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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Accuser Talks to CNN; Trump Denies All Accusations Very Strongly on the Campaign Trail; Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 13, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
Tonight, an extended conversation with Jessica Leeds. Now, in a different world, you might know her as a single woman who in her words raised two children while successfully navigating a mostly male often sexist workplace.
You might know her as the lady from your book club who writes letters to the editor and always votes. However in this world, right now, Jessica Leeds, age 74, is known and will be known as one of several women who have just come forward and claiming Donald Trump kissed them or groped them without their consent. In Ms. Leeds' case, she says aboard an airliner in the late 1970s. She is, she says, the woman who when Donald Trump saw her again several years later called her, quote, "that blank from the plane", only he didn't use the word "blank". We'll play that interview in a moment.
For his part, Donald Trump who's campaigning tonight in Cincinnati denies the allegations which she's now claiming a part of a media conspiracy against him. He's promising to sue the "New York Times", which broke Ms. Leeds' story. He seems to be suggesting another accuser, a "People Magazine" writer is too unattractive to grope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Take a look. You take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so. I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Donald Trump is in Cincinnati tonight. So is CNN's Sara Murray.
So, what exactly did Donald Trump say about the allegations today?
SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, so far tonight, Donald Trump has not addressed this. But he was clearly very angry, very agitated by these allegations, that he was campaigning across the country today. Earlier today, he said the allegations were totally and absolutely false. He essentially called the women who lobbed these allegations against him liars, and he's been questioning their credibility throughout the day. Even appearing to suggest at one point that one of the women was not attractive enough to be worthy of his attention.
Now, this is particularly interesting, Anderson, because it comes at a time when the Trump campaign is arguing that all of the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct during the 1990s deserve to be believed. And not only that, but that Bill Clinton as well as Hillary Clinton should be held accountable.
Now, obviously, we'll be listening to see if Donald Trump does bring up the allegations again here tonight or if he sticks to the issues as his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly said she hopes he will.
Back to you, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Sara Murray. Sara, thanks very much.
Now my conversation with Jessica Leeds who decided to come forward after seeing Donald Trump in the debate in St. Louis answering this question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We received a lot of questions online, Mr. Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women.
Do you understand that?
TRUMP: No, I didn't say that at all. I don't think you understood what was -- this was locker room talk. I'm not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly, I'm not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.
COOPER: So, Mr. Trump --
TRUMP: And we should get on to much more important things and much bigger things.
COOPER: Just for the record, though, are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?
TRUMP: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.
COOPER: So, for the record, you're saying you never did that?
TRUMP: I've said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.
COOPER: Have you ever done those things?
TRUMP: And women have respect for me. And I will tell you: No, I have not. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Jessica Leeds, as you'll hear her say, concedes that what she's alleged happened a long time and you will also hear her say it left a mark. We spoke late today.
COOPER: So, when was the -- when was the first time you saw Donald Trump?
JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: I was on an airplane coming back to New York where my car was parked. And I was asked by the stewardess, would I like come up and sit in first class?
COOPER: Where were you flying from?
LEEDS: You know, 35 years ago. I believe it was Dallas. I believe it was Braniff Airlines, it was a 707, which is, of course, a much smaller airplane than what's flying today.
But I was asked would I like to come up to first class, well, Braniff had great food. Even in coach section, they had great food. So -- but I came up and seated in the first aisle seat in the first row.
COOPER: Do you know why she picked you do come up?
LEEDS: I'm sorry?
COOPER: Do you know why the flight picked you to come up?
LEEDS: Well, I sort of made a judgment after the whole thing happened that the stewardess brought me up for entertainment value. That if I was entertaining Mr. Trump, then he was out of her hair.
[20:05:04] I'm making that assessment, again.
LEEDS: But he introduced himself. I think we shook hands.
COOPER: Did you know who he was?
LEEDS: I did not know Donald Trump from a hole in the wall. I did not know New York. I did not know New York real estate. That was in 1979. So, no. I was -- I was unaware. But as I said, he introduced himself, Donald Trump. I sat down.
They served very nice dinner, or meal. And after it was all cleared, why, then he became I inappropriate.
COOPER: You -- I think you said in the "New York Times" article he asked if you were married.
LEEDS: Yes, he did -- he did. And I wasn't, at that time. I had two kids to take care of but I was divorced. COOPER: And were you talking during the meal?
LEEDS: Yes, we were chatting back and forth, and it was very innocuous. It was, you know, generalities. It was nothing -- I -- he wasn't flirting. And I don't think I was flirting. We were just talking.
COOPER: And then the meal finished.
