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Stormy Daniels Set To Talk About Alleged Affair With Trump; Police: Serial Bomber Leaves Behind Video Confession; Report: Saudi Crown Prince Boasts Kushner Was "In His Pocket." Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired March 22, 2018 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:33:10] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN "AC 360", CONTRIBUTOR, CBS NEWS "60 MINUTES": I guess I'm not 100 percent sure on why you're doing this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A first glimpse into Anderson Cooper's long- awaited "60 MINUTES" interview with Stormy Daniels. It's set to air on Sunday.
The adult film star will apparently talk about her alleged affair with the president despite taking a $130,000 payout from the president's personal attorney in exchange for her silence.
Joining us now, Stormy Daniels attorney, Michael Avenatti. Thank you for taking the opportunity --
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY FOR STORMY DANIELS: Good morning.
CUOMO: -- as always.
Not the most common initial question to start an interview but a legitimate one. What is motivating Stormy Daniels to sit down and do an interview when she has cut a deal not to do so?
AVENATTI: Well, I think we've been consistent Chris in that my client wants a platform to speak to the American people to tell her story. To have the American people pass judgment as to the accuracy of that story.
And to the extent that the president or Mr. Cohen have separate or different narratives -- a different version of those facts -- they should come forward, explain those facts to the American people, and let the American people decide who's telling the truth and who's not telling the truth.
CUOMO: The NDA has no language about inability of decision, right -- which is lawyer-speak, right -- which means this can't be undone. So she could say here's $130,000. I don't want your money. I'm going to talk. AVENATTI: Well, and we attempted to do that about a week or 10 days ago. We made that offer, namely the offer where she would give the $130,000 back and all sides would agree that the agreements were null and void. She could tell her story and they could tell their story.
But they don't want that. I mean, they actually have doubled and tripled down. They're now threatening my client with over $20 million in damages for her exercising her First Amendment right.
It's really --
CUOMO: But they say that she violates the agreement every time she talks about the situation because she had cut a deal not to.
AVENATTI: Well, and our position is there never was an agreement.
[07:35:02] But the act of intimidation, the threats, putting her under their thumb continue to this very day.
Now we have a sitting U.S. president Chris who is threatening to sue a private citizen for over $20 million for talking about their relationship. It's remarkable. I don't think it's ever occurred in the history of the United States.
CUOMO: No, that may be true but, you know, welcome to the new normal and that he was a private citizen when he cut the deal and he has a right to cut these kinds of deals.
Michael Cohen says he never had any direct communications with your client, so does that mean that he can't be the person that you're talking about in terms of having threatened your client?
AVENATTI: No, I don't think it means that at all. I think that people can carry out things indirectly all the time. They don't have to carry out things directly.
But let me say this. I live in Los Angeles. This is like a bad movie set. Everybody has a stunt double on the other side of this thing.
You've got the president -- he's nowhere to be found. He's relying on his stunt double, Michael Cohen.
You've got Michael Cohen -- he's now nowhere to be found. He's relying on his stunt double, Mr. Schwartz. The next thing you know you're going to have Mr. Schwartz -- he's going to have a stunt double.
At some point, are the guys going to come out of the trailer and actually appear in person and answer questions? I mean, why are they hiding? Where are all these guys?
CUOMO: Well, that's because this, while very relevant, is not a relevant setting for a legal dispute. They're saying they'll settle it in court.
And, you know, they are hitting you with the stunt word also. You were walking around with a cut-out of his head the other night saying where is Michael Cohen. It reminds me of like a campaign trick from the 1970s. Where is my opponent?
AVENATTI: Chris --
CUOMO: Why won't they appear?
AVENATTI: Chris, I'm right here. I'm here.
CUOMO: Of course, you are. You have every reason to be on T.V.
AVENATTI: Wait a minute, wait a minute. I'm right here answering questions -- difficult questions.
CUOMO: Only the ones you want to, right? You won't say what's in the interview, you won't say what proof you have.
AVENATTI: Chris, my client sat down for a no-holds-barred interview with Anderson Cooper for an extended period of time.
Where's the president? Where's Michael Cohen? Where are these players?
You say that they say this isn't a proper forum, but Twitter is? Twitter is on all these other issues? It doesn't make any sense. These guys are --
CUOMO: Fair point. The president's not tweeting about this --
AVENATTI: And isn't that remarkable?
