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Sen. Corker: "GOP Leadership Relationship with Trump "Cultish"; Husband of Kellyanne Conway Defends Mueller Investigation; Michael Cohen Splits from Legal Team; Rally at Customs and Border Protection over Zero-Tolerance Policy; No Women on 100 Highest-Paid Athletes List. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 13, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Cults and religions operate on fear and intimidation, not enlightenment and love. I think is a very strong but a very good word in this case.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Ben, what say you?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm going to enjoy this for a second. This is what draining the swamp was supposed to be about. You had a bunch of old gray-haired guys that had their cult for decades. Bob Corker was one of those. People realized Bob Corker was a fraud, he wasn't a real conservative, he wasn't doing what he was supposed to do in Washington. I supported him the very first time he ran for Senate in Tennessee. He's gone now from Tennessee. He wouldn't have been able to win reelection. Now he acts like he'll be big and bad and call out people when, let's be clear, he's never called out any Republican the entire time he's been in Washington because he was too afraid of losing his own seat by saying these types of things. So only after he had already lost.


FERGUSON: He then decides, oh, I'm going to be a truth teller and say it like it is. If you would have done that when you were actually elected, you might have actually gotten re-elected this time, but you were a fraud.

I think this shows exactly what the president at the beginning. This isn't about his 50 million followers. This is about people like Bob Corker, who cared more about being important and more about being famous in Washington than they did about doing what they said they were going to do.

BALDWIN: Hang on. Hang on. Because you say truth teller.

And then, Rick, I want you to jump in.

It's the cult line that's getting the headlines. But when you read deeper, Corker's argument is the president who struggles with the truth, makes these ad-hoc comments, has to walk them back or totally change them. Forget the party for a second, would you at least say that Corker has a point that struggling with the truth is an issue when you represent 300 million Americans. Ben Ferguson? FERGUSON: Yes. That's a valid point you make. We should always want the president to tell the truth.


FERGUSON: Of course. And when the president says something that's not true, you know me, I've been on the show and said what he said was not accurate, not true. But Bob Corker, this grandstanding, when he's a guy who lied about to his own constituents about lowering taxes, being a fiscal conservative. He lied to his own constituents about really pushing hard to repeal and replace Obamacare. He lied about the Iran nuclear deal, which is why he is not running for reelection. So a guy coming out and using the word cult, my advice to Bob Corker is do yourself a favor, go retire in the mountains of Tennessee. Call your ex-important friends in Washington that have not been re-elected and you guys sit around talking about how you should have done what your actual job was when you were there. Leave us alone so we can actually get something done that you never accomplished.

BALDWIN: So Ben says this is what draining the swamp looks like. Enjoy the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.

And, Rick, you know, you say that, yes, it's a cult. Who is to blame? Is it Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell? Put a name on it for me.

WILSON: Brooke, let me cover a couple of things quickly. When we get down to the truth teller point, Donald Trump is a serial, constant, helpless liar. He's captured by his own sense of fantasy all the time. He makes up things every day. Post-truth America is led by Donald Trump. So the question of when someone becomes a truth teller isn't relevant about Bob Corker. It's relevant that Donald Trump is a lying liar --


FERGUSON: You can't call someone else a liar when you lie to your own constituents.

WILSON: The hell I can't. The hell I can't.

FERGUSON: That's not using logic.


WILSON: Donald Trump --


WILSON: There's nothing this man can do to keep a story --


FERGUSON: So Bob Corker --


FERGUSON: Come on!

WILSON: There's nothing that Bob Corker has to do with Donald Trump being a serial liar and fabulist.

FERGUSON: Bob Corker is not going to -


WILSON: Ben, you can filibuster later. This president --


FERGUSON: I'm not filibustering. It's about facts.

WILSON: -- of the American people. He's distrusted by very large majorities of the American people because, why, he's a constant serial pathological liar. I'm sorry you can't own that. I'm sorry you can't embrace the fact --


BALDWIN: Rick, Rick, you get the last point.

Ben Ferguson: WILSON: The fact that Bob Corker is making this critique --


WILSON: The fact that Bob Corker is making this critique -


BALDWIN: Give me a last point and then I've got to go.


BALDWIN: You get 50 seconds.


WILSON: in the future when you're talking, OK?


