Return to Transcripts main page


Lewinsky Breaks Decade Of Silence; House To Vote On Benghazi Committee; Putin Claims Troops Pulled Back From Border; U.S. Sending Help To Find Girls; South Korean Ferry CEO Arrested

Aired May 8, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Ghosts of Clinton's past. Monica Lewinsky is back and saying things Hillary may not like. And while Mrs. Clinton takes some blame for her husband's affair, Republicans want to give her a lot of blame for Benghazi. A key vote today in the investigation. Will Hillary be subpoenaed?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The Secretary of Veterans Affairs speaking out saying he will not resign despite growing calls from veterans groups after a CNN investigation found fatal failures in his department. Can he survive the storm?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Back from the brink? Russian President Vladimir Putin says he's pulling his troops back from the Ukraine border. The U.S. though says that is not happening. Is this a step toward peace or a blatant lie?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, May 8th, 6:00 in the east. Up first, Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton facing their past with both of their futures hanging in the balance. Lewinsky pens a thoughtful "Vanity Fair" article released overnight. The piece takes on Hillary Clinton's portrayal of Monica and of Hillary's own role in her husband's affair.

A much more daunting challenge faces the former secretary of state involving the attack of the U.S. mission in Benghazi. There's a real prospect of a new investigation and a possible subpoena for Clinton.

National correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux live from Washington this morning. Suzanne, as young as we both are, we did work the Lewinsky scandal back in the day. What's the take on our essay?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we are young, Chris, but 16 years ago that I covered Monica Lewinsky and we saw her outside the Watergate complex, the apartment complex. We'd run into her at a coffee shop occasionally. She was always gracious, kind, but clearly it was a very difficult and anguishing time for her.

She says that she's speaking out now because at 40 years old she really wants to move on with her life, give her life some purpose as well as her past to show those especially who have experienced public humiliation like she did that you can survive. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX (voice-over): In her tell all "Vanity Fair" essay Monica Lewinsky says she's opening up about her scandalous past in an effort to move forward. I would give anything to go back and rewind the tape. Lewinsky writes about her affair with President Clinton. She provides insight into the nature of their relationship beyond the salacious details splashed across the headlines.

It was an authentic connection with emotional intimacy, frequent visits, plans made, phone calls, and gifts exchanged. Now 40, the world's most famous White House intern examines the situation with new perspective. I look back now, shake my head in disbelief and I wonder what was I, what were we thinking?

Lewinsky has remained mostly reclusive, an effort to protect herself from the shame she felt when the affair went public.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.

MALVEAUX: Following President Clinton's initial vehement denial and subsequent admission.

CLINTON: I did I had a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate, in fact, it was wrong.

MONICA LEWINSKY: I felt like a piece of trash and I felt dirty and I felt used.

MALVEAUX: Lewinsky says the scandal changed the entire trajectory of her life making her virtually unemployable. She remains very much stuck in time, never getting married or having children. She writes, with every man I date, yes, I date, I go through some degree of 1998 whiplash. Lewinsky said she considered the consequences of telling her story on the Clinton universe and felt compelled to speak out now before Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential bid, something which means more to her than just the possibility of having a female president.

When I hear of Hillary's perspective candidacy, I cannot help but fear the next wave of paparazzi, the next wave of where is she now stories. But should I put my life on hold for another eight to ten years?


MALVEAUX: And she also responds to Hillary Clinton calling her a narcissistic loony tune. She says that that's worse than she is lucky and it's interesting that Lewinsky also plans out her life on some part on the political calendar. She's anticipating when is the next time she can be thrown into the spotlight if Hillary runs in the 2016 election and the books that will follow.

But she thought about Tyler Clementi. That was the Rutgers students who killed himself after video of him kissing another man went viral online and she says she wishes she could have talked to him and said even in your darkest moments of humiliation, your life can go on -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Suzanne, thanks so much. It's a really honest essay. It's a really interesting read. A lot to discuss throughout the morning about this.

