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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Expels 60 Russian Diplomats; Stormy Daniels Tells Her Story; After Stormy Daniels' Interview, Pres. Trump Privately Attacks Her, Calls Her Allegations Hoax; Stormy Daniels Suing Trump's Lawyer For Defamation. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired March 26, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:20] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Tonight, breaking news tonight in the Stormy Daniels story. We'll bring you the latest legal development.
We'll also show you my full "60 Minutes" conversation with Daniels tonight, along with portions not shown in last night's broadcast. Her attorney joins us as well. So does Michael Cohen's lawyer to discuss new legal developments late today.
First, though, new actions against Russia in the wake of that near deadly poison attack on British soil, coordinated action we should point out. The U.S. joining nearly two dozen other countries today in what Britain's prime minister describes as the biggest expulsion of alleged Russian intelligence officers ever. Technically, they're listed as diplomats, but whatever you call them, Britain has already bounced 23, the U.S. today expelled 60.
More from Jim Acosta who joins us now from the White House.
So, what are the details of this?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, mentioned some of those details, Anderson. Sixty Russian diplomats are now being expelled from the U.S. A consulate in Seattle is being shut down because it's located too close to a submarine base, a U.S. submarine base.
But it's interesting to note, Anderson, that the president did for the tweet on this today. He did not issue a statement on this. The statement on this was issued by the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. And while the president tweeted about the stock market, tweeted about his disdain for the media, he did not tweet about these actions taken by the administration, and that's despite the fact that the administration says the president has been a pretty intimately involved in formulating this policy that was unveiled today, this was action that was unveiled.
And that is despite the fact that the president did not mention the poisoning of this ex-Russian spy and in his conversation with Vladimir Putin last week. The White House spokesman Raj Shah was pressed on his briefing today. He did not have a good answer to as to why the president did not bring that up with Putin. COOPER: For those who have been critical of this president for not pushing back against Russia, now, this is something the White House points to as a strong action.
ACOSTA: They are. And at this point, you know, I asked Raj Shah earlier today whether or not it is possible that the president, this administration might actually go after Vladimir Putin, hit him where he hurts, which is what a lot of national security and diplomatic experts would like to see this administration do. And here's how Raj Shah handled that question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: If you listen to diplomatic experts on what happened with Russia, they will say you have to hit Russia where it hurts. You have to sanction them economically, you have to go after Putin's cronies, you have to go after Putin himself potentially. Would this president consider sanctioning Vladimir Putin and his cronies to punish him and the Russian government for what happened in the U.K. and for meddling in the 2016 elections?
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the United States has issued sanctions on key Russian oligarchs, in response to the meddling in the 2016 election.
ACOSTA: What about Putin?
SHAH: I wouldn't close any doors or I wouldn't preclude any potential action, but the president doesn't telegraph his moves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, Anderson, that was a pretty tantalizing prospect that Raj Shah would not close the door on the possibility of sanctioning Vladimir Putin, and that's something that we'll obviously have to keep our eyes on moving forward here. But one thing that we should not let slide, that is Raj Shah saying this administration has sanctioned key Russian oligarchs. They simply have not done that. They were sanctions announced last week, but they were not really aimed at Russian oligarchs, they were aimed at cyber meddling operations like in Saint Petersburg, at the Internet Research Agency.
There was one oligarch mentioned in that list of sanctions, but not the key oligarchs who keep Putin in power, not his cronies, which is something even John McCain calling for earlier today. So, we have to throw the penalty flag on that one. That was not exactly accurate coming from Raj Shah.
COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta at the White House, Jim, thanks very much.
The White House today also weighed in on the Stormy Daniels' story. Spokesman Raj Shah saying that the president, quote, doesn't believe that any of the claims Ms. Daniels made in the interview are accurate. None of them. The president for his part has continued to stay silent on it. He was asked numerous times, as you know, about Ms. Daniels claims before the interview aired. He ignored the questions.
Since the interview first ran last night, there's been silence from the president himself on the subject of Stormy Daniels. There is however new legal action with Stormy's attorney filing a new defamation claim against the president's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Daniels' attorney will join us later this hour, along with an attorney for Michael Cohen.
First though, the interview and the issues it raises. A week and a half before the 2016 election, Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her alleged relationship with Donald Trump. Today, that arrangement is well on its way to becoming the most talked about hush agreement in history, with potential legal and political implications for the president.
Through his spokesman, once again today, Mr. Trump has denied having an affair with Stormy Daniels and his lawyers are now threatening her with financial ruin, saying she has to pay $1 million every time she violates her agreement to stay silent.
[20:05:01] That didn't stop her from coming on "60 Minutes".
Here's the interview it seemed everyone was talking about today.
COOPER: For sitting here talking to me today, you could be fined $1 million. I mean, aren't you taking a big risk?
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: I am.
COOPER: I guess I'm not 100 percent sure on why you're doing this.
DANIELS: Because it was very important to me to be able to defend myself.
