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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump's Legal Team Shakeup; Rudy Giuliani's Bombshell Raising Eyebrows; Rudy Giuliani Says Donald Trump Repaid His Former Attorney, Michael Cohen, $130,000 for the Stormy Daniels' Hush Money Payment; Interview with Rep. Mike Quigley (D), Illinois. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 2, 2018 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[22:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And that's it for us. Thanks for watching. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts now. See you tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

The president shaking up his legal team. Ty Cobb is out and President Clinton's impeachment lawyer is in. But another member of the Trump legal team is making a shocking statement tonight. That is the breaking news.

Rudy Giuliani dropping a bombshell saying the president paid Michael Cohen back for that $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

Let's get right now to CNN' Sara Murray who can join us and tell us all about this. Sara, I believe what it is as we were watching, Giuliani said that Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000, saying that he knew about the general arrangement but didn't know the specifics of it.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And then it seems like Hannity came back to that and Giuliani says it was paid over a period of time. But remember, Michael Cohen basically said that he was doing this on his own on the president's behalf, that he did not consult necessarily with the president on this.

And remember, President Trump when he spoke to reporters on Air Force One not too long ago said he didn't know about this $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels and in fact, he said you're going to have to check with my personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

So the sort of party line up until now is that the president really didn't know about this payment that he was involved in these payments. And, you know, Michael Cohen just sort of took these things upon himself essentially as Donald Trump's fixer over the years to take care of these things.

And we heard something, you know, pretty different from Rudy Giuliani. I think he tried to backtrack a little bit and say, well, you know, I haven't -- I haven't really looked into this.

LEMON: Yes.

MURRAY: But of course he's now, you know, one of the main players on the president's legal teams. We know that Trump's personal lawyer had gone--

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Sara--

MURRAY: -- through a raid you think he would have looked into this.

LEMON: Yes, and he's supposed to be helping the president out, I'm not sure he did that in this interview, Sara. I don't mean to cut you off but we're going to listen to it now. This interview happening early on Fox. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000, I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money, sorry, I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. It's not campaign money. No campaign finance violation. So--

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: They funneled it through a law firm.

GIULIANI: Funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.

HANNITY: I didn't know he did?

GIULIANI: Yes.

HANNITY: There's no campaign finance law.

GIULIANI: Zero.

HANNITY: So the president--

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: Just like every, Sean--

HANNITY: So this decision was made by--

GIULIANI: Sean, everybody -- everybody was nervous about this from the very beginning. I wasn't. I knew how much money Donald Trump put in to that campaign. I said $130,000. You're going to do a couple of checks for 130,000.

When I heard Cohen's retainer of $35,000 when he was doing no work for the president, I said that's how he's repaying -- that's how he's repaying it with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes for Michael.

HANNITY: But do you know the president didn't know about this? I believe that's what Michael said.

GIULIANI: He didn't know about the specifics of it as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this. Like, I take care of things like this for my clients. I don't burden them with every single thing that comes along.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right, CNN's Mark Preston joins Sara and I right now. Mark, were you watching that interview? When I was watching in my office my jaw dropped.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I got to tell you, yes. It hit the floor. You know, it started off a little bit slow but, you know, it seemed as if the former mayor was in such a relaxed atmosphere right there that he was willing to let everything roll. You know, where you just played that clip right there, what a bombshell that is.

Rudy Giuliani also said, had he chosen to become attorney general, had he not taken it, had Donald Trump given it to him and he accepted and he decided to we wouldn't even be in this investigation right now. And he even went so far as to say that, you know, when push comes to shove he'd be willing to sacrifice Jared, the son-in-law as opposed to Ivan the daughter because you don't to go after somene's daughter. What an amazing interview that we just witnessed.

LEMON: Yes, but again, he said, Michael, the president as you said, Sara, on Air Force One said that he didn't know anything about it, he had to talk to his lawyer Michael Cohen. Let's listen to this, Sara, and then we can respond to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. What else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why -- then why did Michael Cohen make this if there was no truth to her allegations?

TRUMP: You have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. And you'll have to ask Michael.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, he said he didn't know and Michael Cohen has said all along that he did not -- that the president did not pay him back, Sara.

