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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Source: Mueller Pushed For Gates' Help On Collusion; Trump Arrives At Mar-a-Lago Amid White House Chaos; Questions Grow About Validity Of Stormy Daniels' NDA After Cohen Lawyer Says Trump Never Knew About It; Interview with Attorney Michael Avenatti; Sacramento Bracing For Another Night Of Protests, Tensions High After Stephon Clark, An Unarmed Black Man, Shot By Police Was Buried Today. Aired 7- 8p ET
Aired March 29, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:05] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, the major development in the Russia investigation tonight. The special counsel looking at collusion with the help of the key Trump campaign official, Rick Gates, the key to Mueller's case. Plus, the President says goodbye to Hope Hicks. His adviser say he doesn't need a chief of staff or a communications director. Will Trump go solo?
And Michael Cohen's attorney with a bombshell revelation tonight here on OURFRONT. Could it turn the legal battle between Trump and Stormy Daniels on its head? Stormy Daniels' attorney is my guest tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, collusion is on the table. Major development in the Russia investigation tonight. CNN is learning that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking at collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, with the help of a key Trump campaign official.
That official is the former deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates. He pleaded guilty to charges from Mueller and he's cooperating with the special counsel. And one of the things Mueller is looking at includes Gates contacts during the 2016 campaign with an alleged Russian intelligence agent who also had close ties with the Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. This is a potentially explosive development, putting collusion at the core of Mueller's investigation. And an allegation that President himself, of course, has denied at every opportunity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians.
There has been absolutely no collusion. There has been no collusion between us and the Russians.
There has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians or Trump and Russians. No collusion. Bottom line, they all say there is no collusion, and there is no collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Gates is cooperating with Mueller, and he is crucial in the investigation he was Manafort's right hand man and had intimate knowledge of what was going on inside the campaign. As one person with knowledge of the situation instead of Gates, he was an implementer. The alleged Russian intelligence agent is referred to as only person, A, in court documents, but we understand it is Konstantin Kilimnik who once worked for Manafort and lived in both Kiev and Ukraine and Moscow, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
Now I want to get straight to our Sara Murray on these breaking stories. So Sara, let's start with the big question, what could Rick Gates know?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it's pretty clear that prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller believe that Gates could have information to them that's valuable beyond just his business dealings with long-time partner -- business partner Paul Manafort who is also the campaign chairman.
You know, one of the things sources were telling my colleague, Kaitlan Collins, is that in the run up of Rick Gates plea deal when he was meeting with prosecutors from Mueller's team they said, look, we don't necessarily need your cooperation when it comes to Manafort. What we want is for you to help us on our core mission, which is of course investigating Russians meddling and potential collusion between Russian officials and the rump campaign.
And Gates was in interesting position to do that. Because he was not only the right hand man to Manafort throughout the campaign and for instance in that period of the summer of 2016 when there was that meeting with the Russians at Trump Tower, but he stayed on the campaign even after Manafort was ousted and he continued to work on the inauguration with one of the President's close friends, Tom Barrack.
BURNETT: So, you know, look, these ties as you point out are deep Tom Barrack, a close friend of the President for decade and close friends of Manafort, so all of these ties crucial. How did this all this unfold, Sara?
MURRAY: Well, it's interesting that this is all came out to light. You would expect it would come out in the Manafort case or in the Gates case. It's not. It's coming out in the sentencing of another lawyer who worked with Manafort and Gates and in the sentencing because he has also pleaded guilty to lying to Robert Mueller about these interactions between Rick Gates and the man who's not named, but have noticed Konstantin Kilimnik who has ties to Russian intelligence and it says that Gates within contact with this man throughout the campaign and knew that Kilimnik had these ties to Russian intelligence, stayed in contact with him anyway. And so this is a person who is pertinent to the investigation. So we're kind of linking all of these pieces together and it tells you that this investigation into collusion is still very much ongoing.
BURNETT: Very much so. All right. Thank you very much Sara, with these breaking developments tonight.
Let's go straight OUTFRONT for Richard Painter, the White House Ethics Lawyer for President George W. Bush, Juliette Kayyem, assistant secretary of Homeland security under President Obama, and Republican Congressman Charlie Dent.
And to all of you, thank you.
Richard, let's just start with this bottom line conclusion tonight. Collusion is on the table.
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WH ETHICS LAWYER FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, we know there was collusion. The President have denied it only once. But we have the meeting in Trump Tower with Russian agents. We have Mr. Papadopoulos who had his Russian handler, the professor they called him over in London. And now we've got Gates and his Russian agent contact. And that probably is only the beginning of it.
