President Trump and Brazilian President meet amid ongoing unrest in Venezuela

Michael Cohen's warrants released, Trump Hotel at the center of emoluments case, projects on chopping block due to wall funding and the 2020 presidential race heats up with candidates on the ground.
28:55 | 03/19/19

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Transcript for President Trump and Brazilian President meet amid ongoing unrest in Venezuela
Welcome to the briefing him on Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with us on this Tuesday a lot of ground covering the president. Well the press conference for Klein political director great to have you here. It's sort of become an uncommon occurrence these days the president taking questions and a formal setting he takes shouted questions are not against god took two adult content thank you. Rob and so the locked to unpack their of course we also want to get to some Tony Tony news. Down line as well let's start at the White House were torn Phelps was in the Rose Garden for the press conference this afternoon. And Jordan the president was host Jeanne somebody's been known as the trump of the tropics at president Gerald Allston RO. A Brazil and they certainly have a lot in common and they talked today about one big issue in particular that was the crisis. In Venezuela would Wheeler. Yet DeVon the Rose Garden press conference really focused on Venezuela the president didn't have to take on any of those questions on a lot of the music days issue. News of day issues pressing him back at home but on Venezuela and the president I said as he has been saying all along that all options remain on the table. I think he hinted that perhaps the United States will get tougher on sanctions against Venezuela saying they haven't done the toughest yet. I and that something he might deal now DeVon this has banned this issue has been. One if president comes home mark foreign policy issues. I am one of the reporters asked the president if he's growing a little frustrated at the lack of progress they are so far. I not a direct. Question from that not a correct answer from the president there but DeVon certainly he hasn't really moved the needle forward. On this issue in any major way Montero is still in power. He sure as usual the president had to say about the fact that nickel last major row. Hasn't budged one bit Nicholas. I'm not being told any specific time. They've been there a long time to in him and his predecessor. At some point I would imagine that things will change. But we really haven't done the really tough sanctions yet we can do the tough sanctions and all options are open so we may be doing that. But we haven't done the tough just to sanctions as you know we've done. I would say yeah right down the middle. But we go a lot tougher if we need to do that. And if there is one thing Jordan Phelps that seem to make his guest I'm comfortable with this. Prospect of US military intervention in Venezuela. And you heard on their say all options are on the table any indication that he's any closer to sending US troops down there. No data no indication there are really hearing the same thing we've heard all along and the president on that score. All right let's bring Rick Klein and the conversation here because the president. Shifting away from substance a little bit Rick past 24 hours or so in coming out swinging against two. Sort of familiar foes but senator had scratches as to why he's picking these fights now so what does John McCain fight that perk related over the weekend he continued today. What's your read on one. Why he's going back to the McCain punching bag right now as it. The struck the base for the person licensees a counter puncher we can safely say that McCain didn't start this one he passed away seven months and that's what makes this so strange so best we can tell it was almost a throwaway comment from a gas on and on a cable news program talking about John McCain that got him fired up. And he sees a reaction and must continue to hit that in finally saying today that he's just not a fan. Never has been a fan liberal will be a fan I think we get that now yeah I and I think it's this is such a strange being you obviously a man was an American hero. Revered for his service of the country's service and war the president has lots of political disagreements with him is upset still by his health care vote of -- by other actions and and comments after the fact we remember his funeral and they have to send off that gave the team a repudiation of trump isn't all that would seem to be the in the past for everyone other than president trump cat who still has a fixation on Dominic. It seems so unnecessary referred Megan McCain his daughter on the view it here on ABC. I talk about that is the idea oddity of bringing this up in the president today was asked again why are you going. Back after John McCain seemingly on prompted here's what he had to say in the Oval Office pickled. I'm very unhappy that he didn't repeal and replace. Obamacare is you know he campaigned on repealing and a place for replacing obamacare for years. And then it got to a vote and he said thumbs down and our country would have saved the trillion dollars that we would have had great health care. So he campaigned he told us. Hours before that he was going to repeal and replace and then for some reason I think I understand the reason. He end up going thumbs up and frankly had we even known that I think we would have got the book as we could get somebody else. So I did I think that's disgraceful. Plus there are other things it was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be. To Jordan he and president has a history of sir Eugene. Strongman has served diversions from mother. Unsavory topics in the news this. What's your read out why he's attacking McCain now. Yet have and it's just remarkable and if this was a diversionary tactic tweeting about John McCain this weekend as as he did. There were a lot of diversions the president sent over fifty tweets this weekend alone which is prolific even by Trump's standards. But it looks like stabbing here the president just can't let this gripes go the president there in that Oval Office sent there are other things. I