CUOMO: -- although Stormy Daniels is. Is that part of the strategy to try to draw him out -- is go after him on Twitter?
AVENATTI: I don't think we have to do anything to draw him out. He's nowhere to be found.
I mean, why is the president able to tweet about Russia? This morning, he threatens Joe Biden. The list goes on and on.
What is he hiding from?
CUOMO: Well, but people can't have it both ways. The criticism of the president is that he tweets about things he shouldn't that are a distraction from the business of the American people.
Do you really believe that his time would be best spent litigating some past alleged affair --
AVENATTI: Well --
CUOMO: -- instead of, you know, the national security and domestic issues of the United States' people?
AVENATTI: I mean, I think over the last 18 months he's spent a lot of time tweeting about all kinds of things that have no relevance. Whether he tweets or not is neither here nor there but at some point
in time, these guys need to step up and answer some very basic questions. What are they hiding from?
CUOMO: Well look, the litigation is the best path to that, right? I mean, if it's found to be legally sufficient then they are going to have to respond, otherwise they get defaulted on and you'll get exactly what you want. And they do seem to want to contest it in terms of bringing in counsel and preparing their own response so we'll see how that part plays out.
As to the ancillary and public part of this, you said other women have come forward to you and that you were in the course of doing vetting. That was about 10 days or so ago. What have you figured out?
AVENATTI: Well, we're still running that to ground and we're not in the position to publicly state what those allegations are and whether we find them accurate, and whether we're going to represent one or more of those women. But when we are ready to do that we'll certainly make it known.
But at this point in time, I want to preach caution. I mean, you know, when a scandal like this happens -- when something like this comes to the forefront people come out of the woodwork. People create and fabricate all kinds of things.
CUOMO: But you can't dangle them for too long. Eventually, you have to say we looked at them, they were nothing or we looked at them and these were something. You can't just dangle it out there because it's highly suggestive and prejudicial.
AVENATTI: Look, I may agree with that but 10 days isn't enough. We don't -- we don't jump to judgment that quickly.
CUOMO: And let's just jump forward a little of this category of thought that I call "so what, now what," OK?
So what, he had an affair. I think that's baked in for people on the decision of who this president was as a private citizen when they voted for him, OK?
Now, I get that there are some issues about well, what did he do as president that may have tried to silence somebody -- or a candidate for president? All right, we'll see how that plays out.
But in the end, if Stormy Daniels is free to say whatever she wants to say, what do the American people stand to learn here?
AVENATTI: Well, I think they're going to learn quite a bit. I think they're going to --
CUOMO: Other than any sordid personal affair details which I would argue I don't know how that benefits them. They may care about that than they do anything else but that doesn't mean it's the best use of people's time.
What do you think --
AVENATTI: Chris, there's --
CUOMO: -- of value to the American discourse?
AVENATTI: Chris, there are two aspects to this. There's the act, meaning the relationship with Mr. Trump, and there's the cover-up, and I think she's going to touch on both of those during the interview. Those are both, in my view, aspects that are going to be covered during the "60 MINUTES" interview.
[07:40:13] CUOMO: Yes, I know. I would hope so. I mean, Anderson Cooper is arguably the best in the business. He's going to get to what he needs to get to.
But I'm saying at the end of it, best case scenario, the cover-up is what? Somebody had an affair, they didn't want their family to know. Their friend came forward and paid for it and now we're trying to figure out whether they knew or whether that money was actually theirs.
What could be the seed that winds up being so significant to American people that they needed to know this?
AVENATTI: I think this is about engaging in thuggish behavior, threats, intimidation, and hiding the money trail. I think that --
CUOMO: So --
AVENATTI: I think ultimately Chris, that's what this is going to get to. And ultimately, we're going to ensure that the facts are known to the American people that individuals that are far more powerful than me, far more powerful than my client, they will ultimately determine whether those facts lead to something else, period.
CUOMO: All right, so we'll see Sunday, right? As far as we all know now, Sunday?
AVENATTI: As far as we know. Thank you.
CUOMO: Michael Avenatti -- and you'll come in afterwards and we'll digest what was actually out there?
CUOMO: All right. Appreciate you taking the opportunity.
AVENATTI: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right.
