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Trump, Giuliani Meet Face-To-Face After Fresh Bombshell; Giuliani Doesn't Condemn Trump Lying To Press; WAPO: Trump's CIA Nominee Sought To Withdraw Nomination; Sources: McCain Doesn't Want Trump At His Funeral; Lava From 9 Fissures Destroys Nine Homes In Hawaii As People Flee; First Lady Melania Trump To Unveil Formal Platform, Ex-Nba Star Rebounds From Addiction, Plays It Forward. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 6, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: -- lawyer Michael Cohen may have paid off other women besides porn star Stormy Daniels, here is how Giuliani responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CORRESPONDENT, ABC: You said he uses a regular arrangement he had with Michael Cohen. So, did Michael Cohen make payments to other women for the President?
RUDY GIULIANI, ADVISER TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have no knowledge of that, but I would think if it was necessary, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Giuliani made the rounds today on Sunday talk shows to try to inject some clarity in the chaos, well, that strategy may have backfired. Let's get right to CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House. Boris, what are you hearing about this meeting between Trump and Giuliani today?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. Yes, my colleague Dana Bash just got off the phone with Rudy Giuliani following that meeting, and he gave her a couple of interesting threads.
First, he said that this was a social meeting, but he did say that the President and he reached an understanding. He said that they reached an agreement on how they would handle the Special Counsel moving forward, and that it would be depending on Robert Mueller's next moves.
Further he said that he and the President agreed that the President should focus on bigger issues, North Korea, denuclearization talks, trade with China, the Iran dead, and that Giuliani would focus solely on the President's legal woes, including as you noted, the Stormy Daniels saga. I did want to point out something that Giuliani apparently told a
Washington Post reporter, following this meeting, and it is about the Special Counsel. Here's a tweet now from Washington Post reporter Robert Costa.
He said that Giuliani told him, and I quote, I feel bad for Bobby, that's directly addressing Robert Mueller, and comments that were made by a Federal Judge T.S. Ellis on Friday.
Ellis, essentially saying to Mueller that he did not believe that Mueller cared about Paul Manafort's fraud charges about his money laundering, et cetera, and that he was really using Manafort to squeeze the President, and to essentially, go after President Trump, whether that meant impeachment, or an indictment.
It is certainly a kind of preview perhaps of where Giuliani may move forward, in terms of addressing the Special Counsel, the language that we have not heard yet from the President's legal team, probably a sign of things to come, Ana.
CABRERA: On the shows this morning though, Giuliani did drop some major hints on the Trump team's potential strategy for handling the man leading the Russia investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, break it down for us.
SANCHEZ: Well, first, Giuliani said that because of executive privilege, the President may not have to comply with a subpoena. Listen to this exchange this morning by Rudy Giuliani on ABC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: What happens if Robert Mueller subpoenas the president, will you comply?
GIULIANI: Well, we don't have to. He's the President of the United States. We can assert the same privilege as other presidents have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Well, legal experts have weighed in on both sides of this issue. It is not clear how the President could potentially get out of having to comply with a subpoena, further, though, Giuliani went as far as to say that President Trump could potentially plead the fifth. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you confident the president will not take the fifth in this case?
GIULIANI: How can I ever be confident of that? When I'm facing a situation with the President, and all the other lawyers are, in which every lawyer in America thinks he would be a fool to testify. I've got a client who wants to testify, please don't -- he said it yesterday. And you know, Jay and I said to ourselves, my goodness, I hope we get a chance to tell him the risk that he's taking. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Giuliani set the table, sort of saying that he believes that the Special Counsel would be trying to trap the President if they were to sit down one-on-one with Robert Mueller for an interview. Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thank you for that reporting. I want to continue this conversation on that new revelation that the President may invoke the fifth and/or refuse to comply with a subpoena.
Joining us now, former White House lawyer for President Trump, Jim Schultz. So, Jim, lots to talk about. Let's first start with the claim that the President doesn't have to comply with a subpoena, is that how you see it?
JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: It is an -- it is untested whether the President will have to respond to a grand jury subpoena or not. That is -- it has been settled, it relates to the documents in the Nixon case.
But as it relates to testimony, it has not been -- there is press as the United States Supreme Court is not settled by the United States Supreme Court. So I expect if he refuses to testify, it's going to go all the way up to the Supreme Court.
CABRERA: And you are right. Clinton has faced the subpoena, we know Nixon has faced a subpoena, we know even Jefferson faced a subpoena regarding his vice president at the time. You can see how old that shook out.
But the bottom line is the Supreme Court has never had to directly address this question, because no president has ever been faced with this exact situation. Now Giuliani also said the President could end up invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. But the President has been openly critical of people doing exactly that. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:05:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Have you seen what's going on in front of Congress? Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, horrible. Horrible. The mob takes the fifth.
If you're innocent why are you taking the Fifth Amendment? When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment -- taking the fifth so they're not prosecuted, I think it's disgraceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, Jim, if he takes the fifth, won't be say he must have something to hide?
SCHULTZ: Look, I think this is the danger of talking about legal strategy before it's been determined on television, instead of with your client in the privacy of an office. It's a really difficult when lawyers start to speculating as to what their clients are going to decide to do, and he go on and talk about that on T.V. That's the problem here.
It's not the President saying anything about the Fifth Amendment, it's Rudy Giuliani talking about it in a hypothetical way. And I think that's really indicative of what's been happening throughout the week with Giuliani's statements. The facts have to be nailed down, and the strategy has to be nailed down.
The good news here is Emmet Flood is coming soon. He is coming into the White House to have this investigation. He's a real lawyer -- real criminal defense lawyer, knows all these issues, understands executive privilege, understands executive prerogative, and all the issues are associated with the Special Counsel law.
He represented Clinton, he's represented Bush, he's well respected in the D.C. legal community. He's going to be the one calling the shots on this, and I think it's -- you know, I think that it's going to be good for the White House for him to come in.
CABRERA: I have to wonder how he is viewing what Giuliani is doing right now. Giuliani himself admits, he is speaking out before he even knows all the facts. Listen to what he said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Did you misspeak or did people not interpret what you were saying? Were you talking about the facts? Or were you talking about the law, Mr. Mayor?
GIULIANI: I'm talking about the law and the conclusion. The facts -- the facts I'm still learning. I'm not an expert on the facts yet. I'm getting there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Jim, aren't the facts critical to determining whether someone actually broke the law?
SCHULTZ: Look, this goes back to my first point. I'm not sure until you have the facts, and the strategy nailed down. You shouldn't be going on out, and going on television, and talking about this thing.
I don't think it's a good strategy, long term for the Mueller investigation, for folks to be out there doing that kind of thing. I think the White House will be well served waiting until Emmet Flood gets there before Rudy Giuliani goes out, and talks anymore about legal strategy.
CABRERA: Although, Giuliani told our Dana Bash that they have the plan in place already as far as legal strategy.
SCHULTZ: Well, that remains to be seen. I mean, they're bringing in a class A guy, and I understand from folks inside the White House, that morale has really been boosted knowing that Emmet Flood is coming in, and knowing they have someone in that office that has their back, that understands the legal issues surrounding this investigation.
CABRERA: Giuliani also seemed to imply that it was OK that the President lied to the press, and that to in turn the public essentially about the payment to Stormy Daniels. You are a former White House employee. Do you think it's OK for the President or White House officials to lie to the press?
SCHULTZ: I don't think it's clear whether there was any lying going on. We don't know when the President knew, when we don't know when the President found out about any payments, we don't know any of that.
So it's really hard to tell what the President -- what the President's state of the mind was when he answered that question on Air Force One. So to say that the White House is lying, if the President has lied about it...
CABRERA: Is he lying though? Is that OK?
SCHULTZ: The President should be forthright with the American people, no doubt it. And the facts have to be straight when those facts are delivered.
And the problem here goes back to my first point, if that you have to have the facts straight when you start talking to the news media, and if you're going to send a lawyer out there, the lawyer better know those facts cold.
