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CNN Reports, Trump Makes Fundraising Moves Ahead Of CPAC Speech; FDA Considering Emergency Use Authorization For Third Vaccine; CNN Speaks To Leader Of The Far-Right Proud Boys Group; Source: Trump Plotting 2024 Run, Revenge Ahead Of CPAC Speech; Answering Viewer's Questions In CNN's "Cross Exam". Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 27, 2021 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: The big difference with this one, it is just one shot. And researchers say it is 100 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

And in the early morning hours, the House passed President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. It includes stimulus cash for families and small businesses. It heads now to the Senate. One key provision and nearly doubling of the federal minimum wage, however, is not expected to make it. And we should note at least a dozen House Republicans asked to not vote in person last night, citing the ongoing public health emergency.

Oddly enough, that emergency, it turns out, was to head to CPAC, where a six-foot tall golden statue of the former president presides over the conference site. As we also learned, Trump is now weighing the creation of a super PAC.

But not all Republicans are on board, Senator Ben Sasse blasting his party for the, quote, weird worship of one dude after Republicans in his home state of Nebraska rebuked him for voting to impeach former President Trump.

I want to bring in CNN's Chief Domestic Correspondent Jim Acosta live at CPAC today. Jim, there is no doubt, Trump is sucking up all the oxygen at this event for Republicans and he doesn't even speak until tomorrow, right?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana, but that's how it's been the entire CPAC conference that we've been down here. He is speaking tomorrow. He's gearing up for this return to the political stage tomorrow afternoon.

But in the meantime, he is making other moves, as you were just mentions a few moments ago. He is starting to build up the fundraising apparatus for the next stage of his political career. It's going to be a joint fundraising committee that will not only fund perhaps his own future political ambitions but perhaps the ambitions of other Trump- friendly political candidates around the country.

But you're right, he is overshadowing everything at this CPAC, including a six-foot golden statue of the former president.


ACOSTA (voice over): Look around this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.

DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: CPAC, it's what it feels like, guys.

ACOSTA: And it's clear much of the Republican Party still sees Donald Trump as something of a golden idol, who will lead the GOP back to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he was the greatest president.

ACOSTA: Despite Trump's role in the bloody siege at the capitol on January 6th --

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.

ACOSTA: -- CPAC's chief organizer, Matt Schlapp, handed the former president a prime speaking slot, closing out the conference Sunday.

MATT SCHLAPP, CPACP CHIEF ORGANIZER: I like the fact that he wants to stay engaged. Now, you can say that he lost the election, but his supporters, 73 million --

ACOSTA: But he did lose the election.

SCHLAPP: You can say that he lost the election --

ACOSTA: He did lose the election.

SCHLAPP: Yes, yes, but I'm not quibbling (ph) that.

ACOSTA: But Schlapp insists Trump shouldn't be held responsible for the deadly insurrection.

He gave a speech and then there was a violent insurrection at the Capitol. How was that not true?

SCHLAPP: You simply don't know what you're talking about.

ACOSTA: After our interview, some CPAC attendees became irate, many of them refusing to believe Trump incited any violence.

Don't you feel Trump is at all responsible for that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all.

ACOSTA: Do you still believe that Donald Trump won the election?


ACOSTA: And still believing his big lie that he won the election, a falsehood the former president is expected to repeat this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he do? I mean, he's out there. I mean, you've got a bunch of nut cases going out there.

ACOSTA: Trump's presence is overshadowing the other presidential wannabes at the conference, like Senator Ted Cruz, who made light of his trip to Cancun while his constituents were freezing to death in Texas.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): I got to say, Orlando is awesome. It's not as nice as Cancun, but it's nice.

In the immortal words of William Wallace, freedom.

ACOSTA: This chaotic post-presidency has twisted the GOP into a pretzel, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he could support another Trump campaign.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The nominee of the party, absolutely.

ACOSTA: Even though he just condemned the former president right after his impeachment trial.

MCCONNELL: President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.


ACOSTA (on camera): And there are other Trump world figures at this CPAC conference this year, Ana. We tried to catch up with the former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, earlier this afternoon. We could show you some video of this. He gave a speech earlier today at CPAC and was talking to some very far-right media outlets after the speech was over.

