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CNN TONIGHT

Trump Begins Initial Preps For Possible Interview; Joseph Schmitz Pushed FBI And House Intelligence Committee to Review Materials He Thought Were Clinton's Missing E-Mails From Her Private Server; President Trump's Lawyers Granted More Time To Respond To Stormy Daniels Lawsuit; CNN Heroes. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired April 6, 2018 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Just a little past 11:00 here on the East Coast, live with a breaking news tonight, first to CNN exclusive on the Mueller investigation.

In the clearest sign yet that President Trump is considering sitting down with the Special Counsel even though that's the last thing some of his advisers want, sources telling CNN that Trump has begun to prepare for a possible interview with Robert Mueller.

And in another exclusive, we have learned that one of the Trump campaign's earliest foreign policy advisers who was no coffee boy at all, in fact he literally had a seat at the table, who was part of the effort to expose damaging information about Hillary Clinton during the campaign.

Joseph Schmitz pushed the FBI and the House Intelligence Committee to review materials from the dark Web that he thought were Clinton's missing e-mails from her private server. Sources say they believe the material was fake.

Let's discuss it all now. I want to bring in CNN's Chief National Security Correspondent, Mr. Jim Sciutto, our Legal Analyst, Michael Zeldin, who is Robert Mueller's special assistant at the Justice Department.

National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem, and CNN Contributor, Garrett Graff, the Author of "The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror."

We have certainly assembled the right group to discuss all of this. And, Jim, I'm going to start with you. Good evening by the way to all of you.

Jim, an exclusive reporting from CNN TONIGHT, the President has begun taking preliminary steps to prepare for a possible interview with the Special Counsel. Can you fill us in on what more you are learning?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: My colleagues are learning that President Trump who has in his public statements been back and forth as to whether he was going to testify, often saying that he would, we're told that behind the scenes he is more back and forth, and he is not quite sure if he is going to make that commitment.

But at least he is taking a step and beginning to be prepared for such an interview if he decides to do so. And that would be of course something that some of his advisers had warned him against.

We had Roger Stone on the air a short time ago on Anderson's show saying that he is concerned that this is be what sometime perjury trap.

But really the concerned that he might catch himself in a lie, or might be caught in a lie by Robert Mueller, and the Special Counsel investigators, but his lawyers now are taking the step of preparing him for the possibility of sitting down with the Special Counsel's team.

LEMON: All right. Juliette Kayyem, what does this tell you about the Trump team's view of where thing are going with the Mueller -- in the Mueller investigation?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I give them credit for trying to prep the president, whether he is or isn't going to testify. At least they're trying to do something. But it's just a couple of extra points to what, Jim, was saying.

I mean, the first is the President lately has not been that busy. If you look at his public records, or his daily records about what he is doing, he maybe has a meeting here, or meeting there.

So this may actually sort of confirm what he has been doing during those times, that he is actually trying to prep with the lawyers, but look at what Roger Stone says -- the second thing is Roger Stone says, you know, a perjury trap.

He is worried about it? Why is that? Because the President doesn't know how to tell the truth, and if you are the outside world, if you are allies, or enemies, and you think they're worried about the president lying, and they are worried that the President can't stick to a story, I mean it's hard to say that he is an effective leader, or commander in chief.

Not for himself, but for us, for the nation. And so, this is just consistent with the narrative that is being sort of exposed, unfortunately, to the outside world as well.

LEMON: Garrett, President Trump claims that he is -- he has nothing to hide, even as the guilty pleas from his campaign associates are piling up here. So why wouldn't he -- why wouldn't he sit down with Robert Mueller?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think he is going to for two reasons. One, I think that he thinks that he is smarter than Robert Mueller.

[23:05:01] And so I think, he thinks against, I think, a preponderance of evidence to the contrary that he can outmaneuver one of the most talented team of prosecutors ever assembled in the course of the U.S. Justice System.

And then the second thing is, I think in Donald Trump's mind, he doesn't think he has done anything wrong. And so I think both of those point to him thinking that if he just sits down with Bob Mueller, he can sort of go mano a mano like a New York real estate deal, and come out the better half.

And I think that Donald Trump has still not figured out that going up against the full weight of the Justice Department and the FBI is different that trying to broker a mortgage deal on a New York City office building.

