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Trump Blames Dems For Immigration Laws Forcing Feds To Break Up Families; New Yorker: Missing Files Motivated Leak Of Cohen's Financial Records; Meghan Markle Says Her Father Won't Be Attending Royal Wedding; Mueller Investigation Reaches One-Year Mark. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 17, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You say a lot of people share this.

I'm not talking about MS-13. Who's going to defend MS-13? Nobody wants MS-13 in the country.

But the tone has shifted about what it means about you if you are an illegal immigrant.

I want to hear you say yes, I think those people are bad people, too. The president's right. Say it.

RICK SANTORUM (R), CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER U.S. SENATOR, PENNSYLVANIA: I think people who break the law are not necessarily bad people but they do bad things, and breaking the law and entering this country is a bad thing. It is a crime and it is not something that I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to people.

That -- there is -- there are millions and millions of people waiting all over the world to come into this country who are following the rules and making sacrifices. And when people break the law to shortcut things that is not something I'm going to say nice things about. I'm sorry.

Now, the president may say -- may say rougher things than I would say.

CUOMO: Nobody's asking you to. I'm saying do you think they're bad people. I'm saying not their illegal entry.

I get that that's a crime. Everybody knows this. How you choose to enforce it is up to you.

I'm asking you something different. Do you think they're bad people because that is the sense that the President of the United States has communicated?

And anybody who says that's not fair is full of it Rick because that's what it empowers.

All the discussions wind up being about the rapist in Kate Steinle's case, and all of those types of -- so why are those the examples that are used? Because the notion is they're bad people. Not because they came in illegal but because they're bad deep down.

Do you own that?


CUOMO: Do you own it?

SANTORUM: I would argue -- yes, I would own that there are some bad people coming in and that's what the president has said consistently. Not that everybody who comes in is bad.

CUOMO: That is not what he's said consistently, Rick.

SANTORUM: Yes, he has. He's --

CUOMO: When you ignore it, you empower it, my brother. That's why I ask.

NAVARRO: Every time he speaks of immigration --


SANTORUM: I'm not ignoring it. The president has always put that in context.

CUOMO: No, he has not always put it in context, otherwise I wouldn't waste my time.

What, am I going to defend MS-13? I live out in Suffolk County. I know they're out there. I know the problem.

SANTORUM: All I can tell you is --

Come on, Rick. You know what this is about.

SANTORUM: All I can tell you is the president has said repeatedly he's not talking about all immigrants. He's talking about --

CUOMO: He didn't just say that when he talked about animals. He didn't speak carefully. He --

SANTORUM: He said in the -- he said it in the context of it. I mean, I just -- look --

NAVARRO: Rick, I hope one day you remember what your -- what your ancestors were called and how they were treated when they came to this country, yes.

SANTORUM: Including my father, yes. I completely understand it.

NAVARRO: I remember when people used to call Italians and Irish people -- immigrants to the United States -- dogs.

Look, we can't forget where we come from and who we are.


NAVARRO: So unless you're telling me that you come from the Cherokee Nation, I think that you should be offended by the demonization of immigrants because if you think that it just applies to undocumented immigrants and MS-13, you haven't seen the video of the two women in Midtown Manhattan getting berated by a racist because he thinks that it's his country, not their country. He could not be more wrong.

SANTORUM: I could agree with that more than what she said. I think it is racist to do that.

By the way, that racist -- his name is Aaron Schlossberg -- Aaron Schlossberg, New York State Bar attorney.

CUOMO: All right. Rick, Ana, appreciate you going at it. These debates matter.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you -- Alisyn.


The source leaked the information about Michael Cohen's financial records. Now the source is speaking exclusively to Ronan Farrow.

Ronan Farrow is going to join us to tell us the motivation behind these leaks. Yet another bombshell from Ronan Farrow, next.


[07:36:34] CAMEROTA: The anonymous source who leaked Michael Cohen's financial records to the press is coming forward and wait until you hear the source's motivation.

Ronan Farrow this bombshell report from "The New Yorker" and Ronan joins us now.

Another bombshell, Ronan. Wow, this article that you've just published is incredible so let's go slowly through it. It's dense.

OK. Last week, several news outlets reported Michael Cohen's LLC -- there was money coming in and out of there from places like Novartis, from Columbus Nova which had connections to the Russian oligarch.

