tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN March 14, 2018 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
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welcome to the second hour of "360." after another in what could soon be a parade of arrivals and departures at the white house, on the table tonight, not just the arrival of a new economic adviser after the firing of the secretary of state, but signals as well of a much larger staff shake-up. also tonight, what does the apparent victory of a democratic candidate in a deep red congressional district have to say about the midterms in november? later, following the money in the stormy daniels saga and the links, including one that leads to a trump golf property in southern california and a trump attorney. first, all the seismic activity that could be the first rumblings of a bigger staff shake-up at the white house. for that, jeff zeleny is at the white house for us tonight. so what have you learned about other possible staff changes that may be coming down the pike? >> reporter: anderson, you're definitely getting the sense of a spring cleaning kind of mood and moment here at the white house. the president has talked to his advisers that he is planning on making some changes. he said out loud he is about ready to have the cabinet that he wants. never mind that we're 14, almost 15 months into this administration. but the reality here is we are
expecting some changes either tomorrow or by friday, potentially of his cabinet. the people we hear the most talked about, david shulkin, the veterans affairs secretary, of course under fire for mismanagement, a variety of other things. also the national security adviser, h.r. mcmaster, said to be, you know, not a matter of if but when he'll be leaving. and that sound behind me here is the president returning from st. louis. so he is back here at the white house. we'll see if he talks this evening, but he definitely seems to have some more staff shake-up on his mind. >> you said some of these changes may happen even this week? >> reporter: it certainly seems like that. there is a sense of edge and anxiety here, and there is a sense that the president wants to get on with it. he wants to move forward with this and get his team in place. now, we also hear conversations about white house chief of staff john kelly. how long will he be in place? of course we've heard these rumblings for months and months, but the firing of secretary of state rex tillerson this week is a reminder that if the
president's in a firing mood, something else could happen all at once here or, anderson, it could not. it is entirely controlled by his decision. most people here at the white house do not know when or if he will make these announcements. he's likely to do so on twitter. >> jeff zeleny, thanks very much. joining us two people who have seen shake-ups up close, axelrod and gergen. so, david gergen, looking at who's been fired, who's survived, what conclusions do you draw about what the president values in his staff and where this administration is headed, or can you? >> i think he values two things, anderson, increasingly. one is that he wants to be his own man. he wants to do solo. he thinks a lot of people around him have been like training wheels. he doesn't need it anymore. also i think he's looking for surrogates to go out on television. i think he's trying to assembly a team of surrogates. he replaced tillerson with somebody he thought could make a much more forceful argument for him. gary cohn was not often on
television, but larry kudlow has been on television for 30 years and he can go out and defend. and i think with h.r. mcmaster, the president had john bolton to speak for an hour, and it looked reading the tea leaves that he might be coming in to replace mcmaster. of course he's very effective, articulate on television. i think the president's trying to bolster his p.r. team among other things heading toward 2018 elections. >> david axelrod, what message do you think the turnover sends not only to the remaining staff but anyone else that might be coming into this administration? >> well, obviously this is -- you know, you said before there were seismic changes. when you have a volcanic president, you're going to have seismic changes. that doesn't create a very good working environment. but, you know, i think what's happening, it was always odd, you know, gary cohn, he really didn't match the campaign that the president ran. tillerson was suggested to him
by the foreign policy establishment that he derided as a candidate, and you always have the sense that they were there to mind the president. and he now is throwing that off and saying, i don't want that. i don't need people to tell me what to do. i don't want people to tell me what to do. and he's bringing in people who reflect his point of view and who will not challenge him. and that is concerning in a president who doesn't read, who gets a lot of his information from "fox & friends," and who operates off of instinct. you know, we saw it with korea. we saw it with the tariffs. i'm just going to do these things. well, if there's no one there to stop him, that can have some pretty catastrophic consequences. >> david gergen, though, if, you know, doing things the way he wants to do them got him this far, why shouldn't he continue doing that if he feels he's sort of learned the ropes at the white house at this point? >> well, they've gotten them this far but they've got him down to 35% approval ratings. you know, he's got one big
legislative accomplishment on taxes, but he's failed at most other things. so i wouldn't think that the last 14 months is a good guide that he rely on his instincts. his instincts for campaigning as we know are first class although i don't like them, but his instincts for governing are terrible. usually a president somewhere much later in the first term does start looking for a second string, maybe after the re-election. usually that second string is weaker than the first string. and the way this president has said good-bye to people, the shabby way he treated secretary tillerson, never before have we seen a cabinet officer dismissed in such a -- it was just pointless and really rude the way he was treated. it's really hard after that to find extremely talented people who are willing to come in, put their reputations on the line, work their tails off for this guy, and then be treated as shabbily as rex tillerson. >> that is true, david, but
never before have we seen a secretary of state call the president a moron before. >> there's all kinds of new ground we're charting here. >> i mean, look, i don't think he treated tillerson the right way. that's not the way you dismiss a cabinet member. but on the other hand, i think it's more concerning that you have people working for you who think that about you. and it should be concerning to the country that they thought that about him. so in some ways he's going to get the cabinet that he wants, as he says. in other ways, he's not going to have people there who offer the depth of experience that perhaps he needs. >> you know, david gergen, it was interesting during the campaign, i remember the president saying he wanted to have different viewpoints. he liked to have people arguing and for him to make up his own mind. do you think that's actually the case based on the changes? >> he said that about larry kudlow coming in just in the last short while, that they disagreed over tariffs for example. and then he said, because i like to have diverse viewpoints. that is not the case broadly speaking.
