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President Trump Today Cautioned by Democrats And Republicans to Layoff Robert Mueller; President Trump Expressed His Frustration Via Tweet; Search for a 16-Year-Old Girl Missing Who Apparently Vanished With a 45-Year-Old Man Is Finally Over; New Episode of CNN's American Dynasty, "The Kennedys" Airs Tonight; Firefighter Who Evacuated Hundreds of People and Delivering Much-Needed Supplies and Rescue Workers in the Lower Manhattan Had Died; Facebook is Suspending Cambridge Analytica with Ties to the Trump Campaign; Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 18, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: President Trump today cautioned by Democrats and Republicans to layoff Robert Mueller. That's after the second straight day of the President mentioning the special counsel's name during a defensive and accusation-filled weekend of tweets from the White House.

These are the messages just today from the President denying collusion with Russians, attacking former FBI officials James Comey and Andrew McCabe calling them names, calling them liars. Saying the Mueller team has zero Republicans. Even though Robert Mueller himself is a Republican.

Now the weekend tweet storm had very rare mention of Robert Mueller by name has some analysts deucing that the President is ready to shut Mueller down. At least two Republicans in the Senate say that would be a disaster.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, as I said before, if he tried to do that, that would be the beginning and end of his presidency because we are a rule of law nation.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: In talking to colleagues all along within once he goes after Mueller, then we will take action. I think that people see that as a massive red line that can't be crossed. So I hope that that's the case. And I would just hope that enough people would prevail on the President now. Don't go there. Don't go there. We have confidence in Mueller. I certainly do. And then I think my colleagues do as well. So I hope that the push back is now to keep the President from going there.


CABRERA: And this just a few minutes ago from Arizona's Republican Senator John McCain.

He tweets, special counsel Mueller has served our country with honesty and integrity. It is critical he be allowed to complete a thorough investigation into Russia's interference in 2016 election unimpeded.

Let's go now to our White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.

Boris, the President had no public events this weekend. He just return together White House after playing golf today. What are White House officials saying now about the President's evident frustration today?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. Least one White House official, the director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, was in a Sunday morning talk shows defending the President saying that the Russian investigation has gone on for more than a year. That it cost a lot of money that so far in his eyes it's produced not a whole lot.

Ultimately, the President's frustrations boiling over on twitter as you noted, not only directed at special counsel but also at FBI, at the entire department of justice, at the state department. The President continuing to push this idea that there's a deep state out there that is trying to derail his presidency to delegitimize his presidency. And for the first time, really, we are seeing President Trump attempting to draw into question the legitimacy of the special counsel and whether or not it has a bias against him. I do want you to listen to one specific portion of what Marc Short said though. Watch this.


MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: Everyone in the White House has cooperated on this. And what I said is that we have cooperated in every single way, every single paper they asked for, every single interview. And I think the reality, Margaret, is that yes, there is a growing frustration that after more than a year and millions and millions of dollars spent on this there is no evidence of collusion with Russia. I think the President is expressing his frustration which I think is well warranted and merited.


SANCHEZ: And the note-worthy part of that is the sentiment the White House produced every document and every interview that Robert Mueller has requested so far. Even though from what we understand there is still ongoing negotiations between Robert Mueller and President's legal team about an interview between President Trump and the special counsel and the grounds for what questions may ultimately be asked.

The other thing that we obviously have to point out is that Russia investigation has yielded results. The indictments of some 13 Russian nationals for election meddling plus four Trump campaign officials that have also been indicted. Two of which have admitted lying to the FBI.

The question now becomes whether the White House will continue to comply and whether this shift will last this move from President Trump to being let's say more aggressive against this special counsel - Ana.

CABRERA: Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thanks. Before I bring in the panel, I want to go back to one of the tweets

the President fired off today attacking the Mueller investigation. And we want to do a quick fact checks because facts matter. Let's start with the first line.

Mueller probe should have never been started. Now the Mueller was started because President Trump fired former FBI director James Comey and then said in a now infamous interview with Lester Holt that he did so because of the Russia investigation.

The next line there was no collusion and there was no crime. Well, this isn't accurate. So far three former Trump associates have pled guilty to various charges and are cooperating with Mueller. On top of that 13 Russians have been indicted for interfering in the 2016 election in an effort to help Trump win. Now Trump's former campaign manager has also been indicted.

