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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
John Kelly Reassures Staffers There Isn't Going to be a Big Shake-Up Today; President's Legal Team Filed to Move the Lawsuit Against Their Client by Porn Star Stormy Daniels to Federal Court; Christiane Amanpour Looks at Sex and Love Around the World; Attorney General Sessions Fires McCabe. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 16, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:18] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the second hour of 360, a very busy second hour. On the table, call it a cliff-hanger. Call it chaos. Call it West-Winging it. Whatever you call it, the question is, are there more White House departures on the way?
Also tonight, is it business as usual or giving him the business -- the senior FBI official and Presidential boogeyman just two days from retirement unless he gets fired first.
An all-new development in the Stormy Daniels' case including a possible change of venue and potential new accusers.
First, CNN Kaitlan Collins with all the drama at the White House.
Kaitlan, a lot of rumors about who is in? Who is out? What's the latest at this second?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, that's the question on everyone's mind here, Anderson, because 24 hours ago, staffers would not say with confidence that H.R. McMaster would still be the national security adviser as of this time today. But now they are happily doing so, especially after the Press Secretary at the briefing today said that she had spoken with the President. He expressed confidence in McMaster, and then she relayed that message to McMaster.
But the President didn't relay it to McMaster himself. And so it raises the question of if he's getting the Rex Tillerson treatment here where there are rumors, there is a plan for him to leave the administration, and then the President doesn't like the reports that he's seeing that he is on his way out. So he instead grants him a reprieve essentially and lets him hang around for a few more weeks, which seems to be the case with the national security adviser, who was spotted multiple times, I should note, outside the West Wing today going in and out, which is not typically how we see him.
But what is clear here is that the President has been wanting to make a change, Anderson. And just because he's not doing it today does not mean it's happening because staffers showed up at the White House today still on edge, still expecting a lot of staff firings. But here we are at 9:00 p.m., and there has been no one fired yet, which is news to a lot of people inside the White House.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, the White House has been pushing back on this. What did they have to say today?
COLLINS: Yes, they've been pushing back on it heavily. And John Kelly, himself is the one reassuring staffers that there wasn't going to be a big shake-up today, which interestingly enough, John Kelly was one of the people that people thought could get fired this week because he's been on thin ice with the President, especially since the fallout from that Rob Porter scandal.
But what we do know is the President is kind of enjoying this here, Anderson. He's been watching the buildup on cable news of this potential staff shake-up, watching it with glee. One source told the CNN White House team, because the President is relishing his role. He likes the chaos. He's embracing it. We've seen him grow much more comfortable and self-assured now that he's been here a year in the White House because when he first entered the administration, his advisers were telling him that if there is too much staff turnover, it would really feed into those rumors of a chaotic West Wing. But now the President seems to be embracing the chaos and just is very open to it here. Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thanks.
Let's turn now to "The Wall Street Journal's" Michael Bender. His late report details a temporary truce between President Trump and Chief of Staff Kelly.
So Michael, can you just explain why the President and his Chief of Staff needed to settle on a truce in the first place?
MICHAEL BENDER, REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": You know, I can try to explain it, Anderson. I'm note sure that I can fully explain this. It's a really complex and confusing situation here.
As Kaitlan mentioned before, some of the unrest with Kelly goes back to the Rob Porter situation and the handling of it then. But sort of surprisingly, Kelly was pretty smooth in the White House and made a couple moves to the security clearance process that put Jared Kushner on notice, and Kelly left that moment no doubt who the White House Chief of Staff was.
Fast forward just a couple of weeks here, and his good friend Rex Tillerson is fired in a very humiliating way. And what I'm told inside the White House, that Kelly left a lot of doubts to people around him, to his allies in the White House, telling them in effect that he could be gone at any moment. People left these conversations thinking that he might try to press the situation with the President, and they were getting the feeling that the Chief of Staff was giving them the clear to look for other jobs. That heightened a little bit on Tuesday.
Kelly and Trump flew out to San Diego for the -- when the President inspected the wall, and Kelly flew back, a bicoastal trip in less than a day. White House aides say that was always the case, but inside the White House, people were surprised to see him Wednesday morning. I'm also told that by Thursday, yesterday, that these two had a meeting of the minds, and both left the meeting telling their allies that at least for now, things are OK.
COOPER: So this truce -- I mean it sounds like it could only be temporary. Is there still some remaining discord between the President and Kelly that's known?