LEEDS: The meal finished and the stewardess cleared away the dishes and everything else like that. And it was like suddenly, he's like encroaching on my side of the seat, and his hands were everywhere.
COOPER: Did he say anything?
LEEDS: No. And I didn't either.
COOPER: You didn't say anything?
LEEDS: I didn't say anything.
COOPER: You say his hands were everywhere. Can you be specific?
LEEDS: Well, he was grabbing my breasts. And trying to turn me towards him, and kissing me. And then after a bit, that is when his hands starting going -- I was wearing a skirt. And his hands starting going towards my knee and up my skirt. And that's when I said, I don't need this. And I got up.
COOPER: Is that literally what you said? Or you --
LEEDS: I don't know if I said it out loud or whether --
COOPER: That's what you were thinking --
LEEDS: I do remember thinking the guy in the other seat, why doesn't he say something? I mean --
COOPER: Could other people see?
LEEDS: The guy in the seat across the aisle could see. And I kept thinking well maybe the stewardess is going to come and he'll stop. But she never came.
COOPER: Do you know how long that went on for?
LEEDS: Not real long. No. No. I would say it was just about, what, 15 minutes. That's long enough.
COOPER: That's a long time.
COOPER: Did he actually kiss you?
LEEDS: Yes. Yes. COOPER: On the face? On the lips?
LEEDS: All -- wherever he could find spot, yes.
COOPER: And -- I mean, 15 minutes is a very long time.
LEEDS: Well, you know, it seemed like forever. So -- but I got up, got my bag and I went back to the coach section. And I went all the way back to the tail of the airplane, the last seat in the last aisle, and sat down. And when the plane landed, I made sure that I was the last person off the plane.
LEEDS: I didn't want to run into him.
COOPER: Did at any point you say anything to the --
COOPER: -- the flight attendant or?
LEEDS: No. We didn't. Women didn't at that point.
I don't know if they do it now. But no, if I complained to my boss, he would have said but that's the rigors of the road. You are a traveling sales rep.
COOPER: That's just the way it is.
LEEDS: It's just the way it is.
COOPER: And this was, you are saying 19 -- ?
LEEDS: I think it was 1979?
COOPER: Do you remember the actual date or anything like that?
LEEDS: No, no.
COOPER: Do you remember what time of year it was?
LEEDS: I want to say fall.
COOPER: Did you ever tell people at that time?
COOPER: Anybody? Friends?
LEEDS: No. No. Didn't tell my boss. Didn't tell my coworkers. Didn't tell the other women in my -- I mean, we had secretaries but I was the only woman traveling salesperson.
No, I didn't tell anybody. I didn't tell my family. I didn't tell -- I didn't tell anybody. COOPER: And, you know, some people hearing that might say, well, why
wouldn't you say something?
LEEDS: Again, remember the time and the place. I felt fortunate to have this job. I was being paid very well.
COOPER: You were the only woman sales rep.
LEEDS: That's right. It was a man's job and I got it because the company wanted a -- a token woman. And I was delighted to be that.
COOPER: When you went back to coach and were sitting there, was your -- was your thinking, oh, this is just boys will be boys?
[20:10:01] I mean, that this was your thinking of the time? Or were you thinking this is assault?
LEEDS: Well, I was pretty shook up. Yes. I remember being thankful that -- that it was quiet and it was -- you know, I could sort of get myself collected.
But, you know, I didn't -- as I said, I didn't -- I didn't ask the stewardess or complain to the stewardess. I didn't complain to the airlines. I didn't tell my boss about it. I didn't tell my family about it. It just was, you know, that is some of the times that would happen on the road.
COOPER: Did you ever see Donald Trump again in person?
LEEDS: Yes. I -- when I quit the paper company, I came to New York City. And I got a job at the Humane Society on 59th Street. And yes, they had a fancy gala at Saks 5th Avenue. And I got to go and represent the Humane Society because I had this fabulous dress. Fabulous dress.
And I got to hand out the tickets for the tables and everything else like that. It was a New York glittering night. And women were dressed beautifully and everything.
And up to the table comes Donald Trump. And he -- I hand him -- I hand the ticket for his table. And he looks at me. And he says, "I remember you. You're the woman from the airplane." Now, he used another word.
COOPER: What did he say?
LEEDS: It's obscene. It's obscene and I just -- I don't want go there. But he acknowledged me. And I --
COOPER: So, when said you are the something from the airplane?
COOPER: So he was using a derogatory term.
LEEDS: Uh-huh. COOPER: OK.
LEEDS: As I recall it, I just said, here's your ticket, I hope you have a good evening. And I left pretty soon afterwards. Because I was thunderstruck -- thunderstruck that he remembered me at all.
