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CNN NEWSROOM

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Was Fired; Lawyers For Donald Trump And Michael Cohen's Company Essential Consultants LLC Are Now Threatening To Seek In Excess Of $20 Million In Damages For At Least 20 Violations Of The Confidentiality Agreement She Signed; Recovery Workers Still Trying To Reach A Few Cars That Were Crushed When a Pedestrian Bridge Collapsed Thursday In South Florida; Lawyer: Six More Women Have Contacted Me About Trump; Lawyer: Daniels "Physically Threatened" To Keep Quiet; U.S. Says Russians Hacked America's Energy, Nuke, Water Plants; U.S. Officials: Russia Tried TO Penetrate U.S. Power Grid; Pence Walks in St. Patrick's Day Parade. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 17, 2018 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: 8:00 eastern, 5:00 in the afternoon out west. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.

We have a lot to discuss tonight. The latest developments, the President's heated twitter talk, targeting his own department. We have new information about the special counsel investigation. And new fears in Washington that the President could move to take out Robert Mueller, the special council.

Now John Dowd, the President's attorney in a statement this morning called for an end to Mueller's Russia election meddling probe. Dowd told CNN he was speaking just for himself but that was a revision of what he earlier told the "Daily Beast" when asked directly if he was speaking for the President. The answer to that question yes, as his council.

Now, the questions over what the President intends to do coming as we learn more about what the special counsel is already doing. Sources tell CNN the special counsel has subpoenaed the Trump organization for documents pertaining to Russia and other topics.

And today, sources say Mueller's investigators now have in their possession new and potentially corroborating evidence, memos from former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe. These memos prefer (ph) to document conversations between McCabe and the President as well as McCabe and James Comey detailing the former FBI director's interactions with the President.

We are also learning tonight that McCabe has already been to see Mr. Mueller and has given an interview in which sources say he answered questions about Comey's firing.

Now, our reporters are all standing by. We have Boris Sanchez at the White House. Laura Jarrett in Washington.

Laura, do we know when McCabe sat down with the special counsel and what he might have told Mr. Mueller?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Ana, we have confirmed that at least one of the topics covered during that interview with the special counsel's team was the firing of former FBI director James Comey. We don't know exactly when this sit down took place, but it is a topic that Mueller's team has pursued as they investigate, among other things, whether President Trump obstructed justice in his dealings with top law enforcement officials.

Now, the McCabe memos cover both McCabe's own conversations with the President, as well as at least some of what Comey told McCabe happened to him as well which could potentially bolster how Comey describes several of those key, crucial events that the President said never happened, including requests for loyalty and to go easy on former national security advisor Michael Flynn, especially if those were documented contemporaneously with those events, Ana.

CABRERA: So Boris, the President today has been attacking Andrew McCabe on twitter as well as James Comey. What is he saying? Tell us more about these tweets.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana. Yes. For quite a few months now, the President has not only been going after former FBI director James Comey on twitter but also his second in command in Andrew McCabe. The President taunting him at times. Stopping just short of suggesting that he should be fired. And now that he has been fired, seeming to relish in the moment.

Here is a tweet from President Trump earlier today.

He writes quote "Andrew McCabe fired. A great day for the hardworking men and women of the FBI. A great day for democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choir boy. He knew about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI."

The President yet again pointing the finger at the FBI, calling it a corrupt organization. Prior to that, he also tweeted out attacking the FBI and the department of justice and the state department.

Nothing really new there. The President again continuing with this line of reasoning that indicates that there is a deep state out there that is out to decertify, to delegitimize his election victory and to derail his agenda.

We should point out, though, that just about every leader at those agencies, whether the department of justice and Jeff Sessions, the FBI and Christopher Wray, or the state department with either Rex Tillerson or Mike Pompeo, all those people, were appointed by the President, so he is out there attacking agencies led by people that he has appointed, something that we have seen time and time again from President Trump -- Ana.

CABRERA: So Laura, after McCabe was fired, he fired right back, describing what he sees as being wronged in his firing. But CNN also had a chance to interview him. What did he say about his interactions with the President and beyond?

JARRETT: That's right. And McCabe's knowledge about what happened to Comey, at least in his view also explains why he thinks he has been subjected to what he calls a pattern of attacks on his reputation and credibility. He told CNN during that interview that the President repeatedly taunted him about his wife's failed state Senate campaign in Virginia and even asked McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election. But one thing that he told us Trump didn't do, ask him to end the Russia investigation, Ana.

