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Juror Hopes Manafort Not Guilty & Says A Lone Juror Saved Manafort From Conviction on All 18 Counts; Trump Distancing Himself from Cohen Following Guilty Pleas; GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, Wife Plead Not Guilty to Stealing Campaign Funds. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 23, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:33:03] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: For the first time, we are hearing from a juror in the Paul Manafort trial. This juror, a Trump voter, reveals she was hoping Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, would not be guilty but she said the evidence proved otherwise.


PAULA DUNCAN, JUROR IN PAUL MANAFORT TRIAL: I thought that the public, America, needed to know how close this was, and that the evidence was overwhelming. I did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty, but he was. No one's above the law.


CABRERA: Juror Paula Duncan also revealing in the end a lone holdout of the jury saved Paul Manafort from being convicted on all 18 counts. Listen.


DUNCAN: We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail. We laid it out in front of her again and again. And she still said that she had a reasonable doubt, and that's the way the jury worked. We didn't want it to be hung. So we tried for an extended period of time to convince her but, in the end, she held out and that's why we have 10 counts that did not get a verdict.


CABRERA: Joining us now, CNN legal analyst, Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney, and Ashleigh Banfield, host of HLN's "CRIME AND JUSTICE WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD."

Ashleigh, your reaction to Juror Paula Duncan, a Trump voter, saying she was ready to convict Manafort on all counts.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HLN HOST, "CRIME AND JUSTICE WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD": I think we have the same reaction, slack jaw for starters. If I had a dime for every time there was one holdout in a case, I think we'd be sitting here. JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's true. Yes.

BANFIELD: Here's the deal, you look at that and you say, if he's headed to the District of Columbia, where the jury pool is entirely different and not quite as friendly, he is in for a really rough go. A very rough ride considering many of the charges are similar. Yes, there are different ones, but the same kind of fact patterns they're going to lay out. If you're Paul Manafort at this stage, looking at eight to 10 years, there's a whole reason for eight to 10 years, that's the reality --

[14:35:04] JACKSON: Sentencing guidelines.



CABRERA: Even though it could be dozens of years.

BANFIELD: Right now, honestly, you could add them all up. The way the guidelines are formulated in federal sentencing, it's really about eight to 10 years for the New York problem that he just cultivated. He's only 69. So he's got a shot at life afterwards, but in D.C. If you want to add those charges, he doesn't have a shot. So knowing now what they know about the way that jury reacted, I sense that he is thinking long and hard about cutting a deal to get the heck out of D.C.

CABRERA: So that may be what Manafort is thinking.

I'm wondering what Mueller's team is thinking during that, Joey, as they're thinking, you know, we were one juror away from a slam dunk on all counts. What's their big takeaway going into the next trial?

JACKSON: You know, I think the takeaway, first of all, is the jury system works. I'm heartened by what we saw there. Let me just explain why. You have this very diplomatic juror who we saw who I'm sure was very frustrated having listened to all the evidence. You remember they came back out and said give us an instruction on reasonable doubt. That's why we always say you never can read when readback, if it's for everyone or one person, they're trying to convince this person. The fact she's a Trump supporter and said, look, the evidence was overwhelming, establishes to me it worked. It also establishes to me it worked based upon the fact you have one holdout. To Ashleigh's point, if we had a nickel for every one holdout, that's how it works. You have people evaluate things digitally. If you're on Mueller's team, you're knowing we have compelling evidence, and absent this one person, we could have gotten really unanimous as to all 18 counts. So I think it emboldens them, establishes that they're doing what they have to do. They're put to the test in a court of law by defense attorneys who are scrutinizing that evidence and overwhelmingly presenting favorable evidence to these jurors.

CABRERA: She talked about the evidence. It wasn't who testified. It was the paper trail. JACKSON: That's right.

CABRERA: That really is what she said made it obvious to her that this charge was, in fact, a conviction.

But, Ashleigh, the juror also said she wished Manafort had testified and said she wished the defense had done more, had said before. Remember, they didn't put a single witness before the jury. In retrospect, did Manafort's team mess up?

BANFIELD: If I had a nickel for every time a defendant didn't testify, I also wouldn't be sitting here.


I will say this, I don't think that would have helped. That juror gave us an indication about how she felt about the last important witness on the stand, Rick Gates. They tossed it all out. Had no interest in hearing anything Rick Gates said as excruciating as the material was for Manafort. You put Manafort up on the seat and he's facing this ugliness and they're confronted with all of his documents showing he's not particularly honest. I don't think that would have spelled anything better for him than he got.

JACKSON: Yes, Ana, it's true. I think jurors want symmetry. If one person goes, they want to know what the other person has to say. You have to evaluate that. Experienced prosecutors are going to make you look really bad. Remember what this juror said, that he seemed nervous, any witness can seem nervous, he was self-interested because of the deal he cut and as a result of that, day threw it out. That's why the documentary evidence, right, the hardcore evidence that they have, poring over papers and documents and e-mails and text messages and bank accounts and everything else, that's why it's so compelling. It heartens me to know, we don't know the composition, Republican/Democrat of the juror. We about her. She said she knows who she supports. We know this lone juror, with could surmise who they support. They're doing their job. But we also, right, they deliberated for three days, evaluating every single count. I think as a person who does this, you're hearten by what they do.


