tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 26, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
you can follow the show on twitter. you can follow the show on -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com happening now. the trump administration expels 60 russian diplomats identified as intelligence officers, and orders the closure of a russian consulate in response to the nerve agent attack in britain. russia says the united states is making a grave mistake. what's the next move? our new poll is out and president trump's approval rating rebounds to its highest point in nearly a year but that's only 42%. apart from the economy, the reviews are negative and most americans say they believe the
women alleging affairs with donald trump are at 21%. and porn star stormy daniels sues the president's lawyer for defamation for calling her a liar. as she goes public with her alleged affair and says she was threatened, the white house says the president still denies the affair. breaking news as president trumpers to expulsion of 60 agents in response to the poise among britain. the white house says it is not close go any doors. and while the white house says the president still denies the claims by porn star stormy daniels, a new cnn poll finds
21% of americans believe trump's denials. first let's go straight to our chief correspondent jim acosta. the expulsion of russian diplomats sends a strong message. >> it really does. the trump administration changed course on russia today, getting tough with the announcement russian diplomats will be expelled from the u.s. the president was oddly silent on this matter as he was with another matter, stormy daniels. the president was advised to avoid commenting on stormy daniels because he knows the stakes. it is the kind of move critics of president trump from both parties have been demanding in response to the poisoning of a former spy on british soil. the trump administration says 60 diplomats are being expelled as well as the closure. the white house held out the
possibility russian president he vladimir putin who is suspected of ordering the attack could be sanctioned himself. >> i wouldn't close any doors. i wouldn't preclude any potential action but the president doesn't telegraph his moves. >> reporter: the retaliation was unexpected after the president failed to mention the poisoning last week to putin. >> the president has made his position and the country's position pretty clear. >> reporter: the expulsions are also aimed at a dozen another countries taking steps. as the british administration scolded. >> they remain critically ill in hospital. their condition is unlikely to change in the near future and they may never fully recover. >> reporter: russia's ambassador to the u.s. indicated russia is likely to retaliate. >> i am sure tlim come.
time will come. >> even the president's critics said good, this is kind of strong unambiguous message the united states ought to be sending. still the president did not tweet about the expulsion, instead attacking the media. so much fake news. through it all our country is doing great. that appeared to be a swipe at stormy daniels. the lawyer says more is on the way. >> it is just the beginning. we have a whole host of evidence. this is not going away. and mr. cohen and the president better come quleen the american people and better do it quick will. the new poll says most americans do not think he is honest will.
>> the president doesn't think any of the claims she made last night are accurate. >> over the weekend interesting president's personal lawyer michael cohen who allegedly paid off daniels, did in dinner with the president at his resort at mar-a-lago. as for the perpetual chaos, we should say the white house did not exactly give a ringing endorsement to the secretary of veterans affairs when asked about his future. the white house spokesman said there are no cabinet announcements at this time. of course, it is only monday. >> how significant is this move? >> it is significant. .to lis and they said this is a significant move and a change.
we've spoken with this a number of times. sthaif not been particularly forward leaning. so significant in that sense. that it came from allies at the same time. so these dozens of diplomats who are intelligence officials, operative that's can no longer operate this. on the flip side, they will expel british diplomats stloefl will be a cost to this. but significant at the same time. this was an attack, not just on the former spy. there are dozens of bystanders, citizens, passers by who were contaminated with a nerve agent.
