U.S. elections, the Trump campaign and its agents gleefully welcomed Russia's help. Indeed, the Trump campaign solicited Russia's illegal insistence and maintained secret communications with individuals tied to the Russian government, including one of the intelligence agencies responsible for attacking the DNC."
There is a reference to the hack of DNC e-mails that WikiLeaks published back in 2016.
Let's start there with Gloria Borger. She's our CNN chief political analyst here with in New York, as is Robert Bianchi. He used to serve as the head prosecutor and chief law enforcement officer in Morris County, New Jersey.
Great to see both of you.
Just to you first on this. How much of it do you think is just a stunt vs. a pretty smart ploy for court of public opinion?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: A hundred percent stunt.
BALDWIN: A hundred percent.
BORGER: One hundred percent.
BALDWIN: Lay it out there.
BORGER: They want to get in the act. Obviously, they want to keep the story moving. This is nothing new.
Everyone has been -- every Democrat, political Democrat has been charging that the Trump campaign was in collusion with WikiLeaks, et cetera, et cetera. We know the DNC was hacked. We have been talking about this since the campaign.
Honestly, it's just a way to raise money. And that's what they're trying to do. They're trying to raise money off of it. By the way, the Democrats haven't been having a lot of trouble raising money. They're raising gobs of money for their candidates this time around.
BORGER: But I think this is just one more way to get into the act here and continue what they have been doing all along.
Let's talk Comey memos, right? These are the interactions that the fired FBI director, James Comey, had with the president during his time in office, extraordinary detail here. This was sent over to Congress. It's been leaked.
And so really the new revelation has to do with this former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, where the president is doubting his judgment a week in.
This is what Comey writes. "The president pointed his fingers at his head and said, 'The guy has serious judgment issues,'" although we well know since then the president has pushed for leniency for the guy. Explain that for me, please.
It's really kind of hard to understand, but you have to go back in history. So stay with me for a minute.
BALDWIN: OK. OK.
BORGER: Where remember Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general, ran down to the White House to talk to the White House counsel, Don McGahn, her hair on fire about Michael Flynn. Clearly, there were some intercepts they were listening in on with Ambassador Kislyak, for all we know.
And there was some information they learned. She tells the White House counsel this. Does the White House counsel then tell aides like Reince Priebus, who also asked about -- who also in the Comey memo also asked about Flynn?
Did he tell the president about it? We don't know the answer to that question. But we do know the president at this point is saying, this guy, I don't know.
Now, he was complaining that Flynn hadn't told him about a phone call from a foreign leader, right? But we don't know what else was in the president's mind at that point about Flynn and why in the end he kept -- you know, he asked Comey to kind of stop the case. That's the connection that's really hard to make for me.
BALDWIN: You mentioned Reince Priebus. I want to skip that.
Bob, I want to get to this piece and we will get to the president's reaction to all this over Twitter in a second. There's this bit about Russia and the prostitutes. Trump told Comey that the whole hookers thing from the dossier total bunk, nonsense, but that Putin told him -- quote -- "We have some of the most beautiful hookers in the world."
What does that tell prosecutors?
ROBERT BIANCHI, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, listen -- well, what it told prosecutors and what it told Comey specifically is that he can be compromised. And that's a very important thing.
And the thing that I took from those memos that was most important was when Comey was trying to explain this to Trump and Trump was denying it, he then said, Comey, that it was verified by all of the intelligence agencies.
Now, imagine this conversation. What Donald Trump, President Trump wanted to hear was, hey, I got you covered, the Flynn thing, don't worry about it, the dossier, whatever. But three intelligence agencies confirmed very salacious details of that dossier.
And when it was very clear, Comey handled as a prosecutor should by kind of trying to just get out of there. I have been involved in these things, Brooke, where you just want to run away when politicians are trying to influence you. And he did that, Comey.
But when he was not going to play ball, here's the next sting play. If that guy won't do it, get him out and get somebody else in that will.
BALDWIN: Part of my takeaway from said prostitute conversation is that if Putin and Donald Trump are having any kind of chat about prostitutes, to me, that feels maybe kind of personal.
BORGER: Do we believe that, though? That's the thing. I don't know.
