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Former Trump Campaign Aide: Mueller Team Focused On Russia Collusion; Trump Changes Story On Stormy Daniels Payment And Denies Affair; Bodycam Video Shows Police Entering Vegas Killer's Room. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired May 3, 2018 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for wanting to talk about what happened in that room.
What did you learn --
MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER AIDE, TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I'll tell you --
CUOMO: -- going into that with the investigators? Do you think they know -- what we're hearing from Rudy Giuliani right now, do you think they know what's going on? Where are their heads?
CAPUTO: They know more about what I did in 2016 than I knew.
They reminded me of a dinner, and the name of the restaurant, and the time and day that I had totally forgotten. It was not a very memorable meal so I didn't really think about.
These guys know more about the Trump campaign than any one person who worked there.
I think that this investigation -- while I don't like it, I don't think we should have the special counsel. I believe there is no collusion.
I don't think that they have shown any evidence of collusion. Neither have the Senate or the House committees. But these guys are ready for whoever comes into that room.
It's a very unpleasant experience. I've likened it to a proctology exam, but I think I'd prefer the proctologist.
CUOMO: Well, when you go to the proctologist you're looking forward to what they learn because it may make you more healthy. When you find out what these guys know it may make you a little sick, so there's a key distinction.
But let me ask you something though about the process. You say they've shown no evidence of collusion. You know that that is not a complete statement because we don't know what they have.
But when you sat in that meeting here's what is important. Did you get the sense that they believe that it is worthwhile for them to be pursuing collusion, as you guys call it -- you know, conspiracy, coordinated actions. Do you think that that was a significant portion of their attention and energy?
CAPUTO: Well, Chris, I think -- my characterization of it might be incomplete because I wasn't in the White House or in the transition so that I would not be questioned on obstruction. I haven't been involved in financial crimes -- or the financial crimes that they're looking into that other people have allegedly done, so I wasn't asked questions about those things.
I was asked questions completely and absolutely on Russian collusion.
CAPUTO: I don't know that the -- and obviously, I'm with two FBI agents and one AUSA. You know, I don't know what they believe. They seem to be doing a job and their job is clearly to look into Russian collusion.
CUOMO: Right, but assuming they weren't there to waste time. Right, but that's why I'm asking you.
CUOMO: Forget about whether they have proof of it. You wouldn't know. They wouldn't tell you in the interview and they haven't put out their report of their findings, so we just don't know.
However, you do know that their attention seemed to be on those kinds of issues --
CUOMO: -- in this interview with you, yes?
CAPUTO: No doubt, and I think that they were following leads. And while I think at the end of those long paths of each of these leads I think that they'll find that there's nothing there.
You know, there's a lot of -- you know, there was a meeting in Trump Tower. There were discussions with Kislyak. There are things that they're tracking down and I think they're very focused on Russian collusion.
I think they believe that they'll get to something. I just disagree.
CUOMO: Well, and that's your right and we have to see what the facts show and what kind of case they make.
We're just dealing simultaneously with the B.S. of political spin versus how you deal with a court case, right? That's what we're dealing with this morning with Rudy and everything else that's going on.
Let me ask you something, though. Did they ask you about anything to do with Stormy Daniels? What you knew about how the president conducted himself in those situations? Michael Cohen and his role?
Did that come up with you?
CAPUTO: No, it didn't. And frankly, there was very little discussion of the President of the United States and they didn't ask me about anybody else named Don -- with the last name Trump really, except in ancillary ways and on larger issues.
I thought the focus pretty much was on campaign operatives and people outside the campaign.
CUOMO: So no questions about Cohen, no questions about what Rudy's been putting out there this morning?
CAPUTO: No. No questions about Cohen in regards to Stormy Daniels and not a mention of Rudy Giuliani.
CUOMO: Did Cohen come up at all?
CAPUTO: Sure. I mean, they're -- I mean, Michael Cohen's a friend of mine. I think that he's getting a bad rap here.
And they know that he's my friend so they're asking me questions about my interactions with Michael Cohen. But it didn't -- it wasn't clear to me where they were going with all that.
CUOMO: But -- correct me if I'm wrong but I don't know in the record as we understand it to this point, that you had any interaction with Michael Cohen on any of the things that would matter to investigators.
