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One of Stormy Daniels' Friends Says She Can Corroborate Stormy Daniels' Story; "60 Minutes" Interview with Stormy Daniels Tops Ratings; Top D.C. Lawyer: Turmoil, Chaos, Confusion, Surrounding Trump is Beyond Normal Bounds; Trump Orders 60 Russian Diplomats Expelled Over Nerve Agent Attack on Former Double Agent in the U.K. Aired 10- 11p ET
Aired March 26, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Time to hand things over to Don Lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now. See you tomorrow.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
More than 22 million people heard Stormy Daniels tell her story in her own words. But the sage of the porn star and the president not over yet, not even close. We have a lot of new developments tonight. Daniels is now suing President Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen for defamation. So Trump's fixer could be in a bit of a fix himself tonight.
And there's this. Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti telling CNN there are new leads on the man Daniels claimed threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011, a threat she says included the mystery saying about her infant daughter, quote, "that's a beautiful little girl. It would be a shame if something happened to her mom."
And Avenatti hints new evidence is likely to come out over the next few weeks and months, evidence that he claims will help prove Trump knew about the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels just before the election. That as sources tell CNN the president's silence so far about Stormy Daniels is very deliberate.
Trump maybe for the first time ever following the advice of confidants and avoiding saying or maybe more importantly tweeting anything directly about Stormy Daniels. The source goes on to say the president, quote, "knows the stakes."
So it's no surprise that the White House today is sticking to its denials that Trump had an affair with Daniels. But the majority of Americans aren't buying it. Here's our brand new CNN poll shows 63 percent believe Stormy Daniels and ex playmate Karen McDougal both say they had affairs with Trump. Only 21 percent believe the president.
Tonight, one of Stormy Daniels' friends said she can corroborate Daniels' story. Adult film star, Alana Evans says she heard Trump on the phone the night she was invited to a party with Stormy Daniels. And Alana Evans says well, she would take the lie detector test, too, to prove it. I'm going to talk to her tonight.
We also have new developments on the nerve agent attack on a Russian former double agent in the U.K.
President Trump ordering 60 Russian diplomats expelled joining a long list of countries sending the suspected intelligence agents back to Moscow in response to a brazen poison attack.
Strong action against Russia from this administration but the White House still refuses to say why the president failed to even mention the poisoning in his call with Vladimir Putin last week. We have more than in just a moment.
But first I want to bring in CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins, CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza, and CNN political commentator, Matt Lewis. OK. So we got a lot to talk about. A lot of people, a lot of allegations, a lot of specs, a lot of stuff.
So Kaitlan, we have yet to hear directly from the president about Stormy Daniels. He did however tweet and attack on the media saying "so much fake news, never been more voluminous or more inaccurate. But through it all our country is doing great." So Kaitlan, why hasn't the president spoken out?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Don, it certainly very uncharacteristic of the president to remain silent about something. Usually he responds even the smallest slight made against him but he hasn't said anything about Stormy Daniels at all. And he has remained totally silent.
And we know base from our reporting from the CNN the White House seem that the president has actually been polling his aides his outside advisers whether they think he should respond publicly to these allegations. So far he has been advised against doing so because they think it will further bring the story into the headlines not that it's not there already.
But we have seen the president be eager to defend himself here. Yet he has not done that yet which is certainly surprising in this front. And there is a chance that the president could decide a tweet about this. He was also advised by his legal team not to tweet about the special counsel's investigation Robert Mueller specifically, something we saw him do in recent weeks as well.
But I do think that that interview with Anderson Cooper won television would cause the president to tweet further. That's something he pays a lot of attention to obviously on television. I know the White House would come out today and said whether or not he watch that interview. They did later say that he believe the claims that she made during that interview were inaccurate which does lead one to believe that he watched at least part of the broadcast Sunday night.
LEMON: Speaking of that, here is Raj Shah today at the White House briefing today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was the president aware of a physical threat
made against Daniels when she was with her daughter back in 2007?
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the president doesn't believe that any of the claims that Ms. Daniels made last night in the interview were accurate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't believe she was threatened?
SHAH: No, he does not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is his basis for that, Raj?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's his basis for that?
