Return to Transcripts main page
Cambridge Analytica CEO Suspended; Stormy Daniels' Polygraph; Trump Congratulates Putin for Election Victory. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired March 20, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
This is a woman who alleges that she had a nine-month affair with Donald Trump. And, according to "The New York Times," she is now suing American Media, Inc., which owns "The National Enquirer."
And what she is claiming is that she was paid $150,000 at the time, but then the publication did this thing that is referred to as catch and kill, where they take the story, and then they never actually run the story.
LEE: Now, the important thing to remember here -- and this is the key thing -- is that the purpose of all of this is that she wants to speak. Speaking out is what she wants to do. And that is the purpose of this lawsuit.
It is not -- the focus right now isn't really about sort of the different allegations or the different stories or the different narratives from back then.
It is simply that she wants the ability to speak out, and she is saying "The National Enquirer," as a part of this agreement, is stopping her from speaking out about this alleged affair.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: OK, catch and kill, we have been talking about this before in the news. It makes sense, if somebody doesn't want a story out there. Does she have a leg to stand on with this?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: She does.
And, look, every case, Brooke, turns on its facts, right? And so when you draft a complaint and you sue, there are a bunch of allegations. The issue are whether the allegations hold any water. Interestingly, before getting into does whether she have a leg to stand on, we should note it's filed in California state court. Right?
So, comparable to the Stormy Daniels case, which we talked about, will it be removed to federal court, so that there are maneuvers there? But that's something to watch for. But on the merits of the case, she is alleging contractual claims that are problematic, if true. Like what? Well, she was fraudulently induced into this contract. When you look at contracts and when courts examine contractual language, you look. It's a court of equity. You want to make sure that both parties who enter into the contract, there's an offer. There's an acceptance. There's a meeting of the minds. The parties were evenly situated.
And if you look at the complaint, they're alleging it ain't so, that, in fact, she was told one thing, and, in fact, there was a lawyer involved who was clandestinely working with Trump's people and misrepresenting issues to her.
BALDWIN: Not just any lawyer.
JACKSON: Right. Not just any lawyer, we know. I guess we will get into that momentarily.
But the issue is that, look, in the event your lawyer misrepresents items to you, and you're not going to read the contract -- that's why you hire a lawyer -- and that's fraud. If she could establish fraud, that's one issue.
The other issue they're alleging is illegality. If a contract is entered into and it's illegal, it voids. It holds no weight at all. And the void claim and the illegal claim is that this was a in-kind campaign contribution to Trump to help his campaign. That's what this was all about.
Good argument. And then the final argument, Brooke, centers about public policy. Contracts that are entered into that really are offensive to public policy because you're doing all these maneuvers behind the scenes and you're not really working for your client, but you're conflicted out, courts don't like those either.
Does she have a leg to stand on? She could have two legs to stand on.
BALDWIN: Yes, you just laid out several legs.
JACKSON: In the event, exactly, that these facts, which will turn on, if the facts are accurate.
Pause on that for a second. Let me pivot back over to you, because from this Playboy Playmate to this "Apprentice" contestant by the name of Summer Zervos, who maintained -- she was one of those Trump accusers that came out before the election saying that he had tried to kiss her, tried to grope her several different occasions.
That's not the case she's fighting. It's actually the case that down the road Trump called her a liar and she is saying that's defamation.
Absolutely. So, there's a big difference here. Number one, we're not talking about a consensual encounter. We're talking about her saying that he -- sexual misconduct.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And he didn't not down the road. He immediately refuted her allegations. She came out very soon after that "Access Hollywood" tape came out in which then candidate Trump was bragging about sexually assaulting women.
She said, look, this case of -- she felt it was her ethical duty to inform voters and let people about these violations against the then candidate. So, she came out. He immediately from starting that day in statements, in tweets, at rallies, in a debate on CNN, pushed back against not just Summer Zervos, but several other women who have accused him of similar misconduct, saying that they were all liars, that there was 100 percent fabrication.
And at one point, he even retweeted a picture of Zervos. It's a very specific and very clearly understood response to her claims. And she is saying, look, you have defamed me, you have caused me emotional and financial distress by calling me a liar.
