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McMaster is Out, Bolton is In; John Dowd Leaves Trump's Legal Team; Guccifer 2.0 Now Identified by Mueller's Investigators; Trump's Lead Attorney In Russia Investigation, John Dowd, Steps Down; CNN Exclusive: Karen McDougal Shares Details Of Her Alleged Relationship With Donald Trump; Former Playmate Apologizes To Melania Trump In Exclusive Interview With CNN. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 22, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Here's our breaking news. H.R. McMaster out, John Bolton in. President Trump replacing his national security advisor with a former U.N. ambassador and Fox News analyst. A source tells CNN the move comes after weeks of discussion.
So when Sarah Sanders denied McMaster was on the ropes last week the president was actually in discussion with the general's replacement. When the president himself called the story very false, that was a lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So there'll always be change, but very little. It was a very false story, it was a very exaggerated -- a very exaggerated and false story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And Sarah Sanders said this, and it was just smoke screen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sarah, you took to Twitter last night to ensure the public that McMaster's job was safe, but has the president spoken directly to either McMaster, Carson, Shulkin to tell them that their jobs are in fact safe?
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, as I said last night and I'll echo it again, I spoke directly to the president last night. He asked me to pass that message along to General McMaster. I know the two of them have been in meetings today. Whether or not that came up, I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And the White House wonders why people don't trust what they say. And then there's this. John Dowd. John Dowd is the lead lawyer handling President Trump's response to the Russia investigation, quitting today after the president just last week tweeted. "The failing the New York Times purposely wrote a false story stating that I am unhappy with my legal team on the Russia case, and I am going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong, I am very happy with my lawyers, John Dowd, Ty Cobb and Jay Sekulow. They are doing a great job."
Well, Dowd wanted the president to cooperate with Mueller's team and resist to air to attack the special counsel publicly. Dowd is out today, out today as part of a shakeup of the president's legal team.
Sources tell CNN at least three defense attorneys from major firms recently turned down the chance to join Trump's legal team. A fourth is still being considered but would have to leave his firm if he took the job. That comes as the former White House flame thrower Steve Bannon weighs in on the White House chaos.
Saying if John Kelly leaves the Trump administration he doesn't think there will even -- there will be another staff, chief of staff. According to Bannon, Kelly put too much structure in the White House. Right. That's the problem. There's too much structure in the Trump White House.
Bannon also says he thinks the president is, his words, going to war over Mueller. So what does all this mean for the Russia investigation? The president says he'd still like to testify before the special counsel. Sure seems like it, doesn't it? And if the president doesn't -- does testify, will Mueller ask him about another piece of tonight's breaking news.
The special counsel's team has reportedly traced the identity of Guccifer 2.0. That's the hacker who took the credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen e-mails from the DNC directly to Russian intelligence. That's according to Daily Beast which reports the so- called lone DNC hacker it was an officer of Russia's military intelligence directorate, bringing the investigation straight to the doorsteps of the Kremlin.
All this as another woman who says she had an affair with Donald Trump speaks out. Former playmate Karen McDougal telling Anderson Cooper this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Were you in love with him?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, TRUMP ACCUSER: I was, yes.
COOPER: And do you think he was in love with you?
MCDOUGAL: He was, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That as Stormy Daniels attorney is demanding that the Trump organization preserve all documents and e-mails linked to the $130,000 hush money payment to the porn star who says she too had an affair with Trump. Daniels also denying claims that she called this whole thing a nightmare. So is it any wonder the president said this today?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What advice would you give to the 25-year-old Donald Trump knowing what you know today?
TRUMP: Don't run for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to bring in CNN political analysts Ryan Lizza and April Ryan, CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, and Republican strategist Rick Wilson. Welcome to the thunder dome, everyone.
So, Rick, President Trump is bringing -- Ryan, I should say, President Trump is bringing in former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster. The president is also deciding to go his own way when it comes to his Russia legal strategy, made clear with the departure of his top lawyer John Dowd. Is all -- is this all part of the same chaos, the president is doing things his own way?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, absolutely. A couple of thoughts on this. I mean, we now have DiGenova major part of his legal team, you had Larry Kudlow running economic policy, and you have Bolton running national security, you basically now have a White House that looks like the Fox green room, right?
[22:05:07] But I think by far this Bolton pick is the most consequential personnel pick that Donald Trump has made by far. Can't overstate this, Don. This is someone whose main ideas are that we should withdraw from the Iran deal and bomb that country to get rid of its nuclear weapons program.
