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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Stormy Daniels Details Threat; Porn Star Offers No Evidence for Affair; Students Worldwide March for Our Lives; Trade War Fears Shake Stocks; Final Four is Set. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 26, 2018 - 04:00   ET




STORMY DANIELS, PORNSTAR: I was like turn around. Drop them.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You told Donald Trump to turn around and drop his pants?

DANIELS: Yes. He had underwear on and stuff. I just gave him a couple swats.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Monday. Stormy Daniels goes public about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. But it wasn't just a salacious story. She says a mysterious man told her not to sell her story or her daughter might grow old without a mom.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The President says his lawyers are itching to join his legal team, then his newest lawyer quits just moments later.


RICK SANTORUM, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about, maybe taking CPR classes.


BRIGGS: A prominent Republican, students are better serve preparing for active shooters than trying to stop them, an emotional week and across the country as activist consume big cities demanding action on guns. A massive show of passion, activation will see where they take it from here. Good morning everyone. Welcome back to "Early Start." I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday --

BRIGGS: Good to see you.

ROMANS: -- March 26, what a weekend, it's 4:00 a.m. in the East. So much going on, let's begin here.

Adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, offering unprecedented detail, shall we say. Says, she was threatened to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 encounter with Donald Trump. In a highly anticipated interview with Anderson Cooper, on "60 Minutes," Daniels said she was physically intimidated in Las Vegas in 2011 after trying to sell the story to "In Touch" magazine for $15,000.


STORMY DANIELS, PORNSTAR: I was in the parking lot going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. I was taking the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, leave Trump alone and forget the story. And then he leaned around and look at my daughter. And said it's a beautiful little girl. It would be a shame, if something happened to his mom? And then he was gone.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You took it as a direct threat?

DANIELS: Absolutely. I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class and my hands were shaking so much I was afraid I was going to drop her.

COOPER: Did you ever see the person again?

DANIELS: No, but I would -- if I did, I would know it right away. I will never forget it.

COOPER: You will be able to recognize that person?

DANIELS: 100 percent. Even now, all these years later. If he walked in these door right now, I would instantly know.

COOPER: Did you go to the police?



DANIELS: Because I was scared.


BRIGGS: Two former "In Touch" employees tells "60 Minutes," the magazine backed out of the agreement after Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen threatened to sue, but in a statement overnight, a lawyer for Cohen said, she had nothing to do with any threat against Daniels and does not believe it actually happened.

BRIGGS: Now, in the interview, Daniels also explained why she was risking $1 million fine for violating the hush agreement. She said it was quote, "Very important to be able to defend herself" and she said she signed the $130,000 nondisclosure agreement under pressure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: If it was untruthful, why did you sign


STORMY DANIELS, PORNSTAR: Because they made it sound like I had no choice.

COOPER: No one was putting a gun to your head.

DANIELS: Not physical violence, no.

COOPER: You thought that there would be some sort of legal repercussion, if you didn't signed it?

DANIELS: Yes. As a matter of fact, the exact sentence used was, they can make your life hell in many different ways.

COOPER: They being?

DANIELS: I'm not exactly sure, who they were. I believe it to be Michael Cohen.


BRIGGS: Daniels also detailed what she said was the one time she and Trump had sex after he showed her a magazine with his face on the cover.


STORMY DANIELS, PORN STAR: This is -- you know, talking about yourself normally work? And I was like, someone should take that magazine and spank you with it. I'll never forget the look on his face.


DANIELS: Just -- I don't think anybody has ever spoken to him like that. Hand it over. And -- so he did. I was like, turn around. Drop them.

COOPER: You told Donald Trump to turn around and take off his pants?


COOPER: And -- did he?

DANIELS: Yes. So, he turned around and pulled his pants down. He had underwear on and stuff and I just gave him a couple of swats.


BRIGGS: She's try to un-see that. In an eerie echo of Karen McDougal, another woman who says she had an affair with Trump, Daniels said he compared her to his daughter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STORMY DANIELS, PORN STAR: He said wow, you -- you are special. You

remind me of my daughter, you know, he said, you're smart, beautiful and a woman to be reckoned with. I like you. I like you.


ROMANS: Daniels did not unveil evidence of her alleged affair with the President, but hinted again, she has not revealed everything she has. Before the interview aired, her attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted not all of our evidence will be mentioned or displayed tonight, that would be foolish. Tonight is not the end, it's the beginning. The White House says the President Trump denies the affair ever happened.

[04:05:03] BRIGGS: The President, back the White House last night alone it is unclear whether he watched the Daniels' interview, but sources tells the president has been complaining about what he sees his world to world coverage of Daniels. Melania Trump stayed behind Mar-a-Lago for a preplans Spring Break with their son. The First lady spokesman did not mentioned the Daniels' interview directly, but did tweet, "while the other media enjoying speculations, salacious gossip, I'd like to remind people there's a minor child whose name should be kept out of news stories, when it all possible."