where you have to guess this to some degree had the approval of the president, the russian president himself. it is a significant attack. 48 russian diplomats here if washington. and their families. another dozen at the russian mission to the united states. russia will retaliate and do the same thing to american diplomats in moscow and probably shut down u.s. consulate as well. >> you note the move in seattle. why seattle? there is a major u.s. submarine base. a big competition going on tunneled waves around the world. it appears to be sensitive about the possibility of russian surveillance. >> a lot of high-tech dmoicompa
in seattle as well. joining us now, democratic senator richard blumenthal, a member of the judiciary and armed services committees. you've been a critical of the trump administration. suggesting it has been too weak. do they deserve credit for a tougher response? it is an expulsion of 60 out of 100 there are figured to be but also because it is coordinated with our allies. remember, he's been very dismissive of our allies and nato. and this coordinated response is significant. but the president's silence speaks volumes. his failure to use the white house as a bully pulpit against
concerted attack on our democracy is profoundly significant. maybe even as significant as the expulsion. >> the russians promised to respond in kind. how do you think putin will retaliate? >> i think by cexpelling our agents. i think there's no doubt that putin did it personally. toer to attack, on the soil of one of our closest allies. the u.k. was attacked by the use of this military grade poison. imagine what past president, ronald reagan, for example, would have said about that kind of attack. or any of our republican democratic president. the president's silence, i think, is aimed at maybe
reducing the significance of it. we should be preparing to use sanctions against the old garks, the institutions as well as cyber. we have a lot of tools at our disposal. >> when the russians expel, and i assume they will, how much damage to use that will be impacting? >> it will be damaging. at this point there are a lot of ways to do surveillance gathering through kriber and aerial surveillance, space, other means, that are important to us.
obviously the human intelligence is very important as well. so it will degrade our tense gathering but by no means cripple them. >> as far as we know, tuesday hasn't taken any direct action against the russia agencies for election meddling. what specific steps does president need to take he to what was done today some. >> there are some very clear steps. number one, to crack down on the financial dealings of his oligarchs. the russian business people actually finance the internet he agency that was attacking our democracy. so using the kind of sanctions on finance institutions that so far have not been imposed. they were authorized by sxong the president has not used them by degree that he should.
second, the use of cyber which we have been very lax using. i've raised this issue repeatedly in armed services hearings. john mccain has been very vocal on this. so steps in those domains and defining what is an act of war. in my view, the russians committed it. they said it was informational warfare and we need to respond much more robustly. >> the president's incoming national security adviser john bolton, he's a hard liner when it comes to russia. do you think he'll be able to change president's thinking? his words? will we see the president say something personally critical of putin, start tweeting about the russians? >> the russian policy of the united states must change. john bolton can be a change
agent and that can be one of the bright spots of his appointment. his hawkishness and warmongering with north korea and north korea from extremely concerning. and i think will be met by strong and vigorous opposition on both sides of the aisle in the united states congress. >> thanks for joining us. >> more breaking news. stormy daniels suing the president's lawyer for defamation saying he cast her as a liar for alleging she had a relationship with donald trump. >> i was in a parking lot going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. a guy came up and said, leave this alone. forget the story. and then he lend around my little girl and said it would be
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stormy daniels is suing for defamation that michael koenl made her out to be a lire. it comes as the president is still denying the affair. >> this is an aggressive move by michael avenatti, the attorney for stormy daniels. now add go michael cohen by name in the suit. not just michael cohen, as the owner of the business that ended up being put together to pay stormy daniels. he is saying that michael cohen defamed his client back in
february. just hours after the world watched, the white house today once again denying the allegations. >> the president himself hasn't directly talked about the daniels scandal. instead taking to twitter to decry what he called fake news. cryptically tweeting. so fake news. never more voluminous or more inaccurate. through it all our country is doing great. daniels' attorney michael avenatti making a vigorous defense. >> if she's not telling the truth, let the president take to the podium and call her a liar. >> one of the more troubling things she said was something that she said occurred in 2011 in las vegas. a short time after she gave an interview to in touch weekly. >> i was in a parking lot. going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. and a guy walked up on me and said to me, leave trump alone.
forget the story. and then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said a beautiful little girl. it would be a shame if something happened to her mom. and then he was gone. >> you took it as a threat. >> absolutely. >> the attorney responding with a cease and desist her. insisting cohen had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any such person or incident. and does not even believe any sufficient person exists. >> michael cohen needs to stop hiding behind pieces of paper. he wants the americans to believe it. the story left little to the imagination, alleging a sexual encount cher occurred shortly after they first met. >> have you seen my new magazine? >> he was showing you his own picture on the cover.
