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Paul Manafort Faces Moment of Truth; There is No Friends in Trials. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 31, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: -- tonight here. I'll see you tomorrow night. D. Lemon picks it up from here.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: It's a great closing argument. Number one, LeBron James talked to me about that, about the kids being separated at the border. Again, he's saying that's not who we are.
And number two, when you said that when you talked about summer camp, you reminded me. I saw your wife this weekend. Didn't you pick up one of your kids from summer camp this weekend?
CUOMO: Yes, the big shots back.
LEMON: Yes. So it was Bella, right, who was away?
CUOMO: She was in Chicago, they won best on (Inaudible) and she won best actor in her level of character she had. Made me cry, like you touring the school that LeBron James is paying for.
LEMON: Yes. Well, I got a big hug from Carolina and from Cristina. Fantastic. But the reason I brought that up is because you got to pick your kid up. You knew where your kid was. You could call your kid. If your kid didn't want to stay and it was a problem, you knew where she was. You could go and pick her up. She's not in a cage.
So, there is a huge difference there when people describe it as their just at summer camp. It's not really the same thing at all.
CUOMO: Not really? It's complete B.S., and it is only justifiable if you don't give a damn about the people you're putting in the situation.
LEMON: Yes. You know what's sad? Because I asked a guest a while back, do you think that it's possible that some of these kids will never be reunited with their parents? And that is the real -- the guest said no.
I'm thinking now that it's a real possibility, and I think it has been said that it's a real possibility that some of these kids may never be reunited.
CUOMO: Look, I just think this. Crossing the border illegally is something that you have to deal with. We've always known that. That is not new. It's the message that is being sent out to the world about what this country is about and what it values. That's what concerns me.
But you know what, this is a democracy, and if that's what the people want the country to be, that's fine. But be clear about it and don't hide from what you're doing to make it that way. That's my message to the administration.
Let's see what they do and let's see how people who want to lead us in this country make those arguments in the upcoming election.
LEMON: Yes. So much to discuss. Upcoming election coming soon, the midterms. Hey, Chris, thank you. Good seeing you. Welcome back from your couple days off. It's good to have you back. We'll see you tomorrow.
LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
President Trump hitting the campaign trail tonight in Florida, and if you're wondering why, wait, you're not really wondering about that, are you? The answer is pretty clear.
Sources telling CNN the president wants to do more and more rallies. We've seen this again and again. When President Trump gets panicky, when the Mueller investigation gets a little too close for comfort, he goes to his happy place which is a campaign rally. Surrounding himself with cheering supporters.
Remember how candidate Trump said he wouldn't lose voters if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue? Well, that may still hold true. Because a recent CBS News poll finds 70 percent of Republicans, 70 percent they call the Russia investigation President Trump's favorite phrase, you know what that is, it's a witch hunt.
But there very good reasons for the president to be pretty nervous tonight. The first trial coming out of the Mueller investigation getting underway today in a Virginia courtroom. And I'm talking about Paul Manafort's trial who was Trump's campaign chairman facing 18 counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, and other financial crimes.
And this is only the first of two Manafort trials scheduled for this summer. If Manafort is convicted on every charge he could face, get this, over 300 years in prison.
He's accused of hiding millions of dollars in overseas income and offshore accounts. Prosecutors describing what they call his extravagant lifestyle with bank accounts in three countries, seven homes, and lavish spending on clothes and jewelry including a $21,000 watch and a $15,000 ostrich skin jacket.
So it is no surprise that sources say the White House has adopted a strategy of distancing the president from Manafort while keeping a close eye on the trial behind the scenes. And it's no coincidence that President Trump tweeted his new favorite
defense this morning that "collusion is not a crime" also that "there was no collusion." In fact, he said some version of no collusion or no Russian collusion 165 times since May of last year of 2017.
And then there's the president's attorney Rudy Giuliani who told CNN he doesn't know if collusion with Russia is a crime. Notice how things have changed there? The president and his attorney going from insisting there was no collusion, to saying collusion is not a crime.
It's not a crime but the president committed a crime. But conspiracy is a crime. And that's what Robert Mueller is investigating as he digs into the facts of Russia's attack on our democracy and in the 2016 election.
Mueller has already brought 191 criminal charges against 35 defendants. There have been five guilty pleas. Those are the facts and the president can't tweet them away. I think he'll certainly try.
So let's bring in now CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, CNN political analyst, April Ryan, and Republican strategist Rick Wilson.