He would not answer our question as to whether or not he still stands by the statement that he made after the 2020, that there would be a continuation or a transition to a new Trump administration that obviously did not happen. Joe Biden is president, but it goes to show you these Trump world figures try to ride the former president's coattails. So he'll be here tomorrow.

And speaking of the former president, Ana, we should also note he is meeting with his former acting director of National Intelligence, Rick Grenell, at Mar-a-Lago this evening.


They're having dinner over there. One of many Trump world figures, former administration officials, key advisers of the former president who are out there in Mar-a-Lago

meeting with Trump on almost a daily basis to break bread with the former president. Ana?

CABRERA: It's all very interesting. Jim Acosta, thank you for your reporting. Joe Kennedy is a CNN Political Commentator and former Democratic Representative of Massachusetts. Great to have you with us and welcome to CNN. Thank you.

As Jim Acosta just reported, it's full steam ahead on the Trump train, no apparent fallout from the Capitol riots. What are your thoughts on what you're hearing and seeing out of CPAC?

JOE KENNEDY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ana, first off, thanks for having me. It's great to be with you.

Politics is about choices and I want to make sure that folks understand that this is a conscious choice that Republicans, leading Republicans have made to decide to follow the former president down this rabbit hole of denying facts and reality, and with the hoax that that is going to lead to electoral prospects going forward.

And, look, I hope for a wide variety of reasons that is unsuccessful but it is an interesting decision by some of those leading figures in a Republican Party when they have lost seven of the last eight elections with the popular vote to the presidency to think that somehow this is going to be the correct path forward.

I hope, Ana, that over the months ahead, as the fallout of this election continues to settle, that the party goes through some deep thinking, but we obviously haven't seen that start to happen again.

CABRERA: Let's talk about what's likely on the minds of the majority of Americans right now, the House passed this COVID-19 relief bill overnight. It's now headed to the Senate where they are expected to strip out the $15 minimum wage provision because of a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian.

Here is what Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, progressive voice in the party, told CNN about that.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): It is unacceptable, I believe, for us to continue to come up with excuses on why we can't do the right thing on behalf of the American people. When the Republicans are in charge and they have the majority, they do everything that they can and they don't let anything get in the way.


CABRERA: Should Democrats move forward without the $15 minimum wage in that bill or is there another path?

KENNEDY: There has to be another path and there is another path. Ana, I think the congresswoman is right. This is a critical moment for our country. It's a critical moment for the Democratic Party.

And just take a step back for a second. You're a year into the global pandemic. Every family across the country has been impacted, some brutally, and we as a society has spent the last year glorifying the work of essential workers as they carry this through an unprecedented moment in our history and now we have a chance to raise their wages in the midst of massive income inequality.

And we're trying to say that, well, because of some arcane recommendation or interpretation of a rule, we're not going to do it? I just don't think that comes anywhere close. This has to be done and if be done a number of ways, yes, by keeping it in this existing package, by overruling the parliamentarian or adjusting the package a bit, as Senator Sanders has proposed, or potentially a standalone bill.

But, regardless, this has to happen. And I think just, again, critically here, we are at this moment of massive reconsideration of our structures here across our society. And understand that, that income inequality, that issue that grips many of us, that has gotten worse because of this same structure by Republicans to help increase the wealth for the wealthy.

And we're saying, the same set of rules to help the wealthy get richer but can't help working families get into the middle class. That's the definition of a rigged system. That's what's got to change.

CABRERA: But is that $15 minimum wage issue the Hill to die on? Because, as you know, this $1.9 trillion relief bill was already hanging by a thread in the Senate and we have Democrats, specifically Joe Manchin, who wasn't on board with the $15 minimum wage. How confident are you that there will be no Democratic defections in the Senate even without the $15 minimum wage in there?

KENNEDY: Look, I respect Senator Manchin, his calculus on this and his interpretation on this, right? However, I also believe there's an awful lot of people across this country, in West Virginia, and across this nation that would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. And I think the reality is when you have a $1.9 trillion relief package that this country is begging for, that is going to increase the minimum wage for the first time in decades, that this is going to be something that's awfully hard to vote against.


And one last piece here, Ana, that I don't think many people understand, minimum wage for tipped workers in this country in the United States is $2.13 an hour, $2.13. We're trying to bump that up. We can do better than this and that's what this is about.

