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Trump's Longtime "Fixer" Could Face Charges by Months End; "The New York Times", Asia Argento Paid Settlement to Her Own Accuser; Trump Points Out Border Agents Speaks Perfect English; Jury Deliberated for Third Day in Manafort Trial; Dad and Son Drive through Hell to Escape Wildfire; Woman Falls from Cruise Ship and Treads Water for 10 Hours. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 20, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Meantime, President Trump's longtime attorney and so-called fixer, Michael Cohen, could be the next person in the President's inner circle to face criminal charges. CNN has learned federal prosecutors in New York are preparing criminal charges against Michael Cohen and that announcement could come, could come within days. Cohen is being investigated for possible bank and tax fraud as well as campaign finance violations that stem from alleged six-figure payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. So, with me now CNN national correspondent Brynn Gingras. And Jesse Weber who is an attorney and host on the Law and Crime Network. So, welcome both of you. First let's with your reporting. What do you know?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The clock is ticking. But we've always known the feds were looking into his business practices. What's new really today, if what the "New York Times" is reporting is that he may be facing or tried to gain assets for his taxi companies by lying to lenders and getting up to $20 million in loans. That's a big deal, because that's a lot of money and that could mean a lot of jail time. That's what feds from what we understand are really interested in right now. But we do, as you mentioned, have that campaign finance violation. Which of course could bring in a different story for the Trump administration and his team of lawyers who have been involved in this entire process as well as it moves forward.

BALDWIN: OK, Jesse, so here's the if. If these charges are brought against him by -- are we -- by the end of August -- like what month are we in? We are in August. So, by the end of August, then -- we were talking during the commercial break. You were saying -- because I'm wondering when could he maybe agree to cooperate if they bring charges? Your point being it could be a long time between actually bringing charges and a criminal trial.

JESSE WEBER, HOST, LAW AND CRIME NETWORK: Well, though last we heard he hasn't spoken with prosecutors. There's a longtime frame between right now and the end of August. That can be a time when they start gathering witnesses. I know they wanted to look into Michael Cohen's attorney and have him be subpoenaed for the grand jury. We know there also looking at business associates of Michael Cohen. But that's a long time. Perhaps in that period of time they'll have a conversation with him about what does she really know about the Trump organization, realistically.

BALDWIN: You don't think they are already having those conversations with him.

WEBER: They may.

BALDWIN: Because he hasn't talked to prosecutors.

GINGRAS: Probably wait on that.

WEBER: But even if he hears those charges, doesn't mean he can't take a deal after those charges are brought. Because it's a long period of time between bringing an indictment and an actual trial starting. Now it should be noted that those charges if they're not brought by the end of August they might have to wait because of the midterm elections happening in November.

BALDWIN: Because that's a rule from the Department of Justice.

WEBER: That's correct.

GINGRAS: That's something that came up with the representative Chris Collins. Right? That was a question that was asked by the SDNY. Are you going to influence this November midterms?

BALDWIN: So, if he decides to cooperate, A, what's the first sign that we would know? And B, if he cooperates with SDNY in this case would he then also be cooperating with the special counsel in the Russia investigation. To either of you.

WEBER: Well, he would have to. I mean, the part of an agreement would be he has to cooperate either with the U.S. attorney's office and the Mueller investigation. The thing that I keep looking at is what does he know about the Trump Tower meeting? That's what I am most focused on. Because that seems to be the biggest interesting as we play this chess game. Does he have information that could corroborate whether President Trump knew about that meeting.

BALDWIN: Well, he says he does. But it's his words, but there were other witnesses around him. Right? Which would be key. Go ahead.

GINGRAS: Right and he's just always been putting it out there. That he has information that could help. But that's been the big question circling this whole entire thing is, really is that information going to be useful to the prosecutors, for Mueller and SDNY. So, that really remains the big question is before we even know about a deal. Does he have anything to offer before or after an indictment could possibly come?

BALDWIN: Brynn and Jesse, thank you so much.

Coming up next, one of the most prominent faces of the me-too movement facing allegations of her own. Details on today's "New York Times" report indicating Asia Argento paid a settlement to young man who accused her of sexual assault.


BALDWIN: Prominent leader in the me-too movement has allegedly paid off someone who accused her of sexual assault. "The New York Times" reports it received detailed information alleging actress Asia Argento paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a young actor who claims she sexually assaulted him when he was 17 years old. His name is Jimmy Bennett. He wants played Argento's son in a 2004 film. And here he was with Argento in a 2013 Instagram posted on her page.

Argento came out quite strongly against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein with her own rape allegations. She gave this impassioned me-too speech just this year at the Cannes Film Festival.


