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Stormy Daniels Sits Down for an Interview About Alleged Affair with President Trump; Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 25, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:02] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
And tonight, the breaking news, the interview the entire country will be talking about. Porn star Stormy Daniels tells all, describing in vivid detail an alleged tryst with Donald Trump just three months after his wife, Melania, had given birth to their son in 2006.
Now in an interview with Anderson Cooper for "60 Minutes," she describes an encounter that ended in unprotected sex in a hotel room. She also says that when she tried to ask the president about his wife, he brushed it off, telling her not to worry about that, and that at one point he compared her to his daughter, Ivanka.
Daniels also revealed that back in 2011 a man she had never seen before approached her in a parking lot, told her to leave Trump alone and looked at her infant daughter and said, quote, "It would be a shame if something happen to her mom."
Now we should note that ahead of this interview, the president and the first lady opted to be in different states tonight. The first lady staying at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, we are told, for Barron's spring break, while the president returned to Washington, ignoring reporters' questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, are you going to watch "60 Minutes"? Are you going to watch the big interview today?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about David Shulkin? Does he still have your confidence?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is Stormy Daniels a liar, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The president has repeatedly denied any affair.
Throughout this hour, we are going to break down all of the stunning moments from this interview from our panel. David Gergen is a former adviser to four presidents, Mark Geragos is a defense attorney who has represented some of the biggest celebrities in the world, Kim Wehle served as associate independent counsel during the Whitewater investigation. Kate Bennett is our White House reporter who has spent extensive time covering the first lady. Brian Stelter, our senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES" and Amy Kremer is also with us, co-chair of Women Who Vote Trump.
But let's begin with CNN's Sara Sidner who has been going through every part of this interview.
Sara, what stands out?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are a couple of things that stand out. One, that she didn't want to have sex with him, but she said it was consensual. She wasn't expecting to have sex with him the night that he invited her to his hotel room in that Lake Tahoe resort. Two, she does talk about her one sexual experience with Donald Trump, so I'll put up the verbatim of what she said.
She says -- Anderson Cooper asked her, look, you know, you had sex with him, yes. You were 27, he was 60, were you attracted to him? She said, no, not at all, no. She then answers Anderson's questions about whether she wanted to have sex with him, and she says, no, but I didn't -- I am not a victim. She says I didn't say no.
So she wants to be very clear about that. She says she's not a part of the Me Too Movement, that this does not make her a part of the Me Too Movement, and in fact she says people who are trying to put her into that movement are actually hurting the women who do have valid complaints about the way they have been treated by men.
Now there is another pretty stark and new detail that we have not heard. And I will tell you, after listening to the interview and looking at the transcript, about 90 plus percent of it we have learned before partly because she gave an interview back in 2011 to "In Touch" magazine. That magazine ended up holding that interview according to two people who spoke to "60 Minutes" because they said they were threatened with a lawsuit by Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's personal attorney when they were going to publish the results of an interview that they did.
Now they eventually did publish that. That's how we all found out about the alleged affair, where she details many of the things she told Anderson Cooper, but this is new. She talks about a threat that happened to her not long after she gave that interview to "In Touch" magazine in 2011 when they had called up the Trump organization, and they had said we are going to publish this, we wanted to know what your comment is. And then they were threatened with suits.
She says to Anderson, look, I was in a parking lot going to a fitness class. She had her infant daughter with her. She had just had her baby. She talks about fiddling with certain things like the baby seat and some of the stuff to get out of the car, and then she says, a guy walked up to her and said to her, leave Trump alone, forget the story. And more menacingly, she says he then leaned in and looked at her daughter, and said, that's a beautiful little girl, it'd be a shame if something happened to her mom, and then he was gone.
She took that as a direct threat. That's what she told Anderson Cooper and she said she would recognize him if she ever saw him again. That is a pretty stark threat there. We have not heard what the details of the threat were. We did hear that there was a threat and maybe more.