Civic responsibility.

BANFIELD: The whole thing about the flipping because Rick Gates flipped, right?


BANFIELD: The president tweeted today we shouldn't allow this, this should almost be illegal. That's not part of the process. This is the process. Rick Gates flipping, anybody flipping, it's how the legal system works. If we don't have that, you wouldn't have any convictions anywhere. And guess what, he flipped and they still didn't care. So the justice system worked. That guy flipped. The jury didn't like that he flipped. They discounted what he said. And they still convicted partially. So this whole tweet from the president about outlawing flipping is just balderdash.


CABRERA: Let me remind our viewers that the next trial is on September 17th, when it's scheduled to start --


CABRERA: -- Paul Manafort, in D.C. And according to the reports, the Mueller team has three times the amount of evidence for this next trial that they had in this trial. So we'll see where things go between now and then. It will be very interesting to have the next --


JACKSON: There's something called the pardon. Remember? So maybe he holds out for that.


BANFIELD: A whole other segment.


We're going to talk more about that as we continue.

JACKSON: Look for that.

CABRERA: Ashleigh, Joey, thank you for that tease for our shows. We're going to get there later today. So much to talk about, guys. Good to have you.

BANFIELD: Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you.

[14:39:56] CABRERA: Speaking of flipping, look at these guys. I'll talk to someone who says he knows of a time when the guy on the left, Donald Trump, himself, flipped.


CABRERA: So now that the president's former attorney has pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law, among other charges, the president is down playing their long relationship working together.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, he was a lawyer for me for -- one of many, you know, they always say the lawyer then they like to add the fixer. Well, I don't know if it was a fixer. I don't know where that term came from. But he's been a lawyer for me. Didn't do big deals. Did small deals. Not somebody that was with me that much. You know, they make it sound like I didn't live without him. I understood Michael Cohen very well. Turns out he wasn't a good lawyer, frankly. (END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:45:13] CABRERA: But during the campaign, Trump enlisted Cohen as one of his foot soldiers. He was tasked with defending Trump in media appearances, and showering Trump with praise at rallies.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: I want to tell you about the real Donald Trump, the man who I have been fortunate enough to work for and stand by shoulder to shoulder for a decade.

I'm not so sure that's true. I worked for Mr. Trump now for a long time. Don't throw the punch unless you're prepared to get hit back.

He's friends with everybody. Everybody gets along with Trump --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, "NEW DAY": Until he isn't.

COHEN: Until they do something wrong to him.

As the son of a Holocaust survivor, it's hard to sit back -- actually, it's morally wrong to sit back and do nothing when someone who you know, someone who you hold in great esteem and truly care about, is being so viciously attacked.

In all fairness, who hasn't said something or done something that they regret, simply trying to protect somebody that they care about?


CABRERA: Investigative reporter, David Cay Johnston, joins us now. He's written a few books about Trump, including, "It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America."

David, great to see you.

You know the orbit as well as anyone. Fact check Trump's claim that he wasn't that close with Cohen.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER & AUTHOR: Oh, for 10 years, this was the guy who handled the most sensitive things Donald had to hide. That's why he's the lawyer on the McDougal and Stormy Daniels hush money payments because Donald knew he could trust him to do his dirty work and conceal what he really is like from the public, which is part of Donald's job as a con artist, to fool people into thinking he's a billionaire when he's not, to thinking he's a master businessman when he's not.

CABRERA: David, you write that, "Cohen's guilty plea makes Trump more vulnerable, that it opens the door to state criminal charges for Trump, his company, even his kids." How do you see it?

JOHNSTON: Well, in June, in D.C. Report, the non-profit news organization that i and other people run, we reported that the state of New York and the city -- the Manhattan district attorney, should be conducting criminal investigations of the Trump Foundation because the Trump Foundation was being used as a personal cookie jar for Donald Trump. The reason it's important that we have state criminal investigations, which we now have, by the way, is because Mueller could be shut down. Trump could pardon people on a federal level. But the indictment of criminals done by the state of New York, their conviction and prosecution is entirely separate. And if Donald Trump, in fact, has committed crimes, he should be pursued, just as you or I would be, Ana, if we committed crimes.

CABRERA: And, yet, he is, in his tweets, in his words, suggesting the criminals are not necessarily the bad guys. In fact, he also said flipping should be outlawed, but you actually tell the story that Trump, himself, has flipped?

JOHNSTON: Well, Trump, in the past, when he was caught involved in sales tax cheating, he went to the authorities very quickly and turned in other people. There's reason to believe, but I don't have absolutely perfect evidence, that in two of the four federal grand juries he beat, he ratted out other people. And this is the language of a crime boss. It's not the language of someone who's a public servant.