[22:05:02] MURRAY: That's right. And there was another question, and the tape didn't go that long, that they asked the president on Air Force One that day, and they asked him do you know where Michael Cohen got the money to make that payment. And President Trump says no, I don't know. There's no mention of this notion that he repaid him. Michael Cohen,

as you pointed out, has said he's done this on his own. And the really striking thing about this is, you know, Rudy Giuliani obviously new to the president's legal team but the president and his allies felt like this was pretty much needed fire power to their team as well as star power.

They thought he could be someone out there publicly defending the president and also someone who would take a harder line when it came to the Mueller investigation. But he seems to have just created another mess. The notion that you would have this attorney come on and not know the details of this arrangement or what his client has publicly said about this arrangement, when we just saw Michael Cohen's home, office, and hotel room raided is pretty stunning.

LEMON: Yes. So, listen, cue the Giuliani bite, I think Sean's question was did he know about the payment. I forget the question that he asked going into it, we don't have it there.

But Mark, this is what Michael Cohen has said privately. He said "In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford," Michael Cohen said in a statement. "Neither the Trump organization, nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly." Play the clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000, I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know, it's not campaign money. No campaign finance violation. So

HANNITY: They funneled it through a law firm.

GIULIANI: Funneled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.

HANNITY: I didn't know. He did?

GIULIANI: Yes.

HANNITY: There's no campaign finance law.

GIULIANI: Zero.

HANNITY: So the president--

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: Just like every, Sean--

HANNITY: So this decision was made by--

GIULIANI: Sean, everybody -- everybody was nervous about this from the very beginning. I wasn't. I knew how much money Donald Trump put in to that campaign. I said $130,000. You're going to do a couple of checks for 130,000.

When I heard Cohen's retainer of $35,000 when he was doing no work for the president, I said that's how he's repaying -- that's how he's repaying it with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes for Michael.

HANNITY: But do you know the president didn't know about this? I believe that's what Michael said.

GIULIANI: He didn't know about the specifics of it as far as I know. But he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this. Like, I take care of things like this for my clients. I don't burden them with every single thing that comes along.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK, again, this is what and I want everyone to be clear about this. Any private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment, I'm talking Michael Cohen now, of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. Neither the Trump organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford and neither reimbursed me for the payment either directly or indirectly.

The Trump organization, that would be indirectly right?

PRESTON: Well, it seems like--

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: The Trump Organization.

PRESTON: Well, I mean, look, Donald Trump is The Trump Organization if you go into the legalities of whose on the letterhead and who can make decisions what have you, we can go down that road.

I think we need to stop though. Everybody is saying a big pause and think about what Rudy Giuliani just said about Michael Cohen. He said that Michael Cohen engaged in this kind of activity and did so on behalf of Donald Trump, took care of things so that Trump didn't have to necessarily do it.

Look what he's taking care of right now, he's taking care of hush money payments to a pornographic actress that is alleging she had an affair with Donald Trump. Now if Donald Trump -- if this is like the way of doing business in the real estate empire, I'm sure that you can go out all across the country and find people who are very successful that don't have fixers like this that are dealing with such lewd and cadre types of allegations.

That in itself, before we even get into whether it's illegal or not, that in itself should say something, Don.

LEMON: Yes. It's unbelievable. I mean, this is kind of the gift that keeps on giving. I'm not sure, you know, the Trump folks are viewing it as a gift but I'm sure Michael Avenatti and Stormy Daniels are.

Stand by, Sara, stand by, Mark. I want to bring in now Sara Sidner. Sara, you had been following this story. Good evening to you, by the way. What's your reaction to this?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's stunning. It's a bombshell, if you will. I hate to use that word, but it is a stunning development in this case. Because for so long there has been a real separation, Michael Cohen constantly saying that there was no affair, the White House saying there was no favor, Donald Trump himself saying I knew nothing about this whole deal, my attorney took care of it for me and then guess on Fox and says, well, you know, he took care of the Stormy Daniels thing for me.

[22:10:04] So, little by little we are getting closer and closer. But this revelation squarely puts Donald Trump in the position of knowing something, knowing there was $130,000 that was owed to Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen paying that to Stormy Daniels, the porn star who allegedly had an affair with him.

We just heard from Michael Avenatti, as you might imagine this is big news to him as well. And he said that he was stunned and speechless. And he said that if this is accurate the American people have been lied to and deceived for months and justice must be served.