he's now looking for people who are much more consistent with his viewpoint. you know, particularly in the case of the state department with pompeo coming in. he's much more than nationalist. tillerson was much more of a globalist. tillerson represented the alternative point of view. kelly represents an alternative point of view. mattis represents an alternative point of view. and the people who represent an alternative point of view are arguing with the president are now gradually heading toward the exits for the most part. >> appreciate the discussion. thank you. i want to bring in our panel, kirsten powers, james schultz, paul begala, tara setmayer, and steve cortes. does it make sense to you, kirsten, that there may be this many changes of staff and cabinet level? there is always turnover, particularly after the first year, but this is obviously -- >> this is a lot more than i think is -- i don't want to say normal, but common. this is not normally what you would see, and i think that it is chaotic and disruptive. at the same time, the president should have the people around him that he wants, and i think that -- you know, i've said
before that i think with rex tillerson, i probably would have fired him long before donald trump did. i didn't see that to be a particularly rash thing for him to do. he wasn't that popular at the state department. you know, trump didn't particularly like him. he was reportedly disrespectful to trump. these are all sort of fireable offenses. he may have even given him an opportunity to resign. he certainly was sending him the message. he could have resigned. i think some of the other turnovers are, you know, a little more unusual. having hope hicks, who is his closest aide, that would be like huma abedin just walking out on hillary clinton. you know, i mean that's a very unusual thing. so i think there is just a sense of chaos, and he said that's the way he likes it. >> jim, do you think it's a good idea if the president feels more emboldened to do things his way and not be reined in and i think maggie haberman has been arguing earlier on he may have felt he did not know the job and now he does. is it a wise thing to jettison people and do it your way?
>> just because mike pompeo philosophically agrees with the president doesn't mean he's not going to challenge him. mike pompeo is a very intelligent human being, harvard law grad, knows his space and is going to sail to confirmation at the cia. and i thought what was interesting, such a decisive decision to let tillerson go had someone in the queue ready to go, had someone to replace pompeo at the cia, that looks like somebody who is ready to make decisions. if i'm one of those cabinet issues that had the talking to over ethical issues as reported in the news, i'm worried this week. >> i mean the tillerson thing has been -- you said it was a decision and there was someone to replace him. obviously you would want somebody to replace him immediately. it does seem like that was dragged out, debated, the jeff sessions thing he's been publicly derided. there's been story about mcmaster now for quite some time. >> he's never going to change. perhaps he is changing, but she's shrinking in the job. usually people get in there,
particularly people who come from outside of washington, after some time, they do tend to inhabit the office. they gain more gravitas. there is this growth in the job. i think this guy is like -- as gergen said, he wants the training wheels off, and we're seeing he's on steroids now. it's really extraordinary. it's not about this staffer or that. i agree with you guys -- >> you said he's shrinking but he's also on steroids. >> i'm not an expert on steroids, as i think you can tell. but he's becoming morally smaller. >> maybe he's becoming more cut. i don't know. >> there's pushback on that and i'll give you an example. >> he's going to be donald trump every day -- [ overlapping voices ] >> on the idea she's shrinking or that he wants conformity with a real world example, one that matters a lot to me, which is immigration. there's tremendous debate within the administration on
immigration, particularly daca. and a lot of people, a lot of hard-liners within the trump movement, want no daca. they don't want a daca compromise. it was viciously debated behind closed doors within the white house. i was privileged to be part of that, someone who wants daca preserved. many people opposed that view within the administration. the president came down, i think, very sensibly saying we want a grand compromise. we want secure borders and we do want to show magnanimity and compassion towards daca. i think it's unfair to cast him as rigid and demanding submission from his staff and immigration is exhibit a on why he -- >> but on immigration, he did have that bipartisan meeting where he seemed to agree with the democrats and then switch to the republicans and then back to -- and on gun control as well, he's talking about raising the age to 21, you know, very publicly a number of times. and then meets with the nra and now he's like, oh, well, it's up to states. >> because president trump doesn't have core convictions. we've said this before. it's been a criticism of mine
