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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
U.K. Police: Nerve Agent Is Cause Of Ex-Spy's Symptoms; String Of Russian-Linked Deaths On U.K. Soil In Recent Years; Trump's Top Economic Adviser Quits Amid Tariff Fight; Stocks Sink On Wall Street After Gary Cohn Resigns; Moon: Keep Up Sanctions On North Korea For Now; U.N. Official: Syria Government Planning An "Apocalypse"; Civilians Trapped Inside "Hell On Earth" Speak Out; Anti-Immigrant Attackers Convicted Of Terror Charges. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 7, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani.
Tonight, stunning development in the case of a former Russian spy, British police here say he was intentionally poisoned with a nerve agent. We'll
have the latest on that story.
Also, another advisor to Donald Trump quits and a porn star sues. Well, it's been another interesting day at the White House. We'll have the
And tense diplomacy, South Korea says sanctions must remain against North Korea for now.
We begin with a brazen assassination attempt right here in the United Kingdom. British police now believe that former Russian spy, Sergei
Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with a nerve agent. They are calling it a deliberate act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ROWLEY, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, METROPOLITAN POLICE: It's being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of
a nerve agent. As you know these two people remain critically ill in hospital. Sadly, in addition, a police officer, who was one of the first
to attend the scene in response to the incident is now also in a serious condition in hospital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, these latest relations raise major questions about who was behind the plot to kill the two, not anybody can manufacture, can handle
nerve agent. You have to know what you are doing. The U.K. foreign secretary vowed that if any foreign power is found responsible, the U.K.
will respond, quote, "robustly."
Let's bring in our team covering these extraordinary developments. Nick Paton Walsh joins us from New Scotland Yard. Phil Black is live in
Salisbury at the scene. And Nick, first of all, what is this -- what more do we know about this nerve agent, about the investigation into what -- do
the police know what substance was used, and are not sharing it, or are they still investigating?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They are quite clear that they know what specific agent this was, but they are not
sharing it. They said today interesting in the language here, attempted murder with administering of a nerve agent, but the two people, Sergei and
Yulia Skripal, were intentionally targeted.
Given timeline here, it's Sunday afternoon about 1:30 when they were noticed losing consciousness clearly ill and distressed on a park bench.
Now, obviously, the investigation continues.
But (inaudible) terrorism's chief police officer here in the United Kingdom, Assistant Commissioner Mark Roley (ph) said that they are
specifically looking for people to come forward to in the area between 1:00 and 4:00, a big window on Sunday afternoon in the shopping center called
"The Moltings" in the rural city (inaudible).
There's still a pizza restaurant there (inaudible) and the pub. The (inaudible) that are still sealed off by police, but frankly, this is
monumentally changed today from something which a local media on Sunday was (inaudible) to be an accident all over those involving Fentanyl, a very
powerful opioid, often available on the street.
Now we are talking about substantial geopolitical crisis and remember, this is not the first time Britain has dealt with something like this is.
Alexander Litvinenko, another former Russian spy killed in 2006, then with polonium, a very specific radioactive poison.
You have to ask yourself nerve agents hard to come by, as you said, VX, sarins, two possible candidates -- but they are only really rating
manufactured alone by a small number of countries, meaning that they are clear fingerprints potentially here leading back (inaudible) with polonium
and Litvinenko back towards a potential country as the culprit here.
Now, of course, police won't go into details about who else they are looking for. They hardly spoke one of the police officers came to the
scene is still seriously ill, but (inaudible) on that, Hala.
They administered this particular nerve agent, so they are looking at potentially people involved in the restaurants or the bar they were near.
Did somebody have cost them in the street? How did that person protect themselves from the poisoning in question?
So, are they looking somebody who is also critically ill somewhere in the area around Salisbury? These are key questions. It does sound like police
have a few more answers on this particular point, but aside from the attempted murder investigation.
The House of Commons over there, we'll see a statement from the head of the British security, Amber Rudd, tomorrow outlining what they know about this.
The broader question is, what does Britain do?
U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has promised a robust response if a foreign power was thought to be behind this poison when he spoke. He said
he had no one to point the finger at. Now possibly they do.
[15:05:14] So, the broad question is, what can Britain once sort of an imperial power that Russia (inaudible) in competing with not very much
diminished and recipient of Russian foreign cash. What do they do in response -- Hala.
GORANI: Sure. We'll look at all those questions in a moment. Phil Black in Salisbury. We saw some CCTV footage there -- right before the incident
there in Salisbury. What does that tell us the surveillance footage from just an ordinary convenience store about what we know about the movements
there of Sergei Skripal before this murder attempt?
PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, on hand, Hala, not very much. It is just a few moments, a tiny slice of Sergei Skripal's
life here in Salisbury just in the days leading up to this particular incident, but it shows him in a convenience store that he was a regular
customer at, buying some scratch lottery tickets, some food, some milk, that sort of stuff, really basic everyday things.
In what is as Nick was touching on of relatively quiet, small, sleepy city in Southern England. It is here that we now understand really very close
to where I am now standing that a chemical weapon was deployed in a deliberate effort to try and assassinate Serggei Skripal and perhaps his
daughter as well.
