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Delivery Van Plows into Crowd in Muenster, Germany; National Guard Troops Begin Arriving at U.S./Mexican Border; Trump Advisor Played Key Role Pursuing Possible Clinton E-mails; White House Imposes Additional Sanctions on Russian Oligarchs, Companies; Trump Says He Didn't Know about Payment to Stormy Daniels. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 7, 2018 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:19] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thanks again for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We're following breaking news. A delivery van plowing through a crowd of people in Muenster, Germany. Here's what we know so far. Police say that three people are dead, 20 others are injured, and some of them have life-threatening injuries. The driver of the delivery van committed suicide by shooting himself. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. Police spokesman telling CNN that the motive and identity of the driver still unknown.
CNN's Erin McLaughlin is following the details for us.
Erin, what more are you learning?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. This apparent attack happened at 3:30 p.m. It was a sunny saturday afternoon. When a man, driving a delivery van, plowed into a restaurant with an open- air terrace right in the heart of old city Muenster, packed with people, including tourists out enjoying the sunshine and meal, according to authorities, some 20 people were injured in the attack. Six of those individuals have life threatening injuries. Six are considered to be in critical condition. Three were killed, including the driver who, as you mentioned, shot and killed himself following this attack. Now authorities say they have sealed off that section of the old city. The investigation they describe as in its early stages and extremely fast paced. They're looking at any potential accomplices. And they're also critically looking at motive, which, so far, they have been unable to formulate.
WHITFIELD: And, Erin, have we learned anything more about how investigators have been also looking for, you know, potential explosives or any other evidence in this association, whether it's a one-off type of attack or other layers to this planned attack?
MCLAUGHLIN: Media reports suggested authorities had been paying particular attention, as you would expect, at this stage of the investigation, at that delivery van, which was plowed into that restaurant with the open-air terrace. They're looking for explosives according to German media reports. Authorities to CNN have been very tight lipped with those details. They have yet to publicly identify who this driver is. Although some German media say that they have identified him as a 49-year-old German national. Although, again, CNN has been unable to confirm those details as well. But critically, again, Fredricka, looking at motive, what would motivate someone to do something like this.
WHITFIELD: Erin McLaughlin, thank you.
Let's discuss this further. CNN law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell, and CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd, and Gayle Lemmon Tzemach all with us now.
Josh, you first.
Are you hearing anything in the descriptions of the series of accounts that kind of raises a red flag with you in terms of how this happened and who was involved?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. Having the unfortunate experience and responding to overseas terror attacks and these kinds of incidents this has a hallmark of something that looks deliberate. There are things we don't know at the beginning. A lot of the facts turn out not to be true. But at least based on what's reported now, the fact we have a subject who conducted a type of a tack like this and then took his own life is telling. Because I think that helps us rule out any type of accidental situation, because obviously traffic situation, that wouldn't take place. What's interesting now for investigators is to determine who this person is and what was the motive. This is the period of time where you're trying to figure were there any other contacts that caused this person to conduct this attack. Even as a former terrorism investigator, I don't think we're at the point now where we can definitively say this is some type of terrorist attack. We don't know what motivated this person. Was this someone who was perhaps radicalized or maybe was inspired from a group overseas or maybe it was just someone who had some other type of grievance and determined this is how he was going to act on that and, you know, obviously targeting innocent people. It shows you in this society we're in today that even going about your day sitting at a, you know, restaurant is potentially a dangerous environment. And obviously with law enforcement officials and security professionals, each one of these incidents teaches us new lessons as far as how to protect the public.
[13:05:48] WHITFIELD: Samantha, what do you surmise knowing this individual, the driver, took his own life?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I agree with Josh. I think it's telling. We can rule out the fact this was an accidental event. It is very true that today everything has become an instrument of terror. And I think that's exactly the point we're looking at here. We cannot assume this was a terrorist attack. But we do have a vehicle used to kill people and to really evoke fear in a very crowded place. This does have the hallmark of other terrorist attacks that have used vehicles in places like berlin and in Stockholm. We're at the year anniversary of a vehicular attack in Stockholm by a terrorist. The identity of the perpetrator in this attack is going to be very important, particularly when we look at the context and the political climate in Germany right now. The last terrorist attack in Germany use ago vehicle in December 2016 was perpetrated by a Tunisian national.