[21:05:02] BENDER: Well, I think we've seen this a couple times now in the last month with security clearances and now with the firing of Tillerson. It has shades of Reince Priebus here and the White House having to say, no, that in fact the White House chief of staff is safe. And we haven't actually heard that much from the President when it comes to that. What the President likes to do when he talks about Kelly is sort of support him and undercut him in the same breath.
President Trump is very quick to say what a great job John Kelly is doing, but really in the same sentence, it's always a second beat, raise doubts. Most recently it was in San Diego when he suggested to the marines he was talking about that John Kelly, a retired four-star general, would rather be back with the marines than serving him in the White House.
A few months ago, he again said what a great job Kelly was doing, but sort of made a comment about how he's always watching him. There he is in the back of the room right now. Everybody look. There he is watching me. So he tends to raise these doubts. But, again, these are two generational peers. From the accounts that I've heard, Trump does appreciate the work that John Kelly has done in the White House. But, again, these are the President's own words. He likes to manage in a sort of state of chaos and pit people against each other in his Oval Office.
COOPER: Yes. Certainly seems like that. Michael Bender, appreciate it. Thank you very much. I want to bring in our panel, Julie Pace, Rich Lowry, Symone Sanders, Alice Stewart, Christine Quinn, and Paul Callan.
First of all, Julie, I mean, are you surprised that there's now this truce? And -- I mean, it seems like things get reported and they have multiple sources and then maybe the President sees the reporting and then backtracks just to -- sort of -- it seems to be enjoying all of this?
JULIE PACE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he is enjoying it. And I think it's important for people to understand how this plays out day to day. You have a lot of reports that sometimes look like they're in conflict with each other, and you have a lot of aides that are telling reporters and telling their peers what they're hearing. And in the moment, that is the case. Someone will talk to the President. He will express frustration with someone on his staff. He will float names of someone that he wants to replace.
He may call another person in an hour and say something completely different. So the situation is so fast-moving that it's really hard to know exactly what the President is going to follow through on. But certainly over the last couple of days, he's been really frustrated with a lot of people on his staff. It does feel like today they were trying to ease that tension a little bit, but I don't think that anybody who has been in this mix, John Kelly included, certainly H.R. McMaster, is safe long-term.
COOPER: It's got to be extraordinary to work in an environment where -- I mean I remember reading a book about Emperor Haile Selassie, and he would constantly pit all these different factions against each other, which is how he maintained power so long. It's got to be just exhausting to work in an environment where every day you're not quite sure if the sands are shifting underneath your feet.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've talked with people in the White House, and they say what appears to be chaos and churn from the outside is actually the President's way and the administration's way of streamlining and synchronizing the team, getting rid of people that he has bad blood with and replace with people that he has good chemistry with, which he should do. He's entitled to do. And ideally that would have happened from day one.
Everyone I've ever worked with in an administration, on a campaign, Huckabee, Cruz, Santorum, they all want a team of people that share their world view and their ideas. When it comes to major decisions, bring them together, get their input, and make the best decision based on all of the input. The problem is people I've worked for say, I don't know what I don't know. Tell me what I don't know. This President seems to think he does know everything and doesn't want pushback. He doesn't want dissenting opinions because he wants to make the decisions.
And unfortunately the rough and tumble way he's rolling this out takes away from what he's really doing is building a team that he feels comfortable with.
CHRISTINE QUINN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: But you know what? I mean I understand a President's prerogative to put together his or her team, right? But this President seems to decide he doesn't like someone, and then instead of just saying you're fired, he seems to torture them on the public stage, nationally and internationally, which is just seems cruel. And also seems to go against his "I'm the boss" kind of a persona. So I just think to me it seems cruel and weak.
PACE: What we've learned about this President actually is that he actually doesn't like to go through the act of firing people. He would rather have them quit. He would rather have them feel like the situation is so uncomfortable that they leave on their own accord. So that is some of what we've seen happen with various other people, and it seems like he's trying to implement that same strategy right now.
COOPER: I mean, Sarah Sanders today said, "There's no immediate personnel changes at this time." Why even say that sentence if you're going to add at this time.
RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: That's the key, conditional, right? COOPER: Right.
LOWRY: I mean they're definitely more personnel changes, but not right at this time, but they're coming. I would say to Alice's point, the Tillerson move was overdue. He shouldn't have done it on Twitter, but he had really a failure to launch, his secretary of state. He wasn't working out on any level, and Mike Pompeo I believe will be much better in that job and will be longer lived in that job.
What I'm very concerned by is someone who wishes the administration well is any suggestion of getting rid of Kelly. There is no way he's getting a better chief of staff than John Kelly, someone who has imposed at least a measure of discipline, someone who -- even if Trump chafes at him, actually respects him as a peer and respects his military service. So if he gets rid of Kelly, I think he's really shooting himself in the foot on that.
