Return to Transcripts main page


McMaster: We Have Failed To Impose Sufficient Costs On Russia; Stormy Daniels Requests Suspicious Bank Info Tied To Hush Payment; Oklahoma Schools Closed As Teachers Strike Continues; Valerie Jarrett On The Push For Gun Reform. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 4, 2018 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANCHOR: Listen to this.


LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, OUTGOING NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Russia brazenly and implausibly denies its actions and we have failed to impose sufficient costs. We are acting but we must recognize the need for all of us to do more to respond to and deter Russian aggression.


GREGORY: That's pretty tough language. "We have failed to impose sufficient costs" in response to Russia's actions in the 2016 election. This is the president's national security adviser.


GREGORY: Someone with a sterling reputation in the national security establishment. That's criticism of the president, is it not?

SCHLAPP: I think it's criticism over the fact that Russia has been involved in our elections, as Mike Pompeo and others have said, not just in 2016 but in previous elections.

And there's a lot of blame to go towards the Obama administration, too, who clearly did not keep our election process sacred and keep it from being tampered by the Russians even though they knew that it was happening as well. So I think there's a lot of blame to go along.

I applaud that the Trump administration, especially in the last weeks or months, have taken quite aggressive acts against the Russian government, more aggressive than President Obama ever thought about, and I think that's a good step in the right direction.

I think the key here with Russia is to know that the president views our ultimate adversary in all these questions as China. And the focus on the president is to make sure that we don't lose track of our number on menace overseas, and it's China. But that doesn't mean that Russia isn't also a menace.

GREGORY: Matt Schlapp, thank you, as always. SCHLAPP: Thank, David.



Stormy Daniels' lawyer is back. What he wants now. He's here to tell us, next.


[07:35:43] CAMEROTA: Stormy Daniels' lawyer is asking the Treasury Department to release financial records that detail suspicious activity surrounding the hush money paid to the adult film start by Michael Cohen, the president's longtime attorney.

So joining us now is Stormy Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti. Michael, great to see you.


CAMEROTA: Why do you want to see this suspicious activity report from the bank?

AVENATTI: Well, because we think it's going to show the flow of the money Alisyn, and it's going to show exactly what happened in connection with this $130,000 payment.

CAMEROTA: But don't we already know the flow of the money? Michael Cohen paid Stormy Daniels the $130,000. What more is there to see?

AVENATTI: Well, we believe that this report may show where that money came from, meaning whether it actually came from the home equity loan or whether that loan was repaid by the president or someone associated with the president.

And this suspicious activity report is not a common occurrence in American banking. What happened was First Republican Bank, Mr. Cohen's bank, conducted an investigation into this transaction long before this lawsuit was filed. They determined there was something suspicious or illegal about this money transfer and they are the ones that reported it to the Treasury Department.

CAMEROTA: Our legal experts say that bank records are notoriously hard to get. Even police have a hard time getting bank records -- financial records from banks. So what crime are you telling them you think was committed?

AVENATTI: Well, we don't know what crime was committed. But what we do know is that the bank determined that there was something suspicious or illegal about this and that's why they caused the report to be filed with the Treasury Department, Alisyn.

And our position is very clear. If, in fact, this payment was aboveboard, there was nothing untoward about it, then the Treasury Department should have no problem with releasing this 4-page suspicious activity report to the American people.

CAMEROTA: The last time I interviewed you, you said that you would be presenting new evidence soon.


CAMEROTA: And so, where is your evidence --

AVENATTI: Well, I --

CAMEROTA: -- that this payment -- that Donald Trump knew about this $130,000 payment or even that they had an affair?

AVENATTI: Alisyn, it was Friday since you had me on the show.

CAMEROTA: And the clock is ticking.

AVENATTI: It's now -- it's now -- it is now Tuesday. First of all --

CAMEROTA: I think it's Wednesday.

AVENATTI: It is Wednesday, you're right.

CAMEROTA: But, OK, you make my point.

AVENATTI: All right.

CAMEROTA: It's Wednesday.

AVENATTI: All right. Look, let me be clear about something. I don't think there's any question in America right now that people believe that my client had this relationship with the president. I don't think there's any question about that.