You're not going to want to miss this other Anderson Cooper big-time interview. Not just the one on "60 MINUTES" but he's got an interview with playmate Karen McDougal tonight at 8:00 eastern. She is the former playmate who also has a current legal action against the president -- Erica. ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Police say the Austin bomber left behind a video confession. What we are learning about a possible motive in terms of that deadly spree. A live report is next.
[07:45:25] HILL: Austin police revealing the serial bomber left behind a 25-minute video confession on his phone describing each of the bombs he built. So what else is in that video? Anything about why he terrorized the city.
CNN's Nick Valencia is live near the bomber's home. He joins us from Pflugerville, Texas now with more -- Nick.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN Good morning, Erica.
We're just a few feet away from the bomber's home, the place where police say he used to make those explosives that he used to terrorize the community over the course of the past three weeks. They're still treating it as an active crime scene, trying to glean any more information they can about this bomber.
What they did find is a 25-minute video confession, they're calling it, that he recorded on his cell phone. Police say that he recorded this because he believed that he was being cornered by police -- that police were on to him. They believe that this is his confession.
They say he talks about the six explosives he used as well as the seventh that he used to detonate while police were on to him -- while they were chasing him. He used that to kill himself, they say.
We don't really know too much about the bomber but we're starting to learn a little bit more information about his past. We know that he grew up in this area just north of Austin and that he went to -- that he was homeschooled, eventually going to Austin Community College for a couple of years. He didn't graduate there -- dropping out before he graduated.
We're also hearing a little bit from his family, including this aunt who's saying that she's saddened by this tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANEE, AUNT OF AUSTIN BOMBER MARK CONDITT (via telephone): We are devastated and broken at the news that our family member could be involved in such an awful way. We had no idea of the darkness that Mark must have been in.
Our family is a normal family in every way. We love, we pray, and we try to inspire and serve others.
Right now, our prayers are for the families who lost loved ones, for those impacted in any way, and for the soul of our Mark.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VALENCIA: Police don't believe there are any more explosives in the community but they are still telling the public to remain vigilant because they just don't know where this bomber was in his last 24 hours.
And we should mention that these attacks left two people dead, others severely injured including a 75-year-old woman who is still in the hospital recovering from her injuries -- Chris.
CUOMO: We've got to stay on that in terms of the continuing threat and the continuing people who are dealing with the outcome of this.
Nick, thank you very much.
So, police in Tempe, Arizona releasing video showing a self-driving Uber car as it hit a woman who later died. We want to warn you the video does not show the moment of impact but it could still be kind of disturbing.
The woman was crossing the street with her bike. That's when she gets hit. Police say the car was going about 40 miles an hour. Inside the car, you can see the Uber operator looking down before looking back up in shock.
Uber has temporarily halted all driverless testing.
All right, people are going to want to talk about this one. Where are you on it?
HILL: Well, it's always given me pause, quite honestly, because I get a little nervous about not having control over things.
Now you'll look and -- people will look at accident numbers and they'll look at statistics and they'll say look, the majority -- gross majority of these are caused by human error.
That being said, Toyota, yesterday, halted its testing of autonomous vehicles. Boston has asked any companies that are doing testing in that city to pause operations.
And part of the issue here is -- our technology reporter Samuel Burke was talking about this yesterday. This technology isn't necessarily designed for residential streets. It's designed for highways and to recognize maybe lines on a road and other cars, but not to recognize pedestrians.
CUOMO: A.I. -- this is a big part of the discussion -- artificial intelligence and how it works. Technology is the future.
CUOMO: This is going to come. How it's researched, how it's developed, how it's put into place, those are all going to be the variables.
You're going to see a harsh reaction right now. It will be back. It's the future.
HILL: A provocative new piece detailing Jared Kushner's relationship with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince. Why the royal reportedly told people he's got Kushner in his pocket. That's next.
[07:53:27] CUOMO: All right.
Interesting piece in "The Intercept" that could shed new light on the close relationship that has developed between Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Jared Kushner. What does "The Intercept" have? Well, they're reporting that the Crown Prince is boasting to the Emirati Crown Prince and others that Kushner was quote "in his pocket."
Joining us now is one of the authors of this report, "The Intercept's D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim. Ryan, thank you for joining us.
RYAN GRIM, D.C. BUREAU CHIEF, "THE INTERCEPT", AUTHOR, "THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY ON DRUGS": Hey, thanks for having me.
CUOMO: So, the Crown -- the prince is saying I have Kushner in my pocket because?