And she pushed to allow this case to go forward. They brought this suit. It's now allowed to go forward. The president has 10 days to respond to this ruling. And so we will have to wait and see what happens.
This is a case of a president who could be deposed. He could have to testify in this case. Gloria Allred, Summer Zervos' attorney, they already asked -- subpoenaed the Trump campaign for documents related to all the communications from him, with him, about her.
And so a lot could come out about his past sexual history in this case.
BALDWIN: OK. The judge says it's OK. Bring it on. He has 10 days. What should one expect?
JACKSON: Let's go back to what we talked about before.
One, we will expect legal maneuvering. Will this case stay in the state of California? It may not. They're predicating jurisdiction by saying, look, if you do business in California, you're subject to suit in California. That's rational. It's logical.
But there's also this other thing called diversity jurisdiction. If one party is in one state and another is in another state, you could bring it to federal court.
And federal court is largely where I think they will want to have this fight held, if the fight is held at all.
BALDWIN: Stormy Daniels' case.
JACKSON: Exactly, involving that same lawyer that we talked about. (CROSSTALK)
LEE: Could I just make one more sort of big-picture please too?
BALDWIN: Big picture it for us, M.J.
Just keep in mind -- and I think this is just worth repeating -- we now have several women who are taking some form of legal action simply so that they can speak out about their relationship or, you know, interactions with President Trump.
And the one thing that we know for sure about the MeToo movement is that numbers really matter. When women or victims, including men sometimes, see that other people are speaking out, they feel like they're now empowered to speak out as well.
BALDWIN: There are three now, dot, dot, dot, could be more in the future.
We are going to leave it for now. Thank you all so very much.
Meantime, the president is under fire for congratulating a dictator on an election, when that is widely accepted by election monitors as a sham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future, so that we can discuss arms, we can discuss the arms race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Senator John McCain has already slammed the president and what he just said.
The senator in a statement saying this, "An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections." He goes on, "And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country's future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin's regime."
To the White House we go, to our reporter there, Kaitlan Collins.
And, so, Kaitlan, all the criticism coming down on the White House and the president characterized this call. What is the White House saying? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White
House, they were asked directly about Senator John McCain's criticism just a few minutes ago at the briefing. This is what Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president, once again, has maintained that it's important for us to have a dialogue with Russia so that we can focus on some areas of shared interests, the ones that I have already named.
At the same time, we are going to continue to be tough on them. In terms of the election, they were focused on our elections. We don't get to dictate how other countries operate. What we do know is that Putin has been elected in their country, and that's not something that we can dictate to them how they operate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So, to be clear here, Brooke, Senator John McCain was not criticizing the president for having dialogue with Russia.
He was criticizing the president for congratulating a dictator on what they said is a sham election. Now, Sarah Sanders said there that we don't dictate to other countries how they should operate, but the White House has had no problem doing that to other countries like Venezuela.
And she also said that the White House is focused on having a free and fair election here at home in the United States. But Russia meddled in the United States' election. All the intelligence leaders have said that. Yet the president didn't bring that up during his call with Putin today.
So, to sum up, the president did bring up congratulating Putin on his victory. He did bring up setting a meeting between the two them sometime in the not-too-distant future, he said, but he did not bring up Russian meddling in the election and he did not bring up the poisoning of that former Russian spy.
And Sarah Sanders said that that call today wasn't the right time to bring up Russian meddling in the election. But she was asked, when is the right time for the president to bring up Russian meddling in the election with Vladimir Putin?
BALDWIN: And as they're still trying to answer that question, we have some news on the shakeup within the Trump legal team involving this whole Russia investigation.
And now we just got a little bit more from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, on the president's tweet specifically over the weekend targeting Bob Mueller. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Over the weekend, the president launched a series of attacks against the special counsel. Are you comfortable with the president going after the special counsel in such a direct way?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, look, I agree with the president's lawyers that Bob Mueller should be allowed to finish his job.
I think it was an excellent appointment. I think he will lead -- he will go wherever the facts lead him. And I think he will have great credibility with the American people when he reaches the conclusion of this investigation.
So, I have a lot of confidence in him. I have a lot of confidence in him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Significant, the Senate majority leader didn't mention the president by name, but had been silent. And we heard that not-so- subtle statement about how he feels about Bob Mueller continuing.