We also don't know though whether there was actual collusion with Russia Republicans in the House Intel committee did announce last week that they found none. But then one of its members admitted this this morning.


[19:05:04] REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R), MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Our committee then was not charge from (INAUDIBLE) the collusion idea. So we really weren't focused on that direction.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS DAILY: You just said your job wasn't to figure out if there was collusion in the committee.

CONAWAY: That's right.


CABRERA: Moving on to the next line. The President says the probe was based on fraudulent activities and fake dossier. Well, that's not true. The "New York Times" reported and Republicans on the House intelligence committee confirmed in their memo that investigation into the Trump campaign was sparked by Trump adviser George Papadopoulos bragging that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Also the dossier hasn't been proven to be fake. While some of the most salacious details had not been confirmed, other parts have proven to be accurate.

Another line the President claims the dossier wasn't properly used in FISA court to surveil his campaign while reminder the FISA warrant against Carter Page was obtained in October of 2016. Almost one full month after he left the Trump campaign.

So now that have you the facts, I want to bring in our next guest to weigh in on all of this. Joining us now, David Kris, he is one of the world's foremost experts on FISA. He is also a former assistant attorney general for national security at the department of justice and also with us CNN senior political analyst David Gergen who has served as an advisor to four U.S. Presidents, both Republican and Democrat.

So David Kris, I want to start with you. And welcome both of you for joining us. Thank you for spending part of your weekend with us.

This is not the first time Donald Trump has attacked Robert Mueller on this investigation. But on the heels of McCabe's firing, David Kris, does this feel different?

DAVID KRIS, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: Yes. It's not that unusual, I think, that President Trump has criticized special counsel Mueller.

What is sort of unusual is that he has waited this long to do it and how they held him in check I don't really know. I'm sure it's very stressful for him to be under investigation. But the fact is Mueller's investigation has been going incredibly quickly and has been incredibly productive so far both in terms of number of people charged, number of offenses charged and number of people who plead guilty.

So this is going to be a continued source of stress and frustration for the President I'm sure. And I'm not surprised to hear him talk about it. I expect we will hear more. But Bob Mueller is not the kind of guy to leave stones unturned or go away quietly. So we are going to see a lot more of this activity going forward.

CABRERA: Just a quick follow-up on something you said because a lot of people have said this investigation is going slowly. You said it is going quickly. What makes you think that?

KRIS: Well, just as compared to the history of special counsel or independent counsel investigations which is pretty well documented. Mueller has been going at breakneck speed and he has produced as you said earlier a number of charges and indictments and a number of guilty pleas including from the President's national security advisor.

This is a remarkable record of prosecutorial achievement in a relatively short period of time. Certainly as compared to any prior President that people can bring forward.

CABRERA: David Gergen, the President is clearly rattled by this investigation. He won't stop tweeting even if it could hurt him. You worked in the Nixon White House. How would you advise Trump right now?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Calm down and just be silent. His lawyers have been urging him not to go after Robert Mueller personally. He has gone after the investigation in his tweets but he hasn't gone after Mueller personally. And when you go a mano- a-mano with the special prosecutor, you are the President and you go it personal - make it very personal, you can expect that you are going to be judged with a certain severity that he may not like.

Now what we don't know and what is going on. What has fueled this? And there are two things going on. I think it is pretty obvious. One is, in recent days, he has been feeling his oats as President. He has been swinging out and lashing out, you know, get firing Tillerson, getting McCabe fired and everything else, you know. He is clearly seeing himself in the place where he want to be the man in-charge and he is getting rid of people who might challenge him.

But the second thing is, as you reported, they have now received questions from Mueller. There are sample questions about the directions he wants to go in the investigation. And that may well prompt the White House to say, this is getting too close, too near, let's put all our forces in, try to shut this thing down.

CABRERA: Now after Andrew McCabe's firing on Friday night, President Obama's CIA director John Brennan tweeted this.

When the full extent of your (INAUDIBLE), moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe but you will not destroy America. America will triumph over you. That directed directly at the President.

David Kris, you worked with John Brennan. You talked to John Brennan. Is he the type of person that would tweet something like this if he doesn't know something that perhaps the public doesn't know about President Trump regarding McCabe's firing?