COOPER: It is probably the last thing you expected to have happen.
LEEDS: Oh God, yes. Oh yes. But at that time I was aware that Donald Trump was very important in New York City because the Humane Society wanted all of the Trumps. They invited Robert Trump. They invited, you know, whoever Trump. They wanted to make sure the people came to this event.
COOPER: So, that would have been what, 19 -- ?
LEEDS: I think it was '81. So, it was a couple of years after I'd first run into him. So it was like I was really impressed that he remembered me.
COOPER: And that the point, you knew who Donald Trump was.
LEEDS: Yes, yes.
COOPER: So afterwards the plane -- afterwards what happened on the plane, when did you start to realize who Donald Trump was? Do you remember?
LEEDS: When I came to New York City.
COOPER: You lived in New York.
LEEDS: Yes. '81. Yes.
COOPER: Because he was big in the early '80s.
LEEDS: Yes. I lived for a year in Florida. And, you know, he never came -- his name never came up there. So --
COOPER: Over the years as you saw, you know, his -- the front page "New York Post" and, you know --
LEEDS: Marriages, his ups and down, yes.
COOPER: What did you think?
LEEDS: Well, he's one of these people that seems to attract fame. And he's -- he -- what was it, Gail Collins commented that during the break up of his first marriage she was called in from Florida to cover the Trump break up. And it was like, it's just a divorce. Why are you having to put so many reporters on it? I mean, he attracts a lot of attention.
COOPER: Did you think over the years, did you tell anybody, oh, look, Donald Trump, you know, I remember -- I had this encounter with him? LEEDS: Run in with him. Yes, I didn't start telling my story until
about a year and a half ago. When it became apparent that he was making a serious run for the presidency, and I would have an occasion to say to a group of friends, "Let me tell you my Trump story."
Now, most of these friends were women, because my book club. It was this club. It was neighbors and friends and everything, but a couple of men -- my son-in-law, my son, friends, my nephew, the whole thing. And over the year and a half that I've been telling it, it is like -- it doesn't change it at all. It still infuriates me when I think about it.
[20:15:01] But, I -- you know, that was a long time ago. It wasn't until Sunday night -- and all of them. All of my friends would say, oh, you've got to -- you've got to write this story you have. You've got to publish it. You've got to contact somebody and make it known and I -- too long ago.
COOPER: You didn't want to do that?
LEEDS: No. Not particularly. It was too long ago.
So, but when you at the debate -- well, the Friday night tapes, that whole bus scene was really annoying. And then the debate, when you specifically asked Trump had he ever groped a woman -- or I forget how you phrased it. And he said no.
COOPER: Yes, I asked him if he'd ever -- if he was just bragging about sexual assault or if he had actually done what he said.
COOPER: Had ever kissed a woman without consent?
COOPER: Had ever groped a woman without consent?
LEEDS: Right. And he said no. And I literally wanted to throw something at the TV or punch my hand in the TV. And that -- that was Sunday night. And Monday morning, I found myself writing an e-mail, letter to the editor to "The Times".
COOPER: Something about him actually denying it on that stage.
LEEDS: Yes. Yes. As far as -- yes. Yes. That is it exactly.
COOPER: What do you think it was about that moment that made you want to go public?
LEEDS: Because I really would like for the fact that he's lying and he lies about so many things, really brought out and, yes, you did. You asked a very good question. But he -- he's very good at, all of a sudden, he was talking about ISIS, and he was talking about defense and he was talking about this, that and the other. So, he manages to change the conversation. And I -- sometimes I think I don't think he's even really aware of
that he's lying. He's built up his defenses in his head to the extent that he doesn't know.
COOPER: So, you, in that moment, where you said you wanted to throw something at the screen, is that the moment you decided, you know what, I'm going to go public with this?
LEEDS: Uh-huh. I didn't sleep Sunday night, thinking about what do and how to do it. I got up and on my e-mail, there were two friends who had -- I had told the story. And they said, you know, you really should -- because they had watched the debate. You really should say something.
And I thought, OK, maybe this is time do it. And it really amazed me that "The Times" called me back almost instantaneously.
COOPER: Did you -- were you worried to come forward? You said you were up all night?
LEEDS: Yes. Trying to think what, how should I tell this -- how should I frame the story? You know, it wasn't really until I read -- I was reading the Sunday -- I was reading the Monday morning newspaper. And I was thinking, oh, yes. I've e-mailed letters to the editor at "The Times". I'm going e-mail them. But I was, you know, thinking he so infuriated me that --
COOPER: Were you worried about wading into this very contentious presidential election?
LEEDS: No, I really didn't. And I'm amazed, absolutely amazed at the reaction.
