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Trump's Attorney File Challenge; Giuliani Slams Daniels; Ex-Fox Analyst Speaks Out; Trump Commutes Johnson's Sentence. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 7, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:32:50] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This just in to CNN.

President Trump's lawyers want a judge to let them file challenges in the Michael Cohen case under seal that would keep them private.

Kara Scannell on the phone, that's how fresh this news is, to explain this to us.

Kara, tell us about this.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hey, Brianna, that's right.

So, Donald Trump's lawyers today filed -- last night filed a motion asking the judge to allow them to file their challenges to the privileged documents under seal and exparte (Ph), meaning outside of the government, but they're unable to see which documents they're challenging. They also said in their letter that the government opposed any wholesale sealing of documents, but would be OK if certain portions of the substantial information, you know, what exactly they're arguing about is under seal, was -- was redacted and not made public. But the judge has not ruled on that. But Trump's team indicated that they do intend to make this filing today if the judge allows them to do it as they -- as they have requested, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, very interesting as they want to do this so that it is not transparent at all.

Kara Scannell updating us there. We'll continue to follow that story with Kara as well.

President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, hitting back at growing criticism over scathing comments that he made about Stormy Daniels.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: When you look at Stormy Daniels, I know Donald Trump and look at his --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's respect (ph) him (ph).

GIULIANI: Look at his three wives, all right, beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels?

Explain to me how she could be damaged? She has no reputation here. If you're going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation.


KEILAR: CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash spoke to Giuliani and she joins me now.

Dana, what did he tell you?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, just on the broader question of -- of what he is talking about vis-a-vis women who, in his words, sell their body, but obviously Stormy Daniels is a porn film actress, don't have credibility. You know, I asked him about the notion that might be an antiquated point of view about the credibility of women just because -- of being bad just because of what they do for a living, even if it is something like being in porn films. And on that he said the following. He said, if you're a feminist and you support the porn industry, you should turn in your credentials. That basically being about the fact that, you know, he said that in his day feminists said that they believed that the porn industry was demeaning to women and he says he stands by that view.

[09:35:34] Then there's the broader question about Stormy Daniels' credibility. By the way, this -- he's not the president's lawyer on the Stormy Daniels' case, of course. He was come in -- he was brought in to deal with Russia. On the Stormy Daniels' issue he was asked while he was in Israel, he's still in Israel, at that forum about whether or not he thought Stormy Daniels has credibility. And that is sort of what got this whole ball rolling. On that issue he said the following to me, standing by the fact that he says she doesn't have credibility. If you're involved in the sort of slimy business that says something about you, says something about how far you'll go to make money, he went on to say, our real point about her is that she's not just generally uncredible, she's uncredible from the point of view of wanting to get money. She's a con artist.

So, absolutely no change in what he said. Didn't misspeak. And, in fact, doubled down on the points that he was making about Stormy Daniels and about the fact that he doesn't believe she has credibility because of what she does for a living.


KEILAR: He is a lawyer, I will point out, as someone who doesn't really maybe have a leg to stand on, his profession isn't always smiled upon either.

Dana Bash, thank you so much. Very interesting conversation that you had with him. We do appreciate it.

And still ahead, no love lost here. An ex-Fox News analyst unleashes on the network and prime time host Sean Hannity. We'll have a stunning interview, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:41:09] KEILAR: This is stunning. CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewing former Fox News military analyst Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters. And he really does not hold back. Peters quit his job with Fox months ago, calling it a propaganda machine, citing its cozy relationship with President Trump. And here is his first on camera interview since leaving the network.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": Colonel Peters, this so-called spygate conspiracy theory, it wasn't just the president pushing the narrative, it wasn't just his allies in Congress, it was also Fox News. They talk about a witch hunt. I know you believe the witch hunt is actually against Robert Mueller and it's being led by Fox News.

LT. COL. RALPH PETERS (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Yes, indeed I do. I mean Robert Mueller is as noble -- and I use that word carefully -- as noble a public servant as you will find. And the assaults upon his character, upon his practices, upon his investigation just betray our fundamental principles.

COOPER: In the email that you sent your colleagues at Fox News back in March when you told them you weren't renewing your contract, you said, and I quote, Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers.

How much damage do you believe they've done to this country and the institutions that uphold the law?