ASIA ARGENTO, ACTRESS AND #METO LEADER NOW ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women. For behavior that does not belong in this industry, does not belong in any industry or workplace. You know who you are. But most importantly, we know who you are. And we are not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.


BALDWIN: CNN has reached out to all parties involved and have not heard back. Argento has not responded yet to the "New York Times." With me now CNN's Jean Casarez who's been digging into this. And so, how exactly did the "New York Times" get this information to begin with?

[15:40:00] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very interesting. First of all, we just got a response from the attorney that is representing the alleged victim of sexual assault and sexual abuse, a man, young man still, 22 years old. He says that it's taking time for his client to process all of this. Because it has just come out in the media and he needs 24 hours before he will make a statement.

But it is the "New York Times" that got an embedded e-mail from an anonymous source. It was encrypted. And it gave documentation. They showed that e-mail to sources that were familiar with this case. They said it is authentic. And so, the documentation that the "New York Times" is now publishing is saying that back in 2013 when Asia Argento was actually in that film, when he was portraying her son, that according to this young man, Jimmy Bennett is his name. He was allegedly sexually battered, sexually assaulted by Argento. The years went on, and last October, according to the documentation, when Argento became front and center, because she said that she was raped by Harvey Weinstein. And that is also when the "New Yorker" article came out. His attorney is saying that it was too much for him to bear because he remembered back when he was 17, a minor, what he says happened in the California hotel room.

So, that's when this young man's attorney sent a letter of notice of intent to sue citing intentional infliction of emotional distress. That's when the negotiations began. According to the Times documentation, April is when the final summary order was between the two parties. There was a schedule of payments, $380,000 that she may be in the process of paying right now. And it was stated that it was to help the accuser -- that's how it was termed. But the full details are not published. But we have had no response from Argento. And the "New York Times" reached out to her on Thursday. And they didn't go with the story until just yesterday because they were waiting for response. But no response at this point from her.

BALDWIN: Now the response from the alleged -- the young alleged victim's attorney. And we'll wait to see and hear anymore from him. As we should be listening in the next 24 hours or so. Jean Casarez, will speak again. Thank you so much for bringing that to light.

Justin, as the President honored immigration agents at the White House he just invited one agent up and noted, quoting the President, he speaks perfect English. He will play the exchange for you.

And a father and a son are forced to drive through a raging wildfire at Glacier National Park. Watch their harrowing escape.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Adrian come here. I want to ask you a question. So how did you -- come here. You are not nervous, right? Speaks perfect English. Come here. I want to ask you about that. 78 lives. You saved 78 people. So how did you feel that there were people in that trailer? A lot of trailers around. Please. He didn't know he was going to do this. But it's just of interest.


BALDWIN: That was President Trump moments ago at this event at the White House to honor border patrol agent and ICE officials. Jeremy Diamond is with me now from the White House. And Jeremy Diamond, so this is a man who saved 78 people, and as the President is describing him, says, almost like an aside, speaks perfect English.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, it was an interesting moment during this event during which the President was trying to honor CBP and ICE agents. The President pointed out in particular this man. He named his as Adrian. Didn't say a last name there. And he brought him up to commend him for his actions. But as he was trying to encourage him to come up on stage, he said he is not nervous, right. And then said speaks perfect English. This CBP officer apparently -- appears to be of Latino decent. So, it is interesting to have the President make that kinds of a comment about a U.S. law enforcement officer. Of course, he speaks perfect English. He is a U.S. law enforcement officer of course.

But this is just one moment, of course, in this broader event aimed at honoring ICE and CBP agents. Another notable thing, Brooke, the President referred at least six times to CBP as CBC. Unclear why, but we were able to have a look at the teleprompter. It does appear to have said CBP, the customs and border protection agency. So, that's another notable moment there, Brooke.

But the President did use this event more broadly to honor those two agencies and to push back on criticism coming from some pockets of the Democratic Party who are calling to abolish ICE. The President slamming them for supporting open borders and for even supporting crime in the United States. I think we may also need a fact check on that point as well -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll wait to see if and how the White House explains why it was at all pertinent for the President to mention the man speaks perfect English. Jeremy Diamond, look out for that. Thank you.

Jurors in the Paul Manafort trial now into their third day of deliberations, sifting through all kinds of complicated evidence here of the 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, other charges, despite the tension, Manafort's attorney, Kevin Downing, seeming optimistic on his way into court today.

[15:50:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


REPORTER: How is your client feeling today?

DOWNING: He's feeling really good.