[20:05:05] She also talked a little bit about her former manager and her former attorneys saying that they pressured her to sign something that says she never had any kind of affair with Donald Trump. We saw that from Michael Cohen who sent that out to the media. We also saw that, her manager, herself sent that to me, just before she talked to Jimmy Kimmel when she went on the show with Jimmy Kimmel.
And so those are some interesting details because we didn't know why she would have done that said that she lied about the affair and then come back and say, no, actually there was an affair. So she tried to explain that as well -- Ana.
CABRERA: And how did she explain that, though? I mean, it's still confusing in the sense that --
SIDNER: It is.
CABRERA: Now she's telling her story so why did she lie in the first place if this is the truth?
SIDNER: Right. She said -- right. And it's a very good question. She said that she was pressured by her then manager and by her then attorney. That leaves a lot of questions up as to what they were pressuring her over, and why, since they are supposed to be her manager and her attorney. Why they were involved in any way in that, and I'm just trying to pull up, I just got a response from the man who was her attorney at the time.
His name is Keith Davidson. And he has responded by basically saying he would like to talk. He would like to talk about this. He would like to reveal details, but that he cannot talk because of attorney- client privilege, and he said, if her attorney or she will let him out of the attorney-client privilege, then we may hear from him -- Ana.
CABRERA: In fact, I want to read just part of it. It says, "Suffice to say I do not believe that the assertions in Miss Daniels' '60 Minutes' interview represent a fair and accurate description of the situation. I look forward to addressing these matters in an appropriate forum and hope that happens sooner rather than later."
Sara Sidner, thank you for this reporting. Stay with us.
I want to bring in the rest of our panel, David Gergen, first to you, your reaction to what we have learned so far about what Stormy Daniels is saying in this interview?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I must say it's a sad day for the country to wade through this muck about the president of the United States and whether he had an affair that he denies with a porn star. We've had presidents in the past who have gone out with starlets who, you know, famously, Jack Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were linked a lot as well as Bobby Kennedy, but I can't remember a president with a porn star in his bedroom, and I must, I think overall she seemed credible. The story about why she lied and didn't tell -- is telling the truth now, I don't think -- it needs further examination.
But I must tell you, there were a lot of details here about him allegedly, calling her while she was on the set of a -- and she would talk about this with friends and maybe through texts. I think any good investigative reporter can figure out based on that, does this story seem -- does it stand up under examination or not?
I think we deserve that. I think the president deserves that, frankly, before people make hard and fast decisions about it.
CABRERA: Let's ask one of our lawyers who are with us. Does her story stand up? And don't forget, there was that tease earlier this week from her lawyer when he held up a disk and tweeted it out and seemed to suggest there was some kind of evidence of her story on that disk, Mark Geragos.
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think Michael probably has something. I think that's exactly why he's not -- why Trump is not responding. I think this is somebody who famously engages whenever he's got a court case. Remember Trump University. Remember turn on your Twitter account any morning and watch what he does with Robert Mueller, watch what happens when he gets -- is displeased with the Department of Justice.
I think it's a given. I mean, from my standpoint, do I believe her? I don't -- I think it's beyond a question. What I don't quite understand is all the legal machinations. And I think ultimately, like I said last hour, Ana, I think this is going to end in arbitration, and not much is going to happen here.
The only thing that I can conceivably see is if, in fact, somebody wants to put the wood to Michael Cohen for something else to get him to incentivize him to roll against the president. This conceivably could be a wedge for some basis upon which to twist his arm to get him to cooperate.
Other than that, I think at the end of the day, it's not going to matter politically. I think there isn't any real legal jeopardy for the president based on this, but maybe tangentially or if the law of unintended consequences.
CABRERA: Everyone, stand by. Much more to discuss. We are going to hear from Stormy Daniels next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News. CABRERA: Breaking news, we are now getting the first tape of Stormy
Daniels' sit-down interview with Anderson Cooper for "60 Minutes." In it the porn star describes the moments leading up to a sexual encounter with Trump in his hotel room back in 2006. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORMY DANIELS, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: It started off all about him, just talking about himself, and, he's like, have you seen my new magazine?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: He was showing you his own picture on the cover of a magazine?
