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Trump Lawyers Want More Time to Respond to Stormy Daniels Lawsuit; U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Wealthy Russians, Government Officials; Markets in Red Following Trump Defends New Tariffs Threats on China; Trump Paints Caravan of Immigrants as Criminals; Trump Repeats Debunked Voter Fraud Claims; UFC Star Conor McGregor Charged After Attack on Bus. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired April 6, 2018 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Michael, this is the topic we're always discussing, the two of us here.


KEILAR: But is there truth to this? Does the president's denial actually help Stormy Daniels' case?

MOORE: I feel like I'm back in grade school and the letter of the week is "P." We're talking about Putin, Pruitt, porn stars and payoffs. That seems to be the news cycle that we're going through.

I don't know that it necessarily makes the case for Stormy Daniels as they move forward. The interesting thing is that Trump is going around, sort of like a big mouth bass, and Stormy's lawyers throwing out a bait, a big flashy lure, and Trump jumps at it. Now, so he's got a situation where he's denied knowledge of the payoff. That brings in question federal election laws, what he knew. It may be subject to testimony under oath and contradictory information. We don't know what the Daniels team has. And neither does the president necessarily at this point. So I don't know that it was the best thing for the president to jump at the bait. Whether or not the judge turns around and lets him be deposed based on that statement alone, I don't know.

His problem is he's subject to deposition in other cases. And once that discovery starts, and once they have a chance to get the president under oath, it can be a bad day for him. Tying it back to Russia, I think that's why you see such consternation about whether or not he should go talk to Bob Mueller. He just cannot -- just cannot control what he says.

KEILAR: If he did not know about this payment, does it strengthen the argument that this money is a campaign contribution for Michael Cohen?

MOORE: I think it does. I think it puts Cohen in some jeopardy. I find it unbelievable that he didn't know about the payment. That's -- you got a lawyer who clearly has made his affinity for the president known, hard for me to imagine that at some point he didn't go to him and say, man, I've done this great thing for you. I've tried to -- I made this -- this story will not be a problem, that they didn't have some discussion. They seemed to share a lot of conversation and strategy, so just is almost unbelievable to me that at some point the president was not made aware of the payment. That is hard to imagine. And why in the world would Cohen put $130,000 of his own money in, you know, at that point? That seems ridiculous. Why was the president -- a line for the president to sign the agreement if, in fact, he knew nothing about it?

KEILAR: Safe to say, Michael, you're not paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the goodness of your heart on behalf of your clients.

MOORE: No. I would not be stroking a check for it. And I certainly, if the president was my client, he and I would have had a serious discussion about whether or not he can keep his mouth shut as the case moves forward.

KEILAR: Michael Moore, thank you so much, sir.

MOORE: Thank you.

KEILAR: Right now, the market back in the red as the president defends his threat of new tariffs on China, despite the concerns from American form farmers who could get hit the hardest. I'll speak with a congresswoman from Illinois who shares their fear of a trade war.

First, we want to spotlight a former CNN Hero of the Year, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrows. His goal, to help stem global child hunger and lack of education by serving one free meal a day in schools. His organization, Mary's Meals, started pretty small back in 2002 but his work has grown tremendously and, late last year, celebrated a pretty big milestone.


MAGNUS MACFARLANE-BARROWS, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: We started serving 200 children. And it is beyond our wildest dreams that it would grow like this.


MACFARLANE-BARROWS: Incredibly, recently, we serve the one billionth meal since we began. It's a very humbling experience. But for us, it is very much the next triumph waiting. Really, more than ever, we feel this work of ours has just begun.


KEILAR: All right, you can watch our full update on him or you can nominate someone that you think should be a "CNN Hero." Just go to


[11:38:14] KEILAR: Our breaking news, the Trump administration announcing new sanctions against uber-wealthy Russians, the companies that they run and top Russian government officials. The White House says President Trump is standing up to Russia's malign activities, including meddling in the U.S. election.

Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly, of Illinois. She serves on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees.

Congresswoman, thank you for being with us.

REP. ROBIN KELLY, (D), ILLINOIS: Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: I want to start with the news of the sanctions. Seven oligarchs sanctioned, 12 companies, and there are 17 top government officials and allies of Putin. Do you support the Trump administration's move here?

KELLY: Well, I think it is about time that he's done something, because it seems like he's been very lax when it comes to President Putin and Russia and the things they have done.

KEILAR: You -- for you, it is welcome, but you feel like it is just too late. Do you feel like it is enough?

KELLY: I think he's taken his time. I'm still very concerned about elections and tampering and what they have done not only in our country but other countries also.


KELLY: -- he's been slow to move.

KEILAR: The former national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, this week said the U.S. failed to impose sufficient costs on Russia. Do you think that's still the case?