Kaitlan, just quickly, what are you learning about the changes that Trump is making to his legal team?
COLLINS: Well, Brooke, we should also note that that statement from McConnell there came after several days of silence where he hadn't said anything about the president's attacks on the special counsel.
But we can tell that the president is growing very frustrated, especially with his legal team here also, Brooke, because we do know that he hired another attorney, Joe diGenova, someone who has said that he believes the president is a target of an FBI conspiracy, a former federal prosecutor who has been described to me as tough and as a pit bull, which could signal a much more aggressive approach on behalf of the president towards the special counsel's investigation into Russia meddling in the election, and whether there was any collusion with the Trump campaign.
And I have also learned today "The Washington Post" reported that the president had reached out to another attorney to consider adding him to his legal team, a very high-profile attorney, Ted Olson. But we have now learned that Olson has said he is not going to be joining the president's legal team and will not be joining there.
But we should note that both of those come after just days ago the president said he was perfectly happy with his legal team and he was not going to be hiring anyone else. But, Brooke, that just doesn't seem to be the case here.
And it seems that the president is considering changing his legal team and does want to make changes, as he is seeing the special counsel's investigation not only not tamp down, but accelerate here, Brooke. BALDWIN: Right, after his team of lawyers met with the Mueller team,
we should watch very closely on when that interview, if and when it happens in perhaps a matter of weeks.
Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much, Kaitlan Collins for us at the White House.
Got another piece of breaking news for you now. This involves the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, which has come under fire recently, accused of harvesting millions of Facebook profiles without permission.
The firm announcing today it will suspend its CEO immediately after he was secretly recorded offering to entrap politicians.
Here is a look at the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER NIX, CEO, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: Send some girls around to the candidate's house. We have lots of history of things.
QUESTION: For example, you're saying when you're using the girls to introduce to the local fellow and you're using the girls for this, like the seduction, they're not local girls? Not Sri Lankan girls?
NIX: I wouldn't have thought so, no. We'll bring some. I mean, it was just an idea, I'm just saying. We could bring some Ukrainians in on holiday with us, you know? You know what I'm saying?
QUESTION: Yes. They are very beautiful Ukrainian girls.
NIX: They are very beautiful. I find that works very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Brian Stelter, that was Alexander Nix.
That's the CEO and the guy who has been suspended because of that Channel 4 video.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
Because of this undercover video and the huge scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, the board has just announced that he has been suspended. There will be an investigation. For now, there is a new CEO taking over.
This is notable because this happened almost exactly the same minute as a second piece of the undercover video started to air over in the U.K. Channel 4 has more of this material. It's being broadcast tonight in the U.K.
Tonight's episode is about the U.S. and about the Trump campaign, because Cambridge Analytica was one of the data firms hired by the Trump campaign to try to target voters in the run-up to elected. All campaigns do this. But Cambridge Analytica is particularly controversial and shadowy. And you see there some of the improper techniques he was describing.
Essentially, what Channel Four did was took him out to lunch, secretly recorded him talking about all the different services we might provide you as a consulting firm. We might hire sex workers to entrap your opponent. We might hire spies and create fake news.
Now, Nix might just say he's bragging. He said yesterday he was taken grossly out of context in that videotape. But clearly the board of the company says this is serious, that what he said does not represent the values of the operations of the firm.
So he's suspended effective immediately. That's the Cambridge Analytica side of this. Then there's the Facebook side, right? Facebook suspended this company, took it off Facebook on Friday, trying to get out ahead of this embarrassing scandal for Facebook, because 50 million Facebook users' profiles were misused by Cambridge Analytica in ways that we still don't quite understand, that Facebook still hasn't quite accounted for
So far, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has been silent. We haven't heard from him today. But the company's stock has been knocked down another 3 percent today, 7 percent yesterday. This is the worst period we have seen for Facebook in terms of its performance on Wall Street and its reputation.
This is a company in crisis. You see Cambridge Analytica trying to take action right now. We will see if Facebook speaks out next.
BALDWIN: Mark Zuckerberg has some explaining to do. And I also want to know what Channel 4 uncovers as it pertains to the U.S. elections in any more video airing tonight in the U.K.
