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GOP's Corker Warns of Senate Upheaval if Trump Fires Mueller; Trump, Clearly Rattled, Rages Against Mueller and His Probe; Dow, Facebook Plunge on News of Data Scandal; Trump Joins Effort to Stop Porn Star from Speaking Publicly. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 19, 2018 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA OFFICER: -- to attack Mueller. To maybe put out some slight promises of pardons, because --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Discredit him publicly.

PRIESS: Right. Yes, there'd be something worse for him politically than being undermined and taking a chance with a vote in the senate about whether this was appropriate or not. There may be something much worse out there, in which case this is not a stupid strategy at all, this would be protecting against the worst-case scenario.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I totally agree. I think it's a political strategy which is if you suspect that Mueller is going to come down on you or come down on the people around you, you want to set the predicate to discredit him and that is exactly what Trump is doing. That's exactly what the Devin Nunes memo was doing about the FBI. And that is what Trump has done time and time again, talking about the corrupt FBI, praising the firing of Andy McCabe as good for democracy. So, this is all part of a package. And it's the president's instinct, as you know, to push in that direction. He may continue unless his lawyers say to him it's not in his self-interest. I think right now he thinks it is.

BALDWIN: And he listens to his lawyer.

BORGER: But he's got a new lawyer, right?

BALDWIN: Yes.

PRIESS: The irony is he may be creating the very conditions he's trying to prevent. By pushing this forward, he may be actually creating that consensus in the Senate that clearly wasn't there before, at least obvious in the public sphere it wasn't there before. He may be pushing some people on the fence not to be courageous and speak out publicly but to be willing to make the hard choices when that time does come.

BALDWIN: David and Gloria, thank you so much. Thank you.

We are about half an hour away from closing bell on Wall Street and you can see all the red on your screen. Look at that. The Dow down now 415 points. Facebook leading the way from markets really taking a hit today. Details on how the tech giant allowed your personal information basically to be stolen.

Plus, President Trump's lawyers are now responding to Stormy Daniels by suing her for $20 million. Why that may undermine the defense Trump had going all along. We'll be right back.

[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We were just talking about how President Trump has now called out special counsel, Robert Mueller, by name for the first time since he took over the investigation into Trump's campaign. But the President's Twitter tirade over the weekend is also riddled with inaccuracies. Chris Cillizza is with me, CNN politics reporter and editor at large. You are at the wall, Chris Cillizza, walk us through what he didn't get right.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: OK, well it's a lot. Donald Trump's tweets contain multitudes and usually multitudes of things that aren't accurate. But let's go through a few of them. This was 8:00.

The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime, skip, skip, skip, skip, witch hunt.

OK. Now there's a lot in here that I skipped but here's the key to remember. The Mueller probe has already found one, two -- well, let's say one, two, three folks having pled guilty to lying to FBI. Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, former national security advisor, all cooperating with the Mueller probe. Paul Manafort, the guy here, is facing 300 plus years in prison for the bank fraud and financial improprieties charges he is facing. So, it's not a witch hunt. You can disagree, but it's not a witch hunt. And I'll add you can't conclude that there was no collusion because it's an ongoing investigation. This is not something that is over with, Bob Mueller continues to investigate. Let's go to the next tweet here. OK.

Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don't believe he made memos except to help his own agenda. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them fake memos?

Breaking news, no, we can't call them fake memos because we know that Andrew McCabe, the fired deputy director at the FBI, kept contemporaneous notes of what Jim Comey told him about his interactions with Donald Trump. So again, so much of this is just based in Donald Trump's idea of reality as opposed to the facts we know. One more.

Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, -- whatever that means -- some big crooked Hillary supporters and zero Republicans? Another damn recently added...does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is -- you may have heard this one before, Brooke -- no collusion.

OK. Yes, some of the people on Bob Mueller's investigative team -- we're got them listed here -- all of these people made donations. Largely smaller donations, one large donation. [15:40:00] But all of these people have donated at one point and

another to Democratic candidates. They all happen to be massive experts in a variety of fields that we're talking about. You see it here. Cybercrime, organized crime, national security, political corruption, financial crime, he has put together and I would urge people, check this out on CNN.com, this is an amazing breakdown by our folks of who is on the Mueller team. So yes, have some of these people made donations to Democrats? Sure.

