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Trump Denies Claims, Says Stormy has been "Inconsistent"; No, Parkland Student Did Not Tear Up Picture of Constitution; U.S. Army Vet Deported After Serving Two Tours in Afghanistan. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 26, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALANA EVANS, ADULT FILM STAR, FRIEND OF STORMY DANIELS: I am unaware about text messages or pictures or any type of evidence she might have that would fit on a disk. All I know is that Stormy still has the dress that she wore from that night.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: And she kept that for what reason?

EVANS: Maybe a keepsake. Maybe it's because it's actual proof. I can only speculate the things that may be on that dress, especially if it's never been washed.


SCIUTTO: Well, for lack of a better description, she's raising the Monica Lewinsky blue dress possibility there. I think we can reasonably say. In your conversations with Stormy Daniels did she ever mention that possibility, that she had a dress?

JORDI LIPPE-MCGRAW, INTERVIEWED STORMY DANIELS FOR IN TOUCH IN 2011: No, there was never a mention of a dress or any text messages or anything. In fact, what she told me was that whenever he would hear from Donald, it would always come from a blocked number. So, I'm just as curious as you to see if this evidence does exist. But during that time, she said that all of the interactions were very carefully manipulated by Donald and he made sure he was never the one to be texting or calling from a number. Obviously to hide this evidence. So, I'm curious to see what they have.

SCIUTTO: Stormy Daniels really one of the most alarming moments in that interview last night was her telling the story of being physically threatened as she stood in a parking lot, she said, outside her gym with her young daughter. Daniels lawyer believes Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, ordered that threat. Of course, since that interview aired, Cohen's legal team has called the charges false and defamatory. In your conversations with her, did she speak of that kind of interaction?

LIPPE-MCGRAW: No. That threat seemed to have happened after I did the interview. So obviously, you know, or allegedly perhaps they found out about the conversation that she had had with me and that's when the threat came. So, I haven't spoken to her since 2011. I don't know if there were any other threats. But it definitely seems like something Donald Trump has done in the past, that sort of bully and deny tactic. That's something he's used in business, so it's not something I would put past him to do in a personal situation.

SCIUTTO: Right. Of course, in business he's used NDAs as well, apparently in his administration. One thing that struck us today were the many similarities between the M.O. in effect of how Donald Trump interacted with Stormy Daniels, but also Karen McDougal not using protection during sex one thing. But another one that was particularly cringe worthy, I suppose you could say -- I'm a father of a daughter too and I just can't imagine the circumstances of interacting with someone in this way. But Stormy Daniels said that he compared her to his daughter, Ivanka, in a complimentary way. Karen McDougal has said the same thing. Did you talk about that with Stormy Daniels in your interview?

LIPPE-MCGRAW: Yes, that was actually one of the most surprising things that she told me. It was again cringe worthy to me as well. Again, it just shows that she is sticking to her story. The interaction is the same. It also, sort of shows a pattern that Donald Trump has. They had dinners in hotel rooms, it wasn't like they were going out to restaurants, and it seemed like he kind of had this down to a science across the board with all of these women. It's something that he did quite frequently, apparently.

SCIUTTO: Well, Jordi Lippe-McGraw, you were first on this story. Thanks very much for sharing your account of it.

LIPPE-MCGRAW: Yes, of course.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, far right-wing conspiracy theories have gone viral, demonizing the young child survivors of the Parkland school shooting. Teenagers, demonizing them as un-American. A photoshopped image even showing one student apparently in the image tearing up the constitution. The fact is that's just not true. We'll discuss the impact of this, next.


SCIUTTO: The Parkland shooting survivors just high schoolers driving the national conversation on gun control. Their faces becoming the leaders, the symbols of this movement. But also, the targets, sadly, of smear campaigns and attacks from some conservative politicians. This fake video going viral on social media showing survivor Emma Gonzalez tearing up the constitution. The trouble is, that's not what she tore up. "Teen Vogue's" executive editor setting the record straight, the image was pulled from its cover shoot. The real image on the right, Emma tearing up a target post, not the constitution. Gonzalez was also the target of criticism from Republican representative Steve King's team with this Facebook post calling out Gonzalez for wearing a Cuban flag on her jacket. Saying it is ironic that she would wear the flag of a communist country while calling for gun control.

Joining me now to discuss are CNN political commentators, Charles Blow, who is a "New York Times" op-ed columnist and Matt Lewis, who is a senior columnist at "The Daily Beast." Matt, if I could begin with you. What is your reaction to these students being turned into villains online but also by even some Republican politicians. Are they fair game here?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's a tough one. On one hand they are going after Republicans. Marco Rubio -- who actually has tried to, I think, present some common-sense immigration reform ideas -- has been attacked by them from the stage. In fact, at the march on Saturday and essentially said he's got blood on his hands. So, they're coming after Republicans. It's hard to sort of turn the other cheek and not push back. I would say --

SCIUTTO: Now Matt though, I mean, he's an elected United States Senator, an adult, and these kids are teenagers. Some of them even tweens, right? The trouble seems to be that the attacks are personal in many cases rather than on the policy disagreements.