Chancellor Merkel has come under enormous pressure for her migrant policy. She just went through an election where her party lost a lot of seats. If, in fact, the perpetrator of t this attack was an immigrant or not a German national, I think that the far right and the nationalist parties within Germany are going to use this as an excuse to tighten down on immigration policy.
WHITFIELD: Gayle what do you see of the direction of this investigation so far?
GAYLE LEMMON TZEMACH, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I've been following German media closely. At the moment, one of the big papers in Germany was really talking about the fact that they are looking at these suspected attacker's home right now, that they are searching the suspects attacker's home. This is reporting from the newspaper. And really you see Germany that is now accustomed to covering these and accustomed to waiting to see whether this is a mentally ill lone attacker from Germany or whether this is an attacker from Germany who is connected to something bigger.
The real question we all have to ask ourselves, we've reached the moment where we immediately go to the fact this could be terrorism because this is what keeps playing out over and over and over again, right? And as we talked about, it's much easier to slay a fighter than it is to kill an ideology. That is much bigger than any one person. This is where all the investigations go, even if it turns out it is a mentally ill German who really decided to use his car to hurt people today in the town of Muenster.
WHITFIELD: Josh, is the worry any different if this is a person who acted alone, versus whether there's an association with a network?
CAMPBELL: That is very important. This is the period that is most critical for law enforcement. Right after an event, if there were others out there that helped this person, maybe associates, or maybe just even known that this person was going to do this, now would be the time potentially they might be going underground. Law enforcement, intelligence services will be fanning out to determine whether there were others who assisted. You can expect to see the type of searches at the subject's resident, maybe family members, to determine what they're dealing with. You can also understand that right now, for law enforcement and intelligence sources, are working with their partners. Unfortunately, with these types of incidents, there's been so many that law enforcement and intelligence services have been very good at sharing unless. Whether it's just bio metrics of the perpetrator or the identification, that's going to be blasted out to other law enforcement intelligence services around the world so they can look through their holdings and determine if they have any information that can assist the officials there in Germany not only with this investigation but to potentially identify other perpetrators. WHITFIELD: Sam, you feel fairly confident investigators know who
they're dealing with by now? There's some sort of registration associated with the name, even if there isn't some sort of identification in the vehicle? And this will allow investigators to examine the digital footprint, get a sense of who this person is, and the intent?
VINOGRAD: I think so. Unfortunately, or fortunately or unfortunately, that the perpetrator did shoot and kill himself, we have the physical evidence at the scene. Fred, as you mentioned, the digital footprint of this individual is going to be key. He essentially rented the truck. We can work backward that way. The immediate goal in these kind of situations after you mitigate the loss of life at the scene and make sure that there are no follow on attacks is to go and trace the individual's digital footprint and footprint more generally to make sure he wasn't in turn, for example, with anybody else in Germany, around the world, inspiring them to take similar action, and Josh, as you mentioned, I was in the White House when these sorts of events would happen, we'd get a call to The Situation Room so we could make sure that in the cyberspace, in the digital space that there was no communication between this individual and anybody in the United States and that there were no other copycat/follow-on attacks that were being planned.
[13:09:45] WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there for now. Sam Vinograd, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and Josh Campbell, thank you. Appreciate it.
Stay with us. We have much more straight ahead on this breaking news out of Germany right after this.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. The first round of troops has arrived at the U.S./Mexican border in response to the president's calls for the military to mobilize for border protection. Today, Texas National Guard teams began meeting with federal border agents -- Border Patrol agents, that is -- to assess what resources are need. The troops will soon be spread out in the five sectors that make up the 1,200-mile- long Texas/Mexico border. Two helicopters, full of troops, deployed from Austin last night. Texas state officials say 250 guardsmen will be heading to the border by Monday. As many as 4,000 National Guard troops have been ordered to prepare to deploy to the border. President Trump ordered the extra troops until his proposed wall is built. Arizona is planning to send approximately 150 troops next week.
CNN's Nick Watt is on the border in Nogales, Arizona.
Nick, what role do we believe the guard troops will be playing?
[13:15:13] NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You mentioned, eventually, there may be as many as 4,000 guardsmen on this border. That's what's been approved. Their mission has been approved through September 2018. This initial push, 250 troops in Texas, 150 here, is really to assess what they need to be doing exactly here on the ground. As you mentioned, they are meeting with Border Patrol agents here to figure out what holes perhaps need to be plugged.