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE NEW YORKER": A Korean aerospace company that had a potential contract before the administration.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and AT&T.


CAMEROTA: OK. The source of that leak has now come forward to you about his or her motivation --

FARROW: Yes. CAMEROTA: -- for doing this. What is it?

FARROW: This whistleblower says that upon searching a government database that is supposed to contain all the reports of suspicious bank activity, this person found several reports missing.

Now, I should explain what these reports are. They're suspicious activity reports. That's what banks are legally required to file when they see activity that looks like fraud or money laundering.

And we've seen some of these documents and they do, indeed, look like fishy payments involving foreign interests broken up into smaller payments. Things what would cause bank investigators to say hey, put a red flag on this.

In the one document that was released last week which covers under a million dollars in transactions --

CAMEROTA: And this is, by the way, what Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, had access to and also released.

FARROW: Michael Avenatti released some summaries of Michael Cohen's transactions and you'd have to ask him about his exact sourcing for that. But, you know, I will say that we can verify that this whistleblower is the original source of why this stuff became public.

And the reason, to your original question, is this person saw that in the release reports that we have now there are internal references to other reports covering more transactions. We're dealing with about a million dollars' worth of transactions now.

There were also additional reports, Alisyn, covering three million- plus.

CAMEROTA: That went in and out of Michael Cohen's account.

FARROW: That went in and out of his account -- the main account at First National Bank. And those appear to be gone from a government database.

CAMEROTA: OK. Is your source Michael Avenatti's source?

FARROW: I can't speak to the exact chain of command of who had these documents at what point, other than to say that this is the source who originally made these public.

CAMEROTA: OK. This source says that he or she became alarmed when he noticed these two suspicious activity reports gone. How do they know that they're gone from the system and they're not masked somehow or moved somehow?

FARROW: So let's be careful about the term "gone." You're exactly right. One of the things we talk about at length in this story is all of the possible explanations, including many that could be, relatively speaking, more benign than what this whistleblower feared. It's possible -- the prosecutors we talked to and people experienced with the database that we talked to said that, for instance, the Southern District of New York or special counsel Mueller went in and said please quarantine these -- restrict them in some way.

But what I'd highlight, Alisyn, is every expert we spoke to said that almost never happens. They didn't know of a procedure for doing that. So if indeed, that's the case it suggests that there is something very, very sensitive in these remaining reports.

CAMEROTA: Your source is taking a great personal risk to come to you to flag this.

[07:40:00] In fact, you write, "Of the potential for legal consequences, the official said (to you) to say that I am terrified right now would be an understatement. But referring to the released report, as well as the potential contents of the missing reports (the official also added) this is a terrifying time to be an American, to be in this situation, and to watch all of this unfold."

FARROW: And this is why, Alisyn, I'm being so careful about talking about, for instance, the chain of custody of these documents. It's very important in this case that as much as law enforcement is searching for this individual -- the inspector general of the Treasury has said we're looking for who disclosed these -- that I've got to protect this person's identity.

CAMEROTA: Because they're going to prosecute this source, I mean, is the thinking.

FARROW: I think quite possibly, yes. You know, look, according to what the legal penalties are this person could face exactly what you just described -- potentially, up to five years in prison for this.

And the reason that this law enforcement official came forward is because this person was so troubled by what they viewed as clear examples of corruption in the existing reports and so concerned that at least some categories of law enforcement officials are no longer being given access to two remaining reports that potentially have even larger swaths of transactions in them.

That was troubling enough to this veteran official that they said this has to be subject to public scrutiny.

CAMEROTA: Ronan Farrow, thank you very much for explaining all of your reporting to us. Thank you for bringing it to us. This will not be the last time that we talk.

FARROW: Good to be here. Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. If you are following along with the events of the Royals this weekend -- the big wedding -- there's a development.

Meghan Markle releases an announcement just a couple of days before the wedding. What she's saying about who won't be there and why, next.


[07:46:06] CAMEROTA: As you know, American actress Meghan Markle is set to marry Prince Harry this Saturday and wedding rehearsals are underway right now, we're told.

We've also gotten a big update this morning. Meghan Markle has released a statement concerning the highly publicized drama surrounding her father.

She writes, quote, "Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding. I have always cared for my father and hope he can be given the space he needs to focus on his health. I would like to thank everyone who has offered generous messages of support."

So, just who is Meghan Markle?