KELLY: I have to see everything that he's doing, but, again, I think he's been slow to act, and I would have to see if more should be done and could be done, which I tend to think there is more to be done.

KEILAR: I want to move now to talk about tariffs. As a congresswoman from Illinois, in the Midwest, you are familiar with the concerns.


KEILAR: You're hearing the concerns from constituents and also from other people in neighboring districts as well. You say that the back and forth with China will ultimately hurt your constituents. Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans, which is one of the goods that China is planning to make U.S. farmers pay tariffs on.

KELLY: Right.

[11:40:16] KEILAR: What is really at stake here?

KELLY: Agriculture is very, very, very important, not only to my district, but the state of Illinois. And we're already losing, since earlier this week, crop value. I think about $275 million. And we do a lot of business with China, over a billion dollars with our soybean, with our corn, over $50 million. And even in the auto industry it will be a big problem. And Ford is my biggest employer. I'm very concerned about my farmers. My district is urban, suburban and rural, and I'm very, very concerned about what will happen with them.

KEILAR: What do you want the president to do? These aren't in effect at this point in time. There have been questions about whether there could be some sort of negotiation. What do you want to see happen?

KELLY: I would like to see some diplomacy first. But also you have to have the right people in place to carry out that diplomacy. I would like to see, if it should come to that, some sanctions, but also working through the World Trade Organization. We had some successes there, and we closed some loopholes, but I think to automatically jump to tariffs was not the right move. And many, many people feel like that in a bipartisan way, I might add.

KEILAR: And speaking of the Republican Senator from Nebraska, Ben Sass, has said that as well: "Hopefully, the president is just blowing off steam again, but if he's even half serious, this is nuts. Let's absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the dumbest possible way to do this."

Do you think that having some bipartisan backing here is going to help your concerns be heard?

KELLY: I think it will help. But, you know, the president seems to walk to the beat of his own drum and he doesn't seem to listen to those who surround him, so it is hard to tell. But, of course, always better if it is bipartisan.

KEILAR: Congresswoman Robin Kelly, we do appreciate you being with us. Have a wonderful weekend.

KELLY: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: Still ahead, President Trump provides a conspiracy theory about illegal voting in the 2016 election. Why is he still pushing it when it has already been debunked?


[11:46:55] KEILAR: President Trump is going after the caravan of immigrants headed through Mexico toward the U.S. He's painting them as dangerous criminals, even calling migrants rapists as he gets ready to send National Guard troops to the border. Here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower when I opened, everybody said, oh, he was so tough. And I used the word "rape." And, yes, they came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don't want to mention that. So we have to change our laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Joining me now, Emily Tisch Sussman, vice president for campaigns at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Bryan Lanza, CNN political commentator and former communications director for President Trump's transition team.

So I think it is important, Emily, to point out that it is not unusual for migrants to face sexual assault. That is very true, on the root. There is no evidence, however, that that is going on when it comes to this caravan. In fact, one of the reasons that migrants ban together is to avoid that very problem. And we actually haven't seen that report that the president is talking about. What do you make of his comments?

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF CAMPAIGNS, THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: His comments are disgusting as usual and a distraction as they always are. Every time he does this, he comes back to the same chorus, right? We have seen this over and over again. Whenever he doesn't like what he's supposed to talk about or doesn't like what is under a microscope, like I would say, you did a great report earlier on Scott Pruitt and the EPA, he comes back to the same thing over and over. Always immigration, and it is often voter fraud. It is attacks on vulnerable communities and communities of color. Comes back to it every time.

KEILAR: He's had some pretty strong rhetoric and imagery when it comes to immigration, Bryan. A representative from Latin America told CNN that Trump is just looking for more excuses to demonize migrants from Latin America, migrants currently on the caravan. What do you think about that?

BRYAN LANZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, I think you go to the violence that takes place along the border routes. When the president uses that data, we may not have specific data on this now. He's extrapolating. We know this thing always happens, as you stated. We had "Fusion" magazine that said up to 80 percent of the women and kids are sexually assaulted and raped on the way up. He's just extrapolating that larger data into --


KEILAR: Is he extrapolating or conflating. When he gave his opening remarks of his campaign, he was talking about immigrants being rapists. They're not one and the same. Because the assertion by some is that some of these migrants are, at least in part, assaulted through the process but not by other migrants. Subject to the coyotes who are trafficking them. So they're not the same.

[11:49:52] LANZA: I think there's both that come across the border illegally. You'll have the woman on the route that are sexually abused, that are sexually assaulted by the coyotes and by some of the other people that are coming across. You're not going to have 100 percent of pure motives coming across the border, obviously, illegal activity. There are reasons that they can't come across the normal way. And some have criminal backgrounds. That will be taking place along the route. And as they get you the U.S., they'll continue that same kind of behavior. I think crime takes place on both sides of the border, not just one.

