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Stormy Daniels Sues Former Lawyer and Michael Cohen; Trump Pardons Drug Dealer, Considers Dozens More Pardons; House Speaker, Senate Intelligence Chairman: No Truth to Claim of Spying on Trump Campaign. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 6, 2018 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: "CUOMO PRIME TIME." It's 9 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. That is it for "THE LEAD." Follow me on Facebook and Twitter, @JakeTapper. Tweet the show, @TheLeadCNN. Turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.

[17:00:15] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Stormy strikes back. Stormy Daniels launches a new lawsuit, saying her former attorney and President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen worked together to use her in a way designed to benefit President Trump. Included in the lawsuit, text messages which allegedly show a cover- up.

Lining up pardons. President Trump commutes the life sentence of a drug offender after a White House visit by Kim Kardashian. Sources say the White House has assembled the paperwork for dozens of additional pardons. Who's next in line?

Wanted at the White House. A man wanted for attempted murder shows up to work at the White House complex as a government contractor, some three weeks after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Was there a security slip-up?

And the Rodman summit? CNN has learned former basketball star Dennis Rodman, who once sang "Happy Birthday" to Kim Jong-un, is thinking about going to Singapore for the North Korean dictator's summit with President Trump.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: The breaking news, the porn star Stormy Daniels files a new lawsuit, this time claiming her former attorney and President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen colluded to manipulate her to benefit Cohen and President Trump. Daniels' current attorney, Michael Avenatti, says there was a cover-up to, quote, deceive the American people and Mrs. Trump.

I'll speak with Congressman Jim Himes of the Intelligence Committee. And our correspondents and specialists are standing by with full coverage.

Let's begin with the breaking news. Our national reporter -- political reporter M.J. Lee is joining us.

M.J., a new lawsuit from Stormy Daniels. So what is this all about?

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Yet another lawsuit from the adult film actress Stormy Daniels, this time against Michael Cohen, as well as her former lawyer, Keith Davidson.

Now what she is alleging in this new lawsuit is that the two men colluded to manipulate her and to try to help President Donald Trump.

Now what is at the basis of this lawsuit are a series of texts allegedly exchanged between Keith Davidson and Michael Cohen from January of 2018 until March of 2018. Let me just read you some of the texts that appear to show, according to the lawsuit, an attempt by the two men to get Stormy Daniels on the Sean Hannity show on FOX News.

Here's the first text: "I have her tentatively scheduled for Hannity tonight. Call me after your trial." This is from Michael Cohen to Keith Davidson.

He responds, "She cannot do today. She is flying to L.A. tomorrow. I'm trying to get her to commit for tomorrow."

Cohen responds, "It's really important."


And then Cohen, increasingly frustrated, it seems, about the delay, says, "This is no good. We need her by tomorrow because we need to create another news cycle instead of putting an end to this one."

Now later in the day, we seem to see a change in course from Michael Cohen, where he said, "Let's forget tonight. They would rather tomorrow so they can promote the heck out of the show."

And then Cohen says, "Keith, the wise man all believe the story is dying and don't think it's smart for her to do any interviews. Let her do her thing but no interviews at all with anyone," to which Davidson responds in agreement, "100 percent."

And then Cohen said, "Thanks, pal."

So these text messages, Wolf, appear to show these two men working together to try to get Stormy Daniels to deny allegations in an "InTouch" magazine interview in which she says that she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006. And Michael Avenatti, of course, is now saying this is yet another proof that the two men were working together and that there was something nefarious going on. He also, by the way, says that there are more text messages coming that he is trying to get his hands on.

BLITZER: There's another text message, M.J., where Cohen tells the former Stormy attorney, "Hold on. I'm with the first lady." That's a quote. What was that about?

LEE: That's right. What we have are text messages that are mostly from January of 2018, but we also have a couple of texts from March o 2018, as well, that mentions the first lady of the United States.

On March 2, Davidson asked Cohen to call him, and they appear to set up a time for this phone call. And then when Davidson eventually asked Cohen, "Are you calling?" Cohen responds by saying, "I'm with FLOTUS. Give me a minute."