CABRERA: So you have in the past argue that he needed somebody to be his spokesperson for his legal team because as you recall, Sarah Sanders for the longest time was saying talk to the lawyers, talk to the lawyers, I can't answer these questions pertaining to the Russia probe, I take it. You don't think Giuliani is the right person to be that spokesperson?
SCHULTZ: Look, I don't know that he's the wrong person, but there has to be someone calling the plays inside, and then Rudy Giuliani going out, and being the spokesperson.
Giuliani has been a pundit, he was a federal prosecutor, he is an accomplished lawyer, but the fact of the matter, he hasn't been running investigations since he left the mayor's office for the most part to my knowledge.
So -- and to the folks coming in now, Emmet Flood, that's what he does for a living, I think you have to rely on the experts, and then have the spokesmen go out and fully vetted -- fully vetted with comments, and talk to the news media.
CABRERA: There are so many lawyers involved right now -- Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, then pretty critical of Giuliani's recent appearance.
[17:10:01] Let's listen to what he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: It's an absolute unmitigated disaster for Rudy Giuliani and the President. It's a train wreck. I can't believe that that actually just happened. I mean, what we witnessed by Rudy Giuliani may be one of the worst T.V. appearances by any attorney on behalf of a client in modern times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Jim, would you rather be Michael Avenatti or Rudy Giuliani right now?
SCHULTZ: Right now, Avenatti is -- look, that's very self-serving in Avenatti's part to make those comments. He is in the news constantly. He has a client that he is pushing for, and he is enjoying the limelight.
So for him criticizing Giuliani, that's going to make headlines. But I have to tell you, Giuliani needs to get his facts straight, he need to get the team in place, get the facts straight, and then head out to the news media, and carry the message if he's going to be the one carrying it for that part.
CABRERA: Avenatti said essentially, Giuliani has given him a lot more ammunition as helping to make his case.
SCHULTZ: Every time someone goes out, and speaks off the cuff on this issue, Avenatti licks his chops, right? And that happens every single time. I see him in the green room at CNN waiting to get on the T.V. every time this happens.
CABRERA: Jim Schultz, we'll leave it there, thank you so much for coming on. Good to have you. some breaking news I want to get to now, a bombshell new report, The Washington Post reporting that President Trump's nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel tried to withdraw her nomination as recently as Friday.
And it follows concerns raised over her role in the agency's interrogation program. Now, Trump named Haspel to take over for Mike Pompeo who recently left, and was officially confirmed as secretary of state. Haspel is the first woman to head the CIA. And one of the reporters who broke the story is also a CNN political analyst Josh Dawsey. He is joining us on the phone now. Josh, explained why did Haspel reportedly tried to withdraw her nomination?
JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via phone): There has been some serious trepidation, Ana, in the White House, a lot of this nomination for some time, and the majority in the Senate, a lot of the critics of the torture program, that she was obviously a part of an interrogation, and had, you know, been an enthusiastic supporter of, at least according to a document we reported on today.
White House officials have been bracing for a pretty brutal confirmation, our reporting indicated on Friday she was over at the White House, meeting with officials about her nomination, and decided it would best in her part to withdrawal. That sparked kind of a frenzied chain of events where senior White
House officials including Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, Marc Short, the legislative affairs director, rushed over to the CIA, met with her, and the agency head quarters, and you know, basically begged her to stay in, and for about 24 hours, it was really fluid. Our reporting indicated that by yesterday afternoon, she formally said, you know, let's keep going.
CABRERA: So, I'm trying to understand the timing of this, because the news about her involvement in interrogation, and potential water boarding, has been out there basically since she was nominated, so why is it all of a sudden a bigger concern to her, is it a point where she thinks it may be worth withdrawing?
DAWSEY: That's a good question. Our reporting indicates that a number of White House officials have begun reviewing reports more in depth in recent days, and there's been concerns that are tip within from the staff, and senators have reviewed, you know, the information about her history.
What we have been able to tell is what triggered the number of, you know, meetings, and friendly phone calls, and them rushing up to the Hill, was not necessarily new information, but just new information to White House officials.
