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Growing Number of Forced Family Separations at Border; Trump Blames Democrats for Forced Family Break-ups at Border; A.G. Jeff Sessions Defends Immigration Policy with Scripture; Trump Distancing Himself from Paul Manafort Following Arrest; Giuliani Talks Pardons; Mother of 3 Scared MS-13 Will Kill Her if Returned to Honduras; Mother Scared of Deportation, Separation from Kids; Growing Number of Forced Family Separations at Border; Michael Cohen Could Flip on Trump; Hosting World Cup Tournament Symbolic Win for Putin; Taxi Hits Pedestrians Amid World Cup Festivities. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 16, 2018 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Starting this hour, with the growing numbers of forced family separations along the southern U.S. border. In just six weeks, ending in May, the Department of Homeland Security says nearly 2,000 children were separated from their guardians. Just look at the same -- these faces right here, now caught up in a legal system they don't understand. Border Patrol agents are now charging every adult caught crossing illegally with federal crimes.

President Trump is blasting his political opponents, tweeting this morning, "Democrats can fix their forced family break-ups at the border by working with Republicans on new legislation for a change."

Trump suggesting Democrats could end the practice immediately, but only if they agree to full funding for a border wall, ending catch- and-release, ending the visa lottery program, and implementing merit- based immigration.

Let's start with CNN correspondent, Ed Lavandera, who is near the border in McAllen, Texas, and was on the scene as Border Patrol agents detained a group of children and adults - Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. This is a scene that plays out repeatedly and has played out repeatedly along the U.S. southern border for weeks. But really takes on a much more poignant and dramatic scene considering just how dramatic the changes here have been now that these detentions and how all of this is unfolding because of the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy.

You can take a look at what we witnessed yesterday.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): It's hard to see people moving through the thick south Texas vegetation. The Rio Grande rolls by just beyond the tree line. And then, just like that, they appear out of the brush, a small group of undocumented immigrants walking into a public park.

(on camera): We just came across this group of undocumented immigrants here in the town of Mission, Texas. Two adults, four children, just finished crossing the Rio Grande here a little while ago. And now they're in the custody of Border Patrol.

(voice-over): This group is made up of three different groups. They say they met along the journey from Honduras and decided to enter the United States together. Border Patrol agents give them water and they sit in the shade as they wait for a vehicle to take them to a Border Patrol station.

There's Jonathan Ariel, 11 years old. He says he left Honduras with cousins but they abandoned him along the way. He says his mother lives in Virginia and told him not to make this journey alone. But now he's here.


LAVANDERA: "I told her I wanted to come," he says, "but she said it's very dangerous."

(on camera): Are you scared?


LAVANDERA (voice-over): "A little," he says.

It's a brief conversation that leaves you with many more questions about how a young boy can get to this point. As an unaccompanied minor, he will likely end up for the time being in a children's shelter like this one as federal authorities try to connect the boy with his mother.

The rest of this group is made up of two adult women with their children.

Dahlia Saupa is 24 years old. She crossed the border with her little boy.

(on camera): (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGAUGE). Why did you come?


LAVANDERA (voice-over): She says gang members left a note at her home threatening to kill her and that's when she decided to flee.

(on camera): (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). Are you afraid they'll separate you from your children?


LAVANDERA: "Yes, he's my son and I love him," she says. "I have carried him throughout my journey."

Dahlia says she did not know that she might be separated from her son once she was taken into custody in the United States, but she says I have nothing in Honduras.

The families are loaded up and taken away unsure of what happens next.


LAVANDERA: So, Fredricka, it's hard to figure out exactly what ended up happening to these people. Especially for the two adult women and their children, what exactly will happen with them isn't clear.

The Trump administration has touted this zero-tolerance policy. I think it comes off to most people as saying 100 percent of the people crossing the border illegally are being prosecuted, but we found that's just not the case. DHS officials won't say exactly how they pick and choose who gets prosecuted and who gets released, but it is not 100 percent by any means. It's not exactly clear if those two mothers will be separated or if they'll be allowed to stay together and released with a GPS ankle monitor and an immigration court date -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Ed Lavandera. Thank you so much.