[20:05:02] CABRERA: Laura Jarrett, Boris Sanchez, thank you both.

I want to bring in our panel. CNN senior law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes and White House reporter for "the Daily Beast" Asawin Suebsaeng.

Asawin, How central a player now is Andrew McCabe to the special counsel investigation?

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, DAILY BEAST: Well, he has been a central player for quite a while in the whole, especially post firing of James Comey debacle. And something else, he has been a central player in for many months now is within the President's own grievances and his front and center in his mind.

As you pointed out, it's not just today and yesterday that he has hate tweeted Andrew McCabe. He tweeted just at the end of this past year about how McCabe was only 90 days away from retiring with full pensions. This is someone he has repeatedly trash talked to close associates and advisors who we at the "Daily Beast" have talked to and paints a picture of someone who is extraordinarily gleeful of the situation that Mr. McCabe has found himself in.

CABRERA: Tom, in terms of McCabe's value as a witness, it's certainly not being hidden that the President's intentions to discredit him in front of what he may say to Robert Mueller, does his firing for what the attorney general called lack of candor impact his credibility?

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It certainly does, Ana. You know, that's the key reason why that's such a terrible violation to be accused of if you are an FBI agent. That if you are charged with or under investigation or lack of candor, you are not going to be able to testify with any degree of credibility, which is your job.

So, you know, whether you are in the FBI or now out of the FBI in McCabe's case, he is essentially, if any amount of these charges are substantiated enough, and you know, we should see the report soon and know how much went into this, yes, it is going to be an extreme problem for him in any event to have any credibility to provide any testimony in any proceeding.

CABRERA: As you point out, we haven't seen the report, the details, the evidence that is underlying the firing of Andrew McCabe. It is still with the justice department because it is still part of a larger inspector general investigation. But I'm curious, Tom, given your connection to the bureau, what is McCabe's representation at the FBI?

FUENTES: Well, McCabe has had an excellent reputation for many years, more than 20 years that he has been an agent. So he has been highly regarded. But that regard diminished greatly in the last year or so when more and more information came out, not only his reputation, but Comey's reputation and the inner circle around them with regard to the Clinton foundation case, the Clinton email case and many of these other cases that they have been involved in that really caused the bureau to go into a political area beyond which it hasn't been before.

And I think that, you know, many former colleagues of mine, former executives and current employees, for that matter, have a great deal of anguish over the reputation of the bureau being diminished by many of the things they have been accused of doing.

And I think in particular I would like to add that the President today saying this is a great day for the FBI, the President himself needs to stop trash talking the FBI. He has been engaged in it for a long time. It is not helpful. It is the premier law enforcement agency in the world and he's talking about it like it is, you know, a bunch of idiots running around pretending to be FBI agents. It is not right. He should stop doing it.

CABRERA: Asawin, John Dowd's personal statement today calling for the end of the special counsel probe, pretty jarring departure from the legal strategy they have had dating back to the summer of 2017. Why the change now, do you think?

SUEBSAENG: Well, it is happening now because the President's legal team has been telling him for months that, come early 2018 at the latest this will all be wrapped up. You won't have to worry about the Mueller probe or the investigators anymore. That obviously isn't happen. Every indication that we have reported out at the "Daily Beast" and has been reported out in various other outlets suggests that the Mueller investigation is not close to wrapping. And, if there anything, they are zeroing in more on Donald Trump and his organization and his family.

And close associates, both former and current of the President, both working within and without the administration, have long advised President Trump that he has to get rougher on Robert Mueller. That he should perhaps even bring in lawyers to layer above the heads of his current legal team, Ty Cobb and John Dowd, to fight team Mueller on every piece of paper, every testimony, everything that they are requesting. And that for a long time hasn't been happening. The President's legal team's position has at least officially been to be very cooperative and have take a we have nothing to hide position.

[20:10:15] CABRERA: Right. They have been saying we are open. We are cooperating with the ongoing investigation. But you are saying now they are ready to take the gloves off.

Tom, in a statement after McCabe was dismissed, he says straight up the President fired him as part of an ongoing effort to discredit or stop the Mueller probe. Do you see it that way? FUENTES: No, I don't. I think that what the President has been

complaining about really from the beginning of taking office has been how long these investigations are dragging on. It is weighing down the presidency with all of the accusations and that why can't they be expedited?

