Return to Transcripts main page


Volcano Eruption in Hawaii; Federal Judge Comments on Special Counsel; Paul Plays Big on Birthday; Daniels Mocks Trump on SNL. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 7, 2018 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Earthquakes are going to happen. If you are in those evacuation areas, you have got to get out because there's so much unknown about this volcano.

We do know, though, that it has -- it's one of the world's most active volcanos. It's been constantly erupting since 1983. And one of the most significant ones in recent history is December 2012 when that eruption destroyed 214 structures and buried roads under 15 feet of lava. It added 500 acre of land to the island. And that's going on 35 years.

And so this is the latest diagram of where that eruptive fissure is happening. And Leilani Estates right there. And you can see all of those homes that are being impacted.

Chris, you can't imagine how scary this is for folks that are living in this area.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. and it's a real acute example of how after the worst is over, this literal, you know, molten stone that's all over the place, it's still going to be one of the worst situations we've seen in terms of destruction of structures and the time it's going to take them to get back. So we will stay on the story.

Jennifer Gray, thank you, as always.

So, you know by now that Senator John McCain is up against -- he is in a big fight again brain cancer. He's at his home in Arizona. CNN has learned former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been asked to deliver eulogies at his funeral, if necessary. A source close to the ailing senator confirms President Trump will likely not be invited. The vice president, Pence, according to "The New York Times," he will be asked to attend the service. "The Times" also will reports that former Vice President Joe Biden visited McCain recently. They've been friends for a very long time from their days in the Senate. Biden says the senator's condition is very precarious, but he's still very concerned about the state of the country. And we do know that McCain is still holding confidence calls with his staff. This man is a fighter like none other I've ever met in this business.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Obviously we'll keep everyone posted.

Meanwhile, another broken window scare on a plane to tell you about. This time a JetBlue flight from San Juan to Tampa was diverted to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday because the outer layer of the cockpit's windshield shattered. The plane did not lose cabin pressure. It is not clear yet what caused this window to shatter. Last month, of course, a passenger on a Southwest flight died when an engine blew and debris shattered a window.

CUOMO: A federal judge accusing prosecutors of targeting Paul Manafort just to get to the president. This has become big, big, big cannonballs for the supporters of Donald Trump. What is the relevance of what this federal judge is saying to the overall Russia probe? We take you inside, next.


[06:36:49] CAMEROTA: President Trump's defenders pouncing on comments made by the federal judge overseeing Paul Manafort's bank fraud case. He questioned whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller has overstepped his bounds and suggested that prosecutors are only interested in hurting President Trump. Here's how the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, responded.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: We have situations, like Judge Ellis, saying that they're out of control and they're not authorized. And they refused to give the judge their authorization. What's going on with that, George? God almighty.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Final question. Do you still want Rod Rosenstein to shut down this investigation?

GIULIANI: I do. I believe that after Judge Ellis' remarks last night -- yesterday, rather, on Friday, there's no question that the amount of government misconduct is accumulating. I happen to believe it's greater than anybody realizes.


CAMEROTA: OK. Let's bring back John Avlon and Laura Coates.

So, Laura, how unusual is it that this federal judge, Judge Ellis, would say that basically he thinks that there's -- Mueller's investigators are trying to oust Trump from office, that they're not really interested in Paul Manafort's bank fraud, though that's the case in front of them.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's not odd that a judge would be critical of federal prosecutors. I know everyone has the assumption that everybody loves a prosecutor. If you're in the federal courthouse, it's not true. They put a great deal of scrutiny over the decision of the federal prosecutors because of all the weight that comes with United States versus somebody.

But why this is so strange is that the -- it has such a political purpose and -- and connotation that is assigned to it, but it's not as crazy if you think about it, Alisyn. Remember, Mueller and his team has already decided on to farm out some cases. One in particular, the one involving Michael Cohen in Manhattan. So the judge was actually questioning, why is this one so different. Why did you choose one that's outside of the context of the campaign, one that you didn't necessarily want to have in D.C., and decide not to do that here in Virginia as well? The truth of the matter is, Mueller's team tried to put it in D.C. It was the prerogative of Manafort to move it because it did not have a direct correlation. And so he's right to question it.

Ultimately, however, Alisyn, this is simply more of a peak than actual point here. The judge was criticizing. But I think ultimately the case will not be dismissed.

