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White House: "We Are Not in a Trade War"; Trump Attacks DOJ in Tweet; Trump Says He Didn't Know about Payment to Stormy Daniels. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 7, 2018 - 17:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It happened in Germany at the northwestern city of Muenster near the Dutch border. A man behind the wheel of a van, a delivery van, plowed into a crowd of people. Besides the two people who died, two of the injured are in critical condition now.

Witnesses say that van smashed into the open-air section of a very busy restaurant. The driver of that vehicle is also dead. Police say he committed suicide with a gun right after the crash.

I want to talk to Julian Reichelt, the editor-in-chief of the German newspaper, "BILD." And Julian, eyewitnesses now say they saw other people running away from the scene of this attack. Do police have any reason to believe there are other people involved?

JULIAN REICHELT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BILD NEWSPAPER: Well, they were taking these observations very seriously earlier today, and we're looking for two other people they thought may be possibly connected to this horrific attack from what we hear from our sources within the authorities right now.

They haven't really called it off, but they also have credible witnesses now who say that man was alone in the van. So, they are still looking into all possibilities, but from what we understand, they do not believe there were more people involved in this attack.

CABRERA: We're also hearing about what's being called a suspicious object in the van used in this attack. How are officials treating that?

REICHELT: Well, that was a standard procedure, only minutes after that incident happened and the van plowed into that street cafe. Obviously, the police responded to that, and then looked into the van and saw a bag. And obviously, in these kind of situations, it's very possible there may be a secondary attack, possibly through explosives.

That's why police and investigators approached that van very carefully, making sure that bag was not filled with explosives, but from what we have learned from investigators now, it wasn't. So, then they proceeded to the home of the perpetrator of this attack.

Checked that for anything like explosives, perhaps, and obviously clues about his motive. So far, from what we know, haven't really found something. Another newspaper, regional newspaper from that area reports that the person who committed this attack a few days ago sent an e-mail to all his close friends basically saying goodbye to them.

Some of them interpreted that as a possible suicide note. But when it comes to the motives, why he carried out the attack in this special way, there's still no clue, and the police are still looking into that.

CABRERA: All right, Julian Reichelt, thank you for that reporting. Also important to note that officials in Germany are saying they do not have any connections they have been able to make to radical Islamic terrorism, but the investigation is ongoing.

Now to the other top story, CNN has exclusive reporting that President Trump's attorneys have started to prepare him for a potential interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This news is now the clearest sign we have seen.

The president's legal team is open to letting him be questioned. Some of his informal advisers aren't so onboard, however. Listen to what Roger Stone said.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In your opinion, should the president ever sit down with the special counsel?

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I have written and said on infowars repeatedly that I thought it was a perjury trap.


CABRERA: I want to take you to the White House, where CNN's Abby Phillip is standing by. Abby, what more can you tell us about this prep work?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Ana. Sources are telling CNN that the president's lawyers are starting to prepare him for the possibility of what a sit down with Robert Mueller might look like. Essentially, this is the beginning stages of a process.

The prep has been relatively brief and short in nature, but essentially, they have been trying to tell the president what Mueller might ask about. Giving him a list of topics that might come up in a potential interview.

But that being said, there has been no decision made about whether or not the president will sit down with Mueller at all. And over the last several weeks, the president himself has gone back and forth about whether he would be interested or willing to sit down with Mueller. Listen to some of what he's been saying over the last several weeks about this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, would you still like to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sir?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. I would like to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of --

PRESIDENT TRUMP: One hundred percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to talk to Mueller?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I'm looking forward to it actually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To reach a higher standard, you would do it under oath, correct?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would do it under oath.


CABRERA: And in private, the president has also been going back and forth on this. He's been frustrated at sometimes at the Mueller probe is still ongoing. And also hearing from friends and outside advisers that this whole thing, as you just heard from Roger Stone, is a trap, a perjury trap, that Mueller is trying to lure him in with the prospect of an interview that the president believes that he can ace and then might be trapped into lying under oath.

