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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Report: Russian Lawyer: "I Am a Russian Informant;" Backlash Over the Firing of the House Chaplain; NRA Faces Scrutiny Over Links to Russian Banker; Stormy Daniels' Attorney Wrote NDA, Not Michael Cohen; Judge Orders 90-Day Delay In Stormy Daniels' Case; Trump's Personal Attorney Under Pressure As Legal Fees Pile Up; Lawyer At Trump Tower Meeting Says She's Kremlin "Informant;" Dr. Gupta: Marijuana Could Help Solve Opioid Epidemic. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 27, 2018 - 19:00 ET
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I'm Jim Acosta. Thanks very much for watching. Have a great weekend. "ERIN BURNETT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, a bombshell admission. The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. in Trump Tower Admits she's a Russian informant. This, as Republicans released reports saying Trump didn't do anything wrong.
Plus breaking news, the NRA facing questions about its ties to a Russian banker who's a lifetime NRA member. Was the organization illegally funneling money to help Trump?
Also breaking tonight, Stormy Daniels' case against the president on hold tonight. What this means for the president and his personal lawyer?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the Kremlin connection. The Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Clinton to the Trump campaign worked with Vladimir Putin's Kremlin.
The New York Times reporting that e-mails showed the link, a Natalia Veselnitskaya, that's the lawyer is admitting it tonight. Here she is talking to NBC's Richard Engel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, RUSSIAN INFORMANT (through translator): I am a lawyer and I am an informant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I am an informant. Let's just let that sink in for a second. The Russian lawyer at the center of that controversial Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the woman you see there is admitting tonight she worked with Putin's Kremlin. No, she wasn't just a Russian who wanted to change U.S. adoption law and yes, this was a lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VESELNITSKAYA (through translator): I'm certainly flattered by being mocked and called as a government attorney, but I have never worked for the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A lie that may be, but Veselnitskaya's denial is now part of the official American record. Today, the House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee released this, 253 pages. And it is their report of what happened in the Russia investigation.
In this, Veselnitskaya's meeting is glossed over, chalked up to simply poor judgment. The Republicn conclusion after 253 pages, quote, while the committee found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated or conspired with the Russian Government, the investigation did find poor judgment and ill considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns.
So, just poor judgment enough to go around to everybody. Of course President Trump is applauding the Republican conclusion on Twitter calling all investigations into witch hunts and saying this while sitting next to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were honored, it was a great report. No collusion which I know anyway. No coordination, no nothing. It's a witch hunt, that's all it is. There was no collusion with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now of course, the House Intelligence Committee has had some serious problems, right? So Democrats and Republican. This is the Republican, 253 pages, Democrats released their own 98-paged rebuttal of these 253 pages. A whole lot of paper.
Now, the Democrats say that the committee did not fully investigate connections between Trump associates and the Kremlin. And here's the thing, on this major development tonight with the Russian lawyer admitting that she's a Putin informant, the Republican who led the Russia investigation for the House Intelligence Committee, the man who oversaw this 253 pages, he says he had no idea.
Congressman Mike Conaway telling our Manu Raju when he asked, did you know, did you know that she was an informant for the Russians, he said, quote, not that I recall, that's new information. That's his quote.
New information. So does this bother Conaway? Is he going to do something about it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Is it troubling to you in any way that she was a Russian informant and had a meeting with senior level of Trump campaign officials in 2016?
REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R), TEXAS: No. Because that's now how she presented herself and there's no evidence that she acted on that.
RAJU: Does that require any further investigation from the committee, do you think?
CONAWAY: Not in my perspective.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, so someone admits to being an informant for Vladimir Putin's Kremlin and meeting with the campaign chairman, the son and the top adviser for the Trump campaign and I guess it's not worth anything.
Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT in Washington, and Jim, you have more breaking news on this Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. Veselnitskaya, who, now has identified herself an informant for the Russian Government. We are now learning that she followed up with the Trump campaign after -- just days after in fact Trump's election. You remember that the Trump campaign, Trump himself has said repeatedly there was no follow up to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. In fact, I spoke today with the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. Here's what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Yes. Veselnitskaya reaches back to the Trump family right after the election saying we want to follow up now on this request we have on the Magnitsky Act.
[19:05:03] So clearly, there's an expectation there on the Russian side that they may now have success with the Magnitsky Act. Given that the prior meeting in communications dealt with the offer of help and the request on the Russian part for the repeal of the Magnitsky. It certainly seems like the Russians were ready for pay back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: The Magnitsky Act of course set some very serious financial penalties and a lot of very rich people in Russia tied to Vladimir Putin. The implication Adam Schiff says that this was the quid pro quo. We offered you dirt on Hillary Clinton, now you've been elected. What are you going to do me?
