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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Prosecutors Highlight Manafort's Most Expensive Purchases; Have Democrats Gone Too Far to the Left? Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired August 2, 2018 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, a $10,000 affinity. That's how much he spent on a karaoke system for his Hamptons home, and really that wasn't all. Prosecutors have brought up vendors and retailers to document just how much Paul Manafort spent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[16:30:04] SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Prosecutors are going to great lengths to prove Paul Manafort lived a life of extravagant luxury.

They've submitted reams of receipts (AUDIO GAP) of thousands of dollars he spent on high (AUDIO GAP) clothing. In April 2012, Manafort paid $18,500 for a python jacket. Just a few months earlier, it was $9,500 on an ostrich vest, to apparently compliment the ostrich jacket, he later paid $15,000 for.

There are also photos of the jackets and suits he paid a pretty penny for, including from the store that bills itself the most expensive in the world, Bijan. One blue jacket from Bijan rang in at $32,800. Prosecutors have been parading vendors to the stand to testify to Paul Manafort's penchant for posh living, all to show jurors just how he spent the millions of dollars he allegedly hidden offshore accounts.

It wasn't just clothing. Manafort kept his seven homes from the Hamptons to Manhattan to Virginia in pristine condition. His landscaper testified that Manafort spent about $450,000 over five years for his Hamptons home, commissioning him to care for the hundreds of flowers, plus one of the biggest personal ponds in the glamorous locale two hours east of New York City. And he kept his Hamptons home high-tech. Manafort for paid more than $2.2 million over the course of several years to install Apple TVs, wireless networks and other electronics. Manafort paid via wire transfer from various offshore bank accounts even splurging $10,000 on a karaoke system in 2010.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: And Paul Manafort's personal bookkeeper has been on the stand all afternoon. She says despite the fact that Manafort once made millions, she says by 2016, he was flat-out broke, that he had maxed out all of his credit lines and she said on the stand that that led Paul Manafort and his business associate at the time Rick Gates to send fake inflated invoices, business statements to banks in order to get loans.

And, of course, Jake that goes to the heart of prosecutors argument here for bank fraud -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Interesting. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Evan Perez now.

Evan, you've been in court all day. Prosecutors today honed in on how Manafort allegedly moved money around. Tell us about that.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake.

Once Paul Manafort was broke, prosecutors say that one of the things that he was starting to do was move money from some of these offshore bank accounts back to the United States, again evading any reporting of this to the IRS.

And in some ways, what he was doing was making these fake invoices to some of the vendors, to his bookkeeper, try to describe -- trying to account for some of this money that he was moving from overseas into the United States, and then he then he started taking out loans on some of the properties that he had bought and he even going so far as producing doctored receipts and invoices to try to show where this money was coming from.

So, one of the things that we're -- the emerging theme we're seeing from prosecutors today is to try to show that Paul Manafort was not only lying to the IRS but lying to some of the vendors and his bookkeepers as well. This is all building towards the big witness which is Rick Gates. We expect that the prosecutors are going to try to show that Rick Gates can testified that he was in on the conspiracy he helped doctor some of these invoices.

And, of course, we know that Paul Manafort's team, his lawyers, are going to point out that Rick Gates has admitted to lying to the government, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Evan Perez, thank you so much.

I want to bring back former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.

And, Glenn, the prosecution -- they're certainly establishing that Paul Manafort lives a very opulent and lavish lifestyle. But certainly, there's more to it than that that they're trying to establish with the jury.

GLENN KIRSCHNER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, one of the challenges for prosecutors in document-intensive cases is frankly to keep the jurors engaged and awake because they can be rather dry. So, they need to inject a little bit of excitement where they can and, you know, this is a case where opulence meets arrogance, and it's all kind of steeped in Paul Manafort's criminality.

So, what they want to do is bring to the jurors' attention from time to time his seven homes, his waterfall ponds, his personal putting greens at his house, his ostrich jacket, his cobra jacket. Fortunately, he didn't have, you know, panda boots. But -- TAPPER: Just for the record, it was a python jacket, not a cobra

jacket.

KIRSCHNER: Excuse me, I stand corrected. I hear they're quite nice.

But they really do need to keep the jurors engaged. And we see Judge Ellis has begun to sort of rein the prosecutors and cut a little bit of that back because in all fairness you don't want to overly appeal to the emotions of the jurors. So, Judge Ellis always keeps his eye on what I would call the appellate ball, making sure that if the prosecution wins a conviction, that they've done it fairly and by the rules and they haven't sort of overplayed the opulence hand.

[16:35:02] TAPPER: And quickly if you could, do you expect Manafort will testify in his own defense?

