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New Questions Surface over Porn Star Payment; Interview with Stormy Daniels; White House Appears to Put Conditions on Kim-Trump Meeting. Aired 11-12n
Aired March 10, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:07] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. It's 11:00 on the East Coast. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York. Welcome this Saturday.
New developments in the Stormy Daniels saga -- President Trump's lawyer now facing questions after taking out a home equity loan to keep the porn star quiet about an alleged affair. Daniels also claiming the controversy may actually be helping her career.
Plus, Florida's Republican governor coming under fire from the NRA -- a lawsuit now in play as the state of Florida passes new gun control legislation.
And President Trump responds after a deadly shooting at a California Veterans Affairs clinic. What we now know about the gunman and his victims.
Let's begin with the latest on the case causing more trouble for the White House. We now know President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, used his official Trump Organization e-mail address and signature; and Cohen says he took out a equity line of credit in the amount of $130,000 to make the payment to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about an alleged affair between herself and Mr. Trump. Daniels' attorney made his case to CNN's Anderson Cooper last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: This took a long time -- the negotiation, the drafting, the communication, the routing of the payment. We're talking about hours and hours and hours.
And what Mr. Cohen and the administration now expects the American public to believe is that he went off half-cocked on his own without any guidance or communication whatsoever with his client, none. He just decided that he was going to do this. He was going to draft the document. He was going to negotiate it. And he was going to draft the document with places for his client to sign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. This comes as President Trump prepares to hit the campaign trail today. He'll be stumping for Pennsylvania Republican who is in danger of losing in a district the President carried by 20 points.
CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip is at the White House for us now. So Abby -- it appears this controversy is not going away.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right -- Fred.
This controversy continues to engulf this White House and it does seem that the more revelations we get about what's going on in this case the more questions we have about what exactly the President knew about what his attorney seemed to have been doing on his behalf.
With the revelation that Michael Cohen used his Trump Organization e- mail to send correspondents to Stormy Daniels' attorney in the days preceding the election, Sarah Sanders is facing new questions about whether or not the President and his personal lawyer are -- were talking then and are still talking now about this ongoing litigation.
Listen to what Sarah said yesterday about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: You said from the podium you acknowledge that the President, to follow up on April's question, knows about the arbitration involving Stormy Daniels. Does he remember speaking with his lawyer about that? Does he remember meeting Daniels?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I've addressed this extensively. I don't have anything else to add. Sorry -- I did tell Troy I'll take one last question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: The White House is now trying to shut down questions about Stormy Daniels after Sarah Sanders this week really opened a Pandora's Box by acknowledging that the President had been -- had won an arbitration case against Stormy Daniels in the last several weeks. That case being brought by his lawyer Michael Cohen.
She now won't say at all whether or not the President has spoken to Cohen about this case.
Now you just mentioned the President is heading out this afternoon to Pennsylvania where he's going to be campaigning for a Republican candidate who seems to desperately need his help at this point.
But obviously the President is in a politically-perilous situation. He not only has this controversy with Stormy Daniels brewing but he is also facing some backlash from world leaders and from his own party over his decision to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel.
So there's a lot going on right now for this president. And it's unclear how it's going to affect this very near future of this Pennsylvania race but also races down the road in the mid terms in 2018 -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Abby Phillip, thanks so much at the White House.
All right. Let's bring in our political panel now. Julian Zelizer, a CNN political analyst and a professor and historian at Princeton University and Amy Parnes, a CNN political analyst and a senior political correspondent for "The Hill". All right. Good to see both of you.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
AMY PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you.
WHITFIELD: All right. So Julian -- central to this is not just the alleged affair. But in terms of payments, that's really what makes this so paramount and essential, these payments that came just ahead of the 2016 election. Where did they come from?
[11:04:55] And now to hear that Trump's attorney Michael Cohen not only used his Trump, you know, Org e-mail but that he took out a home equity line of credit for $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. So doesn't this make it that much harder for the President to continue to dismiss this as important or relevant?
ZELIZER: It does. I think at some level the President doesn't care about the focus of the story, meaning the relationship. He's had so many stories at this point. One more doesn't matter.
What does matter is was there a campaign finance violation? And the information we get today or in the last few days leads us closer to that.
