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CNN NEWSROOM

Stormy Daniels Details Claim of Affair with Donald Trump; Egypt Votes; Asia Markets Reopen amid Fears of Trade War; Brexit Campaign Claims; Stormy Daniels Claims She Was Threatened To Keep Quiet; Ex- Catalan President Detained In Germany; Freed Nigerian Girls Return Home After Meeting President; Bill Gates: Nigeria Needs To Invest In Its People. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 26, 2018 - 01:00   ET

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


[01:00:00]

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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Stormy Daniels speaks out. The adult film star is sharing details of her alleged affair with Donald Trump before he became president.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Plus we're hours away from a presidential election in Egypt. There are no serious challengers to the incumbent, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

ALLEN (voice-over): And Nigeria's president shares a message of hope with young girls saved from Boko Haram.

These stories are ahead here this hour. Thank you for joining us. I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER (voice-over): I'm Cyril Vanier. CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

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ALLEN: An adult film star is telling her story of an alleged affair with Donald Trump and she says she's doing it despite receiving an ominous threat. Stormy Daniels says she wants to set the record straight. She spoke with Anderson Cooper on the CBS program, "60 Minutes."

VANIER: In her first encounter with Mr. Trump, she said he asked her if she would consider being a contestant on his reality show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And you had sex with him?

STORMY DANIELS, PORN STAR: Yes.

COOPER: You were 27 and he was 60.

Were you physically attracted to him?

DANIELS: No.

COOPER: Not at all?

DANIELS: No.

COOPER: Did you want to have sex with him?

DANIELS: No.

But I didn't -- I didn't say no. I'm not a victim. I'm not.

COOPER: It was entirely consensual?

DANIELS: Oh, yes. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Officially the White House denied there was an affair. Daniels first brought her story to a magazine five years after she maintains the affair happened. But the story didn't come out back then.

VANIER: And as Brian Stelter reports, she's telling it now to a huge television audience.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there. Yes, a porn star breaking her silence about an alleged affair with now President Trump. This allegation dates back to 2006 when Trump was the star of NBC's "The Apprentice."

A woman named Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, described the alleged affair in a sit-down with CNN's Anderson Cooper. The interview was broadcast on CBS' "60 Minutes," the highest rated news program in America, which means tens of millions of people are likely to see this interview.

Now Daniels talks about having sex with Donald Trump. She said she was not attracted to him. She did it as a business deal. She says at first she kept it a secret.

But in 2011 when she spoke to the magazine, "In Touch," a tabloid magazine, the story was buried. And then she says she was physically threatened. Here's how she described the incident to Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS: I was in a parking lot going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. I was taking a seat facing backwards in a backseat with the diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out.

And a guy walked up on me and said to me, "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story."

And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, "A beautiful girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom."

And then he was gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: So that alleged threat dates back to 2011. And then in 2016, in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election, Daniels accepted a payment of $130,000 from one of Trump's personal attorneys. It has been described as hush money, essentially buying her silence.

But now Daniels says that was inappropriate. It was invalid. The contract is not legal. She says she should be able to speak freely to defend herself.

So now there's lawsuits and countersuits, questions about campaign finance and in the middle of all this, the U.S. president and a porn star. Now we don't know for sure if President Trump tuned for the interview, even though he's a frequent TV watcher.

But we do know he was at the White House while wife, Melania Trump, the first lady, was at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

We have not heard from Melania Trump either but we did hear from her spokeswoman on Sunday night after the interview aired.

The spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, tweeting the following, quote, "While I know the media is enjoying speculation and salacious gossip, I'd like to remind people there's a minor child whose name should be kept out of news stories when at all possible."

Daniels also has a child, a daughter -- adding the question that's raised by these interviews now broadcast on television, first with a woman named Karen McDougal, who alleged an affair with Trump in the mid-2000s; now with Stormy Daniels who's making similar allegations.

The question is, what will people tell their children about the U.S. president and his apparent sex life?

These are stories that are actually in some ways reminiscent to the 1990s when Bill Clinton was in the news. There was a lot of sympathy back then for Hillary Clinton. Now the same is true for Melania Trump.

And we head into a work week here in the U.S. with questions of whether the President will say anything more or whether his lawyers will say anything more about Stormy Daniels -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Let's take a closer look at this with CNN legal analyst and defense attorney, Mark Geragos. He joins me from Los Angeles.

Mark, thank you for talking with us about this.

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: My pleasure. How are you?

