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Giuliani: Trump Could Shoot Comey and Not Get Indicted; Former Trump Campaign Aide: Trump Has 'Selective Memory' on Manafort. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 4, 2018 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER FOR DONALD TRUMP: He has no intention of pardoning himself. That doesn't say he can't.

[06:58:57] CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: There's no way that will happen. If the president were to pardon himself, he'll get impeached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that letter, the Trump legal team tried to argue the president could end any investigation, thereby making it impossible for him to obstruct justice.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He certainly didn't dictate. He weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was he so concerned about covering up what had happened? It really shows, I think, a problem with how that legal team was operating.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to put our coal miners back to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His health care has been paid for by a federal tax on coal mining companies. The tax that's been helping him, it gets cut in half at the end of this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was for the forgotten man and woman. And if this isn't addressed, then it's a bunch of people that are forgotten.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: NEW DAY, he just said it. Come on over here.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sorry.

BERMAN: We've got to do the whole show thing.

CAMEROTA: Preparing. Yes.

BERMAN: James Earl Jones said that we have to start.

CAMEROTA: Right. Here I am.

BERMAN: Welcome to your NEW DAY. The president can kill someone, meddle in any investigation, and pardon himself with immune -- impunity. That's a heck of a gig, not to mention a heck of a legal argument. But that's exactly the case being laid out by the president's lawyers.

In a new interview, Rudy Giuliani says the president could shoot James Comey and not be prosecuted. Of course, we should be circumspect about what is being said by the president's lawyers, because they now admit that they lied. In a 20-page letter sent by the Trump legal team to Robert Mueller in January, they admit the president dictated the first misleading statement about his son's controversial meeting with Russians at Trump Tower where they promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. You will remember, the White House and president's lawyers repeatedly denied that the president was involved.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, President Trump has been photographed smiling with members of the brutal North Korean regime as he prepares to meet with leader Kim Jon-un is, at the same time, alienating or at least angering U.S. allies, including Canada and the European Union over his plan for tariffs.

Is Canada a security threat? And will retaliation hit people here in the U.S.? We'll talk about all of that.

So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She is live for us at the White House.

Good morning, Kaitlan.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Alisyn.

What we saw this weekend is what we have suspected all along. And that is that when it comes down to the wire with the special counsel's investigation, the president and his legal team are prepared to make a very broad argument about the use of his executive power, so broad in fact, that they believe that the president is above the law.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLLINS (voice-over): President Trump's legal team making a bold new claim about their expansive view of his executive power in an attempt to justify why he shouldn't face any legal liability in the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, telling "The Huffington Post," it's impossible to subpoena or indict a sitting president, no matter the offense, claiming, "If he shot James Comey, he'd be impeached the next day. Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him."

Giuliani also raising questions about the extent of the president's pardoning power.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you and the president's attorneys believe the president has the power to pardon himself?

GIULIANI: He has no intention of pardoning himself. But he probably does. That doesn't say he can't.

COLLINS: This just hours after the "New York Times" published a confidential letter that attorneys Jay Sekulow and John Dowd sent to Robert Mueller in January, asserting the president can't obstruct justice, because the Constitution gives him the authority to, quote, "terminate the inquiry or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired," an argument that is far from settled.

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: It's an outrageous claim. It's wrong. They were trying to make a broad argument.

COLLINS: His lawyers argued there is no need for the president to sit down with Mueller, and he can't be compelled to testify, foreshadowing a potential subpoena fight, especially if the probe extends outside the bounds of the initial investigation into collusion.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Let them walk through their investigation. But I think if there's no collusion, it's time to wind this down.

COLLINS: Also in the letter, a bombshell revelation: that the president's lawyers acknowledge the president dictated the misleading statement from Donald Trump Jr., a statement the lawyers called accurate, about the purpose of his meeting with Russians at Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, despite an explicit denial from the White House last summer.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He certainly didn't dictate. But, you know, he -- like I said, he weighed in, offered suggestion like any father would do.

COLLINS: One month earlier, Sekulow strongly refuting the claim multiple times in July after it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. took the meeting with the promise of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton, not as he initially said, to discuss adoptions.

JAY SEKULOW, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the president.

The president didn't sign off on anything.

I do want to be clear that the president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.

COLLINS: Giuliani arguing that the shifting explanations are just another reason the president shouldn't testify.