[19:10:08] KRIS: I'm sure that John's tweet are based on any inside information. I mean, I think the President provokes very strong sentiments in people. And it is more than just, you know, policy disagreements. There is a sense that he is attacking and corroding the foundations of our democracy and some very core governmental institutions. So it is not surprising to me that strong statements are being made here.

You know, with respect to the McCabe issue itself in isolation, the most important thing to remember is we don't yet know the facts. And we won't know them until the inspector general's report comes out. But what we do know about the process and the context for the decision I think includes some elements that give confidence in the outcome and that's particularly the involvement of some credible and career people who apparently supported the AG's decision.

But there are a number of factors that cast pretty grave doubt on the process. Chief among them, the President's extensive remarks criticizing McCabe, effectively calling for his firing and then celebrating after the fact.

That is not the normal way that things go. And in any other Presidential administration in my lifetime, I think, that activity would have been major issue and occupied all of the time and oxygen inside the beltway. And here, it is almost business as usual. And so, I think that's part of what accounts for people feeling very troubled and making quite strong statements about this President.

CABRERA: There is hardly anything normal about the way the President operates as we have seen now a year into the presidency, David Gergen. But "the Washington Post" is reporting now that President Trump has had senior staff sign those nondisclosure agreements that will last even beyond his presidency.

So David Gergen, you worked in four White Houses. Did you ever have to do this? Have you ever heard of this before?

GERGEN: I have never heard of nondisclosure agreements for I must have done so massively. I heard of occasional ones. And you know, the truth is that there used to be sort of what we call gentleman's agreements. And if you left the White House, you wait a quote "decent interval" before writing a kiss and tell book. And all of that, you know, started collapsing some years ago even well before Donald Trump came to office.

I do think that these -- the Trump people are more, may I say paranoid, about relations with the press than almost anybody I have ever seen. And to think about Andrew McCabe, you know, his offense wasn't as essentially working with his public relations persons, communications persons to talk to the press and try to set record straight.

If you fire everyone in government who had ever done such a thing, there would be almost nobody left. And there is, of course, not many people in this government anyway. So - and in particular, I think what is, you know, what sets people off like John Brennan is they have a sense of honor about how things are done. And to cut off McCabe's pension, you know, just hours before ti was going to vest and he would be eligible for it, not only may mean he has to work seven or ten years more to have it kick back in, but he is going to lose the hospital insurance he had, the health insurance he had for himself and his family. He is going to lose, you know, he may lose Social Security benefits.

It seems so cruel and unnecessarily cruel that it speaks to the character of the people who are doing it to him.

CABRERA: But some might argue, and I'll let you respond, that just because the timing was bad, if he truly did wrong and did something that was a fireable offense, should he not be punished for that just because he was close to retirement?

GERGEN: Well, that depend. There are reports that the justice department accelerated the process. And didn't give him much chance to respond so they could get it within the timeframe and rob him off his pension in effect. So it was intended -- let's be very clear. There may have been some wrongdoing. But they intentionally tried to cut this guy's - you know, to cut his head off. They potentially went after him in a way, the same way they went after Tillerson, who is their own man for goodness sakes. And treated him and my judgment from this normal standards of Presidential operations to treat secretary of state as shabbily as they did is just unheard of.

CABRERA: David Gergen and David Kris, thank you both. Wish I had more time because you are both welcome knowledge and experience. I always appreciate it.

GERGEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: We will be back in just a moment.

And coming up, a woman who has taken to the White House by storm. And Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, is far from the first woman to be in the middle of a political sex scandal. A look back at some affairs to remember next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:19:07] CABRERA: Long before the name Stormy Daniels dominated the headlines, there was Monica Lewinski, Real Hunter and Donna Rice.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look back at extra marital affairs that damaged and in some cases derailed the careers of the presidents and political candidates.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You like me? I think so. I like you too.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Donald Trump supporters could they surely would drown out the talk and tear up pictures of him and Stormy Daniels. Mindful that for any politician let alone one with a low approval rating the stakes of scandal are high.

In 1987 for example, Colorado senator Gary Hart was steaming toward the Democratic Presidential nomination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, very much.

FOREMAN: Until news of suspected marital infidelities linked him to a woman named Donna Rice. He denied in the affairs, so did she, but his poll numbers plummeted and he quickly suspended his campaign.

[19:20:04] GARY HART, FORMER COLORADO SENATOR: I refuse to submit my family and friends and innocent people and myself to further rumors and gossip. It is simply an intolerable situation.

