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Exclusive Interview With Porn Star Stormy Daniels Who Allegedly Linked To President Donald Trump; United States Leader Has Never Agreed To Meet With A North Korean Leader; A Former Russian Double Agent And His Daughter Poisoned By A Rare Nerve Agent In A Sleepy English Town; President Trump Soon To Rally Ahead Of 2018's First Special Election In Southwest Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District; National Rifle Association Is Suing The State Of Florida; Pope, The Most Powerful Man In History. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 10, 2018 - 16:00   ET



[16:00:00] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But he also was somebody who understood that you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN HOST: And don't miss American dynasties, the Kennedy, tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. You can see it only here on CNN.

And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles in for Ana Cabrera.

And we are just a few hours from seeing the President stump in the heart of Trump country, Western Pennsylvania. In a district, he won by nearly 20 points in 2016 where his new tariffs will surely play big. But as he headlines for the Republican candidate there, his alleged former lover is stealing the show today.

Porn actress Stormy Daniels just spoke with CNN, just as we are learning new details on how she was paid $130,000 to stay silent just weeks before the election. The President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, told CNN he took out the money from a home equity line. He also says the fact that he used his email to negotiate the payment means nothing. But Daniels' attorney says it shows a link to the Trump organization, which could open it to campaign finance laws.

Stormy Daniels would not comment on any of that. However, she did have a whole lot to say to our Nick Valencia. He is in (INAUDIBLE) Beach, Florida right now where Daniels performed at a show last night.

And Nick, Stormy Daniels has become somewhat of a character in this Washington political drama, but you got to meet Stephanie Clifford last night, which is her given name. What is he like in personal and what surprised you?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think I was most surprised by how she is taking it all in stride, the scandal that is surrounding her. She is one of the most famous people in the world right now and for a very infamous reason. But she was funny. She seems very comfortable. And she was very candid with us, Ryan.

In fact, one of the agreements though that she made, agreeing to the audio interview, is that we didn't talk about litigation, the pending litigation, the lawsuit that she filed earlier this week in L.A. superior court, but she did, however, talk about how all of this has impacted her career.


VALENCIA (voice-over): It's Friday night in Florida. Outside the solid gold strip club, and the featured guest for the evening has just arrived. Stormy Daniels is an adult film actress, but these days she's best known for the alleged affair she claims to have had with the President of the United States. A claim the White House denies.

The news about her 2006 to 2007 intimate relationship with Donald Trump has brought new life to her career, she says. In an exclusive audio interview with CNN, after her first performance since suing Trump over a nondisclosure agreement, Daniels declined to talk about her recent lawsuit against the President. She did, however, talk about how the alleged affair has impacted her life.

STORMY DANIELS, PORN STAR: It is sort of a double-edged sword, where a lot of people are very interested in booking me for dancing and stuff like that, so I'm getting more dance bookings. I usually only dance once a month and now I'm dancing three or four times a month. So that's been really great. But because of that, it's sort of overshadowing a lot of the adult films that I'm supposed to be promoting and a lot of the mainstream projects I was working on had to be put on hold.

VALENCIA: You have got a lot of attention, some of it some negative attention. How are you handling everything?

DANIELS: I have been in the adult business for 17 years. So to make if that long in that business, you have to have a really tough skin. And so most of it rolls off my shoulders because it's an opinion, like, oh, you think I'm a whore, or you think I'm ugly or I'm old or I'm fat or my bobs are too big or too small, whatever. There's nothing along those lines that someone could say to me that I haven't heard. And so, when someone says, hey, you are a whore, I'm like that is successful whore to you.

VALENCIA: But this has been different, though, I mean. Has some of it been hurtful at all? I mean, what is your reaction been to it?

DANIELS: The stuff that bothers me is the flat out lies. 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 has been in place for several years. And I actually just renegotiated and got a new contract. There was already -- the terms were already set before this stuff happened. And I have a -- I got a raise. So I'm doing just fine.

