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State of the Union

President Trump's New National Security Adviser Pick Stirs Controversy: Women Tell All About Trump; Students March For Gun Control; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Interview With Virginia Senator Tim Kaine; Massive Crowds Rally Coast To Coast For Gun Reform; Stormy Daniels To Give Tell-All Interview; Democrats Hold 30-Point Lead Among Women in 2018; The President And First Lady Spend Weekend At Mar-a-Lago; First Lady Remains Silent On Affair Allegations. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 25, 2018 - 09:00   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Marching for change. Massive crowds rally nationwide to demand gun control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We deserve safer schools, safer classrooms, safer streets.

KEILAR: As survivors call out lawmakers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When politicians send their thoughts and prayers, with no action, we say, no more.

KEILAR: Should any politician up for reelection this year be worried? We will ask Republican Governor John Kasich.

Plus, controversial choice. President Trump's new national security adviser doubles down on North Korea.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We don't have very many options, after 25 years of talking have failed.

KEILAR: After critics condemn Trump's pick.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Temperamentally, emotionally, judgmentally disqualified for the job.

KEILAR: Democratic Senator Tim Kaine is here next.

And women tell all. A porn star and an ex-Playmate speak out about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump. What will Stormy Daniels say tonight?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Not 100 percent sure on why you're doing this.

KEILAR: And will the president respond? (END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is watching the next generation.

Thousands of students filled the streets Saturday in the nation's capital and in similar marches across the country and around the world. Led by survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida, the students made passionate pleas for gun control and issued a clear warning to politicians.


DELANEY TARR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: We know what we want, we know how to get it, and we are not waiting any longer.

CAMERON KASKY, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: The people demand a law banning the sale of assault weapons. The people demand we prohibit the sale of high-capacity magazines. The people demand universal background checks.

Stand for us, or beware, the voters are coming.



KEILAR: But, despite the crowds, it's anyone's guess whether their voices will translate into further action on gun control in Congress.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio released a statement Saturday offering a clear reminder of the other side of this debate: "While I do not agree with all the solutions they propose, I respect their views and recognize that many Americans support certain gun bans. However, many other Americans do not support a gun ban."

President Trump spent Saturday miles away from the capital in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago resort. He remained silent on the massive demonstrations.

But the White House did issue a statement that said, "We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today."


KEILAR: Joining me now is Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. He is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator, thanks so much for being with us on this Sunday.

KAINE: Absolutely, Brianna. Good to be with you.

KEILAR: Democrats, of course, do not control Congress.

Even when they have controlled Congress, passing legislation on guns has been difficult or even impossible. How do you explain that to these kids and to the 97 percent of Americans who support universal background checks?

KAINE: Brianna, bluntly, the NRA leadership, funded by gun manufacturers, has basically been able to gridlock everything in Congress now for nearly decades.

That's why Congress has not been willing to act, even to do things that an overwhelming majority of the American public want us to do.

But the activism of these young people is actually changing the equation. Just the two things that we put into the budget bill the other night couldn't have been done had these youngsters not advocated for them.

And they're not going away. And so this gives us a moment to finally do what the America public wants us to.

KEILAR: They're -- they're not going away. They don't want incremental change. They want bigger change.

And when we saw them marching this weekend, these young people are not distinguishing between Republicans and Democrats. They see inaction from all of Congress. Does your party bear responsibility too?

KAINE: Well look, if -- if you go back a number of years, yes, Democrats participated, for example, to give gun manufacturers liability protection, to -- to wall off the CDC from researching gun violence. But this now goes back a ways.

In recent years, the Democratic Party in Congress has been nearly unified, especially on background checks, for example. So a bill to do comprehensive background checks, we voted on it in the Senate in April of 2013, near unanimity on the Democratic side. Very few Republicans would support it.


But, again, two nights ago, we -- we took a step forward in the budget to help fix the records system against which you check gun sales, and also to allow research into gun violence.

These were two things that we could not have gotten done in the past, because Republicans were blocking them, along with the NRA. But the active engagement of young people convinced Congress, well, we better do something now.