[19:05:07] The critical question for Robert Mueller at the end of the day is whether there was illegal collusion whether it was criminal.
PAINTER: Whether it violated campaign finance laws or whether there was collusion before that fact or after the fact with the respect to computer hacking or other crimes. A lot of people are lying about their contacts with the Russians and that's criminal.
So we're going to have people going to the slammer over this, the question is who and how high up this is going to reach with respect to criminal conduct. But the notion as no collusion is just ridiculous, there is collusion and we know it by now.
BURNETT: Well the question of course as you point out is what is criminal, right, is wanting to get information from whoever you can get it from a crime or not.
I mean, Congressman Dent, Mueller seem is alleging that Gates was in contact with a man who work for Russian intelligence and was in contact with him in the months leading up to the election and that Gates knew that this person was an intelligence agent, was a spy.
How significant could that be, that he was both in contact with this individual, that he knew this individual to be a Russian spy, and that this happened in the months before the election, congressman?
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, as Richard said, it certainly establishes a tie between the campaign and the Russians. The question is, is this criminal? I simply don't know the answer to that. But I'll tell you it seems that this moves beyond, you know, Paul Manafort business dealings that preceded his time with the campaign, it kind of really puts the campaign directly in the crosshairs. And so we still have a lot more to learn from Director Mueller.
But I would be a little nervous right now if I were part of the campaign and part of the Trump campaign. It seems to me they have a lot to worry about. I'm not saying the President is directly implicated here --
DENT: -- but this is going to raise more questions and there is going to be a lot more people in the hot seat.
BURNETT: I mean it certainly seems that way. I mean, you know, Juliette, you know, on this issue of cooperation, right, Gates got a vastly reduced possible sentence by cooperating. Several charges were dropped. Now he still could go to jail, right, but for much, much shorter time than he would before. And his crucial charges I'm sorry, were dropped.
To me that would indicate as a layperson that Mueller's team thinks that Gates does know something significant. It wasn't just a fishing expedition. Hey, let us know, again, who knew whom or, you know, throw it out there, right? To give so much up would indicate they really do think he has something significant. Do you think that that's true? They think he could be a key to establishing criminal collusion?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Absolutely. And I think -- so this explains first of all, Erin, as you said why was Gates' prearrange --- so Gates is friendly, so to speak. Also remember that he pled to conspiracy, not to lying, so that sort of protects him as a witness. So they're not claiming that he's been lying all over the place. Because remember if he ends up being on a witness stand, the opposition will go after him, so it's interesting what he pled to.
And then, you know, the third major pace at this stage and just, you know, because sometimes we have to take a step back.
KAYYEM: There were multiple contacts between the Trump campaign, people in the Trump campaign, people who were wannabes of the Trump campaign leading up to election campaign. Now those contacts were vague and amorphous, you know, in 2015 they clearly took on a significant meaning, you know, maybe around the time he got the nomination through the meetings at Trump Tower. Now we have Gates, you know, in October of 2016.
What that says to me is not that the notion of no contacts is off the table. The Russians clearly were trying to penetrate the Trump campaign and the question now is what is the extent, the duration, the substance, and the direction of those contacts. Who was directing who? And then just to add, we have the Cambridge Analytica thing, you know, right next to it, parallel about a different type of context going on. So as we've all been saying not a good day.
BURNETT: I mean, Richard, you know, Gates was Manafort's right hand man for a long time, right? Knew him very well extensively before and of course when Manafort was chairman of Trump's campaign, but then Manafort left. And what I want to emphasize here is that even after that Gates was a really important player. He stayed on. He then served on the inaugural committee with Tom Barrack, the President's friend, who ran that. I mean Gates has deep ties to other members of Trump's extremely inner circle. When you look at it that way, from what we know, he's the biggest fish with all of those tentacles.
PAINTER: He is. He knows a lot of the people or very close to the President. Some of the people who are currently in the White House who worked on that campaign. And if that campaign was illegally colluding with the Russians or if anybody on that campaign has lied to Robert Mueller about their contacts with the Russians, there going to be in big trouble.
And this is well beyond the point of demonstrating collusion. We're now getting into the criminal activity question. Was there a crime, and who committed it. And this investigation is heating up. I would be very, very worried if I had anything to do with that campaign.
[19:10:12] And the idea of a presidential campaign colluding with the Russians is something I thought I'd never see growing up in this country and certainly a Republican campaign or a Democrat campaign maybe a Communist party campaign. I mean this is shocking that this happened whether or not it's criminal.
BURNETT: Congressman, how surprised are you that this has gotten to this point?