[22:05:00] Welcome to the program. Good evening to all of you. Jim, the president's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, as I just said, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. The trial is a huge test. This is a test, though, for Robert Mueller. Right?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It is. Let's be clear here. The message you'll hear from the president and many of his loyalists is that this is not connected at all to Trump or to Russia, but let's go through the facts here. You did a good job, Don, of listing the number of criminal charges that he's facing in two courts. This is just the first of two trials here.
This was the president's campaign chairman. The president chose him specifically to help him secure the Republican nomination. So he was not an insignificant player in the Trump campaign. He was at the top of the Trump campaign for a number of months before he was forced out. That's one.
Two, it does have to do with Russia, because Paul Manafort was getting paid millions of dollars to work on behalf of the pro-Russian president of Ukraine. That may seem a million miles away from here but this was a president of Ukraine who did the Kremlin's bidding in Ukraine who was corrupt, he was accused of murder. The murder of civilian peaceful protesters there.
Paul Manafort did the work of trying to build support in the west for Yanukovych, this pro-Russian president of Ukraine to imprison which he did, to imprison his main political opponent. That's the work that Manafort was doing for the pro-Russian leader in Ukraine.
The final thing I'll say is this. Is that Paul Manafort's involvement, if there is any, it's up to the special counsel to decide, in Russian interference in the election is not a closed issue. This is still an issue that the special counsel is investigating and by the way, as he's doing that, he has a number of Trump campaign aides who have gone state evidence including Paul Manafort's deputy, Rick Gates.
So the idea that somehow this is floating out in the ether somewhere in orbit far away from the central focus of this investigation is just not true. Those lines of investigation are open.
And this is a man who has shown himself very willing to do some fairly dodgy work for people supported by the Kremlin abroad in the Ukraine. And that's one reason why he's standing in court today.
LEMON: Yes. Again, this is just the beginning, and again, this is one of two trials. The first of two trials for Paul Manafort this summer. So this is -- and the first one as far as the Russia investigation.
Listen, there's -- they have to go a long way, as you said. There's a long way to go, and April, the judge, his name is T.S. Ellis. I want to say T.S. Ellis and it's easier to say that -- he banned any mention of President Trump, Russia or collusion from the courtroom. I mean, that may be, but the trial is no doubt weighing on this White House.
APRIL RYAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is definitely weighing on this White House, Don. From my sources, they're saying the White House is very concerned. They are trying to huddle together trying to figure out how to message this.
You know, and if you talk about the issue of a possible pardon, they -- I'm hearing from my sources Paul Manafort's name is not even on the list and they're not talking about it. It is so serious right now.
And then I've talked to other people who former Justice Department officials from the highest heights who say this is going to be a slam dunk.
This White House is very, very concerned because they feel that this is a toxic issue, and what happens is, is that Paul Manafort's partner, Gates, he could really be a critical player in linking things to Russia. You know, because we already hear about Ukraine. So they are very concerned right now, Don.
LEMON: Kellyanne Conway was on Fox News. Here's what she said about the trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: This trial obviously centers on matters that have nothing to do with the campaign. I think even Mr. Manafort as I read it had requested that there be no mention of his brief tenure at the Trump campaign several years ago. This has nothing to do with collusion or Russia, nothing to do with the Trump campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So they are down playing even though Manafort was chairman for three critical months, April? RYAN: Yes. And we saw him at the convention. I mean, I remember being
in Cleveland on the floor. He was walking around with his body guard or handler taking care of convention business.
No matter how short of a stint, he played a critical role. This White House is going to distance themselves from him because they don't know the outcome, but they are concerned.
My sources are very clear. They're trying to figure out messaging and they are also very concerned about how this is going to play out because once again, just as Jim Sciutto just said, there are connections to Russia for Paul Manafort and this tax evasion, all the things going on, and his partner is very key in telling the story in this courtroom.
LEMON: All right. Rick, you've been sitting by patiently. Let's bring you in now. Because do you think the start of the Manafort trial is one reason why we're seeing tweet after tweet from the president and Rudy Giuliani's really confusing interviews?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think this manic performance you saw from Rudy this week and the tweet gasm that Trump has had for the last few days to just like, throw as much stuff out there into the wind as he possibly can are both directly related to the fact that Robert Mueller has a very strong case against Paul Manafort here.
[22:10:11] And they recognize that the charges against Manafort are leverage. To have Manafort speak about the things he knows concerning Donald Trump's campaign ties and Donald Trump's personal ties to Russia.