CABRERA: And, technically, it's $7.25 an hour at the federal minimum wage. I know your point about the $2.15 an hour for people who get tips, because I was one of them in college waiting tables and that was me in Colorado, didn't get more than that beyond my tip. But, anyway, just for people who might be confused.

Thank you, Joe Kennedy, I appreciate your time.

KENNEDY: Understood, thank you.

CABRERA: Good to see you. We are on the brink of having not one, two, but three coronavirus vaccines accessible to Americans. Is this the game changer we have been waiting for? We'll discuss, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: We may soon have a third vaccine in the fight against the coronavirus that is expected the FDA will grant emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson's one shot vaccine, which researchers say demonstrated complete protection against COVID-related hospitalizations and death.

I want to bring in Dr. Jonathan Reiner, he's a CNN Medical Analyst and a Professor of Medicine at George Washington University.

Doctor, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine data also hints that this vaccine might prevent asymptomatic infections starting at four weeks. How much of a game changer is all of this?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Oh, I think it's a big deal. Yesterday was a really good day. So now we're going to have three fabulous vaccines available for the American public and the J&J vaccine, which is easier to transport and store, it stayed in a refrigerator for three months and all requires one injection, is going to dramatically increase our vaccine availability.

We'll have probably immediately about 3 to 4 million doses of the vaccine but that's like between 6 to 8 million of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines because they require two shots, and we're promised, I think, 20 million doses of this vaccine by the end of March and then 100 million doses by the end of June. So this is going to increase immediately by somewhere between 70 percent to 80 percent our ability to deliver new shots to people every week. It's a big, big deal.

CABRERA: As more and more Americans get vaccinated, people are wondering, what can I do once I've been fully vaccinated? We know the CDC will be issuing guidance on this soon. What do you expect and what will you recommend?

REINER: Well, let me tell you what my wife and I are going to do tonight for the first time in almost exactly a year. We're going to dine in a restaurant tonight. Both my wife and I are fully vaccinated and we have two friends also fully vaccinated and we're going to eat in a restaurant tonight.

So as more and more people become vaccinated, and as we learn more about these vaccines and show that the protection is really robust and also protects against transmitting the virus, you're going to see the economy open up. More and more people will do what we're going to do tonight. I'm very excited about this. It's been a whole year since we've eaten in a restaurant.

CABRERA: That is one of the things I miss most as well.

CPAC is happening this weekend, which we've been covering. This is the largest gathering of conservatives. And just moments ago, Republican Governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem, she slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci. Take a listen.


GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): We never focused on the case numbers. Instead, we kept our eye on hospital capacity. Now, Dr. Fauci, he told me that on my worst day, I'd have 10,000 patients in the hospital. On our worst day, we had a little over 600. I don't know if you agree with me, but Dr. Fauci is wrong a lot.


CABRERA: Dr. Reiner, what's your reaction to that?

REINER: Well, that's outrageous. Governor Noem refused to institute a mask mandate in her state. As the virus was spreading across the Great Plains, she refused to institute a mask mandate. And as a result, 10 percent of the people in South Dakota had been infected with the coronavirus. Thousands of people have died.

So her science denialism has resulted in the propagation of that disease unnecessarily throughout her state, mercilessly. So I side with Tony Fauci.

CABRERA: Dr. Jonathan Reiner, good to have you here. Thank you so much. Have fun at your dinner tonight.

REINER: My pleasure. Thank you.

CABRERA: 10,000 rioters stormed the Capitol grounds on January 6th. And mixed in with that mob, members of the Proud Boys, this extremist group. Now, their leader talks to CNN in his first interview with a major U.S. network since the attack.


ENRIQUE TARRIO, CHAIRMAN, PROUD BOYS: I'm not going to cry about a group of people that don't give a crap about their constituents. I'm not going to sympathize with them.




CABRERA: The leader of the far-right group, the Proud Boys, says he has no sympathy for the lawmakers who fear for their lives during the Capitol insurrection, an attack that his group played a significant role in. He also makes a shocking admission about his relationship with one of former President Trump's allies.

CNN's Sara Sidner brings us this exclusive interview.