And let me tell you this, Erin as well. It was not just the Russian lawyer, in fact, the it was two other Russians involved in setting up that Trump Tower meeting. A Russian father and son, very wealthy pair connected to Trump who've been with him many times, communicating with him many times. They reached out within days of Trump's election as well including an e-mail show this discussing potential business deals in Russia.
These are the kinds of questions belie the original Trump explanation that there was no follow up to that Trump Tower meeting. In fact, they show there was follow up.
BURNETT: Follow up and I think, you know, regardless of your political persuasion, I think everybody could agree. If anyone pursued that on the Trump's side, it would be at the very least inappropriate at the most. Much worse than that.
Jim, thank you very much.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
BURNETT: And now, Congressman Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman, thanks for your time tonight.
So, you know, the Republicans on the House Intel Committee, you know, your colleagues over there, they come out with this 253-paged report, the Democrats with a nearly 100-page rebuttal. You heard the president, you know, applaud the Republican version and he tweeted about it as well today saying quote, just out, House Intelligence Committee report released no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with Russia. Clinton campaign paid for opposition research obtained from Russia. Wow. A total witch hunt. Must end now.
How do you hear that? Must end now. Is this a some kind of code to Bob Mueller or is this just, you know, the words that came to his head? What is it?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Well, I don't know. I certainly hope it's not a code to Bob Mueller. I mean, this complete partisan whitewash by the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee just shows more so why we need an honest report by Mueller.
I mean, just the fact that they were relying on this informant and that they characterized -- the Republican report characterizes a meeting in which the president's son, campaign manager, and son-in-law meet with the Russian agent and tell her yes, we want information to help the campaign, information that is part of the Russian Government's attempt to influence the election on behalf of Trump which they had just been told by her that it was. We want this information.
It shows that there is at least attempted collusion, at least -- I would say attempted criminal conspiracy. Now, I heard Congressman Conaway say, well, there was no follow up. Well, we don't know that there was no follow up. In fact, apparently, there was follow up because --
BURNETT: But you go as far as attempted criminal conspiracy.
NADLER: Well, it certainly seems that way. I'm not going to say that is a definite charge but that's what it looks like. And certainly it's got to be investigated by an impartial investigator and that's why we have the Mueller investigation.
BURNETT: Here's the thing. You know, it was a year of investigation, now you have the Democrats and Republicans on that committee, obviously, they've all admitted to be dysfunctional and not working at all. It came out with these two reports today, 253 pages by Republicans, 98 by the Democrats. And then, you know, look, there so many reductions to make it a joke, honestly.
I mean, here's page 24. All right, and then -- well, here, I have another one, this is page 24. OK --
NADLER: Very informative.
BURNETT: Yes. All right, so informative. You know -- but in all seriousness, with all these reductions, the ultimate question is, was this, a waste of time, all of this?
NADLER: Well, I think the Republicans on the Intelligence Committee made that a waste of time because they did not conduct an honest investigation. They did everything they could to avoid an honest investigation. And the Democratic report shows -- I mean, they can't reach definite conclusions, but they show repeatedly whether Republicans refused to follow with witnesses, refused to get the right -- you know, get witnesses in who had real information. Refused to follow up.
I mean, this is a, hear no evil, see no evil report. And again, it just shows why we need a fair, impartial investigation, which we have. And I -- from the Mueller investigation --
BURNETT: Mueller, right.
NADLER: And I am just afraid that the president will use this whitewash as an excuse to try to shut down the Mueller investigation and deny the country an honest accounting.
BURNETT: Does Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who at -- was at the center of this meeting, that her admission, which by the way she had said the opposite before, right. She's indicated that to the House Intel. She's indicated that in an interview.
She now admits she's an informant for Putin. You know, whatever whitewash word we want to use for the fact that she was an agent.
[19:10:04] Does this matter or does this change anything?
NADLER: Well, it just increases the evidence that we have that the -- of the collusion with the Russians on a very serious basis. We could have figured out, and we assumed, many of us that she was in fact acting for the government, and we know also that that meeting, just that meeting in particular, we know the White House lied about the contents. The president personally lied about when he said it was about adoptions on that famous -- when they wrote that report on Air Force One.
We know now, what we've said for a long time that this -- they would -- that the obvious quid pro quo that they wanted was to get rid of the -- was to help Trump and in return, get rid of the sanctions and they apparently followed up on that.
BURNETT: So when Conaway, you know, obviously who is, you know, technically leading the Russia investigation over at the House even though Nunes is the one who, you know, really oversaw this memo but, again, I guest semantics. Conaway said that she presented herself as not a Russian agent so nothing to see here, and from his perspective --
NADLER: So of course we always believe --
BURNETT: -- there's nothing more to see.