President Trump says he hates seeing parents and children separated from each other at the border but he claims it's not his fault. The president continues to falsely blame the Democrats, even though the practice is a deliberate policy shift by his administration as it carries out a zero-tolerance policy for illegal border crossings.

For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Boris Sanchez at the White House -- Boris?

[13:04:55] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, the president's claim that Democrats are to blame because they enacted some law that forces the separation of children from their parents at the border, that's simply factually inaccurate. There's no law that states that that has to happen. In fact, the administration enacted these policies some six weeks ago. And the legal basis, the framework of a justification from the Department of Justice is 1997 court settlement. It's not actually something Congress has weighed in on definitively.

Notably, the person who's in charge of enacting and enforcing these policies, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has not shied away from owning them. In fact, he's defended them, saying it would deter more migrants from trying to enter the United States. He's even used scripture, Biblical scripture to try to defend the administration's position on this.

Here's more from Jeff Sessions, who is not blaming Democrats.


JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: So there's only one way to stop it, and that's for the people to stop smuggling their children or someone else's children. Stop crossing the border illegally with children. Apply to enter lawfully. Wait your turn. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families is not unusual or unjustified.


SANCHEZ: To be clear, there's another way to end this practice and that is for President Trump, who has weighed in on this, calling it a horrible practice, to essentially call the Department of Justice and tell them to stop separating children from their parents at the border. Some have suggested that President Trump is using this against Democrats to try to force them to make some sort of grand bargain with Republicans. House Republicans, of course, have been trying to iron out a widespread immigration reform bill for weeks now. There are wide divisions within the GOP. So some, even here at the White House, are skeptical that such a bill would pass -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

Joining me right now is Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett, of Texas.

Congressman, thank you for being with us.

REP. LLOYD DOGGETT, (D), TEXAS: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: The president is again pointing the finger of blame at Democrats for this practice of separating families at the border. Are you? Is your party to blame?

DOGGETT: No, I really think, though, when you see these moving stories like Ed brought from an area that I represented a few years ago along the Rio Grande river, that I just have a mixture of sadness and horror and anger that this is happening. I have some grandchildren, and the thought that they would be torn away from their mother is just absolutely appalling. And we need people of good faith, of different political philosophies, to come together and tell the president, stop this, stop it now. We're over 2,000, I expect, by today of young children pulled apart from their parents. It is very wrong.

WHITFIELD: You said, you know, you're hoping people of good faith come together. The U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions actually, you know, gave credit to a Biblical verse to help justify this action. Take a listen.


SESSIONS: I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is, in itself, a good and moral thing. And it protects the weak. It protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families is not unusual or unjustified.


WHITFIELD: What's your reaction when you hear his use of this Romans 13?

DOGGETT: I would just have to say that Mr. Sessions didn't attend the Sunday school that I did. I'm pleased that the real conference of the Methodist Church has condemned this process. I know the Catholic bishops have spoken out. I hope, as people head off to their place of worship this weekend, that they think about what's happening here and how wrong it is. The scripture cited by Mr. Sessions is the type of passage that has been cited by authoritarian governments through the centuries to justify all power with one. I know that President Trump would like it to be that way. But that's not what America is about.

We do need to use this weekend particularly to think thoughtfully about the wrongness of this, how horrible it would be if, when children go off to Sunday school tomorrow, they never came back to see their parents. The parents went one way and they went another.

I represent -- in our office, we're working with a young 23-year-old mother from Guatemala. She brought her 5-year-old son here. He's in one Texas town. She's in another. Unable to see him for over a month. That just should not be happening.

President Trump, he could end this in less time than it took him to salute a North Korean general. Even Lindsey Graham, a leading Republican Senator, said yesterday he could just pick up the phone and put a stop to this. But he wants to use these little children and the love of a parent for a child and a child for a parent, he wants to use that as a weapon, as a kind of ransom that he's demanding to put up his wasteful wall and to block not only undocumented but legal immigration and to limit it into our country.

