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Two Porn Star's Tell-All Interview About Their Affairs With President Trump In 2006 Released; Russia Is Now Blaming The U.S. For Developing The Type Of Nerve Gas Used To Poisoned a Former Russian Spy and His Daughter in the UK Used; New Episode of Six-Part Original Series, "American Dynasties: the Kennedys" Airs Tonight at 9p ET. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 25, 2018 - 19:00   ET



[19:00:27] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And tonight, the breaking news, porn star Stormy Daniels tells all describing in vivid detail an alleged (INAUDIBLE) with Donald Trump just weeks after his wife, Melania, had given birth to their son in 2006. We are just getting the transcript now of her stunning 60- minute interview with Anderson Cooper. And in it, she explains that she had unprotected sex with him, Donald Trump, after going back to his motel room in Lake Tahoe. Again, this was all in 2006.

She also says that when she tried to ask the President about his wife, he brushed it off and telling her not to worry about that. And that at one point he compared her to his daughter, Ivanka.

Now we should note at the head of this interview, the President and the first lady opted to be in different states tonight. The first lady staying in Mar-a-Lago in Florida while the President returned to Washington ignoring reporters' questions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President every Mr. Preside, are you going to watch "60 minutes?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to watch the big interview today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about David Shulkin? Does he still have your confidence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Stormy Daniels a liar?


CABRERA: The President has repeatedly denied any affair, even though he didn't answer the reporters' questions there.

And we should note that Melania Trump's staffers are telling us that her staying in Mar-a-Lago was pre-planned. This was part of baron's spring break. And so that is why she is there.

Let's get in Sara Sidner now.

Sara, you have been reading along with me this new transcript, Stormy Daniels telling us her side of her sexual relationship with Donald Trump. Tell us which part of her story has the potential to impact the presidency the most?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is interesting. It depends on whether you are talking about impacting the President himself on a personal basis or impacting the office of the President.

So let's start off with some of the things that we have now read in the transcript. Many of these things I must tell you we have already known. Here is the first one. It talks about her relationship, her first and only as we learn in this interview sexual relationship with Donald Trump.

Anderson Cooper asked her and you had sex with him? She said yes.

Then Anderson said, look. You were 27, he was 60, were you attracted to him? Stephanie Clifford said, no.

Anderson Cooper said, not at all? She says, no again.

And then he asked, did you want to have sex with him? And she says, no, but I didn't say no, I'm not a victim. She has been very, very clear on that point. That she did not want to be seen as a victim here. That this was consensual sex. And that she did this of her own accord. She went up to his hotel room. She kind of found herself in a position, she just thought they were going to go to dinner and then he invited her into the hotel room where they were supposed to have dinner and things turned into something much different, Ana.

CABRERA: Stormy Daniels says she was physically threatened face-to- face by a man in a parking lot. And she says she was terrified. This is not the threat of a lawsuit. She says she felt like she was would be physically hurt. Now this is different from the other women who say they had relationships with Trump.

SIDNER: Yes. She did talk about this. And this is new. So the other details we had already read in her "In Touch" magazine article that she did that published just recently but as she did back in 2011. What is new here is that she is claiming that she was threatened and one of the threats. And the only threat that she mentions, a physical threat is when she was in a parking lot in Las Vegas.

Stephanie Clifford saying that she was in a parking lot going to a fitness class with her infant daughter. She had just had her baby at the time. She said that she was kind of trying to get the seat fixed in the back for the baby, the baby seat, and then she said someone walked up to her a guy and said leave Trump alone, forget the story. And then she said he leaned in and looked at her daughter and said to her that's a beautiful little girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom and then she says he was gone. That is the first time we have heard about this threat of physical

violence. She very much thought it was a direct threat. She says she never went to the police with that. But that she was afraid -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Sara Sidner, stay with us. Much more to discuss. I also want to bring in the rest of our panel. With us CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, co-founder of Women Vote Trump, Amy Kremer and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates. Also with us, former assistant U.S. attorney Kim Wehle and CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos.

So I know everybody has been quickly reading through this transcript.

Brian, I first want to just get your take, your immediate reaction to what you are reading.

[19:05:19] BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That her lawyer, that Stormy Daniels and her lawyer are saying this is about the cover-up. This is about the payment right before Election Day, how that payment was arranged, what it meant for her to be silent in this way, and she feels she has to defend herself. So that is her message to Anderson Cooper in this interview.