ENRIQUE TARRIO, CHAIRMAN, THE PROUD BOYS: I'm not going to cry about a group of people that don't give a crap about their constituents. I'm not going to sympathize with them.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The leader of the Proud Boys is talking about the members of Congress who feared for their lives on January 6th, as a mob attacked the Capitol.

TARRIO: They shouldn't have breached the Capitol with violence.

SIDNER: He says that now. But the day after the violent breach, Enrique Tarrio posted this, a picture on social media of members of Congress trying to hide as the attackers began their siege.


You write, when the people fear the government, there's tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty. Doesn't that show that you are celebrating terrorizing people?

TARRIO: I was celebrating. And I'll tell you, celebrate the moment that the government does fear their people. At that point, again, I didn't have all the information that came in, why they were carrying or anything like that. But I think --

SIDNER: Do you -- you say that you didn't do that now that you know?

TARRIO: No, I don't. Another thing is I'll never regret something that I said.

SIDNER: They are doing the job that the people put them there to do and if they don't like it, they can vote them out. They are still Americans. They are still human beings who felt that their lives were in danger. How can you not feel any sympathy or any empathy towards them like that?

TARRIO: I'm not going to worry about people that their only worry in life is to be reelected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got a whole boatload of Proud Boys walking through here, folks.

SIDNER: Tarrio was not there on January 6th. He was arrested in D.C. two days before for burning a Black Lives Matter flag stolen from a church and having empty weapons magazines that are illegal in D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are walking with the Proud Boys to the state Capitol.

SIDNER: But a group of Proud Boys was there. The far-right group known across the country for brawling with members of Antifa, a left-wing anti-fascist movement. There are also known for throwing their support behind Donald Trump, whose words to them in a September presidential debate exploded their popularity.

TRUMP: Proud boys, stand back and stand by.

TARRIO: I think we've doubled in number since the debate.

SIDNER: Tarrio has close ties with one of the longest serving advisers and friends, Roger Stone. Stone was in D.C. on January 6th as people rallied against the election results that showed Trump lost. Stone did not march to the Capitol and wasn't charged with a crime.

Instead, Stone was seen with members of extremist groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys who have now become a central focus of law enforcement in the Capitol attack investigation. Tarrio had such a close relationship with Roger Stone, he revealed this.

You have access to Roger Stone's phone?

TARRIO: For a couple of times when I went to go see him, I'd help him with his social media post and things like that.

SIDNER: Tarrio's access to the phone landed him in front of a federal grand jury, a detail not revealed until now. At the time, Stone was facing seven charges in the Russia probe, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. Trump pardoned him after he was convicted on all seven charges.

During his trial, Stone was accused of threatening the judge in the case with a social media post, an image of the judge and what appeared to be a target behind her head.

TARRIO: I actually testified in front of the grand jury but, no, there was no -- that picture was brought up on a Google search, right? So you used to be able to search, not now, obviously, because --

SIDNER: Wait, back up, what you just said. Did you just say you were on a grand jury panel? You did.

TARRIO: I did.

SIDNER: It's too late to take it back now.

TARRIO: It's not a secret. That's the story that came out. They wanted to see, who was it that posted it at the point. The actual crosshair isn't really a crosshair. It's a logo of the organization that wrote the article. So it's just like a graphic. And then that was posted. I have no idea who actually posted it but I know I had nothing to do with it.

SIDNER: Stone is one of the architects of the Stop the Steal rallying cry. But Tarrio does not buy into the lie that the election was stolen. He says he just wants more transparency.

Do you believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump?

TARRIO: No, I don't. I don't believe that the election was stolen. SIDNER: And yet, he encouraged his Proud Boys to show up on January 6th in record numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's all the Proud Boys, guys.

SIDNER: A group of them did show up. Here they are marching together towards the Capitol. At least eight Proud Boys Tarrio knows have been charged in the Capitol siege. This is one of them, using a police officer's shield to bust out a window in the Capitol allowing people to flood in.

TARRIO: I condemn the actions. I don't think he should have done that, that I think it was completely wrong, but the other seven individuals were trespassing. I think that they got caught up with the entire crowd and they made a poor decision to go in there.

SIDNER: Members of the Proud Boys didn't appear to just get caught up in this, some of them were leading this attack. You had people removing barriers who were Proud Boys. You had someone threatening an officer, breaking the Capitol window. They weren't just following in this insurrection.


