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AT THIS HOUR
Inspector General Report Expected to Fault Comey, Lynch on Clinton Case; Justice Officials Promise More on Confidential Informant as Republicans Say No Spy in Campaign; Rudy Giuliani Attacks Stormy Daniels; Stormy Daniels Sues Michael Cohen, Her Former Lawyer Keith Davidson for "Colluding". Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired June 7, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: And, Brianna, good luck to Ryan and his battle to get back to playing once again.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed.
Andy Scholes, thank you so much.
And thank you. I'm Brianna Keilar.
"AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
Pulling back the curtain at the Justice Department today. CNN is learning new details about the highly anticipated report from the department's internal watchdog. The inspector general's report that is not yet released is expected to cite a number of mistakes in the government's handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. And sources say that the I.G. is finding misconduct coming from the very top of the department. We're talking about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, fired FBI Director James Comey, specifically Comey's handling of the investigation at key moments. You can probably guess what those are.
We're also learning the Justice Department is giving into congressional demands. It will now allow a bipartisan group of top lawmakers to review more classified material about the FBI's use of a confidential source around the Trump campaign, just as more Republican leaders are breaking from the president and his unproven claim the FBI planted a spy in his campaign for political purposes.
Let's get to all of it. CNN's justice reporter, Laura Jarrett, has more details on this.
Laura, this I.G. report, what more are you learning about what the I.G.'s concluding?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Kate, at its core, we expect this report will squarely focus on the failure of top officials to follow long-standing traditions and norms at the Justice Department. And we expect that the inspector general will specifically zero in on a series of consequential events, namely the July 2016 time period where Comey went out without Justice Department approval, without telling them what he would say, and he announced that he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton in the e-mail probe, while also criticizing her, calling her extremely careless.
We also remember back leading up to the election in November of 2016, he sent that letter to lawmakers, just days before election day, essentially reopening the Clinton e-mail probe after Justice Department officials had warned him that to do so would violate a long-standing tradition of not making any public announcements about such a consequential move, so publicly close to the election.
But Comey will not be the only one under criticism. We also expect the report to take aim at former attorney general, Loretta Lynch, and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: So, Laura, the Justice Department is also now moving to provide more information to top lawmakers about the FBI's confidential source. Do you know why they didn't lay it out in the first big meeting? What is happening here?
JARRETT: Well, this is actually interesting. So initially, the Justice Department had said all along they were resistant to turning over the documents on this confidential source because they were worried about protecting the source's life. We now learn that they actually had a whole stack of documents prepared for the Gang of Eight at that meeting. We all remember the two dueling briefings and all the drama surround the invitation list. But they provided the documents at that Gang of Eight briefing and now will do so again, including more documents and are prepared to answer more questions early next week -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: What has changed? Let's see.
Laura, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst, Mark Preston, and Jennifer Rogers, former federal prosecutor and now a lecturer at Columbia Law School.
Great to see both of you.
Jennifer, about this I.G. report, what does this inspector general's report do?
JENNIFER ROGERS, LECTURER, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL & FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: The inspector general is a nonpartisan appointee. This particular I.G., Michael Horowitz, was appointed in the Obama administration, but also served in prior Republican administrations. He's a neutral voice here. And his job is to look at fraud, waste and abuse in the Department of Justice, and including the FBI, and then report that when necessary to the attorney general but also --
BOLDUAN: The little that we know, there will be much more, what we're learning will come out. There's criticism from -- to the very top on how the Clinton e-mail investigation was handled. What will that do?
ROGERS: It depends what they find. They look at the FBI rules and regulations and see if anyone violated them in any way and if there's potential criminal activity, they'll make a referral to the appropriate prosecutor's office. That's what we saw happen with the Andrew McCabe report that came out recently.
ROGERS: Or they'll just take internal action and recommend to the FBI internal personnel action. Not in the case of Jim Comey, of course, he's gone, but in the case of someone still in the agency that could be fired or disciplined or so on. They'll write a report, make whatever referrals are appropriate, and then it will be up to Congress and other oversight entities to take it from there.
