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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
CNN's Exclusive Interview with Former Playboy Model Karen McDougal Detailing Her Alleged 10 Month Affair With Donald Trump in 2006. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 22, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Breaking news tonight involving the adviser who will be at the president's elbow if it ever comes down to pushing the button. The current one, a three-star general, is leaving. His replacement, a former U.N. ambassador, now a TV pundit, who's been called a hard- liner, a hawk and by some, even a loose cannon.
Also tonight, my exclusive conversation with former Playboy model Karen McDougal about the 10-month long intimate relationship she says she had with Donald Trump. A relationship that began just a few months after Melania Trump gave birth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: If Melania is watching this, what would you want her to know?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: It's a tough one.
COOPER: Or say to her.
MCDOUGAL: Yes. What can you say except I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me. I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: More with Karen McDougal tonight. That's ahead.
First, the departure of national security adviser H.R. McMaster and the naming of John Bolton as his successor -- something as recently as last week the White House said was simply not happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Sarah, you took to Twitter last night to ensure the public that McMaster's job was safe. But has the president spoken directly to either McMaster, Carson, Shulkin to tell them that their jobs are, in fact, safe?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, like I said last night, and I'll echo it again, I spoke directly to the president last night. He asked me to pass that message along to General McMaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was the old message. The new message is more like thanks and good luck.
The latest now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny who's at the White House.
So, Sarah Sanders, that was just a week ago, what happened?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a lot happens in six days. And one of the major things that happened here was indeed that leak earlier this week of the president's phone call with Vladimir Putin. You know, his national security advisers giving him a message, do not congratulate President Putin. The president did congratulate him.
That is one of the things that really set this in motion much faster it appears than it already was going. But the reality is, this has been in the works for weeks. We have been reporting that the president has sort of fallen out a bit with H.R. McMaster, and they were simply looking for a time to do it.
But at the moment of that press briefing last Friday, Anderson, we spoke to senior advisers throughout the White House on that day and all this week, and no one knew this was coming. Few people knew it was coming at least.
John Bolton didn't know it was coming either. He said in an interview on Fox News this evening, he didn't know it was going to be announced this afternoon. So you get the sense the president trying to speed this up to perhaps interrupt the other programming of the evening.
But it is clear the president had lost support of H.R. McMaster and decided to make that decision after John Bolton met with him for about an hour in the Oval Office this afternoon, Anderson.
COOPER: And I understand that John Bolton made the president a promise. What was that?
ZELENY: He apparently did make the president a promise, in a series of conversations. He's been over here to the White House several times over the last weeks, and indeed months, talking with the president. The president, of course, watches him on Fox News. He watches his commentary.
And our Kaitlan Collins is reporting this evening that John Bolton made the president a promise to not start any wars, perhaps tongue-in- cheek there but certainly a point as it comes to his hard-line view, certainly much different.
So, Anderson, what we're seeing here is a reshaping of the Trump presidency really week by week by week, putting in hardliners, people who agree with the president, yes men.
The question is here, where does this leave James Mattis? The defense secretary, of course, now odd man out. He's meeting with the president and other cabinet secretaries here tomorrow. Anderson, that will be a very interesting meeting.
COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
I want to bring in two CNN political analysts. Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent, of course, for "The New York Times". Also, David Gergen, adviser to presidents in both parties dating back to the Nixon administration.
I mean, was this departure, Maggie, as amicable as -- you know, and as mutual as the White House is saying?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, to the extent that you can bee ritually humiliated week after week with stories leaking out about the president being unhappy with you, I suppose it's as amicable as that gets.
I will say that things, look, things between President Trump and H.R. McMaster were never good. And they never had a great relationship. They didn't have a good rapport. The president didn't like H.R. McMaster's briefing style. The president likes to sort of mix up these conversations when they're actual briefings with his shtick, and H.R. McMaster did not respond well to that, typically speaking.
But John Kelly really didn't like H.R. McMaster. And that, I'm told by several people accelerated this timeframe.
COOPER: Do you know why he didn't like him?
HABERMAN: I think there are a variety of reasons, some of it is four- star versus three-star, in terms of their military ranking. Some of it is I think they just disagreed on certain policy aspects. I think stylistically, they didn't get along.
[20:05:02] But H.R. McMaster was generally the odd man out in this sea of military figures with whom the president has surrounded himself. John Kelly did not want John Bolton. I mean, this is not a pick that the chief of staff wanted. Knowing this president and how he makes decisions as you do, as I do, you can envision a world where, yes, maybe it was to knock off your interview with Karen McDougal later tonight, certainly a possibility --
COOPER: Do you really -- you actually think that's possible?
HABERMAN: I think anything is possible with him. I also think there's a possibility because John Bolton resisted, he decided to do it for that reason, and made -- you know, the latest of a series of impulse purchases on staff and on policy.
COOPER: David Gergen, what do you make of the choice?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, two things. First of all, once again they sort of ushered someone out the door in the least gracious way you can do it. Many of the friends of H.R. McMaster said he wanted out of this was a fourth star. He wanted to command, he wanted to go back out on the field and he was prepared to do that and come in and serve his country. He didn't particularly want this job but he was prepared to do it.