You know, Paul Manafort didn't just wander in one day. He and Roger Stone had a very, very long relationship. He and the president had a very long relationship before he was named chairman. He had relations, business relations with Tom Barrack and other people around Donald Trump.
So this is a guy who knows where a lot of the bodies are buried and who understands a lot of the Russian money flow that was coming out of these Russian billionaires who mysteriously seem to have all just found that Trump tower was an irresistible property in Manhattan for them.
And so Manafort's vulnerability here to the case that Mueller has against him is quite high. The White House is well aware of it. And so they're in their usual panic mode, and they're going to throw everything out there under the sun.
I mean, I would be surprised by nothing at this point including Donald Trump walking around naked screaming at the trees in the morning to change the subject because they do not want to talk about this.
RYAN: Don't say that. WILSON: And no matter how many times Kellyanne Conway -- no matter
how many times Kellyanne Conway opens her lie hole to say that this has nothing to do with the president, it has everything to do with the president.
LEMON: Well, I don't need to picture that, but OK. Jim, I want to circle back to you a little bit and discuss something that I just -- you know, I mentioned, I touched on a moment ago. This is the Virginia trial. Paul Manafort is going to face separate charges in the second trial in Washington. Talk to me about that.
SCIUTTO: Listen, you have these relate to financial crimes in general. We're talking about bank fraud, tax fraud, failure to register as a foreign agent which you have to do if you're going to lobby on behalf of a foreign government.
And the breadth of the charges against Paul Manafort significant enough that you have two viable cases in two separate very serious courts in the D.C. area.
So this is going to be a long one. When you speak first of all, from his legal liability, it's tremendous, and that's why you arrive at that 300-year figure that -- of course, he won't. But still, that's why you arrive at that figure because he's facing so many charges that carry very serious sentences.
And from a political perspective as well these are trials that are going to go on, they are going to drag on for some time and keep these issues in the conversation for this president and this administration no matter how hard they try.
The second point I would make just in response to Rick and April is this. This pattern of this administration of denying any relationship, significant relationship with anybody who runs in trouble is consistent. We've seen that in the last 72 hours, right.
Because Paul Manafort who only served as the chairman of the Trump campaign through the convention in three months Michael Cohen who only served as the president's lawyer and fixer for more than a decade, again, disposed of as if, you know, he was -- has always been that way. That's the way the president treats and disposes of these people and makes claims as if he had far less of a relationship with him than the back show that he had.
LEMON: All right. A lot more to talk about. I'm going to keep you guys around for another segment here. When we come back, more on Paul Manafort's trial. The first witness was a Democrat who worked for the Bernie Sanders campaign. What was his testimony?
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So it's day one of Paul Manafort's trial. Prosecutors calling the president's former campaign chairman a, quote, "shrewd liar," accusing him of living an extravagant lifestyle fueled by millions of dollars to secret income allegedly earned lobbying in Ukraine. This Manafort's -- this as Manafort's attorney told the jury he plans
to pin all the crimes Manafort has been accused of on his long time deputy Rick Gates. So they're pointing fingers back and forth.
Jim Sciutto, April Ryan, and Rick Wilson are here. Why all -- why all the finger pointing, Jim? What's going on?
SCIUTTO: Well, my understanding, I'm not a lawyer but from speaking to lawyers involved, is that this is a natural play from the defense lawyer. This situation in that Rick Gates has pleaded guilty and when you plead guilty for a lower sentence, you are cooperating. He's cooperating with investigators.
So Paul Manafort and his team know that Rick Gates is a significant source if not the primary source of information against him. So really their only defense, their natural defense is to then attack his credibility as a witness against Manafort.
It's, you know, again, I'm not a lawyer. It seems remarkable that you would say that you know, you relied all on your deputy and blame him, but my understanding from talking to lawyers about this is, is that that's a natural defense play in this environment with the cooperating witness.
LEMON: And Jim, there was -- we heard testimony today from a Democratic political consultant, Ted Devine who worked with Manafort in Ukraine. How much work did Manafort do in Ukraine?
SCIUTTO: Well, Ted Devine my understanding of his role there was to walk the jury through exactly how this worked, right. What kind of work they did. Russia's involvement in that work, how they were working for the pro-Russian candidate there.
