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Bush Casket Arrives in Texas After Moving Funeral; Inside War Horrors in Yemen as Peace Talks to Resume. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 5, 2018 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Did he walk away feeling snubbed?

Blurred lines. Robert Mueller's new memo is filled with redactions, along with tantalizing hints about ongoing investigations. We will read between the lines, as more Mueller documents are about to drop in the Russia probe.

And 19 meetings. That's how many times Michael Flynn met with the special counsel's team, the former national security adviser working with Mueller longer than he actually worked for President Trump. Has Flynn's information strengthened the case for obstruction?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following the final journey of George Herbert Walker Bush on this Day of National Mourning for the 41st president of the United States.

We just saw the plane carrying his casket land in Texas after a very moving state funeral here in Washington. There it is, Special Air Mission 41.

President Trump attending the service, along with all four living past presidents, producing in the process some awkward moments as he faced the Obamas and appeared to ignore the Clintons.

Mr. Trump under stress after important new revelations from Robert Mueller in his sentencing memo of Michael Flynn. The special counsel offering a taste of how much he has learned in the Russia investigation and how much the president and all of us still don't know about the endgame.

We will cover those stories, much more this hour with our correspondents and our analysts. They are all standing by.

First, let's go to our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.

Jeff, as America mourns President Bush, this day may have felt surreal for President Trump. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, good


It certainly did provide the latest example of how the office of the presidency is bigger than the man serving in it. President Trump was watching for the first time, joining the class of presidents club there with his four living predecessors, of course, who he has been at odds with over the years, but he sat there in silent respect, listening to President George H.W. Bush hailed as a 20th century founding father.


ZELENY (voice-over): Washington paid tribute and bid farewell to George H.W. Bush, an American patriot whose presidency helped change the face of the world.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the history books are written, they will say that George H.W. Bush was a great president of the United States.

ZELENY: After following in his father's footsteps, George W. Bush now stands as the family patriarch, praising the 41st president for peacefully leading the world through the Cold War era.

BUSH: A diplomat of unmatched skill, a commander in chief, a formidable accomplishment, and a gentleman who executed the duties of his office with dignity and honor.

ZELENY: A living tableau of history, as leaders from around the world, the prince of Wales, the king of Jordan, the chancellor of Germany, joining nearly 3,000 others at the Washington National Cathedral.

BRIAN MULRONEY, FORMER CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: When George Bush was president of the United States, every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman.

ZELENY: President Trump coming face-to-face for the first time since his inauguration with his four living predecessors, his first official act as the newest member of the presidents club.

The awkward protocol of the most exclusive group in the world on full display, shaking hands with Barack Obama and Michelle, but not the Clintons. Bill Clinton glancing over, but neither he nor Trump extending a hand, Hillary Clinton staring straight ahead.

George W. Bush showing how to rise above it all, shaking hands with all first families, as Trump sat silently, listening to accolades for a different brand of politics in a kinder and gentler time.

JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: He was our shield in danger's hour.

ZELENY: After being excluded from Barbara Bush's funeral in April, George H.W. Bush, 41, wanted Trump to know that he, 45, would have a seat at his services, not for a love of Trump, but for the love of office. The elder Bush once called Trump an ass during a 2011 interview with "The New York Times"' Maureen Dowd.

Trump had equally harsh words for all members of the Bush dynasty.



ZELENY: Including Jeb Bush, who ran against him.

But inside the soaring cathedral today, those feelings went unsaid, as Trump played a rare role, silent and respectful spectator, watching an emotional goodbye from one President Bush to another.

BUSH: And we're going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever.

So, through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have.


And in our grief, let us smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom's hand again.

ZELENY: A rare dare of reprieve in Washington from the vitriol and division, as Trump lent the Bush family Air Force One to fly the late president home to Texas, as Trump returned to a White House still under a deepening cloud from the Russia investigation.


ZELENY: Now, Wolf, this evening, the plane, Special Air Mission 41, is landing at Ellington Field just outside Houston as we speak here.