So, I just think it's so unfair to these people when they come in and sacrifice. And one thing, to hear that Mattis is now talking is really scary, because Bolton represents a very big swing to the right, in terms of the center of gravity among his advisers.
If you think three countries, Iraq, North Korea, and Iran, on all three, he has been very hard-line. He was a big advocate for going into Iraq early on, back in the Bush administration. He has, on the question of North Korea, he thinks, he said publicly, he thinks these talks -- these upcoming talks will fail. He's talked about a fall- back position that may lead to war.
And, on Iran, with a big decision coming up by this president, just a few weeks, he's going to have Bolton there saying this is a horrible deal, we ought to get out of it.
HABERMAN: On North Korea in particular, though, you reminded me of something I've been told a few times. John Bolton apparently was not contacted until yesterday and asked to come to the White House today.
And the big question was, can you -- John Bolton is a pretty strong personality -- can you essentially recognize that you have to put your own positions aside and the president's thoughts or policy? And I think Bolton had to make clear that he could do that, that he could also read the nuances of the president and think ahead of time, which is not something that I think McMaster found easy to do.
My understanding is that Bolton was able to communicate that. So, on North Korea, which this president has prided himself on saying he thinks he can get this deal when almost no one else thinks he can. I think he will see Bolton adhere more to what the president wants. But it is definitely true, the president is surrounding himself -- I think it isn't just hardliners. I mean, the president is surrounding himself with people who are going to acquiesce to him --
HABERMAN: -- which is not what he had for most of the last year. You had Gary Cohn, who was sort of a moderating influence. You had a bunch of other people, H.R. McMaster certainly was one. And he is, he is one by one, replacing them with people who are going to make things less hard for him. And I think that is the significance.
COOPER: And that's by design. That's not an accident.
HABERMAN: That's by his design. Yes, look, he -- he -- and I wrote about this the other day. He began -- whether he would ever acknowledge it or not, he had a lot of anxiety heading into this job. He knew it was something you cannot play at, he knew nothing about it, he had not thought about it at all.
He needed other people for a long time, because he couldn't figure things out. He now thinks -- and I'm not saying he's right -- but what he thinks is he understands this -- one current White House adviser described it to me as Trump is starting to view the White House more as he did the Trump Org, in terms of his comfort level with it. And that's what's happening.
GERGEN: Ever since Maggie wrote that great story on "The New York Times" about the emboldened Trump, that was about two weeks ago?
HABERMAN: That was three days ago. It just feels like seven years ago. Yes.
GERGEN: But it's been true. It really has captured exactly where he is. And that is, he's thrown off the training wheels, essentially, he says I can do this on my own. But he's surrounding himself in the meantime with hardliners.
The idea that Bolton is going to be in, you know, is simply going to present him with the views of everybody else.
COOPER: And that he won't, quote, start any wars.
GERGEN: He is going to have strong views himself. He's very smart. Bolton is a very smart fellow. And he's principled. He's a very principled hard-liner.
But his views on almost every case are very far to the right of the mainstream and the American foreign policy community.
COOPER: It is interesting to think that this is not a job that requires confirmation --
COOPER: -- from the Senate.
And in fact, John Bolton became the U.N. ambassador without actually having to go through confirmation. I think it was a recess appointment.
HABERMAN: I'm not sure if you're right about that, but I'll take your word for it. But it is certainly true that this is somebody who would have challenges going through confirmation. We're already seeing Mike Pompeo in terms of moving from the CIA is going to have confirmation issues. I think the president is seeking to get around that as much as possible.
GERGEN: I think one other thing that shows up that is distinctive about these appointments in recent days is not only are they going further hard-line, but in every case, it's somebody who has made a name for himself on television as a commentator.
[20:10:04] COOPER: Right.
HABERMAN: Absolutely true.
GERGEN: You know, we just had -- you know, CNN just had on Erin tonight, Navarro --
GERGEN: -- coming in. You're going to see a lot more of them on television and that's what he wants. This is a TV-oriented president.
HABERMAN: It is. It's also a president who believes that on TV, no one has really defended him that strongly, save for a couple of people. Kellyanne Conway remains one of his favorites. There are a couple of other people that he generally believes that people are not on TV talking the way he wants them to talking about his administration. And that is a lot of why you're seeing it this way.
COOPER: And he certainly watches, I mean, as your reporting has shown. I mean, he certainly --
HABERMAN: He says he doesn't.
COOPER: Right, he says he doesn't. But it gets to know these people, John Bolton, through television.
HABERMAN: Kudlow I think he actually knew personally. I think he had a different relationship with him. I think that one's a little different.
Bolton, it's funny to your point about sort of the physical aspect of this. Most of what the president talked about, about John Bolton during the transition, when he chose not to give him this job in the first place and not to give him secretary of state and not to give him a host of other jobs was his mustache, that was the singular part of derision. That tells you a lot of how the president looks at things.
