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Trump Names Third National Security Adviser in 14 Months; Former 'Playboy' Model Speaks Out About Trump Affair. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired March 23, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is real. It is happening. General McMaster is leaving.
[05:59:25] JOHN BOLTON, INCOMING NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I didn't really expect that announcement this afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president deserves to have a staff that he gets along with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump's lead lawyer for the Russia investigation stepping down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An attorney with any professional integrity would be loathe to join his team. They become a punching bag.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, would you still like to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sir?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would like to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think President Trump is going to war.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After we had the incident, he tried to pay me. It really hurt me. But I went back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This does not hurt the president one shred.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was totally credible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to share my truth. I need to share my story.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It is Friday, March 23, 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is still out on assignment. Erica Hill joining us.
What a week.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: It's been rather eventful.
You thought you'd be here a couple of days. It's like you could never leave.
HILL: I know. There's always something going on.
CUOMO: Here's our starting line. President Trump shaking up his administration again, naming his third national security adviser, in just four months. After all those promises and protests just last week that it wasn't going to happen. You remember that? "The media is making it up. Fake news."
Well, guess what? H.R. McMaster is out and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is in, which could mean dramatic changes for how the White -- the Trump White House deals with North Korea, Iran and Russia.
The revolving door doesn't stop there. John Dowd, the president's top personal attorney also resigning over disagreement on how to respond to the Russia investigation. Now, this comes as President Trump insists he still wants to talk to Bob Mueller's investigators.
HILL: We also have a CNN exclusive. Former "Playboy" Playmate Karen McDougal breaking her silence with Anderson Cooper about her alleged affair with Donald Trump, saying they were intimate dozens of times and that Mr. Trump tried to pay her. Will President Trump remain silent as more women tell their stories?
And breaking news on Capitol Hill. The Senate passing a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill overnight, funding the federal government through September and averting a showdown. The late-night filled with plenty of drama.
Let's begin our coverage this morning with CNN's Abby Phillip, who is live at the White House.
Abby, good morning.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erica.
Another day, another shakeup here at this White House with President Trump making some big changes to his national security team and his legal team ahead of negotiations with North Korea and a possible interview with the special counsel, Robert Mueller.
PHILLIP (voice-over): President Trump replacing national security adviser H.R. McMaster with foreign policy hawk and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. The president's tweet taking both White House officials and Bolton by surprise.
BOLTON: I didn't really expect that announcement. I'm still sort of getting used to it. Sources say Mr. Trump unexpectedly accelerated the announcement, in part because of an internal leak that he ignored guidance not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin about his election. But a White House official tells CNN President Trump and Bolton have been discussing the move for weeks, Mr. Trump calling reports of a shakeup fake.
TRUMP: There will always be change, but very little. It was a very false story. It was a very exaggerated, a very exaggerated and false story.
PHILLIP: Bolton will be the president's third national security adviser in just over a year. He was an outspoken advocate of the Iraq War and has called for military action against Iran and North Korea. A source familiar with their negotiations tells CNN Bolton promised the president he wouldn't start any wars if he was appointed.
BOLTON: I've never been shy about what my views are. But frankly, what I've said in private now is behind me. The important thing is -- is what the president says and what advice I give him.
PHILLIP: Bolton, a frequent guest on FOX News, has a long history of hardline views.
BOLTON: There is no United Nations.
Our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama.
It's not at all clear to me, just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag operation.
PHILLIP: The West Wing shakeup comes as the lead personal lawyer, John Dowd, also resigns over disagreements with Mr. Trump over how to respond to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.
Dowd urged the president to cooperate with Mueller and resist attacking him publicly, advice Mr. Trump has repeatedly ignored. Sources say Dowd was also blind-sided by the president's hiring of veteran Washington attorney and TV pundit Joseph diGenova, a conspiracy theorist who claims the FBI fabricated the Russia story to frame Mr. Trump.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: John Dowd is a good man. I think that's why, essentially, more aggressive attorneys got brought in that have now -- you know, I think President Trump is going to war.
PHILLIP: The president telling reporters he's still willing to speak with Mueller.
ZELENY: Would you like to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: Thank you. I would like to. I would like to.
PHILLIP: As Dowd departs the president's legal team, sources tell CNN that at least four other lawyers have been approached by -- by the White House to represent Trump and have turned him down. And with McMaster on his way out, a Brookings Institution study has found that the departures in the Trump administration have neared 50 percent since he was elected, which is extremely high in recent history.
