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Judge Question's Mueller's Authority; Giuliani on Subpoena; Oil Prices Surge; First Lady Announces Platform; McCain Reflects on Life. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 7, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Of opportunism, so he went at him. It's within his purview. Your take?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it's -- none of this is relevant to --

CUOMO: Ah-hah, I got rid of one of you. And now I go to you, Zeldin. We'll get Renato back as soon as we can. Boy, here goes a conspiracy theorist.

All right, so, Michael Zeldin, same question to you, what's wrong with the judge doing this?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the judge is entitled to his opinion. He can, you know, gratuitously say whatever he wants to say as long as he follows the law. And the law here is that Mueller has a mandate to investigate matters that arise out of his primary investigation. When he sees those, he should go to the Justice Department pursuant to the regulations and ask the Justice Department, what would they like him to do? Would they like him to handle it himself or --

CUOMO: Did he do that here?

ZELDIN: Yes. And, in fact, the public reporting is that he went to Rosenstein. Rosenstein went to the tax division and the national security division to get their sign off on it after which he then signed off on it and wrote a letter on August 2nd to confirm that expanded mandate. What the judge wants is --

CUOMO: OK, so here's my pushback.

ZELDIN: Excuse me one second. The judge wants the unredacted version of that.

CUOMO: Right.

ZELDIN: They produced the redacted version, which relates only to Manafort. The judge wants to see the broader investigation. They have now complied with that, I'm told. And the judge hopefully will rule on the law and let the Mueller case proceed.

CUOMO: Right. I didn't want to let you say that because that was a bad fact for me. I was trying to get you there before you went to, they give him the redacted, now they gave him the un-redacted.

ZELDIN: Right.

CUOMO: But, I'll deal with it anyway. So here are the two arguments.

On the facts, the stuff that you're going after Manafort for largely happened before he was even involved in this campaign. So if you're looking at Russian interference and any extension of coordination or criminal activity connected there to, this doesn't meet the mandate.

And then there's the larger policy argument. This is all deep state stuff. Rosenstein's involved, Zeldin. They were all involved. Everybody at the top of these government institutions, they're out to get us and they're using the power of the law for political prosecutions. And that's what they're doing with Manafort. They're just pinching him and getting him to turn on the president because that's what Mueller wants, get people, who in their own self-interest will go after the president, even if it's a lie. And that's what's going on. And one judge is standing against all the rest of you in this deep state conspiracy.

ZELDIN: Right. I hear that. And, you know, it is a deep state conspiracy.

What undermines it, of course, is that all the people who were signing off on this are appointees by President Trump. The head of the tax, the head of national security, Rosenstein, Christopher Wray, they're all Trump appointees. So he has either appointed, unbeknown to him, deep state conspirators or the conspiracy theory doesn't hold up. I'm with the, it doesn't hold up proposition, not that it is a deep state conspiracy, Chris, sorry to say.

CUOMO: All right. Well, we have a new conspiracy going on, what happened to Renato Mariotti. That --

ZELDIN: Well, he was afraid -- he was afraid of your withering cross- examination. There's no question about it.

CUOMO: You think that he -- that he bailed out. That's what I'm -- that's what I'm going with.

ZELDIN: That's what I think. Yes, I don't think it was a technical glitch, I think he bailed.

CUOMO: But I feel like right now there's all kinds of -- I'm feeling the heat coming off my laptop from the Twitter feed of how this is, you know, a conspiracy theory of us getting rid of him.

Let me ask you about something else, which is, Rudy Giuliani says, we're not going to comply with any a subpoena. They're out to get the president. No lawyer who wants to keep their license would tell Donald Trump as their client to sit down with Mueller. That's what Rudy says. Do you agree, sir?

ZELDIN: Well, it's complicated here because if he is served with a grand jury subpoena, I don't believe he will win in his effort to resist it. So he might be right that in a normal setting where you're the target or subject or witness in a grand jury and you feel your client will not do well in that setting, you suggest your client not appear. But, in this case, where the grand jury subpoena is issued, I don't believe, in the end, he can resist that. I think Giuliani is wrong when he said that because he's president he can resist a grand jury subpoena. It didn't work out that well for Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton in respect of that. So he has to face the reality that his client will likely have to testify.