LEWIS: Well, I would say I think that attacking them is fraught with danger, as you're suggesting here. One is their age. Additionally, look, they do have a certain moral authority here. They are victims. They were part of this horrible shooting. I don't think that bestows them with absolute wisdom. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're correct about every policy issue. But it does, I think, give them a certain amount of moral authority to talk about this. So, I think Republicans really need to tread carefully here when you go after them.

SCIUTTO: Charles, I wonder what your reaction. Beyond the personal attacks and certainly the fake attacks, which no one, including Matt, is defending here. Do you believe at least on the issues that the students by putting themselves out there, right, that they can reasonably expect to get at least some pushback?

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, but I don't think you can put aside the false attacks. I think that's part of what is fueling this. And I actually believe that it is a -- it back fires in a big way. One thing that the kind of fake news, Russia propaganda, all that stuff during the election was to dampen enthusiasm among young people, particularly young people of color. What you're doing when you're doing false images of people who literally spend all day doctoring images and putting Facebook filters on things, they can spot a fake image a mile away much better than we old people can. So, it just makes your argument feel much more hollow. That you don't have anything real to say so you're going to the fake stuff. That's bad for you and it actually energizes them rather than dampens their spirits. I think that is a big backfire move.

But in addition to that, these are victims, right? So, if you recall during the campaign, there was one of the mothers of one of the people who were killed in Benghazi was a big person in the campaign and actually spoke, I believe, at the Republican National Convention. And people were asked about how to respond to that and they did the right thing by saying she's in pain, she deserves to be able to say whatever she wants to say. She put herself out there. She was a part of the political process, and people still did not attack her personally. The fact that Republicans are coming after these kids personally and even though they are speaking out of their pain, problem, problem, problem.

SCIUTTO: Yes, Matt, why can't we do that? In fact, let's be fair, you'll often hear personal attacks coming from both directions, right, rather than going after the policy disagreements. You'll go right at -- folks get called un-American. These kids, you had an interesting comment from former Senator Rick Santorum, which I'm sure you heard this weekend. Saying well, they should be studying CPR, they shouldn't be in effect out there making these political statements here. But why on this issue, Matt, can't it be about the policy and not about the personal side, the politics of personal insult in effect?

LEWIS: Yes, look, I agree. And I think they have every right to be making political statements. There's nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with them having been a part of this, wanting to go rather than just learning CPR, which I think we should probably all do. But whether or not that would help in this instance. But there's nothing wrong with them advocating public policy positions, whether I like it or not, liberal or conservative. I do think both sides here are making the same mistake about polarization, you know. If you looked at this rally, there's a lot of things that I would agree with them on. A lot of things a lot of us, including Marco Rubio, might agree on. For example, raising the age of buying a rifle to 21, as I think they just did in Florida from 18. Things like background checks. But I think that the tenor of this rally was really let's attack the NRA, let's attack Republicans. Let's kind of go to the hard left. I think that's a mistake and likewise I think when Republicans attack these kids and make it personal and vicious and especially the fake stuff, that's not bringing us together. It's driving us apart.

SCIUTTO: You know, Charles, it's interesting, after this shooting happened we asked that question that we asked after the Newtown shooting, right? Is this time different? Will there be substantive change on these issues? I mean, Matt mentioned one there about raising the age, something the President expressed support for but then backed off after his meeting with the NRA. You've had some steps, safe schools funding, looks like bump stocks are going to get banned. But do you think again, Charles, that it didn't really make a difference or at least hasn't made a difference yet in terms of real substantive gun legislation changes?

[15:45:00] BLOW: Well, I take issue with that. I believe that it has, right. In the omnibus bill, one of the things I've been harping on forever is that the CDC for 22 years was not allowed to study whether or not -- study gun violence and how to deal with it.

SCIUTTO: Great point.

BLOW: Somebody was able to sneak into in omnibus bill language that clarified that to specifically say that the CDC is in fact allowed to research that. I believe that you cannot make sound policy without sound data. And for 22 years we've had no data whatsoever or limited data from people who are outside the government, not in the CDC, people trying to cobble together enough data to do private studies. This says now that the government can do that work. Now, it doesn't go all the way. We still need to make sure that we

have specific federal dollars allocated to do that research. But that's big. Because for 22 years nobody has been able to get that done and that is now done. And nobody would have done it were it not for these kids on their backs. So, I believe they have --

SCIUTTO: That's a good point. No, it's a good point. And I don't want to take anything away from them because the political climate as you know is a very difficult one, even following a tragedy like this to get legislation through.