PETERS: I think they're doing a great deal of damage still. We won't know how bad for years to come when we see the ultimate results.

But, Anderson, for years I was glad to be associated with Fox. It was a legitimate conservative and libertarian outlet and a necessary one. But with the rise of Donald Trump, Fox did become a destructive propaganda machine. And I don't do propaganda for anyone.

And, frankly, you know, as a former military officer, you took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I saw, in my view, Fox, particularly the primetime hosts, attacking our constitutional order, the rule of law, the Justice Department, the FBI, Robert Mueller, and, oh, by the way, the intelligence agencies. And they're doing it for ratings and profit. And they're doing it knowingly, in my view, doing a grave, grave disservice to our country.

COOPER: Do you think, you know, some of the hosts who -- in primetime, do they -- do you think they believe the stuff they're saying about the deep state, the -- what they're saying about the Department of Justice, about the FBI?

PETERS: Well, I suspect Sean Hannity really believes it. The others are smarter. They know what they're doing. It's -- it's bewildering to me. I mean I want to just cry out and say, how can you do this? How can you lie to our country? How can you knowingly attack our Constitution, the bedrock of our system of government, the bedrock of our country? And when you go after the Constitution, you best beware, because you are doing phenomenal indeed immeasurable damage.

COOPER: Do you think we're heading to a constitutional crisis?

PETERS: I think we're in a constitutional crisis right now. And we'll end up either, barring unforeseen circumstances, either with impeachment or before the Supreme Court or both.

But when you have a president who believes he is above the law, who does not understand our system of government, does not respect our system of government, and willingly subverts our system of government, you've got a constitutional crisis.

I mean, Anderson, when the founding fathers on the Declaration of Independence wrote that all men are created equally, they knew that were not all born with the same good looks and the same intelligence or even the same privileges or the same strength and talents. They meant -- they we sons of the enlightenment. They meant we are all equal before the law. No man is above it. No man falls below it.

Our president seems to genuinely believe that he is above the law. And that's -- this is a situation we haven't been faced with before with this administration. Even Senator Joseph McCarthy, in his witch hunt days, never directly attacked the Constitution. This is utterly unprecedented.

[09:45:16] COOPER: You've referred to it as sort of a cult of Trump.

PETERS: Yes, I think a lot of Trump supporters are so embarrassed by how it's all turned out that they just cling to him. They won't let any facts penetrate their reality. I've been startled by relatively well-educated people -- and I've known (ph) some military veterans who still insist that Trump can do no wrong, that he's some sort of messiah. And I'm afraid I part company with their views.

COOPER: You -- I mean you actually trained in Russian studies, the Russian language. You have first-hand experience with how Russia intelligence operates. Do you believe that Vladimir Putin has some kind of grip on President Trump?

PETERS: I am convinced that Vladimir Putin has a grip on President Trump. And, Anderson, when I first learned of the Steele dossier, it just rang true to me because that's how the Russians do things. And before he became a candidate for president, Donald Trump was the perfect target for Russian intelligence. Here's someone who has no self-control, a sense of sexual entitlement and intermittent financial crises. I mean that's made to order for seduction by Russian intelligence.

And, look, I may be wrong, I hope I'm wrong. I hope Putin doesn't have a grip on him. But the dossier rings true. I think in the future, we're going to look back on the much maligned Christopher Steele, who took that dossier to the FBI, as somewhat of a hero. And, again, I hope I am wrong. But when you look at Trump's behavioral

patterns, his unwillingness ever to criticize Vladimir Putin, his slow rolling sanctions, his unwillingness to create problems with Russia, even though, as he attacks NATO, disrupts relations with the E.U., how can you not draw the conclusions that Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is frightened of Vladimir Putin and his grip?

COOPER: So, for you, the Mueller investigation is critical? It moving forward, it being allowed time to complete?

PETERS: Without exaggeration, the Mueller investigation is the most important of my lifetime. And I'm 66 years old. I lived through Watergate. This is a -- I can't -- Anderson, it's about a fundamental assault on the Constitution by the president of the United States and his paladins. It cannot get grave or short of a world war.


KEILAR: Let's discuss this now with CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.

