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Trump Blasts "Not Smart" Omarosa After She Reveals Tape; FBI Agent Peter Strzok Fired Over Anti-Trump Texts; Dem Congressman Keith Ellison Denies Abusing Ex-Girlfriend; Trump Often Notes Physical Appearance in Tweets About Women. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 13, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Someone who once served as an adviser to the person holding the highest office in the land now being called low life by President of the United States. Talking about former White House staffer Omarosa, is out with another secret recording. This time she captured the President himself on tape. She told NBC the clip is from 2017 right after Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Omarosa, what's going on? I just saw on the news that you're thinking about leaving. What happened?

OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN, FORMER AIDE TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: General Kelly. General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave.

TRUMP: No, nobody even told me about it.


TRUMP: You know they run a big operation, but I didn't know it. I didn't know that. God dammit. I don't love you leaving at all.


BALDWIN: Just yesterday she released a recording of Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her in the situation room -- a room at the White House describes as the nerve center for the President, a processing center for secure communications and a hub of intelligence gathering. So, it is in that room that Omarosa recorded this conversation.


MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Can I ask you a couple of questions, does the President -- is the President aware of what's going on?

JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Let's not go down the road. This is a non-negotiable discussion.

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I don't want to negotiate. I just never had the chance to talk to you General Kelly. So, if this is my departure I would like to at least have an opportunity to understand.

KELLY: We can talk another time. This has to do with some pretty serious integrity violations. So, I'll let it go at that. So, the staff and everyone on the staff works for me, not the President.


BALDWIN: Here's is what the President is saying today on Twitter, quote, wacky Omarosa who got fired three times on "The Apprentice" now got fired for the last time. She never made it. Never will. She begged me for a job. Tears in her eyes. I said OK. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things.

He goes on, Nasty to people, and would constantly miss meetings and work. When General Kelly came on board, he told me she was a loser and nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out if possible, because she only said great things about me until she got fired.

So, let's talk about to Tara Setmayer, CNN's political commentator and former GOP communications director on Capitol Hill. Also, with us, CNN legal analyst, Jack Quinn, who served as White House counsel for President Clinton. Great to have both of you on. Tara, first things first, this is a woman who changes her story every day, every hour. How is she even credible?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, she's not, other than having the tapes. But let me explain something about Omarosa. As a black Republican who's been in around these circles for 20-plus years, it is true that she was reviled. Omarosa was a Democrat. She had no relationships with black Republicans. She had no relationships really with anyone credibly in those political circles. So, when she was brought in on the campaign it riled a lot of people up. Qualified Republicans who had been involved on the front lines of campaigns and the movements for years that were shut out.

Same thing when she went to the White House. She was completely incompetent. She had zero experience to be a special assistant making the maximum amount of money in the White House, no business being here. And the President of the United States hired her. He's calling her wacky. He's going on and on about how she was fired multiple times. Yes, but he hired her multiple times. What does that say about him.

BALDWIN: He's forgetting that part.

SETMAYER: Right, he leaves that part out. So, what is that say about him? What is that say about only the best people? She is part of a litany of unqualified people who were disasters working for the American people brought in by this President that did not know what they were doing. So, in this instance here, I'm not surprised you bring in a snake you are going to get bit. And that's exactly what happened here. And it's unfortunate that we are in this mess. But that's what happens when you bring a reality TV President in. He is going to bring in reality TV trash with him too. BALDWIN: And to make it messier, Jack, you know the White House, the

situation room. Right? If people aren't as familiar, it's like where the famous shot is taken of President Obama and his team as they are watching the Osama bin Laden raid go down. Right? This is supposed to be a highly secure atmosphere. I am a curious from your perspective, what is more incredible? That she manages to bring a cell phone inside the secure situation room and roll on this conversation with chief of staff or the fact that this White House is just so dysfunctional in terms of the personnel situation and security. Which is it?

[15:35:00] JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Do I have to choose between the two? I mean, they are both just -- its breath taking.

