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Dems Hope for Blue Wave; Cohen Tape Released. Music Mogul Shares His Story; Winning Mega Millions Ticket. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired July 25, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is commenting on the Democratic Party, which is rich in and of itself. But the former FBI director says, Democrats, please, please don't lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America's great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership.

Forget the messenger here. Forget that it's James Comey and he comes loaded, as it were, here. But that's a message we're hearing from others as well, that what we've seen over the last month is a lurch to the left among some Democrats on certain issues. Like you hear people calling for abolishing ICE. Does he have a point?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's hard for me to forget that this message comes from James Comey, John.

What I'll -- what I'll say is this. Look, the Republican Party has gone full on, in some places, white nationalist. And so I -- I would venture to say it might be OK, if you will. It's absolutely all right for Democrats to get a little more radical in some aspects.

I remember -- I'm old enough to remember when Medicare for all was a radical concept, that everyone said was too far left and that would tear down the fabric of health care as we know it. And now we've got very -- Democrats from all over the spectrum talking about a universal health care, what does -- what could Medicare for all look like? And so I think it is absolutely OK for Democrats to be -- across the spectrum to be exploring all different types of issues. We are, in fact, the big tent party, John.

BERMAN: How far is too far, though, Robby, because, you know, I've had conversations with Democratic activists over the years where what they feel like they want to do is triangulate, sit in the middle, try to find that common ground. Conservative Democrats. How far do you think is too far?

ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, that's up for primary voters to decide. You know, I think sometimes we forget that in these House races and in the, you know, the next presidential election, the whole reason we have primaries, it's so the voters can make a decision about who the best candidate is.

And I will say, and I don't mean to take a cheap shot at James Comey, but I think his political punditry is just about as bad in this instance as it was in 2016 when, you know, he claims he sent that letter because he thought Hillary Clinton, you know, was going to win and that it would be OK.

This is not about ideology. You know, Democratic voters do not go around all day saying, gosh, are we a liberal party or are we a more conservative party? They are looking for candidates who can tell a story, a story about where we've been, where we are and where we're going to go. And they are looking for change. They are looking for fundamental change. And so I think whether it's the candidates that we've seen win in these primaries so far, or if we're talking about 2020, the voters are looking for someone who can embody and speak to and articulate that change. And so I think this argument about do we go this far left or that far left, I honestly don't think it's relevant. And I think it's more about somebody's ability to represent and articulate where we need to go.

BERMAN: Well, look, it is playing out before us. We have seen evidence of this debate actually taking place. And, yes, it's happening in specific races between specific candidates, but there is a genuine issue about positioning the party going forward, Symone. And you look at what happened here in New York City, and everyone's talking about Alexandria Cortez and perhaps too much has been made of that. But she ran to the left of a pretty liberal Democrat and now she's campaigning around the country for pretty liberal or progressive Democrats saying things that make some Democrats uncomfortable. Do you not think that there is a genuine discussion about the direction and the positioning of the party, Symone?

SANDERS: Look, but -- so, John, I think what Alexandria Cortez -- what Alexandria did in New York worked for her in New York. What Claire McCaskill is going to do in Missouri is going to work for Claire McCaskill in Missouri. What Colin Allred is going in the 32nd district in Texas, in Dallas, is going to work for him. And so two -- when we talk about the midterm, we are talking very specifically about specific districts. I think there's a separate conversation to be had about a presidential campaign. But we are a little over 100 days out from midterm elections and I think that's what Democratic voters and, frankly, Democratic strategists and candidates alike are focused on.

And when people are out there in their districts, John, they are talking about health care. They are talking about the economy. They are talking about the fact that the Republican Party is putting -- and it's putting -- is just OK with putting kids in cages. And those are things that are resonating with voters across the spectrum. And so I think there's a conversation to be had about what -- what type -- like, who is it that we want to be? And I think Democrats have been very clear that we want to be the party that gets things done. We want to be the party that keeps health care for millions of people in this country. And, Republicans, that's just not what they're interested in. So I actually reject the idea that there's this large, ideological struggle going on inside the Democratic Party. I think there's room for the most progressive of the most progressive Democrats and even the most conservative of conservative Democrats in this big tent party.