GIULIANI: I think Jay was wrong. I mean, this is the reason you don't let the president testify. If, you know, our recollection keeps changing.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: So Giuliani arguing that the president can pardon himself but he wasn't because it would lead to his impeachment. But that's actually not clear, because so far, the Republican-led Congress has failed to establish any kind of a red line for this president within the special counsel's investigation.

Now, all of that is going on also while there is a lot of speculation about the first lady, Melania Trump, who has not been seen in public since she underwent that medical procedure at Walter Reed three weeks ago today. The White House says she will be at an event for Gold Star families this afternoon here at the White House, but we won't see her, actually, because that is an event that is closed to the press.

Now, pair that with also the first lady did not travel with the president and several other family members to Camp David this weekend. And she won't be going to Canada and Singapore with the president this weekend and next week. A lot of questions about the status of the first lady but very few answers, John and Alisyn.

[07:05:05] CAMEROTA: OK. Well, maybe we'll get some today, even if it leaks out, even if cameras aren't there, if she looks well.

Thank you very much, Kaitlan, for all of that.

Joining us now to talk about it, we have CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and CNN political analyst David Gregory.

OK, so Jeffrey, the memo that the Trump team seems to be hinging their argument on, that the president cannot be indicted, is from 2000 from the Department of Justice. Let me read it to you.

It says, "The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting president would be unconstitutional, because it would impermissibly interfere with the president's ability to carry out his constitutionally-assigned functions and, thus, would be inconsistent with the constitutional structure."

So that I understand. That's not settled law. I understand this is an over question. But that is -- that spells it out, from 2000. So in other words, they didn't invent this. This is 18 years ago when they said that a president can't be indicted.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. And there's an earlier Department of Justice opinion from the '70s that has the same conclusion. That's not the shocking part of what the memo says and what Rudy Giuliani has been saying.

To me the shocking part is the argument that he can do whatever he wants without impunity from anyone. The idea that he can fire -- he can fire anyone. He can pardon anyone, including himself. That I think, you know, could have accountability in Congress in the form of impeachment.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but does the memo cover this? He can do whatever he wants. You cannot have a sitting president indicted, because it gets in the way of the business of the United States. TOOBIN: And I think that's quite possibly correct. But I think the

problem with what Giuliani has been saying is that it is -- it bleeds between impeachment and criminal prosecution.

Yes, it may be true that he can't be criminally prosecuted. But that doesn't mean the underlying conduct is always going to be permissible in the eyes of Congress, which has the power of impeachment.

BERMAN: A great legal scholar once told me eight minutes ago, that the president is claiming executive powers here that no president has ever claimed before. David Gregory, that was Jeffrey Toobin who said that to me, just to me minutes ago.

CAMEROTA: I was in on that quote.

BERMAN: But it's notable. I mean, they are claiming powers here that go so far beyond anything we've seen before.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And those would be tested if it came to that. But I really think that the political argument that's being made that has to wash over everybody here, because think about this logic that they want us to follow, which is, well, if there was no collusion and this is just overreach.

So yes, the president lied when he said he dictated -- didn't dictate a letter about a statement about what Don Jr. was doing with a meeting with -- with Russians about dirt on Hillary Clinton politically.

And yes, maybe he -- you know, maybe he didn't tell the truth when it came to why he fired Jim Comey or the fact that he fired Jim Comey. But all of that should be protected under the guise of pushing back against an investigation that was totally inappropriate.

And if you look at what was in Kaitlan's piece, Kevin McCarthy is likely to become the next House speaker, closing ranks saying that, "Well, I guess there's no evidence of collusion," as if he knows, "and therefore, we should wind this investigation down.

So it's not just what they're asserting on behalf of the president. It is what Republicans are asserting as a normal way to operate that completely contradicts what Republicans were saying years ago about the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. They are closing ranks. They're making it pretty clear that they are not going to make a move politically on Donald Trump.

TOOBIN: And -- but this is really the story of the Trump presidency, which is that the Republican Party is completely united around -- behind Donald Trump. Whatever he does, whether it's on trade -- I mean, you know --

CAMEROTA: Not completely. I mean, we're starting to hear Bob Corker and other people say that they're preparing something, in terms of the tariffs.