LEMON: So maybe he doesn't know what -- I don't know obstruction -- do you think he doesn't understand, Michael, what obstruction is, and maybe if he is actually even done it? I'm not saying he has. But do you think that's the case, Michael?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, I'm not sure I agree that it's right to sell the President short in respect of his failure to understand the importance of this interview. I think he fully well understands what it is.

I think the preparation probably speaks to the fact that he realizes that this is not a civil deposition, and that he has to prepare for this thing. I think his lawyers are probably impressing him the seriousness of this.

Whether he will do his homework or not remains to be seen. But I just would be careful about trying to psychoanalyze the President in respect of this interview.

LEMON: Yes.

ZELDIN: If this interview occurs, and I think it has to occur because I think the law of the land will require it if Mueller pushes the propositions...

LEMON: So you think it's going to happen?

ZELDIN: ... will be a serious -- I think it has to happen, because the way the law sets up with Nixon versus the United States, and Clinton versus Jones, the President really can't resist testifying.

Mueller has to show that he can't get the evidence from another source as a predicate for the interview. And I think that with respect to obstruction of justice and the collusion conspiracy stuff, there is no other evidence other than the intent of the President. And that's to come from the President's mouth.

Then the question becomes, Don, what will be the nature of the interview? Will it be an under oath interview, or will it be not under oath interview? It really doesn't matter much.

If it's under oath and a person makes a material lie, they can be charged with 1621 perjury. If it's not under oath, and they make a material false statement, they can be charged with 1001 making a false statement. They both carry serious criminal penalties. So I think that's not so much a matter of importance whether under oath or not under oath.

LEMON: OK, got you. All right. Interesting. Jim, let's talk about another CNN exclusive, OK? You have new reporting on the lengths at the Trump campaign went to try to get dirt on Hillary Clinton through her infamous emails. What more can you tell us?

SCIUTTO: Well, potentially more than dirt here. This is Joseph Schmitz. He was a foreign policy adviser to President Trump during the campaign for a number of months, not an insignificant adviser.

He was there with that famous meeting pictured there in March 2016. But he was a former Defense Department Official in the Bush Administration, he was considered for Secretary of Navy after President Trump was elected.

He obtains what he believes to be the deleted Hillary Clinton emails from the dark web. And relentlessly, we are told by multiple sources he goes to multiple U.S. agencies, including the FBI, the State Department, the Intelligence Community, later the House Intelligence Committee, saying -- pushing for these emails to be declassified, so that they could be reviewed, and potentially disseminated.

He is not taken very seriously at each of the agencies. In fact, they didn't want to touch this material because they doubted the providence coming from the dark web, weren't sure who had made it.

And frankly, had a lot of doubt as to whether those emails were authentic, but he was relentless. And then you look at this, not just an isolations, but alongside other efforts by Trump campaign advisers who were open to, it appeared any way to get to damaging information on Hillary Clinton, regardless of where it came from.

The Trump Tower meeting in 2016, Donald Trump Jr. saying I love it, when Russians said that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton regardless of what that potential dirt was, or how they got it.

George Papadopoulos bragging to an Australian diplomat that he had been told by a professor connected to Russia that they had dug up stolen Hillary Clinton emails.

So fitting into that larger picture, you see a tremendous effort here by Trump advisers to try to get that material regardless of where it came from.

LEMON: All right, Jim, thank you. We're done with you. But we're going to stick around, and continue our conversation.

SCIUTTO: Thanks.

KAYYEM: Good night, Jim.

[23:10:00] LEMON: Good night, Jim. SCIUTTO: Good night, guys.

LEMON: We'll see you on the other side of the break with the rest of the gang. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: So here is a look at what happened this week in the Russia investigation. Just this week, on Monday, we learned the Special Counsel is investigating a possible meeting between WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, and long-time Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone. Stone sent an email claiming to have dine with Assange. He later said that that was just a joke, and denied it on our air just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER STONE, DONALD TRUMP'S POLITICAL ADVISOR: The security cameras at the Ecuadorian Embassy would demonstrate that no such trip was made. I did produce airline tickets and so on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well that night, court documents reveal that it was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who specifically authorized the Special Counsel's investigation, and indictment of former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort.

