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Trump Accuser: I Hope Men Realize Their Behavior Leaves a lot of Pain; People Magazine: We Stand by Our Story; NY Times Writers Should Have Been Fired; NYT: Two Women Say Trump Touched Them Inappropriately; Michelle Obama Calls Trump's Behavior Cruel, Frightening; Ivanka Campaigns in PA, Won't Answer Questions. Aired 9- 10p ET.

Aired October 13, 2016 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:00] JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: And it may just be fun and games to them, but it's not for a lot of women.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Has this left a mark on you?

LEEDS: Yeah. 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 to take care of my family and I'm going to try to enjoy what I enjoy. So, but, oh, yeah, it leaves a mark.

COOPER: Even though that's something that a lot of women still have to deal with, but certainly back then, had to deal with -- and you at the time, sort of thought, well, this is the cost of being on the road. But it hurts.

LEEDS: Yeah, well, I have hopes or aspirations that things are better for women working now. I'm not so sure.


COOPER: We'll have more on Jessica Leeds' story later in this hour.

But first, the very latest on how the Trump campaign is dealing with another punishing day of headlines. CNN's Sara Murray is traveling with the candidate, joins us now from Cincinnati.

So did he address the allegations against him at the rally there tonight because he did obviously earlier today?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Right, even though he focused on this for a lot of the day, he made no mention of it here in Cincinnati. Instead, he seized on those WikiLeaks revelations, as it related to Hillary Clinton. He went after her as a corrupt politician. He said she should be locked up.

Anderson, it's almost like the Trump campaign realized that they should drive an additional message today, other than having Donald Trump spend his entire day insisting that he has never sexually harassed, sexually assaulted anyone with less than four weeks until election day.

COOPER: This afternoon, he flat-out denied any of what these women are alleging, right?

MURRAY: Not only did he deny it, he said that all of the accusations were baseless, they were totally false. You could tell he was very angry about it. He said these allegations have been painful for him and painful for his family.

But he also went after the credibility of those women who made these allegations against him, questioning why it took so long for them to report these things. And even seeming to suggest at one point that one woman was not attractive enough to warrant his attention.

And of course, Anderson, this is all coming at the same time the Trump campaign has employed this strategy of insisting anyone who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct in the 1990s should be believed. And that they should blame not only Bill Clinton for that, but Hillary Clinton, as well.

COOPER: All right, Sara Murray. Sara, thanks very much.

As Sara just alluded to, among his recent accusers, Donald Trump singled out one today for special scorn. Former "People" magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, she says Trump assaulted her in 2005.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why wasn't it part of the story that appeared 20 -- or 12 years ago? Why wasn't it part of the story? Why didn't they make it part of the story? I was one of the biggest stars on television with "The Apprentice." And it would have been one of the biggest stories of the year. Think of it.

She's doing this story on Melania, who's pregnant at the time. And Donald Trump, our one-year anniversary, and she said I made inappropriate advances. And by the way, the area was a public area. People all over the place.

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.


COOPER: Donald Trump today. Joining us now is "People" magazine senior editor, Charlotte Triggs. Charlotte, thanks so much for being with us.

First of all, let's talk about the account that your -- that the former "People" magazine writer said happened to her in 2005. If you can just sort of explain.

CHARLOTTE TRIGGS, SENIOR EDITOR, PEOPE MAGAZINE: Right. So, she was down in Mar-A-Lago, in order to report a story about their first wedding anniversary and Melania was pregnant. And she said that in between photo setups while Melania was changing her clothes upstairs, Donald asked her if he could show her around Mar-A-Lago and that there was one tremendous room he really wanted to show her.

So he takes her in there, he closes the door behind him, and he threw her up against the wall and kissed her forcibly. And she said it was only when the butler walked in and said that Melania was on her way back down, that she got the chance to break up that moment.

But then he subsequently continued hitting on her and said that he wanted to have an affair with her, take her to have a steak dinner at Peter Luger. And the next day, actually showed up at her massage appointment and, you know, intimidate her.

COOPER: A massage appointment at Mar-A-Lago that she had booked before that event.

TRIGGS: Yes, at the spa.



COOPER: I mean, the account is very detailed. That's obviously incredibly disturbing.