SHAH: Well, he just doesn't believe that, you know, there is nothing to corroborate her claim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Ryan, the president doesn't believe any of the claims from Stormy Daniels are accurate. I mean, this is the one way the president has been most consistent when it comes to any accusers, deny all allegations, right?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He denied it but interestingly, as you were discussing with Kaitlan, he hasn't spoken publicly about this.
[22:05:00] The only person I can think of that he has not responded to when attack like this is Vladimir Putin. I mean, he has just been completely silent on this issue.
Look, I think that, you know, she was very clear that they had a consensual relationship, right. I don't think the fact of the affair will shock anyone knowing what we know about Donald Trump's history. But I think there are three sorts of areas of danger for him.
One is the campaign -- potential campaign finance violation. We saw in the case of John Edwards, Democratic presidential candidate hang a former girlfriend lead to some very serious campaign finance trouble for him. So that's one area of trouble.
Two is if this in anyway intersects with the Mueller investigation, remember, our friend Sam Nunberg when he did his round of interviews which seems like a few years ago, but I guess it was just a couple of weeks ago, one of the things he said is that he was asked about the Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen situation. We don't know exactly what was asked, we don't exactly what Mueller was getting at but that is very intriguing that Mueller ask about that.
LIZZA: And then finally if this civil case -- you know, I think most of the legal experts actually think the civil case is Avenatti and Stormy Daniels weakest hand here. They are doing a lot, they're have a much stronger hand with this sort of public campaign against Trump calling him a liar. The civil case seems a little bit weaker.
But we know from the Clinton era if a civil case starts getting traction and the president gets deposed and has to say something that can -- that can cause some trouble if he's not truthful. So Avenatti and Daniels have opened up a lot of political peril for the president on a number of fronts.
LEMON: And then you have the other case that is going forward with the other accuser here.
So, Matt, listen, I want to read. This is from "The Washington Post," OK. It says, "But privately the president has lobbed sharp attacks at Daniels and her media tour calling her allegations a hoax and asking confidants if the episode was hurting his poll numbers. The president even has gripe to several people that Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive."
So, Ryan, I guess that was you, maybe that was Matt.
LIZZA: Sorry. Sometimes I just chuckle.
LEMON: Yes. Matt--
MATT LEWIS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Believe me, believe me, I can do better.
LEMON: Yes. The president actually made similar comments during the campaign when he was defending himself against the claim from the People magazine reporter that Trump himself on her. He said at the time, look at her, I don't think so. What's your reaction there?
LEWIS: Yes, right. So there are some consistencies here. That's one of his line of defense. There are consistencies, right? He tends to tell these women they remind him of his daughter. So he definitely has this weird this M.O.
I think Ryan actually is exactly right though. I don't think this hurts Donald Trump at all politically. I think it's baked in the cake politically, right?
So even, you know, a lot of people voted for Donald Trump after seeing the Access Hollywood video. They knew what they were getting. They knew who he was. He never pretended to be anything else. Donald Trump was pretty up front about himself. So nobody is surprised or shocked that he had sex allegedly with a porn star or a play mate. I think where he could get in trouble is with the campaign finance violation potential of this with the cover up and the legal matters.
LEMON: So that's--
LEWIS: And so I think his wife did not talk more.
LEMON: That's the thing, Matt. I think most people say it's an affair, they say it's between him and his wife. It is salacious especially when you think about, you know, that he is married and the claims of an unprotected sex and all of that.
But I think that -- I think that maybe now it may be baked into the cake. But don't you think there will be a cumulative effect especially by the 2018 elections or by 2020 if these women, if there continues to be this drip, drip, drip?
LEWIS: I actually don't, to be honest with you. Look, there will -- Donald Trump was a known commodity when people voted for him. We saw that Access Hollywood tape, the horrible things he said you can do to women if you're a celebrity.
This is the guy who is on his third marriage and has cheated on the past all three wives. He said things about his daughter that I won't repeat here on TV being - his daughter being attractive. He went on Howard Stern.
Nobody is surprised by this. And so I think if you care deeply about let's say the Me Too moment you already hate Donald Trump , and if like Donald Trump you already know that this is the guy you're getting. So I think he is going to stay between about 42 percent and 35 percent no matter what. And if another woman comes out tomorrow making a similar accusation I don't think it matters at all politically.