CUOMO: And it was interesting that they changed you description there, Laura Coates. When you started talking about how people don't often love the prosecutors in court, to the fact that you are a former federal prosecutor. So, you know that --


CUOMO: Yes, you know that pain.

But, look, politically this has --

COATES: We're not popular, Chris. We're not popular.

CUOMO: You are here. You are here, Laura. You're always straight on point.

So, John, politically this has bite, OK. Yes, you can look deeper into it and say, well, Ellis is known for being a little bit outspoken and they are kind of slow walking this case and they did push up -- back on him when he asked for authorization and it is a little confused, so he got upset and popped off, which was within his purview. It's his court.

But nobody's going to read any of that. All they're going to hear is that Ellis said, hey, you guys are going too far.


CUOMO: And it's been picked up on. And now you have Rudy Giuliani saying we have cases of where this has -- no, you have one, with Ellis --


CUOMO: Where this is going on. But it's resonating. We're hearing it from all the defenders.

AVLON: Of course it is because it's making -- the judge made the point in his comments that the Trump team has been trying to say, which is Mueller has -- is acting like they have unfettered power. And that's not good for a democracy.

[06:40:10] You can get too far over your ski in over interpreting the judge's remarks, but you also can't dismiss him. He is a respected judge appointed by Reagan. But he really did throw a brushback pitch on the Mueller team.

Now, part of the question is, why is it relevant to look into tax records and deals from 2005? Well, partly it is a question of whether he was taking money from the Ukrainians or the Russians and does that create a fact pattern? But it also shows that the Mueller team can't act with impunity. It just so happens that the judge had made very unvarnished comments, tough talk, that really did put the lawyer's team on their heels and helped make the -- Rudy's point on TV. But that does not establish a fact pattern that they're off the hook. Far from it.

CAMEROTA: Laura, as you know, Rudy Giuliani and --

COATES: And by -- and by the way --

CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead.

COATES: I was going to say, by the way, you may think you're having deja vu at this point in time thinking to yourself, didn't we already have a judge say that Rod Rosenstein already said he had a far more expansive discussion of the scope of Robert Mueller's probe here.

AVLON: Right.

COATES: Well, we have deja vu because that happened in Washington, D.C., but it didn't happen in Virginia. And the judge has to still have the case made before him. You can't assume that because it was covered someplace else that this judge will then adopt all of that reasoning and rational and apply it going forward. So the deja vu is real, but it has to litigate in every single jurisdiction.

CAMEROTA: OK, quickly, I wanted to make the point that you hear Rudy Giuliani now pretty regularly and you've heard President Trump throughout the campaign and now talk about what kid gloves Hillary Clinton was treated with. If only they could have an investigation like Hillary Clinton was subjected to. That's all they would want. And Matthew Dowd, who's the chief strategist for Bush/Cheney 2004, was on the Sunday shows pointing out what Hillary Clinton endured and what this investigation looks like in comparison. Watch this.


MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Benghazi was a four-year investigation. There were zero indictments, right? The Clinton e-mail scandal was a two year investigation. There were zero indictments. This has been a 14-month investigation. There's been 23 indictments.



CAMEROTA: Good context, John.

AVLON: It's crucial context because one of the most fascinating things that's happening is Trump's team is constantly invoking the Clinton comparison. Whether it's Rudy talking about conditions for Bill Clinton to testify or for, you know, Donald Trump to say, well, Hillary Clinton didn't get, you know, the benefit of the doubt or she got, you know, exoneration during the investigation.

Dowd's doing the right thing by creating as close to an apples and apples comparison as exists. It's ironic that Clinton and those scandals create a comparison to Trump's team is trying to repair too, whether it's about sex scandals and Stormy Daniels or by other investigations. It's a fascinating sign of how situational ethics can be used in politics. At the end of the day, you've got to be as clear as you can about not letting them slip away. But Clinton's created some precedence the Trumps are trying to drive a truck through.

CUOMO: Right. And just one little bit of legal advice. There's this idea that, you know, they didn't even have Hillary Clinton under oath. Just in case you ever find yourself in front of federal investigators, you don't have to be under oath to be facing a problem if you lie to them. It's a federal offense if you do.

COATES: Right.


CUOMO: That's why she wasn't under oath. They don't put people under oath. It's unnecessary there.


CAMEROTA: News you can use on NEW DAY. Ideal. That is --

CUOMO: Yes, (INAUDIBLE), because a lot of -- you know, a lot of my friends --


CUOMO: A lot of my friends, you could wind up --

CAMEROTA: You'll face (ph) this.