Now, I think some in Congress hoped, well, if we do this two days before the march, maybe these young kids will say thanks and go away.

But I was marching in Richmond. I had a lot of friends marching in D.C. These youngsters aren't going away, and we need them. So often in the history of our country it's been young people whose advocacy has turned the corner, turned the tide. And I -- I feel that happening now.

KEILAR: Big news out of the White House. President Trump has appointed John Bolton as his new national security adviser.

And, last night, you tweeted. You questioned whether John Bolton can get his security clearance based on -- quote -- "ties to Russian allies of Vladimir Putin."

What are you referring to there?

KAINE: John -- John Bolton, I think, is a disastrous pick.

First, letting H.R. McMaster go -- General McMaster is an American patriot who speaks truth to power, and that's why Donald Trump didn't like him.

John Bolton, when he was nominated to be ambassador to the U.N. by a Republican president, with a Republican-controlled Senate, he couldn't get confirmed because of real concerns about both his rhetoric, but also about his track record of cooking intelligence to make it look other than it really was.

Since then, he...

KEILAR: But you questioned whether he would be able to get a clearance.

KAINE: I -- I wonder about that.

He -- a report surfaced right after he was named about a speech that he gave in Russia in 2013, at the request of a Russian oligarch who's very close to Vladimir Putin.

These kinds of contacts with foreign governments, especially, in the words of General Dunford, who's the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Russia is the chief nation-state adversary of the United States, these kinds of contacts raise real questions in my mind about whether he could get a full security clearance or not.

We've already lost one national security adviser, Michael Flynn, because he was lying about contacts with foreign governments and had to be let go.

I think -- even though the Senate doesn't get a vote to confirm the national security adviser, I have many, many questions, not only about John Bolton's philosophy, but about these contacts with Russia and potentially other governments.

KEILAR: His rhetoric really stands out, though.

He talked about Russian election meddling as a true act of war, one that Washington will never tolerate. He said, "We negotiate with Russia at our peril." He has said that Vladimir Putin has lied to President Trump.

That's different than Michael Flynn, who you're talking about.

KAINE: You're right; there are differences. But if you go back and look at the video of the speech that he gave in

Russia at the behest of an ally of Vladimir Putin's in 2013, I think it raises real questions.

Also, "TIME" magazine is out with a story from yesterday that digs into deep concerns about whether John Bolton cooks intelligence.

The national security adviser position is there to gather the -- basically, the best advice from Defense, State Department, Commerce on international trade, and then present neutral, top-quality intelligence and options to the president.

But John Bolton had a hard time getting Senate votes to be U.N. ambassador because of a track record, alleged by many, that he would cook intelligence in ways that even the intel agencies, like the CIA, found to be deeply problematic.

You -- you can't have an NSA adviser that is not going to be straightforward about what the intelligence suggests that the nation should do.

So, that's one of many reasons to be concerned about him.

KEILAR: Let's talk about dreamers. You voted in favor of the $1.3 trillion spending package, even though the bill didn't include a fix for 800,000 dreamers, undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. as kids.

It's something Americans overwhelmingly support. And here's what President Trump said about it Friday:

KAINE: Absolutely.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can tell you this -- and I say this to DACA recipients -- that the Republicans are with you. They want to get your situation taken care of. The Democrats fought us. They just fought every single inch of the way. They did not want DACA in this bill.


KEILAR: Is that going to work? Do Democrats risk losing the support of Americans who overwhelmingly want this fixed?

KAINE: Brianna, I'm going to be really blunt here. That quote of the president, he is either lying or he is completely delusional.

Why is there DACA? Because a Democratic president, President Obama, supported by Democratic legislators, put it in place in 2012. Why is DACA threatened? Because a Republican president, Donald Trump, supported by Republican legislators, announced in September that the program was going to be ended.

[09:10:08] One person can save DACA. If President Trump believes in DACA, all he has to do is retract his executive order from September, where he broke a promise to dreamers and said he was going to end the program.