[08:35:10] BERMAN: Symone Sanders, Robby Mook coming out together against James Comey, Democratic strategist James Comey.

Thanks for being with us this morning. I do appreciate it, Robby and Symone. Thank you.


CAMEROTA: OK, The $522 million question, who holds the winning Mega Millions ticket? We'll take you to the small store where it was sold.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: OK, President Trump has just tweeted moments ago, and it is about our big story of this morning. So he tweets, what kind of lawyer would tape a client? So sad. Is this a first? Never heard of it before. Why was the tape so abruptly terminated, cut, while I was presumably saying positive things? I heard there are other clients and many reporters that are taped. Can this be so? Too bad!

BERMAN: Exclamation point.

CAMEROTA: OK. He is referring, of course, to CNN's exclusive where there is a secret audio recording -- there was -- between Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's long-time attorney, and Donald Trump. So -- and they were basically talking about squashing the story of this Playboy model who had alleged an affair with Donald Trump.

[08:40:14] So, the president, we have his attention. He has been tweeting about this. It's on his mind.

Let's bring in CNN's Chris Cillizza joining us now.

So let's diagram this tweet. What kind of lawyer would tape a client? Your kind. The kind that you used for many, many years. That's one.

While, he says, while I was presumably saying something positive. About what? About whom?

BERMAN: About paying off AMI to buy the Karen McDougal story? Positive?

CAMEROTA: Hard to know.

Chris Cillizza, your thoughts?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN: As always, a Donald Trump tweets contain multitudes.

I think, look, he's trying to do a few things here. One is stoke a little bit of a conspiracy theory by saying, why did the tape cut off so abruptly, right? So that saying there's more there and I was -- I was actually saying a lot of good things. That's not the point.

Let's remember here that Donald Trump's campaign -- I know you guys showed it earlier -- Hope Hicks on November 4th said, we know nothing about this and Donald Trump denies the affair. So why in September, two months before, was he on the phone with Michael Cohen discussing setting --

CAMEROTA: Because he's trying to squash it. We know this.


CAMEROTA: He doesn't want the public to know he was having an affair. We get that. That part -- that part, I think, makes sense. A lot of presidential candidates don't want you to know about an affair.


CAMEROTA: But it's that the people around him were -- felt they could say something so definitive --


CAMEROTA: When most of the American public, this did not come as a surprise to them.

CILLIZZA: I mean my guess is they either didn't ask him, or if they did ask him, he didn't tell them the truth.

Again, I think the big story here is the fact that you now have -- Michael Cohen has now flipped on Donald Trump. Whether or not he's agreed to sort of a legal deal, which he has not yet.

But this suggests, between the tape being provided to CNN by Lanny Davis, Cohen's new lawyer, or the Lanny Davis interview with Chris Cuomo last night, it all suggests a level of aggressiveness, a level of anti-Donald Trumpness that we have not seen before.

And that going forward is problematic for Donald Trump because, as you mentioned, Alisyn, this is the guy who fixed the problem for Donald Trump, like the ones we've heard about, Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, that no one else wanted to fix. Which means, figuratively speaking, he knows where the bodies are buried here. And that is concerning for Donald Trump, if not legally speaking -- we don't know that yet -- certainly concerning for him from sort of an embarrassment perspective or public image perspective.

BERMAN: So we do not know if there is a legal official flip, a capital f in this case, as you're referring to --


BERMAN: But there are certainly a lower case f, a lower case flip for Michael Cohen here. And now we have a flip from President Trump as well. So sad, exclamation point. Too bad, exclamation point. Those are, in some ways, are the ultimate insults from President Trump here.


BERMAN: He's all in now against Michael Cohen and he's poking the bear. So he's poking the bear. He's poking Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen's lawyer says there might be more tapes out there. We don't know. We don't know. We don't know if there's more out there. We do know --

CAMEROTA: Didn't they confirm that there were -- that there were --

BERMAN: There are 11 tapes out there. We --

CILLIZZA: We know there -- well, we know there are more, we just don't know if they're Trump and Cohen.