Now, when the National Guard's been deployed here in the past, they've been involved in surveillance. We're told this time, in Arizona, they will be involved in some sort of border construction work also. They will only be armed if they need to be for self-defense. They will not actually be apprehending people coming across the border. They will be here in a support role. But these are the details being figured out right now.
This deployment is happening very quickly. It was just Tuesday that President Trump first mentioned this. Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said they would be deploying as soon as possible. We know now what as soon as possible means. It means right now.
WHITFIELD: Yes, it does.
Nick Watt, thanks so much, in Nogales, Arizona.
Still ahead, could President Trump soon sit down to answer questions from the special counsel?
This, as new details emerge about the lengths a Trump campaign adviser went to try to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton.
[13:21:07] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We're following the deadly delivery van attack in Germany, and we'll have more on that in a moment.
But first, to a CNN exclusive. President Trump's legal team is preparing him for potential questioning by Robert Mueller. A White House official and a person familiar with the situation said this is a sign the president's legal team is intensifying its deliberations over whether to allow Trump to be questioned by the special counsel.
All of this as we're learning that a Trump foreign policy adviser made efforts to find dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. Joseph Schmitz played a key role in the search for Clinton's deleted e-mails from her private server.
CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has details -- Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Fred, my colleague, Jenna McLaughlin (ph), and I are told by multiple sources a former adviser to the Trump campaign pushed government agencies, including the FBI and State Department, to review material from the dark web in the summer of 2016, that he thought were Hillary Clinton's deleted e-mails. His push, just the latest example of Trump advisers who were mixed up in efforts to find dirt on Clinton, including potentially stolen e-mails during the presidential campaign.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): CNN has learned that a Trump campaign adviser played a key role in an effort to find Hillary Clinton's 30,000 deleted e-mails on the dark web --
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.
SCIUTTO: -- and reveal any damaging information contained within them.
JOSEPH SCHMITZ, FORMER DEFENSE DEPARTMENT INSPECTOR GENERAL & FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISOR: It's not easy being a whistleblower.
SCIUTTO: Joseph Schmitz, a former Department of Defense inspector general, was a foreign policy adviser to the campaign -- seen here seated at a table with then-Candidate Trump in March 2016.
Meeting with the officials at the FBI, State Department and the intelligence community's inspector general, he told them a source he called Patriot had discovered what he believed were the deleted e- mails on the dark web. Schmitz then pushed for the government to review and declassify the material so he and others could review it without jeopardizing Schmitz' security clearance. All this according to multiple sources with direct knowledge.
Officials at the State Department and inspector general briefly interviewed Schmitz but they declined to review or accept the information. The FBI also interviewed him as part of its ongoing criminal investigation into Clinton's e-mails.
SCHMITZ: We did investigate --
SCIUTTO: Schmitz then took his information to the House Intelligence Committee.
This is the latest example of Trump adviser's mixed up in efforts to find dirt on Clinton.
Fired chief strategist, Steve Bannon, told the House Intelligence Committee in February the Trump campaign staff were repeatedly contacted by outsiders suggesting ways to get the Clinton's e-mails. This, according to a source familiar with Bannon's testimony.
A Trump campaign official tells CNN, quote, "The campaign does not comment on matters of interest to the special counsel or the congressional committees."
The material was never verified. A cybersecurity expert who also saw the material on the dark web told CNN it appeared to be fake, based on what he read and where it was posted. "I'm pretty sure they were posted on the dark web equivalent of Reddit," he said.
Schmitz, reached by CNN in person and via e-mail, declined to comment.
WHITFIELD: Sources told CNN there was no indication that Schmitz was communicating with or influenced by agents of a foreign power when he brought the material to U.S. government agencies. Now Schmitz became one of Trump's first five campaign foreign policy advisers in the spring of 2016. Schmitz counseled Trump through the November election. This, according to his professional bio. After Trump's election victory, he considered Schmitz as a possible secretary of the Navy -- Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.
I want to bring in my panel. Amie Parnes is a CNN political analyst and senior political correspondent for "The Hill." Julian Zelizer is a CNN political analyst and professor at Princeton University. And Jeremy Herb is a CNN politics reporter.