In that blue sky, again, we are going to see the pageantry of the state funeral continuing in the president's home state of Texas, of course, taking that three-hour ride or so. I'm told family members aboard the plane were allowed to exhale, they were allowed to talk about the eulogies that they heard, the celebration, have a bit of lunch and prepare for the next chapters here.

Of course, George H.W. Bush is going to have another ceremony at his church in Houston tomorrow, St. Mark's Episcopal, and then will take the train ride on to College Station, Texas, for his final resting place. He did, indeed, fly around the presidential library there in College Station as they were landing in Houston there, Wolf, so another chapter.

But the Washington chapter today, such a part of his life, now closed, moving on to Texas -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. It was a very, very powerful, moving ceremony.

We are going to have a lot more, Jeff, on the ceremony once it begins at Ellington Field in Houston. We are going to go there.

But, right now, I want to quickly go to this other developing story involving the president's lawyers.

They are likely right now parsing every word of Robert Mueller's new memo after the special counsel revealed the extensive and very valuable cooperation he received from Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

The memo is raising a lot of new questions about the targets of three, three ongoing investigations.

We are joined by our political correspondent, Sara Murray.

Sara, Mueller gave us important new information, but he also withheld some potentially intriguing details.


For as much as we learned from the filing, there are still so many unanswered questions. The government revealing for the first time really what -- a glimpse of what they have been learning from Michael Flynn, but redacting many of the juiciest details.


MURRAY (voice-over): The heavily redacted sentencing memo for Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, has Washington wondering what Robert Mueller is holding back.

Flynn provided substantial assistance to the special counsel, sitting for 19 interviews with the special counsel and other Justice Department offices, his intel valuable in at least three ongoing investigations, including a criminal probe, the latest signal that Mueller may have other bombshells coming.

Flynn cooperated in the investigation into potential coordination between Russians and senior members of the Trump transition and campaign, offering long-term and firsthand insight. What those insights were, still unknown. Flynn also provided substantial assistance in a criminal investigation, the rest blacked out.

As for a possible third investigation, the details of that one are entirely redacted. Those blacked-out lines causing frenzied speculation as to what or who could next be in Mueller and the Justice Department's crosshairs.

MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Lock her up, that's right. Yes, that's right. Lock her up.

MURRAY: A fixture on the Trump campaign trail, Flynn famously led that anti-Hillary Clinton chant at the GOP convention.

FLYNN: If I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today. MURRAY: But his stint as White House national security adviser lasted

less than a month, after he was caught lying to senior members of the Trump administration.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I talked to General Flynn yesterday. And the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new U.S. sanctions against Russia or the expulsion of diplomats.

TRUMP: He didn't tell the vice president of the United States the facts. And then he didn't remember. And that just wasn't acceptable to me.

MURRAY: Ultimately, Flynn lied to federal investigators, too, about his conversations with then Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding Russian sanctions.

He struck a plea deal and has spent more than a year cooperating with investigators. That early cooperation likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming with the special counsel's office and cooperate, according to the filing.

The document doesn't say who else was inspired to cooperate.

Flynn's revelations to Mueller could involve the president's son-in- law and adviser Jared Kushner, who directed Flynn to contact the Russians about a key Security Council vote on Israeli settlements, when Obama was still president, before Trump had taken office.


Even as Mueller commended Flynn's service record as retired lieutenant Army general, the special counsel issued what may be a warning shot to others in the White House: "Senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards."


MURRAY: Now, despite that stern warning, Mueller's team did not ask for any jail time for Michael Flynn. Of course, this comes at a time when President Trump is not ruling out pardons.

And, Wolf, this may be a way for the government to send a signal that, you know, there is an upside to cooperating, although ultimately it will be up to a judge to decide how to handle Michael Flynn on December 18, when he is sentenced.

BLITZER: Sara, stay with us.

I want to bring in our crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, and former FBI Agent Anthony Ferrante.

