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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Touts Ohio Victory but Race Still Too Close to Call; Defense Asks Rick Gates If He Had 4 Affairs, Admits to 1; Congressman Arrested for Insider Trading Expected in Court Today; Sen. Rand Paul Delivered Letter from Trump to Putin; Theme of September Magazine Covers: Women of Color. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 8, 2018 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00] ERICK ERICKSON, CONVERSATIVE BLOGGER & RADIO HOST: -- And because of gerrymandering and some institutional concerns that race -- congressional districts Hillary Clinton did not win that she should have, Republicans could neutralize some of the Democratic wave. It may not be as big as they want, but they only need 23, 24 seats to do it, and that's very possible.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: How do you explain how tight these races are?

ERICKSON: Because they are traditional areas -- for example, Ohio 12 or Georgia six, last year, they are very Republican areas traditionally, but in special elections, turnout is always down and Democrats are way more mobilized than Republicans.

BALDWIN: OK. On the Democratic side, let me ask you about them, just from your Republican perspective, because the far-left progressive candidates, you know, the Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing, they lost big last night, which means Republican candidates will go up against more established Democrats come November.

ERICKSON: That's bad for Republicans.

BALDWIN: That's bad for Republicans. Why do you think, though, that that wing of the Democratic Party isn't catching on?

ERICKSON: Well, you know, when the Republicans were battling the Tea Party activists in 2010 against the conservatives, they are running in areas and in states that tended to be more conservative already. The progressives who are doing this, they're trying to battle in heartland states that aren't necessarily as progressive as California or New York where they would have better success. They need to do a better job, the progressive wing the Democrats do, of matching up their territories. They've really got into their head that more people agree with them. In certain areas of country, yes, but not in these areas.

BALDWIN: OK. Last question, I just got to ask, I want you to finish my sentence, Erick Erickson, the future of Congressman Chris Collins is --

ERICKSON: In the clink, I hope. (LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Clink.

Erick Erickson, thank you so much.

He'll be arraigned at some point this hour. We'll take it live.

Thank you so much.

ERICKSON: Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: We'll be in Manhattan at that federal courthouse. Live pictures there. We'll take that as soon as that happens.

Also ahead, the Paul Manafort trial turning deeply personal. Defense lawyers accusing Manafort's former deputy, Rick Gates, of having multiple extramarital affairs, wrapping up a dramatic three days of testimony. We'll take you live there coming up, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:35:57] BALDWIN: Former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, on trial. A major theme emerging today about the prosecution's key witness, Rick Gates, is an experienced cheater. By his own admission, Gates cheated on his wife, cheated his ex-boss, Paul Manafort, out of money, and cheated on his taxes.

Let's go straight to our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns, outside that federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

And so, Manafort's defense team really hammering away at the credibility of Rick Gates.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, very much so. And you know, you talk about cheating. There's actually a question during the cross-examination, Brooke, about whether or not this guy actually cheated on his wife four times, instead of once, but the judge didn't allow that in. So what does all that have to do with overseas bank accounts? It really does go to the credibility, whether Gates, for example, spoke truthfully when he was talking to the special counsel's office and when he was getting his plea agreement deal.

Gates did get an opportunity, in fact, to address that question of credibility. He was asked about it by defense counsel. We have a graphic of that exchange -- if you guys just put it up. "After all the lies you told and fraud you've committed, you expect this jury to believe you?" He says, "Yes, I made a decision to tell the truth. Manafort had the same path. I'm here. So that's that."

He's off the stand now. Couple FBI agents right now. There's a Morgan, who is a forensic specialist with the FBI, really going through chapter and verse all the big purchases that Manafort made, including there's been so much talk about the jacket made of python, the jacket made of ostrich, and they traced that. They traced payments over a million dollars to Allen Couture out on the west coast.

And they also traced the bank accounts, the overseas bank accounts at the center of this case. They found 31 of them. They had the name of Gates or had the name of Manafort. For Konstantin Kilimnik, another guy who is a political consultant, also suspected of having ties to Russian intelligence.

And they were able to find Manafort in the files because, when one of these accounts got opened, they would take a copy of his passport and make a copy of that. So, that's how they were able to trace Manafort, because his name wasn't supposed to be on the bank accounts.

Brooke, back to you.

BALDWIN: Keep following every twist and turn for us, Joe Johns. Thank you so much.

Back to our breaking news, sitting Congressman Chris Collins about to be arraigned on insider trading charges. And he wasn't the only one facing a judge this afternoon. We'll take you there live.

Also, hand delivered from Washington to Moscow, Senator Rand Paul revealing he personally delivered a letter from President Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And what we want to know is, what was said in that letter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:43:25] BALDWIN: New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins is set to appear any moment before a federal judge in a Manhattan courtroom. The Congressman, along with his son and one other man, are being arraigned on insider trading charges today. Collins has been accused of providing his son with key information about a failed drug trial before the results were publicly released.