Good to see all of you.
Jeremy, you're up first.
We knew Trump was searching for Hillary Clinton's e-mails. He only talked about it out loud while on the campaign trail and even, you know, challenged anyone who had information. So why does Schmitz involvement raise particular concern?
[13:25:16] JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, Schmitz was one of five of Trump's original foreign policy advisers. He was in that March 2016 photo where you had George Papadopoulos, who has pled guilty in the Mueller's probe, and Carter Page. It's notable because Schmitz is now one of a series of cases where we've seen unusual efforts for Trump advisers to try to find dirt on Hillary and find her e-mails. With Papadopoulos, he talked to a Russian professor who claimed he could find e-mails through the Russians. Then we also had, of course, the Trump Tower meeting where Don Jr was promised dirt. It doesn't seem like Schmitz actually got the goods he was looking for. CNN reported someone who had reviewed the e-mails said they thought he turned out to actually be fake and not authentic.
WHITFIELD: Julian, a lot of mysterious stuff, I guess. How damaging is it for the president to have yet another person linked to him to also be wrapped up in this Russian related endeavor?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm not sure how damaging this particular story is. I don't think it will be that shocking to many people that Trump campaign advisers were looking for dirt on Hillary Clinton and vice versa. This is American Politics 101. And this is the way in which politics is conducted. So it's really the source of the material that is, in some ways, the most important. And here it seems it's from the dark web. It's not even true as opposed to coming directly from the Russian government, for example. So I'm not sure this is any kind of game changing moment.
WHITFIELD: And so, Amie, you know, is this something where Congress should be compelled to act?
AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- I mean, I agree with Julian, I don't think it's a big moment here, but it is another drop in this bucket that we're seeing of Russia. You know, Trump is really annoyed that this continues to dominate the headline, that this continues to loom over his White House, and so I think overall if you look at the big picture, it is sort of problematic for him in that it continues going and it adds just one more person and it shows the length to which Russia or Russia, you know, wanted to get in touch with these people around Trump. And so that I think is the most problematic thing here.
WHITFIELD: So the White House announced, you know, additional sanctions -- just, you know, changing subjects now on Russia -- and here's what the White House had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRTARY: The administration has sanctioned seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies and 17 top government officials and allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Today's sanctions and the totality of the administration's actions, which are in keeping with Congress' wishes, prove the president as absolutely correct when he said no one has been tougher on Russia. We want a positive relationship with the Russian government. For this to happen, there must be a significant change in their behavior.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Jeremy, is this kind of just the tip of the iceberg? There may be others that will be facing similar sanctions?
HERB: Well, we've seen, now, a series of escalations from the Russia -- from the U.S. government and sanctioning Russia. We had 60 diplomats were kicked out of the country earlier in response to the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy. I think, you know, this is sort of where we have a case of the government is showing these signs and it doesn't necessarily match the rhetoric of the president and so I think, you know, we haven't heard him specifically weigh in on these new sanctions. It will be -- it will be curious to see when he's asked about them if he feels the same way his government has in terms of making these new steps to punish Russia for actions not just related to the Russian meddling, but it is also tied to the invasion of Crimea and supplying Assad of weapons in Syria, so it's kind of a broader case of sanctions here.
WHITFIELD: Julian, the president has said, you know, no one has been tougher on Russia. Is this helping to exemplify that?
ZELIZER: Well, I think he's being pushed into this position. I think he's hesitated. He's been resistant to sanctions, even when his own party passed legislation calling for them. And I think now he is trying to be tougher. And I think this will at least give some credibility to the argument that he's doing something as opposed to just saying that. So they are relevant. Same with the story about the diplomats. But a lot more still needs to be done. The kinds of accusations that are being made about what the Russians are still planning to do in our elections as well as what they're doing globally are very serious. And I think many people believe necessitate even tougher sanctions at this point and some kind of rhetorical and muscle and heart from the president himself.
[13:29:09] WHITFIELD: And, Amie, you know, on these sanctions on these oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska (ph) is one of the Russian billionaires facing these sanctions. And he's also been connected to the former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is charged with money laundering in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. So are these -- will these sanctions in any way assist in the Mueller case?
AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's hard to say. But I think the one thing, as I said earlier, is this continues to be a story and this continues to build. And the president has been really deeply frustrated that, you know, there are these ties, that he keeps saying, you know, there was no collusion, but the fact of the matter is, every single day, there's something else that happens so there's another tie. So I think that this does -- this doesn't bode well for him when he's trying to do other things in the White House and the midterm elections are coming and Republicans are kind of frustrated that this is still kind of looming over his White House. So, yes, I think all of that kind of contributes to this larger picture.
WHITFIELD: Amie Parnes, Julian, Jeremy Herb, we'll stop it right there. Thank you so much.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We're also following this breaking news story out of Germany. Three dead, 20 injured, after a delivery van plowed through a crowd. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. Stay with us.
[13:36:07] WHITFIELD: We're continuing to follow breaking news out of Germany after a delivery van plowed through a crowd of people in Muenster. Police say three people are dead, 20 others are injured, and some of them have life-threatening injuries. The driver of the delivery van has died. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. And a police spokesman tells CNN that the motive and the identity of the driver still unknown.
Julian Reichelt joins me, the editor-in-chief of the German newspaper, "Bild."
Good to see you again, Julian.
Have you learned anything more about what investigators are learning about this driver, why this person did this?
JULIAN REICHELT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BILD: Well, the information that we have say that the identity of the driver's not exactly unknown. They have a pretty clear idea what the person is or was. It's a 48-year- old or 49-year-old German citizen, from what our reporters on the scene tell me. There are SWAT teams in front of this Muenster home, right now about or in the middle of raiding his home to look for any news about what his motives may have been. There are also bomb squads deployed that are checking the van and the home for possible explosives. And we've learned from authorities that the police are looking for two more people who may have been involved in this. They're not sure. This is based on eyewitness accounts. They have found a car that was abandoned somewhere at the highway. And so they are internally, not publicly, internally looking for two more people, but it's not clear yet how or if they were linked to this horrible attack.
# So earlier, when you were reporting and talking to us, you were talking about eyewitnesses who may have seen a person jump out of a vehicle. Have police say anything more about that and whether that's at all related to the two other people that you are now reporting that they're looking for?
REICHELT: Well, officially, the police are still very silent about this. Again, they're not publicly looking for these two more people. It's something we got from internal sources. Officially, there's no public search, no public hunt going on. But we do know that the earlier eyewitness accounts we learned about and what is happening right now kind of go together because there is a search warrant out for two people. And, again, there was a car found near a highway with a smashed window so, you know, it's still very murky situation, but this seems to be not over yet.
WHITFIELD: All right, Julian Reichelt, thank you for joining us, from "Bild" newspaper.
REICHELT: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: You know the date in November. But you don't know the whole story.
Jackie Kennedy travels from the hospital to Air Force One to accompany her husband's body back to Washington. Lyndon Johnson is waiting on the plane. Eager to be sworn in, LBJ calls attorney general, Bobby Kennedy, for the precise wording of the oath of office. President Johnson wants Jackie to stand next to him for his inauguration. She insists on wearing her blood-stained clothes.
[13:39:33] ANNOUNCER: "American Dynasties, The Kennedys," new episode, tomorrow at 9:00, on CNN.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. The president finally broke his silence on Stormy Daniels this week. He told reporters he didn't know his lawyer, Michael Cohen, gave the adult film star $130,000 before the election to keep her from talking about the alleged affair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels? DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Then why, why did Michael Cohen make this, if there was no truth to her allegations?
TRUMP: Well, you have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael's my attorney. And you'll have to ask Michael Cohen.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?
TRUMP: I don't know, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The president's attorneys are asking for more time to respond to Stormy Daniel's lawsuit. Her attorneys argue the hush agreement is void because Trump did not sign it.
Let's discuss this with my legal experts, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor joining us from Cleveland.
Good to see you.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professional joining us from Las Vegas.
Good to see you as well.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hey, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Avery, to you first.
The president claims he knew nothing about the payoff to Stormy Daniels. By commenting on this scandal, even by saying, no, he doesn't know, does he open up any new legal issues for him?