And similarly with North Korea his main strategy, his main idea, he's been writing about it, talking about it for months is that we should launch a first strike on North Korea. So I just -- I can't overstate how consequential someone like this is going to be the most important advisor on national security to a president who has no experience on these issues. So this is a, this is a big deal.
LEMON: Yes, so Rick, he says, you know, all of his past comments are behind him. But what Ryan just described that's policy. In his comments doesn't he speak about his policy in his comments?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, look, I think that we're going to see -- you know, John Bolton in a normal administration where there are most of the people in the administration are certifiably insane would be sort of outlier or sort of guy who churns the water a little bit.
But now you've got a guy who is a John Bolton in an administration full of people who could be committed on an average day and with a president who has a very short attention span and who has a very short temper. And you know, I don't want that moment when John Bolton is in the limousine with the president going, yes, you could nuke him, get him, get him, Don. They think you're a small guy. You should nuke him to teach him a lesson.
I mean, this is the guy, you know, Trump is on the edge, anyway. The guy is like tearing the wallpaper off-the-walls right now anyway. And so I think that having Bolton there to encourage his worst tendencies. And having all these other guys with this reality TV president now has a reality TV staff. And so turning this whole thing into, you know, a table flipping, hissy fit, hair pulling contest, it could get very ugly very quickly.
LEMON: Phil, according to a source familiar with the negotiation Bolton promised Trump, quote, "he wouldn't start any wars if he selected him." Do you take comfort in that?
LIZZA: I mean, if you have--
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I don't.
LEMON: I know, go ahead, Phil.
MUDD: I don't. But let me give you a simple perspective on this, and that is checks and balances. We typically think of checks and balances as executive branch, judicial branch, legislative branch. In the executive branch we have checks and balances brought in my Donald Trump.
Let me have the calm guys in particular, the generals, we had McMaster, we had the former CEO of ExxonMobil as the secretary of state, we had obviously, General Kelly, a four-star who was viewed as sort of a calming force and now as viewed as sort of in or out at the White House.
What you're having now is bringing in an individual, first of all a secretary of state who's seen as very aggressive on Iran, very aggressive, the former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, very aggressive on North Korea. And now somebody as national security advisor as extremely aggressive.
Initially, 15 or 20 years ago, on intervention in Iraq and now as someone just mentioned on Iran and North Korea, you start to get an imbalance in the executive branch in terms of intervention overseas with a president who is very impulsive.
My concern is that when the president has a bad hair day instead of having those checks and balances from people like Rex Tillerson or H.R. McMaster, you're going to have people say on a bad hair day I've got worse hair. Let's go in, let's get involved. That's what I see happening here.
LEMON: Yes. April, you saw that tweet from Sarah Sanders last week flatly denying that McMaster might be out. And yet, they deny, deny, deny, deny, deny. But it was accurate. They called it a false story, a fake news.
APRIL RYAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: A source telling CNN that they had been discussing for weeks how Bolton could replace McMaster.
RYAN: Right. And we have been hearing that. And not only that, Don. Remember when she tweeted that we had heard that General Kelly had a conversation with staff, to reassure people. People were very concerned about the next wave of firings.
So that was just a rouse last week. This is real, and it's happening. General McMaster is leaving during the summer. But the question really lingers. Did the president understand the effectiveness or was General McMaster as effective as he could have been because this president essentially did not read his briefings. He did not really get involved in the intelligence community the way the other presidents had.
And, you know, when you think of national security, and I think about what John Bolton said about then President Barack Obama, that then President Obama was a national security issue, you've got world leaders particularly in Europe that look at this president as a disrupter and someone who they don't know what he's about.
[22:10:06] So, you have one train of thought here with John Bolton and then another train of thought that's leaving that basically was really trying to help the president along with Rex Tillerson who said, what did he say today. He said this is mean-spirited town. Was this mean- spirited or was this about filling his agenda? That's the question.
LEMON: Yes. Ryan, listen, so McMaster is out, right?
LEMON: The president's lead attorney in a Russia investigation is out as well. And that's John Dowd.
LEMON: He's the attorney that urged the president to cooperate with Mueller. Here's what the White House chief of staff -- chief strategist Steve Bannon is saying about that. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: John Dowd is a good man, and I think that's why essentially more aggressive attorneys are brought in that now, you know, I think President Trump is going to war. I think it's very obvious he's going to go to war in this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Going to war, Ryan, is he?
LIZZA: Well, I don't see why you would hire DiGenova, unless you want to go on war with war footing. I mean, Trump is obviously watching him on TV. He's watching him spin theories about the Justice Department trying to frame the president. And there is no reason to bring someone in like that who wants, you know, to start, to be more conciliatory towards Mueller.