So it is more than just the President saying I want my friends, you know, to have immunity or not be prosecuted to just when is this going to be done and how far is it going to go? And I think that the signal right off the bat that Mueller sent to everybody and the Democrats shouldn't be celebrating in the end zone either when Manafort was indicted. Because when Mueller starting - is supposed to be looking at Russian collusion and indict somebody for violations going back ten years for tax fraud and for the other things that Manafort has been accused of, that should have sent a signal that everybody that Mueller is going to take this investigation where he wants to take it and it may be way further than anybody is going to wish it went. And what is to stop Mueller? What's to stop him from re-opening the Clinton foundation case or the Clinton email case or many of these other investigations if he can go after Manafort for things he did ten years ago? What does that say for everybody else in Washington right this minute?

CABRERA: Well, remember, he had a large mandate, as pretty broad rather, Rod Rosenstein, even this week, the deputy AG, he is overseeing the Mueller probe since Sessions recused himself. That's when he said earlier this week the special counsel is not an unguided missile. He said back in December he know what is the special counsel is doing and if he felt he was doing anything inappropriate, he would take action. He hasn't taken action.

FUENTES: Well, no. He hasn't taken action. But I don't know what credibility he has that he is going to take any action in this. And, really, you know, going back to the first signals coming out after the Manafort charges last fall, you know, it really almost looks like you have -- Mueller has reestablished the FBI under his leadership. Again, it is a parallel FBI which has very little, you know, constraints if Mueller wants to take it to another direction, he is going to take it. He has taken it. And I don't see where Rosenstein -- I think that we have really the evidence in the last year has been from the department of justice, from the attorney general, from the deputy, a tremendous lack of leadership and guidance. The investigation is dragging on. The investigation is going into different directions that everybody is not sure where it is going to go. And I think that it is not a great service. And the American public wants to know, what are these charges?

And I think the fact now with the firing of McCabe, that does send a signal that maybe some of these issues are going to be wound down, especially the issues regarding FBI management and senior decision- making over the last year or two.

CABRERA: But remember some of that is under investigation by an inspector general, the office of the inspector general, which is different. But that's different from the Mueller probe. That is different from the Mueller probe. Those investigations into the handling of the Hillary Clinton emails, the handling of some of this during the election. But then Mueller has his own mandate looking into the Russian election meddling specifically.

FUENTES: How do we know how different it is? You know, back when they announced the indictment of the 13 Russians and Rosenstein announced that he was going to hold a press conference that day, no one knew what he was going to talk about and everybody talked about how shocked they were when the announcement was of the Russian attempt and the election campaign, the 13 Russians that were charged with criminal violations. No one had a clue.

So how do we really know right now what Mueller is doing or really how far the inspector general has taken things because that is another position? The IG is not under the attorney general's leadership or anything. So the IG can pretty much go in the direction he wants to go and Mueller pretty much can go where he wants to go. So I don't see where we really know what they are doing and that there is really a lot of constraint on them, especially on Mueller, from Rosenstein.

CABRERA: We will see. I suppose.

Quickly, Asawin, do you think we will see Republicans now come to the special counsel's defense? How do they play this?

SUEBSAENG: I don't think you will be seeing that many coming to the special counsel's defenses, especially on this issue. There have been a certain reliable amount of people, including Senator Lindsey Graham on the Republican side of Capitol Hill who you can go to issue a pity (ph) defense of special counsel Robert Mueller and his team.

But for the most part, they have either gone silent or have fallen in lock step behind the President on so many other issues, including this one, that they otherwise probably would have been speaking out about.

[20:15:26] CABRERA: Asawin Suebsaeng, Tom Fuentes, thanks, gentlemen.

SUEBSAENG: Thank you.

FUENTES: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, a stunning development after the deadly bridge collapse in Miami. A voice mail left just two days before the tragedy warned of cracks in the bridge. No one heard it until it is too late.