CNN's Jason Carroll takes a look at one of the most famous women now in the world.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meghan Markle's life began here in Los Angeles. It's the city where she was born.

Her mother, Doria, a social worker, is African-American and her father, Thomas, an Emmy-award-winning lighting director, is white.

CARROLL (on camera): Even at an early age while growing up in Los Angeles, Markle started showing early signs of speaking up about issues that would later help define her as an adult. Namely, her biracial identity and gender equality.

MEGHAN MARKLE, 11 YEARS OLD: I don't think it's right for kids to grow up thinking these things that just mom does everything.

CARROLL (voice-over): Markle was offended by an Ivory dishwashing detergent commercial because it focused on women doing housework.

IVORY COMMERCIAL: Women are fighting greasy pots and pans.

MARKLE: And I said wait a minute, how could somebody say that?

CARROLL: So, the then-11-year-old Markle wrote to Procter & Gamble.

MARKLE: So, I was wondering if you would be able to change your commercial to people all over America.

CARROLL: Here, her letter worked. Procter & Gamble changed their commercial.

Around that same year, Markle took a stand on her racial background. She told "Elle" magazine that while in class she was asked to check a box for the census, Caucasian or black. She wrote, "My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian because

"that's how you look, Meghan." Markle refused. Her father later telling her to draw her own box.

CARROLL (on camera): Markle's parents eventually enrolled her at Immaculate Heart. It's a private, all-girls middle school and high school. And some of her teachers here still have fond memories of her.

MARIA POLLIA, MARKLE'S FORMER TEACHER: My first thought actually was he is so lucky.

CARROLL (voice-over): Maria Pollia was Markle's theology teacher. She talked about Markle wanting to volunteer at a soup kitchen in downtown L.A.'s Skid Row and the advice she offered to help Markle overcome her fear of volunteering in a dangerous neighborhood.

POLLIA: You need to simply put the needs of others above your own fears. And Meghan says that she's remembered that conversation ever since.

CARROLL: Markle ended up volunteering on Skid Row for years.

She also performed in school plays.


CARROLL: This rare footage is from her sophomore year solo as Little Red Riding Hood in the production of "Into the Woods."


CARROLL: Markle went on to Northwestern University where she continued her love of drama. She double-majored in theater and international studies.

But acting was her passion and once back in Los Angeles she landed minor guest roles in shows like "CSI: NEW YORK" before being cast as a regular on the USA drama "SUITS" in 2011.


CARROLL: Shortly after the show's launch she married longtime boyfriend, film producer Trevor Engelson. They divorced less than two years later.

In 2016, a mutual friend of Markle's and Prince Harry set them up on a blind date.

PRINCE HARRY: We met once and then twice, back-to-back -- two dates in London. It was, I think, about three -- maybe four weeks later that I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana.

CARROLL: The two bonded while camping in Botswana and after about a year and a half of courtship came the proposal.

MARKLE: It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.

[07:50:05] PRINCE HARRY: Of course.

MARKLE: It was an instant yes for me. Yes -- as a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing. I said, can I say yes now?

CARROLL: Markle has since become a household name -- a fashion icon with style watchers closely eyeing every look.

Not all has been well. English far-right tabloids have attacked the 36-year-old because she is American, divorced, and biracial.

Prince Harry and the palace have defended Markle and called for an end to the public abuse of her and her family.

Markle has won the hearts of millions, including the heart of the one that matters most.


CARROLL (on camera): So, Alisyn, here at Windsor Castle this morning, rehearsals are well underway.

But all of this speculation is sort of swirling about in terms of who might be the one to walk her down the aisle. Will it be Prince Charles or could it be her mother?

If a woman is chosen it would certainly not be the first time in royal history a woman has taken on that role. More than a 100 years ago -- here's a bit of trivia for you -- back in 1866, Queen Victoria walked her third daughter, Princess Helena, down the aisle.

Certainly, a lot of folks back in the States are looking for history to repeat itself and they are pulling for Markle's mother to do the honors -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: That one just makes sense, Jason. I mean, it just makes sense. She's close to her mom.

My mom walked me down the aisle after my dad passed away. It just makes sense.

CARROLL: There you go.

CAMEROTA: Yes, thank you. There is precedent here and, as you point out, in England.