Shimon, the filing made clear that Flynn was a big help to this investigation that Robert Mueller and his team have been doing, but they kept a lot of it still very much secret. SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of

it is going to continue to be secret. And I think that's what's driving everyone so nuts in so many ways, especially in D.C.

There are a lot of concerned lawyers now that their clients could be the target here of this investigation. That is anyone who had any kind of business dealing with Michael Flynn, anyone who had any kind of interaction perhaps with Michael Flynn could be now subjected to this investigation.

Look, it's very clear that there are things that are still going on within the Department of Justice that the FBI is still investigating that we have no clue about. And that is why what we see in these documents, there's a lot of black lines here, because they don't want this information out there. They don't want people who are targets of this investigation.

There could also be people who will ultimately not be charged, but are helping paint the picture that the special counsel needs for this report that they're putting together, and also for a counterintelligence investigation that is still very much ongoing within the FBI.

It's Russia. It could be Turkey-related. There's a lot of stuff that the special counsel has been looking into regarding the UAE. So there's a whole host of things that is going on here. And I think the two words that really tell us everything in these documents is when they describe Michael Flynn as being -- giving substantial assistance.

That cannot be lost on anyone. That is such an important element within these documents, and so important to the FBI and to the special counsel that when they use these kinds of words, that means that they are getting extreme amount of help from Michael Flynn.

BLITZER: And, Sara, we also learned in this memorandum, the sentencing memorandum, that Michael Flynn met with the prosecutors, Mueller and his team, and other U.S. attorneys, what, 19, 19 times.

Do we know how extensive those interviews were? Do we know when they started?

MURRAY: Well, we know that he actually started cooperating before he struck his plea deal, which was in December of last year. So he's been cooperating for quite some time.

And that's how you get to these 19 interviews. And we know from other witnesses, normally, when the special counsel's team calls you in for an interview, you're not talking about sitting down for 20 minutes or 30 minutes. You're there for hours on end.

And I think that what we learned in this filing is that over more than a year, Flynn has been providing all of this information. And this is not information that was relevant necessarily to all of these past investigations. It's relevant to the special counsel and the Justice Department right now. That is why so much is blacked out in these documents, because these are ongoing, these are active investigations. And now we're kind of waiting to see if Mueller has another bombshell

to drop, if there are going to be related investigations that are coming out of other jurisdictions.

BLITZER: Anthony, you're a former FBI agent. What does it say to you that they met 19 times?

ANTHONY FERRANTE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: So, I think I think it's very significant, of course -- 19 times is a lot of times to interview a cooperating witness.

But I think it also sends a message. Everything Mueller does is with precision. Everything included in this document was included for a reason. Nothing was done accidentally, OK?

Nineteen times, in my opinion, sends three messages, one, that he's not only a cooperating witness, he's a major contributor to this investigation. Two, it indicates that he provided documents and communications, right, obvious statements.

But the third point and less obvious to everyone is, it sends a very strong message to all of Flynn's associates, you better look out. Flynn divulged a lot of information to the special counsel.

BLITZER: What do you make of the way Mueller ordered all the information that was released in these documents?

FERRANTE: Yes, that's exactly right.

Having worked with Director Mueller at the FBI for many years, like I said, everything he does is with precision and he doesn't do anything accidentally. And I think it's safe to say it's telling that as he lists the three items that Flynn cooperated with, the first one he lists is a major criminal investigation, not the second item he lists, which is his charter, which is investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

BLITZER: What does it say to you that he recommended no jail time at all for Michael Flynn, even though he pleaded guilty to perjury?

FERRANTE: Well, I think that's an important note that the American people should receive and understand. And it sends a message that if you cooperate with special counsel Mueller, you're not going to do jail time.

I think -- I think it's important understand that special counsel Mueller has been charged with this -- with these duties. He's been asked as a representative of the United States government to find the truth.


When he finds the truth, and in this case Flynn told the truth, he is going to avoid jail time.

BLITZER: Everybody, stand by. There's a lot more we need to discuss, but right now, I want to show our viewers what is happening, happening in Houston, Texas, right now.

