Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Denies Cohen Claim He Knew of Trump Tower Meeting Ahead of Time; Trump Organization's Chief Financial Officer Subpoenaed by Mueller; Putin Invites Trump to Moscow, Ready to Come to Washington for 2nd Summit; 2 Killed as Wildfires Rage in California; Police: Former President H.W. Bush's Doctor Likely Targeted in Shooting; CBS President Les Moonves Latest High-Powered Media Executive Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations; Schatter Sues Papa John's Following Ouster over "N" Word; Economists Caution Growth May Slow Down. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 28, 2018 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The news of a booming economy and the president fulfilling a campaign promise overshadowed by the latest bombshell in the Russia investigation. The man who once said he would take a bullet for Donald Trump now is preparing to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that the president knew about the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting ahead of time, according to sources. This is something the president has repeatedly denied, and now the president is doubling down on that denial.
CNN's White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez, is joining us now live from Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, near the president's golf club, where he is spending the weekend.
So what's next for the White House?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Fred. Sources indicate that aides have tried to get President Trump out on the road to keep him focused on the strength of America's economy and not the slow drip of information coming from the Russia investigation. This week, the president touted strong growth in America's economy and also a trade deal he announced with the European Union.
Of course, the Russia investigation hangs over everything this administration does, especially in light of that bombshell announcement. Sources indicating the president's former attorney, Michael Cohen, was preparing to testify that President Trump was not honest with the American people when he's repeated that claim that he knew nothing of a meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr, and Russian nationals at Trump Tower in July 2016. Of course, those Russian nationals we know were promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The president and his team have had this dramatic shift when it comes to his former attorney, Michael Cohen, first, defending him, saying he was an honest man and more recently, flat-out calling him a liar. Listen to this, from the president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: He doesn't have
any incriminating evidence about the president or himself. The man is an honest honorable lawyer.
I suspected something like this. Cohen's been lying all week. He's been lying for years, I mean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now, Fred, President Trump has not answered directly CNN's questions about Michael Cohen's claims, nor about that personal/private recording he apparently made of a conversation that he had with President Trump. He has, however, tweeted about Michael Cohen. At one point, suggesting that Cohen could potentially be making up stories to get him out of legal troubles connected to his taxi business -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez, thanks so much.
All right, so how did we get here? Let's go back to the week this all happened in June of 2016. Here are the facts. We know the publicist, Rob Goldstone, the man who helped orchestrate the meeting, e-mailed Donald Trump Jr to offer incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. Then, just a few days later, then-Candidate Trump offered up this message just two days before that Trump Tower meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you're going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: That planned speech set for Monday would fall right after the scheduled Trump Tower meeting, but that Monday speech never happened.
Team Trump has changed their narrative on this meeting multiple times. First, they said the meeting was just about adoptions. And President Trump dictated the initial misleading response to the story, saying the meeting was just on adoption. And then, e-mails between Donald Trump Jr and Rob Goldstone showed that dirt on Clinton was offered, and Trump Jr responded, "I love it." Then later, Team Trump argued the meeting doesn't matter because no information actually came from it.
The big question, how much did Donald Trump know and when did he know it? Team Trump has denied time and time again that Donald Trump knew anything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): When did the president learn that that meeting had taken place?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY (voice-over): I believe in the last couple of days, is my understanding.
JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: One key point is this is not a situation where the president was involved in this meeting, was not aware of the meeting did not attend this meeting.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He didn't know about this meeting until a few days ago?
SEKULOW: Yes, that's correct.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST, HANNITY: Did you tell your father anything about this?
DONALD TRUMP JR, SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: It was such a nothing -- there was nothing to tell. I wouldn't have even remembered it until you start scouring through the stuff. It was literally a waste of 20 minutes, with is a shame.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): Did you know at the time?
TRUMP (voice-over): No, I didn't know anything about it. But it must have been a very unimportant meeting because I never even heard about it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): But you didn't --
TRUMP: It must have been a very important -- must have been a very unimportant meeting because I never even heard about it.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES (voice- over): No one told you a word, nothing?
TRUMP: Nobody. No, nobody --
HABERMAN: I know we talked about this o the plane a little bit.
TRUMP: No, nobody told me. I didn't know -- it's a very unimportant -- sounded like a very unimportant --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, joining me right now, CNN reporter, Erica Orden, and CNN legal analyst and Bob Mueller's former special assistant at the DOJ, Michael Zeldin.
