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Cohen Admits to Taking Out Home Equity Loan to Keep Porn Star Quiet; Trump to Stump for Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania; Interview with Stormy Daniels; China & Japan Supportive of Trump/Kim Jong-Un Meeting; Putin Denies Russian Election Meddling; Jeff Sessions Explains Recusing Himself in Russian Probe; Trump Lawyers Consider Allowing Mueller Meeting; Cohen Admits to Taking Out Home Equity Loan to Keep Porn Star Quiet' "The Kennedys, An American Dynasty" Debuts Sunday Night. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired March 10, 2018 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:24] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in New York this Saturday.
New developments and new questions unfolding in the Stormy Daniels saga. President Trump's lawyer admits to taking out a home equity loan to keep the adult film star quiet about an alleged affair with Trump.
Daniels tells CNN exclusively that the controversy might actually be a boon for her career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: I think it's pretty clear with the new developments comes new interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And a possible meeting in the works between President Trump and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un. The president tweeting just moments ago that both Japan and China are supportive and enthusiastic about the prospects of this face-to-face. Could this mark the beginning of the end to a nearly 70-year standoff between the U.S. and North Korea?
And the president responds after a deadly shooting at a California V.A. clinic. What we know about the gunman and his victims.
All right, let's begin with the latest on the case causing more trouble for this White House. Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, used his official Trump Organization e-mail address and signature to handle the arrangement. Cohen says he took out a home equity line of credit as well in the amount of $130,000 to make the payment to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about this alleged affair between herself and Mr. Trump.
Daniels' attorney made his case to CNN's Anderson Cooper last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: This took a long time, the negotiation, the drafting, the communication, the routing of the payment, we're talking about hours and hours and hours. What Mr. Cohen and the administration now expects the American public to believe is that he went off half-cocked on his own without any guidance or communication whatsoever with his client. None. He just decided he was going to do this. He was going to draft the document, negotiate it, and draft the document with places for his client to sign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This comes as President Trump prepares to hit the campaign trail today. He will be stumping for a Pennsylvania Republican who is in danger of losing in the district the president carried by 20 points.
All right, let me bring in CNN's Boris Sanchez who is covering these developments for us from the White House -- Boris?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney, maintaining that President Trump had nothing to do with his actions that he didn't move forward with this nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels or a payment to her at the president's behest. He's responded to questions about his use of a Trump Organization e-mail address in facilitating this deal saying it had nothing to do with his doing this on his own personally.
Here's that statement from Cohen now: "The use of my company e-mail to communicate with the bank and Miss Clifford's former counsel proves absolutely nothing despite the less than convincing comments offered by Mr. Mr. Avenatti. I used this e-mail address for virtually everything as many people do."
What's missing from Cohen's statement is a response to the question of one particular e-mail exchange in which he says he can't expedite a payment to Stormy Daniels, Stephanie Clifford, because the Trump Organization offices were closed for a holiday.
The White House has tried to put some distance between the administration and this ongoing controversy. Sarah Sanders multiple time this week, asked about the Stormy Daniels' saga, not really giving a full-throated response to a lot of the revelations we've since learned. Essentially, saying the White House has already commented on this and is trying to move forward. I want you to listen to one exchange earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said from the podium you acknowledged that the president knows about the arbitration involving Daniels. Does he remember speaking about his lawyer about that?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HIOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I've addressed this extensively. I don't have anything else to add. Sorry.
I'll take one last question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: As you noted, Fred, the president heads to western Pennsylvania tonight to campaign for Rick Saccone, in Pennsylvania district number 18. It is a seat Republicans have held for some time. Though, if you speak to Republican strategists privately, they tell you they're not confident they'll be able to hold on to this district, one the president won by 20 points. Not only is the wind at Democrats' backs because this is the first midterm in a Republican administration but, further, you also have all these swirling controversies, not only about Stormy Daniels but turnover at the White House. This could be an indication to Republicans of what things will look like in November during the midterms. And if they lose, they may be sounding alarms soon -- Fred?
[13:05:17] WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you so much, at the White House.
All right, let's discuss all of this with our panel. Tim Naftali is a CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Salena Zito is a CNN contributor and a national political reporter for the "Washington Examiner."
Good to see you both.
Tim, first to you.