ROMANS: All right. A lot of uncertainty facing the president's legal team, at a critical stage of the Russia investigation. Less than a week after declaring veteran Washington lawyer, Joe diGenova, was coming on board. Another of the President's attorneys now confirms that diGenova will not be joining the legal stuff after all. That announcement coming just minutes after the President tweeted, he has having no trouble assembling a legal team. Tossing in another no collusion comment for a good measure.

BRIGGS: DiGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing are a veteran Washington legal duo. CNN's has learned, the pair met with President Trump, Thursday, he liked their message, but it was not convinced they were right for the job. The two lawyers released a statement, thanking the president saying, they look forward to working with him on other matters. Mr. Trump's lead lawyer, John Dowd, resigned last week.

ROMANS: All right. Former Pennsylvania Republican Senator, Rick Santorum, suggesting students protesting for tighter gun laws would be better off taking CPR classes and doing active shooter drills. A day after, hundreds of thousands protested on the "March For Our Lives" events on Washington and around the world, Santorum also a CNN commentator, dismissed the usefulness of what he called, phony gun laws.


SANTORUM: How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problems, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or try to deal with situations where that when there is violence, they would actually respond to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How would they looking in other people's -- I would ask you, did they took action?

SANTORUM: Yes, they took action and asked someone to pass a law. They didn't take action say, how do I as an individual, deal with this problem? How am I going to do something about stopping dueling with my own community? What am I going to do to actually help respond to a shooter? What am I going to do --those are the kinds of things where you can take it internally and say, here's how I'm going to deal this and I'm going to help the situation.


BRIGGS: This weekend, survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre led the "March For Our Lives" events, across the country, delivering a passionate message that Washington's paralysis on gun violence must end. Celebrities like Paul McCartney, Amy Schumer and others lend their star power to the event. Crowd heard fiery speeches from activist, old and young, including the nine-year-old granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.


YOLANDA RENEE KING, GRANDAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: My grandfather had a dream that his four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream that enough is enough.

SAM FUENTES, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I just grew on an international television, and it feels great.



We're not asking for a ban. We're asking for compromise. Forget your sides and colors. Let's save one another.

RYAN DEITSCH, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: We need to arm our teachers -- we need to arm them with pencils, pens, paper and the money they need. They need that money to support their families and support themselves before they can support the futures in those classrooms.

EMMA GONZALEZ, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle and blend in with the students, as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest. Fight for your lives before it is someone else's job.


ROMANS: Wow. Six minutes 20 seconds. The huge crowds temporarily overshadowing the large number of people who disagree like, Florida Senator, Marco Rubio, who commended the students for speaking out. He says many American's want to stop mass shootings, but do not support any kind of gun ban.

BRIGGS: That statement had been echoed by Kyle Kashuv, a Stoneman Douglas student, taking out a position opposite to his classmates.


KYLE KASHUV, STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT OPPOSES ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN: We have to make sure that the laws were enacting don't hurt America on a nationals scale, and that is why, I think that we have to sit down with all members of this issue. OK. Sit down with me and David Hogg, or Cameron Kasky, and debate this and find a common ground middle ground, because that's the only that we can protect the American people.


BRIGGS: Kashuv, challenge another student to a debate on guns with no personal insult allowed, Cameron Kasky who wants tighter gun regulations, he said yes.

ROMANS: All right. To market now, Asian stocks stalling overnight on fears of a trade war between two of the world's biggest economies.

First, President Trump said he would slap tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

[04:10:02] Then China targeted $3 billion in U.S. exports like fruit line and pork. That spurred "Wall Street," the worst week in more than two years. The DOW lost 420 points on Friday alone. It is now down 11.6 percent since its recent high. That is known as a correction, an official correction. The timing could not be worse with interest rates rising. Analyst say, a trade war could trigger a recession.

So big name CEO are speaking out against Trump's protectionism like, Apple's Tim Cook and Black Rock Larry Fink. The Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, says the President will not back down.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: So if President Trump said we are not afraid of the trade war, but that is not our objective. I think, we are working on a pathway to see if we can reach an agreement as to what fair trade is for them to open up their markets, reduce their tariffs, stop forced technology transfer, these are all of the things we want to do.


ROMANS: Overnight, the "Wall Street Journal," reports that China and the U.S. have quietly started negotiations. The goal is to improve U.S. access to Chinese markets. U.S. features and Global stocks rebounded on that news from the "Wall Street Journal." We call it headline risk. There's a lot of headline risk here, every news story about, will we or won't we have a trade war is something that's going to jerk stocks around.

BRIGGS: That risk is shrinking a little bit, fellas, as we go on. ROMANS: We will talk to Greg Valliere, the next hour. He thinks all

of this concern is overblown and that both parties will make sure that there won't -- there's not a full-blown trade war.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, President Trump could decide as soon as today whether to expel more Russian diplomats over the nerve agent poisoning in the U.K. Will he listen to his National Security experts this time around?


