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Report: U.S. To Expel 60 Russian Diplomats Over Ex-Spy Poisoning; Porn Star Says Was Threatened Over Telling Trump Story; White House Won't Close Doors on Sanctioning Russia; Trump Says Wants to Work with Russia. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired March 26, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Hello and thanks for joining me. I'm Jim Sciutto in for Brooke Baldwin, live from Washington as we await the White House press briefing set to begin any moment now. The Trump administration enforcing strict new penalties against Russia. Perhaps it's toughest steps yet.

The President will expel 60 Russian diplomats. 48 from the Russian embassy and 12 from the United Nations this in response to the poisonings of a former Russian spy and his daughter in England with a toxic deadly nerve agent. The U.K. believes that Kremlin is behind the attack. It was a headline that would normally dominate any press briefing but this of course is 2018 and last night a porn star broke her nondisclosure agreement to detail a sexual encounter with a man who became President.

The most alarming allegation, Stormy Daniels said she was physically threatened as she stood in a parking lot with her young daughter to, quote, leave Trump alone and forget the story. Daniels's lawyer believes Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen ordered the threat. And today Cohen's legal team is calling the allegations false and defamatory. Let's go to CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, he is in the briefing room awaiting Raj Shah.

Jim, we know Raj of course sitting in for Sarah Sanders today. You look at these steps with Russia. The President has taken criticism for months now for not standing up to Russia aggressively enough. I think you could say these are his toughest moves of against Moscow of his administration.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jim, I think that's right, I think it signals a change in course with his administration. At least thus far we have not seen the President really comment on this move by the administration to expel these Russian diplomats enclosed that consulate in Seattle because it's the proximity to a submarine base. We saw a statement earlier this morning from Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary but no statement from the President, no tweet or comment from the President.

So, I think that will come up in the briefing with Raj Shah, why doesn't the President personally comment on this when you see the British Prime Minister Theresa May doing just that earlier today, talking about the condition of the victims in Great Britain as a result of the nerve agent attack. And saying that the people who were directly attacked in all of this, the former spy and his daughter may never recover from the nerve agent attack. That's obviously a pretty dramatic announcement from the British Prime Minister. We'll see what they have to say in the briefing room.

The other topic the President doesn't like to talk about very much which is Stormy Daniels, the interview last night on "60 Minutes." Up until this point, Jim, it's interesting to note we have not really heard the President weigh in on this personally. We are obviously not going to hear that unless he surprises us and comes into the briefing room. We don't expect that to happen.

But I suspect Raj Shah will be peppered with questions about that because of the nature of the allegations. The attorney for Stormy Daniels has said that she has been physically threatened. That came up in the "60 Minutes" interview. That obviously is going to warrant some kind of response from the White House. Jim, I think the other thing that is pretty dramatic in terms of the President's silence in all of this is what we saw over the weekend. This extraordinary march on Washington led by the students in Parkland, Florida, calling for gun control measures here the U.S.

The President did not comment on that. He was in Mar-A-Lago over the weekend. And we really did not see him talk about that. But obviously, these students have been front and center talking about this very important issue. And I suspect that will be a question for Raj Shah as well. So, Jim, one thing we are waiting to find out when he comes into the briefing is whether he has somebody with him.

On days like this there are occasions when perhaps you'll see a surprise guest. We had one interesting sighting here on the north lawn of the White House earlier today. The new National Security Adviser is here in the house, John Bolton. He was spotted making his way into the White House earlier today. Perhaps we'll see him. I have no inside knowledge on that. Sources aren't telling me that, but it obviously would be something that would be consistent with having a high-ranking U.S. official, White House official when something of the magnitude of those expulsions are being announced as they were earlier today, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And often those guest appearances are a good way to change the subject from subjects they don't want to talk about.

ACOSTA: That's true.