Now, it may be that he or more likely the real lawyers on the team can negotiate with Mueller the parameters of that. You know, for example, anything that predates the inauguration is not covered by executive privilege. And I think that the president has a very hard time denying the grand jury the right to receive that evidence. After inauguration, with respect to some matters that touch on the allegations of obstruction --

CUOMO: Yes, they'll get a carve out.

ZELDIN: Then maybe they have a different stand.

CUOMO: Yes, they'll get a carve out.

ZELDIN: Right.

CUOMO: Well, I'm going to have to ruin the day of the conspiracy theorists because Renato Mariotti is back. And, in fact, he was able to listen to us the entire time.

So it's good that you're here for several different reasons. What is your take --

[08:35:02] ZELDIN: So this was a -- this was a -- this was a -- I'm sorry, this was an illegal wiretap of Mariotti listening in on our calls?

CUOMO: No, we were just monitoring -- we were just monitoring his call sheet and it was a -- it was a fake news removal of him, but now he's back.


CUOMO: So I'll give you free take on it, Renato. What do you think matters on these issues of the day?

MARIOTTI: Well, regarding the subpoena, I agree with Michael that there's no way that they're going to -- that they're going to be able to win in court. And really the question is, and what we should be talking about is, will Donald Trump take the Fifth? And I will tell you, it really looks to me, from the outside, like he's going to. I mean that's what they're trying to set up. They're trying to attack the investigation, say the investigation is wrong so that this way it gives him an excuse to take -- you know, to take the Fifth, which, obviously, previously, he was very critical of other people who did the same thing. So that's what I expect him to do. ZELDIN: Renato, can I -- I want to jump in on that one second, which is, if the president is really not a target of an obstruction investigation and if Mueller really is just trying to get his testimony to understand the full parameters of what this is, they could well, if he took the Fifth, issue an immunity order for him, obtain immunity for him, and still obtain his testimony. So in some respects he may not be able to avoid testifying because he is granted immunity. What do you think?

MARIOTTI: I agree with that, Michael. And another thing I would say is, he -- you know, another issue is, could he take a blanket Fifth Amendment? In other words, you know, we talk a lot of times as taking the Fifth as if you just opt out of testifying entirely. But there are some questions that don't implicate you in any way in which you may not be able to take the Fifth. You may -- he may be -- you know, Mueller may be able to ask him questions that really don't go to his criminal liability at all. And the question might be --

CUOMO: Right.

MARIOTTI: Does he even -- is it even proper for him to take the Fifth? So the question is, how bad does Mueller what his testimony? If he intends to take the Fifth, will Mueller either, you know, give him immunity, as Michael mentioned, or try to parse it out question by question?

CUOMO: Two open factors that will matter, gentlemen, and we'll leave it there. One is, even if he gets immunity, it doesn't insulate him from perjury. And that is their big concern, you know, that starts off their analysis, which is, will he tell the truth when he's in the chair? And the second one will be, if it's in front of the grand jury and then all bets are off because he doesn't have someone like you sitting next to him telling him what answer -- questions to answer and which not to.

But, Michael Zeldin, thank you very much. Renato, you proved very tough to kill, very tough to kill. We'll do better next time. Take care.


ZELDIN: Thank you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, now to this. Oil prices hitting their highest level in four years ahead of Saturday's deadline on the Iran nuclear deal. If the U.S. pulls out, what does that mean for you?


[08:41:57] CUOMO: For "CNN Money Now," President Trump's Iran deal decision is just a few days away but fears that he may withdraw are already making oil prices surge.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans in the Money Center with more. What do you see?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's just one of the reasons out there, Chris, but U.S. oil prices jumped 1 percent over night. They're now back above $70 a barrel, the highest in four years. Investors are betting the president will abandon that Iran nuclear deal. That deal allows Iran to export more crude oil. More supply in the system. Sanctions potentially, a withdrawal from the deal could disrupt supply.

Oil prices were already on the rise, though. U.S. oil is up 16 percent this year. That's a big move. Global demand is surging just as major exporters have cut production. And that will translate into higher gas prices for the rest of us. Experts say they think that if Trump withdraws from the deal, gas prices could spike 30 cents per gallon, putting the U.S. on track for the most expensive summer driving season in four years. The average price at the pump could jump about 14 percent this year and to more than $3 a gallon in some parts of the country.