COOPER: How so?
LEEDS: Look, when I escalated, I thought, well, "The Times" is going to rewrite my letter and publish it in the leaders to the editor. And no, and they called me and did a phone interview and then they asked if they could send somebody to interview in person. And then they asked if they could do the video. And it's like it was just escalating. And it was like wow.
And then I was out last night at a concert. And I had alerted my daughter that they were going to publish it online. And -- so, when I came out from the concert, my phone -- of course, I had turned it off. My phone was buzzing all over the place. And there was any daughter saying, "Oh, my God." So, that is when I s the video.
And then this morning, well, I haven't even finished the reading the story yet. So, I haven't even gotten to that point. That's how chaotic my life has been today.
COOPER: You know there are -- obviously, there's going to be criticism. And I'm sure you knew that going into it?
LEEDS: Criticism? (LAUGHTER)
I have -- I have made it -- I'm not responding to -- I'm not looking at e-mails I don't recognize.
[20:20:07] COOPER: You're not watching television.
LEEDS: I'm not watching. I'm -- I know that there are people out there that this is a hot button issue for them. And they are angry. But that's -- I'm not going wallow in that.
COOPER: One -- one of the things some people have suggest, is that you are looking for fame. You are looking for 15 minutes of fame.
COOPER: I should point out, I interviewed a lot of people who come in an entourage, who come in with a public relations person who are looking to write a book. You're not -- you don't have any entourage. You have no public relations person.
LEEDS: Well, I can't help but think that within the next 24 hours, Trump and Trump's organization will maneuver or create some sort of news story that is going to make mine all go away. But apparently, there are a number of women who are now coming forward. So, that's kind of rewarding.
What do I want out of it? Or what do I expect out of it? I -- it would be nice if some men could have some sort of inkling that their behavior leaves a mark, leaves a scar, leaves -- leaves a lot of pain. And it may just be fun and games to them. But it's not for a lot of women.
COOPER: Has this left a mark on you?
LEEDS: Yes. Oh sure. Oh sure.
It -- but it was part of I'm working, I'm going to survive, we're going to move on. And I'm going take care of my family and I'm going to try to enjoy what I enjoy. So -- but oh, yes. It leaves a mark.
COOPER: Even though that is something that a lot of women still have to deal with, but certainly back then had to deal with. It -- and you at the time sort of thought, well, this is -- this is the cost of being on the road. But it hurts.
LEEDS: Yes, well, I have hopes or aspirations that things are better for women working now. I'm not so sure. I -- there was another letter that I wrote to "The Times" that had -- that was a response to a story that they did about Ivana where she had been whistled at by the construction workers at one of her father's hotels and construction zone.
LEEDS: Ivanka. But she was -- they were absolutely distraught when they discovered that she was the boss's daughter. And I'm thinking she at least has the protection of it being she's the boss's daughter, when a lot of women out there don't have that. And they are subject to all sort of ridicule and harassment. And they have no -- they have no -- they just have to steam through it.
COOPER: What would you want to say to Donald Trump if you could?
COOPER: Her answer to that when we come back.
[20:27:38] COOPER: Donald Trump calls the allegations outright lies. Jessica Leeds calls it her story -- a story she says from a different time when she says typically women did not talk about men harassing them or trying to kiss or grab them. She did not tell her story back then. She's only telling it now she says because the man in question is running for president and she says she's lying about his behavior towards women.
And before the break, you heard that story. We also talked about how and whether she would confront Donald Trump today?
COOPER: What would you want to say to Donald Trump if you could?
LEEDS: Oh. Wow.
If I thought he could recognize, could hear, but his -- his modus operandi, his career has been established -- I think there was a piece in the newspaper about friends saying that he was this way in first grade.
He's been this way his entire life. I don't -- I don't believe he's going to change. And I -- and I resent some of the leadership that think that, oh, if he gets in, they can manipulate him. They won't be able to manipulate him. What you see is what you get.
COOPER: So, you are saying there is nothing you would want to say directly to him because you don't think he'd listen.
LEEDS: Exactly. I don't think he would listen. Wouldn't hear --
COOPER: What would you like him to know though about you? About --
LEEDS: I'm not the important one. I'm not important. But the culture of this kind of behavior, he's participated in it. And I'd like to see it stopped. I'd like to see it change. I'd like to see -- I'd like to see men grow up, stop being 16-year-olds. I'd like to see women get equal pay.
COOPER: Donald Trump says this was just locker room talk. This is just -- LEEDS: It -- yes. It was locker room talk. And it is -- but it is
terribly destructive, because they take the talk and they go out on the road and they do the talk.