BOLDUAN: The political punishment might be what's real here, Mark. The president and Republicans have been teasing to this report for quite a while now. As if it will be a major reveal of corruption abound at the Justice Department. Is this looking to be the goods that they were hoping for?
[11:05:05] MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they'll be able to use it as a jumping off point to call into the credibility issues of Jim Comey. And they'll use that as a talking point and have used it as a talking point up to this point.
But a couple of things that I think we should point out. It won't be conservatives who were looking for this. I'm sure there are a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters who are saying absolutely what he did was wrong, what he did was wrong. But what we can't do and what we can't allow President Trump and his allies to do is to connect what happened with the Clinton e-mail issue to this ongoing probe into Russian collusion. He's done a very effective job of creating a lot of white noise as acting as if these are two investigates that are intertwined and they're not.
BOLDUAN: That's an important point. Because you hear investigation, and we kind of -- everyone combines it all.
Jennifer, the president and his supporters -- Mark was getting to it - and it isn't clean. You have Hillary Clinton supporters who were very interested in seeing what this -- what comes out of this report. But the president and his reporters -- his supporters saying the reason behind all of this is political bias. That's what they're looking to. But do you think the inspector general will address that?
ROGERS: I don't think he'll address kind of what was in Jim Comey's head about who he was trying to help or not help. He'll be looking at whether the rules and norms were violated. And you'll have to draw your conclusions from there. That's not really his job. I think, you know, there will be a lot for both sides to say about, you know, what was done properly and what wasn't. And those arguments have already been made, this will be kind of underlying support for those.
BOLDUAN: And, Mark, you have the justice officials now promising more information to lawmakers on the confidential FBI informant and the unfounded accusation by the president. You have Trey Gowdy, then Paul Ryan, Richard Burr, and now Tom Rooney telling "Politico" this: "What is the point of saying there was a spy in the campaign when there was none? He goes on, "It is like -- let's create this thing to tweet about knowing that it is not true. Maybe it is just to create more chaos, but it doesn't really help the case."
That's pretty straightforward. That's pretty candid.
BOLDUAN: There's no sign that Trump will give this up, regardless of what these folks are saying, right?
PRESTON: Right, yes. No doubt. It goes to the whole idea of how he has tried to intertwine these two cases, the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation case and whether it was bundled or whatever political reasons, and this idea of Russian collusion that we're seeing the special counsel look into. President Trump creates a lot of chaos, a lot of white noise, puts on a lot of misleading statements, lies, just flat-out lies, creates this atmosphere where things are very confusing. But what you hit on at the top is extremely important. What Tom Rooney is, what Paul Ryan is, what Trey Gowdy is, Richard Burr, they're all Republicans. They're not Democrats. This is not a partisan attack against President Trump. It is just them telling the truth.
BOLDUAN: Yes. But it never stopped anybody before in politics, Mark. Let's not be Pollyanna.
BOLDUAN: Exactly. Please come back to reality.
But it still is an important point, it is such a stark break, at least right now, between top Republican leaders and the president on what they're going to say about this.
One more thing about the I.G. report, Jennifer. There's a separate report about Andrew McCabe. And from that there's now -- referred to the U.S. attorney, an investigation, into that. Do you envision that happening to others when this I.G. report comes out?
ROGERS: I have no idea. It is a huge report, 500 pages or so. We'll have to see. But the main topics they're talking about, the July statements and what happened before the election, there hasn't been any hint so far of any criminal activity there. It is more just, were the proper judgments made, were the norms followed. These aren't laws saying you can't, you know, impact an election and so on, these are policies. So I wouldn't anticipate that, but we'll all have to read through.
BOLDUAN: Again --
[11:09:05] BOLDUAN: It's 500 pages.
Great to see you.
Thank you, Jennifer.