We don't know at this stage whether or not she was a deliberate target or whether or not she was simply collateral damage, but that is the fact that
people in this town are now coming to terms with.
Because where I am standing is near that shopping area which is on a Sunday afternoon was vibrant filled with people going about their dine-in shops,
restaurants and pubs, and so forth, and we know that this weapon did pose a wider risk to just those targeted because one of the police officers who
first assisted them is now seriously ill in hospital as well because of his exposure to it -- Hala.
GORANI: All right. Phil Black in Salisbury, thanks very much and Nick Paton Walsh at New Scotland Yard.
This case has put renewed scrutiny on a string of Russian-linked death in the U.K. in recent years, but I'll be jumping to conclusions here. My next
guest has investigated all of them. She says the U.K. has turned a blind eye to assassination on its soil and has then tried to protect the Kremlin
and with it Russian investment in the U.K.
Heidi Blake is the U.K. investigations editor for "Buzzfeed News" and she's here in the studio. Thanks for being with us.
When I asked are we jumping to conclusions, this is a man who was convicted in Russia, but he was later pardoned. Presumably MI-6 would have spoken to
him at length at the time. He would have told them everything he knows, why would Russia today target someone like him? Does it make sense?
HEIDI BLAKE, U.K. INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR, "BUZZFEED NEWS": Well, I think we have to wait (inaudible) the fact that for Vladimir Putin he is a KGB man
himself. That's the tradition that he comes from and (inaudible) the way in which the KGB and now the FSB, its successor agency enforces its
dominance and its power is that if you betray Russia, if you betray in particular the FSB, the Russian security state, then you will be at risk
for the rest of your life --
GORANI: We saw him in CCTV footage, didn't seemed to have protection, was going about his day. Sergei Skripal, his daughter was visiting from
Russia, it just looks kind of like an ordinary routine perhaps.
BLAKE: Right --
GORANI: Is that surprising to you?
BLAKE: Well, we understand that he opted to live under his own identity and without protection, that is a choice that some defectors make. He did
have protection from MI-6 as far as we understand it, but yes, he was going about living a fairly regular life.
I mean, I speak to lots of people in the community of Russian exiles living here in the U.K., many of whom are under protection from Scotland Yard and
under MI-6 and you are under constant threat of assassination.
He received intelligence that their lives are at risk all the time, but you just have to find a way of normalizing that.
GORANI: And let us talk a little bit about the idea that nerve agent was used here in this assassination attempt. When I say not anybody knows how
to manufacture and handle nerve agent is really just gives us lots of clues as to who or what entity could be behind this.
BLAKE: That is why one of the things we know about Russia is that the Russian state has a poison factory outside Moscow, which debates into the
development of obscure chemical and biological weapons for specific use (inaudible) targeted assassinations.
They have a vast arsenal of poisons at their disposal. (Inaudible) a bit more about exactly what agent has been used here might tell us a little
more about whether like to come from that country.
GORANI: And there are previous murders that were linked to Russia where for instance polonium 210 was used in different. This nerve agent
development, what does it tell you specifically? Has his been already -- in your reporting, have you found it that that this type of poison was used
before in political assassinations?
[15:10:08] BLAKE: Well, some of what we've learned about the other cases being investigated are (inaudible) on British soil is that some of these
people are suspected by intelligence agencies of having been poisoned and we know that Russia has at its disposal chemicals that cause, for example,
heart attacks or can trigger fast developing cancers.
And in this case, this appears to be some kind of a nerve agent that shuts down the nervous system very, very quickly. So, these are the sorts of
weapons, which are likely (inaudible) at the disposal of a state as opposed to say an organized crime group, a mafia group, which is why I think all
fingers right now are pointing at the Kremlin.
GORANI: Sure. And obviously, nonstate actors, why would they even risk handling this type of agent as well when there are other ways you can go
about. Now, if indeed it is found, one of the things that you've reported on is that the U.K. does not always respond proportionally to murders and
fascinations committed on its soil. Why not?
BLAKE: Well, yes, obviously, in the case of Alexander Litvinenko back in 2006 as you say he was poisoned with radioactive polonium, the government
did take (inaudible) in a case the Kremlin of carrying out or being involved in the assassination. They really did not have any option.
It was such a brazen assassination using radioactive material in the capital city, left a radioactive trail all over London. But in the other
14 cases, (inaudible) because since then the police have declared all of these deaths non-suspicious.
Despite some of them being, you know, extremely brazen, in one case, somebody was stabbed to death multiple times with two different knives and
the police said it was a suicide.
Another somebody dropped dead and was found to have a rare plant poison in his stomach, again, the police said that was a death by natural causes.
The reason I think --
GORANI: Please go ahead, yes.
BLAKE: Our understanding from speaking to multiple sources on both sides of the Atlantic is that the British government has been unwilling to
antagonize the Kremlin by making accusations (inaudible) Russian money in British banks and properties and genuinely nervous raging Russia, which is
increasingly developing cyber capabilities which could shut down waves of British structure.