You know, Donald Trump says why wasn't that part of the story? That it would have been a huge story?

[21:05:03] TRIGGS: You know, honestly, this is something that she did not want to talk about. She wanted to go back to living her life. She felt like this was a violation, but it wasn't something that was worth blowing up her entire life and he career over. And you know ...

COOPER: She thought it might affect her career?

TRIGGS: Absolutely. And she knew that he was a very powerful, you know, T.V. celebrity and a powerful businessman. And that he would retaliate against her if she made such unflattering comments publicly about him. And she was afraid of that.

COOPER: Do you know if she told any other people at the time?

TRIGGS: Yeah, she did come back to New York and she told her, you know, trusted colleague and friend at the office what had happened. And the friends suggest that that maybe they should consider killing the story, but Natasha didn't want to make an issue out of it, and so she didn't actually raise it up the chain, so the upper management was never made aware of it at that time.

COOPER: Do you -- I want to play -- I mean, as we said, Donald Trump denies it. He was very specific. I want to play another part of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: This invented account has already been debunked by eyewitnesses who were there. They were there. The very witness identified by the author has said the story is totally false. By the way, this is a room that everybody can see. It's got glass walls. It's at Mar-A-Lago. It's got glass walls. Can you believe this? Why wasn't it in the story? Biggest story of the year?


COOPER: Your response to that. I guess he's talking about the butler?

TRIGGS: I would have to assume he's talking about the butler, although, he doesn't get specific. I don't know if that's a strategic choice. But of course, the butler's employed by him, you know, yet today. It could be that he's speaking about the masseuse, who witnessed him waiting for her at the salon, but again, he didn't get specific, didn't get the details, and that person was also his employee.

COOPER: I'm wondering what you thought when you heard Donald Trump say, look at her, and then he said look at her words.

TRIGGS: Right.

COOPER: What did you make of that?

TRIGGS: It's very clear, it's not a particularly subtle remark that seems to be hinting at some sort of, you know, physicality. However, you know, his opinion of anybody's looks is really secondary to the issue here. You know, this was a horrific thing that she went through. She was very brave to discuss it publicly. And to cast aspersions on someone for their, you know, appearance is really not the issue. And nobody really needs to know his opinion of what someone looks like.

COOPER: The -- Melania Trump -- Melania Trump's attorney, I understand, has sent a letter to "People" magazine demanding you print a retraction and an apology. It's interesting because the part -- the specific parts of the article that they are referencing are an encounter that the writer, Natasha Stoynoff, says that she ran into Melania Trump on the street at a later date on Fifth Avenue. Melania Trump is saying that that never happened. That she wouldn't have even recognized Mrs. Stoynoff.

TRIGGS: Right, they seem fixated on the idea that she would have never been friendly with her or friends or anything of the sort. We did receive the letter and we stand by our story.

COOPER: The -- you yourself have written about your experiences interviewing Donald Trump.


COOPER: You've interviewed him -- you're not alleging, obviously, any physical misconduct. TRIGGS: Right.

COOPER: You do say that he commented on your appearance?

TRIGGS: Yes. You know, on both occasions that I interviewed him for the cover of "People" magazine, he welcomed me into his office by, you know, commenting on my appearance. He said I was beautiful, which, you know, on the one hand, that's quite complimentary, but on the other hand, it's quite inappropriate when you're sitting down to talk about serious issues.

And, you know, of course, that's just symptomatic of the way that he does place such, you know, specific interest on someone's appearance.

COOPER: When -- in terms of the account of Natasha Stoynoff, there was a photo shoot also going on? Is that right?

TRIGGS: Yes, it was a photo shoot and interview and ...

COOPER: So often when he's doing a profile, there's a photographer and a whole bunch of people taking pictures ...

TRIGGS: Right.

COOPER: And then the writer will often be there to try to get some color that they can use in the article?

TRIGGS: Yeah, that's right. And I think the photos were done both inside and outside. The interview was actually done outside. And then he led her into the building to show her a specific room and closed the door. So, the -- any idea of there having been, you know, a public space is perhaps a mischaracterization.

COOPER: Did -- my reading of her article is she didn't -- unless I missed it, she didn't specify what room that he brought her into. Mr. Trump seems to be saying it's a room that doesn't have any glass -- or that has glass windows, that it's a public space. I'm not sure how he would know what room she was referring.