But oh, this group, these folks are all Republicans. Bob Mueller, appointed by George W. Bush as the FBI director, Brooke. Andrew McCabe said he voted for a Republican in every election prior to 2016. James Comey said under oath he is a Republican. Rod Rosenstein is the guy that Jeff Sessions, who Donald Trump picked to be Attorney General, picked to be deputy attorney general. So again, out of context, sure. In context, there's just so many things wrong here. Unfortunately, lots and lots of people believe whatever Donald Trump says, no matter the facts. We'll try to straighten it out, but he creates a reality that has a lot of people who buy into it. Back to you -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: No, I appreciate the facts and I feel like what I just listened to was Chris Cillizza, the point spoken word. So, there you have it. It's good to go through that just to remind people also that last graph with the registered Republicans. Chris Cillizza, thank you. We are keeping a close eye on Wall Street here. The Dow at one- point tumbling more than 400 points. Facebook under intense scrutiny today after user privacy and security has been not just threatened, used, stolen. How that may have played into the 2016 presidential election? And moments ago, we're now hearing from Facebook, what are they going to do about it? That's coming up.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:45:50] BALDWIN: Take a look at the markets today, and you can see it has opened the week of trading down at least 383 points. It was down more than 400 at one point. Facebook, that's a huge reason, leading the sharp decline. The social network is big-time under fire from lawmakers and customers after news broke that a data firm linked to the Trump presidential campaign team actually got access to personal information from probably many of you. We're hearing the number is as many as 50 million Facebook users.

Facebook has kicked Cambridge Analytica off the social media website. That is a group with ties to the Steve Bannon and the Trump campaign. A whistleblower claims the data firm compromised millions of Facebook accounts, so Bannon could actually use the group and data to wage a culture war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WYLIE, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA WHISTLEBLOWER: Imagine I go and ask you, I say, hey, if I give you a dollar or two dollars, could you fill out this survey for me. Do it on this app. You say fine, right. I don't just capture what your responses are, I capture all of the information about you from Facebook. But also, this app then crawls through your social network and captures all of that data also.

So, by you filling out my survey, I capture 300 records on average, right? And so that means that all of a sudden, I only need to engage 50,000, 70,000, 100,000 people to get a really big data set really quickly and it scaled really quickly. We were able to get upwards of 50 million plus Facebook records in the span of a couple months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Yes. We have to talk about this. Laurie Segall is with me, CNN senior Tech correspondent and Paul La Monica our CNNMoney correspondent with me. First things first, Laurie Segall. When I was reading yesterday evening about the 50 million Facebook users, you can't help but wonder does that include me, what information did this company get and what is Facebook saying about it?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: Right now, news just broke they've actually hired a digital forensics firm and they're going to do an audit of Cambridge Analytica. They're going into their servers to see is there any data left behind because Cambridge Analytica has come out and said we deleted it in 2015. Reports say otherwise. So, they're actually going to go in and see what data still exists.

Now, I think it's really important to explain what he's talking about. Back in 2014, a lot of people filled out a survey on Facebook that was just a personality test. What it did was if I filled it out, and we're friends on Facebook, Brooke, it would also take your information, your likes, your profile data. And so, it was able to go very, very big, almost go viral and they were able to get an extraordinary amount of data. Facebook was under the impression this was for research purposes. Now it's come to light to this data by this researcher has actually been transferred over to Cambridge Analytica and that in itself is incredibly controversial when you think of the implications of that.

BALDWIN: Where is Mark Zuckerberg getting in front of my TV screen and explaining what the hell is going on?

SEGALL: I mean I've got to tell you I think that's the billion-dollar question here. I've spoken to a lot of folks within Facebook. I'm going to tell you there is frustration. A lot of the challenges they have been dealing with, a lot that we have been talking about under sure that you have seen over the last years, there are ethical debates happening behind closed doors. Even when it comes to microtargeting versus manipulation and what data -what's going too far.

But are not able to come out and really talk about this. People want to see Mark. They want to see Sheryl Sandberg. But right now, we really haven't heard from them or seen them on these incredibly important issues that impact all of us.

PAUL LA MONICA, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wall Street wants Zuckerberg or at the very least Sheryl Sandberg to come out and explain this. Because as we all know, in November when the executives were called upon by Congress to first talk about this, it was the lawyers from Facebook and from Twitter and from Google that came out and did the dog and pony show on Capitol Hill.

People now want Mark Zuckerberg. If not, I think this is going to be a problem for Facebook stock for the foreseeable future. The shares are down sharply today, 7 percent. It's wiped out about $30 billion in market value. Zuckerberg himself is $5 billion poorer on paper because of let's happen to Facebook stock and investors want more accountability. And they are not getting it as of yet.

[15:50:00] Even though advertisers have not been fleeing Facebook just yet, you have to wonder if they're going to start doing so if these controversies continue to mount.

BALDWIN: Stay on it, Paul and Laurie, thank you so very much for that.

Next, Stormy Daniels fired first with a lawsuit against President Trump. Now his lawyers are responding by suing her for as much as $20 million. We'll talk about how that could play out in court.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A judge who has just been assigned to former porn star Stormy Daniels's federal lawsuit against President Trump, CNN has learned the district judge, James Otero, a George W. Bush appointee, will hear the case. Lawyers for Trump used the move to dispute to federal court and it also marks the first time President Trump has publicly joined the legal action against Daniels.