[17:05:10] There have been a lot of other decisions unmade in the situation, including whether or not this will be an interview under oath if the president were to sit down. These conversations between the lawyers on the president's side and the lawyers from the Mueller team are ongoing.

They're still going back and forth, but clearly, the first sign that if this interview is going to happen, they're starting to talk to the president about it, starting to prepare him psychologically for what it might entail -- Ana.

CABRERA: Before I let you go, I want to ask you also about the National Guard troops that have been ordered to the border. What is the president saying about this today?

PHILLIP: Well, this is something the president has been pushing for publicly and privately for several days now, over the last week, and just this morning in a tweet, he talked about it in terms of securing the border, sealing up the border.

He said, "We are sealing up our Southern border. The people of our great country want safety and security. The Dems have been a disaster on this very important issue." Now, the president has wanted the military to go down to the border.

What we have now are National Guard troops deployed by the states, Texas is sending 250 troops to the border. They already have about 100 troops there stationed from a 2014 mission and Arizona also sending 150 troops. While James Mattis the Department of defense secretary has authorized up to 4,000 troops, we are far from that number. These beginning stages are relatively small considering what the president appears to want here -- Ana.

CABRERA: Abby Phillip at the White House, thanks.

Let's talk more about the National Guard teams hitting the ground in Texas. Their task, decide what part of the Southern border to send troops to. The president says his sudden and sweeping border bill-up is to stop criminals from crossing into the U.S., but anecdotal evidence on the ground indicates most migrants rushing to the border are families in search of an escape from violence.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm asking her why she's here. She's saying that there's a lot of violence where she's coming from. I'm asking if they're dangerous. She says a child of this age cannot be dangerous. She says they have been going from town to town, just to arrive here. I'm asking her where she's going. She's going to the United States. I'm asking about the rapes that President Trump has talked about on this journey. She's saying that the women have not been assaulted.


CABRERA: CNN's Kaylee Hartung is in Texas, feet away from the Reynosa border crossing. Kaylee, what more do we know about the numbers of these National Guard troops? Who and where? Break it down for us.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, officials say here in Texas, the goal is to get at least 250 national guard troops in place by the weekend's end. They will be divided and organized into five sectors along the border. That's El Paso, Del Rio, Laredo, big bend, and the Rio Grande valley, where I am now.

These are planning troops. So, meetings are under way as the troops get in place with Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol agents, to discuss and assess the resources needed in each of these respective sectors.

And meanwhile, generals are meeting in Austin, in the Texas state capitol, to coordinate logistics and any troop movements. Now, as Abby mentioned, these 250 troops on the move this weekend, that's in addition to 100 Texas guard troops already in place by order of Texas' governor.

And beyond this state, 150 National Guard troops are expected to be deployed to Arizona over the course of the following week. That takes us to 500 troops we know of before plans have been announced by California and New Mexico as to what they will do at their borders.

CABRERA: OK, so now we have a sense of where they're going, but what will they be doing specifically because we know there are some limitations. HARTUNG: There are some limitations and those limitations help us get a better picture of what to expect, because right now, we are low on specifics. I just spoke with a representative from the Texas National Guard, who said as a result of these planning meetings happening today, we can expect more information tomorrow.

But going into those limitations, if you go back to laws put in place following the civil war, federal troops are prevented from being involved in any law enforcement capacity. So, these National Guard troops will not be coming into physical contact with immigrants. They won't be processing anyone at the border.

[17:10:07] Their responsibility will be in more supporting roles and tasks. Think about training, construction, surveillance, or intelligence gathering. That surveillance along the border could be done by helicopter or by cameras.

Other technology taking a look at the border, but these troops will be taking care of responsibilities that will allow custom and border patrol agents to be more visible, to be more flexible, and to make any immigration arrests than they made need to make.

And Ana, important to mention, these National Guard troops will be armed only in limited circumstances where they believe self-defense could be necessary. But right now, Ana, the focus remains on planning and determining what resources each of these sectors along the border actually need.