>> right. i said does this normally work for you? someone should take magazine and spank you with it. and i'll never forget the look on his face. and i said -- give me that. he wouldn't. hand it over. and so he did. and i was like, turn around. drop them. >> you told donald trump to turn around and take off his pants. >> yes. >> did he? >> yes. >> eventually the joking stopped and she said she and trump had sex for the first and only time in their relationship. >> you had sex with him. >> yes. >> did you want to have sex with him? >> no. but i'm not a victim. >> it was entirely consensual. >> yes. >> you work in an industry where condom use is an issue. did he use a condom? >> no. >> melania trump had given fwoirth a son a few months before. did he mention her? >> i asked and he brushed it
aside. he said oh, yeah, yeah. we have separate rooms and stuff. >> daniels gave a similar account to former playmate karen mcdougal who said something similar. he said wow, you are special. you remind me of my daughter. you're smart. beautiful, a woman to be reckoned with. and i like you. >> daniels also talked about the confidentiality agreement she signed just before the 2016 election. >> was it hush money to stay silent? >> yes. the story was coming out again. i was concerned for my family and their safety. >> i think some people watching this will doubt that you entered into this negotiation because you feared for your safety. they're going to think you had an opportunity lt. >> i didn't negotiate. i quishly said grow this very
strict contract. what most people will agree with me, extremely low number. is all the proof i need. >> but daniels herself said she has lied about the affair. in these two letters that she signed and made public. she denied it ever took place. >> that's a lie. >> why did you sign it? >> because noticed choice. >> not that someone was putting a gun to your head. snow. >> the exact sentence used was they can make your life hell in many different ways. >> they being? >> i'm not sure who they were. i believe it to be michael cohen. >> saying she was pressured by her manager and attorney at the time, a claim her former lawyer denies saying he does not believe it was a fair and accurate situation. her former manager says she did
not actually say the words herself in the 60 minutes piece. >> we should tell you the amended information in the lawsuit which includes now defamation against michael cohen by stormy daniels, her attorney has said that they have broken campaign finance laws that is now in the federal lawsuit. >> you can see the full stormy daniels interview. 8:00 p.m. eastern. "ac360." coming up, more breaking news. stormy daniels suing the president's lawyer, michael cohen, arguing against her as a liar. we'll have much more on the lawsuit going through numerous pages. and i'll speak with the lawyer for karen mcdougal. stay with us. at does it take toe digital transformation actually happen? it takes dell technologies,
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it is the attorney, it is not litigating the underlying claim outright. it is not deciding whether or not there was a sexual interaction. they're trying to have a round game to say we're going to litigate whether or not you're calling me a liar. another woman was called a liar on the campaign trail. there is now a case that says the president can be deposed. they're trying to compel this exact result. however, his statement much more nebulous than outright calling her a liar and that will be the biggest uphill battle. he said something like false statements like this can be settled all the time. you can settle out of court without outright calling her a liar. that will be the biggest challenge about her defamation suit. >> a lot of build-up to the 60 minutes interview. did she come across to you as
criminal? >> i think that's the question everyone is trying to decide. they're trying to chip away at her credibility by showing the inconsistencicies by saying she didn't have an affair and then saying she did. so they're concerned about the traction of credibility. she clear lid presented herself as someone who had nothing to lose at this point. so i think that she had that kind of approach to it, matched with the fact that some of her story with donald trump, that it matched up. it is with several women. it is precisely that question. >> the white house responded to the "60 minutes" interview. you heard them say that the
white house did not engage in any wrongdoing and they don't believe anything she was saying because of the inconsistencies in her statements. >> and i think the white house has been contradictory. sarah sanders said that president trump had won arbitration. that suggested there was something there. but this is not a story about whether or not the president engaged in extra-marital affairs of the it is a story about people close to the president trying to pay or in some cases, potentially intimidate women into silence. the question on everyone's mind, will there be more women coming forward? and when will we hear from the president directly and will it be a pattern where there was hush money provided to more and more women? >> what's your analysis? >> remember stormy daniels's attorney said some six women had approached him, seeking representation with similar