CAPUTO: Right, but I think they have to ask and they got their answer.
You know, the fact of the matter is I don't know anything about Russian collusion. I didn't see any of it and I certainly wasn't involved in any.
And I was -- you know, listen, I wasn't happy to be there. I think this investigation should end. I don't think it ever should have begun.
But as an American, I enjoy the freedoms of this nation and I think I have a responsibility to participate in something that the government thinks is important.
CUOMO: Well, right. But also, they're not making it easy for you either. I want to talk about that in a second. It's not like you're just doing this on the phone or taking a quick meeting. You were down there anyway.
This has been a burden on you and your family personally, in terms of them having to deal with the perception of why you're there in the first place. It's been a big bite out of your checkbook. We want to get to that so the American people get that being involved is not free. [07:35:02] However, in terms of who they asked you about, if they're asking you about Michael Cohen because you kind of know him, you kind of crossed paths with him politically and professionally, what about Roger Stone?
CAPUTO: They talked about all my friends.
CUOMO: But Stone had to be of a much more acute interest to them on collusion than Cohen.
CAPUTO: Sure. I think there -- if you read the headlines today that's pretty much where they're at.
I don't really want to go -- you know, they didn't tell me not to talk about this. They asked me not to interfere in the investigation as I exited the room and I really don't want to give too much details because I feel that that interferes with the investigation.
However, they're talking about WikiLeaks, they're talking about Guccifer, they're talking D.C. leaks. All the things that you would expect that they're -- that they're looking into. And I'm concerned for some of my friends who are in peril.
CUOMO: Look, you would expect it if you are being reasonable and open to the realities. But as we all know right now, there is a concerted effort by people who support the president and fringes of the right who are saying none of this is real.
Investigators wouldn't look at any of it. It's all fake.
Everything with Roger Stone, for example. There's nothing to it.
If federal investigators are spending time on it, bringing people like you in and talking to them about it, it's real. Whether they can prove it is different.
CAPUTO: Washington's a pretty disgusting place if you ask me. That's why I left here many years ago.
Sure, there's people on the right saying those things.
But at the same time Chris, I told the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers as I sat in front of them on Tuesday in their Russia investigation -- you know, there is very clear evidence that the left is cooperating. That the Senate intelligence Democrats and the House intelligence Democrats, and other Democrats are working hard and even funding continued research into the Fusion GPS dossier.
And it's continue -- and their -- you know, this guy, Dan Jones who was a former Senate intelligence investigator is out there raising money and giving it to Fusion GPS, who is giving it to British spies, who is giving it to Russian spies to try to continue to prove out some of the salacious claims in that dossier. So sure, the right is on the -- the people on the right are saying it's nothing. But there are people on the left cooperating in the shadows of this disgusting city to try to prove that it's -- that there was Russian collusion.
CUOMO: But politics is always ugly.
CAPUTO: It is.
CUOMO: At the end of the day, this isn't about the dossier being the instrument of the Russian government to interfere in our election. It's about what the --
CAPUTO: Why not? Because the Russians -- Chris --
CUOMO: But if you were just this --
CAPUTO: They were interviewing KGB agents and asking them questions about the President of the United States. They are not former KGB agents. They're doing what they're told. The intelligence coming from the Russian side --
CUOMO: Right, but that's why whatever they said had to be vetted. It's different between that and going to them and saying I want to help you undermine the election because what the Russians wanted to do was hurt Hillary Clinton. We know that now.
CAPUTO: Well, you know this thing was not vetted when it was presented as evidence for --
CUOMO: We do not know that. We do not know that.
We know that it was vetted. Certain of it could be corroborated, certain could not.
It was disclosed to the court. Multiple judges were made aware --
CAPUTO: They didn't tell them that it was partisan. They didn't tell the court that it was paid in by --
CUOMO: It was in a footnote --
CAPUTO: -- Hillary Clinton.
CUOMO: -- who paid for it and it was about what they could corroborate. That I see as a red herring --
CAPUTO: It is.
CUOMO: -- but I don't want to waste time on that. I don't want to waste time on it because I don't -- you know, we'll let people decide on that. They know both sides of that argument.
CAPUTO: And we talked about ad nauseam so, yes.
CUOMO: What did this cost you and your family? CAPUTO: So far, about $125,000.