VALENCIA: What do you think about like the circus that's happening? I mean, you know, this was kind of out in 2011, but now it's like a renewed attention on you. And you know, somebody else that we will not name.

DANIELS: I think it's pretty clear that what the new developments comes new interest.

VALENCIA: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you want people to know about you and what's going on that you feel has been overshadowed?

DANIELS: Like I just said, that I'm doing what I have always done. I'm writing, directing, performing, dancing. Like none of that has changed. And people are under this huge misconception that's I just started stripping, and I have actually been doing this for like 18 years.

[16:05:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They think you take advantage of the situation.

DANIELS: Right. And that's not true. I was already - now, yes, I'm more in demand. And like I said in the "Rolling Stone" interview, if somebody came up to you and said, hey, you know that job you have been doing forever, how about next week, I pay your quadruple? Show me one person who is going to say no.

VALENCIA: So it's helped you financially?

DANIELS: It's helped me in the short immediate time because obviously more people are coming out and more people in the clubs, that's the more tips. But I have, you know, yet to see how it's going to play out long term.

VALENCIA: When you look back at this stage of your life, this period of your life, what do you think you are going to think about? I mean, what are you going to think about what you are going through right now?

DANIELS: Holy (bleep). I mean, is there really anything else to say?

VALENCIA: Anything I haven't asked you that's important to know, anything you would like to talk about while we have a chance?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any more news this week?

VALENCIA: What else should we expect?

DANIELS: I'm not sure what's coming this week, honestly. I mean, you guys work at CNN, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We try to know. That's our job.

VALENCIA: Any comment to the President?


VALENCIA: We should mention the other voice of the reporter you hear in that is our teammate (INAUDIBLE) with CNN digital. She was part of the crew that showed up here in South Florida to watch that performance. Stephanie Clifford, more commonly known by her porn name Stormy Daniels, is accused Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, of trying to silence her. But Ryan, as you see there, she is doing anything but being silent about this all -- Ryan.

NOBLES: No doubt about that. Nick Valencia, (INAUDIBLE). Nice job in getting that interview, Nick. We appreciate your report.

Stormy Daniels' attorney also talked to CNN. He says multiple people are offering up to pay the $1 million fine for breaking the nondisclosure agreement so Daniels can spill about the alleged affair.


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, MICHAEL SMERCONISH SHOW: Has anyone offered to pony up the million dollars to protect her and say here, I'm good for it. Go tell your story?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: At least ten individuals in the last three days alone.

SMERCONISH: Is she contemplating taking any of those ten offers?



NOBLES: All right. Let's talk about this. I'm here with CNN legal analyst and former prosecutor, Paul Callan.

And Paul, let's just answer that first question right off the bat. Is it that simple? Could she just talk and then let somebody else pay whatever penalty there could be with this nondisclosure agreement?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well. Yes, she could, because the nondisclosure has a clause. It is called the liquidated damages cause, which says because it is going to be hard to figure out what the damages are, each violation will be $1 million.

I think the problem with that theory, though, is the way it's written, it could be multiple awards of $1 million depending on how many different stories she were to tell about the President. So it could be more than a million, and maybe it would be harder to get somebody to raise that much money.

NOBLES: And judging by what her attorney told Michael Smerconish and what he said in multiple interviews, that doesn't seem to be her end goal, right. I mean, she seems to want to be free and clear of this NDA completely, right?

CALLAN: Well, she does. But I think, of course, it's all about the money in the end. I mean, she took $130,000 to keep quiet originally. And I think now she probably wants to write a book or go on the lecture tour and make a lot more money. She realized that she undersold herself in terms of the information.

NOBLES: Right. Perhaps not thinking that Donald Trump would ultimately become President of the United States.

NOBLES: Now, I want to talk about the legal wrangling involved right now with this nondisclosure agreement, and essentially the case that her attorneys are trying to make. And they are saying that the whole thing is invalid because Donald Trump himself, he wasn't the President at that time, but Donald Trump never signed it. Do you think she has got a case?