claims to stormy daniels. and look, i don't think many people are questioning her story as many as they're wondering why is she speaking out now and why it matters? so when it comes to the trump supporter, you can go back to the trump campaign where we knew there were allegations about the president and his relationship with other women. and yet voters still went to the polls for him regardless of that. so what differentiates that other handle the fantastic representation that we're seeing more and more of from these women. but also they're now a threat and anything tangible that is being hinted at now. are there pictures? is there video? that is what is being teased and why so many more americans are paying attention to these stories. >> a new legality in the 60 minutes interview was this allegation from stormy daniels that back this 2011, she was
threatened by an unknown man who told her to drop the whole trump story. what's the legal impact? it will be clearly very hard to prove. >> the key quets were unknown man. it is very difficult seven years ago for her to identify that person. she said if she ever saw that person again, she could. it is a realliuouy tenuous thin. it's a real key here. so i would be asking, if i wanted to prove that claim or try on dismantle that claim. who did you tell? she told anderson cooper that she told her child in her hand. she almost dropped the baby she was so fearful. she walked into a fitness class. did she tell anybody? was she married? did she tell her husband? all of those contemporaneous statements could boost her credibility. but there was no hard concrete
evidence to suggest that it actually attached to michael cohen. her presumption that he may have been involved in some way later down the line. that won't cut it. are you able to talk about any of this? if the court said she can't, she has herself in a legal pickle. >> we did hear, i thought, something new. false charges are settled out of court all the time. that was the first time i heard the white house justify the payment. that's a justification for the $130,000 payment in hush money. i hadn't heard that before from the white house and i thought that was an interesting development. >> he specifically said false charges are settled out of court all the time. this is not out of the ordinary in explaining why $130,000 was paid to stormy daniels from
michael cohen. everyone, stand by. we'll dig into some poll numbers which shows president trump's approval rating going up. i got it. and sometimes those experts need experts. on it. [ crash ] and sometimes the expert the expert needed needs insurance expertise. it's all good. steve, you're covered for general liability. and, paul, we got your back with workers' comp. wow, it's like a party in here. where are the hors d'oeuvres, right? [ clanking ] tartlets? we cover commercial vehicles, too. i think there's something wrong with your sink.
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the 42% is up from 35% in february. >> it sort of fits what we've been seeing the last ten days in polling. among republicans, he is up six months. among independents, up 6 points. we still see remarkable consistency. people who are the strong nest approving or disapproving, they're staying there. where we see the movement is the less solid people. they move around a bit more. some of the republicans have drifted away. some of the independents who drifted away are now back with him. >> get number for the president. he is getting get marks were it comes to the economy. 48% approve. 45% disapprove.
so on the economy he is doing better than a lot of people anticipated. >> certainly the economists i've sboenl have said this president inherited a steady economic recovery from his predecessor, president obama, and the trump administration has been able to keep the momentum going. only 38% approve of the trade actions which has a direct impact on the economic outlook. 50% disapprove which is the tariff on steel imports as well as certain chinese goods. a lot of people say that could have consequences for the u.s. economy. >> the dow jones is going up and down. that's what happens.
some other interesting poll numbers. allegations of infidelity, 63% say they believe the women. 21% believe president trump. are 16% unsure. >> that looks like a potentially serious problem. >> he's that problem in the last year. we've seen his support among educated white women really take he a dip. going back to what david was saying. they're losing the moderates, some who had taken a chance to vote for him tft more we hear headlines like stormy daniels. some of the volatility we're seeing. this doesn't sit well with a lot of women. so going back to our conversation about how stormy daniels came across in her interview.