COOPER: Is part of talking -- wanting to set the record straight?
DANIELS: One hundred percent.
COOPER: Why does the record need to be set straight?
DANIELS: Because people are just saying whatever they wanted to say about me, I was perfectly fine saying nothing at all, but I'm not OK with being made out to be a liar, or people thinking that I did this for money and people are like, oh, you're an opportunist. You're taking advantage of this.
Yes, I'm getting more job offers now, but tell me one person who would turn down a job offer making more than they've been making, doing the same thing that they've always done?
COOPER: A lot of people are using you for a lot of different agendas.
DANIELS: They're trying to. Like, oh, you know, Stormy Daniels comes out #MeToo. This is not a #MeToo. I was not a victim. I've never said I was a
I think trying to use me to further someone else's agenda does horrible damage to people who are true victims.
COOPER (voice-over): Stormy Daniels' real name is Stephanie Clifford. She's 39 years old, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and has been acting in, directing, and writing adult films for nearly 20 years. She was one of the most popular actresses in the adult industry when she was introduced to Mr. Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in July 2006.
She says he invited her to dinner, and she met him at his hotel suite.
(on camera): How was the conversation?
DANIELS: It started off all about him just talking about himself. And he's like, have you seen my new magazine?
COOPER: He was showing you his own picture on the cover of a magazine.
DANIELS: Right, right. And so I was like, does this -- does this normally work for you? And he looked very taken -- taken back, like, he didn't really understand what I was saying. Like, I was, does, just, you know, talking about yourself normally work?
And I was like, someone should take that magazine and spank you with it.
And I'll never forget the look on his face. He was like --
COOPER: What -- what was his look?
DANIELS: Just, I don't think anyone's ever spoken to him like that, especially, you know, a young woman who looked like me. And I said, you know, give me that, and I just remember him going, you wouldn't. Hand it over. And so he did, and I was like, turn around, drop 'em.
COOPER: You told Donald Trump to turn around and take off his pants.
COOPER: And did he?
DANIELS: Yes. So, he turned around and pulled his pants down a little -- you know, he had underwear on and stuff and I just gave him a couple swats.
COOPER: This was done in a joking manner.
DANIELS: Yes. And from that moment on, he was a completely different person.
COOPER: How so? DANIELS: He quit talking about himself and he asked me things and I asked him things, and it just became like more appropriate.
COOPER: It became more comfortable.
DANIELS: Yes. He was like, wow, you -- you are special. You remind me of my daughter. You know-- he was like, you're smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.
COOPER: At this point was he doing "The Apprentice"?
DANIELS: Yes. And he goes, got an idea, honeybunch. Would you ever consider going on and being a contestant? And I laughed and said, NBC's never going to let, you know, an adult film star be on. It's, you know, he goes, no, no, he goes, that's why I want you. You're going to shock a lot of people, you're smart and they won't know what to expect.
COOPER: Did you think he was serious, or did you think he was kind of dangling to get you to want to be involved him?
COOPER: Melania Trump had recently given birth to a son, just a few months before. Did he mention his wife or child at all in this?
DANIELS: I asked. And he brushed it aside, said, oh, yes, yes, you know, don't worry about that. We don't even -- we have separate rooms and stuff.
COOPER: Did you two go out for dinner that night?
COOPER: You had dinner in the room?
COOPER: What happened next?
DANIELS: I asked him if I could use his restroom and he said, yes, you know, it's through those -- through the bedroom, you'll see it. So, I excused myself and I went to the restroom. You know, I was in there for a little bit and came out and he was sitting, you know, on the edge of the bed when I walked out, perched.
COOPER: And when you saw that, what went through your mind?
DANIELS: I realized exactly what I'd gotten myself into. And I was like, here we go.
And I just felt like maybe -- it was sort of -- I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone's room alone and I just heard the voice in my head, well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this. COOPER: And you had sex with him.
COOPER: You were 27, he was 60. Were you physically attracted to him?
COOPER: Not at all?
COOPER: Did you want to have sex with him?
DANIELS: No. But I didn't-- I didn't say no. I'm not a victim, I'm not -- COOPER: It was entirely consensual.
DANIELS: Oh, yes, yes.
COOPER: You work in an industry where condom use is an issue.
[20:10:02] Did he use a condom?
COOPER: Did you ask him to?
DANIELS: No. I honestly didn't say anything.
COOPER: After you had sex, what happened?
DANIELS: He said that it was great, he had a great evening, and it was nothing like he expected, that I really surprised him, that a lot of people must underestimate me, that he hoped that I would be willing to see him again and that we would discuss the things we had talked about earlier in the evening.
COOPER: Being on "The Apprentice".
COOPER (voice-over): Daniels says she and Mr. Trump stayed in touch. She says he invited her to a Trump Vodka launch party in California, as well as to his office in Trump Tower in New York.
(on camera): So, he definitely wanted to continue to see you.
DANIELS: Oh, for sure. Yes.
