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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

White House Statements on Trump-Kim Meeting Sowing Confusion; Cohen Used Trump Organization E-mail in Stormy Daniels Deal; Florida's Republican-Controlled Legislature Passes Gun Control Measures; 911 Calls Released in Florida School Shooting. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 09, 2018 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:50] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So is it a date or not? Will the President meet with Kim Jong-un or won't he?

Welcome to the second hour of 360. On the table tonight, the mixed summit signals, the White House first saying no talks without concrete, verifiable actions, saying and again and again and again, then later saying the meeting is on, period.

Also, following the money in the Stormy Daniels' affair, her lawyer deals a new blow to the claims the President's personal attorney handled the payout to her, totally and completely personally.

And late, history made in Florida, the Republican controlled legislature taking the NRA, passing gun control measures. The GOP governor signing it, and now the NRA is suing.

We begin the hour with the Korea summit which seemed at first to be conditions for the summit, then the White House official saying, in so many words, never mind. The question is, what does it all mean? I talked about it earlier this evening with Fareed Zakaria, host of FAREED ZAKARIA GPS.

Fareed, is the White House giving Kim Jong-un exactly what he wants and what all leaders in North Korea have always wanted, which is one- on-one relationship with the President of United States?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Exactly, Anderson. It's important to remember that this has been a North Korean goal for at least 25 years.

Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un's father, had tried to achieve this with Bill Clinton, and the Clinton administration said, no. We're first going to try to figure out whether you're serious. Then finally as a reward, Madeleine Albright went out there, and they wanted the ultimate price, the North Koreans did, of the Presidential summit. And the Clinton administration decided, no, they hadn't done enough in terms of concrete steps to a denuclearization and other things.

COOPER: Because it gives legitimacy to a dictator?

ZAKARIA: It gives legitimacy to a dictator that who is engaged in incredibly bad behavior. And this has always been viewed as the sort of ultimate prize. They want -- the North Koreans wanted to be treated almost like an equal to the United States for there to be a summit.

For Trump and Kim Jong-un to be on up here on a stage and be -- you know, in some ways it's a very powerful way to legitimize the regime. And if you think about it internally, this is a deeply repressive regime. What better legitimacy than to say the United States treats us as an equal?

COOPER: Do you think this is actually going to happen? Because the White House is saying that they need to see concrete and very fireable actions on denuclearization, but I'm not sure how they're actually going to see that without eyes on the ground and inspections, things like that?

ZAKARIA: Look, the number of flip-flops and variations on the theme leave one's head spinning and you can only imagine what American allies think. But, you know, first of all from what we can tell, the South Koreans didn't think this was a serious enough proposal to bring to the President. He learned of it, grabbed onto it, then announced it, essentially forced the South Koreans to announce it. Then when there was some backlash, said, no, no, we're going to wait until we get concrete actions. Then flipped again and said, no, the summit is going to take place. Who knows? You're trying to mind read one very mercurial man.

COOPER: It's also not clear that what the North Korean definition of denuclearization is, is the same as what the United States thinks it is.

ZAKARIA: Absolutely. Look, the North Koreans may be following, and many people predicted this. I wrote about it. At a certain point, the North Koreans will be willing to talk, but that point is after they have achieved what they regard as their insurance policy, which is a robust nuclear program, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and therefore the ability to strike at the United States or frankly anywhere in the world.

Once they have that, they're going to be willing to talk to regularize it, codify it, maybe make some modest adjustments, put in some control measures, but they've never seem to indicate that they're going to give it up. This is the insurance policy for the regime.

And so if there were a summit, it's important to understand that Trump is the guy who's going to have to make the concession, which is the United States' policy has always been total denuclearization of North Korea, meaning down to zero. No nuclear weapons. If he wants a deal, more likely than not, Trump is going to have to make the concession.

COOPER: I mean, his supporters will say and -- you know, couldn't you make the argument that that, look, they've tried the bottom up approach of having negotiations, of having -- you know, multinational negotiations. It hasn't really gotten the desired impact. Why not shake things up and try a top-down approach because clearly in North Korea, what Kim Jong-un wants becomes what everybody else wants. [21:05:12] ZAKARIA: It's fair and, look, you know, we should, I think, approach this with hope and wish them well. Historically the problem has been, as Henry Kissinger says, if you start the negotiations at the top and they don't go well, what do you do? If you start at the bottom, you can always adjust. You can try something else. You can move on.