NADLER: -- Russian agents when they say they're not Russian agents.
BURNETT: Yes, I mean, do you think though -- I guess the big question is -- I mean, putting aside the fact that he doesn't think it's worthy of looking into. Do you have any evidence, Congressman, that the Trump campaign was aware of her role? That it was not just a Russian lawyer.
NADLER: Well, whether she was a Russian lawyer or an informant, she told and the Agalarovs, the other Russians who were there, told the Trump campaign at the meeting that they wanted to give the campaign information on Hillary Clinton, that presumably they come upon dishonestly because there was no honest way of getting it --
NADLER: -- that would help the Trump campaign and that was part of the Russian Government's attempt to help the Trump campaign. That's what they told the campaign. And the Trump campaign, at least the people in that meeting said yes, we want that information. We want you to help our campaign.
BURNETT: Congressman, I want one more thing just to ask you quickly. A lot of anger, Democrats and Republicans at the house speaker for essentially firing the House chaplain. According to a person who attended the GOP conference today, Ryan basically said he got rid of him based on member feedback about pastoral care. Do you know why he was fired?
NADLER: No. We don't know. There is speculation that it's because he said in a sermon on the say we adapted or considered the tax bill, that we should be fair to everybody, and that I would assume that that shouldn't be controversial. People's judgments of what is fair are different but -- that we should be fair is not controversial but apparently that was. But I've no idea, and the fact is, it's a disgrace. He is a very well respected chaplain and, you know, the new speaker whether it's a Republican or a Democrat, hopefully be Nancy Pelosi in January, will recommend someone, and it may be him or maybe somebody else and the House will elect a new spea -- a new chaplain.
To fire the chaplain, is unheard of and unprecedented as far as I know.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Congressman. I appreciate your time.
NADLER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, a CNN exclusive. The NRA, a Russian banker, and allegations of a back-channel between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Plus, Michael Cohen's weak spot. How much longer can the president's personal lawyer afford to keep quiet?
And what do Stormy Daniels, Hulk Hogan and a GOP fundraiser have in common? Well, it's something pretty important.
[19:17:11] BURNETT: Breaking news, the NRA under scrutiny tonight for its ties to a Russian banker, who, get ready, is a lifetime NRA member. OK.
The FBI has reportedly been looking into whether Alexander Torshin funneled money to the NRA to help the Trump campaign. That was like a bazooka. And using his ties to then try to create a back-channel between the Trump campaign and, you see him, Putin's Russia.
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT. And Sara, it's pretty incredible here when you look at these ties, that a Russian who's a lifetime member of the NRA, first of all, most people go huh, right there. And then there's this possible funneling of money and back-channel. What are you hearing about this?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly very bizarre relationship. And the NRA publicly has insisted they have not heard from the FBI, they've insisted they did not accept any illegal donations. But sources are telling me there is real anxiety among NRA officials about the potential for an investigation about -- and about this long standing relationship they have had with Alexander Torshn, this Russian banker, and that the NRA has even gone so far as to begin gathering documents going back years about the various interactions between the NRA and Alexander Torshin as well as one of Torshin's associates, Maria Butina who started this gun rights group in Russia. And this really is a year long relationship going back.
Torshin built these inroads with the NRA in a 2016 world around (ph) he tried to use those NRA connections and his associates to try to cultivate a back-channel with the Kremlin. At one point, one of Torshin's associates reaches out to the Trump campaign and says Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump. They were trying to set up this meeting between then candidate Donald Trump and Torshin on the sidelines of an NRA annual meeting in Louisville.
Now, that meeting never came to fruition, but we do know that Torshin managed to meet briefly with Donald Trump Jr.
BURNETT: All right, Don Jr. and obviously a crucial player in all of this as well as that meeting at Trump Tower. Thank you very much, Sara.
And now let's go to "The New York Times" Columnist Frank Bruni, and White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan.
So Frank, you heard Sara's reporting, right?
FRANK BRUNI, OP-ED COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes.
BURNETT: All right, here's the thing. I mean, am I alone in sharing shock here. I don't -- I did not know that a Russian citizen could be a lifelong member of the NRA.
BRUNI: It's pretty serious, right? I mean -- and her story which is fascinating also reminded us all something that I've forgotten which is, the NRA spent $30 million in the service of electing Donald Trump, you know, in support of Donald Trump. And that was more than they spent in 2008 and 2012 combined.
So we know that. And we know that this banker, Torshin, is trying desperately through NRA channels the make some sort of contact with the Trump campaign. It's hard to believe investigators won't look carefully at the NRA and these donations because when you add all of that up, it really looks odd.