I would say still on the team and actually in the White House is Ty Cobb. And Ty Cobb has been the furthest in terms of wanting to cooperate with the special counsel, wanting to get this behind them. But he's also -- he's also told the president that this case would probably be over by now, and that hasn't proven to be true. So that may be the change.
Obviously, Dowd thought that he could not be a peer with DiGenova, they could not share the lead on this case and that's clearly why he resigned. So, yes, I think a war footing is coming and I think the next person will have to decide does he stay is Ty Cobb. Can he co- exist with someone like that?
LEMON: But Rick, isn't this -- isn't -- don't you think this is a media war or maybe a spin where as Ryan said spin theories? Because it seems it appears that he has assembled a team of T.V. lawyers and TV spinners who are going to spin the story about how Mueller is, you know, corrupt and everyone is corrupt. Isn't it more than that actually what they're going to do in the courtroom or what they're going to do behind the scenes as attorneys?
WILSON: Well, the problem for the whole theory of a T.V., a reality T.V. set of lawyers is that Robert Mueller has a team of pipe swinging knee breaking actual prosecutors. And they're going to chew these guys up and spit them out.
They're going to take a Joe DiGenova who hasn't practiced law in quite some time, frankly what I understand, and these clown theories that they have in the White House and they're going to gut them. They're going to roll them over and they're going to spank them.
This is not -- this isn't going to be a fair fight. Because Robert Mueller has people who actually know things and have facts and built a case. And they're going to try to do this and waive this war and win it on Sean Hannity bellowing louder than anybody else on TV.
And that may move the Trump base, but in terms of the actual legal disposition of this case I think it's not going to have a lot of impact at all.
I mean, Bob Mueller has rolled up people with great attorneys before. He's rolled up mobsters with great attorneys before. So I really don't think that this is going to be something that, you know, Donald Trump picking a guy because he can fight well on Fox T.V. and scream conspiracy about the FBI or the DOJ and the government, the deep state.
You know, it's -- this is the Trump idea that the world is reality television when there's actually reality outside of reality television.
LEMON: What a wordsmith you are. Everybody as you were speaking everyone on the screen is like, my gosh, did he really just say that? OK.
MUDD: No, he's wrong.
LEMON: Thanks, everyone. Listen, we're going to talk about Guccifer 2.0, the hacker who took credit for stealing e-mails from the DNC when we come right back.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Another night, another tsunami of breaking news. We're learning the true identity of Guccifer 2.0. The hacker who took credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen e-mails from the DNC directly to Russian intelligence.
Back with me now, April Ryan, Ryan Lizza, Philip Mudd, and Rick Wilson. April and Ryan, your names like sort of morphed on the teleprompter. It was weird.
So, listen, Rick, quickly because I want to get onto Guccifer. You know, Phil, you said Rick was wrong about this? His last comment.
MUDD: Yes, just one quick moment. We're assuming that the President of the United States potentially goes into an interview with Mueller and takes the interview seriously. Let me give you another scenario. He walks in for an hour, walks out and says that was all a witch hunt, they're all trying to come after my family. I told you from day one it was a witch hunt and so I walked out because it was a game.
I think we don't assume -- we should not assume that the president would take an interview with Mueller seriously. He may just walk out.
LEMON: And then he gets the TV lawyers as I describe Sekulow, the other guy--
LEMON: -- that he just hired--
LEMON: -- who was always on spinning these conspiracy theories to spin that to his base to try to explain that. That's what he does--
MUDD: That's right, and if there's an indictment of his son or son- in-law he says I got a pardon because as I just told you when I walk out this was all a game from day one.
LIZZA: We -- yes--
LEMON: I want to -- quick, quick, quick because I want to get on the Guccifier. Go ahead. LIZZA: The reason that could be a sound strategy because the end game
for something like this is probably impeachment, and that's an inherently political theater, so it doesn't, it makes some sense.
LEMON: OK. Now to Guccifer because on the same day that Trump's lead attorney is out, Daily Beast is reporting that Mueller's team has identified Guccifer 2.0, that's the hacker who took credit for stealing e-mails from the DNC as a particularly Russian intelligence officer.
So, remember it was Trump's friend Roger Stone who admitted to be in touch with Guccifer.
LEMON: So if this is true, isn't it a link to the Trump folks and Kremlin? I'll ask you that. Rick, what do you think?
WILSON: Look, it has long been suspected that Guccifer was not some citizen journalist that Julian Assange asserted but in fact an agent of the GRU and of the APT group that's done all this hacking in the U.S.