GORANI: Last question related to the specific case, some have asked why use such an obvious -- why use such a weapon when it can obviously be
traced back to, you know, a state-sponsored -- potentially state-sponsored initiative? Why not just do something that is more discrete, less
BLAKE: I think that's a great question. It seems that that this is such a brazen act, but it can only be a deliberate provocation, especially not
just going for Sergei Skripal, but also targeting his daughter, a completely innocent party.
You know, that does look like an act of provocation by Putin here. He has been making increasingly bold and brazen waves in the West and making
provocative statements. So, I think this is a real test of the British government as to how they are going to deal with a Russia that is making
such brazen waves.
GORANI: Well, Boris Johnson says they will -- if they can trace back the - - trail back to the perpetrator that they will respond robustly. We will see if that happens. Heidi Blake, thanks so much. Great having you on the
The president of the United States of America is being sued by a porn star and believe it or not, is absolutely stunning as that sound, it is not even
the top story today out of Washington instead something with much bigger implications is dominating the headlines.
Mr. Trump's chief economic advisor is leaving, another advisor leaving, a man some say stood between the president and a trade war. Gary Cohn is a
free-trade champion. He resigned over plans to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. His departure raises big questions that for some people
big concerns about Mr. Trump's economic policies moving forward.
That uncertainty is sending stocks on Wall Street tumbling. Here's a look at the big board. We are down 92 points at 24,791, not big dramatic moves,
but clearly a negative mood on Wall Street.
Let's get more on all of this. The Dow as I mentioned still in the red. We can get the political angle with our Stephen Collinson and Paul La
Monica is in New York with more on the market reaction.
So, Stephen, let's talk about Gary Cohn. I mean, this is someone who was ideologically opposed to the likes, for instance, of Steve Bannon. This is
someone who is a globalist who work on Wall Street and big financial firms.
He is leaving because he is not OK with the idea that the U.S. is launching a trade war or threatening to raise dramatically tariffs on things like
steel. What does that mean going forward for the White House and Donald Trump?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. Gary Cohn, as you say is the epitome of old-fashioned Republican-ism, if you like, the
pro-business, free-trade wing of the party, which Donald Trump really usurped by winning the presidency and he's change the policy.
[15:15:02] I think what it means in effect is that the populist nationalist, sort of thrust of Donald Trump's presidency is going to get
ever stronger going forward. There are going to be fewer dissenting views.
People like Peter Navarro, another economic adviser, in the White House, who is in favor of this tariff policy is on the rise. Just in the last few
minutes, we've had a few developments on this issue, the White House has said that there are probably going to be some carveouts for U.S. allies
Canada and Mexico on this issue based on national security.
So, they can escape some of these tariffs and she also said, Sarah Saunders, the White House spokeswoman that other allies, other countries
could also benefit from these opt outs. So, although, Gary Cohn is leaving, it seems there is still an attempt in some ways to moderate this
GORANI: Yes. This is what Sarah Sanders said at the daily briefing just minutes ago. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is an intense place, as is every White House, and it is not abnormal that you would have
people come and go, but we are continuing to do great work. We are continuing to focus on the president's agenda and that's what we are all
here to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And Stephen, this is over 40 departures in a year, that is not normal.
COLLINSON: This is not normal at all. It's true there is churn off the first year of any presidency. People get stressed and tired. They want to
move on. This is completely different. It's of a far greater magnitude than you would normally expect.
I think the problem now is getting people to come into this White House, into this chaos, with the knowledge that a midterm election is looming with
Republicans and the presidency. The president is expected to do very badly.
And the fact that the White House is on the constant examination from the special counsel that anyone coming into this is probably going to need a
very good lawyer.
GORANI: Paul La Monica, markets are reacting poorly. They certainly do not like the idea of a trade war.
PAUL R. LA MONICA, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, definitely not. It's interesting to note that they have rebounded from the worst decline of the
day, Hala, but you are right. As Stephen pointed out, Gary Cohn's departure is yet another sign that the pragmatist, the globalists are
losing favor in the ear of President Tromp.
And I think that investors around the world are very nervous about that. We have heard time and time again that no one wins a trade war
historically, despite what President Tromp has said and tweeted contrary to that fact.
And I think investors now realize that big global multinational giants even though the dollar is falling because of some of the bad news lately and
that should help earnings for big global companies in general.
The problem, the flipside is a weak dollar doesn't help when you got tariffs slapped on you by the E.U. and Canada, who are U.S. allies because
they are not happy with the steel and aluminum tariffs.
GORANI: All right. Paul La Monica, Stephen Collinson, thanks very much. We're going to go back in time as well and discuss tariffs on trade in
steel and other industries imposed by the United States on how literally each and every time it did not work. We'll be looking at that angle later.
Thanks to both of you.
Still to come, Baby Allah (ph) has barely seen daylight and heard almost nothing but bombs falling, and he is just one of Eastern Ghouta's children
forced to grow up underground. We'll have that.
Plus, a court in Germany has ruled that far-right extremists should be considered terrorists too. We'll tell you why after the break.
GORANI: Well, now to the Korean Peninsula, a day after the South made a surprise announcement that the North would be willing to talk to America
about scrapping its nuclear program. The two Koreans held unprecedented talks this week.