I was the chief negotiator on the Democratic side of a bipartisan dreamer bill one month ago where we protected dreamers.

KEILAR: But that's not on the table. That's so clearly not on the table, Senator, getting...


KAINE: Well, no, no, it is -- it is -- it is on the table.


KEILAR: ... reinstating the executive order.

KAINE: Brianna, it is on the table.

No, we -- we -- it is a -- both are on the table. The president can reinstate -- if he cares about dreamers, or if Republicans care about dreamers, he can reinstate the executive order tomorrow with the stroke of one person's pen.

And the deal that we put on the table was protect dreamers and give President Trump $25 billion, every penny that he asked for, for border security. He turned the deal down.

Go back and read what the White House and DHS said about the deal when we put it on the table.

President Trump opposes dreamers, or he could protect them in the stroke of a pen in the next five minutes if he wanted to. So, we're going to keep looking for a solution, but the key is, we do not have the support of the White House, we don't have the support of Republicans.

We either have to change their mind, or we have to get more Democrats in office. That's the way we're going to protect dreamers.

KEILAR: All right, Senator Tim Kaine, thank you so much.

KAINE: Thanks, Brianna.


KEILAR: The president's team has already identified him as a potential Republican threat in 2020, and now another prominent Republican is telling Governor John Kasich to challenge Trump and start running now.

We are going to ask the governor about that and President Trump's latest staff shakeup next.


KEILAR: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Brianna Keilar.

And in case you forget, there's another big-name Republican who starred on "The Apprentice," Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is now calling for a Republican to the president in 2020.

And he says he knows the right man for the job.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: That's why I said, John Kasich, go back to Washington and kick some butt and go and straighten out the mess.

I told him he should run in 2020. I mean, the -- the running should start now.


KEILAR: Ohio's governor has not ruled out a potential 2020 run.

The buzz is only increasing. Kasich is on the cover of an upcoming issue of "The Weekly Standard" titled "Party of One: John Kasich Eyes 2020."

And the former presidential candidate is slated to make an appearance in New Hampshire early next month.

Governor Kasich is joining us now from his home state of Ohio.

And, Senator, I know you love discussing your political future.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Governor. Don't -- what, are you -- what, are you criticizing me right off the bat?


KASICH: I'm not a senator.

KEILAR: So sorry. Governor, of course.

I know you love talking about your political future so much. But we're going to wait a moment. We're going to get to that in just a little bit.


KEILAR: I want to start, of course, with what we saw over the weekend, hundreds of thousands of young people marching across the country yesterday in support of stricter gun laws.

Do you think the Republicans should be worried that, if Congress isn't able to do something on gun reform, that they're going to face a big backlash from these same crowds at the ballot box in September? KASICH: Well, look, we already -- we have already seen what the

public thinks. We saw an election in Pennsylvania where the people are basically saying they can't stand what's happening in Washington.

And, yes, I -- I really do believe that. I think the people do want changes here.

And, look, I think there's three kinds of people who are involved in this gun debate, those that want no changes on guns -- believe me, they're there and they're strong -- and those people that think there ought to be significant changes, even while we protect the Second Amendment. And the third group are a bunch of politicians who are afraid of their own shadows.

So, the key is for these -- for these young people, followed by so many other people -- I saw Paul McCartney was at one of these rallies. Somebody told me Lady Gaga. I wish I had been at that one. I could have met her.


KASICH: But the fact of the matter is, is that it's -- it's a massive effort here.

And it reminds me of some of the protests that have changed the people in office. But they got to keep it up. If they don't keep it up, those that want no change will just sit on their hands. They will never come out and say anything. They will just try to stall, stall, stall until the steam comes out of the kettle.

And the fact is, if we can keep the pressure on, we're not going to change everything overnight, but you can get significant changes. And I hope so.

And if they do not, if they do not bring about change, I think people should be held absolutely accountable at the ballot box, and no question about it.

KEILAR: Let's turn to the president's new national security adviser, John Bolton.

He is considered one of the most aggressive voices when it comes to American foreign policy.