CALLAN: No, I don't think she has a case on that theory. And I don't want to get too deeply into the weeds on this, but if you look at the first clause of the agreement, it says that the agreement could be between E.C., LLC, and/or Davidson -- Dennison, rather, David Dennison, the President.

NOBLES: Right. The pseudonyms.

CALLAN: And/or. So he does not have to sign the agreement for it to be effective. However, what I find to be interesting is that when you get into the clauses that deal with what happens at the arbitration, they only refer to D.D. having the right to specify what law will apply, D. D. Specifying where the arbitration will take place. And D. D. is not a party to it. So I think it is sloppy drafting here. And as a result of that, there's a valid contract, but the clause is the most important clauses may not apply.

NOBLES: Right. And there is really two separate legal arguments taking place here. There is one having to do with the future of the nondisclosure agreement, but there is also the potential federal elections violation that could blow back on the President, but the first person that is going to deal with that is Michael Cohen.

Can he make a legal argument that he took on this responsibility of paying off Stephanie Clifford or Stormy Daniels without the President having any knowledge of it and the President then being completely absolves of any wrong doing?

CALLAN: I think it's an absurd argument. And I have seen, and I don't know whether there has been verification. But I know one of the accounts that I was reading about over the weekend was that he took this money from a line of credit on the home.


[16:10:09] CALLAN: Right. So I mean, a lawyer taking, you know, a line of equity on his house to pay $130,000 to a porn star on behalf of a client, the President, I mean, without the President knowing? That sounds pretty ridiculous. I mean, the original story, I think, was the one that rang true, was he was desperately trying to get ahold of the President to say, you know, $130,000 has to be paid by this date or she is free to talk. And he went out on his own and used his own money to get the thing in place so that nothing bad would happen.

I'm betting that's what really happened. And it could be an election law violation even if he paid the money because it's a contribution in kind by somebody else who, which hasn't been reported. So either way, whether the President is paying for it or he is paying for it, it still could be an FEC violation.

NOBLES: What about Michael Cohen's future? I mean, he is an admitted member of the New York bar. Is this an appropriate action for an attorney to take this type of action on behalf of his client without his client knowing about it?

CALLAN: Well, no. It would be unethical if he did that. There is a provision of the code of professional responsibility that says in handling litigation on behalf of a client, you have to consult with the client about the litigation. But of course, he may -- if he were to be pursued, he would appear and say, well, I have had general discussions with the President in the past and I have authority to handle these sorts of situations. Not that this has ever happened before, mind you.

NOBLES: Yes. I mean, Michael Cohen kind of describes himself as the President's fixer. He likes being compared to Ray Donovan, the fictional character that Liev Schreiber (ph) plays on the Showtime drama. Is he going beyond the bounds of what a normal attorney would do in representing and protecting their clients?

CALLAN: Well, you know, when I looked at how he became affiliated with Donald Trump, I think of him more has the President's groupie, who eventually then morphed into personal counsel, who is putting out fires left and right for the President, and doing things maybe that counsel such as Ty Cobb in the White House would be inappropriate to involve them in these sorts of things. He was, you know, originally an investor in an apartment, a Trump apartment, and then he got some family members to invest. And then, that's how his friendship with Donald Trump started. And then all of a sudden, he becomes, you know, the President's attorney.

NOBLES: And as you play this out, as you look into the future, I mean, it seems as though at this point, this isn't something that Robert Mueller is all that interested in. Could it become something that bleeds into the special counsel investigation and what they are looking into with Russia?

CALLAN: I think we have to circle back to your previous question about whether it's an election law violation. That could cause Mueller to circle back because election law violations can be criminal violations. And if this has come out during the course of his investigation, it could be part of a referral to Congress that there may have been election law violations here. And would that be a listable (ph), impeachable offense? Well, that would be up to Congress. And that would depend upon whether it's a Republican Congress or a Democratic Congress. So it's a little hard to say how this works out in the long run.