CABRERA: Kaylee Hartung for us in Hidalgo, Texas, thank you.

Coming up, we're learning new details about how the U.S. and North Korea holding direct talks in preparation for a historic summit. What's involved.

And the Dow sees its worst start to April since the great depression. As fears of a trade war between the world's two largest economies escalate. How farmers in America's heartland could be impacted the most, next.



CABRERA: Now to a story first reported by CNN. The U.S. and North Korea have been holding secret high-stakes talks preparing for a summit between President Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

CNN's global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, is joining us now. You broke this reporting, Elise, there are no formal diplomatic policies in place right now between the U.S. and North Korea, and of course, we all know Rex Tillerson is gone. His replacement, Mike Pompeo hasn't been confirmed as secretary of state. So, who is exactly spearheading these preparations?

ELISE LABOTT, GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, there's been this intelligence channel between the U.S. that would (inaudible) and the North Korean intelligence, it's called the General Reconnaissance Bureau that's been in place for several years.

They are the ones who have been kind of prepping these talks. Officials from the CIA and the North Korean intelligence apparatus have been speaking on the phone several times. They even met in a third country, and that's been paving the way for a meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and his counterpart to prepare for these talks.

And you know, obviously, if Mike Pompeo is confirmed as the next secretary of state, he would be also assuming the diplomatic oversight of these meeting along with the incoming national security adviser, John Bolton, who started work today.

But as you know, we haven't heard much from the North Koreans publicly about their invitation for Kim Jong-un to meet with President Trump. So, that fact that they are taking part in these preparatory talks, I think is an indication to U.S. officials that they are serious.

CABRERA: Are we any closer to knowing when this meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un may happen?

LABOTT: Well, you know, the White House has said that, you know, the invitation was for some time in May. I think that, you know, it might kind of slip until late May, early June. But again, the fact that the North Koreans are in the talks kind of signal that these talks will be going ahead.

And you know, we don't know where they are going to be taking place. The North Koreans have proposed Pyongyang, but not really clear the White House would go for that. The capital of Mongolia has also been raised, but you know, Kim Jong-un really hasn't been out of North Korea since he was -- became leader in 2011.

He did go to China a few weeks ago to brief him on these upcoming talks with President Trump, but not sure he'd be willing to come to the United States -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Elise Labott, thank you for that reporting. We know you are staying on that top of it, continuing to talk with your sources.

Still ahead here in the NEWSROOM, the president tweeting about trades today, calling on China to, quote, "end unfair trade," amid fears of a trade war between the world's two largest economies. We're going to talk to Iowa farmers who could be most impacted by a trade war next.



CABRERA: Investors are anxiously seeing what happens when markets open on Monday. The Dow Friday plummeted nearly 600 points, as fears of a trade war with China surged. Now, the start to April is so far the worst for stocks since the great depression, and if President Trump's trade war actually happens, the front line will be America's Midwest. Martin Savidge reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This could be America's next war zone, Iowa. If a trade war between the U.S. and China breaks out, then America's heartland is on the front lines. And Ron Heck's farm will be one of the many battlefields.

(on camera): How worried are you?

RON HECK, SOYBEAN FARMER: It's a matter of concern when your largest soybean export customer is having negotiations with your government.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): And President Trump's take no prisoner negotiating style is worrying the rural constituency that helped put him in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have some concerns with the president.

SAVIDGE: China is threatening to put a 25 percent tariff on all U.S. soybeans. The result for Iowa's soybean farmers has been a week of stomach churning value swings for a chop that hasn't even been planted yet.

HECK: Well, I grow more than 100,000 bushels a year, so a 50-cent reaction is $50,000. So that's a big deal.

SAVIDGE: America is the number one producer of soybeans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the United States, one of every three rows that you see driving down the road of a soybean field will end up in China.

SAVIDGE: Grant Kimberly is a sixth-generation farmer in his family, like many, he's hoping the tariff threats don't become a reality.