BALDWIN: Feeling really good. With me now Jessica Schneider outside that federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia. And Jessica, we heard that there were two bench conferences with the judge today. What's the word on what that was all about?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: All a big mystery, Brooke. Two bench conferences that were behind closed doors. None of the public was in there. It's a sealed conference. That means that the transcripts will be under seal until after the verdict. These were very short, one of them lasted just seven minutes. And you know, this wasn't completely abnormal during the trial. They had these bench conferences all the time where they might close the courtroom or instead use that static noise machine. So, no one inside the court hears what's happening in the conference between the defense team, the prosecutors and the judge.

But it's not usual to have these sort of bench conferences during the verdict, the deliberation process. It's not the verdict -- the deliberation process, not the verdict, the deliberation process. So, we're very unsure exactly what it was about. And we will not learn what it was about until after a verdict comes in. And speaking of which, we're going into hour seven now of jury deliberations today. And, Brooke, we haven't heard a peep since they started to deliberate at 9:35 this morning on day three here.

BALDWIN: And so, we continue to wait. Jessica Schneider, and we know you're there. Thank you so much on the Paul Manafort trial.

Coming up next, have you heard about this woman that falls off a cruise ship and somehow manages to tread water for ten hours before she's rescued? Hear her survival story, next.


BALDWIN: A mother who hadn't seen her son in 68 years reunited with him today in an emotional scene in North Korea. She told CNN she cried for a year after they were separated back in 1950. He was just 4 years old then. He's now 72 and also hadn't seen his sister since she was one. Similar scenes like this played out around the room after dozens of South Korean families were allowed to cross the DMZ to finally see and hug and hold their loved ones. More than 57,000 people were hoping to take part. Only 93 families were selected. The reunions, the first in the last couple of years, are the result of a summit agreement signed earlier this year by Presidents Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un.

To Montana where if ever a frightening moment was caught on tape, this is it.


JUSTIN BILTON'S FATHER: Can't see. Just go easy now. Easy.

JUSTIN BILTON: Dad, the car's heating up. Its's going to explode.


BALDWIN: You are witnessing what Justin Bilton and his 70-year-old father saw out their windshield as they tried to escape this raging wildfire in Glacier National Park. Apparently, their escape started calmly enough. Some flames, mostly smoke, making it tough to see. Did not stay calm for very long, though. I want you to listen as the father and son tried to outrun the fire.


BILTON: Oh my God.

BILTON'S FATHER: We're good. Slow down. Slow down.

BILTON: Dad, no.

BILTON'S FATHER: Yes. We're out.

BILTON: We're not out.

BILTON'S FATHER: Well, we're good, though.

BILTON: What? Dad.

BILTON'S FATHER: Easy, easy, easy.

BILTON: Oh my God. BILTON'S FATHER: Keep going. Go, go. Easy, easy. Easy. Easy. You

can't see .Just go easy now, easy.

BILTON: Dad, the car's heating up its going to explode.

BILTON'S FATHER: We're all right.

BILTON: Jesus, God, help us.

BILTON'S FATHER: We're all right. Slow it down. Slow it down so we can see.

BILTON: What if a tree falls on us? Please, God, help us.

BILTON'S FATHER: You're doing good.

BILTON: Oh my god.

BILTON'S FATHER: Oh [ bleep ].

BILTON: Dad, we can't get out!

BILTON'S FATHER: I'm getting out. You can't drive -- we get out of the road. We got gloves.

BILTON: Stop, stop. Dad, don't get out of here.


BALDWIN: Justin and his dad made it out safely. Their car though did not.

And a British woman is back on dry ground after falling -- somehow crawling from this cruise ship and spending ten hours treading water in total darkness. The woman said she fell off the back of the Norwegian Star cruise liner into the Adriatic Sea. And she says she sang out loud to stay awake. CNN's Bianca Nobilo has more on how this all happened -- Bianca.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke, the cruise ship passenger who spent ten hours in the water has been causing a sensation in the British and European press. Kay Longstaff is the name of the 46-year-old British woman -- who now lives in Spain -- who was found after ten hours at sea by the Croatian Coast Guard. Kay is an air hostess and her high levels of fitness and her passion for yoga have been lauded as the reasons that she was able to survive those ten hours in the water relatively unscathed.

We know that Kay fell off the back of the deck of the Norwegian cruise ship at 11:45 p.m. local time. It then took two hours before the captain of that cruise ship was alerted to the fact that a passenger had fallen overboard. At that point, a search and rescue mission was launched and the cruise ship took part in that mission throughout its entirety as well as many other vessels. This is what the doctor who attended to Kay said about the state she found her in.


[16:00:00] DR. IRENA HRISTIC, PULA HOSPITAL DIRECTOR: There's a medical condition. She's very healthy woman and probably that's only reason why she survived after ten hours to be in a Croatian Sea and maybe the sea is too warm. So, she doesn't have any, any frozen parts of her body.


BALDWIN: Incredible. Ten hours. Bianca, thank you. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.