FOREMAN: Any hopes of jumping back in were crashed when a photo of him and Rice appeared on a boat in Miami called Monkey Business.

Ten years later the party was staggered again when stories emerged that White House intern Monica Lewinski had been involved with President Bill Clinton. He swatted them down.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

FOREMAN: But after being questioned under oath he said --

CLINTON: Indeed I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinski that was not appropriate. In fact it was wrong. FOREMAN: While impeach for perjury and obstruction of justice, he was

not convicted and stayed in office. However, his party lost the White House for two terms after he left. And when Democratic senator John Edwards tried to reclaim it in the 2008 race, once again sexual scandal came calling. The "National Enquirer" accused the married candidate of having an affair and child with campaign filmmaker Real Hunter, both denied this. Then he told ABC News Night Line, yes, it happened.

JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER SENATOR: I made a very, serious mistake.

FOREMAN: His political career never recovered. Barack Obama became the party's nominee and President.

What does all of this mean to Donald Trump? So far nothing. He has successfully batted down, denied or ignored all of the swirling claims of sexual impropriety or misconduct and his base of voters has stood by him so far.


CABRERA: Tom Foreman, thank you.

CNN senior political analyst and former advisor to four presidents David Gergen is back with me now.

David, that was quite the trip down memory lane. All those old clips of Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Gary Hart. Good or bad, is there anything President Trump can learn from those stories?

GERGEN: Well I think it's helpful to be more transparent. It is helpful to obviously to have a less actual active life. I think that Donald Trump has so far got through this without a battering from his own base, you know, keeping his own base even evangelicals stood by him. I think because they sort of knew what they were getting when they elected him. We had to tape out there. People add chance to judge. And their hostility or resentments of and their grievances were so powerful about the way they were living and people were willing to accept Trump for who he is.

I do think Stormy Daniels may begin to pose more of a problem for him, you know, if in fact she has been getting money since he has been elected. If there is any truth to whether he has had a continuing relationship since he has been elected, you know. If his wife, you know, there are lots and lots of rumors about his wife whether she has had enough and walks away or anything like that. I don't think he is vulnerable. But I do think that, the fact people knew so much about him beforehand and voted for him anyway, has given him a lot of Teflon.

CABRERA: David Gergen, thank you, sir.

Coming up, Facebook in some hot water after news one of its current employers has ties to a controversial data firm that worked for the Trump campaign. Up next, what this means for the social media giants and the millions of people who used it. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:28:01] CABRERA: Facebook is now under serious scrutiny amid a data harvesting scandal involving a firm hired by the 2016 Trump campaign. Now the "New York Times" reports the firm Cambridge Analytica used personal data from 50 million Facebook users without approval.

Massachusetts attorney general is now opening an investigation into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica about this. Facebook suspended the company Friday saying it violated its policies. And now the social network is launching an internal investigation.

Cambridge Analytica denies any wrong doing. It was hires as part of the Trump campaign's data operations in 2016.

So let's talk it over with CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

Brian, help us understand what type of private information Cambridge Analytica eventually pulled way.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: All of the data that you share with friends on Facebook. So if you are one of the 50 million people that was involved in this particular situation. All the data you shared with your own friends, meaning your location, your pictures, your interest, the pages you like, it is actually a good opportunity to go on, Go to the right corner of the screen. Go to the privacy check out page. You can actually see what you are sharing with your friends, their family, with strangers.

I was actually surprised by how much I am sharing. It is worth doing that check out from time to time especially when these came out like this in the news.

But in this case, you know, it was 270,000 Facebook users that signed up, they consented to be part of this professors' study, this research project. From there he was able to get to 50 million people by reaching out to their friends. And that is the data tuff. They was apparently transferred over to Cambridge Analytica and may be used in the Trump campaign.

Now Cambridge Analytica has denied that the data stuff was used. But a whistleblower has come forward, Christopher Wylie, speaking to the "New York Times" and the "Observer" in the UK and says obviously, this data set was included.

CABRERA: What more are we learning from this whistleblower?

STELTER: Well, he shared in the television interview that is a really remarkable. Here is a part of what he said about the bigger picture here involving the Trump campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, WHISTLEBLOWER: (INAUDIBLE). That's what he wanted. We offered him a way to accomplish what he wanted to do which was change the culture of America.