TOOBIN: But they're not. They haven't done anything, and they won't do anything. I mean, you know, this is Donald Trump's party. I thought John Boehner of all people was so right last week when he says that there's no more Republican Party. There's a Trump party.

And Donald Trump has basically led the Republican Party, with complete impunity for whatever he says. You know, we always drag out poor old Jeff Flake, you know, senator from Arizona, who is not running for reelection, because he's alienated the Republican Party. He represents nobody in the Republican Party anymore. It's all Trump supporters. And that's what these statements are all directed to.

GREGORY: Well, what's interesting about what Jeffrey is saying, and I don't disagree, there are conservatives. There are supporters of a guy like Jeff Flake. But they are willing to compartmentalize even their conservative beliefs to say, "Yes, but this president is fighting against all of these powers. In the press, you know, in Justice and so forth."

BERMAN: And Kevin McCarthy -- we talk about the president sending messages with his pardons of, you know, Dinesh D'Souza and whatnot. Kevin McCarthy sent a pretty clear message there on obstruction of justice, which is --

GREGORY: No doubt.

BERMAN: -- "I don't care about it."

GREGORY: Right.

[07:10:02] BERMAN: "I'm the House majority leader, and I don't care," even if it's there.

GREGORY: And --

BERMAN: Hang on, guys, for one second. Because -- because this is another thing. And it gets to what we're talking about here. Is that the president's lawyer lied to the American people. I mean, either he lied or the president lied to him. This business about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting at Trump Tower, you know. Donald Trump's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, repeatedly said that the president wasn't behind it, wasn't involved, didn't write it. Let's just remind people what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEKULOW: That was written by Donald Trump Jr. and, I'm sure, within consultation with his lawyer. So that wasn't written by the president.

The president didn't sign off on anything. The president was not involved in the drafting of the statement and did not issue the statement. It came from Donald Trump Jr.

SANDERS: He certainly didn't dictate. But you know, he -- like I said, we weighed in, offered suggestion like any father should do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Certainly didn't dictate. This memo, written by the president's lawyers in January, says he did dictate; the president dictated the letter. So all of that you just heard from Jay Sekulow and Sarah Sanders was wrong, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: But the thing that I love, what Rudy Giuliani was saying, "This is why we can't have him testifying, because people's recollections keep changing."

Actually, you know what? There's only one truth. If you tell the truth, you don't have to worry about making false statements. I mean, I just found that statement by Giuliani so extraordinary, because truth -- if you tell the truth, there's no such thing as a perjury trap.

CAMEROTA: Understood. But there are often -- we've also heard that alternate facts are sometimes used. Does it tell you the fact that they now -- the fact that they admitted in the letter, in the memo that the president did dictate it, does that tell you that the reason they had to admit it --there's no reason that they have to now tell the truth after they -- they've not told the truth so often is that someone, like Hope Hicks, who knew the truth, testified to the truth, and then the administration had to own up?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, because, remember, that letter that we keep talking about was written in January of this year. The Mueller investigation had already been going on since May. So they had talked to a lot of people by that point.

And, you know, the facts were starting to be known. And, you know, they were adjusting their story in line with the facts. But it is -- and you know, I know it's very easy to be cynical. But the idea that, you know, people have been lying to us for so long and with such enthusiasm, it's kind of disturbing.

BERMAN: You know, David, Jeffrey Toobin likes to point out, it's not a lie -- it's not a crime to lie, you know, to the press for the American people. But shouldn't it be really upsetting when it's that blatant?

GREGORY: Yes, it should be upsetting. And obviously, Trump and his supporters would say, "Yes, but -- but, but, but. What about all these other lies that you've heard from politicians in the past?"

I think what's important to also point out is what we think we know is very little. So Alisyn, what you pointed out is important, which is are they making this admission now because they have other information -- they know that a Hope Hicks or somebody has said something to the special prosecutor?

Think how much else is out there that we don't know and that they may not know, certainly Congress doesn't know, that may ultimately shed light on whether there was obstruction of justice or anything else. That becomes important. And that says something about why they don't want the president in front of --

BERMAN: It's a good point. They told us that the reason they're afraid of the president sitting down is he might lie. He might lie.

GREGORY: Right. And think about the broader argument which is that, well, all these lies, even obstruction, it was -- it basically was worth it. It was OK because of how awful this investigation was. That is the argument that is taking shape and has been taking shape for months.

