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Omarosa Manigault-Newman Stunning claim About President Trump; Suspect Who Took An Empty Plane And Crashed Has Been Identified; Indicted New York Congressman Chris Collins Announced That He Is Suspending His Re-Election Campaign. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 12, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] ZAKARIA: -- for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and thank you for joining me. I'm Ryan Nobles in today for Fredricka Whitfield.

One year after the deadly racist riot broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, Washington is now bracing for dueling protests this afternoon. Right now anti-racism protesters are already gathering, hoping to drown out and outnumber the white nationalist rally set for tonight. They want to send a clear message, hate is not welcome.

The wounds from last year's clash in Charlottesville still remain raw. That's when white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members marched with tiki torches through the streets chanting hateful, offensive messages. The counter protests later turning deadly when a neo-Nazi sympathizer drove a car into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer, who was taking a stand against racism.

Well, Charlottesville was the scene of a memorial service for Heather Heyer. Her mother was among those attending and singing.

Our Kaylee Hartung is in Charlottesville.

Kaylee, what is the scene like there today?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, just a moment ago we started to hear an escalation, some yelling back and forth between members of this community who are very frustrated with the increased law enforcement presence you see this year because they feel that law enforcement failed them a year ago.

There's been such a range of emotions expressed here over the weekend. You see this anger and outrage as members of this community confront police right now. Very strong language. We haven't seen anything escalate to a point of violence, but the words, the rhetoric is strong.

You hear the chants right now. The people of Charlottesville see it as many of them do right now, the fact is, there aren't any white supremacists in this town that they feel they need to be protected from. They're frustrated with this large scale presence of law enforcement who they feel like are infringing on their ability to heal, the tribute that they want to make to Heather Heyer on the day.

I'm standing on 4th Street right now just behind that view you see from our camera. 4th Street being the site of the attack that took Heather Heyer's life and injured dozens more. Just moments ago, Heather Heyer's mom came to this site to pay tribute to her daughter and share the moment with many others who were here on that day.


SUSAN BRO, MOTHER OF WOMAN KILLED IN CHARLOTTESVILLE RIOT: It's tough, but this is the last of the fun part. This is the last of the first. After this, it's all repeat. I'm surviving. I'm survived 142.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Heather were standing here today, what would she be saying?

BRO: Focus on the issues. That's exactly what Heather would say. Quit looking at me, look at the issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Susan, how are you able to be so strong?

BRO: How can you not be? My daughter had a mission, and it's my job to complete that mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you make of the president's comments yesterday?

BRO: Better done a year ago. We'll leave it at that.


HARTUNG: Heather Heyer's mom Susan Bro made the point, we've come a long way but we have a long way to go.

You can see, Ryan, how raw the emotions still are in Charlottesville on a day where so many want to pay tribute to the life of Heather Heyer that was lost a year ago.

NOBLES: All right. Kaylee Hartung live there in Charlottesville where we should point out there are not mass demonstrations from white nationalists at this point, but a huge police presence.

Kaylee, thank you for that report.

Let's now go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's in Freedom Park in Washington, D.C., following the anti-racism protests there.

Brian, it appears people are already gathering. What's the scene like there?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, a really spirited atmosphere here in Freedom Plaza where hundreds of people are gathering. This is a message against hatred, against racism. A lot of people speaking in turn here, singing, chanting. A diverse crowd here. A lot of interesting signs against racism and hatred. Some of the applause here for a speaker. Some of the diversity I can

tell you right here to my right. People have even brought their little kids here. And in about a little over an hour, this crowd is scheduled to march toward Lafayette Square near the White House. That's going to be a real litmus test of how this day is going to unfold, how close is -- are these protesters going to be allowed to get to the white supremacist speakers who are in Lafayette Square.

We're going to walk over here to a gentleman who I've been speaking with. His name is Maurice Cook.