[22:20:02] And so, you know, the fact that it's now been revealed and confirmed certainly shouldn't surprise people who are paying attention. And now it puts a whole different color on the context that Roger Stone had with Russian intelligence officers and put a whole different color on the fact that Stone was feeding this information back up into the Trump campaign.
Remember the very tight coordination between the time line of Guccifer sending this information over and Trump integrating it directly into his campaign messaging, there's a chain of communication there now that I think that Mr. Mueller is probably very interested in. And I think Roger better consider flipping pretty hard and confessing fully. I know that's an anathema of him but the other consider confessing pretty hard because I don't think at his age he'd enjoy prison.
LEMON: April, what did you want to say?
RYAN: Yes. This just reaffirms what those in the intelligence community had been saying in October of 2016 when we found out that Russia was indeed meddling in our elections process. These intelligence officials has been saying look, nothing of this magnitude goes on in Russia without - without the fact that Putin is aware.
So if this person is a Russian operative doing this WikiLeaks stuff, Putin was aware. And once again, this just reaffirms what they're saying and again, Roger Stone we cannot -- anyway those are the two things that really stick out for me.
Roger Stone someone so close to the president, was in touch on DM on Twitter, direct messaging on Twitter with Guccifer. And this man has outed these reporter's e-mails with the DNC as well as John Podesta and the link with Putin. So I mean, there are just two things that are really big that stand out to me there. LEMON: So Ryan, I want to play something else we heard from Steve
Bannon today. Dana Bash caught up with him and ask him about the data firm connected to the Trump campaign. The data firm Bannon was the vice president at. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Did you know that Cambridge Analytica was using personal information gotten from Facebook?
BANNON: The Facebook data, by the way is for sale all over the -- all over the world.
BASH: I know. But it doesn't make it right. Did you buy it?
BANNON: I don't remember buying it. That was the Cambridge guy. I just help to put the company together--
BASH: You were the Cambridge guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He doesn't remember buying data from Facebook is it's sort of a non-answer considering that we learned from the whistleblower that the Facebook is at the heart of Cambridge Analytica.
LIZZA: I guess what he's saying there is he put the company together and didn't have sort of day to day operational knowledge what was going on and what data they were buying. I have no idea if he's telling the truth about that or not. Obviously he needs to answer the -- the senior folks at Cambridge Analytica need to answer questions about who knew what and what happened with that data.
Because we have a very, very suspicious a lot of smoke here between Bannon, Cambridge Analytica, the Russians and the Trump campaign. I mean it sounds like, you know, a novel. You couldn't make this stuff up.
LEMON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you. Fascinating conversation, everyone. I really appreciate it.
MUDD: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back John Dowd was staunchly against the president speaking to Mueller, but the president disagrees. Is Dowd's resignation a win for Mueller?
And later on, CNN's exclusive interview with a Playboy play mate who says she had an affair with Donald Trump while he was married to Melania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCDOUGAL: We passed a room and he said this is Melania's room. She likes to have her alone time or take it a way to read or something like that. I'm like, OK, that's when I kind of thought maybe - maybe they're having issues.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The president's top attorney handling the Russia investigation calling it quits. John Dowd was the point person in conversations with special counsel Robert Mueller. So what will that mean for the investigation?
I want to bring in Jack Quinn now who was Clinton White House counsel, also CNN legal commentator Ken Cuccinelli.
Gentlemen, thank you for joining us this evening. Good evening, to you. Ken, the president said just two weeks ago that he was very happy with his lawyers and said reports to the contrary were false. What do you think changed?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he got unhappy in the last two weeks. I think we saw that this weekend with his new tack in the tweets. And I think that with the advent of that more aggressive approach with respect to Mueller, that the preferred strategy of Dowd is gone, and within -- and with it goes Dowd himself.
LEMON: Yes. In quitting, John, John Dowd wrote an e-mail to the Washington Post saying this, he said, "I love the president and I wish him well." What about the other lawyers in the team? Where does that leave Ty Cobb or White House counsel Don McGahn? That's for you, Jack.
JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I think Ty is absolutely critical now. My -- you know, and by the way, it's not clear to me if we'd had reporting that Dowd was in favor of cooperation and that he was against cooperation.
I certainly don't think he was Mr. Softy, but be that as it may, I think that Ty Cobb is really key here. I think that Ty with all the experience he brings to bear on this would understand that the president's options for non-cooperation are limited and have enormously negative consequences should he go down that road.