[19:20:01] BURNETT: I mean, it looks incredibly odd, April. Because you've got someone who is giving -- you're not allowed as someone who is not a citizen of the United States to be donating money to U.S. political campaigns. So if you're giving money to the NRA who is then funneling it to Trump campaign, this opens up a Pandora's Box, doesn't it?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: It does. It does. It really does.
But you have to think about it. If Russia is really trying to influence the election process and influence our democracy, they're going to try in every avenue. And if you think about it, I think back to the George W. Bush years and how people were so afraid that the NRA would actually have its own office in the W White House.
I mean, the NRA is a major player in the Republican Party so why not? If indeed they're trying to get in, not just go to the son but go to the other players to see where they can get in.
RYAN: It makes sense in an odd kind of way.
BURNETT: I mean -- and Frank, here's the thing. You know, Sara is talking about this, a conservative activist who was reaching out, you know, on behalf of Torshin. He said his goal was, quote, to cultivate a back-channel to President Putin's Kremlin.
By the way, that's something we've heard with other players there --
BRUNI: Again and again.
BURNETT: -- when it comes to meetings and the (INAUDIBLE) with their friends, we got this whole back-channel concept. And this activist added Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump.
BURNETT: Now they don't get the sideline meeting with Donald Trump himself.
BURNETT: They do get it from, you know, the kind of major gun activist in the family, Donald Trump Jr.
BRUNI: Donald Trump Jr., yes.
BURNETT: Who also is of course at that meeting in Trump Tower with Natalia Veselnitskaya.
BRUNI: Yes, yes, who's all over this. And, it's really interesting the story, and I want to build on something April said, we think because we talk about collusion.
BRUNI: That whatever contact or influence happening with some -- like exchange of money in a dark room, or exchange of documents. There are so many different ways a foreign actor can try to exert influence over U.S. election. And this is an illustration of one of the sort of oblique indirect ways. We don't know what happened here, but if someone is trying to exert influence in a way that is just under the radar, this is one of the ways they might try to do it.
BURNETT: So, April, I'm trying to understand here, look, the House Intelligence Committee is dysfunctional, and that's a kind word, and I'm not saying that out of turn. Every Republican and Democrat who's staying on that committee agrees, OK.
But we know that Conaway who's in--charge of the Russia investigation said that if Natalia Veselnitskaya has says she's a Russian informant, it's news to him, but he doesn't think it's worthwhile of revisiting in any way, shape, or form. And now, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat of the committee says to our Jim Sciutto that the Republicans are not trying to investigate this whole NRA situation. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: Here you have in black and white evidence that there was an effort by the Russians to use the NRA as their channel, one of their channels to the Trump campaign. There were witnesses with direct knowledge regarding those allegations that we sought to bring in and the Republicans refused.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is that all politics, April, or is there truth in it? And if so, why would they refuse?
RYAN: It's about the numbers. The numbers of those who still support this president, who is strong and supporting the president. And many of those who are supporting the president are in their districts. I'm speaking about the Republicans.
Now, think about this. Just this week, you know, we saw Diamond and Silk on the Hill testifying. And Republicans brought them in, and they basically brought them in for Facebook because they shut down all that conversation about Cambridge Analytica.
So this is getting really sticky and crazy. They do not want to deal with this issue. But when you have something in your face that you cannot ignore, yes, you may have touched it before but you're getting new information, you may have to revisit it. And God forbid something else comes out where it makes it, it comes to a worse life than what is already is. They would definitely have to reopen it and also have to take that tongue lashing from public opinion. Saying why didn't you deal with it then.
So there's a lot of ifs out there. But this story continues to grow and leaps and bounds in different ways.
BURNETT: It sure does. And yet, hey, we got a conclusion. We got a conclusion here, 253 pages of it.
All right, thank you both.
And next, the judge pushing the pause button on the Stormy Daniels case. What does a three month hold mean? We have new details tonight about that hush agreement signed by the porn star. Some pretty incredible coincidences.
And Steve Bannon coming out of the same hotel where Michael Cohen is staying today. Things that make you do, hmm.
[19:28:02] BURNETT: Breaking news, the judge in Stormy Daniels case against President Trump and Michael Cohen has ordered a 90-day delay. Now this was requested by Cohen. OK, it matters and it comes as CNN is learning new details tonight about that non-disclosure agreement which Stormy Daniels signed, that's raising serious questions about how that deal was done.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What do porn star Stormy Daniels, former wrestler Hulk Hogan, and former deputy finance chairman of the RNC, Elliott Broidy have in common? CNN has learned they all signed almost identical confidentiality agreements written by the same Beverly Hills based attorney, Keith Davidson.
