Return to Transcripts main page

WOLF

Another Trump Attorney Involved in Stormy Daniels Case; New Video Details Officers' Initial Response to Parkland School Shooting; Jeff Sessions Could Fire Andrew McCabe Days Before Retirement; U.S. Nuclear-Powered Submarine Challenging Russia in Arctic. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 15, 2018 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:33:19] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: New documents obtained exclusively by CNN suggest there's a deeper link between the Trump Organization and efforts to pay off Stormy Daniels in exchange for silence about an alleged affair with Donald Trump. Those same documents also provide the first evidence that another one of Donald Trump's attorneys, besides his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, is involved in the ongoing legal battle.

Look at this. A demand for arbitration named Jill Martin, a top lawyer at the Trump administration, as the attorney representing the company Cohen set up to funnel the $130,000 payment to Daniels. The address that Martin lists in the documents is the same address as the Trump National Golf Club near Los Angeles.

When CNN reached out to Jill Martin, she claimed she was working in a private capacity, saying -- and I'm quoting her now -- "The Trump Organization is not representing anyone and, with the exception of one of its California-based attorneys, in her individual capacity facilitating the initial filing, the company has had no involvement in the matter," closed quote.

Let's talk a little bit more about this with CNN legal analyst, Carrie Cordero.

What do you think? Is that an excellent or not such an excellent explanation?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's an explanation, Wolf, and whether or not people, when they take that document at its face, believe it is another matter. The actually document Jill Martin filed does not say the Trump Organization anywhere on it. It has her name and lists attorney. And the address it uses is a Trump property. So if she says that she was not acting in the capacity of the Trump Organization, then I think the next question that we might want an answer to is, who, then, is paying for her services in doing this agreement in working as a lawyer?

Whether or not she's allowed to work in a personal capacity depends on whether her employer, the Trump Organization, allows her to do so. Some state bars would allow that circumstance. So if she's in the California bar, it would be a matter for the state bar whether or not she's allowed to do that under the bar rules. But if her employer, the Trump Organization allows it, there's not necessary something wrong on it, although it doesn't look necessarily right.

[13:35:38] BLITZER: The appearance is awkward, at a minimum.

Let's talk about another sensitive issue. You used to work at the Justice Department. Andrew McCabe, he was the deputy director of the FBI. He worked at the FBI for 22 years. He announced his retirement, supposed to take effect within the next few days. But now there's some suggestion that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions might fire him before his retirement because of misstatements he was making, supposedly, while he was serving at the FBI during the Hillary Clinton investigation. And there's a debate whether he should be fired or allowed to retire. If he's fired, he doesn't collect his pension.

CORDERO: That's right. There's a few things that raise questions about this particular angle. For a law enforcement officer, really, for any career federal government employee, who is not a political appointee, which is what Andy McCabe is, getting your pension is a big deal. That's a life-long factor in one's being able to know you'll get your pension when you retire after 20-some years of service. So it's a really big deal if the Department of Justice decides to not allow him to get his pension a couple days before he is eligible to do so.

The question is, is whether the internal Justice Department report, the office of inspector general's investigation, actually reveals that he did something that is a firing offense. And that report hasn't been made public so, as an outsider, we don't have the basis to judge that. I wonder, based on the current reporting, why this is a decision for the attorney general. This could be a decision -- I want to know what FBI Director Wray considers with respect to this matter, considering it's an FBI employee.

Normally, management issues in the Department of Justice would be handled, if not by the FBI, director for the FBI institutionally, by the deputy attorney general, so it's curious. And it has more of a political angle to it when the decision appears to be coming up to the attorney general, if that is what is happening in the Justice Department.

BLITZER: And it comes following the fact that he was under fire for so long by the president and other supporters of the president for what he did during the Hillary Clinton investigation. So that is hovering over all of this as well.

Carrie, thanks very much for joining us.

CORDERO: Thank you.

BLITZER: Up next, fresh surveillance video reveals the initial response to the Parkland, Florida, high school massacre, detailing the officer on the scene's actions while 17 students and faculty were fatally shot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:42:27] BLITZER: This just in. Moments ago, authorities released new surveillance video from last month's deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, that shows Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson, who was assigned to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, during the initial moments of the shooting.

Joining us now, CNN correspondent, Rosa Flores, in Parkland, and our law enforcement analyst, Art Broderick, a former assistant director of the U.S. Marshall's Office.

Rosa, first, explain why the video was released.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN and other media organizations came together and sued for the release of the video and a judge ordered its release.

Here's what we asked for, Wolf. We asked for the video showing what the armed deputy did in the moments when he learned about the shooting and what he did after that throughout this event.

Let's look at this video together. According to Scot Peterson, he was in the 100 building when the shots were first fired. He moves then to what he called a tactical position between the 700 and 800 building, which is right in front of the building where this shooting happened. Now we have a spot shot of Peterson there to make it easy for you to look at where he was, where his position was.

Here's what the Broward County Sheriff's Office released with this video saying, in part, "The video speaks for itself. His actions were enough to warrant an internal affairs investigation, as requested by Sheriff Scott Israel on February 21. After being suspended without pay, Peterson chose to resign, and immediately retired rather than face possible termination."

Wolf, we're looking at this together. It's difficult to see where Peterson was exactly. So I'm following up with the Broward County Sheriff's Office to make sure that this is the video in its entirety -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Rosa, stand by.

Art, I want to show the video again. I want your analysis of what we're seeing. Was he acting appropriately based on this video or inappropriately? Go ahead.