And second, I'm sure the President and his advisors are worried about this going to court because if you have the President deposed and if you have statements, we remember what happened to Bill Clinton, it can lead to bigger scandals.
WHITFIELD: Is it almost certain that there will be a deposition of the President?
ZELIZER: No, it's not certain at this point. This can be resolved before this ever reaches court and that's often what happens. So I'm not sure we're going to get there. But those are the two parts of the story that I think are buried within the front page scandal.
WHITFIELD: And so Amy, you know, the plot is thickening here. And now you've got the a.k.a., the alias of the President that is now, you know, of public interest now, this David Dennison, and the attorney putting his own home on the line and that he wouldn't be reimbursed. I mean who believes that?
PARNES: No. And that's the thing. I mean when you talk to people who know about these things, a lawyer wouldn't do that kind of thing for a client. So it's very suspect, I think.
And I think that's why it's raising a lot of eyebrows; the timing, of course. I mean this is one of those circumstances I think where the cover-up is almost worse than the crime. It's not really about the affair anymore. It's more about, you know, what the lead-up it to in the days before the election and that's what's happening right now. And it does -- the plot is thickening every day.
WHITFIELD: Yes. The White House is going to continue to be peppered with these questions, which is exactly what happened on Friday. And this is how Sarah Sanders handled it all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: The President has denied the allegations against him. And again this case has already been won in arbitration. Anything beyond that I would refer you to outside counsel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that there is arbitration, that's already been won, by whom and when?
SANDERS: By the President's personal attorneys and for details on that, I would refer you to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're aware of them. So what more can you share with us?
SANDERS: I can share that arbitration was won in the President's favor and I would refer you to the President's outside counsel on any details beyond that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And Julian, this kind of confusion only worsens things about what kind of, you know, legal road this case is taking the White House.
ZELIZER: Yes. I mean part of this points to the ongoing chaos within the White House and a level of dysfunction which is now the normal for the administration. But you'll hear different things from different members of the administration.
Politically you can survive that. But legally, the question is does that kind of confusion open them up to problems like more information from his attorney?
I would say though he probably is happier talking about this than the tariff controversy or the gun control. And so there is part of me always thinking which of the various controversies would the President rather be centered on?
WHITFIELD: And then Amy, you know, Stormy Daniels' attorney is really trying to put the Trump camp in a corner saying you all can actually get to the bottom of -- the President, the Treasury Secretary can get to the bottom of this money and this transaction of Michael Cohen.
This is, in fact, what the attorney told Anderson Cooper last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AVENATTI: We know that the President and his appointee, the Treasury Secretary, control Finson (ph). They could very easily release this SAR (ph). And, in fact, if Mr. Cohen does not have an objection to it, if he doesn't believe anything was untoward about this, if his story is to be believed, then release the SAR. It's a fairly brief document but it's going to be very illuminating as to the details relating to this transaction.
And if there is nothing to hide, release the SAR and let the American people see what happened here. And if there's nothing there then there's nothing there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Amy, I know a lot of people are saying what in the world is a SAR, you know? This is the Suspicious Activity Report --
WHITFIELD: -- and this is the bank. A financial institution notifying a division within the Treasury Department that there is this money and we don't know what is behind it and perhaps we can look into it.
WHITFIELD: So the attorney is challenging that the President can actually reveal that the Treasury Secretary can find out what this is all about and put it all to rest perhaps --
WHITFIELD: -- or open a new Pandora's Box. Which it is?
PARNES: No. And so they're not going to do that obviously.
WHITFIELD: Not going to do it.
PARNES: Because why would they.
WHITFIELD: Would this be interesting to the Mueller team?
PARNES: I would think so. And you'd have to think that someone over there is looking into this right now because it does sort of break these election laws. And so I think, you know, it's very interesting and I think something has to be brewing over there at the same time. And that has to be scaring White House officials right now.
[11:10:02] They don't want this in the headlines. It derails their message every single day. You know, this week Trump had to sort of get out in front of it and talk about Korea and that sort of pushed it off for a while. But this keeps looming kind of like the Russia story line and that's problematic for the White House.
ZELIZER: It also points to a looseness in the campaign and to how they view the laws and to how they see the rules and regulations. In this case, campaign finance.
But that does lead in to some of the other questions that have emerged in the Russia investigation about the demeanor and the approach of this then-candidate.