Hi, Maurice. Maurice is with the March for Social Justice -- Racial Justice. Excuse me. He was in Charlottesville last year, right near where Heather Heyer was struck by that car.

Maurice, first of all, talk about what it was like at that moment in Charlottesville last year and how it kind of informed everything that's going on right now.

MAURICE COOK, MARCH FOR RACIAL JUSTICE: Well, when the car came down and crashed into the other cars, into the crowd, we were in shock because we were celebrating because we had run the Klan Nazis out of town.

[14:05:08] And so we were celebrating when the car came down. And I've said often it was like a crescendo of various emotions from each end of the spectrum, clashing together at once. And that's caused me personally a lot of, you know, PTSD and trauma from getting over feeling such elation to such devastation within the matter of seconds.

TODD: A key question, Maurice, is when you get to Lafayette Square, no matter how the close the police allow you guys to get to the white supremacist, how do you plan to engage them? Do you want to confront them close up physically? What do you want to do?

COOK: No, my goal is for all of us to take care of each of us and for us just to be together and celebrating our unity and our love for each other. It has nothing to do with what they're doing on the other side. You know, I just want to make sure that we have the opportunity to demonstrate who we are together by taking care of each other.

TODD: Maurice, thank you very much for talking to us. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Again, a real test is going to come later, guys, when this crowd goes over to Lafayette Square. The police are not saying how close they're going to allow these people to get to the white supremacists. That is going to be a kind of crucial point of the day, to see just how close they're allowed to get and what the dynamic is then when the white supremacists start to speak in about 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right, Brian Todd.

Let's now go straight to CNN's Sara Sidner. She is at Lafayette Park, where this confrontation could happen. The white supremacists scheduled to arrive there in just a few hours. Sara, we've heard from our reporters along the Washington Metro that

several of these white supremacists have boarded a Metro heading in your direction. What is the scene like there right now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I want to give you an idea of just how they're going to -- the police are going to try to keep these groups separated. We're standing in one part of the park. Just behind me you are seeing those who are here who are protesting against the Unite the Right rally. But the White House, to my left there, and if you'll notice, there are police in the middle. That's kind of a no-man zone.

And on the other side where you see those gates and you see the other monument, that is where the Unite the Right rally is supposed to be held. So we're talking about a lot of space in between these two groups. And that is by design.

I do want to talk to you about someone who was at that Unite the Right rally. He was there, he says, as a member of militia. But he's also an imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. We talked to him because you will remember him. His name is Richard Preston. He was the man that shot a gun towards a black protester wielding a torch. And something remarkable has happened with him because of an R&B musician.



SIDNER (voice-over): Richard Preston admitting what he did during the deadly white nationalist Unite the Rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia. That's Preston, yelling the N word, aiming and firing in the direction of a black counter protester wielding a blowtorch.

Preston spoke to CNN for the first time since he pleaded no contest in the case against him.

(On camera): Are you sorry for shooting the gun towards a black man?

PRESTON: No, because I protected --


PRESTON: I was protecting people on the steps. That's all I was doing.

SIDNER: But you did say the N word before you fired that gun. Why?

PRESTON: Can I ask you a question?


PRESTON: If you're standing in a group of 1,000 black folks --

SIDNER: There wasn't 1,000 black folks around you. PRESTON: I can't tell you how many there was. But, OK, a large group

of black people, OK? How do you get one black man's attention in a crowd full of black people?

SIDNER: You say hey, you, with the torch. There's a thousand ways.

PRESTON: I yelled. He didn't care.

SIDNER (voice-over): Preston says he went to protect a confederate statue as a member of a militia, but he also wears another hat.

PRESTON: The heck with all these illegals.

SIDNER: That of an imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan chapter. For years, he's been trying to re-brand the KKK as peaceful do-gooders, not hate-filled racists.

(On camera): Do you hate black people?

PRESTON: No, I have friends that are black.