Matt, if I could raise another point, because one thing that has struck me about the Parkland students after this shooting is their political savvy on these issues. Not just keeping their voices out there but taking very nuanced positions on a lot of these measures. But in particular, they noted this weekend their privilege. Which is why many of them wanted to share the stage with activists from other shootings who did not get the same attention that their school shooting did. Notable, mark, is it not, them in effect trying to expand their group of support on this issue?

LEWIS: Look, I think that they're incredibly well spoken, incredibly savvy in some ways. I would say, though, I hate to beat a dead horse here, but look, if you actually wanting to change things in terms of public policy, you're going to need 60 votes in the Senate to get things done. You're going to need some Republicans to be a part of it. You're going to need people like me to support some of these things. And I think there are things that can be done. Whether it's background checks, raising the age, different things that are sort of reasonable, moderate, modest gun reform positions. You're going to need some Republicans to support it. And I think what this rally and this march, very good at sort of stirring up the left wing. Not so good at winning hearts and minds of people who don't necessarily agree with that position. So that's my concern from an analyst standpoint.

SCIUTTO: Charles Blow, Matt Lewis, thanks for talking it out.

LEWIS: Thanks.

BLOW: Absolutely.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, he served two tours in Afghanistan, but just got deported. Why the U.S. is kicking him out of the country and the uproar that has followed.


SCIUTTO: There was growing outrage after a U.S. Army vet who served two tours in Afghanistan has now been deported to Mexico. Miguel Perez was escorted across the U.S./Mexico border in Texas on Friday. Handed over to Mexican authorities. Perez was brought here legally when he was just 8 years old by his father, pictured here. His application for citizenship was denied because of a 2010 felony drug conviction after he was diagnosed with PTSD. Right now, his family is on route to visit him in Mexico. And I'm joined by a family pastor, Reverend Walter Coleman. Reverend, the family, obviously suffering through the shock here of now being split up particularly after the sacrifice that he made for his country. How are they handling it and how is he handling it?

REV. WALTER COLEMAN, MIGUEL PEREZ'S FAMILY PASTOR: Well, it's been a hard -- it's been a long hard journey for the family. He's actually been in ICE custody for 14 months. I think really ICE -- he was trying to pressure into taking a voluntary departure and giving away his rights. We filed various legal actions. One of which was a citizenship application. But he, you know, wanted to stick it out. He felt like he had a right to be in this country. He had served honorably, and he felt like he should be there.

I think the most important thing to understand is that when he entered the Army -- responding to a call like a lot of his brothers and sisters did -- he was already a legal permanent resident and eligible at that time to become a citizen. And his recruiter and people in the Army assured him that by his service in the Army, he would automatically become a citizen. He didn't know until he was picked up by ICE that he wasn't a citizen. And that they had taken away his legal permanent residency. He fought like citizen. He acted like a citizen. He acted like a citizen. He made some mistakes came from PTSD and from the kind of pressures that a lot of our guys suffered, coming back out of service.

But he did his time. And now all of a sudden, they've thrown him out of country. And dumped him -- just dumped him across the border in a town that our government has put a travel warning against.

[15:55:00] SCIUTTO: Right. And now I know, and I've met soldiers who served abroad in wars who were promised by recruiters and many of them did get an expedited naturalization process for troops. But it also requires that they show good moral character. Do you think he failed that test?

COLEMAN: Well, it wasn't a question that he was showing good moral character while he was in Afghanistan and in the service. And that's when they should have granted him the citizenship. This last hearing for citizenship, we were really going in and asking through his attorneys, to give him citizenship retroactive to when he was in the service. Which they promised him, and he should have gotten.

SCIUTTO: Well, Reverend Coleman, our best to you and the family and we certainly appreciate his service. Thanks very much to you as well for watching. We're going to be back in just a moment.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Welcome to "THE LEAD." I'm John Berman in for Jake today. We begin with breaking news in the money lead. Look at that. The Dow surging. Rebounding after a head spinning few days last week following fears of a trade war sparked by more tariffs announced by President Trump. The Dow is closing in right now up nearly 700 points. Depending on where it lands it could be one of the biggest point gains on record. Let's get right to CNN's Alison Kosik, at the New York Stock Exchange. Alison, the Dow had its worst week in two years just last week. So, what gives? Why the turn-around? Exactly. So, we did watch, John, the bull really come charging back

and charging back hard after we saw the Dow lose more than 1,000 points over the previous two trading days. What a difference a day makes, or this case a weekend. Today's massive rebound coming after "The Wall Street Journal" reported that China and the U.S. quietly began trade negotiations --