Thank you, Mark, as always.
Coming up, soon, House Speaker Paul Ryan will hold a news conference. He's facing new tension within the party. New tension within his party over trade, immigration, and his comments about the president's unproven claim this was a spy in his campaign. We'll bring that to you live.
Plus, Rudy Giuliani taking on Stormy Daniels, saying this: "If you're going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation." And that's not all. Details ahead.
BOLDUAN: Describe it however you like, unplugged, unleashed, off script, whatever it is, Rudy Giuliani is at it again. This morning, he's doubling down on his attack on Stormy Daniels, telling CNN's Dana Bash this: "If you're a feminist and you support the porn industry, you should turn in your credentials." Here's what he's defending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: When you look at Stormy Daniels, I know Donald Trump.
GIULIANI: And look at his three wives, right? Beautiful women. Classy women. Women of great substance. Stormy Daniels? Explain to me how she could be damaged. She has no reputation. If you're going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, not one to stay quiet, hitting back, calling Giuliani a pig over his remarks.
Joining me now, CNN national political reporter, M.J. Lee, for more on this.
M.J., he's representing -- Rudy Giuliani is representing the president with regard to the Russia investigation. This isn't the first time that he's gone on attack against Stormy Daniels. What is he saying?
[11:14:50] M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLTICAL REPORTER: That's right. This has a lot of people worked up. The fact that he's saying she lacks credibility because of the profession she's in. A lot of people are not taking that very well. And in addition to saying that feminists should not defend the porn industry, he basically stood by the comments that have people so angered.
This is a little more of what he told Dana Bash this morning. He said, "If you're involved in a sort of slimy business, that says something about you, says something about how far you'll go to make money. Our real point about her is that she's not just generally un- credible, she's un-credible from the point of view of wanting to get money, she is a con artist."
So what we're seeing now, Kate, is the strategy from both sides being, we are going to tear down the other person's character. You're seeing, of course, Stormy Daniels doing that, with Michael Cohen and Keith Davidson. And now the Trump -- President Trump's lawyer appears to be using the same strategy, basically, saying Stormy Daniels doesn't have a case because she's not a credible person.
BOLDUAN: Really quite a moment we're in.
BOLDUAN: What about this new lawsuit, though, coming from Stormy Daniels?
LEE: Stormy Daniels is suing Michael Cohen yet again. This time she's also suing her former lawyer, Keith Davidson. And in this new lawsuit, she says basically that the two men colluded, and worked against her, even though her old lawyer obviously should have been representing her interests.
Now the basis of this lawsuit are text messages exchanged between Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen between January and March of this year. Basically, the lawsuit says that the two men found out that there was an "In Touch" magazine interview coming where Stormy Daniels was going to discuss her alleged affair with Donald Trump.
I just want to read a couple of the text messages. You see Michael Cohen saying to Keith Davidson, "Can you call me, please? Please call me. Anything?" Keith Davidson says, "Still trying." Michael Cohen says, "This is no good, we need her as by doing tomorrow you just create another news cycle instead of putting an end to this one."
All of this, the context here is that they wanted her to go on Sean Hannity's show to deny the affair.
And then later in the day -- take a look at these texts -- Michael Cohen seems to change his mind. He says to Keith Davidson, "Keith, the wise men all believe the story is dying and don't think it is smart for her to do any interviews. Let her do her thing, but no interviews at all with anyone." Keith Davidson seems to agree. He says, "100 percent." Michael Cohen writes back, "Thanks, pal."
BOLDUAN: That's fascinating.
LEE: It is. And both of the lawyers have now spoken for Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen, saying this is frivolous, this doesn't amount to anything, this is Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' current lawyer, trying to get more attention. Michael Avenatti, of course, says this all goes to show that there's
collusion, that the two men were up to something nefarious. And by the way, he also says there are more text messages he's trying to get his hands on.
BOLDUAN: I want to know who the wise men are.
LEE: The lawsuit says Trump is one of the wise men, by the way.