[21:10:20] COOPER: Symone?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a word I can't say on national television, Anderson. This is crazy. So Donald Trump literally thinks this is a reality show. He has (INAUDIBLE). In a story that Kaitlan wrote today for CNN.com, he talked about how at the beginning of his tenure in the White House, he wanted to bring back the apprentice. So I'm actually concerned that Donald Trump does not understand the gravitas of his actions and his personnel changes in that building. This is a White House. We're supposed to be the leader of the free world, so what does this say to our allies and also to our foes all over the world if Donald Trump cannot get his House in order?
COOPER: But it's also interesting -- I mean according to CNN's reporting, multiple White House officials have actually reached out to reporters to find out what they think is going on, which is --
QUINN: Is bizarre. You know what else I was thinking about? With all of this chaos and people be leaving, you know, in government, you're obviously responding to the crisis of the moment. But good government should be doing long-term planning, developing new ideas, new initiatives, new solutions to enormous national and world problems. But when everybody is thinking they're getting fired, thinking their boss is getting fired, and in fact getting fired, what kind of long-term planning is going on to improve the economy, to deal with other national problems? None, because it's such a revolving door, and that's where the American people will suffer.
PACE: And it's not even a revolving door, though, because they're having a really hard time finding people that will come in on the back end. They're basically moving deck chairs as they evaluate who could fill some of these positions. If you're a Republican right now thinking about joining this administration, you're getting a lot of advice from your friends and colleagues to stay on the sidelines.
QUINN: Take a leave of absence. Don't quit. PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I just want to add one thing. We're dealing with the first non-political President in modern American President, maybe all of American history. He doesn't have the coterie of experienced people around him that other Presidents had when they were elected to office. So everybody's on a test run with Trump, and they're not working out, and I think to Symone's point, he reverts back to his most successful thing in life, the apprentice. Where you watch groups of people fail, they'll get fired and the one person gets to work for Trump. And we're seeing the apprentice model being used in the running of the federal bureaucracy, and it's really kind of strange.
COOPER: We're going to take break. A lot more to talk about including a string breaking news in the Stormy Daniels' case, new legal maneuvering, new allegations from the President's legal team and of course, word of possible new accusers from Stormy Daniels' attorney, a lot happening on this Friday night.
Also later, speaking to t he apprentice and cruelty, will Attorney General Sessions let the FBI's deputy distributor retire with full benefits just two days from now or fire him? And if he does, will it be for good cause or political payback? That and more ahead.
[21:16:40] Well, there's breaking news tonight in the Stormy Daniels case. Attorneys for President Trump have filed to move the case from a California State Court to a federal venue. Additionally they're filing claims that Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has violated the terms of the now disputed nondisclosure agreement at least 20 times. So at a million dollars per alleged violation, team Trump wants upwards of $20 million from Ms. Daniels. Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, is on a plane right now but reacting already in a string of tweets.
"The filing today is yet another bullying tactic from the President and Mr. Cohen. They're now attempting to remove this case to federal court in order to increase their chances that the matter will be decided in private arbitration, thus hiding the truth from the public."
He goes on to say, "The fact that a sitting President is pursuing over $20 million in bogus damages against a private citizen who is only trying to tell the public what really happened is remarkable, likely unprecedented in our history. We are not going away and we will not be intimidated, basta." Basta by the way, Italian for enough.
Mr. Avenatti goes on, "How can President Donald Trump seek $20 million in damages against my client based on an agreement that he and Mr. Cohen claim Mr. Trump never was a party to and knew nothing about? #notwellthoughtout #sloppy #checkmate."
Back with the panel including Paul Callan, that's Callan, not Callahan as I said earlier. Paul, I apologize for that.
CALLAN: No problem. COOPER: Paul, first of all, why try to get this moved to a federal court?
CALLAN: It's a fascinating move. But I think this is the reason for it. Federal judges tend to be very friendly to arbitration. And remember, that's what this is all about, whether an arbitrator can decide this as opposed to a judge or a jury. The agreement says it's going to be arbitrated. Federal courts are friendly to arbitration. The California courts in recent days have had a history of throwing out arbitration.
So Cohen thinks he's going to get a friendlier hearing in the federal courts. The second reason and a very important reason is that federal judges are very hostile to lawyers who try their cases in the press. And certainly in this case you don't want Avenatti, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, giving all of these speeches to the press and appearing on "60 minutes" to give an interview. A federal judge might hold him in contempt of court for trying to try his case out of court. So those, I think, are the two primary reasons this is a very good move by Trump to move it to federal court.