Brynn Gingras is our CNN national correspondent outside that federal courthouse.

Any sign of him yet, Brynn?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No sign of them just yet, Brooke, but we know this was set to happen at 2:30. Very likely that all three men are in front of judge right now. Again, that is the Congressman Chris Collins, his 25-year-old son, Cameron, and Cameron's soon to be father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky. They are facing 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and lying to the FBI.

I know you've been talking about this throughout the entire show, but we were at a news conference with the U.S. attorney's office prior to this court appearance, and really they focused on the crux of the timeline that you have displayed so well for your viewers. That is that the congressman received an e-mail at that 2017 White House congressional picnic saying that a stock that he was heavily invested in, served on the board for, was failing a clinical trial. And then a series of phone calls he made to his 25-year-old son, Cameron, about that stock ahead of the news going public that this drug, which this business relied on, was going to fail that trial. And then the series of events that happened after that with Cameron notifying his fiance, her family members, including her father, who is in court right now, as well as other family members, friends, even a financial advisor. Really, that was the crux of that news conference. I'm sure it's going to be mentioned again when this court appearance happens any moment.

[14:45:08] One more thing I want to touch upon, Brooke, because you brought it up earlier with your panel, that was this discussion of all these family members having some sort of stake in this stock and selling it off or at least being accused of doing so. We know the SEC has moved forward with trying to suspend the practice of Lauren Zarsky, Cameron's fiance. She's a certified public accountant. According to the SEC, they want to suspend her practice for five years. She and her mother allegedly are going to agree to pay back some penalties. The SEC also making movement on the congressman from serving as director of public company and preventing him from trading penny stocks.

You mentioned with your panel, is this family turning on family? We asked that question to the U.S. attorney, and he wouldn't make a comment on that. But certainly, that is raising some eyebrows right now.

BALDWIN: Worst betrayal of all, so said one lawyer.

Brynn, thank you. As you get eyes on the congressman and son and soon-to-be father-in-law, we'll come back.

Brynn, thank you so much, in downtown Manhattan.

The other big story, Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, delivers this counteroffer to the Robert Mueller team, at least according to Rudy Giuliani, right? He's responding to Mueller's request for this interview with the president. He now says -- he, being Giuliani -- that they are open to questions about obstruction under certain conditions.

And next, have you seen what's happening on all these magazine covers? What is the common theme? Women of color. Let's talk about that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:51:22] BALDWIN: Quite the revelation from Republican Senator Rand Paul today. During his trip to Moscow, he has delivered this letter, we've learned, from President Trump to Vladimir Putin.

So, Manu Raju is our senior congressional correspondent and he has the scoop.

Manu, why did he do this and what was in the letter?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've been told that there have been discussions going on for some time between Trump personally and Paul as well. They've had talked on the phone. They've had meetings where they discussed Paul's trip to Russia. Trump and him discussing this in the Oval Office. This, of course, coming after the Helsinki summit. Rand Paul was one of the few Republicans not to criticize the president's handling of that summit.

Rand Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, taking this trip to Russia to meet with Russian officials. And announcing on Twitter that he hand-delivered this note saying in a tweet that the letter from Trump to Putin emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas, including counterterrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue, and resuming cultural exchanges. Now, I'm told that he had gotten that letter before he left from Washington to Moscow.

But after this tweet and after the reports of Paul doing this, the White House responded and gave a little different interpretation of exactly what happened, said that, "At Senator Paul's request, President Trump provided a letter of introduction. In that letter, the president mentioned topic of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin."

And that came from a White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, on the record. So it appears that the president -- Rand Paul wanted to discuss, according to the White House, with Vladimir Putin some of these areas of interest to the White House, which is one reason why the president and Rand Paul had discussed what these meetings would be like for days after the Helsinki summit.

The question is, exactly what he said in any of these private meetings with other Russian officials, what else was said in that letter, and what was said in that first meeting between Trump and Putin. Still a big question about what exactly was discussed in that two-hour private meeting that they had last month.

BALDWIN: Sure some of his intel chiefs would like to know as well.

Manu Raju, thank you so much.

And now to this. Anyone and everyone who pours over fashion magazines knows that this September issue is a big deal. And lately, who is on the cover is an even bigger deal. On this year's September "Vogue," Beyonce gets the spotlight. And inside, she details why gracing the September cover is so important to her as a black woman. She is, by far, not the only African-American woman grabbing September covers. Actresses Tracee Ellis Ross on "El Canada." Tiffany Haddish on "Glamour." Zendaya on "Marie Claire." Rihanna on "British Vogue." The first time a black woman has been on its September cover, a decision made by the magazine's first black editor-in-chief.