The presidential aircraft has landed. The family is now on the ground.

The Bush family is there. The body and the casket of the 41st president of the United States is now back home in Texas.

Jeff Zeleny, our White House correspondent, you were at Joint Base Andrews earlier in the day. There was a formal departure ceremony there. Now there will be another arrival ceremony at Ellington Field out in Houston, as this -- the family comes back with the casket of the 41st president of the United States.

And there you see some of the family members arriving right now.

So, let me walk through, Jeff, first of all, what we're about to see. We are told there are about 300 participants who have gathered at Ellington Field for this arrival ceremony, including some -- a lot of sports athletes, Houston Texans, Houston Astros, Houston Rocket players, owners and management, some top doctors from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, some people from the George Bush High School, the Houston Christian High School, Metro Board members.

They have gathered there, Jeff, to pay their respects to the late president.

ZELENY: Indeed, Wolf. This is Houston embracing and welcoming home George H.W. Bush.

BLITZER: By the way, let me interrupt for a moment.

ZELENY: Of course, you see President Bush right there...

BLITZER: That's what I was going to say.

ZELENY: ... walking off the plane, right, with Laura Bush, returning back to their home state of Texas.

But this is Houston embracing one of their most beloved citizens. Of course, they said goodbye to Barbara Bush just last April and now they are welcoming George H.W. Bush home and giving him a send-off.

This is a sad day, a day of remembering his service, but it is also a celebratory day. And Houston loved the Bushes. They loved Houston. You can see it driving through the streets of Houston, the name Bush on so many charities and philanthropies and other things.

What we are going to see now -- we see President George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, of course, behind him with, his wife, Columba. This is another chapter in this send-off.

And, Wolf, this is going to be a bit of a different chapter. He is going to -- after the ceremony, arrival ceremony here, he is going to be at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, the Bush family church in Houston. He will be laying in repose, and then tomorrow a service. And George P. Bush, the grandson, of course, the Texas land

commissioner, the next in a generation of Bush politicians, if you will, is going to speak at the church, and also James Baker, the former secretary of state and one of the president's best friends.

But, Wolf, also different, Air Force One, such an important part of President Bush's life through campaigns, through worldwide trips, tomorrow going to give way to a locomotive. And as we see President Bush here, Wolf, let's listen.

BLITZER: As we await the beginning of this arrival ceremony, Jamie Gangel is with us as well.

Jamie, this has been such an emotional, powerful day for the Bush family, and especially the former President George W. Bush.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think they must be exhausted.

It is not only an emotional day. They have lost their father, but let's not forget these children and grandchildren have lost their father and mother, their grandmother and their grandfather, all in the last seven months.

BLITZER: All right. Let's watch and listen.



BLITZER: There we see the Bush family, including the former President George W. Bush, his brother the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Laura Bush.

Jamie, this is a continuation of this celebration of the life of the 41st president of the United States.


GANGEL: Absolutely.

Today, we had the state funeral. We had all of the pomp and circumstance of what it means to be a president at the National Cathedral, with all the former presidents and President Trump, and that very emotional eulogy and tribute by former President George W. Bush, a tribute of a son to a father.

Now that we're back in Texas, I think we're going to see a slightly different kind of memorial and tribute. This is his home. This is personal. These are his friends, people he cared about, everything from M.D. Anderson, where he raised millions of dollars for cancer research.

And then, of course, he is going to be laid to rest tomorrow at his presidential library at Texas A&M at College Station, and be reunited with his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, and their 3-year-old daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia as a child. BLITZER: Next stop, St. Martin's Episcopal Church, the church of the

Bush family.

Much more of our coverage right after this.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There are new questions tonight about the potential targets of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, being raised by his latest court filing.

[18:31:04] The sentencing memo says former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, provided valuable cooperation as part of his plea agreement. The document also reveals previously unknown Mueller investigations, one of them a criminal case.

Let's get some more now with our correspondents and our analysts.