COOPER: I should also point out just in full disclosure. I conducted the interview with Stormy Daniels. It's going to be about 60 minutes on March 25th.
QUINN: But you know, this also -- I think everything Paul said obviously from a legal perspective is 100 percent correct, but it really also speaks to the question of Donald Trump, if you have nothing to hide, why are your lawyers fighting so hard? Why are they moving venues? Why are they trying to paper Stormy Daniels and her lawyers to death? If he has nothing to hide, why is he doing all of this and then suing a private citizen?
COOPER: Which is also from a legal standpoint, I mean if Michael Cohen says that he paid Stormy Daniels of his own money without the President knowing about it, without the President's advice or consent or being asked about it, out of pure loyalty, why then is Donald Trump a party to this lawsuit? Why is he party to moving this to federal court?
CALLAN: Well, the agreement is by this corporation, E.C., LLC.
COOPER: Right, which Michael Cohen set up?
CALLAN: Which he set up and the money came from Michael Cohen. But it's legal for a company to make a contract with somebody else that might affect a third party like the President, if you assume the President is not a party because he didn't sign it.
[21:20:13] COOPER: But if there's a space for the President to sign and to initial it, doesn't that imply that the President is a party to it? I mean --
CALLAN: It does, Anderson, but except if you look at the beginning of the contract, it says the parties are EEC, LLC, and/or, and then it says DD, which is the acronym for the President in the agreement. So that the "or" means that the President didn't really have to sign the agreement.
COOPER: Although Michael Avenatti's has come back to that, is that in California, that is standard legal language. It's just kind of boilerplate language. It doesn't necessarily mean and/or. It just -- they always say and/or.
CALLAN: Well, you know, I don't know. And I don't know how the federal courts will view that. Usually they're hyper technical in the application of what something actually says.
And the other thing, look what's happening to the federal courts as a result of Trump appointments to the federal courts. It's becoming an increasingly conservative place, and eventually, who knows? This thing could wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which by the way has been very friendly to arbitration agreements.
LOWRY: In sheer political terms they should just want her to speak. Because in the interview will air. I'm sure it's very compelling. I'm sure there will be lots of lurid details, the people are very interested in and upset with, but one or two days, and then the caravan will move on. The way it does every single time. What you have to guess they fear is that if they let her out of this NDA, are there other women who have signed NDAs who will try to do the same thing? And whatever the legal disposition of this case ultimately, she sort of found away around the NDA.
LOWRY: Once he is going to sign the NDA and go away --
COOPER: And to that point, Michael Avenatti has said he has been approached by six other women, at least two from NDA. He says, he hasn't fully vetted them. Again, how real that is, I don't know.
STEWART: It makes you wonder why the President has sort of flipped his own script on this issue. The other women that have come out against him, he has denied the claims, denigrated the women. This one he's really trying to ignore altogether. And what we're seeing with Avenatti here is kind trumping Trump by getting information out there bit by bit. Whether it's true or not, it's still painful for the President.
COOPER: He's been driving the news cycle for the last week.
STEWART: Yes. Whether he's talking about physical violence against Stormy Daniels, whether he is talking about six other women coming forward possibly having NDAs, this is drip by drip information that is getting this administration certainly off message. In my view, get it out there. Let her talk. Get the stories out there and let's move on.
SANDERS: I think what's different here, though, with the other women is the other women haven't accused the President of sexual misconduct, sexual assault in a number of instances. You know, Stormy Daniels has been saying, she was in a consensual sexual relationship with the President. She's talking about the attempts to silence her and the hush money. And I think that's the issue on the table here. Why Donald Trump --
CALLAN: But her case is the weakest of all because she took the $130,000 for her silence, and now she's turning around apparently because she can get a better price on the open market to say, well, I want to have the agreement thrown out. There may be other women who have much stronger cases, and I think that's ultimately what Cohen and people supporting Trump fear. If you open the floodgates on all of these agreements that are probably out there where women have been silenced, he's going to be crushed by the weight of these accusations. So this is an important case for the Trump administration.
QUINN: You know, I think you raise really interesting point on the denials because if you look at the other, Al Franken, whoever who admitted, that was so crucial to the President. Like denying it, whatever it was you were accused of, seemed to exonerate you. So it is fascinating in this case that he hasn't done that. So I think that may speak to there being much more fear behind all this.
SANDERS: I don't think he cares about the fact he cheated on his wife. I think he is --
CALLAN: His wife might care.