BOLDUAN: There we go.
M.J. Lee, every question I have has an answer. What is my middle name? Just kidding.
Great to see you.
Joining me now, Joe Borelli, Republican New York councilman, and Jess McIntosh, former director of communications outreach for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Rudy Giuliani, what is going on with Rudy Giuliani, Joe?
JOE BORELLI, REPUBLICAN NEW YORK COUNCILMAN: I'll say it is the unfiltered title before.
BORELLI: He's being a little unfiltered. The clip you ran was of an event in Israel where he was asked about every topic going on in the United States.
BOLDUAN: You can say, just ask Sarah Sanders. You can say, I'm not going to answer this.
BORELLI: No, no, no. Look, look, look. Rudy Giuliani is doing his job. His job is --
BOLDUAN: You think this is --
MCINTOSH: His job is to not be popular himself. His job is to protect the president from a perjury trap and to resolve the Mueller probe. The last poll in May shows support for the Mueller probe is shrinking, the belief it should end is growing, and most people, the majority of Americans, think that Robert Mueller is not finding evidence of collusion.
BOLDUAN: But what Rudy Giuliani is saying about Stormy Daniels, do you think it is accurate?
BORELLI: This would be first time we ever tout the porn star as a model of virtue, but that aside, right now, she's suing Michael Cohen and you see the text messages. She hired this person, specifically, to engage with Michael Cohen to settle an agreement that she now wants to get out of. Michael Cohen and her lawyer were doing exactly what she hired the guy to do and now she's suing over that.
JESS MCINTOSH, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS OUTREACH FOR THE HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: This is literally one of the oldest sexist tropes in the book, where we denigrate women for participating in on one end of the spectrum, the porn industry, "Playboy." On the other, and on the same spectrum but another end, beauty pageants. But we celebrate the men who patronize these. Rudy Giuliani is performing something every woman has heard over and over again. Donald Trump, I might remind you, appeared in a soft core "Playboy" movie as a host.
BOLDUAN: Actually, thanks to our very good friends at CNN's "K FILES," it appears he appeared in three "Playboy" videos. One in 1994, one in 2000, and one in 2002. Why on earth should his attorney be trashing someone making a living in this same industry?
BORELLI: I think there's a clear difference between being in the background of something --
BORELLI: -- and being one of the people who are participating in the acts we all are familiar with, in the biblical sense.
BOLDUAN: But really? Really want to play there? Like --
BORELLI: No --
[11:20:03] BORELLI: What Donald Trump's critics would rather sit here and argue about Stormy Daniels, the War of 1812, the lyrics to --
BORELLI: -- "God Bless America," rather than talk about the way that Donald Trump is making America pretty darn great.
MCINTOSH: We would be happy to an intellectual argument about the policies that Donald Trump is trying it put in place about what's doing to immigrants --
BORELLI: Let's talk about the V.A. Mission Act right now.
MCINTOSH: But when his own lawyer is standing up every single day, and giving such unhinged interviews that he's offending police, the FBI, offending women, he's being questioned about whether or not he's drunk on cable television, it is really hard not to see that as part of their strategy to distract from just about anything else going on substantively.
BOLDUAN: I'll make a blanket statement. When you come on and trash the segment, it is not winning.
BORELLI: I'm not trashing the segment.
BORELLI: A pivot.
BOLDUAN: A pivot. I'm going to unpivot you, is my job is right now.
You asked about 1812, you'll get 1812. The president in a tense conversation with the Canadian prime minister in a phone call last week, talking about the issues that they have with regard to trade, another issue I talked about and will continue to talk about. Including this. When the president said to him, "Didn't you burn down the White House," referring to the War of 1812. Of course, that's not the case. This is not the first time, though, that the president seems to not know a lot about American history. Just watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frederick Douglas is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job, being recognized more and more, I notice.
African-Americans vote for Democrats, for the most part. Vast majority. They have been doing it for over 100 years.