GERGEN: Coming off the trade deals and the announcement and how it's rattled the markets, this is going to send a signal to a lot of countries overseas of greater uncertainty in American policy.
Maggie Haberman, David Gergen, thanks.
Coming up next, my in-depth conversation with former Playboy model Karen McDougal. I spoke to her for more than an hour. She talks about the Donald Trump she says she came to know over a ten-month love affair, the affair she says they had spanned that long. The money she says that he offered her after their first time together and the emotional impact of meeting his wife and mother of his then infant son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, was that the first time you met Melania?
MCDOUGAL: It is. And honestly, if you can tell, I tried to keep my distance. I tried to go as far away as I could.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:16:00] COOPER: Right now, only on 360, conversation with former Playboy model Karen McDougal about the 10-month long relationship she says she had with Donald Trump, a relationship she says that begun in the summer of 2006. McDougal is suing to void an agreement she signed shortly before the 2016 election with the company that owns the "National Enquirer", which bought the rights to her story. Her lawsuit says the magazine bought her story in fact to kill it, thereby protecting the candidacy of Donald Trump.
It's a story that' not been told in full on camera until tonight. As you know, Karen McDougal is just one of three women speaking out just this week about the Donald Trump they say they knew.
COOPER: If I could just start at the beginning, how did you meet Donald Trump?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, FORMER PLAYBOY PLAYMATE: I met Donald when they were filming "The Celebrity Apprentice" at the Playboy mansion. They were filming there and I was hired as one of the playmates to work at the pool party scene. It was kind of fun, actually. And --
COOPER: You worked for Playboy for some time.
MCDOUGAL: Yes. I -- after becoming playmate of the year, I was required to work so many events with Playboy. And that was one of the events I thought would be fun. I worked it and there were a lot of women there. We just saw it as a great time and that's who we met.
COOPER: How did you actually meet?
MCDOUGAL: You know, he said hello, like he would to anybody, then throughout the night, it was kind of obvious that there was an attraction from his part to me. And I kind of just blew it off.
COOPER: You could see him looking at you.
MCDOUGAL: Oh, I could see it. The Playboy bunny, she's like the house mom, is what we call her. She actually made a comment like, wow, this guy is really into you. And that's kind of when I started like paying attention. And he was.
I kind of smiled at it, I thought it was kind of cute and funny. And then at the end of the night, you know, after striking up many conversations, we exchanged -- he actually asked me to write his phone -- my phone number down for him to keep.
COOPER: Did you -- you wanted to see him again?
MCDOUGAL: I thought it would be nice to communicate with him and talk to him. I actually at that point didn't consider dating or going out with him. But I just think he's an interesting person. He's brilliant and I like smart minds. And I think that I was interested in the communication for sure.
COOPER: So when was the next communication?
MCDOUGAL: I believe we talked right away on the phone. I think we talked for about a week on the phone before his next visit to L.A. And that was his birthday which I think is June 12th.
COOPER: Would he call you?
MCDOUGAL: He would call me, I would call him. Vice versa.
COOPER: So, you had his phone number?
MCDOUGAL: I have many of his phone numbers, yes.
COOPER: Do you have his direct number for him, or did you have to go through somebody else?
MCDOUGAL: I have his direct phone number. I have quite few of the direct phone numbers. I also had his bodyguard Keith's phone number. I had his personal secretary's phone number.
COOPER: (INAUDIBLE) number.
MCDOUGAL: No, at the time, it was Tweetie (ph). I don't know her last name. I just know her Tweetie (ph).
But I have all these phone numbers so I couldn't reach him on one, depending where he was going to be, I would call the other.
COOPER: When he called, did his number show up on the phone?
MCDOUGAL: No, it did not.
COOPER: It would show up as what?
MCDOUGAL: Gosh, it's been so long, but I think it just showed up as a 212. Just 212.
COOPER: Like a blocked number or --
COOPER: No caller ID?
MCDOUGAL: Right. Correct.
COOPER: And what were the conversations like?
MCDOUGAL: The conversations were like any other conversation you have with a nice person. We got along great. We had respect for each other. We had fun. We were funny together. We had a good time.
We would talk about anything and what kind of food do you like, to how's your family? He asked me how my family was, to politics, to anything. Like just normal every day life conversations.
COOPER: When did you actually decide to see him again? MCDOUGAL: Before -- you mean after June 12th?
COOPER: Yes. After the initial meeting, and after the phone conversations.
MCDOUGAL: After our first meeting on June 12th, I decided to see him again, actually that night, I didn't think I was going to see him again because I was a little bit put off.
COOPER: Wait. I'm sorry. Was the June 12th -- was that the "Apprentice" event?
MCDOUGAL: No, that was our first, quote/unquote, date.
COOPER: OK. So, I'm sorry. So, tell me about your first date.