GRANT KIMBERLY, SOYBEAN FARMER: We want to encourage both governments to continue the dialogue.

SAVIDGE (on camera): You would like cooler heads to prevail.

KIMBERLY: Make sure that cooler heads prevail in this whole situation.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): But for pork producer, Dave Struthers, just the threat of tariffs on pork have had a significant impact on the price he gets today for his pigs.

DAVE STRUTHERS, HOG FARMER: A market hog right now is only worth about $100. It takes me about $120 to produce it.

SAVIDGE: He says he's losing about $2,000 a week, and he's already thinking of going to the banks for loans. But crop prices aren't the only thing a trade war might jeopardize. There's also a very real political price that Republicans could pay at the midterms and beyond. You see, the biggest pork and soybean states are overwhelmingly red states controlled by Republicans.

(on camera): You don't think the Chinese just sort of capriciously pick soybeans. You know they had --

KIMBERLY: No, the Chinese are very politically astute.

[17:25:07] SAVIDGE (voice-over): Kimberly has first-hand insight, his family is personal friends with Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, who even visited Kimberly's farm six years ago.

(on camera): The man who is now the president?

KIMBERLY: Exactly.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): As American farmers calculate the cost of a potential trade war, some already have become victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the problem. You know, there's innocent victims here.

SAVIDGE: Which means GOP leaders should be concerned with the potential cost in rural American votes.

(on camera): Did you vote for this president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did vote for this president.

SAVIDGE: Do you in any way feel regretful?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I want to see this play out. Am I going to vote for him again? It depends on who's running against him.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Iowa.


CABRERA: Here's another perspective of just how much these tariffs could hurt the GOP in November. These are the top soybean producing states in the country, all but two of them voted for Trump.

Let's bring in our panel, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings, "Washington Post" opinion columnist, Catherine Rampell, and senior columnist for "The Daily Beast," Matt Lewis.

So, Scott, I want to start with you because you have advised a president before. When you see the map, you listen to the people Martin talked to, what would you tell the president if you had his ear right now?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What a lot of Republicans from middle America are telling him, which is this is dangerous territory for you. I think a lot of Republicans say we hear the word tariff, but it's a tax. It's taxes. When taxes are going up, human productivity is going down.

There's a lot of people voted for this president and voted for a Republican-controlled Congress that are going to be hurt in this trade war. There's also a lot of average people out there looking at their 401(k)s and 529 college savings account going, wait a minute. The market was -- everything was going fine until this --

CABRERA: Again, this is the worst April since the great depression.

JENNINGS: Yes, that's right.

CABRERA: Because of volatility.

JENNINGS: So, this kind of volatility, this sort of trade war that's aimed directly at what is the president's core base of support, it is politically dangerous. And you know, we don't want this to progress any further. It's going to heard Republican chances in November. I think most Republicans believe high tariffs are bad for the economy, country.

CABRERA: Catherine, one of those farmers our Martin Savidge talked to personally knows President Xi, and he thinks Xi targeted soybean farmers specifically to put more pressure on President Trump. Who has the upper hand right now, Xi or Trump?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, both countries stand to lose a lot if in fact this what appears to be shaping up as a trade war escalates. Iowa is certainly in the cross hairs not only because of soybeans but actually half of Iowa's top 20 biggest exports are now hit by the China tariffs, the tariffs that China has imposed on U.S. goods.

Not to mention that there are a lot of Iowan companies that are going to be hurt by the fact that we have imposed tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, which they use for creating tractors and lots of other products.

So, look, both countries stand to get hurt by this, but only one of the countries has a midterm come November. So, China can kind of wait this out for a little while longer than the United States can. Particularly since they can target the industries that are most politically sensitive.

CABRERA: So, Matt, first, it was $50 billion in products. China says we're going to do $50 billion back to you. Now the president is threatening another $100 billion. President Trump says we're not in a trade war with China. Two of his economic advisers insist the same. Listen.


LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: We're not running a trade war. If you read this thing, this is just a proposed idea, which will be vetted by USTR and open for public comments. Nothing has happened. Nothing has been executed. I read about how -- there's no there, there yet, but there will be.

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: While we're in the period before the tariffs go on, we'll continue to have discussions, but there is the potential of a trade war. Let me be clear. It's not a trade war form the president wants reciprocal trade.


CABRERA: So, Matt, if this is not a trade war we're in or inching towards, what is it?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's funny. I heard Mnuchin, he said it's a trade war, but it's not a trade war. Look, it is a trade war. That's where we're headed, and words have consequences. Not just actions, but when a president says things, it can royal markets. It can start wars, it can start trade wars.

Such an interesting situation where first of all, our man in Beijing is Terry Branstand (ph), governor of Iowa for 30 years. He knows what's going on out there. That map you put up, you have at least two of the states that are highly competitive, Missouri and North Dakota, where soybeans are super important.

And look, you know, this is a political story, an international trade story, and I think the big thing that's being lost here is the problem with China isn't, you know, that we have a trade deficit with them. The problem with China is intellectual property theft and cyberwarfare. That's what we should be focused on. This president should have a multilateral plan, which, first of all, TPP would have been part of that, where we could be part of a global community taking on China's manipulation. I think what President Trump has done is set us up in this position where not only is it bad for our farmers, but I just don't see how this end well for us.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: I want to turn to a new tweet the president just sent. Let me read it to you. It seems to be attacking the DOJ. It says: "What does the Department of Justice and FBI have to hide? Why aren't they giving the strongly requested documents unredacted to the House Judiciary Committee? Stalling, but for what reason? Not looking good."

He appears to be talking about this request the House Judiciary Committee made for documents on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and other investigations, from the FISA warrant for Carter Page, firing of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and so all of these pull into one -- up to a million documents, Catherine. But the bottom line here, can't the president get these documents himself and declassify them if he wanted to?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It certainly seems like he would have that power, being leader of the free world, being the president of the United States. But we have to remember what this is all about. This is about discrediting our independent law enforcement agency. This is about discrediting any source of accountability that could hold this president -- you know, this president's feet to the fire. And to the extent that he sees the FBI, that he sees the intelligence community as not being on his side or in a position to reveal information that he doesn't like, he's just going to attack them, whether or not his attacks actually make any sense.

CABRERA: Matt, the president says, what does the DOJ and FBI have to hide. The DOJ and FBI are led by people he appointed. LEWIS: Yes, including Jeff Sessions. And that's why I think this is

so interesting. There was a story at CNN that said that, as recently as, like, a week ago, Donald Trump was considering replacing Jeff Sessions with Scott Pruitt. Trump comes out --


CABRERA: As early as this week.

LEWIS: Right. Trump comes out and sort of dismisses that report and says, you know, fake news. And then now we have this story, where Donald Trump is publicly attacking the Department of Justice, and implicitly Jeff Sessions.

CABRERA: Scott, is that how you see it, he's going after Sessions in this?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he's going down this path of continuing to forget that all these people work for him, and that if he wanted too, he could pick up the phone and rattle cages over there. Some of this has to do with McCabe, and there's still information about McCabe that maybe we don't know what happened and reason he was dismissed. So I do think most people want this information to be made public. They do want transparency. The president wants it to happen faster than it's happening. And I think, ultimately, we will get transparency. If it were me, and I were president of the United States, and I were mad about document production, I would pick up the phone and start dialing numbers until somebody gave me the answer I wanted to hear. Which is what he tweeted, but maybe that's what he's going to do this weekend, and we'll see if the DOJ and FBI jump on Monday.

CABRERA: We know the FBI, according to this spokesperson, has doubled its staff to review these documents in order to try to turn them over. They have another 1,000 they're planning to roll out on Monday to respond to this subpoena issued by Representative Goodlatte.

What do you think is the end game, Scott? What is the president really after?