BERMAN: Exactly.


BERMAN: Exactly. So we don't know if there is more that involves the president. Lanny Davis suggests there is more that the president would be interested in. We will see. We will see at this point and we will see how Michael Cohen handles it.

What we do know is on the tape that we have now all heard, there is the phrase from Michael Cohen, all the stuff, all the stuff --


BERMAN: Indicating there's maybe more than Karen McDougal, that the $150,000 that the president raised the possibility of paying might cover.

CILLIZZA: I also think too, John, there's some evidence -- and, again, the tape is not the easiest listen in the world and that -- the quality isn't great because it was being secretly recorded. But there is some evidence of a pattern of behavior here.

What do we know about the Stormy Daniels situation, which we know more about than the Karen McDougal one? In the Stormy Daniels situation, Michael Cohen set up an LLC in which he -- a private company in which he was able to move the money to her without any names or fingerprints attached to it. In that tape, in the McDougal tape that you're referencing there, John, I'm going to have to set up a company to handle all this stuff. That sounds quite familiar to what we know was Michael Cohen and Donald Trump's M.O. on all this.

Big picture, I don't know if it matters, amazingly enough.


CILLIZZA: It's not as though people voted for Donald Trump because they thought he was a moral paragon.

BERMAN: I understand that. I understand that. And it may not move the polls. But things matter even when they don't move the polls. Honesty matters even if it doesn't move the polls.

[08:45:04] CILLIZZA: Yes, absolutely. And lying matters.

BERMAN: And when the president -- CILLIZZA: Right.

BERMAN: And when the president is bragging about the truth not mattering, which he did yesterday --


BERMAN: I think that matters, too.

And just one last sort of dissection of this statement when he says he was cut off before presumably saying something positive, I don't understand what that could be because what is on this tape is the president discussing --

COHEN: That's right.

BERMAN: This payoff, which contradicts what the (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: That part makes no sense.


CAMEROTA: But I think that -- hold on -- hold that thought because I think you'll want to comment on this, Chris Cillizza.


CAMEROTA: I think what you're getting at, the larger picture, which is encapsulated in what the president said yesterday, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening.


CAMEROTA: And so it is that never-ending effort to hypnotize the American public. But I don't think that the public is easily hypnotized when they see something with their own eyes and hear something with their own ears, as they did in Helsinki when he stood next to Vladimir Putin. But this is clearly the effort by the president to say, you can't believe any of this, even when it's my own words.

Quickly, Chris.

CILLIZZA: That is exactly right. It's kind of an unreality show that Donald Trump is now pushing. I thought the comment yesterday was remarkable. I'm actually going to write about it today.

The point is, do focus -- if you're going to highlight something, do focus on that. It was cut and I said a lot of positive things. John's right, there's no relevance because what he said before is the key, but he is opening up that conspiracy theory possibility that something odd, something nefarious is here that's being targeted against me, even if there's no evidence for it. That's why it's in there to talk to his supporters who believe whatever he says.

BERMAN: Chris Cillizza with "The Bottom Line." John's right, is what I heard there.

CILLIZZA: That's exactly it. Just cut that and play it --

CAMEROTA: You hear that a lot.

CILLIZZA: Play it on a loop.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Thank you very much, Chris.

CILLIZZA: Thank you all.

BERMAN: All right, the $500 million question, who won Mega Millions? We are live at the store where the winning ticket was sold, next.

CAMEROTA: First, a Grammy-winning mogul left music behind when his health took a dangerous turn. Now, after losing 130 pounds, Charlie Jabaley is biking across the country to inspire others. His story in "Turning Points."


CHARLIE JABALEY: At a young age I started getting into hip-hop. Sign (ph) artists like Two-Chains (ph), we won a Grammy and built the business up to do over $15 million a year in revenue. The bigger my business got, the bigger I got.

Something weird that happens in your head when you're binge eating, you can't get full.

I've been overweight my whole life.