BALDWIN: I don't know. This is what Comey says, if we take it just as what Comey says.
On the flip side, we know that the president has painted this narrative of, oh, I don't know Putin at all. Which is it?
BORGER: Right. We don't know.
BIANCHI: Well, we don't know. But Comey has an obligation to inform the president about the Flynn scenario, just like Sally Yates did, as you have alluded to, and what's going on with this stuff in the dossier.
He's not saying that it's true or it's not true, but he has to advise him of it because it's potentially compromising to his ability to function as the president.
And obviously even if it's not true -- let's assume for the sake of argument it's all not true as far of Trump. You're going to be very disconcerted to be hearing this and you want this stuff quashed, and Comey wasn't going to do that. He was going to do the full investigation.
BORGER: And then the president said to Comey, could you actually go out and disprove this? He said this in the memo. Could you essentially act as my private investigator and disprove this?
And Comey said, no, it's hard for me to disprove a negative. Right? I can't really do that. I think the president wanted him to come out and say this just is bunk.
BIANCHI: And I think a lot of this may have to do with the idea that politicians -- I have experienced this personally -- don't understand the black box...
BIANCHI: ... of investigation, the black box of investigation, and women, too.
And they feel like that they're afraid if that you're a Democrat and a Republican is being investigated, that you're going to be biased. And they don't understand that what we want as prosecutors is, please, just stay out of our way and let us determine what happened.
BALDWIN: But if this was -- final thought. If this was the House Republicans' idea of trying to undercut this whole Comey book tour, right, and disprove the Mueller probe, didn't it backfire?
BORGER: Yes and no.
Yes and no, because I think the documents don't really prove obstruction in any way, shape or form. You're the lawyer. I'm not. I think that if you want to say there was no obstruction -- you know, Michael Zeldin the other night, very well respected attorney, said, I'm looking at this, and I don't see obstruction. [15:10:08]
So maybe that works on their behalf. On the other hand, it does show that Comey took these meticulous notes and was probably telling the truth about it. The White House thinks he's discredited. I don't think he's discredited.
BIANCHI: That's a great point. He took those notes because he was concerned about the nature of the influence over the investigation.
I do believe there are things there when taken amongst other things. There could be a potential collusion there. But the bottom line that I'm really disappointed in is that Comey wrote the book, because no matter how you look at it, I think he gave the pro-Trump people an opportunity to say there's this close connection between Comey and Mueller, there's all this animus that he puts in there about Trump and his body and how he looks and so on and so forth.
And you can be assured Mueller is not happy about the Comey book. And he's not happy in any lawsuit that his cooperating witnesses can be dragged into, i.e., the DNC lawsuit that was filed. Each side gains something and each side loses something.
BORGER: And I have another question. And maybe you can answer this.
BORGER: Mueller had no objection to releasing these memos. Is that telling to you?
BALDWIN: That he would be like, get it out there?
BORGER: That the special counsel would say, fine, release these memos?
BIANCHI: Yes. I don't think -- I think it is odd because he's been very tight to the vest with regard to this investigation. I know myself, personally, I don't want any data out there because it can influence other witnesses. And that's a full stop on that as far as an investigation.
BALDWIN: Bob and Gloria, thank you so much for that.
Next here: New tapes emerge of President Trump's alter ego, John Barron. You have to hear these audio recordings of what he told this reporter. Dug it up from the '80s to try to get on the richest list on "Forbes"' list.
Also ahead, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins the president's legal team. Hear what Giuliani says he was hired to do. And we have been watching students all across this country walk out of
class today to protest gun violence. This comes 19 years to the day after Columbine. The daughter of a teacher who was killed in that school shooting nearly a decade ago joins me live.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
BALDWIN: The president is certainly no stranger to "Forbes" magazine.
But now new reporting indicates that President Trump may have lied and tricked his way into "Forbes"' annual list of richest Americans decades ago.
This former "Forbes" reporting is now revealing these audiotapes from 1984 of what he says was then private citizen Donald Trump, businessman Donald Trump posing as this alter ego, John Barron.
Listen for yourself.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JONATHAN GREENBERG, REPORTER: OK. What's your first name, by the way?
"JOHN BARRON," POSSIBLE ALIAS OF DONALD TRUMP: John.