Plus, attorneys for President Trump and his personal lawyer Michael Cohen now filing that porn star Stormy Daniel's lawsuit against them moved to federal court. Stormy's attorney Michael Avenatti responds live here in the NEWSROOM. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:02] CABRERA: In South Florida right now, recovery workers are still trying to reach a few cars that were crushed when a concrete bridge collapsed Thursday, and they fear they know what they will find. The whereabouts of two people are still not known. And officials believe they are probably in that rubble yet to be found. Searchers recovered the remains of three people earlier today. The

pedestrian bridge, it was not yet finished, in fact, when it suddenly fell on to eight lanes of traffic on Thursday. The details have since emerged, however, that at least one engineer was trying to warn officials that there were cracks in the span but didn't see them as a safety concern. The exact cause of that collapse has yet to be determined.

A new twist in the Stormy Daniels case. The President's legal team is now officially involved. New court documents attorneys representing Michael Cohen and the President himself say the porn star could owe as much as $20 million for breaking a nondisclosure agreement that kept her from talking about the alleged affair with Donald Trump. And they filed papers to get this case out of California state court and instead before a federal judge.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the first time attorneys for President Donald Trump himself have publically joined the legal battle involving Stormy Daniels.

A response filed in federal court on Friday lays out the strategy by Donald Trump's attorney in the case. Lawyers for Donald Trump and Michael Cohen's company Essential Consultants LLC are now threatening to seek in excess of $20 million in damages for at least 20 violations of the confidentiality agreement she signed, along with Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen just before the election.

Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti responded to the recent filing.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: 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.

SIDNER: But as part of the Non-Disparagement Agreement, Daniels was paid $130,000 to sign, it says she agrees to pay to DD the sum of $1 million resulting from each breach of the agreement. Daniels' attorney said DD are the initials for the pseudonym of David Dennison, the fake name used for Donald Trump in the hush agreement.

The agreement was supposed to keep Daniels whose real name is Stephanie Clifford from speaking about an alleged affair she had with Mr. Trump in 2006. Trump's lawyers are also asking for something else. They want the case moved from state to federal court and they are seeking arbitration to resolve the matter, where it would stay behind closed doors, keeping the messy details out of the public.

AVENATTI: They want to have this adjudicated or decided in a conference room in a locked secure building outside the per view of the public so that the public cannot view the evidence and the facts and learn about what really happened here.

SIDNER: But Cohen has already admitted to paying Daniels as part of the agreement. Though, he has maintained that Donald Trump knew nothing about the confidentiality agreement or the payment and that he denies there ever was an affair.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER: But Daniels attorney makes the argument that Donald Trump's real name is now being used in these filings by his attorneys and that he claims that proves Donald Trump did know about the Non- Disparagement Agreement and did know about the hush money paid to Daniels to keep quiet.

Now, if he did know and if he was involved, a group called Common Cause says that is a violation of campaign finance laws. And they have already filed a complaint with the federal elections commission -- Ana.

CABRERA: Sara Sidner, thank you.

Just ahead, Stormy's attorney Michael Avenatti is going join us live here in the NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:28:19] CABRERA: Back the significant development in the Stormy Daniels saga. Attorneys representing President Trump now arguing that Daniels could owe as much as $20 million for breaching her nondisclosure agreement. The President's attorneys are also trying to get the case moved to federal court. These developments marks the first time President Trump has joined this legal battle involving the former porn star and the affair he allegedly had with her.

Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti is joining us now.

So Michael, thank you for spending time with us. Your reaction first to Trump's lawyers trying to move this case to federal court. Why does that matter?

AVENATTI: Well, we don't know yet that it will matter. It is not a surprise to us that they have removed the case from state court to federal court. We anticipated that they might attempt to do that. We are presently examining our options relating to whether we are going to file a motion to have what they call remanded or sent back to the state court to have the state court preside over it. We are going to make that decision probably in the next ten days to two weeks.

We are not surprised at the effort to move it to federal court. Regardless, whether it is in state court or federal court, we are prepared to fully litigate it. I had the good fortune just April of last year of securing a $454 million jury verdict in that federal courthouse, that very courthouse that they will move the case to.

So we are very familiar with the judges there. We are very familiar with how smart they are and how deep the bench is, if you will, and we are prepared to litigate it whether it be in state court or federal court. CABRERA: So you say six other women have approached you with similar

claims about the President but you haven't vetted their stories yet. Why mention them if you haven't vetted them?

[20:30:05] AVENATTI: Well, because I was specifically asked whether any women had contacted me or my office. And I answered that question truthfully and honestly. And then I was asked follow up questions as to the status and we've provded accurate information as to those questions as well. So that's why they were mentioned because I was asked about it.

CABRERA: Do you have any reason to doubt any of their claims?

