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McCain Slams Trump for Putin Congratulation; 2011 Polygraph Shows Stormy Daniels Did Not Lie About Sex with Trump; Ben Carson Explains Expensive Furniture. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 20, 2018 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Alana, thank you so much. We'll speak again, perhaps, after this interview airs on Sunday. Alana Evans, appreciate it. Thank you.


BALDWIN: We have more. Breaking news this afternoon on Senator John McCain. Putting President Trump on blast after the President congratulated Vladimir Putin earlier from the White House on his election victory. That Russian election widely considered a sham. Why is the President congratulating the man who meddled in the U.S. election? We're going to go there next.


BALDWIN: I have a panel with me and I want to start with the President congratulating a dictator today Vladimir Putin on an election win widely accepted as a sham. So, with me now Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator, and former Missouri Secretary of State, Jason Kander. Gentlemen, welcome. To you first, sir, just on. You know, he heard it the President heard it from McCain, McConnell. How do you defend the President, and what he did today?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know what the other answer would have been. I mean, clearly, you're going to have to work with Putin on major issues.

BALDWIN: How about stop meddling in our elections.

FERGUSON: I would say that point is a valid point. I think when he realizes that he's going to be in charge of that country as a dictator, whatever capacity you want to describe it, there's real issues like Syria. There's issues like North Korea. There is issues they're going to have to work with.

[15:35:00] I don't know and I'm not sure people want him to say as in, he, I know it was a sham election. Nice to talk to you today. People would have said that was irresponsible.

BALDWIN: How about in the way in which he communicates with the American public, by the way, it was the Kremlin who told people in Russia first before even we heard it from the President at the White House. Let me address from the "Washington Post." The call was initially disclosed by the Kremlin and subsequently confirmed by Trump in remarks at the White House. Shouldn't it be the other way around by the way?

FERGUSON: It depends on who gets the microphone first. But if they had a conversation, the Kremlin immediately walks out and releases it, I think is what they did, it might be faster than the President when you have a schedule you're keeping. I don't blame him for that at all. I don't blame the White House. The Kremlin clearly wanted to be able to walk out there and get news out of this immediately. You could say it's smart for them to do it in this way. It brings up more issues, it brings up a news cycle for them. That's probably why they rushed out there with it.


JASON KANDER, FORMER MISSOURI SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the reason people have a problem with it, and what I have a problem with is the fact that look at the timing of it, right, this is the President of the with United States calling an adversary, leader of a country that attacked us really by meddling in our election.

BALDWIN: And is currently attacking us.

KANDER: And very recently after attacking an ally of ours in Britain, of carrying off an attack there in the U.K. and then calling and not mentioning any of that. That is at the very least a missed opportunity. And what it really is he's taking up for Putin both here and abroad.

FERGUSON: I would also say this. We just had sanctions. The president just came out and talked about Russia in that attack on an ex-spy and sanctions have real meaning here. Sanctions clearly are having an impact. We just saw in the U.K. where there was a united front, they also kicked out many of their representatives from Russia. So, I mean our actions, you could argue, speak louder than words on the fact that look, we are being tough with him. When Putin wins this election which everyone knows is a sham I just don't know politically what you gain in that conversation.

We have real issues like Syria, in North Korea and other issues where you go, are you going to call them and say, hey, Putin, we all know it was a sham. You basically faked an election. We know that you have a power structure that you control now. You got rid a lot of locally elected officials over the last decade. What are you doing? I don't see where that end game helps. I think people would argue then that would be quote Trump unhinged and he's putting people's lives at risk by sticking it to Vladimir Putin who just won an election.

KANDER: I think it's more like Vladimir Putin seems to be the only human being on the planet that President Trump has never had a cross word with or about. And so, the idea --

FERGUSON: Sanctions I think are more important than anything else.

KANDER: He has done everything he can to exploit everything. FERGUSON: You can't say he's not doing things when actually did sanctions, and he was very clear last week about those sanctions and the meddling.

KANDER: OK. I think first of all, really there have been major steps taken by Congress that he has not wanted to put in place. He has done the absolute minimum. He has done the absolute minimum that he can possibly do. And that's pretty well accepted.

But really, I think the issue here is more he will go after anybody. He has a cross word for just about everybody. And so, to say well, what's he supposed to do, make this an uncomfortable phone call? Yes, at some point we'd really would like you to stand up to the fellow who has meddled in our election and attacked our allies.

BALDWIN: Or let me add on to that. Because I take your point on what's he going to say when he's on the phone with this man who when this election. We know Barack Obama congratulated Putin, that kind of thing. But the next step is when he addresses the White House press pool, addressing really the world, you know, he could take a stand. If he says he's meeting with Putin in the not so distant future and here are A, B, C, X, Y, Z topics that I'm going to talk about, because I've got your back, America. We're not going to be messed with.

KANDER: We're supposed to lead the world. This is not leadership. This is letting Putin lead the world.

FERGUSON: Here's what I do know. If you look at the strategy that George Bush used, which was very clear on his disdain for Putin, even after that, we've seen the conversations, the interviews he's done. Barack Obama was very clear. It didn't get us anywhere. I think what his ideas -- look, we're going to have sanctions but I'm at least going to try to have a conversation where maybe we can dial some of this back. I don't think there's necessarily a downside to that as long as we're tough with our legislation and sanctions and stand by our allies in the U.K. when someone is poisoned, which we did do.

KANDER: But he didn't want to be tough. I would characterize it differently. I would characterize it as I don't want to be tough. Congress wants to be tough. The American people want to be tough. I will go ahead and pretend that I was also tough while being as nice to Putin as possible. That's how I would characterize it.