[19:30:17] STELTER: You know, talking about Steve Bannon there who worked with Cambridge Analytica who was on the board before joining the Trump campaign. That's one of the connections here between the data mining firm that tries to profile voters and then over to the Trump campaign.

But the reality is, Ana, every political campaign tries to engage in these sort of practices. They want to know as much about voters as they can. The issue in this case is that Facebook says Cambridge Analytica had properly collected and obtained the data, that's why it says it is punishing Cambridge now.

You know, you have to wonder if the fact this is becoming public is partly the cause Facebook to take action. You know, it wasn't until the "New York Times" came calling the company, suspended Cambridge Analytica over the weekend.

And now, in a new statement today, Facebook says it is doing an internal and an external review to figure out exactly what happened here. What went wrong here. As always, you know, we see these giant tech companies trying to do clean-up after seeing mess made --.

CABRERA: It is reactive versus proactive.


CABRERA: Which is the issue. Doesn't seem like this is the end of the story just yet.

Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

CABRERA: As always, Brian's show, "RELIABLE SOURCES," every Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

STELTER: Thanks for the plug.

CABRERA: Coming up, (INAUDIBLE) election. That was long and spectacle. Short on suspense. Vladimir Putin cruises to victory in Russia's election. How his power surge could affect relations with the U.S.


[19:35:53] CABRERA: We have breaking news. Sources tell CNN that outgoing secretary of state Rex Tillerson will meet tomorrow with the man nominated to replace him, current CIA director Mike Pompeo. Now the two are slated to have a two-hour meeting at the state department on Monday. Tillerson was fired last week, of course, after months of tension with President Trump.

Are Moscow's hackers on the verge of hitting the off switch on America? The Trump administration is now accusing Russia of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted the U.S. power grid and nuclear plants.

Think about that. They could have sabotaged or even shut down our critical systems at will. This is a terrifying idea. And that brings us to your weekend Presidential brief. A segment we will bring to you every Sunday night with some of the key national security information the President will need when he wakes up Monday morning.

And here to bring it to you, CNN national security analyst and former national security council adviser, Sam Vinograd. She spent two years helping prep for the President's daily brief in the Obama administration.

So Sam, we don't know if President Trump is watching. We hope he is. Kick us off.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Sure. Ana, let's start with our article on Russia. I think we are entering a period of Putin unplugged. He just won another six-year term in a sham of an election. This was rigged from the start. And his behavior before was incredibly aggressive. And now he is to your domestic constraint.

So as you mentioned, we learned last week that he has a pension for penetrating critical infrastructure. He went into our water and power grids and he lurked around. And I think he wanted to send a message that he can go in. His finger is on the switch and he can flip it at any time. That is a pretty scary scenario. And that is on top of the fact that several countries including the United States said it is highly likely that Russia was behind the chemical weapons attack in the United Kingdom. So we will probably see the UK and Russia engage in more of this tit for tat over this chemical weapons attack while knowing that Putin doesn't consider chemical weapons off limits.

CABRERA: Speaking of chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, I'm curious if Putin's new leap on life, for a lack of a better term, will impact what is happening now with North Korea?

VINOGRAD: That's a great question. And I think it could because Russia has been a patron of North Korea for a long time. And I think that Kim may view of Vladimir Putin as more powerful now that he is looking out at another six-year term. And the truth is we may need Putin's help getting this Trump-Kim meeting off the ground.

It is really strange. The North Koreans haven't confirmed that they actually still want it meet President Trump. It is entirely possible that there are classified discussions going on and that intelligence professionals are speaking to each other. But they haven't confirmed that they want the meeting to happen or even where it is going to happen.

And the devil may be in the details on this because Kim Jong-un doesn't like to leave North Korea. He likes to stay in this hermit kingdom because he is so worried about assassination attempts. So even if he want to dot meeting, the location is going to be a big sticking point.

CABRERA: And as far as this nuclear standoff, do you think other countries around the world are watching? Because I know for example the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has talked about what could happen. Iran get nukes. That they get nukes.

VINOGRAD: I think that they definitely are. And the crown prince is definitely going to want an update from President Trump when he is in the oval office. They are meeting on Tuesday. He is probably going to want to know what is going on with North Korea. And what is going on in Iran, another country that has - had nuclear capability in the past.