And Gloria, Mueller cites Flynn's early cooperation, says there was substantial assistance and, as a result, he's recommending no jail time for the former national security adviser. What does it tell you about the amount and the substance of the information he may have provided?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it means that it was substantial and -- and that it was information that probably led to or helped him in his criminal investigations, and he considers that to be hugely important.

And from the documents last night, it said that he provided firsthand information about the content and context of interactions between the transition team and Russian officials. That's important.

So in a way, a shorthand way, we might say that he provided a kind of roadmap. And Mueller's team also pointed out that, in coming forward early, he also encouraged others to come forward, because they knew that Flynn had the goods, and he was -- and he was telling the truth.

BLITZER: It's interesting, Susan, because in the filing, Mueller writes this: "Senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards." So why is that line so significant?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: There's a couple of reasons why it's significant. First, because I think it goes to the depth of the breach here, and it shows that, you know, what Flynn is accused of and has confessed to is not just a technicality, it's not just a process crime, that the Obama administration imposed sanctions on a hostile foreign power that had interfered in our most basic democratic function. In that moment, the designated national security adviser, a former military officer, picked up the phone to call the ambassador, you know, to say, "Don't worry about the sanctions. We're going to make them go away." This wasn't an open campaign promise. This was something they lied to the American people about, he lied to other parts of the administration about and then ultimately lied to federal authorities. So I think, in part, it just shows, you know, how sort of grave this breach is. The other thing is, is I do think it's a little bit of a warning to

others, including individuals who might be in the White House right now. There's a little bit of a tendency to think that that might make people above the law, beyond the reach of the law. And I think this is the way for Mueller's team to say, "No, it actually makes you -- you are even more accountable. It is even more important that we hold you to these very, very strict standards.:

BORGER: Rudy Giuliani called it a process crime and was kind of dismissive of all of this, and it's clear Bob Mueller says, "No, in fact Flynn should have known better, because he's been in government for decades."

HENNESSEY: Right, and that it's not a process crime. It's a violation of the public trust.

BLITZER: Yes, and he's a retired three-star general.

You know, Ron Brownstein, Flynn pleaded guilty over a year ago, and over the course of this year he's met with Mueller and his team some 19 times. He's also -- Mueller has pushed back Flynn's sentencing at least four times. So what does that tell you about Flynn's cooperation?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, to me, Wolf, the key is the combination of the 19 meetings and the declaration in the filing that he's provided valuable information.

I mean, you could imagine meeting 19 times if someone was resisting you and not providing information, and it took 19 meetings to kind of break them down. But if someone is cooperating, it doesn't take 19 meetings for them to explain that nothing unusual happened, right? I mean, there isn't -- there isn't enough to talk about over 19 meetings if nothing unusual happened.

And I think the fact that the conversations were so extensive and, from Mueller's view, so productive, it is that, I think, equation that should make this so -- create such unease in the president's camp.

BLITZER: You know, Laura, you cover the Justice Department -- Justice Department for us. The sentencing memoranda, pretty extensive, although the addendum includes a lot of redacted paragraphs, black lines all over the place. Some are suggesting maybe that was a way for Mueller to get a lot of stuff out there on the record, worried that, potentially, the new acting attorney general could stifle some of that down the road.

[17:35:10] LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, of course, we're all chomping at the bit to see what's behind those black lines, but the fact is, one day we're going to find out.

And this filing really gives Mueller and the American people a safety valve, if you will, Wolf. Because the whole idea is that what occurred, the acting attorney general has been openly hostile to Mueller before he came into the job, when he was actually just a regular citizen, he was a prosecutor, and he said plenty of things that have made us all kind of wonder how he will handle the ultimate report and whether he will block the American people from seeing it.

But once this investigation is wrapped up, all of those court filings can be unsealed, and we will see what's behind those blacked-out lines.

BLITZER: You know, there's at least three investigations, according to these documents, Gloria --

BORGER: I know. Right.

BLITZER: -- that are underway right now, including one criminal investigation. So despite all the redacted portions, what is Mueller revealing?