[22:09:58] LEWIS: It may matters morally, it matters ethically, it may matter legally, but politically I don't think so.
LEMON: I got a question for Kaitlan but I see that you want to get on this, Ryan. What do you want to say?
LIZZA: No, just quickly. Look, it's not about -- it's not about the sex. It's about whether he bullied her--
LIZZA: -- or in any way forced her into this agreement against her will. You know, the new information, the new accusation that came out last night of course is this threat. So to me, that changed my mind a lot about this case. If he actually threatened her through Michael Cohen or anyone else in anyway forced her against her will into signing this agreement that changes the nature of this--
LEMON: But here is what, this is what gets me when people say this is about an affair that happened it was 10 years ago. The actual act what may have happened not long ago. But the only reason it came out is because of Michael Cohen's actions that happened a couple of days before the election and then the Wall Street Journal report coming out and him responding to it. That's why it's in the news now. Listen, I think most don't know about the affair.
Kaitlan, let's go and let's talk about this. Because Kaitlan, you said he is concerned about this being in the headlines. Anderson's interview in 60 Minutes with Stormy Daniels strike 22.1 million viewers, it's the highest rated episode in 10 years.
Pair that with the numbers in our CNN poll, two-thirds believe of people the women, I mean, this is a hug headache for the White House when Stormy's attorney says that it's just going it's just the beginning and they had there's evidence on the way. What's next?
COLLINS: And that's exactly what the headache is here for the White House. There are many people inside of this White House who have told me that they believe Stormy Daniels' story is true, as well as the other women.
And their fear is that these stories will embolden other women that could have similar stories with this president to come forward and that it would create further headaches for them politically, not maybe legally, maybe nothing that would actually jeopardize this presidency. But it's just one more fire for them to put out while they are putting out a string of other fires here in the White House.
So that's the headache here that it caused that. The president is clearly keeping very close tabs on how the story is playing out the press by asking people how they think he should respond to it. He is complaining about what he perceive as wall to wall coverage on cable news outlets.
So it certainly is something that the White House is paying attention to even though they tried to downplay these accusations and his story on a daily basis on this here, Don
LEMON: Kaitlan, Ryan, and Matt, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
LEWIS: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back the adult film star who says she sure Stormy Daniels is telling the truth. Alana Evans said she heard Donald Trump on the phone the night she was invited to a party with him and her friend Stormy Daniels. I'm going to talk to her next.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: More than 22 million people watched Stormy Daniels tell her story last night. Now I want to bring in one of her friends, she said she can corroborate Daniels story and she may have her own lawsuit against the president so-called fixer.
Joining me is adult film star, Alana -- actress Alana Evans.
Thank you so much, Alana. I appreciate you joining us here. So, I have to ask you, we have just learned moments ago that you're planning your own lawsuit against Michael Cohen. Can you tell us about that?
ALANA EVANS, STORMY DANIELS' FRIEND: Yes. I mean from the moment that my story came out in the Daily Beast it was a conversation I had with a writer who was a friend Aurora Snow and from that time Cohen had released his own statements, one specifically directly to the Independent in the U.K. completely denying my story as you can see.
And from then on it has completely laid the path for many to consistently call me a liar.
EVANS: And it's not OK.
LEMON: So, specifically what did he say? You believe it was defamatory, you said it was in the Independent in the U.K. Did he mention you by name Alana?
EVANS: It was an actual -- so without mentioning -- excuse me. Without mentioning me by name it was a direct response to my story calling me fake news, saying that the allegations were completely untrue and that the details of my story were untrue.
LEMON: OK. So this is about you. I'm just wondering if you were making the case because he called Stormy's accusations a lie or that he has called you a liar?
EVANS: It's because he's called me a liar.
LEMON: OK. All right.
EVANS: And you don't exactly have to put my name in it for people to know that it's me that you're referring to when you're denying my story directly from Tahoe. At that point no one else had spoken. It was only me.
LEMON: The White House, Alana, has responded today to the claims made by Stormy Daniels in her interview last night. I want you to take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ: I can say categorically that obviously, the White House didn't engage in any wrongdoing. The campaign or Mr. Cohen, yes, the campaign or Mr. Cohen can address anything with respect to their actions.