DANIELS: Right, right. And so, does this -- does this normally work for you? And he looked very taken back, like, he didn't really understand what I was saying. Like, I was, does just, you know, talking about yourself normally work? And I was like, someone should take that magazine and spank you with it. And I'll never forget the look on his face. He was like--
COOPER: What was his look?
DANIELS: Just -- I don't think anyone's ever spoken to him like that, especially, you know, a young woman who looked like me. And I said, you know, give me that, and I just remember him going, you wouldn't.
[20:15:04] Hand it over. And so he did, and I was like, turn around, drop them.
COOPER: You told Donald Trump to turn around and take off his pants.
COOPER: And did he?
DANIELS: Yes. So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little, you know, he had underwear on and stuff and I just gave him a couple swats.
COOPER: This was done in a joking manner.
DANIELS: Yes, and from that moment on, he was a completely different person.
COOPER: How so?
DANIELS: He quit talking about himself and he asked me things, and I asked him things, and it just became like, you know, more appropriate.
COOPER: Became more comfortable?
DANIELS: Yes. He's, like, wow, you, you are special. You remind me of my daughter, you know. He's, like, you're smart and beautiful and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you, I like you.
COOPER: At this point, was he doing "The Apprentice"?
DANIELS: Yes. And he goes, I got an idea, honey bunch, would you ever consider going on and being a contestant? And I'd laughed. And I said, NBC is never going to let, you know, an adult film star be on. It's, you know, he goes, no, no, he goes that's why I want you. You're going to shock a lot of people. You're smart. And they won't know what to expect.
COOPER: Did you think he was serious or did you think he was kind of dangling that to get you to want to be involved with him?
COOPER: Melania Trump had recently given birth to a son just a few months before. Did he mention his wife or child at all in this?
DANIELS: I asked. And he brushed it aside. Said, yes, yes, you know, don't worry about that, we don't even -- we have separate rooms and stuff.
COOPER: Did you two go out for dinner that night?
COOPER: You had dinner in the room?
COOPER: What happened next?
DANIELS: I asked him if I could use his restroom and he said, yes, you know, it's through those -- you know, through the bedroom, you'll see it. So I excused myself and I went to the restroom. You know, I was in there for a little bit and came out, and he was sitting, you know, on the edge of the bed when I walked out. Perched.
COOPER: And when you saw that, what went through your mind?
DANIELS: I realized exactly what I've gotten myself into, and I was like, oh, here we go. And I just felt like maybe it was sort of -- I had it coming for making a bad decision for going to someone's room alone, and I just heard the voice, and I well, you put yourself in a bad situation, and bad things happen, so you deserve this.
COOPER: And you had sex with him?
COOPER: You were 27. He was 60. Were you physically attracted to him?
COOPER: Not at all?
DANIELS: No. COOPER: Did you want to have sex with him?
DANIELS: No. But I didn't say no. I'm not a victim. I'm not --
COOPER: It was entirely consensual?
DANIELS: Oh, yes. Yes.
COOPER: You worked in an industry where condom use is an issue. Did he use a condom?
COOPER: Did you ask him to?
DANIELS: No. I honestly didn't say anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: OK. Let's discuss with our panel, back with us now, Brian, first to you. Now we see her. We hear her, all of it, her own words. Did this interview live up to the hype?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's matter of fact. She does not talk about this as if she's trying to attack the president. She's just trying to convey what happened. She says she feels she needs to defend herself, having been in the headlines now for months, and now that she feels she was silenced inappropriately, she's trying to show that contract was invalid, she wants to speak out.
I think on one front, people are left with questions, and that is about text messages or other evidence. There was a suggestion that maybe Daniels or her lawyer would present evidence tonight of this alleged affair. And there's none of that. I think that's because her lawyer wants to drag this out. He wants to string people along.