SIDNER: But you're an imperial wizard of a Ku Klux Klan group. And the Klan has a history of terrorizing black folks. How can you say that?

PRESTON: Some Klans did have a history of terrorizing black folks, but not all Klans did. And I've never terrorized a black person in my life.

SIDNER: Why not join the Kiwanis Club? Why not call it something different? Why the Ku Klux Klan?

PRESTON: OK. Again because I want to see the Klan become what it once was.

SIDNER (voice-over): He references this, the second rising of the Klan, when thousands marched through Washington in 1925.

PRESTON: At that time, that march was about the fact that our country was allowing immigrants to come here, change their names and no documentation. If your name was Schwarzkopf, you could come here and call yourself Schwartz, and nobody cared.

SIDNER: He fails to mention it was also about keeping blacks, Jews and immigrants from rising socially or politically. But he says his plan is different.

PRESTON: It's not about a black man, a white man, a brown man, a red man or a yellow man. It's about a red, white and blue.

SIDNER: Preston still awaiting sentencing in Charlottesville. While he waits, something remarkable is happening because of this man.

[14:10:01] R&B musician Daryl Davis has spent decades engaging with Klan members and challenging their beliefs. He and Preston have talked for years via phone. And suddenly Davis was standing up for Preston in court.

(On camera): What do you say to the judge?

DARYL DAVIS, R&B MUSICIAN: I testified on his behalf. I also paid part of his bail money to get him out.

SIDNER: You paid part of his bail money?

DAVIS: I did.

SIDNER: Is he taking you for a fool? Using you?

DAVIS: No, not at all. Not at all.

SIDNER: How do you know?

DAVIS: Because he and I were already friends. I said, I'm willing to take Mr. Preston and he has agreed to go down to this museum with me and take a tour of it and learn something.

SIDNER (voice-over): He's referring to the National Museum of African-American History.

DAVIS: Seeing what he's going to see there is going to plant a seed. The seed may not blossom today, tomorrow, the next day. But eventually, he'll come out, because the truth never -- can never be squashed.

SIDNER: The two men bonding over history and returning to Davis' home to find another shared passion.

His track record speaks volumes. Davis says 200 of the Klansmen he's befriended over the years have left the group, more than 30 of them with a simple gesture, relinquishing their Klan robes to him.

(On camera): You don't think you'll ever give your robe up?

PRESTON: No, I'll be buried in it. It's already set in stone.

SIDNER: Are you sure?

(Voice-over): But then this happened. Richard Preston who had never been married had Daryl Davis at his Klan wedding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you stand in the presence of God --

SIDNER: This time, it was David giving something away. The bride.

PRESTON: Man, his friendship has been something really special to me.

DAVIS: He wanted me to be a part of this wedding. That's beautiful. That's a seed planted.


SIDNER: So what you're seeing here is Lafayette Park. And we asked Mr. Preston, are you going to come to the next Unite the Right rally since you were there in Charlottesville? And he said absolutely not. He has no respect for the organizers after what happened in Charlottesville.

As for the two men, we asked them both whether they thought that race relations were changing here in this country. And both said they believe that things will get worse before they get better -- Ryan.

NOBLES: Sara Sidner, absolutely incredible story. Thank you for sharing your perspective. And of course we'll be back to you throughout the day as this situation develops in Washington, D.C.

We're going to take a quick break. A stunning claim from former White House aide Omarosa. Hear her secret recording of the moment she was fired and whether she broke any laws.


[14:16:56] NOBLES: And welcome back. We are continuing to follow breaking news. Anti-racism protesters gathering ahead of a white nationalist rally set for tonight in Washington, D.C. This is a live picture from Freedom Plaza, which is not far from the White House. This is the initial gathering of those anti-racism protesters. They plan to make their way over to Lafayette Park, which is directly across from the north lawn of the White House. And that's where the Unite the Right group is planning to meet.