DANIELS: And this was not a secret. He never asked me not to tell anyone. He called several times when I was in front of many people and I would be like, oh my god, he's calling. They were like, shut up, the Donald? And I'd put him on speakerphone, and he wanted to know what I was up to and, when can we get together again? I just wanted to give you a quick update, we had a meeting, it went great. There's-- it's going to be spectacular, they're totally into the idea, and I was like, that part I never believed.
COOPER: Did you still get the sense that he was kind of dangling it in front of you--
DANIELS: Oh, for sure, oh, yes.
COOPER: To keep you interested, to keep you coming back.
DANIELS: Of course, of course. I mean, I'm not blind. But at the same time, maybe it'll work out, you know?
COOPER: Did you view it as this is a potential opportunity, I'm going to see where it goes?
DANIELS: I thought of it as a business deal.
COOPER (voice-over): In July 2007, a year after they met, Daniels says Mr. Trump asked to meet with her privately at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles to discuss a development regarding her possible appearance on "Celebrity Apprentice".
DANIELS: I remember arriving, and he was watching "Shark Week". He made me sit and watch an entire documentary about shark attacks.
COOPER: It wasn't at that point a business meeting. It was just watching Shark Week.
COOPER: Did you have sex with him again?
COOPER: Did he want to?
COOPER: How do you know he wanted to?
DANIELS: Because he came and sat next to me and, you know, touched my hair, and put his hand on my leg, and referenced back to how great it was the last time.
COOPER: How did you get out of it?
DANIELS: Well, I'd been there for, like, four hours. And so, I then was like, well, before, you know, can we talk about what's the development? And he was like, I'm almost there. I'll have an answer for you next week. And I was like, OK, cool. Well -- I guess call me next week. And I just took my purse and left.
COOPER (voice-over): According to Daniels, Mr. Trump called her the following month to say he'd not been able to get her a spot on "Celebrity Apprentice". She says they never met again and only had sex in that first meeting
in 2006. In May 2011, Daniels agreed to tell her story to a sister publication of "In Touch Magazine" for $15,000. Two former employees of the magazine told us the story never ran because after the magazine called Mr. Trump seeking comment, his attorney Michael Cohen threatened to sue. Daniels says she was never paid, and says a few weeks later, she was threatened by a man who approached her in Las Vegas.
DANIELS: I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter, taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me: Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.
And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said: That's a beautiful little girl. It'd be a shame if something happened to her mom.
And then he was gone.
COOPER: You took it as a direct threat?
DANIELS: Absolutely. I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class. And my hands are shaking so much, I was afraid I was going to drop her.
COOPER: Did you ever see that person again?
DANIELS: No. But I -- if I did, I would know it right away.
COOPER: You'd be able to-- you'd be able to recognize that person?
DANIELS: One hundred percent. Even now, all these years later. If he walked in this door right now, I would instantly know.
COOPER: Did you go to the police?
DANIELS: Because I was scared.
COOPER (voice-over): When a gossip Web site reported a few months later that she'd had an affair with Mr. Trump, Stormy Daniels publicly denied it. Five years later, Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president.
DANIELS: Suddenly people are reaching out to me again, offering me money. Large amounts of money. Was I tempted? Yes -- I struggle with it.
And then I get the call. I think I have the best deal for you."
COOPER (on camera): From your lawyer?
COOPER (voice-over): The deal was an offer not to tell her story. It came from Mr. Trump's attorney Michael Cohen. In return for signing this non-disclosure agreement, Cohen would pay her $130,000 through a Delaware-based limited liability corporation he had established in mid-October 2016 called Essential Consultants.
Daniels says the agreement was appealing because it meant she would receive some money but also not have to worry about the effect the revelation of the affair would have on her child who was now old enough to watch the news. She signed the agreement 11 days before the election.
(on camera): Was it hush money to stay silent?
[20:15:01] DANIELS: Yes. The story was coming out again. I was concerned for my family and their safety.
COOPER: I think some people watching this are going to doubt that you entered into this negotiation because you feared for your safety. They're going to think that you saw an opportunity.
DANIELS: I think the fact that I didn't even negotiate, I just quickly said yes to this very, you know, strict contract. And what most people will agree with me extremely low number. It's all the proof I need.
COOPER: You feel like if you had wanted to go public, you could have gotten paid a lot of money to go public?
DANIELS: Without a doubt. I know for a fact. I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, in my heart, and some people argue that I don't have one of those, but whatever, that I was doing the right thing.
I turned down a large payday multiple times because, one, I didn't want to kiss and tell and be labeled all the things that I'm being labeled now. I didn't want to take away from the legitimate and legal, I'd like to point out, career that I've worked very hard to establish.
And most importantly, I did not want my family and my child exposed to all the things that she's being exposed to right now. Because everything that I was afraid of coming out has come out anyway, and guess what? I don't have a million dollars.
You didn't even buy me breakfast.