BORGER: Well, Mueller is saying it's not over. You know, we were all sort of, "Oh, it's -- they're tying up loose ends. This is over." I think a lot of people were wishfully thinking that, but it's not. Mueller is saying these are ongoing investigations. One of them is criminal. So, you know, the day has been spent, part of it, trying to figure out just what -- what investigation he is potentially talking about.

But we don't -- we don't know, but, again, in lifting the veil just a little bit, he is telling us, "Sorry, this isn't over. Flynn was very valuable to us in assisting us in these criminal investigations." And as you folks were pointing out, it's a warning to the people who know what the investigations are, that "we know more than you may think we know."

JARRETT: Especially the term, "substantial assistance." That's a term of art.


JARRETT: I mean, it speaks for itself to everybody, but it also means that he gave them evidence that can be used to prosecute somebody else.

BORGER: Fruitful. Yes.

JARRETT: Now, we don't know who those other persons or one person is, but that is -- that's not just a throwaway line. It is a signal.

BLITZER: It certainly is. Ron, you wanted to add something?

BROWNSTEIN: I was going to say that, you know, as Gloria was mentioning, once again this is a reminder that we just don't know, I mean, that the iceberg, you know, is so much deeper. And all of the speculation about where this investigation is going, it has shown -- of all the stories I've covered in Washington over 30 years, I've never seen one where the capacity of the protagonist to surprise us has been as consistent and powerful as this.

So I think everybody should just kind of, you know, buckle up, because whether this is close to the end or far from the end, we just don't know. The one thing we do know is that -- is that Mueller clearly,

repeatedly has shown he has a lot of information that no one else seems to have a grasp on.

BLITZER: And if you read these documents, Susan, it keeps saying several times that they're investigating allegations of coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald J. Trump. Those are allegations of collusion.

BORGER: Right.

HENNESSEY: Yes. I think what we are seeing is we've seen a lot of the president's defenders sort of say, "Well, the Mueller investigation has nothing to do with collusion. It's all these process crimes at the periphery, people who have nothing to do with the president himself, nothing to do with sort of the collusion issue, aspects."

What we've seen both in the recent Cohen documents and also in this most recent filing is Mueller is now honing in on the target. These are the central questions that he was tasked with whenever he opened -- or assumed this investigation: the question of what the Russians did in the 2016 election, and whether any individuals, including individuals connected with the Trump campaign or Trump himself, were involved in any way and, more specifically, if they committed any crimes in doing so.

BORGER: And, you know, don't forget Flynn was there during the campaign, and he was there during the transition.

BLITZER: He was there for a whole year of the campaign.

BORGER: The whole year of the campaign. He was the first person with brass on his shoulders to endorse Trump. Trump was very loyal to him, was there during the campaign. He was there during the transition. He got the job he wanted, once they fired Chris Christie. He got the job he wanted, and then he was in, you know, inside the White House for a very short time, but he was inside the White House.

So he has a vantage point from sort of every -- every part and that, I am sure, has proven very, very valuable to Mueller.

BLITZER: You know, in addition to this sentencing memorandum, we're expecting on Friday, Laura, two more potential bombshells, as we like to say: one involving a sentencing memorandum for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman; and one for Michael Cohen, the president's long-time, now former, lawyer and fixer. We don't know what is going to be there. I assume some of it might be redacted, but certainly could contain a lot of information.

JARRETT: Well, they both could be significant but for different reasons.

Of course, Manafort has now had an irretrievable break with the prosecutors, and so in that one. we may see and learn more about what exactly did he do to undermine his deal with them, and what did he lie about? I mean, the prosecutors have said they're prepared to talk about this, so we should see at least some of that.

[18:40:03] In Cohen's case, at least from what we've seen in the court papers that he filed last week, he said, in one sort of throwaway line that didn't get a lot of attention, that when he was crafting his answers, which turned out to be false, to lawmakers, he was coordinating not only with White House staff but with the president's counsel on that. And so if Mueller says anything, a hint of anything about that, it's going to be serious.