KIRSCHNER: I think the chances are slim to none. Manafort has apparently done so much wrong in his life that cross-examining him would be a prosecutor's dream.

I think what's going to be really interesting is if Gates takes the stand, because then we may all learn some things that we have not heard before. We're obliged as prosecutors to turn over all of Gates' statements so that the defense can cross-examine him with everything he's told the government, including things that aren't necessarily directly relevant to this prosecution. So, we could all begin to learn a little bit more about what's behind the curtain of the Mueller investigation if they do call Gates to the stand.

TAPPER: Even though the judge has said he doesn't want anything related to politics in this case and that and the prosecution has said that they're not bringing up anything having to do with Russia.

KIRSCHNER: They said they can't talk about Russia, but the judge can't curtail the defense attorneys' right to cross-examine Gates on everything. So, Gates only pled guilty to two charges, two five-year charges, and I would bet my bottom dollar he could have been charged with a whole lot of other crimes.

Every one of those crimes that he was not charged with is a benefit that the government gave him. So, the defense has broad leeway when they're cross-examining him searching for bias.

TAPPER: Fascinating stuff. Glenn Kirschner, thanks so much.

A rare interview for the first daughter and one of President Trump's top advisor Ivanka Trump in which she contradicted her father not once but twice. Now, her dad just tweeted about it.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:41:01] TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead.

Democrats including possible 2020 hopefuls, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, are gathering in New Orleans right now as the energy on the progressive left picks up steam ahead of the midterm elections, with some Democrats especially in Washington, are fretting about the direction of the party and whether it's lurching too far to the left.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is at this progressive conference in New Orleans.

Miguel, all the energy and the party right now seems to be with the progressive grassroots. How do they respond to concerns that going too far to the left might alienate moderates needed to win in November?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they respond very simply. They say, look, it's those ideals and positions that progressives take that will drive out voters and the party at large to get on board.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The yearly gathering of progressives Netroots Nation, attracting the president's biggest detractors.

TOM STEYER, BILLIONAIRE: He is reckless, dangerous and lawless. I think that he is a threat to the United States through our people and our democracy.

MARQUEZ: One star of the show --

STEYER: Why is he still president?

MARQUEZ: -- California's billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent millions running ads nationwide urging the impeachment of Donald J. Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why hasn't Congress started impeachment proceedings?

MARQUEZ: All the immigration talk now worries mainstream establishment Democrats.

ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Running a hypothetical campaign right now about having an impeachment vote when we could be spending that time and energy revealing to the American people how corrupt this administration is I don't -- I don't think that that's a productive way to go right now.

MARQUEZ: The fear talking impeachment before the special counsel's investigation is complete could turn off independents and moderates ahead of the midterms and beyond.

(on camera): Is there any concern that that fissure between the far left and the center is going to hurt candidates in November and possibly the presidential contenders in 2020?

STEYER: I don't think we should be quite so clever about pollsters and I think that the people that -- the political establishment in Washington D.C. should get back to much simpler questions which is, are we telling the truth about the most important things in America? Are we standing up for the American?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Potential 2020 contenders making their way to Netroots, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Voting and supporting for Abdul El-Sayed for governor is the right thing to do.

MARQUEZ: And self-professed Democratic socialist candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who upset an establishment Democrat in her primary and is now stumping for progressives nationwide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't believe that the way forward and the way to win for progressives and for Democrats is to go moderate. We want to see candidates who are bold, who are visionary and who speak to the people.

MARQUEZ: Republicans painting Netroots is now mainstream. In talking points sent to reporters, the Republican National Committee called Netroots a formally fringe far-left progressive movement that has become a key force in moving the Democratic Party further left.

(on camera): Do you think the Democratic party has moved to the left or is this just a more open tent these days?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think that it's moving more and more left. I don't think that progressivism or liberalism is a far-out idea anymore.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now, another big issue here is abolishing ICE, or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There's a lot of room for disagreement here. Tom Steyer, Mr. Impeachment, says that you don't need to abolish it, just sort of repurpose it or redefine its remit.

So, in the midterms, maybe things like abolish ICE won't matter as much because candidates run as individuals in their own districts, but for those 2020 possibles, there is plenty of room for disagreement -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Miguel Marquez in New Orleans, thanks so much.

Let's talk about the split. In addition to abolishing ICE and impeaching the president, there's raising taxes to fund universal Medicare and universal jobs and universal college tuition. Are you at all concerned that the party is moving too far to the left?

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I mean, I think the debate is so kind of crazy right, because we have -- we have the president doing a rally in which there are large numbers of people talking about a crazy QAnon conspiracy and on -- in the Democratic Party there is a rich debate about things like universal health care and how to give people jobs and there is -- there is a big chance in the party, there is Connor Lamb there is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that's a wide and wide berth for a lot of people Connor's race very different from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's race but there is no equivalence between the extremes of the left and the right in this country.

