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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
WSJ: President Has Asked Advisers Whether He Should Publicly Fight Affair Allegations; Whistleblowers: Super PAC Run By National Security Pick John Bolton Used Compromised Facebook Data; Newtown Shooting Survivor To March In Washington; Justice Dept. Moves To Ban Bump Stocks; 12-Yr-Old Sandy Hook Shooting Survivor Will March Tomorrow. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 23, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:01] BURNETT: And that was Dianne Gallagher. And tomorrow, don't miss our special coverage, and more of Dianne's report on the march on CNN. "AC 360" starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the deafening silence from President Trump and the White House on the two women, two this week alone saying that they had an affairs with Mr. Trump just months after his son Barron was born.
Last night in this broadcast a former Playboy model named Karen McDougal went into great detail about what she said was a 10-month intimate relationship with Mr. Trump, and Stormy Daniels whose conversation with me airs Sunday night on "60 Minutes."
Not only has there been deafening silence from the White House, we also reports that the White House is trying to alter the news cycle to keep the stories out of the headlines. We'll have more on that in a second.
But today, after signing a bill to fund the government, which by the way, in the space of a few days he endorsed and threatened to veto then didn't veto in the end, the president was asked three questions. Two about the bill which he answered and one he did not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all very much.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, is Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal lying about the affairs?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, on the way out to Marine One, the same story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, is Karen McDougal telling the truth, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, any comment on Mrs. McDougal?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you watch "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Mr. President? Will you watch "60 minutes," Mr. President?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the president also ignored questions at Joint Base Andrews taking the long way to avoid members of the press. This of course is a president who, as you know, doesn't shy away from speaking his mind about even the most serious allegations against him, including allegations of sexual misconduct. He is, however, silent about the alleged relationship Karen McDougal says she had with him, though in the past Hope Hicks has denied there was any relationship at all.
Here's some of what Miss McDougal told me yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Were you attracted to him?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: I was attracted to him, yes. He's a nice looking man and, you know, I liked his charisma. I think love, you know, good, great posture. He's got great posture. And he was nice.
COOPER: So does the -- the sex was consensual? Just to be clear.
MCDOUGAL: It was consensual, yes.
COOPER: And what happened afterward?
MCDOUGAL: After that night?
COOPER: You said you sort of ended on a strange note. So what happened after you had been intimate?
MCDOUGAL: Well, after we had been intimate, he -- he tried to pay me. And I actually didn't know how to take that.
COOPER: Did he actually try to hand you money?
MCDOUGAL: He did. He did. And I said, I mean, I just had this look of, I don't know. Just -- I don't even know how to describe the look on my face must have been so sad because I had never been offered money like that before, number one. But number two, I thought, does he think I'm in this for money or why I'm here tonight? Or is this a normal thing? I didn't know.
But I looked at him and I said, that's not me. I'm not that kind of girl. And he said, oh, and he said, you're really special, and I was like, thank you. So I left. I actually got in the car, told Keith to take me home and I started crying. And I was really sad. And it really hurt me. But I went back. COOPER: Hurt you that he saw you in that way?
MCDOUGAL: Yes. It hurt me that he saw me in that light. And he obviously assumed that that's the kind of girl I was. Maybe because I was a Playmate, I don't know. But --
COOPER: Even though you'd a night of conversation and days of conversations, it hurt you that it boiled down in the end to that.
MCDOUGAL: It did hurt me. It did hurt me. I was crying in the backseat of the car. Like I said, I got home and -- to my apartment and I cried for a lot. I felt really terrible about myself, let alone what he felt, but I felt terrible about myself. And, you know, I got over it, but it did hurt.
COOPER: As you enter a relationship, obviously in any relationship, you start to think about where this is going to go and how you feel. How did you view it? How did you view the relationship?
MCDOUGAL: You know, going through it, when I look back where I was back then, I know it's wrong. Look, I'm really sorry for that. I know it's a wrong thing to do. But back in those days -- sorry.
COOPER: It's OK.
MCDOUGAL: Back in that day, I was a different girl. You know, I had fun. I was in the Playboy scene. I was just enjoying life as much as I could. And you know, when I got with him, I actually, you know, there was a real relationship there. There were real feelings between the two of us, not just myself, not just him. There was a real relationship there. And I kind of out of sight, out of mind with everything else. And you know, deep inside, I did have a lot of guilt, but I still continued.
COOPER: You believe, though, that he had real feelings for you?
MCDOUGAL: Of course he did. Mm-hmm. I know he did.
COOPER: He would say it then?
[20:05:02] MCDOUGAL: He did.
COOPER: Were you in love with him?
MCDOUGAL: I was, yes. Mm-hmm.