I want to talk about justice real quick for a minute, because I just got off the phone with Common Cause. That is an organization that filed a accumulate with the FEC about this $130,000, saying that it violated campaign finance laws because, not because of who paid what when and from whom, but because it wasn't reported. Partly, that's part of the problem.

The other part of the problem is that Michael Cohen paid $130,000 for Donald Trump to keep quiet, this information that may have elected -- excuse me -- affected the election. He's only allowed as a personal person to pay $2,700. A$130,000 is a heck of a lot more than that. So Common Cause says that violates the federal election laws.

And lastly, they complained to the DOJ. Now, this revelation about Donald Trump having paid back some of this money could put him in a legally divisive or bad position. Because if he willfully knew that he was paying this money and it wasn't reported and they were trying to keep this away from the public to impact the election, that's a huge problem for him with the law. Don?

LEMON: All right. Sara Sidner, I want you to stand by. Because Sara, you've been covering the story very closely and we need your insight on it.

I want to get back now to our folks in Washington, Sara Murray. In that sound that we heard, Sara, Rudy Giuliani also said that he did no work for the president. So what does that mean for attorney/client privilege?

MURRAY: Well, look, it's hard to say at this point what that mean for attorney/client privilege. In terms of Michael Cohen I think you're referring to there. I mean, we know that Michael Cohen did work for the president. We obviously know that Giuliani is now working for the president, they have attorney/client privilege.

I think that this is going to create a lot hurdles. Potentially in the lawsuits that Sara Sidner was just talking about. But potentially some hurdles going forward when Giuliani is trying to make the case that the president's word should be trusted, for instance, over James Comey, at the same time that he's putting out conflicting information on something else.

I mean, I think one of the things we need to look at about what Rudy Giuliani just said about these payments, is that legally they could be actually on firmer ground with the fact that President Trump ostensibly, if you believe Rudy Giuliani's version of events, paid back Michael Cohen. Then maybe it's not a campaign finance violation, maybe it was not a campaign donation that was not revealed and documented the way it should have been.

But what you then do is you make the president out to be a liar at a time when you're trying to decide whether or not to put him in front of special counsel Robert Mueller and then convince Mueller's team that they should take the president's word over James Comey. So either way he sort of read the rings around that. It doesn't look great for the president.

LEMON: All right. Stand by, Sara Murray. I want to bring in now John Dean. John Dean is a CNN contributor and a former White House counsel for Nixon, for President Nixon.

This is exactly what Giuliani said. He said. "When I heard Cohen's retainer of 35,000 -- $135,000 -- or $35,000, I should say, when he was doing no work for the president, I said, that's how he's repaying, that's how he's repaying it," unquote. Rudy Giuliani just said that Cohen did no work for the president. Why are we learning this now?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's baffling. I can't understand, first of all, where Rudy Giuliani learned this--

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Can we get that sound bite too. I want to hear that. I want to hear the whole thing. I want to hear Sean's question before and I want to hear the exchange afterwards because it is my recollection that afterwards Sean tried to -- my sense is that he was trying to get him off of this topic. OK. But go on, John, sorry about that.

DEAN: Yes, the fact is -- the question is, where does he get this information from that he seems to know, first of all, the entire arrangement to how it was paid back. This sound like something from Trump, his client and so he's -- to be able to speak this information and not breaching the privilege, he has to have Trump's permission to put that out.

He did say also that he does things like this for his clients without letting his clients know. Well, that's contrary to the rules of ethics in New York State, which is an amazing statement by the mayor. So, you know, he's just stirred up a hornet's net with these remarks and it looks like a little loose lips to me.

[22:14:58] LEMON: Yes. Loose lips sink ships. But same thing, the similar thing happened, remember during the campaign, Rudy Giuliani during an interview revealed some information that sort of caused some chaos in the campaign.

But John, just your overall assessment of these statements when you heard about them?

DEAN: It's -- given the position that Trump has taken, that he knew nothing, had no knowledge of the transaction. There was -- you know, go talk to my lawyer, Michael Cohen on Air Force One. Rudy has made a liar out of his client is what he's done. That's my first initial reaction.