These were just some of the headlines for opinion pieces that he wrote. He called for preemptive strikes on Iran in 2015. In another one just last month, he called for strikes on North Korea. This was the legal case for striking North Korea first, and to stop Iran's bomb, bomb Iran.

Do you support John Bolton to be the president's national security adviser?

KASICH: Well, as you know, I'm not a senator, so I don't have a vote.

(LAUGHTER) KASICH: And I think you have to look at the full record.

I -- look, I don't know the guy, I don't know much about him, but that kind of language bothers me, you know, premature bombing and all that, but the most people -- or preemptive bombing, I should say.

But the most important thing is that you have a national security team that can give you a diversity of opinions. We're going to have to see how this team rolls out.

The fact of the matter is, when I run my government here in Ohio, I don't want everybody to think the same way. And we learned that all the way back when John Kennedy was president. It's a problem called groupthink.

And so a president, a leader, a decision-maker needs to hear a variety of opinions and then, guess what, ultimately decide what they want to do, not by watching television, frankly, but they have got to decide, what is the proper place for the United States of America to be?

And the most important thing we need to do is engage the world, not fight with them over trade, not yell and scream at them, not act unilaterally, not withdraw from the Paris accord, you know, like we did, not, you know, starting with the sanctions against China without having the rest of the world, to go unilaterally on Iran.


All it does is isolate us. And America cannot build a wall around itself. The rest of the world in the Western part of the world depends on us and our values and being the strong leader.

And I don't want to see us retreat. And I hope John Bolton doesn't preach retreat. I don't know where he is. That's why the hearings will be important.

KEILAR: You saw the president having called Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday, congratulating him on his election victory, even though advisers said, don't do that.

If you were president, would you have made that phone call?


KASICH: Of course I wouldn't have called. The guy is -- look, we were joking, all right, in a -- almost a...


KEILAR: But what would you have said about his election win?

KASICH: ... in a dark way.

You know, Here's the thing. Like, wow, he's pretty popular over there. Yes. If you don't support him, he figures out -- look what they did

in London. Look what he did to the gentleman in Moscow on the bridge, Nemtsov.

Look, this guy is -- he's the worst. He's a dictator.

And the problem we have is, when the United States retreats from the world, you have the Chinese that know exactly what they want to do, and they will work with great aggression to take power from us when there are vacuums.

Or the Russians and Vladimir Putin, they want to exploit our weaknesses, and not just our weaknesses, but the weaknesses of those in the West. This is very serious business. And it doesn't mean we shouldn't figure out a way to talk to them.

They have got nuclear weapons. We have got to talk to them. But it is kind of -- you know, to work -- to walk -- or to work in a way that is not very serious, and to make it very clear to them what we will tolerate and what we will not is a big mistake.

KEILAR: You heard what the former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger told CNN about you yesterday.

And, for all of our viewers, let's refresh their memories.



SCHWARZENEGGER: I told him he should run in 2020. I mean, the -- the running should start now.

I think that he should run against President Trump, and I think that he should go and show the American people an alternative.


KEILAR: He said you should kick some butt.


KEILAR: Are you going to do that? Are you going to take this advice?

KASICH: Well, you know, Arnold, his -- his kind -- those kind of words give me -- it's a strong level of support, right? It gives me a big lift, right?

Let me tell you about Arnold. He's a fantastic guy. He's a natural leader. He's a dear friend of mine. And he's worried about our country. And I appreciate that.

Anything that I do in politics, you know, I would put a little bit more delicately, but I would say that I'm going to -- I have always been very aggressive in promoting the things that I believe in. But I also want to say, Brianna, the most important thing now for

leaders at all levels and in all spheres, bring people together. Too much division. Too much confusion. Too much an erosion of the values that our mothers and fathers have taught us.

We have to stop that. We have to lead from the top, but, with these young people and people protesting, lead from the bottom too. Bring them together. That's a healthy America.

KEILAR: All right, so you're not biting, but we will see you in New Hampshire next month.


KEILAR: And we will see what comes of that.

Governor Kasich, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time.