TAPPER: You disagree, Amanda.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I would say, if you're a Republican who is sort of reluctant towards supporting Trump, you have gone comfortable with the amount of chaos and craziness that Donald Trump brings to America. And so if you're uncomfortable with that but then you look at the Democrats and say they're going to take my money, they're not serious about securing the border, maybe I can put up with another four years of that.

TANDEN: I think this will be a big debate in the presidential -- I'll just say I think there is going to be a debate. There will be a lot of Democratic candidates who don't call for the abolition of ICE. They will say let's reform it, make it work more effectively. I mean, they'll be a big wide debate about that and whether independents or a former Republican (INAUDIBLE) can support it.

KARINE JEANE-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISER, MOVEON.ORG: I agree with you. I think it'll be a debate in the presidential election as it starts you know, sometime next year. But I think when you look at the election data from 2016 since 2016 until today, all races of special elections that we saw in 2017, Virginia, New Jersey, PA-18 as you were mentoring Connor Lamb, the energy is around the issues. There are, there were in Virginia. If you just look at Virginia alone, there were a Republican suburban woman who women who crossed over because of the health care issue.

CARPENTER: (INAUDIBLE) ready to write them off.

PIERRE: But I'm just saying that there are real issues that we -- real kind of actual outcomes that we saw where people are energized including suburban Republican --

TAPPER: Bryan, I want to ask you about something that happened today. President Trump's daughter and White House Adviser Ivanka Trump, she was in an interview with Axios' Michael Allen. She separated with her dad a number of issues including separating migrant children from their parents. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVANKA TRUMP, SENIOR ADVISER, WHITE HOUSE: That was a low point for me as well. I feel very strongly about that and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: It's not just the President's daughter, she's an advisor and she's out there saying that a policy that the President has put forward that she's against it.

BRYAN LANZA, FORMER DEPUTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Yes, listen, a lot of -- you know, a lot of this administration different to the Obama Administration. There's a lot of diverse voices. We've all heard them throughout the time. They said --

TAPPER: There's a lot of giggling over here.

LANZA: I mean, it's a diverse voice. I mean, that's the type of environment you want. You want to have people who are -- who are --

TANDEN: They're family in the administration.

LANZA: I mean, I don't agree 100 percent of the things that my family does. They're I mean, they're Liberal Democrats. I mean, they're radical progressives. They're out of touch with America like the party keep going left.

(CROSSTALK)

CARPENTER: Ivanka Trump seems to be one of the few people that is permitted to outwardly to be against her father which to me speaks of the privilege that she enjoys in that administration where she has no discernible duties, no accountability. She gets to --

LANZA: I just -- listen, she --

CARPENTER: She thinks that no one else --

LANZA: She is part of the robust debate on policies that affect. This event that you just saw where she did this clip, this is a workforce development event where they made a pledge to the American workers. He has 25 companies plates 4 million new jobs. She's actually doing something. That's different that we want to focus on one sentence of an hour-long event that's fake news.

TAPPER: Well, it's pretty -- it's pretty --

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: That's not fake news right?

LANZA: It is. It is.

TAPPER: It's a policy --

LANZA: You actually had -- hold on. You had a specific event that had to do about the American workers, you had to do something that the administration is working on and the only thing CNN wants to focus on is that particular question where there's a gap between --

TAPPER: That's a major policy decision. Bryan, something you don't like does not become fake new, OK.

LANZA: What's fake news is fake outrage. And there's no outrage over this --

(CROSSTALK) TANDEN: Can I just say about one thing about this whole thing. Ivanka Trump is an Advisor to the President. She is has a job, the American people pay her. She said --

TAPPER: I think she takes a dollar, or yes, or whatever.

TANDEN: She has privileges.

TAPPER: Yes.

TANDEN: She says this is a low point. I would just like to say to Ivanka Trump and for you to say here she is doing things. The thing for her to do if she opposes family separation, there are children today, tonight who will still go to sleep not knowing where their parents are because of Donald Trump's policies and my suggestion to Ivanka Trump is maybe she should do something about that, work with DHS and actually fix his problem because we are talking months where children have been separated from their parents and White House advisers who claim to care about that should actually do something not just talk.

[16:50:11] TAPPER: And Karine, there was another issue on which she separated from her President. And I'm sorry we're in the media, we cover -- we cover contradictions. We do it with Democrats, we do it with Republicans. Here's another issue where she separated from her father and had to do with whether or not reporters are the enemy of the American people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people and they are. They are the enemy of the people.