AVENATTI: We don't have any reason to doubt them. But again, I want to preach caution as it relates to this issue. We have not fully vetted their claims, their statements, their version of events. We haven't determined whether we're going to represent them or not. We're going to undertake a very significant diligence process and make sure that these women are telling the truth and make sure that their stories check out.

As you know, when you have a case like this that gets this much attention, people have a tendency to come out of the woodwork. They fabricate stories. We're not in the business of representing people that fabricate stories. We don't do it, period. And so we're going to be very, very careful in who we get involved with and we're going to make sure their stories check out and then we'll make a determination as to whether we're going to represent them.

CABRERA: One more question on these additional claims. You say at least two of these women mention having nondisclosure agreements with the president. Have you seen or been able to verify those agreements?

AVENATTI: We have seen two agreements provided by two of the women that appear to be similar nondisclosure agreements.

CABRERA: Were they signed during the campaign?

AVENATTI: I'm not going to get into any details beyond what I've already stated.

CABRERA: Can you say did Trump's attorney negotiate them?

AVENATTI: Same answer.

CABRERA: OK. So let's move on to something else that you've already said. I want to ask you a follow up question about this claim. Your client was physically threatened to stay quiet about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. However, you haven't said who threatened her. Can you at least say whether this threat came from someone inside Trump's inner circle?

AVENATTI: I'm not at liberty to state that, but I am confident that when your viewers tune in to "60 Minutes" next Sunday on the 25th. They're going to learn significant details relating to these threats. They're going to be able to judge for themselves after hearing from my client on video. They're going to hear from my client as to this issue and they can judge for themselves as to whether my client is credible and is telling the truth. And I believe that once they view that and once they hear her, they will conclude, as I have, that she is absolutely credible.

CABRERA: Now, I ask because your client has already commented previously in radio interviews about threats from Trump fans. That obviously is a distinction from somebody who would be inside the inner circles of the president's team, his lawyers, his members of the administration, so forth, right?

AVENATTI: Again, I'm not going to get into the details relating to these threats. But what I will say is I find my client's statements relating to this issue to be 100 percent credible. And if I didn't, I would not be on national television in support of her position on it, period.

CABRERA: OK. A Trump aide says Robert Mueller has asked him about Trump's lawyer's payments to women. So, have you or your client been contacted by anyone associated with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

AVENATTI: I'm sorry. I'm not at liberty to discuss what contacts may or may not have occurred with the special prosecutor.

CABRERA: If they hadn't occurred, though, couldn't you say we haven't been contacted?

AVENATTI: I'm going to stand by my prior answer.

CABRERA: All right. Michael Avenatti, thank you for joining us.

AVENATTI: Thank you.

CABRERA: Up next, a stunning new security breach. The Department of Homeland Security says Russian hackers have gained access to American nuclear power plants, water and electrical systems. What those hackers were seen doing and just how serious is this threat? Details next. You're live in the "CNN NEWSROOM."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:35:19] CABRERA: Welcome back. The U.S. is blaming Russia for cyber-attacks on the nation's power grid. Homeland security official say Russia tried to penetrate the U.S. energy grid leaving tracks to show their hackers had the ability to shut down the grid, but didn't go that far. Here is CNN's Jim Sciutto.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Vital U.S. infrastructure, including the power grid under cyber threat by Russian government hackers, potentially giving the Kremlin the ability to turn off the lights. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI detailing a two-year multistage effort by Moscow targeting the U.S. energy grid. The hackers first gained access to small energy related companies planting malware that allowed them to move into larger networks. Once inside the energy suppliers, the Russians collected information on the facilities control systems, attempting to acquire the ability to turn those systems off.

JAMES LEWIS, SENIOR VP, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: They're identifying targets. They're positioning malware so they could pull the trigger when they wanted to. But they're also sending the United States a message. We are in position to cause harm if we wanted to do it. And so you, the U.S. should be a little more careful.

SCIUTTO: The Russians targeted other crucial sectors as well, including nuclear power, water, aviation, and manufacturing. Experts see the intrusion as a possible precursor to an unprecedented Russian cyber-attack that could, in the event of war, devastate the U.S.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: This is our livelihood that's at stake, you know, our heating, cools, electricity, our economy is at stake. And again, the Russians, they're taking advantage of a very, very weak America that has not been willing to see its commander in chief stand up to the Russians. We need a strategy against Russia, not one off sanctions.