So, I wanted to talk about this today. Nischelle Turner is with us, CNN contributor and host of "Entertainment Tonight." And Michaela Angela Davis, culture critic and writer.

So, ladies, thank you for being on with me.

Michaela Angela Davis, just first to you.

This is major.

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CULTURAL CRITIC & WRITER: Yes.

BALDWIN: Tell me why.

DAVIS: I just got happy when you were reading off the names. Was that happening to you, too? I was getting really -- so, about 25 years ago, a great fashion editor named Poly Mellon (ph) said to me over lunch, "You know the day of the great white wasp is almost over, darling." She was 25 years too late. But what this is saying is that September issue is not only when all the trends come out but it's when the business makes its biggest bet, right? So you sell your most advertising. You sell your most issues. So saying that you are placing your biggest bet on black girl magic is major. This is the Superbowl of fashion. And "Vogue" is very particular because not only was Edward the first fashion director at "British Vogue" but Beyonce requested vogue's first black fashion --

(CROSSTALK)

[14:55:46] BALDWIN: Tyler Mitchell, 23 years of age --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: -- the first they've ever done this in the magazine's 126- year history.

DAVIS: Yes, 126 years. That struck me. I thought maybe Gordon Parks. We've had these major fashion photographers of note and it wasn't until this moment that Beyonce had agency. So this is also really incredibly important because most people fall at the feet of "Vogue." And what Beyonce is saying, like she said at Coachella, she doesn't need "Vogue." So she gets to have agency at the institution. So this is significant because of the business and also because of the agency that the woman had on the cover. So there's so many -- there's a plethora of reasons to be excited about this.

BALDWIN: Nischelle, it's Tiffany Haddish, Rihanna --

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You're making me happy.

DAVIS: Yes.

BALDWIN: She's on another cover for September. I mean.

TURNER: Yes. Yes.

BALDWIN: And I know that these magazines were highlighting, because these are specifically magazines that don't traditionally have women of color gracing the covers.

TURNER: Yes, it's true. And just on what Michaela Angela Davis was saying -- is my woman crush Wednesday. I'm so happy to be on with her today.

BALDWIN: Yes, get in line. TURNER: Beyonce, she outlined in her interview with "Vogue," one of

the things that she was told 21 years ago when she got in the business that it was going to be hard for her to get these covers because the narrative in this business and in this industry for so long has been black women don't sell. Whether it's on magazine covers, whether it's opening movies, leading television shows, it's hard for black women to sell. That's what we've all heard for so long.

BALDWIN: This is the first September issue.

TURNER: Yes. That's why this also makes this so historic. The former editor of "British Vogue," in an interview last year with "The Guardian," she laid it out. She put it out there bare. She said the reason why there hasn't been but eight black women on the cover of "British Vogue" in my 25-year reign is because I have to put people on who are instantly recognizable. What happens if you put someone on that's not instantly recognizable? So what she was saying was, we don't know you in this industry. And that is what makes this all the more historic.

DAVIS: But also that's a signify to they're off the pulse.

BALDWIN: Yes.

DAVIS: The coolest girls in the world are the black girls.

TURNER: Rihanna.

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIS: Rihanna, Beyonce. Who runs the world? So for them, it is about their bottom line now, because if the hottest girls in the world happen to be women of color -- they're not in the business of loving black girls. Let's be clear. They're in the business of --

BALDWIN: Of selling magazines. Yes.

DAVIS: Right. So this isn't just, you know a diversity moment. This is clear where the business is going.

BALDWIN: Let me add a layer to this conversation, though, because I want to give love to Lisa France, who wrote this whole piece up for CNN.com, who recognized this.

BALDWIN: My friend.

BALDWIN: Love to Lisa France. And she wrote in her article, "The importance of representation is, of course, not a new discussion in communities of color, but the abundance of these covers at a time when the United States feels to many more divided over issues of race has been cause for even more celebration."

TURNER: Absolutely.

DAVIS: You know what's also really significant on the two vogue covers is the floral crowns, right? TURNER: Yes.

DAVIS: So you see beautiful flowers. We see crowns. We see afros. There are cultural things that are not from a Eurocentric lens that is being displayed. And so maybe some of these editors will now see a new way of seeing beauty.

BALDWIN: Yes.

DAVIS: So we get to celebrate, but also it gets to expand the business and the industry. So you must get bored at blonde all the time, too? It's boring if you're into aesthetics and beauty and fashion.

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIS: Everyone benefits when you see Tiffany and Zendaya and Tracee Ellis Ross makes me happy.

(CROSSTALK)

TURNER: Yes.

BALDWIN: Thank you for -- Michelle and Michaela Angela Davis, thank you for having this moment with me on TV. It's important to highlight.

TURNER: Thanks, Brooke. We love you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Let's continue on, please.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

[15:00:10] BALDWIN: Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.