We can expect the Saudi crown prince to push Donald Trump to get tougher on Iran and probably to decertify the Iran deal. That is what I think will come out of this meeting. But it is interesting. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of meddling around the Middle East but Saudi Arabia has gotten very close to Russia who we know has been meddling in the United States and around the world. Saudi Arabia reportedly agreed to buy a Russian armed systems several months that should trigger U.S. sanctions. So this meeting in the oval on Tuesday could be an opportunity for President Trump to say, you want to be tougher on Iran? I would like you to get tougher on Russia and let's work together on that.

[19:40:01] CABRERA: We will see what happens. Sam Vinograd, good to see you. Thank you very much.

The President's daily brief.

Up next, a rare glimpse of Senator John McCain. We will show the picture his daughter just posted live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:44:37] CABRERA: Search for a 16-year-old girl missing who apparently vanished with a 45-year-old man is finally over. Amy Yu was found unharmed and in good health after nearly two-week search that ended in Mexico. Police credit a tip from a passenger who had seen the pair on a Cancun bound flight. Police say the teen went willingly with suspect, Kevin Estherly, a married father of four who apparently knew the teen's family from church. He is now under arrest.

We get a rare glimpse of ailing senator John McCain via a tweet his daughter, Megan, posted today along with a picture of her father all bundled up sitting outside the family's Arizona cabin. She tweeted this message. No place, I would rather be. Of course we haven't seen much of senator McCain. Since he returned to northern Arizona as he continues to battle brain cancer.

One very lucky person in Pennsylvania just became a millionaire many times over. Powerball officials have announced a single ticket sold there. Matched all six numbers for a jackpot worth more than $456 million of the eighth largest jackpot in Powerball history. But there is still another big prize up for grabs. Mega millions jackpot is now up to $377 million. So good luck with that.

Now, to the new episode of CNN's American dynasty, "the Kennedys." Tonight's show looks at the personal side of the family and how the powerful Kennedy clan convinced America it could trust a catholic in the White House. Here is a sneak peek.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The West Virginia primarily is a make or break moment for the Kennedys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack Kennedy had to show he could win in the state that was 98 percent protestant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If can you win the West Virginia, you could prove that a catholic could win.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack and Bobby made a brilliant strategic decision which was, rather than let the issue of his catholic faith festering the background, they were going to take it on head-on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the past months and years I have answered almost daily increase from the press about my religious views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He described that they didn't have a religious test when he went into the service. There was no religious test when his brother went into the service and got killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No attention was paid to my religion when I came to the House and when I came to the Senate. I take almost the same oath as the President of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He played it smart. He said, I'm not going to take orders from the Pope. I'm going to represent the people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The presidency is not elected to be the protector of the faith.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He essentially said to the people of America, I know you are a more tolerant country than to let the simple fact of my faith stop you from voting for me.


CABRERA: I want to bring in Presidential historian Alexis Coe.

Alexis, good to see you. You know, the election of JFK was historic for so many reasons. The first catholic elected to the presidency. One of the youngest Presidents ever. What stands out most to you about his ascension to the White House?

ALEXIS COE, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think that there was a progression that was rapid because we have to remember that he was living on borrowed time. By the time he was inaugurated last rights had been read to him several times. And so I think what is amazing about his rapid ascension, about the fact that it happen is that it happened so quickly, that it was unprecedented both in his religion, his age and that it gave this Hollywood quality to the White House that had never existed there.

CABRERA: We know that Kennedys surprisingly were underdogs. When he was eventually elected. What kind of challenges that he faced?

COE: He faced challenges about his womanizing, about his health, which LBJ, his main contender at the Democratic national convention, had slipped notices under everyone's door so that they would vote against him. And he was in fact very sick every day of his life from the age of two to the day he died.

Another challenge he faced was definitely Catholicism. There had never been a catholic President. And he had to convince everyone that he was not a playboy, that he was serious, and that he would not take orders from the Pope. That he would serve the American people.

CABRERA: And when you talk about him being playboy, I understand that his dad basically insisted he needed to get married if he was going to run for President. And you think about Jackie, right, people have just been enamored with her over the years. Tell us more about how those two met and eventually became this iconic power couple.