SANDERS: His wife might care but I don't think he cares. That's why he doesn't have a problem denying this. I think he does care about being accused of sexual misconduct or sexual assault. But I think this -- it's important to note these are two very different things. He doesn't care he's a cheater. He cares about the money.
(CROSSTALK) 2 PACE: He has not actually come out and talked about it, but he is sending Sarah Sanders out there to deny this.
CALLAN: You know, the most interesting thing is the agreement which, by the way, Cohen and the President supposedly have denied, right, any sexual contact with stormy, however the agreement requires her to turn over all images and videotapes that might exist of the nonexistent sexual conduct. So you have to wonder if there's something more that she possibly has in her possession that has caused the President and Mr. Cohen to be terrified about letting this go.
[21:24:43] COOPER: We're going to take a quick break. We're going to continue this conversation next. There's more to talk about. We'll be right back.
COOPER: The gathering a legal storm involving the President's alleged affair with adult film actor is breaking on two fronts. The President's team trying to get the lawsuit moved to federal court, and other women who have come forward according to Stormy Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti. Here's what he said on this program last night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: I've been approached by six separate women with similar stories to my client. I want to stress that we have not vetted these stories to any great degree. However, the initial consultations, the initial information that we're receiving indicates that there are some striking similarities between their stories and that of my client, Ms. Clifford.
COOPER: Can you say if any of these women have nondisclosure agreements?
COOPER: They do?
AVENATTI: At least two of them do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's all he would say on that.
Back now with the panel. Does it matter if -- I mean, look, there have already been, you know, how many dozen more women who have come forward with a variety of allegations, most of which non-consensual, you know, and the voters took that into account and voted the President. Would it matter if more women came forward?
QUINN: I think it matters to those women. And what they feel they have to tell their story. So I think that certainly matters.
[21:30:00] COOPER: To sort of voters as a political --
PACE: I don't think we've seen both in the campaign and then certainly with other controversies that have happened since he's been in office, I don't think we've seen that Trump voters seem to care, or they don't seem to be swayed by much of this. I think this could potentially be different just because it actually has lasted for much longer. Normally these have actually come and gone fairly quickly. But until Trump voters make a decision that this is something that's going to sway them, I think the President's -- political ground.
COOPER: I've heard some people say that if people hear Stormy Daniels and they believe her story of what she says was a consensual affair with the President, who was then just a citizen, that then maybe more people will start to believe other women who have come forward. Do you think that's a concern of the White House?
STEWART: Certainly. That has a strong potential to happen. What we're hearing from the social conservatives, Tony Perkins and the more religious conservatives, they're going to give him a mulligan on this. They're going to say, OK, we'll give him this one. But if the flood gates open, it will be a completely different story. I think a lot of voters, Trump's base, look at this, this Stormy Daniels happened 12 years ago. They're going to say, look, that's a personal matter. He has got some issues. He needs to deal with Melania on that. But what's making this more problematic is this happened during the campaign. This NDA and the $130,000 was paid just before the election, and that's problematic. And now we're hearing about potential threats and other women coming out of the wood work. That's when it becomes a political liability.
COOPER: Which is interesting that there wasn't an NDA back, you know, when -- I don't know in 2011, there was an in touch article that they got pressured not to end up running. I think it was Michael Cohen or someone from the Trump organization got them not to run it according to all the reporting on it. Why there was no NDA back then. I'm not clear on.
STEWART: They didn't know he was going to be the next President of the United States at that time. And that was the catch and kill. They grabbed that story and killed it and it never saw the light of day. But now we're looking at like a month before the election. Michael Cohen --
COOPER: After the Access Hollywood tape has come out.
STEWART: Yes. Sure.
COOPER: After the accusations have come out.
SANDERS: So I think that in the question of like, does it matter, I think maybe not necessarily for Trump voters. But I think in general it matters if the President of the United States and his allies and people that work for him are pressuring women into signing nondisclosure agreements, are threatening them or intimidating them because that is something we know that happens -- I mean that type of intimidation happens in workplaces all over America.
And so I think it does matter. And it might even matter for some of those suburban white ladies everybody keeps talking about, for 2018 and folks that could be sway voters. So this absolutely matters for a number of reasons on a number of different fronts. And I think that is why they are trying to kill it.
And also I just think Donald Trump is a despicable man who is used to pressuring people and backing folks into corners and making them do things that he would like for them to do.
QUINN: And you know where else it will matter? And look, for whatever it is, 25, 28, 30 percent of the hard core Trump people, I don't think it's going to matter because they're going to say, it's fake news and a fake porn star, or whatever.