[13:10:44] WHITFIELD: So you say there's a direct correlation behind the president supporting this practice and using it as leverage perhaps to get more Democrats on board in which to design and vote on an immigration law that will also help finance his wall?

DOGGETT: I don't think Democrats are about to come on board in favor of the kind of any immigrant hysteria that he and Jeff Sessions and all the Trump wannabes in the Texas state government have been advocating. I think he's trying to hold the Republican Party together because we had 22, 23 Republicans signing a petition to override Speaker Ryan. Speaker Ryan has been blocking us from having any kind of fair debate about immigration. And we needed 24, 25 people to join every Democrat to have a free and fair debate next week. He's put a stop to it. I think what's happened since President Trump rejected and terminated the program for our DREAMers, these young people who came here as children themselves, but have been here, cleared a criminal background check, have paid a fee, are working or studying, he's held them for ransom for almost a year. He's decided that's not enough. They're holding the children of those who come here to apply for asylum, as the young woman I have been working with did. He's going to use them now. And I hope that we reject this approach and that enough Americans speak out that he has to end this policy that divides families and is so very wrongful.

WHITFIELD: Congressman Lloyd Doggett, thanks for your time.

DOGGETT: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, an attorney claims federal authorities ripped an undocumented woman's infant from her arms as she was breastfeeding. I'll talk with that attorney.

Plus, Special Counsel Robert Mueller ignores President Trump's calls to end the Russia probe. Meanwhile, the president's former campaign manager is in jail, and his personal attorney is apparently willing to cooperate with federal officials. Will either of them flip? We'll discuss next.


[13:17:10] WHITFIELD: President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is in jail. Manafort is facing a foreign lobbying trial. His $10 million bail was revoked after Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed witness tampering charges.

President Trump once again appeared to distance himself from Manafort.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. But I feel -- I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago?


WHITFIELD: I want to bring in Michael Zeldin, a CNN legal analyst, a former federal prosecutor, and former special assistant to Robert Mueller. And Jeremy Herb is a CNN politics reporter.

Good to see you all.

So, Michael, this sends a very strong message that his bail would be revoked, house arrest, no more, but now in jail?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly right. The circumstances here are sort of unique. That is, Manafort was out on bail. He had one strike against him previously when he wrote an op-ed about the Ukraine situation that he lobbied for when the judge had put a gag order on him preventing that. Now in the second case, he comes back before the court having, according to the government, tried to contact witnesses with an effort to influence their testimony. The judge found that under the Bail Reform Act she could not fashion an order that would protect the community from his ongoing efforts to interfere with the justice system and so she locked him up. That's where he'll stand until trial unless a court of appeals overturns her decision.

WHITFIELD: Jeremy, the president is distancing himself from Paul Manafort, but isn't that rather difficult to do when Manafort was his campaign chairman for months and he was out front? I mean, he really was that spokesperson. He was hitting all the air waves. How effectively can the president distance himself from any kind of activity associated with Manafort? JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Fred. The

president, yesterday, he tried to downplay exactly how much Manafort was associated with the campaign. Which, of course, he ran for several months. Trump had the number of days that Manafort actually worked for him wrong. I think this is a strategy we're going to see going forward. The charges that are against Manafort, they don't come from his time on the campaign. They're foreign lobbying charges, they're tax charges that happen before he joined the campaign. I think the strategy we're going to see from Trump's legal team is this is not related to the investigation into Trump and Russia. It's all part of kind of this larger effort to try and discredit the Mueller investigation.

WHITFIELD: But then Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, you know, goes on the air waves and he starts opening up another can of worms as it pertains to the power of pardons. Listen.


[13:19:57] RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: My advice to the president of the United States, as his lawyer, not as a government lawyer, is no pardons. It would completely change the momentum that we have right now. Because it's very strong right now. You can see the polls moving in the president's favor and against Mueller.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Then why did you suggest it?

GIULIANI: I didn't suggest it. I said he shouldn't pardon anybody. The president said to me, you shouldn't pardon anybody. What I said was, after the investigation is over, then it has to be considered as a governmental matter, not by me. What the history has been is these people -- these things get cleaned up. Ford did it, Reagan did it, Carter did it, Clinton did it, and Bush did it in political investigations.