Meantime, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is warning that as long as the North has nuclear weapons, sanctions should stay in place. A couple
developments to look at here. Will Ripley joins us. He is now live from Seoul. You made your way from Beijing.
So, what the South is saying is, do not get too far ahead of yourself. We are happy to talk, but so long as you are engaging in this type of nuclear
program, we are not going to give you sanctions relief.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And it's an interesting diplomatic dance that President Moon Jae-in is having to do here in Seoul
because on the one hand, he does want to alienate the North Koreans. They are just sort of developing a rapport. There obviously has this inter-
Korean Presidential Summit coming up in April with Kim Jong-un, which will be significant.
But at the same time, he has been accused by President Trump in the past of appeasing the North Koreans. So, he has to appear strong and tough. So,
you hear him talking publicly about sanctions.
He gave a speech a couple days ago, you know, talking about South Korea needing to continue to bolster its defense capabilities, including long-
range radar, you know, stronger ballistic missiles that sort of thing.
So, the South Koreans really are the man in the middle here, but so far, they have managed to make the North Koreans happy enough to continue moving
forward with the process. Obviously, they are delivering a message from the North Koreans to Washington and the same time, they've got the buy in
of the United States. Not an easy thing to do -- Hala.
GORANI: So, we were discussing yesterday the possibility that North Korea was serious in its proposal, serious about giving up its nuclear weapons
program. But really the question is why would it at this stage? What is in it for them?
RIPLEY: Well, and -- are they really serious about the type of denuclearization that the United States is talking about, which is
complete, verifiable, or would denuclearization for them mean a freeze like what they are doing right now and maybe a long-term meaning like 10 years
or more very slow dismantling that would allow them the opportunity to pull back at the administrations in the U.S. or South Korea change and start the
program right back up again.
But what they would want in exchange what I think basically -- even in their state media yesterday, they were calling for the United States to get
rid of their nuclear weapons, which, you know, we know that's not going to happen.
Remember when President Trump said, if you're great, we lived in the world where nobody need nukes, but that is not reality. That is almost as the
North Korea mindset as well. You know, they also want U.S. troops out of here, out of South Korea and joint military drills.
So, you know, what they would want exchange, it makes you really wonder if this is a serious possibility here.
GORANI: Will Ripley live in Seoul, thanks very much.
The Syrian government is planning an apocalypse in Eastern Utah, that is the accusation being leveled by the U.N. Human Rights chief. It's probably
how the thousands of people trapped in the Syrian rabble already feel, by the way.
Not that it is going to happen, but that they are living it right now. Bombs continue to fall, and the horrific humanitarian situation is
threatening to get a whole lot worst. Aid groups are locked out of the area because of the bombing.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has this report.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There seems to be no place on earth where it's harder to dodge the bombs right now than Eastern
Ghouta. No Security Council resolution and no Russian promises had stopped the bombs or the stopped the death toll rising every single day.
There's little to smile about in Eastern Ghouta where everyone has lost something or someone, yet they still smile. Most of Baby (inaudible) 28-
day life has been spent underground. That is the only place families have left, just maybe it will be enough to protect them from the bombs raining
down on them.
(Inaudible) says his family's livelihood, a little welding shop, was destroyed. His children are out of school. They use what they could find
to play and forget. Civilians are skeptical of offers to evacuate to so- called humanitarian corridors.
ABU RAFAD, EASTERN GHOUTA RESIDENT (through translator): We are waiting for God to help us. They talk about corridors (inaudible) what corridors?
They haven't spared us the tanks, artillery and Russian planes and they want us to go and have ourselves over.
[15:25:07] KARADSHEH: In another basement, another family and another story, 5-year-old Lamar with a big smile speaks with things most her age,
but not (inaudible). Her house was bombed by planes, she says, her toys burned. Like others, they've given up on the international community
RAFAD (through translator): (Inaudible) condemnation, concern, we have seen nothing from them over the past seven or eight years. No resolution
they have passed has stopped the shelling. Give me one resolution the regime or Russia have abided by.
KARADSHEH: It seems like it's a matter of time before the regime recaptures Eastern Ghouta. Time that feels like an eternity for those
trapped in this town. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Eastern Ghouta.
GORANI: Well, the war in Syria has produced a flood of refugees. While they faced a backlash in many countries, few cases have been as vicious as
a series of attacks in Germany where refugee homes were firebombed.
Now -- and this is an interesting case -- several right-wing extremists have been convicted, and the charge that they did face was one of
terrorism. CNN's Atika Shubert reports from Dresden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are known as the Freital group, seven men and one woman charged with
multiple attacks on refugees, and their trial marks a legal shift in Germany, far right extremists charged with terror offenses.
In 2015, the country was coping with the influx of more than a million refugees. Small German towns like Freital oppressed into service by the
government to provide refugee homes. While many welcomed the new comers, others did not.
Protests tried to prevent the entry of refugees into the town unsuccessfully. The defendants turned to violence, including firebombing
three refugee homes, among other targets, that left two people injured and could have been deadly the judge said.
Stefie Brethel (ph) received a letter bomb from the Freital group because of her work to find housing for refugees. She welcomed the verdict. She
told us my son was attacked by them. I came here today to show them that I'm still here speaking out and you are going to prison, she says.