about him from the very beginning. as a conservative i was very concerned about when the tough times come and you need to -- where do you draw from to make these tough policy decisions? and for donald trump, it's more about his brand and what looks good and how it plays on fox news and to his base as opposed to what is a good policy prescription for whatever the issue is at hand. and the fact that he vacillates so often between one thing to the next and no one really knows is probably why reports are coming out that senior staffers in the white house are calling this the most toxic work environment they have ever encountered. that is a quote from a story in axios right now. that is not a good reflection of the boss. we also have to remember a couple of other things. donald trump has never answered to anyone. he's run a private company. he's never had to answer to a board of directors. he's only had to answer to himself. and we've seen when the disaster that was made of his companies in atlantic city and other places, where that hasn't worked
out so well. so unfortunately now, the best parts of him are not being seen right now, whatever those may be, other than branding himself and doing rallies. as a manager, this is not the way you can run the white house. right now we're looking at the secretary of veterans affairs potentially on the chopping block. we're already lost the secretary of state. we've already lost the secretary of hhs. the secretary of hud is also in trouble. we've lost the communications director. four of them have gone. the national security adviser is on the chopping block. i mean we can go down the list. this is not normal. this is not the way a white house should be run, and this is certainly not the way you would run a business. i would hope not. >> i would grant you that hyperpolitical types like all of us, people in the news business, fixate on palace intrigue, on the supposed chaos of the west wing. but if there's a disruptive west wings, most americans couldn't name one of the people that you just named.
>> how is he governing? >> their prosperity and their security. and their prosperity in particular is increasing and accelerating terrifically. small business optimism is at a level unseen -- >> meanwhile -- >> there is optimism and growth and prosperity. >> paul and then we've got to go. >> and yet he's at an all-time low for -- >> correct. >> despite, thank god, no major wars and a strong economy. this is a guy, but the american people should have known what they were getting. he's had three campaign managers, three political parties, three wives. he's not a guy to run the river with. >> all right. [ overlapping voices ] >> much more to talk about tonight, including the very latest on the congressional race deep in the heart of trump country that could be on the verge of a big upset. later, new developments in the stormy daniels story that we broke tonight. new documents suggesting a deeper link between the trump organization and efforts to keep stormy daniels quiet about her alleged affair.
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well, the race was about as tight as it could have been in a nationally watched congressional bttle that was viewed as a referendum on president trump. tonight the democrat conor lamb still holds to a slight lead over the republican, rick saccone. lamb has declared victory. gary tuchman went searching for some voters on the day after. here's what he found. >> reporter: we're here at carnegie coffee in carnegie, pennsylvania. all of you voted for donald trump for president? >> yes. >> how many of you did what donald trump wanted you to do when he spoke here over the weekend and vote for the republican candidate for congress? and how many of you switched and voted for the democrat? what made you decide not to vote for the republican candidate? you're a lifelong republican, voted for donald trump. why did you switch? >> i made the decision very early on in the campaign. i thought that conor lamb was the best candidate based on his
priorities and his background, and i think we needed some new blood in congress. >> steve, you're a registered democrat, but you switched and voted for donald trump for president. >> yes. >> because you wanted change? >> yes. >> and donald trump said, okay. vote for saccone if you continue to watch change. did you not believe in that message? >> i stopped believing in donald trump six months ago. >> why? >> i just don't trust anything he does. i'm a vet, and i'm actually ashamed of -- i'm ashamed to be a vet. i'm ashamed to be part of the country sometimes. >> is that one of the reasons you didn't vote for this candidate, saccone? >> right. i think it's time for a change. >> another change? >> another change. >> you voted for saccone? >> mm-hmm. >> but you're saying you thought conor lamb was a better candidate? >> i think he ran a better campaign. i think the things that he campaigned on were really resonated with this area. >> why didn't you vote for him? >> because i would not be able to support the democratic party right now. i think he's going to vote democrat every time.