Brian Stelter, I know you have your eye close on that. Thank you so much.
Back to the breaking story today involving this woman, Stormy Daniels, and the details, the details of a lie-detector test she took over her alleged affair with President Trump. A close friend of Stormy's who says she can corroborate some of her story joins me live to discuss coming up.
BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN.
Here's another breaking news. CNN has just gotten details and a photo of a lie-detector test taken by Stormy Daniels over her alleged affair with President Trump.
So, let me bring in M.J. Lee. She is back to explain the when and the why, but also the photograph we have. LEE: As though the story could not get more dramatic, we now have new
details of a polygraph test that Stormy Daniels took in 2011.
BALDWIN: There she is.
LEE: There she is.
She -- this polygraph test essentially says that she was telling the truth about her affair with Donald Trump dating back to 2006, more specifically, that she was being truthful about having unprotected vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump in July of 2006.
Now, just to back up for a second and to remind everyone, remember that Stormy Daniels did an interview with "Life & Style" magazine in 2011. As a part of that interview, because the author and the people involved in that interview wanted to make sure or wanted to try to confirm that she was telling the truth, they hired a person to do a polygraph test on Stormy Daniels and that's why this report is now surfacing.
The three questions that were asked as a part of the polygraph test, one, around July 2006, did you have vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump? She answered yes. Did you have unprotected sex with Donald Trump? She also answered yes. The third question, did Trump say you would get on "The Apprentice"? She also answered yes.
Now, the first two questions, the polygraph test administrator said that she was telling the truth. The third question about "The Apprentice," he said the answer was inconclusive.
But all of this just going to show one more data point, one more sort of confirmation that Stormy Daniels was allegedly telling the truth about this affair all while the White House is vehemently denying that this affair happened in the first place.
M.J., just taking it all in. M.J., thank you so much.
We had heard I talked to the woman who interviewed Stormy Daniels for the "In Touch" article. But just the photo is a whole different piece of the story. Thank you for that.
I want to bring in a personal friend of Stormy Daniels, adult film star Alana Evans.
Alana, thank you so much for being with me.
ALANA EVANS, ADULT FILM ACTRESS: Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: Alana, I don't know if you have a TV in front of you or you just saw that photo of your friend Stormy all hooked up to wires and taking this polygraph when she did that interview in 2011 with "In Touch." What do you make of the photo? And did Stormy ever talk to you about
EVANS: We did not discuss that she had done the lie-detector test.
But I'm not surprised. I'm one of few people in the circle that know this is absolutely true, because I was in Lake Tahoe when they first met.
BALDWIN: Which I have several questions ready for you on that.
But let me just tick through, if I may, the news of the day, right? There's this "Vanity Fair" piece, Alana, interviewing the lawyer Michael Cohen, who is the one who reportedly paid out this $130,000 to her to keep her quiet.
In this interview, he's joking about this ongoing litigation that he and the president have with Stormy Daniels and in the article he's quoted: "You know what? The more I'm thinking about it, I might even take an extended vacation on her dime."
Alana, what do you make of this lawyer's apparent arrogance on this whole case with Stormy?
EVANS: Given that Michael Cohen, when the initial story came out about the payoff, completely denied that the $130,000 payoff had even happened, then had to eat his own words a few weeks later when he denied it, his credibility is completely shot.
He shouldn't be laughing at anything, because basically the entire country is laughing at them.
BALDWIN: To take it a step further, the Trump team is essentially suing her now for $20 million. They are arguing she broke their agreement.
But if they're doing that now, what do you think they will do once this "60 Minutes" interview airs?
EVANS: Obviously, they're going to add to the lawsuit.
I have seen what they have alleged, that she has broken the NDA more than 20 times. But we're all watching as Stormy handles this carefully and gracefully. She hasn't said anything, except for when she filed the lawsuit of her own. And so I personally feel that they're completely reaching. They're just adding to the intimidation and trying to pressure her even more to stay silent, but hopefully that's not going to happen.
BALDWIN: So, on the pressure, part of what made news in the last week or so is the fact that Stormy, through her attorney, said that, you know, when she was signing this NDA, that this Michael Cohen, the Trump attorney, threatened her physically to sign it. Did she ever talk to you about that?
