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Trump on Tariffs; Trump Talking to Witnesses in Russia Probe?; The President and the Porn Star. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired March 8, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: What's more here, the president's first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, just testified before the House Intelligence Committee.
We heard from the ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, just a bit ago. And he spoke about what Lewandowski would and would not answer in his second appearance before the committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: That's for them to decide. But I think, after 12 hours, I have done enough.
QUESTION: What was the atmosphere like in the room?
LEWANDOWSKI: They don't afford the heat.
QUESTION: Cold in temperature or --
LEWANDOWSKI: Taxpayers have got to put the heat on in there.
QUESTION: And did you answer everything they had?
LEWANDOWSKI: Twelve hours. What more is there to say?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, when listened to Adam Schiff just a little while ago speaking, the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, he was essentially saying that he did -- Lewandowski did at least answer all relevant questions.
Got Gloria Borger, who just sat down next to me, CNN chief political analyst, to talk about all these different threads today, beginning with -- good to see you.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi. BALDWIN: Beginning with this "New York Times" report that the
president actually talked to two people after they were interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Specifically, we've learned it was former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the current White House counsel, Don McGahn. CNN has now learned that the chief of staff here, John Kelly, actually had a conversation with the president, warning him to be careful about talking to people wrapped up in this whole investigation.
Let me just read the quote. A White House official says, "It's pretty clear that Kelly admonishes him constantly and he's not the only one."
BORGER: That's true. He's not the only one.
BALDWIN: There's a line, Mr. President.
BORGER: Right. His lawyers, I know, from my own reporting tell him constantly that you need to distance yourself. They have had some success, by the way, I will tell you, in getting him not to tweet about Bob Mueller.
You didn't see him tweeting about Sam Nunberg earlier this week.
BORGER: I'm sure he had itchy fingers, but he didn't want to do it. They kind of hold him back.
They were unhappy when, at one point, he said he felt vindicated. Do you remember that? And so they have been trying. Now, you can't succeed all the time, particularly when it's not about Twitter, when it's just about the president having conversations with people.
I mean, he is being told, leave that to your lawyers. That's what your lawyers do. But they don't always succeed. And it's a frustration.
BALDWIN: Let's talk about, while speaking of frustrations, mad dashes and scrambles around the White House over this whole tariffs thing.
It was a mad scramble by some of these staffers to get this whole thing together, this event that is happening in half-an-hour. It's now officially being labeled a signing. We didn't know that until a whole heck of a -- long ago.
I want you to listen to the president talk about it just a little while ago. And, again, no mention earlier of a signing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a very big meeting at 3:30. I call it an economic meeting, something we have to do to protect our steel, our aluminum in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Staffers called the rush to come up with policy absurd. I know this was a campaign promise, but what's the motivation here?
BORGER: It's hard to know, to get into the president's head, but I would have to guess that one of them is the special election in Pennsylvania.
BALDWIN: Next Tuesday.
BORGER: Next Tuesday.
This is a president who believes that he promised this to his base and that it will help him and that they feel that they have gotten a raw deal here by NAFTA and he wants to help steelworkers.
And so I think this is something he wanted to deliver on. As you know, people have been trying to talk him out of it. Gary Cohn quit over it.
BALDWIN: You think he's willing to risk a global trade war over holding onto Republican --
BORGER: I don't think it's the only thing, but I think it's in his head.
I think he believes that he ran on this and that he has to deliver a promise, like he believed he ran on cutting taxes and he has to deliver on that promise. He also ran on repealing Obamacare and that didn't work out so well.
So, I do believe that in his to-do list, this was one of his things. But there were people inside the White House who felt, we can moderate this. We can try and show him the full story here and try to talk him out of it.
And clearly, Gary Cohn felt he was unable to do it and, therefore, it was untenable for him to continue in this position.
BALDWIN: Isn't this rollout botched?
BORGER: It's not a rollout. It's kind of a shove-out, I would say.
Normally in the White Houses that I have covered and I'm familiar with, when you're doing something on trade that is so monumental, you might have a trade czar in charge of it, you will have months and months of study, you will have coordination with allies.
You will have people in from all over the country about how this affects not only the Rust Belt, but agribusiness and all the rest. And you would do that and you would come up with a list and it would be debated and then the president would finally make his decision.
In this White House, it's the opposite. I think the president decided where he wanted to go and then now everybody else has to kind of work up to that. It's completely opposite from what we normally see.