With respect to that interview, I would say the president strongly, clearly and has consistently denied these underlying claims. And the only person who's been inconsistent is the one making the claims.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Alana, when the president's spokesman says he doesn't believe Stormy, I mean, that's got to be particularly frustrating for you because as you said before you heard him on the phone that night.
EVANS: Absolutely. And it's funny the words that they are using, that he doesn't believe Stormy. It's kind of funny for someone to say they don't believe someone's story when they were there. I think that he is being careful in the words that he uses but he is still lying.
LEMON: What, so what do you think he should just say it didn't happen instead of saying I don't believe her story? You think there's some nuance there?
EVANS: What I think the president should do is own up to what he did, own up to the relationships, own up to the affairs, apologize to his wife and to the American people, myself, to Stormy, to Karen and all the other women involved and go from there. I think a lot of people would appreciate honesty at this point and would accept an apology.
LEMON: Earlier today, you said that you'd be open to taking a polygraph test about hearing that conversation that you said that was speaker phone. You want to substantiate Stormy's claims. Is that, have you been approached about that?
[22:19:57] EVANS: It's not something I've been approached to do, but also this is it comes so quickly to having him deny it and actually put any kind of response to it. At this point it's me completely offering to do that because I know that I'm telling the truth. I'm not lying about anything. I have nothing to hide.
I feel that I am the only person there from that time, from that night who knows exactly what was happening because they called me.
LEMON: I got a couple more questions, but I want to play this before I ask you. Stormy spoke too in the interview last night about feeling obligated to have sex with Donald Trump after going to his hotel room. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM ACTRESS: I realized exactly what I had gotten myself into. I was like here we go and I just felt like maybe it was sort of I had it coming for making a bad decision for going this someone's room alone and I just heard the voice and I, well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happened. So you deserve this.
COOPER: And you had sex with him?
COOPER: You were 27 and he was 60. Were you physically attracted to him?
COOPER: Not at all?
COOPER: Did you want to have sex with him?
DANIELS: No. But I didn't -- I didn't say no. I'm not a victim. I'm not-- (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: It was entirely consensual?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, let me -- correct me if I'm wrong, was that the night Donald Trump called you on the phone or I'm not sure if he called her on the phone and she invited you, you said to join them, correct?
EVANS: Yes. That is the night in question. I'm sorry, hearing it last night and hearing her say that and even hearing her again right now it's hard to not be a little emotional. Because obviously I was that friend that she called to ask to go with her and I never saw it -- I never saw it from that place before, from that angle that she was calling me so that she didn't have to go alone.
I took it more of my own personal concern about putting myself there. So, to see her talk about it like that in the interview, I instantly felt regret and deep remorse because I let my friend down. I should have went with her so that she wasn't alone.
Because obviously whether it would have been her way of being able to, you know, not have to engage in any type of sexual activity with him or I would have been a party to it at least she wouldn't have had an option and not have to feel that it was something, you know, that she had put herself in because she was alone. So I feel terrible about that.
LEMON: Have you reached out to her?
EVANS: I reached out to her last night. I just sent her a message to apologize. I literally said I was sorry a couple of times because as I just explained, how it made me feel to see her. And I know she says she's not a victim and she's obviously not. But when friends stick together different things happen.
And so, yes, I felt I needed to apologize again. You know, I apologized that morning but I apologized for a different reason. It was, you know, sorry I bailed. And so last night when I sent her a message I apologized for not being there.
LEMON: All right. Alana Evans, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Yes.
EVANS: Thank you.
LEMON: Does Alana Evans have a case? We're going to talk about that. We'll be right back.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We just heard Stormy Daniels' friend. I just spoke to her. She said she wants to sue Michael Cohen, too. I want to get legal experts to weigh in on this and other stuff. Here
to discuss CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the Justice Department, and Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor.
Gentlemen, good evening. I'm not sure if you heard Alana Evans moments ago. Michael, you just heard what she said, hopefully she wants to sue Michael Cohen for defamation. Does she have a case?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's not clear. The elements of defamation is that you have a public statement in this case, an oral one that it's false, that it's injurious and that there's no privilege attached to it.