Now what is fascinating about all of this, Wolf, is that based on our previous reporting, we know that this is a weekend when the Trumps were at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and we also know that Michael Cohen was at -- in part -- at Mar-a-Lago, excuse me, as well. So we know that Michael Cohen was there. We know the first lady was there. And it appears that at one point he couldn't get on the phone with Keith Davidson, because he was in the presence of the first lady.

[17:05:23] BLITZER: Yes, the first lady, FLOTUS, the first lady of the United States.

The -- there's also -- yes. There's also a statement we're just getting in from -- from Michael Avenatti. Right? Or if this is a statement from Keith Davidson, the former lawyer?

LEE: That is right. We have a pretty strong statement from a spokesperson for Keith Davidson. Let me read a part of it. He says that this is all a publicity tour. Quote, "This outrageously frivolous lawsuit is yet another desperate attempt by Michael Avenatti to continue his publicity tour. The truth can now finally come out to rebut the false narrative about attorney Davidson that Mr. Avenatti has been pushing in his more than 175 television appearances and countless other media interviews."

So clearly, they are trying to downplay all of this and say this is just Avenatti's attempt to get more media time.

BLITZER: But no statement yet from Michael Cohen, although we anticipate his lawyer is about to release a statement.

I know that Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, he's weighed in on this case, as well. Tell us about that.

LEE: Yes, Wolf, it's interesting. It appears that Rudy Giuliani, who is a lawyer, of course, for President Trump, now speaks for the first lady, as well. He was at a conference in Israel, and he talked about the Stormy Daniels case. He said that he believes Melania Trump does not believe that there was an affair between her husband and Stormy Daniels. Take a listen to more of what he had to say.


RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER FOR DONALD TRUMP: When you look at Stormy Daniels, I know Donald Trump and -- look at -- look at his three wives. Right? Beautiful women, classy women. Women of great substance. Stormy Daniels. Explain to me how she could be damaged. She has no reputation. If you're going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEE: Really interesting comments coming from Rudy Giuliani. Because remember, it was Giuliani who initially let the cat out of the bag that Michael Cohen was repaid by Donald Trump for the $130,000 of the hush payment that he had made to Stormy Daniels -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. M.J., I know we're going to have much more on this coming up. Thanks very much.

I want to turn now to other news we're following, breaking news as President Trump again uses his pardon power to commute the life sentence of a woman whose case was taken up by the reality star Kim Kardashian. And there may be dozens of more pardons right now in the works.

Let's go to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

Jim, that includes a potential self-pardon, supposedly.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. CNN is told President Trump is looking at dozens of cases for pardon, include a handful that are being reviewed by the White House counsel's office. Unlike some of the recent pardons for the president, there are cases under consideration, we're told, that are not celebrity related.

But there's one big pardon idea you just mentioned that House Speaker Paul Ryan wants the president to stay away from. That's the president himself.


ACOSTA (voice-over): President Trump claims he has the absolute right to pardon himself, but that's not exactly the view of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who appeared to issue the president a warning.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't know the technical answer to that question, but I think, obviously, the answer is he shouldn't, and no one is above the law.

ACOSTA: Still, pardons are on the president's mind. Sources tell CNN Mr. Trump is considering as many as 30 new pardons outside of the usual government review process. Just today he commuted the prison sentence of Alice Johnson, a non-violent drug offender whose case caught the attention of reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who appealed to the president in the Oval Office.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW YORKER: There's thousands and thousands of people that deserve commutations, deserve pardons, and it shouldn't take Kim Kardashian going to the White House to get something like that done.

ACOSTA: The president doesn't seem to be looking for pardons on the issue of trade after slapping Canada with new tariffs on steel and aluminum. CNN has learned Mr. Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clashed over the new restrictions on a phone call late last month. When Trudeau challenged the president's attempt to use a national security justification for the tariffs, Mr. Trump replied, "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?" a reference to the War of 1812.

The problem is it was the British who burned down the White House, not the Canadians, who don't find Mr. Trump's comment funny.