But there's another ghost of Hillary Clinton's past that is back to haunt her again today. The House is expected to vote on a Republican proposal to open a new investigation into the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya. That attack left four Americans including the U.S. ambassador dead. Democrats are calling this a partisan witch hunt. Hillary Clinton is also finally weighing in. CNN's Brianna Keilar is in Washington with much more -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning to you. It appears that Hillary Clinton feels that assessment is right on. Here's what she said yesterday evening at a Clinton Foundation event.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Despite all of the hearings, all of the information that's been provided, some choose not to be satisfied and choose to continue to move forward. That's their choice and I do not believe there is any reason for it to continue in this way.


KEILAR: Now, adding to Democratic claims that this hearing is motivated by politics, Senate Republicans have been trying to fund raise off of it. You really can't escape the presidential politics of this. Hillary Clinton, as the current front-runner in the polls for the Democratic nomination, well, when it comes to her time at the State Department, voters really feel this is a positive.

So Republicans have been looking at that trying to take a positive and turn it into a negative. They've said that, yes, she traveled a lot as secretary of state, but they're really saying that she didn't accomplish a whole lot. So as Hillary Clinton's allies are out there both behind the scenes and also very publicly trying to back her up laying out her accomplishments.

They're doing that, Chris, ahead of the fact that we're still waiting for her word on this. Her book comes out next month. It's about her time at the State Department. So mark your calendars for that, June 10th.

CUOMO: Well, the assumption is that will be a very careful explanation in the book and they express a different set of needs in the situation. So we'll follow it through. It's certainly not done. Brianna, thank you very much.

We want to turn out to the latest in Ukraine. So Putin claims he's pulling back troops from the Ukrainian border. He also says he is asking separatists to delay a vote for parts of Eastern Ukraine to succeed. But the U.S. and NATO aren't buying it. Just this morning NATO secretary general says again there are no signs that Russia is moving its troops.

Senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance has the latest from Moscow -- Matthew.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, thank you. The doubts cast on these claims of the Russian president has fueled the war of words between the NATO chief and the Russian foreign ministry on their Twitter feed. Anyone who can't see the troop movements in Western Russia bordering Ukraine must be blind.

But there are some significant statements as well made by Vladimir Putin. He's not a guy that's known for his flip-flopping. But he has played it seem some very significant U-turns over the course of the past 24 hours when it comes to Ukraine, saying it's the right step forward for presidential elections to take place on the 25th of May, a few days earlier he said it was absurd given the security situation on the ground.

Also calling on those pro-Russian separatist groups in the east and south of the country to postpone their plan, independence referendums, which were adding fuel to the fire in that ongoing conflict. Calling on them to postpone it to a later date. It's not clear what the action will be on the ground. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Not clear at all as we march closer to that May 25th election that is supposed to be happening. Thank you so much.

We need to talk to you about a horrible turn in the Nigeria's battle against the terrorist group, Boko Haram. What's being described is a merciless assault on a village left at least 300 people dead. That's a new number coming out of how many people are killed. This is a village used as troops as a base in the search for those hundreds of abducted schoolgirls.

This attack by the militant group comes amid growing international outrage following last month's kidnappings. First Lady Michelle Obama is joining the cause posting this picture, holding a sign that reads simply #bringbackourgirls.

And now Nigeria is accepting outside help in the search for the abducted girls. Let's start our coverage on this, this morning with Vladimir Duthiers live in Nigeria. Vlad, what do we know?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, this is just a long line in the latest of atrocities committed by Boko Haram on the people of North Eastern Nigeria. As you said new number coming in from a local state senator. At least 300 people killed in an attack on a market bordering Cameroon, not far where Boko Haram assailants kidnapped more than 276 girls three weeks ago.

Now this is a classic Boko Haram technique. They came in armored personnel carriers with rocket propelled grenade launchers, attacked this village. Many of the traitors were told, Kate, try to lock themselves into their shops to escape the attack and they were roasted alive when Boko Haram members set fire to that market. This is what people need to understand about how vicious this terrorist organization is and just the first three months of this year, I want people to sort of absorb this number, 1,500 people have been killed in the first three months of this year in Boko Haram related violence in the north eastern part of the country.

And right now it appears that the government as the world is taking note is unable to stop these attacks because they happen with such regularity and with such impunity that many are wondering what exactly the Nigerian government will be able to do to so this reign of terror -- Kate.