You know, obviously they're reviewing a styles, draft report, (Inaudible), interviewing people, you know, gauging support on the Hill, and there's really a sense of concern about this nomination. And as Haspel realized that were other folks who though she was in a very precarious situation, and that, you know, it could be thwarted, and that she just said, if I step back from it.
CABRERA: Let's me read a new statement we just got from Raj Shah, the White House deputy press secretary, and it reads, acting director Gina Haspel is a highly qualified nominee who was dedicated over three decades of service to her country, her nomination will not be derailed by partisan critics, who side with the ACLU over the CIA on how to keep the American people safe. So, is it your understanding, Josh, that he confirmation hearing on Wednesday is still on? And how do you expect that to play out?
DAWSEY: Yes, I mean, that's what we reported today in our story is that line from Raj Shah, and that statement that after 24 hours of (Inaudible), the White House and Gina Haspel mutually decided, you know, let's give this a shot.
[17:15:03] I think what you want to see are struck questions from the left, I think you'll see struck questions from moderates into those -- you know with Susan Collins. She's really going to have to explain, you know, her documented role in the interrogation, plus the destroying of tapes.
You know, that's really a critical moment here, what her role was in the destruction of these tapes that were documented, you know, what happened in the interrogation process. So what we are thinking is that the hearing will be, you know, must-
see TV on Wednesday obviously. There will be lots of sharp questions to her by the White House, and saying they still think by a narrow majority they can get her confirmed.
CABRERA: All right, Josh Dawsey, we'll keep in touch with you as these developments continue to play out. Thank you. Coming up, more on this new revelation, and what it means for Trump's CIA nominee in her upcoming conformation hearing. We'll discuss with out panel live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Updating you on the breaking news on Trump's pick to head the CIA. The Washington Post reporting, acting director Gina Haspel tried to withdraw her nomination as recently as Friday. This follows a concerns raised over Haspel's role in the agency's interrogation program.
Now, Haspel is the first woman to be tapped a head the CIA, her confirmation hearing is set to get under way on Wednesday. Let's talk it over with our panel Doug Heye, former communications director of the Republican National Committee, Catherine Rampell an opinion writer for the Washington Post, and Chris Whipple, author of The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.
So, Chris, let me start with you. According to this new report about Haspel, was Sarah Sanders and Marc Short, the legislative director who were involved in trying to convince Haspel not to withdraw from this nomination, from her confirmation process, where is John Kelly?
CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, THE GATEKEEPERS: Well, that's a very good question. He should be in the room. He obviously be intimately involve in these kinds of decision. You know, reportedly Trump is really just going around Kelly at this point, he's -- you know, he's really being ignored.
I thought it will be interesting because, you know, I have interviewed every living CIA director with the exception of Pompeo, and there's tremendous support for Gina.
And I think that they all feel or the majority feel that she would have the CIA's back. She would be an honest broker of information to Donald Trump, and I think also that no matter how you may feel about the so-called enhanced interrogation program, Trump shamelessly said he wanted to bring back waterboarding, and hell of a lot worse, well, that's not going to happen on Gina Haspel's watch.
CABRERA: Do you think it has become just a bunch of a partisan issue here?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this would have been a brutal confirmation hearing basically under any president, given her role in this so-called enhanced affair, you know, over seeing a detention center in Thailand, it did practice waterboarding. She would have faced a difficult hearing no matter what, regardless of who was in office, but I think it is more difficult -- it is likely to be more difficult given the fact that this White House has not adequately vetted past nominees, which has maybe makes lawmakers feel like it is more up to them, partisan climate, or otherwise to do some of that vetting on T.V.
And also because, as you said, this President is one who has expressed support for torture in the past, so all of those things put together mean that partisan issues aside, this was going to be a tough hearing.
CABRERA: And bottom line here is that this is just more news that paints the picture of more chaos in the wake of Rudy Giuliani's role in the media blitz, rattling White House story on Stormy Daniels, and her payment. This is isn't good, right?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not good, and the thing I hear so often from Congressional Republicans is that it always distracts some good news at this administration can talk about, and there was no better example of that than Friday.