A top Canadian official ripped into the tariffs on CNN.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: And I would just say to all of Canadas American friends, and there are so many. Seriously? Do you really believe that Canada, that your NATO allies represent a national security threat to you?

ACOSTA: With the president headed to Canada this weekend for the G-7 summit, the White House brushed off the notion that relations with a key U.S. ally are souring.

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNSEL: I think the bilateral meeting that's scheduled between the two is a really good thing, and I think they'll walk through a lot of these issues.

[17:10:08] I have no doubt that the United States and Canada will remain firm friends and allies, whatever short-term disagreements may occur. So I would say relations are very good.

ACOSTA: The president was busy making it clear things are just fine with the first lady.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Of course, we have to start with our great first lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania.

She went through a little rough patch, but she's doing great and we're very proud of her. She's done a fantastic job as first lady. The people love you. The people of our country love you.

ACOSTA: But during a visit at FEMA headquarters, the president appeared to go out of his way to avoid praising Attorney General Jeff Sessions --

TRUMP: Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Thank you, Jeff. Thank you very much.

ACOSTA: -- while touting the rest of the cabinet. Even EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who is under fire for a slew of ethical questions, even reports he asked a government employee to try to buy a used mattress at the Trump Hotel for his personal use.

TRUMP: Administrator Scott Pruitt, thank you, Scott, very much. EPA is doing really, really well. And you know, somebody has to say that about you a little bit. You know that, Scott.


ACOSTA: Now we should note the White House is not commenting on our report that the president told Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, "Didn't you guys burn down the White House?"

In a couple of days we should also note the president will be heading to Canada, where they will sit down with Trudeau in a bilateral meeting that was mentioned during that piece. And White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, Wolf, is saying that at this point, there really aren't that many big tensions between the two leaders despite all appearances and saying that their upcoming meeting should be a good thing, in his words.

BLITZER: But does the White House really believe that Canada is a national security threat to the United States?

ACOSTA: It's sort of an unbelievable thing to get your head around, Wolf. I did talk to a senior administration official earlier today and put that question to that official. And this official responded, this is the justification, that essentially right now the state of affairs for the steel and aluminum industry in the United States is so depressed that, essentially, they feel inside the Trump administration that, if there were a world war to break out, that the industries are just not in the right place to build up ships and planes and so on like we saw during World War II. And that is essentially the explanation at this point. Not the one that the president gave to the prime minister, that they burned down the White House, when in fact, they didn't. That was the British, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Jim Acosta with his excellent reporting, as usual. Thank you so much.

Joining us now, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman -- Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Good afternoon, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let me begin quickly with your reaction to this new lawsuit from Stormy Daniels, suing her former attorney for allegedly colluding with the president's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Michael Avenatti alleges -- he's the current lawyer for Stormy Daniels -- that this was done with President Trump's knowledge.

How much trouble, potentially, could this be for the president?

HIMES: Well, that's unclear, Wolf. It could certainly be, if the allegations are true, enormously damaging to Stormy Daniels's attorney, the one prior to Mr. Avenatti. If he was working against his client's interests, in collusion with Michael Cohen, as has been alleged, you know, he's in a lot of trouble.

But more interestingly, this feels to me like an attempt to free Stormy Daniels from the agreement that she signed in exchange for $130,000, not to talk about this alleged affair. If the allegations are true, you know, a judge could say, "Hey, this agreement was reached in bad faith, and so you're free -- you're free to speak."

I'm not sure that that points to the president, other than the fact that, you know, if Michael Cohen colluded, if he was sort of suborning and helping the activity associated with this attorney, that doesn't speak terribly well to Michael Cohen's either character or his willingness to lie or his observance of the law.

BLITZER: Let's turn to another important story we're covering. Top Republicans are now pushing back on President Trump's claim that he has the power to pardon himself. The House speaker, Paul Ryan, says he shouldn't even try and that "No one is above the law." His words.

Have Republicans done enough to check the president on this specific issue?