CUOMO: So you're saying after the probe is over it may be cleaned up with any pardons?

GIULIANI: If people were unfairly prosecuted.


WHITFIELD: All right, so, Michael, if there's no real association or worries about, you know, Trump and Manafort relations, if Trump himself says he doesn't have anything to worry about, why should anyone in his orbit talking about pardons? And if so, doesn't that come dangerously close to kind of crossing the line?

ZELDIN: There's so much to unmake in the Giuliani statement there. The initial point is that Giuliani is right to suggest to the president, if that was, in fact, a conversation they had, that pardoning somebody preemptively at this point would not be to his legal advantage because it would look to be another act of obstruction or abuse of office. As to the post-, you know, sort of convictions, if there are

convictions, because there need to be for there to be a pardon, after post-convictions, if you're in a situation like George Herbert Walker Bush was when he pardoned Weinberger and some of the others from Iran/Contra, then Giuliani is saying, at that point, toward the end of your presidency, perhaps, we can look at those convictions and determine whether or not anybody was unfairly prosecuted and take appropriate pardoning action. That may be OK, too. But the problem with the Giuliani statements is he conflates so many things at one time that it creates an appearance as if the president is contemplating preemptively pardoning people in a way that would be seen as an abuse of his office and an interference in this investigation. That's what he's got to be clear to stay away from.

WHITFIELD: Jeremy, how much of a political liability is it to talk about pardons, you know, heading into midterms?

HERB: Yes, you know, it potentially can be. I think it's something we may see Democrats raise. I was interested in Rudy Giuliani's statement. He talked about how we're gaining momentum. He wasn't talking about legal arguments there. He was talking about poll numbers, about Mueller's poll numbers are dropping and the public opinion of trusting him. So this certainly is a political game being played both by the president and by Mr. Giuliani. You know, I think they don't want Manafort to flip and start cooperating with the federal prosecutors. They don't want Michael Cohen to flip and start cooperating with federal prosecutors. So I think they're trying to have it both ways and saying, we're not going to pardon you. But down the road, you know, that could change.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jeremy Herb, Michael Zeldin, good to see you. Thank you.

ZELDIN: Thank you.

HERB: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, next, a heart-breaking story involving the immigration controversy. A woman says, if she is deported, she could be killed by the MS-13 gang. Hear why, coming up.


[13:27:56] WHITFIELD: President Trump says Democrats are the reason nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border, an assertion that is categorically false. Political posturing from either party does nothing to assuage the fears of immigrants.

CNN's Nick Valencia spoke to a mother of three who was afraid if she is sent back to Honduras, not only would she never see her children again, but she says she may even be killed.



NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is you go back to Honduras they'll kill you?

(voice-over): In many ways, Joanna feels like she's already dead. An undocumented from Honduras, she's too scared to show her face or use her real name. She says MS-13 gang members murdered her brother and two relatives back home. Which is why, in 2011, she fled. If sent back, she says, she will most certainly die.


VALENCIA (on camera): You'd rather they kill you here than you die there?


VALENCIA (voice-over): For the last seven years, Joanna and her American-born children have lived in the shadows of America. She thought fleeing MS-13 gang violence and being a victim of sexual assault would help her qualify for asylum. She applied in 2011, but admits, like so many others, she was too scared to show up to her court date.

Now with a new edict from the Trump administration, her greatest fear is what will happen to her children when or if she's deported. She has three children, all U.S. citizens, under the age of 7.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): What will happen to my kids? Will I be able to take them? If I go alone, what will happen to my children who are here practically alone?

VALENCIA: On Monday, she's in court for driving without insurance and a license. She could be detained by immigration officers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): With the orders that the president gave to get out all of immigrants, why doesn't he take the time to know how someone's life is?


Why on the border are they treating us like animals? That's not being human. To not feel the pain of someone else.

VALENCIA: Joanna says, under President Obama, she was aware that deportations were at an all-time high but still had hope with the prospect of asylum. Not anymore. Now the only thing she can think of is how best to shield her children from the strong chances of her being sent back.