JENNINGS: What the president is after is what the House Republicans are after in their investigatory capacity. They want to find out if anybody in the DOJ, anybody in the FBI was misusing their official capacities to hurt Donald Trump during the campaign, after the campaign. They want to find out if their theory about some internal nefarious network of people at the FBI and DOJ hurting Donald Trump is true. That's what they want to know.

At the same time, the Mueller investigation is continuing. So there's a real political issue going on here about, you have Mueller going down the track of investigating Trump, you have this belief by some in the Trump orbit that the FBI and DOJ are aligned against him. They're looking to see if there are documents in there that would collaborate their theory. That's what this whole thing is about.

[17:34:31] CABRERA: We have to leave it there. Scott, Catherine, Matt, thank you all.

Coming up, a judge gives President Trump's lawyer more time to respond to a lawsuit by Stormy Daniels, but did the porn star get an upper hand now that the president broke his silence on her?


CABRERA: President Trump finally breaking his silence on the Stormy Daniels saga and the payment his lawyer made to the porn star just before the election. The president telling reporters he did not know his attorney, Michael, Cohen gave the porn star $130,000 before the 2016 election to keep her from talking about an alleged affair. In the ongoing legal battle, however, Trump's attorneys scored a win just yesterday. A federal judge granting their request for more time to respond to Daniels' lawsuit.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more -- Sara?

[17:39:53] SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, this is certainly a win for Donald Trump and his attorneys in the case involving Stormy Daniels. Though it is an incremental win.


SIDNER (voice-over): Porn actress, Stormy Daniels, is performing in the Midwest this weekend, touted as 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 REPORTER: Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Then why, why did Michael Cohen make this, 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 REPORTER: Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?

TRUMP: I don't know, 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 he knew nothing about the payoff, steering reporters to his attorney instead, bolstered Stormy Daniels' case.

MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY TO STORMY DANIELS: 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 him 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.


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 whom said they had affairs with Trump.

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

SIDNER (on camera): 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 thereby waived it. It was his assertion each of them had. And he was encouraging me and informal me as to his opinion. And he suggested 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 and spill your guts?

DAVIDSON: Right, yes.

SIDER: Why do you think that is?

DAVIDSON: Well, you would 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's 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."


SIDNER: Chuck Labella has called the tweets by Tom Arnold "outright lies and slanderous."

Michael Cohen has not commented for the story.

And we do remind you that the White House and Michael Cohen have repeatedly said that Donald Trump did not have affairs with those two women -- Ana?

CABRERA: Thank you, Sara Sidner.

Let's discuss this latest development in President Trump's ongoing legal battle with porn star, Stormy Daniels.

Joining us, Larry Noble, general counsel for a watchdog group called The Campaign Legal Center, and a former lawyer for the Federal Election Commission.

Larry, good to see you on this Saturday.


CABRERA: So, after months of silence, the president says he didn't know his lawyer paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels for her to stay quiet. What's your reaction?

LARRY NOBLE, GENERAL COUNSEL, THE CAMPAIGN LEGAL CENTER & FORMER COUNSEL, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: I think it's rather bizarre that he would pick this time to make that statement. You wonder why he did it, whether he blurted it out, getting frustrated. What he's now done is he's separated himself from his lawyer. And it now looks like his lawyer may have entered an agreement without his client's permission, which is a problem. And an interesting thing, the way he phrased it was he said, "You have to talk to Michael Cohen, he's my lawyer." He's still saying Michael Cohen represented him in this, but he didn't know anything about it. It seems to undermine the agreement. And also, if there is a campaign financial law violation, it puts it on Michael Cohen that the money came from Michael Cohen.

[17:45:14] CABRERA: So why is it a problem if Michael Cohen acted without his client's knowledge?

NOBLE: Well, under the ethics rules, generally, a lawyer cannot act without their client's knowledge. He has to tell the client what he's doing and get the client's permission for it. You would think in something like this that you would tell your clients, I'm going to pay somebody to enter a nondisclosure agreement, and I'm also going to have your name on the nondisclosure agreement or at least the pseudonym you're using for the nondisclosure agreement. To do it without your client's permission seems to present ethical issues. That's a serious matter for a client and for a lawyer.

