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Manafort Trial Raises on What Happens When Trump Loyalists Flip; Trump Considers Plan to Limit Legal Immigration; Don Lemon Responds to Trump's Hateful Tweets About Him & LeBron James; Serena Williams Opens Up on Postpartum Emotions. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 7, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We're getting some news just in that the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants, essentially punishing those who receive government benefits like welfare. Find out who is behind this policy push.

And as Rick Gates testifies against his former partner, Paul Manafort, is President Trump sitting there watching in real time, following what happens when a loyalist flips and makes a deal with prosecutors and spills everything they know? We'll talk to his biographer about how he may be feeling, next.


BALDWIN: President Trump not the focus of Paul Manafort's on going trial, but it pits two of Trump's former top campaign aides against one another talking about Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. Trial also raises questions about what happens when a Trump loyalist flips, like a Gates or even potentially a Michael Cohen.

Michael D'Antonio is a CNN contributor and author of "The Truth About Trump." He joins me now from New York.

Michael D'Antonio, what do you think Trump is thinking with this trial playing out in that federal courthouse in Virginia, watching Gates, a loyalist of his, flip, cooperate and testify in court?

[14:35:07] MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I'm thinking of a cartoon or a movie where someone is out on the ice and they start to see a crack forming and the crack races towards them or maybe it's a fuse lit on a stick of dynamite. This is all headed for the White House. I think Donald Trump is the ultimate target of all of these investigations, obviously, that's Mueller's intent is to get to the bottom of Russian conspiracies. And one thing that struck me in the recent testimonies is references to the bank of cypress. The owner of the bank of cypress when Manafort and Gates were doing their shady business there was the same Russian oligarch who paid Donald Trump $95 million for a House. And that deal netted Donald Trump 50 million in profit. I think it's too close for comfort for the president to be hearing all of this talk about the Bank of Cypress. And it's too close for comfort for Wilbur Ross, who subsequently gained control of the very same bank.

BALDWIN: Precisely on your point of money, you have this president who is we were talking commercial break has to be following every twist and turn of this trial, he is getting this real-time look at when your accountants, your bookkeepers testify against you.

D'ANTONIO: He is. And I think that it also is probably evoking in the president's mind other proceedings where guys in really expensive suits trek into a federal courthouse, raise their right hand and turn on each other. You know, this is thing that's familiar to anyone who watched movies about the mob or actually followed mob trials in lower Manhattan. There's no honor among these thieves. They're eventually going to turn on each other and cut the best deals for themselves. And if, ultimately, this means that someone like Michael Cohen or perhaps the accountant that was brought into testify in the southern district of New York from the Trump Organization, if they see that they're in great peril, they're going to throw over the president. We saw on Sunday the president himself distancing himself from his own son, saying, I knew nothing about that Trump Tower meeting and, yet, admitting that it had to do with conspiring with Russians. So there's great concern, I'm sure, in the Oval Office. I imagine he's watching us and FOX News simultaneously and seething about this all day long.

BALDWIN: But this whole cast of characters that we're talk about because they've been kicked up in this whole massive investigation, the Paul Manafort trial and Rick Gates being on the stand, we've been talking about Michael Cohen and recently about the Manhattan Madam. These are all people in the Trump orbit, these are people Trump has chosen at some point in time to have by his side.

D'ANTONIO: All the best people know. This is a guy in President Trump who bragged that he knows how to find the best people but suddenly think about how Michael Cohen has been treated in the month since it's been clear that he's been cooperating. He went from being a very fine man in Rudy Giuliani's estimation to Giuliani then condemning him on every network he could get a car to take him to. So this is a terrible prospect for Donald Trump. But it is the chicken coming home to roost. This is a man whose modus operandi for his entire life is to go up to the edge of poverty and go past it when it suited him, and especially if there was money to be made. These are not the kind of people you and I would be comfortable with for more than five minutes, but they're all sort of -- they have the goods of each other.


D'ANTONIO: It reminds me of a massive criminal enterprise where I know your secrets, you know my secrets. We're in this standoff and there might be 50 people engaged in this same process of breaking the law or breaking regulations and then threatening the others to come clean if it's convenient.

[14:39:54] BALDWIN: To go back to end where we began with our cartoon analogy with the crack on the ice or the fuse, we shall see. Mueller, you know, the jury is still out on how close that will get to this president.