On Tuesday, we learn Mueller's team told Trump's lawyers that the President was not a criminal target, but a subject in the ongoing investigation. Now the debate is over exactly what that means. Subjects sometimes become targets.

Special Counsel's team is actively negotiating to interview the President. If the President sits down with Mueller's team, he runs the risk of contradicting or worse, incriminating himself. Also on Tuesday, Dutch Attorney Alex van der Zwaan became the first person sentenced in the Russia investigation. He pled guilty to lying to Mueller's investigators, which netted him a sentence of 30 days in prison, and a $20,000 fine.

[23:15:03] On Wednesday, we learned about Paul Manafort's attempt to have his case thrown out. His attorneys argued that Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein's entire order, appointing Mueller was invalid, and tried to have the criminal charges against him dismissed. The judge wasn't buying it.

Manafort faces charges of money laundering, bank fraud, conspiracy, and other charges. He is looking at up to 305 years in prison. CNN exclusively reported on Wednesday, the Special Counsel's team has taken the unusual step of questioning Russian oligarchs who traveled into the U.S.

At least one of them was detained as his private jet touched down state side, and his electronic devices were searched. And now we are learning that President has begun initial steps of preparing for a possible interview with Mueller.

Let's bring back Michael Zeldin, Juliette Kayyem, Garrett Graff. Gee, do we have enough time for you guys? That is a lot, and that is just this week.

Juliette, earlier this week we saw just a little bit -- little of the court filings, which showed the Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein personally authorized Mueller's investigation, and indictment of Manafort. Was that surprising to you?

KAYYEM: Yes it was. But just to remind everyone, that was the fourth filing in about 10 days that really did start to sort of show a Mueller theory of the case. I mean, it was very bad for Manafort.

In fact, of all the people you're talking about, Manafort had the worst week, because the filing said we are going to -- we are looking at theories of the case, potentially collusion, unrelated to what we've already indicted him for, which was of course the financial dealings.

Manafort had a bad week. Roger Stone obviously had a bad week. Donald Trump had a bad week with the news about him being a subject and not a target. The oligarchs had a bad week, and guess who did not have a bad week, and that was of course the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

He just continued down this path, so that every Friday, he has a bunch of movement heading closer and closer to the White House, and a lot of scrambling by a lot of other people. I'll just add one more thing.

There are all these other names coming out now. Schmitz today that, Jim, was talking about with, people around the campaign who also were involved, and I just think there's going to be just all these people we never heard of before who are coming out, and making pleas all sorts of things, as this case is really in, you know, hot -- as we say, a hockey stick mode right now. It is ramping up very quickly.

LEMON: We do get a lot. I mean we got Schmitz and who -- I mean, who the heck knew who van der Zwaan was? No one did --

KAYYEM: I know. I know.

LEMON: -- until what happened. I'm sure his name is in whose Google.

KAYYEM: And we didn't know. We didn't -- I had never heard of Papadopoulos --

LEMON: Papadopoulos, yes.

KAYYEM: -- before he has pled.

LEMON: Yes, interesting. I was thinking about Paul Manafort, 305 years in prison, Mike. What do you say -- what do you say to that? Like, OK, I give up.

I mean, that is -- that is unfathomable. So, Michael, look, Manafort's attempt to have the civil and criminal charges dismissed were pretty quickly thrown out. On what grounds did he try to challenge the Deputy A.G.?

ZELDIN: What he tried to say was that Mueller didn't have the mandate to investigate those charges that related to Ukraine private business dealings, and the failure to register as a foreign agent, or failed to pay taxes on those monies.

So he filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against him on the grounds that Mueller was acting outside of his mandate. Mueller responded to that with an opposition to the motion to dismiss. And in that motion, as appendix B or C -- I forget -- he attached a letter that Rosenstein wrote to him in August -- on August the 2nd.

Remember Mueller is appointed May the 17th. And in that letter, Rosenstein says to Mueller, you have my authority to investigate these Ukrainian money laundering, tax, and failure to register charges.

So Amy Berman Jackson, the Judge says, well, Manafort, that looks like it ends your case, doesn't it? Because he had the authority now from Rosenstein to investigate that.