You also have to wonder, Trump has made a big deal in his life about how he's in control of things. He's run a family business and that he knows everything that's going on, and people are very loyal to him. Is it really believable that Cohen would do this without any knowledge of Trump? And I think it raises a lot of questions.

CABRERA: And given your area of expertise in the Federal Election Commission side of things, how do you see Trump's response impacting that part of this case, this complaint that it was an undisclosed campaign contribution?

NOBLE: Well, one of the questions has been, where did the money come from? From the beginning, they said it did not come from the Trump Organization and did not come from the campaign. So we're wondering whether or not, in fact, it came from Mr. Trump himself, and he could make an unlimited contribution to his campaign. It would have to be reported. If it came from Michael Cohen or another third party and was associated with the campaign, then it was an illegal campaign contribution by Michael Cohen or whoever made that contribution. And so it puts Michael Cohen in more jeopardy here because it does look like not only was it a potential loan from Michael Cohen and he got repaid, it looks like the money actually did come from Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen now, I assume, is going to be silent about this, but it does tend to bolster the campaign finance law violation.

CABRERA: Here's how Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, reacted to Trump's "I did not know" comment.


MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY TO STORMY DANIELS: 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 him 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.


CABRERA: So, first, what would be your next move, if you were Michael Avenatti?

NOBLE: I think what he's doing, I think he's trying to depose the president. He had a bit of a setback in terms of timing of this, but I think he's going to argue very strongly that the agreement is not valid because Trump did not sign it. And part of the agreement does refer to obligations by Mr. Trump. If he did not sign the agreement, how could he be obligated? He's going to keep pushing this.

And it's really going to be interesting to see what Trump does next. Does he now decide that he made a mistake when he spoke out and keep quiet or does he keep talking about it. As far as I know, he hasn't tweeted about it. So I suspect he's still trying to stay quiet. I think Avenatti is going to keep trying to get Trump to make more statements. And his ultimate goal, I think, is to try to get Trump under oath to testify about this.

CABRERA: We know they filed additional documents, refiled to be able to depose Trump and Michael Cohen.

Larry Noble, thank you for your expertise and helping us understand what's next.

NOBLE: My pleasure. Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, 15 people are dead in Canada after a bus carrying a junior league hockey team crashes. We'll have the details for you next.


[17:53:14] CABRERA: Fifteen people were killed in Saskatchewan, Canada, after a bus carrying a junior hockey team collided with a tractor-trailer last night. Coaches and players of Humboldt were on their way to a league playoff game. Fourteen others were injured. Three are in critical condition. This photo shows of three of the injured holding hands in the hospital has gone viral. People on social media send their condolences.

President Trump also tweeting: "Just spoke to Justin Trudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt team tragedy. May God be with all of them."

An update on another crash, a deadly crash. Military officials have confirmed that two soldiers were killed overnight in a helicopter crash in Kentucky. The helicopter crew was conducting a routine training operation from Ft. Campbell Army Base when this helicopter went down. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The names of the two soldiers killed have not been released.

[17:54:08] We're back in a moment.


CABRERA: Child hunger is a massive global problem, but our 2010 "CNN Hero," Magnus MacFarlane-Barrows, had a simple solution, serving one free meal a day in schools. His organization, Mary's Meals, started small back in 2002, but it's work has grown tremendously and, late last year, celebrated a mind-blowing milestone.


MAGNUS MACFARLANE-BARROWS, CNN HERO: We started serving 200 children.


MACFARLANE-BARROW: And it's beyond our wildest dreams that we would grow 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 the next child that's waiting. Really, more than ever, we feel this work of ours has just begun.


[17:59:55] CABRERA: To learn more about this story or to nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," log on to CNN

I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. I'll be back with you at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Van Jones is at 7:00.

"SMERCONISH" starts right now.