NOBLES: May not know the answer to that until after the 2018 midterms.

CALLAN: Although Stormy is doing very well on the circuit she works these days.

NOBLES: Exactly.


NOBLES: And again, you know, it's worth pointing out, obviously, a lot of sordid details associated with the story, but as you very articulately point out, there are huge legal ramifications for the most powerful man in the United States.

All right, Paul Callan, thank you for analysis. I appreciate it.

CALLAN: Thank you, Ryan.

NOBLES: All right. Still to come, no sitting United States leader has ever agreed to meet with a North Korean leader. But is President Trump heading into dangerous diplomatic territory? I will ask a former ambassador who has negotiated with North Korea coming up next.


[16:18:01] NOBLES: It was the unexpected announcement that shook the diplomatic world. The President of the United States saying yes, he will meet face-to-face with the reclusive leader of North Korea. The exact when and where has yet to be hammered out. But just the idea of President Trump and Kim Jong-un in the same room has analysts either excited at the magnitude of such a meeting or very nervous since the risk of failure and the stakes are both so high.

CNN's Will Ripley is in Seoul, South Korea, right now, which of these many emotions - where many of these emotions I should say are very high in South Korea this weekend after this announcement.

And Will, from your perspective, how are South Koreans reacting? Are they excited or are they anxious?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, on the streets here in Seoul, the overall mood is optimistic. They are very enthusiastic about their President here, Moon Jae-in, feeling that he really pulled off the virtually impossible.

I mean, he did say, President Moon, that this is almost miraculous that President Trump agreed to this meeting. But the fact that the South Koreans were able to send an envoy to Pyongyang on Monday, and by Thursday, they had a commitment from the President of the United States for a summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, truly extraordinary times that we are living in.

Obviously, this is on the mind of President Trump. He tweeted about North Korea four times in four hours. He said he had conversations with China and Japan, both of which he says are optimistic about this process. Pleased that he is pursuing a diplomatic path as opposed to the alternative. He says that he believes North Korea will honor its commitment not to test a missile or a nuclear device while the diplomatic process is ongoing.

And Ryan, unsurprisingly, he is also upset with the media. He says that the coverage has turned fake. And that we are now saying so what, who cares? I don't know about you, Ryan, but I certainly don't remember saying that.

NOBLES: No. I was at the White House yesterday, Will. And part of that is born out of the confusion that we saw on Thursday night versus the stance of the White House on Friday. It just seems to be a bit of un-clarity as to exactly what needs to be in place for this meeting to take place.

Do you have a different perception about whether or not this meeting will even take place from what you did on Thursday as opposed to where we stand now?

[16:20:14] RIPLEY: Well, certainly, from the South Korean perspective, they believe the meeting is going to take place. But there is some mixed messaging from the White House about what they expect to happen before this summit can actually be held.

You know, President Trump apparently accepting the invitation for a meeting on the spot, which is probably what the North Koreans anticipated when they extended the invitation. They figured that it would be an opportunity that President Trump could not refuse for this kind of historic moment.

But normally, these types of summits take months or years to prepare for, when you have two heads of state sitting down especially with an issue so sensitive and complex as North Korea. There is so much prep work that needs to be done. And the White House is trying to figure out how to do that in a matter of weeks. How to prepare President Trump for a sit-down with a leader of a country that, you know, has really defied the international community for so many decades. And apparently, you know, the President feels in one meeting he can solve the issue. And maybe he can. We don't know what's going to happen when this summit happens, if it does, by May or whenever they decide they are going to do it.

NOBLES: No doubt. Will Ripley, the stakes are enormous. Thank you for your perspective.

Now, one of those North Korean experts who is worried about the risks surrounding a meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is Bill Richardson. He is the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. And he is joining me now live to discuss this important topic now.