ROMANS: President Trump could decide today whether to follow the recommendation of his National Security Council and expel a group of Russian diplomat from United States. The move would come in retaliation from the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom. CNN's senior diplomatic correspondent Michelle Kosinski had more from the State Department.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine and Dave, the President's National Security Team has recommended that he take action against Russia now and expel Russian diplomats from the U.S. In solidarity with the U.K. that has already done the same after those poisoning there.

Now a source familiar with the discussion say, they expect an announcement on this as early as today. Possibly coming from the White House and maybe from the State Department, but the Europeans are seeing signs to be optimistic that this is going to be a big coordinated announcement with the U.S. and multiple European countries. Possibility 20 of them to kick out a significant number of Russian diplomats.

Of course, until this happens, no one knows 100 percent how President Trump will respond. Remember, it was his own National Security Team that recommend that only days ago, that he not congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin after his election win and of course President Trump did exactly the opposite.

But if Trump did not act on this recommendation, of course there are going to be big questions of why. First of all, his administration has called these poisonings attempted murder. They express strong support for the U.K.'s belief that Russia was indeed behind this. They've express support for what the U.K. has already done in response. A multiple numbers of Congress on both sides of the aisle had repeatedly urged this administration to do more against Russia's behavior and to do so faster. Christine and Dave.


BRIGGS: Michelle Kosinski there at the State Department.

Meanwhile, this 53 people are dead and dozens missing after a fire rips through the shopping mall in Siberia. Officials say the fire broke out on the top floor of the four-story building consuming 17,000 square feet. The complex includes a movie theater, bowling alley, children's center and petting zoo. 20 people were rescued from the building and nearly 100 others evacuated. At this point, though still unclear, what started that devastating fire?

ROMANS: And we're told, there are many, many children missing in that building right now.

All right. U.S. Military veteran brought to this country legally deported back to Mexico in the dark of night. Why? That is next.


ROMANS: We are expecting to hear today from attorneys representing the family of the unarmed black man shot and killed by police in Sacramento. Officers say, they thought Stephon Clark was holding a gun when they encountered him standing in his mother's -- grandmother's backyard, but investigators only found a cell phone near his body. Attorney Benjamin Crump telling CNN, he plans to conduct his own investigation.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR THE FAMILY OF STEPHON CLARK: It shocks the conscience when you think about somebody being shot 20 times as you watch that video and you say my, god, they didn't even give him a chance to comply or anything. It is even more shocking to me as a father of black boys to say, don't he get the benefit of some consideration?


BRIGGS: A new questions this morning about why officers at the scene were instructed to mute their body cameras after Clark was shot. The officers are now on paid administrative leave. The department says, they are getting death threats.

The city was calm over the weekend. The Sacramento Kings played at home on Sunday, and did not see a repeat of last week when protesters block arena entrances.

ROMANS: A U.S. army veteran, who served two tours in Afghanistan has been deported to Mexico. Miguel Perez, came to the U.S. legally -- legally at age 8, but his application for citizenship was denied due to a felony drug conviction. The 39-year-old Perez said that, what he saw and experienced in Afghanistan sent his life off the rails leading to heavy drinking and drug addiction. Perez, his family and supporters, including Illinois Senator, Tammy Duckworth, argued that his wartime service, had earned him the right to stay in the U.S.

BRIGGS: The final four, all set. Now, two number one seeds, Kansas and Villanova will meet in one semifinal. The Jayhawk's punching their tickets to San Antonio with a thrilling overtime victory against Duke, 85-81. Malik Newman, all thirteen Kansas points in O.T., including that three-pointer that gave Kansas the lead for good.

In the other games, Sunday, Villanova defeated Texas 71-59. The 2016 National Champions, headed back to the final four, thanks to their fourth straight tournament win in double figures. Michigan earned the berth in the other National Semifinal beating Florida, 58-54.

[04:25:00] The Wolverines, riding a 13 games winning streak, as they prepare for their eight final four appearance. Their streak second only to the team that will face, well, this year's America's team. Loyola of Chicago, whose won 14 straight. The 11th seed Ramblers robbed to a 78-62 win over Kansas State, Saturday.


That match is the lowest seed ever to make it to the final four. Just check out the motion there. Three other 11 seeds did make the final four, all of them lost in the national semifinals.

They did not have a good luck charm quite like Sister Jean though loyalist, 98-year-old super fan, who probably worry final four cap, after the win. The two semifinals take place at the Alamo Dome, San Antonio on Saturday. The winners will play for the National title one week from tonight. What a thrilling ride has been --

ROMANS: That was great.

BRIGGS: Not just about the Sister Jean, but this two teammates, Ben Richardson and Clayton Custer played together since third grade.

ROMANS: I love that and I didn't realize that, that team was so history setting in 1963 when that team before.

BRIGGS: Yes. First intergraded team and won the National Championship.

ROMANS: That's right -- that's right there in Chicago. Big joke over the weekend, Sister Jean, she gave up losing for lent.


BRIGGS: I love that. OK. Stormy Daniels. Details her alleged tryst with President Trump. She shares some salacious details, but the headline is accusations of intimidation and a cover-up allegedly by associates of Donald Trump.