It's one thing to read it. It's another thing to see it. And as we see the clips tonight, as we see this woman testifying to this for the first time on camera, I do think that will make a big difference. In the same way that Karen McDougal interview a few days ago made a big difference.

When you actually see someone speak about this alleged affairs, not just read a headline, but see the passion, see the emotion on the person's face, I think that makes a big difference. The one other quote I would just pull out, at the end of this interview, she says to Cooper, if the President is watching, I want him to know, he knows I'm telling the truth.

CABRERA: And of course, credibility is key, right, Laura?

LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It is so key here. Remember, it is two different boxes to think about. Regardless of whether she is credible about whether she had the affair or not, and then feel kind of an allegation out there. It may be a foregone collusion for many people. But for a court to be looking at this, they are looking to figure out whether she has the right to talk about it still. That is the underline issue for all of it. Whether it actually happened is also part of the issue.

But really, the biggest chunk of this is what you want to watch for, is what Michael Cohen's involvement in this? Because the whole thing about this comes down to campaign finance violations. If he was to make that $130,000 contribution to Stormy Daniels aka Stephanie Clifford, with the hope of trying to like an in kind contribution to the President of the United States now, presidential added campaign, that's a violation of the law. And that is what we are looking to see, that what I want to hear more about because as it stands, I'm hearing a lot of the probably salacious details. But what about the law from the court's perspective?

STELTER: And just one bit of reporting about Michael Cohen we can share in the "New York Times" sharing tonight, that Cohen had dinner with President Trump last night at Mar-a-Lago. I texted, call (INAUDIBLE) and tried to confirm, he is not answering his phone right now. Maybe he is waiting to watch this interview like everybody else.

CABRERA: Well, of course, the President has been silent on all of this all along.

Amy, this is a President who doesn't hold back, especially when it comes to twitter. He has not even tweeted about these allegations. What do you think of that?

AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN VOTE TRUMP: Well, I don't expect him to. And I would actually be shocked if he were to do that tonight. Because this is ongoing litigation. And he has legal counsel that is representing him. I think he has spoken. He has spoken when they filed the lawsuit recently, the $20 million lawsuit against Stormy Daniels. So I think that was him speaking out. But I don't - I mean, that's all I would expect to hear. And he has denied this.


KREMER: I mean, he has denied this. So I understand the feet part of it in what you are discussing. But at the end of the day, that may be something that people are concerned about. But whether or not he was unfaithful or had this relationship, it was consensual between two adults if it did happen. And I think that other than that there is really no relevant. I mean, it's not something that his base is concerned about. That's People elected him knowing this. This is not a surprise.

CABRERA: But people didn't know this specifically. But to your point, you said this is ongoing litigation. That is why he is not tweeting. I mean, he hasn't held back of going after Robert Mueller in an ongoing investigation. That is looking into potential criminal activity.


KREMER: No. That's an investigation that they are looking it for collusion with the Russians. There is not a legal lawsuit right now at the time with that. And so, and he is also got counsel for that. This is something against him personally. And I don't expect him. I mean, all of us know here that if we were in litigation to anyone, you are not going to go out in the media and talk about it without consent from your counsel. And your counsel is not going to consent to that.

COATES: Well, (INAUDIBLE) rose out of the water, though, kissing (ph) away on the campaign trail. Remember, there was at least a couple of women that were accusing him of these sort of things were actually are non-consensual some are there of (ph). And her statements were, this is that happened, he calls her a liar. So perhaps the prudent course that he is taking is one that he doesn't take with the Mueller investigation, and that is because now in New York state court, it said, by the way that comment, that statement that was not just off the cuff, it was on the campaign trail, has caused you to now have a vulnerability to be deposed.

For the first time, a state court of a sitting president. So perhaps he has learned from his own past's prologue. But I think it's far more odd that he would talk about Mueller than he would talk about Stormy Daniels.

CABRERA: Let me get Mark Geragos in here.

Mark, if President Trump were your client, what would you be advising him tonight?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, people tend to forget he had no trouble when he was dealing with Trump University, with not only commenting him on the case, but taking on the judge on him that case with a full frontal assault. So he has done it with Mueller. He has done it with Trump University. The reason - and he has done it with other women.

The reason he has not commented and he is peculiarly silent when it comes both McDonald and to this woman is because --.