COOPER (voice-over): Fifteen months after she signed the non- disclosure agreement, in January 2018, "The Wall Street Journal" published this story, quoting anonymous sources, saying that Mr. Trump's attorney Michael Cohen had paid her for her silence.
Daniels says she was not the source of the story. But once it was published, she says she was pressured by her former attorney and former business manager to sign statements that Michael Cohen released publicly, denying she'd had an affair with Mr. Trump. COOPER (on camera): So, you signed and released -- a statement that said I'm not denying this affair because I was paid in hush money, I'm denying it because it never happened. That's a lie?
COOPER: If it was untruthful, why did you sign it?
DANIELS: Because they made it sound like I had no choice.
COOPER: I mean, no one was putting a gun to your head?
DANIELS: Not physical violence, no.
COOPER: You thought that there would be some sort of legal repercussion if you didn't sign it?
DANIELS: Correct. As a matter of fact, the exact sentence used was: they can make your life hell in many different ways.
COOPER: They being --
DANIELS: I'm not exactly sure who they were. I believe it to be Michael Cohen.
COOPER: Well, coming up, we will dig deeper into the potential legal and political implications for the president next, as well as more of my conversation from "60 Minutes" with Stormy Daniels.
Later, her attorney and Michael Cohen's attorney join us to talk about the interview and a new legal move by Daniels attorney accusing Mr. Cohen of defaming Stormy Daniels.
[20:21:31] COOPER: Again tonight, new legal developments in the Stormy Daniels saga. The dispute between Stormy Daniels and the president is more than a high profile tabloid scandal, especially when you consider that her silence was purchased 11 days before the presidential election which may run afoul with campaign finance laws.
The president's long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, says he used $130,000 of his own money to pay Stormy Daniels. Cohen has said the money was not a campaign contribution, but Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission appointed by President George H.W. Bush told us he doesn't agree.
TREVOR POTTER, FORMER FEC CHAIRMAN: The payment of the money just creates an enormous legal mess for, I think, Trump, for Cohen and anyone else who was involved in this in the campaign.
COOPER: Are you saying that can be seen as a contribution to benefit a campaign?
POTTER: I am. It's a $130,000 in-kind contribution by Cohen to the Trump campaign, which is about $126,500 above what he's allowed to give. And if he does this on behalf of his client, the candidate, that is a coordinated, illegal, in-kind contribution by Cohen for the purpose of influencing the election, of benefiting the candidate by keeping this secret.
COOPER (voice-over): The payment Stormy Daniels received is the subject of complaints by watchdog groups to the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, which Trevor Potter used to be chairman of.
He's now president of the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, which supports the enforcement of campaign finance laws.
(on camera): If the president paid Michael Cohen back, is that an in- kind campaign contribution that the president should've then reported?
POTTER: It is. If he was then reimbursed by the president, that doesn't remove the fact that the initial payment violated Cohen's contribution limits. I guess it mitigates it if he's paid back by the candidate because the candidate could have paid for it without limit.
COOPER: What if the president never reimbursed Michael Cohen?
POTTER: Then he is still out on the line, having made a illegal in- kind contribution to the campaign.
COOPER: You're saying this is more serious for Michael Cohen if the president did not pay him back?
POTTER: Yes. I think that's correct.
COOPER (voice-over): We wanted to speak with Mr. Trump's attorney Michael Cohen about this, but he did not respond to our calls and written request for comment.
Cohen told "The New York Times" last month he used his own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels and said: Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign reimbursed me for the payment.
This past week, Cohen told "Vanity Fair" magazine: What I did defensively for my personal client, and my friend, is what attorneys do for their high-profile clients. I would have done it in 2006. I would have done it in 2011. I truly care about him and the family -- more than just as an employee and an attorney.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: It's laughable. It's ludicrous. It's preposterous.
COOPER (on camera): Lawyers don't do that, you're saying. You -- you--
AVENATTI: Ever. COOPER (voice-over): Michael Avenatti is Stormy Daniels' attorney. He's a Los Angeles trial lawyer who is suing the president in a California court, seeking to have Stormy Daniels' non-disclosure agreement or NDA declared invalid, in part because the president never signed it on the lines provided for his alias. DD, David Dennison.
(on camera): Michael Cohen has said, look, this had nothing to do with the election. He would've made this agreement months before.
AVENATTI: So why didn't he?
[20:25:00] It just slipped his mind? It's just a coincidence that, in the waning days of the campaign, he thought to himself, oh, you know, I know I've been thinking about this for years. Perhaps now is a good time to get that NDA executed with Stormy Daniels.
COOPER (voice-over): Avenatti disputes the notion that Cohen was working in a purely personal capacity when he arranged the hush money for Stormy Daniels. He's found documents that show Michael Cohen used his Trump Organization email address in setting up the payment.
He also says the non-disclosure agreement Stormy Daniels signed in 2016, when she was represented by a different lawyer, was FedEx-ed to Cohen at his Trump Organization office in Trump Tower in New York.