It appears that some of them were leading the charge.

TARRIO: No, those three accusations, I do want to touch on those. The breaking of the window, we've already hit.

SIDNER: You think that's wrong?

TARRIO: The threatening -- yes, definitely. Unequivocally, I think that's wrong.

But the threatening of police officers, I didn't I didn't see that.

SIDNER: The Feds have. They have video of William Chrestman yelling, "You shoot, and I'll take your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ass out."

TARRIO: As of right now, I can't tell you about Chrestman because I can't locate who he is affiliated with. Like if he's even a Proud Boy.

SIDNER (voice-over): Chrestman's defense attorney said he was just following Trump's orders that day.

But Tarrio says some of his Proud Boys who did breach the Capitol are unfairly being charged with conspiracy.

SIDNER (on camera): Did the Proud Boys have a plan to go --

TARRIO: Into the Capitol?

SIDNER: -- into the Capitol?

TARRIO: Absolutely not.

SIDNER (voice-over): Tarrio put some of the blame for what happened on January 6th on police for being unprepared to thwart the mob.


SIDNER: And he claims some of the Proud Boys simply walked in to record history.

TARRIO: There's nobody that told them -- that stopped them from going in. you feel like it's something that's wrong that you shouldn't do.

SIDNER (on camera): But are you blaming the police for telling people not to break the law?

TARRIO: No, I'm not blaming the cops at all.

SIDNER: So what are you saying?

TARRIO: No. Now, I can blame -- I can blame the police officers and the Feds for their inability to respond to this. So was it a mistake to even go into the capitol?

SIDNER: Was it?


SIDNER: Do you condemn those people? Can you say that right now?

TARRIO: OK, I can't say that.


TARRIO: Because I think condemn is a very strong word, and I think it's a little bit too strong.

SIDNER (voice-over): He thinks the FBI is trying to make an example of the Proud Boys.

But Tarrio also has a history with the FBI after being sentenced to federal prison for fraud in 2012.

SIDNER (on camera): Were you ever informant for the FBI?

TARRIO: I was, to put it simply, I was put in a very tough situation where the Federal government had wanted me to testify against my brothers.

SIDNER (voice-over): He said, he refused. And instead, his defense attorney said Tarrio cooperated with the FBI and other law enforcement on many cases, one involving prescription drug, another a marijuana raid, an illegal gambling bust, and more.

But Tarrio would only admit to cooperating on one case.

TARRIO: The only thing that I actually gave them was the human trafficking ring. And again, I'm not going to apologize for it.

SIDNER (voice-over): What is next for the Proud Boys and the country? Tarrio has already made a plan.

TARRIO: I think right now is the time to go ahead and overthrow the government by becoming the new government and running for office.

SIDNER (on camera): Henry Enrique Tarrio says that he himself is looking at potentially running for office. He says he may even step down as chairman of the Proud Boys to concentrate on that and help others with like minds do the same.


CABRERA: Thanks to Sara Sidner for that reporting.

Tomorrow, former President Trump will make his first public appearance since leaving office. It comes as sources tell us he spent the last month plotting his revenge from his golf course in Florida.

So what does Trump's idea of revenge look like? My next guest was an executive at the Trump Organization for more than a decade. We'll ask her, live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: He's the only U.S. president to be impeached twice, but instead of rejecting Donald Trump for his role in spurring the deadly Capitol Hill insurrection, Republicans erected a golden statue in his honor.

This six-foot tall replicate of the former American president, in flip-flops and American flag shorts, was wheeled through an Orlando hotel this week where the Conservative Political Action Conference is under way.

Trump will address that conference at CPAC tomorrow, his first public appearance since leaving office.

Leading up to this planned comeback of sorts, CNN learned, just a few hundred miles south, at his new home at Mar-a-Lago, the former president spends most of his days on the golf course, not just plotting his comeback, but his revenge.

Joining us now, attorney and former President Trump executive, Barbara Res.

Barbara, you worked for Trump for a decade. What goes through your mind when you hear he's spent the last month plotting his revenge?

BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE: That's just so typical. I'd predict it. And as a matter of fact, I think I said that when the first impeachment was a no-go.

He's got a lot of revenge to lay out and now, forget it. He's going to go after everyone. Republicans and Democrats alike.