i would say most people found her credible. the more we see, the hard he it is for the president to win back the female support that he is starting to lose. >> and it looks like the president is losing the pr battles with these affairs. is that legally significant? >> well, the court of public opinion, it may be significant whether he can pull the potential jury pool of future voters. in the court of law, it doesn't move the needle at all. the only questions are if the quem speak about the issues. remember, this is a president who was elected when there were more than a dozen women who made accusations against him. and frankly, even the access hollywood didn't move the needle. so the numbers in the polling
are shockingly consistent and under surprising if you follow it. i think in both areas. it does not move the needle about the president of the united states unless it attaches to a legal issue like the campaign finance. >> if i can jump in, though we've seen the numbers go up given where the economy is, 48% is a relatively low number when it komcomes to the president's approval rating a lot of the swings have come from statements and pakss he's made. >> you can say it with the 42% approval rating. if you look at the history, it is below mod earn predecessors. if you're grading on the trump scale, this 42% is the best
number we've seen from him since the 100-day mark last april. >> all right, everybody. stick around. the president expelling 60 russian diplomats. and the latest legal moves by porn star stormy daniels. a closer look at how anyone with you donald trump would have problems getting a high level security clearance. stick around. vo: gopi has built her business with her own two hands. each unique piece comes to life in the same way... a messy, sloppy, splattery way. but now she's found a way to keep her receipts tidy, even when nothing else is. brand vo: snap and sort your expenses with quickbooks and find, on average, $4,340 in tax savings. smarter business tools for the world's hardest workers. quickbooks. backing you.
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breaking news, the porn star stormy daniels is now suing president trump's personal attorney michael cohen claiming defamation. meanwhile, the allegations by daniels, the former "playboy" playmate are raising new questions about the rules that prevent people from obtaining security clearances for sensitive government jobs. let's go to cnn's brian todd. what are you learning? >> wolf, we're getting worrisome new information from former u.s. intelligence officials and attorneys who handle the top security clearance accusations. they're saying given the accusations a daniels and karen mcdougal have made. even though trump's attorneys have denied much of this. there's no way donald trump would get a top security clearance if he had any other job in the government.
zels says she got a clear sense once donald trump won the 2016 nomination for president how badly trump and his lawyer michael cohen wanted to keep their alleged sexual encounter secr secret. the porn star told "60 minutes" after that a few years of believing her story faded, offers came in. >> suddenly people are reaching out to me offering me money large amounts of money. was i tempted? yes, i struggle and then i get the call, i think i was the best deal for you. >> from your lawyer? >> yeah. >> that offer she says was for michael cohen. the $130,000 payment that cohen says he facilitated from his own funds. the key question, if donald trump had a key position in the government with those alleged affairs, would he get that clearance. >> it's unlikely that someone with these types of activities
would get a security clearance. >> that's because of the potential for blackmails. this lawyer says even if trump were subject to vetting -- which is he is not as president -- the alleged sexual relationships themselves might not disqualify him. but paying them off suggests an awareness of being vulnerable to coercion. >> cohen said trump wasn't aware of the payment. kuntz says they conduct a whole person able analysis among people seeking top-secret clearance. >> they will try to see whether taken as a whole the person's life, whether there's a repeated pattern of poor judgment, repeated pattern of irresponsibility. >> karen mcdougal, the former playboy model, cold anderson cooper about the affairs he tried to keep secret. >> why would he make you do the
planning? >> there was no paper trail. >> outside the question of whether there are other people with compromising information on president trump. the president is still not out of the woods in the stormy daniels case. daniel's attorney michael avenatti said we can expect him to reveal more evidence of the affair. >> brian todd, thank you. coming up, the breaking news. the trump administration expels 60 russians in response to the poisoning attack in britain but
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the white house says dozens of russian diplomats are being kicked out of the united states for brazen and reckless attacks. why is the trump administration suddenly getting tougher with the kremlin and why isn't president trump talking about it? and surprise visit. there's intense speculation tonight that kim jong-un may have psychly left north korea for china. we're digging on what would be an unprecedented trip if confirmed. is there any connection to plans for kim jong-un to meet with president trump? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. breaking tonight, stormy daniels is suing the president's personal lawyer michael cohen for defamation, escalating the legal battle over her alleged affair with mr. trump and a hush money deal to keep her quiet. this as the white house is denying her