Brian, you heard him say that Fox is doing a great deal of damage to viewers, that its turned into a propaganda machine. Is this different under a Trump presidency than before, as Peter certainly feels it is?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: He certainly does. You know, many other people who watch Fox and see how the Mueller probe is being attacked every day by hosts like Sean Hannity, they feel the way Colonel Peters does. What's extraordinary is that he's actually an insider. He was someone who was there at Fox for many years.

And he's not some liberal commentator. This is a staunch conservative analyst who worked at Fox for years. He actually got in hot water in the past for being so harshly critical of President Obama, but he was also a critic of Trump and he felt that he didn't fit in any more at Fox. He felt he had to leave. So he left in March with a blistering letter.

Now he's using even stronger language to describe Fox and saying that its hurting the country. I think that's remarkable because, you know, you have some other people inside Fox, inside the parent company, some of the folks that make TV shows for Fox, that have concerns about Fox News. But here's a guy who actually sat next to Sean Hannity, sat next to the other hosts and he is saying that Fox is doing damage.

KEILAR: And that they're disingenuous, at least some of his former colleagues are in doing it, right? He says that Fox is propagating claims of the Mueller investigation being a witch hunt, but that actually most don't believe their own attacks on the DOJ and the FBI.

STELTER: I was really struck by that as well. I reached out to Fox News for comment on this new interview. The network is sticking with what it says a couple months ago, which is that Peters is using his opinions as a weapon to go after Fox. Still, they say, they are proud of all of the hosts in primetime, like Sean Hannity. I think Peter's larger point is really important. It's something

that's happening every single day. It's a daily attack against the Mueller investigation and other attempts to get to the bottom of Russia's attack on America. Every single day the Hannity's of the world are trying to tear down that probe and prop up Trump. It's an alternative universe of information that the president benefits from and learns from and is informed by and Peters say it is dangerous for the U.S.

[09:50:08] KEILAR: Brian Stelter, thank you for that report.

Now that Alice Johnson is out of prison, what are her plans? We hear from the woman whose sentence the president commuted, next.


KEILAR: This morning, President Trump is sending well wishes to Alice Johnson, the woman whose prison sentence he commuted, tweeting, good luck to Alice Johnson. Have a wonderful life.

Johnson was in prison for 21 years, serving a life sentence as a first time non-violent drug offender. Kim Kardashian, of all people, pleaded her case before her release, going to the White House for that.

And CNN correspondent Nick Valencia is following this in Memphis, Tennessee.

Hi, Nick.


Twenty-four hours ago, Alice Johnson was in prison. And, today, she's a free woman. About an hour after she got out, I spoke to her by phone and she said she was just looking out the window, looking at all the trees. She called it the best day of her life. And as happy as she is right now and as her family is, there's a very serious effort by her family to fight for prison reform. And it was just a short time ago that Alice Johnson caught up with CNN talking about just that.


ALICE MARIE JOHNSON, LIFE SENTENCE COMMUTED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, President Trump, for really seeing me. Not just looking at some data about my crime, but actually looking at the person who I have become now and having faith that I deserved a second chance in life.

My plan is also to work hard on helping to change some of these laws. Something has to happen. And I believe that what has already begun is a good first step with prison reform. So I'm happy to see that moving forward.


VALENCIA: Now, Johnson was convicted and sentenced to life without parole back in 1996 for facilitating communications in a cocaine operation. She said that she admits to making a mistake, that she was hard up for cash and she had a series of unfortunate events in her life that led her to getting involved with those people. I asked her what she would say to the skeptics in America now and across the world that question the merits of her pardon. And she told me that everyone deserves a second chance.


KEILAR: All right, Nick, thank you so much for that report.

Countdown to the showdown. The president meeting with some of our top allies after hitting them with tariffs and a new report, the president not looking forward to it.


[09:59:31] KEILAR: Good morning, I'm Brianna Keilar in Washington.

And we start with breaking news and a major deal. The Trump administration reaching an agreement with Chinese telecom giant ZTE. The cell phone maker, which was once called a security threat to the United States, is now has to pay a $1 billion fine.

And CNN's Christine Romans is joining me now to talk about this.

What all is in this deal, Christine? And why is it so controversial?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So, Brianna, the deal is to keep the Chinese state-controlled ZTE in business. It was reached just hours ago between China and the U.S. with a big fine and American supervision. A billion dollar fine, $400 million in an escrow account as a deterrent, and an entirely new board of directors and new management within 30 days.