So we'll have to see how this plays out. I can't, you know, say much more about Mr. Dowd's leaving other than it might have been difficult for him to, you know, in his view work with Joe DiGenova.
I'll also say, though, that you know, with Joe's prominence here and, in particular the prominence of his conspiracy theories it's going to make it even more difficult than it appears to have been for the White House to bring in other more experienced people and who's experience by the way is more current than is Joe's to help them in their defense here.
[22:30:13] LEMON: Well, that said, can we ask you about this? Because CNN is learning that at least four high profile defense attorneys have been approached to join Trump's legal team, all of them had declined for various reasons.
One, which was the President -- was that the President doesn't have a great record on actually listening to his lawyers. I mean, how hard do you think is it going to be to find someone who going to -- who can replace Dowd?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's -- it's hard and it isn't hard. I mean, a lot of lawyers would be very happy to put up with a lot of malarkey to, quote, the former Vice President, to be the President's lawyer. And that's a -- that's a hell of an item to have on your resume, and everyone will know it.
Of course, it's also good to be able to exercise a strategy you believe is in the client's best interest. And President Trump wants to keep control of these things like he does most everything else in his administration at one point or another.
And as odd as it may sound, while clients decide, and lawyers merely advise, when you hire good lawyers, you hire them to take their advice. And...
LEMON: So what are you saying? Who would want Donald Trump as a client, is that -- is that what you're saying because if I'm a lawyer and watching that, I mean...
CUCCINELLI: I'm saying it's a high risk, high reward -- you know, they're way up the risk and reward curve in terms of getting into this. So, there is a lot of opportunity, but it's also going to be a big pain.
QUINN: It is a big pain. And look, I mean...
LEMON: Is there really a reward, too, I mean...
QUINN: Well, look, the first round draft picks are saying no thanks. That's pretty clear. And, you know, the President needs to have good counsel here, because this is obviously a deadly serious investigation.
So I don't know where it goes, but it's worrisome that he's, you know, going to be in search of competent, capable counsel who has experience in this area at this late date in the process. Because we are, I think, approaching a crunch point.
The story you had on a little while ago about Guccifer, and the things coming together on hacking of the e-mails, this plays right into the conspiracy that has already been the subject of Mr. Mueller's indictments relating to the social media invasion that the Russian government was behind.
All of this is coming together, and we're getting down to the point where the $64,000 question is, were there any Americans involved in that Russian conspiracy?
LEMON: Hey, Ken, would you take the job if offered?
CUCCINELLI: Would I take the job? Well, I wouldn't be asked.
LEMON: That's not the question. Would you take the job?
CUCCINELLI: Well to, Jack's, point Ty Cobb has become -- more chips are landing on his plate here in terms of the importance of his strategic guidance, than has been the case up to this point.
And we haven't heard a whole lot publicly about his role. And that suggests to me that he's doing a good job, and doing his job well. Lawyers aren't supposed to be in the limelight, although you can have a front person...
LEMON: You said that -- look, I know you're dodging. It's fine. Listen, Ken, I love you, but you're dodging. And you said lawyers aren't supposed to be in the spotlight. He's hired lawyers who...
LEMON: Jay Sekulow is on television all the time, and who is the new guy's name (ph)? The conspiracy -- DiGenova, he's on television all- time. What do you mean lawyers are suppose to be in the background? These guys are upfront, and you didn't answer my question. Would you take the job if asked? Not that they wouldn't ask you. Would you do it?
CUCCINELLI: No, they'd be crazy to ask me. I am a constitutional lawyers, I am an appellate lawyer.
LEMON: So that's no, you wouldn't take the job?
CUCCINELLI: I'm not the -- I'm not the person to be in that role.
LEMON: You wouldn't take the job?
CUCCINELLI: I want him to have a good lawyer.
LEMON: You wouldn't take the job?
CUCCINELLI: And by that I mean someone with the experience that's relevant. And as you pointed out, look, they're talking to people who are long time criminal defense lawyers.
LEMON: I got to go.
CUCCINELLI: I am not a longtime criminal defense lawyer.
LEMON: We're wasting time. Thank you, sir. Thank you both of you. So he's saying he wouldn't take the job, in other words. OK. When we come back, Karen McDougal exclusively telling CNN the intimate details of her affair with Donald Trump, a lot of details. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN MCDOUGAL, FORMER PLAYBOY MODEL: We saw each other quite frequently.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So dozens of times you were together.
MCDOUGAL: Many dozens of times.
COOPER: And you were intimate.
COOPER: Many dozens of times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: In a CNN exclusive tonight former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal shares intimate details about her relationship to Donald Trump. And some of those details might sound remarkably similar to the one shared by Stormy Daniels.