>> he said, you know, he comes off as a conservative democrat. >> he comes off as a conservative, but he's going to vote democrat in my opinion. >> great condition. he's not going to be a very good congressman in our eyes because he's not going do what he said he was going to do. he's going to vote with pelosi and schumer. if he doesn't, then they're going to cut him off at the legs. >> that's going to be the same thing on the republican side. if rick saccone doesn't follow the party line, it's going to be the same thing. when are we going to stop this? this is the divisiveness. this is what the american public is tired of. i want to see some fresh new ideas in government. >> that's why we voted for trump. >> yes. i totally agree. that's exactly right. >> we all agree on that. >> gary, i know you've talked to a lot of trump voters in western pennsylvania over the past couple days. do they think the president's rally last weekend helped rick saccone?
>> reporter: none of the trump voters we've talked with here think it hurt rick saccone, but most of them tell us he could have helped rick saccone if he talked more about him. president trump talked for about an hour and 15 minutes, said very little about rick saccone. when he did talk about him, he didn't sound particularly gung ho. when donald trump wants to gush, he can gush. and he wasn't gushing about rick saccone. >> thanks very much. good discussion. the democrats are saying the white house is trying to put a happy face on possible defeat and how they're doing it has been raising some eyebrows. they're suggesting conor lamb appealed to voters because of how much like the president he is. spokesman rah shah saying the democrat in the race really embraced the president's policies and position where he didn't embrace nancy pelosi and the democratic leader. in short, the man the president called lamb the sham is now a lamb in trump's clothing. something for the panel to consider. when the white house says he essentially was kind of trump light, he was embracing the president, that's why he won? >> i don't know what they really think. if they really think that, then the republican party's in
trouble. i do know a lot of republicans are freaking out, and i don't know if the people who are coming out and publicly saying things are just trying to make it seem happy. but the truth is, i mean, look, he was yesterday -- yesterday he was being attacked as this pro-abortion, liberal, pelosi-loving democrat. and then today we have paul ryan coming out and saying he won because he's a conservative, he's pro-life and he's a conservative. that's ridiculous. the susan b. anthony list, which is a gop pro-life group, ran ads against him. >> he says he's personally pro-life but wouldn't -- >> yeah. so it's just you can't just switch the next day and suddenly start saying this person you have been attacking as pro-abortion rights as being pro-life and that's why he won. also he ran -- he criticized the repeal of obamacare. he was very much stood up for unions. he ran against the tax plan.