So what she has to establish is what was said about her was false and injurious principally. And it's not clear to me completely what she said rises to that level. You know, she could file the lawsuit but it's not clear to me yet that she has reached the threshold. But others can disagree for sure because that's a subjective determination of what is -- of what is injury.
LEMON: Yes. Hey, Renato, I want to move on to Russia and other things. What do you think? Does she have a case?
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. What I would say is she may have -- she could certainly file a case and then that would give her some leverage. I don't know how strong Stormy Daniels' case is. But the fact that she's filed the case and that's going to give her leverage against the president and, you know, that is going to potentially create problems.
LEMON: All right, thank you, gentlemen for the response. So, Renato, the Daily Beast is reporting that two more high-powered attorneys, attorney down President Trump's request to join his legal team. Dan Webb, Tom Buchanan say that they can't do -- they can't do it due to business conflicts. What do you make of all of this?
MARIOTTI: Well, I think it's an interesting statement because when you say the word, the term business conflicts, that's not a legal or actual conflict of interest. What that means is that either some of their existing clients don't want them to represent President Trump or that the firm doesn't want to take on that kind of risk.
And I will tell you, lawyers generally like to represent rich and powerful people. And there -- so here what I think what we were seeing is with all of these top lawyers turning down President Trump, what it suggest is that wither they are concerned about potential ethical bind so that will put them in if they represent him, it could potentially be that their concern that their bills aren't going to get paid or they have a lot of clients who would not like them representing President Trump.
[22:30:03] So, it's an unusual situation for somebody who is rich or sensibly rich and powerful to be in.
LEMON: Business conflict sounds like oh, I have a previous engagement which is, it kind of covers everything, right? So, Michael, listen, Ted Olson, the former Solicitor General for George W. Bush, is another D.C. lawyer who rebuffed into Trump team. Here is what he had to say. This is an interview today. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED OLSON, FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR GEORGE W. BUSH: I think everybody would agree this is turmoil, it's chaos, it's confusion. It's not good for anything. We always believe that there should be an orderly process, and of course government is not clean or orderly ever, but this seems to be beyond normal bounds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Michael, do you think that the chaos that Olson described -- is that why Mr. Trump is having a hard time finding qualified lawyers to represent him?
ZELDIN: Well two things. First, we respect that Ted Olson as I understand that the law firm has said that it has a legal conflict, not a business conflict. But an actual legal conflict of the type that Joe DiGenova had which precludes them from representing Donald Trump.
However, I think, what we can read into what Ted Olson said there was, this is a tough client in a tough situation. And if you have a client who have a very difficult situation, who you can't be certain will listen to you and take your advice, for a lawyer it's sort of a no win proposition, and you stand down to it.
LEMON: Is it could be because that end, also the reputation that has been reported that he doesn't pay his attorneys, or he doesn't pay his legal -- Renato, you're nodding your head.
MARIOTTI: Well, that's always a concern. And I'll tell you as a lawyer who takes in clients and represents them now, that's always a concern. Every law firm evaluates when a client is coming in.
You know, what is their ability to pay, should we get a retainer, and I will tell you, if a client doesn't pay, you're essentially -- when you're performing services for a client that isn't paying in advance for them, you're essentially making a loan to them. You're forwarding them money. And if you can't be sure that you're going to get paid, that can be a huge problem for firms.
LEMON: How does one get away for allegedly not paying for it because it is -- you know, it has been said, again, reportedly that he doesn't pay for his legal council.
ZELDIN: It is what he does. He -- I'm sorry, Renato. I didn't mean to interrupt.
LEMON: Go ahead, Michael.
ZELDIN: So the published reports of Donald Trump and his bill paying pattern is people give bills, and he sues them saying that you didn't perform under the contract. And he pays or doesn't pay, or he pays something less.
As Renato said, as a lawyer, you just can't do that. You can't put yourself in that position. And unless he was going to put up a $1 million, or $2 million, or $3 million retainer -- I sound like a New Yorker, retainer that you can draw down against people aren't going to take the risk.
LEMON: OK. Got it. Got it. So, Michael, when you look at the lawsuits that President Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen are dealing with now, I mean, they raise a lot of questions about campaign finance violations, OK, about threats of intimidation and whether Stormy Daniels has been defamed. Are any of these issues likely to overlap with the Mueller investigation?