But in the upcoming midterm elections, with those voters that we need to win back, those white suburban women, those college educated women, this is going to matter. And the fact that it just keeps coming is going to matter. And I think it's going to continue the trend in '18 of Democrats picking up seats. I really do. COOPER: Do you think, Paul, from a legal standpoint that there is -- you know, there was talk last week that perhaps they might try to stop CBS from running the interview? Do you think that's -- I mean, again, that seems to me like it would just give more publicity to the interview, which again, just for full disclosure, I conducted.
CALLAN: All of course, you know -- they haven't slapped the handcuffs on you yet. So --
COOPER: What is it? Seven days? Eight days. We'll see.
COOPER: I wouldn't be surprised to see an effort still to stop the interview. There is a doctrine in law called tortious interference with contract. And here's the theory that they'll use against "60 minutes" and maybe even against you personally, which is you're aware that a contract exists requiring her to remain silent, and you are deliberately breaching that contract. Generally, if you were -- forget it, you were not a broadcast network and you were not dealing with an issue of great public interest, the court might enforce that under tortious interference with business. I don't think ultimately they will because this involves the President of the United States and there are bigger issues that will be looked at. But it wouldn't surprise me if they make one last effort to shut it down, the airing of the interview.
COOPER: I still don't understand, though, how, you know, Michael Cohen's position, which is I entered into this agreement with Stormy Daniels as a private citizen, not a member of the Trump organization even though I was using my Trump organization e-mail account, and I hired another Trump attorney, the vice general counsel out in L.A. to help me with the arbitration on this. And I -- you know, I complained that my office was closed and so I couldn't get the money when it was supposed to be delivered, meaning the Trump offices were closed.
[21:35:18] And yet I don't understand how somebody, you know, if I have an agent who enters a contract with some other company in my behalf and doesn't inform me that she's doing a -- she's making a deal without me knowing about it? That just does not seem -- it just seems unethical.
CALLAN: No. It seems unethical and illegal, and probably it would be. But on the other hand, if you had an agent and you had said to the agent, because he's a famous guy who can get anybody a job, listen, whatever you can get out there, I'll be willing to take that job.
And let's face it. There are a lot of people who maybe say that to their agents. I suspect that Cohen is going to come in and say, I sort of had carte blanche from Donald Trump to deal with these women problems that probably have come up on numerous occasions in the past. And I think he's going to say that implicitly he was authorized to engage --
COOPER: But if he has carte blanche to do that from some prior discussion, how come he has to take out a loan, according to him, from his home equity line of credit? CALLAN: Well, his line.
COOPER: I mean, what attorney -- have you ever loaned a client --
CALLAN: Michael Cohen is the best attorney -- if he'll take me as a client, I'll do it.
QUINN: Lawyers don't --
CALLAN: Lawyers don't do that, but if you look back at his history. Michael Cohen's history, he was almost like a Trump groupie when he got involved with Trump. He had bought real estate from Trump. He became a true believer in Trump, and Trump liked him so much, he started throwing him legal work. So that's sort of his entryway into the Trump organization. He's devoted to Trump in a personal way. Now, he uses his own money so that the President has no obvious link to the transaction. And what's to stop the President from repaying him a couple years from now because he's figuring, yes, the President's good for it.
COOPER: According to "The Wall Street Journal," he was complaining to friends that he hadn't been repaid yet.
CALLAN: Not yet.
STEWART: It defies credibility that Trump didn't know about it. That's why Michael Cohen is called the fixer, not the close her. He fixed the problem. He didn't close it up in the end and make sure that people didn't find out.
COOPER: Yes. All right, we're planning to hear from Michael Avenatti next.
Also we'll get into what the chances are that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe will make it to his official retirement two days from now without getting fired by Jeff Sessions.
[21:41:31] COOPER: The clock is ticking for former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The question is, is it ticking down to his retirement or his firing? He's eligible for retirement benefits on Sunday. He could be fired by the Trump administration before that, a task that would full to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Yesterday, McCabe meet with justice department officials for a few hours to plead his case according to a person familiar with that meeting.
Back now with the panel. Paul, does it make sense to you, this idea based on -- again, we don't know fully what McCabe is accused of. There's lots of reports about him not being forthcoming and perhaps leaking information. But the decision possibly to fire him ahead of getting a pension? CALLAN: Oh, it's absurd to do that. And you can make a strong argument that McCabe made serious errors and maybe he deserved to be punished in some way for those errors. But to deprive a public servant like McCabe who spent pretty much his whole career in law enforcement and was deeply respected by his colleagues, to try to deprive him of his pension because of this and maybe even -- I saw reports today he might even lose his health coverage.