ALLEN: I'm good, thank you. So many people --

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ALLEN: -- glued to the television on this Sunday; first question, was Stormy Daniels credible?

And does Donald Trump have anything to worry about here?

GERAGOS: Well, there's two questions there. To the first, was she credible?

I think she was. I think both she and the woman, McDougal, who Anderson interviewed Thursday or Friday, I think make a powerful one- two punch in proving one thing that the president was engaged in extramarital activities during the -- his wife -- after his wife gave birth.

In terms of the president and any kind of jeopardy, I don't think that there is a whole lot of jeopardy here. What was revealed today was that there was a threat. The threat was back in 2011. That's usually a state court offense and the statute of limitations would've run on that if, in fact, that's even a crime.

There's a -- there's an argument there. Other that the fact is that, if there was a payment, the -- what we know about is that they have conceded there was a payment, meaning the president and his lawyer -- they've gone to an arbitrator to get an order based upon the agreement.

They're going to -- the case was removed to federal court. That case will more than likely probably get sent back to arbitration. And the only potential -- and I say this because it's rather attenuated -- the only potential liability or threat to the president is maybe a Federal Elections Commission -- I give that very slim odds. I don't think that's really threatening.

There could be, however, some play if Robert Moeller wanted to lean on Michael Cohen, who's the president's personal lawyer, and he wanted to try to lean on him to get him to cooperate in some way, using this as a wedge.

That is the only -- like I say that -- even that is a stretch to my mind. So, no, I don't think there's a whole lot of exposure here politically. God knows what's going on in the -- in his marriage and God knows what's going on with the family. But that's completely separate and apart from what the legal exposure is.

ALLEN: One analyst earlier on CNN said of the interview, "Quit looking at the trees. Step back and look at the forest. It's burning down."

What do you think about that analogy vis-a-vis this president? GERAGOS: I -- people have been saying that for over a year now. And

for whatever you want to say about him, he apparently has a Teflon- like -- not unlike Ronald Reagan in terms of the Teflon-like to withstand this. And he tends to thrive in this.

So I'm not so sure. I lived through Whitewater in the '90s. I tried an obstruction of justice trial that ended up being a not guilty in the '90s and I used to say then I didn't understand what the preoccupation with sex was.

But obviously the same people who were saying that then are not saying that now. So I find it to be somewhat ironic, I suppose, that, 20 years later, we're dealing with the same thing all over again, albeit the people who were complaining about the moral compass back in the '90s are not complaining about it now and vice versa.

So there is a degree of irony or hypocrisy, depending on how you want to look at it.

ALLEN: Correct, I get what you're saying.

As far as the president's silence, he will tweet about anything, anytime, no matter counsel, no matter his top aides.

Why is he so silent when it comes to Ms. McDougal and Stormy Daniels?

GERAGOS: Well it's -- that's a fascinating question and somebody -- I heard somebody, one of my colleagues mention that when somebody's got the goods on him, he goes silent.

I don't know that that's necessarily an explanation but it sure -- it seemingly rings true. There was a -- people have speculated that he's going to try to do something to divert attention from this, fire somebody, throw some missiles, do whatever, who knows.

But the -- I think the fact that he hasn't tweeted is that there is no upside to him to tweet on this. And I think that's more personal than political. And that's just my -- from the -- as an outsider looking in, that it doesn't help him to start getting in the middle of this.

He's already made comments a while ago and he doesn't need to kind of double down on this, especially if he's got his lawyers telling him, we think we can get this into arbitration and that'll be the end of this roadshow.

ALLEN: Well, it's interesting that --

[01:10:00]

ALLEN: -- he can follow rules when he chooses to do so as far as the counsel he is getting.

Mark Geragos, CNN legal analyst and defense attorney, we know you have a lot of credibility and experience in this department of political scandal. Thank you so much for joining us.

GERAGOS: Thank you for having me.

VANIER: Great interview. Great insights.

At least 48 people have died in the fire of a shopping mall in South Central Russia. Officials now say 16 people are missing in the coal mining city of Kemerovo. That's in Siberia.

ALLEN: We don't know yet what started this massive fire. You see it there. The flames caused the roof of two movie theaters to collapse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): At 4:10 in the afternoon we received information about smoke in the shopping mall on the fourth floor, where children's playing rooms and cinemas were situated.