VALENCIA: Joanna has been getting help from an immigrants' rights organization. They say, not only is she at risk of being deported but so is her husband, who has been in detention since early May. When her children ask where their father is, Joanna tells them he's on vacation. She tells me she has yet to verbalize or vocalize to her own children about the possibility that she, too, could be deported. She says she doesn't want to them because it would make it all the more real -- Fred?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Nick Valencia.

I want to bring in an attorney who says she witnessed the separation of families. Natalia Cornelio, criminal justice reform director for the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Natalia, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: I understand you spoke to an undocumented immigrant who says federal authorities took her daughter from her arms while she was breastfeeding. But at DHS, Department of Homeland Security, an official insists the claim is not true, that the government does not separate babies from adults. What can you tell us about what the mother described to you?

CORNELIO: Sure. Well, I'm concerned about the -- and they admitted they have very little information to be able to investigate so I'm not sure how they can so confidently say it didn't happen. In fact, when this mother spoke to me, she was very distraught, crying. It was really difficult for her to even speak about what happened. And so it absolutely happened. And it's unfortunate that the government's response is to deny it.

WHITFIELD: Had she said, in your conversation, who's caring for her baby, what kind of access if at all she has? Can she see the child? What has she been told about her child? What did she convey to you?

CORNELIO: Something that we've been seeing consistently, and we've spoken to a lot of parents at Texas Civil Rights. My organization has been speaking to a lot of parents who have been separated from their children. A lot of them don't get any information about when they will see their child again. And a lot of them continue to be separated from their children after, in one case, we know of a month. And there's no information being relayed to the parents or anybody involved.


CORNELIO: And one father was --


WHITFIELD: Sorry, go ahead. Tell the story.

CORNELIO: I was just going to say that one father that we spoke to back in May was put in a cell after being arrested and his son was told to wait outside, and when he came out of the cell not too long afterwards, he said, where's my son? His son wasn't there. He was told by Border Patrol he would see him tomorrow. Tomorrow came and he did not see his son. We met with him the day after that and he still hadn't seen his son. So a lack of information to the parents especially is prevalent right now. WHITFIELD: And what's your understanding who is watching these

children, what kind of care they're being given, if anyone is able to communicate with the kids, what kind of psychological, you know, experiences they are having, needing counseling or just general care?

CORNELIO: My understanding is the children are being placed in these secure facilities, these jails, these camps. They have -- that are charged with taking care of children under these circumstances. And I know what you all know, which is what the government has been releasing lately about the conditions for the children. There's no information disclosed that the children are receiving psychological counseling. It's not clear that the children have an attorney, even though they're separated from their parents. We know very little about these children, unfortunately.

WHITFIELD: And this overall practice that is taking place right now has been performed under multiple administrations, perhaps to different degrees. But the Department of Homeland Security says it only separated families in instances where, you know, a familiar relationship could not be verified or the wellbeing of the child was a concern. The difference under the Trump administration is zero- tolerance policy. So what legal recourse is available for these families, if at all?

CORNELIO: That's a great question. Something that's not available that, as a lawyer, is striking is an absolute lack of process. It would be normal to me under a proper legal system for a parent and a child to have an attorney and go before a judge specifically on the issue of whether it's appropriate to separate those two from each other before that severe action is taken. None of that is happening by the government at this time. They're just doing it. There's no consideration by any court, any independent body of what the circumstances are. There's no lawyer assigned to the parent. No lawyer assigned to the child. It's really concerning.

[13:35:37] WHITFIELD: Natalia Cornelio, thank you for your time. Keep us posted.

CORNELIO: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen's feud with Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, just hit a legal snag. Why a judge said "not so fast" to Cohen's restraining order request.


[13:41:23] WHITFIELD: It was a potentially significant week for President Trump's legal team. First, CNN learned that his longtime personal lawyer could soon flip. Michael Cohen reportedly telling family and friends he's been stung by recent comments by Trump and Rudy Giuliani and is now signaling a willingness to cooperate with federal authorities.