KASICH: Oh, it's always great to be with you. Thank you. Best to everybody.

Happy Palm Sunday.

KEILAR: You as well.

Teenagers marching in the streets issuing a warning to those in power.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to educate ourselves on which politicians are truly working for the people and which ones we want to vote out.



KEILAR: How concerned should lawmakers be about these very energized young voters?

We will have that next.





EMMA GONZALEZ, SENIOR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Since the time that I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape and walk free for an hour before arrest.

Fight for your lives, before it's someone else's job. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: We are here now with our panel.

That was Emma Gonzalez, who's become a household name since the shooting at her high school in Parkland, Florida.

And she was standing there for over six minutes to demonstrate very powerfully how long that shooting took place at her high school.

Van, when you look at this march, this rally, in its totality, do you think that it's going to have an impact?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it already has had an impact.

First of all, it has not been in my lifetime that you have had high school students leading a movement. You have got to go back to '63, Birmingham. The young Dr. King, desperate to get attention, goes to jail, nobody cares. He writes a letter from Birmingham jail. Nobody cares.

James Bevel, his young lieutenant, says, let's go to the high school students. King says, no, leave them out. Bevel says, they will move.

They moved, changed history.

That's what you're seeing now. Did that mean, the next day, everything changed? No. But it created a new dynamic. And you're seeing a new dynamic with these young people.

KEILAR: They want big changes to gun laws, Senator Santorum.

The president is behind some changes. Democrats support others.

Just last night, the president tweeted that he is planning to ban bump stocks.

Why won't Mitch McConnell put something on the floor?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I -- well, they've already done something. I mean, that's number one. They've put some provisions in the spending bill that just passed this week.

I mean, that's not insubstantial, the fact that --

KEILAR: These students would feel that that is incremental.

SANTORUM: Well, look, I mean, there's -- there's a variety of opinion on how far you want to go on this, and I think the fact they did pass something, they should take credit for that. I mean, here's no way that would have passed but for this movement.

The question is how far are you going to go in abridging law-abiding people's right to own a gun? And that's where the debate comes down. And the fact is that we have lots of gun laws in this country. We have areas where guns are very, very difficult to get a hold of, and the violence is no different in those, in fact, in some cases higher in those areas than when there are no gun laws so -- or just the state laws. So, the reality is -- my feeling is I think most people who support the NRA and support the Second Amendment feel like, yes, this is a legitimate topic for discussion, but there are lots of other topics for discussion that could actually have more impact on school violence that are not being discussed, and that's really the problem here.

KEILAR: Congresswoman, what do you think?

REP. NANETTE DIAZ BARRAGAN (D), CALIFORNIA: I think these kids have spoken up, and Congress has to listen and hopefully we'll act. Now, maybe not with this Congress and the makeup of this Congress, but here is an opportunity with the midterms coming up for a message to be sent.

I think I saw a tweet go out yesterday about the 23 most vulnerable (ph) Republicans who have an A rating from the NRA. And I think people will be looking. I think (INAUDIBLE) we'll see some Democrats using this as an election issue because Congress is not acting quick enough.

KEILAR: A lot of these young people are going to be voting.


And Ben is right. The civil rights movement did activate young people, but it was sustained. It was over a long period of time. Same with the Vietnam War.

So, you know, these flashy marches in Washington can have some impact, they can motivate people, they can make people feel good, but unless it's really turned into a sustained movement where people continue to come back, where people continue to be active, and in the case of young people, they have to register and then they have to actually vote.

VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: One of the things that I think is most impressive about these young people, it was -- you know, thoughts and prayers was usually the slogan after something like this. And then they changed it to enough is enough. Fine.

And then yesterday, vote them out. That's when I looked up, wait a minute, they're not talking about emotion. They're talking about strategy. Vote them out.

Now, it is a very tough hill for them to climb. Young people usually do not vote in midterm elections at all, and even last time they overpromised in the presidential and didn't show up.

But if -- you know, intensity matters in a midterm. It really does matter. And if they can find a way to turn this intensity into some real big victory where they knock off some people, they could change the dynamic.

