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White House Imposes Additional Sanctions on Russian Oligarchs, Companies; Trump Says He Didn't Know about Payment to Stormy Daniels. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired June 4, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN: And I think many people believe necessitate even tougher sanctions at this point and some kind of rhetorical muscle and heart from the president himself.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And, Amie, you know, on these sanctions on these oligarchs, Olig Deripaska (ph) is one of the Russian billionaires facing these sanctions. And he's also been connected to the former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is charged with money laundering in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. So are these -- will these sanctions in any way assist in the Mueller case?
AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's hard to say. But I think the one thing, as I said earlier, is this continues to be a story and this continues to build. And the president has been really deeply frustrated that, you know, there are these ties, that he keeps saying, you know, there was no collusion, but the fact of the matter is, every single day, there's something else that happens so there's another tie. So I think that this does -- this doesn't bode well for him when he's trying to do other things in the White House and the midterm elections are coming and Republicans are kind of frustrated that this is still kind of looming over his White House. So, yes, I think all of that kind of contributes to this larger picture.
WHITFIELD: Amie Parnes, Julian, Jeremy Herb, we'll stop it right there. Thank you so much.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We're also following this breaking news story out of Germany. Three dead, 20 injured, after a delivery van plowed through a crowd. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. Stay with us.
[13:36:07] WHITFIELD: We're continuing to follow breaking news out of Germany after a delivery van plowed through a crowd of people in Muenster. Police say three people are dead, 20 others are injured, and some of them have life-threatening injuries. The driver of the delivery van has died. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. And a police spokesman tells CNN that the motive and the identity of the driver still unknown.
Julian Reichelt joins me, the editor-in-chief of the German newspaper, "Bild."
Good to see you again, Julian.
Have you learned anything more about what investigators are learning about this driver, why this person did this?
JULIAN REICHELT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BILD: Well, the information that we have say that the identity of the driver's not exactly unknown. They have a pretty clear idea what the person is or was. It's a 48-year- old or 49-year-old German citizen, from what our reporters on the scene tell me. There are SWAT teams in front of this Muenster home, right now about or in the middle of raiding his home to look for any news about what his motives may have been. There are also bomb squads deployed that are checking the van and the home for possible explosives. And we've learned from authorities that the police are looking for two more people who may have been involved in this. They're not sure. This is based on eyewitness accounts. They have found a car that was abandoned somewhere at the highway. And so they are internally, not publicly, internally looking for two more people, but it's not clear yet how or if they were linked to this horrible attack.
# So earlier, when you were reporting and talking to us, you were talking about eyewitnesses who may have seen a person jump out of a vehicle. Have police say anything more about that and whether that's at all related to the two other people that you are now reporting that they're looking for?
REICHELT: Well, officially, the police are still very silent about this. Again, they're not publicly looking for these two more people. It's something we got from internal sources. Officially, there's no public search, no public hunt going on. But we do know that the earlier eyewitness accounts we learned about and what is happening right now kind of go together because there is a search warrant out for two people. And, again, there was a car found near a highway with a smashed window so, you know, it's still very murky situation, but this seems to be not over yet.
WHITFIELD: All right, Julian Reichelt, thank you for joining us, from "Bild" newspaper.
REICHELT: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: 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. [13:39:33] ANNOUNCER: "American Dynasties, The Kennedys," new
episode, tomorrow at 9:00, on CNN.
WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. The president finally broke his silence on Stormy Daniels this week. He told reporters he didn't know his lawyer, Michael Cohen, gave the adult film star $130,000 before the election to keep her from talking about the alleged affair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no.
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: The president's attorneys are asking for more time to respond to Stormy Daniel's lawsuit. Her attorneys argue the hush agreement is void because Trump did not sign it.
Let's discuss this with my legal experts, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor joining us from Cleveland.
Good to see you.
AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hi, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And Richard Herman, a New York criminal defense attorney and law professional joining us from Las Vegas.
Good to see you as well.
RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Hey, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Avery, to you first.
The president claims he knew nothing about the payoff to Stormy Daniels. By commenting on this scandal, even by saying, no, he doesn't know, does he open up any new legal issues for him? [13:45:15] FRIEDMAN: He opened up a legal Pandora's Box, Fredricka.