The danger here is this is a very high-stakes game. If the two of them meet and they can't make a deal -- and as you point out, the issue is quite wide. What the North Koreans imagine they're talking about and what the United States thinks it's talking about are very different things. Where do we go from there?

COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, thanks very much.

ZAKARIA: My pleasure.

COOPER: To say the least, North Korean leaders have been unpredictable for generations and again President Trump has been accused of the very same thing. Will this really make for unusual diplomacy? The President himself has just tweeted about it saying, "The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the world. Time and place to be determined."

I'm joined by our panel, Maggie Haberman, Rich Lowry; Joe Trippi, Scott Jennings, Jamie Metzl.

Maggie, I mean, the way this decision came about, I mean, did a lot of people in the White House know the President was going to do this?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I mean, the way that it came about was that the President learned that this delegation from South Korea was on the White House campus. He was supposed to meet with them today. Instead he said, you know, please bring them here now or bring them here now without the "please" to the Oval Office. They relayed their information, and he said, oh, OK. Let's do that. I want to do that.

And thus this, "agreement" was born. But as we have seen with him repeatedly, he has said different things about it. The White House has said different things about it. So if he ends up taking this meeting and nothing actually happens, he can then fall back on, well, look, I said if certain conditions were met, and he'll adjust it and tweak it to whatever he needs it to be.

If something meaningful happens, if there is a significant breakthrough, then he will deserve a lot of credit. The problem is that our intelligence about North Korea is nowhere near as good as theirs is about us. They know a lot more about President Trump than we do about North Korea's leader.

And he's going into this without fulling checking in with the diplomatic community, without fully consulting his advisers. He likes that. He thinks that there have been a lot of steal bipartisan consensus talk over many decades that hasn't gone anywhere, and we will see.

But it's not clear exactly where they think this is going right now in the White House. He did it impulsively.

COOPER: Jamie, I saw a tweet you sent out. You said, "@real Donald Trump's impetuous decision to meet with Kim Jong-un could hypothetically lead to a breakthrough but it's far more likely to lead to a hangover." How do you mean?

JAMIE METZL, SENIOR FELLOW, THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL: What I mean is, they're putting -- President Trump is putting a lot of pressure on some kind of positive outcome. But going into these meetings, the North Koreans will already have won just by the meeting itself.

COOPER: Because it legitimizes Kim Jong-un?

METZL: It legitimizes them and they have no intention whatsoever of giving up their nuclear weapons. As Fareed said, that's their insurance policy. And so there's going to be this kind of negotiation, and at the end of the negotiation or even in the beginning of the negotiation, the North Koreans are going to say, here's what we mean by denuclearization. It means no nuclear weapons. It means we're going to have some kind of strategic limitations between us -- between North Korea and the United States. It's going to mean perhaps the U.S. withdrawing its troop presence from South Korea, all these things that the United States can never do.

And so then it's going to be well, wait, a second. We were promised denuclearization, and we're getting nothing. We were played by the North Koreans, which is absolutely clear, which is why no former President was willing to take this step.

COOPER: Rich, I mean The National Review, your publication also says don't meet with Kim?

RICH LOWRY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. The President's very sincere. You know, he has a great gut-level instinct for people, and he's a good negotiator for his own interest in terms of business and markets, but this is an entirely different level.

One, I don't think in any circumstance should a President of the United States ever meet with this vicious little gangster and murder. Two, the chances of the North Koreans actually in a verifiable way giving up their nuclear weapons is nil. So nothing good can come of this. The only possibility would be another deal of sort North Koreans have gotten over the last 30 years, which provide a life line to the regime at the same time they continue to pursue their nuclear and missile capability. And that would be a very bad deal for the United States.

COOPER: Go head.

JOE TRIPPI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But even if the best case works out and there is a deal, it's likely to be an Iran nuclear deal, right? I mean, the North Koreans don't guarantee against invasion, guarantee against -- you know, get our troops out of the Peninsula in exchange for freezing their nuclear arsenal where it is or even a reduction as the Iran deal was.

And here's a President who's gotten elected basically bashing the Iran deal. And the best he could hope for, even with all the things that Rich and others have brought up, is the equivalent of the deal he hates in Iran.

[21:10:13] COOPER: Scott, you're more optimistic?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am. And I don't think this is going to turn into the Iran deal.

Number one, I don't think Donald Trump's going to send a plane full of money to the North Koreans the way Obama sent to the Iranians, pallets of hard currency. That's not going to happen. For a ransom? That's not going to happen.