What is significant beside Manafort having a very bad day, was that in that same August 2nd letter -- what Rosenstein says is, if you lack at the way the letter sets up, Bob Mueller can investigate Manafort for collusion, and for this Ukrainian stuff, and then if you look at the way the letter sets up, it looks like there are about six or seven other people who are listed under the blacked out section that Mueller has the authority under this August 2nd letter to also investigate.

So who's under the blacked out line is really what is going to portend, you know, their future going forward. And I think what we're going to see on future Fridays when Mueller drops out of space these new names, and new charges that none of us had heard about.

LEMON: Can we expect -- can hold it up to the light and try to figure out who is under that...

[23:20:00] ZELDIN: No, but you can -- you can...

LEMON: ... blacked out line.

ZELDIN: What you can do is you can look at the amount of space it took to set out the charges against Manafort. It's about that much.

LEMON: Yes.

ZELDIN: And if you look at the space, it's blacked out. It's about that much, and so that's, to my calculation, about six to eight names.

LEMON: Got you. It would take us a long time to figure out. That was good information there. So, Garrett, let's bring you in. Do you know do you think the President is more receptive to the idea of an interview since according to the Washington Post, and Mueller told the President, well, his lawyers at least he wasn't a criminal target, he is the subject in this Russia investigation? GRAFF: Yes. And you know there's been a lot of ink and air time

spilled this week over trying to figure out what the difference between subject and target really means.

Partly because, you know, if we believe that the Justice Department sort of operating theory that the President is actually not able to be criminally indicted while in office, it might mean that Bob Mueller is simply saying you're the President of the United States, you can never be a target of this investigation.

But you're still a subject to it, which means that we have reason to believe that your behavior in this is not entirely innocent, that you were sort of a material part of this unfolding story.

And that is -- you know, when you sort of combine it with some of what Michael was saying, and some of what you were sort of laying out that took place this week, this incredibly bad week for the President in terms of us beginning to get a sense of just how much is still behind the curtain here, that that memo was -- from Rod Rosenstein was heavily redacted.

There is obviously a lot of information in there that we don't know. And remember, Bob Mueller isn't out doing wild goose chases for this. You know, he is not saying, hey, Rod, it's Bobby, I've got in sort of crazy hunch about Manafort, and Russia, and Ukraine.

I just want to sort of go off and spin my wheels on it. You know, he is presenting evidence, and talking to Rod Rosenstein, briefing him to get the permission to do this. So there are sort of lots of information already that Bob Mueller knows before he even gets to the point of that memo with Rod Rosenstein.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Great information. I got to go, Michael. I got to go. You know we didn't mention in everything, you know, Garrett, said a bad week. We didn't mention Stormy. But we're about to. Thank you.

GRAFF: Michael Cohen.

LEMON: There we go, Stormy and Michael Cohen.

KAYYEM: You never -- you never ask me on -- you never ask me on for Stormy.

LEMON: Oh, well, we'll get there eventually I'm sure, everything sort of ties together. I appreciate it.

KAYYEM: Everything will merge.

GRAFF: Story is not going anywhere, Juliette.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it. When he come back news on Stormy Daniels, as I just hinted, the President and more -- more than hinted. The President's legal team getting a small victory today, but has President Trump already ruined his chances of winning the case? We'll talk about that.

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A small break today for President Trump in the lawsuit Stormy Daniels filed against him, and his lawyer Michael Cohen. A federal judge granting Cohen's request to extend the deadline for them to respond to the lawsuit, they now have a few more weeks. CNN National Correspondent, Sara Sidner has the latest on the case tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Porn actress Stormy Daniels is performing in the mid-west this weekend to counter that infamous on a St. Louis venue's Web site, and a cartoon of President Trump right next to her picture with the words alleged affair.

This, as her attorney Michael Avenatti is vowing to refile his request Monday to depose President Trump, following the President's first ever comments about the hush deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No. What else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why did Michael Cohen make those if there was no truth to her allegations?

TRUMP: Well, you have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael's my attorney, and you'll have to ask Michael Cohen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: No, I don't. No.

SIDNER: Daniels is suing to get out of the confidentiality agreement she claims is void because Donald Trump never signed the deal himself.