In the meantime, Cohen's attempt to block Stormy Daniel's attorney from speaking out publicly hit a snag. A judge tabling his decision on a restraining order request until later on in the month. Joining me right now, from Cleveland, Avery Friedman, a civil rights

attorney and law professor.

Good to see you.



And criminal defense attorney, Richard Herman, joining us from Las Vegas.

Good to see you as well.


WHITFIELD: Avery, you first.

In the past, Michael Cohen has said he would take a bullet for President Trump. So why now contemplate, you know, flipping or at least even changing attorney teams?

FRIEDMAN: Well, because he's standing there alone. Whatever effort he's trying to get to get to is not happening. He's standing there twisting in the wind. The problem is the government has a bead on Michael Cohen in a couple of respects. He was supposed to have been involved with some of the election meddling. Also another Russian involving the Trump Tower/Trump Moscow. Also possibly giving Russian information to Michael Flynn. So it's very -- and put aside Stormy Daniels for a minute. There's substantial -- remember, yesterday was the deadline, Fredricka, that 3.7 files, not folders, or documents --

HERMAN: Million.

FRIEDMAN: -- files had to be turned over to the federal court. That was Judge Kimba Wood. In fact, remember, Judge Kimba Wood, Richard, he told him to sit down and shut up, so she can't be all that bad.


But on west coast, at the same time, another federal judge is denying a restraining order because Michael Cohen feels defamed. I think that case is going nowhere. Bottom line, a lot of action from Michael Cohen, standing by himself. He's going to have to -- he has a big bowl of trouble.


Richard, if Cohen is looking to cooperate, does that necessarily mean he has information that is useful to investigators? Would they cut a deal if he didn't have some good information for them?

HERMAN: Well, here's the deal, Fred, everyone -- like Mike Tyson said, everybody's a tough guy until they get punched in the mouth.

FRIEDMAN: Yes, that's right. HERMAN: Michael Cohen is getting a lesson on the federal sentencing guidelines, which is going to control his future. He really needs to go to Las Vegas and get those lipped fixed because he can't lie any more. The lying is over. His lawyer will have to make a proffer with the government to see what information he has. Then they'll bring him in. They'll give him a "queen for the day" to see what information he has. They're going to ask him questions that they have the answers to. And he has to be able to provide credible evidence, Fred. Because, like Avery reminded you, I know Judge Kimba Wood. He's probably going to be charged with crimes that are going to require five to 20-year sentences. He's 51 years old, Fred. He gets set with a 20-year sentence, and she will sentence him to 20, he won't get out until his 70s. He's got a wife and kids. The only way, the only way his 85 percent good time in the federal system, he'll have to do 85 percent. The only way to reduce that is for him to be a cooperator. That's what the feds call a cooperator, the defense attorneys call a rat. That's what he's going to have to do. Otherwise, he'll do the full 85 percent of whatever sentence he gets, if he gets convicted.

[13:45:05] WHITFIELD: Avery, since the personal attorney of Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, has been talkative about the whole notion and potential of pardons, would Trump consider pardoning Cohen preemptively before this case, you know, were to even go to trial or before, you know, well, maybe even after, you know, a deal were cut?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I mean, he certainly has power to do it. Legally, he has the power. But even the politicians like Newt Gingrich are saying, look, that's political suicide. Actually, Rudy Giuliani started to dance like Michael Jackson. First, he said, yes, you can pardon him. Then he said -- trying to clarify by saying, no, if there's a conviction, he can think about it. But the reality is, legally, absolutely. Politically, not a chance.

WHITFIELD: And, Richard --


WHITFIELD: Yes, go ahead.

HERMAN: Yes, I'm sorry. I just wanted to say you've been referring to this all morning, Fred, that the government has uncovered many WhatsApp texts from him


FRIEDMAN: Right. Right.


HERMAN: And they got -- they put together shredded documents that were in shredders. And Judge Barbara Jones, who was a special master appointed to sift through to see if there were any attorney/client privileges, well, 90 percent-plus were not attorney/client privilege. This guy, Fred, has a lot of information on Donald Trump. He's not the typical attorney Trump would go to during the last 10 to 12 years.