Currently 20 psychologists are working with 17 relatives, I mean those who have called us and said that they cannot contact their children or some adults who, according to their information, were in the shopping mall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The Siberian regional center has sent a group of rescuers to reinforce the group in Kemerovo, which is liquidating the aftermath of a difficult fire accident and shopping mall.

The group consists of 40 rescuers and necessary equipment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: The shopping center was packed when the fire broke out. About 100 people did evacuate.

VANIER: Witnesses say some jumped from windows to escape flames. Officials say the families of the victims will each receive 1 million rubles. That's about $18,000 for each relative killed in the fire.

ALLEN: Egyptians head to the polls in just a few hours to cast their ballot for president. This is the third presidential election the country has seen since the uprising of 2011 that toppled the Hosni Mubarak regime.

VANIER: This race is already being criticized for its lack of serious contenders. Ian Lee has this story from Cairo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Let's take a ride around the streets of Cairo. If you haven't noticed, Egypt is having a presidential election, a kaleidoscope of campaign posters wallpapers the city.

But you might have noticed something missing: the opposition.

"It's not my fault," Egypt's president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said in an interview. "I swear to God I wish there would have been more candidates for

people to choose who they want. But they were not ready yet. There's no shame in this."

There were high-profile contenders but Egyptian authorities arrested former army general Sami Annan on a number of charges.

Ahmed Shafiq, a former 2012 presidential candidate, withdrew amid reports of intimidation.

Human rights lawyer Khaled Ali withdrew after saying he was under pressure from authorities.

Mohamed Anwar Sadat, the nephew of late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, also says he felt pressure to withdraw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An election run under the emergency rule, protest rule and the terrorism rule, whereby I was a bit scared that all my campaign representative in different governments, they might be in a situation whereby be it a difficult time or to being stopped, detained, abused.

LEE (voice-over): After searching, we finally found the subtle posters of Mousa Mustafa Mousa, a last-minute and little-known challenger.

MOUSA MUSTAFA MOUSA, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I saw the catastrophe coming. My suspicion unaided a democratic election, proper one, without any kind of the condition of the referendum. President Sisi was going alone in this game and if he falls, we all fall.

LEE (voice-over): Mousa is accused of being a stooge of the government, a tool to give the election the veneer of legitimacy. He denies this and insists his platform makes him the better candidate.

MOUSA: I want to tell the people I'm here for real. I'm here as a candidate, willing and wishing and wanting to win. So people can understand that I'm not brought as a puppet for anyone.

LEE (voice-over): No one doubts Sisi will win. The real challenge is voter apathy. His get out the vote campaign aims to drive Egyptians to the polls and give him the broad mandate he needs for another four years -- Ian Lee, CNN, Cairo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Coming up, China not backing down in the face of new U.S. tariffs. We'll have a live report from Beijing amid fears of a trade war.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, a whistleblower reportedly will present more evidence that the Brexit campaign cheated by breaking campaign spending rules.

[01:15:00] ALLEN: More about it coming up here.

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VANIER: Fears of a trade war are weighing on markets in Asia. Last Thursday U.S. President Trump announced tariffs on at least $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. And in retaliation, China announced tariffs of its own and the markets went tumbling.

ALLEN: Trading opened in Asia a few hours ago and here's how things look so far. The Nikkei down 0.7 percent; the Hang Seng down 0.56; Shanghai down 1.6 and Australia S&P ASX down 0.52 percent.

Let's get some analysis on these numbers.

Is it as bad as it looks?

CNN's Andrew Stevens joins us live from Beijing.

Andrew, what's your take?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA PACIFIC EDITOR: It doesn't look that bad, to be honest, Natalie, considering what it could've looked like.

If you go back to Friday, when the markets in the U.S. closed, the Dow was down 1.8, the S&P 500 down by more than 2 percent and the big selling came right at the end of the day, which suggested there was going to be a lot of downward pressure coming --

[01:20:00]

STEVENS: -- into the Asian markets. It's down but certainly not nearly as much as some people had been expecting and perhaps one of the reasons for that -- and it's always difficult to pin one reason on how the markets move. But "The Wall Street Journal" has been reporting that Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, has sent a letter to the new economic czar in China, that's Liu He, with a list of things that the U.S. would like China to do to avoid an actual trade war.

That includes cutting taxes and tariffs on U.S. cars going into the U.S. -- into China, for example; allowing U.S. companies to get bigger stakes and financial companies in China and also the Chinese buying more U.S. semiconductors.