I still have a possibility of three more Senate hearings -- the political hearings on Capitol Hill.
The special counsel might call me back. They said, you know, we don't -- you know, we've had a good interview but we reserve the right to call you back. And I'd come back voluntarily.
The special counsel might want me to sit before the grand jury.
My attorney, Dennis Vacco from Lippes Mathias, he's a former New York attorney general --
CAPUTO: -- and former U.S. attorney. He told me that if he was working for the special counsel he would put me into the grand jury to lock in my testimony in case anyone presents me as a defense witness.
Right now, we're at about $125,000. It's probably going to go much more. That's far more than I make in a year. I'm never going to be able to pay that off.
My wife and I are already discussing that we're going to have to move back here to the swamp so I get to take a job that I don't want that pays much more money so I can pay my attorneys back.
You know, that's -- I think there's so much -- and listen, by the way, this is not just me.
CAPUTO: There are a lot of other people --
CUOMO: No, I hear you.
CAPUTO: And by the way Chris, I didn't really attention during the -- during the Clinton investigation. I didn't really pay attention during the Bush investigation where Scooter Libby got jammed up.
But there are a lot of Michael Caputo's involved in all of that as well who are suffering as much as my family. You don't really know until it happens to you. But something's got to be done about this --
CUOMO: No, I hear you.
CAPUTO: -- in the United States.
CUOMO: But you know what?
CAPUTO: If the government wants to investigate and they're bringing witnesses in, they should be paying for their attorneys.
CUOMO: Well look, it gets tricky because not everybody is in your situation where you're not a subject, you're not a target, and they're just asking for information to get context. A lot of the people wind up having something to do and have information that motivates the investigation and sometimes turns it back then.
[07:40:10] But the point winds up being the same, Michael. It all starts at the top.
CUOMO: If there wasn't B.S. coming from the top there would be no need to be where we are right now.
But thank you for sharing your experience and the exposure to your family -- appreciate it. All right.
CAPUTO: Thanks, Chris. You have a great day.
CUOMO: A lot of breaking news this morning. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back we have more for you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, more breaking news.
President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is live on television. He is responding, just moments ago, to the president's apparent change in the story on the Stormy Daniels payment.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: He didn't know the details of this until we knew the details of it, which was a couple of weeks ago. Maybe not even a couple -- maybe 10 days ago.
Remember when this came up, October 2016. I was with him day in and day out then. I can't remember the details of what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why --
GIULIANI: And this was -- I know $135,000 -- I don't want to demean it but $130,000 sounds like a lot of money. It's not when you're putting $100 million into your campaign. It isn't pocket change --
[07:45:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
GIULIANI: -- but it's pretty close to it at the end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Let's bring back CNN political analyst David Gregory and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Let's start with the law and move to the B.S.
Jeffrey, what you're hearing there right now from Rudy, what does it mean?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I mean -- I mean, speaking of B.S., I mean, what are they talking about?
All of a sudden Donald Trump doesn't remember whether he reimbursed Michael Cohen for $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels? Is that remotely credible, especially since the president just said on Air Force One a couple of weeks ago he knew he didn't do it?
So, I mean, like how -- I mean, what are they doing?
You know, look, I'm not someone who throws around the word lying but, I mean, they're just lying about all this stuff. I mean, there is no plausible explanation other than they are just lying about this entire series of events.
CAMEROTA: Well, for sure, somebody's lying since the story has changed so often.
But their story -- OK -- just so that we know it, based upon last night that Rudy Giuliani said for the first time publicly on Sean Hannity's show -- he said that Donald Trump had been paying Michael Cohen a retainer of $35,000 a month and so that is how Rudy Giuliani sees this repayment. That adds up over four months. You get to $130,000.
And Donald Trump didn't need to know what that was going to because it was a retainer that he paid automatically every month.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: But it's not -- I think Jeffrey would agree that -- and all the lawyers that I've spoken to say that it's just not plausible that you have a lawyer who is going to make a payment -- who's going to resolve an issue like this and not share it with the client.
And that why, by the way, was the Stormy Daniels accusation the one that had to be dealt with and settled. But what about all the other allegations? Those were not important and this one suddenly was? This was the most important one?