We're told they're already in the Washington metro on their way to the area. So this could turn out to be some sort of a confrontation. Both sides hoping that it is a peaceful protest on both sides.

We, of course, have reporters with both groups and will continue to bring them -- bring you updates as they warrant.

Meanwhile, today is bringing back -- is another backtrack and contradiction, I should say, from the president's legal team. President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani now says the former -- says the president never asked former FBI director James Comey to let the investigation of Michael Flynn go. Comey testified in June that President Trump asked him to drop the investigations of Flynn during a conversation at the White House in February of 2017.

Well, today on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Giuliani told Jake Tapper the president never discussed easing up on the probe of Flynn, and because of the conflicting accounts, the president's legal team is reluctant to allow the president to be interviewed by the special counsel, fearing that it could be a perjury trap.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: There was no conversation about Michael Flynn. The president didn't find out that Comey believed there was until about, I think about I think it was February when it supposedly took place. Memo came out in May. And in between, Comey testified under oath that in no way had he been obstructed at any time. Then all of a sudden in May, he says he felt obstructed, he felt pressured by that comment, you should go easy on Flynn. So we maintain the president didn't say that.


NOBLES: CNN's White House correspondent Boris Sanchez in New Jersey near the president's golf resort where he's staying for his working vacation.

You know, Boris, a lot of raised eyebrows today when Rudy Giuliani talked about this particular topic because it seems to differ from what he said in the past. Am I right?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It certainly does, Ryan. And Giuliani apologized for the confusion, suggesting that he was trying to use a device in legal argument, arguing from the alternative.

Of course the issue with that is that if you watch that interview back in July with ABC News, he doesn't say that. He doesn't make that clear. Instead, he says that the president asked James Comey to give Michael Flynn a break. In fact, he goes on to say that it was something that he was asked to do many times as a prosecutor. He makes the case that it is not obstruction of justice and that James Comey should not have taken that as a directive.

You don't have to take my word for it. There is video. Watch this.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: How is he a good witness for the president if he's saying that the president was asking him, directing him, in his words, to let the Michael Flynn investigation go?

[14:20:03] RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: He didn't direct him to do that. What he said to him was, can you give --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Comey says he took it as direction.

GIULIANI: Well, that's OK. I mean, taken it that way. I mean, by that time he had been fired and he said a lot of other things, some of which have turned out to be untrue.

The reality is, as a prosecutor, I was told that many times. Can you give the man a break? Either by his lawyers, by his relatives, by friends. You take that into consideration. But, you know, that doesn't determine not going forward with it.


SANCHEZ: Now this is not the first time that the president and his legal team have sought to clarify and re-clarify statements, obviously about hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels and other women, about that Trump Tower meeting back in June of 2016.

This is part of the argument that the president's legal team has to not allow him to testify before Robert Mueller. They believe the special counsel is trying to set a perjury trap by asking the president what he told James Comey and ultimately why he fired the former FBI director -- Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Boris Sanchez live with the president near his golf resort in New Jersey. Boris, thanks.

Let's discuss these developments now. Joining me now, CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, of course a former special assistant to Robert Mueller at the Department of Justice.

Michael, I didn't go to law school. That's why I bring you in because you went to law school and you practice law. I want to ask you about this arguing from the alternative, which seems to be Rudy Giuliani's explanation for what appears to be really contradictory statements from when he was on ABC to now.

Is he explaining this legal term correctly and does it explain why it seems to be completely different from what he said a couple months ago?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely not. What Giuliani said in July is diametrically different from what he said today. He said in July the president said, you can give him a break, please, and that's normal, but it wasn't obstruction. Today he said he never said it. Rudy Giuliani is the worst thing the president has going for him from a legal standpoint. He should be fired because he is only hurting the president's case.

In fact, if you look at this dialogue over the last couple of months, Giuliani is sort of exhibit A for why Mueller would want to speak to the president because there continues to be differing accounts of what happened. And Mueller can't reach resolution unless he speaks to the principal, Trump himself because Giuliani is completely inconsistent, in part incoherent.