COOPER: So, for him, you are saying it was not just locker room talk.
[20:30:02] LEEDS: No, oh, no. No.
COOPER: What you're saying he did, do you think he would believe that sexual assault?
LEEDS: Probably not. He probably thinks that his attentions are welcomed and that he -- he is a -- the big dog in the room. And so he gets attention. He likes to have beautiful women around him. And that's the way he behaves.
COOPER: And I'm just trying to imagine so all the possible things that somebody is seeing this who might support Trump might say that you didn't notify the flight attendant or ...
COOPER: ... complain to the person across the way.
LEEDS: Correct. It was then, the time and the place as I said, that wasn't even possible. That wasn't even considered. It never entered my mind to complain.
COOPER: That says a lot.
The -- when other -- Donald Trump has come forward and said a couple of things. Nothing about you in particular. But I just want to read some of the things he has said just today and if you have any comment to them.
At a campaign event he said, "These vicious claims about me are inappropriate -- he said, "These vicious claims about me of the inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false and the Clintons know it and they know it very well. These claims are all fabricated, they're fiction, they're outright lies. The events never, never happened."
LEEDS: Why in the world he would blame the Clintons for it is phenomenal. But that's his wall of -- of protection. He's -- this is how he is coping with the fact he's completely rejecting the reality.
COOPER: The -- another thing he said is, "Take a look at these people. You studied the people and you will understand also.
LEEDS: Yes, that was one of the reasons why I pulled out my pictures to show. Because I'm 74 years old. And for him to now look at me at this age, he would never even give me the time of day. But I wanted -- I wanted people to know what I looked like when I met him.
COOPER: Because you thought he would comment on your looks.
LEEDS: Yes. I knew he would comment on my looks.
COOPER: Another event -- at the same event today he said, substantial -- that he has substantial evidence to dispute these lies and he plans to make it public.
LEEDS: Good luck. I would think that he would -- should be more worried about the current allegations of people from the past 10 years than he would worry about something 35 years ago.
COOPER: As I ...
LEEDS: As I said, 35 years ago, this was -- this was somewhat acceptable behavior.
COOPER: A reporter from "People Magazine" has also come forward saying that he assaulted her. He said about that "take a look, you take a look. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don't think so. I don't think so."
LEEDS: Well it's all in the looks. Except for the fact that when push comes to shove it is like the song. When I'm not near the girl I love, I love the girl I'm near. So if he can't have a model he'll take whatever he can get.
COOPER: You believe that?
LEEDS: Yeah I do. I do. But his dismissal, that -- that somebody's unattractive is again a serious form of discrimination. Very few people in this world are beautiful. Most of us just get by with being presentable. And trying to keep clean and neat. So his dismissal of people, like -- like Carri Fioril (ph) from the ...
COOPER: Carly Fiorina.
LEEDS: ... Fiorina, you know, that was an awful, awful statement. That look at that face.
COOPER: No doubt, I mean Donald Trump has said and many from the campaign have said that this is politically motivated. That you -- maybe -- that some tweet was sent out. Some organization said that your phone number was the same as the Clinton Foundation organization.
LEEDS: Yes my daughter told me that. Yeah I have no idea how -- if it is, certainly I hope they have been getting half the phone calls that I've been getting, because that would be a lot of phone calls.
COOPER: Do you have any connection with the Clinton campaign?
COOPER: Have you ever donated to Clinton ...
LEEDS: No -- well yeah, I donated something like five bucks to get a tick -- a button -- yes.
[20:35:07] COOPER: A button for? LEEDS: For Hillary.
COOPER: Hillary Clinton.
COOPER: And is that the only donation you have made to the ...
LEEDS: To the Clintons? Yes.
COOPER: Or the foundation.
LEEDS: Or the foundation.
COOPER: Have you been in contact with them the ...
COOPER: ... the campaign at all.
COOPER: Is that something you would want to start doing, going out on the road in anyway with the campaign?
LEEDS: Well this is getting so down and dirt that, you know, you sort of want do you have -- I would like do something. But that's not my inclination. I vote for dog catcher. I go to every -- I vote for everything. Primaries, whatever it is I vote. Because my grandmother was a suffragette and her, you know, ghost is in the battleground is you better go vote, girl.
So -- but no. I've not -- I follow politics. I'm interested in politics but I've not participated in it.
COOPER: Just to go back to the event at sacks (ph), when he saw you. Is there -- you absolutely don't want to say what he said to you.
LEEDS: Not -- it's -- it was like a bucket of cold water being poured over me. But no. I really -- I really think -- I think possibly that would infuriate the whole situation that much more. And I'm not so sure we need to put any more fuel on the fire. And hopefully the fire will go away. No.