COOPER: And do you think he was in love with you?
MCDOUGAL: He was, yes.
COOPER: Did Donald Trump ever say to you that he loved you?
MCDOUGAL: All the time. He always told me he loved me. Yes. Of course.
COOPER: So where is this picture from? MCDOUGAL: That picture is from "The Apprentice" release party that
they had at the Playboy Mansion. So they filmed it like a month beforehand, which is where I met him. And then they had the release party when "The Apprentice" actually aired. So that's when that one was.
COOPER: So this is a picture with Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump, several of your colleagues and yourself.
COOPER: Did -- so was that the first time you met Melania?
MCDOUGAL: It is, and honestly, if you can tell, I tried to keep my distance. I tried to go as far away as I could just because I felt guilty.
COOPER: Do you think she knew?
MCDOUGAL: You know, maybe. Maybe. I don't know. You know it was told to me that they were arguing that night. And I said why. And somebody had said, probably because of you. But I don't know if that's a fact or not, so don't quote me on that one.
COOPER: There's another picture with -- it's you with Eric Trump. Do you know where that is from?
MCDOUGAL: I believe that's from the Trump Vodka release party that he had which was within a couple of days of that other party.
COOPER: Did it feel strange to meet his son? Eric?
MCDOUGAL: It did. But he is such a friendly guy. Like, again, when you're doing something wrong, you try and push everything out of the way and make it as right as you can in your mind. So I met, you know, all his kids, except for Barron, of course. And I just tried to shake it. But now it gets to me, but then it didn't.
COOPER: Did he ever compare you to any of his kids?
MCDOUGAL: You know, he's very proud of Ivanka as he should be. 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.
COOPER: Did you think maybe this would lead to a marriage?
COOPER: That's something, though, you liked him enough, that's something you would have liked?
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)
COOPER: Well, the White House press conference scheduled for 1:00 today was canceled. The issue was sure to come up. Then the president tweeted he would have a press conference today, which raised the possibility that he himself would take questions on it, but it was not a press conference at all. As you saw he answered two questions off mic and avoided the third about Miss McDougal.
We asked for a statement but still haven't gotten it, and quite understandably, no statement today from the first lady, who hosted what was billed as a Woman of Courage event at the State Department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Let us think for a moment about what courage truly is. Courage is the quality most needed in this world. Yet it is often the hardest to find. Courage sets apart those who believe in higher calling and those who act on it. It takes courage not only to see wrong but strive to right it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The first lady did tweet out a photo yesterday. She and the president with a snowy lawn in the background. It should be noted she doesn't send out a lot of tweets of pictures with her husband and she sent this one about 10 hours before the McDougal interview hit.
Also yesterday, the official White House schedule came out saying the first couple would depart the White House together. Today they did not. However in Florida tonight it was family all the way down the stairs, the president, the first lady, and their son. As for the departure, though, CNN reached out to had first lady's communications office for an explanation or comment on that change but did not receive a response.
Perhaps most surprisingly our Jeff Zeleny has been told by sources that the president's announcement of a new National Security adviser yesterday, John Bolton, just days after dumping his secretary of State, was done in part to take the spotlight off the interview with Karen McDougal.
If Jeff Zeleny's sources are correct, that would be an extraordinary move, even for this president, announcing the replacement of one of the president's top advisers on issues with global and national security, at least in part to deflect from a former Playboy model talking about a 12-year-old alleged affair. [20:10:01] Our Jeff Zeleny did the reporting on the curious timing of
the Bolton story, who's also the one trying to get answers from the president today. Jeff joins us now from the White House.
The president obviously not wanting to say anything at all about this today.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, he did not. We asked him questions, shouted questions to him as he was leaving the White House South Lawn. At the end of a very busy day here, a very -- you know, a tumultuous week here, clearly did not want to answer these questions.
It was notable that he was walking alone. Melania Trump, the first lady, was -- arrived separately to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. We, of course, saw them departing there in West Palm Beach, Florida, but certainly, there was a sense here today, Anderson, that this was a different moment.
And as for the announcement of John Bolton, I was told by administration officials that this did play a part in it. It was always scheduled to happen, but it was going to be announced as part of a bigger group of announcements.
Now, of course, the president controls the timing on all of this. He was also furious this week about a leak from the Vladimir Putin phone call, when he was told not to congratulate him. So many things played a role in this. But I am told the president, as we know, watches cable television, and other television, and reads many newspapers, was keying in to this, and clearly was eager to change the subject.
Anderson, certainly, as the family -- the Trump family is in Mar-a- Lago for the weekend, it's unknown what the status of their time together will be. Of course, we'll be watching for the president on social media, other places, but certainly, this had a different feeling today here at the White House -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Jeff, appreciate that.