CAMEROTA: OK, but there is a question that Donald Trump knew about the payment. Michael Cohen says he did not.

AVENATTI: Well, I don't -- we don't believe there's much question as to that either because it makes -- it makes no sense. The story that we continue to be told -- the lie that continues to be wove if you will is implausible. It makes no sense.

CAMEROTA: I get it, but the criminal justice system is not based on sense. It's based on evidence.

AVENATTI: Correct.

CAMEROTA: So where's your evidence?

AVENATTI: We're in the process of compiling it and we're going to roll it out in due time.

CAMEROTA: What are you going to show us?

AVENATTI: We're going to show you plenty and I think we've already shown quite a bit. And, in fact, this is not a question of us having to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt or -- we're not prosecuting a crime. That's not our job.

What our position is is that we want the facts known to the American people. We want the financial records released, we want the saw (ph) released. We want the truth to come out about this agreement, what the president knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it.

CAMEROTA: What Michael Cohen's team wants is for this to be handled in arbitration and that means privately.

AVENATTI: Quietly.

CAMEROTA: Quietly.

AVENATTI: Secretly.

CAMEROTA: Secretly, and that's what the contract stipulates. So if they win if this has to go into arbitration, then will you and your client Stormy Daniels be quiet?

AVENATTI: I don't know. I don't know that we'll be quiet, quite frankly.

I mean, my client and me are committed to an open process. A process whereby the American people are going to judge what happened here.

The American people deserve this information. They deserve the truth, they deserve openness. They don't deserve some secret, hidden arbitration behind closed doors designed to protect people.

CAMEROTA: All right, look, we can have a debate about arbitration but she did sign that contract that that's how it would be handled.

AVENATTI: She signed the contract with the expectation that everyone was going to sign the contract and that was going to be the deal. And that turned out not to be the deal.

[07:40:04] CAMEROTA: She had a different lawyer at that time, as you know, who has said that he would like, I think, to tell what his version of this -- these events are. Will she grant him that permission to do so?

AVENATTI: We haven't had that discussion. That's an unusual waiver.

What I will say is this. If the president and Mr. Cohen will waive their attorney-client privilege, my client will waive it immediately.

CAMEROTA: Michael Avenatti, thank you very much. We'll check back with you when you have anything else to present. Thank you so much for being here.

AVENATTI: Good to see you. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: You, too -- David.

GREGORY: Alisyn, thanks. Teachers in Oklahoma taking their message to lawmakers. They want -- what their demands are. We'll find out when we come back after a break.


CAMEROTA: Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker warns of a blue wave in November after a Democratic-backed candidate crushed her conservative opponent Tuesday in a race for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Walker says his state could see a wave of Democratic victories in the midterm elections. Walker says the GOP needs to counter the far-left with quote "optimism and organization."

GREGORY: Schools are closed again today in Oklahoma as a teachers strike continues. Teachers plan to rally at the State Capitol for a third day.

CNN's Nick Valencia live in Oklahoma City now with more. Nick, good morning.

[07:45:02] NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, David.

We're here inside the State Capitol in Oklahoma. It's one of several states -- red states across the country where teachers are demanding more education funding.

It was a very vibrant scene inside the Capitol yesterday with hundreds of teachers swarming outside the Senate and House chambers to demand just that, more funding for education.

At some point during the middle of the day, it was the House representatives that sent their staff and aides home early because they said there were safety concerns. Though from our vantage point, we saw peaceful, albeit loud, demonstrations.

But there is one representative, in particular, that's coming under intense scrutiny today and that's Republican Kevin McDugle, who during those demonstrations took to Facebook Live to criticize the teachers, calling them ungrateful, saying they're at risk of isolating Republican support.

It was also yesterday that we saw Gov. Fallin sign into law the legislative bills that were passed last week that gave teachers a raise. But the teachers we speak to here, they say it's not just about a raise. It's about increased classroom funding, getting better textbooks, and trying to prepare their students for a 21st-century classroom.

They say they're going to keep coming back to the Capitol until they get what they want -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Nick, thank you very much.

So, the Department of Homeland Security confirms it has detected evidence of mobile snooping devices in the D.C. area. The agency says the devices could be the work of foreign governments or entities but their origins have not been narrowed down.