Good to see you both.
Michael, you first.
Cohen said there are no recordings of this moment. Instead, the inference is it's from his recollection. Then perhaps, how might it be proven that Donald Trump did know about this meeting in Trump Tower?
[13:05:16] MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. So Michael Cohen's statement that Trump knew and approved of the meeting, which are two different things, knowing and approving makes it much more -- gets some greater involvement. But there are going to be witnesses potentially who can corroborate this. There were people there at the time. Don Jr and Manafort and Jared Kushner, they may not be compelling witnesses, but if there are others who haven't been identified yet, that would be relevant.
Then, I think I have a list of things, Fredricka, who I think may be indications of corroboration. One, Hope Hicks may know something about this. She would be, to me, a key witness to know what, if anything, the president knew beforehand. We know she was on Air Force One when they were writing the statement after the fact, but what did she know before the fact? We know there were calls to a blocked number. We don't know whose number that was. That, once unblocked, will perhaps be corroboration of this.
And then, as you said, the June 7th statement and just the general nature of the father/son relationship on this campaign, I think, would be indications of possible knowledge. But I think most importantly if there are other people in the room, as Cohen's testimony seems to be, we need to know who they are and what was told to them.
WHITFIELD: And then, Erica, in addition to, you know, who else was there, what their stories are, it is an issue of credibility. You know, Donald Trump, is he more believable or is Michael Cohen more believable here? Their track records on telling truth are to be compared.
ERICA ORDEN, CNN REPORTER: Right. Ideally, if you're a prosecutor, you're to want to avoid a situation in which it comes down to one person's word against the other, especially if you're investigating people who have established credibility issues. Prosecutors would be looking to evaluate or examine any of the other resources that Michael was pointing out, any contemporaneous notes, and phone records and, of course, any other witnesses.
WHITFIELD: Michael, if Cohen is telling the truth that the president, then-candidate, did know about it, and, in fact, even endorsed this meeting, what are the potential consequences if, indeed, Donald Trump was not telling the truth, that he did, indeed, did know about this?
ZELDIN: There are obviously political consequences for the president for lying to the American public. Ken Starr thought that Bill Clinton's lying to the American public was an impeachable offense. But my role here is not political.
As a legal matter, if the president and his son solicited a thing of value from a foreign national, a contribution in kind, if you will, then that technically violates the campaign finance laws. It could be civil. It could be criminal. If the conduct of the meeting, organizers and participants, was seen by Mueller or anybody else to be some sort of conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission, that could be a criminal offense as well. I'm not sure that prosecutors would bring a case like this, but as a technical black- letter law, statutory violation there are two statutes, the federal election laws and the conspiracy to defraud statute that is implicated.
WHITFIELD: And, Erica, the Trump team has changed its story a lot on this. It was about adoptions, to we didn't get anything from this meeting. Don Jr saying, you know, it was a waste of 20 minutes, it was a shame. But then, still, the big mystery would be the intent. How do investigators go about that?
ORDEN: Sure. Of course, an investigator can't climb inside someone's head and figure out what they were thinking at the time, so they would look to all these things that we're discussing. What someone knew, when they knew it, what they said to other people at the time and how they acted in response to that information, would be ways that prosecutors or investigators can't determine someone's intent.
WHITFIELD: Then I wonder, you know, Michael, how does Mueller's team look at this public campaign on behalf of the president to go at the credibility of Michael Cohen, to leave him out, you know, in isolation, to try to discredit him at all. Doesn't that also help direct investigators about, you know, what is this all about?
[13:10:06] ZELDIN: So I think, Fred, what you raise is this issue of whether the president can be properly investigated and, you know, theoretically charged with obstructing justice through a series of acts, one of those series of acts being the use of Twitter and other public denunciations of his critics. I think that Mueller and his team will be looking at these -- this type of mosaic theory of obstruction of justice. I'm not sure it's a compelling, you know, theory. But I think this will fit into that examination. And they'll have to see what pieces of the puzzle they have and then make a determination of whether that would rise to the level of obstructive behavior and, if so, what to do about it.
WHITFIELD: Part of that whole mosaic of people around Donald Trump and someone in his orbit, is chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, is one of those people, so that -- he was subpoenaed to testify in this Michael Cohen probe tells you what?