I would probably eat between like 10,000 and 15,000 calories in a night.

My addiction to food just beats me down.

I honestly didn't know if I was going to live long. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It had grown and they said it could start corroding the top of my spinal cord.

So I remember the morning and the room started spinning. And I passed out. I knew that everything had to change.

I walked away from my business. I decided to change how I was going to eat. I went just to plants.

I eat living food. Real food. And that's what has saved my life along with exercise. Losing the 130 pounds has been life changing.

My brain tumor is under control. I've run four marathons, an ironman, and right now I am biking across America, talking to everybody, getting people thinking about their dreams. I want to help transform a million people's lives. That's the type of millionaire that I want to be.


[08:52:48] CAMEROTA: All right, someone is a whole lot richer this morning after hitting the Mega Millions jackpot. This was a single winning ticket sold at this liquor store in San Jose, California. It is worth $522 million.

BERMAN: Before taxes.

CAMEROTA: CNN's Dan Simon is at Ernie's Liquors in San Jose. He joins us live.

Do we know who the winner is yet?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not yet, but I should tell you that here we are in the heart of Silicon Valley. Obviously a lot of wealthy individuals here. I suppose you can add one more person to the list, unless, of course, the person who bought the ticket happens to be one of those Silicon Valley millionaires. We just don't know at this point.

Here in California, you have to come forward if you want to get the cash. You cannot remain anonymous. But they have six months to do so.

As for Ernie's, a pretty good payout for them, by the way. The owner of Ernie's, his name is not Ernie, his name is Kawal Sachdev. He gets $1 million for selling the winning ticket. And here's some of what he had to say. Take a look.


KAWAL SACHDEV, STORE SOLD WINNING LOTTERY TICKET: It's really an amazing feeling. It's very good. My two kids are with me. My wife is here. A lot of relatives are here already. So everybody's kind of, you know, in a jolly mood.


SIMON: And he also says he was taking a nap when he got the call from one of his employees that they, in fact, sold the winning ticket.

This Mega Millions jackpot had been growing for 11 weeks, and this happens to be the 11th largest jackpot in U.S. history. As you said, $522 million, $308 million if you take the one-time payout.

John and Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Mr. Wet Blanket, what do you have to say about this?

BERMAN: Look, I have done too many live shots from outside convenience stores --

CAMEROTA: No lie. I know that one very well (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: To be at all objective about lottery stories. Full stop. However, as much as I hate the lottery and lottery stories, I love the fact that the places that do sell them get money. That -- that's fantastic.

CAMEROTA: It's fantastic. As you heard him say, he's feeling very jolly this morning. That is good (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: Ernie, who is not actually named Ernie, congratulations to you. You are the big winner here.

"The Good Stuff" is next.


[08:58:45] BERMAN: Time now for "The Good Stuff."

A homeless man needed a little help to try to land a job at McDonald's. So a Florida police officer gave him a clean shave. Tallahassee Police Officer Tony Carlson (ph) noticed that the man identified as Phil was having trouble with his razor, and didn't have a mirror. Been there. This act of kindness was caught on camera ask shared on social media.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was like, you know, if he's wanting to help himself, I need to be more than, you know, helpful and try to help him out.


BERMAN: A McDonald's spokesperson says Phil did fill out an application and we wish him luck.

CAMEROTA: OK, we need to follow up to see if he got the job. That's important, I feel.

But I'm so glad that we highlight the stories of police officers who go above and beyond every single day.

BERMAN: It happens all the time. And it's just a matter of noticing and opening your eyes when you're on the streets. And when you talk about community policing, people know what's happening on their streets and they want to be involved. It's lovely to see.

CAMEROTA: OK, we'll try to find out if he got the job at McDonald's.

Meantime, time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow. We'll see you tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone, I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

And we do begin with breaking news. We have just, moments ago, received the first response from President Trump to that audio recording that the world heard first here last night on Chris Cuomo's show on CNN.

[09:00:07] Quote from the president this morning, what kind of lawyer would tape a client, the president writes. So sad. More of that in a moment.

This tape was made