ZELDIN: Two things, first is, I think first that -- which is viable is the campaign finance violations, the notion of paying $130,000 two weeks before the election for a matter that has been sort of already multiple years old, to me smacks of an in-kind donation. And I think that the Federal Election Commission and perhaps even the Justice Department has to look into that. How are we...
LEMON: It was like a year before. This was only 11 days before. But go on.
ZELDIN: Exactly, which is what makes it a more problematic case. Then of course, we know that we have Mueller looking at Cohen with respect to the building of the Trump Tower, Moscow. He has mentioned in the steel dossier, which gave rise to this investigation in certain measures -- small measure.
But not, you know, to be discounted entirely. He is mentioned in that. And so Mueller I think when he sees this, would likely want to go to Rosenstein -- say to Rosenstein, hey look, there may be viable campaign finance violations here.
I would like to look at that potentially if nothing else than to leverage a witness who I think is got valuable information on the core matter that I am investigating. What do you want me to do? And then he and Rosenstein have to make a decision.
Rosenstein ultimately being the deciding authority, whether he wants to give this to Mueller to let him use it as part of his investigation, and leveraging Cohen, or Rosenstein says you know what, this is just too disconnected to what you're investigating.
[22:35:02] If there is a campaign finance violation, we'll give it to the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, which typically looks at these things, and they will make their call independent of what you're doing, Don. LEMON: Renato, I'll give you the last word. But I will give you a
short trip -- short time.
MARIOTTI: No problem. I would say above and beyond in terms of a leverage that Mueller may have over Cohen is it's improper for an attorney to be forwarding, and paying that kind of money on behalf of the client. I don't think anyone really believes that that payment was made by Cohen in his personal capacity. And I think, you know, he may potentially lie to Mueller.
LEMON: Regardless of the reasons behind it, and maybe the relativistic (ph) it would have you, but it certainly does raise suspicion. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate that.
ZELDIN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, the White House expelling 60 Russian diplomats in response to the U.K. nerve gas attack. It's a strong response, but it's been weeks since the U.K. said Moscow was to blame, so why the delay here? I'm going to ask General Michael Hayden, a former CIA and NSA Director. That's next.
LEMON: President Trump expelling 60 Russian diplomats stationed in the U.S. in retaliation for Russia's alleged nerve agent attack on a former Russia spy who lives in Britain.
[22:40:03] I want to talk about this now with CNN National Security Analyst, General Michael Hayden, a former CIA and a former NSA Director. It's so good to have you here. Thank you for joining us.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: The U.S. now taking significant action against Russia. And I would like to get your reaction to the moves that you see up there, 60 diplomats expelled, 48 from Russian embassy, 12 from the United Nations, and so on.
HAYDEN: Feels like old times.
LEMON: It does.
HAYDEN: It does. Yes. Well, number one it does have the feel, the Cold War competition. This is not a Cold War. It takes two super powers to do that. And the Russians don't fit that category.
But it felt like old times in another sense, Don. American leadership, this was done, combined with our allies with NATO, the European Union, elsewhere around the world, the Australians.
It looks like we took the lead because we did the heaviest lift. I think about 120 Russians were PNG'ed from around the world to declare for (Inaudible). We did 60, and so it's a clue that we had a leadership role this.
HAYDEN: It's felt good.
LEMON: Yes, so to reiterate what you said, in coordination with the European Union, some of the countries come out (ph) of it in Ukraine, do you think this was something that was -- was this our own doing?
LEMON: Or was it something that --
HAYDEN: I think it came from within the American government, the permanent institutions of government, the career professionals guided by the rule of law and history.
I think it's what they wanted to do. I think they were reinforced because there is an awful lot of energy coming from within our allies.
And look, I don't have facts. I don't have a window into this. But my suspicion is that this is something that the President didn't demand, but which he decided not to oppose.
LEMON: OK. It has been a couple weeks since the U.K. pointed the finger right at Russia for, you know, this nerve agent attack. Even in this conversation with Vladimir Putin last week when you to him directly, he did not bring it up, so, why now?