BALDWIN: Breath taking.

QUINN: Its breath taking. First of all, everybody who gets to go into a skiff as it's called, the situation room is one where you have got sensitive, compartmented or classified information, and there's a facility there where you put your devices. The reason why you can't bring electronic devices like this cell phone in to a facility like that is because that device can be turned into a transmitter by another foreign power, doubtless an enemy power. And you know, we don't want our enemies being able to eves drop on conversations in a facility like that. So, the fact that she did this was just reckless in the extreme. As you point out --

SETMAYER: Can I say something about that too, really quickly.

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Tara.

SETMAYER: So, I have sources that have told me today that she was bragging about the fact that she had a go-ahead gadget pen that she used to use to record things.

BALDWIN: A go-go gadget pen. As in a pen that records everything.

SETMAYER: Pen, right. That's right. So, I'm hearing that that starting to be reported a bit. And so, people have told me that she bragged about that. So, it may not necessarily be a cell phone. She could have used a pen recording device.

QUINN: It doesn't matter. She's --

SETMAYER: None of it is allowed.

QUINN: -- what kind of device it is Any device that can be a recorder that is a recorder is impermissible. You know, you get to the second point, which is the judgment issue here.


QUINN: And I think, by the way, Tara, I don't think she was a special assistant. The reports I've read is that she had the title assistant to the President. There are only about 20 to 25 people with that title in a White House. SETMAYER: She was sworn in and made the highest amount of money. So

-- she was sworn in.

QUINN: Again, I understand she was an assistant to the President. There are only 20 to 25 people with that title. That is the highest level of White House staff. And you have to wonder, why was she given that senior a position in that White House?

BALDWIN: Wait. To Tara's point from the beginning how was she even hired. Hang on, I want to get onto another point before we run out of time, about the NDAs. Right? So, Trump was tweeting again calling her wacky. Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed non-disclosure agreement. And so, Jack, just back over to you, what kind of NDAs exist at the White House if at all?

QUINN: Well, there aren't NDAs. I mean, one might be required to sign a confidentiality agreement if one is being presented with SCI classified top secret information and promise not to reveal it. That would carry with it criminal penalties if you disclosed it. NDAs are the things of which Donald Trump and Michael Cohen were concerned when we were dealing with these civil lawsuits. And I gather that reportedly again -- I don't know this firsthand -- that people in the White House were asked to sign NDAs that prohibited them from revealing information about the President or his family or his business. And it may be that she and others were required to sign these things. But the fact that he would fall back on someone like her having signed an NDA is just weird in this context.

SETMAYER: It goes beyond that.


QUINN: This is a serious -- this is a serious -- this is a serious security issue, and it is a very serious issue about the judgment of both the President and frankly Chief of Staff Kelly for bringing her into their facility.

BALDWIN: Tara, about 20 seconds.

SETMAYER: About the NDAs, they are not enforceable. There's been numerous legal scholars who have said there are first amendment violations possibly here with NDAs. These people are -- they work for the federal government, they are employees of the government. Their loyalty is to the institution they work for, the constitution, not to the President personally. The ACLU has come out about this. There are whistleblower laws that protect federal government employees from being able to use their first amendment rights. So, any NDA they find has no teeth anyway. And why would anyone need that? Why is that Trump feels so passionate about keeping people silent?

Q? Yes, I agree with that.

BALDWIN: A lot of recording (CROSSTALK)

QUINN: Her first loyalty was supposed to be to the United States.

SETMAYER: Her first loyalty is to herself.

BALDWIN: And not to the president.

QUINN: Bringing that device into the situation room was a violation of that duty.

BALDWIN: Jack Quinn and Tara Setmayer, thank you so much to both of you for that conversation. We will follow up on it.

Also coming up next, the FBI agent who wrote anti-Trump text messages has now been fired. President Trump is celebrating that as Peter Strzok's lawyer says this was outside of FBI protocol.