COOPER: You're hoping this dies down for you.
LEEDS: I'm expecting it to, yes. Because as I said, I think Trump's organization, or a Trump of himself will come up with some other blockbuster that will occupy the media. He's very good at that.
COOPER: But it is interesting to me that you don't want to -- you don't want to use the word.
LEEDS: Well As I said I don't want to put anymore fuel on the fire. And it is just, I think -- I think I'm just insinuated enough of what an insult it was. That that's enough. COOPER: OK. Is there anything else you want to say?
LEEDS: No, I really hope by Monday all of this has blown over. I really do. But I also hope that -- that anybody and any woman who has a story to tell that they get an opportunity to get it off their chest or -- and get an opportunity to express their outrage. That maybe it will start a dialogue and will make some progress on this issue. Because we're all in this together. Men and women.
COOPER: Well, thank you very much for talking to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Just ahead more of what Donald Trump said today on the campaign trail about the women who are claiming he sexual assaulted them as the allegations build and his poll numbers take a hit. He's digging in.
Lots to discuss with the panel. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... for anyone at anytime, because that is when our country started turning around and being great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[20:42:30] COOPER: But before the break we heard Jessica Leeds described how she says Donald Trump groped and kissed her on a plane more than three decades ago. Ms. Leeds is now 74-years old. I interviewed her shortly before we went on air.
She's one of several women who come forward over the past 24 hours allegedly Donald Trump did to them essentially would he brag about to Bill and Bush on that 2005 recording.
He is been denying it all day very strongly on the campaign trail. He did not focus specifically on it at his latest stop in Cincinnati which just wrapped up all though he did attack what he called crooked Hillary and the crooked media. A lot to discuss with the panel.
Joining us Clinton supporter, Christine Quinn, Republican strategist and CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, does not support Trump. "New York Times" presidential campaign correspondent and CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman. CNN political commentators and Trump supporters, Kayleigh McEnany, Corey Lewandowski and Andre Bauer.
Kayleigh, so you heard Ms. Leeds at length. What do you think?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP SUPPORTER Well, first I want to start by saying I think anyone who has an accusation should feel free to come forward and say that and should be heard. But likewise anyone accused of something should be heard. Donald Trump has outright denied this and voters will make a choice as to who they believe. I think these cases are better litigated in the court of law but unfortunately none of these women coming out 4 weeks before an election. Filed a police report at the time. They chose to instead present their stories to the "New York Times" instead of to a police officer presenting in a court of law.
And I personally I'm voting on issues, I'm voting for, you know, who's going to lower my taxes. Who's going to cut spending and that candidate is Donald Trump and that is it. And think when voters go into the voting booth, quite honestly they're going to feel very sick about this whole media culture of getting into the got to the stories and I think they're going to vote on who's best for their lives.
COOPER: Corey, do you think, I mean the number of women who come forward, do you think it hurts Donald Trump.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Look, I don't think it helps obviously. You know, let's just be very clear about it, but I think again when you are accused of something you have the ability to respond. That's how our system works. And I agree this should be litigating the court of law if that's where, here's a -- if that's were the cases, but what I find very fascinating is 25 days from the election and this is opposing and response to a question that was asked on a Sunday night.
You know, 72 hours past since that question was asked and then Wednesday night someone comes out and follows up and says Anderson your question was so compelling I waited another 72 hours, so I could maximize my exposure.
COOPER: Well, she says she wrote immediately the following morning, she was up all night and then she decides to do it Monday morning wrote to the "New York Times."
LEWANDOWSKI: I find it -- look, I don't know how the "New York Times" works, but I think if they have a ground breaking story which they claim this to be, they don't sit on for any additional 72 hours to post a story. I find that very hard too believe. I think the closer to the election this gets, the more political it is, the more people want to come out, who want to have their own interest and they're very clear.
[20:45:05] Look, you can support Hillary Clinton. You are welcome to do that but defaming somebody 25 days before an election, I think it's a little out of line when you have had the opportunity if this concern you to so much time to raise this issue for months and months or years. This happened 37 years ago. According to her own account.
COOPER: Maggie Haberman, you happened to work for the "New York Times." If somebody writes a letter to the editor on a Monday morning, is it strange that it would take till last night that the story was actually posted online. MAGGIE HABERMAN, NEW YORK TIMES PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN CORRESPONDENT: These claims were looked at, they were reported out, you obviously interviewed the woman as well, there was another woman in our story too.
Mr. Trump has responded pretty clearly that this is false. We got a letter from his lawyer. Our lawyer responded that Mr. Trump has taken his own reputation into his hands essentially and whether these ends up mattering in the election remains to be seen. We'll see.