SCIUTTO: Jim Acosta. We're going to see you at the briefing of course. Speaking of the Stormy Daniels allegations some of the details that emerged from her tell-all interview bear a striking resemblance to details another woman's story. Last week former Playboy model Karen McDougal claimed to have had an affair with the President as well. CNN national political reporter M.J. Lee joining me now with more. M.J., that is one of the issues.

[14:05:00] Beyond the details that Stormy Daniels gave about her alleged relationship with the President are the commonality in some of those details with Karen McDougal's story. M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Jim. We

have now heard from two women who have described their alleged affairs with Donald Trump. Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, now these are two women who described different kinds of affairs. Stormy Daniels said she only had sex with Donald Trump once. Karen McDougal on the other hand said that she had a long running affair with Donald Trump that lasted about ten months. And that she believed that the two of them were in love.

But as you said there are some striking similarities in the two women's stories. So, let me walk through a couple of them. The first is that both women walked through the physical descriptions in graphic detail about their physical encounters with Donald Trump, specifically both women saying Donald Trump declined to use protection when they were intimate. Here's what they said.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You work in an industry where condom use is an issue. Did he use a condom?


COOPER: Did you ask him to?

DANIELS: No. I honestly didn't say anything.

COOPER: Did he ever use protection?

MCDOUGAL: No. No, he didn't.


LEE: Now, the timing of both affairs also significant because they would have taken place soon after Donald Trump married Melania Trump. Both women say that the issue of Donald Trump's wife, now the First Lady, did come up in their affair and each time Donald Trump made reference to the fact that Melania Trump had a separate bedroom in their apartment. Here they are.


COOPER: Melania Trump had recently given birth to a son a few months before. Did he mention his wife or child?

DANIELS: I asked. And he brushed it aside and said, oh, yes, yes, don't worry about that. We have separate rooms and stuff.

MCDOUGAL: We passed a room and he said, this is Melania's room. She likes to have her alone time or get away to read or something like that. I'm like, oh, OK. That's when I kind of thought maybe they're having issues. I didn't ask.


LEE: The next one is definitely a little bit strange. It has to do with Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, both women saying in the course of their affair Donald Trump compared each of the women to his daughter. Here's what they said.


DANIELS: He's like, wow, you are special. You remind me of my daughter.

MCDOUGAL: You know, he's very proud of Ivanka. As he should be. 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. You know, you're a smart girl. There wasn't a lot of comparing, but there was some, Yes. I heard a lot about her.


LEE: Now, Jim, the final and sort of the picture similarity here of course is that both women say they were offered hush agreements, NDAs and payoffs to stay silent about the there alleged affairs with Donald Trump. Stormy Daniels said that she was offered $130,000 in a deal with Michael Cohen. Karen McDougal says that she was offered $150,000 in a deal with American Media Inc. Now the similarity in both of their stories right now is that both women, even before the lawsuits have come to a conclusion have decided to speak out. They both say that they feel threatened to some degree but that they would rather speak out now and forego the possibility of staying silent about their affairs with Donald Trump.

SCIUTTO: And of course, we know that nondisclosure agreements are something the President has used in his businesses in the past as well. M.J. Lee, thank you very much. This is a remarkable story. Cringe-worthy at times.

The White House briefing expected to begin any moment now. They will certainly face questions about Stormy Daniels's interview. We're going to bring you the briefing live, of course, and also, a stunning revelation. The father of The Pulse nightclub shooter in Orlando worked as a secret FBI informant long before the deadly attack happened. Could this upend the case against the gunman's wife?


SCIUTTO: That White House press briefing now just under way. Have a listen.

RAJ SHAH, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And was taken in conjunction with our allies and partners around the world including more than a dozen countries in the E.U., NATO and others around the world. Today's actions make the United States safer by reducing Russia's ability to spy on Americans and to conduct covert operations and threaten America's national security.