In just the last few moments, we've gotten some breaking news on this silence from the president. The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting that the president has been asking advisers whether he should break it and publicly fight the allegations. The "Journal" is reporting that those advisers have told him there's no sign the allegations are hurting him with voters and have warned him that it would look inappropriate for the president to engage in a public spat with, among others, a former film star, talking about Stormy Daniels.
Let's get perspective now from CNN political analyst, Maggie Haberman. She competes with the "Journal" in her job as "New York Times'" White House correspondent.
Maggie, thanks for being with us.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
COOPER: I saw you on "NEW DAY" this morning. You were talking about exactly what the "Journal" is now reporting tonight.
COOPER: About advisers telling him that there is no upside to coming out on this.
HABERMAN: And there really isn't. I mean, look, he has been cautioned over time that there's no upside to a lot of the fights that he picks and he usually can't help himself. He has been pretty restrained this time. Him asking advisers about what he should do, and that is something he has been doing for a while, but I think that he is watching night by night, your interview with Miss McDougal.
I think he is watching all of us talking and saying he's being really silent. And then that makes him think, maybe I shouldn't do it. So then he asked his advisers what he should do. I expect that he is going to stay silent for as long as he can. As long as he can keep himself from doing it.
This is a very unusual feeling for him, to have to just sit and kind of absorb things. To have to bring the press along with him on a plane. Normally, he can block people out and handle things as he wants on his terms. Can't do that as president. And so I think this is just a challenge for him.
COOPER: Well, especially, I man, and regarding Stormy Daniels with this interview, which has been, you know, two weeks coming and the attorney for Stormy Daniels has been very public, you know, challenging in a very public way.
HABERMAN: Baiting him, yes.
COOPER: And that's got to be very difficult for this president, for this White House.
HABERMAN: It's as we know an incredibly reactive White House, which we have seen once again this morning when the president threatened to veto essentially because he was watching and hearing criticism of the spending bill coming from his political base. He looks at TV, and he responds to it. He hears what's being said and responds to it, so yes, he has been baited repeatedly by the lawyer for Stormy Daniels who is essentially -- Michael Avenatti, who's saying, you know, he tweeted out I think a picture of a CD that he did last night, which he then said today was -- contained proof of some kind of an affair.
And he essentially taunted the president to keep going. The president on that one, he has become part of this arbitration case. So he is actually joining that fight in a pretty public way. It's dramatic for him to be suing somebody for damages in this way. While then sort of saying I know nothing about it and this isn't true. I think that the longer this goes on, I think the harder it is going to be for him to stay quiet.
COOPER: You know, it was interesting just hearing Jeff Zeleny's reporting that sources of his are telling him that at least in part that the timing, the way the Bolton announcement was made, may have had something to do with the interview last night. You actually talked about that yesterday as a possibility. And I got to say, when you said it, I kind of thought, there's no way that would actually --
HABERMAN: You had surprise in your voice.
COOPER: I did. The idea that he would affect an announcement based on, you know, an interview with somebody whose story has been out there.
HABERMAN: Right. Sure.
COOPER: But this was the first time she was talking on television, and yet Jeff is reporting what you intimated yesterday.
HABERMAN: Look, I don't think that was the only reason.
HABERMAN: But I do think that that was certainly an added benefit. John Bolton, remember, and he was -- and John Bolton was public about this.
[20:15:04] He didn't expect to be offered this job when he was. He didn't hear anything from the White House for a while until suddenly getting this call the day before yesterday, please be in the Oval Office.
This is a president who is pretty aware of what is taking place on television. It is hard to believe that he was not aware of this.
COOPER: The other question, then that means, I mean, Sunday for the "60 Minutes" interview --
HABERMAN: Buckle up? I mean, yes. I mean, I think that he could do something. He could just let it ride. I think that one is going to be really hard for him not to challenge. I found your interview with Miss McDougal, it was sad. There was sort of a sadness about it. I think that Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti in that case have been much more in the president's face. And I could see him reacting more to that.
COOPER: Yes. The story -- well, it was also interesting, Miss McDougal, I mean, clearly this was a 10-month long, according to her, relationship in which she felt love toward him. She claims he felt love toward her as well.
So you had a story earlier this month about the president's legal team shake-up. And I am reminded by what the president's response to that story was, saying, "The failing 'New York Times' purposely wrote a false story stating that I'm unhappy with my legal team on the Russian case. I'm going to add another lawyer to help out. Wrong, I'm very happy with my lawyers. John Dowd, Ty Cobb, Jay Sekulow."
COOPER: Went on to complain about you. Of course, your reporting. This is just yet another example of you reporting something accurately. The president attacking it as fake news. In particular, naming John Dowd. John Dowd left yesterday.