Number two, I think one thing we're forgetting here, Donald Trump has had some success in his first year rallying the international community to up the pressure on North Korea. Sanctions have worked. So if he ultimately gets to this meeting and it doesn't work out, which is a distinction possibility, who's to say that the President cannot continue to rally the international community to his viewpoint, which is, look, I've tried to break this steal mate, and these guys won't play ball even after I showed good faith. It could be even worse for the North Koreans as it relates to the international community on the sanction side if the President plays it right. That's the case.

METZL: But how have the sanctions worked at all? What Donald Trump is offering is something the North Koreans have wanted for years. So we've given a concession. We've not gotten anything back. And with the Iran deal, Iran didn't have nuclear weapons. North Korea already has nuclear weapons. So we're trying to get North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons. There's no leverage that we have, and President Trump has less leverage now than even President Obama had.

JENNINGS: I disagree. I think the North Koreans know there's only two ways out of this. You're going to do what we want or you are going to face a military impact from the United States. They didn't believe that during the Obama years, but I think they believe it not.

And you ask what good have the sanctions done? CNN's own reporting says that the North Koreans are feeling the pinch. We have a drastic reduction, even Chinese trucks coming into North Korea. It's clearly working. The pressure is working.

Look, I'm not Pollyanna about this. I don't trust the North Koreans. I think these people are likely to renege the way they have for years and years but you cannot fault Donald Trump for trying to ratchet down nuclear tensions. We sat here night after night worried about missile tests and a nuclear war and the President is trying to protect the American people. I wouldn't pooh-pooh.

COOPER: I mean, Joe, do you give the President credit for, you know, trying something radical? TRIPPI: Well, I mean, look, I think everybody's got to be hoping that this turns out better than a lot of us think it might turn out. But it's kind of like two guys who have been mailing bomb threats to each other now actually getting some positive stuff because they're meeting to discuss not bombing each other. I mean that's literally what's been going on.

COOPER: We're going to take a quick break.

More on this news about North Korea. And also later, the latest in the ongoing drama surrounding the Adult Film Star Stormy Daniels, what new exclusive information, her lawyer sharing with us tonight and what the next steps might be?


[21:16:15] COOPER: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders today seemed to pull back on an actual meeting between the President and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un saying the United States wanted proof before any meeting could be scheduled.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Let's be very clear. The United States has made zero concessions, but North Korea has made some promises. And, again, this meeting won't take place without concrete actions that match the promises that have been made by North Korea.


COOPER: A little bit later, White House officials said in effect the opposite. The invitation, the officials said, had been extended and accepted.

Back now with the panel.

I mean, Jamie, can -- I mean is it possible to verify what the North Koreans are doing at this stage with -- I mean we don't have folks on the ground?

METZL: It's impossible to verify. It's certainly impossible to verify over the next two months, and we don't even know what it is that they've offered or if they've offered it at all because we didn't hear it directly from the North Koreans but through the South Koreans. And so the idea that we're ever going to get North Korea to give up their nuclear weapons is farfetched. But that they're going to do anything between now and two months from now is impossible.

COOPER: How much do you think, Maggie, this has to do with the President's mind set? I mean, you've been writing about -- you know, the way things are in the White House, the sort of the chaos, the difficulties. Is this an offshoot of that?

HABERMAN: I think to some extent. I mean, look, I think you certainly can't rule out the possibility that he was doing this to change what we're all talking about on television, right?

COOPER: Right.

HABERMAN: -- which he watches all the time. And I think he has realized that the Stormy Daniels story is mushrooming. It is getting more attention, and I think he wants to knock it off of the headlines.

COOPER: It's pretty incredible to think that he would agree to meet with Kim Jong-un in order to change the conversation in cable news.

HABERMAN: In his word, everything is equal. And so I think that -- I'm 2not disagreeing with you. I'm just saying that's the mind set. But it doesn't really matter whether that was the reason or not. He did it. And so he took this pretty astonishing step.

In his mind, he thinks that he can convince anyone of anything. He thinks that he can sell anyone. And he genuinely sees this, from all of my conversations with people, is yet another sales job. I mean, it's essentially and I tweeted about this earlier today. Why he is so convinced that he'll be just fine talking to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators is he can win anyone that is obviously not the reality of this situation that, that I how he supposed to.

COOPER: I mean, if his lawyers are concerned about him talking to Robert Mueller, I would think folks in the White House would be concerned about him talking to Kim Jong-un.

