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AT THIS HOUR
Ex-Playboy Model Details Alleged Affair with Donald Trump; Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired March 23, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] WIRE: -- nine seed K State tomorrow. Last two number one seeds remaining, they'll tip things off tonight. Kansas taking on Clemson and Villanova playing West Virginia.
BERMAN: Coy Wire, thank you very, very much. Appreciate it.
That is all for us today. I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR" starts now.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera in for Kate Bolduan. You made it to Friday. And we have a very special show for you today.
This morning, we are breaking away from our usual format and we'll spend the entire hour on a CNN exclusive. For the first time former "Playboy" model Karen McDougal talks publicly and extensively about her alleged affair with Donald Trump.
Now McDougal is one of three women currently in legal battles with the president and like adult film star Stormy Daniels, she is fighting to be freed from a contract intended to keep her from sharing everything.
Now the White House has said the president denies this affair, McDougal says it was a loving relationship that lasted 10 months before Donald Trump was president but while he was married. In fact McDougal even describes the first time she met Melania Trump.
A very personal conversation with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Here's part one.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: If we could just start at the beginning, how did you meet Donald Trump?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: I met Donald when they were filming "The Celebrity Apprentice" at the Playboy Mansion. They were filming there and I was hired as one of the Playmates to work at the pool party scene. It was kind of fun, actually. And --
COOPER: You worked for Playboy for some time.
MCDOUGAL: Yes. I -- after becoming Playmate of the Year, I was required to work so many events with Playboy. And that was one of the events that I thought would be fun. And I worked it and there were a lot of women there. And we just saw it as a great time and that's how we met.
COOPER: How did you actually meet?
MCDOUGAL: You know, he said hello, like he would to anybody, and then throughout the night it was kind of obvious that there was an attraction from his part to me. And I kind of just blew it off.
COOPER: You could see him looking at you.
MCDOUGAL: I could see it. And the Playboy Bunny, she's like the house mom, is what we call her, she actually made a comment like, wow, this guy is really into you. And that's kind of when I started like paying attention. And he was. And I kind of smiled at it, I thought it was kind of cute and funny. And then at the end of the night, you know, after striking up many conversations, we exchanged -- he actually asked me to write his phone -- my phone number down for him to keep.
COOPER: Did you -- you wanted to see him again?
MCDOUGAL: I thought it would be nice to communicate with him and talk to him. I actually at that point didn't consider dating or going out with him. But I just think he's an interesting person. He's brilliant and I like smart minds. And I think that I was interested in the communications for sure.
COOPER: So when was the next communication?
MCDOUGAL: Our first date, I was told we were going to go to the Beverly Hills Hotel for dinner. So he had told me that Keith, his bodyguard, was going to pick me up at a certain time and he did. And then we were driving over to the Beverly Hills Hotel. And Keith drove around to the back and he said, we have to get out here because we don't want to walk to the hotel. And at that minute I'm like thinking to myself, are we going to a room because I thought we were having dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
COOPER: In the actual restaurant?
MCDOUGAL: Right. Well, we did have dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel but in his bungalow instead. We had dinner there for a few hours. We talked for a few hours. We had a great time, we're getting to know each other. We're talking about his birthday, and then as the night ended, we were intimate.
COOPER: When you got to the Beverly Hills Hotel and Keith said, we're not going to go through the lobby, we're going to go -- was it to a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel or a suite or --
MCDOUGAL: It was a bungalow in the back.
COOPER: A bungalow.
MCDOUGAL: It's the one he said he always stayed at. And in fact, every time that I met him there, it was the same exact bungalow. And he's called it the nicest bungalow they have. So I guess that's why he chose that one. But that's -- yes, that's where we went every time.
COOPER: Were you concerned when you realized you're not going to go out to dinner and actually going to be eating at the bungalow?
MCDOUGAL: I think that first night I was concerned because I didn't -- I wasn't expecting to go to a hotel room or bungalow, whatever you want to call it. I actually thought we were going to dinner. So I was a bit concerned, and I think at that moment is when I realized maybe something else is going on.
You know, I'm a smart girl. I probably could have figured it out, but I really wasn't thinking. I think I was so nervous to actually meet with him in general that it kind of just didn't even -- you know, think -- it wasn't my thought process at that moment. I was just too nervous to actually meet him. So --
COOPER: Were you attracted to him?
MCDOUGAL: I was attracted to him, yes. He's a nice-looking man. And, you know, I liked his charisma. I think I love -- you know, good, great posture. He's got great posture. And he was nice.
COOPER: So the sex was consensual? Just to be clear.
[11:05:02] MCDOUGAL: It was consensual, yes.
COOPER: And what happened afterward?
MCDOUGAL: After that night?
COOPER: You said you sort of ended on a strange note. So what happened after you had been intimate?