HIMES: No, they haven't, Wolf. Not by a long shot. Although I will say I was gratified to see Speaker Ryan today come out and agree with Trey Gowdy that the FBI, in fact, was doing nothing wrong around this whole idea that the president has sought to generate that there were spies in his campaign. Trey was very clear on that, and now Speaker Ryan stood up. I give him credit for that.

And that's important, because what is happening in the White House, Wolf, and I think most people understand this, is an attempt to chip away at the credibility of the FBI, of the Department of Justice, because if they ultimately come out with a finding that is not to the president's liking, the president is not going to ever contest that in court. There is real legitimate question about whether the president could ever be dragged into court. He's going to say in that moment what he's been saying all along, which is these guys are Democrats. They contributed to Democrats. It was a sham investigation.

So, you know, a lot of my constituents, a lot of Americans, certainly people in Connecticut have been saying when are Republicans going to stand up for the FBI, for the Department of Justice, for a country that observes the rule of law and has always believed that the president of the United States is not above the law.

And so Speaker -- Speaker Ryan's statement today, I'm going to give him credit. It was a step in the right direction.

BLITZER: Let me get your reaction to this new claim from the president's new personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, regarding this whole Mueller investigation. Listen to this.


GIULIANI: They are a group of 13 highly partisan Democrats that make up the Mueller team, excluding him, are trying very, very hard to frame him. To get him in trouble when he hasn't done anything wrong.

Now they may not know they're doing it. They may not realize they're doing it. But they can't -- they can't emotionally come to grips with the fact that this whole thing of Russian collusion didn't happen, that they're trying to invent theories of obstruction of justice --


BLITZER: So we always expect lawyers to offer an aggressive defense for their clients, but that's truly an inflammatory claim, that they are working hard to frame the president, to get him in trouble when he hasn't done anything wrong. Have they -- has Rudy Giuliani gone too far this time?

HIMES: Well, I think Rudy Giuliani started by going too far. You know, he was out there contradicting the president. He was out there, you know, with theories that the president can't be subpoenaed or compelled to participate in judicial proceedings, the fact that Nixon was required to, Bill Clinton was required to notwithstanding.

Look, Giuliani is not acting as an attorney in this present capacity. He's acting as a P.R. guy, and that's what he's doing. And so he's just repeating the charges that come out of the president's Twitter.

Look, you need to step back here and remember that this idea that there's 13 angry Democrats, I try to appeal to my Republican friends every once in a while and just say, "We don't possibly want to go to a world where, for the next century, every time there's an investigation that might be a little uncomfortable for your own party, you look at the party registration of the folks that are doing the investigating and say, 'Well, this one can't work. That policeman who just made that arrest, well, he's a Republican or he's a Democrat.'"

Folks, you know, members of Congress are the only people who day in and day out live their political affiliation. That's what we do. Policeman, investigators, judges, they have political feelings. That doesn't mean they can't do their job with impartiality.

And take another big step back, Wolf, and remember that the actions of the FBI, you know, this idea that there was a deep-state attempt to torpedo the president, you know, Jim Comey twice went public right before the election with information that was deeply adverse to Hillary Clinton. You know, I don't know whether that affected or threw the election of what it did, but twice came out with information even though, at the very same time, there was an investigation of Donald Trump.

So this idea that the FBI or anyone associated with the FBI is biased against President Trump is just, on the face of it, obvious nonsense.

BLITZER: Congressman Jim Himes, thanks so much for joining us.

HIMES: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Up next, the man wanted for attempted murder shows up to work at the White House complex weeks after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Was there a security slip-up?

And he may be Kim Jong-un's only American friend. Now CNN has learned former basketball star Dennis Rodman is thinking about going to Singapore for the North Korean leader's summit with President Trump.


BLITZER: Powerful Republicans are pushing back against the president's claim that the FBI planted a spy in his campaign. House Speaker Paul Ryan and the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Richard Burr, are both now siding with House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, who says the FBI acted properly in its use of a confidential source.

Let's go to our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju. What are you hearing, Manu?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the president has been tweeting relentlessly that there were spies implanted in his campaign, calling it perhaps the biggest political scandal in history.