HABERMAN: Yes. John Dowd --
COOPER: There's been reporting on HR McMaster, when he would go.
HABERMAN: Yes. "The Washington Post" story.
COOPER: Right. Fake news.
HABERMAN: No, it was accurate. It was accurate.
COOPER: Allegations -- Tillerson, which has been going on for quite some time.
COOPER: Again, all of this stuff. At a certain point, you would think either the president or maybe the people around him already do, would realize that the more he calls stuff fake news that then is revealed by his own actions to be true days later, the less credible he becomes.
HABERMAN: He doesn't care. They're trapped in his unreality bubble. And one of the things that I think has come up repeatedly is two things. We know that he likes to test the limits. And if he sees he can get away with something, he will keep doing it. If he can keep talking publicly and intimating that he's going to maybe shut down the Mueller investigation, even without saying that, and the Republican leadership in Congress doesn't more vocally challenge him, he'll just keep doing it.
You know, in terms of his staff, his staff has gotten a lot of criticism for -- you know, we have all written about this one went out and lied. This one went out and lied. In some cases, people are lying. In some in cases people are told a lie by him, and they don't know. That's not a reason to stay in a job, but it ultimately all goes back to him. This is how he does things.
He clearly, when they yell fake news, it is very hard to take it seriously. He believes that he has a base that is essentially always going to be with him and believe whatever he says about these stories. And that's what he's banking on. It's really hard to get re-elected without expanding your base, but that is clearly if he runs for re- election, how he's going to do it.
COOPER: Maggie Haberman, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
HABERMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, perspective from two Republicans. A former Trump aide and one of the president's critics.
Later, breaking news on guns as we go into this weekend's march in Washington and other cities, action from the administration on bump stocks.
[20:22:10] COOPER: The breaking news, late reporting the "Wall Street Journal" along with similar reporting earlier from CNN and "New York Times's" Maggie Haberman that the president is being told to stay silent on affair allegations. His aides saying there's no evidence it's hurting him among voters. He and his wife and son arrived in Florida a short ago for a weekend at Mar-a-Lago and those allegations may make it difficult -- a difficult weekend certainly for the first couple.
Last night, as you know, former Playboy model revealed details of what she says was a 10-month long intimate relationship that began shortly after Melania Trump gave birth. And on Sunday night on "60 Minutes" my conversation with Stormy Daniels will air. She's the adult film actress who says she too had an intimate encounter with the president shortly after Melania Trump gave birth.
Karen McDougal pointed out last night she is a Republican and voted for the president even after hearing the "Access Hollywood" tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCDOUGAL: I voted for the president, I voted for Donald. Why would I want to damage him? That's my party, Republican Party. That's my president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, joining us now, GOP strategist and Trump critic Rick Wilson. Also former Trump lawyer, White House lawyer, James Schultz.
Appreciate both of you being with us.
Rick, we talked about this last night on the program, that voters -- Americans elect a president, say that, you know, voters elect a president, not a pastor-in-chief. Is there a red line here, you think?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think one of the things we're going to really test here in the next few days, Anderson, is the fact that voters sort of internalize that Donald Trump was kind of a skeezbag in the campaign, but they didn't have it in their face. They didn't have these women telling their stories as directly as they are now with what looks like emergent evidence of these affairs and these engagements with these women.
And I think it's a little bit more of a test now, particularly for his evangelical base because, you know, if you look at the situation holistically, you know, if Stormy Daniels and the new person that came out yesterday, they're not the last. They're the beginning of the beginning, not the beginning of the end.
COOPER: Jim, I mean, is there a point, you think, at which the president's supporters will start to care about all this? Because that's -- you know, we talked about it last night. A lot of evangelical voters and leaders have said, again, you know, we're not looking for a pastor-in-chief.
JAMES SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Yes, I think this is somewhat old news.
WILSON: It is --
SCHULTZ: I mean, we walked through this time and time -- we walked through this during the campaign cycle. And during the campaign cycle, this was -- these issues have come up time and time again, including the Billy Bush, and that was in your face as in your face as they come, and the voters didn't care. We've seen it develop. I mean, the news media has been hitting this for the last 30 days and his numbers continue to go up.
With the evangelical base, I think time will tell, but what the evangelical base seems to care about are conservative judges like Neil Gorsuch and the Circuit Court judges that we put on the court, the president's put on the court, and also looking at the religious liberty issues and the success that we've had in this administration on religious liberty.
I think they're going to be looking at those issues and him keeping his promises and less about these issues that took place years and years ago. And maybe there are some more to come out in terms of allegations, but I'm not sure it's going to matter.