BLITZER: And for Michael Flynn, Susan, when the memorandum that Mueller put out says, "a sentence that does not impose a term of incarceration is appropriate and warranted," what signal is he sending to others out there by saying, "You know what? You worked -- you work with me, you cooperate, you tell the truth, you're not going to jail"?

HENNESSEY: Well, I think it's precisely that, right? We've seen the president sort of dangle the question of pardons out there, and I think that this is Mueller showing that you do have an alternative here. If you come, you cooperate with federal authorities, if you tell the truth, you cooperate fully, then you are going to experience leniency.

And there are likely to be a number of potential witnesses or even co- conspirators who met with investigators, met with congressional committees and maybe not have been fully candid.

And so I think right now those people have to make the consideration, you know, do they want to sort of put their lot in with Trump and hope they get a pardon? Or do they think that Bob Mueller is the man more likely to give support?

BLITZER: All right. Everybody, stick around. There's much more that we're following right now. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back. .


[18:45:54] BLITZER: The breaking news this hour, the casket of President George H.W. Bush has just arrived back in Texas following a state funeral here in Washington. The 41st president will lie in repose tonight and be interred tomorrow at the presidential library at Texas A&M University.

You know, Gloria, we all watched the very moving ceremony at the National Cathedral today.


BLITZER: But I want to show you and our viewers once again the video of what happened when President Trump and the first lady, Melania, they showed up. He took off his coat, handed it to a military officer who was there. They sat down. There was a handshake with the former president, Barack Obama, and with, of course, Michelle Obama. But look at the Clintons. Nothing there. Look at Hillary Clinton,

just staring ahead, not even looking towards the president of the United States and the first lady. Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, there in the front row over there, they're not paying attention either.

What did you think?

BORGER: I think that the presidents' club is an unhappy family and that Hillary Clinton looked like she was in a neck brace and she didn't want to look at them, and Michelle Obama, who has just written a book saying she will never forgive Donald Trump on the birther issue, was perfunctory, said good morning. We were sort of watching her lips, and it was cold and awkward. Everything about it was cold and awkward.

I think Barack Obama knew that he was sort of sitting in the hot seat there between -- between the Trumps and the Obamas and then the Clintons, and it is so unusual for Bill Clinton, who is so gregarious and outgoing and hugs everyone, to just kind of turn away and not even offer his hand.

BLITZER: Which, remember, just the other day the president tweeted, retweeted a picture of the former presidents and the former first lady and the former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, with a caption involving treason.

BORGER: Exactly.

BLITZER: He retweeted that picture.

Ron Brownstein, in contrast to the president, look at the way the former president, George W. Bush, look how he entered the National Cathedral and greeted the current president of the United States, the current first lady of the United States and the former President Obama, Michelle Obama, and then you see Bill Clinton standing up and Hillary Clinton standing up, and he walked over and he welcomed them, he welcomed Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

By the way, when he saw Michelle Obama, he handed her a little piece of candy in the process as well. Quite a difference, wasn't it?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, the chilliness between President Clinton and Hillary Clinton didn't shock me. People who have run against each other rarely have that many occasions to interact. There were not cuddly moments between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon after 1960.

I mean, the real contrast is with former president and the presidents' club and, yes, there was a lot of chilliness. But it was striking, of the people on the row there's only one of them who is the current president of the United States, and that current president, as is his style, really made no effort to reach out to, you know, his predecessors, at this event. I think it was indicative of both -- both how he feels I think about kind of the lineage before him but also the extent to which he, you know, seeks conflict as a way of defining himself as someone outside of the club.

And there's a portion of the American electorate that appeals to, but as we saw in the last election when Republicans lost 40 seats with 4 percent unemployment, which should not be possible, there are a lot of Americans are uneasy about almost every aspect of the way he approaches the presidency.

BLITZER: You know, Susan, you know you just watched as well, you watched it at the time and you saw the video we just showed. What did you think?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN ANALYST: No, I do think one of the reasons sort of why people were so focused on actually not just the contrast with Trump, but the warmth between the former presidents is because it is so incredibly lacking in our public life. It is a reminder that actually Trump is the aberration here, that past presidents have been able to come together, overcome political differences.