He said on Twitter earlier today, this is the beginning, not the end, so on that front, I think people may come away saying, hey, hey, where is the story? But I think the story is right there in her own words. Describing -- I'm sorry, Ana, -- spanking the president -- now president of the United States with a magazine cover.
STELTER: You know, this is going to be uncomfortable for folks to talk about, but there's an undeniable interest in this, including in the fact, again, I'm sorry to say it, unprotected sex.
STELTER: This is an adult film star. We know how serious the adult film industry has become about the use of condoms and other protection, and yet here we hear there's a description of Donald Trump not using protection. So I think those details, those lurid details are going to get a lot of attention in the coming hours, but then the campaign finance issue here is also very important. And there are some new details about how the payment was arranged and what Mike Cohen did or didn't know.
I think it's very interesting that Cohen had dinner with President Trump last night in Mar-a-Lago. CNN has now confirmed the two of them were at dinner with a group of people, Melania was not there. There's a lot of mystery about the Cohen payment and what Trump knew or didn't know. And this interview puts a bright spotlight on that.
CABRERA: David Gergen, the face of this, the salacious details that a came out about this sexual encounter, Brian brings up a couple of those points that just make you kind of cringe when you think of this as the president of the United States.
[20:20:03] How damaging is this?
GERGEN: Well, I'm not sure there has much legal damage, but I do think it does have political damage, and that is, you know, this is a story that's remarkably similar to the story we just heard a few days ago when Anderson Cooper the former Playboy bunny, and, you know, the question of being in the room, having dinner in the room, and winding up with sex, and sounding very transactional, almost like a business deal.
He will not be happy with the fact that she basically dismissed him as a lover. He's always prided himself on his sexual prowess, let us say, but nonetheless, I think that it's just, you know, you have two, three of these. This is a lot easier for mainstream America to understand and get a sense of and judge someone's character by than is the Mueller investigation, which is incredibly complicated and extremely important legally.
But I think this has a real dampening effect, especially at a time when women are so sensitive as they should be, and they finally are able to talk in public about how they have been abused by men for so long, in so many different ways. This coming right on top of that, I think is an extremely, from his point of view, not a good thing to have him coinciding at the same time.
I just think it's going to be make it very, very hard for a lot of women to choke down their sort of the disgust to all of this.
STELTER: Yes. It's not about his approval ratings so much. I don't know if this affects his approval ratings, but I think these kinds of allegations, these claims, they can show up in other data about the presidency, right, David? Other sorts of measures of people's pride or disappointment in the president, their feelings about his ethics.
I wonder if the Karen McDougal story and then a few days later Stormy Daniels', if that one-two combination will affect people's perception of Trump, not in that core approval rating, but in other ways.
CABRERA: We will discuss the politics --
AMY KREMER, CO-CHAIR, WOMEN WHO VOTE TRUMP: Can I jump in?
CABRERA: -- and the legal impact of all of this.
KREMER: These were consensual.
CABRERA: And I want to talk to you as well, Amy.
CABRERA: Kim, I also want to ask you the next question because after this quick break, you will hear Stormy Daniels in her own words detail how she was threatened to stay quiet about her time with Trump, a threat so serious she said it left her physically shaking. Who threatened her next?
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
[20:26:52] CABRERA: Back now to the stunning interview released tonight with porn star Stormy Daniels, the woman claiming to have had unprotected sex with President Trump just months after his wife Melania gave birth to their only son. And tonight, Daniels telling "60 Minutes" that back in 2011 she tried to go public with the tryst but was threatened to keep quiet, a threat she says left her physically shaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIELS: I was in a parking lot going to a fitness class with my infant daughter, taking, you know, the seats, facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, getting all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, leave Trump alone, forget the story, and then he leaned around and looked at my daughter, and said, that's a beautiful little girl, it'd be a shame if something happened to her mom, and then he was gone.
COOPER: You took it as direct threat?
DANIELS: Absolutely. I was rattled. I remember going into the workout class, and my hands were shaking so much I was afraid I was going to drop her.
COOPER: Did you ever see the person again?