DENT: Well, I guess I'm quite a bit surprised by it. And I guess what really is disturbing to me is what were the substance of these conversations or these contacts between gates and this Russian. Was this -- were they in search of opposition research? Or was it something more than that? And the biggest question of all, why in -- for heaven sake would anyone in a presidential campaign be talk to agents of a hostile foreign power. I mean that's really the issue. Was it -- what information were they trying to get from the Russians? Or what were the Russians trying to share with the campaign?
And these are -- I tell you I would be nervous right now if I were some of the folks involved in that campaign. Again, I'm not saying the President is directly implicated in any of this but this does not bode well.
KAYYEM: You know, I think -- I guess my takeaway right now is Mueller has to come up with a report. It may lead to indictments, not of Trump, but of a family member, which I do think gets us to a constitutional crisis. I think if Jared has implicated or Don Junior, for Trump it's as if it's him.
But I also think what we seem to be seeing in these different theories of the case is just clear evidence that Trump himself, the President, is so compromised by Russia. Whether it's a criminal compromise, whether you can call it collusion, but that all of these different tentacles from the financial to the obstruction of justice, and now to collusion, are leading to just one clear description of the President of the United States. And that I think is not only scary for those who are close to him, it is terrifying for the country. And I'd say it every time I'm on air, we sometimes have to just take a deep breath and realize what is unfolding in fronts of us.
BURNETT: And the other part of this, Congressman, before we go that I want to ask you about, is this story. Three Republican Chairman on Capitol Hill had asked the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel, basically to investigate whether the FBI abused its powers in surveilling a former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, right, and whether that more should've been done to investigate Hillary Clinton's ties to that -- to the Russian nuclear energy deal with Uranium One.
Now Sessions has said no. He is going to not do that. Instead he's going to have a top federal prosecutor from Utah look into the allegations but he's not going ahead with a special investigator, special prosecutor all the way. Do you think the President, Congressman, will be satisfied with this, especially given the things he said about Jeff Sessions?
DENT: Probably not although, I agree with Jeff Sessions. If anything, I would think that inspector general in the Department of Justice could very easily be looking into how, and I believe they are, looking into how the Clinton, how the justice department dealt with the Clinton campaign investigation. I think that would be completely appropriate.
I think you are better off with an inspector general report first and let's see what that reveals. And then you could always take it to the next step before it. But I think Jeff Sessions made the right call. I'm sure the President would be very disappointed.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all three very much for your time tonight. And next, Michael Cohen's Attorney doing damage control after this revelation on OutFront.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SCHWARTZ, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL COHEN: The President was not aware of the agreement. At least Michael Cohen never told him about the agreement. I could tell you that.
BURNETT: Not aware about the agreement. What about the money?
SCHWARTZ: He was not aware about any of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Stormy Daniels' attorney is my guest tonight. Plus Sacramento, bracing for another night of protests, tensions high after Stephon Clark an unarmed black man shot by police was buried today. We are live in Sacramento tonight.
And chaos in the White House, well, there is a big thing out there tonight, you're going to hear about it, and it raises a crucial question about what the President is doing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[19:17:57]BURNETT: The President arriving at Mar-a-Lago just moments ago, leaving behind yet again, a White House still in chaos. Tonight we are learning that outside advisers, I'm sorry, are telling Trump that he does not need a communications director or a chief of staff. That in fact he 2can do all those jobs himself. This comes on the same day that one of his closest confidantes, Hope Hicks, officially left the White House leaving the President without a communications director. That spot now formally vacant. John Kelly of course still is there as of now.
Today the President joking that maybe he was better at being businessman than President of the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That was I do, is I build. I was always very good at building. It was always my best thing. I think better than being President I was maybe good at building.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT in West Palm Beach where the President is tonight and has arrived. Looking like you're getting real Easter weather down there, Kaitlan. What is the thinking inside of the White House tonight?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, essentially Erin, there's been all this talk of staff turnover in the last few weeks. And now we're being told that the President is essentially being advised that maybe he doesn't need anymore staff. That he could potentially lose one day.
His outside advisers are telling him that he doesn't need a chief of staff and communications director to serve in the traditional sense that we've seen in past White Houses. And this doesn't mean that John Kelly is on his way out the door tomorrow. But we are told that the President has absorbed this advice and certainly something that has been on his mind since these people have advised him to do so for this management structure in the White House.
Because, Erin, it's very clear this is something that the President has been very frustrated with, because he doesn't think a very structured West Wing really suits him in that free wheeling style he had when he was a private businessman before coming into the West Wing. And we've seen this because he started to go around his chief of staff John Kelly who is not always on foreign calls anymore and not in all of his meetings as much. We've certainly seen him lose a sense of standing in the West Wing that he once had when he first entered late last summer when he replaced Reince Priebus.