CABRERA: And that leads me -- you teed up this tweet from Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney of the southern district, when he saw Trump's comments about flipping, he tweeted this, simply, "Mob boss." Your reaction?

JOHNSTON: Well, Donald Trump -- Donald Trump is the third-generation head of a white-collar criminal family. He spent his entire life, which I document in my books, swindling people, cheating people, not paying people. He's been found by judges to have engaged in conspiracies to cheat people. He was tried twice civilly for income tax fraud. Really egregious income tax fraud for which I think he should have been prosecuted. So overall, Ana, it is, I believe, absolutely critical that the state of New York treat Donald Trump like any other citizen. They investigate him, and I'm totally confident they will find evidence of numerous crimes, and he should then be indicted and prosecuted.

CABRERA: We'll see where the trail leads, where the evidence trail leads.

David Cay Johnston, thank you for having us. We'll you back as the story continues to play out.

[14:49:59] Moments ago, protesters chanting "shame on you" as Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife walked out of a California courtroom accused of misusing more than a quarter million dollars in campaign funds. What they said to the judge.

But first, discover the inspiring life and career of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "RBG," a new CNN film, airs September 3rd, at 9:00 p.m., here on CNN. Here's a sneak peek.


RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: My mother died when I was 17. I wish I could have had her longer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, her mother must have been a very steely person because she had cancer a long time and lived trying to get her child through high school.

GINSBURG: She had two lessons that she repeated over and over. Be a lady. And be independent. Be a lady meant don't allow yourself to be overcome by useless emotions like anger. And by independent, she meant it would be fine if you met Prince Charming and lived happily ever after, but be able to fend for yourself.



[14:55:51] CABRERA: This just into the CNN NEWSROOM, one of President Trump's earliest Republican supporters has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of stealing a quarter million dollars in campaign funds.




CABRERA: A crowd of protesters chanting "Shame" as GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter walked out of a courtroom in San Diego a short time ago. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted on charges of using campaign funds to fund their lavish lifestyle. Prosecutors say, for example, they bought clothes in a golf pro shop but claimed they bought golf balls for wounded warriors. The indictment also charges the Hunters with taking vacations in Italy, Hawaii, going on shopping sprees at Costco and Walmart, even buying a plane ticket for their pet rabbit.

The Congressman calls the charges purely political.


REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (R), CALIFORNIA: This is the new Department of Justice. This is the Democrats' arm of law enforcement. That's what's happening right now. It's happening with Trump and it's happening with me. And we're going to fight through it and win when the people get to vote in November, so we'll see.


CABRERA: CNN national reporter, Maeve Reston, she was in Hunter's court appearance today.

Maeve, what happened?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL REPORTER: So, Ana, really big day for the Hunters here in San Diego. As you said, they both pleaded not guilty. They arrived separately, which was interesting since they are charged with conspiring with one another to steal a quarter million dollars in campaign funds to furnish their lavish lifestyle. They both said very little in court today and very little interaction between them, just answering the judge, you know, with a not guilty plea. At one point, the judge asked Duncan Hunter to lawfully transfer his firearms to someone else. So he'll have to do that immediately. And he was given -- he's out on $15,000 bail. His wife got $10,000 bail.

CABRERA: So, first it was Chris Collins who was the first House Republican to endorse Trump, who also was criminally indicted, who decided to suspend his re-election campaign. What does this mean for Hunter's re-election bid? Given he is in a Republican stronghold district where veterans compose nearly 10 percent of eligible voters?

RESTON: Exactly. Right near here in eastern San Diego County, Hunter's district. It is a staunch Republican district, as you said. And CNN has been talking to voters out there. A lot of them are still kind of sifting through this indictment, trying to figure out what to make of the charges and the breathtaking detail in there. But it's really going to be interesting to see whether veterans and defense contractors continue to stand behind Duncan Hunter, who succeed his father in that congressional seat. That's really been the pillar of his campaign support as long as he's been in office. And these are really serious charges. He is, of course, taking a page from the Trump playbook saying that this is all politically motivated, as you saw in that clip right there. And he is defiant as ever. Said he's going to fight the charges and he's excited about the trial ahead -- Ana?

CABRERA: Maeve Reston reporting in San Diego. Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN news breaking.

CABRERA: Hello. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke Baldwin.

Thank you for rolling with me into the top of the hour as we continue our breaking news coverage involving the president and the man he chose to lead the Justice Department.

Here is Attorney General Jeff Sessions just leaving the White House moments ago. He was scheduled to talk prison reform with the president. This face to face happened minutes after Sessions fired back in a war of words with the president responding to Trump bashing him on television.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jeff Sessions, never took control of the Justice Department. And it's sort of an incredible thing. When everybody sees what's going on in the Justice Department -- I always put "justice" now with quotes -- it's a very, very sad day. Jeff Sessions recused himself, which he shouldn't have done, or he should have told me. Even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn't have put him in.