You know, basically how they were lobbying on behalf of a pro-Russian Ukrainian government which is a significant part of their case and also walking through how they were paid. Right? Because that's really the essential fact of the charges he's facing in this trial is that he, you know, the money significant amount of money, millions of dollars that he was paid for his work was routed illegally seemingly to avoid U.S. taxes.
So my understanding of his testimony was to show the ties, show Russia's tie to that and exactly how this work was done to avoid U.S. taxes and, therefore, break the law.
LEMON: And Rick, more specifically, Ted Devine described Rick Gates as doing more of the day to day stuff like arranging travel while saying that Manafort led the campaign strategy in Ukraine. That doesn't sound like Manafort was duped in any way.
WILSON: No. Look, Paul Manafort is a very slippery operator. This is a guy who's been in the sewers of D.C. for a long time. He's served the most egregious sort of dictator figures around the world.
And so, you know, trying to throw his minion under the bus isn't going to work here, and Paul Manafort is the guy in the room with Yanukovych. Paul Manafort is in the guy -- is the guy in the room with the people closing these deals.
[22:20:00] It's not Rick Gates, his dobby. It's Paul Manafort who's getting the briefcase full of cash or the wire transfers sent to an offshore account. It's certainly not Rick Gates.
Paul Manafort seems to have kept Rick Gates on a fairly short leash actually--
WILSON: -- in terms of control. And sent him to do his administrivia and not the actual, you know, master minding of his activity.
LEMON: April, you wanted to respond?
RYAN: Yes. You know, I mean, it's odd that he gets his money over $60 million that's funneled to Cyprus, and everything is supposed to be on the up and up because that's what the client wanted. And basically what they wanted to show today is the kind of circles that he traveled in. That's why Ted Devine came here.
But also, Don, one of the things that's really sticking out to me is the fact that many of these Trump supporters are saying that this is just a witch hunt. But this is not about speculation.
For Mueller to bring this, and for the prosecutors this case they feel that they have an airtight case. But at the same time you have to remember, there's something called the rule of law. To work for someone who was an underling politically and then to bring them back to the top and get $60 million for this and then evade 15 -- evade taxes for 15 million, that's just one piece. That's tax evasion.
And then have the money funneled to Cyprus, because that's what the client wants, something -- it doesn't pass the smell test. And that's not a witch hunt. And that's related to -- that's the Ukraine and there are Russian connections.
So people have to understand this is not playing out in the court of public opinion just because someone says something. There is a thing called the rule of law that has been broken. So I think that needs to continue to be put on the table as we talk about the facts of this case and the Russia investigation.
LEMON: Jim, I've been wanting to talk to you about this as well. Because in there and I'm just getting the list of information of the folks who were involved here. Mueller referring cases to the Southern District of New York concerning whether several lobbyists failed to register their work as foreign agents. And one of which involves Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. How significant is this?
SCIUTTO: Well, remember, as we're talking about the work that Paul Manafort did for the pro-Russian government in Ukraine. He's not the only person who did that, Tony. But as of course, the brother of John Podesta who was chairman of the Hillary Clinton's campaign, he also did that kind of work. Now that work is not illegal to be clear by itself. It becomes illegal if you don't register as a foreign agent as you're lobbying on behalf of the foreign government. It's certainly becomes illegal if you take that money and then try to rout it around the system so you don't pay taxes in it. That's why Paul Manafort is standing in the courtroom now.
So you have similar questions at least on what he registered it for in terms of registering as a foreign agent, et cetera, that Tony Podesta is facing.
And listen, you know, Don, the broader point there is that you have a lot of U.S. lobbyists who do a lot of work, a lot of highly paid work for some not particularly nice or friendly governments around the world. Ukraine and the pro-Russian government of Ukraine is not the only one. So, it is a -- it shows you that there's bipartisan malpractice here overseas as well. And you know, the legal troubles that he's facing are not insignificant.
LEMON: April, I want to switch gears now and I make sure I get this in because I didn't get a chance to talk to you yesterday about this. My interview with LeBron James. And I want you to listen to some of the things he said about this president. Watch this.
LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: You know, we are in a position right now in America more importantly where this whole race thing is taking over. You know? And because -- one, because I believe our president is kind of trying to divide us. For him to like I said use sports to kind of divide us, is something I can't -- I can't sit back and not say nothing.
LEMON: What would you say to the president if he was sitting right here?
JAMES: I would never sit across from him.
LEMON: So, April, Trump often retaliates to anyone who is critical of him. Why do you suppose he hasn't done that with LeBron?