With these steps the U.S. and our allies and partners around the world made clear to Russia that actions have consequences. We stand ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia. But this can only happen with a change in the Russian government's behavior. Looking ahead to next week, the President will welcome the leaders of

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the White House on April 3. President Trump and the three Baltic heads of state will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania's independence and set the stage for another century of strong ties between our countries. The U.S.-Baltic summit will focus on how best to strengthen our security, business, trade, energy, and cultural partnerships. The visit will also highlight Baltic state achievements since their independence including economic growth, recent success in meeting NATO's defense and spending pledges.

A quick reminder for everyone here, the annual White House Easter egg roll will take place on the south lawn a week from today. We are inviting members of the White House press corps to bring your kids to the event. Please work with the press office to secure tickets if you haven't already. With that, I will take your questions. Zeke?

ZEKE MILLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS. WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Thanks, Raj. Thanks for doing this. First, on Thursday White House officials were up on the stage and they said the President would sign the omnibus legislation on Friday morning warning he threatened to veto it, ultimately signed it. Ten days ago, Sarah said H.R. McMaster had the Presidents confidence and support when he would be leaving.

Last Thursday it was announced he would be leaving the White House and about two and a half weeks ago the President expressed confidence in his attorneys. And then there was a bit of a shake-up there last week. So, could you speak to the White House's credibility? Why should we in this room and more importantly the American people trust anything the administration is telling them?

SHAH: Well, our job as a press office and an administration is to give you the best information that we have available to us, the most accurate information in a timely fashion. Sometimes the dynamics are fluid in any given situation. You mentioned some personnel matters. Facts and circumstances change. We continue to give you guys the best information we can as quickly as quick as possible.

MILLER: One more. Just on Stormy Daniels, could you state that the President categorically that the president and his campaign, that the Trump Organization did not violate federal law specifically election law regarding that payment?

SHAH: Well, I can speak for only the White House. I can say categorically and obviously the White House didn't engage in any wrongdoing. The campaign or Mr. Cohen -- yes, the campaign or Mr. Cohen can address anything with respect to their actions. With respect to that interview, I will say the President strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims. The only person who has been inconsistent is the one making the claims. Bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raj, regarding the Russia actions that were announced earlier today, the President has not personally said anything about the expulsion of the 60 diplomats. And in his phone call last week with President Putin he decided not to confront Putin on the attack despite the advice he was given from his national security advisors and he went on to congratulate Putin on that phone call. How do you square the aggressive actions the administration is taking with an entirely different approach from the President?

SHAH: Well, I think, you know, that's a statement coming from the press secretary on this. The last sentence outlined our approach to this which is our relationship with Russia is frankly up to the Russian government and up to Vladimir Putin and others in senior leadership in Russia. We want to have a cooperative relationship. The President wants to work with Russia. But their actions sometimes don't allow it to happen.

The poisoning in the U.K. that has kind of led to today's announcement was a very brazen action.

[14:15:00] It was a reckless action that it endangered not just two individuals who were poisoned but many innocent civilians. This is not the type of conduct that the United States or our allies can accept. But the President still remains open to working with the Russians on areas of mutual concern -- counter terrorism, for example and others. But you know that's really up to the Russians to decide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the President believes it was a reckless and brazen action why did he not say so to Putin directly when he spoke with him and had the opportunity to do that?

SHAH: Well, he raised a number of issues. We did secure with Putin on that call some positive interaction when it comes to nuclear arms. So, there were certainly positive developments from the call and the President will continue diplomacy with Russia and with Putin. But you know this action by the President is very clear. We are very heartened that it comes in conjunction with over a dozen allies both in NATO and E.U. Kevin?

KEVIN CORKE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR FOX NEWS: Thank you, Raj. You mentioned that it was brazen and that it was reckless. Does that attack on the soil of a valued ally rise to the level of an act of war? Is that the administration's policy here?

SHAH: Well, we have been joined at the hip with U.K. on this matter. We stand firmly with our ally. Again, I will classify this action as both brazen and reckless. I don't want to get ahead of anything the President may or may not announce or declare later on.