ZELDIN: Well, Weisselberg is the longtime chief financial officer for the Trump Organizations. He's the one who is reputed to have paid Stormy Daniels and was consulted about the payment to Karen McDougal. If that's all the southern district of New York is interested in, it's really, you know, not much. But if the southern district of New York is engaged in a broad-ranging financial crimes investigation of the Trump Organization, then Weisselberg's importance to them becomes paramount.
WHITFIELD: Because it also means he reportedly was also part of the tax preparations for Donald Trump, too, so he knows everything potentially about how he handled his money and business, right?
ZELDIN: That would be correct, yes.
WHITFIELD: All right, Michael Zeldin, Erica Orden, good to see you both. Thanks so much.
ZELDIN: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: As if this Trump Tower bombshell wasn't enough, Russia's President Vladimir Putin has just invited President Trump to Moscow under certain conditions. And what does that mean?
Plus, a frantic search is underway for three people missing after deadly wildfires ripped through northern California. And 500 buildings have burned to the ground and more are at risk. We'll take you there live.
[13:16:44] WHITFIELD: All right, it's a show of military might. Russia kicking off its fourth annual international army games. Moscow pits its troops against China, India, Iran, and 28 other countries. NATO member states were invited, including the U.S. Only Greece accepted.
That's not the only invitation extended this week, however. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had invited President Trump to Moscow. And in that same speech, Putin said he was ready to go to Washington.
CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, joins me now.
So what's behind this big reveal?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, I think, you know, the Kremlin was sort of put on the back foot a little bit when President Trump made that very quick invitation for President Putin to have a summit after Helsinki and go to Washington. Russia typically doesn't, you know, respond quickly. It tends to want to evaluate about the next move that it's going to make so it seems the Kremlin was on the back foot. And we heard John Bolton there earlier in the week say this invitation is now -- that's going to happen next year. And now the Kremlin comes back and says actually we've extended invitation and President Putin saying he told President Trump that at Helsinki.
The interesting part of this I think is what Russia is saying is, look, we can do this, we've thought about it, we can do it, but we want some conditions to be met. Now the Kremlin hasn't spelled out what the conditions are, but you can bet it's a lot to do with money, the economy, the sanctions on Russia now, the sanctions for meddling in the 2016 elections in the United States, attacking the United States democracy, the invasion of Ukraine, the illegal annexation of Crimea. The European Union has sanctions on Russia as well as the United States and it is hurting the Russian economy, so undoubtedly Putin is looking for a way to get relief.
If he wants to continue to have these meetings with President Trump, he needs to be able to show the Russian people he's getting something out of it, some substance, not just the razzmatazz and the handshakes.
WHITFIELD: In fact, this was President Putin yesterday about Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): You can critique him for what he does, and many people do that, but one thing is clear, he is willing to fulfill his campaign promises.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So they are, you know, publicly revealing they kind of like each other, respect each other.
ROBERTSON: Yes, you could also say -- look, you can say that, for sure. I think you can also look at it this way. You know, Putin is a calculator, he is a spy. He knows what he wants out of Washington, he knows what he wants out of President Trump. But he knows what happens to people who criticize Trump. If he came at him, attacking him saying lift the sanctions, how's that going to fly in the White House really? We know Trump doesn't respond well to criticism. Putin's clearly figured that out and clearly has figured out praise is the shortest way to get what he wants out of President Trump. And that's the most important thing to him. He needs to deliver for himself and for the Russian people. So, yes, it is -- he is showing support for Trump.
And, look, if President Trump was to win a second term, president Putin is on his last sort of term in office of six years and is looking to protect his legacy, his money, and a good relationship with the United States and President Trump is all going to make that easier over the long term.
[13:20:07] WHITFIELD: It's that old adage, flattery may get you everywhere.
WHITFIELD: All right, Nic Robertson, thank you so much.
OK, well, right now, this is some very serious business. It's a frantic race against time. Firefighters battling to save thousands of homes as furious wildfires rage in California. We're there, next.
[13:24:49] WHITFIELD: Right now, firefighters are racing to save thousands of homes as wildfires rage in California. The largest, the so-called Car Fire, in northern California, nearly doubled in size since yesterday. Now engulfing nearly 81,000 acres. At least two people have died in the flames and 500 structures have already burned. But nearly 5,000 more are in the fire's path.