HABERMAN: For different reasons. I mean, I think his lawyers are concerned about him talking to Robert Mueller because they're afraid he will be accused of perjury. I think the concern with a meeting of this nature is more that he is going to -- similar sort of tripping on wires and not knowing where the traps are. But in this case, the enormity of the implications is the world whereas with Mueller, it's himself and his --

COOPER: Scott, do you have -- you don't have any concerns about these two, you know, men standing there with translators and hashing out details of things? I mean, you know, there's all this reporting on the President, how he consumes information and, you know, briefings. I mean it's an incredibly intricate thing which generations of diplomats have worked, you know, in large, boring meetings for long, long periods of time from many different countries and still not have success.

JENNINGS: Yes, that's just the point. We've had generations of diplomats, and what do we have? A North Korea that has nuclear weapons. And I think that's what the President is looking at this situation saying, I can keep doing what the other politicians tried or I can try something different.

I think we should go back to the campaign. And by the way -- no, I don't have any concerns any more than I do normally about North Korea having nuclear weapons, which I don't want them to possess.

Back during the campaign, the President ran a little bit of an unorthodox foreign policy views for a Republican. You know, he ran against the Iraq war to some degree. He was critical of past Republican leaders on foreign policy. He promised Republicans and in general election voters a different foreign policy mind set. Well, that's what we're getting.

[21:20:09] And so, again, like with a lot of these issues, I go back and try to think about candidate Trump and how he discussed these matters, and I'm finding some consistency here. It's unorthodox what he's doing, but then again so is what he was talking about regarding foreign policy during the campaign.

METZL: But it's not just different. We need different good. Just different could be different bad. I mean what he needs to show is that this process or lack of a process is driving results, and there are so few areas where we can see that. And you talked about military pressure. There's no credible military strategy for North Korea, and the North Koreans know that. The South Koreans know that. Most everybody including General Mattis in our government knows that. But maybe Donald Trump doesn't know that.

LOWRY: There was considerable slack in the sanctions regime that the Trump administration has ratcheted up very usefully. And I don't think the President should be talking to Kim, but there's a case for talks just to demonstrate to the world and especially to the South Koreans that you're willing to talk because it's very important to keep the South Koreans on board. They have a natural tendency for all sorts of reasons to appease the north. So that would be the case for talking, and then if it comes to nothing, walking away and saying, look, at least we were willing to do it.

METZL: There's nothing wrong with talking. It's just that we need to have a strategy behind talking. We need to say, here is our strategy. Here's how we're going to phase it in. Here's how we're working with our allies and we're going to deploy this critical asset of the President of the United States to achieve our objective. We don't have any of that. We just have a meeting with the President picks his head and assure only with them.

COOPER: We're going to take a break. Much more ahead, including a 360 exclusive, Stormy Daniels' attorney revealing tonight what he says is new evidence that the payoff to her was not just Donald Trump's personal lawyer acting on his own.


[21:25:44] COOPER: Tonight on 360, Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, gave us the scoop, producing another e-mail that he says refutes a key claim by President Trump's personal lawyer. Michael Cohen says that in the closing weeks of the com pain he personally paid Daniels $130 for her silence about an alleged affair with Donald Trump, 12 years ago. He and he alone, not on behalf of his client, Donald Trump, or the Trump organization.

This morning, Michael Avenatti released e-mails written to and from Michael Cohen's corporate e-mail address, even including his corporate signature block at the bottom. Tonight Mr. Avenatti released an additional e-mail referring to Yom Kippur and the office being closed, raising questions about why the office being open or closed would be relevant if Cohen were truly handling this transaction as he claims all on his own.

On top of that, there's question of why Cohen's bank flagged the $130 payment as suspicious enough to report it to federal authorities to file what's called an SAR, a Suspicious Activity Report. I asked Michael Avenatti about it in the last hour.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: What we know from the prior reporting in this case is that at some point after the date of this transaction in late 2016, First Republic Bank prepared a SAR, a Suspicious Activity Report relating to this transaction, relating to the payment of the $130,000. They transmitted that SAR to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network otherwise known as FinCEN. It's a division of the U.S. Treasury. We don't know what that SAR shows because it's not public information. But here's what we do know. We know that the President and his appointee, the Treasury Secretary, control FinCEN. They could very easily release this SAR.


COOPER: Michael Cohen today issued a series of statements, bottom line, there's nothing unusual in any of this, saying it's not uncommon for him or most people to use their company e-mail for kind of purposes.

I want to get the panel's take. Joining us again now is Mark Geragos, as well as Karine Jean-Pierre.

