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Report: Trump Calls Omarosa a Dog; Trump Denies Ever Using the N Word; Omarosa Says Special Counsel Mueller Interviewed Her; Clapper Says Omarosa Recordings Unthinkable. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there, I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN. Thank you for being with me. 99 days since the first lady launched "Be Best" her anti-bullying campaign online. Her husband is now tweeting out some of the worst comments ever to come from the office of the president, the president made them today against Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House staffer that came out with a negative and mostly unverified book on Trump. Remember tweets are official White House statements citing the president of the United States. Let me read this one for you.

"When you give a crazed, crying low life a break and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn't work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!"

That dog? I have thoughts on that. We will get there, trust me in just a second. Just a heads up to all of you. We may soon see the White House try to explain the president's choice of words. How might they do that? The briefing is set for this hour. It will also be the official's first chance to respond to a secret recording from Omarosa. Her revelations are now leading to legal action by the Trump campaign, which is now taking steps to force Omarosa so into arbitration for, according to officials, breaching her confidentiality agreement.

This new audio involves two Trump campaign officials talking about the existence of a tape of Trump reportedly using the "n" word. The president insisted today it does not exist. So, for more on that side of the story, let's go to our senior White House correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, there at the White House. So, one of these campaign officials, Katrina Pierson, she just came out with another response to all of this. What does she say?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: She did, Brooke. We've seen drama since the president arrived since January, 2017. This is taking it to a whole new level because of the recordings and other matters, this is what Katrina Pierson, who at the time was a campaign spokesperson now is a senior advisor to the Trump reelection campaign but she came out with a statement explaining the whole possibility of a discussion about the recording with that racial epithet on it. This is what she said to CNN. Check this out.

She said: "During the 2016 campaign, we heard rumors about an alleged tape from "The Apprentice." It's clear now that those rumors were always being circulated by Omarosa, and her alone, in her secret tape recording of me, it was one of many times that I would placate Omarosa to move the discussion along because I was wary of her obsession over this alleged tape."

So, what is she talking about here, Brooke? Take a listen to this piece of audio released earlier today as a part of her book tour that is talking about that exact conversation.


KATRINA PIERSON, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE TRUMP REELECTION CAMPAIGN: I'm trying to find out at least the context it's used in to help us to maybe try to figure out a way to spin it?

LYNNE PATTON, HUD OFFICIAL: Well, can you think of any time this might have happened? He said no.


PIERSON: How do you think I should handle it? And I told him, it's not what you said, Omarosa so. It depends on what scenario you are talking about. And he said, well, why don't you just go ahead and put it to bed.

He said it. He said it. He's embarrassed.


ZELENY: The question there is she said that he, meaning the president now, candidate Donald Trump at the time said he said that "n" word back at the time he was filming "The Apprentice." Now she was saying look, she was trying to placate Omarosa. Brooke, the reality here is this is a huge mess, a personnel mess, and remember this is from a president who promised again and again to hire the best people ever.

Omarosa violated every White House protocol in the book by secretly recording those conversations. Now she's trying to sell a book, the president for his part consumed by this at least. We have not seen him in public. He has no public events on his schedule. He's been tweeting about it nine times, all of this leading up to the White House briefing, the first time Sarah Sanders will ask questions and many things, just another drama-filled day at the White House.

BALDWIN: We will take that live, for now, Jeff Zeleny, thank you.

And now, let's just take a minute. Because I want to underscore, no matter how you feel about Omarosa so, mark the date, August 14th, 2018, the president of the United States, the leader of the flee world, the planet's most powerful person is calling an African- American woman a dog. Unfortunately, it is something that America has heard before.


[14:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account --




BALDWIN: That was three years ago. Today, 20 months after being elected president, he is calling a woman a dog. At a time when we teach our children not to bully. To be respectful. The president is anything but. I mean, his own wife kicked off a campaign urging kids to be best, to keep it positive on social media. Listen to all the juveniles and hateful names he has called people since taking oath.

We made a list. Loser, fraud, dumb, dumbest, dumb as a rock, crazy, flunky, low IQ, Pocahontas, fat, unhinged, low life, deranged, wacky. We should stop there. This is depressing. These are all words used by the president to describe people in public on Twitter and if you think someone is crazed and a lying low life, don't just brag that someone else fired her. Oh, not, Mr. President. You hired her, knowing all of this. You gave her a top job, access, and a platform. A platform that you are using to once again lower the bar on civility. And I have said it in the past, I will say it again, words matter, especially when they come from the president of the United States.

As we wait for the briefing on the begin, let me bring in my panel now, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, former CIA intelligence officer, David Priess author of "The President's Book of Secrets." CNN legal analyst and civil rights attorney, Areva Martin. And CNN political commentator Errol Louis, political anchor at Spectrum News. So, Gloria, I want to begin with you, you and I were on TV on this show just yesterday talking about how Trump is obsessed with talking about women's looks, but calling someone, a man, a woman a dog? C'mon.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, look, it's disgusting and it's very hard, I would think to turn Omarosa into a sympathetic figure. Because she is a ruthless figure in her own way, Donald Trump has managed to do that very openly here, by calling her this invective. He has lowered the standards of the office of the presidency. He's never understood the stature that is required of a president of the United States and it is a, it's just hard to describe how degrading it is for her to be called that and how degrading it is for the American public to hear a president use that kind of language.