We got great jobs report, there was some question about wage growth, the unemployment is the lowest it's been in 18 years. This is a huge victory for this administration, but instead, we spent all the day Friday, and now Saturday, and Sunday, which means tomorrow as well, talking about this whole White House chaos, the whole outrage du jour comes from all things surrounding the White House.
If they can get back and focusing on economic message, they're going to really benefit the President politically, not just on issues of the economy, but on Capitol Hill moving nominations forward.
CABRERA: And, Doug, it kind of begs the question, who is the leader right now that's helping to funnel the strategy, and getting this White House back on track.
HEYE: Yes, I think the one thing we have learned is that the communications director of the White House is Donald Trump. The political director of the White House is Donald Trump. Everything is coming directly from the President, and it's no surprise that he's cutting people out of the loop. I don't think that's a wise policy, but it's every clear that's what's happening here.
CABRERA: The morning shows have Rudy Giuliani, Kelly Conway defending the President after this chaotic week. Here is Conway's conversation with CNN's Jake Tapper, specifically pertaining to Stormy Daniels as she tried to clear up the controversy over whether he knew about the Stormy Daniels payment when he made this statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Here is the issue, Kellyanne, this week, the White House really started to lose the support of conservatives who want to support the President.
In addition we have had people on Fox News channel who are generally very support of the President, saying to the President through the television screen, you have to tell the truth, stop doing this, you're eroding credibility. As the counselor to the President, aren't you worried about this?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I'm concerned that you are not listening to the news I just broke, which is that no refers to when the payment occurred. That's very important here. This was a fast moving exchange, I asked the President what he meant, and he said I didn't know about it when the payment occurred, I think you're overcomplicating that very simple point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, Catherine, she was referring to the no, and that was the statement made on Air Force One. That's what I was referring to is when he made this statement. Do you think she helped the President there with her answer?
[17:25:00] RAMPELL: Probably not. I'm not sure anyone is going to buy anything that she says about where -- what this President knew, and when he knew it.
CABRERA: It's going to be possible he was responding to the question, which was, did you know about the Stormy Daniels' payment, and he was interpreting that question to him, did you know about it at the time? So, maybe, he wasn't lying when he said no.
RAMPELL: Elsewhere in that very same exchange, Jake Tapper said the follow up question was something like, do you know where the money came from or do you -- what did he reimburse -- I forget what it was, but is it was a present tense question, and Trump also said no.
So, this -- you know, this graphing of this new interpretation of what we're supposed to believe Trump was saying doesn't really work. If you look at the hole of that exchange where it's clearly not all about the past tense, and what Trump may or may not have known despite what Kellyanne Conway is saying, at the time that the payment was made, and the rest of that exchange reveals that he was being asked what does he know now, and he still misleading the public.
CABRERA: There does have to -- there's a sense that everybody's just trying to scramble to get things back on track, and I'm curious what a traditional White House chief of staff would be doing in a situation like this when they seem to have gotten out of control.
WHIPPLE: Well, this is what happens when you have a President who is under the delusion that he can run the White House by himself. You know, he's reportedly been saying stuff like, well, LBJ had no chief of staff, why do I need one?
This is why you need one. In a normal functioning White House, everything flows from an empowered White House chief of staff, who make sure that everybody is on the same page, they don't contradict each other every other day or multiple times every day. And that's the fundamental problem here. In addition to the fact that
truth was the first casualty of this presidency on the first day, it's continued ever since, it could lead as we all know to a constitutional crisis if Trump lies to Mueller.
But it could also lead to even more dangerous consequences. I mean consider the fact that this presidency has been lucky so far, all of their crises have been self-inflicted, what happens with North Korea, what happens with Iran? Will anybody ever believe anything this President says about any kind of deal he tries to do?