I want to bring in now CNN Political Commentator Tara Setmayer, and Alice Stewart, and the CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, a former Federal Prosecutor.
So, everyone, brief answers, please because I have a lot of sound bites I want to get to, and I want to cover a lot of it while out here. So, Tara, there is a lot to impact in Anderson's exclusive interview with Karen McDougal. Let's start with watching this clip and then we'll discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDOUGAL: Our first date, I was told we were going to go to the Beverly Hills Hotel for dinner, so he had told me that Keith, his bodyguard was going to pick-me-up at a certain time, and he did.
And then we were driving over to the Beverly Hills Hotel, and Keith drove around to the back, and he said we have to get out here because we don't want to walk through the hotel. And at that minute I'm like, thinking to myself, are we going to a room because I thought we were having dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
COOPER: In the actual restaurant?
MCDOUGAL: Right. Well, we did have dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, but in his bungalow instead. We had dinner there for a few hours. We talked for a few hours. We had a great time. We're getting to know each other. We're talking about his birthday.
[22:40:01] And then as the night ended, we were intimate.
(END VIDEOCLIP) TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I have to say very compelling...
LEMON: Sounds like Stormy Daniels' first date.
SETMAYER: Yes, it's very similar.
LEMON: I love it.
SETMAYER: She's credible, to me at least. But watching this it made my stomach turn.
SETMAYER: Because it upsets me that we as a country, especially women are willing to cast aside all of these things that we knew about Donald Trump beforehand, and still reward this man with the Office of the Presidency. I just think it says a lot about us.
LEMON: Why is that?
SETMAYER: Why did women do it? Well, I think that's a much a lot larger discussion.
SETMAYER: But I think women really need to that it continue to support him, and make excuses for kind of behavior, a man that is such a womanizer, that would humiliate his wife this way, disgrace his family this way -- I don't care if he is a private citizen, that stuff carries -- character matters, and it carries over onto how you govern. I disagree with people who think that that's not true.
LEMON: OK. Alice, another clip from the interview, here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You said you went to a golf tournament in Tahoe.
MCDOUGAL: I did.
COOPER: There were other women now who have come forward saying that they also had met with him, and had sex with him at that event. Were you aware of any other women?
MCDOUGAL: No, I was not. I mean, I was with him a lot, so I didn't see anything, but could he have stayed a day longer than me? Sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Alice, I mean it's crazy to think that Donald Trump could have been with both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal at the same Lake Tahoe golf event. I mean, it really brings a full circle, doesn't it?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's disgusting. And if this is true, which I believe it is, then he's a pig, and his behavior is despicable.
But really look at the interview, it's really hard to feel sympathy for a woman who knowingly has an affair with a married man. And when turn, bad things happen to people who do bad things.
And when you lie in bed with dogs, you get fleas. And that is exactly that is happening here. I'm not excusing his behavior. I think it's reprehensible. I think there's going to be many, many more of these stories coming out.
But it's hard to feel sympathy for someone who knowingly walked into a relationship with a married man. And I think, I would like think as more of these stories come out, more people will look at the present for the kind of person then he is, and there are going to be some consequences...
LEMON: Let me ask you that -- let me ask you this. I'm using your analogy, because you said when you lie down with dogs, you will get fleas. The dog in this particular situation because the President of the United States.
And to, Tara's point, a lot of people -- and you know, I'm a Christian, and I know that you're a Christian as well, Alice, a lot of people looked the other way, especially Christian, and said oh this OK, and women, and they voted for him. And I don't know how you reconcile that.
STEWART: I never said it was OK. No Christians that I've spoken with have ever said it's OK. And recently they have said, we get all, and got one of these (ph). But there's many of them.
I never said this was OK, this is discussing, this despicable behavior. I voted for him because of one reason, and one reason only, for a Supreme Court Justice that would be like Scalia, and support the issues that I'm concern with.
I never thought he would build a wall, and Mexico would pay for it, I never though a lot of the things that he promise he would do -- he would do.
I worked my butt off for someone that I think would bring credibility to the White House. It didn't work out that way. But it came down to the end of the day, I felt he would support more of my policies than certainly, Hillary Clinton.
SETMAYER: A lot of evangelicals continue to make excuses, including major pastors, and shame on them. They're going to have to answer that. They're responsible for flocks.
And there's nothing that justifies this in the bible. I don't care. I don't want to hear that he's a Cyrus or any of that nonsense, because that's not true. He has this -- you have to be able to repent, and recognize what you're doing. And Donald Trump hasn't done any of those things. He flaunts it.