CUOMO: Don't get fast and loose, boys, just because you don't have to raise your right hand.

CAMEROTA: OK. Thank you, Laura and John.

So birthday boy Chris Paul leads the way, giving the Houston Rockets a commanding lead in their NBA playoff series. That is all about basketball, I'm supposed to be telling the viewers.

CUOMO: Oh, thank you. I thought it was team handball there for a second.

CAMEROTA: No. The "Bleacher Report," next.

CUOMO: Who's that guy?


[06:47:37] CUOMO: So if you're an NBA player and it's your birthday, obviously you want to put on a good show, right? And that's exactly what CP 3, Chris Paul, did for the Rockets.

Lindsay Czarniak has more in the "Bleacher Report."

What a playoff series you're getting to cover.

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, it's tremendous. Absolutely. And the truth is, there is no party, right, if you're bounced from the playoffs. And Chris Paul, he is this close. This close to advancing to the western conference finals. One more win is now all the Rockets need because Paul was on fire last night, 27 points, 12 rebounds, six assist. His Rockets dominated most of the game with James Harden contributing 24 points of his own. They beat the Jazz 187 to take a 3-1 series lead.

But if you think that that meant to cue the birthday celebration, not so fast, because Chris Paul has been here before, 2015 with the Clippers. He saw the same lead evaporate when the Rockets came back to win the series.


CHRIS PAUL, ROCKETS: And I've been here before, 3-1. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) it went bad real quick. You know what I mean? So, it is what it is. We're just enjoying the process. I want to get home, see my family, you know what I mean. It's a birthday gift. I'll take it.


CZARNIAK: And a strange sidebar here, guys, but one that a lot of people are talking about this morning. Chris Paul's brother, CJ, was ejected for a play last night in a case of mistaken identity. He was sitting -- there he is with the glasses -- courtside. He was escorted out when it was believed he said something disparaging towards an official on the court. So he went out. He talked to security. And then he was allowed to come right back in.

But, Chris, Paul and the coach, they saw it, created a whole conversation around it. It was pretty interesting.

CUOMO: Yes. And yet he kept his eyes on the prize and they wound up getting the win. We'll see what happens. Lindsay, thank you very much. What a series.

CZARNIAK: Thank, guys.

CAMEROTA: OK, so, "SNL" bringing out the big guns on Saturday's show to skewer the president and his team with a special guest appearance.


STORMY DANIELS: I know you don't believe in climate change, but a storm's a coming, baby. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: We have all the reaction, next.

CUOMO: What did he say? What did he say?


[06:53:53] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR, "SNL": So what up, girl?

STORMY DANIELS: Hello, Donald.

BALDWIN: Come on, Stormy, stop making such a big deal about this. Everyone knows it's just an act.

DANIELS: I work in adult films. We're not really known for our acting.

BALDWIN: I solved North and South Korea. Why can't I solve us?

DANIELS: Sorry, Donald, it's too late for that. I know you don't believe in climate change, but a storm's a coming, baby.


CUOMO: Stormy Daniel, the real one, sending a warning to President Trump on "Saturday Night Live." The porn star obviously making a cameo in what was a star-studded opening sketch that featured Ben Stiller as Michael Cohen, Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump.

CAMEROTA: Martin Short.

CUOMO: Martin Short, who I had no idea, but that's who it was.

CAMEROTA: I couldn't tell, yes.

CUOMO: Playing the doctor. Kate McKinnon, of course. But, you know, she's there. And Fallon as Jared Kushner.


CUOMO: There were so many stars I almost forgot Jimmy Fallon, and he was also great.

All right, let's discuss the impact and what this is all about with Brian Stelter, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Source."

So, first line of analysis, did you like the skit?

[06:55:02] BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I thought this was the best "SNL" of the season. And I wish every week could pack in this many stars and this many impressions. But it was really well done and it captured the tension and the drama and the fear of the moment. You know, this sense of the president being embattled, the walls closing in, reaching out to friends for advice, not knowing what to do. All of that was captured by "SNL."

CAMEROTA: But what about Rudy Giuliani's argument on the Sunday show hours after this that it defeats the purpose of the legal case with Stormy Daniel because this is frivolous. She's making light of it. So has she been damaged or has this actually been a brand building for the star?

STELTER: That her star is rising as a result of all of this. You know, I saw Avenatti defending himself yesterday saying, this is all a part of a maximum PR campaign, a maximum PR, a maximum pressure campaign to get whatever Stormy Daniels wants.