AVENATTI: That is a copy of the Federal Express confirmation
COOPER: The cover letter from Daniels' previous attorney also identifies who he thought Michael Cohen was working for.
AVENATTI: To Mr. Cohen as executive vice president and special counsel to Donald J. Trump, the Trump Organization, again -- listing the Fifth Avenue address.
This idea that there's a separation now between Mr. Cohen, individually, and the Trump Organization or Mr. Cohen, individually, and Donald Trump, it's nonsense.
COOPER (on camera): There are people who argue that this is much ado about nothing, that if this was not a story about, an adult-film actress and the president of the United States, no one would pay attention.
AVENATTI: This is about the cover-up. This is about the extent that Mr. Cohen and the president have gone to intimidate this woman, to silence her, to threaten her, and to put her under their thumb. It is thuggish behavior from people in power. And it has no place in American democracy.
COOPER (voice-over): Avenatti points to this recent court filing in which the president's lawyers claim Daniels is already liable for damages in excess of $20 million for unspecified violations of her non-disclosure agreement. And in that article in "Vanity Fair" this past week, Michael Cohen said that when he wins damages from Stormy Daniels, I might even take an extended vacation on her dime.
(on camera): You're saying they're trying to intimidate her.
AVENATTI: There's no question. You threaten someone with a $20 million lawsuit, it's a thuggish tactic. It's no different than what happened in the parking lot in Las Vegas.
COOPER: People make threats in lawsuits all the time. People, you know, say, you're going to have to pay a lot of money when you lose this case.
AVENATTI: People don't threaten people with $20 million lawsuits that they're going to take their home and take an extended vacation on the money they receive. People don't conduct themselves like this. They don't. And they shouldn't.
COOPER: Stormy Daniels did sign the agreement. She got $130,000. Isn't she welching on a deal?
AVENATTI: No, she's not welching on a deal because there never was a deal.
COOPER: But she still took the money.
AVENATTI: She took the money. But the fact of the matter is Mr. Trump never signed the agreement. He was obligated to sign the agreement in order for the agreement to spring into effect.
COOPER (voice-over): That's not true, according to Michael Cohen, who has said only his signature was required.
What was also required under the non-disclosure agreement was for Stormy Daniels to turn over all video images, still images, email messages, and text messages she had regarding Mr. Trump.
(on camera): Did you do that?
COOPER: Her answer to that question in just a moment. You'll also hear what she wanted to say to the president if he is watching.
[20:02:19] COOPER: More now with my interview with Stormy Daniels. There's been plenty of speculation about whether she has any shows of souvenirs or any images or text messages from her alleged encounter with the President that could be considered evidence of that relationship. If you'll remember as part of the nondisclosure agreement she signed, she was supposed to turn over any video images, film images, e-mail messages and text messages among other things she have regarding Mr. Trump.
COOPER: Did you do that?
DANIELS: I can't answer that right now. COOPER: You don't want to say one way or the other if you have text messages or other items?
DANIELS: My attorney has recommended that I don't discuss those things.
COOPER: You seem to be saying that she has some sort of text message or video or photographs or you could be bluffing.
AVENATTI: You should ask some of the other people in my career when they've bet on me bluffing.
COOPER: In college, in law school, you did opposition research for Democratic political operative Rahm Emmanuel, I mean some people looking at that would say you're politically motivated.
AVENATTI: I haven't done anything in politics in over 20 years.
COOPER: But this is not the usual case you take on, you are former Democratic operative and you're talking about disclosing the President, that sounds political.
AVENATTI: No, it sounds righteous.
COOPER: How so?
AVENATTI: Because my client is credible, she's telling the truth.
COOPER: Trevor Potter, the former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission says the agency's investigations often take a long time and usually result only in monetary penalties. But there is another scenario that could present a problem for the President. Special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In March, "The Washington Post" reported that the special counsel has examined episodes involving Michael Cohen, including his efforts to launch a Trump branded project in Moscow in the fall of 2015 when Mr. Trump was seeking the Republican nomination.
Is there anyway that special counsel Robert Mueller could investigate the Stormy Daniels payment?
TREVOR POTTER, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: That's the wild card here.
COOPER: As a prosecutor you want to get leverage over somebody that you could then use to get them to give you other information on what's you're interested in?
COOPER: That's what special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be doing with Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump's former campaign chairman who faces multiple charges, including tax and bank fraud.
Paul Manafort has been charged with crimes that don't have anything to do with Russia in some cases. POTTER: Well, that certainly preceded the campaign. And so clearly the Justice Department, the deputy attorney general who is ultimately in charge of this has determined that looking at what Manafort did in other context is relevant to the investigation and I think you can say exactly the same thing about Cohen.
[20:35:03] He was involved indisputably with Trump organization activities with Russia and negotiations with the Russians. You know, Mr. Cohen is in the middle of a place of great interest to the special counsel.
COOPER: Is there recent precedent for prosecuting somebody for undisclosed campaign contribution?
POTTER: As it so happens, there is. There is sort of a pretty spectacular one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did an awful, awful lie, that was wrong.