Summer gas is usually pricey. You know, as more people hit the road, demand is up and stations use a more expensive blend of gas, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, real life consequences. Those are good to know. Thank you very much, Christine.

All right, so, in just hours, First Lady Melania Trump will unveil her formal platform in a Rose Garden event. She said that she wants to focus on the well-being of children. But what does that mean?

CNN's Kate Bennett is live in Washington with more.

So, Kate, remind us, I mean, we remember when she had talked about cyber bullying and people had raised the point that her husband offends that from time to time. So what's the focus now?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I still think she's going to include social media and, therefore, cyber bullying in this platform. We were told that it's not just going to be one thing that first ladies have typically done in the past like Let's Move, Michelle Obama's platform, but maybe a few things.

I think from what we've seen from her, something with the opioid crisis in America, how it affects families and children. Probably something with well-being and health of kids and the social media safety issue. Of course, she addressed the elephant in the room, so to speak, last month when she met with tech leaders at the White House and she said, I'm well aware of the skepticism of me taking on this issue. I know the critics are saying that perhaps I shouldn't do it. I'm going to do it anyway. So I think we'll see her continue on that path, taking on cyber bullying.

And, listen, you know, she may have a best example of what not to do for kids, you know, just over on the west side of the building in her husband. So I think she's going to go ahead with that in spite of the criticism and sort of say, why not? Why shouldn't I take on cyber bullying? Just because he does it, doesn't mean I shouldn't do it. So it will be interesting to see, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: For sure. I mean there is attention there and that's very interesting. I think that, you know, look, having been the recipient of being name called by the president, I think that many people feel like we'll just start there. Start with telling your husband whatever advice you're going to give to kids who may be doing this in middle school.

[08:45:01] But, in any event, we'll see what she unveils and it will be fascinating.

Thanks so much, Kate, for all of that.

BENNETT: Thank you.


CUOMO: The University of Florida's president is apologizing after an usher rushed graduates across the stage as they celebrated getting their diplomas. University President Kent Fuchs called the treatment inappropriately aggressive. Yep. People in the stands were booing as they watched the Jumbotron. The university's president says he's going to be reaching out to the students involved.

CAMEROTA: They were just dancing. That's horrible. Why -- you're not allowed to dance across the stage? That's absurd.


CAMEROTA: OK, that's wrong. That's an easy one.

CUOMO: It's --

CAMEROTA: Sometimes we have longer debates. This one's -- it's an easy one.

CUOMO: That's a layup. There was just no good reason to do it.

CAMEROTA: That's right. Right. Dancing is actually helpful to civilization.

CUOMO: That is true. As someone who actually can dance, it's true, I feel that it's one of the better assets I bring to the table.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And I don't feel that you do it enough on the show. Perhaps --

CUOMO: At night. In the morning they say it's too early for that. Too much sexy with breakfast. But at night it's different.

CAMEROTA: It is hard to sometimes wash down your --

CUOMO: This will all get ripped off and there will just be a tank top that says boy can he dance.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, I can't wait -- CUOMO: It wouldn't fit on you because you're too small, but, me, it will fit with no problem.

CAMEROTA: That's right. It will be a size 6X. Like, yes, I get it.

OK, meanwhile, to this really poignant story. Senator John McCain is thinking about who he wants at his own funeral and the guest list does not include President Trump. More on McCain's final wishes, next.


[08:50:33] CUOMO: All right, nobody who knows Senator McCain wants to be reporting on all these developments that are going on around him, but that's the job. And, by the way, he wants you to know. A source close to Senator John McCain tells CNN that President Trump's not going to be invited to his funeral. Instead, McCain has personally asked former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to deliver eulogies should they become necessary. The Arizona senator has been battling brain cancer for nearly a year.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst and national political correspondent for "The New York Times," Jonathan Martin.

You know, I know that covering the senator is something that matters. But, personally, this is going to start mattering, as well. It's hard to cover John McCain and not have him affect you personally.