DANIELS: No. But I -- if I did, I would know it right away. I'll never forget.
COOPER: You would be able to recognize that person?
DANIELS: One hundred percent, even now, all these years later. If he walked in this door right now, I'd instantly know.
COOPER: Did you go to the police?
COOPER: Why? DANIELS: Because I was scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Our panel is back with us now.
Kim Wehle, legally, would this be considered a threat?
KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it is a crime to intentionally put someone in fear of physical danger, so the question would be whether this person intended it, and whether she had fear. And it sounds like she did assuming it happened and we have to assume this is someone who knew about this alleged affair, so the bigger issue is, we don't have any facts, but if it's connected to the president, then that's deeply, deeply, deeply disturbing.
A few things to note about that is that it would be a state law crime, so it wouldn't be in the jurisdiction of Bob Mueller. It would not be pardonable. And of course this is all speculation. Maybe it's nothing, but it is very serious.
We've seen from -- since the beginning of the republic, we've seen politicians that get involved in sex scandals, and, as recently as Al Franken, some of them stepped down. The issue here, and I worked in the Whitewater investigation, and President Clinton was impeached for lying in the Paula Jones deposition.
The issue here is we have this Russia investigation going on, and our Congress isn't really doing anything about that, and so it's -- we're in a different world where even if this were to have occurred during the presidency, it's hard to imagine the political process holding people accountable.
And as Americans, we need to understand, it's, like, crossing a bridge. If the bridge is faltering, if the stones are actually falling apart, eventually the whole bridge will collapse, and I think that's what I see here, as a constitutional law professor, is the structural norms of our institution just really eroding and this is just one more chink in the armor here. I mean, I wouldn't want my children watching TV tonight.
CABRERA: Right. Look, quick follow, because of your connection to the Clinton investigation. On a scale of zero to the blue dress, where does this fall?
[20:30:05] WEHLE: Well, you know, again, that happened while Mr. Clinton was in the White House with an intern, but I -- you know, having lived through that investigation and alive today, I think it's -- we're on a completely different scale when it comes to both the Mueller investigation and this kind of scandal and of course as others mentioned the legal implications are there in terms of the election laws.
I mean, at this point, a lot of people say, kind of shrug, they say the campaign laws, it's a shrug, and that's also really unfortunate. There's just -- we're drinking from a fire hose when it comes to an assault on our democratic institutions and our systems of justice, and just norms of character and common sense and decency that regardless of political party, I think we all need to be very, very weary of because if the bridge collapses, my guess is what comes in to replace it is not going to be any better than what we see today.
CABRERA: Amy Kremer, I'm so glad to have your perspective with us as well, as an ardent supporter of this president, as a woman yourself, what we're hearing from Stormy Daniels tonight, and, also what we heard earlier this week from Karen McDougal. What's the impact on you? Do you still stand by this president? What's your reaction?
KREMER: Look, I voted for him because I thought he was the best candidate out there to do what I thought needed to be done for this country economically. And he has followed through on most of his campaign promises. We've been pretty happy with him. And I say that we speaking generally about his base. I certainly don't represent everyone. So I don't want to give that idea.
But I think this is a bunch of noise. The only thing that really matters is the campaign finance stuff, and to think that all of America sitting out there focused on this campaign finance stuff, that's not what's happening. Campaign finance law is very complicated. If you've ever ran a PAC, if you've ever run for office, you have attorneys that handle that. I don't even understand it. So that is really what's at stake here, is the campaign finance law, and honestly I think Stormy is laughing us all the way to the bank.
This is a bunch of PR for her, and, I mean, she's -- you go to her Web site, you have to sign up and pay money. I mean, this is about the money. And she's a capitalist. That's fine. We're all capitalists. We all like to make money, but, I mean, really at the end of the day, that's why her attorney is dragging it out and putting these little morsels out there.
He's gone up against Trump before. It seems like, you know, it's -- he wants the attention. They want this to drag on. We saw his tweets earlier today that this is just the beginning. I mean, she's on this "Make America Horny Again" tour. I mean, really, she is, and that's what this is about, and we're all just --
STELTER: You have a point that she's making more money in the future appearances.