COOPER: Former Senator John Edwards was prosecuted but never convicted for payments that a supporter and his campaign finance chairman made a year before the 2008 election to woman who'd had Edwards' child.
POTTER: I think the Edward's case is not as strong as the facts we had so far in the Trump case.
COOPER: Why do you think the potential case against Cohen or Trump is a stronger case than the Edward's case?
POTTER: The timing of it. It wasn't the year before the election. It's right in the middle of the run up to election day, when Trump's conduct with women was a prime campaign issue. In fact it was what everyone was focused on.
COOPER: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders did not respond to our request for comment from the President but we did receive a letter from Mr. Trump's attorney, Charles Harder who asked that we show on camera and read on air. One of the statements, Stormy Daniels signed in January denying reports she'd had an affair with Mr. Trump. It says in part, "My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more."
And if Stormy Daniels denied the affair in 2011 which you say is a lie, denied the affair in early January 2018, denied the affair in late January of 2018, doesn't that hurt her credibility? I mean she's lying, she's lying, she's lying.
AVENATTI: I think there's no question that it calls into question her credibility. I also think that there's no question that when the American people take all of the facts and evidence into consideration that they are going to conclude that this woman is telling the truth. And, Anderson, to the extent that Mr. Cohen and the President have an alternative version of the facts, let them come forward and state it unequivocally.
COOPER: Oh come on. You would not sign statements one, two, three times about something which you knew to be a lie.
AVENATTI: If the President of the United States fixer made it clear to me, either directly or indirectly that I needed to sign it and I was in the position of Stormy Daniels, I might sign those statements.
DANIELS: I felt intimidated and honestly bullied and I didn't know what to do and so I signed it. Even though I had repeatedly expressed that I wouldn't break the agreement but I was not comfortable lying.
COOPER: How do we know you're telling the truth?
DANIELS: Because I have no reason to lie. I'm opening myself up for, you know, possible danger and definitely a whole lot of [bleep].
COOPER: But, you know, there is a potential -- financial upside. Maybe somebody will want you to write a book, maybe, you know, you can go on a bigger tour and make more money dancing.
DANIELS: That is a lot of if's. I could also get shunned. I mean I could automatically be alienating half of my fan base right at this very moment.
COOPER: Jenna Jameson, another well-known adult film actress said recently about you, "The left looks at her as a whore and just uses her to try to discredit the President. The right looks at her like a treacherous rat. It's a lose-lose. Should have kept her trapped shut.
DANIELS: I think that she has a lot of wisdom in those words.
COOPER: The President watched you at "60 Minutes", he's watching tonight, what would you say to him?
DANIELS: He knows I'm telling the truth.
COOPER: Stormy Daniels -- we've just gotten some breaking news on the President's private reactions to last night's interview with this new reporter, say, he did in fact watch. We'll have details on that next. Also more of what Stormy Daniels said that you did not see last night and her attorney Michael Avenatti joins us as well.
[20:42:55] COOPER: As we mentioned at the top of the broadcast, the President has yet to publicly weigh in himself on last night's interview. There's new reporting new tonight in "The Washington Post" about his private reaction. According to "The Post", the President has attacked her, he media tour and ask a confidants if the episode was hurting his poll numbers. "The Post" also reports he has told several people that Stormy Daniels is not the type of woman he would find attractive.
Also according to "The Washington Post", the President did in fact watch the interviews last night even asking White House staffers for their take. According to one individual, "The Post" spoke to, the President said that he personally did not think Daniels appeared credible last night. We should note that not everything she told me made it into last night's broadcast. Here's more from "60 Minutes Overtime".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELS: The entire time, the 10 years this was going on, I was asked a few times to make parodies. Adult movie parodies make a lot of money. They get a lot of traction. They get a lot of press. They wanted me to make a movie. And I --
COOPER: A movie of you having sex with somebody who looked like Donald Trump?
STORMY DANIELS: Right. And I said no repeatedly, much to their, you know --
DANIELS: Because it's not how I wanted to be portrayed. I did not want this out there. Even though I could have capitalized on it and made money the entire time, I never did.
COOPER: It's hard for me to judge how viewers are going to interpret her from this interview. I mean, you know, we try to paint as clear a picture and as truthful a picture of a person as we can. Clearly she's on this tour now -- she said she didn't name it, he Make America Horny Again Tour, but that a club promoter did.
DANIELS: I had nothing to do with it.
COOPER: But isn't going on a tour with the name Make America Horny Again, that is playing off your current notoriety.
DANIELS: I-- yes. But I haven't used that slogan. The clubs are putting it on their flyers, I haven't uttered it at all until just now, because I think it sounds really cheesy.
COOPER: Physically, you've seen him in ways that other people haven't
DANIELS: Correct. And if need be, I can describe that.
COOPER: His private parts?
DANIELS: I could. If need be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Stormy Daniels on "60 Minutes Overtime".