CORKE: If I could follow very quickly.

SHAH: Yes.

CORKE: You mentioned that the President continues to maintain his consistent story that he did not do what has been alleged by Ms. Daniels. Did he by chance watch the interview last night? Did you ask him about that?

SHAH: You know, I'm not going to get into what the President may or may not have seen. I will just say he's consistently denied these allegations. Kristen? KRISTEN WELKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Thank you. Was

the President aware of a physical threat made against Ms. Daniels when she was with her daughter back in 2011?

SHAH: The President doesn't believe any of the claims that Ms. Daniels made last night in the interview are accurate.

WELKER: He doesn't believe she was threatened?

SHAH: No, he does not.

WELKER: What's his basis for that, Raj?

SHAH: I'm sorry?

WELKER: What's his basis for that?

SHAH: He doesn't believe -- there is nothing to corroborate her claim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raj, did he have dinner with Michael Cohen at Mar-A-Lago on Saturday?

SHAH: I believe he did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Didn't you expect a read out of that?

SHAH: I don't have any additional information on it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, to believe her claims made in that TV interview can deduce he saw it.

SHAH: Again, I'm not going to get into what he saw. There are clips of it playing all over the morning news shows. What I would you say is that he's denied the accusations that she made last night and has been consistent in doing so. She has not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the expulsions, three weeks passed between the attacks and expulsions. What took so long?

SHAH: Well, I mean actions like this take time. We coordinated with again over a dozen allies who wanted this to be a joint effort in which the United States is joining both the European Union and NATO allies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Minister is now threatening retaliation against the U.S. and other countries involved in these expulsions. Your response to that?

SHAH: We want to work with Russia, but this type of inaction cannot be tolerated. The United States is responding to Russia's action as I called it brazen and reckless. This is a U.S. response. We want to work with Russia. You know, the ball is in their court with respect to how they want to respond. Jim? JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: If you listen to

national security experts, diplomatic experts on what happened with Russia they will say you have to hit Russia where it hurts. You have to sanction them economically. You have to go after Putin's cronies, you have to go after Putin himself potentially. Would this President consider sanctioning Vladimir Putin or his cronies to punish him and the Russian government for what happened in the U.K. also for meddling in the 2016 election?

SHAH: The United States has issued sanctions on key Russian oligarchs. In response to the meddling in the 2016 election. I wouldn't close any doors, or I wouldn't preclude potential action. But the President doesn't telegraph his moves.

ACOSTA: One other question about this weekend. There was a massive march here in Washington led by the students from Parkland, Florida. The President didn't tweet about it, hasn't said anything about this. What is the White House's response to this? Are the actions that the President signed into law last week strengthening some of the background checks and whatnot? Is that the end of it? Is the President going to do any more on the gun safety issue? And what about that question he asked of the Republican lawmakers, are you afraid of the NRA?

[14:20:00] SHAH: The President does respect everyone's first amendment right and wants their voices to be heard. As you mentioned there were actions that he signed into law on Friday in the omnibus bill included over $2 billion in new funding for school safety, he signed into law the Stop School Violence Act which was actually a priority of the Sandy Hook Promise Organization. And the Fix NICS bill, the background check portion you mentioned.

Also, on Friday the Department of Justice announced a rule which effectively banned the sale of bump stock devices. The President it is a strong believer in the second amendment, but he does believe other measures could potentially be taken both at the federal and also the state level to improve school safety. He's mentioned hardening schools. He's talked about these extreme risk protective orders that states can engage in. So, there is a whole lot of things that could be done. This Wednesday the school safety Commission that's chaired by Secretary DeVos will be meeting for the first time. We hope some fruitful ideas will come from that. Mike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk a little bit about David Shulkin? Is he going to be fired face-to-face or is he going to be through the media on Twitter? Give us an update on this.

SHAH: I have no personnel announcements to make at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To follow up on Stormy Daniels, can you explain, Raj, why it's been the President's practice or the practice of those associated with the President to offer compensation to people to keep them silent? Why would the President do that? Why has he done that or caused others to do that?