Abraham Lincoln, most people don't even know he was a Republican, right? Does anyone know? A lot of people don't know that.
(voice-over): People don't realize, you know, Civil War --
TRUMP: Think about it. Why? People don't ask that question. Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?
We had leaders like Susan B. Anthony. Have you heard of Susan B. Anthony?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: What do you think? Why does the president not seem curious about American history or why doesn't he think he needs to know?
BORELLI: The War of 1812 was fought over Canadian, meaning British at the time, incursions into America. But that's neither here nor there. I think the president was --
BOLDUAN: It is definitely --
BORELLI: I think the president was making a joke. I think it was a funny joke. And I think the fact that we're in the all treating it like a little quip to the Canadian prime minister --
MCINTOSH: But I think, had the president ever shown an interest in understanding American history or being able to contextualize his own presidency, we would be able to understand a joke when we heard it. But the president doesn't seem to have much of a sense of humor and much of a sense of history. That's what we're seeing in that clip.
BORELLI: Whoa, whoa. He's got to have a sense of humor.
BOLDUAN: Yes, there you go. One round won by you, Joe, today.
But, Jess, on this very point, I'm out. I'm officially out. The poll numbers, I want you to look at the poll numbers now. He's at 44 percent approval. That's up 4 percent from -- that's up four points from April. Among Republicans he's at 84 percent. That's about as high, I think about as high as he's had since -- in the entirety of his tenure. What are people pointing to? The economy. Whatever he does or doesn't know about history, whatever he is or isn't doing, look --
MCINTOSH: He does an excellent job of playing to his own base. It is what he did with the entire NFL conversation and what he did around the Eagles event. It is what Giuliani is doing when he denigrates women and anybody else who gets in Trump's way. He's very good at playing to his base. I think the numbers have gone up recently, one, because the economy is still about the economy and he's doing pretty good. And, two --
BOLDUAN: But, Jess, every president gets to declare the economy once they're in office.
MCINTOSH: And Trump is hammy to claim that even when talking to Gold Star families.
The second thing is probably North Korea. Everybody wants to see some sort of resolution there. And the fact there's a thing happening even if it is really haphazard and the more you look at it, the more terrified you are it is going to go terribly, terribly wrong, I could see that contributing to it. Mostly, it is this tactic of making sure that his base is consistently fed with red meat. And that often happens on the backs of black Americans and women.
BORELLI: Number one, I'm glad you brought up black Americans and women. Those are two of the groups raising in poll numbers for Donald Trump and --
BORELLI: -- in May and April. The samples are wrong. Not the fact that people that are black and women happen to answer poll questions that said Donald Trump is more favorable than he was previously.
And as you pointed out, yes, he is the most popular president in his own party, at this time, as any president has ever been since Eisenhower. That's something normally you would tout. And I bet if Hillary Clinton was the president and you were a communications director, you would be sitting in this chair and not that one touting the same thing.
MCINTOSH: I would probably be excited about her numbers with women and black Americans.
[11:25:05] BOLDUAN: And also the push/pull of the polls and we're five months out from the midterms. There's a battle when it comes to Congress. Democrats are up 10 points. There's a push/pull in all of it. Let's believe polls.
Yes, yes? We believe polls?
BORELLI: This week. This week.
BOLDUAN: Only when you like them.
I love you.
Coming up for us, we have breaking news this morning. President Trump unveiling a deal to save jobs in China. Issuing a lifeline to sanctioned-tech company, ZTE. And it comes as President Trump reportedly is complaining about having to attend another summit with U.S. allies. That's next.
[11:29:51] BOLDUAN: President Trump has just struck a deal to save jobs. Jobs in China. Yes, you heard that right. This morning, the Trump administration is announcing it has reached a deal, an agreement with Chinese telecom giant, ZTE, the same company the FBI, CIA and NSA warned about earlier this year. Top national security leaders warning ZTE cell phones are not safe and that the company can't be trusted.