RYAN: Because it's a losing moment right now. LeBron James is riding high with his I Promise School. That's amazing. And I watch the report and been tweeting it out.
But at the same time, you know, once the president -- all of this kind of really came to a crescendo moment when the Philadelphia Eagles were not allowed to come to the White House and they declined or whatever you want to call it. And, you know, we called it out.
You know, they kept saying that it was disrespectful. And then I remember asking that day to Sarah Huckabee Sanders does the president realize what taking the knee is about? And that really put the real piece on it. Because they have kept the narrative saying it's about disrespect of soldiers. It's about disrespect of flags.
But at issue is police-involved abuses and shootings, and America supports police but they want to weed out bad policing. And if you're the president of all America and there's one segment of America crying out, LeBron James is right, you know, there is an issue.
I mean, if he doesn't want to sit across from the president, that is his prerogative. If the president doesn't want to sit across him. But LeBron James is right, and so many other not just African-Americans not just Latino brothers and sisters, everyone sees something is wrong.
[22:25:02] There is a divide. There is a racial divide. We are not trying to gas it up. We're not trying to do, a racial animus, but there is a problem, there is a racial divide in this nation and this president is president of all America. He's more of a divider right now when it comes to race than he is a uniter. LeBron James is absolutely right.
LEMON: All right. Thank you all.
RYAN: From a unique person that I sit in.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
RYAN: Thank you.
LEMON: I appreciate that. When we come back, Robert Mueller has gotten one guilty plea after another. But Paul Manafort is not among them. Why is that? Our legal experts discuss that next.
LEMON: Paul Manafort facing 18 charges of bank fraud, tax evasion and other financial crimes in the first trial from the Mueller investigation, which raises questions about why the president's former campaign chairman did not make a deal with the special counsel like other members of the Trump team.
So I'm going to bring in now former U.S. attorney Michael Moore and former U.S. assistant attorney, Glenn Kirschner. Good evening, gentlemen. Welcome to the program. Thanks for coming on.
Michael, I'm going to start with you.
MICHAEL MOORE, PARTNER, POPE MCGLAMRY: Sure.
LEMON: I want to talk about this. Why do you suppose Manafort hasn't pled guilty aside from the obvious that he really believes in his innocence?
MOORE: Well, there's probably a couple reasons. I mean, number one if in fact he's moving money for the Russians, he's going to keep quiet about that. And number two, it could be very simple that he's expected Trump to come in at the end of the day and pardon him. We don't know if there's been some overt conversation about that, or whether or not some message has been sent back.
And we've heard about back channels that the administration likes to have and they, you know, masquerade all these things as they are or they are in their private discussions I'm sure. But we don't know if there's a pardon deal on the table or if that's been mentioned.
[22:30:01] So, at this point, I think he feels like he just keeps his mouth shut and then moves forward. The problem he's got is this is a paper case. It will be fairly easy to prove. I expect he's going to be convicted of it. And at the end of the day, he's looking at a long time in jail, if in fact Trump doesn't come in and give him a pardon.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT, ANCHOR: Are you insinuating that there's fear about -- you said he was moving money for the Russians?
MOORE: Well, he's charged with money laundering. And we know that he's had some involvement with folks of a less savory nature. And so my guess is at this point, the safest thing he's decided to do is just keep his mouth shut and go through the process. Knowing that if he gets convicted, I am sure that Trump knows what he knows. And that is Manafort thinks that maybe some leverage to help him seek a pardon later on.
LEMON: So Glenn, Manafort so far hasn't had a lot of luck here. He was thrown in jail by a D.C. judge over allegations that he was witness tampering. And the Virginia judge declined to change venues and to throw out evidence. If he was having tremendous success, that would be one thing. But so far, we're not seeing anything to show that this could end well for him.
GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER ARMY, JAG: No. I think his bad luck streak will continue with Bob Mueller's team prosecuting him. They are some of the best --most experienced prosecutors, particularly in this field of financial fraud. And you know I agree with Michael. I think there are also a couple of other reasons that might explain why Manafort has not pled guilty.
It could be that Bob Mueller has never extended a plea offer to Paul Manafort. Why? Because the prosecutors already have Rick Gates, so the information maybe largely duplicative, and they would rather do business with Rick Gates, who is relatively speaking a smaller fish than do business with Paul Manafort, especially because Paul Manafort also reached out and tampered with witnesses.