CABRERA: What did revenge look like when you worked for him?

RES: You know, it's just hard to compare it to what we've got now. People he didn't like, said something or did something, he wouldn't pay them or he would try to get rid of them or undermine them to other people.

Always something personal. Usually, something personal, like this person had owned a newspaper that reported the truth about Trump Tower, and so payback to that was to put out, that he controlled, that the man's wife was after him, inviting him on dates and things like that.

That's the kind of thing he does.

CABRERA: I remember during the 2016 election, a "Vanity Fair" editor revealed for the last 27 odd years Trump randomly mailed in pictures of his hands after the editor once wrote that he has short fingers in an article, 27 years.


Trump does not let things go. He held this grudge for decades.

RES: That's a little unbelievable, to be honest with you, because what's the point of sending something to somebody or doing something if it's not going to cause some pain.

That's what revenge is all about, especially to Trump. He wants to make people look bad.

Again, with the women, her father shouldn't be compared to him/ And he went around saying she smells and she's a six, things like that. Just trying to hurt her reputation. That's what he did.

And the way of revenge when I was working with him -- and the stakes were different and he didn't have the kind of ability to destroy that he does now.

I mean, he's intent to wipe out any Republican. He's going to make them pay for whoever it is that runs against him in the primaries and make sure they lose the primary, or so he says. And that's heavy-duty stuff. That's heavy-duty stuff.

As far as Democrats are concerned, you'll see him pointing out more and more stuff. More stuff, but never got a call, certainly, wasn't a six. Always has been lies but now I say it's a bigger theme.

CABRERA: He has a smaller microphone because he doesn't have Twitter. He doesn't have Facebook anymore. Even YouTube has banned him.

What is his appearance at CPAC going to look like tomorrow, do you think?

RES: It's hard to predict. My gut tells me that it's going to be very, very loud. It's going to be stern. I'm doing this and I'm doing that. Definitely, all about winning the election by a landslide, he won that

election by a landslide. And then he'll go into picking on people that went against him.

CABRERA: This week, we learned Trump tax records, spanning from 2011 to 2019, were turned over to the New York district attorney. These are records that Trump tried for years to keep secret. We were told there are millions of pages of documents.

As a former Trump executive, do you have any idea what they'll reveal in your experience with everything always by the books?

RES: You know, he tried not to do things by the books. But I was in construction and real estate development. I had nothing to do with the finances, so I really didn't get involved in what was going on.

My gut feeling, and knowing, in one area, it can of sort of can push you it over to another area in trying to interpret what's going to happen.

I think that the documents are going to reveal exactly what Michael Cohen said, that he was playing with the numbers depending on who he spoke to.

And this is about writing off his golf course in Westchester County for a big tax write off and making it more valuable than it could be. That could be a big deal for him.

CABRERA: He's very proud of his brand, obviously. So that's another area of discussion for a different day.

Barbara Res, I really appreciate your insights. Thank you for coming on.

RES: Thank you for having me.


CABRERA: They have his taxes and the Manhattan D.A.'s office is said to asking about, quote, "everything under the sun" as they investigate Donald Trump. What could that mean? "CROSS EXAM" with Elie Honig is next.



CABRERA: After a failed last-ditch effort to keep Trump's financial records a secret, pages and pages of tax returns that former President Trump tried to hide for years are now in the hands of the Manhattan district attorney, who was investigating whether Trump or his organization engaged in tax fraud, insurance fraud or other potential criminal behavior.

That brings us to our weekly "CROSS EXAM" segment with CNN legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor, Elie Honig, who is here to answer your legal questions.

And, Elie, one viewer wants to know: How significant will Trump's tax returns will be to the Manhattan district attorney's investigate and when will the public see those returns?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Ana, the pieces are really coming together for the Manhattan district attorney in its investigation of the Trump Organization.

Here's an indicator of how important those tax returns could be. Donald Trump's attorneys fought and lost this six times in the federal courts to keep those returns out of prosecutor's hands.

But they have them now and there are signs the D.A. is ramping up their investigation. He's hired expert forensic accountant firm and former federal prosecutor that used to do racketeering cases.

They recently spoke with Michael Cohen to guide them through how the Trump Organization did business. And the tax returns will show a bigger picture of the finances.