But this is the Trump White House. Everything seems to be like that.
BALDWIN: Maybe that's what he wants people to be talking about, instead of this next thing I'm going to ask you about, Stormy Daniels. Right?
We saw what Sarah Sanders said yesterday. We know that Stormy Daniels is now officially suing the president over this. Sarah Sanders yesterday revealing the president had won this arbitration against her.
I know people heard arbitration and they're like, what is she talking about? New reporting today is that Trump was livid with Sarah Sanders, a source telling Jim Acosta -- quote -- "Sarah gave the Stormy Daniels storyline steroids yesterday."
Would you agree?
BORGER: Yes, I would. What she did was, she drew the line between David Dennison and Donald Trump.
BALDWIN: Officially linked on the record at the White House.
BORGER: It's officially linked.
I think also before this, nobody was much reading into the arbitration agreement until she mentioned it and said the president won. Oh, the president won. Oh, OK.
And so I think now, by doing that, in an effort to try and say this is over, asked and answered, the president has said it's not true, she opened up a Pandora's box here.
BALDWIN: She did.
Gloria, thank you very much.
BALDWIN: Speaking of Stormy Daniels, my next guest actually interviewed the porn star at length back in 2011. What she revealed about Donald Trump during that interview that we can talk about on television, that is next.
Also, moments from now, President Trump to make that announcement on trade and tariffs, the same policy that, as Gloria just pointed out, prompted his chief economic adviser Gary Cohn to resign. There will be cameras in the room. So, we are going to take it live.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
BALDWIN: It is the scandal rocking the White House.
The president, the porn star and the press secretary. CNN is learning that President Trump is -- quote -- "very unhappy" with the way his White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, handled the questions about porn star Stormy Daniels and the alleged hush money Trump's personal lawyer paid her days before the election.
Sanders, this time yesterday, telling reporters that -- quote -- "The arbitration was won in the president's favor" -- end quote -- effectively conceding for the first time that Trump has indeed been involved in a legal dispute with Daniels and now Daniels' lawyers say she is being pressured to stay silent about the alleged affair, fighting a restraining order from Trump's own personal lawyer.
So, joining me now, Jordi Lippe-McGraw, who interviewed Stormy Daniels for "In Touch" just a couple of years ago.
So, Jordi, good to see you.
JORDI LIPPE-MCGRAW, INTERVIEWED STORMY DANIELS: Hello.
BALDWIN: You're giggling because, what, this is just all sort of surreal?
LIPPE-MCGRAW: Who knew an interview that I did six years ago would become a presidential scandal?
BALDWIN: Such a thing. Such a thing.
Before we just get into the details, just for everyone, so they understand, you did this -- this whole thing happened, and we will get into that, in 2007. You talked to Stormy on the phone in 2011.
BALDWIN: How did this interview come to you? Why did she want to talk?
LIPPE-MCGRAW: Honestly, at the time, I don't remember exactly how all the pieces came together. This was so long ago.
But what I do know is that I was able to get on the phone with her. I'm sure we had some details beforehand that made us interested in the story. I got on the phone, I got all of those details that have now come out.
And then I did my due diligence as a reporter. I corroborated with other sources. We had her take a lie-detector test.
BALDWIN: She took a polygraph.
LIPPE-MCGRAW: Yes, she passed a polygraph test.
BALDWIN: She passed. LIPPE-MCGRAW: And we had no reason not to believe her.
BALDWIN: OK. That's what I wanted to establish before we got into this whole conversation.
All right, Lake Tahoe, fancy golf tournament, 2007. Lots of celebrities. Lots of people are there, including Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump.
BALDWIN: What happened that we can discuss on television? I'm serious.
LIPPE-MCGRAW: No, I know. The details are pretty interesting, to say the least.
They met at this golf tournament. Her company had kind of like a suite, and Donald Trump stopped by to check out some of the porn stars that were there on site. And he invited her back to his hotel room later that evening, and she took him up on the offer. She actually said to me that she thought she was getting dressed up to go out to dinner.
And when she got to the hotel room, lo and behold, it was just a dinner in their hotel room, just the two of them. And what transpired was obviously this alleged affair. And there were some other fun, quirky details that came out of their time together. And then, after that, they continued a casual relationship.
It wasn't like it was some big love affair or anything like that. But --
BALDWIN: She gets invited -- this is the same month. Fast forward from Lake Tahoe. She goes to Beverly Hills, to Trump's bungalow. Her boyfriend drives her.