New details on this payment and the use of the Trump.org e-mail raising possible campaign election laws. How closely is the Mueller team examining this?
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I don't know what the Mueller team is doing. For those of us trying to make sense of it, step back and compare and contrast the treatment of different women in October of 2016. Do you remember the women who came forward to say the president, the then-candidate, Donald Trump, had engaged in unwanted advances?
WHITFIELD: To the tune of maybe 17 or so.
NAFTALI: Seventeen. To date, we don't know of any of them being paid off. But for some reason, the president's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, decides, of the women who have something to say about Candidate Trump, this particular woman should be paid off and that he should pay her off without talking to anyone in the Trump campaign. And not only should he pay her off, but he should acquire a debt of $130,000 to do it. There is something about this that makes absolutely no sense. Seventeen women, not one gets paid off. This particular woman, the lawyer pays her off. So there is an issue here that has to do with the campaign, campaign finance, the movement of money just before a presidential election. That's why this raises questions that are very different from those that might be raised by a general extramarital affair by a political figure. And that's why Mueller might look into it.
WHITFIELD: Right, so this is really not just about the relationship or alleged relationships. But this really is about back to the whole following the money.
CNN's chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, actually weighed in on Michael Cohen's claim that he took out this home equity loan to pay the settlement on his own. And this is what Jeffrey had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: This whole idea that Michael Cohen has to go into his home equity line. It's not like he has $130,000 sitting around. He has to take a whole -- in effect, a home equity loan in order to pay Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet for an affair or relationship that she had with Donald Trump. Lawyers don't do that. They don't do that with their own money. It's not ethical. It's not proper to do that without talking to the client. And it also just doesn't make any sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So, Salena, how does the White House try to explain all of this? That nearly dwarfs just the idea of an alleged relationship, but it certainly goes to the core of what really is going on here. This is really, you know, the whole alleged relationship thing is just a speck, you know, but something else much bigger seems to be revealed here with this home equity line of credit.
SALENA ZITA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: It certainly is peculiar, right? It's not anything any of us would do or -- if you have a lawyer, you have that kind of relationship. I don't know. I believe that the president has had a longtime friendship/business relationship with his lawyer. I'm not totally positive about that. Maybe it goes to that. He certainly has a different kind of relationship with the people that are within his inner circle. Maybe the guy panicked. Maybe the guy was like, look, I'm just going to do this, get it aside, and, you know, deal with it later.
WHITFIELD: Right. But, again, this was all for the relationship that never happened. And the relationship that never happened and then there were these legal documents and attorneys involved and now an exchange of money.
ZITO: Right. I mean, we don't know. I mean, there's so many gaps that we don't understand. Was there conversation between the president and his lawyer? Was there not a conversation between the president and his lawyer? Did Cohen just do this on his own? Just go rogue? These are the things we don't know. I have a hard time speculating who was committing the more improper, you know, set of circumstances with this thing.
[13:09:54] WHITFIELD: Yes, and that this Trump.org, you know, e-mail was used by Michael --
ZITO: Right. Right.
WHITFIELD: -- Michael Cohen.
So, Tim, this Stormy Daniels, you know, not talking specifics about this alleged affair, but her attorney is talking, while appearing multiple times on lots of different networks including last night. He was talking with Anderson Cooper. And then last night, Stormy Daniels herself was talking with one of our reporters outside an appearance in Florida. Take a listen.
Well, she essentially said to our Nick Valencia last night she's made a lot of money off of this but, you know, she's not capitalizing off it. It's just all the opportunities are arising as a result of all this being publicized.
Meantime, her attorney is saying that much needs to be established because Michael Cohen isn't licensed to work in California to be a part of a deal, et cetera. This is bad because it's difficult for the White House to dismiss it all together.
NAFTALI: The White House is not helping itself. I mean, Sarah Sanders made clear there was an arbitration. Therefore, the president was involved. Therefore, the president knew about it.
The issue is this. You have these women with credible stories. And the president in 2016 - then-Candidate Trump says none of it true, denies it all. This one woman, Stormy Daniels, puts pressure somehow, we don't know how, and the president's lawyer decides I'll pay her, we'll pay her. What did she know? What evidence did she have? And it strikes me as implausible that Mr. Cohen would do this without talking to the candidate. After all, the candidate denied everything else. The candidate could have well have said to Mr. Cohen it didn't happen. So there must have been a conversation. And we'll learn more I'm sure.