SHAH: I would have Michael Cohen address any specifics regarding this agreement you are referring to. But false charges are settled out of court all the time. This is nothing outside the ordinary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would, in this case, $130,000 be paid to a woman in the days before the election? You're saying she made false claims but why would $130,000 be paid to her?

SHAH: Again, false charges are settled out of court all the time. You have to ask Michael Cohen about the specifics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the President have intentions of responding directly himself? You said he denies the claims. Why haven't we heard from him?

SHAH: Well, that will be up to the President. Jen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Raj. On North Korea, Bloomberg reported that Kim Jong-un is in China now. Does the White House see that as a precursor to talks between President Trump and Kim Jong-un and has China offered to host the summit?

SHAH: We can't confirm those reports. We don't know if they are necessarily true. What I will just state though is that where we are with North Korea is in a better place than we used to be because the President's maximum pressure campaign in conjunction with dozens of countries around the world has paid dividends and has brought the North Koreans to the table. We are looking forward to a potential summit some months in advance.


SHAH: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Shulkin does the White House believe the nation's veterans are best served by having David Shulkin serve as VA secretary?

SHAH: I have no personnel announcements to make at this time when it comes to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much longer should the secretary expect to work in the administration?

SHAH: Say that again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much longer should the secretary expect to work in the administration?

SHAH: I have no personnel announcements.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Raj. The Israeli press is reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been informing French and German foreign ministers that the U.S. is very likely to pull out of the Iran deal in May. Can you confirm that?

SHAH: I can't confirm that. I can tell you that the President has been clear since January where he gave remarks about this, what he thinks of the Iran deal. That goes back years. He thinks it is one of the worst agreements the United States has ever made internationally. He is insisting on changes both at the congressional level working with Congress and also with our European partners. If changes aren't made, the President is prepared to potentially withdraw from the agreement. John?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks a lot, Raj. In light of these announced expulsions of the 60 Russian intelligence agents, is the President still going full steam ahead in meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin?

SHAH: Again, we have no announcements on a potential meeting or any kind of summit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You still want to do it, right?

SHAH: Right, again as I said, we want to work with Russia. We have areas of mutual concern where we can work with them. Again, I mentioned counterterrorism. There is general global stability and other matters where we want to work with Russia. But the ball is in their court. It is up to them whether we're going to have a fruitful and constructive relationship or an adversarial relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you connect it to meeting with the President after they have done what the U.S. -- not just alleges but say they have done. They have poisoned a former Russian spy on British soil and you punish them for it. Why at this point also give them this gift of meeting with the President of the United States?

SHAH: Well, again, there is no meeting to announce. Jordan?

[14:25:00] JORDAN FABIAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE HILL: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said there might be a workaround for a Supreme Court ruling that said line item vetoes are unconstitutional. What is that workaround and is that something that the White House is aggressively pursuing that it's going to propose to Congress take care of?

SHAH: The President outlined Friday why he was frustrated with the legislation he was given. It was a massive spending bill handed to him at the 11th hour. You know, spending by Congress hasn't really been executed properly since 1996. They haven't had individual spending bills for over two decades. So, this omnibus process, the President wants to reform. He's talked about ending the filibuster, he's talked about a line item veto. It obviously has to pass constitutional muster. Anything that's passed. But he wants to fix the budget process. His message to leaders in Congress of both parties is that if something similar happens again he's more inclined to veto it.

FABIAN: On the line item veto in particular though have you been able to find a workaround to that Supreme Court ruling that says it's unconstitutional.

SHAH: There are things being discussed with respect to House and Senate rules. I don't want to get ahead of anything that we may come out in favor of. John? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Raj. Two questions. First, last week

Senator Barrasso, the Republican whip made a strong speech in which he denounced, as Mark Short did, the necessity to use cloture on all appointments and he called for a new agreement similar to the bipartisan agreement Senator Schumer had with Republicans in 2013 allowing several votes on nomination to come up and not requiring the cloture so much. Have you talked to Senator Barrasso about this or has the President talked to him and is that something the administration endorses?