[18:50:05] But people who are seated next to each other, many of them had defeated one another in elections and had very, very strong political differences but actually managed to overcome it, to develop actual true and enduring friendships, and to sort of be Americans first and to be human beings first.

So I do think it was a pretty stark reminder of how missing that is and how much of an aberration the current president is.

BLITZER: I think the most powerful moment, Gloria, we all watched it so closely, is when the former President George W. Bush delivered the eulogy and he did it beautifully and at the very end, though, he broke down.

BORGER: Yes, he did. He's burying his father, a man he obviously loved and adored and looked up to. He just buried his mother. And I think he was trying to hold it together during his speech. He was sort of alternately serious and funny as a way to kind of I think control his emotions.

And then at the end, he broke down a bit, and why not? Why not?

BLITZER: It's a powerful moment, indeed.

All right. Everybody, stick around.

Much more of the breaking news right after this.


[18:55:47] BLITZER: Tonight, U.N.-backed talks in ending the catastrophic war in Yemen are about to resume. The outcome will likely impact a very heated battle under way right here in Washington over legislation to cut U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Even some key Trump allies are looking to rebuke Saudi Arabia in defiance of the president amid growing evidence that the Saudi crown prince was complicit in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We're joined by our senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir.

Nima has been doing extensive reporting from inside Yemen.

Nima, tell our viewers what's at stake right now.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With the talks starting out, Wolf, we thought it was really important to take our viewers back inside this story. I do have to warn them and you, though, this is an incredibly difficult watch but we think an important one. Take a look.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): At the front lines in Hudaydah, every inch of territory gained and lost has been brutally fought over, paralyzing Yemen and ravaging its people.

As the world finally works to force the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition and Iranian backed Houthi rebels, for so many here, it's already too late.

What we're about to show you is almost unimaginable in its horror. These are the 9-month-old Akhil's (ph) last gasps. Filmed inside a local clinic, Akhil died as the medical team fought to revive him. His desperate father borrowed the money to bring him here and all he's leaving with is a little body wrapped in white.

In hospitals and clinics across Yemen, time is running out. Little Mukthasin (ph) is also 9 months old. He struggles to even keep his eyes open.

Support for the war in Yemen is waning and many U.S. lawmakers want out. Although U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says without American involvement, life here would be worse. It's hard to see how.


ELBAGIR: Akhil is one of the estimated Yemeni children that died every ten minutes from hunger -- hunger is what killed Akhil, but also from curable diseases as a result of severe malnutrition. And that is really what is at stake, that the talks are expected to last just over a week. But when you break down that week into minutes and you start to understand that the sheer scale, the sheer scope for the loss of life because every moment another Yemeni child dies waiting for a cease-fire to be agreed upon the ground, Wolf.

BLITZER: Nima, as you know, the U.S. Senate is discussing withdrawing support, the U.S. support for the Saudis right now. What impact would that have on the ground in Yemen?

ELBAGIR: We've now had a separate group of bipartisan senators put forward, a second resolution also calling for withdrawal support in the war in Yemen and a broader sanctioning of Saudi Arabia. The impact that it needs to have is a ceasefire is bringing to a close that siege on that strategic port in Hudaydah which is blocking the aid from reaching Yemeni families, and that's what the U.S. secretary of defense, General Mattis, had said these talks would deliver.

But, of course, we are still waiting to see tangible results. People are just happy -- the people we're speaking to are just happy that the warring parties are in the same country. That is as far as their expectations have gotten. Hopefully, though, it will lead to some kind of cessation of hostilities. But every moment that is delayed, well you saw what that means in our piece.

BLITZER: And I can tell you and our viewers, Nima, as you know, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has put the whole issue of Yemen right now on the front burner. We'll see what happens.

Excellent reporting as usual.

ELBAGIR: Thank you.

BLITZER: Nima doing it for us.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.