Now, if they think it's going to be as easy as it was yesterday, it's not -- getting a march permit is not the same as doing voter registration and turnout. It's the toughest stuff -- but if they do it, they could make a huge difference in November.

KEILAR: And it's still several months away. That's important to note. You say they have an uphill climb.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Santorum, really spelled that out in a statement he made. He said, "I commend those who today are peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to march in favor of a gun ban. However many other Americans do not support a gun ban. They too want to prevent mass shootings, but view banning guns as an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens that ultimately will not prevent these tragedies."

SANTORUM: Yes. I mean, this is the bottom line.

Is this a political effort? Is this a political movement? It very well may be, and that's fine.

I mean, if the organizers, people certainly supported it, the Hollywood elites and the liberal billionaires who funded this, is all about politics.

Is this really all about politics or is it all about keeping our schools safe? Because it is about keeping our schools safe then we have to have much broader discussion than the discussion that's going on right now. How about kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that if there is violence --


KEILAR: How are they looking at other people -- I would ask you, they took action.

SANTORUM: Yes, they took action to ask 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 bullying within my own community? What am I going to do to actually help respond to an issue? What am I going to do?

Those are the kinds of things where you can take it in internally and say, here's how I'm going to deal with this, here's how I'm going to help the situation instead of going and protesting and saying, oh, someone else needs to pass a law to protect me.

SANTORUM: I've got a kid -- I've got a kid who's going to be in high school next year and I want him focused on algebra and other stuff. If his main way to survive high school is learning CPR so when his friend gets shot, that, to me, we've gone too far.

[09:35:05] I'm proud of these kids. I know you're proud of these kids too because you can do better (ph).

SANTORUM: I'm proud of them but I think everyone should be responsible and deal with the problems that we have to confront in our lives and ignoring those problems and saying they're not going to come to me and saying some phony gun law is going to solve it, phony gun laws don't solve these problems. That's what we found out.

CHAVEZ: Well, look, I'm sorry. I believe in the first -- in the Second Amendment. I own guns. I've owned guns all my adult life. But I also believe that they can be regulated and that the kinds of guns I own --

SANTORUM: They are regulated.

CHAVEZ: The kinds of guns I can own do not necessarily include weapons that were designed primarily for military use.

So I'm open to those kinds of laws, but I think Rick is right in that we've got a bigger problem here. There is a cultural problem in the United States with violence.

We are a violent country. And I think if you don't change the culture, all of the laws that you passed are not going to have an effect.

JONES: It's not either (ph) or (ph).

DIAZ BARRAGAN: No one's -- no one's trying to ban guns either.

I mean, look, it's a type of gun as Linda mentioned and I agree with that kids are asking for assault weapons to have a ban on, they're asking for universal background checks.

It is not right when our kids feel unsafe at school. We already have that happening. (INAUDIBLE) where guns violence has been an ongoing issue.

Kids shouldn't have to worry about whether they're going to get shot at school. They should be worrying as Van mentioned about the book report that's due tomorrow and about the math test that's happening.

So this should be a call for action on what is happening. We shouldn't let another school shooting go by before we take action.

KEILAR: We have so much more to talk about. I'm going to have you all stick around with me, my lovely panel.

President Trump has so far followed the advice of his advisers and stayed quiet on the affair allegations from a former playmate and porn star. But will he be able to exercise the same self restraint during the Stormy Daniels interview tonight?

We'll have that next.




MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: The tweet is a warning shot. I want to be really clear about this. It's a warning shot to Michael Cohen and anyone else associated with President Trump that they better be very, very careful after Sunday night relating to what they say about my client and what spin or lies they attempt to tell the American people. But make no mistake about it, it is a warning shot.


KEILAR: That is Stormy Daniels' lawyer describing a tweet that he put out a photo of a DVD, it was rather cryptic, but of course the insinuation is that he says it contains evidence of the alleged affair. And this comes just before this big "60 Minutes" interview tonight with Stormy Daniels.

Senator Santorum, do you think the president be watching and do you think we will hear from him on Twitter about this?