But the top Republicans who have seen this classified intelligence about this confidential FBI source who worked with the -- who was involved in this investigation back in 2016, well, those Republicans say that it's simply not the case that there was any massive conspiracy.

Paul Ryan, the House speaker and the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman both saying today that the evidence suggested that the FBI did exactly as it was -- supposed to do back in 2016. Paul Ryan earlier today said this to me about backing Trey Gowdy and not the president.


RAJU: Right before the recess you sat in a briefing with Trey Gowdy, who came out afterwards and said that he's more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do. Do you agree with Trey Gowdy?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Normally, I don't like to comment on classified briefings. Let me say it this way. I think Chairman Gowdy's initial assessment is accurate. I think -- but we have some more digging to do. We're waiting for some more document requests; we have some more documents to review. We still have some unanswered questions.


RAJU: And Wolf, that means that four of the five Republicans who have seen this classified intelligence have poured cold water on President Trump's claims of spies being implanted in his campaign.

The one Republican, Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, instead has been criticizing the media, has been demanding more records and has not gone as far as these other members. But the other members clearly do not see what the president is seeing right now.

So the question is what does the White House now say, and what does the president do after these Republicans have been breaking with him one after one, Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes. Very significant developments. Manu Raju, thank you very much. There's more breaking news. Stormy Daniels files a new lawsuit,

claiming her former lawyer colluded with President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, to manipulate her and benefit President Trump.

[17:25:10] And President Trump commutes a life sentence at the urging of reality star Kim Kardashian. Dozens more pardons may be in the works.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're following breaking news in the newly- filed lawsuit. The adult film actress Stormy Daniels claims her former attorney colluded with President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to manipulate her and to benefit President Trump.

[17:30:14] Let's bring in our political and legal experts.

So Jeffrey Toobin, help us walk through this new lawsuit filed by Stormy Daniels's new lawyer. Does she have a strong case?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'd like to hear from both sides before I decide whether someone has a strong case.

This is certainly embarrassing for Michael Cohen and for the lawyer, the original lawyer for Stormy Daniels, because it suggests that what they were really doing was working to protect Donald Trump's political interests. This is earlier this year. This an exchange of e-mails in January of this year before Michael Avenatti took over the representation of Stormy Daniels.

Donald Trump is not copied on the e-mails. He is not -- there is no indication that he read them. But the implication that Michael Avenatti is trying to draw from the e-mails is that he was knowledgeable about the attempt to discredit -- discredit these accusations of Stormy Daniels. And you know, it's a plausible claim, but there is no proof of it in this lawsuit.

BLITZER: We'll hear what the other side says.

Gloria, though, could -- could this be potentially a significant headache for the president?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this whole thing is a headache for the president. And I think that what Avenatti is clearly trying to do is keep this in the news and raise more questions about what the president knew and when he knew it.

But I do think there's also a flip side to this. Because Davidson's -- this is Stormy Daniels' original attorney -- Mr. Davidson's spokesman said that they look at this filing as constituting a full and complete waiver of attorney-client privilege. So what that means is that Davidson can now go out there and speak about Stormy Daniels and how she was behaving. So of course, the question comes to mind: Was Stormy Daniels -- you

know, was she pushing him to get this settlement? Because perhaps it wouldn't be as valuable -- knowledge of her affair won't have been as knowledgeable if Donald Trump lost the election.

So you know, now I'm waiting to hear what Keith Davidson says about what Stormy was telling him. And you know, when they had attorney- client privilege, we were never going to hear that.

TOOBIN: Wolf, if I could just make a quick correction. I referred to e-mails between Cohen and Davidson. They were actually text messages.

And just in terms of politics, you just have to wonder whether Stormy Daniels is already figured into most people's political judgments at this point.

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: I don't know if anything new is going to change people's minds about whether Donald Trump had this relationship or whether there was a cover-up involved.

BLITZER: Kaitlan Collins, you cover the White House for us. What's the sense about all of this inside of the White House?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House has always been two steps behind everyone else on the developments relating to Stormy Daniels.