CABRERA: Real quick, Brian.
STELTER: However, we're also living through a Me Too moment where she may feel she needs to speak her truth.
KREMER: She said she is not Me Too.
STELTER: But you're right, she'll make more money.
KREMER: She said she is not a victim of Me Too and she is --
CABRERA: I got to get another quick break in. You're right. She said that, but, also, looking at the transcript, and she was asked if this is about money, and she said, in fact, Anderson Cooper, you feel like if you wanted to go public, you could have gotten paid a lot of money to go public? And she says without a doubt, I know for a fact. I believe without a shadow of a doubt in my heart, and some people argued that I don't have one of those, but whatever.
But ultimately, she says she turned down a large payday multiple times because, one, and I'm quoting, I didn't want to kiss and tell and be labeled all the things that I'm being labeled now. Again; that was her words tonight in that interview with Anderson Cooper.
We have much more to discuss from this interview coming up. You'll hear more from Stormy Daniels in that interview with Anderson Cooper including her claim that Trump compared her to his daughter after they had unprotected sex? And how that story compares to another woman, former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, who says she also had an affair with Trump that same year and he also talked about her daughter with her -- his daughter with her. Stay right there.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
[20:38:28] CABRERA: Continuing with our breaking news coverage, an interview that has captivated the country tonight, our Anderson Cooper for "60 Minutes" sat down with Stormy Daniels claiming she had a consensual sexual relationship with the president prior to him becoming president, but shortly after the birth of his son, Barron, so I want to bring in Kate Bennett who has covered the first lady extensively in this first year in office for this first family, and, Kate, that has to be hard to hear, all of what has come out tonight if you are Melania Trump.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Sure, but, you know, with all due respect, I think the sort of pro-clutching we're doing over Donald Trump and his behavior especially, you know, 12 years ago, at the peak of his celebrity, notorious ladies man with a history of, you know, one of the most public divorces from his first wife due to adultery, and I think Melania Trump knows this as well.
I imagine this is difficult. I'm sure it is hard. She's expressed her independence, she took a separate motorcade the other day. She's been quiet about this and stoic, but I don't think she's down at Mar- a-Lago sort of, you know, crying in her bedroom.
This is a man that has a past. He has clearly a moral barometer that might be different than what one would expect of a sitting president, but the first lady, I would imagine, is -- you know, she's a participant in this marriage, the two have been married for quite some time, more than a decade. They have a son together.
I just -- I feel for her and I think this is a sense of a public humiliation, that must be extremely devastating for her as she finds her footing as a first lady, as a very private person, as a mother.
[20:40:11] The sort of details that have been revealed in both of these interviews, and I do think the one with Karen McDougal the other night was far more damaging in terms of a marriage and intimacy than this one was tonight. But I have to feel for her, but I do think in a way to assume that Donald Trump back in 2006 was the, you know, model of morality, he used to brag about his conquest, he used to brag on, you know, Howard Stern and other shows.
So I think we have to take this story with understanding the man and perhaps then understanding what it might be like inside their marriage.
CABRERA: But, again, this is an affair that the president denies, and yet Melania Trump has not come to his defense.
I've got to get a quick break in here, guys.
CABRERA: We can discuss that coming up. Kate Bennett, stay with us.
Also earlier this week, you'll recall her attorney, the attorney of Stormy Daniels, tweeted out a photo of a CD hinting he has some evidence of this alleged tryst. Up next, what Daniels said about that evidence tonight.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:45:47] DANIELS: He's, like, wow. You, you are special. You remind me of my daughter.
KAREN MCDOUGAL, ALLEGES AFFAIR WITH DONALD TRUMP: You know, he's very proud of Ivanka as he should be. I mean, she's a brilliant woman, she's beautiful, she's -- you know, that's his daughter and he should be proud of her. He said I was beautiful like her, and, you know, you're a smart girl, and there isn't a lot of comparing, but there was some, yes. I heard a lot about her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So first Stormy Daniels, then you heard what we just witnessed from Karen McDougal there, back-to-back, and now Karen McDougal's lawyer just tweeted, Peter Stris, he says, "I represent Karen McDougal, and we believe Stormy Daniels."