Ambassador, thank you for being here. You have been to North Korea several times. Clearly, your interest in the peninsula is high. But as a diplomat, is this a wise move, taking a meeting at this level with so much at stake? BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Well, you

mentioned, Ryan, I have been very involved with this issue for a long time. I have been there eight times. I have never seen the U.S./North Korea situation as bad as it has been. So I'm supportive of this summit. It's like a Hail Mary pass. Presidents meeting before diplomatic talks by lower level individuals take place, but there are enormous risks.

I'm pleased with the President's tweets today where he is realistically talking about the concessions. The concessions we have made, the visit, that is a concession. The President accepting. And the North Koreans not having missile or nuclear tests and saying they are OK with the U.S./South Korea military drills.

Keep it that way. Don't overpromise and say, well, they've got to denuclearize before the meeting. That's not going to happen. The North Korea is going to take years, if that ever takes place.

NOBLES: Yes. Well, I want to get your reaction to what -- how some lawmakers on Capitol Hill are responding to this. This is Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Listen to what she has to say.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: What I worry about is that he will walk into these negotiations and just bluntly, he will be taken advantage of. The generations of Kims, the dictators, have wanted to meet face-to-face with the United States President. And think about why. This is a giant prize for them. They believe it legitimizes their dictatorship. And they believe it legitimizes their nuclear weapons program.

Before we hand that kind of a win over to Kim Jong-un, we need to be meeting government to government and seeing the North Koreans put on the table evidence that they have frozen their nuclear weapons program. And have taken steps to take away, to reduce their nuclear arsenal. We need to see verifiable proof of that. Otherwise, we are giving them an enormous prize for no cost at all.

And as I said, I want the President to succeed, but I am deeply worried that he will be taken advantage of, and that means ultimately, the United States will be taken advantage of.


NOBLES: Senator Warren, no fan of Donald Trump, obviously. She may run for President in 2020, but does she have a valid fear here, that the U.S. and specifically President Trump could be taken advantage of?

RICHARDSON: Well, she has a legitimate worry. I have a legitimate worry. But as I said, I believe he took the right step in accepting the summit, because things couldn't get worse.

What I disagree with what she said, although I don't -- I'm not precise on what she exactly meant, is you can't have verifiable inspections, denuclearization before the meeting. It's unrealistic. Both sides have already made concessions. It makes sense to proceed with this summit. But what Senator Warren discussed is something that should involve a negotiating process. That the President assemble a team right away, state department, led by Tillerson. Department of defense, Mattis. McMaster, a strategy that involves --.

Look, North Korea is not going to denuclearize, but it's worth pursuing them curbing the use, freezing missile activity, freezing conventional weapons. The peninsula is fraught with danger right now. And the reason that South Korea and South Koreans are so happy is at least there is a detente process going on that could maybe not have such a conflagration. So again, let's give the President and his team a chance, but I do worry. I mean, he shoots from the hip. I don't want to see bad tweets. Actually, the tweets today were reasonable. Maybe he is moving in the right direction. Maybe he is calmed down, but I doubt it. I don't know what he will do tomorrow morning.

[16:26:15] NOBLES: Yes. But I mean, that point you make, ambassador, I think is part of what senator Warren is talking about with her concern. It seems as though the President decided to make this move without consulting many of these people who would be intimately involved in the process that you are talking about.

I mean, secretary of state Tillerson was in Africa. Earlier in that same day, he said that there were no plans to move toward a meeting with the North Koreans and then after the fact said that this was all the President's decision. Doesn't he need to involve the state department a lot more? And don't they need to get diplomats on the ground in South Korea to be more involved in the process? And can they do that all before a meeting as soon as May?

RICHARDSON: Well, look, if it's going to be a delay of a month or so, I would be OK. But you are right. There's a lot of work to be done. One, build a negotiating team. More importantly, have a strategy of expectations. What are we going to get out of it? Fill the ambassadorship in South Korea. We don't have anybody there. Probably give the lead to secretary Tillerson, although he was out in Djibouti, Africa, not knowing what was going on.