think other things the president's referring to there's what who's tweeting about this weekend. He's accused McCain of trying to spread that salacious steel dossier. Before the election but DeVon we know that's not accurate because McCain. Did it get access to that dossier in town after the election. So much so much of the politics. Today over there in the west wing seemingly petty Rick. Not just attacking John McCain but also going after the husband. Of his close personal advisor Kellyanne Conway where they have been engaged in this really extraordinary. Public feud on Twitter president trump. Hitting back at George Conway Kellyanne Connolly husband we see a picture room there hoops has repeatedly questioned. Present terms fitness for office this is this just seems to try published to meet or even talking about this but the president has elevated this issue. This is different than a James Carville Mary Matalin and you know kind of good natured were on different teams here he writes in George Conway has consistently use the president's own wars the say. Wake up people wake up congress wake up Republicans he is a Republican a well known Republican lawyers say he is not that that for the office of the presidency. A mentally fit even he'll although so far saying some the president swinging back all of this as you can expect. It is just the strangest set of circumstances when hit. When his wife is out there speaking on behalf of this White House in. In often viewed very dramatic and and in very substantial way he's trying to defend the president's actions have her husband saying this. And then George Conway giving interviews the Washington Post trying to explain a little bit. This bizarre relationship that's behind dispute it solves. Her agent Jordan before we let you go you caught up with Kellyanne Conway Astor about this. What she had to say when when you asked her why the president's calling her husband a loser. He had DeVon I had a chance to ask her yesterday if she shares these views that her husband is expressing on Twitter. And she thinks she does not share his concerns. DeVon but it is interesting as Rick alluded to that interview in the Washington Post now to say it to see Doris Connolly has taking as dirty laundry. Out into the public insisting. He is part of his wife but haven't also at the same kind taking credit in part for where she is today snow just a really embarrassing story for. This couple really have this blast out in the public but they have put it there. And so childish as you've been saying we should say for the record we've asked the first lady's office if she has an opinion on this public feud in the name calling by between George Herman president might differ. Be best initiative being. Haven't responded to us just yet but we'll let you know when under Jordan Phelps thank you so much at the White House appreciate your reporting now moving on now Rick we're learning some new details today. Into special counsel Robert Mueller is probe these unsealed. Warrants search warrants in the case of Michael call. Yeah a lot we still don't know but it the most important headline I think on this is just the timeline to know that Mueller. I had access to the DD calling even else. More than a year I believed before the raid bits of that burst everything into public view. It and in the justice suggestion that they're going further with prosecutors in the southern district and with the Muller pro. Then we even knew before they were interest in Cohen from verio. None of the first things Bob Mueller did after he was appointed two months in fact. After he was appointed he went into get a search warrant to look into Michael Collins emails of course Michael Cohen at the center. Of the trump world this is personal attorney for so many years our investigative reporter Erika tersely. Has been covering this case from the beginning Aron joins us from New York air and what what's your take. On all these documents that were unsealed today what it what do you make of them. I think the timeline that you point out is is the big one that that Robert Mueller had barely been on the job a special counsel to months. And he's already routing around in the email accounts of of Michael Cohen. And what's in there that he finds plenty of evidence according to the search warrant affidavits unsealed today under court order. About different kinds of financial crimes bank fraud and perjury and lying to congress and I'll also evidence of potential lobbying violations because. We know that Michael Cohen was shopping his access to the incoming administration. As saying that he for a price could perhaps curry favor. And a number of companies have taken him up on and including some that were based overseas and possible violation of Farrell laws. And the documents also give us a window into Michael Collins motivation. At the time Donald Trump came into office in Cohen had been by his side for the for the prior decade. He was about 22 million dollars in debt on loans that he had taken out. Based on on a side business that he had owning taxi medallions the licenses. That allow taxicabs in New York City to operate. And at one point he claimed as recently as 2014. That those licenses were so lucrative. He was worth 77 million dollars. Two years later as Hoover and lift start to take control of how people get around and in urban areas the price a taxi medallions plummeted. And Michael Cohen claimed his net worth was just two million dollars so in two years he claimed his net worth dropped 75 million dollars. That's when according to these documents he started shopping is access to the incoming president. Volume later of course pleaded guilty in federal court in New York preference for fraud. Number violations some of those you mentioned the campaign finance violations lying to congress moment. Erin what's the latest south wind at Cohen who has been paraded around Washington in recent weeks when he had a debt to prison searched three years rate. It is three years in prison I don't have to serve beginning on May sixth and in the meantime he says he still cooperating with federal prosecutors here in New York. About other possible crimes that he may know about that involve president trump now we're not sure