BALDWIN: Some Republicans think he tried to stop Donald Trump from becoming president. And today were learning FBI special agent Peter Strzok has been fired. Strzok who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with another employee during the 2016 campaign was removed from Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and reassigned within the FBI.

Still President Trump and his Republican allies who tried to use Strzok's involvement on the special counsel's team to discredit the investigation. Strzok's attorney issued a statement and in part it reads.

The decision to fire special agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical bureau practice but also contradicts Director Wray's testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters. This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans.

So, with me now, Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor for the southern district of New York. And I'm just curious because of what we just said with regard to Trump and other Republicans do you think the FBI caved to them or is this simply the result of their investigation?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: There's certainly an appearance that they did something outside the ordinary chain of events. Strzok's attorney makes the argument that this is unusual. The recommendation was a 60-day suspension and the reassignment. And then all of a sudden, they come in with this much more serious remedy of the firing. And you know, there is perhaps a presumption there. We could have some employment litigation coming from Strzok and then that may get into what was the reason for this departure.

BALDWIN: Do you think with the President's tweet -- and I'll just read part of it. Agent Peter Strzok just fired from the FBI finally. Talks about the list of bad players, FBI, DOJ, obviously, throws him into that group. Do you think -- I was talking to Josh Campbell last hour, former FBI, who said that he believes that the way the President is weighing in, may in fact help Strzok's case if he chooses to appeal the firing down the road. Do you agree with that? HONIG: Yes, I do. The gist of Strzok's claim would be I was treated

differently. I was treated outside the normal channels. And it's very unusual to have a President making a statement that strong that publicly. So, whether the President instructed the FBI to do this or just influenced them through his tweet, I think that'll help Strzok if he brings a lawsuit here.

BALDWIN: OK, Elie Honig, apology for the brevity today. But were on a roll, thank you so much. Good to see you.

Coming up next, a shocking allegations of domestic abuse against Congressman Keith Ellison, a Democrat. Hear how he is responding to these claims from his ex-girlfriend.


BALDWIN: Accusations of domestic violence against Democratic Congressman, Keith Ellison, surfacing just days before tomorrow's Minnesota primary. Congressman Ellison running to be the Democratic nominee for Minnesota's Attorney General. Ellison denies these allegations that he dragged an ex-girlfriend from her bed while yelling obscenities at her. Karen Monahan's son says he has proof of the Congressman's alleged violence with texts, tweets and a video of the bad incident.

[15:50:00] Andrew Kaczynski is with me. He is the senior editor and founding member of CNN's K-File and so, Andrew, the son mentions a video. Tell me about the video.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN K-FILE SENIOR EDITOR: So Yes. The son mentioned on Saturday night that his -- he had seen a video on the mother's computer last year of Congressman Ellison allegedly pulling his mother off a bed while yelling expletives at her. We spoke to her probably for I would say, you know, a few hours over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday and today. She basically backed up her son's account. She said that this happened. When we asked to see the video, she said basically that it -- she put it on a flash drive whether the son saw it and misplaced it when she moved.

BALDWIN: And how is the Congressman responding? He's denying. What is he specifically saying?

KACZYNSKI: So, Ellison has denied these allegations. He said there's no video because he would never behave in such a manner. Now she -- he also said that he cared very deeply for the woman, Karen.

BALDWIN: Do you want to read the statement?

KACZYNSKI Yes. He said, Karen and I were in a long-term relationship that ended in 2016. I still care deeply for her well-being. This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way and any characterization otherwise is false.

Now the other thing is that we also -- we did speak to several of her friends who said that she confided this incident, this bed incident, in them. A couple of months after she moved out of Ellison's apartment in late 2016.

BALDWIN: Keep this conversation going. Again, Congressman denies. Andrew Kaczynski, thank you so much doing the digging with K-File. Appreciate it.

Omarosa releasing yet another secret tape from within the White House, including a conversation with the President himself. Might this put her in legal jeopardy? We'll discuss.