LEMON: So, what, John--

(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: You know, Don--

LEMON: Hold on, hold on, Mark. So John, having experienced something similar to this, right, and not exactly the same thing, it wasn't an adult film star, but -- so, now what?

DEAN: Well, now what will be how Trump responds to this, how he deals with it. We'll see what kind of relationship Trump has with Rudy is to how this will be very telling. I don't think lawyers really belong on television talking about what they're doing with their clients. And it's very unusual. That looks like one of the shifts they're making in this operation now is to be much more political and much more public. And apparently, Rudy is going to be the face of this.

LEMON: OK, Mark Preston, you wanted to jump in?

PRESTON: Yes, just quickly. You know, all through the presidential campaign we heard President Trump say I will release my taxes, I will release my taxes, I will release my taxes once the audit is over. All through this investigation we've heard President Trump say over and over again, of course, I'll sit down, 100 percent I'll sit down for an interview. I'll sit down for an interview.

Let me just tell you right now, I was fooled. He never had any, any, any, any desire to sit down for an interview. And what we're seeing right now as we're seeing his legal team take the shift. What we're seeing is a more combative approach and what Donald Trump has done is that he has laid out at least reasoning to say back to his supporters, I wanted to do that interview, I wanted to do that interview but they were being unrealistic.

And if you look back at that Hannity interview tonight with Rudy Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani laid down the markers. He put down unreasonable expectations if there were to be an interview. So there will never be an interview and what we're going to see now is a very visual political fight one that I thought was coming but it's certainly coming a lot faster.

LEMON: Unless there's some odd strategy and you know, that they're doing a Jedi mind trick, I don't know. Stand by, everyone, because I want to get to Jeff Zeleny, our senior White House correspondent. He joins us now. Excuse me.

Jeff, this is a wide ranging interview and we're going to get a lot more in this broadcast. There was a lot that was said about the new legal team and their strategy, but this was an interview with Fox News, a very friendly venue to the president to say the least. This is the message they wanted out, why?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's a great question. I mean, obviously Rudy Giuliani was feeling comfortable in this interview as we've said, and the reality, it's not just Fox News, it's Sean Hannity who we should point out is an adviser to this president. He talks to President Trump routinely, frequently at multiple times a week. He's an adviser to the president.

And it seems to me he was offering several opportunities there for Rudy Giuliani to, you know, follow his lead there, but I've heard a question ever since Rudy Giuliani came on board the legal team, some people who like him are wondering if he is as sharp as he was or up to this task.

I think that question will be asked in the light of day tomorrow as this is all accessed and, you know, and the fall out of this is coming out. Because the reality is he did not do his client any good tonight, even as the president is lawyering up and sharpening up what is going to be, as everyone has been saying tonight, a confrontation with Bob Mueller.

So, I don't know exactly why he would have gone for such a long interview, did not do the president any good tonight, I don't think, Don.

LEMON: Look, yes, John--

(CROSSTALK)

ZELENY: To say the least.

LEMON: John, what does this mean, what does this mean legally? Because that's where the president really gets in trouble if this is legal. The rest of it maybe political, you know, it involves a porn star. But what does this mean legally for this president right now?

DEAN: Well, if he represents the president and claims these are the president's words, the president has to be held accountable for them and could well be contrary to some of the rumblings that Rudy's making that there will be a very brief interview. That's not going to be decided by Rudy, it's really going to be decided by the special counsel and the courts. And it looks like that's where they're headed.

But as I say, you just don't -- it's just not the norm for a lawyer to go out and ramble on about your strategy and how you're going to deal with one problem or another, and what your -- what are the facts that you don't know that he's now making public and doesn't source them, doesn't say where he got this information.

[22:20:01] So, he's really, as I said, he kicked a hornet's nest. That's what he's done.

LEMON: Yes. And also what it means legally for Michael Cohen but we'll discuss that. John, I want you to stay with me. Everyone else has reporting to do on this and we're going to check back with them. So you guys go do your reporting and come back. There's a lot to cover in the next couple of hours here on CNN.

When we come back, much more on our breaking news. Rudy Giuliani dropping a bombshell. He is saying President Trump repaid Michael Cohen for that $130,000 hush money, that money to Stormy Daniels. And he also talked about what the parameters would be for an interview with the special counsel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: All right. Our breaking news tonight and this is an absolute bombshell. Rudy Giuliani says President Trump repaid Michael Cohen for that $130,000 in hush money to Stormy Daniels. And he has a lot more to say tonight.