Now, there's also come to the official departure of Hope Hicks happened today, though she threw towel a few weeks ago, she is now officially done with her time in the West Wing and staffers are worried about what a post Hicks era in the West Wing is going to look like because she was a near constant presence for the President. She was always there.
[19:20:15] And I'm told she hasn't been there as much as over this last few weeks since she first announced that she was leaving. And at times the President has yelled on her name trying summoned her to the Oval Office only to find out that she's not there
Now, the deputy press secretary who brief reporters on Air Force One today, as they travel from Ohio to Florida was asked if the President is done finally shaking up his staff yet, because we have seen so many departures in the last few weeks. And her answer, Erin, was very telling, because she said "I'll have to get back to you on that".
BURNETT: Well, all right. Thank you very much Kaitlan, I mean.
All right, Rob Astorino joins me now, friend of the president for over 15 years and also former GOP nominee for the governor of New York, and Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for the Nation.
So Joan, let me start with you, you heard Kaitlan's reporting outside advisers.
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, "THE NATION": Yes.
BURNETT: And --
WALSH: Anthony Scaramucci and Corey Lewandowski.
BURNETT: Right, and then when you hear that you have to wonder who these people are.
WALSH: Who are these people?
BURNETT: What are the motives? They're all trying to get something from him, right? I'm sure he's well aware of that, but that is -- and whoever they are --
WALSH: A chaotic White House where they can com and go as please. We know that John Kelly put a lot of folks on leashes. Kept a lot of people outside, really controlled the calendar and lots of people don't like it. So this is what's being told to the President to liberate him, but also to advance some other people's agenda. I think it's pretty obvious.
BURNETT: You think he'll do it? I mean, it feeds to his vanity, right?
ROB ASTORINO, FORMER GOP NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: Chaos.
BURNETT: You don't need anybody else.
ASTORINO: Chaos. She's got a White House that he wants to have in a manner that makes him comfortable. And, again, he came in, we talked about this in the past, he came in without a real political team, right.
BURNETT: Right. ASTORINO: And governmental team that -- because he was never in government. So it was sort of a mishmosh of people from all over the place and some of it didn't work out, including some holdovers which we have a new secretary departing today, and Shulkin.
So, I think that it's up to the President. And you know what, we haven't tried it. Why doesn't he just try it? Maybe it will work. Not having a chief of staff. I would not recommend that. I think it's a very important position. I do think a communications director is a very important position.
BURNETT: OK, good. OK, you are being sensible.
ASTORINO: No, I think those who observed, he wants to try it, why not.
BURNETT: Why not. OK. The changes that we've seen are that people that he picked, OK, maybe he didn't end up liking them to whatever, but they are his people. (INAUDIBLE) these people are holdovers, right. You have it was H.R. McMaster who is, what, number three national security adviser for him, Rex Tillerson and David Shulkin as you mentioned. Right, these are all his selections and now he's gotten rid of all of them. And they've been replaced now by people who really say wonderful things about the President.
BURNETT: Right that the well regarded doctor who is going to take Veterans Affairs, but it's just second largest agency in the country.
WALSH: And we have zero management experience, it was just ridiculous. And, you know, let's remember a lot of people like him, a lot of people -- many White Houses have worked for him.
BURNETT: Yes, he was President Obama's doctor as well.
WALSH: He's got a lot of respects. But last time the American people saw him, he was somewhat for barricading about the wonderful status about the President's health, that the President wasn't obese, which he is. Said he doesn't have heart disease, which he does, Sanjay Gupta run it down. So, he basically was not honest with the American people, but that adhered him to Donald Trump obviously.
ASTORINO: I think he's a pound under.
BURNETT: Under pound. But what do you make of this? Usually when the President is bragging about how he ran his business. You know, yes, everybody wants people who make them feel better about themselves. But ultimately you need people to tell you hard things that you will listen to and respect.
And at least the trend we have seen as video is replacing people who may or may not have done that, with people who definitively at least from their public statements do not seem to be willing to do that.
ASTORINO: Well, Dr. Jackson -- OK, he has not had administrative experience. He does know the military because he's part of it and the problems of the military. It doesn't really matter and it's all relative depending on the size because you still have to manage people. You got to be leader and communicate at that very top. You're not running in the weeds, you're not dealing with day-to-day every little thing that's why you have top lieutenants hand deputies to move forward the -- either the president's wishes, clearly, or whatever you delegate. And so I think it could be done. It doesn't have to be someone with experience.