MCDOUGAL: Well, after we had been intimate, he -- he tried to pay me. And I actually didn't know how to take that.
COOPER: Did he actually try to hand you money?
MCDOUGAL: He did. He did. And I said, I mean, I just had this look of, I don't know. Just -- I don't even know how to describe the look on my face must have been so sad because I had never been offered money like that before, number one. But number two, I thought, does he think I'm in this for money or why I'm here tonight? Or is this a normal thing? I didn't know.
But I looked at him and I said, that's not me. I'm not that kind of girl. And he said, oh, and he said, you're really special, and I was like, thank you.
So I left. I actually got in the car, told Keith to take me home and I started crying. And I was really sad. And it really hurt me. But I went back.
COOPER: Hurt you that he saw you in that way?
MCDOUGAL: Yes. It hurt me that he saw me in that light. And he obviously assumed that that's the kind of girl I was. Maybe because I was a Playmate, I don't know. But --
COOPER: Even though you'd a night of conversation and days of conversations, it hurt you that it boiled down in the end to that.
MCDOUGAL: It did hurt me. It did hurt me. I was crying in the backseat of the car. Like I said, I got home and -- to my apartment and I cried for a lot. I felt really terrible about myself, let alone what he felt, but I felt terrible about myself. And, you know, I got over it, but I felt hurt.
COOPER: Did you think you would see him again?
MCDOUGAL: I didn't. I didn't think I'd see him again. But then when he called, you know, I was at a bad place in my life. I just came out of a bad relationship where I never felt good enough in my relationship, and -- not that that's any excuse, it's not. But I think I was so down on myself that when he called, and he's so sweet, like what everyone sees on TV, I didn't see in that man because that man was very sweet, very respectful, very loving, very kind and caring. Like that's the man I saw.
COOPER: He's very -- he could be very charming in person.
MCDOUGAL: He's very charming. He's very sweet. His personality to me was, wow, like I loved it. It was great.
COOPER: When was the next time you saw him?
MCDOUGAL: You know, I'd have to look back at my -- I took a journal back in the day, and not for anything in particular, but I -- to this day, I still write down everything I do during the day. That's what I do. So if I looked at that, I could find out, but I think it was in that same couple days within a week because he was in town. When he came to L.A., he was usually there between three, six, seven -- between three, five, six, seven days, and I usually saw him.
COOPER: You gave us the journal that you kept. You would write down on days you saw him, you wouldn't write out his full name.
MCDOUGAL: No, I either called him T or DT, because if anyone found those, I wouldn't want to expose myself or expose him.
COOPER: So there's a number of days here, looks like dozens, over the course of time with those small little DT's and sometimes they're hard to see.
MCDOUGAL: I purposely kind of chicken scratched a lot on there because I know what I'm writing. And like I said to this day, I still do that with my notes and where I'm at, who I talked to, whatever. I did. I did write that down. So did I see him quite a few times? Quite a bit? Absolutely. We spent a lot of time together.
COOPER: And did you tell friends about it at the time?
MCDOUGAL: I did. I told a few friends and I told my sister. I actually told my mother that I knew him and we talked on a regular basis, but I told her that we were just friends. And she kind of scolded me a little bit, like I hope it's only friends, because you know he's married and I'm like, yes, I understand.
My sister actually heard him on the phone. She was with me one time and she -- you know, I couldn't hold the phone because I was busy. So she put him on speaker and we were just talking. I mean, I didn't care. It's like, she knew anyway. So when you have a relationship with somebody, you don't hide it, right? If there's feelings, you don't hide that relationship.
COOPER: Did he ever ask you to hide it?
MCDOUGAL: No, he didn't. Never.
COOPER: So there was never a conversation of don't tell anybody?
MCDOUGAL: Never. In fact, I think once he asked, does your sister know? And I said, yes, she knows. He's like, oh. So he wasn't afraid to hide it at all.
COOPER: And you knew he was married.
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: Did he bring up his wife? Did you bring it up?
MCDOUGAL: No, I -- I never brought up his wife. He did once. And that's the only time I can remember, when he said she was an intelligent woman. She knew like, I don't know, four or five languages. But other than that, he never talked about his wife, and I never brought her up. I -- obviously, there's a reason I don't bring her up because I felt guilty about it. So I -- after never seeing her until the one occasion, I never correlated the two really. I just kind of out of sight, out of mind.
COOPER: When you met, it was 2006.
COOPER: Was this shortly after his son had been born?
MCDOUGAL: Yes, it was.
COOPER: Would he talk about his child, his son?
[11:10:03] MCDOUGAL: No. The only thing he said about his son was, isn't the name Barron a nice name? And I said, yes, it is. And I said, how did you choose that name? And he told me, and that's it. There's no conversation.