BALDWIN: To the bungalow, and then what?
LIPPE-MCGRAW: And it was sort of like the same scenario all over again, where he had a dinner set up in this private bungalow.
LIPPE-MCGRAW: She didn't tell me anything about them getting intimate in that particular case. They had gotten intimate at the Lake Tahoe hotel room.
So, this was just another kind of weird encounter with him. And I think she was hoping to perhaps get on "Celebrity Apprentice" and was
looking at this as a business transaction almost.
BALDWIN: That's what I wanted to ask.
BALDWIN: So, she was seeking fame, according to Stormy Daniels.
BALDWIN: Was that sort of her reasoning behind sleeping with him, according to her, having this affair, perhaps wanting it to continue?
LIPPE-MCGRAW: What she said to me was like, she was never a fan of Donald Trump, but he was certainly an interesting guy and a good person to know in the industry. He did have a reality show.
And I think she wanted to see how far she could take it.
So, bringing this to current day, we know that she and her team have filed this lawsuit against Trump, and particularly the lawsuit alleges that there are texts and photos and videos.
And I'm curious. In your conversation, did she ever mention to you that she took any while they were --
BALDWIN: Together, yes.
LIPPE-MCGRAW: She didn't mention anything specifically to me about text messages.
There is that very famous photo of them together from the Lake Tahoe golf tournament that we also had published at the time or we published recently, rather.
What she did tell me was that she really talked to him a lot on the phone. She didn't have a direct cell phone number. But she would call his bodyguard, Keith, and then he would put her in touch with him.
And she also had a direct line to his office, and Donald Trump had given her his secretary's phone number. So, she would call the office and she would either be put right through or he would call her back in about 10 minutes or so.
BALDWIN: Was she aware that Donald Trump was a married man with a 4- month-old baby?
LIPPE-MCGRAW: She was aware that he was a married man. I didn't ask her specifically about the child. But she said she did know that he was married, and she didn't really feel all that guilty about it.
BALDWIN: He didn't mention Melania? LIPPE-MCGRAW: And Donald Trump didn't mention her at all.
BALDWIN: But he did mention his daughter?
LIPPE-MCGRAW: Yes, he did mention his daughter, saying that Stormy looked like her and reminded him a lot of her.
Last question, why did "In Touch" not publish your interview at the time? Why wait?
LIPPE-MCGRAW: You have to remember, this is back in 2011, when Donald Trump was a reality star, a New York businessman. He wasn't the president of the United States.
So, I'm not sure why the story was killed. It was an editorial decision. But Jon Gosselin was big news at the time. So, I'm sure if he Jon Gosselin ran president, we would probably dig up some old interviews that we did with him back in the day, too.
So, when we saw that the "Wall Street Journal" report had come out, I had flagged it to a girl that I still knew that works at the magazine. She brought it to the editorial director and here we are, blew the lid off the whole story, I think.
BALDWIN: Wow. Details in your piece.
Jordi, thank you. Thank you so much.
Any moment now, speaking of the president, we will be bringing you President Trump's controversial announcement on tariffs and trade that has him breaking with a lot of people within his party.
Also, the man who is pushing this White House policy, economic adviser named Peter Navarro, I actually talked to him back in 2016 before the election. What he revealed to me then about Donald Trump's economic game plan. We will pull the tape.
Also, Chief of Staff John Kelly warning the president about talking to witnesses in the Robert Mueller investigation. Hear who the president tried to talk to -- coming up.
BALDWIN: All right, near minutes from now, the president is expected to sign new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
And behind the scenes at the White House, there's been this mad scramble to make this whole thing happen today.
I want to play just exactly what the president said earlier about this earlier this morning at his Cabinet meeting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Sticking with 10 and 25 initially. I'll have a right to go up or down, depending on the country, and I'll have a right to drop out countries or add countries.
We just want fairness, because we have not been treated fairly by other countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With me now, Austan Goolsbee, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama, and Greg Autry is the co-author of "Death By China," which he co-wrote with Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro.
Gentlemen, nice to have both of you on.
Greg, let me begin with you and what we're about to see in the next couple of minutes here at the White House. It's this whole scramble. It's the president's tweet. It's the rush for policy. Get the cameras in the room.
Doesn't this whole rushed process undercut what the president is genuinely trying to achieve?