CHRISTINE QUINN, CLINTON SUPPORTER: So, look I agree very much with the first part of what Kayleigh said, that everybody who makes a charge has a right to be heard and those accused have a right in our system to be heard and be defended. But I just it's not gossip. This isn't gossipy.
This woman came forward and told her story. And it's really hard for people who are victims and survivors of sexual violence to come forward. I've seen that in my work as the crime victims advocate. I've seen it with the victim and children I work with in the homeless system. It's hard.
And for your Corey 34 years may seem too long. But you are not the person who alleges to have been sexual assaulted on an airplane. And I think when Ms. Leeds talks about what it was like 35 years ago -- and it is not easy now -- we need to be mindful of that. And when she said no one complained. If she told her boss it would be written off as get tougher. It's the rules of the road. Those are not made up statements of what the culture was like then. And even -- and I know you did not mean to do this, Corey.
But when you question whether she really went to the "New York Times" on Monday or Wednesday, you inadvertently were calling her a liar. And what one of the things survivors fear is that they won't be heard and affirmed that they will be called horrible things. She was when she saw Mr. Trump the next time. She feared she would be derided ...
COOPER: But I can tell you those -- some, you know, a lot of Trump supporters, will say look the women who accused Bill Clinton in some cases were derided and not taken seriously.
QUINN: And you know what? One, Bill Clinton is not running for president. And two, I don't think people who make accusations, look, and I think you are found to have made a wrongful -- a willfully, wrongful allegation of rape and sexual assault, that is a terrible, terrible thing and does as much harm to rape survivors, you know, very significant harm. But the issue here is really.
LEWANDOWSKI: And politically motivated.
QUINN: No, but you know what?
COOPER: OK, let Corey answer.
QUINN: I'm sorry.
LEWANDOWSKI: They should come out. If something happened to them that was wrong and an illegal issue they should come out and bring that to life is now question and, you know, maybe the sexual limitations is expired but that person is due their opportunity to talk about it.
QUINN: When they are ready. When they're ready.
LEWANDOWSKI: What I find very unique and very surprising is we're 25 days from a presidential election. He has been the most high profile person potentially on the planet for the last year and a half running for president and we have waited until three until weeks before an election to raise an issue which is a very serious issue. There is no question about it. But why wasn't this issue raised from this woman a year ago or two years ago or twenty years ago or 30 years ago.
QUINN: Corey, we didn't wait for anything. We didn't wait for anything. It's not our story. She waited, and she hoped you could hear it in her voice that she would be able to put this in the background of her life and never look at it again. And then she heard the tape on Friday. She heard Anderson's question. She heard Mr. Trump's response and that caused something in her.
COOPER: It is interesting Ana that, I mean a number of the people who come forward all cite what Donald Trump said on the debate stage Sunday night as being the kind of the moment they decided to come forward.
Now, whether you believed them or not but thought the "People Magazine" writer has said that. I believe the woman down in Palm Beach has said that as well, and I think the other woman who the "New York Times" profiled.
QUINN: And a lot of other survivors.
COOPER: Or not the other woman at Times.
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I've got to imagine that if you experience this from Donald Trump, it was a level of infuriating that escaped words, to hear him deny it in such a way. And I've got to imagine that 25 days out from the election, if you are a woman who experienced this from Donald Trump directly, you got to be at a level of distress, at a level of sadness, at level of panic at the idea that the United States of America could very well elect a groper in chief. And that's what's making us speak.
[20:50:22] I think you know focusing on the timing issues it's a pretty cute distraction but it totally misunderstands sexual assault and what sexual assault victims go through and how they feel. I have -- I've got to tell you, so many women are coming up to me, people I don't know. Strangers sending me e-mails, contacting me through social media, stopping me at airports, telling me their stories. I think this has touched a nerve in the American people. It has lifted the veil. It's got women all over the place talking and sharing experiences because they need the catharsis, they need to share and because they are afraid.
NAVARRO: That this man who is so unfit to be human might actually be the next president.
COOPER: Corey, there's a report from Bloomberg, I'm going to ask you about the said that when you were campaign manager, you tried to get the campaign to do opposition research on Donald Trump, on their own candidate, which is common in campaigns because you want to find out, are there any minefields down the road that are going to pop up later and he denied that request. He did not want that want that, it's that true?
LEWANDOWSKI: I mean, look the Bloomberg had -- the Bloomberg story has some inaccuracies in it and I don't want to get into the details of the inner campaign workings, but we were clearly prepared for the primary campaign of Donald Trump running against 14 or 15 other people and what issues would potentially come up, whether it was a change of position from ...