Avenatti says Trump's claim that he knew nothing about the pay off steering reporters to his Attorney Michael Cohen instead bolsters Stormy Daniels case.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER: It's like Christmas and Hanukkah all rolled into one. You can't have an agreement if one party claims they knew nothing about one of the principal terms of the agreement.

So the President has just shot himself in the foot, thrown his attorney basically, Michael Cohen, under the bus in the process, put himself in dire straits with the State Bar of New York, because according to the President now, Mr. Cohen was negotiating this agreement, and doing this all on his own without consultation with the President.

SIDNER: A federal judge granting Trump's attorney's request for more time to respond to Daniels' lawsuit until a decision is made on whether the case is moved out of the courtroom and into private arbitration.

KEITH DAVIDSON, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DANIELS AND MCDOUGAL: You know any subsequent phone calls...

SIDNER: Daniels former attorney Keith Davidson represented her in that agreement. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Davidson said after he was fired from the case, Michael Cohen was encouraging him to spill his guts about the Daniels case, and the case involving Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, both of them say they had affairs with Trump.

DAVIDSON: Michael Cohen called me in the last week or two.

SIDNER: And what did he say to you?

DAVIDSON: He called to offer his opinion as to whether or not Ms. Daniels and Ms. McDougal had breached the attorney client privilege, and there by waived it.

And it was his assertion that each of them had. And he was encouraging me, and informing me as to his opinion. And he suggested that it would be appropriate for me to go out into the media, and spill my guts.

SIDNER: Are you here at the behest of Michael Cohen?

DAVIDSON: No. No. No, not in any way, shape or form.

SIDNER: But he did tell you to go out on spill your guts.

DAVIDSON: Right, yes.

SIDNER: Why do you think that is?

DAVIDSON: Well, you have to ask him.

SIDNER: Now, CNN is learning, after the Daniels deal was done, Cohen referred a client to Davidson. Davidson tells us the client was Chuck LaBella, a producer on "The Apprentice," The Miss USA pageant, and Miss Universe, all involving Donald Trump.

LaBella had an issue with actor Tom Arnold, who tweeted several times last fall that LaBella possessed damning information about Trump that Arnold claims involved Russian President Vladimir Putin. Davidson says he wrote a cease and desist letter to Arnold's attorney on LaBella's behalf.

LaBella told CNN, a friend did call Davidson on his behalf, but LaBella never considered Davidson his attorney because he never paid him. Then just last month, Arnold commented on Twitter that Michael Cohen had Chuck LaBella hire Keith Davidson to try to keep me quiet about Trump, Russia, Miss Universe 2013.

(on camera): Chuck LaBella had said that the tweets from Tom Arnold are slanderous accusations and outright lies. Michael Cohen has not commented on the story. As for Donald Trump, the White House continues to deny that there ever were affairs with either of the women.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Thank you so much. I want to bring in now defense attorney Joe Tacopina and CNN legal analyst Areva Martin, the author of the best seller "Make It Rain."

Good evening to both of you. So, Areva --

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hi, Don.

LEMON: -- we just heard from Sara Sidner there are many twists and turns to the scandal. Did Stormy win this week? Who won?

MARTIN: It was a good week for Stormy, although the -- we heard about the judge's ruling today where he granted the extension that Michael Cohen's team wanted with respect to responding to this complaint. Now, we know that Stormy Daniels' team wants to go in. They want a quick trial. They want a deposition. They want to move forward with this litigation.

And the federal judge is saying, wait a minute, something has to be decided. I have to make a decision about whether this matter is going to be referred to private arbitration. I'm not going to allow you to start discovery. I'm not going to set a trial date because a fundamental question has to be answered as to the validity of this arbitration agreement.

Look, when they remove this matter, Cohen's team from the state court to the federal court, they did so for this very reason. They knew that federal judges are no nonsense. They play by the rules. And a federal judge doesn't like the fact that Stormy Daniels' attorney didn't make himself available for what's called meet and confer.

They want lawyers, federal judges want lawyers to work out these kinds of things like extensions. They don't want you running into court every time, you know, there is a request, particularly a request like this for a simple extension of time to respond to a complaint.

So the judge wasn't too happy with Stormy Daniels' attorney particularly since he found time to appear multiple times throughout the week on national television.