how seriously. Federal prosecutors are taking Michael Cullen at his word at this point we know that Cohen certainly is hoping that any cooperation would get him a lesser sentence. But I think there's something that was not revealed in the documents unsealed today that's particularly telling in DeVon that's the extensive reductions of any portion. Having to do with the campaign finance violations almost it would twenty pages worth. Of filings that would support the underlying campaign finance case the hush payments to women stormy Daniels Karen McDougal that. Cohen pleaded guilty to an implicated the president and all that's redacted and that's an indication that that investigation is ongoing. I'm going but perhaps soon to be concluded as we eagerly await their robber Muller's probe in that delivery of that report to the Justice Department Erica tersely. I think so much always great to see you. I'm moving on now speaking of lawsuits involving president from work where a major one in a federal we're before a federal appeals court today this one involving allegations by the state of Maryland. And the District of Columbia at the president. Has abused his power violated the constitution by setting up shop at deal Paul stop is here in counts of epic trump hotel. An except dean their business from foreign companies. And this a fascinating want to be because the trumpets journeys have always recognize this is a potential weeks the spot the constitution from the very clear on this today made clear all we're gonna we're to donate all the proceeds now there's no visibility on what that is. And there's all sorts of other peripheral arrangements that think there's wise for at suspicious on suspicion on so. This casts a very fundamental principle and to of of of how government it operates and what what exactly the founders intended on this doesn't come off very often that you talk volume volume is to have its. On the tips of their loans last week we do grab your monuments clause with the work we talk about a lot tomato what was that again. But the constitution spells it out for a here it is take a look let's put it up. I view mall immense clause says this says no person holding any office this case president trump. Shall accept any presents. The monument office title of any kind of whatever for making prints or foreign state and of course in this case is Rick you just mentioned. The allegation is that president tropic septic business at the hotel. This sort of enriching himself illegally. While he's in the Oval Office curried favor there and death. Today as Anderson at the justices that three panel. Three judge panel of the appeals court were sort of skeptical of that argument. They said presidents are of course allowed to do business our Catherine fall there's was in the courtroom issue also been tracking to trump organization's business. Operations at the hotel and she has the latest take Africa. Hey Devin hour hearing Richmond Virginia outside the Court of Appeals where. Lawyers for president from Jonathan court today to argue claims that the president violated the mall we humans clause that was of the constitutional. Clause that prohibits elected officials from doing business with foreign governments around the lawyers argued. There's no forty to sue the president in his official capacity because of the office he holds. Saying he is quote unique and immune from the matter now this judge panel in here today was a three judge panel and it got a little testy in and there are all. Republican appointed the judges and they seemed skeptical I'd times of the suit in the first place now. As a reminder to have in this case was brought jointly by the attorneys general from Maryland and Washington DC now they're arguing. That trump has benefited from the patronage of foreign dignitaries at the trump international hotel which as you know is just located a few blocks. From the White House and the -- so does see its fair share of foreign government officials dignitaries from. Follow rain Azerbaijan Nigeria and South Korea just sitting a few have all been spotted. In the hotel in just last month the hotel hosted the Kuwaiti embassies national gala now the attorneys. Who have brought the lawsuit against them there arguing that foreign officials who patronize trumps DC property. Maybe curry favor what the president but lawyers for the president argued yesterday that the claim is quote. Too speculative. Now. That the judges as I mentioned were a little testy not times one of the judges implied. I won't point at Trump's presidency could actually be helping other businesses because. Those were coming into town to protest the president were likely not staying at the trumpet Allen could be going to the national harbor. In Maryland now a judge shed this the same judge who. Argued that previous claim then. Suggested that this argument could be reminiscent to the travel ban now why did he say this he said what if the president said. That no foreigners could stay at his property he asked the attorney is bringing the case. Would you be satisfied if the hotel gave a break so they can pay less than Americans does that solve the problem. Now when asked how to solve the problem the attorney sent its quote hard to say at this point what solves it because it just depends. On the facts on the ground now whats and next in this case now on this court. Will war as to whether this will move forward but afterwards at a press conference deveny. Attorney general for Washington DC call Racine said he's confident in the arguments. That he heard here today and said if he loses. They believe this land up in the Supreme Court. Seven. Are. Thanks to Katherine callers for that report and as the case works its way through the system of course the hotels are still in business. You've been over their share of state over the it's it's it's like the place EZL be seen in this town at the very least the appearance. Of coziness. And seeking to curry favor with the president is on full display in our Kara Phillips. Investigative reporter or our correspondent joins us now from New York she has done. Investing isn't menu 08 exactly yeah there are still many years is pour over that cocktail list of problems back what's your favorite