GREG AUTRY, CO-AUTHOR, "DEATH BY CHINA": I don't think so at all. Now, clearly, this president thinks out loud a little bit more than others have. But he listens to a lot of voices. He clearly adapts his thinking based on information and learns, rather than sticking to one particular policy.
And I think that's a strength actually of this White House.
BALDWIN: But one of his key voices is leaving over this. And how is being rushed into a trade policy a smart thing?
AUTRY: I don't think we're being rushed into this.
This has been discussed for quite some time. I have certainly been advocating for this for many years. And Trump has been talking to Wilbur Ross and Lighthizer and other folks that know what's going on in this arena. This is not a rushed policy.
The announcement comes out and everybody seems to be surprised. I can't see why they would be. It's not as though he didn't discuss these things in his campaign and say give me tariffs in the past.
BALDWIN: OK. No, you're right, it was absolutely a campaign promise. It's just some of his staffers would disagree.
But let me move on.
Austan, to you. Before the election, I talked to Peter Navarro, who is largely responsible for pushing this tariff plan and, yes, who also happened to be on with us that day. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: What Donald Trump has proposed is a synergistic plan of energy policy reform, tax policy reform, trade policy reform.
And these things all work together synergistically, like they did in the '80s with Ronald Reagan. And we need to harness our American people by getting them back to work with good trade policies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: There you were in the box as well.
But here's the point. Navarro there back in 2016 he was also making the argument that these tariffs are needed to protect national security.
But if the president leaves Mexico and Canada out, doesn't that undermine the whole argument?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Look, this is a bad policy. Let's start with that.
This is going to raise the price of steel. A report just came out today, an analysis of the auto industry, who is a huge user of steel, it's going to cost 45,000 auto jobs because they are going to have to pay more for their materials.
And you see that down the line. Now, the rationale that this should be based on national security is obviously disproven by the president's own words. You saw him right there in his announcement saying, well, I reserve the right to raise the rate or lower the rate on whoever I want because I just want to be treated fairly.
That negotiating tactic, that this would be used because we want to get them to change their tariff rates, that's not a national security rationale. I don't think the president understands that by making announcements like that, or his Twitter announcements, he's undermining his legal authority of whether he's allowed to do this.
The only reason he would be allowed to move unilaterally like this was because, in a law from the 1960s, it gave the president the right if there was a threat to national security.
Putting tariffs on our NATO allies in South Korea and/or Canada and Mexico is not enhancing our national security. It's undermining our national security.
BALDWIN: Greg, do you want to respond to that?
In order to have national security, we have got to have a steel and aluminum industry. The Chinese government -- and don't let anybody mistake this -- these are state-owned enterprises and companies owned by people closely connected to the Communist Party -- has produced an incredible overcapacity in steel.
This was not entirely unintentional. It's driven down the cost of steel in a globally traded market, to the point that U.S. companies can't afford to invest in themselves and keep up with their capacity.
The Chinese know this. If we're getting our steel from friends in Korea, that would be great, except for the fact that you can't defend those logistical supply lines across the specific with the navy that the Chinese is building up to make sure that we can't.
We have to have a domestic capacity. The only way to deal with that is to protect our domestic production from this glut that has driven down global prices. It doesn't make a difference whether we get our steel from China any more than the fact we don't get much oil from Saudi Arabia.
When you have got a massive producer who is capable of glutting the market, they can force the price down to the point and put your companies out of business. It's what the Chinese Communist Party has been planning all along.
GOOLSBEE: Look, we're talking about getting steel from Canada. There's a highway from Canada to the United States. Two-thirds of the steel that we use in the United States already comes from the United States.
And we can't get past the fact that this is going to destroy more manufacturing jobs than it creates, even in the steel industry. The cost per jobs saved is well over $1.5 million per job.
This is a bad policy. And it was arrived at by a horrible process that, as best I can tell, involved Donald Trump waking up, walking out into a press conference and at the end of the press conference saying, oh, by the way, I think I'm going to put tariffs on foreign steel.
All of our allies are outraged by it. And there's a good reason they're outraged by it. This was nonsense, non-thought-through policy.
BALDWIN: All right, well, we're about to see the official signing momentarily.
Live pictures there at the White House.
Gentlemen, I need to get a break in. Thank you so much.
Again, moments from now, President Trump will be making that announcement on trade and tariffs. We will take it.
Back in a flash.