In 2012, Davidson tried to broker a deal between Hulk Hogan and someone trying to make money of his sex tape, showing Hogan having sex with his friend's wife. Davidson wrote the confidential settlement agreement saying the sex video would be handed over for $300,000. Hogan's attorney called the FBI and Davidson was caught up in an FBI raid accused of extortion. He was questioned but never charged.
Four years later, Davidson used that same document as a template for the Stormy Daniels deal, a source tells CNN. The wording in most of it is identical. That means the president's attorney, Michael Cohen did not write the hush agreement as previously believed.
JUDD BURNSTEIN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: If Keith Davidson drafted this document for Stormy Daniels, that's an outrage. Because this is such a one sided agreement.
SIDNER (voice-over): Judd Burnstein, a New York lawyer who briefly represented Donald Trump said, Davidson crafting the agreement is an unusual move.
BURNSTEIN: If you're the lawyer representing the person who is being asked to provide confidentiality, your goal is to make and to write an agreement that has as many holes as possible to protect your client. Your goal is not to lock up your client.
SIDNER (voice-over): Part of the deal says Stormy Daniels can be fined $1 million for each time she talks about the alleged affair with the president. Davidson also wrote the hush agreement signed by a former Playboy model he represented who accused a major GOP donor was getting her pregnant.
Then RNC Deputy Finance Chairman Elliott Broidy agreed to pay her $1.6 million. His lawyer in the deal was Michael Cohen. In a statement, Broidy revealed more about the situation saying the woman terminated the pregnancy. The woman's current attorney, Peter Stris, said none of this should have ever been exposed to the public.
(on camera): Can you say definitively that this was not your client leaking this information?
PETER STRIS, PARTNER, STRIS AND MAHER: My client did not leak this information. My client was not involved in the leaking of this information. My client could not be more upset that her personal life in this regard has been made public in any way.
SIDNER: And legal scholars have told us that the person demanding the silence is usually the side that drafts the deal because they want to make sure the deal is airtight. That didn't happen in this case. But conversely, the attorney who has the client who's being silenced usually would be giving up a lot if they draft the agreement. They would put themselves in a difficult negotiating position, Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Sara, thank you. And I want to go now to Harry Sandick, who is back with me, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District.
OK. So, why would Michael Cohen, who's sensibly representing Donald Trump here, allow Stormy Daniels' attorney to write that agreement? You heard Sara said that. This is not the way that this would ever be done.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: And it's not the way it's typically done. I can think of two possible reasons and there could be others. One possible reason is that the bargaining power that the women had was so great that their lawyer said, "We're going to do it on my terms." And that Michael Cohen and his client simply had to go along.
Another possibility is that Davidson, he's a very experienced lawyer it seems in this particular area of practice said, "Let's use my model." And Michael Cohen just went along with it not realizing the significance of that decision.
BURNETT: So on one, if a lawyer either being lazy or not very competent. And on the other, it is a lawyer who doesn't have any leverage. We don't know which it is, but let's go with the lack of leverage situation.
BURNETT: In the case of Stormy Daniels, obviously that sort of begs the question of the timing here.
SANDICK: That's right.
BURNETT: The timing of this was right before the election.
SANDICK: That's right.
BURNETT: She had a lot of leverage.
SANDICK: These are my terms. Take these terms if you want me to remain silent at this time, close to the election. So that's definitely a possible inference you can draw from what happened.
BURNETT: OK. So now Sara's reporting that you don't just have Stormy Daniels NDA that would -- it's identical basically to --
BURNETT: -- others NDAs done by Keith Davidson, who by the way represented multiple women who had agreements with Donald Trump, but also Elliott Broidy, right, who paid $1.6 million to the Playmate to get the abortion and Hulk Hogan. These NDAs are all identical.
BURNETT: So what's that say?
SANDICK: What it says is that Davidson has a form and that if he can get other people to use his form, he's going to do that. It's not surprising in and of itself for a lawyer to have a form agreement that they like. But as the lawyer, Judd Burstein said in the clip, the ability to get people to sign on to this agreement when they are paying you for confidentiality is very unusual.
BURNETT: And what do you make of this, that Davidson and Cohen did so many deals together, right? It's not just Stormy Daniels.
SANDICK: You know, I think part of it is that it seems as if Davidson has a niche in this area and people think that he is someone --
BURNETT: Right. So we knew that clients are calling him or Cohen and people --
SANDICK: He's referring to them.
BURNETT: -- referring to Trump who know that Davidson is going to kind of give them a good deal --
SANDICK: That is right.
BURNETT: -- are telling, you know, every woman who has some sort of a sexual relationship with Trump to go to Davidson.