This notion of arguing in the alternative, he didn't argue in the alternative. The argument in the alternative is, I don't accept this as true, but assuming hypothetically it is true, here's our response to that. He didn't say that. He said, in July this is what the president told Comey about Flynn. In August, he never had that conversation.

NOBLES: And doesn't it further not -- play into this argument that he's making that I remember when he first made this statement, it was a bombshell of news. It took him a long time to come back and try and clear it up, right? I mean, wouldn't that also be an indication that he's not using this arguing from the alternative legal term?

ZELDIN: Exactly. What Giuliani said, the only thing that he said that I have relied on consistently since he arrived on the scene is he doesn't know the law and is getting up to speed on the facts. He still has not gotten up to speed on the facts, and he does not know the law and he's hurting the president.

NOBLES: Now, I want to get back to what you said about how this is perhaps the reason that Robert Mueller is so interested in sitting down with the president because he wants to nail down their version of events. Is that -- would that be what he would attempt to glean the most from sitting and talking with the president face to face?

ZELDIN: Sure. With respect to obstruction of justice, for example, I have said that trying to figure out what was in the president's mind when he fired Comey, a right that he has under the Constitution, is probably off limits. But with respect to other behavior, with respect to others, asking Senator Burr to drop the investigation, asking that the Flynn investigation be dropped, those are classic obstruction of justice acts, which are appropriate to be asked about.

And that's what Mueller is saying to counsel for the president, the real counsel. (INAUDIBLE) and Emmet Flood. This is what we need to resolve, that way I can determine whether anyone did anything legally incorrect.

NOBLES: Right. And then the other point that Giuliani made this morning was that he's so worried about the president getting caught in a perjury trap, as he calls it, but not because he's afraid the president won't tell the truth. But he's essentially making the case that the Department of Justice is dealing with facts that aren't true, that their version of events is wrong.

Is it possible for someone to get caught in a perjury trap if they simply come into an interview and tell the truth?

ZELDIN: No, and let's be clear that we understand what a perjury trap is. A perjury trap is an illegal form of entrapment where I bring a witness into the grand jury or for an interview for the sole purpose of getting them to lie, not to ask them legitimate questions about the underlying matters under investigation. There's no indication whatsoever that Mueller wants to bring the president in for the sole purpose of getting him to lie.

[14:25:05] He wants to ask him about the underlying investigation. If you ask him about the underlying investigation and he tells the truth, he will not be charged with perjury. If there's a conflict between witnesses, I say yes, you say maybe, then prosecutors do every day make determinations about who to believe, whether they believe you or whether they believe me or whether it's too uncertain as to bring a charge at all because it could be that we have an honest disagreement.

NOBLES: Right.

ZELDIN: But it's not worthy of prosecution.

NOBLES: Right. All right, Michael Zeldin, thank you for trying to clear this up for us. Not sure we got there but --

ZELDIN: We're on our way.

NOBLES: That's right.

ZELDIN: Right.

NOBLES: Thank you, Michael Zeldin. Next, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman sharing a

secretly recorded tape, apparently of Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her inside the White House situation room. You'll hear it for yourself, and we'll discuss whether she broke any laws by making that secret recording.


[14:30:25] RYAN NOBLES, CNN HOST: Welcome back. We are following breaking news now.

This is heavy police presence in Charlottesville. There are demonstrators there to mark the one-year anniversary of Heather Heyer's death. You recall she was someone there counter protesting the white nationalists that were in Charlottesville a year ago this week. She was killed after a neo-Nazi sympathizer plowed his car into a crowd of people.

This is a very heavy police protest. There hasn't been a lot of conflicting protests in Charlottesville. But nonetheless, law enforcement there not taking any chances.