And I have to tell you as a career prosecutor for 30 years, Don, I didn't relish the thought of bringing on a cooperator who was just that cruddy, just that damaged that they would try to tamper with witnesses. Because if you put a person like that on the stand as a cooperator, you know that cooperator stink can kind of rub off on the prosecutors.
And the jury starts looking at you like you know why would you sponsor somebody who is urging witnesses to lie on his behalf, and how can we be confident that he's telling the truth? So it may be Bob Mueller has not even extended Paul Manafort a plea offer.
LEMON: So you don't want to do a deal with someone like that, right?
KIRSCHNER: Exactly. And it could be that he's afraid of the Russians, because...
LEMON: Go on.
KIRSCHNER: Because quite frankly, every aspiring cooperator I've ever sat down with articulated to me, you know, one of their concerns is I am kind of afraid that if I flip on my friends, on my associates they might come after me. They might come after the family. And I don't it's hard for (Inaudible) to suggest that if Paul Manafort were to flip, the Russians could very well start looking at his family members.
We've seen poisoning incidents in the U.K. of former Russians who have flipped against Russia. So I think that may also be what is keeping Manafort from cooperating.
LEMON: Glenn, you're getting to the crux of the question that I asked Michael there, you know insinuating fear. It appears there might be some fear from him if he is guilty of doing what is being alleged here.
LEMON: Yeah. So Michael, I want to talk about some of the other characters. Rick Gates is going to be key in this case, also Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, and others who are cooperating. We really haven't heard what specifically Mueller has gotten out of them. You heard Glenn saying that well, maybe you know he thinks that Gates is better to and is a cooperating witness, and it's better to deal with and the information is similar?
MOORE: I think (Inaudible) Gates was right involved and the right hand man to Manafort in their operations. So we don't know what exactly they told Bob Mueller. What we do know is that he's building his case and he's laying this thing out. This is the first case they brought. They need to win this case. And he's building this sort of a like a foundation.
And this will be the first when we start talking about money and we start talking about documents. And I have said for a long time, at the end of the day, the administration is facing a follow the money case. That is -- we'll follow the money and see if it leads to Trump. And this is just the start of that.
So whether we're talking about Gates, whether we're talking about other cooperators (Inaudible) whether we're talking about accountants, we can go down the list. They're going to be tracking these payments, and getting these documents out before a jury. And so let me tell you. Mueller has his case, and this case, the next case, and the next case already planned out. He's right now -- this is just a foundational move on his part. It's
a classic federal prosecutor move to start at the bottom and spread out. But I will tell you this. Manafort knows what he's doing. And he was close to the campaign. Trump wants to push him away and say he wasn't involved for a long time. That's a fallacy.
[22:34:58] LEMON: Hey listen. Glenn, I am over time here, but I think this is a very important question if you can answer succinctly as possible. You gamed out different possibilities as to why Mueller doesn't just subpoena the President. You say maybe because the President may have moved from being a subject to a target in the investigation. Explain that.
KIRSCHNER: So the Department of Justice has a policy that we don't subpoena targets of an investigation. Why is that? Because a grand jury subpoena is a court order directing the person to come in, appear, and testify truthfully before the grand jury. Well, a target by definition has a right against self-incrimination, because we're looking to indict them.
So that's why we don't subpoena a target just like you can't call a defendant to the stand at trial, because he has a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. So I think the more time passes, the more likely it is that the people that Bob Mueller has not subpoenaed, have ripened into targets of the investigation that would go for the President for Jared Kushner, for Roger Stone, for Don Jr.
KIRSCHNER: And some others.
LEMON: Does that mean indictment or does that -- he could just put out a report, meaning Mueller?
KIRSCHNER: He absolutely could put out a report to Congress. It could be a combination. He could return indictments against all conspirators, but maybe leave the President out of it and only report what he found to Congress, or we could see 1974 all over again with Richard Nixon, and he could name the President as an unindicted co- conspirator and see what things went from there.
LEMON: It's got to be the last (Inaudible) Michael, as you said, this is only the beginning.
MOORE: Only the beginning.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
LEMON: When we come back, is Rudy Giuliani helping or hurting President Trump when it comes to fending off Robert Mueller. And just how close could Mueller's investigation get to the President's own family?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [22:40:00] LEMON: Collusion is not a crime, the President and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani now saying. Well, this after the President has repeated some version of the phrase no collusion a whopping 165 times since May of 2017. So let's discuss now. CNN Contributor Michael D'Antonio is here. He is the Author of The Truth about Trump, and former U.S. attorney Harry Litman.