this just is not a person who in any place would be called a conservative. he was pro-gun. >> james, should the republicans be nervous? >> he ran commercials where he was carrying a gun. he claims that he's pro-life, ran away from nancy pelosi. all of those things happens. and this is western pennsylvania, and it's somewhat of a swing district. >> can i just say he didn't claim he was pro-life in the way you mean. he was very clear when he said he would not vote against abortion rights. he was crystal clear about that. >> anderson just said that he's personally pro-life. >> but wouldn't vote that way. >> inconsequential to the next point i want to make. this is western pennsylvania, a swing area. first off we had a congressman resign in scandal. that usually doesn't go well in a special election. it's a swing district where democrats voted for donald trump. democrats voted for donald trump there, and that is the difference. in this case, donald trump didn't have coattails there. donald trump wasn't on the
ballot. rick saccone was on the ballot, and you had a dynamic, young, former military person -- >> you make it sound like this is an area that democrats should win. >> it's not a democratic district. >> this district -- it does have a larger registered democrat vote. however, it has voted republican for the last 15 years. it voted republican for the presidential races. it voted republican for congress. it actually, you know, democrats here -- >> not by 20 points. >> no, but by double digits. i mean mitt romney by 17. so this is -- so republicans now are trying to mitigate this loss by trying to claim this was a democrat district, but it hasn't really been for a long time. that's number one. number two, the republicans who ran in this district were also pro-labor. so they appealed to the more blue dog democrats, i guess, if you want to call them that, because they were pro-labor. rick saccone was not. that was the major difference here because big labor had an
opportunity to come in there and organize, which is what they're very good at doing, and there were a lot of people who said they had voted for trump, said they didn't vote for rick saccone over the right to work issue. that was a major issue that created that crossover. and also in this district, you have to understand that a lot of what donald trump did, the fact that he wasn't very big on rick saccone. this was alabama 2.0 when he was supporting luther strange and all of that, but then he kind of was, oh, well, he lost. we got to go for roy moore. then after roy moore lost when he went and campaigned for him, he was like, oh, well, doug jones is great. we're going to embrace him. he's doing the exact same thing here with conor lamb. >> we got to take a break. we're going to continue this conversation, though, about pennsylvania. we'll dig deeper into political fall out, how radioactive it could remain in november. also later, new details in the saga of stormy daniels. new information from her attorney who says he now has new
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some news organizations are declaring a winner in the incredibly tight race tonight in pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. cnn is not, not yet. however, with election day and absentee ballots now fully counted, democrat conor lamb leads republican rick saccone by 627 votes in a district that candidate donald trump won by 20 points. the saccone campaign today took preliminary steps to prepare for a potential recount. recounts in this case are not mandated by pennsylvania law. however, there is a process to request one. as part of that, the saccone campaign today asked the four counties comprising the 18th district to preserve ballots and voting machines in the event of a recount if it happens. back now with the panel. paul, is there a message, assuming lamb wins, for
democrats nationwide -- for democratic candidates nationwide? >> well, candidate talent matters of course. but a big tent matters. you know, there's two kind of parties like there's two kinds of churches. those who hunt down heretics and those who seek out converts, okay? i'm a pope francis democrat. i want to see converts. i don't want to drive people out of my church. and you have the same fight in the republican party where they brand people rhinos if they dare vote against one thing. i like the fact that the democrats found someone who is a democrat, as kirsten pointed out, pro-union, pro-medicare, pro-medicaid, pro-choice, but also fit the district. you got to meet people where they live. i think this is a great template for the democrats. not every candidate will be a progressive. not every candidate will be that talented. but if the democrats finally are learning -- >> but could conor lamb win on a national stage in the democratic party as it is today. >> he's just 12 years old -- no, he's 33. >> someone with those numbers. >> yeah, joe biden. >> he says he's personally pro-life.
>> i do think the position that conor lamb has, yes. if you look at it, actually it's like a non-controversial thing among most democrats as long as the person says that they will uphold the constitution and aren't looking to overturn roe v. wade, and there have been some -- there are some progressives who come out and say you need to be a hard line, pro-abortion person. but that's not where the democratic party is. nancy pelosi has said clearly you can be a pro-life democrat. she has people in her family who are pro-life democrats. the dccc who is recruiting the candidates to run. they said no litmus tests really on anything they that they want candidates that fit these districts and they're recruiting people who fit the district. i do think that the party mostly is onboard with this idea.
>> i'm sorry, but the biggest issue actually debated in the election was the trump tax cut. the biggest accomplishment of the republican party, the republican president, they advertised it with millions of dollars. lamb was four square against it preferring tax cuts for the middle class. lamb won, narrowly, but in a -- >> and the republicans, it's supposed to be the signature accomplishment and they stopped running ads touting the tax bill and started running ads about illegal immigration because they know that that riles the base up and needed to get people out. >> steve, we haven't heard from you. does this make you nervous? does what happened in pennsylvania make you nervous? >> once again, i'm nervous. i think you're foolish to not be as a republican. barack obama lost 63 seats in his first midterm election, the most in 60 years. as i mentioned earlier in the show, ronald reagan had a disastrous first midterm. bill clinton. all three of those went on to be successful two-term presidents. should you be nervous? yes, the deck did stacked against you.
but conor lamb was pro-gun marine, a likeable, handsome man. there's a lot more elizabeth warrens, a lot more bernie sanders, a lot of old, tired, social justice warriors who will not meet the people where they are. it's a democratic party that left its roots. conor lamb is a small example of returning to those. >> the democratic congressional campaign committee has recruited candidates across the country, more candidates than democrats have ever had, and they fit the districts. and districts like lambs, you're going to see candidates like lambs. >> i think this is important. there's so much anti-trump hysteria. in 2010, i don't remember people hanging this around barack obama's neck eight years ago when he had the worst midterm election in two generations. >> oh, yeah. >> if we have a bad midterm, it will immediately be viewed as a verdict on trump, and that's not fair.