MCDOUGAL: Our first date, I was told we were going to go to the Beverly Hills hotel for dinner. So, he had told me that Keith, his bodyguard, was going to pick me up at a certain time and he did. And then we were driving over to the Beverly Hills Hotel. And Keith drove around to the back and he said, we have to get out here, because we don't want to walk to the hotel. And at that minute, I'm like thinking to myself, are we going to a room because I thought we were having dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
[20:20:02] COOPER: In the actual restaurant?
MCDOUGAL: Right. Well, we did have dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel but in his bungalow instead. We had dinner there for a few hours. We talked for a few hours. We had a great time, we're getting to know each other. We're talking about his birthday, and then as the night ended, we were intimate.
COOPER: When you got to the Beverly Hills Hotel and Keith said, we're not going to go through the lobby, we're going to go -- was it to a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel or a suite or?
MCDOUGAL: It was a bungalow in back.
COOPER: A bungalow.
MCDOUGAL: It's the one he said he always stayed at. And in fact, every time that I met him there, it was the same exact bungalow. And he's called it the nicest bungalow they have. So, I guess that's why he chose that one. But that's where we went every time.
COOPER: Were you concerned when you realized you're not going to go out to dinner and actually going to be eating at the bungalow?
MCDOUGAL: I think that first night I was concerned because I didn't -- I wasn't expecting to go to a hotel room or bungalow, whatever you want to call it. I actually thought we were going to dinner. So, I was a bit concerned, and I think at that moment is when I realized maybe something else is going on.
You know, I'm a smart girl. I probably could have figured it out, but I really wasn't thinking. I think I was so nervous to actually meet with him in general that it kind of just didn't even -- you know, think -- it wasn't my thought process at that moment. I was just too nervous to actually meet him. So --
COOPER: Were you attracted to him?
MCDOUGAL: I was attracted to him, yes. He's a nice-looking man. And, you know, I liked his charisma. I think I love -- you know, got great posture. He's got great posture. And he was nice.
COOPER: So the sex was consensual? Just to be clear.
MCDOUGAL: It was consensual, yes.
COOPER: And what happened afterward?
MCDOUGAL: After that night?
COOPER: You said you sort of ended on a strange note. What happened after you had been intimate?
MCDOUGAL: Well, after we had been intimate, he, he tried to pay me. And I actually didn't know how to take that.
COOPER: Did he actually try to hand you money?
MCDOUGAL: He did. He did. And I said, I mean, I just had this look of, I don't know -- just, I don't even know how to describe the look on my face must have been so sad, because I had never been offered money like that before, number one. But number two, I thought, does he think I'm in this for money or why I'm here tonight? Or is this a normal thing? I didn't know.
But I looked at him and I said, that's not me. I'm not that kind of girl. And he said, oh, and he said, you're really special, and I was like, thank you.
So, I left, actually, got in the car. Keith taking me home and I started crying. I was really sad. It really hurt me. But I went back.
COOPER: Hurt you that I saw you that way?
MCDOUGAL: Yes. Hurt me that he saw me in that light. And he obviously assumed that that's the kind of girl I was, maybe because I was a playmate. I don't know. But --
COOPER: Even though you'd a night of conversation and days of conversations, it hurt you that it boiled down in the end to that.
MCDOUGAL: It did hurt me. It did hurt me. I was crying in the back seat of the car. Like I said, I got home and to my apartment and I cried for a lot. I felt really terrible about myself, let alone what he felt, but I felt terrible about myself. And, you know, I got over it, but I felt hurt.
COOPER: Did you think you would see him again?
MCDOUGAL: I didn't. I didn't think I'd see him again. But then when he called, you know, I was in a bad place in my life. I just came out of a bad relationship where I never felt good enough in my relationship, and -- not that that's any excuse, it's not. But I think I was so down on myself that when he called, and he's so sweet, like what everyone sees on TV, I didn't see in that man, because that man was very sweet, very respectful, very loving, very kind and caring. Like that's the man I saw.
COOPER: He's very -- he could be very charming in person.
MCDOUGAL: He's very charming. He's very sweet. His personality to me was, wow, like I loved it. It was great.
COOPER: When was the next time you saw him?
MCDOUGAL: You know, I'd have to look back at my, I took a journal back in the day, and not for anything in particular, but I -- to this day, I still write down everything I do during the day. That's what I do.
So, if I looked at that, I could find out, but I think it was in that same couple days within a week, because he was in town. When he came to L.A., he was usually there between three, five, six, seven days, and I really saw him.
COOPER: You gave us the journal that you kept. You would write down on days you saw him, you wouldn't write out his full name.
MCDOUGAL: No, I either called him T or D.T., because if anybody found this, I wouldn't want to expose myself or expose him.
COOPER: So there's a number of days here, looks like dozens over the course of time with a small little D.T. and sometimes they're hard to see.
MCDOUGAL: I purposely kind of chicken scratched a lot on there, because I know what I'm writing. And like I said to this day, I still do that with my notes and where I'm at, who I talked to, whatever. I did. I did write that down.
So, did I see him quite a few times? Quite a bit? Absolutely. We spent a lot of time together.
COOPER: And did you tell friends about it at the time?