CABRERA: On this issue of credibility, I had a conversation with former White House press secretary for President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair, and the impeachment process there, Joe Lockhart, and here's what he said when I asked him what he would do if he were in Sarah Sanders shoes right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE LOCKHART, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think at this point I would go into the Oval Office, and tell the President that if he lies to me again, I have to quit. It's that easy. I think she is at the -- runs the risk and is at the stage where she's complicit in the lies, even though she may not have the best information.
CABRERA: Why would she be complicit, if she's only working off the information she has?
LOCKHART: Because she now knows for certain that the President is a liar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Doug, you have been a communications director for the RNC. Do you agree with Lockhart?
HEYE: Well, I think we're certainly getting close to that territory, the worst thing that a press secretary can say privately behind closed doors, and every press secretary has done this at system point, what do you mean he knew all along?
And if that's the conversation that Sarah Sanders is having with her team, she needs to have that very clearly with the President to make sure that there in so air between the two any further.
If there is, it's not just about the credibility larger of the White House, but for Sarah very specifically, it's about the credibility that she has with the reporters in the White House briefing room, who know that she's a pro, that know that's serious at her job, if she is speaking for the President.
But it's clear that she is really able to speak for the President, there is credibility gap that will happen there that will, in her best interest, eventually cause her to resign if there's air between her, and the president any further. CABRERA: Doug Heye, Chris Whipple and Catherine Rampell, thank you
HEYE: Thank you.
CABRERA: Up next, CNN is learning about new details regarding Senator John McCain's health, and plans he's making for after he's gone. I'll talk to a reporter who sat down with former Vice President Joe Biden, one of McCain's closest friends about what the senator wants for his legacy. You are live in the CNN Newsroom. Don't go anywhere.
[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Friends and family are making the pilgrimage to Arizona to meet with ailing senator, John McCain, and among them according to the New York Times is longtime friend, former Vice President Joe Biden. McCain is 81, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year. And sources are now telling CNN, McCain doesn't want President Trump at his funeral.
I want to bring in CNN Political Analyst and New York Times National Correspondent Jonathan Martin. Jonathan, thank you for being with us. What do you make of McCain's wishes concerning Trump not being invited to his funeral?
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I have spent the last week reporting this story that we have on today's paper about Senator McCain, and his past, his present, and his future. And he is using a new book, a new documentary that will be out this month to kind of unburden himself of a few things.
I think the most notable piece of news is the fact that he is now openly saying that he had wished he picked Joe Liebermann to be his running mate in 2008. And someone who covered that race, I can tell you, that was a fierce debate internally in their campaign.
And, you know, that in any other news environment would be I think a huge story given the fact that he picked Sarah Palin, and we all know kind of a story that became. But of course, we are not in the typical news environment, we're in the Trump era.
[17:35:00] MARTIN: And so, for a big story out of this weekend is the fact that as we reported in the paper today, Senator McCain and his family have indicated that they don't wanted, as of right now, President Trump to come to his funeral services.
And always of course hope that that day is long way from today, but there are of course plans in place, and those plans include Vice President Pence as of right now, but they do not include President Trump.
And this shouldn't come as a huge surprise to viewers who kind of know they have clashed, that President Trump has never apologize or even issued any kind of regret for his comments about Senator McCain's P.O.W. status that he made, saying that Senator McCain is not a hero because he was captured.
So, you know, not a huge surprise, but it sort of does speak to where we are when the sitting President is not wanted at the funeral someday of probably the most prominent member of Congress today.
CABRERA: And not to mention, a member of his own party.
MARTIN: That too.
CABRERA: When you talk about making these funeral plans, and the details being ironed out, I mean that doesn't sound good regarding McCain's health, what is the reality of his health battle right now?
MARTIN: Well, look, obviously he's facing a grave challenge, he has an aggressive form of brain cancer as you mentioned. And the challenge he has, it's not so much the brain cancer, as friends, and family of folks who have had this diagnosis can relate to.
The real challenge is the side effects that come with, you know, radiation, chemotherapy, and steroids, and that can really be debilitating, it can weaken one's system.
And so that's the challenge that he's facing right now, he's probably weakened from the side effects of this treatment, and for someone who is 81-years-old, a really aggressive treatment, and so that is the challenge he is facing right now. That said, for a figure as high profile as John McCain.