So there's a concrete list there if you like, which does suggest that there could be some negotiation. In fact, it's being reported here pretty widely that the Chinese are expected to underreact to the latest tariff threat from Trump rather than overreact, even though the rhetoric coming from Beijing remains pretty tough. Steven Mnuchin was also told by Liu Hu (ph) on Saturday that he would defend China's national interest. So there is still saber-rattling, if you like. But the general feeling is that perhaps there is room for negotiation.

We still do not know what the actual tariffs will be applied to. We've got 15 days before the list appears. And in that time there may be more talks between high-level talks between the U.S. and China.

ALLEN: Considering that report by "The Washington Post," is it your sense that some common ground will likely be found here before these pretty stringent tariffs go into effect?

STEVENS: Well, China clearly has said it does not want a trade war. The U.S. is saying the same thing. But against that, Donald Trump is a protectionist. There are clear moves that the U.S. want China to make before it does come to some sort of compromise agreement.

I remember this issue about the technology transfer, transfer of technology from the U.S. to China has been an ongoing thorn in the side of relations here and the U.S. is deciding it is going to act on that.

And the only way it can get to that is through these tariffs. And the other one of course, Natalie, is as important if not more important, is Trump has said he wants this deficit, this trade deficit with China, to contract.

It is now $375 billion. So that needs to come down, according to the U.S. administration. At least there needs to be concrete steps because the Chinese keep on saying they will be taking more effort, making more measures to open up their markets.

There has to be concrete steps backed up with real developments before the U.S. decide that it's doing enough to call off these tariffs. But there is some common ground there. No one wants a trade war but U.S., at this stage, certainly seems to be very, very firm on what it wants to see.

ALLEN: All right, we appreciate your analysis, Andrew Stevens for us, thank you.

VANIER: A whistleblower who is accusing the official Brexit group of breaking campaign spending rules says he will present more evidence Monday to back up his allegations. That comes to us according to the British Press Association.

ALLEN: The former Brexit volunteer alleges the Vote Leave organization used another group to spend over the authorized campaign limit. Our Nick Paton Walsh has more for us from London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is an extraordinary story that reels in Britain's vote to leave the European Union. A Canadian company accused of a huge advertising blitz to promote that

and a current advisor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who had a brief relationship with Shahmir Sanni, a former Leave campaigner who is now turned whistleblower on what he says is campaign finance irregularities.

SHAHMIR SANNI, FORMER BREXIT CAMPAIGNER: In effect, they used the Leave to overspend and not just by a small amount, by two-thirds of a million pounds they overspent.

And the impact of that, the difference between people -- the difference between Leave winning over Remain was just a few percentage points, you know. And that almost a two-thirds of a million pounds makes all the difference. And it wasn't legal.

WALSH (voice-over): Now that's a drastic conclusion. But here is what Sanni alleged to British media. In 2016, the Leave campaign hit its legal spending limits so they gave their surplus to youth activists BeLeave, who later gave it to Canadians' --

[01:25:00]

WALSH (voice-over): -- Aggregate IQ, also deny any wrongdoing. U.K. electoral officials haven't said what they concluded of the evidence they have been passed by Sanni.

WALSH: All this exposes how poorly equipped British campaign finance law is, along with those who were meant to enforcement it. The last law was passed in 2000, when Facebook and high-speed Internet really didn't exist.

The issue, though, remains so polarizing in the U.K. and the margin in which it voted to leave the E.U. so tiny that allegations like this just ignite fury, the vote wasn't really a solid reflection of British democratic values and instead influenced by new and underhand technology.

WALSH (voice-over): Theresa May's senior advisor, Stephen Parkinson (ph), a former Leave official, has been criticized for outing his gay relationship with Sanni as part of his response to the allegations, in which he said he stayed within the law at all times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ZUCKERBERG, COFOUNDER AND CEO, FACEBOOK: Remove bad actors and all their content (INAUDIBLE) --

(APPLAUSE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH (voice-over): It emerged as Britain was reeling from the allegations that Facebook allowed private user data to allegedly influence U.S. voters. Facebook's damage control led to a series of full-page adverts in U.K. papers at the weekend. The pages of old media used to apologize for the sins of the new. Yet distrust sown and damage to fragile democracies already done --

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: Still to come on the show, more protests in Spain as tensions between police and pro-Catalan separatists flare up. Stay with us.