[20:25:02] MCDOUGAL: I did. I told a few friends, and I told my sister. I actually told my mother that I knew him and we talked on a regular basis, but I told her that we were just friends. And she kind of scolded me a little bit, like I hope it's only friends, because, you know, he's married and I'm like, yes, I understand.
My sister actually heard him on the phone, she was with me one time and she -- you know, I couldn't hold the phone because I was busy. So, she put him on speaker and we were just talking. I mean, I didn't care. It's like, she knew anyway.
So, when you have a relationship with somebody, you don't hide it, right? If there's feelings, you don't hide that relationship.
COOPER: Did I ever ask you to hide it?
MCDOUGAL: No, he didn't. Never.
COOPER: So, there was never a conversation of don't tell anybody?
MCDOUGAL: Never. In fact, I think once he asked, does your sister know? And I said, yes, she knows. He's like, oh. So, he wasn't afraid to hide it at all.
COOPER: And you knew he was married.
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: Did he bring up his wife? Did you bring it up?
MCDOUGAL: No, I -- I never brought up his wife. He did once. And that's only time I can remember, when he said she was an intelligent woman. She knew like, I don't know, four or five languages. But other than that, he never talked about his wife, and I never brought it up.
I -- obviously, there's a reason I don't bring her up because I felt guilty about it. So, I -- after never seeing her until the one occasion, I never correlated the two, really. I just kind of out of sight, out of mind.
COOPER: When you met, it was 2006.
COOPER: Was this shortly after his son had been born?
MCDOUGAL: Yes, it was.
COOPER: Would he talk about his child, his son?
MCDOUGAL: No. The only thing he said about his son was, isn't the name Baron a nice name? And I said, yes, it is. And I said, how did you choose that name? And he told me, and that's it. There's no conversation.
COOPER: As you enter a relationship, obviously, in any relationship, you start to think about where this is going to go, and how you feel, and -- how did you view it? How did you view the relationship?
MCDOUGAL: You know, going through it, when I look back, where I was back then, I know it's wrong. Like I'm really sorry for that. I know it's the wrong thing to do.
But back in those days -- sorry.
MCDOUGAL: Back in that day, I was a different girl, you know, I had fun. I was in the Playboy scene. I was just enjoying life as much as I could.
And, you know, when I got with him, actually, you know, there was a -- there was a real relationship there. There were feelings between the two of us. Not just myself, not just him. There was a real relationship there.
And I kind of out of sight, out of mind with everything else. And, you know, deep inside, I did have a lot of guilt. But I still continued.
COOPER: You believe, though, that he had real feelings for you?
MCDOUGAL: Of course he did, yes. I know he did.
COOPER: He would say that?
MCDOUGAL: He did.
COOPER: Were you in love with him?
MCDOUGAL: I was, yes.
COOPER: And do you think he was in love with you?
MCDOUGAL: He was, yes.
COOPER: Did Donald Trump ever say to you that he loved you?
MCDOUGAL: All the time. He always told me he loved me. Yes. Of course.
COOPER: Did he have any nicknames for you?
MCDOUGAL: He would call me "baby", or he'd call me "Beautiful Karen".
COOPER: Would you always see him just in Los Angeles?
MCDOUGAL: No. No, I wouldn't.
I actually went to a golf tournament with him in Lake Tahoe. I went to his golf course in California. I went to his golf course home in New Jersey. I went to his home in New York, and -- trying to think where else. I can't recall right now, yes.
COOPER: When you say you would arrange to go someplace, how would it be arranged?
MCDOUGAL: I would pay for the flight, I would book it myself. I would book the hotel room if I wasn't staying with him. Usually, I stayed with him, but there's been a couple times where I didn't. And then he would reimburse me. So, if the flight was, I don't know, (INAUDIBLE) throw the number, if the flight $500, he'd give me $500 and say, here's -- you know, take care of the flight and things like that. So --
COOPER: Why would he have you book all the travel and the hotel room?
MCDOUGAL: Well, there's no paper trail.
COOPER: And did you realize that at the time?
MCDOUGAL: Yes, I did.
COOPER: Because he was concerned about it being revealed at some point and there being a paper trail?
MCDOUGAL: Oh, I was told there is no paper trail. I can't say what his reasons were, but I would assume that's the case, yes, yes.
COOPER: And Keith Schiller, was he very much involved in this, picking you up, sending messages back and forth, things like that?
[20:30:00] MCDOUGAL: I did have a lot of correspondences with Keith. Yes. And I got to know Keith pretty well, like Keith always picked me up, dropped me off, take me to and from, whether it's an event, the Beverly Hills Hotel or wherever we're going, Keith was always involved.
Keith is a nice man. Yes, I got to know him. He's funny.
COOPER: You went to the -- you said you went to a golf tournament in Tahoe.
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: There were other people now who have come forward saying that they also had met with him and had sex with him at that event. Were you aware of any other women?
MCDOUGAL: No, I was not. I mean, I was with him a lot, so I didn't see anything, but could he have stayed a day longer than me? Sure.