CUOMO: I'll take it, Vlad, thank you. Watching the situation very carefully. We understand that the United States is among several countries now sending a team of experts to Nigeria to help find those girls. Barbara Starr, we do know there are existing channels of communication. But about this new information about a team going there?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. The Pentagon is going to be part of that team of military, intelligence, and law enforcement experts going to Nigeria to try to offer help. Don't look for any U.S. military operations. No U.S. commando raids here. But they will offer help with intelligence, information, how to plan a hostage rescue mission, that sort of thing if Nigerians will have to accept the help in each and every instance.

You know, there's been some a talk on Capitol Hill, why aren't you a special forces going in? The intelligence is so spotty here they don't know where the girls are. They don't know who is holding them. If they are dispersed, if they have gone across borders or have been taken across borders.

There could be multiple targets, very difficult intelligence problem, almost impossible at this point to figure out how to get them back, so they're going to try to go to Nigeria and offer the help that they can -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: That's the key, just because it's hard doesn't mean they can't do something. Let's hope they are successful. Barbara, thank you so very much.

Let's take a look at more of your headlines. Breaking overnight, a new arrest in the South Korean ferry disaster. The CEO of that company that operated the sunken ferry has now been arrested and charged. CNN's Paula Hancocks is following developments live in Hong Kong for us -- Paula.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, he is now behind bars. He has been charged by causing death by negligence. We know that he spoke to reporters a little earlier this Thursday and he basically made a public apology saying to the relatives of those victims of the disaster, I am sorry I have committed a crime that can only be paid back with my life.

Now as you can imagine that is little consolation to those who have lost their loved ones. Many losing their children in this disaster and bear in mind, 35 people are still missing. They still in the frigid waters of the yellow sea. That desperate diving operation to try and retrieve all the bodies is still on going.

They're expected to finish the first stage of this search by Saturday. Investigators have confirmed to CNN this ferry was overloaded. There was more than double the amount of cargo that there should have been on this ferry and that is the fault of this company, which is why the head of the company has been or red.

According to the investigators this is not an isolated event. Since March of last year more than 50 percent of the ships that they sent back and forth on this route were overloaded. So certainly that is causing even more anger in a country that is already shocked and also making many South Koreans believe that this company put profit before safety. Michaela.

PEREIRA: Never acceptable, especially when 269 lives, mostly children, are lost. Paula, thank you for that.

The State Department is shutting its embassy in Yemen down to the public. Officials telling CNN that there's credible information about a threat against western interests there. Just last year that embassy and several others in the region were shut down because of similar security concerns. So far, no American personnel have been evacuated.

Democrats claim election year politics are behind a House vote to hold former IRS official, Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. The vote almost entirely along party lines, cited Lerner for refusing to answer questions about targeting of conservative groups that sought tax exempt status. The Justice Department will decide whether to bring criminal contempt charges against Lerner.

A tornado tore through parts of northeast Colorado Wednesday. Powerful storm system brought several twisters to the region. Want to get over to Indra Petersons for the latest. Incredible to see what went on there in Colorado.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's one thing to hear they had severe weather. It's another thing to look at that video.


PETERSONS: You're talking about a quarter size hail. There was so much of it. Almost like it was snow out there. Look at people trying to drive on the highways with all of this hail still on the ground. This is the same storm system we're going to be looking at today, very easy to see. Same storm system that brought about four or five tornado reports, damage reports in through Colorado.

This guy is out there today for 51 million of you today, you have slight risk for severe weather. I really want you to focus out towards Minnesota and Iowa. Heightened risk for severe weather. That is the moderate risk for today. What are we looking at? Same system. Bringing showers even in the northeast this morning. Right around that warm front. Way behind it when you have the low itself in the cold front, this is what it's going to have to watch. Notice the storms really start to pop up towards the afternoon and evening hours tonight. Keep that in mind if you have traveling plans. Across the entire middle section of the country we're going to talk about problems. Not just today, even in through tomorrow.

Eastern half of the country, still talking about showers as we go through the entire weekend. It takes its time to kick out here. Temperatures will rebound. Warm air spreads farther to the east and starts to feel a little bit better into the north east where temperatures actually starts to climb up for the weekend. But unfortunately middle of the country another tough day, especially if you have travel plans. Tough out there as well.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.