BARRON: John Barron.
Well, let me tell you what the deal is, just so you understand.
BARRON: Mr. Trump -- first of all, most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump, because you have down Fred Trump.
And I would like to talk to you off the record, if I can, just to make your thing easier.
GREENBERG: OK. Sure.
BARRON: Is that all right?
GREENBERG: Yes, that's fine.
BARRON: All right.
But I think you can really use Donald Trump now. And you can just consolidate it. I think, last year, somebody showed me the article.
And think you had 200 and 200. And it's been pretty well consolidated now for the most part.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BALDWIN: This isn't the first time Trump has been accused of speaking to the media while using an alias. In fact, during the campaign, we heard 90s era tapes of a man calling himself John Miller speaking on behalf of Donald Trump.
And this is what he told Jimmy Kimmel when he was a candidate at that time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE")
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To me, that didn't sound like my voice.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": It didn't. Well, nobody sounds like themselves when they hear themselves. You go, oh, that's me.
But, to me, it sounded just like you.
TRUMP: Really? Is that right?
TRUMP: Thirty years? Thirty years?
KIMMEL: And if it was you, I think it was a very funny thing to do, to call a guy and take him through the ringer like that.
TRUMP: Well, you know, over the years, I have used aliases.
KIMMEL: What names did you use?
TRUMP: I would use -- I actually used the name Barron.
KIMMEL: Barron, right.
TRUMP: And I ended up using my son, because I made a very good deal using that name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's start there.
Barbara Res is back with us, a former executive vice president of the Trump Organization who was first hired by Donald Trump to help build Trump Tower. Also with me, Jeff Ballabon. He's a member of Donald J. Trump for President Advisory Board.
And, so, welcome. Nice to see both of you. Welcome back to both of you. Jeff, just first to you, so we're all on the same page moving forward in the conversation, when you hear that voice, John Barron, is that Donald Trump?
JEFF BALLABON, MEMBER, TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT ADVISORY BOARD: I don't know if it is. I'm not going to say it doesn't sound like it could be him. It certainly sounds that it could be him, but I don't have any personal knowledge that it is or isn't him, obviously.
BALDWIN: Barbara, what do you think?
BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, you didn't ask if we had personal knowledge. It sounds just like him. I'm sure it's him.
BALDWIN: You're sure it's him.
BALDWIN: You were working for Trump when these recordings were made in the '80s.
BALDWIN: Tell me about your boss at that time and your impression of what he was saying on those recordings.
RES: We were aware of John Barron because I had heard him actually be John Barron on the phone with "New York Magazine" once.
BALDWIN: Were you in the room with Trump as he was being John Barron?
RES: Yes, I was. Yes.
BALDWIN: You were?
RES: Quite a while ago. That was with "New York Magazine."
We became aware of the "Forbes" issue with the Forbes 400 or whatever it was around 1982 or '83. And I remember Donald saying, President Trump saying that it's not true, they have me much too low, I'm worth much more than that.
And we would sort of laugh, because we all had the impression that he was worth significantly less than that. And I even thought maybe he had some kind of an in at the magazine, at "Forbes" magazine, to make him look richer than he actually was.
So, none of it surprises me. The article was very interesting.
BALDWIN: Just staying with you, so if you were in the room and you heard him being John Barron on the phone, there was this transparency at least within the Trump Organization that your boss was calling up people using aliases?
[15:20:02] RES: Many of us knew that, yes.
BALDWIN: Many -- the obvious follow-up is, that is -- it's deceitful, lying, if he's, based upon this reporting, inflating property, money.
It's a pattern of behavior that is at the very least unacceptable. You agree?
BALLABON: Well, look, if you read the article -- and I'm sure you did read the article.
BALDWIN: Of course.
BALLABON: It's a great article by a guy who says, my job was to figure out how much people were worth.
There is very little visibility into what real estate people are worth. Everyone is jockeying for position. Everyone is calling up. People are spinning me right and left.
This seems to have one of those calls. I don't care. I'll tell you what I care about. The argument here is that Donald Trump was worth less money than he claimed he was. Right?
What I remember was, during the campaign, people argued on the other side, oh, silver spoon, he was given all the money in the world beforehand.