[19:10:21] CABRERA: McDougal. McDougal is the other woman.

GERAGOS: Yes. I mean, it is obvious that it is true. So the problem he has got is, and I don't understand it, and we haven't seen it yet, at least in the transcript that has been released. She must have something. There must be something else because otherwise the strategy is totally out of character. I don't understand it. I don't understand why they have taken - well, I do understand why they removed it to federal court. There are a lot more likely to get a compelled arbitration and that is going to be the end of this case because you are not going to hear any more about it unless Michael comes out and talks about it. But it appears to me at least that that's where this case is headed. It is headed back to his private arbitrator.

CABRERA: You really think it's going to end up in court and the litigation is going to move forward, even if it means that the President, Michael Cohen will have to be deposed?

GERAGOS: Yes, because they are going to go -- one of the reason they removed it to federal court, it wasn't state court. They asked, and you have the right to, have it removed to federal court. They believe, I think that if they are in federal court, that a federal judge, in this case Judge Ottera (ph) is going to compel them to arbitration.

If it goes to arbitration, then that is private. They are going to argue, that's what we bargained for, that's why we paid $130,000. You want to do this, that and the other thing, that is fine. But once you are in arbitration, the arbitrator has got the ability to award damages which is I think their calculation is to what's going to happen here. CABRERA: Kim, you know, Brian brought up another woman, Karen

McDougal. And we heard from her earlier this week, I'm reading through the transcripts and there are a lot of similarities in how they are describing in some of the things the President said to him. Of course, this was before he was President in 2006. Both of them talking about some of what happened around the same time at this golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Can McDougal and Daniels end up testifying in each other's cases?

KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, in any civil litigation, if it's relevant and consistent with the rules, sure, they can be subpoenaed to testify in each other's cases. As can the President of the United States, in addition to the ruling that we just saw, we have Clinton versus Jones, in which the President of the United States under a Democratic President held that no one is above the law. And in this context, the civil litigation, he can be deposed. It's not going to interfere with his Presidential duties.

Although, I sort of see things a little differently. And that these lawsuits I don't think are really going to end up meaning a whole lot legally, because even an arbitrator has to apply state law. And state law requires reasonable damages. And the extent to which this is tarnishing the President's reputation, I think is really dubious.

But the bigger issue is has to do with what the American public knew when they were voting for this President. And we don't have background checks, security clearances for elected officials because the election process serves as that.

And if we don't know what's being hidden, we don't know what can be used against an elected official, then we are not -- we don't have the information we need to cast a vote. So I do think this has bigger implications than the sort sad details that are coming out every day about this relationship or these relationships.

CABRERA: Much more to discuss everybody. Standby. We will have much more on this breaking news in just a moment. Don't go anywhere.



[19:17:59] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you going to catch "60 Minutes?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to watch the big interview today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about David Shulkin? Do you still have confidence?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: is Stormy Daniels a liar?

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: All right. Again, that was the President returning back to the White House after a weekend in Mar-a-Lago, facing a lot of questions about this alleged affair with Stormy Daniels, ahead of this interview that's going to be airing tonight. The President ignoring those questions, waving at reporters and continuing on his way.

I want to bring back Sara Sidner who has done extensive reporting on the Stormy Daniels' story which is now been going on for weeks, really. Sara, with bits and pieces ripping out. And then this legal actions that have continued to develop and this story pushing for that way.

You have been reading with me now from this transcript of her interview with Anderson Cooper, telling her side which she says with sexual relationship with Donald Trump in 2006. Tell us more about this alleged threat she received as you have been reading into the details.

SIDNER: Yes. We have heard from her attorney for weeks now, he has been pretty prolific across many news organizations, talking about threats and coercion. It's also in the lawsuit that she filed against Donald Trump and against Essential Consultants. That is the company that Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, created so that he could pay her that $130,000 that she says was hush money.

Let's go to the comments that she made to Anderson Cooper in his 60- minutes interview, about this threat. She says that she was in a parking lot going to a fitness class with her infant daughter. That she was taking the seat that was facing backwards in the back seat, a diaper bag and kind of getting all her stuff together. And she said a guy walked up to me and said to me leave Trump alone. Forget the story. And then she says he leaned around and looked at her daughter and said that's a beautiful little girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom. And then she said he was gone.

Anderson asked her, you took is as a direct threat? And she said, absolutely.