Not only against Omarosa, but against his political enemies, as he did during the campaign, particularly when, as you point out, he's got a spouse who is on an anti-bullying campaign when, fact, the president spends much of his time bullying not only people like Omarosa but his own attorney general for example. You know, this is something unfortunately we have gotten used to but we should never accept it.

BALDWIN: Areva, a dog?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Yes. Brooke, you say words matter. I say action matter. For me as a lawyer, the evidence was in on this president before he was elected. It was in on him before 2016 and he started using those despicable terms that you just so articulately reminded us of. The evidence has been in on Trump for decades. Yet, people went to the polls and voted for him and presume army Omarosa told him, she told us as African- Americans that we should trust Donald Trump we should give him a chance, in fact, she said we were going to bow down before Donald Trump. So as despicable as it is for Trump to call Omarosa a dog, I'm a mother with two daughters, I don't want to see any man call any woman a dog, we know what that's code for.

Let's talk about what he really wanted to call her. I can't help but hold her accountable because she allowed herself to go into this White House, to perpetrate this fraud on the American people. She knew what kind of man Donald Trump was and is and this is evidence that we've already had so for me, what are we going to do about getting Donald Trump out of office. Every day, he sinks to a new low, today it's a dog, tomorrow it will be something even more despicable we can't even imagine the depths at which this man will sink. So, for me it's time to take action and get him out of the White House.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, POLITICAL ANCHOR AT SPECTRUM NEWS: You know, like many other people, I really see the president constantly and consistently degrading and juvenile behavior as an invitation to us to accept this as normal and somehow get used to it to learn to live with it. To sort of make a new set of standards for public officials. But I am declining that invitation as many others have. I had an interesting chat with my 13-year-old son today as a matter of fact for watching this.

BALDWIN: Did you?

LOUIS: We're watching this and he said, did he really say that? This is my son, I take him everywhere with me. I said this wouldn't be acceptable from the pharmacist, the people at the dry cleaners, the teachers, the principal or anybody else.

BALDWIN: In a company, you would be fired, suspended or certainly dragged into HR. Never.

LOUIS: I can only conclude and I would really challenge anybody to say something different, like, look, this is somebody who has embarrassed and disgraced himself and his office and his family.

That is his choice. We all have to make our own choice and urge our children to make their best choices. This president has chosen to go down a very dark and degrading road. He's inviting us to come along with him. I'm not going.

BALDWIN: No, as we all have been talking, David Priess, a question to you, Omarosa has apparently just claimed the Special Counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed her. We don't know when. What's your response to that?

DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, AUTHOR OF "THE PRESIDENT'S BOOK OF SECRETS": It doesn't surprise me, Mueller is the type of guy to turn over every rock he can. What's interesting about that is what will she have to offer? Is she willing to open up about some of the private conversations in the White House where the president was venting about the whole Mueller investigation and was looking to obstruct justice? If so, that's fascinating.

That would give him new information. On the issue of the language, itself, though, we are treating this very largely, we are treating this like it's a bug of this presidency, that this is a strategic error on his account. This is a feature of his presidency. This is the kind of language as Gloria mentioned that we had during the campaign. People knew what they were voting for. People knew what they were getting. And sadly, a lot of them liked it.

So, we don't have a situation where this is suddenly a revelation about who this president is. This is simply further evidence of who he is. There are two main implications of that one is politically. This isn't going to turn a tide. This is just going to reinforce people on what they believe already. Secondly, for national security, what are we seeing around the world? We're seeing a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, China in the South China Sea flexing its muscles. What is the president focusing on? Tweet after tweet about what Omarosa said. And our allies and enemies know that and it's affecting the way we do business overseas.

BALDWIN: In regard to Mueller this case, I imagine he would be interested in turning over every rock he can. Gloria said this, Areva hit on this, Omarosa has serious credibility issues.

BORGER: Yes, I'm not saying she'd be a great witness for anybody by any stretch. I think if Mueller, if she's telling the truth and if she has been interviewed by Mueller, I would assume they'd want to know, does she have more tapes? What conversation she might have overheard? Did she -- did she overhear the president talking about the Flynn firing or firing James Comey or anything having to do with the Russia investigation? Does she know anything about what occurred at the Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr.? You know so there is a whole range of issues, but, you know, I think if I were Mueller, I would want, if I were interviewing Omarosa, I'd want some incontrovertible evidence as in a tape recording that I could use, because she obviously has a credibility issue.

PRIESS: Bob Mueller doesn't go on a fishing expedition, if there is something he can ask her about, to corroborate what he knows.

BALDWIN: Everyone stands by, a quick commercial break. We are standing by watching and waiting for this White House briefing to begin, the first time we've seen Sarah Sanders answer to anything in about 12 days, on the back end of the vacation in Bedminster. A quick break. You are watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin.