[ overlapping voices ] >> let's take a break. a lot more coming up. former fbi director andrew mccabe is four days away from retirement. but now we're learning attorney general jeff sessions is considering firing him anyway. that's next. we just got married. we're all under one roof now. congratulations. thank you. how many kids? my two. his three. along with two dogs and jake, our new parrot. that is quite the family. quite a lot of colleges to pay for though. a lot of colleges. you get any financial advice? yeah, but i'm pretty sure it's the same plan they sold me before. well your situation's totally changed now. right, right. how 'bout a plan that works for 5 kids, 2 dogs and jake over here? that would be great. that would be great. that okay with you, jake?
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every year to ensure that hazardous trees can't impact power lines. and since the onset of the drought we've doubled our efforts. i grew up in the forests out in this area and honestly it's heartbreaking to see all these trees dying. what guides me is ensuring that the public is going to be safer and that these forests can be sustained and enjoyed by the community in the future. former fbi director andrew mccabe could get fired just days before he's set to officially retire, jeopardizing his pension after serving 21 years in the fbi. attorney general jeff sessions is considering wether to fire mccabe after a recommendation from the fbi's office of professional responsibility. this all comes from an internal report about how investigations were handled at the bureau including one about the clinton foundation. back now with the panel. jim, we were talking during the break. you were saying there's a whole process about whether or not he would actually lose his pension. >> yes. if he has a property right in a
pension, if he's vested in that pension, he's going to have procedural and substantive due process. >> so even if he got fired four days before. >> even if he got fired four days before, unless it's a vesting and a timing issue as to whether or not he's going to vest or not in that pension due to a time frame. we don't really know. what we hear from the reports is this, that the office of professional responsibility has made a recommendation that he be fired. the reason for that is during the clinton foundation investigation, he talked to some reporters about it, and he may have represented -- misrepresented to the office of inspector general what he said to those reporters or what was conveyed to those reporters. that's what's being reported. we don't know because we haven't seen the office of inspector general report, and we haven't seen the office of professional responsibility report. but that's what's being reported. if that's the case, then jeff sessions does have a decision to make as to whether to fire him or not. but whether or not it's going to actually impact his pension remains to be seen. >> kirsten, if the office of professional responsibility recommended he be fired, why shouldn't he be fired? >> i mean i don't know.
i would want more information honestly about what happened. it seems like if somebody's leaving in four days, why do you need to go out of your way to fire them? i mean is what he is accused of -- is it considered a -- [ overlapping voices ] >> is this a way to appeal to the president? >> 100% that's the reason why it's happening now. donald trump is been targeting andrew mccabe for months publicly, on twitter going after him, going after the fact that mccabe's wife ran for office in virginia and received pac money from hillary clinton allies. >> terry mcauliffe. >> you have the office of professional responsibility -- >> i'm not saying whether there's merit or not to it. i'm saying the timing, the pressure on jeff sessions, the reason why this is almost like -- it's a signal from the president kind of nudging jeff sessions like, um, the office of professional responsibility now has suggested that this guy be fired. so you need to fire him, or i'm going to fire you is the tacit message here coming from the president. [ overlapping voices ] >> i think to me the most damning allegation -- and at an
allegation, but it's regarding the text that we got from the paramours, from lisa strzok -- peter strzok and lisa page in which they talked about the insurance policy should trump win. that was the most nefarious part of those texts that were revealed. in that sequence, they said let's meet in andy's office. most reporting suggests that is andy mccabe. i think he needs to explain to the american people was he that andy and if he was, what was it about? >> there's so much smoke around this guy all the time. >> that's like the argument about the secret society, which turned out to be a joke. >> i don't think it's a secret society, but -- >> no, the accusation that they were talking about some secret society. it turned out to be a complete joke because it wasn't put in context. >> the investigation is not about these text messages between other people who are not andy mccabe. it's an allegation that he participated in a news story with "the wall street journal," not just about the clinton foundation but damaging to the clinton foundation, damaging to hillary clinton in the days before the election. interesting that donald trump hates him, but go back and get
on your google machine, america. look at that story. it was a hit job on the clinton campaign and the clinton foundation. so as a clinton loyalist, once again i'm looking up and donald trump hates the fbi, but he hates them for doing something that i didn't like. i can't quite know which jersey to wear, but how about we keep the fbi the hell out of our campaigns. >> so now if jeff sessions does go ahead and fire andy mccabe, now it's okay? the president's going to accept what the department of justice officials have recommended? but before the department of justice was corrupt and we need a special counsel, and we can't trust anything we say, and the ig, who is non-partner, who is doing a great job, who has a stellar record, horowitz, he's not good enough. we can't believe what they say because the fbi is corrupt. we need to have a special counsel. which is it? it's only what fits the president's narrative at the time. >> let's take a quick break. coming up our breaking news, exclusively obtained documents that show a new trump organization lawyer is involved in legal maneuvering in the stormy daniels case.