The defendants admitted the attacks, but claimed they were, quote, "spontaneous." The judge found all the defendants guilty of being members
of a terror organization. Six guilty of attempted murder and two as accessories. The longest sentence 10 years for the ring leaders, a harsh
sentence that one defense lawyer objected to.
MICHAEL SHAWN, DEFENSE LAWYER: It was a very local incident. The rest (inaudible), no question, but from my point of view, not to hold Federal
Republic of Germany wasn't any danger at all so from my point of view, there is no terrorist organization.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUBERT: Now, the defendants can appeal this verdict, but this case sends a clear message that far right hate crimes can and will be prosecuted as
terror offenses. Atika Shubert, CNN, Dresden, Germany.
GORANI: Still to come tonight, a porn star takes on a president, Stormy Daniels is suing Donald Trump in a case that could be a big problem for him
in more ways than one. We'll be right back.
[15:30:56] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: In any other White House, word of hush money paid to a porn star who reportedly has an affair
with the president would send shockwaves through America. But we're not living in ordinary times. The story of Stormy Daniels has been out for
weeks and it's now taking yet another dramatic new turn. Sara Sidner reports Daniels wants to talk and she's suing Donald Trump for the right to
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Porn star Stormy Daniels suing President Trump, seeking to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement
she signed just days before the 2016 presidential election, preventing her from talking about their alleged sexual encounter.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC'S JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!: You can't say whether you have a nondisclosure agreement. But if you didn't have a nondisclosure
agreement, you most certainly could say, "I don't have a nondisclosure agreement," yes?
STORMY DANIELS, SUING DONALD TRUMP: You're so smart, Jimmy.
KIMMEL: Thank you very much.
SIDNER: The lawsuit argues that the agreement is null and void, because it was not signed by Mr. Trump, referred to in the document by a pseudonym
Daniels's lawyer says Mr. Trump "purposely did not sign the agreement so he could later, if need be, publicly disavow any knowledge of the contract and
Ms. Daniels." According to the complaint, Daniels had an intimate relationship with Mr. Trump that began in the summer of 2006 and continued
"well into 2007." The adult film star whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, considered sharing her story in 2016 after the "Access Hollywood"
TRUMP: I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do
BILLY BUSH, FORMER ACCESS HOLLYWOOD HOST: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
SIDNER: The complaint alleges Trump's long-time attorney, Michael Cohen, intervened, paying Daniels $130,000. Daniels says Mr. Trump knew about the
payment, which she calls hush money.
Last week, Cohen admitted to paying Ms. Daniels but insisted that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the
transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment either directly or indirectly.
The lawsuit says Cohen has continued to intimidate Ms. Clifford into silence and shut her up in order to protect Mr. Trump. Even as recently as
February 27, when Cohen filed a bogus arbitration against Daniels without giving her notice of the proceeding and basic due process.
In the lawsuit, Daniels also alleges Cohen coerced her into signing this statement in January, which states that reports of her relationship with
Mr. Trump were false.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.
GORANI: Well, President Trump has denied having any sexual encounter with Stormy Daniel, but listen to what the porn star's attorney said this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does she have a sexual relationship with the president?
MICHAEL AVENATTI, ATTORNEY OF STORMY DANIELS: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does she still have photos, images, text messages, documents that verify this claim?
AVENATTI: That's a question that Ms. Daniels will have to ultimately answer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know the answer to that question?
AVENATTI: I do know the answer, but I'm not at liberty to disclose it this morning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you went in court and a judge says, you know what? This agreement is not valid. Wouldn't she have to return the money she
accepted pursuant to this agreement?
AVENATTI: I think she may have to. And she's prepared to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is she looking to sell her story?
AVENATTI: No, she's looking to disclose the truth about what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Just a short time ago, White House spokesperson said President Trump has already won an arbitration case against Stormy Daniels, but Sarah
Sanders refused to give further details.
Let's break all of this down with CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson. Joey, thanks for being with us.
So When Stormy Daniels' attorney says, well, there was no other signature on that confidentiality agreement which means it's null and void. Is that
legally -- does that hold up legally?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The short answer is -- and great to be with you, Hala, is no. Listen, here's the
reality. What we do in contract law, is you look at the actual legal issue relating to the contract, then you look at the equitable issue.
Let's talk about the legal first. In a contract, there's an offer to be made, there's acceptance of that matter, and then there's what we call
consideration which in English is money. Here, you plainly had an offer, $130,000, if you're quiet. We had acceptance, she signs, Stormy Daniels,
anything she need to, and she was given money. So therefore, all of the legal requirements of the contract had made. You don't look at right
simply there' a signature missing and as a result of a signature missing, aha, the law doesn't say that the signature is what's determinative.
What's determinative is the intent of the parties and offer -- the acceptance of the offer and the payment.
[15:35:32] So all of those conditions have met. And as a matter of equity, I don't see a court disturbing at final point, Hala, and that's this, if
you look at the very first paragraph of the contract itself, as I'm looking at, it says that she could sign, right? She has to sign, but that this
person named David Dennison, Donald Trump, need not sign because the corporation could sign on his behalf. So I just don't see this lawsuit as
having any --
GORANI: So, can she get out of this confidentiality agreement in any other way at all or not? And how?