LEMON: Laura, the similarities between Stormy Daniels and McDougal's stories, bolster their credibility, do you think?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they're both similar in the sense that both have alleged -- they had a sexual encounter with the President of the United States when he was a citizen. But here is the thing about this, the irony of it is the underlying truth that whether that happened or not, it doesn't matter to the courts.
It's not at any importance at the court of law because it's about whether or not these women can talk about these allegations. And it may have a similarity between Stormy Daniels and now Karen McDougal, or they both have contracts, with different people, albeit.
But still a contract they're limiting their behavior, and limiting their ability to actually talk about these issues. And so the ideas that maybe its forgone conclusion that he all the things that all have described today, or the morality was somehow an issue in the presidential election where it should have been, is really not the court's concern.
What is, is whether or not you had a contract. And it seems to me by her statements that she was fully satisfied by the contractual terms if she had gotten more articles, saying OK! Magazine or in another magazine, or be able to promote her model and fitness career at an older age.
Now she is learning from the media and the press, according to her statements, about why there may be some reason she can void the contract.
[22:45:05] But by her own admission and what the court's going to look at is at the time, and what she actually knows. Not the innuendoes about who may be involved. She was satisfied, and the courts do not second guess...
LEMON: Hey, Laura, isn't she -- isn't it similar to what Stormy Daniels' attorney said that she -- that Stormy Daniels was promised these other things within the NDA, and they didn't -- those things didn't happen. So therefore, this is one of the reasons that it should be voided. Isn't she saying the same thing, that this company promised her certain things, and they did not deliver on that?
SETMAYER: They have the same attorney.
COATES: That's what Karen McDougal was saying, that there were other terms and addition to the financial payment that she would be able to.
COATES: And mind you, her statement was, she was very satisfied to have her story not in the press. She wanted it to be caught and killed, she didn't want to reveal that part of herself.
She felt ashamed. She felt some guilt about having been involved with a married man, and wanted to silence that aspect of it. Her concern is a contractual issue about whether or not the employment terms were actually met. Let me ask the difference... LEMON: Laura, she also said someone had leaked the story, and not (Inaudible), she didn't want it out there. And then she said if other people were, and I'm paraphrasing it, profiting off her story, then she may has may well have control -- not necessarily to profit off it, so she can at least be in charge of her own stories. Is that...
LEMON: What's wrong with that?
COATES: She wants to get ahead of the narrative. She wants to be able to control the way she was described. She wants to be able to control how she's characterized.
COATES: That's all fair, however she contracted.
LEMON: Got it.
COATES: I mean, according to how it is, about who could tell that story. Now, Stormy Daniels is different, because what she's saying is not whether or not there were all the other terms about stories, or being able to have a fitness career, and why are things promoted in different publications. Her issue is that, it was void to begin with because it wasn't signed.
COATES: But if that's not the issue, Michael Cohen voided it.
LEMON: OK. We'll talk more. I've got to get a break in. But also what Karen McDougal said about what Donald Trump told her about Ivanka. We'll be right back. I hope you understood that.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Karen McDougal got emotional in her interview with Anderson Cooper tonight. We are back with CNN's Political Commentators, Tara Setmayer, and Alice Stewart, and CNN Legal Analyst Laura Coates.
So, Alice, here is another similarity from McDougal's interview which sounded a lot like something we heard from Stormy Daniels. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Did he ever compare you to any of his kids?
MCDOUGAL: You know, he's very proud of Ivanka, as he should be. I mean, she's a brilliant woman. She's beautiful. She's -- you know, that's his daughter, and he should be proud of her.
He said I was beautiful like her and, you know, you're a smart girl. And there wasn't a lot of comparing, but there was some, yes. I heard a lot about her. Yes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So does that strike you as a bit weird?
STEWART: Yes, it does. And you know, he said some other things about Ivanka that a lot of fathers wouldn't say about their daughters. But they have a close relationship.
They are -- have been through a lot together. And this is nothing new. But for McDougal to go on there, and try to ingratiate herself with the American public that she meant so much to him. I just have very little sympathy for her.
LEMON: Listen, I know this is so creepy.
SETMAYER: Can we just remind people what he said about his daughter? I mean he made comments about her on Howard Stern that were pretty disgusting, very sexual in nature. He said that, you know, about how -- talking about her chest size, and about how she is a 10. I mean, that's just creepy.
LEMON: Didn't he say on the view that I would be dating my daughter?