CNN correspondent, Dan Simon, is following the destruction in Redding, California.
And it is a terrible picture there behind you, Dan, so much damage and destruction. DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. We're getting a better
understanding of just the magnitude of the overall devastation, and it's just unbelievable.
We're a couple miles outside of the town of Redding. This is the Keswick Estates subdivision. And I have to tell you, this entire neighborhood is just gone. If you look at another vantage point from a camera attached to our satellite truck, which we're using to broadcast today, it just gives you a full precious of appreciation of what it looks like. Now, we haven't seen anybody comb through the ruble because this area is still under a mandatory evacuation order.
Fred, this is also the community where those three people have also gone missing, a great grandmother and two children. And the sheriff's office does say they do expect to get some more missing-person reports and that there may be some unreported deaths that, at this point, they're just unaware of.
As you said, this fire continues to grow. It doubled in size overnight to 80,000 acres and, at this point, it's just 5 percent contained -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: And how are firefighters able to do that? It is an issue of, you know, the fire just burns out and burns down because there's nothing left to destroy before winds take it elsewhere, because it's just so dry everywhere?
SIMON: It's dry everywhere. These are terrible conditions. It's expected to reach about 105 degrees today, very low humidity. This area does remain under a red-flag warning. It's still very windy. They are continuing to evacuate some areas. They think they're several days from getting a handle on this thing -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: Oh, boy.
All right, Dan Simon, thank you so much, in Redding, California.
Right now, an emotional farewell for more victims of last week's duck boat tragedy in Missouri. Funeral services are underway in Indianapolis for five members of the Coleman family. They died after their tour boat capsized during a storm on a lake near Branson. Four more family members were laid to rest yesterday. In total, 17 people on the boat lost their lives. The National Transportation Safety Board now says the captain of the vessel checked the weather radar before starting the tour. The group was also given an emergency briefing and showing the emergency exits and how to use life jackets. The captain and 13 passengers survived. The NTSB is still investigating.
Next, a disturbing theory in the mysterious shooting of a Houston doctor. Police are now saying he was likely targeted as he rode his bike to work. We'll get latest.
[13:32:31] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: There was a funeral today for a Houston surgeon gunned down on his bicycle last week as he rode to work. The shooting happened in front of a construction site where hundreds of workers were on duty at the time. Police say Dr. Mark Hausknecht, a heart surgeon who treated former President H.W. Bush, was likely targeted.
One of his friends who attended the funeral talked about the man he knew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just very down to earth guy. Just so humble, so nice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: There's video of a suspect, but police have not made any arrests.
CNN's Sonia Moghe is in Houston for us.
Sonia, what is the latest?
SONIA MOHGE, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, Fred, as you were saying, those friends and family saying good-bye to Dr. Hausknecht at this church, which is less than two miles away from that shooting site, a very busy part of downtown Houston. The Texas Medical Center where so many people commute to work at hospitals or to go see their doctors. Dr. Hausknecht was one of those people commuting on his yellow bicycle.
When I spoke to workers at that construction site right next to where he was killed, the manager there tells me he recognized that bike on surveillance video when police released this video showing a possible gunman following Dr. Hausknecht on the bike. He saw that yellow bike and he instantly knew who was because that doctor would go by that site every single day and say hi to those workers. It was part of his routine. Th worker said even though there were about 500 on site at the time, they couldn't hear anything because of their loud equipment and how big that structure was they were building.
Neighbors and people in the area have, ever since then, been getting everyone together to look at their own surveillance footage to see if they have any other images of the gunman.
Police say they do feel confident that they will be able to make an arrest eventually just because of how many people did see that gunman. They were able to put together a sketch of the man who they believe is a Hispanic man about 5'10" in his 30s. He's believed to have gone down a residential street nearby. And police aren't saying much after that, other than they think there's that high probability they might have been targeted.
But friends and family just can't understand why anyone would target this doctor. He was beloved in the community. When his sons were younger, he was the Scout master for their Boy Scout troop, would plan vacations and trips for these boys, loved to grill salmon for his friends and loved gardening, spent every waking moment in that garden, his wife told me. And one thing she said, Fred, was, if you want to honor his legacy, just be compassionate, be kind and caring.
[13:35:17] WHITFIELD: What a terrible tragedy.