COOPER: Did you think that this relationship was going to last for a long time? Did you have --
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: You did?
MCDOUGAL: Yes, I felt it was getting much stronger. You know, there were no gifts ever, but a Christmas gift, I got him a gift. And then he told me the gift he got me was an apartment in New York, but it's being remodeled right now. I never saw the apartment, because I ended up breaking up or ending the relationship, but that was supposedly my gift. I don't know.
COOPER: You went to his actual apartment in Trump Tower.
MCDOUGAL: I did. I didn't know I was going there. I actually had a hotel room in the city at that time. Well, for this trip. COOPER: What was it like going up to Trump Tower?
MCDOUGAL: I didn't know I was at Trump Tower. We went to the back entrance, so I had no idea where we were going. The back entrance as you know, probably, is more discrete. It's like a little nothing hallway versus like when you walk into the grand -- right?
MCDOUGAL: So we went into the back entrance, and at that point I realized where we were going, and I said, aren't you afraid to bring me here? He's like, they won't say anything. I'm like OK. So, we went upstairs and we looked around and --
COOPER: To his office or to his apartment?
MCDOUGAL: His apartment. He showed me around.
COOPER: What did you think of the apartment?
MCDOUGAL: It's very gold. No, it's actually quite pretty. The views are amazing. That's a beautiful apartment. They have great taste.
COOPER: And he showed you around the apartment?
MCDOUGAL: He did.
COOPER: Did he reference Melania at that point?
COOPER: Her answer to that and her first encounter with the future first lady when we continue.
COOPER: Before the break, you heard former Playboy model Karen McDougal describe how she says she and Donald Trump met, the sweetness she says she saw in him and her reaction to what she says was an offer of money after their first intimate encounter. Before we go any further, we should know that then White House communications director, Hope Hicks, called Ms. McDougal's allegations of an affair, quote, totally untrue.
But Ms. McDougal stands by her story, as you see. And as we continue to talk today, she told about her account of another emotionally jarring aspect of any affair with a married man, meeting his wife and his family.
Here's part two of our exclusive conversation.
COOPER: What did he say? Did he reference Melania at that point?
MCDOUGAL: He did. We passed a room, and he said it's Melania's room. She likes to have her alone time or to get her way to read or something like that. I'm like, oh, OK. That's when I kind of thought, maybe they're having issues. I didn't ask. It's not my business at that point.
COOPER: How did you feel being in his apartment?
MCDOUGAL: Guilty, very guilty. I kind of didn't -- I couldn't wait to get out of the apartment, actually. I think doing something, doing something wrong is bad enough, and when you're doing something wrong, and you're in the middle of somebody else's home or bed or whatever, that just puts it a little old stab in your heart, and I just couldn't wait to get out of the apartment. I wanted to go back to my hotel room.
COOPER: It made his other life more real, you think?
MCDOUGAL: I was going to say, it made it more real to me, yes. It made it more real.
COOPER: Did you see Baron there?
MCDOUGAL: No, I never saw Baron.
COOPER: So, where's this picture from?
MCDOUGAL: That picture is from the "Apprentice" release party that they had at the Playboy Mansion. So, they filmed it like a month beforehand, which is where I met him, and then they had the release party when the "Apprentice" actually aired. So, that's when that one was.
COOPER: So, this is a picture with Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump, several of your colleagues and yourself.
MCDOUGAL: Correct, yes.
COOPER: Did -- so, was that the first time you met Melania?
MCDOUGAL: It is. And honestly, if you can tell, I tried to keep my distance. I tried to go as far away as I could, just because I felt guilty.
COOPER: Do you think she knew?
MCDOUGAL: You know, maybe. Maybe. I don't know.
You know, it was told to me that they were arguing that night, and I said, why? And somebody had said, probably because of you. But I don't know if that's a fact or not, so don't quote me on that one.
COOPER: Do you -- there's another picture with, it's you with Eric Trump.
COOPER: Do you know where that is from? MCDOUGAL: I believe is that's from the Trump Vodka release party that
he had, which was within a couple of days of that other party.
COOPER: Did it feel strange to meet his son, Eric?
MCDOUGAL: It did, but he was such a friendly guy, like, again, when you're doing something wrong, you try and push everything out of the way and make it as right as you can in your mind. So I met, you know, all his kids, except for Baron, of course. And I just started to shake it. But now, it gets to me, but then it didn't.
COOPER: Did he ever compare you to any of his kids?
MCDOUGAL: You know, he, he's very proud of Ivanka, as he should be. I mean, she's a brilliant woman. She's beautiful. She's -- you know, that's his daughter, and he should be proud of her.
He said I was beautiful like her and, you know, you're a smart girl. And there wasn't a lot of comparing, but there was some, yes. I heard a lot about her. Yes.
[20:40:02] COOPER: Did that strike you as odd in any way, or?
MCDOUGAL: You know, I know a lot of people think it's odd. I you know, there's been some comments I've heard in the news he's said about her, I think those comments are wrong. But do I think it's strange that a father would love his daughter so much that he brags about her? No, I brags about my dog that much.