So assemble a team and a strategy. Listen to diplomats, listen to former Presidents that have dealt with North Korea. The President can't do it alone. This is not a reality show. This is not "the Apprentice." This is serious national security negotiations in the most dangerous section of the world.

So I was pleased with the tweets today. They were relatively in line with the contours of the potential meeting. But as I said, you know, who knows what will happen in the next hour or in the next day with his tweets.

NOBLES: Well, Ambassador Bill Richardson, few people know as much about the Korean peninsula as you. We appreciate your insight. We probably would describe it as cautiously optimistic, but we need a lot more information about the process.

Thank you, sir. We appreciate you being on. RICHARDSON: Thank you.

NOBLES: Coming up, British troops in hazmat suits are roaming a sleepy English town as a former Russian spy clings to life after being poisons. Pro-Kremlin media is gloating about it. We will have the latest next.


[16:32:53] NOBLES: It's a story that could be ripped straight out of a spy novel. A former Russian double agent and his daughter poisoned by a rare nerve agent in a sleepy English town. Now, officials are scrambling to find out where the poison came from and where the victims were exposed before more people fall deathly ill.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen has the details.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): British soldiers in hazmat suits search for possible contamination in the area where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found after being attacked with a nerve agent.

While Russia says they don't know who was behind the attack, pro- Kremlin media are gloating, no empathy, calling Skripal a traitor.

The traitor's profession is one of the most dangerous in the world, the anchor says. Those who choose it rarely live in peace and tranquility to a venerable old age.

Skripal was a colonel in Russia's military intelligence. He was arrested and convicted of spying for Britain in the mid-2000s. The Russians say he was linked to a specific Brit named Pablo Miller. Officially a diplomat, but who Moscow said was a spy.

CNN has obtained documents from the FSB, Russia's successor to the KGB, claiming at the time he was quote "in fact a staff member of MI- 6, Pablo Miller, who worked in Tallinn in 1999 under the cover of the post of the first secretary of the British embassy."

A man named Pablo Miller shares biographical details with the alleged spy recruiter and also has an address in Salisbury, England, according to his LinkedIn account, the same town where Sergei Skripal lives and where he was poisoned.

CNN has not been able to reached Pablo Miller of Salisbury for comment or confirm that he is the same man the Russians have alleged to be a former MI-6 agent.

The MI-6 is the same intelligence agency that Christopher Steele, the author of the Trump dossier, also worked for before becoming an intelligence consultant.

Skripal is not the first former Russian spy to be poisoned in Britain. In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko (ph) dies a painful death after being poisoned in London with the radioactive isotope polonium-210.

The Brits blamed the Russians. Moscow denies the accusations to this day. While Sergei Skripal seemed to be leading a low-key life, the Russians say they consider him an MI-6 agent. Even as they deny any involvement in his poisoning.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


[16:35:32] NOBLES: Frederick, thank you.

In just a few hours, the President will stump for a Republican candidate who is running neck and neck with a Democrat in a district the President dominated in 2016. So will Mr. Trump's visit help or hurt? We will talk about it next.


[16:40:23] NOBLES: President Trump soon to rally ahead of 2018's first special election. A must-win race for Republicans in the heart of steel country. I'm talking about southwest Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. Republican Rick Saccone, a state representative who has said that he was Trump before Trump, versus 33- year-old Conor Lamb, a first-time candidate and a former marine. Trump won this district by nearly 20 percent in the 2016 Presidential election. And a loss here could be humiliating.

Let's talk this over with an expert on Pennsylvania politics, we are pleased to be joined by Professor Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College.

Trump has said the Republican candidate he is supporting isn't that strong of a candidate. Professor, what is your take on that assessment by the President of the United States? And man, he is going to be coming to stump for here later this evening?