All right, thank you so much, Sonia Moghe.
CBS President and CEO Les Moonves is the latest high-powered media executive to face allegations of sexual harassment now. An investigation by the "New Yorker" details allegations by six women of harassment, intimidation and retaliation. CNN has not independently confirmed the allegations and Moonves denies them.
One of his accusers, Actress Ileana Douglas describing a meeting while she was working on a pilot for CBS. Here's an excerpt from the "New Yorker's" account: "In a millisecond, he's got one arm over me, pinning me," she says. Moonves was, I'm quoting now, "violently kissing her, holding her down on the couch with her arms above her head."
The "New Yorker" recounts a similar claim from writer, Janet Jones. during a work meeting. Quoting now, "He came around the corner of the table and threw himself on top of me. It was very fast." "Moonves," she said, "began trying to kiss her." Jones said that she struggled and then shoved Moonves away hard, yelling, "What do you think you're doing?" Moonves, appearing startled, got up, "Well, I was hitting on you, I wanted to kiss," she recalled him saying. Jones began to leave and he said, "Oh, come on, it's nothing."
In a statement, Moonves says, quote, "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected and abided by the principle that no means no. And I have never used my position to harm or hinder anyone's career."
In another story, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick following decades-old allegations of sexual abuse. McCarrick is one of the highest-ranking American leaders in the Catholic Church to be removed because of sexual abuse allegations. He was informed in June that the church was investigating a claim of abuse from a teenager almost 50 years ago. An attorney for the accuser says his client was molested twice by McCarrick. At the time, McCarrick issued a statement saying, quote, "While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people."
Next, Papa John's versus Papa John's. The founder of the pizza giant is accusing the company of staging a coup and now he's suing. Does he have a case?
[13:42:43] WHITFIELD: Ousted Papa John's Founder John Schnatter is suing his former company, accusing the board of staging a coup. Schantter claims the board mistreated him after he said the "N" word earlier this year during a media training conference call with a marketing firm. He claims that firm asked him, point blank, if he is racist and how he would separate himself from online hate groups. Schnatter responded by saying, "KFC's Colonel Sanders used the "N" word and never faced backlash." That led the board to remove s Schnatter as chairman. He was also removed from commercials and other marketing materials and kicked out of his office.
He's now seeking documents to try to prove the company fired him without a proper investigation.
Papa John's responded, saying, in part, "We are saddened and disappointed that John Schnatter has filed a needless and wasteful lawsuit in an attempt to district from his own words and actions."
Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor, from Cleveland, and Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professor, joining us from Las Vegas.
Good to see you both.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hi, Fred.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hey, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So, Richard, you first.
Schnatter's lawsuit says he's seeking documents, "Because of the unexplained and heavy handed way in which the company has treated him since the publication of a story that falsely accused him of using a racial slur," end quote. This, although he admitted to using the "N" word, and later apologized. So given his reasoning of why he says it was used, does he have a case?
HERMAN: I think he does, Fred. I think this is -- it smears of a coup. I'm starting to believe that the more I read about this. This is the third-largest pizza delivery company in the United States. He started this business in '84. He started it. He's worth about over $800 million himself personally. But he built this company from scratch, Fred.
And, OK, he had an issue condemning the NFL owners with the whole issue concerning the players kneeling, and he blamed that on decreased revenues because, again, Papa John's was the pizza for the NFL. As a result of that, he stepped down as CEO. Now he has this diversity training session with a marketing company where a lot of ideas are going back and forth, including the marketing company suggesting that Papa John's hire Kanye West as a spokesman for them, and Schnatter was, no, you can't do that, because he uses the "N" word in his songs. We don't know the exact conversation, Fred. We don't know how the word came out. We don't know what his intentions were when he said it.
That's his point. There was no internal investigation. The board breached their fiduciary duty. You can't just fire someone. There was no vote of the shareholders. I think he has grounds to stand on, Fred. I wouldn't be surprised if he works his way back into this company.
[13:45:47] FRIEDMAN: Oh, boy. Boy, oh, boy.
WHITFIELD: Avery, why are you saying, oh, boy, oh, boy?
FRIEDMAN: I'm not looking at the same case. Look, after November, Schnatter said -- he made some remarks about the NFL ownership and stock started to take a dive as well as viewership in the NFL. That's legitimate. Then he says he did use the "N" word but he says it was diversity training, and then he says he didn't. Then he compares himself to Colonel Sanders? Oh, my goodness.