SETMAYER: Yes, he said that. If he wasn't -- if she wasn't his daughter, he would date her. I mean, I don't know any father that would make comments like that, even if their daughters were supermodels. It's creepy and disgusting.
LEMON: Yes. And there is another comparison, but I won't make it because I think it's a bit weird. So, let's talk about how this affects the First Lady.
The First Lady Melania Trump for the first time in a while, she actually put out a photo of herself and the President today. How do you think she is doing with all of this? I mean, Laura, this isn't a legal issue. But you know, you can relate.
COATES: Well, not to being married to Donald Trump, or a man like him, Don, that is true, yes.
COATES: But I can relate as a woman who is looking at this, and probably seeing a woman totally and utterly humiliated by the entire process.
And it will not stop any time soon as the drip, drip of women come forward with these NDAs, and other accusations that may or may not be true. I'm sure for her it's a continual gut punch that she has to get over if she has a loving relationship with the President of the United States.
SETMAYER: Well, I have to get there. I don't feel sorry for her. She knew what she was marrying. This is a sham. That picture -- that picture, did you see the body language? I don't even think they are holding hands. Are they holding hands in that? It's really -- it's forced.
Because do -- I mean do people really think that they have a normal functioning relationship? It's clearly dysfunctional. But she knew what she was marrying when she married Donald Trump. He wasn't any all of the sudden, he became this Mr. Floundering, womanizer. He was like that when she met him.
LEMON: Look, I don't know. For all with we know...
SETMAYER: She made the choice.
LEMON: For all with we know there could be some sort of understanding. What people do in marriages, that's their thing. But it's a different thing to be humiliated publicly for everyone to know publicly.
And the same day, you know that she puts out that photo, we see this one from Anderson's interview actually showing McDougal not far from the President, Melania and Ivanka, an apology or not, I mean, this has got to be salt in the wounds for this First Lady. But...
SETMAYER: Probably why she is not happy about being in the white -- in the White House because now their lives are being exposed? You think she didn't know about all of these things?
SETMAYER: She probably knew it. Now it's exposed for everyone to see. So, in that part, yes, it's humiliating. Absolutely.
LEMON: Anderson asked about -- if she had a message for the First Lady. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: If Melania Trump is watching this, what would you want her to know?
MCDOUGAL: That's a tough one.
COOPER: Or say to her.
MCDOUGAL: Yes, what can you say, except, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me. I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, I mean, Alice, unfortunately Melania Trump is also facing the Stormy Daniels interview coming out on Sunday.
[22:55:00] STEWART: Yes. Well, if you don't want it done to you, then don't do it to somebody else. Come on. Save the crocodile tears for somebody who cares. I think it's just despicable for her to try and -- try and get some kind of sympathy.
I will say this, Melania knew what she was getting into. Donald Trump was the same guys he was when they got married, and he's been thought the years. She knew exactly what she was getting into.
I'll say this, as a woman, it breaks my heart to see her go through this. I think in the time she has had to be the First Lady, and be the wife of the President of the United States, she has displayed dignity.
She has displayed grace under intense pressure, and unbearable situation. That being said, she knew exactly what she was getting into.
SETMAYER: I think though she -- Karen McDougal said she is a new person, this was a long time ago, and she is a person with faith and goes to church.
SETMAYER: So as Christian -- I'm assuming she is asking for forgiveness for this, and we should forgive her, and not accuse her of having crocodile tears. I think that she honestly, probably feels guilt this as she should.
So, if people are willing to give Donald Trump a pass, and a mulligan. Then why should we -- why should we criticize Karen McDougal for coming forward, and telling her story, and admitting what she did, and she feels guilty about it, and she has some regret over it. I think it's good for her.
COATES: I think you have to be consistent, though. I really do, because I don't think religion has a very big role in any of this discussion, frankly. And if you're critical of people giving the President a mulligan, and yet you're receptive to the idea of Karen McDougal having at it, it's really inconsistent.
The issue if have here is the notion that she saying that she is very sorry, but doesn't want the story out there. But her motivation seems to be tainted, because she has undermine a contract.
COATES: She's talked about it openly.
LEMON: I've got to go.
COATES: She is facing legality issues here. This is not the issue for me.
LEMON: I've got to go. Laura, that's the first time you've ever like almost come through the camera, and slapped me like I can't relate to that. No way.
SETMAYER: I almost did, too.
COATES: I'm wearing a church girl outfit for you today, Don. But I did almost come through the camera.
LEMON: When I see you in person, I will tell the real thing, but you were like, what you talking about, Don? No. Thank you.
COATES: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: We'll be right back.