TERRY MADONNA, PROFESSOR, FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL COLLEGE: Yes, right. Well, thanks for having me. First of all, if this were any other kind of race, if the Democrats had nominated, you know, the quintessential urban liberal, you and I wouldn't be having this conversation. The fact of the matter is that Rick Saccone has run a kind of ho-hum traditional campaign doing a lot of events, not raising nearly as much money personally as some Republicans would have liked him to. But he has gotten more than $10 million in outside resources from Republican PACs and interest groups pouring money into the district, but that's not the key.

The key is the nature of Conor Lamb. As you accurately point out, a marine, a prosecutor. In that district, which is culturally conservative, he is pro-life, pro-gun, pro-union, pro-military, agrees with President Trump on the decision to raise the tariffs on aluminum and steel, particularly steel, in that district. He is not crazy about the, you know, the affordable care act is OK, but he doesn't want to go to a system, universal health care. That's the big difference. And just quickly, there is another key factor. It's the campaign.

Conor Lamb's campaign, if you -- they say they have knocked on 100,000 doors. So it is the grassroots nature of that campaign.

NOBLES: Yes. Well, and Terry, it seems to me that you are describing that this is really a local race, despite the fact that it's got the national attention that it does. Do you think the outcome will tell us anything about what to expect for the midterm elections this fall or is this going to be isolated to this particular election in this particular time in this particular district?

MADONNA: No, I think there is a bigger message. But you are on to something I think has generally been missed. Conor Lamb does not want to make this a national election at all. He wants to keep it local. He has stood back and not done, if any, national interviews on cable or the networks. He has refrained from doing interviews with national reporters. This is about local issues, about who he is, about what the district's needs and concerns are. I mean, that is a great point and a very important one.

But nationally, let's say the Republicans win, Saccone wins by two or three points. That's bad. Worse, of course, is if they lose. But what this tells us all is this, if you got these districts that Trump won by eight, 10, 12, 15 points, let's say, doesn't that tell you the kind of Democrat that's likely to be competitive in those Trump-won districts?

NOBLES: Right. And so you are talking about running more conservative Democrats across the country, and that leads into my next question.

I mean, let's say Conor Lamb pulls this off and wins on Tuesday. Is he going to be the kind of Democrat that toes the Nancy Pelosi line on Capitol Hill? Or could he become an independent voice for his district? And as you mentioned, there are areas where he agrees with Donald Trump. Could he possibly be somewhat of a bit bridge builder if he goes to Washington after a surprising win on Tuesday?

MADONNA: No, I think you're right about that. I don't think he can afford to move towards the liberal Nancy Pelosi line and stay in office for too long. What's fascinating, even before he was beaten up in television commercials in the Pittsburgh market by the Saccone campaign for, you know, they put the pictures up with Lamb and Pelosi on television. Weeks ago, Conor Lamb said I won't vote for Nancy Pelosi for leadership position. He didn't say she was too liberal. He said she doesn't get anything done.

But I think you are right about that. He is going to stick more to the middle, more to the moderate position. He is going to, in a sense, be a little bit like a certain senator from West Virginia, his district abuts that, if he wins, Joe Manchin. He is going to be much more in that vein.

[16:46:40] NOBLES: Right. It will be interesting to see. I see that Seth Moulton, kind of a rabble-rouser congressman from Massachusetts, also a marine, has been there campaigning on his behalf. He is also raised questions about Nancy Pelosi. Maybe Democrats could get more than they bargain for, Conor Lamb, ends up making it to Washington.

Terrific insight, Terry Madonna. Nobody knows more about Pennsylvania politics than you. We appreciate you being here. Thank you so much.

And we will be right back.


[16:50:30] NOBLES: The National Rifle Association is suing the state of Florida. This after Governor Rick Scott signed new gun control legislation into law Friday. This is the first gun control legislation in Florida since the school shooting last month in Parkland that left 17 students and teachers dead.

The new law includes raising the legal buying age from 18 to 21 and requires a three-day waiting period for most long-gun purchases. It also bans bump stocks. The NRA taking issue with raising the age limit, saying quote "preventing a responsible 20-year-old from purchasing the best tool for self-defense will not stop a deranged criminal intent on committing a crime."