BERMAN: David Gregory, Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much, gentlemen.

Rudy Giuliani will join Chris Cuomo tonight on the world premiere of "CUOMO PRIMETIME" at 9 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

AVLON: Chris Cuomo, he used to be this show.

BERMAN: Yes, he used to be on this show.

CAMEROTA: Yes, the name rings a bell.

BERMAN: He used to be on the show. I thought he was gone. It turns out he's got this whole other show.

TOOBIN: Wow.

CAMEROTA: And he can't resist coming back. He'll be here at 8:30, roughly, for people to tune in for that.

BERMAN: Every morning.

AVLON: As a guest.

CAMEROTA: As a guest.

BERMAN: We're going to treat him really hard, though. We're going after him.

CAMEROTA: Oh, I have gotcha questions.

All right. President Trump rips the FBI and Justice Department for not warning him that his campaign chair, Paul Manafort was being investigated. The former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg says the president has a selective memory on this. He'll join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So the president wants to know why the FBI did not tell him they were investigating his former campaign chair Paul Manafort. The president attempting to once again distance himself from Manafort, saying that Manafort only worked on the campaign for a short time.

But former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg says the president has a selective memory when it comes to Manafort.

Joining me now, former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg.

Paul Manafort, not an insignificant, short time on the Trump campaign?

SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: Not at all. I mean, first of all, Paul took that job for free. I don't know how this worked out for him ultimately.

So he takes the job. The president is losing the delegate fight. In fact, he had recently won Louisiana. And he got less delegates because the campaign, at that point, was extremely unorganized for the delegates, which is the reason they brought in Paul initially.

And then Paul, you know, through -- he has this experience going back to the Ford '76, when he barely beat Reagan. Paul helped him get delegates, helped him organize those states, especially New York, and California, and Pennsylvania. And that's ultimately what delivered Trump the nomination, besides the fact that he won those states and he won them handily over Ted Cruz.

What that said, as we've discussed before when you interviewed me, one, this is typical, I'd say, Donald. Typical Donald, that he always wants to distance himself. He'll throw anybody out. He never knew them. Remember, when he fires me, I'm a low-level, part-time consultant. I only worked for him for four and a half years, right?

So -- and it's also very -- it's also not helpful for a couple reasons, what he tweeted. First reason is, Paul is in the lion's den. Paul is being prosecuted, I believe, for something that has nothing to do with Mueller's mandate. And in fact, he's litigating that now, and we're going to find a decision in the Virginia court. This is going to be a big deal.

[07:20:22] No. 2, FBI -- our whole argument, me -- and I'm a supporter of President Trump. Forget my personal --

BERMAN: I understand.

NUNBERG: Our whole argument is the FBI should not be intervening, should not be monitoring; it should not be looking into the Trump campaign.

BERMAN: We'll come back to that in just a moment. So when the president says, that Paul Manafort only played a small role on the campaign for a short time or only says --

NUNBERG: Wrong.

BERMAN: It's wrong.

NUNBERG: It's wrong.

BERMAN: Is it dishonest?

NUNBERG: I don't know. I'm not going to go into that. It's --

BERMAN: I mean, it is.

NUNBERG: It's not nice. I will tell you -- first of all, it's not --

BERMAN: It's not about being nice. It's about being --

NUNBERG: It's inaccurate. It's 100 percent inaccurate. BERMAN: It's a lie.

NUNBERG: You say lie. I say it's inaccurate.

BERMAN: But why not say it's a lie? President Trump was there. He knows that Paul Manafort was his campaign chair. He knows you were there four and a half months. It's not being --

NUNBERG: Four and a half years.

BERMAN: Four and a half years. Sorry. It's a lie.

NUNBERG: OK, fine. It's a lie.

BERMAN: All right.

NUNBERG: All right. I'm not going to fight with you about it.

BERMAN: No -- so good. So we will move on from that. Now, you were saying that the investigation itself is unfair. Make your case on that.

NUNBERG: Well, first of all, there's a long -- I mean, it's a list. It's a laundry list.

Look, this memo that was reported by Maggie Haberman, when I looked at that memo, I saw the way you talked about it. You said the president is talking about powers that have never been seen before. Look, a president has never been investigated before for obstruction of justice.