WALSH: It helps to have experience choosing those top deputies. That you've been in the management job where you know how to look for people, how to let them run --
BURNETT: But also -- I mean you're all -- all this is and we don't know but it sounds like what you're saying is predicated on, OK. He put in people that weren't the right -- he didn't know what he was doing fully, but now he does. Now we've got good people so forget the 50% turnover rate which is triple the nearest President which was Regan. We're going to be fine now.
But what if we're not? What if this is just the way he frankly has done things over the years, right? Remember the women who used to work from on "The Apprentice" of like and fire, don't like -- I mean the firing was what defined him not the loyalty.
[19:25:11] ASTORINO: Well, the one thing about government is it goes on and on every day no matter who is there. I mean most of it just goes because it's bureaucracy. The leadership at the top matters in the direction at that bureaucracy is going to go, but right now the direction is from the President.
BURNETT: Is he being too (INAUDIBLE)?
WALSH: Yes, I mean I think this is rather terrifying I mean even in foreign policy, you know, we don't have an ambassador to South Korea, we don't have people -- he's not choosing people to do the tough job that require real knowledge, that require a follow-through to make him a better president. He's not -- I didn't vote for him. But we all want him to it be a better, more thoughtful president and he is taking out the supports that might let him do that.
BURNETT: Right. I mean you can't be a chief of staff and a communication director and the ambassador of South Korea and all of those things of which he is trying to do all of them.
ASTORINO: He should not.
BURNETT: And that he can't do.
ASTORINO: That kind of structure in the White House is needed.
BURNETT: No matter what his, you know, self worth may be.
BURNETT: And hope he can understand that. All right, thanks you both very much. And ousted veterans affairs secretary David Shulkin will be on AC 360 at the top of the hour.
OUTFRONT next, did Michael Cohen's own lawyer drop a bomb in the legal battle between Trump and Stormy Daniels. Stormy Daniels' attorney is my guest tonight.
And anger on the street, that's at a funeral for young black man shot by police, we are live in Sacramento.
BURNETT: New tonight, team Trump insists the nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels is "rock solid". Trump's personal attorney , Michael Cohen, speaking out through his friend, attorney David Schwartz. This comes even as Schwartz, who was also serving as for spokesman attorney of the United States never even knew about the nondisclosure agreement between himself and Stormy Daniels.
Here is the crucial exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SCHWARTZ, MICHAEL COHEN'S ATTORNEY AND SPOKESMAN: The president was not aware of the agreement. At least Michael Cohen never told him about the agreement. I can tell you that. And you asked a whole bunch of questions, so let me cover that.
SCHWARTZ: So, you asked about 12 days before --
BURNETT: Not aware of the agreement. How about the money?
SCHWARTZ: He was not aware of any of it.
SCHWARTZ: He was not aware.
SCHWARTZ: He wasn't told about it. Michael Cohen left the option open. That's why he left that signature line --
BURNETT: Dennis Dennison.
SCHWARTZ: The option open to go to him. He chose not to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti is OUTFRONT to respond.
And Michael, you think this assertion that Trump did not know about the money or about the nondisclosure agreement itself is a significant admission. Why? MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: Well, I almost did not
come on the show tonight, Erin, because I would prefer that Mr. Schwartz come on your show, because every time he speaks on television, my case gets that much better. So I was hoping he would come on the show because what happened last night was disastrous for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump. Those admissions are very damaging, because if what he says is true and I have some serious questions as to whether it is true, if what he says is true --
BURNETT: As to whether the president knew or didn't not.
BURNETT: But if he did not know --
AVENATTI: If he did not know, then the NDA is invalid and our case is a home run. So, I don't know what these guys are thinking. It's like they're not communicating. They're not paying attention.
Let me say this, I hope that David Schwartz is not interested with the nuclear launch codes, because if so, we're in a lot of trouble.
BURNETT: So, let me just run a scenario down with you, though, because I'm curious as to why it's so confident that it wouldn't be valid if the president didn't know about it. So, the thinking about, you know, a lawyer gave me an example today of a life insurance contract, right? I could sign one between me and the life insurance company. And unbeknownst to you, Michael Avenatti, I could say you are my beneficiary. So, something happens to me, you would legally get all the money even though you knew nothing about the contract that had been signed of which you were beneficiary.
So, is it possible that the NDA between two parties could be valid even if the beneficiary, Donald Trump, didn't know about it?
AVENATTI: Well, A, NDA could be. But not this NDA, because the way that this NDA is drafted is, there's various provisions, Erin, in the NDA that only Donald Trump could agree to or perhaps an agent of Donald Trump's.