Turns out, let's say this is true, and he had less money. He's a bigger made self-success. Great. What is the big deal? I think it's fantastic.
BALDWIN: Why are you laughing?
RES: I'm sorry.
BALDWIN: Why are you laughing?
RES: Because it's hard to be self-made when you're a very, very rich person starting out. It's just hard to...
BALLABON: But they just said he wasn't a very, very rich person.
BALLABON: The article says that.
RES: The article says he's not one of the top 400. That's it.
BALLABON: No, the article said that they think he might be worth even less than $5 million, which would not be the standard of a super rich or mega rich, certainly not anywhere near what people were arguing during the campaign. BALDWIN: If he is willing -- based upon this reporting, if he's willing to lie about what he had to try to get on this "Forbes" list, it leads one to wonder, what else is he willing to lie about?
BALLABON: Well, no, the argument is not -- that someone had said -- the argument is that, if it's him, he dissembled his voice.
It's not clear that he misrepresented the facts. Maybe the fact.
BALDWIN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
BALDWIN: Hang on.
Claim number one, it was he, not his father, who possess 83 percent of the 23,000 apartments he said they had in the three different boroughs worth 40 grand a piece. That claim later debunked by this reporter, estimating apartments to be worth about $9,000.
Claim two, that Trump owned about 25,000 units. Debunked.
BALLABON: That's not what the article says.
BALDWIN: Yes, it does.
BALLABON: No, the article says that -- no, he gave his valuation. It's competing valuation.
It's not a lie. They give their evaluation. He's disagreeing with the valuation. It's not remotely a lie.
The article was very clear that it's difficult to value these things. And they decided to give this valuation...
BALDWIN: The reporter went back and debunked what he was told. You don't call that a lie?
BALLABON: The question is whether this man is -- whether Donald Trump was representing himself as someone else. That is interesting question.
The question of whether he's misrepresenting the amount of money he or his family owns or what he controlled and the value of the apartments, the reporter is trying to go back and recalculate or say what he's recalculating.
It's not at all clear he was lying. It could be that Donald Trump, if this is Donald Trump, was actually more accurately representing than what the reporter had.
BALDWIN: You were there. You were there.
BALDWIN: Tell us about the man. Tell us about -- did he speak in truth?
RES: He was all about hyperbole.
Whatever apartment we sold, we sold for it a million. No, he said we sold for $2 million. We did very well on Trump Tower. And we had a good purchasing operation going on before we were built out.
But he would say that we were 100 percent sold out or 75 percent sold out, when we were like 40 percent sold out.
BALDWIN: And did anyone around him say, sir, why are you exaggerating these numbers? If it's already seen as a success, the truth, why make it bigger than what it was?
RES: It was just his nature. Everything had to be the best. It was all about the absolute best.
He was a megalomaniac. It wasn't good or even very good.
And as far as the apartments were concerned -- and he -- I believe that they established there were only about 9,000 or 10,000 of them.
BALDWIN: Nine thousand.
RES: And as far as owning half of it or 90 percent of it, when Fred died, he had his entire estate intact, and he passed it on to his children.
So, this was all mistruths, if you want to say.
Jeff and Barbara, we got to go.
BALDWIN: I have a feeling we will keep talking during the commercial break about this. Thank you two so very much on that.
Coming up next, speaking of the president, he calls up his former divorce attorney for advice, gets a warning about his personal attorney Michael Cohen -- why he thinks Cohen may lie to investigators about the president.
BALDWIN: The legal team for President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen looking to delay the Stormy Daniels lawsuit.
Cohen's team citing the possibility that he could be indicted soon in another case. This is all coming as Trump's former divorce attorney warns that Cohen could cooperate with federal prosecutors in order to avoid possible time in prison.
Here is what Jay Goldberg told Erin Burnett.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY GOLDBERG, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: There we go.
And Erin is with me now.
So, if this whole concern is about Cohen flipping, right, to avoid any sort of prison time, but he says not because Trump thinks Cohen will tell the truth.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": Yes.
I mean, it was a -- that was a pretty incredible thing, right? He's saying -- he's not talking about flipping. He's like, flipping is when a witness flips against someone else and tells the truth about them.