SANTORUM: I don't know if president will be watching. If I was him I would not be watching and I would not be responding to it. This is --

JONES: If you were him, you wouldn't be in this situation.


JONES: You're Rick Santorum.


SANTORUM: OK. I'll check that box.

KEILAR: You'll happily accept that.

SANTORUM: I'll happily accept that.

But the reality is that this is a tawdry -- I mean for the lawyer to go out there and sort of threaten the president like this, I mean, this is --

KEILAR: Can you imagine the president being silent on this? Not engaging?

SANTORUM: Hopefully he will listen to people who are wise and understand that this is not a fight that he wants to participate in. He can't win this fight. It's just a matter of letting these folks say the things they have to say.

Everybody's sort of baked in how they feel about Donald Trump when it comes to these things, and this isn't going to change anybody's point of view. CHAVEZ: But he is in this fight.

In fact, he has put his name or pseudonym on nondisclosure agreements. He's had -- now trying to prevent going into court and again trying to get them back into arbitration where he thinks this belongs. And frankly $130,000 was paid, right, days before the election to try to keep this story out of the news.

So the idea that the president can stay out of this, I mean, he is very much in it. It isn't so much about the affair that took place more than a decade ago. As with all of these kinds of scandals it's the effort to cover it up that has gotten this president in trouble, and if he continues those efforts it's going to get him into much, much deeper problems.

KEILAR: One of the things we noticed, Van, was CNN had an interview with another woman who alleged an affair with Donald Trump with, of course, Karen McDougal on Thursday. Just before the interview he announces his new national security adviser, it's going to be John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster.

Do you get a sense that this is a way to distract from this fight that he is engaged in?

JONES: I don't know. It's bad either way. I mean, if he's picking Bolton because he wants to distract from the fact that his team got caught red-handed paying off porn star, that's not that great, but if he's picking Bolton because he likes Bolton's ideas, that's even worse because Bolton is a warmonger as best I can tell and is not afraid of getting into a nuclear exchange or doing preemptive nuclear strikes in North Korea or Iran.

So either way, picking Bolton is bad, and the reasoning behind it is bad. And, you know, I'm very concerned.

And also I just have to say, liberals and progressives spend so much time freaking out about every tweet, everything that Donald Trump does, every day is Armageddon, that when somebody comes in who might bring us Armageddon, we're out of adjectives.

I think Bolton is very dangerous and I think we've exhausted ourselves on everything else. This is a very important development in our country.

KEILAR: I do want to revisit Stormy Daniels as this is going to be a big day with perhaps a bombshell.

Conservative women who are looking at this, Linda, are they going to give him a pass in this?

CHAVEZ: Well, I think you've seen some movement among Republican women already.


You've seen it in the special elections that we've had. We -- you know, we saw it in the Senate race with Roy Moore. And I don't know whether or not.

I mean, some of it will be how he handles it. And again, the affair is tawdry and awful. There are a lot of evangelicals that will say, well, he's since found Jesus and therefore, you know, we can forgive him.

But -- he may have found Jesus, but in October of 2016 his lawyer paid this woman $130,000 to keep her quiet right before the election.

KEILAR: Congresswoman, I wonder what you think, as we do look at numbers, when she says women are being affected. If you look at CNN's most recent poll, who would you vote for in your congressional district?

Among women 62 percent said the Democrat, 32 percent said the Republican.

DIAZ BARRAGAN: Well, certainly, this could be one of them. One of the things that I think people should be looking for tonight as opposed to some of the salacious details of an affair is, are we going to get any sense of how he threatened her, are we going to get any sense from her about these allegations of sexual misconduct.

And I think that is maybe the bigger question here, is you have a president, somebody's who in authority, who has allegedly threatened her, and so we will see if that comes up. I think this could be huge too, because what do we know about the hush money and what more can we learn about the hush money and will we if the lawsuit moves forward on this issue?

KEILAR: The president spent Friday going after traditional Republicans. This was pretty interesting, and I wonder what you thought about this, because he sends out a fund-raising e-mail and it says, I need allies.