WHITFIELD: We'll leave it right there for now.
Tim Naftali, Salena Zito, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
Stormy Daniels, meantime, is staying fairly prominent, because Nick Valencia did talk to her exclusively last night in Florida where she was making that appearance.
Nick, you bring us more, all the things she said willingly and those she wouldn't.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, we were told last night explicitly she would not be talking to the media, but all that seemed to change after her performance. There was a meet and greet she had with some of her fans who showed up here. She performed in front of about 200 people. Her first live performance since bringing a lawsuit against President Trump over that nondisclosure agreement that had to do with her alleged a fair. Her team agreed to an audio-only interview with us if only we didn't
talk about the ongoing litigation or ask about President Trump. We asked anyway. She did talk about how this has all impacted her career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: So what has this done for your career?
DANIELS: It's sort of been a double-edged sword. Where a lot of people are very interested in booking me for dancing and stuff like that. I'm getting more dance bookings. I usually only dance once a month and now we're dancing three or four times a month so that's been really great. Because of that, it's sort of overshadowing a lot of adult films I'm supposed to be promoting and a lot of the mainstream projects I was actively working on have indefinitely been put on hold.
VALENCIA: You got a lot of attention. Some of it some negative attention. How are you handling everything?
DANIELS: I've been in the adult business for 17 years, so to make it that long in that business, you have to have a really tough skin. And so it's -- most of it rolls off my shoulder because it's an opinion like, oh, you think I'm a whore or ugly or old or I'm too fat or my boobs are too big or too small or whatever. I've heard -- there's nothing along those lines that someone can say to me I haven't heard. When someone says hey, you're a whore, I'm, that is successful whore to you.
VALENCIA: This is a little different. Has some of it been hurtful at all? What's your reaction to it?
DANIELS: The stuff that bothers me is the flat-out lie, like people randomly making up stuff.
VALENCIA: Like what?
DANIELS: Like that I'm broke. I'm actually one of the most successful adult movie directors in the business. I have a contract that's been in place for several years. And I actually just renegotiated and got a new contract that was already -- the terms were already set before this stuff happened, and I have a huge -- I got a raise, so I'm doing just fine.
VALENCIA: What do you think about the circus that's happening? This was out in 2011 but now it's like a renewed attention on you and, you know, somebody else that we'll not name here?
DANIELS: I think it's pretty clear with the new developments comes new interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: There you have it. Some pretty candid remarks from Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels. I did ask her, Fredricka, about President Trump. She said she had no
comment for the president. But she hasn't been quiet. Not backing down from criticism either. She's been active today on social media, pushing back against her critics criticizing her for the very interview. She also has two more live performances scheduled here in south Florida -- Fredricka?
[13:15:14] WHITFIELD: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much, from Ft. Lauderdale.
Coming up, the White House insists President Trump will meet with Kim Jong-Un but provides little details about where and when that might happen given the rocky history between the two leaders. What can we expect from that historic meeting?
WHITFIELD: All right, the president has been reaching out to world leaders over the last 24 hours to discuss his potential meeting with North Korea's Dictator Kim Jong-Un. First, Trump announced he had talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping last night about the possible meeting. And now, tweeting just moments ago: "Spoke to Prime Minister Abe of Japan who is enthusiastic about talks with North Korea."
Joining me to discuss, CNN military and diplomatic analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby.
All right, Admiral, good to see you.
Do you think this is a good sign that the president is reaching out to other world leaders about this potential meetup?
[13:20:17] REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY & DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I certainly do. I'm not surprised that the reaction he's getting is enthusiastic from China and Japan and I'm sure others. Normally, Fred, this is the kind of international coordination and dialogue you would have before you make a big announcement about a summit meeting. Obviously, this isn't a normal president and this process wasn't done in the normal way. So I don't think we should get too hung up on that. The fact he is reaching out even after the fact and he's getting this feedback is neither surprising but it's certainly positive.
WHITFIELD: And then, according to the White House, there should be some kind of concrete ideas or things in place, says Sarah Sanders. What do you suppose those things are?