As Barbara Res said, they may show Donald Trump overinflated or underinflated his assets, which could be the basis for a potential a potential fraud charge.


Now when will we in the public see those tax returns? Not anytime soon. They're part of a grand jury investigation. By law, they have to remain secret.

But more importantly, the Manhattan district attorney has the returns in their hands right now.

CABRERA: How long do you think could take to work through the records related to Bannon's records related to Bannon's crowd fund being border wall effort.

This was after Bannon charged with defrauding voters of a million dollars was pardoned by Trump. One viewer asks: Can Steve Bannon be charged with state crimes even though pardoned by Donald Trump.

HONIG: The Manhattan D.A. is busy looking at Steve Bannon. He was charge federally with fraud relating to the we build the wall scheme. President Trump issued a pardon to Steve Bannon pup but the presidential pardons only federal crimes, not state crimes. The Manhattan D.A. is looking at charging Steve Bannon.

Not every federal crime has a state law equivalent. However here, theft is theft and fraud is fraud. There's a New York state law against scheme to defraud, which could apply here.

Bannon can be charged in the state and that pardon from Donald Trump will not do him any good against the D.A.

CABRERA: There's another story in South Dakota where calls are growing louder for the attorney general following a car accident that filled a 54-year-old man.

New evidence reveals that investigators found the victim's glasses in the A.G.s car indicating the victim's case came through the attorney general windshield. The attorney general told police he hit a deer but discovered the body when he returned the next day.

Here is a question from the viewer: Can the attorney general from South Dakota be impeached?

HONIG: Yes, he can, Ana.

It's such a horrible story. The state attorney general has been charged with three misdemeanors. Misdemeanors don't care a lot of jail time but each could put him in jail up to 30 days.

It's crazy to think about the top law enforcement officer in the state potentially going to jail.

In addition to that, he is facing state-level impeachment. It's not just for presidents. And in South Dakota, what you need in order to impeach is a majority of the State House and then a two-thirds vote of the State Senate.

If that sounds familiar, it's because it was taken word for word from the federal U.S. Constitution.

And it looks like there's broad even bipartisan support to impeach and remove him.

The attorney general here is a Republican. The governor of the state is also a Republican. And she has called on him to resign.

I think it's only a matter of time before this attorney general either resigns or gets forced out through the impeachment process.

CABRERA: Good stuff.

Elie Honig, good to see. Thank you.

HONIG: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: You can send in your questions at Look for Elie's "CROSS EXAM" segment.

Look at this. This is what is known as a fire fall. Photographer Callie Weaver captured breathtaking photos at Yosemite National Park.

While it looks like dangerous hot lava is streaming down the cliff, the fire fall is a rare lava-like color when the sunset hits the water fall just right on the clear evening. So beautiful.

This week, we launch "CNN Heroes" for 2021 and celebrate the 15th anniversary of the "CNN Heroes" campaign, a decade and a half of inspiring moments and stories of everyday people who are changing the world. We begin this year with an update on the man at the center of the most

inspiring moment you selected from last year. Patrick Hutchinson, a London father and grandfather, who rescued a vulnerable man caught in the middle of the street protests turning ugly.


PATRICK HUTCHINSON, CNN HERO: There was a lot of unrest. There was a lot of frustration.

I didn't see color. I just saw somebody who needed help. I just had the presence of mind to scoop him up and put him in my shoulder.

And I had a message come up on my phone from my sisters that said, "It's going viral. You're going viral."


HUTCHINSON: I've spoken to the likes of Reverend Al Sharpton, Prince Harry. I've been on the cover of "Men's Health," BBC News. I've been ITV, CNN, CNBC.

I've received a humanitarian award. I've had Michelle Obama write a message on her Instagram. It hasn't stopped. It's still going.

We started Unite to Change and Inspire. And we call it UTCAI. We're inspiring other people to be the change in the world that you want to see.

Go out there and do what's right. Don't stand by and watch certain things unfold when you know you have the ability to do something about it.



CABRERA: To learn more about the campaign and to hear Patrick Hutchison's full story go to And while you're there, nominate your own "CNN Hero." So many awesome people out there.

That's going to do it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera. See you back here tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 Eastern.

In the meantime, I hand off to Pamela Brown after a quick break. Have a great night.