SANDICK: That's possible, too, and it may well be in the search warrant documents or in the tape recorded conversations that the Southern District collected in the search warrant. We may find the answer to that question.
BURNETT: It's going to take a little time, though, because we now have a 90-day delay because Cohen has a criminal case that basically saying, "OK, you got to go ahead. You're going to have a time to deal with that."
SANDICK: That's right.
BURNETT: Stormy is going to wait.
SANDICK: That's right. This is I think a small measure of good news for Michael Cohen. He was being put in a position where he would have to either testify in the deposition and potentially admit the things that could be used against him in the Southern District or refuse to testify and vote the Fifth Amendment as he said he was prepared to do --
SANDICK: -- in which case he would probably lose the civil case, because it's very hard if you are a part in the civil case to win if you're refusing to testify on the grounds of self-incrimination. So this buys him some sometime. 90 days to try to work things out here with the federal prosecutors and then hope that there's some road to victory in California.
BURNETT: Harry, thank you, as always.
And next, is there a price on Michael Cohen's loyalty? New questions tonight on how much longer the President's personal attorney can afford to stay quiet, wait until you see the numbers and the jacket.
And more on the Russian lawyer at the Trump Tower meeting who now admits she is a Kremlin informant, a man who knows her well has been sounding the alarm about her Kremlin ties. An enemy number one of Vladimir Putin joins me next.
[19:38:53] BURNETT: Tonight, a notable sighting outside Michael Cohen's hotel in New York City.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, brother. How you doing, man? Make America Great Again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Yes, that was Steve Bannon and he was leaving the Regency Hotel. That, of course, is where Michael Cohen is staying because his apartment a block or two away had some water problem.
A source close to Bannon says he wasn't meeting with Cohen. But the reality is the legal pressure on Cohen is mounting and the crucial question is will Cohen turn on Trump. And a major factor that could influence this decision is Cohen's personal finances. So what do they look like? Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the days since the FBI raided Michael Cohen's home, hotel room and office --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you feeling today?
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: I feel great.
GINGRAS (voice-over): -- the so-called fixer to the President has been seen lunching at Barney's luxury department store, sometimes sporting this jacket reportedly priced at roughly $3,000 and staying at the Loews Regency Hotel, where suites cost nearly $1,000 a night and where he's been spotted driving a high-end Mercedes-Benz. This as legal fees pile up because Cohen remains under criminal investigation by the federal government.
[19:40:05] That investigation has installed income from his legal and consulting work. Squire Patton Boggs, the law firm where Cohen kept an office quickly cut ties with him after the raid. He recently told the judge in the case that he only had three clients, including Fox's Sean Hannity, who says he never paid him, and Trump. Thursday, the President distanced himself from doing much business with Cohen.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tiny, tiny little fraction.
GINGRAS (voice-over): The President telling Fox News that Cohen represented him in that "Crazy Stormy Daniels deal." Daniels alleges she had an affair with Trump and Cohen admits to borrowing money from his home equity line in 2016 to make $130,000 hush payment to her, which the President denied knowing about.
Cohen and his wife of Ukrainian descent, Laura, do own taxi companies and medallions in both New York and Chicago, but their values plummeted, thanks to ride sharing programs like Uber.
In 2014, Cohen's more than two dozen New York taxi medallions would have been worth about $1 million each. Last month, city records showed medallion sold them for closure at an average of about $355,000 apiece. Cohen is behind on paying more than $85,000 in taxes on his New York cab businesses according to state warrants filed on Cohen's Shell companies since 2017.
Even still as recently as 2014, the couple used the medallions as collateral to take out several loans accord to a CNN review of financial records. As for real estate, that's where Cohen may be making money.
He owes a percentage of an Upper East Side high-rise, the entirety of a downtown building and a Tony Park Avenue home. That's on top of lucrative investments he's made into real estates like once owning then selling a condo at Trump World Tower. But with financial pressure mounting, the big question remains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of talk about and you flipping any possibilities for that?
GINGRAS (voice-over): An answer we may only know as federal investigators file criminal charges.
BURNETT: So you know, Brynn, when you look at this, right, you have all kind of issues and loans, but then you have real estate that could be very valuable. I mean, what else are you learning about the extent of his wealth and sources of income he may have?
GINGRAS: Yes. We really don't know what's going in and out at this point. The entire picture is sort of still very vague. And, of course, this is what something investigators are looking into along with his business practices with the federal probe, of course.
What we do know according to the Trump organization is they're not paying him. So he's not getting income from them, of course, that's from them. If you remember, he left the Trump organization after he became resident, right? BURNETT: Right.
GINGRAS: Let's see in the future.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brynn.