I am so happy to have both of you on. Mr. Litman, you first, the President and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have gone from no collusion to collusion. Collusion isn't a crime. Collusion, as we know is not a legal term. So what charges do Trump and his family actually need to be concerned about?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: In a word, conspiracy. But it doesn't help their credibility that he's been screaming no collusion, no collusion from the rooftops. And then there's a kind of never mind moment oh, maybe it is collusion. But that's not a crime. But it's always been the case. People have been saying it on these shows and others for months.
Look, the crime here is conspiracy. It's a simple crime. You agree to do something unlawful and you do something in furtherance of it. Mueller has already laid down a couple of conspiracies involving violation of federal election law, involving violation of computer law, and the simplest thing would be if Trump or his family members.
I am thinking especially of Trump Jr., joined that extent conspiracy. But the basic point is the law that they have to worry about is a criminal conspiracy. They don't have to complete the crime. But if they agree to do something unlawful, they're in hot water.
LEMON: Why do you think he has this shifting defense, Michael D'Antonio? Is he concerned about people who are close to him, possibly his son or his son-in-law?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Its slogans. So if he's saying no collusion, those are two words, Crooked Hillary, two words. It's not a crime, three words. It's not as good. So he knows that through repetition of the simplest message that he's going to make this argument in the court of public opinion.
And I think Rudy Giuliani and the President both believe that this is going to come down to a political battle that the President may never be charged with a crime. May never -- we may never get to that point. It will be politics. And they're campaigning.
LEMON: (Inaudible) I sort of laughed at when I heard Rudy Giuliani say what he said. If the President committed a crime, it's not a crime.
D'ANTONIO: It's insane, but this is something that the President has said. And Nixon actually promoted this idea that if the President does...
LEMON: You can't break a law.
D'ANTONIO: By definition, it's legal because he is the government.
LEMON: How long have you known Trump?
D'ANTONIO: Three or four years. And I studied him for longer than that.
LEMON: So if he is -- if someone in his family is indicted, how do you think he'll react?
D'ANTONIO: Oh, I think it depends on who it is. If it's Don Jr., I think he could easily cut him lose. And we've had Rudy Giuliani say that Jared Kushner is disposable. But Ivanka he said, she's a fine woman, so she's going to be protected. She reflects well on the President. I think he's always had his doubts about the young man who bears his name. He's never really had confidence in him.
LEMON: Harry, of all the folks you know attending that Trump Tower meeting, who do you think is in the biggest legal jeopardy?
LITMAN: Junior. He's the one who sets it up. He's the one who says if that's what you're saying, I love it. He's the one who allegedly -- this is Cohen talking, but we'll see if there's corroboration, tells his father about it. He's in the thick of it, in the false cover-up statement done on Air Force One. But at least based on you know suggestion and anecdote, the President is pretty involved as well.
But I think he's the moving force. You have the sense of, like, Kushner you know being there and messaging a secretary get me out of here somehow, and maybe trying to tiptoe away on Air Force One. This seems to be a Trump Jr. production, though importantly in the meeting now, we learned in a complete self-inflected error, one of many by Rudy Giuliani.
[22:45:12] We learned yesterday that there was a pre-meeting that was attended by among others, Rick Gates, the cooperator in Manafort.
LITMAN: That's going to be a lot of information to tell Mueller.
D'ANTONIO: Well, I think one of the things that Harry said that was really relevant, is that the crime does not have to be successful. You can conspire in something that fails, and you still committed a crime. So Harry made an excellent point there that Don Jr. I think vulnerable whether or not anything worked through.
LEMON: That's why there are crimes like attempted murder.
D'ANTONIO: Right. LEMON: Attempted robbery.
D'ANTONIO: Well, conspiracy, the crime is the agreement.
LEMON: It is the agreement.
LEMON: CNN is reporting Harry that the President's former attorney, Michael Cohen, is prepared to tell Mueller that Trump approved of that June 2016 meeting with the Russians. But Trump did not attend the meeting himself. Does that make a difference to prosecutors?
LITMAN: To prosecutors. I mean, it would be -- having him there helps a little. But if he approves of it, remember, the crime we're talking about is conspiracy. So does he agree to the unlawful objective that is getting dirt on Hillary? If he does, doesn't matter if he's at the meeting or not at the meeting. He still is liable.
Not clear Giuliani knows that, and he's out there saying all kinds of stuff. But if he approved it, he's in trouble.