cocktail area. I care I you know what I'm glad to admit that the champagne isn't that bad it is that it is well I violating him monuments plug in any way if fighting men who had. Did you fall vetting that has its trump branded champagne. Right it is I mean I actually didn't realize he had his own brand of wine his own brand of champagne. But just listening to this whole conversation with you guys and also with captain outside the court house. I mean this is something we've been talking about for months and DeVon it sort of I mean it it it's comical when you say okay here's the definition of a monuments and we laugh about that but. You know how many people have come up to me even today and stopped me and said what exactly is a monuments what does that mean why why should we care about that. And eat we all had to study up on exactly what that was an end this lawsuit in and had the attorneys general are our. Saying that they believe the president is violating the a mauling a monuments clause it just give you a little bitty history DeVon because I know you like little value added lot of OK so we that we won't be because so many people were asking us about the monuments clause in what it is and where did it come from we did a little history. And we found out of the framers of our constitution were concerned. About. Brides and that they wrote. The imam is caught a minus cause into the constitution. Because they were concerned that our leaders would be corrupted by rich European powers. Like Ben Franklin accepting a diamond encrusted snuff box from the king of France and John. So that a guy yet that's how far back were going and this is historic because this is never been tried in court I mean what. Mitt Maryland and DC in the attorneys generals are are doing is is quite historic still be interesting to see how this plays out DeVon and. Yes go ahead yeah I wonder there argument is you go over to the lobby of the hotel you guys have been there and you walk in and it's really a who's who. Of foreign dignitaries and I guess the modern equivalent of the diamond. Studied here is snuff box and crusted snuff box get outright bunch of very expensive steak dinner bills expensive hotel rooms and thirteen the ballroom mean that that's the case they're making yourself you Corey announced executives think about well and that. That's went that what they're saying is that is is the president. Profiting off the presidency because when I talk with Elijah. Cummings about this you know chairman of the house oversight committee. I said with this even have been an issue if he divested his empire he said not all. But he refused to do so therefore this is an issue. So that's why they have issued all these subpoena as. And and they want to see how much money is being spent there who's spending the month the money there and our knees. Foreign dignitaries. Thinking that they are going to somehow curry favor with the president if they're dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars at his hotel. We know you'll stand a case Kara Phillips thanks so much and we should give. A plot your new podcast it's fantastic the investigation out today new episode. With author Vicki ward of the book questioner ink a lot of lot of good stuff in their hope you download it take a listen Karen thanks thanks guys for coming on from New York City today. I'm moving on Rick just fight over the president's emergency declaration to set the southern border has not gone away congress is out of town. Monetary interest in delivery landed on Capitol Hill today I think from the Pentagon and that has a list. Of those military construction projects that could be robbed of funds to help pay for the new wall yeah this. X is real it's one thing to say you support the idea of an emergency declaration or you don't need to be vote in congress on that it's another to say okay we need the money from because now in black and white in this list and it's a long list. All the potential projects on the cutting block and that makes it real for lawmakers I think it's critical that it's out now before a veto override vote because I think a lot of member of the congress are gonna hear. About the pluses and minuses of things in their district. He released when they're not in town to sound off on all the cable channels and be force with cameras in their faces about by the likes of us up on Capitol Hill but are. Pentagon reporter Elizabeth McLaughlin joins us now from the Pentagon she's been tracking. This document looking over the list of of potential projects that could lose funding Elizabeth. What stands out to you on that list and have any of them actually been confirmed. As the ones that the president will sacrifice. He had seven it's a very very long list and I ink. The biggest problem with it is that. It doesn't prioritize. What that panning on it actually considering to be the most vulnerable projects here that could be cut. Still see on screen some of the ones that caught my eye when I was going to the flick that fleet maintenance facility in power rain a machine gun range. In Guam senator Cain put out a press release. Last night after this list went to capitol hell. Saying he was concerned about a cyber security facility in Virginia of course his home state seriously those constituents being concerned about their constituents. But really we don't know of these projects. What will ultimately got cut and that's what we need to hear from the Pentagon what is actually vulnerable what is actually most likely. To be used to get to that three point six billion dollars that the president wants for the wall. And it is a political hot potato as Rick mentioned so who actually asked to gets to decide are asked to decide. Which on that very long list are the ones that are gonna lose out who whose job is that is that try our of the Defense Secretary. That is acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan so the first thing he's going to do with get a list from the Department of Homeland Security. That's going to say which projects that they would like to see on the southern border. That would be that three point six billion dollars the once they approve those projects. And and a batter Spence at how much money they're going to need and