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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Stormy Daniels Details Threat; Students Worldwide March For Our Lives; V.A. Secretary Shulkin On Shaky Ground; Remington Files For Bankruptcy; Final Four Is Set; Trade War Fears Shakes Stock. Aired 04:30-5p ET

Aired March 26, 2018 - 04:30   ET




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

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

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Stormy Daniels goes public about her alleged tryst 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 blow off the (inaudible).

BRIGGS: President says his lawyers are itching to join his legal team, then his latest 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.


ROMANS: A former Republican Senator, says it is better to prepare for active shooters than to stop them, this in an emotional week and across the country as activist consume big cities demanding action on guns. Welcome back to "Early Start." I'm Christine Romans.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Dave Briggs. What an image it was. Some say it was -- some say it was bigger than the Trump inauguration crowd which you're sure infuriated the president.

ROMANS: Paging Sean Spicer.

BRIGGS: It was indeed, half a million some say were there in D.C. We start with the storm. The brute late last night adult film actress

Stormy Daniels offering unprecedented detail. Says she was threatened to keep quiet about her alleged 2006 tryst 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: 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.

COOPER: 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 the door right now, I would instantly know.

COOPER: Did you go to the police?



DANIELS: Because I was scared.


ROMANS: 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, Cohen had nothing to do with any threat against Daniels and does not believe it actually happened.

BRIGGS: 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.


COOPER: If it was untruthful, why did you sign it?

DANIELS: 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.


ROMANS: 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.


DANIELS: 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.

COOPER: What was the look?

DANIELS: Just -- I don't think anybody has ever spoken to him like that. Hand it over. 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.


ROMANS: In an eerie echo of Karen McDougal, another woman who says she had an affair with Trump, Daniels said he compared her to his owned daughter.


DANIELS: 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.


[04:35:07] BRIGGS: Daniels did not unveil evidence of her alleged tryst 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.

ROMANS: The White House says the President Trump denies the encounter ever happened. The President, "I was back at the White House last night alone, Melania Trump stayed behind Mar-a-Lago for a preplans Spring Break with their son.

BRIGGS: All right. We're done with that now. A lot of uncertainty facing the president's legal team, meanwhile the 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.

ROMANS: DiGenova and his wife Victoria Toensing are a veteran Washington legal duo. CNN's has learned, they had met with the President Trump on 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.

BRIGGS: 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 news limits 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.


ROMANS: This weekend, survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre led the "March For Our Lives," 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.


PAUL MCCARTNEY, SINGER: My best friend was killed in gun violence right around here. So, it is important to me.


ROMANS: Crowds heard fiery speeches from activist old and young, including the 9-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 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.


BRIGGS: The huge crowds took earlier 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.

ROMANS: That sentiment echoed by Kyle Kashuv, a Stoneman Douglas student staking out a position opposite to many of 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 we have to sit down with all members of this issue. OK. Sit down with me and David Hogg, or Camera Kasky, and debate this and find a common ground middle ground, because that's the only that we can protect the American people.


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

[04:40:02] Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg's apology tour continues, taking out full page ads and several newspapers over the weekend. Zuckerberg apologized for Facebook's breach of trust. Trump campaign consultant to access the data, 50 million users without their consent. Zuckerberg promises to so better, but Senator Mark Warner wants more.


SEN MARK WARNER, (D) VIRGINIA: I think Mr. Zuckerberg needs to come and testify before Congress. Not just put an advertisement in the newspaper. He said he would if he was the right guy. He is the right guy, he cannot send a staff.


ROMANS: In this latest crisis, there is a new threat to Facebook's reputation, already tarnished for allowing Russia to manipulate the platform during the 2016 election. In fact, some advertisers are dumping Facebook. It stock fell 13 percent last week. Now, Apple CEO Tim Cook is publicly calling for Facebook to be regulated. Speaking at a forum over the weekend, Tim Cook said, the situation is so dire that some well-crafted regulation is necessary.

Adding that he's long worried that people around the world would give up their information without knowing how it could be used. This is a space for a long time -- the mantra is bent -- don't regulate this. Let it this be -- free and fair open platform.

BRIGGS: It should be treated as another type of business.

ROMANS: You know, it is a utility just like the water, the air, the electricity --


ROMANS: -- this has becoming a utility. And utility needs regulations.

BRIGGS: Don't look for new regulations with this administration, that doesn't fit the pattern indeed.

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


BRIGGS: 4:45 Eastern Time. V.A. Secretary David Shulkin could be the next member of the President's cabinet to be shown the door. A source tells CNN, President Trump indicated two associates this weekend, he intends to oust Shulkin as early as this week. The departure would be the latest in the series of the White House personnel changes. Listen to Chris Ruddy, the CEO of News Max, and a close friend of the president and this interview with ABC.