COOPER: As you enter a relationship, obviously, in any relationship, you start to think about where this is going to go and how you feel, and -- how did you view it? How did you view the relationship?
MCDOUGAL: You know, going through it, when I look back, where I was back then, I know it's wrong. Like I'm really sorry for that. I know it's the wrong thing to do. But back in those days -- sorry.
COOPER: It's OK.
MCDOUGAL: Back in that day, I was a different girl, you know, I had fun. I was in the Playboy scene. I was just enjoying life as much as I could. And, you know, when I got with him, actually, you know, there was a -- there was a real relationship there. There were feelings between the two of us. Not just myself, not just him. There was a real relationship there. And I kind of out of sight, out of mind with everything else. And, you know, deep inside, I did have a lot of guilt. But I still continued.
COOPER: You believe, though, that he had real feelings for you?
MCDOUGAL: Of course he did. Mm-hmm. I know he did.
COOPER: He would say that?
MCDOUGAL: He did.
COOPER: Were you in love with him?
MCDOUGAL: I was, yes.
COOPER: And do you think he was in love with you?
MCDOUGAL: He was, yes.
COOPER: Did Donald Trump ever say to you that he loved you?
MCDOUGAL: All the time. He always told me he loved me. Yes. Of course.
COOPER: You went to the -- you said you went to a golf tournament in Tahoe.
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: There are other women now who've come forward saying that they also had met with him and had sex with him at that event. Were you aware of any other women?
MCDOUGAL: No, I was not. I mean, I was with him a lot so I didn't see anything but could he have stayed a day longer than me? Sure.
COOPER: Did you think that this relationship was going to last for a long time? Did you have --
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: You did?
MCDOUGAL: Yes, I felt it was getting much stronger. You know, there were no gifts ever, but a Christmas gift, I got him a gift. And then he told me the gift he got me was an apartment in New York, but it's being remodeled right now. And I never saw the apartment because I ended up breaking up or ending the relationship, but that was supposedly my gift. I don't know.
CABRERA: There is so much more. We will bring that to you, our exclusive interview with former Playboy model Karen McDougal still ahead, including what she said about her first meeting with Melania Trump. That's next.
[11:17:02] CABRERA: Welcome back to this special edition of AT THIS HOUR today, CNN's exclusive hour long interview with Karen McDougal. The former Playboy model who says she had a 10-month affair with Donald Trump. She says it was a very caring relationship before he was president and while he was married to Melania. And she says it was guilt about that that caused her to end their extramarital affair.
Here is part two of her conversation with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Where's this picture from?
MCDOUGAL: That picture is from the "Apprentice" release party that they had at the Playboy Mansion. So they filmed it like a month beforehand, which is where I met him, and then they had the release party when the "Apprentice" actually aired. So that's when that one was.
COOPER: So this is a picture with Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump, several of your colleagues and yourself.
MCDOUGAL: Correct, yes.
COOPER: Did -- so was that the first time you met Melania?
MCDOUGAL: It is. And honestly if you can tell, I tried to keep my distance. I tried to go as far away as I could just because I felt guilty.
COOPER: Do you think she knew?
MCDOUGAL: You know, maybe. Maybe. I don't know. You know, it was told to me that they were arguing that night, and I said, why? And somebody had said, probably because of you. But I don't know if that's a fact or not, so don't quote me on that one.
COOPER: Did he ever compare you to any of his kids?
MCDOUGAL: You know, he -- he's very proud of Ivanka, as he should be. I mean, she's a brilliant woman. She's beautiful. She's -- you know, that's his daughter, and he should be proud of her. He said I was beautiful like her and, you know, you're a smart girl. And there wasn't a lot of comparing, but there was some, yes. I heard a lot about her. Mm-hmm. Yes.
COOPER: Did that strike you as odd in any way, or --
MCDOUGAL: You know, I know a lot of people think it's odd. I -- you know, there has been some comments I've heard in the news he's said about her, and I think those comments are wrong. But do I think it's strange that a father would love his daughter so much that he brags about her? No, I brags about my dog that much.
COOPER: I guess -- you know, some people seeing this are not going to believe that you had a relationship. Hope Hicks has said categorically you did not have a relationship. There's no truth to this. When you heard that denial, what do you think?
MCDOUGAL: Well, I think somebody's lying, and I can tell you it's not me. It's a little hurtful, but at the same time I have to understand, like if he were to have told Hope Hicks -- Hope that he didn't do it, I guess I understand because he's trying to protect his family, his image. Things like that. But it was definitely a little, like, wow, you're going to lie about that? OK.
COOPER: When you've heard the stories of Stormy Daniels who has come forward who said that she was at the Tahoe Club as well and others who said that they were there, you didn't know about that at the time.