[20:40:09] SCIUTTO: Ukrainian officials say Russia did the same to Ukraine in 2015, launching an attack on its electric grid that led to widespread power outages. U.S. energy secretary, Rick Perry warned Congress that the U.S. isn't ready.

RICK PERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF ENERGY: I will tell you that I am not confident that the federal government has a broad strategy in place.

SCIUTTO: Some democrats say that the U.S. response to election interference was not sufficient to deter Russia from attacks on other critical infrastructure.

REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: There should have been a stronger response in the cyber realm with the Russians to say, hey, you bring a knife to this fight, we'll bring a gun. That's the kind of language that Putin understands. I'm not sure he understands any other language.

SCIUTTO: The president's nominee to be director of the national security agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command shares those fears.

PAUL NAKASONE, NOMINEE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY DIRECTOR: I would say right now they do not think that much will happen to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't fear us?

NAKASONE: They don't fear us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: By going out publically and naming Russia as being behind these probing cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, that is one step. It shows Russia that the U.S. is onto them, in effect. But the U.S. has done that with election interference and the election interference, says the director of the CIA continues. There's a debate now in the government about what other steps could be taken, including offensive measures to deter Russia and stop these attacks going forward.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

CABRERA: Tomorrow morning here on CNN, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Rand Paul, and Senator Jeff Flake join our Jake Tapper's "STATE OF THE UNION" tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:45:16] CABRERA: So you may have seen a promo or two advertising, Christiane Amanpour's new CNN series "SEX AND LOVE AROUND THE WORLD." It premiers in just over an hour from now here on CNN and here's a peek.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a Japanese tradition that goes back centuries and it's an accepted way of life, that men can be pampered and pleasured by any number of services for a price.

The modern salary man can choose everything from traditional geishas to women dressed as school girls' hostess squads guaranteeing very attentive company.

But where does a modern salary woman go to get her boxes ticked?

In the post bubble economy, they work hard and play hard. But may have little time or inclination for relationships. Now, there are host clubs to cater to female customers who may be searching for the boyfriend experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Well, what you might not know is Christiane teamed up with another CNN world traveler, Anthony Bourdain, who's actually the executive producer of this new series. And I sat down with both of them to talk about sex and love around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: First of all, this whole idea to do this, who came up with it? How did that go down?

AMANPOUR: Well, I had an idea based on my reporting as a war correspondent. I've seen the extreme side of life, the really hard scrabble, you know struggle for survival. And I was just listening to the radio and listening to certain things going to work and I just had an idea about the other side of the coin, what makes us all human. And that is love and intimacy and connections and relationships, so I thought about it and talked about it. And then fast forward to taking it to Tony. And we have what I would like to call the story summit. We sat in a booth and had a couple of drinks and I asked him what he thought about this idea. Because I figured if he thought it was OK, given the success of "PARTS UNKNOWN" and the way he and Zero Point Zero, I can kind of revolutionize this kind of travel around the world telling stories of the human condition, politics and society, but through, you know, local customs and habits that maybe I could do this on the sexual level and intimacy level and get another side of the human story. So that's really where it came from.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND MULTIPLE EMMY-WINNING TELEVISION PERSONALITY: It was a very happy conversation for me. I was honored and grateful for the opportunity to work with Christiane. The idea right away resonated with a lot of the things that women in particular had been telling me in the course of years of making the show. And I always felt like I was the wrong person to do follow up questions, for instance, or to press, particularly in countries or cultures where it's difficult.

CABRERA: Why? Because you're a male versus a female.

BOURDAIN: In many cases, but also women would say things to me that were risky for them in their cultures. And I did not feel like I was the person to be pressing onwards with it or even necessarily using it in the show. So we had this conversation for a whole lot of reasons. I thought, wow, this is going to be the greatest thing ever.

AMANPOUR: And he actually makes a point which -- and now it's so digesting. It is often easier for women to talk to women. I think one of the things that we talked about, even though they opened up to Tony and he didn't want to put it in his show for the reasons he just said. I was also concerned, if we did a whole program on this, would people actually talk to us on camera in these often very conservative societies and cultures.

CABRERA: And American culture.

[20:50:57] AMANPOUR: Well, precisely, and we haven't yet touched America. But in other places where sex is still taboo. Talking about sex is still taboo. We didn't know, actually, until we got into the field whether people would open up enough to make this possible, because you can't do this story unless people are being generous enough, open enough to actually talk to you openly and frankly.