Now let's take a live picture of what's happening in Washington, D.C. right now. This is where we are concerned. There could be some conflict between two competing groups that are planning protests today.

This first, the counter protesters at freedom plaza in Washington, D.C. These are protesters that describe themselves as anti-racist protesters. They are planning on making their way to Lafayette Park outside of the White House, where a Unite the Right rally is planned. The Unite the Right are the same group that planned the rally in Charlottesville that turned so ugly. An enormous law enforcement presence in this particular situation. And law enforcement hoping that they can keep these two protesting groups at a safe distance.

We have reporters at all three places and we will continue to update you as the situation warrants.

Meanwhile, former White House aide and "Apprentice" star Omarosa Manigault-Newman with a stunning claim today, telling NBC's Chuck Todd that she was complicit in helping the Trump administration deceive America and then releasing an apparent secret recording of her being fired by the White House chief of staff John Kelly, which took place in the White House situation room. Listen.


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think it's important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be -- you know, you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation, and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.

OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: It's very obvious a threat. He goes on to say that things can get ugly for you. The chief of staff of the United States under the direction of the President of the United States threatening me on damage to my reputation and things getting ugly for me. That's sound like criminal. And if I didn't have these recordings, no one in America would believe me. No one.


NOBLES: All right. Let's discuss this further with former U.S. attorney Harry Litman and CNN political analyst April Ryan, who is the White House correspondent for American urban Radio Network and the author of "Under Fire: reporting from the front lines of the Trump White House."

Harry, let me start with you. First, are there any legal ramifications for this recording for Omarosa? Is she allowed to record the White House chief of staff in the White House situation room?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Wow, is she not allowed. So there's a lot of ugly stuff going on here, Ryan. But I can't emphasize enough, taking a recording device into a so-called SCIT or sensitive compartmentalized information facility, is a mind- blowing violation. I'm trying to think of an analogy for folks. It's a little bit like an ICU in a hospital. Everybody knows before you go in there, you have to put any recording device aside because these are rooms that are outfitted at great expense in order to prevent any kind of eavesdropping. The phone she had in there could have been used to eavesdrop on them. And then in fact, willfully recording in a SCIF is a really -- I have never heard of it before. When you do it negligently, there are repercussions. It's not clear there are criminal repercussions. It's clear she will never work in government again because she will never be able to get a high ops security clearance. And it's just a very serious thing to do for sure.

NOBLES: So Harry, just to be clear, it's not just about what the conversation involved. It's also just the fact that she had a device like that in a room like that.

LITMAN: It's primarily about that. Taking in the device and then recording it. If they were talking about what to have for lunch, it would be a really serious kind of violation. And yes, then we do have the evidence of what Kelly was doing.

And by the way, it's kind of odd that he chose that room to fire her in as well. But these are supposed to be the most sacrosanct, free of any recording devices places in the world.

[14:35:04] NOBLES: All right, April, to that point about John Kelly and his role in all of this, I mean, what does this tell us about the way he is running the inner workings of the White House if he is allowing a conversation like this to be secretly recorded in the situation room?

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Well, let me say this. There are questions about the policies and procedures, protocols, what have you, at the White House at this moment. You know, this revealing of this taped conversation has caused many people to include Congressman Elijah Cummings, who is the minority leader in government oversight and reform committee, say he wants an investigation into this.

And there's another piece - another layer. If this happened with Omarosa, there are tentacles. They are wondering, are other protocols and other people breaking protocols in this White House?

And this also goes back to something else, Ryan. I think about this tape recording that's been released, unveiled or what have you, but I'm also thinking about something that the President said on twitter himself. And you know, we were told Omarosa said when she taped me about a fight that we had last year in the west wing, not far from the oval office where the President could hear us, fussing and fighting, you know, it makes me wonder. When the President went on twitter talking about I hope there's not a tape of this meeting with James Comey, this conversation with he and James Comey, it makes me wonder if there really is a tape.