COOPER: I guess -- you know, some people seeing this are not going to believe that you had a relationship, Hope Hicks has said categorically you did not have a relationship, there's no truth to this. When you heard that denial, what do you think?
MCDOUGAL: Well, I think somebody's lying, and I can tell you it's not me. It's a little hurtful, but at the same time, I have to understand, like if he were to told Hope that he didn't do it, I guess I understand, because he's trying to protect his family, his image. Things like that. But, it was definitely a little, like, wow, you're going to lie about that? OK.
COOPER: When you heard the stories of Stormy Daniels who has come forward who said that she was at the Tahoe Club as well and others who said that they were there, you didn't know about that at the time.
MCDOUGAL: No, I did not know.
COOPER: Does it -- what do you think when you heard that?
MCDOUGAL: My first thought is how could she have been with him when I was with him? The only time we weren't together on that particular trip was when I -- he was on the golf course golfing. I didn't go, clearly, but I went to every event, every after thing, parties, daytime things, I was there. That's why I can't understand.
Now, I do remember him saying, he came in one day and said, oh, there are a bunch of porn stars out there. They were wanting pictures of me. And I'm like, oh, that's funny, you know, that's cute, whatever. I do remember him saying that, but I can't imagine when he found the time except for maybe the day I left.
So, it's kind of like, wow, how did this happen?
COOPER: Did you think maybe this would lead to a marriage?
COOPER: Her answer to that just ahead.
I also asked her about the extent of the sexual relationship they had, whether she was worried that this would all come out and how their relationship ended as well as this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: If Melania Trump is watching this, what would you want her to know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:46:20] COOPER: Now, more of my exclusive interview with former Playboy model Karen McDougal who says for 10 months, she had an affair with Donald Trump. She says it began in the summer of 2006. He was married and Melania had recently given birth to their son Baron. McDougal says she felt guilty but tried to put all that aside.
COOPER: Did you think maybe this would lead to a marriage?
COOPER: That's something, though, you liked him enough, that's something you would have liked?
COOPER: Did he, at the time, say, tell you that you were his only girlfriend? Or did that subject --
MCDOUGAL: You know, we never really discussed that. I knew he talked to ladies, but I didn't know there was anything else. I didn't know he was intimate with other ladies.
But I guess if he's -- makes sense, if he's doing it behind his wife's back, why would he not do it behind my back? So --
COOPER: But at that time, in the frame of mind you were in then, you felt you were the only other person?
MCDOUGAL: I thought I was the only one, yes, I did. I thought I was the only one.
COOPER: Do you have any text messages, photographs, videos, anything that would dispute the Hope Hicks' statement that this never happened?
MCDOUGAL: Let me just say this: if you're in a loving relationship, do you try and collect evidence?
COOPER: That's not what you were thinking about.
MCDOUGAL: No, not at all. Not at all. In fact, the only thing that I have really is my journal that I keep, and like I said, I still do it to this day. It wasn't out to get anybody or, gosh, get anyone in trouble, but those are my notes. Those are for me.
No, when you care about somebody, you don't try and set them up in any way, shape or form. That's my opinion.
COOPER: But I'm just wondering if, you know, some couples take a lot of pictures, put them on Instagram or just take pictures for themselves, that wasn't something you two would do.
MCDOUGAL: No, I wouldn't want anybody to find me in that compromising position, let alone him. But I guess at the time, I kind of felt more about my myself. I wouldn't want anybody to see pictures of me like that. So, it just so happens that I'm very protective of my image. So, I guess I protected him too without even knowing it.
COOPER: Were you worried about people finding out?
MCDOUGAL: I was for a while.
COOPER: I mean, except your sister and other good friends.
MCDOUGAL: Yes, I was for a while. There were a couple instances where we were out in public, and he had his hand on my back, and I kept thinking, I'm looking around, there's a lot of people. I'm like, how do these people, like, what are they thinking? I don't know what they're thinking, but I thought it was going to get out.
So, I was scared every time we went to an event. I thought this is going to get out. I didn't want it to get out.
But at the same time, I felt so honored to be with him in a sense that I'm like -- I don't care who knows. But I didn't want that reputation, either. So it's kind of like the saying, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
COOPER: You're saying you didn't want it to get out because --
MCDOUGAL: I mean, look at the bad things people are saying about me now. I didn't want it then and I didn't want it for him either.
COOPER: I mean, this is a hard question to ask but you said you had sex that first time. All those times you saw him, this was an ongoing sexual relationship. MCDOUGAL: Absolutely.
COOPER: Can you estimate how many times you actually saw him?
MCDOUGAL: Again, when you're in a relationship, do you count how many times you have sex? No. However, I can tell you we saw each other a minimum five times a month, up to bigger numbers per month. So, we --
[20:50:08] COOPER: Over the course of how long?
MCDOUGAL: Over the course of 2006 through I think I ended the relationship April 2007. So, we were together 10 months before I chose to end it. So, we saw each other quite frequently.