EVANS: I have not been made aware that Cohen had physically threatened her.
I know in the last few weeks and the last couple of months that Stormy and myself had received threats from people in the outside world, completely trying to defend Trump and Cohen and calling us liars and threatening us with physical harm.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was stemming from there as well.
BALDWIN: Who are you saying -- when you say outside world, who do you mean specifically?
EVANS: There are people within the adult industry that are no longer there that have been sending us threatening e-mails, threatening ourselves, our families, our safety, threatening to release as much private information as possible, addresses, phone numbers, real names, family names.
Those are things that we have been dealing with just on that level. And so the amount of pressure just from that has been enough for me alone. I can only imagine what Stormy is going through at this time with all of that. She is in fear for her life.
BALDWIN: She's fearing for her life.
Let me ask you, Alana, about Tahoe. This goes back to July of '06. This is when Stormy alleges her affair with Donald Trump began at that celebrity golf tournament. I know you were there in Tahoe at the time for fun. You saw Stormy.
She told you about her time with Donald Trump. At that time, what did she share with you?
EVANS: When she initially ran into me, I was told immediately that she had met Trump, that they had plans to see each other later.
We saw each other again. Then there was discussion of a party, which, as we all know, I declined to attend.
BALDWIN: Hang on. We don't all know. I don't know if everyone is totally plugged in.
BALDWIN: So, just let's back up two steps, Alana. So, Stormy is with Donald Trump. We know that there's some sort of private party. It's your understanding it's in his hotel room.
BALDWIN: And let's start there. The phone starts ringing on your end. And what is she asking you to do?
Stormy was calling me by herself initially, calling me to invite me to hang out with her and attend a party that was a private party in Trump's room. At that time, I didn't know that it was just the two of them until the calls continued.
By the fourth or fifth call, obviously, I was stalling. Stormy calls me with Trump himself, and I could tell she had held the phone out. He was speaking into the receiver, saying: "Come on, Alana. Come have fun with us. Let's party."
And at that point, I giggled and said I would agree, but I turned my telephone off. I didn't want to go. The pressure was too much for me. I was uncomfortable with the situation because it was Donald Trump. Men like him can be very dangerous to a woman like me, a sex worker in my industry.
People don't always pay attention when things happen to us. It's not taken seriously. And that was my fear. So, the next morning, I...
BALDWIN: Hang on. Can I jump in? Because let me ask you, Alana.
BALDWIN: Let me stop you right there.
When they're saying come have fun with us, let's party, and you're hearing this -- just to be clear, you're hearing this from your friend Stormy, but also Donald Trump, who also jumps on the phone, what -- what did you take that to mean? What do you think they wanted you to do?
EVANS: Oh, they wanted -- when you're calling me, who is a friend of Stormy Daniels, and I'm an adult film star, you're not calling me to play games.
You're calling me for a sexual encounter. That was what my opinion was. I had, at that time, not known the depth of their relationship, if there had been one, or if things had already happened that were sexual.
It was obvious that it was just the two of them calling me to invite me to come play with them.
BALDWIN: Come play with them. So, you say no?
BALDWIN: You get out of it.
Flash forward to Sunday, Alana. Here she is. She's sitting down with Anderson Cooper. She's talking, and she's talking to "60 Minutes." We know that the Trump team is trying to keep that interview from airing, worrying maybe about damaging texts or photos. In your conversations with your friend Stormy Daniels, has she ever
spoken about texts, photos, videos that she may have that she could share?
EVANS: I'm unaware of items that she may have.
But given -- being a woman myself, when I have relationships with men of his stature or someone that I care about, or maybe someone that, you know, it is risque that I'm having a relationship with them, we tend to hang on to those things, whether they're -- we're looking over them because we enjoy them. Maybe we're reliving the memory.
But I would not be surprised at all to hear that she still has her messages. It would be the only actual proof she may have that the relationship existed, other than people like me who know.
BALDWIN: Alana, thank you so much. We will speak again, perhaps, after this interview airs on Sunday.
Alana Evans, appreciate it. Thank you.
EVANS: Thank you.
BALDWIN: We have more breaking news this afternoon on Senator John McCain putting President Trump --