KIRBY: I don't know they know that right now. I'm actually -- I was actually glad to see the way she put it yesterday. When the South Koreans came out on the West Wing lawn, they were positive and almost in a -- sort of without preconditions, going to sit down and talk. I'm glad the White House is walking that back and taking a more sort of sober look at it. I suspect we're going to need more than just a commitment to talk about denuclearization. I think we're going to need to see what we would call confidence building measures before we would be willing to put the president of the United States in the same room with Kim Jong-Un. I hope, Fred, one of those confidence building measures, which we haven't talked about at all in the last few days, is the release of the three Americans detained in North Korea. If the North Koreans were to do that, I think that would be a positive sign. And that might be what they're alluding to there.
WHITFIELD: In fact, this is how Sanders put it yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: We're not going to have this meeting take place until we see concrete actions. We've accepted the invitation to talk based on them following through with concrete actions.
We have to see concrete and verifiable actions take place.
The president will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: I mean, those families of the three Americans who are being held in North Korea would love it in the concrete actions really did mean their release. If that were the case, it would seem the president would negotiate that before saying there's going to be a meeting because that would kind of be most advantageous for the president. So is it really kind of a delayed thinking of, let's say, concrete actions but trying to figure out what these things are?
KIRBY: I think the whole process has caught them off guard a little bit. The South Koreans got out ahead of them before the Olympics in terms of the invite to the North Korean athletes. There's been sort of playing on their back step here throughout this. The South Koreans are really kind of driving this with the Kim regime. So they are playing a little catchup. I think that's true.
But it's clear they understand where they are. If they're working on a diplomatic strategy and are probably trying to do exactly what you're talking about, identify those concrete actions and what they might be. I think the release of detained Americans should be on the list of what they want to see. I also think we need to see tangible, verifiable freezes in North Korean testing in their ballistic missile and nuclear programs. I think we need to see something verifiable before we can really trust they're serious.
WHITFIELD: Do you think realistically North Korea would agree to something like that? They spent all this time getting themselves to this point in terms of its capability. Why would it surrender now?
KIRBY: I think -- I think, first of all, they have advanced, as you said, they've advanced the program faster than anybody thought. It's in a more healthy condition than it was under Kim's father. I think he can afford to do a freeze. I think that's not really going to hurt him and he can probably justify that.
I think the release of the Americans also is something he can bring himself to. He's done it before. His father has done it before. I think that's not too far or too much to ask for them.
Look, we're in a new moment. We really don't know how it's going to play out. Clearly, something's different now. It would be imprudent for the White House not to try to take advantage of some of this momentum.
WHITFIELD: Admiral John Kirby, thank you so much.
KIRBY: Thank you, Fred.
[13:24:22] WHITFIELD: Coming up, will President Trump's lawyers allow him to specify to the special counsel in the Russia probe? Why they're reportedly considering allowing him to meet with Mueller under certain conditions, next.
WHITFIELD: Russian President Vladimir Putin again denying allegations of his country's meddling of the U.S. elections. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has already indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for their roles in the operation, but in an interview with NBC's Megyn Kelly, Putin says the blame isn't with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): I couldn't care less. Because they don't represent.
MEGYN KELLY, NBC HOST, MEGYN KELLY TODAY: You couldn't care less?
PUTIN (through translation): They do not represent the government. I could not care less. They do not represent the interest of the Russian state. Maybe they're not even Russians. Maybe they're Ukrainians, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:30:00] WHITFIELD: All right, let's bring in CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd.
So, Sam, is this classic Putin, you know, direct or redirect?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think that this is a P.R. stunt, Fred. You know, it is no accident that Vladimir Putin went on a major American network, criticized the U.S. intelligence community and was smiling about it.
It's interesting to note that even if President Trump wanted to go on Russian television and criticize the Russian intelligence services, he just wouldn't be able to. Remember, Vladimir Putin and the Russian state controls all Russian media. They literally censor what gets air time. That's why you don't hear any criticism of Vladimir Putin or of the state. I think Putin was purposely exposing this double standard. This was a show of force to say, hey, I can do what I want where I want, and even if the United States wanted to have the same opportunity, I, Vladimir Putin, am so powerful, I would prevent that from happening.