CUOMO: Thank you for that.

Let's take a break. Coming up on NEW DAY, after a decade of silence, Monica Lewinsky has a lot to say in a new piece out today. Hillary Clinton won't like a lot of it. She says some provocative things that have people buzzing and with good reason.

BOLDUAN: And the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs under fire this morning and he's finally speaking out. Will he step down over accusations that veterans are dying while wait for treatment at V.A. hospitals? You will hear what he has to say coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Monica Lewinsky says she was, quote, "the most humiliated person in the world". After a decade out of the spotlight, Lewinsky is back, putting herself back in the spotlight with new insight into her affair with President Clinton. Tough talk included about Hillary and also a new goal for herself.

Let's bring in CNN political commentator and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover, and "New York Times" political reporter Amy Chozick to discuss.

Good morning, guys.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning. Thanks for having us.

BOLDUAN: Of course, we have it here. The copy of it, full article.

In reading it, what's your one big take? What's your feeling?

HOOVER: The one thing that I felt overwhelmingly was, wow, how empathetic it really does -- BOLDUAN: It does seem very honest, doesn't it?

HOOVER: It's so honest, it's so sincere. You just want to let this woman who is now 40 years old take back her life and take back her narrative and stop living in the shadows and stop being a victim of something that happened to her, bad choices she made when she was 21, 24. Which of us didn't make bad choices when we were 24?

BOLDUAN: Coming out -- coming out now, 16 years later, in a glossy "Vanity Fair," can she do that, Amy? Do you think that accomplishes what Monica Lewinsky wants, to put her past behind her?

AMY CHOZICK, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I mean, obviously, not coming out wasn't helping her. She's a lyric in a Beyonce song. She's a verb in a Beyonce song.

BOLDUAN: Good point.

CHOZICK: So, I do kind of like the way she positioned herself as a poster girl of Internet shaming. I mean, she really was the first face of Internet shaming. So, for her to take a role and sort of that cause, I think makes sense. She positioned it well.

HOOVER: And to consider that she did this -- this all happened to her in 1998, long before the Internet could have made a scandal. I mean, the Internet -- she was the first Internet scandal, this is before Twitter, this is before YouTube, this is before Facebook.

And she still had the notoriety of someone who had been victimized by those mediums. Imagine, the Tyler Clementi story that Tyler Clementi is what pulled the heart strings of her mother and helped her realize she can speak positively for victims of bullying, it's pretty remarkable.

CUOMO: I think it is a must read. I rarely say that, especially about political scandal. But I think that she is going to come across so differently than people think she is.

Before the piece came out you can see it, people want to call her dumb and what is she doing, she already screwed up with the president. All of these things that I believe that would never exist if it happened today. You know, heaven forbid, if a president were caught with an intern today, who would blame the intern? No one.

If I sat on this set and said I want to know who this Lewinsky is and how did she dupe the president -- you would all stone me and rightly so here. So, I think it's an interesting thing. I think she says interesting things about social media.

Here's my provocative point for you guys, I think she makes a decent case for women gathering around Hillary as the obvious choice for them, may want to rethink it based on how she characterizes her role in her husband's affair and how she chooses to see the woman involved.

HOOVER: She raises the hypocrisy of the women in the late '90s, which is a really important point. She says my impulse -- her impulse to blame the woman whether it's herself or me, is deeply troubling. I think women need to think about that.

But she calls out the hypocrisy if the women who rallied this -- if this is George W. Bush, there's no way women would have defended him.


BOLDUAN: Do we have that one quote about Hillary -- throw it up. I'll read it if we've got it. She said this, "Hillary Clinton wanted it on the record that she was lashing out at her husband's mistress. She may have faulted her husband for being inappropriate but I find her impulse to blame the woman, not only me but herself troubling."

Exactly to the point.

CHOZICK: Well, that's a really important issue I think for Hillary Clinton. She's speaking every day. Yesterday, she's at another event for women and girls, she's this champion of women, especially in per post-State Department role. She's really been focusing on this issue.

And I just wonder, you know, if people are going to say, wait, you didn't see anything exploitative about that? I think that's a good point in terms of her as this global feminist icon.