The devices essentially act like fake cell phone towers and as mobile gadgets connect to them are able to snoop on the traffic that goes through. Law enforcement in the U.S. use the same techniques but courts have been scrutinizing that practice.

Paging Big Brother.

GREGORY: You've got traffic cameras, you've got Alexa at home, and now -- I mean, we're --

CAMEROTA: When are we not being watched?

GREGORY: Yes. Well, you just have to assume. It is like 1984 which is, you know -- Alisyn Camerota, turn your telestrator back on.

CAMEROTA: I hear that we're being watched right now.

GREGORY: Yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: That's how weird it is.

GREGORY: Eerily so.


GREGORY: If people only knew.

CAMEROTA: Wow, OK. The future's now.

GREGORY: All right, we'll switch gears when we come back -- another shooting. This time, four people injured after police say a woman opened fire at YouTube's headquarters.

Up next, we talk to President Obama's former senior adviser, renewing her push for gun control. That's up, next.


[07:51:23] CAMEROTA: The YouTube headquarters reeling after a mass shooting. Police say a woman opened fire there yesterday injuring four people. This comes, of course, just weeks after that deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 students and teachers.

Now, President Obama's former senior adviser Valerie Jarrett is speaking out about gun violence in a new op-ed. She says, "This should not be a partisan issue, for we should all want our society safe from gun violence. But if our elected officials do not fight for our safety we will vote them out of office."

And, Valerie Jarrett joins me now. Good morning, Valerie.


CAMEROTA: I'm doing well.


CAMEROTA: Great to see you on this --

JARRETT: Nice to be with you.

CAMEROTA: Look, obviously, this is a very tough topic and it's one that you had to deal with head-on, of course, when you were in the Obama administration. I mean, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was just one of the most awful chapters --

JARRETT: The worst day in eight years, absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Of course, absolutely. I mean, in our country's long history of gun violence that one stands out.

Do you sense that something is different this time?

JARRETT: I do. I think we're at a tipping point and Alisyn, today is the 50th anniversary since the assassination of Martin Luther King and I was reflecting this morning on all of the people who've picked up the baton to perfect our union. And the young people in Parkland have excited something across our country that I think creates this tipping point.

And I am convinced that we are going to see change and, in fact, we already have. States like Florida and Virginia -- and Vermont, who traditionally have been states that have had very lax gun laws are stepping up. Governors who have high ratings from the NRA, both named Gov. Scott, have signed bills that tighten our gun laws.

And we know already that two-thirds of Americans say we want to have stricter gun laws. We want to have background checks. We want to keep guns out of the hands of people who are either a danger to themselves or to someone else.

CAMEROTA: I want to read what I think is the most provocative part of your op-ed and get you to respond.

You say, "Those who lives have been scarred by gun violence all have one thing in common. They are living in America at a time when too many of our country's political leaders deem the National Rifle Association more precious than people's lives, including the lives of our nation's children."

Obviously, that will get attention because look, the NRA spokespeople who we've talked to point out that all the leaders of the NRA, they have children. The members of the NRA have children. And what they believe is that more guns are best to fight the bad guys, not less guns.

What do you say to that logic?

JARRETT: What I say is that the facts don't bear that out.

We've seen a 17 percent increase in gun violence in the last decade. States that have taken steps to tighten their gun laws -- states such as Connecticut, New York, California, Rhode Island -- we're seeing a reduction in gun violence. States that have laxer laws -- Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana -- all of them are having an increase.

And so, we know that these laws work and what we'd like to see is the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, have funding to look at gun violence and study the impacts of gun violence. Let's figure out what exactly are the right tools that we need to have in place to reduce it and let's do this in a nonpartisan basis. Let's get rid of the rhetoric.

And the reason why I'm so critical of the NRA is that they're funded by the gun manufacturers. And so, what they really want to see are gun sales go up and that has happened dramatically with this torqued up rhetoric.

[07:55:00] CAMEROTA: I know you've spent a lot of time with the Parkland students. Do you think that they can keep up this momentum? What's next in that movement?