WILSON: It's -- the fact that Corker is making a critique of Donald Trump's lying is not irrelevant to this case. It is, in fact, Ben, it is in fact an indicator that Donald Trump drawn the attention of the vast majority of the American people.


WILSON: About 70 percent of the American people --


[14:35:13] WILSON: -- even his supporters, say he's not honest and trustworthy.


FERGUSON: I'll say this.

WILSON: Ben, Ben?

FERGUSON: Bob Corker is the poster child of what exactly happens when you go out there and lie to your constituents and you don't say what you say you're going to do and you are part of the swamp. And Corker is an angry man who lost control --


BALDWIN: All right.


BALDWIN: All right, gentlemen, I got both your points.


BALDWIN: I think everyone watching got both your points. And when we're doing this at the same time, it's not helping anyone.

Ben Ferguson, I got love for you. You come back all the time. I appreciate it.

Rick, don't move a muscle because I'm hanging on to you.

Coming up next, the curious case of George Conway, the husband of top White House aide, Kellyanne Conway, embracing the Mueller investigation and criticizing President Trump, yet again. What's going on there?

More on our breaking news today. Michael Cohen switching legal teams. Does this signal the president's fixer could be cooperating? We'll discuss.


[14:40:14] BALDWIN: The husband of top White House aide, Kellyanne Conway, now is publicly defending Robert Mueller's investigation in yet another round of criticism against the president. George Conway, a prominent attorney, publishing this stunning law article this week, the title here, "The Terrible Arguments Against the Constitutionality of the Mueller Investigation." Conway also retweeting pretty harsh criticism of President Trump's signed agreement with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Rick Wilson is back. Also with us, Renato Mariotti, former federal prosecutor.

Rick, to you first.

Between these tweets, these retweets, this 3,500-word column published Monday, does he know he's married to a woman who works for Trump? Why is he doing this?

WILSON: George Conway is a well-regarded guy who understands the law, federal society background and his case is pretty unassailable. I'm not an attorney but he's clearly a good one. My recommendations to George are you should probably get a food taster and maybe sleep in the guest bedroom because he is married to the queen of the Trump cult over there. This is something that he needs to be -- I'm not going to get into their family business, no one knows the secret terrain of any marriage. He's clearly sending some sharp, bright line signals on his investigation and on the rule of law more broadly.

BALDWIN: Well, Renato, you are a lawyer. So legally speaking, what do you make of his argument and why he's doing this?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, first of all, I think he argument was very strong and I think the reason he wrote it, at least my read on it, he's trying to debunk an argument by a very respected conservative legal thinker, Steve Calabraise (ph), and it looked like he was trying to stretch to come up with an argument that sported Trump politically. I think what Conway did was a thorough, methodical way of walking through it and showing why that argument was dishonest. Frankly, I think what he's trying to do and there's an increasing number of legal conservative who is are doing this is trying to say, look, you can say whatever you want political reasons regarding a witch hunt or so on but let be straight on what the law is. This sets a precedent for the future. We want to make sure going forward there aren't sort of dishonest or inappropriate legal arguments made that ultimately harm the country in the long term.

BALDWIN: Renato, let me move past this. I really want to hear from you on all this Michael Cohen news that's broken this afternoon, that he's splitting with his legal team, his D.C. legal team. What's your interpretation of that?

MARIOTTI: Well, you know, there's increasing signs that Michael Cohen's going to be charged. The viewers don't need me to tell them when the FBI raids your home and office, it's a bad sign. He's probably preparing for being charged. It doesn't necessarily mean he's going to Cooperate but it very well could be that. We've seen when other individuals who are caught up in this investigation, they ended to cooperate. That's one path and a very obvious path for money to take. If he doesn't expect a pardon that, would be an obvious move. Another possibility is a disagreement with those lawyers, though he has a very talented, very large law firm representing him and I believe they're being paid for by someone else. So it certainly seems to suggest potential cooperation and if that happens, that could be extraordinarily significant. We don't know what Michael Cohen knows, we don't know what he's going to say. You go I but if he wanted a cooperation deal, he would have to say everything he knows to federal prosecutors in New York.