And Omarosa said after our fight -- and she said it to "the Washington Post." it is documented. She said that's what we do. So the question is, is this common practice? This is a national security issue.

And you know, people think that this is no big deal. But it is because when you have people taking a recording device or a phone into the oval office, into the situation room, into the Roosevelt room, or even into the national security adviser's office or the chief of staff's office, there are secret meetings or information that other people can tap into and take.

So this is a bigger issue than just writing a tell-all book. You know, she edited my tapes. I don't know what she's done with these tapes. But this is a whole -- this is bigger than just a book, a tell-all book. That's all I'm going to say.

NOBLES: Omarosa responded to some of the exact criticism that you are offering up. And she basically said, nobody would believe me if I didn't record these conversations. I mean, does she have a point here?

RYAN: No one believes her anyway.

NOBLES: But we are taking this conversation a little bit more seriously because she has John Kelly on tape, aren't we?

RYAN: Let me say this. The only reason why I'm taking it seriously - I have known Omarosa for 30 years. I don't give credence to anything she says. Every character in this book, in this play, in this reality show has a credibility issue. And yes, she has a tape, but I know for a fact she edited my tape. So who is to say what she did there?

Now, the issue is, she says, you know, her reputation will be damaged. Her reputation was damaged a long time ago. In the Clinton years, they said she had sharp elbows. I knew her then, and I didn't know her as that person. But I started finding out later on. She has a damaged reputation. Her credibility is damaged. People are

saying, oh, this is not a security issue. And everybody is picking on her. This is not about party. This is not about Democrats. This is not about Republicans. This is about the United States of America and someone who had no business being in the White House going in there and using a device and possibly allowing people to hear the wrong kinds of people.

This is a national security issue. This is about the United States of America. It's not about a tell-all back and how many pieces of silver she received for that book.

NOBLES: All right. We have got to leave it there.

April Ryan, Harry Litman, Thank you, both, for offering up your perspectives. We appreciate it.

Well, they have identified the airline employee who stole an empty commercial plane and flew it around before crashing it. We will hear the heartbreaking message from his family just ahead.


[14:43:44] NOBLES: New developments today in the crash of a commercial airliner in Washington, stolen from the cargo area of CTAC. The NTSB has just recovered a portion of the flight data recorder.

Meantime, the family of the man who stole and crashed the commercial airliner says they are stunned and heartbroken. 29-year-old Richard Russell was identified as the airline employee who took off from that airport in the empty plane and was killed an hour later when he crashed it in a remote area south of Seattle.

Officials are now working. And as we mentioned, they have recovered part of that flight data recorder. And they are also attempting to recover his remains.

Our senior national correspondent Kyung Lah joins me now from Washington near the crash site.

Kyung, update us on this new information about the NTSB investigation.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just spoke with the NTSB, the regional chief here. And the NTSB is supporting the FBI. The FBI is the lead agency here, but she says that they have recovered the entire flight data recorder, that it is intact. It has been wrapped, and will now be sent to Washington to have its contents analyzed. They are hoping to learn more clues about what exactly happened aboard this flight, even though there is this extraordinary ATC recording, the conversation between Russell and the flight tower.

But they were not able to recover the cockpit voice recorder, only the base of it was recorded. The top portion is missing. Investigators are no longer from the NTSB on the island. The island is actually about a mile behind me here. And the recovery now is what's going to be taking place. And the way the NTSB described it, Ryan, is that there are these thick

woods. This flight - this plane went through about hundreds of feet of wooded area, and it was essentially smashed to smithereens, except for one portion of the wing, Ryan.

So they are not very optimistic about finding anything further, but they are very pleased that they have found this flight data recorder.

[14:45:43] NOBLES: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you for that report. Appreciate the update.

New York Republican representative Chris Collins suspends his re- election campaign after being indicted on charges related to insider trading.