LEMON: Yes.

MARTIN: So, apparently he had some time where he could have met and conferred but he did not.

LEMON: Well, since the judge was piqued with both sides particularly on Stormy Daniels' side with the attorney appearing on television, listen, speaking of, you know, what the federal judge did granting this request for President Trump's attorney to extend the deadline, Joe, to respond to Stormy Daniels' original lawsuit, how much of a win is this for the president, you think? Is it? JOE TACOPINA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, a win? It's not a win. It's done routinely. You know, extensions are granted on a daily basis in every type of a case. But this judge made it clear, he granted the extension, but he is none too happy with either party. Understand this, a case like this makes a federal judge want to throw up in his mouth.

I mean, they are intellectual for the most part, they're real jurists, they like to deal with matters of importance. And to them, this type of litigation is sickening. And then to see the lawyers on T.V., you know, going back and forth having their lawyers and lawyers on T.V. going back and forth, not doing the work but arguing, you know, their points, you know, publicly, is not what a federal judge wants to see.

But granting the extension is not a win. He didn't dismiss the case or the claims.

LEMON: Isn't it right out of the president's playbook? Isn't he sort of fighting fire with fire? But maybe that works for the court of public opinion but not for a federal judge?

TACOPINA: Yes, it's dangerous. It's dangerous. I mean what happened yesterday -- I -- Don, I want to make sure you understand the significance of it. He finally opened his mouth. I was shocked that the president hadn't commented on this at all.

So against his character. Almost an admission obviously. But the fact that he said what he said on Air Force One yesterday just changes everything in this case. He confirmed what Michael Cohen has been -- had initially said --

LEMON: Right.

TACOPINA: -- when he was doing that slide, which is the whole thing about he didn't know about the lawyer paying $130,000 of -- of money to Stormy Daniels for this confidentiality agreement.

[23:35:09] LEMON: Yes.

TACOPINA: If that's the case, the agreement is fraudulent. It's null and void. It --

LEMON: I got to get a break in, Joe. Let's talk about -- let's talk about that on the other side of the break, and then we'll play -- we'll play what the president said. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Back with Joe Tacopina and Areva Martin. So, Joe talked about it earlier. So, let's talk about the president. Let's play what the president said. This is what he said on Air Force One yesterday. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. No. What else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Then why did Michael Cohen make those if there was no truth to her allegations?

TRUMP: You'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. And you'll have to ask Michael Cohen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: No, I don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Areva said (ph) he couldn't believe the president opened his mouth and answered that question. What are the -- what do you think the -- the implications could be of that not knowing, saying he didn't know about this $130,000 payment of supposed hush money?

[23:40:04] MARTIN: Well, basically, Don, it means that there was no meeting of the minds between the two parties. This is a material term of the agreement, the $130,000 payment. So if Trump didn't know about it, there was never a meeting of minds between him and Stormy Daniels, that it makes the contract essentially unenforceable.

It raises the question as to why did Michael Cohen draft an agreement that had David Dennison and a line for his signature and his initials throughout this contract suggesting that this contract is between Stormy Daniels and this David Dennison who we know now was actually President Trump.

The drafting of the agreement was sloppy. We have seen so many other things that Michael Cohen has done in this lawsuit or with respect to the settlement that just speak to sloppy lawyering. And now they have the president make this statement just continues this pattern that we've seen with respect to how this matter has been handled from the beginning.

And for me, it was never a question of will the president speak on this? It was always a question of when he would speak. Because Avenatti has done a brilliant job of provoking the president. You put that with the "60 Minutes" interview from Stormy Daniels, I knew at some point, I think we all knew, Trump was going to have to respond. And the question was, what would he say when he responded? And he said the worst possible thing he could say to advance his case.

LEMON: OK. This is what I want to know, Joe. What is the bottom line with all of this? Let's just say that, you know, they say, well this contract was null and void or the president does have to be deposed or whatever, what is the bottom line? What is the legal exposure? Does he really have any legal exposure because everyone thinks -- everyone feels he did it. Stormy Daniels has told her story. So, what's the pay off here? TACOPINA: Don, please. Why -- why doesn't someone who is representing him understand that or even contemplate what to do? Because all you need to do here, remember, Stormy Daniels brought a lawsuit saying they wanted the agreement to be rendered null and void. They wanted rescission. They wanted -- I mean that's what they were looking for.