[11:20:13] MCDOUGAL: No, I did not know.
COOPER: Does it -- what do you think when you heard that?
MCDOUGAL: My first thought was how could she have been with him when I was with him? The only time we weren't together on that particular trip was when I -- he was on the golf course golfing. I didn't go clearly, but I went to every event, every after thing parties, daytime things, I was there. That's why I can't understand.
Now I do remember him saying, he came in one day and said, oh, there were a bunch of porn stars out there. They were wanting pictures of me. And I'm like, oh, that's funny, you know, that's cute, whatever. I do remember him saying that, but I can't imagine when he found the time except for maybe the day I left. So it's kind of like, wow, how did this happen?
COOPER: Did you think maybe this would lead to a marriage?
COOPER: That's something, though, you liked him enough, that's something you would have liked?
COOPER: Did he, at the time, say -- tell you that you were his only girlfriend? Or did that subject --
MCDOUGAL: You know, we never really discussed that. I knew he talked to ladies, but I didn't know there was anything else. I didn't know he was intimate with other ladies. But I guess if he's -- makes sense, if he's doing it behind his wife's back, why would he not do it behind my back? So --
COOPER: But at that time, in the frame of mind you were in then, you felt you were the only other person?
MCDOUGAL: I thought I was the only one, yes. I did. I thought I was the only one.
COOPER: Were you worried about people finding out?
MCDOUGAL: I was for a while.
COOPER: I mean, except your sister and other good friends.
MCDOUGAL: Yes. I was for a while. In fact there were a couple of instances where we were out in public, and he had his hand on my back, and I kept thinking, I'm looking around, there's a lot of people. I'm like, how do these people, like, what are they thinking? I don't know what they're thinking, but I thought it was going to get out.
So I was scared every time we went to an event. I thought this is going to get out. And I didn't want it to get out. But at the same time, I felt so honored to be with him in a sense that I'm like, I don't care who knows. But I didn't want that reputation either. So it's kind of like the saying, damned if you do, damned if you don't?
COOPER: You're saying you didn't want it to get out because --
MCDOUGAL: I mean, look at the bad things people are saying about me now. I didn't want that then and I didn't want it for him either.
COOPER: I mean, this is a hard question to ask but you said you had sex that first time. All those times you saw him, this was an ongoing sexual relationship.
COOPER: Can you estimate how many times you actually saw him?
MCDOUGAL: Again, when you're in a relationship, do you count how many times you have sex? No. However, I can tell you we saw each other a minimum five times a month, up to bigger numbers per month. So we --
COOPER: Over the course of how long?
MCDOUGAL: Over the course of 2006 through I think I ended the relationship April 2007. So we were together 10 months before I chose to end it. So we saw each other quite frequently.
COOPER: So dozens of times you were together.
MCDOUGAL: Many dozens of times, yes.
COOPER: And you were intimate --
COOPER: -- many dozens of times?
COOPER: This is another tough question and again you don't have to answer it. But it's been raised with other people. Did he ever use protection?
MCDOUGAL: No. No, he didn't.
COOPER: Was that something you thought about or it didn't concern you at the time?
MCDOUGAL: You know, we talked about it right beforehand. He was starting to and then he's like, I don't like these things. And you know, we discussed things. Did you do, blah, blah. We were just honest with each other and we didn't use any.
MCDOUGAL: You talked about ending the relationship. Who ended the relationship?
MCDOUGAL: I did.
MCDOUGAL: I was just feeling so guilty. It was just digging inside me. I think the excitement of it took over for a while, and I did care about the man. I'm not going to lie. So that made it hard to end it. But I think I just started feeling so bad about myself, like how could I do this to, A, myself, and B, to a family? Whether they get along or not, it's still a family. I just needed to get out of it. I -- you know, I just needed to get out of it. It's just tearing me apart in a long run.
COOPER: That's a hard thing to do to end a relationship, any relationship.
MCDOUGAL: It was very hard. But I knew I needed to get out.
CABRERA: We'll have much more of CNN's exclusive interview with former Playboy model Karen McDougal ahead.
[11:25:02] Up next, how she says the parent company of the "National Enquirer" quashed her story after Trump secured the Republican nomination.
CABRERA: Back now with more CNN's exclusive interview with Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model, who says she had a 10-month sexual relationship with Donald Trump before he was president and while he was married to Melania.
Now the White House has denied this affair. McDougal is now telling the world why it took so long for her story to get out there. Here is part three of her conversation with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Donald Trump announces for president. He's going to run. He gets the Republican nomination. At what point does this start to come back or this becomes suddenly in the forefront for you again?
MCDOUGAL: I was watching the Republican debate with a friend named Johnny. He's one of my good friends from many years ago. He said, you know, this story is a big story.