TRIGGS: Well, he's clearly recalling the day in rather a lot of detail. And, you know, what we know from Natasha is that it was a private ace. You know, without going into too much detail about the decor, that it was a private area, that, you know, there would no have been people milling around.

COOPER: And the next day -- I mean, I know, just because I read her account, she had previously booked a massage, correct?

[21:10:05] TRIGGS: Yes.

COOPER: And then, what exactly happened there?

TRIGGS: So she had tried to book a massage and the salon was full, and because she had covered the Trumps for such a long time, when Donald Trump got wind of it, he hooked her up with an early morning appointment as a special favor to him, even though there hadn't been an appointment available. So that's the reason he knew when her appointment was.

And so when she went for the massage the next day, she was running a little bit late, and the masseuse told her that he had been there waiting for her ...

COOPER: That Donald Trump has been at the massage place waiting ...

TRIGGS: Yeah. He had been sitting in the room where she was to get a massage, waiting for her, and that he had had to leave ultimately because of a business meeting that he had. And she was obvious very threatened by that.

And during the massage, she did go ahead and have the massage, and then as she was having it done, she kept looking to the door, assuming that at any moment he might bust in while she was naked on the table. And, you know, that the masseuse is someone who's employed by him and would open the door for him. And that, you know, caused such anxiety that she had to cut it short and just leave and go to the airport.

COOPER: Do you think -- I mean, you know, so many women -- and I'm not judging this particular account, but so many women are often worried about the impact of something like this on their professional careers. Do you think that is an understandable concern?

TRIGGS: Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, in this case, it's more than just her professional career, it's her whole life that, you know, stood to be sort of blown up by this, because he is somebody who is big on retaliation.

You know, anytime he's been criticized publicly, he is just relentless in his pursuit of the person who has gone up against him. And so she had every reason to both understand that, having covered him and his family for years prior, and to fear that that would happen to her. And of course, the reaction today has proven that she was very much founded in thinking that that was a possibility.

COOPER: All right, Charlotte Triggs, I appreciate you being here. Thank you.

TRIGGS: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Just ahead, the two "New York Times" reporters who broke the Jessica Leeds story. And also, what some of Donald Trump's staunchest supporters say about the latest string of allegations. A live update on that, next.


[21:15:38] COOPER: With the Trump campaign deep in damage control mode and his numbers eroding in the polls, we've seen plenty of stories on the kind of voters he may be losing seemingly with each new headline. Tonight, though, we also want to focus on his staunchest supporters who are standing by him through it all. More on them now from our Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump's supporters on defense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's never abused women, number one. He's a good father and a good husband.

KAYE: How do you know he's never abused women?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do I know? Because I know people who know him personally.

KAYE: Still, the list of accusers is growing, with more women coming forward with claims they were groped by the Republican nominee.

Why would these women come forward if it isn't true?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Does it matter? Does it really matter? Does it matter?

KAYE: What he allegedly did?

CROWLEY: Wit the problems these countries has, if he did grope a woman, does that really matter? Is it that important? Or do we have bigger fish to fry?

KAYE: But why would they come forward even if it wasn't true?

CROWLEY: Who cares? Who cares?

KAYE: Many here, men and women don't care if Trump ever tried to put his hand up a woman's skirt on an airplane or suddenly kissed another woman on the lips in an elevator or anywhere else. In fact, they don't even care if he was telling the truth on debate night when Anderson Cooper asked him repeatedly if he'd ever groped or kissed a woman without consent.

Anderson Cooper had to ask Donald Trump three times on the debate stage if he was -- if he had ever done these things, if he'd ever groped a woman. He said, "No." Does it bother you if that wasn't true?

CROWLEY: No, doesn't bother me.

KAYE: Would it matter to you if Donald Trump lied on the debate stage and said that he had never done these ...

CROWLEY: Hillary lies every single day. Hillary lies every day. Stop it.

KAYE: Many like him, tried to shut down any conversation about Trump's troubles and pivot to attacking Hillary and Bill Clinton.

DIANE KUSHNER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Here's the rapist. It's going to be in the White House if Hillary wins, nobody seems to be worried about this.