COOPER: You don't want to say whether the campaign did extends about this ...
LEWANDOWSKI: What I don't want to say is the level of opposition research we had done on our ourselves, because I don't want to give the Clinton campaign any additional information.
COOPER: But should a campaign ideally, would a campaign do opposition research on its own campaign?
LEWANDOWSKI: Yeah, I think they would in most occasions, yeah and I think that, you know, what we would are seen is that the Clinton campaign would have done the same thing, and then these e-mails that were coming out, or the lives at 33,000 or the fake, you know, a private person and a public person. My guess is that information was not shared with the campaign, it was shared with the Podesta team and the outside the campaign world that the real Clinton supporters, who have been with the family for a long time, knew the information, but the internal campaign people, the mucks of the world to have been it for a much short period of time wouldn't have access to the information that the larger narrative wouldn't have.
COOPER: And Mook is actually his name not like ...
LEWANDOWSKI: Well that's the ...
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: For those viewers who are not as in depth. But do you wish there had been more opposition research? Can you say that?
LEWANDOWSKI: No, I don't think so. I think the campaign was prepared for -- you know, and I can speak to me being there in the primary. What the information I had that we were prepared for in the primary that we thought would be an issue in the primary campaign, we were fully prepared and vetted to be able to answer.
NAVARRO: I wish they had more of the research.
NAVARRO: I'm from his -- from the primary opponent. I mean, what were these people doing? There were 16 other candidates and they seem to have been playing patty cake on the playground.
LEWANDOWSKI: Yeah, Bush spent $150 million and couldn't find the Howard Stern tapes.
COOPER: Andre, where do you see this going in the (inaudible) Jeffrey Lord here last night who said he thinks this kind of is a wash that these women coming forward, the Bill Clinton accusers, that in the minds of many voters maybe it just sort of all evens out in some way.
ANDRE BAUER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: These are serious allegations, and I have compassion for anybody that has been violated. I do agree with Corey that this short a time before the election is off, very convenient. Because it could have come out in a primary, it could have come out years ago, there could have been witnesses, But we don't have any of that and almost all this every story I heard so far. But it's much like the Khan situation, defending it becomes so dangerous that it prolongs the story. I agree with her on one account, absolutely. I hope it's over by Monday.
COOPER: It's interesting, Maggie, because we heard Donald Trump at the event tonight in Cincinnati, in front of a very large crowd, saying that they're going to be focusing on the issues for the next, you know, day after day after day.
Earlier, he obviously talked extensively at another campaign event about women coming forward, about the allegations, about wanting to sue the "New York Times," and others. But, he seems to be at least, tonight, saying he doesn't want to continue to or doesn't want to continue to talk about it, because he didn't talk about it at the event tonight.
HABERMAN: There a couple of things. We had reporters at least one of his rallies earlier today, and his supporters are not bothered by this at all, they're very angry about the accusations and believe him. So I think that his team is aware of sort of how this is playing with his supporters. Number one.
Number two. There is a bit of a divide among, in his campaign, at various levels, as to what he should be talking about. There are some people who think this is a good thing to focus on and there are other people who think at the end of the day, it just stays on a topic that is, you know, at best, a wash to quote your word earlier.
COOPER: Not my word, it's Jeffrey Lord.
HABERMAN: And someone's word, and then it's not really what voters are ultimately going to be voting on. And so he talked more throughout the day about student debt and sort of focused more on millennials and he focused more on jobs.
[20:55:03] And I think that is where a lot of his advisers would like to take it. But you also had him do a much fulsome sort of speech today, that others is just a larger conspiracy to get him. And that is the frame, I think, you're going to see for him ...
COOPER: Because that idea is, obviously, if he believes it's true, it's also about engaging the base, it's about getting people ...
HABERMAN: It's telling the base that he is the ultimate change in outsider candidate, and that he is the only person who's going to fight for them. That is going -- that is his message and that is probably what you're going see going forward.
COOPER: I want to thank everybody on our panel.
Coming up in the next hour of "360," a lot more voices in this story. I'll speak with the two "New York Times" reporters who broke the story of Jessica Leeds and another accuser. We'll also hear from a "People Magazine" editor about another accuser, a former writer for the magazine. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Good evening. Tonight my conversation with one of four Donald Trump accusers, who have come forward in just the last 24 hours, accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior. Jessica Leeds, what she says Trump did to her on a flight in the late 1970s with the reporters who broke her stories say about what went into researching that story and what the Trump campaign is doing about it now.
Also, what Ms. Leeds believes should be the ultimate outcome from what has been to her, a personally painful episode.
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