But what exactly that is, I think, is a -- is a question. Is she really trying to win in court or is she trying to win a settlement or is she trying to win in the court of public opinion or, as she said, get the president to resign?

CUOMO: Look, I don't think it's helpful to her legally. I think Rudy's on to something there. I also wonder if it's an irony that Avenatti's using maximum pressure, which is a Trump term, about what they're doing with their foreign policy.

STELTER: Ah, interesting.

CUOMO: But that aside, it was also a very interesting reckoning for "SNL." I mean they are all in in going after the president. Having McKinnon as Rudy Giuliani was outside the box. But the way she was playing him, she was playing him as a doddering idiot.

STELTER: Yes, they were. I didn't think it was the best Rudy impression. I thought a lot of the other cameos were better. We saw -- we saw Melania Trump referenced. We saw -- you talk about Ivanka Trump and Jared. Look, "SNL" is portraying a sense of -- a sort of a liberal fantasy about what's happening inside the White House. Even the president's own family members are going to turn on him or will turn on him on a dime.

CUOMO: Testing the idea of can you make it up? You know what, it winds up being real anyway. Here's some of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, is everyone on?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Guys, can we please just decide on one line and stick to it because our stories are all over the place.

BALDWIN: Guys, hold that thought. I'm getting a call from work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, I have lost all credibility. Did you lie to me about the Stormy Daniels affair?

BALDWIN: Yes, that sounds like something I would do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, good, just as long as we're on the same page. I'm good to go. See you Monday.


CAMEROTA: I love (INAUDIBLE) in every skit, but she's so good there.

STELTER: Totally. And for all the criticism of the press, some of it warranted about getting ahead of the facts. I think journalists have actually been pretty careful at trying to unpack the Cohen investigation, try to understand what's going on inside the Mueller investigation. Comedy sometimes can take us a step or two further and imagine what's actually going on. So as much as it's hilarious and the "SNL" writers are having the time of their lives with these sketches, there's something real going on with these investigations. There's a sense of real peril. But I think, you know, comedians are able to capture in a way that journalist, you know, understandably, we've got to be a little more careful.

CAMEROTA: Yes, for sure. And it's nice to have some comic relief.

STELTER: That too. That too.

CAMEROTA: From all of this.


CUOMO: Yes, I don't even -- some of it's so spot on, I don't even know, you know, how much of the work is being done for them already.

CAMEROTA: But the Ivanka/Jared thing. Let us know if you think this was spot on. Here's another moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is Ivanka and Jared.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael, did we hear Giuliani call Jared disposable on national television? Because Jared is furious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, man, like, what the hell. I'm so mad right now. (INAUDIBLE) see me. I mean I (INAUDIBLE). Don't even try to comfort me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, Ivanka, you know your dad would do anything to protect you, but if he needs to, he'd throw Jared under the bus in a heartbeat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said you're fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, you know, I'll talk to you later.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STELTER: To your point, Chris, they're essentially just reading Rudy's words out loud. Some of the best -- some of the -- some of the "SNL" skits we all remember from the past year are just reading the president's words or, in this case Rudy's words. It makes you wonder, when he talked about Jared being disposable, it did really happen on Fox. That's not a dream. Is Rudy the next Mooch or is Rudy here to stay?

CUOMO: Did you think -- the next Mooch. He's going to beat Anthony's record, I think. I think he already has.

CAMEROTA: I think he already has. I think he has.

STELTER: I think he just did. I think he just has, yes.

CUOMO: I think he -- I think he has. He's also doing something very different than Anthony was trying to do.

STELTER: That's true.

CUOMO: So did you like the reckoning?

CAMEROTA: Well, I like -- I like that Jimmy Fallon's playing like a Chihuahua basically there.

CUOMO: Yes. And he went full flipper there for a second with the dolphin speak there.


STELTER: Fallon's anything but disposable I would say.

CAMEROTA: There you go. That's a great point.

CUOMO: He is not.


CUOMO: All right, anyway --

CAMEROTA: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: What did you think? Tell Brian Stelter.

Thank to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY has a big Monday for you. Let's get after it, my friends.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You're eroding credibility. Aren't you concerned about this?

[07:00:01] KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I'm concerned that you're not listening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are making it up as they go along. They've lost track of the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No president has ever asserted the Fifth Amendment. It's generally considered to be political suicide.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?