WHITFIELD: It's a potential pattern that the Mueller team would find interesting of just this hiding information, hiding transactions, trying to convince the public or, you know, the general consensus that it's something other than something else.
ZELIZER: Exactly. And the problem of compromising information has been something that has surfaced and been part of the investigation as well. And here you seem to have a case where that's tangible.
So these are connected. And I think they can effect how Mueller thinks about his own case.
WHITFIELD: All right. All fascinating and curious.
Thank you so much.
PARNES: Yes, thank you.
WHITFIELD: -- talking to both of you.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We appreciate it -- Julian and Amy.
All right. Stormy Daniels meantime, well, she is staying rather busy. CNN's Nick Valencia talked to her exclusively last night in Florida where she was making an appearance. And Nick is joining us right now from Fort Lauderdale. So what did she say?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka -- this was her first live performance since filing the lawsuit earlier this week in California superior court and Los Angeles superior courtroom over that nondisclosure agreement which she says is null and void because Donald Trump, the President of the United States, the man she's accused of allegedly having an affair with did not sign that agreement.
Now, we were told that we shouldn't expect to get an interview with Stormy Daniels. But all that changed after her performance when her team agreed to an audio interview only so long as we didn't talk about the litigation pending or the President of the United States. She did, however, talk to me about how this whole ordeal has impacted her career.
VALENCIA: So what has this done for your career?
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: It's sort of been a double-edged sword where a lot of people are very interested in booking me for dancing and stuff like that. So I'm getting more dance bookings.
I usually only dance once a month and now I'm dancing three or four times a month. So that's been really great. But because of that, it's sort of overshadowing a lot of the adult films that I'm supposed to be promoting and a lot of the mainstream projects that I was actively working on have been indefinitely put on hold.
VALENCIA: You've gotten a lot of attention, some negative attention. How you are handling everything?
DANIELS: I've been in the adult business for 17 years. So to make it that long in that business, you have to have a really tough skin. And so it's -- most of it rolls off my shoulders because it's an opinion like oh, you think I'm a whore or you think I'm ugly or I'm old or I'm fat or my boobs are too big or too small or whatever.
I've heard -- there is nothing along those lines that someone can say to me that I haven't heard. And so when someone says hey you're a whore -- I'm like that is successful whore to you.
VALENCIA: But this is a little different though. I mean has some of it been hurtful at all? What's your reaction then to it?
DANIELS: The stuff that bothers me is the flat out lies. Like people randomly making up stuff.
VALENCIA: Like what?
DANIELS: Like that I'm broke. I've actually -- I'm actually one of the most successful adult movie directors in the business. I have a contract that's been in place for several years. And actually just renegotiated and got a new contract that was already -- the terms were already set before this stuff happened. And I have a huge -- I got a raise. So I'm doing just fine.
VALENCIA: What do you think about like the circus that is happening? I mean, you know, this was kind of out in 2011. But now it's like a renewed attention on you and, you know, somebody else that we'll not name.
DANIELS: I think it's pretty clear that with the new developments comes new interest.
VALENCIA: Any -- go ahead.
HADAS GOLD, CNN DIGITAL REPORTER: What do you want people to know about you and about what is going on that you feel has been overshadowed?
DANIELS: Like I just said that I'm doing what I've always done. I'm writing, directing, performing, dancing -- like none of that changed. People are under the huge misconception that I just started stripping. And I've actually been doing this for 18 years.
GOLD: Like you take advantage of the situation. DANIELS: Right. And that's not true. I was already booked. Now
yes, I'm more in demand. And like I said in "The Rolling Stone" interview, if somebody came up to you and said hey, you know that job you've been doing forever. How about next week I pay you quadruple. Show me one person who's going to say no.
VALENCIA: So it's helped you?
DANIELS: It helped me in the short and immediate time because obviously more people are coming, the more people in the club, so that's more tips. But I have you know, yet to see how it's going to play out long term.
VALENCIA: When you look back at this stage of your life, this period of your life, what do you think you're going to think about? I mean what you are going to think about what you're going through right now?
DANIELS: Holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I mean is there really anything else to say?
VALENCIA: Anything I haven't asked that you that is important to know? Anything you'd like to talk about while we have the chance?
[11:15:01] GOLD: Any more news this week or are you just going to let --
VALENCIA: Yes, what else should we expect?