I mean, Mark, you know Michael Avenatti, what do you make of his case, these questions he's raising and these e-mails he's showing which show the communications from the bank went to his corporate e-mail address and then Michael Cohen for some reason forwarded that e-mail to his private e-mail in order to communicate with Stormy Daniels' attorney?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think one of the reasons that you see the SAR report coming out is it's taken off of an equity line. They're then transferring it to a newly formed LLC. I'm sure the bank when they saw that triggered somebody who ran something saw it was newly formed and that's why there was an SAR.

What I make of this so far is I think it's clear that given the judges who were involved, Judge Connor, who is involved, who is the retired judge who issued this, I can't believe that she knew all of the stuff that we now know or at least is alleged.

COOPER: This is the arbitration judge.

GERAGOS: That's the arbitration judge. She works at ADR in Los Angeles and is a very well respected judge both when she was on the bench, and I've used it her for arbitration's -- for mediations since she's been off the bench. The judge that they got assigned to for the lawsuit, Judge Feffer is also a very highly respected judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court and extremely bright. And my guess is she's going to have problems with the fact that he's running in there -- Michael Cohen is without local counsel, and by all accounts he's not a California lawyer although I think it's only a matter of time before a California lawyer surfaces who says he was acts as local counsel.

COOPER: I mean, just politically does it matter to the President's supporters whether or not he had an affair --

GERAGOS: No, it does not at all.

COOPER: Karine, you don't think it does?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SERNIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: No, I don't think it's about the affair. I think it's about the cover-up. I mean, let's not forget back in 2016, Donald Trump won with 46.1 percent of the vote. This is after the Access Hollywood tape. And that included conservative Republicans, Independents, Moderate Republicans, and they all went and voted for him. So it's never been about the affair.

And what we're learning more and more now as Michael Cohen is what he is doing to cover up for his boss, the lying that's happening by him, by Donald Trump. And the thing about this too is the person who's paying attention is Robert Mueller. He certainly doesn't care about the affair. He cares about the lying, the character, what's going on here. And so I think that is the big thing here that we just have to keep our eye on.

[21:30:07] COOPER: Joe?

TRIPPI: Look, with his supporters, no way. Nothing will move that. But the thing that's been happening is Republican women, a sizable group of them, younger Republicans, Republicans college educated and in the suburbs, they're starting to have it with this stuff. I think that's where --

COOPER: You see that in what? In polling?

TRIPPI: Yes. We saw it in the Alabama in the race -- in the special election which Doug Jones won.

COOPER: Right.

TRIPPI: We're seeing it in other places. They're tired of the chaos and tired of this kind of stuff that they didn't expect from him even though they heard about the "Access Hollywood" tapes. It's just an adding on of the weight that's sort of pushing them to think for the first time, you know, I may not be hanging with him.

COOPER: Scott, do you believe that?

JENNINGS: Yes, I think that -- none of us were there so we don't know 100 percent what happened. But it's highly likely this relationship occurred, number one. It's highly likely, I think, the President knew about this arrangement to pay her, number two. Number three, it's highly likely that through this legal process, all the facts are going to come out eventually anyway. And so I would counsel, as a public relations person, short-term pain of admitting it and just coming clean on it is better than the long- term drip. Now, I recognize this may be difficult because of interpersonal reasons inside the East Wing, but the political side of this here would tell me short-term rip off the band-aid, come clean is way better than what they're doing right now.

COOPER: You think the personal may be an explanation of the President's response?

JENNINGS: I don't think there's a married person in America that would disagree with that statement. I mean it's clearly complicating the issue, I would think.

JEAN-PIERRE: That's also not what the President does. It's just not how he handles this ever, ever, ever.

TRIPPI: This isn't a legal problem. It's not an FEC problem. I know legally they can pursue that. They did with John Edwards. But now this is strictly political. It's how much exhaustion and piling on that's create the with those Republican women and some of the other independents and some of the other constituencies that are barely hanging with him now. They're still there, but you see signs of them ready to vacate.

GERAGOS: But, you know, the interesting thing from Mueller's perspective, though is if you've got things that are here that, you know, may be ticky-tack, but you could come up with a theory to say that part of what was being done here potentially has criminal ramifications. If they're already looking at Cohen, as has been reported, for some of the Russia dealings, it's no different than what they do with Manafort or with Gates where they -- I mean that's the standard federal playbook. You indict somebody, or you pressure somebody on "X" in order to get them to roll on "Y." I mean, that's the playbook.