Michael D'Antonio, you're always a pleasure. Thank you very much for coming on. D'ANTONIO: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up next here, what CNN is learning about a policy proposal involving White House advisor, Stephen Miller, that would effectively punish legal immigrants already living in this country who received government benefits, and why this proposal, months in the making, is apparently still under review.

And next, it's getting personal. Don Lemon responds directly to President Trump's hateful tweet against himself and LeBron James. You'll hear it next.


[14:45:10] BALDWIN: President Trump's latest battle to curb immigration in this country may create another legal quagmire. CNN learned he is considering a plan that will limit citizenship for legal immigrants. Yes, legal immigrants. That means green card holders who eventually want to become U.S. citizens may never get that chance, and there's a shocking reason why.

Here's Tal Kopan, CNN politics reporter.

And, Tal, why?

TAL KOPAN, CNN POLITICS REPORTER; Well, so, Brooke, there's this law in the books that's been there for some time that allows the government to reject an immigrant that they say may become a public charge or someone who is dependent on the government. For a long time, that's mostly been in referral to sort of what's known as cash benefits. What the Trump administration is trying to do and what Stephen Miller, Trump's close adviser, is really pushing hard to get out the door is a policy that would greatly expand the scope of how that policy is endorsed. And it would be for, as you say, immigrants living in the country who may already have a visa who then want to take that next step, extend that visa, go ahead and get a green card, start that path to citizenship. And it could even a apply to them if their children get U.S. benefits. Programs designed to benefit their children could be used against them when it comes time to renew. It's programs that are pretty wide and may not be what you associate with being below the poverty line. This proposal we've seen some early drafts of would even include subsidies for health care under the Affordable Care Act, which is for people far above the poverty line. It could be wide reaching the way they want to rewrite it.

BALDWIN: So Stephen Miller's idea. Would Congress need to approve this?

KOPAN: The way that this is being done, no. So it's being proposed in the regulatory process. So the Department of Homeland Security worked on a draft of it, sent it to the White House back in March. We're told by sources that the delay has been, in part, because it came fairly ripe for legal challenge. So they've been working with various agencies to revise it a number of times over the past several months. Stephen Miller is reportedly infuriated by the delay, according to my sources, and really wants to get it out the door. Once it's out the door, it will go through the normal regulatory step. So there will be some time for members of the public or interested parties to comment before the agency finalizes it, but after that, it can have the full implemented effect and only a court challenge would be able to stop it or Congress passing some other law on top of it.

BALDWIN: Stay on this for us, please, Tal. thank you so much, in Washington.

My colleague and friend, Don Lemon, responding on TV for the first time since the president's hateful tweet against him and NBA superstar, LeBron James. In case you missed this, the president apparently watching CNN Friday night during Don's interview with LeBron James, who spent millions of his own money to open up this school in Ohio and eventually pay for student's college tuition. James went on to talk politics and said he would never sit down with the president. So, cue the tweets. The president calling Don dumb and suggesting the same about LeBron James. That has the president facing new accusations of racism. So Don responded in part this way:


DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Let us not -- let me not mince words here. This president traffics in racism and is fueled by bullying from keeping children at the border in cages to bullying journalists at every one of his rallies and every chance he gets. President Trump is trying to divide and conquer strategy here. He divides by race and tries to conquer decency by smearing and besmirching the truth and the people who fight to uphold it. I wondered sometimes if he is -- if he will succeed? If President Trump who has his finger on -- he's the one who has the finger on the pulse of this country. Is he revealing who we really are? Think about that. Is this who we really are? The overwhelmingly negative response, though, to his unfair and unkind attack on a good man, LeBron James, shows that America rejects what he is peddling. Most of America, anyway. Not all of America. But what about the impact his policies have on those without a platform through sports like LeBron or through media like me? What about those who don't have a voice? What is his presidency doing to them? The kids separated from their parents at the border, the kids who don't have the chance to attend LeBron's school or any half way decent school? It's parents who can't honestly tell their children to be proud of the president of the United States? The people of color who are attacked by their fellow citizens who feel emboldened to be publicly racist because the president is. Will the country stand up for them? We, the decent and truly patriotic people who really love America and believe in its greatness, have to. Because clearly, Donald Trump won't.


[14:50:33] BALDWIN: We stand with you, Don Lemon.