CHRISTOPHER RUDDY, NEWSMAX CEO: The President told me he is perplexed by all of these reports of chaos at the White House or mass staff changes. He told me that he thinks the White House is operating like a smooth machine, his words. He did say that he is expecting to make one or two major changes to his government very soon. That is going to be it.


BRIGGS: The rift between Shulkin and the White House became publicly in February when the secretary was talking about damning Inspector General Report, related to the trip he took to Europe with his wife last summer.

ROMANS: The White House is deferring to the Pentagon on the issue of banning transgender people from serving the military. The president tweeted out a full ban last year, but after Defense Department review, the administration now says trenched -- transgender service member are disqualified. Disqualified, except under limited circumstances.

Exceptions to the ban include, people who have been quote, "Stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex." LGBT advocacy groups call the new policy a discriminatory attack on those who volunteered their lives for the country. The new restrictions will be challenged in court. The full ban Trump tweeted last summer is currently being challenged in at least four separate legal cases.

BRIGGS: President Trump could decide today whether to follow the recommendation of his National Security Council and expel a group of Russian diplomats from the United States. The move would come in retaliation for that nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the United Kingdom. CNN's senior diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kosinski, has more now from Washington.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine and Dave, the President's National Security Team has recommend that he take action against Russia now and expel Russian diplomats from the U.S. In solidarity with the U.K. which 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 does 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.


ROMANS: All right. Michelle, nice to see you, thank you.

All right. Activists around the country, march for action on gun control. One of the -- one of America's oldest gun makers, is filing for bankruptcy. "CNN Money," 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 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?


[04:55:07] BRIGGS: 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, 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 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 what he 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, arguing that his wartime service, two tours in Afghanistan that had earned him the right to stay in the U.S.

BRINKLEY: All right. The final four is all set. Two number one seeds, Kansas and Villanova will meet in one semifinal. The Jayhawk's punching their tickets to San Antonio with the thrilling overtime victory over Duke, because the last shot just didn't fall from Grayson Allen, it was 85-81. Malik Newman, all thirteen Kansa points in overtime, including the dagger three-pointer from the corner there. Bill self-headed back to the final four.

In the other games, Sunday, Villanova defeated Texas 70 -- Texas Tech 71-59. The 2016 National Champs, 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 State, 58-54.

Wolverines, riding a 13 games winning streak, as they prepare to make their eight final four appearance. Their streak though, second only to the team they'll face next to his -- really this year's America's team. Loyola-Chicago won 14 straight. 11th seed romped to a 78-62 win over Kansas State on Saturday. Matching the lowest seed ever to make the final four. Three other 11 seeds made it there and lost in the national semifinals.

Of course, they did not have the good luck charm quite like her, 98- year-old super fan, Sister Jean wore a final four cap after the win. The two semifinals take place at the Alamo Dome, San Antonio on Saturday. The winners will play one week from tonight. Should be outstanding, by the way, 550 of 17 million in the ESPN brackets got the final four.


BRIGGS: Pretty impressive.

ROMANS: Sister Jean gave up losing for Limps (ph), so I would not bet against her.

BRIGGS: That is really solid, I like that.

ROMANS: All right. Let's go check in "CNN Money," this morning. Global stocks falling overnight on fears of the trade war, but rebounding after the "Wall Street Journal" reported that, China and the U.S. quietly started negotiations. Last week, President Trump said he slap tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Then China targeted $ 3 billion in U.S. exports. 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 technically a correction. And the timing could not be worse with interest rates rising. Analyst say, a trade war could trigger a recession.

The AT&T anti-trust trial is already under way. It will determine if AT&T, can purchase Time Warner, parent of CNN. Whether the merger is approve or not, investors will be the biggest winners. Analyst say, Time Warner shareholders could expect a 10 percent profit either way, thanks to its current earnings potential. The government opposes the merger saying it will harm consumers by raising prices. AT&T says the deal is necessary to compete in the new media landscape.

Activists around the country march for action on gun violence, one of America's oldest gun maker's, files for bankruptcy. Remington outdoor brands will continue making guns during the filing. Allowing it to restructure its massive debt. Remington has been in business for 200 years. The entire gun industry had suffered during the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Trump has been -- endorsed by the NRA, when consumers don't fear gun control, they buy fewer guns. Isn't that fascinating?

BRIGGS: It always been an interesting developments --


BRIGGS: -- so, we will see though with the mid-terms Spring --


BRIGGS: -- that narrative could soon change. "Early Start" continues right now with the latest in the Stormy Saga.


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

COOPER: 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.


BRIGGS: A couple of swats. Stormy Daniels goes public about her alleged tryst with Donald Trump. It was not just salacious stories. She says, a mysterious man told her not to sell her story or her daughter could grow up without a mom.


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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The former Republican Senator says it is better to prepare for active shooters than to stop them. An emotional week and across the country as activist flood big cities demanding action on guns violence.