Up next, we will talk with one of the candidates hoping to win his seat. Stay here.


[14:50:29] NOBLES: Just hours after indicted New York congressman Chris Collins announced that he is suspending his re-election campaign, two Republicans pitch themselves to fill his seat. Collins is facing insider trading charges and up to 150 years in prison if convicted. He is finishing out his term and fighting what he calls meritless charges against him.

Joining me now is one of those Republicans hoping to run for Collins' seat, Stefan Mychajliw. He's the Erie county comptroller.

Stefan, thank you so much for joining me. First, tell me, what was your reaction when you heard about Congressman Collins' decision? I know you've known him for a long time and worked with him. What is your overall assessment of his situation?

STEFAN MYCHAJLIW (R), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: HE did the right thing. It's very sad for Congressman Collins, for his family, and for the district. But he did the right thing, he stepped aside. And now it's a race for that congressional district.

So I have announced my candidacy. I'm a conservative Republican that won three times in a heavily blue Erie County district. I have got the fire in my belly and the fight to take it to the Democrats. I wholeheartedly support President Trump. And I'm going to be his biggest champion on Capitol Hill. While it was sad to see this entire situation for Chris and his family and the district, we are moving forward. We have a great campaign, and I'm confident I can win in November.

NOBLES: You mentioned you are a supporter of President Trump. One of the other Republicans considering a run is Carl Paladino who many probably remember as a one-time GOP candidate for governor in New York. He is also a strong supporter of President Trump. His campaign for governor was very much in the mold of President Trump.

Are you concerned at all, though? Even though this is a Republican district that supported President Trump, are you concerned about running too far to President Trump's right in a district that, as you mentioned, does have significant democratic voters?

MYCHAJLIW: Absolutely not. I double down on my support of President Trump and his conservative policies. As a conservative Republican myself in a very blue county, I support tax cuts. I'm pro-life. I'm a card-carrying member of the NRA. I have a concealed carry permit.

The conservative values of this district are those values of mine. We cannot let this seat go into the democratic fold. Make no mistake, if Democrats win the house, they are going to impeach President Trump on day one. And we cannot let job-killing democrat and liberal extremists take that seat.

NOBLES: I want to play a bit of sound for you for what may be your Democratic opponent, Nate McMurray, talking about the effort that Republicans will have to make in order to get Chris Collins off the ballot and the maneuvering it would require. Take a listen.


NATE MCMURRAY (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: This is shameful. They are going to reach deep into this bag of tricks to try to come up with some strange solution that's not going to fix anything. It's going to make -- it's going to just be more of the same dirty political machine that we have seen over and over that's taking advantage of people here in western New York.


NOBLES: So he's calling the process to replace Congressman Collins on the ballot a dirty political trick. Obviously it's going to take maneuvering. How would you respond to that, and how are you reaching out to Republicans during this process?

MYCHAJLIW: Nate McMurray does not want to run against me. I'm a brawler. I'm a fighter. I won in a blue county three times. I have never had an easy race. I'm going to take the fight straight to him. He's a job killer. He spent his entire professional career taking jobs away from America and exporting them to China and Korea, devastating our community. I have a track record of winning. He is a radical progressive liberal that is totally out of touch with voters in the 27th congressional district.

I go back before again under the leadership of our Erie county Republican chairman (INAUDIBLE). I have won three times in a blue county. I already have a finance committee. We have two CEOs from the Buffalo area and Rochester area that are co-chairs of that. I have secured $100,000 in commitments and fundraising already in 24 hours, and I'm ready to go.

NOBLES: All right. Stefan Mychajliw, I won't make you weigh in on who should be the Buffalo bills starting quarterback. That will be for another day. But we certainly appreciate you being on with us this afternoon.


NOBLES: All right. Great. Thank you, Stefan.

MYCHAJLIW: Thank you.

NOBLES: And we have much more ahead in the NEWSROOM. It all starts right after this quick break.


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