[20:25:04] COOPER: Yes, Rick, I mean, it's interesting hearing Karen McDougal who is, you know, a female Republican who voted for the president, even knowing what she says she personally knew about the president and the relationship they had, and obviously, the "Access Hollywood" tape.
So if it doesn't -- didn't matter to her in terms of who she voted for, I'm wondering just on women voters, Republican women voters, who voted for the president the first time, whether, you know, it will have some sort of cumulative effect or not.
WILSON: Well, if you look at the polling right now, you've already seen Republican women voters very much walking back from the party in a lot of the elections we've had in the 2017 and 2018 window so far.
Republican women, particularly college educated Republican women, are the president's weakest supporters inside the Republican cohort, and in fact they pretty much flipped over. So I think that the continued pressure of these stories, and again, you know, the point was made that we saw this during Billy Bush. No, we didn't actually. We heard it.
And I think if we're going to see these women giving their testimony and I think if we're going to see the women producing documentary evidence, it's a totally different situation for the president.
I also think that there may be a moment, and I don't want to be too flippant about this, but it's kind of horrible to contemplate, but if there are naked pictures of the president, that's going to be a news story that blows up the world. And it's going to be a problem. And I also think that the legal overhead of this, the constant back and forth with his incompetent legal team with Michael Cohen and those folks, that just drags the story on and on and on. It's like a bleeding chest wound. The guy just -- his own lawyers can't get him out of the way of this problem.
COOPER: Jim, just on the legal --
SCHULTZ: And I think the other --
COOPER: Go ahead, Jim.
SCHULTZ: I think on the legal front, and on all the other crowd noise that's going on day and day out in news cycle after news cycle, whether it's Russia or Stormy Daniels or the substantive issues that are going on, tax reform, North Korea, all the things that are happening at one time, I don't think there's one particular issue that's breaking through and really resonating with voters at this point, as it relates to -- I mean, the president's numbers are going up.
COOPER: Rick, it is interesting, you know, "Wall Street Journal" reporting tonight about what the president's advisers are telling him about not to respond. Maggie Haberman was talking about that early this morning. CNN had that in some ways as well.
Does that advice make sense to you? I mean, it's -- I suppose it's kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't. But for a sitting president to be, you know, trying to go after a -- you know, an adult film actress.
COOPER: How -- what would you advise him?
WILSON: Particularly this president -- I mean, look, I'm not an attorney so I can't speak to that aspect of it, but it seems to me just intuitively, don't drag the story out and make it even more the centerpiece of everybody's attention. And so don't tweet at them.
We know that this president, though, has a very short attention span and a very poor sense of Twitter discipline. And so I think that at some point if the legal heat rises, that it's going to be difficult. I think Sunday night is going to be a very uncomfortable evening in the Trump household. And if I was him, I'd be the exact opposite end of Mar-a-Lago when this interview is airing from Melania.
COOPER: We have to leave it there. Rick Wilson, James Schultz, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Coming up, part of Karen McDougal's story and her lawsuit involves a tabloid maneuver called catch and kill. Buying the rights to a story just to keep it from coming out and embarrassing someone else.
Ronan Farrow first reported that's what happened with Karen McDougal last month. He reported that in the "New Yorker." Ronan joins us next. We're going to hear more about what she said about her story.
[20:32:01] COOPER: The case of former Playboy model Karen McDougal, put a spotlight on a tabloid practice known as catch and kill. Buying someone story just to bury it. McDougal says, that is what happened to her with AMI, the parent company of the "National Enquirer", led by a longtime friend and associate of Donald Trump.
Ronan Farrow was the first to obtain Karen McDougal's own notes that detailed her alleged affair with Donald Trump. It was a -- in a detailed piece for the "New Yorker" last month. I'll speak with Ronan in just a moment.
But first, listen to what Karen McDougal told me last night.
COOPER: Why do you think it was that it was after Donald Trump was the Republican nominee that they came back?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, ACTRESS: They wanted some squash the story.
COOPER: You're saying they wanted to protect Donald Trump.
MCDOUGAL: I'm assuming so, yes. It was more about the way it's presented. It was more about protecting me. It was more about, we don't want to tarnish your image. We want to keep your brand wholesome and whole. So I'm like, that's awesome. You know, that's great. So that's the way I perceived this contract. It was a win- win, like I said.
COOPER: Have you ever heard the term that point, catch and kill?
MCDOUGAL: No, I'm not.
COOPER: Do you know what catch and kill is now?
MCDOUGAL: I do now, yes.
COOPER: Ronan Farrow joins me now. Ronan, you know, your piece at the "New Yorker" really opened a lot of people's eyes to this whole idea of catch and kill and to Karen McDougal's story. She wouldn't go into detail with you at that time about her alleged relationship with Trump or the deal she signed with AMI. I wonder what you heard from her yesterday, if anything stuck out to you?