[13:45:15] FRIEDMAN: He opened up a legal Pandora's Box, Fredricka. I mean, I can't imagine how many times his lawyers probably told him this is something we're not going to talk about because, if you make a comment, you're falling into the trap of having to have your deposition taken. And that's exactly what is going to happen now. Because when he says, well, why don't you just ask my lawyer about it, talk to Michael Cohen about it, I mean, not only is Cohen under the bus, he's being dragged along the interstate. So from the standpoint of the marital relationship, and the standpoint of the pending litigation, the standpoint of his stature as president and his role in the world community, that one word, no, I didn't know nothing about it, has opened up an enormous number of avenues in terms of legal actions.
WHITFIELD: Well, Richard, listen to how Stormy Daniel's attorney says the president's comments did, indeed, help their case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY TO STORMY DANIELS: It's like Christmas and Hanukkah all rolled into one. You can't have an agreement if one party claims they knew nothing about one of the principal terms of the agreement. So the president has just shot himself in the foot. Thrown his attorney basically, Michael Cohen, under the bus in the process, put him in dire straits with the state bar of New York, because, according to the president now, Mr. Cohen was negotiating this agreement and doing this all on his own without consultation with the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, so there now is more imagery of Michael Cohen on the highway and all that, Avery.
Richard, is he making a good point? Does this only kind of make it worse and for Trump but then simply make it better for Stormy Daniels' team?
HERMAN: The president is so unprepared and so unprofessional, when they hit him with that question, he was caught off guard. He didn't mean to answer that question. But he couldn't help himself.
FRIEDMAN: That's right.
HERMAN: So he flexed, he said, no, speak to my attorney. He didn't want to answer that. They told him, never answer this question. Like don't think of the color red. He just can't help himself. So he did it.
WHITFIELD: So it should have been a "no comment," but perhaps the president is thinking by saying I didn't know --
HERMAN: No, he said he didn't know.
WHITFIELD: -- is not giving any information. But you say just the opposite, he just did.
HERMAN: Right. He said he didn't know about the payment to her, which means Avenatti's right, if he didn't know about the payment, he didn't know about the agreement, he didn't know about the provisions in the agreement, the representations in the agreement, the purpose of the agreement. If he didn't know about any of that stuff, then there is no agreement, there is no arbitration clause, there is no agreement, it's null and void. And Avenatti has the ammunition now to make that motion to have this agreement null and void, and he should do it. He shouldn't play around. He shouldn't play cute. That's the relief they sought, to have this agreement knocked out. He has it now in spades. And as far as Trump's attorney go, there's reality and then there's insanity. The reality is 10 days before the election the "Access Hollywood" tape comes out, they want to protect Trump from any more news like this, so they move to shut her up. They all get together, and they do that. That's the reality of it.
HERMAN: The insanity is the attorney, without discussing it with Trump, mortgaged his house for $130,000 to shut her up. The point is --
AVERY: Fred, that's true --
WHITFIELD: Avery, what's insignificant is the whole, you know, alleged relationship, what's significant potentially is, just as Richard's saying, days before the election, that this leads to the possible campaign contributions, this "gift," you know, quote/unquote, from Michael Cohen. But how does this help substantiate that potentially?
FRIEDMAN: Not only that, but you've got the Federal Elections Commission, you've got the Justice Department. What's the explanation? Mr. Cohen worked for the Trump Organization. If you're going to do something on your own, you have to get permission from your boss. There are ethics rules that one has to comply with. So he goes out and does it, what's the explanation? He's like a 5-year-old with his hand in the cookie jar. He came up with an illogical explanation and it's going to trigger an investigation. There are both civil and criminal implications of that, Fredricka. So that's another aspect of it that is very, very troubling.
WHITFIELD: So Michael Avenatti, the attorney, you know, said that they're going to refile a petition to depose Trump.
WHITFIELD: Richard, like what happened?
HERMAN: Yes. Under the National Arbitration Act, he's going to get that ability to do that, and the judge will order it this time around. Michael Cohen, if he doesn't already have a relationship with the grievance committee, disciplinary committee in the state of New York, he's going to now, because you can't do these things on behalf of a client without advising them about it.
[13:50:05] HERMAN: So he's got problems with that, Fred.
And, you know, it's just preposterous, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. That's what's going on here. It's beyond juvenile, the way they handled this. And now, it's going to --
-- erupt and problems for the president and Michael Cohen. FRIEDMAN: It's very, very serious.
WHITFIELD: Avery, yes, it's very serious.