BALDWIN: Rick, we know he's changing up himself legal team. I want to you finish my sentence. Right now, President Donald Trump is thinking --

WILSON: Sweet Jesus, he knows where all the bodies are buried and still has the tarp in his car. Donald Trump is not happy with the prospect of Michael Cohen cooperating with federal authorities. He has the holy of holies of Donald Trump's business sufficient and he was the lawyer for Donald Trump's extra-curricular activities for years and years. There's no upside for the president on Michael Cohen cooperating, no upside at all.

[14:45:19] BALDWIN: Sweet Jesus, so says Rick Wilson. Thanks for playing today.

Renato, good to see you. Thank you so much.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Happening right now, activists alongside members of Congress marching to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol offices there in Washington, D.C., demanding an end to Trump's family separation policy. More on this outcry next.


[14:50:07] BALDWIN: Happening right now in our nation's capital, activists, community leaders, lawmakers are holding this rally at the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol offices. It means anyone who crosses the border illegally will be prosecuted.

And Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat, among those in today's massive crowd.


REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D), ILLINOIS: I cannot think of an act that is more cruel and more inhumane than to rip the child from the arms of a mother. A mother who comes fleeing systematic torture, rape, death, gang violence. The cartels run her neighborhood, run her nation. And her country cannot, and government either does not, will not, cannot defend and protect her. And she comes to the United States not illegally, but following one of the greatest traditions in our country, to seek asylum from death and from torture. And we welcome her and her children to this country.



BALDWIN: Ed Lavandera is live in the border town of McAllen, Texas.

Ed, this mother was breastfeeding her child and the border customs guys tried taking that child away from her. And you've met a number of these folks trying to cross over. Tell me some of their stories.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There have been a number of stories. The way it plays out is once these people either turn themselves in to immigration authorities here along the southern border or are captured crossing the Rio Grande, they're referred to the Department of Justice and bussed into the federal courthouse here. In the last few weeks, they've been filled with hundreds of people faced with the zero- tolerance policy and they are threatening to charge them with the crime of illegal entry.

Here they say families have been split up here and that overwhelming sense of a real dramatic change here, Brooke. Some of the stories from attorneys who talked to people, one woman yesterday who talked to an attorney, who said her child was taken away from her at a detention center as she was breastfeeding that child. Another immigrant asked the judge for leniency after pleading guilty to that illegal entry charge. He was sentenced for 15 days in jail. He asked for leniency because he wanted to get back to his child as quickly as possible.

These are some of the stories we're hearing here in these courtrooms in south Texas.

BALDWIN: I keep wondering, how many kids, where are these kids going, how do they get reunified with their children?

Ed Lavandera, keep sharing these stories. Thank you so very much.

We were telling you how one Republican Senator was saying there's a problem with his party with a cult-like situation between leaders and President Trump. Well, we just learned that Senator had a very heated lunch, and so heated apologies were made. We have details. Standby.


[14:58:02] BALDWIN: What do Serena Williams, Danica Patrick, Lindsay Vaughn and Maria Sharapova have in common? They're all bad ass women not on the list of the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world. In fact, not a single woman is on that list. Not one. Instead, the men on this list made a record $3.8 billion. That is up 23 percent from the previous year. To be fair, one of the reasons cited, team sports are exploding thanks to TV deals.

But when you look at the individual level, I want you to look at these comparisons. Roger Federer, $77 million to Serena Williams' $18 million. Louis Hamilton, $51 million, Danica Patrick, $17 million. And the women's soccer team filed a lawsuit a couple of years ago arguing discrimination over their salaries since their team brings in more money than the men's team.

Perhaps, more importantly in this whole conversation, the people who don't make the millions, who are not standing out there on red carpets or on the Forbes list.

When asked about the pay variances in Hollywood, Actress Amy Adams said this, quote, "I want to fight for people outside our industry. Let's start with our teachers. Let's get waiters paid minimum wage. That's what's great about what's happening with "Time's Up." We're starting to have bigger conversations than just about what's happening in Hollywood."

Let me end with this. Talking about what we make still seems so taboo. I did something recently I had never done before, something that felt a little uncomfortable for me at first. I told a girlfriend, a colleague, how much I make. I told her so that when the time comes for her to negotiate her salary with her boss, that she is armed with not just numbers but knowledge. We need to start speaking up about this. We need to stand up for what we're worth.

Continuing on, you're watching CNN. We're at the top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

New developments this afternoon in the investigation of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.