Yes, you know, on one level, Fredricka, he's going to get some of the documents. At the end of the day, corporate law requires the board to be responsive to the shareholders. I think he is out. The stocks have plummeted. I think the appropriate action was to get rid of him. And, frankly, he's going to need a lot more pepperoni to be successful in any kind of litigation.
WHITFIELD: So, Richard, how do you see, you know, these, you know, books or records or documents, if he does, indeed, get them, because he's arguing that they have unfettered rights, you know, in which to get them, how might that potentially help his case?
HERMAN: It will, Fred, because the position taken by the board is wobbly at best. Listen, he has a right. He's a shareholder. He owns 29 percent of the stock of this corporation, Fred, and shareholders have the rights to view the books and records. What he's trying to prove is the board acted not even handed, they acted outside the scope of their authority, they acted not in --
HERMAN: -- a continuance of how they've done things in the past. In other word, this looks like a coup.
FRIEDMAN: So what?
HERMAN: People don't like this guy internally, so they went after him now. And they can't just do it. You need a vote of the shareholders. You need to act in a certain corporate way. They did not do that, Fred.
HERMAN: He's got grounds here. This is not going away. He's worth over $800 million.
FRIEDMAN: So what?
HERMAN: He's got major lawyers on his side.
FRIEDMAN: So what?
HERMAN: Do you know what was said on the phone with the marketing company? Did you see a transcript of that? Have you heard his words? He says he's not a racist. That's what he says.
FRIEDMAN: We heard the marketing company --
FRIEDMAN: We heard the marketing company --
WHITFIELD: So is he really owed that?
FRIEDMAN: Well, the marking said, the marketing company, he claimed the marketing company was trying to shake him down, the corporation down, for $6 million.
HERMAN: He did.
FRIEDMAN: Fine, give them --
HERMAN: He paid them ---
HERMAN: -- million.
FRIEDMAN: I'm telling you, his face is associated with Papa John's. Stocks are taking a nose-dive. If they're going to protect shareholders, he's got to go. That's why they put a poison pill together. He's not going to be able to conglomerate other shareholders. I think he's out. You know what, take his $800 million and open up something else. But if Papa John's is going to survive, and there's a real question, you got to have that guy gone. I think the board is absolutely right.
WHITFIELD: But one has to wonder if he's still a shareholder --
FRIEDMAN: He is.
WHITFIELD: -- then he still would be privy to information. Does he have to --
HERMAN: Not information --
WHITFIELD: -- make a motion for any of this information, or does it simply have to be handed over, Richard?
HERMAN: No, they have to give it to him. He's made a request for it. They denied him. So he had to bring litigation to get it. And they can color it any way they want, but he has every right to do this. And when he does, he's going to unveil the fact that they acted really outside the scope of their authority --
FRIEDMAN: You don't know that.
HERMAN: -- and not in the fiduciary interest of a corporation. That's what's going to come out here, Fred. He owns 29 percent. He'll probably eventually --
FRIEDMAN: "N" word. "N" word.
HERMAN: -- end up taking over the company.
FRIEDMAN: Don't forget about the "N" word. He's out. He's gone.
FRIEDMAN: And the fact that Colonel Sanders used it, what on earth does that have to do with anything in terms of his role? Colonel Sanders?
FRIEDMAN: This is -- anyhow, it's pizza. He's finished.
HERMAN: Avery, we don't know the context within which he said the "N" word. That's so critical here and we don't know it.
WHITFIELD: OK, all right.
FRIEDMAN: A 33 percent reduction in stock. Goodbye.
WHITFIELD: Still more to come.
All right, Avery Friedman --
[13:50:01] WHITFIELD: -- Richard Herman, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it. Good to see you.
HERMAN: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Two police officers from an Atlanta suburb have been fired after their body cams caught them using a coin-toss app to decide whether or not to arrest a woman accused of speeding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: A, heads, R, tails.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: This is tails, right?
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Yes. So, release?
UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Twenty-three. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, the woman was arrested anyway. And the police chief in Roswell, Georgia, said that officers need to refrain from conduct that destroys public respect. Cops accused the woman of going 80 miles an hour in a 45 zone but weren't using a radar gun at the time. The charges against her have since been dropped.