DANIELS: I'm not sure what's coming this week, honestly.
DANIELS: I mean you guys work at CNN, you know.
GOLD: We try to know. That's our job.
VALENCIA: Any comments to the President?
VALENCIA: And we should mention the other voice you hear there on that tape is the voice of CNN digital reporter Hadas Gold, who was part of that CNN team. We were here inside last night watching Stormy Daniels perform in front of about 200 people. She has two more performances scheduled later tonight -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Nick Valencia -- thank you so much for that. We'll talk more about it.
All right. Coming up, the White House insists President Trump will meet with Kim Jong-un. But provides little details about where and when that might happen. Given the rocky history between the two leaders, what can we expect from what this historic meeting could unfold?
[11:15:54] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Hello everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York today.
The announcement took the world by surprise -- an agreement for an unprecedented meeting between two power leaders: the President of the United States and the dictator of North Korea.
But now the White House says not so fast, adding the meeting will not happen unless North Korea meets certain conditions including taking steps toward denuclearization.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: We're not going to have this meeting take place until we see concrete actions. We've accepted the invitation to talk based on them following through with concrete actions.
We have to see concrete and verifiable actions take place. The President will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: President Trump is still, however, pushing forward tweeting just moments ago "Chinese President Xi Jinping and I spoke at length about the meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea. President Xi told me he appreciates that the U.S. is working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative. China continues to be helpful."
All right. Joining me now to discuss all of this: CNN's global affairs correspondent Elise Labott and John Park director of the Korea working group at the Harvard Kennedy School. Good to see you both.
All right. Elise -- you first. So how do these concrete actions translate? And how could that potentially impact this meeting
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well I mean look Fred -- it's going to be virtually impossible for North Korea to take, you know, kind of demonstrable and verifiable steps toward dismantling and what they call denuclearization before this summit meeting in May.
I mean what the U.S. has said all along that it's looking for a period of quiet. Kim Jong-un has, apparently from the South Koreans, offered to refrain from nuclear missile testing. I will note that there hasn't been any missile testing since November.
So I think it's just a question of whether there is going to be a period of quiet between now and then. I mean I'd leave it to my esteemed colleague John who knows all about this about the steps that they could take. But I think this is more about creating a kind of atmosphere and a climate for a successful meeting.
And let's be clear. These are not going to be negotiations. This is going to be an initial meeting between two leaders. I think the best that we can hope for is an announcement that the two sides would begin negotiations at some point on a nuclear deal.
WHITFIELD: So John, a lot would customarily go into a meeting like this. But you think that's being really upstaged by the conditions that now seem rather shaky as to whether it will happen at all.
JOHN PARK, KOREA WORKING GROUP, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: We didn't see any indications of preparations. So that's a part where as you hear more from different audiences and friends and allies in particular and they're trying to piece it together, it adds this whole element. What is the game plan?
And so normally you would make these announcements after you develop a game plan. So retroactively there is this attempt to develop this game plan and its best procedure (ph) on that but also to verify this offer from the North Koreans because this didn't come directly from the North Koreans. We have to remember this came via the South Korean delegation.
WHITFIELD: And what do you mean about verifying -- so the South Korean delegation at the White House extending this invitation reportedly to the President and he jumps in and says deal on, meeting on.
But you're saying we haven't heard or no one has heard from North Korea to say in fact that the invitation was extended?
PARK: So first off, diplomacy is very welcomed now compared to what we saw just immediately before this period and the heightening of tensions, a lot of talk of war. This is very welcome to have the diplomatic piece and the overtures here and the offering.
However, in terms of that very offer from the North Korean side, that was verbally communicated by the South Korean national security advisor Ambassador Chung. So this wasn't a written document or anything along those lines.
I think the verification making sure everything is clearly understood is important as well and that also feeds into this idea of developing this kind of game plan before we go into these kind of full on preparations.
WHITFIELD: And so Elise, after all this back and forth name-calling between these two leaders and now there would be this planned meeting. At first it was said maybe May and now we're not hearing anything about whether it could even be in May.
How would this conversation in your view likely unfold? I mean in diplomatic circles, what are people saying in terms of how it would happen? On whose turf? Would these two men be, you know, face-to- face?