Let's hear him in his own words about what's motivating him right now where he is.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don't know how much longer I'll be here. Maybe I'll have another five years. Maybe with the advances in oncology, they'll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I'll be gone before you hear this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I'm prepared for either contingency, or at least I'm getting prepared. I have some things I'd like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may. I want to urge Americans for as long as I can to remember that this shared devotion to human rights is our truest heritage and our most important loyalty.


CUOMO: What a tough thing to do. You know, it's bad enough for his family or for the family to watch somebody slip away. But the senator's mind is there. He's still active and he's dealing with really, really hard questions. What do you understand about how this process is going for him?

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you can hear in the book excerpt that obviously the disease is taking a toll on his voice and he has been weakened. So, you know, look, this is clearly the fight of his life. And I spent the last week reporting the story we ran yesterday in "The Times" about some of the conversations that he is having with folks who come to the ranch. And he was still sort of taking a pretty grueling physical therapy regimen. So he was --

CUOMO: Three hours a session, right?

MARTIN: He's fighting this thing pretty aggressively.

As you guys know, though, the challenges, the side effects, steroids, radiation, chemo are so challenging themselves that it sort of adds to the burden.

But what's striking is that he clearly is sort of, you know, reckoning with his past and the future. I mean what was I thought the most interesting part of the book in this new documentary that's coming out is the fact that he says flatly he regrets not picking Joe Lieberman as his VP in 2008. He's not criticizing Sarah Palin directly, but this is kind of the back door way to something that I long thought he would do, which is basically say it was a mistake to pick Sarah Palin. He's doing that by saying he should have picked Lieberman instead. But, still, it's a different path to the same place.

And as you mentioned, Chris, at the top there, he is planning for the future. You know, he does not want the president to come to his service that we all hope is a long way off. It's going to be here in Washington at the National Cathedral. And he's made that clear.

And there's also talk in Arizona now privately about who will secede him eventually. And there is a hope that it's going to be a, quote, McCain person. Now that could include his wife Cindy. That could include political allies. But there's clearly some talk afoot. Politics does not weight on sort of niceties and decorum, right? Politics goes on. A vacant seat is a vacant seat and that could matter politically. So these conversations are taking place both in Arizona and in Washington.

CAMEROTA: I mean it sounds like with the book he's trying to remind Americans of his message of bipartisanship, of unity.


CAMEROTA: Even in the, you know, obviously wildly divided time.


CAMEROTA: And to that end, he's welcoming old friends --


CAMEROTA: And he's sort of holding court there at his ranch and talking to people about the good old days and what they used to stand for. And so tell us about the visit that he had with former VP Joe Biden.

MARTIN: He's had a sort of stream of folks coming in. Last Sunday, a week ago yesterday, he had a visit, a couple of hours, from Joe Biden, who, you know, not only served with him in the Senate for, you know, 20 plus years. But also McCain, don't forget this, guys, he was the Navy liaison to the Senate in the 1970s when Biden was a 30 something senator there. So these guys go back for 40 years now.

[08:55:17] And they caught up about old times. They traded some war stories about, you know, old senators that they knew and trips they had taken. But they did talk also about the current state of affairs. And, you know, Biden told me that McCain is not happy about what's happening in the country. He's especially concerned about how America is now viewed in the world.

And to your point, Alisyn, I think that's his biggest concern is that America take a leadership role in the world. He is an internationalist through and through. And I think he doesn't like this talk about America retreating and sort of not being the leader on the world stage and sort of in the international community. And he told Biden as much. And he encouraged Biden to stay involved in politics, stay in the fray, which, to me, was an unmistakable hint that he wants Biden to run again for president in '20.

CUOMO: Such a fighter, fighting until the end, fighting for what matters to him. People can go back and forth about his various political positions, but the principles is something that has to be remembered today because he's all about what he believes (INAUDIBLE).


MARTIN: Well, he's a big figure, too, Chris. I mean there's -- there's just not many big figures left in Washington politics.

CUOMO: True.

MARTIN: And he transcends the Senate.

CUOMO: I hear you.

MARTIN: He transcends Washington. He's a sort of national, historic figure in American life.

CAMEROTA: Jonathan Martin, thank you very much for sharing all that reporting with us.

All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow picks up after this quick break.

We'll see you tomorrow.