And the U.S. just logged its best economic performance since 2014, but the threat of new trade tariffs is still hanging over the economy. The Trump administration is offering up billions of dollars in aid to farmers, but many say they don't want a bailout. Hear why next.
And make sure to catch an all-new "The 2000s." Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All kinds of things have changed because of the Smartphone. So, there are new rules. Are you allowed to have your phone at the dinner table? Should you be looking at your phone on the sidewalk on a busy street? People are looking at their cell phones while they're driving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a price that you pay with respect to that accessibility and that is it's always there, it's always available. You never really unplug.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With all these new technologies, we've become a society of instant gratification.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to download this movie now. I want this song now. I want to read the news now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instant gratification has changed our social etiquette, too. We now unfriend people. We follow people. We write on their wall. In the '90s, that was considered graffiti.
WHITFIELD: Catch "The 2000s" tomorrow night, 9:00 eastern, right here on CNN.
[13:56:32] WHITFIELD: There's fresh evidence the U.S. economy is roaring. The latest numbers show it grew at 4.1 percent in the spring. That's the biggest growth spurt since 2014. Some economists say that bump may be temporary as farmers rush to ship products before new trade tariffs from China kicks in.
CNN's Scott McLean looks at how that trade battle has put farmers in a tough spot.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, President Trump was in Iowa this week to promote a new White House workforce development initiative but perhaps the workers who were listening most intently were farmers. That's because the president is leading a new trade war against China that's putting American farmers on the front line, whether they like it or not.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Iowa is known for its "Field of Dreams," but these days, it isn't here. Corn and soybean prices have been stubbornly low for years and now it seems Washington has made things worse.
President Trump's hardline approach has sparked an escalating trade war with China, prompting a 25 percent tariff on American soybeans, which sent prices to a 10-year low.
CLARK PORTER, FARMER: This is just an open-ended conflict and who knows where it's going to end?
MCLEAN: Iowans overwhelmingly voted for President Trump, but Clark Porter, whose family has farmed here for over a century, wasn't one of them.
(on camera): You saw this coming from a mile away?
MCLEAN (voice-over): This week, the White House announced a $12 billion assistance plan to help farmers like Porter.
(on camera): How does it feel, though, to be essentially taking government assistance?
PORTER: It's absolutely -- it was absolutely unnecessary. It's -- I don't think that we should have even gotten into this position.
MCLEAN (voice-over): He's not alone. The president of the Iowa Farmers Union called Trump's approach "extremely reckless."
And Kim Reynolds, the Republican governor up for reelection, warned that nobody wins in a trade war. This week, she politely pushed the president to make a deal and fast.
KIM REYNOLDS, (R), IOWA GOVERNOR: We need to get things done sooner rather than later, so that was my message.
MCLEAN: Things are getting done, but with Europe. After a brief trade spat, Trump touted his deal to make a deal on free trade with the bloc.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We just opened up Europe for you farmers. You're not going to be too angry with Trump, I can tell you.
MCLEAN: A deal with Europe is far from finished. Neither is the trade war with China.
But for all of the president's trade war skeptics in Iowa, he still has plenty of believers, like David Danker and his son, Hunter, who farm corn and soybeans.
DAVID DANKER, FARMER: I think this should have been done a long time ago.
HUNTER DANKER, FARMER: It will hurt for short-term, but in the long run, I think it will work out better for everybody.
MCLEAN (voice-over): How do you think this ends?
DAVID DANKER: China gets hungry and calls the U.S. and wants to hopefully get some more soybeans.
MCLEAN: Can you envision a scenario where America doesn't win?
HUNTER DANKER: I think us not winning would be probably us going to back -- back to the way it was before the tariffs and the trade war.
MCLEAN (on camera): The good news is that many Iowa farmers say they're expecting a pretty healthy size harvest this year, but with higher production volume usually comes lower prices. That $12 billion federal aid package will help in the short-term, but farmers may need even more cash if this trade battle doesn't end soon -- Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: Scott McLean, thank you so much.
We've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right now.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): Happening now in the NEWSROOM, deadly wildfires ripping through northern California.
[13:59:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't think the fire was going to come here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just can't believe this happening in your community.
WHITFIELD: Tens of thousands fleeing their homes as firefighters race to get the flames under control.