COOPER: But an internal FBI body did say he should be fired.
CALLAN: They said he should be fired, but you know something? You have to be sensible about these things. And I think any top executive knowing the rancor that this would cause from all of the agents in the FBI, would understand that this would be a crazy decision.
PACE: That's a great point. The fact that within the FBI, even though he doesn't appear to have been candid in his dealings with his supervisors, there is a lot of support for him within the FBI. There would be a huge groundswell if he were fired. But the political dynamic overhanging all of this is between Trump and Jeff Sessions.
STEWART: That's the issue. And how much collateral damage is OK?
COOPER: I got to -- I just want to quickly return to the Stormy Daniels story. Stormy Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti, joining us now by phone.
Michael, I want you to respond first of all to the news that Michael Cohen and President Trump, they're trying to move this now to federal court. What does that tell you?
AVENATTI (via telephone): Well, Anderson, first of all, thanks for having me on. We're not surprised by this. We anticipated that this was a tactic that they might engage in. What they've done now is they've removed it to federal court. That removal is automatic. There's no determination by a judge or anything of that nature. We now have 30 days in which he can decide that we're going to file what's called a motion for remand, which is to move the case back to state court. At this stage, we probably anticipate doing that.
But the reason why they've engaged in this tactic is pretty clear, and that is what they ultimately hope to do is to move this case to a private arbitration that's going to take place in an office building somewhere far out of view of the public, far out of view of any scrutiny, because they want to hide the facts from the American people and they don't want the American people to learn the truth about what happened with my client, what happened with the cover-up, what happened with their efforts to intimidate her into remaining silent. That's really what this is geared towards.
COOPER: But their point is that by the agreement that your client did sign -- I know you say it was supposed to also be signed by President Trump and wasn't, and therefore is not valid. But she did agree in the nondisclosure agreement to have things adjudicated by arbitration, did she not?
AVENATTI: Well, she did provided that the agreement was ultimately in effect. You can't agree to arbitrate something -- it's not a unilateral arbitration. It's a bilateral or in this case a trilateral proceeding or agreement, I should say. And the bottom line, and we've been very clear from the get-go, there never was an agreement. So if the agreement is tossed out, and we're confident that it will be, then there was never an agreement to arbitrate.
[21:45:25] COOPER: There's been some analysis of this, and I have the filing. I haven't been able to read the entire thing. But some people have read it and looked at it and interpreted that President Trump is joining this effort to get this moved to federal court. Is that your understanding?
AVENATTI: Well, that's not my understanding. That's a fact. He filed -- an attorney on his behalf filed what's called a joinder in federal court. We have a copy of the filing joining in this effort.
COOPER: Why would the President of the United States join in an effort for a document -- for a nondisclosure agreement that he, himself, didn't sign, which his attorney apparently just did on his own that had nothing to do with the President, for an act that he said he didn't commit?
AVENATTI: Well, I hate to repeat myself, but I'm going to in this instance. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive. Anderson, that's a very good question. It doesn't make any sense. We also now have the threat, and it's set forth in the papers, the position if you will, that if President Trump is going to seek in excess of $20 million in damages against my client.
This is truly remarkable. I don't know that there's ever been an instance in American history where you had a sitting President carrying out a personal vendetta and seeking in excess of $20 million against a private U.S. citizen, who is merely trying to tell her version of the facts.
The facts must indeed, Anderson, be very, very ugly for this President and Mr. Cohen because if they were not ugly, he would have taken to the airwaves and defended himself and called her out and stated unequivocally that they were false. And he would allow the American people to decide who's telling the truth and who's not telling the truth. But instead, he and his attorney, Mr. Cohen, and now others are seeking to gag and silence my client and keep the information from the American people.
COOPER: And very quickly, you still maintain that there is no way that Michael Cohen did this all on his own without in some way the President knowing about it?
AVENATTI: Absolutely. The idea and the statement that they're trying to sell to the American people is preposterous.
COOPER: I should point out we've invited Michael Cohen to join the program anytime, and he continues to be welcome at any point. Michael Avenatti, I appreciate you're calling in. Thanks very much. I want to thank our panel as well.
Coming up next, something I never thought I would be talking to Christiane Amanpour about, "Sex and Love around the World." It is the focus of her new series debuting this weekend on CNN. It's fascinating. I'll talk to Christiane in just a moment.