BALDWIN: Question. What is it with President Trump and his obsession with women's looks? There is a clear pattern. Prevalent for years. Most recently in this tweet. He called the wife of a Justice Department official beautiful. And when commenting on the FBI workers who exchanged the anti-Trump text messages, he actually described the quote, the lovely Lisa Paige. As "The New York Times" has highlighted the tweets underscores the importance of women's physical appearance for this President but it's not always praised. Remember last summer, he was mocking a TV news host and said that she was quote, bleeding badly from a facelift. During the campaign Trump retweeted a photo comparing Heidi Cruz to Melania Trump. And who could forget this moment. This is a scene in a debate -- it seems feels forever ago, this is 2015.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST "THE LEAD": An interview last week in "Rolling Stone" magazine Donald Trump said the following about you. Quote, Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that? The face of our next President. Mr. Trump later said he was your persona, not your appearance. Please feel free to respond what you think about his persona.

CARLY FIORINA, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think women all over the country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

TRUMP: I think she's got a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman.


BALDWIN: I mean, Gloria Borger -- he said that -- he said that. Like what is with his commenting on women's looks?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look. He has always done that. I remember talking to women who used to work for him at the Trump organization who said that actually if some of them gained weight he would kind of say to them, you know, you look like you put on a few pounds there. And would talk about them this way. And who can forget, it was about a year ago, Brooke, do you remember this? In the oval office. When there was this Irish reporter that the President --

BALDWIN: Of course.

BORGER: -- singled out to talk about. Take a look at this.


TRUMP: I know we have a lot of your Irish press watching this. They're just now leaving the room. Where are you from? Go ahead. Come here. Come here. Where are you from? We have the beautiful Irish press. Where you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am from RT news. Katrina Perry

TRUMP: Katrina Perry. She has a nice smile on her face. So, I bet she treats you well.


BORGER: You know, she even tweeted about it afterwards and she called it bizarre. Which of course it was. And, you know, this is the way the President objectifies women. We know he's talks about his own daughter and about how beautiful she is and it's just -- it's a little bizarre. But he doesn't stop doing it.

BALDWIN: Just -- no he doesn't. And I give Maggie Haberman credit for point out in the "New York Times."

BORGER: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: I just wanted to double down on the call out. Before I let you go -- I've got two more minutes. I want to ask you about tweet today between the President and Ohio Governor John Kasich. So, the President is saying he heard -- this is the Ohio 12th district. So, he said he hurt and Ohio Republican senate's campaign and Kasich responds with this short clip of Vladimir Putin laughing.

BORGER: Right. He didn't say the lovely John Kasich I might say.

BALDWIN: He did not. Handsome, the debonair.

BORGER: Right, these guys don't like each other. I would have to point out that John Kasich's approval rating in the state of Ohio is somewhere above 50 percent and the President's is somewhere in the mid-30s I guess. So, you know, Kasich is pretty popular in his own state and he's been one of the Republicans, quite frankly, who has been forthright and willing to take on Donald Trump on the issues. Maybe that's because he doesn't serve in Congress. Who knows? But he is a governor. And I think that, you know, Trump -- if Trump's candidate doesn't end up winning -- and we haven't called that race -- he wants to have someone to blame it on and that would be John Kasich.

BALDWIN: 30 seconds. Looking into your magic 8 ball -- what do you think Kasich's long-term plan is?

BORGER: Well, I think at some point he's going to run. I think it's clear to me that he wants to run for President. It's not so clear to me that he could ever get nominated in the Republican Party. So, would John Kasich run as an independent? We'll have to see. Who knows? Gloria Borger, thank you so much. Good do see you.

And I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York. Let's go to Washington, D.C. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Brooke.

I mean, Omarosa showed no signs of this kind of behavior whatsoever during her three seasons on "The Apprentice." "THE LEAD" starts right now.

President Trump going off after secret tapes are released again.