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[01:30:00] CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: At least 48 people were killed in a fire at a shopping mall in the City of Kemerovo in South Central Russia on Sunday. Officials say about 16 people are missing and it's unclear for the moment what caused the fire.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In the coming hours, President Trump could decide whether to expel a group of Russian diplomats from the U.S. A source tells CNN the National Security Council recommended the move in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England that's been there. The U.K. blames Moscow for the attack and ordered 23 Russian diplomats to leave last week.

VANIER: An adult film star says she was threatened into keeping quiet about an alleged affair with Donald Trump before he became president. In an interview on the CBS program "60 Minutes" Stormy Daniels said a man approached her and her infant daughter in a parking lot in 2011 and suggested something could happen to Daniels if she told her story. Now, the White House denies that there was an affair. So, what did our panel think? The usual suspects are here. Ellis Henican, a columnist at Metro papers, Ben Ferguson, CNN Political Commentator, good to have you both. Stephanie Clifford, that's Stormy Daniels' real name says that she was threatened in order to stay quiet. So, could that eventually be a problem for the President, Ellis.

ELLIS HENICAN, COLUMNIST, METRO PAPERS: Sure. I mean, listen, let's don't confuse this lady with Mother Theresa. I mean, she can be trash. You know, I mean, somewhat what Ben says, you know, playing out her various faults and motives, may all be true. But there's only one person in this drama who's the President of the United States. So, he has hugely more to lose than she does. Even if the whole world claims that Stormy is half true or is selfish or might be lying about some of -- it doesn't matter that much. I mean, all of these icky details just stick all over the President.

VANIER: Ben, what do you think of that particular detail that somebody -- someone that she describes as some kind of henchmen comes to her when she's in her car and tells her to drop this Donald Trump affair story?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I have a hard time believing it because if you have a child as I do and someone comes and threatens you and threatens the wellbeing of you and possibly your child, you call the police. You've done nothing wrong to quote her, then you absolutely would call the police and to protect yourself --

VANIER: Or you -- or you just stay quiet if you -- if you buy the threat.

FERGUSON: I don't think you stay quiet. Yes, I don't think you stay quiet, but I also know that this is a woman who clearly decided to take $130,000 and decide to go against a non-disclosure agreement here. That's the part of the story when I was watching that I said I don't believe her right now. I don't believe that she's telling the truth. She also didn't tell the truth when she signed a non- disclosure agreement.

HENICAN: But then why is it -- why is it so important? But why is it so important to trash her? I mean, OK, she's not the --

FERGUSON: I'm not judging her. He asked the question, did I believe her. And on this one part of the story, I do not believe her and I think that most -- I think that most people out there, they sensational this story, how do you prove one way or the other this happened six, seven years ago, it's a he said, she said, but man, does it not make for a great conversation, which clearly, we're now having right now, which makes Stormy Daniels even more famous and makes her more money.

HENICAN: Fair enough. But I mean, welcome to -- welcome to modern pop culture. You know, when you have a story, and frankly, it's a pretty credible story. I think, Ben, even you believe, probably moat parts of it. I mean, she didn't make this --

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: Well, here's what I said, the one thing tonight that stood out to me, and I was watching. I said, I don't believe this was when she talked about this person that came up here. Here's my thing, she talked about being a mom and her child. You go to the police. She had no reason not to go to police. I do not believe her on this. I think this is sensationalizing a story.

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: Guys, there's some -- there's something I want to -- there's a lot of layers to this, so I want to get to the next one. There's something -- this is what Stormy Daniels had to say about why she signed that non-disclosure agreement. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it was untruthful, why did you sign it?

STORMY DANIELS, ADULT PORN ACTRESS: Because they made it sound like I had no choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And no one was putting a gun to your head.

DANIELS: Not physical violence, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You thought that there would be some sort of legal repercussion if you didn't sign it.

DANIELS: Correct. As a matter of fact, the exact sentence used was they can make your life hell in many different ways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They being?

DANIELS: I'm not exactly sure who they were. I believe it to be Michael Cohen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VANIER: Does Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer, now, he says he never threatened Stormy Daniels just to be clear. Stormy Daniels' lawyer says that she's actually out to expose the thuggish tactics that were used. And this is just one of them, intimidating his client, in his words, Ellis.

HENICAN: Here's the reason that's so believable, Cyril, is that it's exactly the way the President has behaved time and time again, and the people are (INAUDIBLE) at the end of the day. Brian, who try and bully opponents to try and threaten them to suggest bad things. You know, not every detail is always clear at every single case, but I mean, you know, the President side of this, he's never been presented in any kind of coherent way. I mean, did the lawyer really pay $130,000 of his own money to keep this person quiet?