SHAH: I'm not aware of a White House conversation with Senator Barrasso. I haven't spoken to him. I would generally agree with the concept. But having not seen all the details I don't want to commit to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other thing is that Egypt is having an election this week. All signs are the President el-Sisi will be re- elected without much opposition. Does the President plan to call him?

SHAH: I don't have any call plans to read out to you. Trey?

TREY YINGST, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR OANN: Thanks, Raj. The President spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. Today we saw this major action by the United States to expel these 60 diplomats and additionally close the consulate in Seattle. Why did the President not bring up this poisoning of a former Russian spy with President Putin when he spoke with him on the phone?

SHAH: As I mentioned earlier, the President did discuss a range of issues with Vladimir Putin. You know, he's addressed this matter publicly and repeatedly. Addressed it after he spoke with Prime Minister May, he addressed it in the quad statement. You know, with this action right now. The President's made his position and the country's position pretty clear.

YINGST: If I could ask you about Shulkin, I I'm not looking for a personnel announcement here, I simply like to ask how you would describe the relationship between President Trump and VA Secretary Shulkin?

SHAH: I haven't asked the President about it directly today. I don't want to comment on it too specifically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said earlier is the only person who was being inconsistent is the one making these claims, meaning Stormy Daniels. What has she

said that's inconsistent?

SHAH: My understanding is that she signed some statements that conflict with what she said last night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There have been a cascade of expulsion announcements around the globe today. Some 130 diplomats across 18 countries. What was the U.S. role in this? Can you tell us a little bit more about the President's role in what looks like a pretty coordinated effort? SHAH: Yes, this was a coordinated effort. The President spoke with

many foreign leaders, our European allies and others, and encouraged them to join the United States in this announcement. We think that this is not just an important message to send to the Russian government, but it's also significant in degrading their intelligence capabilities around the world, not just in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The President has come out strongly about the importance that law enforcement play in this country. Has he commented at all about the shooting death of Stephon Clark? He was unarmed, shot by a police officer, a lot of protests happening across the country as a result.

SHAH: I'm not aware of comments he has. I haven't asked him about that directly. Obviously, the President cares about any individual who would be harmed through no fault of their own. I don't know the specifics in that case.

[14:30:00] I don't want to comment any further. Thanks, folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before you leave, Raj, could you speak to the transgender ban?

SCIUTTO: You have been listening to the White House press briefing there, the deputy spokesman Raj Shah, with hard questions on both Russia and on Stormy Daniels there. Reaction to Stormy Daniels really dismissing her story. The White House saying the President doesn't believe Stormy Daniels, said there is nothing to corroborate her claims about the alleged relationship with the President and also saying she's been inconsistent with her story. Juana, if I can begin with you. Quite an attack on Stormy Daniels following quite an interview last night on "60 Minutes."

JUANA SUMMERS, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER: That's right, Jim. I think what was most striking to me in hearing Raj Shah speak was he not only said -- well, he wouldn't say whether the President saw it but he not only said the President thinks all of her claims right from the bat, that would include the claim that in 2011 that Stormy Daniels was threatened by someone when she was in a parking lot waiting for a fitness class with her infant daughter.

And I think that that's really striking. I would imagine that's going to generate a lot of news. They are categorically denying this again. Despite as our colleagues have been reporting there a number of similarities between what we heard Stormy Daniels tell Anderson Cooper last evening and what Karen McDougal told Anderson Cooper that certainly make these stories sound more credible.

SCIUTTO: No question. And it is interesting, josh Rogan, you heard something that has become fairly consistent from White House spokespeople of late which is to say, kind of set the limits for what they could comment on truthfully. Raj Shah said we will give you the best information that we have available.