It's his way of trying to manipulate the message. This was information warfare via Megyn Kelly. It was a great interview. But Vladimir Putin knew that President Trump wasn't going to respond to his attacks on the U.S. intelligence community yet again, for example. And this interview was, to me, part of an ongoing intelligence operation. In the interview, if you listen to it, Vladimir Putin spread misinformation. He spread disinformation. Again, he criticized our intelligence community. Those are all the hallmarks of Russia's ongoing attack on our country. And so this was information warfare, and, you know, it is no accident. For example, that he flattered President Trump again. I think he called him a "modern man" based on President Trump's use of Twitter. And Vladimir Putin views President Trump as an intelligence mark he has had a long time. He used this interview to advance an intelligence objective, to flatter the president, to spread misinformation, disinformation fully knowing he'd get no pushback.
WHITFIELD: And about that Russia probe, here in the U.S., this morning, the U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlined his reasoning, once again, behind why he recused himself from the Russia investigation. He did that because he was questioned about it at a Federalist Society event in Washington there at Georgetown University. And Sessions recalled a DOJ regulation which prohibits members from investigating a campaign they were actually a part of. So was his message directly to the president of the United States, to, once again, underscore why he recused himself?
VINOGRAD: I think that it was. But I also think that kind of message does resonate in Moscow. We know that Moscow is trying to do everything that it can to undermine confidence in our institutions and I'm glad that Jeff Sessions is relying on Department of Justice rules, regulations, procedures, to show that our justice system is flourishing, despite repeated attacks by the Russians, occasionally by the president, and so I hope that we hear more of those kinds of messages from Jeff Sessions, particularly as the investigation proceeds. I think we're all pretty sure we're going to have more criticism coming and it's very important that Jeff Sessions continue to send those kinds of messages.
WHITFIELD: And then how do you suppose this is received when the president's lawyers say they're weighing options about whether the president, you know, should testify in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, but on the condition that they get this whole thing wrapped up quickly?
VINOGRAD: I just don't think it matters to Bob Mueller whether the president's lawyers say they want to wrap the investigation quickly or not because, to my earlier point, the justice system is working. We know Mueller's investigation is proceeding. We've had several indictments coming out. So whether or not the president's lawyers want the investigations wrapped up quickly I think is a secondary point to Bob Mueller who wants to see a thorough investigation be concluded which is what all of us should want.
WHITFIELD: All right, Samantha Vinograd, thank you so much. Good to see you.
We'll be right back.
[13:38:40] WHITFIELD: All right, another twist in the case between the president and an adult film star. Stormy Daniels' attorney confirms that Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, used his Trump company e-mail to arrange payments to the actress. Cohen has tried to distance Trump's company and campaign from the situation and now saying he used a home equity line of credit to pay $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement or NDA. Daniels and her lawyer are now fighting to get out of that agreement, which she signed weeks before the election. The NDA silencing the adult film actress about an alleged affair with Trump back in 2006.
Let's bring in Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and lawyer professor in Cleveland, and Richard Herman, a New York criminal attorney and law professor, joining us now in Las Vegas.
All right, gentlemen, good to see you.
WHITFIELD: All righty. Buckle your seat belts.
So, Avery --
WHITFIELD: -- here we go. This new reporting that Cohen used a company e-mail this process and admits to taking out a home equity line of credit and sending out $130,000 payment. Don't you do that if you feel it's going to be reimbursed?
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Yes. There's nothing wrong with doing that. In fact, under the code of professional conduct, the ethical code, if you advance it, you could be in trouble. The scenario I think, realistically, I haven't heard anybody say this, was Trump said, lookit, Cohen, the election is a week from right now, so I want you to take care of this. Meaning, take care of it, meaning get this thing paid, signed off and finished.
[13:40:19] WHITFIELD: Make it go away.
FRIEDMAN: In the agreement, in the agreement, there -- Donald Trump is known as David Dennison, and there are signature lines for him. So that's what the litigation is over.
WHITFIELD: Right. And of course, they're saying that.
Richard, he didn't sign it, that should mean that it's invalid, but she did accept the money, so does that mean she gives it back or does it mean that, you know, she and her attorney are right, that it's invalid because it wasn't signed, but it was signed by his attorney. I'm talking Trump now, Trump's attorney?