[01:35:09] VANIER: Well, he says he did. He admit as much. He admits as much.

HENICAN: Well, no, she --

(CROSSTALK)

HENICAN: She did really not show Donald Trump, did it really come out of his (INAUDIBLE) not of that stuff is very believable, I don't say.

FERGUSON: Here's what I'll say about this, Stormy Daniels says that she was, you know, told that these tactics would be used against her. Oddly, it's the exact same tactics that Stormy Daniels is now using against Donald Trump. So, if you're going to tell me that I need to believe her, why would I believe her? She signed a disclosure, broke the disclosure, brings out things that she was not supposed to bring out because she took the money. She took the cash, cash and cheque, and is making what we -- from what we understand, a massive amount of money becoming the most popular, most well-known porn star in history of this country.

VANIER: But then that's -- but then it doesn't matter. I don't think anybody cares what happens to Stormy Daniels and her career and whether she becomes an even more successful --

FERGUSON: She does. She does. She absolutely does.

(CROSSTALK)

VANIER: OK. But -- yes. But this is not -- Ben, this is not an interview about the future of Stormy Daniels. This is an interview about the future of this presidency. So, ultimately, do you think there was anything in that interview? That's what interest me and I think that's what interests you or is certainly what interests voters. Do you think there was anything in all of this, that hurts or affects this presidency deeply?

FERGUSON: Honestly, from what I literally did my radio show, right, before we came on here, talking to people all over the country calling in, and the mass majority of them that were Trump supporters said they would vote for him again. They knew they weren't voting for a boy scout. This happened years before he was running for president. It didn't happen in the White House, man, the (INAUDIBLE) Clinton comparison of -- the difference between this and Clinton is what Clinton did happen while he was in the White House. This happened years before Donald Trump even thought about running for the White House. So, most of those individuals said, this is exactly what I knew before. Stormy Daniels said she slept with the President, Stormy Daniels took money to keep quiet about it. Now, she's using that and exploiting that opportunity because he is the President, to make more money. They say they don't really care.

VANIER: Ellis, last word, quickly though, we have to run.

HENICAN: Well, among the hardcore, no. Apparently, they don't care about any sexual impropriety unless it involves Democrats. I would take a look though at independent women, some of them are not going to like the idea of the married president with the young baby sleeping in the hotel room with the porn star. It may not fly as well in those (INAUDIBLE)

VANIER: All right, guys, thank you for joining us on the show. Glad to see you. Thank you.

FERGUSON: Good to see you.

HENICAN: Thanks for having us.

VANIER: And Catalonia's ex-president is reportedly set to appear before a German judge on Monday. Carles Puigdemont was arrested in Germany on a European warrant after crossing the border on Sunday. He's been living in exile from Spain since the Catalonian independence referendum last October.

ALLEN: The Spanish government accuses him of sedition for his role in the vote. Puigdemont's supporters clashed with police in Barcelona after the news of his arrest. Earlier, I spoke with CNN European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas about this and I asked him, what Germany might do now that Carles Puigdemont is in their custody.

DOMINIC THOMAS, CNN EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Even though this is a juridical matter, something that must be handled by the court beginning on Monday, it is very hard to imagine that Angela Merkel will not get involved in this on Friday just to step back a little bit. The Spanish Supreme Court announced that 25 of the separatist independents and leaders were going to be charged with some, you know, very serious matters ranging from rebellion to misuse of public funds, and six of those individuals are already in -- essentially in self- exile and are now wanted by the authorities. And one of them is Puigdemont who was traveling and was the warrant have been canceled but then reissued. And he found himself traveling by land in a vehicle crossing to Germany and that's when he was picked up.

ALLEN: So, when you say Angela Merkel will likely get involved, how so? Will Germany play as a moderator of sorts?

THOMAS: It's possible. I mean, what's interesting though and this would not obviously bode very well for Puigdemont is that Merkel's party, the CDC (INAUDIBLE) sits at the European Union with Prime Minister Rajoy's People's Party. They're all part of the European People's Party so that some kind of solidarity there. But this is really a matter for the courts to deal with. But of course, throughout this process, the separatists and Puigdemont in particular have been very skilful at using international attention in order to draw some -- sort of shed some light on their particular questions and issues in Catalonia. And so, one could imagine, Angela Merkel as this crisis develops further and trying to step in an act as a kind of mediator with Rajoy to try and encourage them to find a way finally after six months of this crisis to sit down at the table and to try and find some kind of solution to this before it spreads even wider than it already has.