HAYDEN: Again, it wasn't the personality of the President, wasn't the preference of the President, wasn't the President driving this, in my judgment, again, without having a window into the deliberations.
But it was the government itself internally working through its processes, and now, it was when the decision was right. I have done this before, there are some things that happen in their own time. And I think this was it.
LEMON: OK. The Russian Ambassador to the U.S. responded, saying that the U.S., and this is a quote, will understand what kind of grave mistake they did. What do you think he is saying -- that they will retaliate?
2HAYDEN: They will. I mean, there is no question. We've got a whole bunch of American diplomats now in Russia, making personal plans. And by the way, this is a horrible personal burden on both through Russians who are being expelled, and on any American or other diplomats who will be expelled.
I also suggest on maybe a bit of weakness about choosing this course of action, you can probably tell I'm a fan. I like this. But we are operating in a lane in which the Russians have the complete ability to reciprocate in exactly the same measure that we have used these powers to push out their diplomats.
I really think if we want to get their attention, we need to do something about one, that has a greater effect, that is more immediate, and two, which it was very difficult -- would be very difficult for them to respond.
And here I'm talking about Russian money in the west. I had a great case officer who told me once that, you know, Russia's colonized country. And I go, what do you mean?
He said yes, it is colonized country. It's colonized by Russians who exploit it, and prefer to live abroad, park their money abroad, and educate their kids abroad. That's the vulnerability that we could exploit.
LEMON: So are you saying go after, I don't know, bigger things and more important things that will touch more -- that will affect them more, I should like...
LEMON: This will match in the oligarchs?
HAYDEN: Number one, they can push back on that, and Putin will get by with fewer diplomats in New York and in Washington. But if the oligarchs are around him are made to feel pain, that is something that I think that could actually affect Russian behavior.
You know, I have been thinking this through since the attack in Great Britain. I have come across a new term that others may have known but I didn't.
The concept of unexplained wealth, that's something we could imply to Russian showing up in London, or New York, or financial markets, property markets, stock markets, and so on. That's something we have a right to look into, and we could do that to I think to great leverage.
LEMON: With unexplained wealth. You should have to explain that?
HAYDEN: I think there are good reasons why our government could be selective with regard to whom we might put that criteria against.
LEMON: Russia who is a Deputy Press Secretary did not rule out more sanctions on oligarchs and on Putin himself.
[22:45:06] HAYDEN: Yes, I would not rule it out either. The President hasn't shown real stomach for that.
LEMON: Yes. The bigger picture though is Russians are still messing our social media trying to influence Americans ahead of the 2018 and the 2020 elections. Our intelligence committee says the President still hasn't ordered them to take any specific measures. What do you think of that one?
HAYDEN: Well, one more time, the Russians came at us from an unexpected direction, and exploited it for unknown weakness. It's like 9/11 in that sense. I understand there are differences, but it's like that in terms of we didn't expect it from there against that.
The only way we respond to that, Don, and either (ph) exactly right, it's the social media thing. It's not tampering with the actual vote thing. The only way to respond to something that hits us and it seem, is through extraordinary activity, extraordinary processes, extraordinary structures, and that requires whole of government, whole of society, and that requires the President.
LEMON: General, always a pleasure.
HAYDEN: Thank you so much.
LEMON: Thank you. Good to see you. When we come back, Congressman Eric Swalwell will weigh in on the White House' move against Russia -- moves against Russia. Does he give the President credit for expelling 60 Russian diplomats?
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The Trump administration not only kicking dozens of Russian diplomats out of the United States, but also saying that it's not closing any doors on possible sanctions against Vladimir Putin. I want to bring in Congressman Eric Swalwell.
And he is a Californian Democrat who is a member of the intelligence committee. Good evening, Congressman, thank you for joining us.
The expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats from Russia comes just after the Trump administration slapped sanctions against Moscow for its election intrusion. You have been very critical of this President and the White House. Do you give them any credit for these moves?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: I do, Don. Good evening. He deserves credit for what he did today. And it's worth any American President who wanted to protect our (Inaudible) and our democracy.
But Don, what the President should do is to declare to the country what our 2strategy with Russia, and what we will do to achieve that strategy. I would suggest that the strategy should be in the counter Russian aggression here and abroad.