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it's a demand for arbitration filed in california by an attorney who works for a donald trump company. she lists her address as one trump national drive, rancho palos verdes, california. it's signed by an attorney named jill a. martin. that address also happens to be the address of the trump national golf course not far from los angeles. there's not much room for doubt that ms. martin has been an employee for donald trump. this is her linkedin page, which identifies her a vice president and assistant general counsel for the trump organization. here is her california state bar page, also listing her address as the trump national golf club. as far as the arbitration goes, in a declaration labeled highly confidential, it names peggy peterson, which is a pseudonym for stormy daniels, as the respondent. it lists ec, llc, as the party seeking relief. those initials stand for essential consultants, the company created by trump lawyer michael cohen to funnel a cash payment of $130,000 to ms. daniels in return for her promise to keep quiet about the reported affair, which means daniels claims began in 2006,
lasted through 2007. so as more as more comes out about the story, mr. cohen has continued to deny that the affair ever happened but he has acknowledged the payment saying last month, quote, in a private transaction in 2016, i used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to ms. stephanie clifford. neither the trump organization nor the trump campaign was party to the transaction, and neither reimbursed me for the payment either directly or indirectly. trump organization may not have been party to that transaction, but it's pretty clear one of its attorneys is involved in this case, and it's certainly not the first time she's defended donald trump. in fact, here she is in october 2016 just after that access hollywood tape surfaced appearing on cnn's "erin burnett outfront." >> none of us would ever imagine he would do something like this. it's completely inconsistent with his character and our own personal experiences. because of that, i believe him when he says he didn't do anything inappropriate with women. >> so she's a vice president and
assistant general counsel to the trump organization. so back to the arbitration case, ms. martin did win a temporary restraining order because the nondisclosure agreement stormy daniels signed said an action could be brought against her without any advance notice. that's an assertion that ms. daniels' current attorney, michael avenatti, strongly disputes. tonight we received a statement from ms. martin on behalf of the trump organization. it reads, quote, as previously reported, lawrence rosen, a new york attorney, is representing ec, llc in the arbitration. the trump organization is not representing anyone, and with the exception of one of its california-based attorneys in her individual capacity facilitating the initial filing pending the pro-hack admission of mr. rosen, the company has had no involvement in the matter. we also should note we've reached out to michael cohen, we should note we reached out to michael cohen and haven't heard back. make any sense to you, michael cohen who makes this statement in february 13 or 14 that the trump organization was not involved in the financial transactions basically michael
cohen saying, look, i did all this on my own out of loyalty to donald trump, i took the money from my home equity line. then two weeks later goes and reaches out to the general -- vice general counsel of trump organization as part of this arbitration? >> i feel like they're trying to slowly drive us insane. i'm watching this and i'm like, it's so obvious they're not telling the truth. i just -- i don't even know what to say. i mean, even if you look at michael cohen's words where he says he didn't -- wasn't paid back any money, that doesn't mean he wasn't supposed to be paid back money because "wall street journal" reported he had complained that trump, in fact, didn't pay him back. so, i just think everything looks so obviously like what we all think is happening. i guess i'm going to hear him defend this. i guess i don't know what to say any more. >> understand the legal issues involved here, right? the op-eds are poor admittedly. you have a trump organization
lawyer, pro hock viche getting involved in the case. rosen is representing trump. rosen did not barred in the state of california. you have to be barred in the state of california. you need a lawyer from the state of california who has a bar admission there to vouch for that person so they can participate in the case. >> it is really hard in california to find a lawyer -- >> that's what i was going to say. >> i admit the optics are poor here. this is not substantial involvement in the case. once you -- once someone gets admitted in most jurisdictions, including california, once someone is admitted pro hock vice -- >> you're saying michael cohen who by all accounts -- >> rosen -- >> michael cohen who is an intelligent person and allegedly seems to be an attorney with a license reaches out to his -- the vice general counsel -- >> michael cohen's lawyer,