LEMON: How far will he go to protect his family, the President?
D'ANTONIO: Oh, I think he'll issue pardons, but there's only so much he can do up to that point. If these people get prosecuted, they're going to go to court.
LEMON: Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Harry. Appreciate your time.
LITMAN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, multiple states banning together to block a company from posting blueprints of 3-d printed guns online. The problem is the prints were already posted. So I'm going to speak to one Attorney General fighting against spreading those blueprints more, next.
[22:50:00] LEMON: Hours before it would have become legal for anyone in American to download plans to create a handgun using a 3-d printer, the courts have stepped in now. In response to a suit from 10 states, plus a District of Columbia, a federal judge has made it illegal for Cody Wilson and his nonprofit company to make these plans available publicly.
Gun control advocates say posting the plans online could make it easier for terrorists and others who can't pass a background check to obtain what they call a ghost gun. I am joined now by one of the attorneys general who sued. His name is -- he is Maryland Attorney General, or AG Brian Frosh. Thank you, Attorney General, for joining us. I appreciate it.
BRIAN FROSH, ATTORNEY GENERAL, MARYLAND: Good to be with you, Don.
LEMON: After the ruling came down tonight, Wilson took down his website, making the plans for these downloadable 3-d guns unavailable for now. So what's next in your fight to stop this from becoming a reality?
FROSH: Well, the judge is going to hold another hearing on August 10th. And we hope that he'll enter a preliminary injunction, which will be in an indefinite injunction until there's a final decision on the merits, final trial on the merits. And we believe that we do have the ability and that we will be able to achieve that preliminary injunction as well.
LEMON: Yeah. I found it interesting. I was speaking about this with my colleague, Chris Cuomo earlier. And I don't really know where I stand on it. I'm not sure I really understand it, because Wilson's legal argument says basically this is about free speech, saying the government can't block the publication of the information on the web. Do you see this as problematic, this argument?
FROSH: Well, I think it's a losing argument, ultimately. The Supreme Court has held for centuries that dangerous speech is not covered by the First Amendment. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously said you can't yell fire in a crowded theater. This is orders of magnitude more dangerous than simply yelling fire in a crowded theater.
You could have millions of these untraceable and virtually undetectable guns downloaded and distributed, made by individuals who have 3-d printers. And they're dangerous as an international proposition. The United States has long-taken the position that to prevent terrorism, we won't allow the export of these. And I can tell you they will be dangerous on the streets of Maryland, state of Washington, and the others that joined the lawsuit.
LEMON: There is -- it's currently illegal to produce or own a fully plastic gun under the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988. But this law is probably not specific enough because they probably never foresaw that people would be able to use a printer to make a gun. But the President seemed to throw his weight behind the efforts to block plastic guns from getting out there in his tweet this morning.
And Trump said he was going to look into the situation and speak to the NRA about it. And then he came back with a position that very closely mirrors the NRAs. Do you think that he caved in to them on this? First, he's saying you know the NRA should do something. The NRA doesn't really control guns. I mean they do. But they're not supposed to. It's the President who should have a bigger voice. But go on.
FROSH: Well, he's got the State Department, the Defense Department to consult with. It is ironic that he consults with the NRA on this. And the NRA is funded by the gun manufacturers. They have nothing to gain from these cads, these computer-assisted designs being downloadable on the internet. But I really do hope he backs off. There was no reason for the government to flip on this. The case
brought by Mr. Wilson who describes himself as a crypto anarchist. Had been all the way up to the Supreme Court and he had lost. There was no reason for the government to do 180 degree turn on it.
[22:55:14] LEMON: Quick answer if you will, because Wilson said about this recently. He said I am being sued by at least 21 state attorney generals. If you want your Second Amendment online, this is the fight. Do you see this as a Second Amendment fight or is it something different to you?
FROSH: I think this is much different. People do have Second Amendment rights. But simply allowing guns to be made at home that can't be traceable, it's really tough for law enforcement. It will prevent solving crimes that are virtually undetectable. It can slip through different security measures. This is just an open invitation to criminals, to terrorists. And I don't think that's what the Second Amendment is designed to do.
LEMON: Attorney General Frosh, thank you for your time.
FROSH: Thanks for (Inaudible).
LEMON: When we come back, is the Republican Party officially turning into the party of Trump? Yeah. We'll tell you what the President is saying tonight while campaigning for his pick for the governor of Florida, and what it all means for the midterms.