Daniels claimed she had an affair with the President this 2006. He vehemently denies it, but his lawyers say Daniels violated a nondisclosure agreement and could owe in excess of $20 million. So, with me, Mark Geragos, CNN legal analyst and defense attorney and Areva Martin, CNN legal analyst and author of "Make It Rain." Congratulations on the book. Nice to see both of you. Technically it is Essential Consultant LLC, the entity that was set up by Cohen, the lawyer here who actually the suit. Does this not, Areva, directly tie him to her?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. We've been hearing for months now that Trump had no knowledge of the settlement. He didn't NDA, and he didn't engage in an affair with Stormy Daniels. But now that as farce is over. He is a party to this lawsuit, he's actively trying to force this lawsuit back into private arbitration. He doesn't want the public to know anything about what happened between him and Stormy Daniels. And this move, removing it to federal court may allow him to silence Stormy Daniels and for this entire matter to be arbitrated, rather than tried in the public view in federal court or state court.

BALDWIN: Moving from California state to federal. Do you think that's some sort of intimidation tactic? Do you think because the judges are appointed by Trump and they're more conservative? Is that all what's factoring in this?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND DEFENSE ATTORNEY: this If you believe what the scuttlebutt is. The case was originally assigned to Judge Feffer who is a very well-respected judge in the state court. But the rumor is she had aspirations for the federal court where Trump would appoint her.

So, they removed it. They got Judge Otero. Judge Otero of the central district is probably one of the two or three most respected judges. As you said a Bush appointee. But I don't think, he is not an ideologue by any means. He used to be a state court judge. He was in Glendale. He if somebody who will hew to the law and I suspect that the reason they did this is they figured they have got more of a chance, number one, to compel arbitration.

Because Judge Otero has got Judge Connor, was the retired judge who issued the order, the TRO. He may just say, you bargained for the $130,000 and you said you would go to arbitration. I'm going to send you to arbitration. Unless they gain some traction about the fact Trump didn't sign it and now he's in there saying that I do have an interest it.

BALDWIN: So, what does all this mean for the truth getting out? And for Stormy Daniels?

MARTIN: Well, we know Stormy Daniels has given an interview with "60 Minutes" and she is hoping that interview goes forward on Sunday. However, there's still an opportunity for Trump's team to go into federal court and ask that that TRO that Mark just talked about that was issued by the arbitrator, that it be enforced. That she not be allowed to talk about the alleged affair. So, it is not clear that we're going to hear her story on Sunday as she --

BALDWIN: All these machinations, is this all because they're really just freaked about this "60 Minutes" interview?

MARTIN: Yes.

GERAGOS: I don't know if they're as freaked out about the interview as they are freaked out about whatever it is she's going to say. There has to be, and I have it on pretty good authority. That there is documentary evidence. Something that you can show that is what they're freaked out about.

BALDWIN: Like a text message?

GERAGOS: Correct.

[16:00:00] MARTIN: Photographs and text message.

GERAGOS: Photographs and text. Because there's no reason, if this was just another he said, she said. The advice of the lawyers would have been, don't get into the middle of this. Just let it go. And do whatever you're going to do and compel it in arbitration and be done with it. But this has been a herculean effort to try to silence her. So that is, I think, the tell-tale sign there is a text, a selfie, or something a little bit more racy.

MARTIN: Trump extruding this case so differently from the other cases. We've watched Trump stand up and say these women are all lying and he's going to sue them. But we haven't actually seen him sue. It's so different.

BALDWIN: This one is different.

MARTIN: There are teams of lawyers involved. He is now a party to this action and they are not stopping at anything to prevent her from talking about what he keeps calling, when we keep referring to as an alleged affair. And keep in mind, Trump's team keep's denying that it happened so why are you working so hard to prevent something someone from talking about something that never happened. It doesn't make any sense.

BALDWIN: What if they go ahead? They aired the "60 Minutes" interview and she shows things have not been shown before. Which would perhaps make one conclude that something went on. Then what?

GERAGOS: Look, I think ultimately, what's going to happen it is ultimately this is going to be compelled to arbitration. They are going to be back in front of Judge Connor who is over at the -- where is she?

MARTIN: One of those private arbitrators.

BALDWIN: Would Trump be deposed?

GERAGOS: Yes. Absolutely.

MARTIN: Yes.

GERAGOS: Now the fact he's answered, he's put himself smack dab in the middle of it. There is a U.S. Supreme Court case that says, the Clinton case, Jones vs. Clinton, that says that it is a lawful civil suit which clearly it is now. Because he succumbed to the jurisdiction. He can be deposed. Absolutely.

MARTIN: Subpoenas can be issued. He can be forced to answer questions under oath. Full blown discovery.

GERAGOS: I really think they would have been, I'll second-guess the Trump lawyers. I think they were better off letting it stay in state court and just ignoring it. The state court judge wouldn't have had any ability to enforce.

BALDWIN: Would have, could have, should have. Doing in it federal. Guys, thank you so much. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.