And among the departures have been very senior officials: Hope Hicks; Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state; Gary Cohn, the national economic adviser; and many others. The president this morning will meet with his national security team before he leaves for Mar-a-Lago for the weekend -- Chris and Erica.
[06:05:11] CUOMO: All right, Abby. Thank you very much.
CUOMO: Let's bring in CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza. I would be remiss if we did not give people some context of what this means with H.R. McMaster.
You had the White House. You had Sarah Sanders. You had the president and all these surrogates, saying, "See, you people, you're fake news, you media. All you want to do is cover drama, make stuff up. H.R. McMaster is not leaving. They're in meetings. They love each other. They have a great thing."
Here's Sarah Sanders on Sunday. OK? "Just spoke to POTUS and General H.R. McMaster. Contrary to reports, they have a good working relationship. There are no changes at the NSC."
This was never true. You understand? It was never true. The reporting was always solid that he was on his way out. This was a lie. OK? It was a distraction and a lie.
Now let's talk about why it matters. All right? So he's out.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes.
CUOMO: There has been trouble. He hasn't liked how his advice is taken. Trump hasn't liked how he speaks to him. OK? This was going to happen. But it was denied deceptively. And now here we are and the man who they have replacing him is going to cause controversy.
CILLIZZA: OK. So first on your first point, which is their lying.
CUOMO: Am I wrong?
CILLIZZA: No. You're 100 percent right.
CUOMO: Which is rare, by the way.
CILLIZZA: I don't -- I don't like agreeing with you.
CILLIZZA: But you're right on this one. And I'll add to it that they did the same thing with the legal team. "The New York Times" wrote a story that says Trump is likely to make a wave -- a move with his legal team. It's not true. He tweets out, "Fake 'New York Times'." Everything's great. I love all my lawyers.
Well, now you have one brought in and one leaving. So that's point one.
Point two to why it matters. It matters because, from Gary Cohn, which was two weeks ago, to today you have seen an overhaul of the leader of your sort of domestic economic policy, Rex Tillerson, is removed. Leader of your diplomacy/foreign policy. And H.R. McMaster is removed, leader, ostensibly, of your national security policy.
Those are three big pieces. And I would remind people this is not the second term. This is 14 months into the first term.
HILL: This is barely the second year.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: But all the changes go in the same direction. They are all more hardline, more confrontational, more Trump-like than the earlier incarnations in all the areas that Chris was talking about.
You know, he is less likely to talk to Mueller. He is more likely to fire Mueller. He is less likely to, you know, keep the Iran deal intact. He is less likely to have a, you know, productive relationship with North Korea. So I mean, you know, these names, they come and go. But I think the substance is what's important here. And they all suggest a more hardline presence.
HILL: And to your point about that more hardline presidency, just to remind people of where John Bolton stands on a number of these issues, let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: There is no United Nations. The secretaries' building in New York has 38 stories. If you lost 10 stories today, it wouldn't make a bit of difference.
But our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama.
And we have to know the facts here. And it's not at all clear to me, just viewing this from the outside, that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag operation.
I think the only diplomatic option left is to end the regime in North Korea by effectively having the South take it over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: And let's remember as recently as, what, three weeks ago -- it was in February -- he wrote, in "The Wall Street Journal," a piece that was titled the legal case for striking North Korea first.
CILLIZZA: I mean, it's a remarkable supposition from him on FOX, which is, well, everything that I said before is -- wouldn't that be a great life if everything that you had said publicly prior was irrelevant? Now, I mean, I understand his point, which is, "Now I serve the
president." But you serve -- the reason that the president is drawn to you is a set of views, particularly voiced on television, that he has consumed over time. We know this is a president with the most broad outlines of policy knowledge. And not a ton of -- you know, I mean, his policy knowledge is sort of feel. It's not policy-oriented. He's -- so he's looking for his advisers in a way to inform him on policy, policy that he wants.
So Bolton -- what Bolton has said in the past, you can't just say none of that is important anymore. That's not how life works.
[06:10:03] TOOBIN: And remember, too, that during the campaign, one of Trump's ways he distinguished himself from the Republican field was "I oppose the Iraq War. The Iraq War was a disaster."
John Bolton was perhaps the leading cheerleader for the Iraq War. So it's -- has Trump changed? Has Bolton changed? I mean, that's a really important and unresolved issue.