If I were Trump's lawyers, I would say, OK, we agree, null and void, forget it, bye, have a good day. Because she already told her story. She has gone into great detail apparently on stuff that wasn't even aired that hopefully will never be aired. But she went into great detail about her one-night stand with him. What else can she say?

There is nothing else to tell. The only way it gets sticky for him, the president that is, is if these sort of facts start getting dove into where -- in other words, where the lawyer for Trump is saying he paid out of his own personal funds money for -- hush money for Stormy Daniels, not talk about the alleged affair, and Trump didn't know anything about that. Just imagine what that says.

LEMON: That's Cohen. Cohen is exposed then, right? And then that's Cohen.

TACOPINA: Cohen is exposed. Cohen is exposed from an ethical standpoint enormously but this agreement is gone. The agreement is gone. Trump can put it way.

MARTIN: But I think --

LEMON: Listen, listen, listen. For me -- let me just get this out. For me, the worst case scenario for the president is to be deposed. If he just said let this go, Stormy Daniels has told her story, it's over, he doesn't have to be deposed, move on, worry about Mueller. Go ahead, Areva.

MARTIN: If it were that simple, he would have done that. I don't think we can just dismiss what Trump has done. So many women came forward before the election and made allegations about Donald Trump either consensual or non-consensual relationships.

But this is the case. This is the one case where he has gone to great lengths to prevent her from telling her story and from enforcing this hush agreement. Why this case? I think we have to ask ourselves why this case? There is something unique about this case that Donald Trump is concerned about and Michael Cohen is concerned about --

LEMON: OK.

MARTIN: -- that's different from every other women that came forward.

LEMON: I'm out of time. All right. Thank you both. I appreciate it. When we come back, the Trump White House could be the most chaotic in history, but is that just the way President Trump wants it? We'll talk about it.

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: So this may be the most chaotic White House ever and that may be just the way the president wants it. As Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said today, he's the only one in the West Wing elected to make decisions and outline policy. So let's bring in now Gwenda Blair, the author of "The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a President," and CNN political Commentator, Matt Lewis, senior columnist for "The Daily Beast." Hello to both you. Thank you for joining us.

So, Gwenda, you wrote a story in Politico, and here is how the headline reads. It says, Trump has the White House he always wanted. You talked about the president's leadership style.

And here is what you said, no doubt Trump saw his share of standard pyramid-style organizational charts during his two years at Wharton, but he has always preferred what anthropologists call a circular hierarchy or in plain English, a wheel. A work flow diagram at the Trump Organization would have put Donald Trump at the hub and connected him by spokes to his small number of top staff.

We heard the president has always considered not having a chief of staff. He has considered not having a chief of staff, not having a communications director. Do you think this will work? It's him alone. Do you think that will work in the White House?

GWENDA BLAIR, AUTHOR: The White House is, let's see, the number of people that he's the boss of, at least not every day, but he's in charge of, is something like I think 2.5 million, the number of people at the Trump Organization is 22,000. I did some little math, it's 122 times more.

So, that's kind of tough. That way of running an office with a small, tight staff, everybody is reporting to him directly, nobody is in between, and he's constantly like sort of micro managing, checking on them, making -- everybody feels kind of insecure. There's no kind of alliance among the employees, among the staffers.

[23:50:00] They're all looking to him. He's constantly putting them at each other's throats. That's what he did, that he's done all along, and that's what he is doing at the White House.

LEMON: Matt, Gwenda also talks about Trump's management style as a businessman and she said, there was no business plan, no development strategy, no layers of of authority, instead Trump would come up with an idea, work it up in his head, and tell one of his hand-picked diamonds in the rough to get moving on it.

So, I mean that sounds familiar. The announcement to send troops to the border felt like an idea that his team had no -- you know, they had to react to it after he announced it himself.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. Look, I think this all rings very true. I think that that's how he likes to operate. He's been successful. That's the -- the other problem is when someone has been repeatedly successful following a certain template, it's really hard to tell them, you can't do it again. They said I couldn't get elected president and I did it my way and I got elected president. So, it's going to be very difficult to get him to change. He tried -- he actually tried to have a little bit of normalcy, a little bit of order, and that doesn't last. He fluctuates. He listened to John Kelly for a little while and then goes on to someone else. So, I think this is who he is. He's 71 years old.