I. TRUMP: No, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Trump followed that interview up with the tweet saying they asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people, she correctly said no. It is the fake news which is a large percentage of the media that is the enemy of the people -- of the people. How do you interpret all this?

PIERRE: I mean, he should read the First Amendment. I mean, -- and so should Sarah Sanders because when you read it at the very top is the freedom of the press and it's at the top of the bill of rights for a reason. And if he has a problem how -- on how he's being coverage, he should watch what he say. He should not attack the press. And the press is doing their job. They're covering him. And you can't have a freedom of the press -- you can't run a democracy, you have a proper democracy if you don't have the freedom of the press and he needs to understand that as president.

LANZA: Is the media free of criticism? PIERRE: I'm not saying the media is not --

LANZA: It's a simple question. Is it free of criticism? If the answer is yes, then you have the president --

PIERRE: When you call it the enemy of the people that's incredibly dangerous.

LANZA: He said fake news. He said fake news is the enemy of the people.

TANDEN: He said it's the enemy of the people.

LANZA: He said fake -- I just heard the clip.

TAPPER: It's true.

LANZA: Fake new. Why are we arguing over what the clip just said?

TAPPER: He did try to differentiate between media and fake news but the problem is he describes fake news as ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times.

LANZA: I don't agree with that.

TAPPER: No, that's --

LANZA: Yes, I understand but I don't agree with that.

PIERRE: But that's what we're arguing.

CARPENTER: That's the same message that's relayed by Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the podium. Jim Acosta gave her multiple opportunities to show respect for the press and she denied it every time saying that because she has been aggrieved by unfair reporting and jokes and things like that but yes she agrees to the president that there -- the press is an enemy of the people.

LANZA: That's not -- the fake news is different than the media in general.

TAPPER: But if you define 90 percent of the press as the fake news --

CARPENTER: That is not what she said.

TAPPER: If you define 90 percent of the press as the fake news, if you define everybody except for Fox and Breitbart --

TANDEN: Listen to the clip. He said literally it's the majority in the clip.

PIERRE: Yes, that's what he's talking about.

LANZA: Yes, he literally -- what he is saying is you know, fake news is initially you know, bad stories or bad sources or these --

TAPPER: That's how he means it.

LANZA: No, he means -- he means the outrage that the media focus on the particular things that the vast the vast majority of America is not paying attention to but the media says this is what's important. That's fake news.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: We got -- we got to take a break. The Trump Administration today announced a major change undercutting an Obama era policy which environmentalists say could make breathing a little harder. We're going to go into the virtual studio and find out what exactly this policy is next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: In our "EARTH MATTERS" series, the war President Trump has been waging on signature Obama era environmental policies. The most recent a proposal to overturn requiring automakers to build more fuel-efficient cars such as hybrids. Let's bring in CNN's Tom Foreman. And Tom, the Trump administration counts this is a win for drivers and consumers, for people buying cars. How do environmentalists feel about this?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They disagree as you might guess. Look, under the Obama administration, automakers were steered this direction for a combined mile per gallons for light trucks and cars of about 55 miles per gallon. The Trump administration though, they see something different here. They want something more like 36.5 stopping at the 2020 level instead of going to the 2025 level. The bottom line is this is a lot less no matter how you slice it. And more than that, they want to do away with the possibility of any state making a more strict standard out there which California and about a dozen other states have done.

Now why would this matter to them these states do it? Because automakers say look, if they buy so many cars, then that makes us make all cars for the nation this way. So the Trump administration says we want an even playing field, everything uniform across the country, but a lot of states don't agree. We have about 20 already saying they're going to sue for this because their argument is a lot of progress has been made through these kinds of regulations into getting cleaner air across this country and they feel like if you don't keep going that direction, you could be moving back to sort of the bad old days. Jake?

TAPPER: And earlier this week, Tom, we heard more about the Trump Administration in the environment talking about them, taking aim at the Endangered Species Act. What's that about?

FOREMAN: Yes, basically what they're saying is since 1973 when the Endangered Species Act was passed, we've learned an awful lot about it and we could streamline it and make it better right now. Environmentalists though say look, there are a lot of critters out there including all of these that have benefited immensely from that act. And under these new proposed streamlining measures they say that there will be far less consideration of the opinions of scientists and biologists when you're approving things like logging permits and oil and gas exploration on top of which the new provisions would allow for considering the economic impact of protecting these animals. They say that won't be a deciding factor but it would help the public understand it. Still, it's an explosive way of looking at it for many people out there. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Tom Foreman, thank you so much. You follow me on Twitter @JAKETAPPER on Facebook, also we have the show Facebook account and Twitter account. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, still under attack.