I mean, I can't imagine how many times his lawyers probably told him this is something we're not going to talk about because, if you make a comment, you're falling into the trap of having to have your deposition taken. And that's exactly what is going to happen now. Because when he says, well, why don't you just ask my lawyer about it, talk to Michael Cohen about it, I mean, not only is Cohen under the bus, he's being dragged along the interstate. So from the standpoint of the marital relationship, and the standpoint of the pending litigation, the standpoint of his stature as president and his role in the world community, that one word, no, I didn't know nothing about it, has opened up an enormous number of avenues in terms of legal actions.
WHITFIELD: Well, Richard, listen to how Stormy Daniel's attorney says the president's comments did, indeed, help their case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, so there now is more imagery of Michael Cohen on the highway and all that, Avery.
Richard, is he making a good point? Does this only kind of make it worse and for Trump but then simply make it better for Stormy Daniels' team?
HERMAN: The president is so unprepared and so unprofessional, when they hit him with that question, he was caught off guard. He didn't mean to answer that question. But he couldn't help himself.
FRIEDMAN: That's right.
HERMAN: So he flexed, he said, no, speak to my attorney. He didn't want to answer that. They told him, never answer this question. Like don't think of the color red. He just can't help himself. So he did it.
WHITFIELD: So it should have been a "no comment," but perhaps the president is thinking by saying I didn't know --
HERMAN: No, he said he didn't know.
WHITFIELD: -- is not giving any information. But you say just the opposite, he just did.
HERMAN: Right. He said he didn't know about the payment to her, which means Avenatti's right, if he didn't know about the payment, he didn't know about the agreement, he didn't know about the provisions in the agreement, the representations in the agreement, the purpose of the agreement. If he didn't know about any of that stuff, then there is no agreement, there is no arbitration clause, there is no agreement, it's null and void. And Avenatti has the ammunition now to make that motion to have this agreement null and void, and he should do it. He shouldn't play around. He shouldn't play cute. That's the relief they sought, to have this agreement knocked out. He has it now in spades. And as far as Trump's attorney go, there's reality and then there's insanity. The reality is 10 days before the election the "Access Hollywood" tape comes out, they want to protect Trump from any more news like this, so they move to shut her up. They all get together, and they do that. That's the reality of it.
HERMAN: The insanity is the attorney, without discussing it with Trump, mortgaged his house for $130,000 to shut her up. The point is --
AVERY: Fred, that's true --
WHITFIELD: Avery, what's insignificant is the whole, you know, alleged relationship, what's significant potentially is, just as Richard's saying, days before the election, that this leads to the possible campaign contributions, this "gift," you know, quote/unquote, from Michael Cohen. But how does this help substantiate that potentially?
FRIEDMAN: Not only that, but you've got the Federal Elections Commission, you've got the Justice Department. What's the explanation? Mr. Cohen worked for the Trump Organization. If you're going to do something on your own, you have to get permission from your boss. There are ethics rules that one has to comply with. So he goes out and does it, what's the explanation? He's like a 5-year-old with his hand in the cookie jar. He came up with an illogical explanation and it's going to trigger an investigation. There are both civil and criminal implications of that, Fredricka. So that's another aspect of it that is very, very troubling.
WHITFIELD: So Michael Avenatti, the attorney, you know, said that they're going to refile a petition to depose Trump.
WHITFIELD: Richard, like what happened?
HERMAN: Yes. Under the National Arbitration Act, he's going to get that ability to do that, and the judge will order it this time around. Michael Cohen, if he doesn't already have a relationship with the grievance committee, disciplinary committee in the state of New York, he's going to now, because you can't do these things on behalf of a client without advising them about it.
[13:50:05] HERMAN: So he's got problems with that, Fred.
And, you know, it's just preposterous, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. That's what's going on here. It's beyond juvenile, the way they handled this. And now, it's going to --
-- erupt and problems for the president and Michael Cohen.
FRIEDMAN: It's very, very serious.
WHITFIELD: Avery, yes, it's very serious.
FRIEDMAN: I mean, the bottom line is Michael is going to have a number of proceeding, a number of them. And of course, Mr. Trump will, too. So we're just to the beginning of something that's going to continue to unwind. And every time Mr. Trump opens up his mouth on this, we learn something new on this and it is more complicated.