BALDWIN: We are back on CNN, hi, I'm Brooke Baldwin. We will remind you we will head to the briefing room in mere minutes and the questions Sarah Sanders will be peppered with in a few minutes. Areva Martin, all this news coming out about Omarosa. She is claiming Trump used the "n" word during the taping of "The Apprentice."

[14:20:00] Trump response to this and nine or so tweets of his today, essentially says Mark Burnett to called me to say no such tapes exist. Here's the thing. Shouldn't you know, if he used this terrible and disgusting word, shouldn't you know if that is in your vernacular or not. You don't need Mark Burnett to call you up and back you up if it's not?

MARTIN: There are so many problems with that tweet, first of all, the tweet doesn't say I categorically did not use the word. That is what you would expect and hope that the president of United States would say is there can't be a tape because it never happened. Instead, he's trying to convince the American public it can't be proven because Mark Burnett is apparently inserting himself in this although we have not heard from Mark Burnett directly. We've seen no statement or anything. And we know when this first came up a year ago, they refused to release the tapes from the show.

So, we can't trust Donald Trump, that this call ever happened. We can't trust these tapes exist or don't exist. Both people involved, Omarosa and Donald Trump have such credibility problems. Hopefully, Mark Burnett, the production company, the folks involved in this, the neutral third party would release the tapes if they exist. I think the American people have a right to know if the man sitting in the White House has used such inflammatory and derogatory terms to describe African-Americans.

BALDWIN: She's right the man didn't say, I never said that.

LOUIS: Right. And I think this is also a pattern with Donald Trump. Right. It's about what you could prove, not what he did. The same thing with his taxes. You can't prove he's a tax cheat, you can't prove that he's taking money from strange or disreputable sources. So, we don't really know. In this case, though, actions do speak louder than words, there were points along the campaign trail and his history even before ever seeking office, we had a chance to evaluate where Donald Trump is coming from the.

How he referred to African countries, the whole birther-ism controversy, the lawsuits against his housing organization and him personally for housing discrimination as far back as the 1970s. So, we've seen a lot of this stuff going on for a long time. I think everyone has all the information they need to make their own assessment of where he is. The smoking gun of the "n" word, would it convince already anybody that thinks this president has a problem as far as bias is concerned? Will that convince you more than you already were convinced?

No. And those who will defend him no matter what he says or does, anything that he does is going to be OK. He could shoot somebody on fifth avenue, there are people that said that's fine with them. Now, they don't need to hear the tape either.

BALDWIN: see first I think you make a great tape, speaking of tames, Omarosa it sounds like has been taping people for a while. This was the former director of national intelligence James Clapper talking about this notion of ever secretly recording the president. He calls it unthinkable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: This is an egregious security violation to do that. And you are expected as a responsible member of the president's security team not to do that or his own White House team. So, it's just kind of unthinkable that that would happen.


BALDWIN: So that was then. Now essentially David and Gloria by all accounts, these Omarosa recordings go back to 2016, based on the people who she is talking to during the campaign, she has been recording conversations for at least two years, David.

PRIESS: Yes, doesn't surprise me given what we know about her personality and her style that she would have that going on. The real issue here is what was she recording inside the White House, to what level? She by all accounts did not have a top-secret security clearance. So, she probably should not have been attending truly classified meeting, which puts her recollection as well as her recordings in the realm of unclassified material, which could not be governed by a private non-disclosure agreement.

The fact that she would release them. It's sick that she was taping people without telling them. I think it's sad she's trying to out bully a known bully. There is probably no legal jeopardy to do so.

[14:25:00] This White House not managed like any other White House I've seen, was she actually allowed in some of those classified meetings as well? That raises issues about her possible release of classified information to the public.

BALDWIN: The legal action, Gloria, the Trump campaign is threatening against Omarosa. We have seen empty legal threats by Trump and his team before.

BORGER: Trump is litigious. He continues to be litigious. In this particular case, they may have a good reason. I want to go back to the special counsel and bob Mueller. You know, this president has, had and continues to have even with Kelly there sort of an open-door policy. So, there is no telling what conversations she overheard. Did she overhear conversations about Hillary Clinton's e-mails? Did she overhear conversations about Wikileaks? Did she overhear conversations about Don Jr.'s meeting in Trump Tower? She is out there now talking about a corrupt White House and waving a flare in front of Bob Mueller.

So, I think he's got to figure out what she's talking about and look for proof if there is any proof, because this White House is free wheeling and conversations were had in front of all kind of people that should not have been had and again, she is a witness without credibility unless she has these recordings. Which are, I agree, ridiculous. If she did it, Mueller needs to hear them.

BALDWIN: Everyone stand by, coming up next, a huge development in the Paul Manafort tax and fraud trial. The defense rests without calling a single witness or presenting a case. So, what's the tragedy there? More on that in a minute as we wait for the first White House briefing in some 12 days. As can you tell, there will be lots to discuss.