HABERMAN: I think what happened, not be ticky-tack in this case given the subject matter --

COOPER: For Mueller to really be --

HABERMAN: Yes. I mean, Mueller is generally pretty conservative practitioner legally, so I would be surprised if he went ahead based only on that. What I do think is interesting about this story is -- and we referenced this before. Most things don't stick to Donald Trump. Most things basically during the campaign, the primary and then the general election, there were so many different things he was saying or doing or different stories about him that nothing really stuck. This one is breaking through, and it is sticking. And that is, to Joe's point about why, you know, certain groups of voters are getting tired of this. That is why they are hearing it over and over and over, and there's no -- it's just not a good fact set.

LOWRY: I don't see this having much political effect. The real danger would be a deposition. He doesn't want to have to get sworn under oath the way Bill Clinton was with Paula Jones, and I think Republicans have made an implicit bargain sort of the way Democrats did with Bill Clinton. We know what you did in the past. We didn't like it, but we're going to give you a pass assuming it doesn't happen in the White House, and you don't lie about it. And that's where Bill Clinton really got in trouble.

GERAGOS: Well, and that's part of the problem. He's going to have to sit for a deposition one way or another.

COOPER: Really?

GERAGOS: Yes. I mean -- look, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously or with one concurrence that in Jones versus Clinton, ironically enough, that a civil lawsuit, if you believe the justices back in 19-whatever, said that wouldn't affect the President and what he has to do. So for civil process, you've got to sit.

And this is a case clearly where he is right smack dab in the middle of it because his signature's not on there. He's got an AKA. If they want to enforce some kind of an order, which is mind-boggling to me why they ran in and got the order because it seems to just kind of double down on this. But if they are going to pursue this, then that's a real problem.

LOWRY: This would counsel not necessarily doing what Scott says, you know, confessing to it, but at least just letting it go and letting her talk. I don't think having her out there doing some T.V. when she's already done on T.V. with an annoying, which had already done, a magazine interview that was conducted prior to the NDA, how it's going to really hurt him. Any other politician in any other news environment, it would be devastating, but not to Donald Trump.

[21:35:04] COOPER: We're going to take a break. We're going to pick this up afterward in a minute.


COOPER: President Trump's Personal Attorney, Michael Cohen, has been talking all day about the revelation he used his business e-mail account for the Stormy Daniels payoff.

One statement reads, "I sent e-mails from the Trump Org e-mail address to my family, friends, as well as Trump business e-mails. I basically used it for everything. I'm certain most people can relate."

Back now with the panel.

Do you think it's significant that, you know, that this bank reached out to him at his Trump organization and that he forwarded that to his private account in order to communicate with Stormy Daniels' attorney.

GERAGOS: I think the SAR is significant only because that triggers scrutiny. I think the fact that David Dennison doesn't sign it is significant, and it's inexplicable to me why they're seeking an arbitration on this after it's already gone public or in reaction to the public because there's no end game that makes any sense.

COOPER: Joe, what do you make of how the White House has handled this?

TRIPPI: I think politically it's a mess, and I think anytime you get -- in politics, you get a legal problem and a political problem and you start to try to deal with the legal problem, you are screwed. It's just the way it is.

[21:40:10] I mean because -- By the way, if you go look at most of the scandals that we've talked about over the last few years where it was a legal and political problem and they started doing the lawyer stuff, good or bad lawyering, it's always a bad political problem. And that's where I think -- I don't agree with Rich on this. I think you're starting to get to a moment where, yes, the bulk of the Republican Party, the bulk of his base will stay with him. But this is creating a bigger problem with enough -- enough of the swing voters in this country, enough of the independents, enough of those Republican women in particular, particularly Republican women in suburbs that this could be very, very damaging, more damaging than half the other stuff that have added up over the first year or so of his presidency.

HABERMAN: It could end up being more damaging to his party than him to --


HABERMAN: -- which is the thing we have seen over and over again. Republicans are not facing a good climate in the House certainly and also in the Senate for this cycle in the first place. Things had actually gotten a little bit better, and I don't see how stuff like this helps.

Also just to Scott's point about ripping off the band-aid, they say this before. They'd be ripping off a lot of band-aids. I mean, that's the problem is that it's not just this one issue. The times had a story about previous issues, previous cases where Cohen has been involved in, you know, sort of squashing a story or payments through other entities and so forth and so on. I think once you start pulling at that thread, it's not really clear to me how much of the sweater stays on after that.

JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. And with the ripping off the band-aid, I think the problem with that is Donald Trump doesn't know how to tell the truth. He can't put a sentence together without lying. So it's just not capable -- it's not just -- it's just not going to happen, not at all.