We saw that with President Trump himself, who told reporters aboard Air Force One he had no idea about that payment to Stormy Daniels through Michael Cohen or anything like that. And even sent his press secretaries out to the briefing room, the White House briefing room, these taxpayer-funded press secretaries, to say they didn't know about it either and that they would vouch on his behalf that he didn't know about it.

Of course, we later learned that the president did know about it, because it was his money that he reimbursed Michael Cohen with.

So I think staffers inside the White House are pretty silent on these developments relating to Stormy Daniels, because they know that the media likely knows more about it than they do; and later, they don't want to be contradicted by something that's in the media.

But what has been a sense in the White House all along was not an immediate reaction to the Stormy Daniels story when it first came out earlier this year, "Oh, that's not true." It was, "Oh, if this is true, how many other women could there be similar to this out there that had similar situations with the president?"

BLITZER: And Sabrina Siddiqui, the White House can't seem to shake this story.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, "THE GUARDIAN": Well, certainly, it's been dizzying to try and keep track of the White House's story. As Kaitlan pointed out there have been numerous contradictions, first with the White House saying that the president -- this payment didn't even take place and then, of course, saying that the president had no knowledge. Michael Cohen made this payment of his own volition. That's something the president echoed at a later point in time.

But then a few weeks later, the president was telling FOX News himself that Michael Cohen represented him in a variety of legal matters, one of which was, and I quote, "this crazy Stormy Daniels deal."

Rudy Giuliani comes out and says that the president reimbursed Michael Cohen, when Michael Cohen has said that he was never reimbursed by the president. So there just has not been any consistency or clarity about what, if anything, the president knew about this payment; when he became aware of the payment. We do know that people close to the president who have tried to pay women into silence, Storm Daniels and Karen McDougal. The key question is why.

BLITZER: And in the midst of all of this, Jeffrey, the president's new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, makes this allegation while visiting Israel today. Listen to this.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: They are a group of 13 highly-partisan Democrats that make up the Mueller team, excluding him, are trying very, very hard to frame him. To to get him in trouble when he hasn't done anything wrong. Now, they may now know they're doing it; they may not realize they're doing it. But they can't -- they can't emotionally come to grips with the fact that this whole thing of Russian collusion didn't happen. That they're trying to invent theories of obstruction of justice.


BLITZER: He says they're trying very hard to frame the president of the United States. What's your reaction?

TOOBIN: Well, I mean, it's just so unbelievable. I mean, this is one of the most distinguished group of prosecutors in the country. I mean, these -- this is the A-team. And the idea these people -- not might be vulnerable to making mistakes but are actively trying to frame someone, which is a crime. It's just scandalous that Rudy Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney, a former associate attorney general of the United States, would make this kind of claim about Justice Department prosecutors.

Now maybe people just figure this is all just political talk, and they -- they tune it out, just like they tune out new Stormy Daniels disclosures. But I mean, it's just a shameful moment in Rudy Giuliani's career.

BLITZER: Very quickly, Sabrina, you've been doing some reporting on the dinner the president is having. He's invited Muslims to the White House with this Iftar, end of Ramadan, dinner tonight. Some Muslim groups boycotting the invitation. What are you hearing? SIDDIQUI: Well, many of the prominent Muslim public policy groups

here in Washington tell me that they were not even invited, despite attending in years past under previous administrations. They did say, having said that, that they would not have even attended if they were invited, because I think the wounds are very much still raw, given the president's rhetoric on the campaign trail, of course, vowing to ban Muslims from entering the country.

As president, he has sought to at least limit immigration from Muslim- majority countries. He just wants to go retweet a series of anti- Muslim videos.

They do not feel there has been any meaningful change in the president's tone or proposed policies with respect to the Muslim community. And I think that they are trying to send a signal that he may be hosting this Iftar in a reversal from last year, but they don't see any reason to engage with this administration, given there has been no change in his posture.

COLLINS: Maybe he'll cancel it and hold a Ramadan celebration instead with no Muslims invited, like he did with the Eagles celebration at the White House yesterday.