GRIM: His evidence is that when I met with him in late October of this year he brought me the names of political dissidents within the royal family and other elites in Saudi society that U.S. intelligence had collected and determined were kind of skeptical of the Crown Prince's rapid rise.
A week later is when this famous kind of Ritz royal roundup happened where they turned the Ritz Carlton Riyadh into a -- into a prison for his cousins and his -- you know, other people close to him. And so he said look, Jared Kushner aided me in this -- in this crackdown.
And what we've independently confirmed is that there was, indeed, an intelligence report that had a list of names of Saudi royals who were skeptical of Mohammed bin Salman --
GRIM: -- and that Kushner was in those briefings, and that he has shown a particular interest in intelligence briefings around the Middle East
[07:55:02] What precisely happened in these meetings between Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman that went until 4:00 a.m. we know, we don't know precisely. But we do know that that's what happened on both sides of it.
CUOMO: So you've got some circumstantial evidence and then you're going to have a question of correlation versus causation, and that is articulated here as so if these names were provided and Kushner knew them, do you know that he told the prince about those names? And even if he did, was it acceptable for him to do so under some type of condition of their agreement? Anything on those? GRIM: Right. So there's -- there would be two levels of that.
If Kushner had the permission of the foreign policy apparatus, or the president, or both, then he would be completely within his legal right to share those and it would be an expression of kind of a covert U.S. foreign policy to help Mohammad bin Salman solidify power and crack down on corruption in his country.
That would be a remarkable development. It would be -- you know, it would be U.S. interference in Saudi Arabia's internal politics.
If however, he was doing it on his own because he thought it was a good idea, then it does implicate some handling of classified information laws.
CUOMO: Now, is there another potential level to this of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and ongoing matters there, including with Kushner where his father may have been working Qatar to get money for one of their properties and how that works with this.
Is there any connection to those in your reporting?
GRIM: Well, all of -- all of Kushner's activities in the Gulf are seen by a lot of observers through this light because we know that Jared Kushner remains a major partner in Kushner Companies --
GRIM: -- real estate firm that is -- they are deeply underwater on their 666 Fifth Avenue property. This is kind of -- Jared Kushner's kind of touchstone purchase back in 2007. And if that goes down it could bring the entire Kushner Companies with it.
We know from previous reporting that Charles Kushner, in April of 2017, directly pitched the Qatar government for money to bail out this project. Qatar said no and just weeks later Kushner took the Saudi's side in a diplomatic dispute when Saudi and the UAE blockaded Qatar.
And so then several months later you have this continuing pro-Saudi effort on behalf of Kushner so it absolutely does raise questions of whether this was part of U.S. foreign policy or whether it was part of the global expedition to acquire refinancing funds for this underwater property.
CUOMO: Now, his lawyers say they're not even going to dignify these questions so they didn't answer them.
You have more digging to do in, so do the rest of us. Appreciate you giving us a couple of pieces to the puzzle here, Ryan.
But if nothing else, we're once again dealing with the manifestation of the problems created by apparent conflicts of interest. And that's something new in our government to have people who are so prominent on the business side and have those affairs now, whether intentionally or unintentionally, leak into their public work as well.
Ryan Grim, thank you very much for bringing us what you have -- appreciate it.
CUOMO: All right, be well.
We're following a lot of news. It is a big headline morning for you on Thursday. So what do you say, let's get after it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook knew about this in December 2015.
MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: This was a major breach of trust. I'm really sorry that this happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a moment of crisis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have learned that Robert Mueller's team has indicated four main areas that investigators would like to speak with the president about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These questions all focus on whether Donald Trump himself obstructed justice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a saying the cover-up is worse than the crime.
BRIAN MANLEY, CHIEF, AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT, AUSTIN, TEXAS: We have located a 25-minute recording where he talks about what he has done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we don't know what the motive was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our biggest concern was to make sure that nobody else gets hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, March 22nd, 8:00 in the east.
Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me now.
And after days of silence, Facebook's CEO speaking out for the first time and doing it with CNN. And remember, this is days after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.
The data firm with ties to Trump's campaign improperly obtained private information of millions of Facebook users. That much we know but there's a lot we don't.
And now, Mark Zuckerberg is apologizing and vowing to prevent his from ever happening again.
HILL: Meantime, CNN has learned special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is interested in asking President Trump about four topics if he sits down with them for an interview.