He then asked her, did you go to police and she said no. And he said why. Well, she said, well, that's because I was afraid.

So that's from the threat that she has now claimed happened. She doesn't know who the person is, but says she could basically identify him if he ever came near her or if she ever saw a picture of him.

Now that threat we have to be clear came after she gave a 2011 interview to "In Touch" magazine. "In Touch" magazine never published it because they say they were threaten, two people to - "60-minutes" said they were threatened by the Trump organization, by Michael Cohen, his personal attorney that they would be sued if they released the story that Stormy Daniels gave them.

So that story was held and she said it was after that because the Trump organization was contacted to get their side of the story. That is when she says that threat happened on them. [19:21:12] CABRERA: Sara, another thing that she appears to clarify

in this interview, the statement she released that denied this alleged affair initially, why would she sign something, this statement denying the affair if it wasn't true?

SIDNER: We all have that question. I myself received the letter that her manager sent to me saying that this is from us. And it was Stormy Daniels signature on it. It was right before the Jimmy Kimmel interview that she did that her manager sent something out. And the before that, Michael Cohen had a different piece of paper, very similar wording of her saying there was no affair.

Let's put this up what she told Anderson Cooper,

Anderson asking her, so you signed and released a statement that said I'm not denying this affair because I was paid hush money. I'm denying it because it never happened. That's a lie, he asked. She said, yes.

And Anderson pushes her. He said, if it was untruthful, why did you sign it? And she says because they made it sound like I had no choice.

He responds, I mean no one was putting a gun to your head? She says not physical violence, no.

And then she goes on to say, as a matter of fact the exact same sentence was used, they can make your life hell in many different ways, he says that being, I'm not exactly sure who they are. I believe it to be Michael Cohen. That is Trump's personal lawyer. And you see that there.

So these two statements were released. As she was is starting to talk and very strategically right before that Jimmy Kimmel interview, where nobody knew if she was going to say something, and before that, that same week, she had done and interview with "Inside Edition" where she said nothing about the affair. But she was starting to speak. And then these letters came out. And the people she said who were pressuring her, her manager at the time and her former attorney -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Sara, thank you.

Our panel is back with us.

And Brian, one thing that's really striking as you continue to read through this are there are so many little similarities in the story that we heard from Karen McDougal and what is now the story of Stormy Daniels. And important to note that, of course, Karen McDougal's interview aired before Stormy Daniels. But Stormy Daniels taped her interview with Anderson Cooper before Karen McDougal's told her story and no one had seen what Stormy Daniels said so it is not like one woman could be copying the other.

STELTER: That's right. And both of these alleged affairs happened around the same time, a little more than a decade ago. In both cases, the women described having dinner with Trump in his hotel suite. The described Trump saying to them, you remind me of my daughter, presumably Ivanka. You remind me of my daughter. You are special. And both women say that when Melania Trump came in to the conversation, that Trump rushed off the issue and said we live separate lives. We have separate bedrooms. We live separate lives.

CABRERA: Right. You talked about separate bedrooms. Both women mentioned that details specifically.

STELTER: That detail, yes. Very specific similarities in the interviews. Look. We know that Melania Trump is not with President Trump right now. She is at Mar-a-Lago, on what is described as a prescheduled spring break. I think a lot of Americans, no matter how they feel about the President, are going to feel some sympathy for Melania Trump. This is only reminiscence of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton in the 1990s. And they are throwing their sympathy toward Hillary Clinton when stories about President Clinton's infidelity were in the news.

But I think this is a bit different in a way because there are allegations of nonconsensual sex as you were talking about earlier that were in the news. And there's allegation of consensual affairs as well.

I'm not here to be a member of morality police.

KREMER: No, we are - about Bill Clinton too. Let's not forget Juanita Broderick and Kathleen Willey.

STELTER: Yes, in the 90s, their stories were brought up. Yes.


KREMER: Right. I mean, the thing -

[19:25:01] STELTER: And that's why so many conservatives said this is sick. This President is sick.

KREMER: There maybe.

STELTER: I'm not here to be morality police. What happens between a husband and wife, it is (INAUDIBLE). But this is about Presidential ethics, leadership, morality, when we hear these women describing --

KREMER: And all of these happened before he was in office, Brian. I mean, that is the difference. What brought all that on with President Clinton, what happened with Monica Lewinsky in the White House, that's a big difference. And everybody keeps screaming about morality, morality, you know.