JACKSON: Yes. The other argument, Hala, is that -- to be made is that there was a waiver on the other plot. So for example, a contract between
two parties, both sides have obligations to meet the terms of that contract. The other argument her lawyer is making is that there was a
waiver that means that, you know what? Because the lawyer is speaking, because Mr. Cohen is speaking about it, he's waived and violated the
provisions, and therefore, it's no, I can speak too. And to me, that may be the better argument, though I don't even think they prevail on that
GORANI: Now, what about in -- over the duration, does this confidentiality agreement cover the natural life of the person finding it? I mean, is
there after a few years, some sort of a point at which you can discuss these confidentials, these things you'd agreed not to discuss in exchange
JACKSON: It's a great point, but it's one that lawyers have long since thought of. If you look at any contract, it'll say it binds you. It binds
you and successors and the newborn, yet not born. It is in perpetuity till the end of time. So the way this contracts are written are ironclad to
say, you know what? No one can say anything. But interestingly enough, we're talking about this where the confidentiality agreement it seems the
world knows that there was a relationship and that's the irony and even having this discussion. She wants to tell the full story. But I think the
public is very well aware of many elements of the story.
GORANI: Or she might have pictures or texts. I mean, her lawyer wouldn't comment on that on another network. He gave an interview this morning, but
it's possible that -- what happens, legally, to her if she goes ahead and tells her story anyway?
JACKSON: The contract also contemplates that. First, in terms of a text or pictures. The contract talks about how she's not supposed to share any
of that and how that was already given over to Donald Trump's lawyer. So that's number one.
Number two, there's something called a liquidated damage provision in the contract. What that means in English, is that both parties have
anticipated that if it's reached then either, A, she has to disgorge all the money. That mens give back the $130,000. But, B, the liquidated damage
clause means, we've decided that it'll be worth $1 million if you violate. And that's why -- and so when answer to your question, she could be out of
pocket $1 million if the court finds she's in violation of the agreement.
GORANI: Can she be in any criminal trouble? I mean, if it's a question of $1 million, I'm sure some people would be happy to pay up to hear the
JACKSON: It's a great point. There's no criminality here. This is a contract -- people enter into contracts all the time. Some parties breach
contracts. You don't go to jail for breaching them, but it could really hurt your wallet. If you do, hence for a lawyer trying to get that
declaratory judgment, which again is going to court, having the court -- the clear the contract null and void. If they do that, she could sing like
a canary and she could be on your show talking about the essence of that relationship.
GORANI: Now, Sarah Sanders, the press secretary, had this to say. She mentioned a case that had already been won in arbitration. If you could
shed some light on that. We'll listen to this sound and get back to you, Joey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has denied the allegations against him. And again, this case has already been
won in arbitration. Anything beyond that, I would refer you to outside counsel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that there's arbitration that's already been won by whom and when?
SANDERS: By the president's personal attorneys, and for details on that, I would refer you to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you're aware of them, so what can more -- can you share with us?
SANDERS: I can share that the arbitration was won in the president's favor. And I would refer you to the president's outside counsel on any
details beyond that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So, Joey, what does this mean? What should we read in to those statements by Sarah Sanders?
JACKSON: So number one, an arbitration is preceding where it's not a court, it's not a person in a robe, it's not a courtroom. It's an
individual that both parties hire to interpret what went -- who was right and who was wrong. And most contracts have provisions for arbitration
which keeps you outside of court. Now, there's an argument to be made and she's saying that, hey, they went to arbitration without even notifying me.
And so if there was such a proceeding where an arbitrator, which has to rule on whether provisions of the contract, they're accurate, whether
provisions are violated. If an actual arbitrator heard the case, Stormy Daniels' position is, it was without me because I didn't even know that
there was an arbitration proceeding. And so if you don't know, and you don't appear, you're forfeit. But then again, if you're not noticed to
appear, it's null and void anyway. So the president may have a decision in his favor, but if that decision was not known to by Stormy Daniels nor if
she appeared to represent herself, then that in and of itself is null and void.
[15:40:39] GORANI: Thank you for explaining all of this so clearly. Joey Jackson, as always, a pleasure having you on the program.
JACKSON: Thank you, Hala.
GORANI: And staying in the U.S., a grand jury has formally charged Nikolas Cruz with 17 counts of murder, following that mass shooting at a high
school in Florida. Cruz is facing a total of 34 counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder. He confessed to being the gunman, according
to an affidavit released shortly after his arrest.
And we're hearing from the public defender's office that Cruz is willing to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.
Now, the students of that high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas were paid a surprise visit by an NBA, a basketball star. And it was finally a happy
moment for them. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dwyane Wade, yay.
GORANI (voice-over): Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade stopped by the campus. Here are some video of that moment. One of the shooting victim was buried and
waves jersey. Here's what Wade tweeted about last week. "It's way bigger than basketball. We are the voices for the people that don't get to be
heard. Joaquin Oliver, may you rest in peace. And I dedicate my return and the rest of this Miami Heat season to you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Don't forget to check out our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn.