My panel is back with me now. Mark Geragos, you first. Your reaction?
GERAGOS: I just am perplexed by all of this. I know that as a CNN analyst I'm supposed to give you some smart legal insight here, but I really am somewhat -- I'm somewhat perplexed as to -- and bewildered by what the end game is here. I get that the lawyer says he believes her. I -- you know, I believe both of the women, but at the end of the day, so what?
And I don't have a whole lot of sympathy or empathy for Melania, she's the third wife. This guy was cheating on the previous wives, it wasn't a secret. Who knows what their relationship is. I understand that we're supposed to beat our chests and say this is horrible, and blah, blah, blah, and I'm no great supporter of Donald Trump at all, but at the end of the day, I wish -- I just wish there was something tawdry in the Russia investigation because that certainly, to me, seems to have a lot more import for the country than this does.
CABRERA: Kim, Daniels' lawyer, you'll recall, tweeted a photo of a CD earlier this week teasing that it may be some sort of evidence, but this never even came up during the interview. How do you assess how Stormy Daniels' attorney conducted himself in this case?
WEHLE: It seems like he's representing his client vigorously, but also is very attuned to the public relations element of it, but I agree that in terms of this particular contract and what's happening in this particular case, legally it's not a whole lot of information that we really can care about because at the end of the day, under state law, the damages are going to come down to what's reasonable under the contract, and given that Mr. Trump's 17 accusers leading up to the election, it doesn't seem like this is someone that's really going to be tarnished by this news with respect to Stormy Daniels.
And I think that whatever is on those CDs, if it is related, it will eventually come out, and then the American people can make a decision as to whether it matters to them, and in that regard, you know, I think we all need to care about accountability for our elected leaders. Everybody in the country needs to care that if people violate certain rules or norms, that there are consequences, and if that process keeps us all safe and protects our individual rights, and so I agree that this really is -- it's important, but not nearly as important as the Russia investigation, but it is related, in that context.
Remember, we've got a number of people that have pled guilty or been indicted that are very close to this president. That's a serious, serious situation, and I just would hope that the president and the Congress let that process see itself through, however the Stormy Daniels situation settles out.
CABRERA: Everyone, stay with me. Another quick break. We're back in a moment.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:53:59] COOPER: The president watches "60 Minutes," if he's watching tonight, what would you say to him?
DANIELS: He knows I'm telling the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: All right. Short and sweet. Our panel is back with us. And I want to make sure we get everybody in this time, guys. So in just about 30 seconds, if you will, I want to hear from everyone. What is tomorrow's headline going to be? Where does this go from here? And Amy, you start.
KREMER: I think that none of this was really relevant other than the FEC ethics of it. And I think that America is concerned about jobs and the economy, and that's what they're focused on. At the end of the day I don't think that this is going to have any effect on his presidency. And Stormy Daniels is in it for the money. I believe that that's really what she's in it for. So I think that's what it comes down to.
CABRERA: Mark Geragos, your thoughts?
GERAGOS: I have to say that Stormy is no bomb cyclone here. This was not a five-star revelation. Actually I think Michael Avenatti with the disc reminds me of Trump when he was saying Comey better worry about whether I've got the tapes.
[20:55:09] I just -- I don't know that there's a whole lot of legal commentary here. I've got a whole lot off the air I'll tell you about otherwise, but legal I don't think there's any jeopardy here whatsoever.
CABRERA: David Gergen, your headline?
GERGEN: Well, Trump supporters are tweeting tonight that we're obsessing over this and it's much to do about very little. We knew this all along. We are echoing Amy. But I must say, character does matter in the White House. Republicans used to believe that as well as Democrats believed it.