John Dean is back with me. Joining us now is Guy Lewis, a former U.S. attorney and CNN Political Analyst, April Ryan. Everyone, thank you so much.

The sound bite that you guys just played in the break, can you just play I just want to hear the top. Leave my mic open. And I just want to hear what the question was going into this. Go ahead please.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Is Russian sources that not only weren't verified were debunked. Are you concerned that that was paid for to manipulate the American people in the lead up to an election?

[22:25:04] GIULIANI: Isn't that closer to the mandate than Michael Cohen?

HANNITY: Why isn't that -- where's Mueller on that, sir?

GIULIANI: Having something to do with paying some Stormy Daniels woman $130,000, I mean, which is going to turn out to be perfectly legal. That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I'm giving you a fact now that you don't know.

LEMON: OK.

GIULIANI: It's not campaign money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So here we go with that. So he was asking him something that had to do with Russia. He said this is more to do with Russia with the investigation, more in the parameters of Robert Mueller than Stormy Daniels. He led himself, John into this, when that wasn't really Sean Hannity's question.

DEAN: Not at all. Sean was actually conflating -- or Rudy conflated something that is not part of Mueller's investigation in which now out of the southern district and actually emanates from a civil lawsuit into the whole Russia investigation issue, just volunteering this, it's like he wanted to get this information out. It's surprising, Don.

LEMON: Yes.

DEAN: That he offered this information.

LEMON: As we had been discussing--

(CROSSTALK)

DEAN: Maybe shocking.

LEMON: Yes. To say the least. So, Guy, as we have been discussing President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani was on Fox News tonight and here is what he had to say. This is about a possible interview with the special counsel. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: What are the parameters that you would insist on for any interview with Mueller beyond two to three hours narrowing the scope?

GIULIANI: Never beyond two or three hours.

HANNITY: OK.

GIULIANI: I'm not going to have my client, my president, my friend, and a president, as a chief more than year and a half against all odds that anyone had a right to expect, I'm not going to let him be treated worse than Bill Clinton, who definitely was a liar under oath. I'm not going to let him be -- I mean, he'd been treated much worse than Hillary Clinton who had no right to any of that stuff.

So I'm not going to let him be treated worse than Hillary Clinton. I think Jay and I will insist that they're going to have to treat him the same way as Clinton, two and half hours. We end, we walk out. Give us your questions in advance. He is ready--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Didn't he just say Clinton was a liar, he hired his lawyer, Guy? 2So, listen, what's your take on the parameters here? Giuliani wants to set up for a possible interview with Mueller?

GUY LEWIS, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I think John Dean hit the nail on the head. The mayor is drawing a line in the sand that I'm not so sure was wise to do on national TV in this kind of interview. Look, I don't have any problem with the mayor going at Bob Mueller,

arguing precedent, arguing what happened in Clinton in the Clinton case, arguing what happened in other cases and say, look, if I'm the president's lawyer -- look, he is dealing with incredibly important issues right now. And to take literally days to prep him, and possibly a day or two to interview him, seems unreasonable. And, I'd rather litigate that, go before a judge as oppose to agree to that with Bob Mueller. Now, you can make that demand--

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You said it's unreasonable to take a day or two to interview the president? 2

LEWIS: Well, in this case it's going to take -- look, how long do you think it would take, for example, to prep the president on these areas?

LEMON: Yes.

LEWIS: As a lawyer--

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I'm just asking because he's got a lot of executive time. I'm not -- that's not hyperbole here. So, to say that it takes two to three days is a long time, I mean, he spends a lot of time on the golf course.

So, April, listen, I got to get April in here. Stand by, Guy.

LEWIS: Yes.

LEMON: Giuliani slammed Jim Comey and Hillary Clinton throughout the interview. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: I'm sorry, Hillary, I know you're very disappointed you didn't win, but you're a criminal. Equal justice would mean you should go to jail. I do not know why the Justice Department is not investigating here.

HANNITY: Comey he said Hillary deeply respects the rule of law. Comey said that.

GIULIANI: Wow, this is a very perverted man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: April, what's your reaction to that?