And politically just to jump on what Trippi was saying is that, yes, in Virginia we saw Republican women in the suburbs cross over and vote for the Democratic governor there. And a lot of it was part of the "Me Too" movement, but it's also the chaos. They're tired of the constant chaos. And they really do care about the issues. The number one issue that came out of there was health care and guns. And so they are just done with the chaos of it. And then you saw it in Alabama with Roy Moore, another chaotic situation with the Republican Party.

COOPER: How much does -- I mean, you talked about the personal on this. How much does Melania Trump, the First Lady's reaction to whatever emerges matter to Republican women voter? I mean, is she a crucial part of this in terms of -- I mean if she continues to --

TRIPPI: Look, I think there's a lot of empathy and sympathy for her, but I'm not sure that is going to somehow absolve him or whatever -- however this plays out, I'm not sure she's going to be able to pull him back, you know, from --

COOPER: No, I'm not saying it's -- does it hurt him more?

TRIPPI: No, but it hit these women --

COOPER: I mean, if --

TRIPPI: Oh, I see what you're saying, yes.

COOPER: If she's seen as -- you know.

TRIPPI: Yes. I think that is a problem, that that could get exacerbated here as well. Where her not being with him, not traveling with him, those kinds of things are signaling to those women, particularly again Republican suburban women, that this isn't right and they're not going to stand for it.

COOPER: So what should -- I mean, if you were advising the White House, Joe, what would you advise them?

TRIPPI: Look, I don't understand a single thing they're doing on this. I mean I agree about why go do the arbitration thing and try to -- and like literally ignite, you know, pour gasoline all over this and actually have the opposite effect. It's like when he fired Comey. I mean he does things where there's ways to handle it but then --

COOPER: So your point --

GERAGOS: I've had clients like this. He's never going to admit it. It's not within -- I mean there's a 40-year history. This is not something that he's ever going to admit. This is not something that he's ever going to say, oh, OK. I did it and do the Bill Clinton Mea culpa. It's just not going to happen. It's not in his band width. It's not in his DNA, exactly. I could not have said it.

TRIPPI: But I mean, I think the right thing is what Rich suggests -- I mean, given all that we've talked about is, let it go. Just, you know, release her. Let whatever is going to happen, happened --

GERAGOS: Withdraw the arbitration application.

TRIPPI: You know, let her sign a $500,000 book deal and continue to make your case and let it go.

HABERMAN: But that's also not in his DNA.

TRIPPI: That's true too.

LOWRY: I have to say we have to remember we are in the bubble. We are more obsessed with these scandals than normal people are --

HABERMAN: I'm really not interested in this story I just wanted to say.

LOWRY: Well, look this -- it's more lurid and understandable than the various contours of the Russia thing. But the idea that anyone in November is going to be voting one way or another on a Stormy Daniels story, I think is fantastical.

COOPER: I want to think everybody.

Up next, the 911 tapes for the Stoneman Douglas shooting, the answers they provide about the police response and the terrible anguish they reveal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you. I love you. It's going to be fine. Can you hide somewhere? Can you play dead?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to. If he shoots you need to play dead.


COOPER: More breaking news tonight. The NRA is suing the State of Florida after Rick Scott, the State's Republican Governor, signed a gun reform bill this afternoon in the wake of the shooting of Stoneman Douglas high school that claimed 17 lives.

The new law raises the age to 21 to buy all firearms and adds a three- day waiting period. It also bans the sale or ownership of bump stocks and allows some teachers to be armed. This comes as authorities release the 911 tapes from the day of the shooting, revealing the confusion on the scene and raising questions about the police response. Alexander Marquardt has that for us tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be advised we have possible, could be firecrackers, I think we got shots fired.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a chaotic, heart breaking and clearer picture now emerging from recordings and a new timeline just released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office.


I need to shut down Stoneman Douglas.

MARQUARDT: That's the voice of the armed school resource officer Scott Peterson, was on campus the whole time. Not only did he not go into the school to pursue the shooter, but we now hear him telling responding units to keep their distance.

PETERSON: Broward, do not approach the 12 or 13 hundred building, stay away at least 500 feet away at this point.

DISPATCH: Stay away from 12 and 1300 building.

MARQUARDT: The new timeline reveals that from the moment the shooting started just because 2:22 p.m. on Valentine's Day. It was 11 long minutes before police finally went into the school, a full fine minutes after the shooting stopped. During those first terrifying moments, 911 calls for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I hear gun shots.