And so, by Mr. Schwartz claiming, admitting on your show that Donald Trump knew nothing about it at any time, then Donald Trump could not be bound. So --
BURNETT: What's the best example of one of those that you could share with us? That you would say, Donald Trump would have had to know about it for it to be valid and therefore it isn't?
AVENATTI: Well, I mean, I'll use this NDA. I don't think it gets any better than this, because for instance, in the NDA, it's not just about the payment of $130,000. That's one thing that Donald Trump was supposed to do. But he was also supposed to provide a release to my client of any and all claims. He was supposed to agree to confidentiality. He was supposed to agree to stay away from her and her family. There's a whole host of things that he and only he could agree to. If he didn't know anything about the agreement, how could he agree to
those things? But it gets even better, because what we've heard Mr. Schwartz in the past say is that Donald Trump is going to sue my client for million per incident.
BURNETT: Right. They say it's $20 million already.
AVENATTI: Right, whatever, maybe it's 50, maybe it's 100. Who knows what the number is? It's ludicrous.
How can Donald Trump seek to enforce agreement that he didn't know anything about?
BURNETT: Well, so Michael Cohen's spokesperson also on the full issue of money, right? You're talking about what they say your client now owes them, back to the $130,000. He said Stormy Daniels came to team Trump just before the election, right, and it was not the other way around. It was Stormy Daniels who approached team Trump.
Here's that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHWARTZ: You ask why, people are scratching their head, why 12 days before, because that's when the attorney approached Michael Cohen. The other, Stormy Daniels attorney approached Michael Cohen. It happened to coincide with the election. She admitted on "60 Minutes" she was shopping the case around. She admits that, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. I want to make it clear, her lawyer at the time this all happened was not you. All right? So, you're not able to talk about that exact moment.
But if it is true, right, if you look at this and say, OK, that's true, so assume if, I know the question is whether it is. But if she approached, it could mean that you are client was threatening to make up a story basically to extort presidential candidate days before the election. Could that be true?
AVENATTI: No, it can't be true. And it's not true. I mean, it's like a claim that the earth is flat. I mean, it did not happen. It's ludicrous.
And all you have to do, Erin, is look at the conduct post the election to see that it's not true. Look at all of the steps that the president and Michael Cohen and David Schwartz continued to take to silence my clients and intimidate her and put her under the thumb.
[19:35:03] If that was true, Erin, why didn't they just let get her out of the agreement two weeks ago when we offered to do so and return the $130,000? We offered that, they didn't take us up on it. The reason is because they want to continue to silence her.
BURNETT: Are you sure, because you weren't her attorney at the time, are you sure about what happened at that time?
AVENATTI: I'm sure.
BURNETT: And you're sure that they she not approach them or do you know what happened?
AVENATTI: No, my understanding is, is that she did not approach them. Both her and Karen McDougal were considering going on "Good Morning America", they were having conversations with ABC, and I think ABC can confirm this actually.
BURNETT: Yes, yes.
AVENATTI: They were having conversations with ABC, word leaked out, and Michael Cohen approached my client with this offer of $130,000, and this NDA.
BURNETT: OK. So, Schwartz, of course, says Michael Cohen was not acting illegally or unethically by not telling his client who, of course, was Donald Trump about the NDA, right? There's been questions about that, you're supposed to tell your client every time you do something on their behalf.
AVENATTI: There's no question about it.
BURNETT: Well, Schwartz's argument is that there is because this type of thing happens so frequently in his relationship with Donald Trump as his personal attorney, that Trump wouldn't have expected to be briefed on the details. And here's a clip of how Schwartz explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHWARTZ: Look, Michael was fixer. We all know Mike -- so it could be anything. It's not that this man -- there were a ton of matters that took place that Michael fixed. And Donald Trump wasn't involved in every single matter, all right?
Believe me, Michael Cohen got calls at 3:00 in the morning. Michael and I would be at dinner. Boss could be calling him all the time.
BURNETT: I'm sure.
SCHWARTZ: So, so there were always problems. In any business, there's always problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You buy it?
AVENATTI: Well, no, I actually believe it. I believe there were a ton of porn stars and a ton of playmates. I do believe that, because that's what he's saying.
This isn't unusual. Evidently, there were all kinds of women that would come out of the woodwork due to their prior relationships with the president, and that's why he had Mr. Cohen on speed dial, his fixer. If you don't have a lot of problems and shouldn't be doing things you shouldn't be doing, you don't need a full-time 24- hour/seven-day-a-week fixer.
BURNETT: You I know have said that there are eight additional women who have come to you. Two of them that you say had NDAs but you said you haven't vetted them all.
BURNETT: Are you further down that process? Do you know some of them will be legitimate? Any sense of how many of them are or aren't?