After the break tonight, a key Trump aide calls it quits over the president's proposed tariffs. U.S. stocks are sinking. We tell you why
investors also think and many economists, by the way, also think this is a really bad idea.
And getting the red carpet and the protest lines. Saudi Arabia's crown prince heads to the UK. We'll look at why this visit is so important and
also so controversial. We'll be right back.
GORANI: British Prime Minister says she's hoping for a new era in relations between her country and Saudi Arabia. Today, Theresa May met
with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He's kicking off a brief UK a bit. Both countries are undergoing big changes, for Britain obviously,
it's the upcoming Brexit.
Meanwhile, the crown prince has crackdown on corruption and he is leading Saudi Arabia through modernization measures like letting women drive. Both
countries are looking for a new business deals. In fact, the government started laying the groundwork before the visit. If you're here in London,
you may have seen these billboards riding around. But the triple size considerable controversy. Activists are criticizing Saudi Arabia for its
role in Yemen, where it's leading a coalition against Houthi rebels. The conflict has killed thousands, many of them civilians and worse a terrible
humanitarian crisis there.
[15:45:21] So there you have it. By the way, those are the effigies there and the signs from those who are unhappy about the visit. There were big
welcoming signs as well. Some of the billboards posted on the way into town from Heathrow Airport.
I want to check the Dow. The last few minutes of trade here. The Dow is full trending lower, but it's recovered from session lows, as we told you
earlier. Alarm bells are going off on Wall Street. Investors are spoofed by the resignation of Donald Trump's top economic advisor. Gary Cohn has
fearlessly opposed to the president's plan to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
There have been warnings from history, by the way, over imposing tariffs. Back in 1930, Congress passed tariffs in a range of imported goods. It was
meant to protect American jobs during the Great Depression. But several nations retaliated, that's what happens usually, and it sparked a trade
war. It made things worth -- worst, I should say with U.S. imports falling 40 percent in two years.
More recently in 2002, President George W. Bush imposed sweeping tariffs on steel. A year later, the U.S. had to drop them after the World Trade
Organization ruled that they were in fact illegal.
In 2009, President Barack Obama put tariffs on Chinese tires. According to a Washington research group, the tariffs did protect 1,200 U.S. tire jobs.
But here's a thing, about 3,700 retail jobs were lost as a results. It's not always were. In fact, it almost never does.
Let's discuss it with Rana Foroohar. She's a global business columnist for the FT and a CNN global economic analyst. She joins me live now from New
Why do you think Donald Trump is doing this? Because historically speaking, it's been proven not to work, every economist, every legitimate
economist believes that this is a misguided strategy.
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Yes. Everyone apparently, except Peter Navarro, the economist advising the president. I think he's
doing this completely for political reasons. I mean, it, frankly, does why tariffs are always put into place. Typically when a president, when a
leader is having trouble at home, when there are conflicts that he wants to -- and ship the blame to someone else. In this country, typically China,
you see tariff threats. And this time, you're seeing the real action. I mean, what's so unfortunate, Hala, is that with the complex supply chains
that we have in this country, and really in any rich country, this is going to ricochet right back onto the very people that Trump purports to help.
It's going to have big impact in the Rust Belt.
Auto companies are complaining. I've spoken a number of manufacturers that are saying, you know, we had a lot of things going in our favor, tax cuts,
stronger growth economy. Now, this is a major headwind.
GORANI: And also the U.S. saying fine, you can slap tariffs on steel and aluminum, but we'll slap tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, on
bourbon, on Levi's jeans.
FOROOHAR: Yes, absolutely. And you look at the iconic nature of the brands that they are choosing to slap the tariffs on. You can see the sort
of political impact there. What I'm really looking forward to in the next few months, and I don't mean looking forward to be happy. But what I'm
looking for is more tariffs probably put on to China around tech. There was already an investigation that's been started at Peter Navarro's. He
has to look into whether or not that the Chinese have been protecting their IT and tech sector. If that's found to be the case, the report is going to
be out this summer. You probably going to see more protection in that area. That actually worries me more even in steel and aluminum, because
those are old-line industry. If you look at trade in those area, it's actually been flattening for the last several years. You look at digital
trade, that's been up 45 times in the last 10 years. That is where the action is in the economy. If you start getting into a global digital trade
war, we've all got big problem.
GORANI: But Trump had said several times on Twitter that the trade deficit between the United States and the world is $800 billion and that basically
America has been getting a raw deal for decades, but all these trade deals are America's disadvantage and that foreign products are just pouring into
the country unchecked. But factually that's incorrect, right?
FOROOHAR: Well, absolutely. Trade deficits are just one measure of the strength of an economy. How strong your service sector is another measure.
How strong your currency is, is another measure. What kind of labor cost you have? Are your workers highly skilled, highly productive, highly paid?
These are all different measures. You have to look at a 360 view of the economy. No mainstream economist I know, again, with the possible
exception of Peter Navarro would say that trade deficits alone are the way to look at the strength of an economy.
[15:50:01] GORANI: But those who support President Trump's policies would say, well, look where mainstream economists got us or manufacturing
industries are decimated. The pay gap is big, purchasing power actually hasn't -- has declined in real dollar terms over the last several
generations. So they would say these are globalization loving economists got us into a big mess.