BLITZER: Let's see what happens. All right, guys. Thanks very, very much.

Coming up, a man wants for attempted murder is arrested when he shows up to work over at the White House. How did he get hired in the first place?

And will Kim Jong-un get another chance to chat with basketball star Dennis Rodman on the side lines of the summit with President Trump?


[17:27:27] BLITZER: Tonight there are very troubling new questions about security procedures at White House. This comes after a man wanted for attempted murder showed up to work inside the White House complex.

Let's bring in our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider. Jessica, how did this happen?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's all being sorted out still, Wolf, and there's even some finger pointing here.

Law enforcement, we know, in Maryland, they issued a warrant for this White House contractor on May 17, but he wasn't flagged to Secret Service until June 4 and arrested just yesterday.

No one so far is explaining why it took nearly three weeks for the warrant to be alerted to Secret Service.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): This 30-year-old, who was arrested on a warrant for attempted murder while trying to enter the White House Tuesday for work, is finally in police custody. Law enforcement officials describe Martese Edwards as armed and dangerous after he allegedly shot his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend during a domestic dispute on May 3. It happened just miles from Washington, D.C.

Local police tried to track him down and eventually issued a warrant for his arrest.

JOHN ERZON, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: The warrant was entered into the national database on May 17. It was applied for that day. It was granted by the courts here in Prince George's County that day and it was entered into the system that day.

SCHNEIDER: But the Secret Service says it wasn't aware of the warrant until June 4, almost three weeks after the warrant information was entered into a national database. When Edwards arrived for work on Tuesday, Secret Service officers arrested him at the checkpoint outside the White House after Edwards presented his Maryland driver's license.

ERZON: As to why it was not seen by the Secret Service until June 4, that's a question that they would have to answer.

SCHNEIDER: But the Secret Service so far has only issued a short statement, acknowledging agents learned about the warrant on June 4 but not complaining the nearly three-week lag.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think it's more incumbent upon the investigative agency that issued the warrant, because Secret Service can't run checks on everybody every single day that works at the White House.

SCHNEIDER: Local authorities investigated for weeks. They served a search warrant at Edwards's last known address but he wasn't there. And on June 4, the same day Secret Service finally got the alert, the sheriff's office in Prince George's County, Maryland, updated the warrant with Edwards's Social Security number and his physical description. But it's unclear if they ever notified the Secret Service or Edwards's employer directly.

A source familiar with the investigation tells CNN authorities did alert the Pentagon, where they believed Edwards worked. CNN has reached out to the Pentagon for comment.

CNN has learned Edwards was a contractor working for the National Security Council. He only had access to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and not the West Wing.

A source tells CNN Edwards was an administrative employee working in resources management which handles room bookings, parking passes, and other administration matters for the NSC. Local law enforcement said they did all they could to get word of his warrant out to officials around the country.

JOHN ERZEN, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR THE OFFICE OF THE STATE'S ATTORNEY, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND: That is standard process, is to put it in this database so that it's there. That way when -- if a background check is run on a person in there because they have applied for a job or if they've been arrested somewhere else, a search can be done to see if they have any outstanding warrants against them.

SCHNEIDER: And a law enforcement official tells me that even the U.S. Marshals weren't alerted on this case until June 1st. They didn't even get involved because Edwards was apprehended just days after.

But, of course, the questions here still linger. What should the Secret Service have known and really, Wolf, what agency, if any, here slipped up in all this?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. They got to learn some lessons to make sure it doesn't happen again. Jessica, thank you for that report.

Coming up, for a long time, he was the only American who had met with Kim Jong-un. We're now learning the basketball star Dennis Rodman may be in Singapore during next week's U.S./North Korean summit. Will he -- and will he meet with Kim Jong-un? Stay tuned.


[17:51:03] BLITZER: We have breaking news about the upcoming summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. It looks like basketball star Dennis Rodman, who once was the only American who had met with the North Korean leader, also wants to be in Singapore during the summit.

Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd who's been working his sources.