KREMER: And everybody wants to say that the President's base is a monolithic group of supporters. And they are not. I mean, who are you to tell me what I believe? I supported the President because I believed he was a businessman that was going to do the things he said he was going to do. To turn this country around and get us back on track economically.

I have been pretty impressed with him and happy with what he has done. Did I know that he was a flawed human being and that he was not perfect? Absolutely. Do I agree with a bunch of that? No. My heart breaks for Melania. It breaks for any woman that has to listen about her husband's infidelities. I mean, it is not - I don't think it is good for anybody. And the fact that they have a young child, that concerns me too. But at the end of the day, I mean, this is -- I know that the left is like holding on for -- this will bring down his presidency, it's not going to.

COATES: Well, actually, my issue is not really with the marital vows, it's with the oath of office. And you are incorrect in at least one point that Paula Jones was actually when Bill Clinton was not the President of the United States. He was governor of Arkansas which is why you had the issue of Clinton v. Jones. And now it is resonating once again.


COATES: But the real issue here is the oath of office. The reason I bring that up is because what moves the needle, not a way from the morality compass that you know we are not talking about. It's the issue of whether or not there was an illegal campaign contribution to the tune of $130,000. Now that may be more of Michael Cohen's issue at this point that he in fact going for his knowing about it, but it doesn't change the fact that that is why is the nation is truly concern, not necessarily about whether or not there are marital --.


COATES: But also, I don't think that the left is really screaming or the right is screaming about a lot of things we are talking about. But what I find to be a disconnect here, Ana, is mostly that while there are similarities between what Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal are talking about, here is what is disconnect.

We were told that there were allegations of abuse and physical perhaps while the President was the President of the United States. What I'm reading in the transcript is actually that there was an allegation in 2011 in a parking lot. That's not the same thing.

I'm also hearing about her being so adamant through her counsel on many different programs that in fact they were knowledgeable about Michael Cohn' involvement. That he was the source of all of this.

I'm seeing a little bit more (INAUDIBLE) at this point in time in the transcript. And I know that is a matter of being prudent because you do have this outstanding $1 million fine that is in a context. And this should be litigated or arbitrated at this point in time.

So I think that's what really the focus people have or should have. And the only thing that Clinton is in the conversation about, is one that you are talking about, Brian. That it does remind me of the humiliation publicly for a wife of a sitting President. But also you have the Clinton v. Jones. There is the courts are telling you, you need to (INAUDIBLE) right now.

CABRERA: All right. Everybody, standby. We got to squeeze in another quick break. We will have much more and we continue this discussion when we come back.


[19:32:45] CABRERA: Our panel is back with us now. Plus CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett is with us as well.

So guys, I have read through this transcripts, Daniels claims to have had unprotected sex with Trump, she says. He compared her to his daughter Ivanka. We heard similar claims Thursday night. Let's listen to Karen McDougal.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Did he ever compare you to any of his kids?

KAREN MCDOUGAL, CLAIMS SHE HAD AN AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP IN 2006: You know, he is very proud of Ivanka, as he should be. I mean, she is a brilliant woman. She is beautiful. She is, you know, that's his daughter and he should be proud of her. He said I was beautiful like her. And you know, you are a smart girl and there wasn't a lot of comparing, but there was some, yes. I heard a lot about her.

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. And I'm like, OK. That's when I kind of thought maybe they are having issues, I didn't ask. It is not my business at that point.

COOPER: How did you feel leaving in his apartment?

MCDOUGAL: Guilty. Very guilty.

COOPER: Why guilty?

MCDOUGAL: I couldn't wait to get out of the apartment, actually. I think doing something but then when you are doing something wrong is bad enough, and when you are doing something wrong and you are in the middle of somebody else's home or bed or whatever, that just puts it a little old stab in your heart. And I just couldn't wait to get out of the apartment.


CABRERA: So, Mark, when you have these two women's stories that have some similarities along the way, is this a form of corroboration?

GERAGOS: It is. And I, frankly, I don't think anybody who has watched her interview or will watch tonight has any doubts about what really happened here. I don't think anybody who has got their neurons firing are going to think that $130,000 that was paid to somebody who was lying. And so, ultimately, at the end of the day, is there an FEC violation? You know, they didn't get very far with John Edwards in a similar

situation. I don't think they would get anywhere. And I can't imagine that this department of justice would ever bring a case given everything that's gone on with the department of justice. So ultimately, at the end of the day, it's almost like a suicide mission by Stormy because I think she is going to get compelled in arbitrator. And I think some arbitrator especially if it's Judge Connor is probably going to hit her with some damage.