BERMAN: Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton.

NUNBERG: Let me finish.

BERMAN: They were both impeached for obstruction of justice.

NUNBERG: The president's never been investigated for having -- for duly firing somebody who worked for him as a subordinate.

And here's the other issue, ultimately. Robert Mueller recommended James Comey to be his successor to Barack Obama. That's a fact. Robert Mueller should not have been picked by Rosenstein. Rosenstein could have picked anybody. We have 300 and, what, 40 million people in this country. I don't know why he picked Bob Mueller.

And Bob Mueller, when you look at those questions, when you look at those questions, the questions that the special counsel wants to act -- ask the president, they directly and ultimately are dealing with Comey and Comey's memos.

BERMAN: Let me just say Robert Mueller was FBI director under George W. Bush.

NUNBERG: True. OK, fine. BERMAN: You know, he wasn't appointed by Obama. Robert Mueller

apparently went in to talk to President Trump about perhaps being his --

NUNBERG: Then he gets appointed the special -- That's very weird. I don't know why Rosenstein would have done that.

BERMAN: The whole thing. There are people who think that Robert Mueller has some value, or at least did, including President Trump. The guy is a war hero, by all accounts.

NUNBERG: I think -- I think, if we want to show that there's no conflict of interest, I can bring this. Why pick him? Why pick him? Why did Bob Mueller -- look, when I was in the grand jury --

BERMAN: Newt Gingrich loves him. He was appointed.

NUNBERG: Look, when I was in the grand jury -- you might have heard I gave grand jury testimony.

BERMAN: I know.

NUNBERG: I was in there five and a half hours. The first 30 minutes, the U.S. attorney in there is chewing me out for what I did the earlier week, and I don't blame him. Fine.

I would say an hour and 15 minutes goes into Roger Stone, which is why they initially brought me in, because Roger was telling me he talked to Assange. We've discussed this. I don't believe he did.

You look into it. So then let's say that. Let's say at the best, that's two hours. So is I'm in there three hours, OK, three hours of stuff that has nothing to do with Russian collusion that they wanted to collect on Donald --

BERMAN: Well, the mandate that Rod Rosenstein gave Robert Mueller was clearly --

NUNBERG: Too broad.

BERMAN: Maybe it's too broad, but it's clear. He said any matters that may arise during the investigation. So Mueller is certainly operating with that, any matters that may arise, if he finds law breaking there.

NUNBERG: Look, I think that Donald Trump was a private citizen. He wasn't governor of Arkansas. He wasn't trying to make money off cattle futures. He was a private citizen, and any conduct that he had within his business or within his private life is irrelevant to this.

BERMAN: All right. He was a private citizen. But if he obstructed justice while --

NUNBERG: This didn't have to do with what they wanted --

BERMAN: -- while he was a private citizen about the Trump Tower meeting --

NUNBERG: Oh, 100 percent. Anything -- anything dealing with the campaign, and I've said this before. Anything by the time he went down that escalator or even during the exploratory phase, fair game. They weren't asking me about stuff like that.

BERMAN: OK.

NUNBERG: OK.

BERMAN: Did you get immunity from the special counsel?

NUNBERG: I don't know what -- I don't know if I have immunity, but I'm not a subject or target.

BERMAN: But you didn't say you were justifying with immunity here?

NUNBERG: Well, look, if I lie, I get prosecuted.

BERMAN: Right.

NUNBERG: I mean, you never really have immunity.

BERMAN: That goes for everybody.

NUNBERG: What they tell you -- what they tell you is you're not a subject or target.

BERMAN: OK. But they didn't use the word "immunity" with you?

NUNBERG: I don't think so. I can ask my attorney, Patrick Brackley.

BERMAN: Ask him to let us know.

NUNBERG: I don't think I have anything --

BERMAN: Let me ask you about these pardons, these pardons that went out last week.

NUNBERG: Sure.

BERMAN: Dinesh D'Souza and other folks that he might pardon going forward.

NUNBERG: Right.

BERMAN: Do you think this is sending a message to people who might be under investigation?

NUNBERG: Well, one, I want to say I agree with all of them.

BERMAN: That's fine. Are they sending a message?

NUNBERG: I would hope so.

BERMAN: And that message is? NUNBERG: That message -- that message is we are not going to let

Robert Mueller -- I understand Robert Mueller is over-exceeding his powers.