MARQUARDT: From inside the school, from people nearby and frightened parents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son called me now. He said there is shooting in Douglas High School.

DISPATCH: Douglas High School, OK. Stay on the line for me, OK. What city is that in?


MARQUARDT: In another you can hear a mother trying to comfort her daughter.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love you. I love you. It's going to be fine. Can you hide somewhere? Can play dead?

MARQUARDT: As the terror unfolded, Officer Peterson stayed outside the building, his lawyer later claiming Peterson believed that those gunshots were originating from outside. The time line now clearly shows Peterson telling dispatch it was inside the 1200 building

SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of the building 12. Take up a position. And he never he went in.

MARQUARDT: Adding to the chaos, there were separate 911 systems used by the Broward Country Sheriff's office and the Coral Springs Police Department, meaning they couldn't communicate with each other.

CORAL SPRING POLICE: 39 white male, ROTC uniform burgundy shirt.

Last seen in the three-story building, north parking lot.

MARQUARDT: The police spotted the gunman but couldn't relay that critical information.

BROWARD COUNTRY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, OFFICER 1: Does he know where the shooter is?

BROWARD COUNTRY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, OFFICER 2: We don't know, but we're heading in the 13 building, in front of the 13 building, building 13.

MARQUARDT: These tapes a fraction of what happened that awful day, a glimpse of the confusion, panic and tragedy that struck parkland.


COOPER: Alex joins me now. I mean, listening to the voice of the school resource officer not, you know, telling deputies not to approach the building, I mean, it's pretty stunning.

MARQUARDT: It is. And we've actually reached out to his attorneys, to Peterson's attorney multiple times today and they said, they are not commenting that they don't see the upside of it.

Remember, his offenses, they initially thought that the shooting was coming from outside. And he said that his reaction was in line with his training, if a shooting is outside. He rejects any notion that he reacted in a cowardly fashion. And in a previous statement his lawyer said that let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the 17 victims on that day. And his heart goes out to the families of the victims and their time of need.

I remember, Peterson resigned after he was suspended without pay.

COOPER: Yes, Alexander Marquardt, thanks very much. I appreciate the reporting.

We'll be right back.


[21:57:10] COOPER: In the age of Donald Trump, he may have forgotten about a bigger name in American politics, Kennedy. And while you like -- you know, their name, you may not know their whole story.

This weekend, CNN presents a rare and intimate look at this nation's most famous family in politics. American dynasties, The Kennedys Premieres Sunday at 9:00 p.m.

Martin Sheen is the narrator and Executive Producer. I spoke to him recently.


COOPER: For those who are of an age, you know, that didn't grow up in the time of JFK or Robert Kennedy, what do you hope people take away from this documentary? What do you hope people kind of learn about that time?

MARTIN SHEEN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, AMERICAN DYNASTIES: THE KENNEDYS": It's important that we remember the cultural impact that these men particularly Jackie and Bobby in the '60s had on our nation, the world and specifically on my generation.

And if I may just share one part of one speech that Bobby gave at the University of Cape Town South Africa in 1966. This is a kind of inspiration that we got from these men, particularly from Bobby.

"Each time someone stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and injustice."

Those words are engraved on his memorial in Washington, D.C., and they have been a source of great inspiration for my generation ever since. So I just needed to share that because it's so rare that we hear that kind of inspiration, that kind of poetry, that kind of passion in our politics today. So again, it's worth remembering and newly appraising this family, and particularly the Kennedy administration.

COOPER: What remain -- and I think back to the night that Martin Luther King was shot to death, and Bobby Kennedy was appearing in front of a crowd, and he gave this kind of remarkable impromptu just off the cuff talk, speech to people.


COOPER: And again, to your point of --

SHEEN: It was in Indianapolis. Yes.

COOPER: And again, you really don't hear people in public life speaking in that way, I mean, the sort of the skills of an orator.

SHEEN: He was absolutely brilliant. And he exposed his own vulnerability. And he was not afraid to be vulnerable in public and that's a rare quality. That takes a great deal of courage and confidence. But also it is a specific skill. And he inspired us to unbelievable levels, and he still does, that wound is still very fresh in our lives, those of us who live through the '60s.

COOPER: Yes. Well, Martin Sheen, it's such an honor to talk to you, I'm so glad you participated in this documentary. I can't wait to watch it.

[22:00:04] SHEEN: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Well, don't miss the American Dynasties: The Kennedys Premieres Sunday night 9:00 p.m. that's it for us.

Thank you so much for watching. I hope you have a great weekend. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. CNN Tonight starts now.