RONAN FARROW, JOURNALIST, THE NEW YORKER: So, look. In both of these pieces of coverage of her story, we got this sort of gory details, if you will, of this affair.
I think what you were smart and doing and what certainly the focus of my story about Karen McDougal was in turning the attention to the systems that this reveals. And that was a key concern for Karen McDougal herself.
You know, she said on the record in that story that I wrote, I want to warn other women about this practice. And about a set of contracts that she ultimately found onerous and exploitative. Now she's talked to you. She has filed a complaint legally where she wants to sue AMI, and she's really going on the offensive on the basis of that argument.
If you look at that complaint, Anderson, there is a very clear articulation of a public policy argument, saying this is something that suppressed the marketplace of free ideas that distorted an election, possibly.
COOPER: But, you know, Karen McDougal says that in the deal with AMI, she was aware they were not going to run her story. And in fact, she says she was glad that they were going to bury it. And obviously, she was also glad to get money for that and what she said she was promised about kind of a new potential career as a writer. You know, as sort of an expert on aging and health. I guess that's the other side of this. That some people who want to keep a damaging story from coming out or a story that may affect their family, but still want money, the catch and kill can work for them in that way.
FARROW: So look, there are lawyers, if you talk to Gloria Allred or a number of the prominent people who make their living off deals, a various kinds in this space who say, look, confidentiality and making sure stories don't come out can be to the benefit of individuals in a lot of cases.
[20:35:12] What Karen McDougal reveals is that actually this can have a heavy burden overtime. She readily admits she was an adult, she signed this agreement. She knew at the time that it was likely that AMI was not going to run this story, but she also had to deal with some changing circumstances since then. This is now the president of the United States. That is a much heavier burden to not talk about your president.
COOPER: It's also interesting, and you first reported this in the "New Yorker", she talked about it last night, is sort of the way the system that it seems allegedly Donald Trump had in place with Keith Schiller to handle women who he may have been involved with, whether it's having in Karen McDougal case, she would pay for her own flights, book her own hotel rooms and then be reimbursed, she said, by President Trump. Oftentimes, you know, Keith Schiller would be a go- between, picking people up or phone calls would be made to Keith Schiller in order to communicate with Donald Trump.
FARROW: I think Karen's conversations with both of us reveal a very well oiled machine. And that's the secret meetings. It's the body guard. It's the in the moment concealment that you just described. And it's also this complicated legal system. In which a lot of actors, including AMI, have dirt on the President according to these allegations.
And a pretty wide circle of AMI sources that we talked to said this was a repeat practice. And that they had concerns, having seen this play out with other prominent people that they caught and killed for, that this gave AMI leverage over the president. That was a term that was used a lot.
COOPER: Which is particularly -- I mean, if that is in fact the case, and AMI has files of negative information about the man who is now the President of the United States, that is a comp -- potentially compromising situation.
FARROW: It's pretty unusual for a sitting President of the United States, and it gives a lot of influence and power to the people the public did elect. And I point out that the heart of the dispute that Karen McDougal is now involved in with AMI is about whether she can or can't speak.
Now, her representatives say she can't speak because behind closed doors, AMI is saying we will drag you into arbitration, there will be legal retaliation. We'll see what plays out after this interview that she gave with you. They certainly, according to her account words, thrilled after the interview she gave to me.
However, AMI says she can speak. And the one thing I want to point out is that, what's not in dispute Anderson, is that at the time of the election, she could not speak. Their whole argument is premised on an amendment that was made after the election. So to the extent that this was indeed an attempt to shield the president, in that crucial window, it appears to have succeeded.
COOPER: Ronan Farrow, again, appreciate the reporting. And it's in the "New Yorker". People can go and look at Ronan's original reporting this week. Thank you, Ronan.
We just got an answer to a question that Rick Wilson asked before the break. Where will the President and First Lady be when the Stormy Daniels interview airs Sunday night in "60 Minutes"? The president will be back in Washington.
Kate Bennett reports that Melania Trump still will be in Florida on a prescheduled week spring break with their son in Mar-a-Lago.
Up next, this breaking news. The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower speaking to CNN saying new White House national security adviser, John Bolton also has ties to the firm and it was one of the first clients to use improper obtained Facebook data from millions of Americans. Details on that, coming up.
Also, a programming note, this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. on CNN, don't miss the "Original Series American Dynasties: The Kennedys". You'll see how President John F. Kennedy dealt with his own Russia problem. Here's a preview.
(BEGINNING VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know their name. You don't know their whole story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An historic in Soviet Palace, the state dinner brings Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy and Mr. and Mrs. Khrushchev together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Away from the banquets and the cameras, Jack has a serious mission in Vienna.