LABOTT: Well, I mean that's the idea, right? I mean look, this is not as we were saying, like this is not a formal summit. Whether it's going to be a formal agenda, you know. [11:24:56] There is -- as John said, there's not that much that you can put together between now and May for the kind of traditional summit that we would see between leaders. It would probably have to be on some kind of, you know, maybe neutral turf.
I really don't see President Trump going to Pyongyang and at the same time Kim Jong-un, you know, doesn't leave the country. Could they do it in, you know, Seoul? Could they do it on the, you know, the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea? Could they do it in Beijing?
These are all the kind of things that are being discussed right now. Presumably this was discussed with President Trump and Chinese President Xi.
You know look, this is going to be a photo-op between, you know, two leaders. I think, you know, after all the acrimony you can see that these two leaders have really gotten in each other's head.
It's really not -- for all this time since President Trump took office -- it really hasn't been about the U.S. versus South Korea (SIC). It's been about President Trump versus Kim Jong-un. And so that's why there is so much more kind of spectacle and atmospherics in this meeting.
WHITFIELD: So, John, there would be tremendous gains, right, for North Korea if indeed this face-to-face meeting takes place. It helps legitimatize North Korea, something it's been longing for, for a very long time.
But then flip side to that, what are the gains for Donald Trump? Or are they outweighed by tremendous risks for President Trump?
PARK: It's all about optionality. What are the different options? What are the risks associated with those options and what kind of linkages that this team in the White House will try to pursue.
One of the things that's interesting, June 2008 when the Six Party Talks, a small (INAUDIBLE) to peacefully denuclearize North Korea was going on, there was a demolition of the cooling tower at the North Korean nuclear complex at Yongbyon. It was more symbolic rather than actual in terms of, you know, destroying the North Korean complex altogether. But symbolically very important.
That would be an anniversary. Now granted we're working on May. But if it were somewhere around that time of May or June, it is essentially the tenth anniversary of that symbolic demolition. That I think is a critical element.
WHITFIELD: Ok. And if the goal is to denuclearize or if the goal is to remove all nuclear capabilities altogether, why in the world would North Korea, you know, cave in to that when all this time has been spent to develop capabilities?
It would want something in return. What could it possibly get in return? PARK: Sure. And Elise mentioned it. This is more of a symbolic
meeting. But, you know, certainly the process is going to be long drawn. Denuclearization, if this does in fact become the beginning point, it's a long slog. And so that's a part where we do need to have this talk and a preparation of the game plan.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elise -- final word?
LABOTT: Yes, look, I think that, you know, both leaders want to come out of this claiming something for their people. President Trump, what does he want? Does he want a nuclear deal with North Korea or does he want to be the first leader to meet with a North Korean leader?
I think for President Trump, he wants to do something that is big. Obviously a nuclear deal is going to take a long time. I think in the short term, he really wants this photo-op. He really wants to be that president that has never met with a North Korean leader before.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elise Labott, John Park -- thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
PARK: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, British military troops roaming the streets of one England town in hazmat suits after a former Russian spy is poisoned and left for dead in a park. Why police are now visiting the grave of his deceased relatives to try to piece together what happened.
[11:33:01] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defending his decision to stay out of the Russia investigation when he addressed a question this morning at a Federalist Society event in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Our next question is the following. Do you think it was a mistake to recuse yourself from the Russian investigation?
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not my question.
SESSIONS: You know --
SESSIONS: No. I think that's what I had to do. I did not realize -- I knew you have to deal with those questions. And I told confirmation committee that I would consult with top officials in the department about any recusal issue. But there is a specific regulation that says if you participate in a campaign, it explicitly says that, then you can't investigate the campaign of which you are a part. Pretty reasonable thing. And I was chairman of the National Security Committee on the Trump campaign and participated in it. So I didn't feel like it was -- that is what I was advised by professionals, career people in the department and I felt like I had to recuse myself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Meanwhile, Russia's president is now responding to accusations of his country's meddling in the U.S. election. Vladimir Putin sitting down in an interview with NBC's Megyn Kelly even after the indictments of 13 Russians and three Russian companies. Putin is passing the blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I don't care. I couldn't care less because they don't represent.
MEGYN KELLY, NBC NEWS: You couldn't care less?