The historian David McKeller has written that character is the single most important quality we should look for in our presidents. And so when we walk through the mud like this, this yuck factor is very high. I think it really diminishes all of us. I think it diminishes the country and I think it diminishes the president and the White House.
We shouldn't be talking about like this, about presidents and porn stars, for goodness sakes.
CABRERA: Kate Bennett?
BENNETT: I mean, thinking about the first lady, I think we're going to continue to see Melania Trump be an independent first lady. We're going to watch her go ahead and keep quiet about this and probably continue to be the most liked member of the Trump family as she remains to be according to our polling. And I think we're going to have to keep an eye out for this marriage and see how it survives the spotlight in a very, very trying and troubling time with salacious headlines as David just said. CABRERA: Kim?
WEHLE: Well, I don't think we're going to see a $20 million judgment against Stormy Daniels as a result of tonight's airing of the details. So I don't think legally there's a whole lot going on here. I mean, there were some other missteps. You asked me about her lawyer, Mr. Cohen violated core ethics rules by paying allegedly $130,000 of his own money on behalf of his client, not disclosing that, not discussing that.
Again, I'm a law professor. That is basic no-noes. That's really deeply concerning in the bigger picture that I mentioned before about how so many elements of the norms that uphold our legal system, our culture and the rule of law are being -- it's like death by a thousand cuts. We're nicking at it in a way that I find deeply, deeply disturbing and I hope people can get out of the sordid details of the partisan politics and take a bigger picture and look at the forest, and not the tree so often because the forest is burning down, I'm afraid.
CABRERA: All right. Brian, what do you think is going to be the headline from this interview?
STELTER: You know, a couple questions. Was she really threatened in the parking lot in Las Vegas that day? If so who threatened her? What kind of threat was she facing? Going forward, Monday morning, will President Trump comment on this? Will he tweet about this? Our colleague Kaitlan Collins is reporting the president is irked by what he sees as wall-to-wall coverage of this story. He's agitated. Will he lash out about it?
I also wonder if Ivanka Trump would ever talk about this. It is so uncomfortable that Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels have both said that this father compared these women to his daughter. And I think --
KREMER: He talked about her all the time, though.
STELTER: But not when he's about to have sex with people. I'm sorry. That's what make this so uncomfortable. I would just say finally --
KREMER: We don't know that that's when it happened, though.
STELTER: There is a moral vacuum in this presidency. We are reminded of that tonight. And don't all of us wonder as we go to bed, what do we tell our kids?
CABRERA: Well, let me -- we're getting now a little bit, a read-out from our White House reporter Kaitlan Collins on what the president may be thinking after this interview. Let me just read this to you. It says that the president has been irked by the blanket of Stormy Daniels' coverage that has dominated cable news in recent days. Still uncertain, though, however, if he had actually watched this interview.
In the last few days President Trump has complained to those around him about what he perceives as wall-to-wall coverage of Daniels', according to a source familiar with his reaction, an indication he is keeping close tabs on how her affair and this allegation is playing out in the press. Brian --
STELTER: I'm going to make the easiest prediction I have ever made. Yes, he watched. Right?
CABRERA: -- whether he responds? Because there was a little bit of, like --
KREMER: She is trying to bait him. She is trying to bait him.
KREMER: And her attorney is trying to bait him. And I don't think -- I mean, I'm sure that he wants to respond, I would encourage him not to respond. It only gives the story legs and goes -- continues it for another day. I mean, this is eventually going to play out in a court of law. And the FEC is what matters. And I think other than that, it -- sure, it drives ratings and it's clicked. But other than that, none of it really matters. It's a bunch of noise.
CABRERA: Everyone, thank you so much for being with us, walking us through this discussion. I really, really appreciate your thoughts and insights.
I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. That's going to do it for us here.
It is the premier of another episode of "THE KENNEDYS" coming up next at 10:00 p.m. Also don't forget "THE POPE: THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN HISTORY," and beginning right now, a new episode of "AMERICAN DYNASTIES: THE KENNEDYS."
Have a great night.