Of course, here is what he's saying, "2018 is our chance to elect Trump allies to the House and Senate who will give you the agenda you voted for. No more obstruction. We want what we voted for."

He's differentiating between Republicans who are not Trump allies and Republicans who are. How does that fare for your party, Senator?

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, there's lot of open seats for Congress and there's competitive primaries in all of them and, you know, he wants to make sure we're electing people in these seats that are going to go down there and vote with him. I don't think that's -- I don't have any problem with that at all.

Look, Donald Trump is setting a very different agenda for the Republican Party on trade, he's doing it on a variety -- on spending, on --

KEILAR: Moral issues?


SANTORUM: Actually, that's the area he's actually been the best.

I mean, if you look at his appointments to the court, if you look at his appointments to, you know -- on HHS and others, I mean, he's following through with the promises he made to the voters of the Republican Party. And so I think most folks are actually from a policy point of view very happy with this president, they're not from a personal point of view and some of the things that we're talking about here, but on a policy side, the president has actually followed through with what (ph) he said he would do.

CHAVEZ: Well, I'm certainly not happy with him on trade. I agree with you I like his judicial nominees, I like his deregulation, I like the corporate tax cut that was given, but on issues such as trade, he's actually going to end up harming his own voters, those people in the heartland who are, for example, farmers or who produce, you know, chickens and other things that we sell overseas. This could be a real problem for him.

KEILAR: And we will leave it -- we will have to leave it there on this Sunday. Thank you to all of you. Really appreciate it.

Now, earlier in the week, they looked like a happy couple, but by Friday the first lady had changed her plans so she wouldn't have to share a ride to the airport with the president. We'll have that next.



KEILAR: Welcome back.

If only to be a fly on the wall at Mar-a-Lago this weekend where the first couple spent the weekend together just before porn star Stormy Daniels is set to share her story in an interview tonight.

How is Melania Trump responding to the allegations? CNN's Kate Bennett has that story.


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Despite a week overshadowed by a very public assertions about two women about what they say were their private relationships with her husband, Melania Trump is staying focused on her duties as first lady delivering a speech with the timely theme of "Women And Courage."

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Courage is the quality most needed in this world, yet it is often the hardest to find.

BENNETT: The accusers say the alleged affairs happened during her marriage. In the months after Melania gave birth to their son, Barron.

KAREN MCDOUGAL, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: What can you say except I'm sorry -- I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me. BENNETT: The White House has denied the accusations. The president recently acknowledged his wife's role as first lady has put her in an enviable position.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You think her life is so easy, folks? Not so easy.

BENNETT: Still, Melania Trump is doing her best to make it look easy, tweeting a photo of herself and President Trump smiling together at the White House. Even showing a rare public display of affection after tripping on the south lawn, and pressing forward with her agenda to tackle cyber bullying despite the critics.

MELANIA TRUMP: I'm well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic, but it will not stop me from doing what I know is right.

BENNETT: The first lady has so far remained completely silent on all the affair allegations, and former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci says, Melania doesn't believe all the women.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: She is a wonderful person. She is a great mom. He is a great friend.

She knows a lot of that stuff is actually not true.

BENNETT: One thing though Mrs. Trump has always been clear about she knows the man she married.

MELANIA TRUMP: Let him be who he is. And he lets me be who I am.

I don't try to change him. He is an adult.



KEILAR: CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett is here with me now.

So, Kate, this is the big interview that is airing tonight with Stormy Daniels. Where are the president and first lady expected to be?

BENNETT: Not together if their schedules are -- stick to what they are now. The first lady is staying at Mar-a-Lago for the week. It was a planned spring break vacation.

The president is supposed to be back at the White House tonight. So they should not be together as this thing airs.

KEILAR: That will be very interesting. All right.

Kate Bennett, we'll be staying tuned tonight. We know you will as well. And President Trump is defending his congratulatory phone call to President Putin despite his team warning against doing so.

What is it about Putin that keeps drawing President Trump in? That's next.