that's when they'll start going through. And deciding which of the mill kind military construction projects we'll have their funding. Read her best for the while and that it'll be awarded hopefully next fiscal year. The Pentagon is asking for an additional three point six billion and its budget to cover the money that'll go out the winds out. And then another three point six billion should trump asked for even more money. Canada bid be a political firestorm is on Capitol Hill some more lawsuits for sure Elizabeth McLaughlin at the White House at the Pentagon rather thanks so much Elizabeth. Rick moving on today it is really heat now but there on the campaign trail hard to believe we are so far out from those first votes in the Iowa Caucuses. But the candidates really starting to barnstorm Iowa we saw in other parts of the country we saw Elizabeth Warren let's start with her. Off a town hall last night on CNN she is on the trail today in the deep south boy is she going from the heart of that she is actively courting the African American vote this yummy. No mistake about how important this is these are not states like Mississippi Alabama you're not going to see a Democrat carried him in the fall no one not even it was a Warren is is pretending otherwise however they are critical. Once the primary startled bunch of them vote in March the African American vote absolutely essential. I in the democratic primary and I am struck by some of the campaign you're seeing in parts of the country that don't normally see primary. A challengers this early I think people like Elizabeth Warren recognized in this crowded field you need to get there early you need to get there often need to campaign in places that don't normally see democratic candidates address. About some very bold and unusual ideas that haven't been top ticket items and we talk about health care taxes. Immigration and the like but the past couple of days we've heard about expanding the size of the Supreme Court even abolishing the Electoral College Elizabeth Warren. Made some comments to our Rihanna Stewart about that let's Nicholas. It isn't you manage inventory I didn't. I believe in us and our patrimony hearing from Carl American particularly black American who gardens. Yeah now I believe we need constitutional amendments. To guarantee the right to vote to every single citizen can't guarantee it that vote gets counted. We need to put some real federal muscle behind. I believe we ought. To repeal every one of the voter suppression laws. Dad. We need to be an America where voting matters for every want. And hardy band is making sure. The candidates for the highest federal office. Come to all of America and make the case. Bert why they should be president of the United States. Nobody comes to Alabama in general presidential election order Massachusetts. But his they figure we're not McCain because of the Electoral College. So my view on this is that we ought to get rid of the Electoral College vote counts for every one. Very Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote Tory sixteen fresh on many democrats' minds to recommend this is totally a long shot idea. Even if it does sort of jazz the base about voting equity. Yeah I and I think is similar to this this Supreme Court idea you're not gonna see this happen it's about as likely to be amended as the Amal humans claws and if these are not things that are going to happen. But they do give the democratic base and excited and I think. The idea of bold policy at this moment is is important hallmark and I think. You see Elizabeth Warren breakthrough bit in the early going because she's going a little bit further than some of her her or her contemporaries and if she's Alan. You are not some specifics now lot of policy ideas put some meat on the bones home person that's gotten a lot of flak. For lack assisted specifics is better or work of Texas former congressman. Real quick before we close out let's take a listen he has been asked repeatedly over the past few days win easy to get more specific. On Nassau this policy proposals here's what one way he answered that question. Actual policy front view is that it does not that nice stories. It is specific effort can I mentioned our criminal justice system are called war. The end of the prohibition on marijuana and the explanation of their arrest records of everyone who's been arrested for marijuana. Every single policy area. Are trying to describe not just the goal and the aspiration no but the path that we will stick together. That's maybe what he thinks that there's not a lot of specifics there and he is taking a lot of heat certainly in the media Rick but we Orman more long ways out. But for democratic phenom raising six point one million dollars the top money getter so far. Very interest in that he's getting hammered by even some his supporters there in that question in for not having that the fire progress. He's fight he's in and I remember Barack Obama as a person at the candidate in 2007 taking heat for not having health care plan obviously he had health care plan the end of an acting that health care plans that things change. But it is I think they'll last farther than answers interest in for bats or war to talk about how he's trying to chart the goals here and not just policy specifics especially when you're up against people like Elizabeth Warren. Mayor Pete. Out there with a lot of bold policy heavyweights actually yeah. And and ideas that they're pushing forward if it forces the rest of the fuel to adjust to that but you're seeing this heart vs had divide that the Democrats always seem to have. I mean in wanting to fall along with some Lipitor war for loving the ideas that they're hearing from you'll Elizabeth Warren is going to be sevenths where. Love talking with you Rick Klein political director much more in the note tomorrow on ABC news back com much more. On the ABC news apathy haven't downloaded to take the time they do it we can watch us live coverage there all day long in the latest and all the stories we talked about. I'm Devin Dwyer Washington we'll see you tomorrow at 3:30 eastern immigration.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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