COOPER: So, dozens of times you were together.
MCDOUGAL: Many dozens of times, yes.
COOPER: And you were intimate --
COOPER: -- many dozens of times?
COOPER: This is another tough question and again, you don't have to answer it. But it's been raised with other people, did he ever use protection?
MCDOUGAL: No. He didn't.
COOPER: Was that something you thought about or it didn't concern you at the time?
MCDOUGAL: You know, we talked about it right beforehand. He was starting to and then he's like, I don't like these things. And you know, we discussed things. Did you do, blah, blah. We were just honest with each other and we didn't use any.
MCDOUGAL: You talked about ending the relationship. Who ended the relationship?
MCDOUGAL: I did.
MCDOUGAL: I was just feeling so guilty. It was just digging inside me. I think the excitement of it took over for a while, and I did care about the man. I'm not going to lie. So, that made it hard to end it.
But I think I just started feeling so bad about myself, like how could I do this to, A., myself, to B, to a family? Whether they get along or not, it's still a family.
I just needed to get out of it. You know, I just needed to get out of it. It's just tearing me apart in a long run.
COOPER: That's a hard thing to do to end a relationship, any relationship.
MCDOUGAL: It was very hard. But I knew I needed to get out.
COOPER: How did you end it?
MCDOUGAL: He wasn't in town. And I just, I'm like, this isn't working for me. He's like why not? And I told him, I blamed it on my mom. I said like, I know my mom knows about you, but she would be really, really devastated if she found out we were having a relationship and being intimate together and, you know, the feelings and I don't want to disappoint my mom.
And he said a few words and that was about it. But, you know, it is what it is. We ended it. We didn't talk for a long time again.
We started talking again in 2009. I went to the Miss -- in one of the pageants in Vegas with this girlfriend of mine. We weren't together, but we talked a lot. We went to this room and just chitchatting.
COOPER: He invited you to the pageant?
MCDOUGAL: He did.
He got us a room at the Trump Hotel in Vegas, a suite, really nice one. And, you know, there were no intimate relations. I had a boyfriend at the time. So, there was nothing like that at all. And then we stayed in contact for a little bit and then we lost contact.
COOPER: Up next, I asked Karen McDougal about whether she ever thought about rekindling the relationship. I also asked her about what happened when Donald Trump announced his candidacy, how at first she says she didn't want her story to come out and then something changed.
[20:57:20] COOPER: Karen McDougal said she and Donald Trump had an affair for ten months, an affair she says that began while he was married to Melania Trump and their son Baron was just a few months old. McDougal told me she felt guilty and that she was the one to end the relationship. Again, the White House has called allegations of an affair, quote, totally untrue.
Ms. McDougal stands by her story. More now of our exclusive interview.
COOPER: Did you ever think about rekindling your relationship?
MCDOUGAL: Not while he was married. Yes, of course, I did. I had feelings for the guy. But no, I couldn't. No, not while he was married. At that point in time, I would never do that again. No.
COOPER: You didn't speak -- I mean, you told friends as anybody would tell friends about a relationship.
COOPER: But you didn't at any point during this time, 2006, 2007, 2008 try to reach out or did you at any point after the relationship ended think about telling your story publicly?
COOPER: Talking about the relationship?
MCDOUGAL: 2007, 2008. No, in fact I had media contacted me in 2011. I for the life of me couldn't figure out who would leak something like this. I'm asking all my friends.
I even called him. I'm like, did you tell anybody? Like, are you leaking this information? He's like, no, don't worry about it. I didn't do it. So, we didn't worry about it.
But I actually had a manager at the time. I had a couple of journalists following me. And they would not leave me alone. So, I had an old manager at the time write them letters saying, you know, she did not have an affair, relationship, blah, blah, blah, et cetera, et cetera. So, I denied everything. I didn't want it out.
COOPER: So, you actually put out a denial to this --
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: -- in 2011?
MCDOUGAL: I did. Not -- did they print that denial, I don't know.
But I'm saying, my manager at the time e-mailed this one reporter that wouldn't give up. You guys are persistent. She wouldn't give up.
So, he had to give her this letter and basically say, leave Karen alone at this point. Like you're done. Leave her alone. So --
COOPER: I mean, some people would have considered telling their story. That never crossed your mind?
MCDOUGAL: No. When you have -- when you have feelings and relationship and you cared about somebody, why would you want to destroy their life any more than you might have already destroyed their life? So --
COOPER: At one point did -- I mean, obviously, Donald Trump announces for president. He's going to run. He gets the Republican nomination.
At what point does this start to come back or this becomes suddenly in the forefront for you again? MCDOUGAL: I was watching the Republican debate with a friend named
Johnny. He's one of my good friends from many years ago. He said, you know, this story is a big story. I said, no way. It's not going to happen. I go, you know where I stand on this, Johnny. I will never say anything. We dropped it.
COOPER: Your friend Johnny was saying this story, meaning the story of your relationship with --
MCDOUGAL: Right. Of course -
COOPER: Your alleged relationship with Donald Trump.