JARRETT: Absolutely, absolutely. They looked at the incredible rallies that we saw around our country as just the beginning. They are gearing up for a summer and a fall of effort.

They made it very clear they're going to be one-issue voters and they're going to encourage other people to be one-issue voters. They're determined to make sure that the people who represent us reflect our values.

And our values should be that we shouldn't have our children going into school and having active shooter drills. You should be able to go to work without worrying about whether or not you're going to be able to come home.

And I think that the momentum that they have triggered really builds on a lot of the hard work that we saw over the years.

We have Sandy Hook Promise, Everytown. You have the work of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. You have the work of people on the ground in cities like New York and Chicago and all of these foundations have been spreading across our country and I do believe the momentum is building.

If you talk to the Parkland kids, as I know you have Alisyn, you see they have no intention of stopping now. And they know that adults think that they will run out of steam, that they will lose interest -- not this time.

CAMEROTA: Valerie, while I have you I do want to ask you what it's like for you to sort of sit by and watch what's happening with the Trump administration attempting to dismantle a lot of the things from the Obama administration. Just this morning, there is a new tweet about -- from the president. Here -- I'll read it to you. It's about the border, it's about -- connected to DACA.

"As ridiculous as it sounds, the laws of our country do not easily allow us to send those crossing our southern border back where they came from. A whole big wasted procedure must take place. Mexico and Canada have tough immigration laws, whereas ours are an Obama joke. Act Congress."

As you know, he's also tweeted recently that DACA is dead. Obviously, that's something that President Obama worked hard on to protect the Dreamers.

So, what is it like from where you sit?

JARRETT: Well, let me say a few things on this.

First of all, President Obama pushed for comprehensive immigration reform. A component of that was border security so he was very strong on that, recognizing we needed to reform the entire system.

On DACA, I would say this.

First of all, the vast majority of people from both parties support DACA, and that is to let these incredible young people, many of who I have had the privilege of meeting, stay in our country. They want to be school teachers, they want to serve in our military, they want to start businesses. They know no other country is home other than our own.

And so, if the vast majority of people believe in that, and you hear that in both sides of the aisle in Congress, why don't they just simply pass a bill to give them that relief? Why are these young people having to be in agony wondering whether or not they're going to be deported?

Why would we ever say that it's dead? Why don't they just pass a bill today and alleviate that problem?

Well, the reason why is that they want to use it as a bargaining chip in order to get, say, a border wall, which I actually thought Mexico was supposed to pay for. But why would you use this as a bargaining chip? Why wouldn't you just be true to our values and pass a bill, give them relief, and allow them to stay?

CAMEROTA: Valerie, what do you think is behind the somewhat incessant attacks on President Obama from President Trump? I mean, he just put out a --

JARRETT: Alisyn, I have no insight. I can't keep up with his tweets. I have no insight into that.

All I can do is do what I've always done which is try to work very hard to be a force for good. This is why I'm supporting the young people in Parkland. This is why I'm so committed to the DACA young people who I have met in trying to give them some courage and inspiration.

So this is what I dedicate my life to and I really -- I can't focus on the other stuff.

CAMEROTA: Valerie Jarrett, we appreciate you coming on with your new moves with gun violence and all of your perspective. Thanks so much.

JARRETT: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news so let's get right to it.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, April fourth, 8:00 in the east.

Chris is off this morning. David Gregory joins me. Great to have you here.

GREGORY: Good to be here, as always.

CAMEROTA: OK, there's breaking news.

There are new fears of a trade war escalating as China just imposes tariffs on $50 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, airplanes, and cars. This move has been sending Dow futures plummeting. The Dow set for a nearly 500-point drop when the market opens.

This retaliation comes after the Trump administration detailed new tariffs on Chinese imports. President Trump insisting that the U.S. is not, though, in a trade war with China.

GREGORY: Tweeting that just this morning.

At the same time, "The Washington Post" also reporting today that the special counsel Robert Mueller has told President Trump's legal team that the president is a subject but not a target -- an important distinction -- of his Russia investigation. The "Post" also reporting that Mueller is preparing a report on the president's actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice.

We have it all covered. Let's begin with CNN's Ivan Watson. He's live in Beijing with our breaking news this morning -- Ivan.