COE: Jack Kennedy is 34. He has been a congressman. He is promising. But he is not married. And he is definitely not going to get any further in life without getting married. He also just needs to calm down, you know. He is going around, stories are being written. This is known about him. And so friends set him up with a very attractive 20-year-old aspiring reporter. Recent graduate, Jackie Bouvier (ph). And she walks in and she is catholic. She has got presence. He follows her out to the car after that dinner and everyone approves. It's a great match.

CABRERA: How cool. And then their wedding, of course. It was such a beautiful affair. Looked like something out of a movie. There was the big show that we witnessed. But there were a lot of forces at work going on behind the scenes. Tell us about that.

[19:50:08] COE: So it looks like it was a beautiful show, right? And it looks like the most wonderful wedding anyone could ever want. And that's because Joe Kennedy, the patriarch of the family was very aware of what looked good on camera. He trained the Kennedy kids sort of the way that kids are trained today with social media. They knew what poses looked good because they had cameras from the time that the cameras existed at home. Their nannies carried them around. They knew when they looked good. They knew what angles.

But Joe Kennedy turned the wedding into a kind of fund-raiser almost. He invited thousands of people. Jackie wanted a small wedding. She didn't know anyone there. She was practically trampled at one point and her dress, we look at her and think she looks so beautiful. It's got this wonderful cut. She's so stunning. She hated it. She said --


COE: I know. She said she looked like a lamp shade.

CABRERA: Did she pick it out?

COE: No, her father-in-law picked it out. And if she didn't know before the wedding she was not marrying a man, she was marrying a family. And that man was not the head of that family. She learned it that day.

CABRERA: Thank you so much, Alexis Coe. I'm really looking forward to seeing the episode. Great to see you live.

COE: Thank you.

CABRERA: In just over an hour, the brand-new episode of "the Kennedys" airs tonight right here on CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know their name. You don't know their whole story.

At their wedding, John and Jackie looked like movie stars. But inside Jackie is not so happy. She is surrounded by thousands of guests she doesn't even know, all invited by Joe Kennedy for the benefit of Jack's political career. Her dress she later said made her look like a lampshade. Jackie would have liked to pick out her own dress. But that's not the way things worked in the Kennedy family.

Go behind the ambition, the wealth, and the power of America's most famous family. You know their name. You don't know their whole story. "American dynasties, the Kennedys." New episode tonight at 9:00 on CNN.



[19:57:01] CABRERA: I want to bring you this news just in to CNN. Our chief political analyst Gloria Borger has this reaction from Trump's White House attorney Ty Cobb.

He says in response to media speculation and questions being posed to the administration, the White House yet again confirms the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the special counsel Robert Mueller.

All right. Now before we go tonight, I want to take just a moment to honor the life and sacrifice of Thomas Phelan. He is a New York City firefighter who was working as a ferry captain on September 11th and he turned his boat into a rescue vessel evacuating hundreds of people and delivering much-needed supplies and rescue workers in the lower Manhattan. Phelan died Friday of cancer. His illness is believed to be linked to his exposure at ground zero. New York mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his photo saying in our city's

darkest hour, FDNY firefighter Thomas Phelan's heroism saved hundreds of lives. We will never forget his service and his sacrifice. He was just 45 years old.

We salute you, Thomas Phelan.

That does it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Be sure to tune in at 9:00 tonight for a brand-new episode of American Dynasties, "the Kennedys." Again, that is at 9:00 followed at 10:00 by "Pope, the most powerful man in history." here's a sneak peek of that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is just notorious. He just did whatever he was asked. Clement V actually promised Philip a flat-out portion of the church tithe. That it just went straight in to the real congress. He also signed off on the expulsion of Jews as a danger to the church. He acknowledged that the welts was going to go to Philip. That's very blatant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By 1309, King Philip has turned Pope Clement V into a pawn of the French crown. And in an attempt to solidify his power over the church, the French king lays the groundwork for what will be the papacy's most notorious resolution by undermining its very foundation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peter is buried on the Vatican hill and St. Peter's basilica is built over his tomb. Popes are seen as inheriting that charisma and that role, as standing in for the apostle. His tomb, his foundation charter for the papacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But King Philip demands that Pope Clement leave the legacy of St. Peter in Rome and move the papacy to operate under his thumb in France.


CABRERA: And now it's an encore presentation of the premiere episode of "the Kennedys" right here on CNN.

Thank you so much for joining me. Look forward to seeing you next weekend. Have a great night.