rosen -- >> how do you know it's rosen? how do you know rosen reaches out? >> that's how it works because in order for him to be involved in the matter on behalf of -- >> right, but michael cohen is involved in this arbitration. >> as a party, not as a lawyer. >> does it matter they had to go to a trump organization lawyer? >> his counsel can't appear in california. yes they should have found another lawyer in can have. >> that's even weirder, his outside counsel then goes back into the trump organization because, for what possible reason? >> because they had a friendly lawyer in california that could have gotten them admitted quickly. but, you know, it wasn't a good decision. the optics are poor. but let's face it. she's not substantively working on this matter. >> we don't know. this is just the only document that's come up. paul, how do you -- >> this is all just baffling to me. my dean in law school say hide something, put it in a law book. i'm not going to argue with
jimmy about the law here. here's the problem. why oh, why is donald trump, a man who is flamboyant about his sex life, right, who famously planted a story in the new york post, front page about how -- >> marla maples, right? why is he jumping through all these hoops? why at least all these friends paying money? it suggests two things. it's not the first time this crowd has done this. i don't know that, but they are certainly acting like it's not their first rodeo. second, more troubling, it seems like this guy is susceptible to blackmail who would keep something he doesn't want to come out could lead back to rash. >> he is clearly subject to blackmail. >> not really. >> he could not even get a security -- he made fun of hillary clinton saying she couldn't get a security clearance. with all the -- >> right. >> -- potential for blackmail, do you believe he could get a
security clearance? >> yes, i believe he could. >> based on what? >> do you know who decides he can get a security clearance? the american people. >> unfortunately. >> why would he hide this from them? why does he need this matter? it makes me happy i'm not a lawyer talking about all this, holy cow. those of us who aren't lawyers and those of us again who don't necessarily live in politics, is any of this relevant? is any of it -- is anyone surprised, is any trump voter surprised he wasn't mother theresa? are we surprised he had a colorful past? >> no. >> are we surprised there are accusers accusing him of nefarious things? no. voters decided those accusations were not relevant or not true. or some combination. >> this is where i just can't take it, okay, because people like you and you and every other trump enabler would have -- >> enabler -- >> voter. >> enable this behavior would
have been calling for the impeachment of president obama or hillary clinton and bill clinton who went after him for his relationship with monica lewinsky and should have. >> i'll take all of that. >> you know what -- >> thank you. >> you'll take all that so the ends justify the means, huh? you know how dangerous that has been in history and the fact we have republicans sitting here using that excuse, if none of that matters that is not the position you had many years ago. we're talking about a president of the united states who engaged in behavior that is a, immoral, b., hypocrisy, and c could make him in trouble with russia. >> there is no allegation. >> paying hush money to a porn star two weeks before an a election possibly illegal. >> coming up, students nationwide walking out of their classrooms demanding stronger gun control. that's next.
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congress banning assault weapons, requiring universal background checks, passing a law that would let courts take away guns from people who show warning signs of violent behavior. there are also student walk outs in tanzania, and the czech republic. that's it for us tonight. time to hand it over to don lemon. cnn tonight starts now. /s >> this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon. it must have been a tough day to work in this white house. the white house is making excuses for the president's candidate losing a major bellwether election last night. while a source tells cnn president trump has been complaining about his own hand picked cabinet and wants to purge what he calls the dead weight. so, it's no wonder multiple staffers tell cnn they're on edge. not sure who will still have a job tomorrow. one white house official is telling cnn, telling axios, excuse me, quote, this is the most toxic working environment on the planet. well, t