Both sides have enough missiles to destroy the entire world.
Kennedy intends to make a deal on nuclear disarmament, but the Soviet leader makes an impossible demand. He wants Kennedy to surrender the western sector of Berlin. Despite his best efforts, Jack is humiliated. He leaves the summit having achieved nothing.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35TH PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I will tell you now that it was a very sober two days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: JFK learns winning power is one thing. Wielding is another.
[20:43:16] COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight the Cambridge Analytica clients or employees with ties to the Trump White House is growing. In addition to the Trump 2016 campaign which hired the firm, senior staffer Kellyanne Conway and former White House strategist Steve Bannon each worked for Cambridge. Now, there's John Bolton, who the President has tap as his new National Security adviser.
CNN has learned from two former Cambridge Analytica employees that Bolton hired the firm to do work for his political action committee and was one of its earliest clients to benefit from compromised Facebook data.
The details from CNN senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cambridge Analytica's work for the John Bolton Super PAC was the very beginning of using improperly obtained Facebook data from tens of millions of Americans, according to whistleblower Chris Wylie.
CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, FMR EMPLOYEE, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: They were one of the first clients of Cambridge Analytica to buy into the psychographic messaging that was developed using the 50 million Facebook profiles that were misappropriated.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): A spokesman for John Bolton's Super PAC denies knowing of any alleged impropriety by Cambridge Analytica, and the contract stipulates that Cambridge Analytica would follow the law and obtain all necessary permits.
That contract obtain by CNN, shows the Bolton Super PAC in 2014 initially paid Cambridge Analytica more than $450,000 for behavioral micro targeting with psychographic messaging. In other words, using data in an entirely new way.
(on-camera): So, you're not trying to change people's votes or win people's votes at that time? Or either minds? WYLIE: You change their perspective. We want to change their perspective -- we want to change their perspective and change how they see things. This is a really key elements of what Cambridge Analytica could dive (ph).
[20:45:04] GRIFFIN (voice-over): For example, Cambridge Analytica had used Facebook data to identify groups in Arkansas like this so-called cluster, mostly male, 40 to 60 years old, that would be most influenced by imagery that depicts politicians getting jobs done with subjects like economy and national security.
According to Wylie, that information from Facebook was then used to create specific ads targeting those people whose personality traits they had just uncovered. Like this 2014 ad, Bolton's Super PAC created to support Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton in his race for senate.
JOHN BOLTON, AMERICAN DIPLOMAT: He'll project U.S. strength at home and abroad.
GRIFFIN (on-camera): So one neighbor might get a different message from the second neighbor.
WYLIE: Yes, exactly. It's not even neighbors, they might be some people in the same house to get a different message. The messaging would be crafted to pick at underlying mental vulnerabilities.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Cambridge Analytica was the brain child of Steve Bannon and funded by Republican Conservative billionaires Rebecca and Robert Mercer. Since 2014, Robert Mercer has donated $5 million to John Bolton's Super PAC. The Super PAC in turn has spent $1.2 million on contracts with Cambridge Analytica.
COOPER: And Drew joins us from London. So Cambridge Analytica is not just under fire in United States, also in London where you are.
GRIFFIN: Yes Anderson, and tonight, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office had a search warrant to executed on Cambridge Analytica as headquarters, part of its investigation into whether the company misled the government here and to see if Facebook data may have been illegally acquired and used. That is going on right now.
COOPER: The Company already suspended their CEO. What's the reaction they did that?
GRIFFIN: Late this afternoon, Cambridge Analytica sent a statement saying it is not this politically motivated unethical company -- excuse me, Anderson, that some have a lot to portray. As for Christopher Wylie, this is what they say "The source of allegations against the company is not a whistleblower or a founder of the company. Christopher Wylie", the company says, "was just a part-time contractor who left in July 2014. Has no direct knowledge of our work or practices since that date." Anderson, I can tell you, lawmakers here in London and the United States are demanding Cambridge Analytica explain exactly what its practices are and where all that personal data came from.
COOPER: All right, Drew. And more than ahead, no doubt. Thanks very much.
Coming up tomorrow is the "March for Our Lives" in Washington, organized by the students from Stoneman Douglas High School and others. We'll introduce you to another young survivor who plans to go to the march, from Newtown, the survivor of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, five and a half years ago. Followed by a special hour, "The Parkland Diaries".
[20:51:28] COOPER: Breaking news to tell you about tonight in the gun control battle. The Justice Department is moving to effectively ban all bump stocks. In a press release, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the proposal, which would change ATF regulations to make bump stocks fall within the definition of a machine gun under a Federal Law.