PUTIN (through translator): They do not represent the government. I could not care less. They do not represent the interest of the Russian state. Maybe they're not even Russians. Maybe they're Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:35:07] WHITFIELD: There's also worry that President Trump could testify for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Sources tell CNN the president's lawyers are weighing options hoping to use the president's testimony to learn how to close Mueller investigation and how to influence that investigation to wrap up soon.
Britain's Home secretary is calling an emergency meeting today. It's in response to the attempted murder of a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Both were poisoned using a rare nerve gas in a southern England city of Salisbury. Nearly 200 military personnel are in the area responding to concerns over the potential of more widespread contamination and they're also looking at the graves of Skripal's wife and son.
CNN correspondent Phil Black joining me now live from that location.
So, Phil, do investigators have any clear picture of where this nerve gas might have come from?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's really a key question, Fredricka, and it's one that the British government says it is working to answer. It is said that it knows what the nerve agent is. It's identified its form. It says that it is rare. It is not making any more details public at this time. But it is trying to determine its source. And that is obviously a really important issue in determining who was responsible for this.
Here in Britain, there are lots of questions being asked about possible Russian involvement. That is because this case very closely resembles the assassination of another former Russian agent in Central London back in 2006 in that case using a radioactive poison. But the British government says it is not responding to those sorts of questions yet until the investigation has answered all the key questions.
What's being worked on here on the ground in Salisbury is really a forensic examination to try and determine where and how the nerve agent was deployed. Where, Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia, were exposed it to. They fell very seriously ill just in the park behind me on a bench beneath that tent. The police are trying to work backwards from there to determine just where and how they were exposed to this chemical weapon.
Over the last 24 hours, we've seen a lot of police activity at a local cemetery. That's where Sergei Skripal's wife and son are both buried. Both of those gravesites the police have set up tents. They're being seen there in full hazmat safety gear conducting some sort of tests. But they say they are not concerned specifically with the remains. They're not disturbing the graves. They're not exhuming what's there. They are looking specifically at those sites themselves.
A lot of people in this country want answers to this case. And the British government is promising it will respond. We heard from one government minister today promising the full force of British resources once it's determined just who is responsible for this. But at the moment specifically, the British government is not saying openly that a state actor like Russia was involved in this -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And Phil, quickly, just they're are not exhuming the bodies of the wife and the son. But they're investigating that area because it was recently visited by this spy and daughter and they're trying to trace any residue of a nerve agent?
BLACK: Yes. I think we can assume that that's what's going on there. Clearly the use of the safety gear is really quite telling, I think, at those locations. It looks like that they are testing for possible contamination at that site. What they're really trying to work out is the method by which this nerve agent was deployed. It doesn't look like it happened close to here where they actually fell ill.
We're seeing a lot more forensic activity at the house where Sergei Skripal lived and now at the cemetery site itself. But the police are not giving a running commentary. We can only draw those conclusions from the activity that we're seeing on the ground with their own eyes -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Very mysterious. Phil Black, thank you so much. All right. Still so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM but
first, tomorrow night CNN takes an in-depth look at the Kennedys. America's most famous family which has also seen its share of controversies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know their name. You don't know their whole story. Ambition.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was the bear of Wall Street.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're never running against one Kennedy. It's a full family affair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wealth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Kennedys always find a way to make their dreams come true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This compound is the center of the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were only the beginning --
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let us not forget they were not angels.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: They've had more than their share of scandals. But then there are these moments of greatness.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We choose to go to the moon and do the other thing, not because they're easy but because they are hard.
[11:40:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A rare and intimate reveal of America's most famous family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people enjoy a life that's normal and mediocre. Other people respond to challenges. That's who we are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "AMERICAN DYNASTIES: THE KENNEDYS" premiers tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:45:03] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. The nation's largest military veterans' home is reeling from a tragic shooting. Three women who worked at the Pathway Home Program in Yountville, California, were found dead after a daylong hostage standoff.
Police say the gunman who was also found dead had been a member of that program that helps veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He left the program just two weeks ago. It is unclear if the gunman chose victims at random. They are identified as Christine Loeber, executive director of the Pathway Home, therapist Jennifer Golick, and psychologist Jennifer Gonzales.
President Trump this morning, tweeting, "We're deeply saddened by the tragic situation in Yountville and mourn the loss of three incredible women who cared for our veterans."