FRIEDMAN: I mean, the bottom line is Michael is going to have a number of proceeding, a number of them. And of course, Mr. Trump will, too. So we're just to the beginning of something that's going to continue to unwind. And every time Mr. Trump opens up his mouth on this, we learn something new on this and it is more complicated.
And I agree with the "Wall Street Journal" that people are not taking this seriously. This could be the beginning of the end, as "The Journal" said, that would not be surprising here.
WHITFIELD: All right. We will leave it there.
HERMAN: And one more thing, Fred, conjecture, because I don't know this for a fact. But Trump seemed concerned about the timing of when this Stormy Daniels erupted. And by the way, it was five years ago.
HERMAN: It was like 10 days before the election. They did nothing in five years to shut it up.
HERMAN: But --
HERMAN: And may be a prenuptial agreement and there may be provisions in there that are going to have an adverse effect on Trump --
HERMAN: -- if he is fooling around.
HERMAN: And it's conjecture. I don't know this. But it could be. And we will see how it unfolds.
WHITFIELD: All right, Richard Herman, Avery Friedman, thanks so much.
We never have enough time for you. But so appreciate the time that we've got.
Good to see you. Thank you.
We will be right back.
[13:56:16] WHITFIELD: All right. High school fads come and go, but there is a new trend that has parents and educators rather worried. High school kids using e-cigarettes, or vaping, at school and sometimes inside of the classroom.
Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has the story.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Milford, Connecticut, high school principal, Francis Thompson, is desperately trying to snuff out a problem that teachers are having throughout the country.
FRANCIS THOMPSON, HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: They will come in here and have four or five kids at time congregating and start to vap.
GUPTA: It is a trend that many parents are not aware of, but the e- cigarette use, or vaping, has grown 900 percent in high school students in recent years, according to the surgeon general. In a 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that nearly 1.7 million high school students and 500,000 middle school students have used e- cigarettes in just a 30-day period before the survey was taken.
In Massachusetts, assistant vice principal, Spencer Christie, says he, too, is overwhelmed by this new and pervasive epidemic.
SPENCER CHRISTIE, HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: It was hidden, now it has moved to students vaping in the hallways, classrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: In the back two desks in the corner, they have had their hands kind of like this, and there was a blue light coming between their hands.
UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: The most popular item is the juul (ph). And you can see it looks like a flashlight, but it is not. The kids can tuck it away when they are done. And so.
GUPTA: It is not just the design of the products. Critics say that all of the flavors also entice the kids to start vaping. One study out of Harvard found that some of these artificial flavors contain a chemical that is linked to severe respiratory disease.
UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: The kids that I talked to believe there is nothing in there that is dangerous. They don't think there's anything more than water.
GUPTA: It is not water. It's called e-liquid, and when heated by the coil it changes to an aerosol. Columbia University researchers using this machine found that vapor had toxic metals, like chromium, nickel, zinc and lead. And there are no safe levels of lead.
With very little regulation, people are not fully aware of what they're consuming.
I sat down with EPA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, and asked him about this e-cigarette phenomena.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, EPA COMMISSIONER: E use is deeply concerning to me. We will be taking some enforcement actions very soon to target companies that we think are marketing the products in ways that are deliberately appealing to kids.
I'm going to be having conversations with the companies to try to inspire them if I can to take more corrective actions on their own.
GUPTA: Don't forget that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances out there.
UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: I think it is the next epidemic among teenagers.
GUPTA (on camera): And Fred, there are high school fads that come and go, but this is one that is seems to be sticking, and there a concern. The biggest one, Fred, there is a perceived harmlessness of the e- cigarettes by the kids. We've even heard that some think it's just water vapor, but it is not. That is an important point that everybody needs to be making, to remind kids of that. Also, about a quarter of new smokers in the 8th grade are starting off by using e-cigarettes. That's obviously the wrong direction, Fred, which is why there is so much attention on this -- Fred?
[13:59:36] WHITFIELD: And trying to put that genie back in the bottle, that is going to be a big challenge.
Thank you, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
More straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right now.
Hello, again, everyone. And thank you for joining me on this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We're following breaking news. A delivery van plowing through a crowd of people in Muenster, Germany. Police say that three people are dead, 20 others injured, and some of them have life-threatening injuries. The driver of the delivery van committed suicide by shooting himself. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. A police spokesman telling CNN --