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Couple things. You know, New Yorkers are not known for having a lot of patience so cut through all the serial compulsive lying coming from the White House and get to the bottom line here. And the bottom line is this, on the heels of his bust interview where he said he liked to grab women and all that, Stormy Daniels was ready to go ahead and go online and talk about her relationship with him. Trump had to shut her up. So Cohen goes, they cut a deal, and they do a secret deal, secret kind of deal here where Cohen, the brilliant attorney -- I don't even think he's an attorney -- but besides --
HERMAN: -- an entity in Delaware where it's secret, secret LLC in Delaware, but he signs his name as the incorporator. He uses his Trump campaign e-mail address. He wants you to believe this was a gift of the 130,000. No lawyer does that. That's absurd. Reject that in total. That's not what happened here, Fred. It was not a gift. Lawyers can't do that. That's unethical. Trump has to know every step of the way what the lawyer does.
HERMAN: And he didn't give him that information. That's an ethical violation. It's all wrong.
WHITFIELD: The unethical part is acting on your client's behalf with not informing your client? That's the unethical part?
HERMAN: He informed the client. Trump knew. Stop. Don't go there. Trump knew. He absolutely knew. Stop with that.
FRIEDMAN: What's unethical?
HERMAN: Nondisclosure agreement --
FRIEDMAN: Listen, if there was authority, why not go forward? Why not go forward?
WHITFIELD: Say that -- Avery, you're saying that Michael Cohen would have had the authority to act on his client's behalf, even though the client, you know, Dennison, did not sign it?
FRIEDMAN: Well, that's right. The fact that Donald Trump didn't sign it doesn't mean he didn't have authority --
(CROSSTALK) HERMAN: -- Trump had to know --
FRIEDMAN: Of course, he had to know, which meant that what Cohen did -- look, I don't know Michael Cohen from third base, but he had authority to do it, and that's --
HERMAN: You don't know. He had authority, Fred, there was an agreement, it was drafted.
FRIEDMAN: OK --
HERMAN: Parties signed the fictitious names. But you have the situation where money and the judge in California may say there was performance on this agreement. Even though some party didn't sign it, a judge in California could say there was performance and therefore uphold it. Except for one thing. In the agreement, she had to disclose all the people she told about her relationship with Trump. And she listed four people who she disclosed everything about her and Trump.
FRIEDMAN: It doesn't matter.
HERMAN: Those people are free to go to the tabloids, say whatever they want, and nothing will happen to her. But this is why, Fred --
FRIEDMAN: It doesn't matter.
HERMAN: -- the Steele dossier is important. This is why --
FRIEDMAN: Oh, for goodness sakes, nothing to do with the Steele dossier company.
HERMAN: -- to show up women for his relationships.
FRIEDMAN: All right.
HERMAN: That's blackmail and that's why the Russia investigation --
So also, why this is important, not just because there may have been an affair but really it's about the transactions, the pattern of behavior of arrangements being made, Avery, as well. And then, of course, you've got the watchdog groups, you know, Common Cause, for one, filing complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department trying to allege or say this payment also has to do with possible campaign money that was used. But that Michael Cohen says he took out this LLC. Doesn't that make this allegation go away? If he says, I take personal responsibility for the funds, it's my own money paid, then how will anybody be able to say this is campaign funds?
HERMAN: -- restraining order against her then?
HERMAN: It's absurd, Fred.
HERMAN: It's absurd.
HERMAN: Cohen is an absurd person.
WHITFIELD: All right, so, Richard.
FRIEDMAN: All right, the bottom line is there's enough evidence to say let's make an inquiry. Whether it's the Federal Elections Commission or the Department of Justice, there's enough information. If that's what Cohen's story is, and he's sticking to it, then let's let the government look into it. At the end of the day, it's just not going to go away because there's pending litigation in California right now. So it doesn't evaporate.
[13:45:13] HERMAN: Two things.
HERMAN: John Edwards had the same thing, hush money during the campaign, failure to disclose the campaign contribution. That's what this was.
FRIEDMAN: That's my point.
HERMAN: A campaign contribution that was failed to be disclosed, number one. Two, based on the agreement, Stormy had to turn over videos or pictures of her and Trump. The value to that, Fred, there's income value to that, and I'll bet you anything you want, they didn't take the income from all that information. There's going to be problems for Trump down the road.