[19:35:20] CABRERA: Kim, what do you think about the legal case and the path moving forward?

WEHLE: Well, I do think that we are not going to see trials on whether or not these affairs actually occurred or not, that's really sort of irrelevant, the truth of it. To the extent to which there is going to be interesting depositions and subpoenas, it is probably in connection with Trump's own cases of libel. The defense to libel is truth. And so, the question as to whether the "Buzz Feed" or others or other women are lying about these relationships is something that the President himself is putting into question in these legal cases. And I think what we can take from this in what works for him in the private sector is not working for him as President and it should not work for him as President because he is in the position of extraordinary power.

And the other piece I want to mention about Mr. Cohen as lawyer, is that there are - he had some, you know, dealings with the Russians. So there's a much broader potential story here relating to Mr. Cohen. He was part of the failed business deal in Moscow. He was mentioned in the Steele dossier as kind of negotiating with - to cover up Manafort and Gates' interactions.

Now, the Steels dossier has not been uniformly criticized, but it also has some issues in it. But my point is, is that Mr. Cohen has some potential liabilities here beyond what we have discussed. I mean, he is also alleged that he made representations and payments on behalf of his client without even telling his client. So as the law professor, you know, that's a first year 101 type exam question that would get a thumb's down.

So I do think the legal implications here are more complicated than meets the eye and all of the sorted details as to whether this affairs actually occurred are beside the point.

CABRERA: Kate, we have noticed Melania is not with her husband tonight. She is in Mar-a-Lago with Baron for another week for his spring break. What is going through her mind right now?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think it is difficult, obviously, to sort of pick and side anyone's marriage. But understanding what kind of, you know, difficult - she has had since this story.

You have to remember, this story broke back in January. As we say in journalism, it's has legs, right. Here we are almost April headlines, Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal, it must be very challenging for her, no matter what their arrangement or their marriage may or might be like. Hearing information about your husband or your spouse splashed all over everywhere, having a young child, trying to deal with this new role.

I mean, again, this is a first lady who is very independent. She is private. She is -- we don't know that much about her. She is finding her footing in the role. She is not used to public life or public speaking. So I imagine all these things compounded. And it must make it very difficult.

She has not commented. Her office has not even returned requests for comment on this. She has been sort of business as usual. She has got a few things coming up that I'm sure she is focusing on, like the first state dinner in April is coming up in the (INAUDIBLE) and these sort of things.

I would imagine she will continue with the sort of silent stoic type of attitude she has had. Her poll numbers remain high, so maybe this quiet thing may be helpful to her in the public eye. But this certainly cannot be an easy time with all these stories, like week after week, night after night, so I'm sure it's challenging.

CABRERA: Everyone, thank you. You will back.

Up next, new allegations after repeatedly denying any role in the poisoning of a Russian spy and his daughter. Russia is now blaming the U.S. for developing the type of nerve gas used in that attack. Details straight ahead.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:43:31] CABRERA: Russia is now blaming the U.S. for developing the type of nerve gas used to poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK. Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in the attack carried in Salisbury earlier this month. Although multiple countries have said the evidence suggests otherwise.

And CNN has now learned President Trump could decide as soon as tomorrow whether to take the National Security Council's recommendation and expel a group of Russian diplomats from the U.S. in response to this attack.

That brings us to your weekend presidential brief, a segment we will bring to you every Sunday night with some of the key national security administration information the president will need when he wakes up Monday morning.

Here to bring it to you, CNN national security analyst and former national security adviser Sam Vinograd. She spent two years helping prep for the Presidents daily brief in the Obama administration.

OK. So Sam, we don't know if the President is watching tonight, but if he is, what are you wanting to tell him? SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think

Russia is front and center. As you mentioned, Ana, we have this reporting that Russia is now accusing the United States of developing this nerve agent that was used in the UK.

And this isn't surprising. Denial seems to be Putin's favorite word. We just have to look at the history. Russia denied the nerve agent attack. They called the UK accusations delirium. They denied election meddling despite the consensus from the intelligence community that Russia did meddle in our election. They even denied having ground forces in Crimea and Syria, despite pictures of these forces and direct confrontations between soldiers.