AVENATTI: We are further down that process but I'm not willing to stake my reputation behind their allegations, et cetera. We are very diligent. We're going to be very careful. But what we are doing is put our reputation behind this client, Ms. Daniels.
BURNETT: Before we go, one final question. Your bid for the president to be deposed essentially in the very near future, of course, was rejected by a federal judge today. You said you're not concerned about it. Why are you so confident this isn't an issue?
AVENATTI: Well, no, actually, the order is very, very good for us. I mean, this is a temporary delay. We're going to re-file the motion.
This is like the other side celebrating, you know, two minutes into the first quarter. I mean, it's a joke. What's important about the order, Erin, is if you look at the language in the order, where the court talks about the law that's to be applied when we ultimately file the motion, it's very good for us. It is consistent with our position.
We're going to get this discovery and we're going to get this trial date and the president and Mr. Michael Cohen are in a heap load of trouble.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Michael Avenatti. I appreciate your time tonight.
AVENATTI: Thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Say his name. Stephon Clark. Say his name. Stephon Clark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Angry protests tonight after a funeral for a young black man shot and killed by police.
And actor Sean Penn under fire tonight for calling the Me Too movement a, quote, toddler's crusade.
[19:42:14] BURNETT: Breaking news, protesters out tonight in Sacramento just hours after the funeral for Stephon Clark. Clark was unarmed when he was shot and killed by police in his grandmother's backyard. Hundreds attended his funeral today, hearing tributes from his family and faith leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SE'QUETTE CLARK, STEPHON CLARK'S COUSIN: Twenty times in his back as he tried to get inside. You will be missed, baby, every day.
SHAI'LILESSE WORKS, STEPHON CLARK'S SISTER: He was amazing child. And he was so smart.
OMAR SULEIMAN, IMAM: He had almost as many bullets put into him as years that he had on earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: People outraged over what they have now seen just come out on a police bodycam video. I want to warn you this is hard to watch. Here's what we know. Police officers fired 20 shots.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
BURNETT: Police say they shout Clark had a gun but only a cell phone was found.
Dan Simon is live in Sacramento tonight.
And, Dan, that emotional funeral fueling protests tonight.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Erin.
That funeral today drove home what's at stake in terms of the national conversation that is taking place. And that's really the lives of young African-Americans like 22-year-old Stephon Clark. I want to tell but this protest that is taking place behind me. This is in front of the federal courthouse. You can see all the protesters here.
Now, we don't know exactly what is going to happen tonight, Erin, but I can tell you if they attempt to try to disrupt the Sacramento Kings basketball game again -- well, police are really not going to allow that to happen. I can tell you that they have set up barricades around the arena so that only ticket holders will be allowed near the arena complex so attempt to keep that under control tonight, Erin.
BURNETT: So, I know you are hearing why police may have fired those shots. When we hear that video that we just played part of, it is increasingly disturbing you hear them shot after shot after shot after shot and we didn't hear all 20 of them. What have you learned?
SIMON: Well, the San Francisco Police Officers Association is now defending the officers. They are saying this is completely a justified shooting. And now saying that Stephon Clark got into some kind of shooting stance and that's why the officers perceived a threat and acted the way we did. Of course, we don't have any results of the investigation thus far. And the family of course says it's complete and utter nonsense -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Dan Simon, thank you very. Live in Sacramento tonight.
Next, a woman accused Donald Trump of sexual assault among the record number of women this year. That's ahead in our special OUTFRONT series, "Born to Run".
And Jeanne Moos on Trump's next national security adviser John Bolton's mustache.
[19:48:24] BURNETT: Tonight, actor Sean Penn in hot water for slamming Me Too movement. Not that he criticized it but compared it to toddler's crusade.
It is this moment, though, that is inspiring an unprecedented wave of women to run for office. Many saying they have been harassed and abused, including a woman who accused President Trump of sexual assault.
Kyung Lah has their stories in our special OUTFRONT series, "Born to Run".
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Donald Trump is the spark, Me Too is the fuel in some midterm campaigns. Miami, Florida congressional district 27, a closely watched seat up for grabs.
Mary Barzee Flores, lifelong Floridian, former judge and public defender, now first time candidate entering a crowded Democratic primary.
MARY BARZEE FLORES (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: The shock of this man becoming president, it's shaken us as women. And I think that that was something that made me want to come forward and talk about this.
LAH: In her first campaign ad, a page taken from a painful past.
FLORES: I've dealt with handsy customers, with harassment, and even assault from a boss.
LAH: She was 17, working at a local Pizza Hut.
FLORES: One night, he followed me into the walk in cooler and he shut the door behind him and backed me into shelving, and he lunged at me, and he groped me. And I was terrified. I didn't tell anyone, afraid that I wouldn't be believed.