When the president puts focus on it, he says, this is something I based my campaign on. Immigration is an important issue. Securing the border is an equally important issue. That's why he constantly brings it up. It's not a distraction. He's been talking about this solidly for three years now.

KEILAR: He's painting the picture of a crisis, which is -- which is not to say that there is not a problem. I think there is a lot of agreement that this is an issue that needs to be tackled. But you had border crossings last year that were about one-third of what they were in 2006, which is when President Bush called up the National Guard. Today, you have about two times as many agents, Border Patrol agents than they were at that previous time.

So what do you make of this, Emily, this picture of a crisis when it does seem like, as we talk to experts and ask them about it, they say that there isn't one?

TISCH SUSSMAN: Migrant border crossing is at a 46-year low. He is always trying to create a crisis and only in the areas he wants to be able to have his messaging around and it is always attacks on communities of color.

For him to paint the idea that he's trying to protect vulnerable communities, that's why he's talking about this, because he's trying to protect women and children who are crossing, is really ridiculous. When, in fact, his immigration policies are not just rhetoric, they are not just to bolster his base, they are really harmful to families. They are deporting mothers who are taking care of children. They are deporting caretakers of disabled people. They are breaking up communities and pastors. That's what immigration policies are doing. So to focus on the National Guard based on a manufactured crisis is really ridiculous.

KEILAR: I want to ask you, Bryan, about a claim he made yesterday about voter fraud. Let's listen.


TRUMP: There are many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You've probably heard about that. They always like to say, oh, that's a conspiracy theory. Not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people. And it's very hard because the states guard their records. They don't want to see it.


KEILAR: His own voter commission failed to prove this. Why is he so fixated on this, Bryan?

LANZA: I wish he would get off this topic. It's not a topic I think he's going to win. I think there's enough evidence out there that goes to the contrary. Some voter fraud does take place but not to the millions and millions he stated. That said, the process can get better. I think there is probably some tidying that needs to take place during provisional ballots, which a lot of people are voting, but they're getting disqualified. That's an issue on the rise in California we should pay more attention to, and that is a result of voter fraud. It does take place. It's not at the level the president sees it. But if we don't address these things in the short term, you'll see it at higher levels.

KEILAR: Bryan and Emily, thanks very much to the both of you.

Coming up, UFC star, Conor McGregor, facing assault charges after allegedly attacking a bus, and it was all caught on video. We'll have it next.


[11:57:34] KEILAR: He got famous fighting other fighters, and today, he's infamous for fighting a bus. Take a look at why Conor McGregor is in the news and why it's important today. The mixed martial arts star reportedly is the one seen on video throwing a dolly into the window of a bus full of UFC fighters in Brooklyn. McGregor is charged with assault. He left a police precinct a short time ago in handcuffs. We have video of that right here as he's exiting.

And CNN's Jason Carroll is covering the story for us.

What happened, Jason, and is there any possibility of a publicity stunt or was he really ticked off?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, is there a possibility? Short answer, yes. There's a lot of question this morning in the sports world about whether all this was an attempt to drum up publicity. But regardless, Conor McGregor spent the night in jail and he is already being escorted out of the precinct in handcuffs. You saw the video there.

It's all because of what happened at a media event last night in Brooklyn. We've seen some of the video. We're show more. Much of it caught on cell phone video. That video shows McGregor and some members of his crew. They took an elevator to a loading dock and then he's accused of throwing trash cans. And it didn't stop there. Police says McGregor also threw a dolly. You can see him there throwing a dolly at a bus. They say it ended up hurting at least two fighters on that bus. UFC fighter, Michael Ciesta (ph), has head facial lacerations and UFC fighter, Ray Borg (ph), had corneal abrasions. Both had to be pulled from fights tomorrow.

The question is why. Why would McGregor seem to take part in all this? There's some bad blood between McGregor's camp and a Russian fighter scheduled to fight for McGregor's lightweight belt. That Russian fighter, by the way, says he is laughing inside about the incident. The UFC president says this is no laughing matter. He spoke to McGregor about what happened, and he says McGregor tried to justify his role in it, but he says there simply is no excuse.


DANA WHITE, PRESIDENT, UFC: You want to grab (EXPLETIVE DELETED) friends and come down here and do what you did today? It's disgusting. And I don't think anybody is going to be, you know, huge Conor McGregor fans after this.


CARROLL: Whether it was bad blood between fighters or a publicity stunt, McGregor is facing several charges, including three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief.

Back to you.

[12:00:08] KEILAR: Jason Carroll, thank you.

And thank you so much for joining me.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.