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Stormy Daniels Files Lawsuit; Florida Governor Mulls Over Bill; CNN Series on Kennedys. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired March 8, 2018 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There we go. It is opening higher, as some of the concern eases right now about the president's position on tariffs. We'll stay on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Did you have a sexual relationship with Donald Trump? Did you have any relationship with Donald Trump?
[09:35:01] STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: Well, I think it's common, you know, by looking at photos that I've met him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, or sometimes now, I suppose, Peggy Peterson, just weeks ago apparently complying with a non-disclosure agreement that she now calls null and void.
I'm joined now by Jim Moret, the "Inside Edition" correspondent who conducted that interview. That was just in January. And by attorney Anne Bremner.
And, Jim, I want to start with you because the attorney for Stephanie Clifford now says there were significant threats to coerce her to denying a relationship with Donald Trump. You know, when you interviewed her -- and, again, this wasn't that long ago -- did it seem to you that she was under a significant threat at that point?
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Yes, based upon things she said to me. She said she was afraid. She said she was getting death threats, not from the president or anyone who knew him, but she believed from supporters because she believed that the president had engendered this kind of support in people, that they would do just about anything to protect him, so they would go after her. She suggested that there were legal threats.
At first I thought, is she just being coy? Why is she not talking? But now after reading the agreement, you could see that with each breach, she would be responsible for $1 million per breach. So it's not just a matter of giving back the $130,000. There were significant consequences if she spoke. But she was concerned. You know, she has a seven-year-old daughter.
She lives in -- just outside of Dallas. She had a somewhat normal life and it was upended by all of this.
BERMAN: As you have seen this play out, you know, she wouldn't answer you. Yet, subsequently in this filing, it flat-out says they had an intimate relationship. Her lawyer on TV over the last 24 hours has said they had a sexual relationship.
In your mind, what's changed?
MORET: She has a new lawyer, for one thing.
Well, I'll tell you what's interesting. The agreement specifically said you cannot talk about anything. You can't talk about the amount that was paid. You couldn't even talk about an arbitration. Who revealed those facts? The White House talked about an arbitration and Michael Cohen, the president's attorney, talked about paying $130,000. If there are any breaches, I would argue that they were made by the other parties, not by Stormy Daniels. And Stormy Daniels' new attorney says this is a null and void agreement and she should be allowed to talk. The president did not sign under his alias and he did so knowingly according to their argument so that he could always disavow any knowledge of the agreement. But the White House has admitted that the president is involved.
BERMAN: Right. That happened yesterday. Sarah Sanders said that out loud in the White House Briefing Room. Although our reporting from just moments ago is the president is apparently upset for whatever reason that she said that.
Anne, a couple of things to get to here. To the point that Jim just brought up, the fact that the president didn't sign it either with his actual name or with his pseudonym, David Dennison, that he chose.
ANNE BREMNER, ATTORNEY: Right.
BERMAN: You know, some of the legal analysts we've talked to said, it probably doesn't matter. He didn't necessarily need to sign it because Michael Cohen and his LLC was another party to this agreement. Where do you stand on that?
BREMNER: Well, I think that there's -- the fact that the lawyer can sign for him and it could have been integrated that the lawyer could do that is maybe enough. But the fact of the matter is, it just has approved as to form and then there's no signature under alias or otherwise.
So what Stormy Daniels is trying to do is ask for permission from the court rather than beg for forgiveness later and say, I want declaratory relief from a judge saying that this is null and void, it's not valid, and then she can act accordingly after the fact. So I think it was a very smart move. A new lawyer, as Jim said. But I think that's where she needs to go and it's appropriate.
BERMAN: And this lawyer clearly means business, legally, and it's clear he also understands how to use the media.
Let me play a little more of what he said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: My client wants an opportunity to tell her story, to tell the truth about what happened and what didn't happen, to tell the truth about the events, not only relating to her relationship with the president, but also the conduct and what she's witnessed over the last 12 to 18 months as it relates to efforts to silence her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It's interesting, Anne, right, because the worst that can happen is she gets hit with this fine, this million dollar fine. But you could see a scenario where she makes more money off of it than $1 million. So could she just say, you know what, screw it, I'm talking?
BREMNER: Well, I mean, the fact is, is that she needs the relief from the court to let her talk and she could make a lot more money. And the fact is, the only place we're equal in this country really is in court, like they said in ""To Kill a Mockingbird." So she can at least get an equal playing field now, I think, in California, and at least have a judge decide.
And also the fact that, as Jim said, with these breaches that she's claimed from the White House yesterday, acknowledging an arbitration, saying that the White House won, and then also Cohen, the lawyer saying, well, I did make that payout --
BREMNER: Those are arguably breaches. And, in fact, I think that will play in her favor when she's out in Los Angeles in court.
BERMAN: Jim, you know the law. You also know people. And people who have been, you know, not in exactly this situation, but you've seen how people behave under a certain amount of duress. Where do you think this is headed, Jim?
[09:40:01] MORET: I don't think Stormy Daniels or her lawyer are going to give up on this. And, you know, let me just go back to this last point about how she could make even more money.
If you read this agreement, it's so in-depth that Stormy Daniels actually assigned all copyrights to any -- any -- any writings that she could -- if she wrote a tell-all book, that money would go to President Trump as well under this agreement if it were held to be valid.
I don't think Stormy Daniels is giving up. I think she's frustrated because she feels like she's been threatened, she's been pushed into a corner and she's been characterized in a way that she just doesn't like and she wants to claim her life back. That's the sense I got from her. She's not a stupid woman. She seemed very rational, very smart and
very calm, but concerned. And so I do not think that with this new representation they are going to give up at all, and I think that the president has some serious problems here.