[19:50:08] LAH: 2018 is a new era. FLORES: He grabbed me. He groped me.
LAH: A Me Too story resonating in this auditorium.
Fourteen hundred miles away in Detroit, Michigan --
DANA NESSEL (D), MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATE: Who is ready to turn this blue again?
LAH: Democrat Dana Nessel, Michigan attorney general candidate, making Me Too the centerpiece of her campaign, bluntly.
NESSEL: Who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting? Is it the candidate who doesn't have a penis? I'd say so.
I knew it would capture people's interests and their attention. I didn't think I'd end up being on late night TV.
LAH: Just because you said --
NESSEL: Just because I said penis.
LAH: Why would this moment right now have such an impact on politicians, especially women running for office?
NESSEL: They know that part of ensuring that sexual harassment does not take place at these highest levels of government is making sure we have more women there.
LAH: Me Too mobilizing women seeking office. In Ohio, Rachel Crooks who accused Trump of this --
RACHEL CROOKS, TRUMP ACCUSER: I was forcibly kissed by Mr. Trump during our first introduction.
LAH: Now registered to run as a Democrat for state representative.
Illinois, Sol Flores, so first time professional candidate, the Democrat sharing her story of sexual abuse.
SOL FLORES (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I didn't tell anyone that a man living with us would come into my bedroom when I was asleep and lift my night gown.
LAH: Political history seen this before, 1992, a record year of women elected to Congress, sparked by Anita Hill's testimony, accusing Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment.
KELLY DITMAR, CENTER FOR AMERICAN WOMEN AND POLITICS: The visual that people saw was a black woman sitting alone in front of a panel, 20 white older men. Many women saw that as a clear representation of their under representation in Congress.
LAH: In 2018, Barzee Flores braces for a challenging contest. This time, it's about more than just her. What is it like to return here at this place as a candidate in
FLORES: I'd like to look at this and think about how far I've come an how important it is to fight for women who like that 17-year-old kid in the walk-in cooler need to be fought for and I think it gives me purpose.
BURNETT: You see all these women, Kyung, and yet today, a new CNN poll shows when it comes to the midterms, Democrats are losing an edge, right? Fifty percent say they refer Democrats, 44 percent to Republicans. That's a six-point lead, but a month ago, it was 16 points, does that surprise you?
LAH: No, it doesn't, these groups say they have the energy on their side. Another number in the poll, 51 percent of Democrats say they're extremely enthusiastic, they're very enthusiastic. That's what they're looking at "Me Too" is the reason we are seeing a historic number of women running for office this year.
BURNETT: They're saying the energy and momentum is what matters. Thank you so much.
And Kyung's series is going to continue "Born to Run" here on OUTFRONT. 2
And next, Jeanne Moos on the mustache that's gone viral.
[19:57:46] BURNETT: Tonight, a key question. Can Trump get past the moustache?
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The man President Trump wants as his national security adviser must be pretty secure to step on the world stage knowing the first thing people will need is his moustache.
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: This is John Bolton, by the way. Moustaches don't always tell you everything you need to know about a person, but this one does.
MOOS: As he resigned to being portrayed hitting to the white House for his first briefing as Yosemite Sam. Already the president's hair has been affixed to Bolton's upper lip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Bolton looks familiar to you, it may be because he's been on the Cap'N Crunch box for 40 years.
MOOS: If you believe the reporting in "Fire and Fury", one of President Trump's issues with Bolton initially -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was his mustache. I mean, that was the singular
focus of derisions.
MOOS: Steve Bannon is focused as saying Bolton's mustache is a problem. Trump doesn't think he looks the part.
But more than a year later, the president got over it.
And comedians can't get enough of it.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Ambassador Bolton --
MOOS: When Dana Carvey joined Stephen Colbert, gave his mustache a name.
COLBERT: Who's General Snowball?
DANA CARVEY IMPERSONATING JOHN BOLTON: That's the name of my mustache.
MOOS: Carvey kept making weird noises.
And his mustache kept growing.
CARVEY: Easy, fella.
Ooh, boy, Stephen Fran, Stephen, small little feminine man.
MOOS: Carvey called his mustache a little engorged. But don't expect Bolton to capitulate. Back in 2016, he tweeted, I appreciate the grooming advice from the totally unbiased mainstream media, but I will not be shaving my mustache.
Of course, that was before he was portrayed breast-feeding a puppy. That's enough to make your facial hair sand on end.
CARVEY: Not so much, sugar buns. Here we go.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And thank you for joining us.
"AC360" starts right now.