And to carry it out, he should direct -- he should directly confront Vladimir Putin. He should ratchet up the sanctions. He should use the resources we have in the United States to give the ballot boxes in our counties all of the protection they need to stop further Russian aggression.
And he should support an independent commission to tell the country what happened in the last election, and what we're going to do to make sure it never happens again.
2LEMON: So, Representative, the Russian Ambassador responded to the expulsion saying the United States did very bad step undercutting little what we still have in Russian-American relations. These decisions are going against to the telephone conversation between our two presidents. The question is, is the Ambassador making a distinction between the words of this president and the policies of the administration?
SWALWELL: Well, certainly, Don, what has been frustrating is that you see on one hand, the policies I've heard from Nikki Haley or former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who have been rather harsh on Russia, and then you see the President.
So if the President is not willing to directly confront them, it is confusing to the Russians and our allies as to what exactly we are going do.
Now, the President says over, and over, and over, wouldn't it be great if we could just get along with Russia. Well, sure. But only if getting with Russia, accomplishes something that helps our security and the security of our allies.
And the President has yet to declare that. And I think now is an opportunity to tell people what the strategy is, and what we're going to do to achieve it.
LEMON: Well, the White House has that two senior staffers who had been outspoken critics Russia, CIA Director Mike Pompeo steeping in to secretary of state role, and John Bolton was a National Security Adviser, are you encourage by any of this?
SWALWELL: Well, I have worked with Mike Pompeo on the intelligence committee. You know, he served our country in the military. You know, I look forward to his confirmation hearing on some of the questions he faces.
But, Don, let me say this, he was somebody who said publicly that Russia's interference did not affect the outcome of the campaign, which was not true. And the CIA had to clear up.
And then John Bolton is somebody who had been quite harsh throughout his career on Russia, but just recently has been supporting the NRA efforts over in Russia.
And so, you have to wonder, are these individuals -- are they following the lead of Donald Trump just as Jeff Sessions, right? Who was a long time cold warrior.
And then all of the sudden joins the Trump campaign, and taking the meetings with the Russian ambassador, and failing to tell the Senate during his confirmation that it occurred. So, will Donald Trump bend them or will they stand firm for what they've always believed.
LEMON: There have been reports that a number of lawyers are turning down joining the President's legal team. The President has disputed that on Twitter. You know, those are the tweets that he put up saying, you know, that everybody wanted to be a lawyer in essence. What impact do you think this will have on the Russia investigation?
SWALWELL: Well, Don, (Inaudible) could not save this client, the President of the United States. The problem here is not the lawyer, so it is a flawed very exposed client who rarely has ever met the truth. And so he should best just come clean. The best thing he could do
would be to come clean with the American people, put himself in the witness chair, and answer the question in Special Counsel, and allow Bob Mueller to tell the world what Donald Trump's role was in the last interference campaign. But I think Bob Mueller is going to proceed to move forward whether Donald Trump has a high profile lawyer or not.
LEMON: And he seems to only have one lawyer there now representing him officially and that's Jay Sekulow. I mean how -- you know, if it comes down to that, Jay Sekulow up against Mueller and an entire team. It appears that it doesn't work for the President.
SWALWELL: and I also think and say that no lawyer can save somebody to who has a hard time throughout his career and being forthright in telling the truth.
And what Donald Trump I believe is exposed to is that he has had a long-standing relationship with the Russians financially, that he invited them to hack Hillary Clinton's e-mails.
[22:55:03] And then once they did that, he cheer leaded the hacking of those e-mails and he, I would say emboldened further hacking by not denouncing them.
And then of course has continued to look the other way in what Russia has done in the world, and has obstructed the investigation by firing James Comey, Sally Yates, and most recently Andy McCabe. So, there's a lot of exposure there. And he can come to himself I think by just coming clean by the American people.
LEMON: Congressman Swalwell, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
SWALWELL: Yes, my pleasure.
LEMON: When we comeback at today's press briefing, the White House was asked why the American people should trust anything that comes out of the Trump administration. We're going to tell you how they responded. And Frank Bruni is going tell us what he thinks their response is trustworthy.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon. Just a little bit before 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, we're live with new developments tonight in the saga of the porn star and the President.