[21:51:20] COOPER: My colleague and friend Christiane Amanpour is known for her interviews with world leaders reporting from war zones, specially everyone who is anyone has one point another Christiane and sometimes face grilling from her.
Starting this weekend on CNN, she's turning her attention to a topic you might not expect. "Sex and Love around the World." That's the name of her new six parts series that debuts tomorrow night and some of what she discovered could make you blush. Earlier tonight, I spoke with Christiane about her remarkable worldwide journey.
COOPER: This is such an interesting, fun and great departure for.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: It is.
COOPER: You really -- you wanted to focus particularly on the experiences of women around the world.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I did, because first of all, being a woman and coincidentally with this amazing "Me Too" moment, we didn't know obviously when it started but it's airing as this is in full bloom. And of course we found those elements of what women have to endure around the world.
I think what's so important about this series is that it is not the sort of prurient part of sex, the kind of violent victimhood part of sex, whether it's porn or -- you know, extreme porn or prostitution or sex trafficking and this and that. What we actually found were women, young girls, all over these six cities we traveled to who seemed to be, in today's parlance, agents of their own happiness. They wanted to bust the norms that their mothers and grandmothers had lived under which was essentially, you know, having the world done to them, having life done to them, being told where they could choose their mate. Where they could -- you know, find happiness.
COOPER: Or having their mate chosen for them.
AMANPOUR: Precisely. I mean, precisely. And so they want to change this. And because a lot of the world is now catching up with the west in terms of economic empowerment for women once they get that in their hands, they actually then start to look inwards. We want our happiness, our fulfillment, our intimate lives. You know?
COOPER: It's so interesting because obviously -- you know, the desire for love and sex. I mean, it is universal.
COOPER: And yet in each place, it's sort of -- the permutations are different or what is acceptable is different.
AMANPOUR: I think that's absolutely true. I think what you find is the love, the happiness, the fulfillment, being heard, being understood. That is a universal phenomenon. And for me, exploring that side was deliberate, you know, journey because I felt it was the flip side of all the places you and I have been over the years, which is the extreme side of life. You know, just trying to survive, you know, mothers and fathers trying to find food for their kids, trying to find their kids education. This is the flip side of what makes us human. You know, the core, the satisfaction level. You know, getting to ask as women what we want, what we desire.
COOPER: Did you find it easy to get people to talk about it?
AMANPOUR: Yes, and that was so surprising.
First of all, when I had this idea, you know, not everybody bought into it immediately. Because, A, they thought it was kind of strange that I'd be doing that. And B, they didn't know how you portray this on television. We're not going to show sex. And that was never, ever the intention. But how do you get people to talk?
And I was really surprised, even in the most conservative parts that we visited. The most, you know, orthodox areas politically, religiously, culturally, everybody had sex on their mind, everybody wanted to talk about it. Women I'm saying. Men are still slightly more buttoned up when it comes to that. Maybe I'll try to explore the male perspective. Because I think it's incredibly important. Men also should be encouraged to be in touch with their emotional side, their feeling side, their, you know, the intimate side. Because men are often brought up to be macho, strong, et cetera. And that therein lies the dilemma between the sexes. It's really fascinating. It's a little bit of everything for everybody.
COOPER: Christiane, thanks so much.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
COOPER: Christiane's new series "Love and Sex around the World," debuts tomorrow night, 10 p.m. right here on CNN.
[21:55:07] COOPER: Up next, the preview of the other special airing weekend on CNN, "American Dynasty: The Kennedys." We'll take you back to the wedding of Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy. It was supposed to be her happiest day. It was far from it.
COOPER: Before we turn things over to Don Lemon, we have breaking news. Don will no doubt have much more on this. We want to quickly bring you word on the fate of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. As you know, he was set to retire with full pension and retirement benefits on Sunday. As you may also know, he was the subject of a critical inspector general's report. And on top of that, he's been publicly criticized repeatedly by the President of the United States.
So going into tonight, the talk was that McCabe might be fired just days short of being fully vested on his retirement. We have just now learned that Andrew McCabe has been fired. That is the word from the Justice Department. His employment has been terminated.
They'll be a lot more on this obviously on Don Lemon. Thanks for watching "360." I have you have a great weekend. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon for the latest on this breaking news. CNN tonight starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It is breaking news, Andrew McCabe, the Former Deputy Director at the FBI, has been fired tonight.
Just two days shy of his official retirement on Sunday. In an exclusive interview tonight, McCabe tells CNN he denies misleading the inspector general in any way and he says the accusations against him fit into what he calls a pattern of attacks against him including President Trump. We have a lot to get to on this breaking news, the firing of the Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.