WHITFIELD: We'll leave it right there.
FRIEDMAN: You bet.
WHITFIELD: -- Richard, thank you so much.
I warned everyone to buckle your seat belts and it was worthy of doing that.
HERMAN: It's insane, the president of the United States.
WHITFIELD: Well, you didn't use the word "abomination." Richard --
HERMAN: -- abomination --
WHITFIELD: All right, thanks, guys.
We'll be right back.
[13:50:39] WHITFIELD: You know the Kennedys but you probably don't know their whole story, "The Kennedy Family, An American Dynasty." Find out more when the six-part original series kicks off tomorrow night right here on CNN.
Here is a sneak peek of the first episode on the Kennedy's political patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANNOUNCER: America's new ambassador to Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy, faces a bevy of cameramen as he is about to depart for St. James' Court.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: When President Roosevelt sends Joseph p. Kennedy in 1938 across the Atlantic to be the ambassador to the United Kingdom, he was a star a celebrity. He had run a studio in Hollywood, and he was already a success in business and politics. He was among the top 20 richest men in America. It was big news.
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WHITFIELD: Wow. Right now, the man you just heard speaking in the clip, Tim Naftali, CNN's presidential historian.
And it is something to see that archival footage.
So this had to be a fascinating journey for you, too, a historian down memory lane. You were not there for all of this, but --
WHITFIELD: And this uncovering the event, and the episode of revealing so much about the patriarch and the Kennedy family.
NAFTALI: First of all, one of the joys of history is that things that historians know, and most people don't, and good for them, because they have lives to lead. But the rediscovery of some of the stories that people will find fascinating. And as you mentioned the footage, Fred, this is a beautiful series. The Kennedys were wealthy, had taken films of themselves, and color films. And you will see the color films from the '40s. They were among the first families to do that.
WHITFIELD: They did not start out wealthy, because it was cumulative as well.
NAFTALI: No. The series begins, the series begins when FDR, Franklin Roosevelt, has just selected Joseph P. Kennedy to be the U.S. ambassador to the court of St. James. And in other words, the United States ambassador the Great Britain. And so he is a powerful, important man. Joseph Kennedy has already made a lot of money. He made money in Hollywood and in the stock world and he's powerful. He was the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission or the first commissioner. So he is will already important. But he is now a world figure and so the press covers him.
And what is so fascinating about this story is that it is a disaster for Joseph P. Kennedy. He is going to go from being powerful at home and a real player abroad into a pariah. He is going to become a disaster, because he is on the wrong side of history. He is arguing that the United States should appease Adolf Hitler. And he believes in the America First movement. And he does not understand the moral dimension of what Hitler represents. He doesn't realize what Hitler really wants to achieve. So his career is actually over as a public figure in 1944.
But he remakes the story. And that is the story of the next six episodes, who this man's ambition is a burning ambition. It doesn't disappear. He is finished as a public figure, so he channels the energy and the ambition into his children.
NAFTALI: And it is the story of how those children reshape our culture and the politics. That is the story.
WHITFIELD: And maybe that is large really why they decided to document it themselves, because they have to be the most photographed and documented family, which has become the Kennedy dynasty. And extraordinary that they know how to document it themselves, too.
Tim Naftali, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
NAFTALI: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: "American Dynasty, The Kennedys" premiers here tomorrow night at 9:00 right here on CNN.
And it is not just "The Kennedys" premiering tomorrow night. Catch premier of the CNN original series, "The Pope, The Most Powerful Man in History." The show takes you into the secret world of one of the most powerful men on earth.
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ANNOUNCER: For the last 2,000 years, despite an ever-changing world, the Catholics have looked to the pope as a beacon of faith, morality and divine guidance.
[13:55:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think there's any other religious figures that people recognize as much as they recognize the pope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He transcends the Catholic Church.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The pope is where you look towards for example to how to live your life as a Catholic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not like other human institutions. It's a creation, we believe, by God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A symbol of the unwavering faith that Jesus is the son of God.
ANNOUNCER: From one apostle to 1.2 billion followers, witness the evolution of a global icon.
[14:00:05] WHITFIELD: All right. Hello, again. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in New York today.
We're following new developments in the saga that continues to loom over the White House, the chaos of Stormy --