FRIEDMAN: The fixer.

HERMAN: So he was doing things other than attorneys -- yes, he fixed. The deal maker made a great deal with Stormy Daniels, $130,000 for one night. It's ridiculous, Fred.

This guy's father-in-law is Ukrainian. He has a lot of contacts with Russians. He negotiated that Moscow/Trump deal. This is going to be a treasure trove. I think this guy's going to undo Trump. Trump will not pardon him right now. That is political suicide to try to do something like that. And this guy's loaded. He's loaded for bear. He doesn't want to die in prison, Fred. He's got a wife and kids.

FRIEDMAN: That's right.

HERMAN: When you cooperate with the government, Fred, it may not just be on Trump. I mean, this guy has to come clean on everything he's done in his life against everyone, including maybe his father-in-law, his relatives --




HERMAN: -- his associates, his tax associates. If they catch him in a lie, Fred, if they catch him in a lie, they'll undo any cooperation agreement and he'll get the full hit, plus maybe more charges brought against him. I've seen judges do that, get 25-year sentence, cooperate for three years, and at the end, the judge says, you lied, 19 years. I've seen it, Fred.


FRIEDMAN: Fredricka, we absolutely agree this week. We absolutely agree this week.

WHITFIELD: We'll leave it right there. That's a lot of information to digest.

HERMAN: That's right.

WHITFIELD: But so good to hear from you guys.

Avery Friedman, Richard Herman --

HERMAN: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: -- thank you so much.

We'll be right back.


[13:52:27] WHITFIELD: The world's most-watched sporting event, the World Cup, is underway right now in Russia. And today, a tie between Iceland and Argentina. Iceland, the smallest nation to ever qualify for the soccer tournament. And, of course, Argentina is a powerhouse, starting Leonel Lessi (ph). So this is an impressive showing for Iceland and a huge disappointment for Argentina.

Meanwhile, Russia won the opening match of the tournament, beating Saudi Arabia, five to zero. Just the fact that Russia is hosting the World Cup is a big enough win for President Vladimir Putin.

CNN's Matthew Chance is live for us in Moscow's Red Square.

How exciting is it for folks there?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very exciting. In fact, this whole area has been absolutely ramped with people from Russia, of course, celebrating their dramatic victory over Saudi Arabia a couple of days ago, five, nil. Russians had such low expectations for their team, they didn't even think they were going to score a goal throughout the tournament. So to win five, nil, against Saudi Arabia, not the strongest team in the world, was still fantastic. For them, it plunged the country into this football fever. It's in the grip of that fever now.

Yes, so it's a big win domestically for Vladimir Putin. He wants people to focus on this, this football, this soccer, instead of the social and economic problems that have been facing them, especially over the past couple of years, all the bad news generated by the country with its annexation of Crimea, it's meddling in the elections, the sanctions imposed, all that kind of stuff. Let's forget about that, is the message of the Kremlin, and let's focus on the soccer, on the sports at the moment. And Putin hopes that the rest of the world do the same, not just Russians, but that other people see Russia as something other than a maligning influence in the world.

WHITFIELD: So while folks are celebrating this moment of football and the world looking at Moscow and what's happening on the field, apparently, there was a pretty significant accident, a taxi accident not far from you. What do you know about it?

CHANCE: Yes, we've still been getting some editorial guidelines on what is exactly what we know for sure about that. That incident took place right behind me, here. So that's why -


CHANCE: Just that side of Red Square. It seems that a taxi mounted the curve, one of these pavements, and plowed into a whole bunch of fans, local Russians, people from other countries. Particularly, a bunch of Mexican fans seems have been affected. In fact, the Mexican embassy has confirmed that a number of its citizens have been injured in that incident. We'll get more details and we'll bring it to you as soon as we firm them up -- Fredricka?

[13:55:24] WHITFIELD: OK. That is very significant because that vehicle is on the sidewalk and that pedestrians have been hurt in large numbers. That brings the attention of that accident to a whole other level. All right, Matthew Chance, thank you so much. We'll check back with you on that.

We've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. And it all starts right after this.