And please, watch the whole thing. Go to

Coming up, back to our breaking story. Today, President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, reportedly is under investigation for tax fraud. What federal prosecutors in New York are focusing on there.

Next, Serena Williams opening up about a deeply personal issue that so many moms can relate to, her struggles talking about potentially postpartum emotions, how it impacted her game on the court. We will talk to working mom, CNN anchor, Poppy Harlow, next.


[14:55:32] BALDWIN: Serena Williams says, quoting her here, "I felt like I was not a good mom." The tennis superstar is opening up about her postpartum struggles a week after suffering a crushing defeat on the tennis court. In this powerful post on Instagram, the 23-time grand-slam champion wrote in part, "Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff but I was in a funk. Mostly I felt like I was not a good mom. It's totally normal to feel like I'm not doing enough for my baby. We all have been there. I work a lot. I train. And I'm trying to be the best athlete I can be. However, that means although I have been with her everyday of her life, I'm not around as much as I would like to be."

Serena gave birth to her baby daughter last September and she has struggled to bounce back on the tennis court, pulling out of the tournament just this week citing personal reasons.

So with me now to discuss, CNN anchor, mom of two precious children, #balancingact, Poppy Harlow.

So it's a beautiful. I follow Serena on Instagram. He's a stud. He's a bad ass, but she also feels the push pull, too.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Feels the push pull, too, Brooke. I was so struck by this because we don't talk about this enough and that's why I wanted to be it on my show and why I'm so glad to be here with you because we have kids and we want to do it all and you just can't or you can't do it all at the same time but so few of us admit that. Here is this, as I said, my male manager this morning, right, a man we know well, said to me it's so important because she's this rock star woman, so powerful, et cetera, and she's admitting that she can't do it all. She's admitting, I'm dealing with these postpartum emotions and it's normal, and we need to talk about it. And to hear that from a man in power in corporate America is really important.

BALDWIN: Do you have those moments?

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

BALDWIN: I'm not the best mom I should be?

HARLOW: Daily.

BALDWIN: Daily. HARLOW: Every day. Every day I feel like that. I can't have it all

and I can't juggle it all and my husband who you know well said to me last night, he got home from a late work trip and he truly does half, truly as you've seen. He said how are you? I just looked at him almost with tears in my eyes of gratitude but of exhaustion. I just said I'm so tired. And I need to talk about that more. And I have not struggled with postpartum depression, but so many of my friends have, Brooke. We don't talk about it. And we need to embrace each other. And Serena Williams talking about these emotions and it doesn't have to be full blown postpartum diagnosed depression, can be the baby blues, but let's talk about it. Let's embrace each other. Let's have the men in our lives support us like the women. Everyday I go home -- to be here with you, someone has to pick my kid up for school and my doctor's appointment for my son has to be later. But that's the juggle. Let's talk about it and get through this all together and especially women like Serena who are dealing with these emotions. Let's be here for each other. I was so amazed by her.

BALDWIN: I can't appreciate it. I just have a little dog. I can't imagine a tiny human but --

HARLOW: Just don't write that off, because it's friends like you that trek to Brooklyn to be with me.


BALDWIN: I appreciate it.

Speaking of other amazing women, Indra Nooyi.

HARLOW: Yes. I just interviewed her. So she made headlines this week because she's stepping down in the fall. And like Serena, she's been very honest about her -- that whole balance issue, work/life. This is what she said back in 2014.


INDRA NOOYI, CEO, PEPSICO: I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all.

If you ask our daughters, I'm not sure that they will say I've been a good mom. I'm not sure. Stay-at-home mothering was a full-time job. Being a CEO of a company is three full-time jobs rolled into one. How can you do justice to all? You can't.


BALDWIN: OK. So we can't have it all. That is nice to hear her say that out loud.

Can I say what I want more of is more women in high positions at these megacompanies.

HARLOW: Thank you. Thank you. BALDWIN: Because there are fewer than 5 percent in fortune 500 companies where you have women CEOs and the numbers are dwindling. She's being replaced by a man. Why is this happening?

HARLOW: It's happening because we're not paying enough attention to it and attacking the problem. We're talking about it. We're not doing enough. It's on all of us. It's on men. It's on women. It's not just her. Bless her for being so honest about not always being the best mom and not having it all. Brooke, when you look at the five women leading Fortune 500 companies, who just in the past few months have stepped down, from Campbell's Soup --