Look, Robert Mueller is treating all of us, I feel, Trump associates, when I look at my friends, when I look at the eventual indictment of Roger Stone, eventual indictment of Michael Cohen, OK, when I look at that, when I even look at some of these indictments, such as the Russian indictment, which is -- you know, it's overly broad to me. When I look at this stuff, I think he's treating us like Mafia associates. And I think that we're being persecuted and prosecuted because we have an association with Donald Trump.

[07:25:23] BERMAN: Will he will pardon Roger Stone if he's convicted?

NUNBERG: I have no idea.

BERMAN: Do you think he will?

NUNBERG: Look, I would -- I would hope so. But he -- but once again, it goes back to his loyalty. It goes back to the president's loyalty. And I can at least tell you with me, he doesn't have a lot of it, right? So --

BERMAN: The message he's sending, though, to the likes of Roger Stone, or Paul Manafort or others who might be tied up in this, is that "I will pardon you"?

NUNBERG: Well, in my opinion, it looks like that. I have no idea. I can't speak on behalf of him, as you know.

BERMAN: True. So you worked for Jay Sekulow?

NUNBERG: Yes, I did work for Jay.

BERMAN: Who's now the president's lawyer.

NUNBERG: Right.

BERMAN: So we now know Jay Sekulow wrote a letter to the special counsel in January where he admits that the president dictated --

NUNBERG: I would assume the president didn't tell him the full facts at the time he went up there.

BERMAN: So the president lied to Jay Sekulow?

NUNBERG: I don't know if he told him the full -- I don't know what happened.

BERMAN: Jay Sekulow said the president did not write the letter, was not involved.

NUNBERG: But here's -- here's a bigger problem with that whole episode. Is why didn't they just say exactly what happened? Why did the president say to his son Don, "Here's what happened." Because you know what? It's not a problem. In my opinion, it's not a problem. I would have taken that meeting.

BERMAN: You're a lawyer. What does it tell you when someone doesn't tell the truth?

NUNBERG: It tells -- it would tell me that the president thought that that meeting was problematic. Everything we've learned subsequently, I don't feel that the meeting is problematic.

BERMAN: The president thought that meeting was problematic?

NUNBERG: He could have thought the meeting was -- just because of the optics.

BERMAN: So he thought he needed to hide something?

NUNBERG: He thought he needed, probably, to hide that they were willing to take -- when you look at that e-mail chain, the e-mail chain is problematic, as well.

BERMAN: Is that obstruction of justice? If you're hiding something from investigators?

NUNBERG: Obstruction? No, no, no. It's not obstruction of justice to say anything in public. It's obstruction of justice in what you tell Robert Mueller. So once again, there's a difference between what he tells the "New York Times" and what he would say or what his lawyers have already said in a memo. In the memo itself, there's a difference.

BERMAN: I understand. You, Sam Nunberg, sitting here with me, have said the president lied about you, about Paul Manafort. He said things that probably weren't true to Jay Sekulow there.

If you are a special counsel investigating the president --

NUNBERG: And that's all -- yes.

BERMAN: And you see a pattern here of the president lying, at least in these three cases that you noted, would that not raise alarms for you?

NUNBERG: Whether it does or it doesn't, the president did not obstruct justice by firing James Comey. James Comey, by the way, should not have leaked those memos. He may have even violated the law.

And my feeling -- once again, my feelings personally, and I've been around him a lot, once again. Besides the fact that I support what the president's policies are, I would have a problem, in general -- you wouldn't have me on the show if they were investigating Obama. Or something like that.

BERMAN: I have you on the show because --

NUNBERG: But I'm saying --

BERMAN: -- because you're interesting to talk to.

NUNBERG: What I -- what I -- no, no, no. I don't mean like that. What I mean is I wouldn't be advocating publicly for Barack Obama or President Hillary Clinton if they were looking into this. This is ridiculous.

BERMAN: Sam Nunberg, great to have you on. Come back on again. Really appreciate it.

NUNBERG: Thank you. Congratulations.

BERMAN: Thank you very much.

Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John.

Key U.S. allies angry over new tariffs, and they're ready to retaliate. So will these tariffs be good or bad for American carmakers? Michigan lawmaker Debbie Dingell joins us next with the answer.