CABRERA: Was is challenging for you as a journalist who has gone into war-torn areas and really covered such extreme topics but not something that has to be handled in this kind of gingerly way. It's different, right?

AMANPOUR: Yes, it's very different. My comfort zone is, as you say, in war zones, snipers, shells, I can deal with that. I've navigated that. I know how to deal with that. But me going out and asking people the most intimate questions about their personal life, about their sex life, particularly young women and girls. We actually talked about this together, so, you know, what kind of questions to ask. What would elicit the most important answers? We didn't want to just to be gratuitous and just to be titillating and furious. We didn't focus on porn and that stuff.

BOURDAIN: Not at all. It's shocking when you ask some very simple questions around the world, as I do, what people will tell you. And I think on this show, what women, young women in particular, I think, though in the case of the Japan show, the Tokyo show, there are more -- stunning frankness, almost an eagerness to say these really painful --

CABRERA: Because they were given a platform. Somebody cared enough to ask.

AMANPOUR: I think that's absolutely true. As Tony says, in Tokyo, it was quite painful because there's this whole concept and culture of sexless marriages. When you get married, you have your kid. Well, the husband stays in the marital chamber and gets on with being the salary man and goes out and has his own social life and stays home until midnight and comes back drunk or whatever, and the wife essentially moves into the children's wing. And then the twin shall meet practically. And that's actually very, very sad. Because they give up their intimate relationship after they've had children. But they don't want to. The women don't want to and the men are often off getting satisfaction elsewhere.

CABRERA: The whole dynamic, I'm curious about timing for this show, too, because of the era of the Me Too movement. And, Tony, you've travelled the world obviously for years and years. You, too, Christiane, but do you think the Me Too movement is something that also crosses cultures and countries?

BOURDAIN: I think there's definitely some synchronicity here. I think there's a lot of -- we're very much living in a time where people are listening to women's stories. When they might not have, even a year ago. We started to talk about this before the Weinstein case broke and the flood gates opened, but I -- look, the time is -- the time is now.

AMANPOUR: Yes. The time is absolutely now. And while we're not -- I'm not being cynical about, wow, what great timing, it is actually important timing. You know, Tony has been incredibly brave on speaking out on behalf of women against, you know, the violence that we suffer and the everyday casual sexism and misogyny that every woman, I'm sure, you, myself, every woman, I look out into the newsroom, every one of us have faced it. And many of these cultures, they faced it over and over again in a much worse and much scarier manner where they don't even have the possibility of laws that should protect them. So it is a very important moment.

The Me Too movement is an amazingly important game-changing time, and for it to come out now and to be talking to women and to men about this issue, I think it's just couldn't be better timing, really.

CABRERA: No doubt about it. We look forward to all of the episodes. Thank you both for sharing with us your take and some of the behind the scenes info and intel to how this all came together. Much appreciated.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Christiane Amanpour's, "SEX AND LOVE AROUND THE WORLD" premieres tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

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CABRERA: A frightening few minutes at a ski resort overseas. And a warning, you're about to see some people get hurt.

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(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

CABRERA: Wow, what a nightmare here. This is a ski lift gone haywire. Suddenly going backward, way too fast, throwing skiers off like rag dolls. This happened in the republic of Georgia Friday. People who weren't thrown off jumped for their lives, at least 10 people were hurt. No official word just yet on how this happened.

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CABRERA: Well, the feast day of St. Patrick Day traditionally set to honor the patron saint of Ireland has the world seeing green. People across the globe are celebrating the holiday in their own ways with parades and parties, maybe some corned beef and cabbage. Well, even Vice President Mike Pence got in on the action this year in Savannah, Georgia. Over in Chicago, the 55-year tradition of turning the Chicago River green was a success again this year. Lindsey Englebert (ph) captured this incredible time lapse of the Chicago Plumber's Union local 130 channeling their leprechaun luck to turn the river its traditional St. Patty's Day shade of emerald.

That's going to do it for me tonight. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for spending part of your St. Patrick's Day with us. I'll be back here tomorrow evening at 5:00 Eastern here in "CNN NEWSROOM."

Up next, if you missed last week's premier of "American Dynasties: The Kennedys," don't fear, the first episode re-airs right now. Good night.