And this Sunday, CNN's new original series, "Pope, the most powerful man in history," explores how Popes through the ages have shaped not only religious but political, military, and cultural events.

CNN's Bill Weir traveled to Vatican City where he got an inside look at how Pope Francis has been responding to the Syrian refugee crisis.


BILL WEIR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Even before day one, it was obvious that Francis would be different.

They sent him a first-class ticket to come to the papal election, but he traded it in for coach. While all the other cardinals were arriving in limousines, he walked to the Vatican every day. And though he could live in the finest room in the finest palace here, he chose a humble little abode inside the Vatican guest house.

From this room, the first Pope to name himself after the poorest saint, planned an agenda for the neediest souls. You can see it in the form of the homeless sleeping under priceless Vatican frescoes. Or when you knock on the door of an archbishop and it is answered by a family of Syrian refugees. Days after Gandhi and Madeleine were married, she was kidnapped by ISIS. After ransom was paid why Syrian Christians, they were welcomed here by Roman Catholics.

Stella. You can't cry. You don't know, you are the luckiest baby. You are the luckiest baby in Italy.

Nearly every day, the Pope mentions the suffering in Syria. And on a visit to a refugee camp, he even brought a dozen Muslims home.

So many people lose their lives trying to leave Syria. Some are taken advantage of by traffickers. You ended up on the Pope's plane.

NOUR ESSA, SYRIAN REFUGEE: Is that fantastic?

WEIR: It's fantastic, Nour says. He is a real human being. An example to leaders of all religions.

As he tried to convert you?



WEIR: But despite his example, Matteo, Trump-inspired politician who vowed to round up migrants and segregate Muslims saw a surge of support in the recent election.

THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, BREITBART ROME BUREAU CHIEF: They do listen to the Pope when he says you should be Christian and welcome the stranger. But they also see a situation where you reach a critical mass and you say, we don't know how much of this we can do.

WEIR: The Pope said recently, if you split up families because of immigration, you can't be pro-life.


WEIR: You agree with that?

PIMENTEL: Definitely.

WEIR: Sister Norma works on the Texas/Mexico border and said this Pope is her model for how to treat everyone who crosses it.

PIMENTEL: We feel encouraged that we are doing the right thing. That his presence, his words, his message is a sense of strength for us.

WEIR: Francis has tackled so much in his first five years, but opening hearts in a world of closing borders may be the biggest faith project of all.

Bill Weir, CNN, Vatican City.


NOBLES: Bill, thank you.

Make sure you don't miss "Pope, the most powerful man in history." It premieres this Sunday at 10:00 p.m. only on CNN.

The controversy taking the White House by storm.

Up next, we will hear from the porn star who filed a lawsuit against President Trump. It is a CNN exclusive, and it is next.


[16:58:51] NOBLES: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ryan Nobles in today for Ana Cabrera. Soon we will see the President at his element, at a campaign rally,

stumping for a Republican in the heart of Trump country, Western Pennsylvania. But as he tries to spur on the vote there, he can't seem to skirt the issue of Stormy Daniels.

The porn star suing the President has just spoken to CNN. It comes after new revelations on how she was paid $130,000 to stay silent on their alleged 2006 affair. Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, used work email to negotiate the payment, which may contradict Cohen's claims he acted all on his own with no ties to the campaign or the Trump organization and no risk of campaign finance violations. Cohen also told CNN that he got the money from his home equity line.

Daniels won't comment on any of that or go on camera, but she did talk about how her life has changed since January when her alleged trysts with the President went public.


DANIELS: Sort of a double-edged sword where a lot of people are very interested in booking me for dancing and stuff like that. So I'm getting more dance booking. I usually only dance once a month and now I'm dancing three or four times a month. So that's been really great. But because of that sort of overshadowing a lot of the adult films that I'm supposed to be promoting. And --