LEMON: Yes. You said he's not sure if it works, he tries, he goes back and forth, right?

BLAIR: I think he briefly had a flirtation with the idea that maybe you'd have some experts, maybe you listen to them --

LEMON: Maybe you'd listen to John Kelly.

BLAIR: Maybe you'd listen to John Kelly. Maybe. But the guy was always lecturing him. And I don't think Trump basically wants -- I think most of us, me, you, you have an idea that you kind of -- things are upset and in disarray and you want to get back to some version of normal that's calmer.

I think he is the exact opposite. He does not want to get back to normal and calm. He wants to stay in chaos. Chaos is like his comfort zone because everybody else doesn't know what's coming. They don't know what to do and they look to him for the answer for who's in charge. He's comfortable in that situation. I think that's what he's recreated again and again and again. He wanted to get rid of those normalizing factors.

LEMON: Yes.

BLAIR: He wanted to go back to chaos.

LEMON: Let's talk -- we know the president likes to cause chaos, right? It has been well established. What about when a subordinate causes it, like in the case of Scott Pruitt?

BLAIR: I think --

LEWIS: I think it's the exact opposite, right? If Donald Trump causes a scandal and somebody else has to clean it up, somebody else has to go out in front of the press and sort of take the heat, that's OK with Donald Trump.

But if Donald Trump has to now take a little heat for somebody else's scandal, I don't think that he has a long leash for something like that. I don't think he has much tolerance for -- you know, there can only be one Trump, you know.

LEMON: Yes.

LEWIS: And in a way, if you're out there causing problems, you're encroaching on his turf. That's his job.

LEMON: Yes. You know, he -- he doesn't like to fire people. That's the thing. He spent this whole time at "The Apprentice" saying you're fired. He doesn't like to.

BLAIR: Well, and that was --

(LAUGHTER)

BLAIR: He was doing it in front of a camera.

LEMON: His first love.

BLAIR: It wasn't for real. Definitely his first love. Pruitt is kind of like a mini Trump right now. I think he is really kind of -- I think Trump keeps changing his mind, if that's working for him or not working for him. That he has any, like, specific loyalty to Pruitt, forget it.

As long as he figures it's working in his favor. It's part of his, like, you know, fixing Washington, getting rid of the old Washington that was broken. Bringing in somebody new, getting rid of regulations. As long as Pruitt keeps doing that, maybe --

LEMON: Yes.

BLAIR: Maybe.

LEMON: Yes.

BLAIR: But as long as it works for him.

LEMON: Gwenda, Matt, thank you. I appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

LEWIS: Thanks.

LEMON: You know the date in November, but you don't know the whole story. The Kennedy family and the days after the death of a president. Here's a preview of the new episode of American dynasty, "The Kennedys," which airs Sunday night at 9:00.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): You know the date in November, but you don't know the whole story. Jackie Kennedy travels from the hospital to Air Force One to accompany her husband's body back to Washington.

Lyndon Johnson is waiting on the plane. Eager to be sworn in, LBJ calls Attorney General Bobby Kennedy for the precise wording of the oath of office.

President Johnson wants Jackie to stand next to him for his inauguration. She insists on wearing her blood-stained clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): American dynasty, "The Kennedys," new episode, Sunday at 9:00 on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[23:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Child hunger and lack of education are massive global problems but the 2010 CNN hero, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, a former salmon farmer has a simple solution, serving one free meal a day in schools. His organization, "Mary's Meals" started small back in 2002. But its work has grown tremendously. And last year, just last year, celebrated a mind-blowing milestone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGNUS MACFARLANE-BARROW, CNN HERO: We started serving 200 children. It's beyond our wildest dreams that it would go like this. Incredibly, recently we served the one billionth meal since we began. It's a very humbling experience. But for us it's very much for the next child that's waiting. Really more than ever we feel this work of ours has just begun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[24:00:01] LEMON: To see what some other children Magnus has helped have gone on to achieve, watch our full update on him. Or to nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero, go to CNNHeroes.com.