So I will see you tomorrow, Jason. Thank you very much. I'll be looking forward to that. So, I will be live from Windsor.

CARROLL: See you soon.

CAMEROTA: Okey doke, see you.

We will have a preview of the royal wedding here on NEW DAY for everyone tomorrow. And then on Saturday, we'll be live for Prince Harry and Meghan

Markle's big day. Royal wedding coverage starts Saturday morning at 4:00 a.m. eastern.

I can't tell you, Chris, how many people have told me they are setting their alarms and they will be awake for that, not to miss a moment.

CUOMO: Really?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Oh, yes, really.

In fact, one of my close friends in California, three hours earlier, is going to a movie theater. It is streaming it all live at 1:00 a.m.

CUOMO: Wow. I guess it's a huge American national event.


CUOMO: All right. I guess I'm wrong. I thought we weren't about monarchies here in this country.

CAMEROTA: We're about love, Chris -- love.

CUOMO: They'll be 10 weddings in my town out in East Hampton -- South Hampton this weekend. Come with me.

CAMEROTA: Stream them live.

CUOMO: Wait, we've had too much fun. We must go.

The president just tweeted about Robert Mueller's probe one year after it began. I bet you can -- I bet you can guess what he said.

We're going to break down this partisan divide between these two Republicans on your screen right now. We've got Maggie Haberman, next.


[07:56:31] CUOMO: Today is the one-year anniversary of special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation into Russian interference.

President Trump tweeted just moments ago, "Congratulations, America. We're now in the second year of the greatest witch hunt in America history" --

Greater than the Salem witch trials?

CAMEROTA: Well, that is stiff competition.

CUOMO: -- "and there is still no collusion and no obstruction.

The only collusion was that done by Democrats who are unable to win an election despite the spending of far more money."

Now, this is something he has said repeatedly and remember, that is out of the Trump book of how to push a message. Keep saying it and saying it.

Do the facts line up with that? Not really.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for "The New York Times," Maggie Haberman.

I say not really. Why? Because do we have proof of obstruction? No.

Should we at this point? No, because the investigation isn't over. They haven't put out all their findings and their reports and the guys don't seem to leak out of the Mueller probe.


CUOMO: But what is your take on this?

HABERMAN: The same as you. I mean, I think -- I thought describing it as sort of example 101 of how Trump pushes a message is exactly right. it contains a number of things that are not true.

And there's three different messages in there, one of which is "See America, my problems are your problems and you should care about this the same way I do."

When the president talks about how nothing has been turned up in this probe it is true that so far, as you say, an investigation that has not yet finished has not established that he was somehow involved in collusion.

There have been a number of other people who have been charged. They have not been charged with collusion, they've been charged with lying to the FBI and other crimes.

But there are a lot of people who have been charged in connection with this case and this is still going on. He is still gathering evidence.

And to your other point, there's a lot we don't know about what Robert Mueller is aware of. It has been amazing to people when some of these guilty pleas have emerged on the day that they're being made, that this was kept so secret in real time. There is likely a lot more that we are not aware of.

CAMEROTA: And so, the president's saying hey, nothing to see here. Nothing's been proven.

Is that the feeling in the White House? Are they as sanguine as the president is?

HABERMAN: It's sort of bifurcated. There are people who are just really trying to focus on their day jobs and not get behind the idea that this is a witch hunt. There are other people who do think that he is being treated unfairly within the White House.

Think that this has been dragging on for a while and would like to see it end, in part because it has been a cloud, as the president has said or indicated before, over what he is trying to do in office.

But what is amazing about this tweet, you guys, is that it's like he's celebrating the one-year anniversary of Mueller's appointment along with news stories about it. It is typical for news outlets to write a story of this nature marking the one year. Why he then calls more attention to it and amplifies it continues to mystify most of his aides.

CUOMO: On the same day that his handpicked FBI director says it's not a witch hunt and Republicans and Democrats on two different Senate committees say the Intelligence Community was right. It happened, it's real, and we need to know more.

HABERMAN: That's exactly right.

And look, he continues to express some reservations about his handpicked FBI director I think in part because the president divides everything into an uptown referendum on himself.

And, Chris Wray, the FBI director who is widely respected and is also not known as a -- as a -- as a Democratic plant has been unwilling to do, I think, certain things the president would like to see done in terms of his statements publicly about this probe.

But what he has done is change the leadership at the FBI.