And next, just how close to the Kremlin was the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort? So a man who knows her and is a target of Putin is my guest, OUTFRONT next.
And then Dr. Sanjay Gupta on how marijuana could be, could be, a solution for opioid addiction.
[19:46:50] BURNETT: New tonight, the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort in Trump Tower promising dirt on Hillary Clinton now admit she is an informant for the Russian government, which means Natalia Veselnitskaya lied when she told NBC News last year that she was just a private attorney with no government ties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, RUSSIAN LAWYER (through translator): I'm an independent. I am a lawyer and an independent.
I'm certainly flattered by being mocked and called of the government attorney, but I have never worked for the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. So obviously this was today at the beginning and then that was then. Obviously that was not true. OUTFRONT now, the CEO of Hermitage Capital, Bill Browder. He's been called Putin's number one enemy, at one time was the biggest foreign investor in Russia before he was blacklisted if you about the Magnitsky Act that the center of this bill is at the center of that.
So let's get straight to this Trump Tower meeting. You came on the show right after it. You said it was very clear that Veselnitskaya was acting as a proxy for the Russian government and for Vladimir Putin, that she was an agent. Tonight she said, "I was an informant," which by the way exposes what she said before is a complete lie. But you say informant is false.
BILL BROWDER, KNOWS RUSSIAN LAWYER NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA: So what do we know for sure, we know that -- and this comes now from the documents that have come out in the last 24 hours is that the U.S. government applied officially to the Russian government for mutual legal assistance request and who filled out all of the forms for the Russian government, none other than Natalia Veselnitskaya. She is --
BURNETT: So not only an informant, she was working --
BROWDER: She was working -- BURNETT: -- formally for the Russian government.
BROWDER: I don't know if she has a Russian government business card, but she was producing all the documents that went back to the U.S. government, which were actually also lying documents about all sorts of stuff.
But the fact that -- she calls her -- point herself an informant sort of only halfway there. I mean she was an agent of the Russian government. She's an agent of Vladimir Putin. And when she went to Trump Tower, she went there on behalf of Vladimir Putin.
BURNETT: On behalf of Vladimir Putin. So when you say agent, we're talking full on spy, full on agent. That's it, the full monty.
BROWDER: That's it, "The Full Monty."
BURNETT: OK. So why did she lie before and then not now? Because she got outed as working on all of these documents on top of the Russian government that's basically why she had to admit she lied?
BROWDER: Well, she just lies a lot. In this particular case, I think she thinks that by calling herself an informant is less damming than when the truth finally comes out about this whole thing, which is that she's a full on agent. And so she's just trying to get ahead of the story as best one can in an absolutely terrible situation.
BURNETT: Right. Otherwise as I was saying to you before the interviewer, to a layperson, you know, informant, spy, it's a distinction without a difference. But, you know, I understand, you know, obviously. We're going to take it even further.
But, you know, Manu Raju spoke to Republican Congressman Mike Conaway. You know him Bill. He is the guy, you know, you've talked to Congress. You've testified to Congress in this Russia investigation. You know, he's the one who oversaw this 253-paged Republican conclusion about what happened.
And Manu said Natalia Veselnitskaya now admits she was an informant for the Russian government. She promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. She gets these top guys in the room. Did you know about it? Does this change anything for you? And here's that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:50:06] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is it troubling to you anyway that she was a Russian informant that had a meeting with senior level of Trump campaign officials in 2016?
REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R), TEXAS: No, because Natalia presented herself and there is no evidence that she acted on that. Just because she confesses without any evidence, that is not, you know, don't rise to the level of just reopening anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is that makes sense to you, just because she confesses even though she lied to us before we don't care?
BROWDER: Well, I don't know what exactly his logic is, but what I can say for sure is that she was here in New York on June 9, 2016 on behalf of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with one specific request, which was to repeal the Magnitsky Act, which is one of the most upsetting things for Vladimir Putin.
She was here hoping that if Donald Trump became elected that he would do that. That was her request. What we don't know is what their reply was and whether there was any --
BURNETT: We do know she followed up that. We know that after he won, she followed up and said, "OK, let's talk about the Magnitsky Act now." Now, that followed up occurred. You don't know what they said, we now know what occurred from the top Democrat in the committee.
BROWDER: Well, what we know for sure is that they weren't going to stop at one meeting. So, but what we don't know is -- and we're only going to know this when Mueller finally produces his report. I wouldn't trust --
BURNETT: The response, yes.
BROWDER: I wouldn't trust a Republican report. I wouldn't trust a Democrat report. Everyone has become so partisan here. There's a truth in the matter. I would trust Mueller's report.