It it's not terribly a typical to plan for ones funeral well in advance. You know, all of the current -- I'm sorry, all of the former presidents who are still alive, all have their funeral plans well in advance, so, not totally surprising.
CABRERA: I know you spoke with former Vice President Biden...
MARTIN: I did.
CABRERA: ... who went to visit McCain exactly a week ago, what did he tell you about their conversation?
MARTIN: Well that's been a couple of hours at some of McCain's ranch, which is in northern Arizona, you can call it part of the state. You know obviously, Arizona is kind of known as a desert state.
The McCain ranch is actually lush, it's in a green valley, and over the, you know, a stream nearby, and the two of them spent a couple of hours on the porch there talking. And as Mr. Biden recalls, it was not just about family and stories, there was plenty of that.
But they also did in fact get into the state of county, and the future of the country, and both of them are deeply worried about America's role in the world, and about this administration, and, you know, they're obviously from different parties.
But both of them come from the sort of internationalist school of foreign policy, both believe that America should play a robust role on the world stage. And I think that they don't want to see the country slipping back into more of an isolation as posture.
I think they do worry about President Trump taking that position, and what was most notable, the Vice President volunteered to me. I didn't asked this question, he volunteered to me fair in the course of our interview last week, that Senator McCain had encouraged him to stay in the fight, stay in the political fray, and clearly that was a reference to running for president...
CABRERA: Running for president, right.
MARTIN: ... in two years. Exactly. And the Vice President wouldn't delve deeper than that, but it was obvious where McCain was going, which is poignant because obviously Senator McCain is seeing friends and family, and he's saying things that one says when they don't know how much longer they have.
CABRERA: And you also have to just think about that parallel between Senator McCain and what he's going through right now, and then Joe Biden's son...
MARTIN: Of course.
CABRERA: ... who of course we know lost his battle with cancer, which is one of the reasons why he didn't run for president just last time around. Jonathan Martin, thank you so much for your reporting, and for sharing it with us.
MARTIN: Thank you for having me.
CABRERA: Up next, stunning new images of a relentless volcano on Hawaii, the Big Island. The latest on evacuations, and when Kilauea could cool off. You are live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: This is just incredible video out of Hawaii, lava spewing into the air from volcanic fissures, officials on the Big Island say at least nine fissures have opened up, harrowing molten rock and toxic gases into the air, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes.
Nine houses have been destroyed. On top of all this, the U.S. Geological Survey says that 6.9 magnitude earthquake that stuck on Friday was the most powerful to hit the island since 1975. Our Stephanie Elam joins us live now from Hawaii with the latest. Stephanie, is the volcano showing any signs of letting up?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, no, Ana, that's the thing. The people mo study these volcanoes day they don't know what's it's going to do, despite the fact that they have know so much about these volcanoes. That is a problem for the people who do live in the area of Leilani Estates. They are getting a look back at their home today, but still so much uncertainty.
[17:45:04] STEVE GEBBIE, RESIDENT, LEILANI ESTATES, HAWAII: Tears -- a lot of tears, saying goodbye to my house.
ELAM: Steve Gebbie says fled his neighborhood not long after the Kilauea volcano erupted.
GEBBIE: I'm about to leave my house, and I may not see it again.
ELAM: He built this home with his own hands, and doesn't even know if it's still standing. Just three doors down from his home, a volcano fissure openly began spilling lava several feet into the air, the erupting magma thundering from the earth with toxic volcanic gas. Tell me what it was like when you first saw lava coming out right by your house?
GEBBIE: It was really went orange, splattering about, at first about four feet tall, the street was still raw at the time with the lava coming up, and within five minutes, there was probably a 3-foot wall of lava on the street. The highest splatter I saw personally was about 60 feet tall.
ELAM: Several more of these lava events have erupted south of Hilo, in the Leilani Estates, and Leilani (ph) Puna subdivisions, forcing mandatory evacuations. So far, at least five homes have been destroyed.