I mean, it doesn't make sense that you're going to -- you have all this money, even if it's in a retainer -- doesn't know specifically that he's not going to share oh, this is a big one that we've got to settle because it could become a big P.R. disaster.
So you have to believe that a lot of this lying and covering up about this is because they think it's a totally inappropriate expansion of -- a potential expansion of the Mueller investigation and they think it doesn't have anything to do with anything else. And now, it's gotten too far gone that they now have to try to explain it.
CUOMO: Right. Now -- and Jeffrey, let's just shed a little light on what's going on here which is very evident from the president's tweets, OK? This isn't getting in the weeds. This is a different standard. Obviously, they're lawyering up and they are preparing to deal with any legal exposure.
CUOMO: And very often, the standard is different.
For the court, it's you only know what you show, Mr. Judge and people of the jury listening to this prosecutor. So this all works -- what Rudy Giuliani is saying --in terms of the burden of proof that might be applied to any prosecution.
But this is a very different standard. When stories evolve, that is a lack of credibility. When people tell you different things it's a lack of credibility.
That's the court of public opinion but this is the President of the United States. He owes a duty to the people and not just to his own behind in covering for legal exposure.
TOOBIN: Right. Now, what Giuliani seems to be focused on is -- and this is proper for an attorney -- is was there any violation of law by Donald Trump in connection with this whole Stormy Daniels story?
Now, the one theory of the possible illegality was that there was some misuse of campaign funds that was used pay her or that there was some sort of unlawful campaign contribution.
He is saying that there was no campaign money used and he's saying further that Donald Trump was not using -- was not making a campaign contribution when he was paying this money to Michael Cohen. That may be a debatable proposition.
But as you point out Chris, he's focused on is there any illegality here and asserting no.
CAMEROTA: OK. David Gregory, Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much.
We have so much news. We need to move on because we're now seeing new video of the officers who were trying to stop the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. When they -- what they encountered when they stormed the Las Vegas killer's room, next.
[07:53:14] CAMEROTA: OK.
Now close to three hours of just-released police bodycam video captures the moment that officers stormed the Las Vegas killer's room.
CNN's Kyung Lah has that video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mandalay Bay. It's coming out of a window. KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first officers racing toward the automatic gunfire of the Las Vegas shooter. Two different policy body cameras capturing their first steps, clearing the casino.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody out, everybody out. I don't care if you've got to pull a fire alarm.
There's a shooter up there. He's shot and killed multiple people already.
LAH: Then going floor-by-floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at all the doors and make sure there's no bullet holes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming through. Police, police, police. Metro police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Metro police -- everybody OK? OK, lock the door. Your door is open. There's someone shooting inside the casino.
LAH: The first responders in the terrifying haze of America's worst mass shooting in modern history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Metro police, Metro police, Metro police. Police, police, police. Guns down, guns down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friendly, friendly, friendly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, it's friendly, friendly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friendly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we're going to go back up to 32 if you want to clear the rest of this hallway so we're not aiming guns at each other.
LAH: The 32nd floor where the gunman had been firing into the concert crowd below.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're right outside the door in the stairwell -- just FYI.
LAH: Whispering as the SWAT team prepares to breach the door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breach, breach, breach.
LAH: The first glimpse of a madman's murderous plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has an intricate camera system set up so he knew when officers were coming down the hallway.
LAH: Guns strewn across the hotel suite, the curtain pulled back revealing the broken window. The killer's perch, a hotel chair. His body still on the ground.
[07:55:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got one suspect down.
LAH (on camera): It is important to note that 58 people were killed in this rampage, hundreds more injured. What we don't learn in looking at this video is the motive. That is still unknown all these months later.
Now, CNN and other media companies had sued the Las Vegas Police Department to release this video in addition to other videos, 911 tapes, and other documents in this investigation.
It is important to note that in the next couple of weeks we anticipate learning much more.
CUOMO: Kyung, thank you very much.
LAH: Alisyn --
CUOMO: Boy, you really now understand the peril that those men faced going into that room.
So from that story to political peril. Rudy Giuliani says President Trump reimbursed his attorney for that $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, ergo there is no Federal Election Commission problem. There is no donation problem.
But there are a lot of truth problems. The president apparently changing his story again.
Daniels' attorney joins us in just minutes.