CUOMO: We have a number of concerns. One is "I will bring in only the best." It's very hard to make the case that that's what John Bolton is for this particular position.
H.R. McMaster, you had an objective case where this man is qualified, has a pedigree and those in the community respected him that way. We have yet to hear that kind of certification of John Bolton.
Also, the lure of television and how the president hears you, especially on FOX News, is so compelling that he is willing to overlook things that disgust him. He has said so many times that "I don't believe the intelligence community about things." They -- that was no more true for him anywhere than it was with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and yellow cake. He would talk about it all the time before he was president of the United States.
Bolton was all over that situation. So you are for a war that the guy was against, that you thought was stupid, which means that Bolton was stupid for being for it. You were part of this trumped-up intel about weapons of mass destruction and yellow cake. But now, because you're good on TV and say things he likes, you'll be the national security advisor.
HILL: Well, because you've said that none of that stuff that you said before matters. Right? "Now I'm starting fresh." There we go.
CUOMO: Which only makes sense, I guess, to Trump, I guess.
CILLIZZA: It's a weird combination of likes to see him on television, thinks he's a good spokesman for what Donald Trump likes, and this -- what I think is, like, a vague sense of toughness is what I think Donald Trump. We need to be tough. John Bolton knows we need to be tough.
Again, I think we overthink it when we say Jeff is exactly right about the contradiction within Bolton versus Trump. But I think Trump is it's all feel. It's all "He's tough. I like tough. He's good on TV. I like good on TV."
Donald Trump is not going through a checklist of his various past policy decisions. Can't really, because they're all over the place. And then seeing if his supporters, if the people he's bringing to this administration support him. Because that's not it. It's all feel; it's all sense.
TOOBIN: And John Dowd, you know, his lead personal attorney, as a matter of practice, did not appear on television. Trump apparently just didn't like that, and he brings in Joe diGenova, who's a cable TV pundit, who will be representing him. Whether that's good enough for a very serious criminal defense operation, we'll see.
CUOMO: Well, look, he knows that we're talking about Bolton this morning, about what his credentials are, whether he should be here. So what does he tweet about? Something else. Here's what he just said.
HILL: "House Intelligence Committee votes to release final report findings. One, no evidence provided of collusion between Trump campaign and Russia. Two, the Obama administration's post-election response was insufficient. Three, Clapper provided inconsistent testimony on media contacts."
TOOBIN: I love the attacking on Obama administration for not responding forcefully enough to something he said didn't take place.
CILLIZZA: And the over -- the mass -- I know it is Twitter, but it's purposeful over-simplification. This is the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, No. 1. And No. 2, we've heard from both Mike Conaway and Trey Gowdy to say, "Yes, I mean, what we released," I'm not totally, exactly -- I mean, he uses information selectively, as all politicians do.
What he does that most politicians don't do is repeat over and over and over and one more time over again things that he knows are simply false. Lies. I don't like to use that word, but he repeats things purposely that are not accurate. I don't know what else you call that.
CUOMO: Intentional deception of a material fact is a pretty solid definition of a lie. Right? And you're saying that here, because he knows that these don't stand up, these points you just made. They're not going to stand up to strict scrutiny. And Bolton is not palace intrigue, because this is going to be the man who has the man voice in the president's ear about matters that will directly affect the protection of your families and your children. So it ain't just palace intrigue.
Gentlemen, thank you for, once again, helping us understand the headlines.
HILL: Breaking news, a government shutdown averted after the U.S. Senate passes a massive spending bill overnight. The $1.3 million package, which advanced in both chambers, keeps the government funded through September.
It now goes to President Trump's desk for his signature. The Senate votes 65-32. Passage, though, was not without drama. Republican Senator James Risch of Ohio -- Idaho, rather, holding up the voting for several hours over a grudge with a deceased political rival. Risch demanded a provision renaming a wilderness area in his home state after the late former Democratic governor, Cecil Andrus, be removed from the bill.
[07:15:12] CUOMO: Up next a CNN exclusive. A former "Playboy" model breaking her silence about her alleged affair with Donald Trump, which the White House denies. Here's a taste.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Were you in love with him?
KAREN MCDOUGAL, FORMER "PLAYBOY" MODEL: I was, yes.
COOPER: And do you think he was in love with you?
MCDOUGAL: He was, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: An explosive tell-all interview with Karen McDougal next.