APRIL RYAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we're going right back to where we started, deflection into Hillary Clinton. This is not about Hillary Clinton, this is not about James Comey. This is about what he said about Stormy Daniels and the president repaying $130,000 to Michael Cohen.

[22:30:01] Now, when it comes to the issue of the rule of law there is a major concern about the rule of law being broken. This president is not -- and Rudy Giuliani, he's wanting to delay the process now for the president to speak, and what does that do?

He just wants to buy more time instead of putting it out there making it happen now. Because what's going to happen is, if indeed Mueller feels that this is a delaying tactic, or some kind of tactic not to do it, there is a possibility of grand jury or indictment.

We've seen the grand jury issue, and we've seen how the Republicans went after Bill Clinton at the time when he was president, and this could actually force the Republicans to do exactly what they don't want to do, to write up articles of impeachment for this president.

But again, a lot of this is deflection. Yes, you know, they have been talking about this for a long time. But the issue is bigger now. I mean, you heard Sarah Huckabee Sanders say that there was -- there was arbitration. You heard the President say...

LEMON: Yes.

RYAN: ... that there was nothing, and he didn't know anything about it...

LEMON: I've got to go April.

RYAN: ... and then you heard Giuliani.

LEMON: I got to go. But, Guy, can you give me 10 seconds on what -- give me your assessment of what just happened tonight.

GUY LEWIS, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I think that the President's lawyer got off message, got off point, and was talking about things that he shouldn't be talking about. I really do.

LEMON: April, thank you -- yes. April, thank you very much.

RYAN: Thank you.

LEMON: Guy, thank you, and of course, John, we appreciate it. When we come back, much, much more on this stunning breaking news, Rudy Giuliani says President Trump repaid Michael Cohen $130,000 for that hush money payment to Stormy Daniels. There was also something about taxes in there. And we got it all for you. Don't go anywhere.

[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We're back now with major breaking news. Rudy Giuliani says President Trump repaid his fixer, Michael Cohen, $130,000 for that Stormy Daniels' hush money payment. Joining me now is Congressman Mike Quigley. He is an Illinois Democrat, who is a member of the Intelligence Committee. You're a lawyer as well, aren't you?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: Yeah, I was a criminal defense attorney for a decade.

LEMON: So, this -- this is an explosive interview with Rudy Giuliani. And he is President Trump's new attorney. What did you think of that when you heard it?

QUIGLEY: Yeah. I was on a different level than Rudy, but obviously he was a better prosecutor than defense attorney. I never felt it was a good idea to talk about your clients or the cases on TV. Only bad things can happen, and tonight was a great example.

LEMON: Let me read something. Not only does it say -- I just want to get your assessment of this. He was talking about the money. There's no campaign finance law. And then Rude Giuliani says everybody was nervous about this from the very beginning. I wasn't. I knew how much money Donald Trump put into the campaign. I said $130,000. He's going to do a couple of checks for $130,000.

When I heard Cohen's retainer of $35,000 when he was doing no work for the President, I said that's how he's repaying. That's how he's repaying it, with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes. What do you think?

QUIGLEY: Yeah. Who needs investigative reporters when you have Rudy defending the President of the United States? I think it says something. It's extraordinarily important. It is additional evidence when the President of the United States gets in the same room with the truth, a fight breaks out. I hear in a previous discussion people talking about laying the groundwork for the President's decision to go speak before the Special Counsel.

I don't think you're given that opportunity now. I think you subpoena the President of the United States. I think the case law is clear. They'll have to appear. And while that whole case was a civil case, I think it's easy to argue that having the President and ensuring that the President helps with the criminal investigation is far more important than a civil trial that we were talking about before.

LEMON: OK. I want to get your reaction to another story. And I think it's a big story as well. It's from the New York Times, and they report that a former federal law enforcement official familiar with the department's views said that Mr. Rosenstein and top FBI officials have come to suspect that some law makers were using their authority to gain intelligence about the investigation, about that investigation so that it could be shared with the White House. What's your reaction and do you suspect the same thing?

QUIGLEY: My reaction is this line from Casablanca. (Inaudible) I am shocked to hear your winnings. Look, I had a bird's eye view of the Republicans on the Intel committee tanking the investigation, going along with a gag order by the White House, refusing to issue key subpoenas. The chairman's midnight ride, writing a memo about the investigation in concert with the White House.