BERMAN: You know, I think your observation, both Jim and Anne, that this is a new lawyer here, he seems very determined to follow this through. I think that is key this morning and the White House needs to come to terms with that.
Jim Moret, Anne Bremner, thanks so much for being with us. Great conversation, guys.
MORET: Thank you.
BERMAN: Florida lawmakers pass a new gun control bill. If the governor signs this, some educators could be armed.
[09:45:16] BERMAN: Heading to the desk of Florida Governor Rick Scott, a controversial school safety bill just passed by Florida lawmakers. The new legislation, of course, spurred by the shootings in Parkland, Florida, allows for the arming of some educators and raises the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21. The governor has said recently that he opposes arming teacher.
And joining me now from Tallahassee with the very latest, our Athena Jones.
Athena, what's going to happen here?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John.
Well, first, let's talk about what this bill would do. It would, as you mention, raise the age to purchase a firearm to 21 years old from 18 years old. It would require a three-day waiting period to buy a firearm, with some exceptions. It would ban the sale or possession of those bump fire stocks. That's the accessory that allows a semi- automatic weapon to fire more like an automatic weapon. It would give law enforcement more power to seize weapons and ammunition from people deemed mentally unfit or otherwise a threat, and it would provide additional funding for armed school resource officers and for mental health services in districts across the state.
The most controversial provision is the one you just mentioned, the one that would allow some teachers to be armed, teachers and other school staff, to be armed if they undergo 144 hours of training, meet other criteria. That is a provision that Florida Governor Rick Scott has said he opposes. He has said repeatedly teachers should teach.
He also opposes the three-day waiting period. What is not clear is whether he will veto this legislation because it includes those two provisions. Yesterday the governor said that when he gets the legislation, he will review it line by line. He also said he'll be speaking with the families of Parkland victims about the bill. Now, one thing that's important to note here is that the governor,
once he receives this legislation, has 15 days to decide whether to sign it or to veto it. If he doesn't act, it automatically goes into effect after 15 days.
BERMAN: All right, Athena Jones in Tallahassee.
Athena, thank you very, very much.
Very shortly we're going to hear from President Trump for the first time since the White House seemed to acknowledge the president's involvement in some kind of legal arrangement with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Stay with us.
[09:51:45] BERMAN: There are few names as closely connected to American politics as Kennedy. But while you know their name, you might not know the whole story. This Sunday, CNN's new original series "American Dynasties: The Kennedys," sheds new light on the family and the ways their personal relationships affected public life really on a global scale.
So I had a chance recently to sit down with Kick Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's granddaughter, and she actually interviewed me about some of my memories of covering the Kennedy family.
KICK KENNEDY, GRANDDAUGHTER OF ROBERT F. KENNEDY: Thank you for coming in to talk to me today, John.
BERMAN: It's great -- it's great to be interviewed for once.
KENNEDY: So you're going to tell us a little bit about your Kennedy family memories.
KENNEDY: And if I'm not mistaken, you're from Massachusetts, Kennedy country.
BERMAN: Yes. it is -- it is really Kennedy country. Look, and I think that for generations of people who grew up in Massachusetts, like I did, the Kennedys were ubiquitous. My name is John with an "h," which is unusual for people who are Jewish. Usually Jews are Jonathan, j-o- n. But my mother gave me the "h" in my name because of, you know, of John F. Kennedy.
KENNEDY: Oh, so you grew up knowing a lot about my family. How was it transitioning to covering them?
BERMAN: You know, it's interesting, right, because I've been in journalism since 1995, covering campaigns, you know, since 1996. And, look, Senator Kennedy, at that point, he was the one primarily I was covering. And, sadly, the thing I covered the most is when he got sick.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Doctors revealed that Senator Ted Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor.
BERMAN: I was based in New York for ABC News and I remember getting the call saying, hey, Senator Kennedy had an incident. He's going to the hospital. I remember standing outside Mass General and hearing the diagnosis of the brain tumor. You know, and I remember talking to doctors and learning how serious of a diagnosis that was.
KENNEDY: Now before you started covering the milestones towards the end of his life, you met him as a kid, didn't you?
BERMAN: I did. It's really a vivid memory for me. I must have been about 10 years old when my parents were invited to Washington for some kind of business council meeting. And as part of this trip, they were invited to the senator's office to meet with the senator. And I remember him taking us, I think, to what was his back private office and showing us pictures that his children had drawn him.
And he was so proud of these pictures that his kids had drawn, especially one he was showing me from his son, Ted Kennedy Jr. And I remember him telling me about his son who had lost a leg to cancer. It's such a wonderful memory and to bring it full circle, I covered the funeral as a journalist. I think the most moving moment at that service was when his son, Ted Kennedy Jr., told a story about his father, told a story about trying to go sledding and Ted Kennedy Jr., with one leg, had a hard time walking up the hill and he told his father, you know, I can't do it. And Senator Kennedy said, no, you know, I know you can, I'll do it with you. And I just remember, like, wow, you know, this is the then boy, the now grown man, who drew that picture that Senator Kennedy was so proud of and showing me. And, yes, it just stuck with me.
[09:54:58] BERMAN: "American Dynasties: The Kennedys" premiers this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.
All right, back to the White House now. The president, the porn star, the press secretary. We're learning that President Trump not at all happy with his own spokesperson as Stormy Daniels in the headlines. We're following it all.
BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. John Berman here.
[09:54:48] Two big questions dominating at the White House today. Will the president publicly address new claims by an adult film actress this morning and will he follow through on controversial tariffs that perhaps threaten to start a trade war? The first answer we could find out in just minutes when the president gets his first chance to talk to cameras since news that his lawyer got a restraining order against Stormy Daniels.