CUOMO: All right. We're now hearing from another woman who is making very specific allegations against the president of the United States. This time it is former "Playboy" model Karen McDougal, speaking out exclusively to CNN talking about her alleged 10-month relationship with Donald Trump. Why alleged? Well, the White House has said that this didn't happen. All right. Karen McDougal says it happened before Trump was president. The affair began just a few months after Melania Trump gave birth. Here's what she told CNN's Anderson Cooper, in part.
COOPER: So tell me about your first date.
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 couple hours. We had a great time. We were getting to know each other. We were talking about his birthday. And then, as the night ended, we -- we were intimate.
COOPER: What happened after you had been intimate?
MCDOUGAL: Well, after we had been intimate, 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 just had this look of, I don't know just -- I don't even know how to describe it. The look on my face must have been so sad. Because I had never been offered money like that before, No. 1.
No. 2, I thought, "Does he think that I'm in this for money, or why I'm here tonight? Or is this a normal thing?" I don'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 into the car for Keith to take me home. And I started crying. And I was really sad. It really hurt me. But I went back.
COOPER: All these times you saw him, this was an ongoing sexual relationship?
COOPER: Can you estimate how many times you actually saw him?
MCDOUGAL: Again, when you're in a relationship, do you count how many times you have sex? No. However, I can tell you we saw each other a minimum of five times a month up to bigger numbers per month. So we --
COOPER: Over the course of how long?
MCDOUGAL: Over the course of 2006 through -- I think I ended the relationship April 2007. So we were together 10 months before I chose to end it. So we saw each other quite frequently.
COOPER: So dozens of times you were together?
MCDOUGAL: Many dozens of times.
COOPER: And you were intimate many dozens of times?
MCDOUGAL: Yes. Uh-huh.
COOPER: 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. Like, I'm really sorry for that. I know it's the 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, actually, you know, there was -- there was a real relationship there. There was real -- there were real feelings between the two of us.
COOPER: You believe, though, that he had real feelings for you?
MCDOUGAL: Of course he did. I know he did.
COOPER: He would say that?
MCDOUGAL: He did.
COOPER: Were you in love with him?
MCDOUGAL: I was, yes.
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: Did he have any nicknames for you?
MCDOUGAL: He would call me "baby" or he'd call me "beautiful Karen."
COOPER: Would you only see him just in Los Angeles?
MCDOUGAL: No, I wouldn't. I actually went to a golf tournament with him in Lake Tahoe. I went to his golf course in -- in California. I went to his golf course home in New Jersey. I went to his home in New York.
COOPER: When you've heard the stories of Stormy Daniels, who has come forward who said that she was at the Tahoe Club, as well, and others who said that they were there, you didn't know about that at the time?
MCDOUGAL: No, I did not know.
COOPER: Does it -- what did you think when you heard that?
MCDOUGAL: My first thought was "How could she have been with him when I was with him?" The only time we weren't together on that particular trip was when I -- well, he was on the golf course golfing. I didn't go. Clearly. But I went to every event, every after thing, parties, daytime things. I was there. That's why I can't understand.
Now, I do remember him saying -- he came in one day and said, oh, "There were a bunch of porn stars out there. They were wanting pictures of me." I'm like, "Oh, that's funny. You know, it's cute." I do remember him saying that. But I can't imagine when he found the time, except for maybe the day I left. So it's kind of like, "Wow, how did this happen?"
COOPER: What was it like going to Trump Tower?
MCDOUGAL: I didn't know I was at Trump Tower. So we went in the back entrance. And then at that time, I realize where we were going, and I said, "Aren't you afraid to bring me here?"
[06:25:04] He's like, "They won't say anything."
I'm like, "OK."
So we went upstairs, and looked around and --
COOPER: Did he reference Melania at that point?
MCDOUGAL: He did. We passed a room. And he said, "This is Melania's room. She likes to have her alone time or to get away to read or something like that."
I'm like, "Oh, OK." That's when I kind of thought maybe -- maybe they're having issues. I didn't ask. It's not my business at that point.
COOPER: How do you feel being in his apartment?
MCDOUGAL: Guilty. Very guilty.
COOPER: It made his other life more real.
MCDOUGAL: I was just going to say it made it real to me. Yes. It made it more real.
HILL: Our legal team digs in next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You think Donald Trump would have been aware of this -- of this deal?
MCDOUGAL: One of the big complaints with why I think my contract is illegal is because his attorney was talking to my attorney.