FOROOHAR: Absolutely. And there's a lot of legitimacy to that. I am absolutely not saying that we shouldn't have done NAFTA, let's say better
than we did. I think that there were -- there were major issues. If you look back, the Republicans actually road blocked at the time NAFTA was
going through, road blocked greater subsidies to workers who are potentially going to lose their jobs. On the other side, you had democrats
that were perhaps not as thoughtful as they might be about how the winners and losers were going to fair. So absolutely this 2020, we need to do
trade better and smarter than we do in the past. But that doesn't mean starting a global trade war.
GORANI: And Gary Cohn, what do you make of his departure? Clearly he was opposed to raising tariffs on these products.
FOROOHAR: Yes, I think it's very telling that he said he fell underutilized. I think he got through one of the big things he wanted to
get through, which was tax cuts. If you look, actually at the amount of far right wing policies, the Trump administration has put through in its
first year, the numbers are pretty high, so it could be frankly that a lot of people are saying, hey, they're going to take their games and leave. At
this point, we're moving towards protectionism. Maybe the low-hanging fruit is in plucked. Maybe some of the predictions that we were worried
about are now going to come to the force. So it's unfortunate that he's leaving, but I'm not surprised.
GORANI: Rana Foroohar, thanks so much for doing this. Appreciate it.
FOROOHAR: Thank you.
GORANI: A lot more to come this evening including Uber says its new self- driving trucks will mean more jobs for humans. How did that work? Samuel Burke with me next.
GORANI: Well, Uber has a new frontier and it's no longer your doorstop. The ride-hailing company setting its sights on long-haul transportation.
It is already operating a fleet of self-driving trucks in Arizona in the U.S.
Samuel Burke is here with more details. And they're saying that they'll create jobs as a result?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You've got to hand it to these companies with self-driving technology, because they
want to have it both ways. They want to roll out this technology like Uber is doing in Arizona. And at the same time, they tell us, this is going to
create more jobs for human beings. Now, it's true. Right now in the state of Arizona, there are still human beings behind the wheel just in case.
So right now, yes, there are more jobs, but even Uber admits that long- term, of course, the objective here is to get rid of the drivers. Right now, these are just on highways in Arizona. Once they get into local roads
where you have more people, stop signs, stoplights, well, then that is when the humans are actually taking over.
GORANI: Well, what are the long term ambitions for Uber here? Is this where the direction they're going on?
BURKE: Well, actually if we just take the animation that we've been playing and show that full screen, what they want to do is create these
hubs where the cars will actually come in. They'll swap trailers so the cargo can go from a self-driving car to human being who might take the
produce straight to the grocery store. These are also using the Uber freight app. It's just like the Uber app that has accepted. It's
connecting the self-driving cars with the cargo that needs to get from one place to another. So they're trying to cash in on all frontier. They want
to be the middleman, but they also want to be the people making these cars and selling the space that people will use to get their products.
GORANI: And how long before this is a reality?
[15:55:08] BURKE: Well, it's a reality right now in Arizona. And I think what's funny about it is that nobody noticed, probably because -- this
actually started a few months ago. We're only just learning that this is actually have been going on that these self-driving cars are really just
doing it themselves right now. But I think that long-term what they're going to want to do, not have the driver there and I think that's coming up
a lot closer than people would think. Arizona is really the hub for this in the United States right now.
GORANI: But obviously there are going to be issues that will come up inevitably if there's an accident or if there's a fender bender and there's
no one in the vehicle.
BURKE: And that first time that that happened especially with a car that size is semi-tractor trailer or lorry, whatever you want to call it. The
first time that happens, there's going to be a big reaction and then it gets into all these deeper questions which we haven't answered yet which is
insurance-wise, if you're hit by a car that doesn't have a driver whose insurance covers that? Is it Uber? Is it the carmaker? There are a lot
of complicated questions that are fundamentally going to change all of these things if we've known about driving for so long.
GORANI: Samuel, thanks very much. What the future of Uber, the future it's hoping for anyway.
We have some breaking news coming into us from Vienna, Austria. We're hearing reports of a violent incident in the Austrian capital. Vienna
police say that a knife attacker injured three people from the same family near a subway station in Leopoldstadt district on Wednesday. This is
according to our affiliate ORF.
The three individuals injured were a mother, a father, a daughter. We understand according to police speaking to our affiliates that no one has
been apprehended, that the attacker or the attackers, because we don't know at this stage who's behind it, are still at large. But this is quite a
violent incident. They're right at a subway station with three individuals all related.
Two parents and a daughter injured in a knife attack. We don't know much about their condition. We're still, of course, following the latest coming
to us from our affiliate. But also from police authorities in Vienna.
A knife attack and of course people will be wondering who could be behind this. Is it more than one individual? Is it a group of people? Is it a
criminal act? Is it a personal matter gone wrong? Is it a robbery? All these are questions obviously still hanging in the air as we continue to
follow this story.
We'll have a lot more on this and all the other news making headlines. I'm Hale Gorani. Thanks for watching tonight. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up