[20:45:01] So we've mentioned there's more breaking news, Ms. Daniel's attorney, Michael Avenatti has filed a defamation lawsuit against Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer. In a moment, Mr. Cohen's attorney David Schwartz will join the conversation. But I want to talk about the lawsuit first with Michael Avenatti. Thanks so much for being with us.
First of all, OK, so this new development, you have amended the lawsuit to now include Michael Cohen, previously it was the LLC he had set up and it was also President Trump, why amend it now to include Michael Cohen and what's this -- what's the accusation of defamation?
AVENATTI: Well, Anderson, what we've done is we've brought in now Michael Cohen individually. Previously, it was the limited liability company that he set up strictly to facilitate the payment. We have named Michael Cohen individually as it relates to what we allege are defamatory statements that he made. Namely, he made some statements earlier this year whereby he's basically said that the affair never happened in not so many words and made my client out to be a liar.
So we're going to test the voracity of his statements against those of my client. You've played the interview of my client over the last 45 minutes or so, we think that 90% of America if not more found her very, very credible. And, you know, Michael Cohen has a lot of explaining to do relating to his statements to the American people.
COOPER: What does -- as part of the amendment, you're also asking for monetary damages. All along though, I thought you said this wasn't about money, this was about, you know, invalidating this NDA?
AVENATTI: Well, I think that we're going to be able to show that there's been some monetary damages that she suffered by way of his defamatory statements. And above all else, Anderson, she wants her name cleared. She doesn't appreciate the misstatements and the half truths that Michael Cohen and others have spread to the American people. She's going to prove that what she said to you on "60 Minutes" was 100% accurate and she's credible.
And we're going to show that what she told you and what she told the American people was the truth. And that what Michael Cohen, the spin that he has been trying to sell to the American people is a bunch of rubbish, whether it be about my client, $130,000, the fact that Mr. Trump's supposedly knew nothing about this, it just doesn't add up. The American people are smarter than this.
COOPER: The idea that -- there's now -- I believe you received or you were sent a cease and desist letter from an attorney representing Mr. Cohen I believe basically saying that because of this, the allegation that Stormy Daniels has made that she was threatened in 2011 in a parking lot in Las Vegas by somebody who came up to her and said something to the effect of stop talking about Mr. Trump and looked at her infant daughter and said, you know, beautiful little girl, it would be a shame if something happened to her mother. Are you accusing Michael Cohen or anyone from the Trump organization of having sent that individual?
AVENATTI: Not yet. But what I will say is this, there's only three groups of people that that individual could have been sent by. First would have been my client. Well, she obviously didn't send someone to threaten herself. That's doesn't make any sense. The second group would have been the magazine. COOPER: This was shortly after she had given an interview to a sister publication, I mean "Touch Magazine", she had taken a polygraph that they had asked her to take. And then, according to the two employees of in "Touch Magazine" where "60 Minutes" spoke to that story never ran because Mr. Cohen threatened to sue.
AVENATTI: Right. Mr. Cohen threatened the magazine to shut down the story to protect Mr. Trump and around that same time, this goon shows up in her card door with her young daughter in the back of the car. So we know it's not my client that sent the goon. We know it's not the magazine that sent the goon. There's only one logical place left as to who would have sent the goon. It's common sense. I don't have evidence that the sun is going to show -- rise tomorrow, but I think it's fairly common sense that is going to.
COOPER: Would you, I mean that sounds like you are laying this at the feet of somebody in the Trump organization.
AVENATTI: Well, not quite yet. But we're going to tighten that up. We're going to get to the bottom of who this was and who sent him. And when and if, and I'm confident that day will come if necessary, if it leads to Mr. Cohen or Mr. Trump, we're going to call him out on it.
COOPER: Stormy Daniels said in the interview that she could recognize this person even though it was many, many years ago. It scared her that much.
AVENATTI: Yes. I think what she has stated is that it left an image in her mind, it stayed with her for a significant period of time, it was a very traumatic experience. And we're confident that she can still identify this individual.
COOPER: The -- you also -- now, there's an e-mail -- you've shown a lot of e-mails from -- they were sent to Michael Cohen, from Michael Cohen using his Trump organization e-mail address. You now have this other e-mail which is from Michael Cohen to Keith Davidson who's the former attorney for Stormy Daniels. And there's two things -- this I think you've just released today, I think NBC had it and we're showing it. There's two things on that, one is Michael Cohen, where he signed it, he is described as the personal attorney for President Donald J. Trump. And then there's other some else you say significant, why -- what is the significance in your opinion of this?
[20:50:08] AVENATTI: Well, Anderson, we believe this to be a smoking gun e-mail for the following reasons. First of all, the date, it's February 22, 2018. It's only approximately one month ago. It's an e- mail that Michael Cohen sent to my client's former attorney. And Michael Cohen inserted the subject as pp versus dd, NDA. Now, why is that important?