So this is a pattern of Russia does something wrong. We accuse them of doing it. They deny it. We respond and then they respond back because Putin likes this tit for tat.

[19:45:16] CABRERA: I'm curious though about the impact now of a new national security adviser, John Bolton who has a history. And do you think that matters to Russia? Are they waiting? What do you think they think about?

VINOGRAD: I think Russia is probably concern. And the truth is this personnel firing squad that we are seeing, isn't happening in a vacuum. Now it is true we don't know if President Trump is going to listen to Bolton. We don't know if Bolton will put his personal views aside and run an unbiased policy process.

But there are already international reactions. As you just mentioned that the Russians knows that Bolton has accused their election of being a sham. And he has said that we need real deterrence against Russia which for Bolton is not sanctions are kicking out diplomats.

In the Middle East we have had very strong reactions. The Israelis are supportive because of Bolton's previous stance on Iran. The Iranians called him a supporter of terrorists which is not surprising because he has advocated for regime change. And Saudi Arabia, I think is going to be supportive again because Bolton wants to back away from this Iran deal.

In Asia, we talked a lot about North Korea. The North Koreans I think called him human scam because of his views on the regime in Pyongyang. And in Europe, I think they are waiting to see what Bolton does on the Iran deal, too.

CABRERA: And when you are talking about North Korea, of course, that's all gearing up for these talks between the U.S. and North Korea.

Got to leave it there for tonight. Samantha Vinograd, thank you so much as always.

VINOGRAD: Thank you.

CABRERA: We will be right back.


[19:51:06] CABRERA: Tonight on CNN, a new episode of our six-part original series, "American dynasties: the Kennedys." It gives us an inside look at John F. Kennedy's first year in the White House. And joining us to discuss this week's episode, Sally Bedell Smith. She is a CNN contributor and the author of "Grace and Power, the private world of the Kennedy White House,"

So, Sally, thank you for coming on.


CABRERA: JFK's historic election, it was marked by the sense of hope and optimism, but his first year in the White House turned out quite differently. Talk about some of the challenges and failures, frankly, that he dealt with.

SMITH: Well, one of the things that really struck me about this program is how candid it is in terms of dealing with the ups and downs and that first year in office. He had the obvious huge up of the inauguration. Here we saw an incredibly attractive and the youngest President in American history, 43 years old, his wife was only 31. And we saw the glamour, we saw this charming family, and everybody was so excited. They promised new ideas and new frontier.

Then just only a matter of months later you have the botched invasion, the bay of pigs invasion in Cuba. It was a half-baked scheme that had been concocted by the CIA. And it was an abysmal failure. There were a thousand people who were captured and 100 of the Cubans -- it was Cuban exiles who had been covertly trained by the United States.

And it was a really dark moment. Kennedy was in tears afterwards realizing he made an awful mistake. And one thing that I think the program points out, and it's something that happens several times during that tough first year, which is he stepped up to admitting he had made mistakes. And he was not afraid to acknowledge his setbacks.

CABRERA: Did that make him more endearing to voters, the American public?

SMITH: I think it can tell you right away often with the invasion of Cuba, when he was very forthright about it, his popularity went up. But then a couple years - I mean, couple months later, of course, he had another calamity, and that was his meeting in the soviet premier (INAUDIBLE).

Kennedy went into that meeting thinking that (INAUDIBLE) was prepared to talk about nuclear disbarment, but it was really an ambush. They had two days of meetings together. (INAUDIBLE) was extremely tough. He had demanded that America give up West Berlin. Kennedy walk out of the room with nothing and he was shaken.

CABRERA: So many learning experiences for a young President. And we can get more of the details tonight and the texture of this in the episodes.

Sally Bedell Smith, thank you for joining us.

Be sure to tune into the all new episode of "American Dynasties: the Kennedys." It airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): You know their name. You don't know their whole story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And historic conference palace, a state dinner brings Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy and MR. and Mrs. Kristoff (ph) together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Away from the banquets and the cameras, Jack has a serious mission, both sides have enough missiles to destroy the entire world. Kennedy intends to make a deal on nuclear disbarment, 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.

[19:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will tell you now that it was a very sober two days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: JFK learns winning power is one thing, wielding it is another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "American Dynasties, the Kennedys," new episode tonight at 9:00 on CNN.



[18:00:02] CABRERA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.