[01:40:07] ALLEN: Why have Spain been so aggressive in pursuing Puigdemont and his colleagues? He is charged with rebellion. He could face 30 years in prison.

THOMAS: Yes, these are very serious charges. So, what's been so interesting in this is the way that Prime Minister Rajoy has been absolutely unyielding from the beginning, arguing very simply that the Spanish constitution which states that Spain is indissoluble, it cannot be broken down and that everything that the Catalonians have done from the very beginning is unconstitutional and illegal. And when they pursued their bid for independence, he declared article 155 and took over control of the region. He forced a snap election and which backfired because it essentially produced the same result, and has been unwilling to go to the negotiating table. I think what has shifted in the last six months, actually, is that now attention is increasingly on Rajoy himself as Prime Minister, and people are increasingly questioned the way in which he has handle this crisis.

ALLEN: Again, he is set to appear in court in Germany here on Monday.

VANIER: The Dapchi schoolgirls released by Boko Haram in Nigeria are now returning home and the country's President has a message for the Chibok girls who were still being held by the terror group. Stay with us.

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ALLEN: The Dapchi schoolgirls recently freed by Boko Haram are now being reunited with their families in Nigeria. The girls met Friday with President Muhammadu Buhari just two days after the terror group surprisingly released, most of the 110 schoolgirls they kidnapped last month.

VANIER: And their story is reminiscent of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping back in 2014. More than 100 of those girls remained in captivity to this day. And the government says it's working for their release as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[01:45:10] MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA: Wild (INAUDIBLE) of Dapchi girls rejoice because of the reunion with their children. I want to -- I feel for the Chibok community, never to lose hope or to despair. We are determined as never before to bring back our remaining Chibok daughters and this, we must accomplish. And that will be soon by God's grace.

FATIMA, RELEASED DAPCHI SCHOOLGIRL: On behalf all of us, we want to thank you for saving our life and (INAUDIBLE) and bringing out of light.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: How about her? Nigeria's air force has been escorting the Dapchi girls back to their hometown. Meantime, the government is reportedly in talks with Boko Haram about a possible ceasefire.

And this is happening in the run-up to Nigeria's Presidential and parliamentary elections next February. The current administration has been slammed for inaction on key issues like the country's sluggish economy.

VANIER: And billionaire Bill Gates is also voicing criticism. CNN's David McKenzie sat down with him for an inclusive interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is where Bill Gates is quietly spending more than $1.6 billion of his fortune. His money helping to eradicate the scourge of polio in Nigeria. But grinding poverty remains. And for many, an absence of political leadership.

BILL GATES, FORMER CEO, MICROSOFT: As a partner of Nigeria --

MCKENZIE: So, the once silent partner is speaking out.

GATES: You know, I am saying that the current plan is inadequate.

MCKENZIE: Directed squarely at politicians, the public rebuke is a rare departure for Gates and his foundation, but it comes at a critical time.

Africa's biggest economy is heading into the 2019 elections with the continent's largest youth population, nearly 8 million of them are unemployed.

Why are you thinking that it's good to give hard facts to Nigerian leaders right now?

GATES: Well, Nigeria has all these young people, and the current quality and quantity of investment in this young generation, the health and education, just isn't good enough. And you know, so I was very direct.

MCKENZIE: In many ways, the informal sector is the engine of Nigeria's economy but many people here will tell you that the growth of Africa's biggest economy is in spite of the government, not because of it.

Out on the streets, they say the government is often absent or present in the form of an official asking for a bribe. Nigeria is rated one of the most corrupt countries.

So, you know, what do you think of the message that Bill Gates is bringing here?

MOSES UCHANDU, NIGERIAN: Bill Gates is saying the truth.

MCKENZIE: Moses Uchandu works in a bank near the market. He says vendors like this woman selling (INAUDIBLE) don't have steady electricity and they can't access loans.

All these people are trying to survive and are they being helped?

UCHANDU: No. People are struggling to survive every day.

MCKENZIE: The government says it has welcomed Gates' message and is working to do better for the people, a population that by 2050 will be bigger than in the United States.

Do you see the potential for Nigeria when you visit people in this country and go out into the streets?