BURNETT: You are here with me. Obviously I've interviewed you from around the world, but you're in the United States now and you've been called Putin's enemy number one. We know about Sergei Skripal, we know about others --
BURNETT: -- that he has killed but he has poisoned outside of Russia.
According to the Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, she said last month, and I quote her Bill, "If we don't take immediate concrete measures to address this now, Salisbury, referring to the Skripal poisoning, will not be the last place we see chemical weapons used. They could be used here in New York, or in cities of any country that sits on this council." Are you worried here?
BROWDER: Am I worried? I don't spend my life living in fear, but there are certainly the Russian government would like to see me dead if they could find a way to do it. And so I do have to take many precautions that a normal person wouldn't have to take.
BURNETT: I'm not going to ask you what those are because obviously you shouldn't share that. But, do you feel safer when you are in the United States than when you are in the U.K. or no?
BROWDER: I think that the Russians -- some feel totally comfortable doing their nasty business wherever they have to do it. I mean, and there are people who are alleged to have been killed by Russia here in the United States, and there are people who have been alleged to have been killed in Great Britain and many other countries. They kill all over the world the people that they most value killing.
BURNETT: All right. Bill Browder, thank you very much. It's nice to see you in person.
BROWDER: Nice to see you.
BURNETT: And next, could marijuana solve the deadly opioid crisis? Dr. Sanjay Gupta has done a lot of research, he says yes.
[19:56:09] BURNETT: New tonight, fighting the opioid epidemic with pot. Researchers are now looking at medical marijuana as a potential solution to fighting opioid addiction. It's a pretty incredible idea and the big question is will it work? Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look in his ground breaking series, "Weed." Here's a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The scorch of drug addiction in America will stop. It will stop.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But one year later, it hasn't stopped. People are still dying. 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. A solution some believe is this, cannabis. It's controversial to many.
(on camera): Is cannabis a gateway drug?
(voice-over): But a gateway to recovery for others.
(on camera): Did it help you get off of the opioids?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cannabis has given me a reason to live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sanjay is OUTFRONT now. I mean, it's pretty incredible when hear, which is those couple of individuals were saying about what marijuana did for them. You spent five years studying marijuana, trying to understand the things it can do and it can't do. Can it really help people addicted to heroin and other opioids?
GUPTA: I believe it can. And, look, I don't know that I would have said that even a year ago.
GUPTA: I wasn't sure. That's one of the great luxuries of this job, I guess, Erin, to be able to go and investigate these things.
There is three important points that I've learned. One is that it can treat pain. And I think everyone agrees on that. So instead of opioids, which people are dying off overdoses all the time as you heard, it can treat pain without risk of overdose.
Number two is part of the reason people don't stop taking the opioids is because of the withdrawal, which is terrible. They get nausea. They have terrible headaches. Their pain worsens. It's like chemotherapy for cancer patients. We know cannabis has helped patients who have chemotherapeutic side effects and it can help here.
The most important thing was, when you're addicted, you have a brain disease. That's what everyone always refers to it as, if you keep taking opioids that brain disease never gets better. I have evidence, and I've seen this now. We're going to present it that cannabis can help repair those brain changes.
BURNETT: So literally when you can see the brain and how it react, you can see the shift.
GUPTA: You can see the changes in the brain to the point where one of the researchers has been saying this for long time. He said, if look at these changes in the brain, there is no way you could just ask someone to just say no. It's not possible anymore, because their brain no longer has the ability to stop taking opioids. It has to have that.
BURNETT: Now, in the Trump administration obviously, there is, you know, you played the President, right? There's been this big push that they're going to do something about it. Obviously as of yet, we haven't seen a change in the trajectory. You wrote an open letter to the Attorney General, to Jeff Sessions, advocating for marijuana as a treatment for opioid addiction.
GUPTA: I -- we've gone backwards with this administration. It's a situation now where the Attorney General has come out and said we're going to impose federal laws again on those states even if they have legal medical marijuana. There is no research, no funding.
People say, "Well, where's the data? We want to see more data on it." And yet there is no funding for any of that data. It's still listed as a schedule one substance which means our government has identified this and defined it as something that has no medicinal benefit.
There's no scientist in the world that agrees with that. If there's a complete disconnect right now between what the administration is saying and what the reality is from scientists. It's still needs to be studied, still needs to be researched. But tens of thousands of people are dying in this country. This could provide a way out.
BURNET: It's pretty stunning. Sanjay, thank you so very much. And special report by our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, "Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills," airs on Sunday, April 29th. Be sure to watch. It's pretty incredible report. Sanjay put some much time in before making that conclusion. You want to see that on Sunday.
And thanks for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere, just go to CNNgo. "ANDERSON" is next.