The President also announced it on Twitter, on the eve of marches organized by the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and others.
Coming up at the top of the hour, we have a special report we put together, documentary with the help and grace of six of those survivors. In video diaries, they've documented their grief, and their pain, and their determination to turn that pain into the change they want to see. You can see their stories coming up in our special report "The Parkland Diaries."
Tomorrow, they along with countless others will take part in what is being billed as the "March for Our Lives" in Washington and other marches around the country. Among them will be another survivor, a girl who has been a shooting survivor for about half of her young life. Five and a half years ago, she was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Randi Kaye tonight, has more.
LAUREN MILGRAM, SHOOTING SURVIVOR, SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: We can't keep living like this.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 12-year-old Lauren Milgram, it's just that simple, no more guns certainly not in school. And tomorrow in Washington, D.C. she'll make her voice heard. For Lauren, this is personal. Five and a half years ago she was in her first grade classroom when a gunman opened fire in her school, Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. By the time it was over, the shooter had fired at least 150 shots, taking the lives of 20 children, first graders and kindergartners as well as six adults. Lauren's quick-thinking teacher hid all 15 of her students in a tiny bathroom off the classroom, saving all of their lives and her own. Today Lauren and that teacher are still friends.
(on-camera): Do you feel like you're closer to her, you know, because of everything?
L. MILGRAM: I am.
KAYE (on-camera): I mean, you really have a nice friendship?
L. MILGRAM: I mean an experience like this it really does bring people together.
KAYE (voice-over): The "March for Our Lives" will be bringing people together too. It was organized by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Lauren will stand with them to say enough.
L. MILGRAM: I'm marching, because I don't want this to happen to any other child had really shouldn't have happened and that we really do need more safety.
KAYE (voice-over): Do you feel like you can make a difference even at age 12?
L. MILGRAM: Yes. I mean it's amazing what the Parkland students are doing like they're already so ahead in this generation and it's just at that age its like incredible, like they're making such a big difference.
KAYE (voice-over): She doesn't talk much about the shooting at her school, but she hasn't forgotten it, nor has she forgotten the many friends she lost that day. One who was killed, Daniel Barden had given her this heart necklace. She wears it some days and thinks of him. All these years later, her father still recalls gathering with other families at the firehouse imagining the worst.
ERIC MILGRAM, LAUREN'S FATHER: When I look back, that was the -- the families of the 20, or the 26 really, you know, those adults were lost that day too.
KAYE (voice-over): Lauren's parents and her brother, Dalton, will be marching alongside her. Dalton was in the fourth grade and survived the Sandy Hook shooting too.
KAYE (on-camera): When you saw what happened in Parkland, what did you think?
DALTON MILGRAM, SHOOTING SURVIVOR, SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: I mean that there been so many -- I mean it's almost desensitizing to just see like one every so often.
KAYE (on-camera): so it's time to change?
D. MILGRAM: 100% yes. ERIN MILGRAM, LAUREN'S MOTHER: We can make a difference. We can speak out. This makes us feel like we're doing something when we do, go out and we march and we do something together as a family.
[20:55:08] ERIC MILGRAM: Our kids, sadly, you know, were not old enough to speak out, and we as parents I won't say we failed them but we were too polite. These Parkland kids, they will not be silenced. They will not be muzzled.
KAYE (voice-over): Nor will his own daughter, who still has hoped that gun laws will change in her lifetime.
(on-camera): Do you think guns are just too easy to get in this country?
L. MILGRAM: Yes, definitely.
KAYE (on-camera): Would you want your teachers to be armed?
L. MILGRAM: Of course not. Like that's just a horrible idea. I mean any child to be able to pick up a gun and they could shoot it thinking it might be just some sort of toy.
KAYE: What's really great, Anderson is to see how well Lauren is doing. She's giggles. She's, you know, 12-year-old, typical 12 years old. She teases her brother. She loves to bake at home with her mom. She makes a strawberry cobbler and a key lime pie. She plays with her dog. She loves to shop. And then what's even more amazing is after all this she's still a straight "A" student, has dreams of going to Harvard.
Well on the more serious issue, of course, she realizes how important the gun issue is. She's ready to march. She's really inspired by these Parkland kids.
KAYE: She's thinks that, you know, this the young people who will really be the voice for change.
COOPER: And she'll be in Washington tomorrow?
KAYE: She will. She's leaving Newtown 5:00 a.m. on a bus with her family.
COOPER: All right. Randi thanks for this, I appreciate it.
As we mentioned, six survivors from Stoneman Douglas shared their video diaries after the shooting with us.
Our special report, "The Parkland Diaries" is coming up, and we hope you'll watch it. It's very moving and powerful.