So, this doesn't surprise me at all. It shouldn't surprise the American public. It's why we have to protect the Special Counsel from the President and his far right friends on the committee. LEMON: All right. So that leads me to this next question, the

President's attacks on the Justice Department. He says it's a rigged system, referring to the Justice Department, and at some point he's going to use the powers granted to the President and get involved. That sounds like a threat. Do you think the President is getting closer to firing Rosenstein or Mueller, and if he does, what will the congress do?

QUIGLEY: I think he's trying to do two things. He talks about getting involved with the Clinton email investigation. And he talks about what you just mentioned. It is two extremes with the same thing. He wants to be able to use the Justice Department to go after his political opponents. And he wants to use it to muzzle those that would investigate the White House.

This is an extreme violation of the rule of law. It takes a historical context to fully comprehend what's happening here, right? The king was restricted. He wasn't above the law but the Magna Carta, right? Now, our founding fathers would not have imagined giving a President of the United States in the constitution rights and abilities to be above the law when there are extraordinarily concerned with the powers of the king, and wanted to be independent of that king.

[22:40:13] The President of the United States has turned American history and law on its head. We are facing a real constitutional crisis, and my friends on both sides of the aisle need to stand up, show some profiles, and courage.

LEMON: Congressman Mike Quigley, joining us from Chicago. Thank you, Sir, I appreciate it.

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

LEMON: President's new lawyer, the former Mayor of New York, also the state's attorney under the Southern district of Michael Cohen's case as the former one, breaking some news, admitting that the President paid Michael Cohen back for the hush money to Stormy Daniels, more on that breaking news right after this break.

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LEMON: All right. We're back now with our stunning breaking news tonight. Rudy Giuliani says President Trump repaid his fixer, Michael Cohen, $130,000 for that Stormy Daniels hush payment. I want to bring in now some CNN Contributors, Frank Bruni, a Columnist for the New York Times, Michael D'Antonio is here as well, the author of the truth about Trump, also CNN Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, a columnist for USA Today.

[22:45:07] This was, I think -- Frank, welcome, good evening. This is his first big interview as the new lawyer, right?

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. He seems to be enjoying it, the spotlight. I think part of what we're seeing is Rudy, who is thirsty for the spotlight out in the wilderness, now has people listening to him. And he's not bringing -- what disciplining may have had in the past into these interviews. I mean that's one crazy interview.

LEMON: Yeah. And your reaction when you heard it?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's like he put all of our brains into a ball and scrambled them up. You know this is just nuts. How many different directions are they going to take these stories? First, the President's saying I don't know anything about this. The Press Secretary in the White House is saying there's nothing to this.

And now, the new lawyer trots himself out, and then this is really an unbridled interview says, oh, the President's paid him back over a number of months. He didn't have $130,000. He's a billionaire, but he didn't have that in his account to write just one check.

LEMON: Yeah. I'm looking -- because we're getting new information in trying to get so much. Kirsten, I want to go to you, because Giuliani seems to have thrown Michael Cohen under the bus by saying that he didn't do any legal work for the President. Does that also undermine the President in this investigation?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean I don't know about how it affects the investigation. But look, Donald Trump clearly -- he lied and I know that's not breaking news, but it is still problematic when he's on Air Force One, was asked about whether he knew about this, and you know, and said that he didn't know about it. And that we have a President who keeps a fixer on hand to be dulling out money to, you know, porn stars.

LEMON: Yeah.

BRUNI: It is a fact that we now have race past. This is now our normal. We talk about this every night, the $130,000 paid as the election approached to keep a porn star quiet.

LEMON: So how does these complicate things? Let's talk about Michael Cohen here. Let's talk about Michael Cohen. How does that complicate things for Michael Cohen in this case? What did he do illegally here? Did he do anything illegal even with this information?

D'ANTONIO: I don't know that he necessarily did. I think the campaign, if this was an expenditure you know related to campaign activities, they should have reported it on their list of expenditures. But the President may say, well, this is a personal matter and I settled this because I needed to protect my family. This is -- that's the last refuge of most scoundrels, is I am going to protect my family from the terrible thing I did.