ART BRODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think when you look at this video, it's difficult to see. It's taken from quite a distance away. But I've gone back and looked at all the active-shooter training protocols. In fact, there was a meeting a few years ago between DOJ and DHS to make sure the active shooter training lined up, and it did. The first thing you have to do is respond inside the building. And we know from his radio transmissions, which we heard a couple weeks ago, that he knew the shooting was coming from building 1200 so -- and he did not respond inside. And that flies in the face of every active-shooter training that I've seen. [13:45:12] BLITZER: So in other words, if you're a cop on the scene,

at the high school, and you know there's shooting on the inside, you immediately have to run inside?

BRODERICK: I can quote you directly from the training. "Direct intervention by the on-scene law enforcement officers has reduced injuries and saved lives. Without proper intervention on the scene, armed suspects can continue to cause serious bodily injury or death. First responders must understand and accept the role of protector and be prepared to meet violence with controlled aggression."

BLITZER: Since he didn't go inside, that's why he was suspended?

BRODERICK: Exactly. Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: We're going to continue to look at this. What a terrible, terrible story.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: It's a heartbreaking story, indeed.

Thanks very much.

Up next, submarine wars. Is the next flash point between Russia and the U.S. in the Arctic Circle? Our exclusive report from the North Pole. That's coming up.

And as uncertainty hangs over the West Wing, the White House will hold a press briefing today, scheduled for right at the top of the hour. We'll see what time it actually starts. Sarah Sanders will brief reporters. We'll have live coverage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:50:49] BLITZER: Now to a CNN exclusive. A look inside the "USS Hartford," a nuclear-powered submarine challenging Russia in the Arctic.

CNN's Jim Sciutto got extraordinary access with the U.S. Navy to see how they deal with potential threats under the ice.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than 100 miles north of the northern-most tip of Alaska, we set down on a runway carved into the Arctic ice. Our objective? U.S. Navy submarine exercises called Ice-X. CNN was granted exclusive access.

(on camera): Right there, about three feet thick. It may not look like it, but it's moving all the time. This is the giant kaleidoscope of giant pieces of ice. (voice-over): This is the harshest sea environment in the world, and

a new front in the expanding global competition between the U.S. and Russia. These 5.5 million square miles are under an intense battle for dominance as the ice shrinks and opens new oil exploration, new shipping lanes, and crucially new paths to wage war.

(on camera): Do you have a sense of greater competition up here for capability in this space?

REAR ADM. JAMES PITTS, COMMANDER, UNDERSEA WARFIGHTING DEVELOPMENT CENTER: We are well aware that we are in a great power competition environment and the Arctic is one piece of that.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): We went under the ice on the "USS Hartford," one of many U.S. submarines taking part in a competition raging, sometimes miles, below the surface.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Weapons three, two, one.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Weapons three, two, one. Aye, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Next, two-one.

SCIUTTO: The "Hartford," a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine readies to fire.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Two-one primary. No backup. Aye.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Shoot.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Two-one.

SCIUTTO: In an instant, a two-ton, 20-foot long torpedo speeds towards an enemy submarine.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Get to the target.

SCIUTTO: Target acquired and destroyed.

(SIREN)

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Stationary dive. Stationary dive.

SCIUTTO: These are just exercises. The "Hartford" training for its primary mission, hunting and destroying enemy ships and submarines.

(on camera): Why is it more important now to demonstrate that capability?

CMDR. MATTHEW FANNING, "USS HARTFORD" COMMANDING OFFICER: This is our exclusive economic zone that our submarine force is capable of operating here as we operate along our east coast and throughout the world. It shows that we are capable of doing it and willing to come up here.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Upward change zero, upward stop, upward stop satisfactory.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Operating under the Arctic presents unique challenges, with no access to GPS navigation, limited communications, and dangers from below and above.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Def Con 07, 55 feet.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Aye.

SCIUTTO: Ice keels as long as 150 feet extend down from the ice sheet.

America's biggest challenge, however, comes from Russia. The Russian military has assembled an arc of steel along its Arctic coast, comprising dozens of military bases, ports and air fields. And it is building and deploying faster, quieter, and more capable subs of its own.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Pick it up, 180 feet.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Have you had specific encounters, if not in the Arctic, then elsewhere with Russian submarines or Chinese?

OLLIE LEWIS, COMMODORE, SUBMARINE SQUADRON 12: Again, we never try and speak to those specific operations for clear intelligence value that that would be to the adversary.

Fundamentally, we are watching, and we are engaged. And I think our adversaries recognize that.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): This year, these exercises are taking on new urgency. A British submarine joined for the first time in a decade. And U.S. submarine forces are refocusing on a mission dating back to the Cold War, deploying and demonstrating deadly fire power on the top of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: (INAUDIBLE). Stand fast.

SCIUTTO: But everything is harder here.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Five-degree-up angle, .23 upper velocity and increasing.

[13:55:00] SCIUTTO: Surfacing through the ice requires enormous power and skill.

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: Impact!

UNIDENTIFIED NAVY SERVICEMEMBER: One, 1,000, two, 1,000, three, 1,000.

SCIUTTO: We were onboard as the submarine ascended with the full force of its 6000 tons.

(on camera): We've just broken through two feet of Arctic ice. The North Pole is this way, Russia is this way and Alaska this way. And a mission like this is all about sending a message: The U.S. Navy can operate or wage war, if necessary, in the harshest environment in the world.

(voice-over): A harrowing message these nuclear submarines are sending to Moscow and the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: That was Jim Sciutto's excellent reporting.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: All right. There's more breaking news. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has now subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia. This, reported moments ago by "The New York Times." This marks, we're told, the first known time that Robert Mueller and his team have requested documents directly related to the president's businesses.

We'll have a lot more on this breaking news right after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)