Well, first of all, your viewers already know that pp basically were the initials for the alias of client, and dd are the initials for the alias for Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen, in this document that he drafted listed the subject as pp versus dd, meaning my client versus Donald Trump, NDA. I'm confused. I thought what Mr. Cohen has told the American people and what Mr. Schwartz has told the American people for weeks now is that Donald Trump was never a party to the agreement. Donald Trump didn't know anything about the agreement. It was all Mr. Cohen or ec. Why would Mr. Cohen then send an e-mail where he lists the subject as pp versus Donald Trump, NDA?
This is what happens when you can't keep your lies straight, Anderson. This is the kind of conduct that happens. And then we see how he signs the e-mail. He signs it with his signature block as personal counsel to the president of the United States. I thought -- I thought the President wasn't involved in this. I thought he was just doing this on his own in his spare time from his living room. This -- again, this isn't even a good lie, and it's not even a good cover-up. I mean this is the keystone cops.
COOPER: So where does this go from here? I mean you now have amended this complaint. What is the end game here? What do you want -- I mean do you want some sort of a settlement? Do you want to make -- have a negotiation, make this go away?
AVENATTI: My client is not interested in a settlement. My client is interested in the truth and nothing but the truth, period. She wants all the facts to be laid out to the American people so that they can make their own judgment as to what happened.
But, Anderson, as it relates to all of these e-mails and all of this evidence that we're seeing, I mean this makes the Watergate burglars look incredibly competent. That's how bad this is. I mean this is a joke.
COOPER: But, you know, the response -- and we'll talk to Michael Cohen, a friend and attorney in another matter for Michael Cohen in a second. But the people from -- who are supporting Michael Cohen say, look, people use their work personal -- their work e-mail address all the time, and it doesn't necessarily mean it's coming from -- I mean does that prove anything?
AVENATTI: Well, I mean, Anderson, I think we've addressed that in the past. The evidence is piling up to show that this was not done personally. It was done by Mr. Cohen in his capacity at the Trump organization, and here we have him drafting an e-mail where he describes the NDA. This is Mr. Cohen describing the NDA as being between my client and Donald Trump at the same time he's telling "The Wall Street Journal" and the American public that Donald Trump isn't even a part to the agreement. It doesn't add up. We're getting it to the bottom of it. We're going to blow it out of the water.
COOPER: All right. We're going to take a break. When we come back, more from Michael Avenatti, also we'll be joined by Michael Cohen's attorney, David Schwartz, and our Jeff Toobin. We'll be right back.
[20:57:30] COOPER: Continuing our conversation with Stormy daniEls' attorney, Michael Avenatti. Also joining us, CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin as well as Michael Cohen's friend and attorney in another matter, David Schwartz.
David, thanks -- first of all, what did you make, I'm wondering, of Stormy Daniels last night? Do you believe she has --
DAVID SCHWARTZ, MICHAEL COHEN'S ATTORNEY: I was completely underwhelmed. In fact, all the Trump haters were underwhelmed. What new did we learn? Look, you're an iconic news person. That was not anything, you know, dramatic by any stretch of the imagination. She -- we heard that she had an affair with Donald Trump.
According to her own story, there was only one time they had sex. They were sitting on a couch another time. She meets some guy in a parking lot, threatens her. He's been saying it was Michael Cohen this entire time. That's a complete lie. It's an utter fiction, and that in and of itself is defamatory, to say that that was Michael Cohen or someone sent by Michael Cohen.
You know what the answer is? I know you're looking for the answer as to who sent that person. It's a figment of her imagination. That person doesn't exist. Because you know why? You know why? Because when you're threatened with your daughter in a parking garage, what's the first thing that you think of? I got to go to my Pilates class. That's the very first thing that I think of when someone comes up to me and threatens me with my daughter. Anyone who has a daughter knows you go right to the police. It's complete nonsense.
COOPER: She says she didn't go to the police because she was scared and she walked into the room and -- to the notion that he's saying it's defamatory?
AVENATTI: File a lawsuit. Look, the majority --
SCHWARTZ: You got the letter yesterday.
AVENATTI: So wait a minute. Last time you didn't let me talk. This time you are going to let me talk.
SCHWARTZ: I let you --
AVENATTI: Otherwise, we're going to have to get the defibrillator out for you and I'm concern about --
SCHWARTZ: Please go for it.
AVENATTI: Look, the American people saw last night something that they haven't seen from Michael Cohen. They actually saw my client answer questions by a world-renowned journalist who asked tough questions. She sat in an interview for two hours or there abouts, and she faces the tough questions and she answered them. And the American people saw those answers, saw how she answered the questions, and I think 90% of America --
SCHWARTZ: Ninety percent -- they're scratching their heads.
AVENATTI: Wait. Let me finish.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Are you saying it was Michael Cohen who was in Las Vegas by the Pilates place? Are you saying it was him personally?
AVENATTI: Of course it wasn't Michael Cohen personally.
COOPER: One at a time. One at a time.
AVENATTI: There's a reason why God gave you two ears and one mouth --