The National Rifle Association is suing Florida over its new gun control law. It was signed yesterday by Governor Rick Scott and in the wake of the school shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida. The NRA claims the bill punishes law-abiding gun owners raising the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21. The new law also bans bump stocks, gives police more power to seize weapons, and provides more money for arming school staff.
Meantime, the Broward County Sheriff's Office has released a new timeline and dispatched audio revealing the chaos as students were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
CNN's Rosa Flores has that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you. I love you. Can you hide somewhere? Can you play dead?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As students and parents frantically called 911 for help during the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, I can't hear you. What's happening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone is shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
FLORES: The only armed deputy on campus doesn't go in to stop the shooter.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: Devastated. Sick to my stomach. There are no words. And these families lost their children. We lost coaches.
FLORES: Disgraced Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson defends himself in a statement saying he believed the shots were being fired from outside, but a newly released timeline and dispatch record shows he radios in otherwise.
SCOT PETERSON, BROWARD COUNTY DEPUTY: We also heard it's over by inside the 1200 Building.
FLORES: The union president says the dispatch audio contradicts Peterson's story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His own radio transmission confirmed that he identified the 1200 Building and then further after that advised other units to stay back 500 feet. FLORES (on camera): During the shooting, Peterson says that he takes
a tactical position behind this building. He radios in saying that he needs the intersection blocked off. The two responding deputies appeared to comply. They stop at about the football field. And they blocked the east and west bound lanes of traffic rather than going into the building to eliminate the threat.
(Voice-over): The shooter fires his weapon for more than six minutes. Stopping about the time Peterson says this.
PETERSON: Broward, do not approach the 1200 or 1300 Building. Stay at least 500 feet away at this point.
FLORES: At that point the shooter blends in with other students and leaves the scene. At no point do the various responding agencies share a single line of communication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired by the football field, shots fired by the football field.
FLORES: And the radio traffic reflects the resulting chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need more details on 97 that is south side of the school.
PETERSON: Make sure I have a unit over in the front of school. Make sure nobody comes inside the school.
FLORES: Chaos that must have seemed endless for those calling for help inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just a lot of confusion right now.
FLORES: The new timeline reveals it takes law enforcement officers more than 11 minutes to enter and render aid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for all your help. I hope this turns out to be not as bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I hope so, too. Thank you so much again, OK.
FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, Parkland, Florida.
WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, Oprah talks to CNN about the last time she spoke with President Trump and what she would say to him now that he is in the White House.
[11:53:46] WHITFIELD: Tomorrow night, Oprah Winfrey makes a special appearance on the "Van Jones Show" right here on CNN. And she gets political. In addition to addressing rumors of her own White House possible run, she weighs in on the current commander-in-chief. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: Would you want to maybe teach that to President Trump? In other words, you guys know each other. If -- listen, seriously. Hold up. You're laughing. Hold on.
OPRAH WINFREY, GLOBAL MEDIA MOGUL: What is he talking about?
JONES: I've seen pictures. I've seen pictures.
WINFREY: I have not spoken to President Trump since he became President Trump. The last time I saw him was, we were in a restaurant, I think 2016 and, you know, that (INAUDIBLE) restaurant and there were a whole bunch of people in the restaurant and I was -- he was at a table and I was at a table so when you say know each other --
WINFREY: Yes, OK.
JONES: This is a serious question. I think about this because of this whole idea of, like, if you had 10 minutes with him, I mean, you're one of the few people -- listen, billionaire to billionaire, mega star to mega star, and also a human being to human being, what would you say? No cameras, no lights. Just you guys.
WINFREY: I would only speak where I feel that I can be heard so I would only speak if I felt that I could be heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:55:03] WHITFIELD: All right, you can watch that interview with Oprah on the "Van Jones Show" tomorrow night, 8:00 p.m., right here on CNN.
We've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM right after this.
WHITFIELD: All right, hello again, everyone. And thanks so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York today.
We begin with new developments in the Stormy Daniels saga. President Trump's lawyer now facing questions after taking out a home equity loan to help keep the adult film star quiet about an alleged affair.
CNN has also learned that Michael Cohen used his official Trump Organization e-mail address and signature to handle the matter. The adult film star tells CNN exclusively that the controversy is actually helping her career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: I think it's pretty clear that with the new developments comes new interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This all comes as President Trump prepares to hit the campaign trail today.