TINA NEAL, SCIENTIST-IN-CHARGE, USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY: I wish volcanoes behaved like clocks and were very predictable.
ELAM: The United States Geological Survey is monitoring the lava's movement, and says more eruption aren't just possible, but likely.
NEAL: There's nothing to say that it can't develop some additional pressure, and pushed beyond Leilani Estates to the east tip of the island.
ELAM: As if toxic gas and molten lava aren't enough, there is also hundreds of earthquakes, a 6.9 magnitude quake knocked out power to thousands on the eastern coast of the Big Island, and forced the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to close.
JESSICA FERRACANE, PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST, HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK: We don't want somebody's wonderful lava volcanic experience to be their last one, so we will stay closed until it's safe for people to come in.
ELAM: And while scientists aren't sure what this volcanic eruption will do next, but for Gebbie, it's a different uncertainty, his future.
GEBBIE: I might have to start over at age 56. You know, that's concerning. I was five years away from retirement with the house paid for, and retirement is nowhere near in the future now, if this is what's playing out.
ELAM: And we do know that Steve's house is still standing at this point, but the lava has moved closer, they have allowed people in right now just so they can get the last few things out of there, and get back out because the air quality is still a problem.
And that lava is still shooting into the air, and with these openings, there's more fissures opening, and more of this lava like this old flow here coming on to their streets, and near these homes, they really just don't want to take any chances. Ana.
CABRERA: No doubt. Thank you so much. Stephanie Elam reporting. Straight ahead, Melania Trump, after 16 months in the White House plans to lay out her formal platform as first lady. New details on what she's likely to take on, when we come back, you're live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: First Lady Melania Trump is set for major public announcement. Tomorrow, she plans to unveil her formal platform from the Rose Garden. So far we know she'll focus on the well being of children and Mrs. Trump's efforts will include the issue of cyber bullying, something for which her husband is often criticized. CNN's Kate Bennett has more for us.
KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Monday is a big day for First Lady Melania Trump. She will announce her formal platform in a Rose Garden ceremony in the afternoon. Now, several months ago, the first lady said she wanted to use her initiatives focus on the well being of children.
And she's ranged on that front on anything from education to the emotional, and physical health of kids to the opioid crisis that's affecting families, specifically newborns, and of course, social media kindness, something that includes cyber bullying.
This was addressed by the First Lady last month when she met with tech leaders at the White House to talk about social media bullying. She said that she realizes she has been criticized, and will continue to be because she's focusing on a topic for which her husband is often criticized.
However, Melania Trump said she will move forward with this despite the criticism, and she wants to help kids tackle meanness, and bullying online. I think we'll expect to hear from the First Lady as she unveiled her branded platform.
We could see more than one element in her initiative. She may group them all together. We will have to wait and see. However, it is a big day for First Lady. Fifteen months into her tenure to be announcing her official platform. From Washington, Kate Bennett, CNN.
CABRERA: Thanks, Kate. Up next, fearing she would become the next Ronny Jackson, Trump's pick for CIA director tries to withdraw her nomination. What new reporting is revealing from inside the White House. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.
[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHRIS HERREN, FORMER NBA STAR: My story led me to the NBA and the Boston Celtics. But behind all of that was an addiction, heroin and Oxycontin. Being a professional athlete and hiding this addiction was a full-time job.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 2008, Chris Herren was found near death with a bag of heroin. An old NBA friend and his wife pushed the fallen hoop star into rehab.
HERREN: Liz and Chris Mullen reached out to me, and gave me the greatest gift, a chance to get well. When I started the Herren Project, it was all about covering the spectrum, bringing in family support groups, recovery coaches, as well as helping them sustain treatment.
BALDWIN: A service which helped Susan Duffy get her son sober.
SUSAN DUFFY, SON WAS ADDICTED TO DRUGS: It really does increase the possibility of your loved one surviving.
HERREN: We all get sick in this process. Family members have broken hearts and people who are suffering have broken souls.
BALDWIN: That's why Herren offers free virtual support groups with licensed counselors, something that's helping James Franchek. His daughter, Emma, died from an overdose in 2016.