GATES: I really do think of all the countries I've seen, it really hangs in the balance. If they can get health and education right, they will be an engine of growth not just for themselves which will be those 400 million people but for all of Africa.

MCKENZIE: Moses says Nigerians don't need to be given much to succeed.

UCHANDU: We're (INAUDIBLE) yes.

MCKENZIE: If they could just be provided with the basics, he says the talent of Nigerians will shine through. David McKenzie, CNN Lagos.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VANIER: And tropical cyclone Nora already hit Northern Australia this week, leaving damage like this. And a lot more high wind and heavy rain is heading to the region now. We'll have the latest forecast. Stay with us.

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[01:51:48] PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Severe weather season slowly and quietly waking up here across portions of the United States' South Central region of the U.S. we go where the best weather, best case for severe weather at least is in place across this region. Could see a few thunderstorms begin to pop up some heavy rainfall, certainly possible in places like St. Louis, points slightly to the north. You've got to work your way towards Minneapolis for some wintery weather to begin to enter the picture across that region. And in places like Denver, Colorado, some afternoon showers possible.

11 the best we can do for you. Atlanta, one of the cooler days left in the forecast for the remainder of spring and, of course, summer as well. Nine there, same score out of New York City's sunny skies, gorgeous day there in Montreal. About six degrees though with chilly temps in store. And notice, it will want to warm up over the next couple of days, Boston. Gorgeous perspective (INAUDIBLE) and significant snowstorms recently and same story for New York City makes it up to the teens. But all of that, it is short-lived. Look at this, by Saturday into Sunday, as we approach, of course, the final days of the month of March, that's wintry weather and that's cool temps beginning to really dive in south. And we'll how far south the cold air eventually makes but it really looks like an impressive spell for this time of year.

Down to the tropics we go Nassau around 28, Belize City, one better at 29, while on to areas around South America, Manaus at 32 degrees, La Paz got a few morning showers up around 12. Salvador, it comes in with some morning thunderstorms 28 degrees.

ALLEN: A triple threat of cyclones is churning up the scene near Australia and the Philippines. Our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is following that for us. Hello, Pedram, busy, busy oceans.

JAVAHERI: Hey, Natalie. Yes. Absolutely. You know, it is the time of year, you begin to see activity really ramp up. And as you said, we've got three systems, Jelawat, Nora, and Iris sitting there across this region. The footage out of areas around Nora really showed the damage that is already been done across portions of Australia in the cape region. I want to talk about Iris because this disturbance going straight to the south, not going to impact anyone. It weakens the offshore between portions of say, Vanuatu and Australia.

Jelawat, we're watching carefully. The name for this particular storm comes in from Malaysia, the name given for a feature -- it's essentially a freshwater fish is what the name is coming from and it's one that's found in rivers across places such as Laos and Thailand and Malaysia but this system itself is a fish storm as well. The winds at 55 kilometers per hour. Anytime you see a storm get into a close proximity of places like the Philippines, it's a little concerning, of course, but the steering environment in the atmosphere is such that it'll steer the system away from land even though it'll try to strengthen, it'll stay away from just about everyone. So, good news in that sense with the disturbance. And when you talk about the seasons of the rainfall and say, places such as Tacloban as you go from March into April, this is literraly the bottom of the barrel as the dry season is concerned across portions of the Philippines. So, climatologically, it is playing out that we remain dry and this system stays offshore. That is the story across that region.

Down towards portions of Australia, here is what is left of Nora. The damaging had already done. The rainfall should be tremendous at least initially in the forecast period over the next 48 hours. South of (INAUDIBLE) this area could see as much as say, 150 to 250 millimeters of rainfall. Certainly a flooding concern as well across this region also.

[01:55:05] But leave you with this here, Natalie and Cyril, disturbance across central portions of the Mediterranean sending up some dust and sand into places such as Russia, how about this in Sochi, some orange snow has been reported. Some (INAUDIBLE) being transported from the Sahara onto Russia, guys?

ALLEN: Does not look pleasant, does it?

JAVAHERI: No, not at all. Yellow snow is not good, neither is orange.

ALLEN: Pedram, thank you. Thanks for teaching us what Jelawat means. That is CNN NEWSROOM for this hour, I'm Natalie Allen.

VANIER: I'm Cyril Vanier. Your news continues. You've got Rosemary Church and George Howell next, so you are in great hands. Have a good day.

ALLEN: We'll see you.

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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: She says she was threatened to stay silent but Stormy Daniels --