And I agree with the "Wall Street Journal" that people are not taking this seriously. This could be the beginning of the end, as "The Journal" said, that would not be surprising here.
WHITFIELD: All right. We will leave it there.
HERMAN: And one more thing, Fred, conjecture, because I don't know this for a fact. But Trump seemed concerned about the timing of when this Stormy Daniels erupted. And by the way, it was five years ago.
HERMAN: It was like 10 days before the election. They did nothing in five years to shut it up.
HERMAN: But --
WHITFIELD: OK. HERMAN: And may be a prenuptial agreement and there may be provisions in there that are going to have an adverse effect on Trump --
HERMAN: -- if he is fooling around.
HERMAN: And it's conjecture. I don't know this. But it could be. And we will see how it unfolds.
WHITFIELD: All right, Richard Herman, Avery Friedman, thanks so much.
We never have enough time for you. But so appreciate the time that we've got.
Good to see you. Thank you.
We will be right back.
[13:56:16] WHITFIELD: All right. High school fads come and go, but there is a new trend that has parents and educators rather worried. High school kids using e-cigarettes, or vaping, at school and sometimes inside of the classroom.
Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has the story.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Milford, Connecticut, high school principal, Francis Thompson, is desperately trying to snuff out a problem that teachers are having throughout the country.
FRANCIS THOMPSON, HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: They will come in here and have four or five kids at time congregating and start to vap.
GUPTA: It is a trend that many parents are not aware of, but the e- cigarette use, or vaping, has grown 900 percent in high school students in recent years, according to the surgeon general. In a 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that nearly 1.7 million high school students and 500,000 middle school students have used e- cigarettes in just a 30-day period before the survey was taken.
In Massachusetts, assistant vice principal, Spencer Christie, says he, too, is overwhelmed by this new and pervasive epidemic.
SPENCER CHRISTIE, HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: It was hidden, now it has moved to students vaping in the hallways, classrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: In the back two desks in the corner, they have had their hands kind of like this, and there was a blue light coming between their hands. UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: The most popular item is the juul (ph). And
you can see it looks like a flashlight, but it is not. The kids can tuck it away when they are done. And so.
GUPTA: It is not just the design of the products. Critics say that all of the flavors also entice the kids to start vaping. One study out of Harvard found that some of these artificial flavors contain a chemical that is linked to severe respiratory disease.
UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: The kids that I talked to believe there is nothing in there that is dangerous. They don't think there's anything more than water.
GUPTA: It is not water. It's called e-liquid, and when heated by the coil it changes to an aerosol. Columbia University researchers using this machine found that vapor had toxic metals, like chromium, nickel, zinc and lead. And there are no safe levels of lead.
With very little regulation, people are not fully aware of what they're consuming.
I sat down with EPA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, and asked him about this e-cigarette phenomena.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, EPA COMMISSIONER: E use is deeply concerning to me. We will be taking some enforcement actions very soon to target companies that we think are marketing the products in ways that are deliberately appealing to kids.
I'm going to be having conversations with the companies to try to inspire them if I can to take more corrective actions on their own.
GUPTA: Don't forget that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances out there.
UNIDENTIFIED TEACHER: I think it is the next epidemic among teenagers.
GUPTA (on camera): And Fred, there are high school fads that come and go, but this is one that is seems to be sticking, and there a concern. The biggest one, Fred, there is a perceived harmlessness of the e- cigarettes by the kids. We've even heard that some think it's just water vapor, but it is not. That is an important point that everybody needs to be making, to remind kids of that. Also, about a quarter of new smokers in the 8th grade are starting off by using e-cigarettes. That's obviously the wrong direction, Fred, which is why there is so much attention on this -- Fred?
[13:59:36] WHITFIELD: And trying to put that genie back in the bottle, that is going to be a big challenge.
Thank you, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
More straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right now. Hello, again, everyone. And thank you for joining me on this
Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We're following breaking news. A delivery van plowing through a crowd of people in Muenster, Germany. Police say that three people are dead, 20 others injured, and some of them have life-threatening injuries. The driver of the delivery van committed suicide by shooting himself. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. A police spokesman telling CNN --