Brian, what are you learning?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we've been corresponding with Dennis Rodman's agent who tells us, tonight, the former NBA star is considering a trip to Singapore for the summit. If he goes, it could present an extraordinary scene since Rodman has a personal history with both leaders.



TODD (voice-over): He's likely the only American who Kim Jong-un considers a personal friend, serenading the North Korean dictator on his birthday and lavishing him with gifts. And tonight, it appears the outspoken and outlandish former NBA star Dennis Rodman is hoping to see his pal again soon.

Rodman's agent tells CNN he is considering going to Singapore for the summit between Kim and President Trump but says no firm plans have been made.

DR. BALBINA HWANG, VISITING PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: The insertion of Dennis Rodman into this summit reminds us how bizarre the summit itself is in terms of the characters of Kim Jong-un and President Trump.

TODD (on camera): What does he do for the atmosphere there?


TODD (voice-over): It's not clear who might be underwriting a Rodman trip, though his agent, Darren Prince, tells CNN the marijuana currency vendor, PotCoin, has often sponsored Rodman's missions of what Rodman calls basketball diplomacy. The 57-year-old once tweeted this video commissioned by his backers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This diplomatic mission is funded by potheads, PotCoin. Sent Rodman to DP. PotCoin diplomacy. I call that green peace.

TODD (voice-over): Rodman has the distinction of being one of very few people who know both Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump personally. He was a failed contestant on Trump's reality show, "The Apprentice."


TODD (voice-over): And Rodman has been to North Korea several times, conducting basketball exhibitions with other former NBA stars, visiting personally with Kim Jong-un, even presenting Kim with samples of Rodman's brand of vodka.

Following one recent trip, Rodman told the Web site TMZ he was able to give Kim insights into Trump by giving him a copy of Trump's book, "The Art of the Deal."

RODMAN: -- and a lot of things about Donald Trump and stuff like that. I think people know that and probably have a video of me giving his books and all that stuff about Donald Trump and about America.

I think he didn't realize who Donald Trump was at that time until, until he started to read the book and started to get to understand him, stuff like that. And I don't want to take all the credit.

TODD (voice-over): And it was Rodman who, for years, had been the only American of any stature who Kim had met.

NOLAND: Rodman's had extraordinary access. Rodman held his first baby. And it was through Rodman we learned the name of the child.

TODD (voice-over): But there had been dark moments as well, like a 2014 live interview from Pyongyang when Rodman, speaking with CNN's Chris Cuomo, appeared to melt down after being asked if he'd advocate for an American detained by Kim.

RODMAN: No, no, no. I'm just saying, no, I don't give a (INAUDIBLE) -- I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here. Look at them.

TODD (voice-over): Rodman likely wouldn't be allowed to venture anywhere near the actual meeting between Trump and Kim. But even with the sideshow element, analysts say Rodman could serve a constructive purpose in Singapore.

NOLAND: One thing that Rodman could do, for better or worse, is humanize both of the participants, both Donald Trump but especially Kim Jong-un who is seen as a very strange character.


TODD: The Trump administration tonight is already distancing itself from a potential Rodman trip to Singapore. A senior administration official telling CNN, he's not part of anything they're doing at the summit. A State Department official telling us they have no comment on Rodman's private travel, that he's not a representative of the U.S. government, Wolf.

BLITZER: A really fascinating story. Brian Todd reporting for us. Thank you.

Coming up, the breaking news. Stormy Daniels launches a new lawsuit, saying her former attorney and President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, worked together to use her in a way designed to benefit President Trump.

[17:55:06] And the President commutes the life sentence of a drug offender at the urging of Kim Kardashian. As sources say, the White House may be preparing dozens more pardons.


BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. New Stormy suit. The porn star is now alleging that her former attorney was a puppet who colluded with President Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen. What did they agree to and what did Mr. Trump know?

[17:59:54] Pardoning ways. CNN has learned that the President is considering dozens of new pardons as he commutes the sentence of a great-grandmother, giving Kim Kardashian what she asked for. Who might get a reprieve next?