BALDWIN: That was it, Jason Kander, Ben Ferguson. Gentlemen, thank you so much. So nice when you sit together. So lovely.

[15:40:00] All right. Back to the breaking story -- have you guys seen this photo? Stormy Daniels and a polygraph test for you. We've learned she took it. We have photographic proof now. Before she did that "In Touch" magazine article interview back in 2011. What's the legal impact of all these threads today? We'll talk about that coming up.


BALDWIN: All right, breaking news here. CNN obtained these details photograph and this photograph, this lie detector test taken by Stormy Daniels over her alleged affair with President Trump. This polygraph was given by the publishing company after Stormy Daniels did this interview with the magazine back in 2011, this is part of the interview.

Three of the questions that she was answering as she was all hooked up to this polygraph were as follows. One, around July 2006 did you have vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump? She answered yes. That was ruled by the person administering this test as truthful.

Next the question was around July of 2006 did you have unprotected sex with Donald Trump and she answered yes. And that response was ruled truthful. And then this third question, did Trump say you would get on "The Apprentice"? She answered yes, and that response was actually ruled inconclusive.

So, with me now, Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor, and Mark Geragos is back with us today, CNN legal analyst. And so, Mark Geragos, first to you on the lie detector test. First time we're actually seeing the photo of her all hooked for this "In Touch" magazine article. Lie detectors are not generally admissible in court. Is there any chance that there would be an exception would be made in this case?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, little to no chance there would be an exception. Because it's not admissible in either federal or state court in almost all jurisdictions. But it is admissible obviously hearing the court of public opinion. Although I'm not sure that anybody, pun intended, that this is going to move the needle. I think most people accept the fact that she did have an affair with Donald Trump. I think that's kind of beyond question. Maybe I'm naive or in a bubble. But that does not seem to be up for grabs.

BALDWIN: What do you think about this?

DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think the only person who seems to be convinced that it didn't happen, or at least representing it didn't happen is Donald Trump. But certainly, the polygraph is out there, not for the legal case. In fact, I think most of what Stormy Daniels and her lawyer have been doing over the past couple of weeks --

BALDWIN: Court of public opinion isn't it?

GOLDMAN: -- is not about the legal case. The legal case is a highly technical case. The interesting aspect in the legal case is that Donald Trump himself did intervene in the arbitration last week to say that he wants damages. That's an admission that he was a party to the agreement which the original defense is that he wasn't a party to the agreement.

But I think at this point that's almost all beside the point. As we're talking about the polygraph test, whether it happened, and Donald Trump painted himself back into a corner because he can't really respond without admitting that it happened, which seems to be something that he's not willing to do. BALDWIN: Now he's definitely listening to this case. Then there's

this case, Mark Geragos, we've been talking about these two other stories involving Donald Trump, these other two women, one of whom this former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, who basically was paid by the "National Enquirer" to get her story out involving a story with her and Donald Trump. And instead it was a catch and kill, that she was never able to get the story out. Now, she would like to, number one. And number two, Summer Zervos, who is now suing for defamation, this judge ruled today that that case can, in fact, go forward.

[15:50:00] She said she was inappropriately touched by Trump and that story came out before the election and he immediately called her a liar, ergo defamation. All this is happening all the while this Russian investigation by Bob Mueller and are we potentially thinking of a president being deposed in these cases involving women all the while being investigated with Russia?

GERAGOS: I think that it's clear that he's going to be deposed. I mean, Zervos Summers case clearly, he will be deposed. He's going to be deposed in the Stormy Daniels matter. The only question is, is he going to be deposed and will it be public through the court or will it be in connection with the arbitration proceeding? McDougal's case brings up something I think also that is quite interesting.

I can't understand, or I've been speculating, I suppose, that one of the reasons he has been going so hard and Cohen has been going so hard into Stormy Daniels' situation is that she had something, whether it was documentary evidence, whether it was texts, photos or a voicemail or something like that. But I think maybe a corollary to it is if it turns out there are more than three or four in it turns out maybe there is double digit NDAs out there, and all of these people start coming out, that may be what they are really afraid of.

That you're talking about multiple and not just one, two or three, but tens of NDAs out there that they've been -- and there's a pattern or practice to that. And we saw what happened with Weinstein, ironically, they just went into bankrupt the company did yesterday in start to finish five months. These things tend to unravel once you get a little traction.

BALDWIN: Mark Geragos, Daniel Goldman, thank you. We'll see you again I'm sure. Another surreal moment involving the Trump administration today. This one from HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Hear how he explains the spending spree in his office.


BALDWIN: HUD chief Ben Carson in a furniture fight that isn't going away. Reports that he knows more than he says he does. This is all regarding the $31,000 dining room set ordered for his office.


BEN CARSON, HUD SECRETARY: I was told that the dining room set needed to be changed. I said why? Because people are being stuck by nails. A chair collapses with somebody sitting in it. It is 50 years old. I said OK. We can potentially do that. I asked my wife also to help me with that. The next thing that I quite frankly heard about it was that this $31,000 table had been bought. I said what the heck is that all about? Investigated, immediately had it canceled. Not that we don't need the furniture, but I thought that was excessive.


BALDWIN: Secretary Carson denies any wrongdoing and defends his wife's role in this whole controversy saying that quote, she is the most frugal person I know. Back in a moment.


BALDWIN: Before we go, I want to show you the Dow. Back in the green after tanking over the scandal involving Facebook and that major data breach, the social media giant telling lawmakers to expect a briefing this week involving the 50 million accounts misused by the firm linked to the Trump campaign.

I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me the past two hours. Let's send it to Washington. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.