I thought one really interesting point, maybe it hasn't been discussed enough, is the identity or lack thereof that Monica Lewinsky was able to have. She says this and I hope we can pull this one up as well.

She said, unlike the other parties involved, I was so young that I had no established identity to which I could return. I didn't let this define me. I simply hadn't had the life experience to establish my own identity in 1998. Great point.


BOLDUAN: You see the ripple effect for the years afterwards. What have you done with yourself? Don't capitalize on yourself? She's saying I haven't had an identity to even figure out what I'm supposed to be doing.

CUOMO: In a Kardashian age, when everybody cashes in on their stupidity it seems these days, right, with our help, unfortunately, she didn't. She actually looked at federal authorities. This is true. It's not just her saying it. They wanted her to wear a wire and she said, no, prosecute me.

How many people would do that today?

HOOVER: Or a 24-year-old.

BOLDUAN: She tried to do it right.

CHOZICK: I found detail fascinate that the employers said we would have to get the OK from the Clintons because she might be the next president.

CUOMO: And I believe that, too. HOOVER: There's no way Hillary doesn't have to comment on this at some point.

BOLDUAN: That was going to be my question.

HOOVER: You think so?

BOLDUAN: She's really never needed to.

Amy, you cover her a lot. Do you think she needs to? I don't know.

CHOZICK: Whether she needs to or whether she does can be debated. I seriously believe that she will avoid this. She will not answer the question if she gets it.

BOLDUAN: If she's asked, what does she say?

CHOZICK: She gets such -- I mean, the events she's doing right now, she gets such softball -- hand-picking the events that are very light and I don't think she's going to get that.

HOOVER: She's not going to choose to. Look, if she runs for president this is going to come up. She is going to have to have an answer. The safest thing is to put out a statement, say you're empathetic to her, she hopes Monica can move on, everybody move on.

CUOMO: I'm with Margaret. I think it's win-win. I think it's win- win.

I think the dignity of leave my marriage alone allows Hillary to move past this. I'm not going to rehash my marriage with you guys. I think she will be able to skirt it. I think it will give Monica Lewinsky a chance to be designed a different way.

BOLDUAN: Doesn't it also put -- let's step into the political for a second. Does this put Republicans in a very delicate position where some Republicans may be on the cable nets don't do the delicate dance very well if they take this on?

CHOZICK: I mean, the important thing to remember is Hillary Clinton had her highest approval ratings ever during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I do not think this is something that necessarily sticks to her, her husband's mistakes.

BOLDUAN: Do we want to take it on? Republicans don't want to deal with this. Everybody is ready to move on.

CUOMO: You're not winning on your morality anymore.

HOOVER: There's plenty to talk about. There's no reason to pursue this.

She's a victim. Hillary does her best when she's a victim of her circumstances. So, there's no reason for Republicans to pursue this. And, frankly, yes, she's 66 percent approval rating when she was first lady during this and 66 percent approval rating at her height of secretary of state. There's no reason to --

BOLDUAN: I leave you guys with one just more quote and then let it go because I think this is a good one, because everyone is wondering -- what does Monica Lewinsky think about Clintons now. This one is telling. This is what she says.

"Despite what some headlines falsely report about this piece, this is not about me versus the Clintons. Their lives have moved on. They occupy important and powerful place on the global stage. I wish them no ill."

CUOMO: She's not dishing. She's not dishing in the piece. I think it's a must read. If only to -- this woman who is dismissed as a dope, right?

BOLDUAN: Not a dope. I will admit in there words in there I don't know.

CUOMO: She makes a reference to a T.S. Elliott --


CUOMO: -- that I'm sure few people will know and she uses it correctly and she actually raises a great issue about that and social media. She raises really provocative things in here which is worth a read even if you don't give a damn about the Clintons in the scandal, which is nice, but we know is not true.

BOLDUAN: That's right, as Amy knows.

All right. Thanks, guys. Margaret and Amy, great to see you guys.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, call for secretary of veterans affairs to resign growing louder this morning. This comes after CNN reported on the allegations that dozens of veterans are dying because simply of long treatment delays. If he won't step down, what happens next?