BRUNI: Yeah, I mean I have to believe that Giuliani said this because they believe this takes the campaign's finance problem off the table. This wasn't a payment from the Trump organization. It wasn't a payment from Michael Cohen. On behalf of the Trump organization, this was a personal expenditure by the President, thereby he paid Michael Cohen back.

The problem is there are so much (INAUDIBLE) about this Giuliani interview that does not seem to adhere to any script that they would want him to follow.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I was watching it, like I was stunned. I couldn't take my eyes off.

BRUNI: The part of that Trump repaying Michael Cohen, you assume that that was OK. This is a better story. This is a better version of the story. We've told many versions of in terms of abating in the campaign finance questions, right. But the problem is the rest of the interview, I don't think they wanted Giuliani out there, returning to lock her up in Hillary Clinton. I don't think they wanted Giuliani out there, (Inaudible) James Comey a pervert.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: And he referred to you know, law enforcement official from the southern district as storm troopers.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: It's crazy.

LEMON: Yes. We got a lot to talk about. You guys are going to stick around. When we come back, more on this stunning news about Rudy Giuliani admitting for the first time that the President repaid Michael Cohen, that's according to Rudy Giuliani in the interview he did tonight for that hush money to Stormy Daniels. We'll be right back.

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[22:50:01] LEMON: So we are learning a lot more about two things the American people didn't know in the months leading up to the election, that the President's attorney Michael Cohen paid hush money, pay off to Stormy Daniels. And our breaking news tonight, that apparently according to Rudy Giuliani, he paid back Michael Cohen.

Also according to the President's ex-doctor, the glowing letter he wrote about then candidate Trump's glowing health in 2015 was actually dictated by Trump himself. So back with Frank Bruni, Michael D'Antonio, and Kirsten Powers, it is interesting because this stuff was not revealed during the election.

BRUNI: I wonder why. You know this issue with the...

LEMON: What I am saying is people made their decision without all the information.

BRUNI: Of course. And that was intentional. And what I think we see going on, especially with this doctor's letter is the power of Donald Trump's conviction. And so when you talk about conmen, it is the power of their conviction. That is the con in conmen that overwhelms people. So a doctor's going to be (Inaudible) with this guy.

He's going to do what he says. He's going to demand the letter he wants and the doctor is going to produce it.

LEMON: Here's the thing, though. I am sure Michael Cohen thinks he's just doing his job. He was working for the President in the way that the President, I would guess, would want him to work. Is that a fair assessment or no?

D'ANTONIO: Well, sure. But if he broke some law, and that's something that's determined right now, I mean that's records were taken and all that. If he broke some law, he went beyond doing his job. And he didn't do a good job because you're supposed to color within the lines of the law. But it's interesting. Cohen, the Doctor, Donald Trump has a talent for picking people to work for him who will color very, very far outside the lines.

He knew when he was with this doctor. He knew when he dictated that letter that he had somebody in his employ more or less, who would do something like that and put his name to that document. I mean that's not proper doctoral procedure at all.

LEMON: What does this say about this present summit? This is question I probably know the answer, his relationship with the truth and the people around him, their relationship with the truth.

[22:54:58] POWERS: Well, they don't have any kind of relationship with the truth. And look, I do think Frank just hit on it. How did this person end up to be a billionaire's doctor, somebody who could pay literally anybody for the best care in the world, someone flying in from Johns Hopkins treating him? And they said when they went in to get the file they couldn't find it because he was so disorganized.

He's kind of a mess. He's nothing like the kind of people Trump wants around him. So there has to be some other reason that he had him, and it's clearly because he could tell him what to do. This is person who actually said there's nothing wrong with me, telling the media that he uses propecia. That's a violation of his privacy.

LEMON: Right.

BRUNI: It's quite (Inaudible). If you think about what the President does to people. Look, what he did to Ronny Jackson in the White House, this is person who by all accounts had a stellar reputation. And then all of a sudden, when he asked to evaluate the President, he's saying ridiculous things. And I think it's something in the power of Donald Trump's method that not only attracts certain people but overwhelms their normal reservations.

LEMON: All right. We have a lot more. Thank you all very much. Every night it's something. I sit in my office and we have this entire show prepared and then we just go, OK. It goes right out the window. When we come back, much more on our breaking news tonight, Rudy Giuliani says President Trump paid Michael Cohen $130,000 to reimburse him for hush money he paid to Stormy Daniels.

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