KAYE: After that interview, her friend chased us down, in an effort to influence our reporting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, all your questions were negative for Trump. Why didn't you ask about Hillary? Why don't you ask us what we think about Hillary?

KAYE: She said plenty of what she thought about Hillary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't ask it. That's my point. You didn't ask it.

KAYE: I'm doing a story about the latest allegations about Trump. The story tonight at Trump rally, it's not a story about Hillary Clinton today.

Most here believe these latest allegations against Trump are politically motivated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think if there was any merit to it at all, they would have come out long ago and now, all of a sudden, 20- something days to the election and, you know, it's coming out like that.

BRAD STENSTROM, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I'm not saying that, you know, it's something that shouldn't be brought up. It is an important thing. But these are also things that have been brought up that 30 years later, you know, why wasn't it brought up before?

KAYE: And despite these salacious stories, supporters here, including the women, are still firmly in Trump's corner.

As a woman, would these latest allegations make you think twice about voting for Donald Trump?


KAYE: Do you get a sense that there's a pattern emerging here, though?


KAYE: And that doesn't disturb you?


KAYE: You'd still vote for him?

DEVOIS: Yes, twice, if I could.

I think Hillary's a crook.

KAYE: None of this would make you think twice about voting for Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at all. Not at all. I mean, it's a non- issue.


COOPER: And Randi joins us now live from West Palm Beach, Florida. It is interesting that -- I mean it doesn't seem like there's really much that would convince Trump's, you know, die-hard supporters to change their minds.

KAYE: Maybe some proof, Anderson. That's all they want. That would convince them. They're suggesting that maybe someone could track down a flight attendant who was on that plane maybe with Jessica Leeds and help corroborate her story.

They are just extremely skeptical of these women's stories. They said if they were so upset about what had happened to them, why didn't they go to authorities? Why didn't they ask for help? In one case, in the Leeds' case, it's been more than 30 years. In another case, it' been 11 years. So why didn't they go for help, why they didn't tell someone -- somebody official, at least, instead of a family member or a friend perhaps.

They think these women are just looking for their 15 minutes of fame. One woman even suggested to me that Trump really is the victim in this case, that he's a target, he's a big, powerful important man and women throw themselves at him and that he may very well be the victim in this case, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Randi, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

Joining us now, CNN's senior political commentator and former top Obama adviser, David Axelrod, and CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, I mean, at this stage in the election, Donald Trump's down in national polls by 7 to 10 points. He's losing most key battleground states and the stories that are dominating the news are sexual assault allegations against him. Can the campaign get back on track?

[21:20:09] Tonight, they clearly seem to be trying to move away from it and focus on, you know, what Trump wants to talk about, on WikiLeaks, on Hillary Clinton e-mails, and on the issues.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Look, I think it's very difficult. He would have to run the table and then some, Anderson. I think we can safely say that it would be unprecedented for a candidate, 26 days out from the election, this far behind, to stage a comeback, and win. Not impossible, but unprecedented.

Particularly if you look at the battleground states, you're just talking about. We got a poll tonight, for example, North Carolina, Hillary Clinton has a five-point lead. That's a state that Romney won just narrowly last time. Pennsylvania, Hillary's ahead. Michigan, Hillary Clinton ahead. Wisconsin, Hillary's ahead by seven points. So I think at this point, very difficult, which is why you see Donald Trump tonight, some of his advisers are clearly telling him, take the turn to the issues that have some resonance with our voters, which are issues about Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: David, is this -- I mean is it going to be a race to the bottom? Because right now, it certainly seems like it.

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISER: I don't know what qualifies, Anderson. It feels very much like we're getting there.


AXELROD: But first off, listening to Randi Kaye's report reminds me of what Donald Trump himself said during the primary when he bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight and not lose a vote. And that may be true. I think that his core supporters are so committed to him that there is very little that could pry them away.

His problem is his core supporters are not nearly enough to get elected president. And he needs to be or needed to be about the business of adding and the thought was that the best place for him to add voters would be among women, and particularly college-educated.

I have to believe that what's happened over the last several days has made that task nearly impossible. And I think what he's employing now is a deny and attack strategy. He's going to deny everything, and he's going to attack Hillary Clinton as hard and as fiercely as he can hoping to drag her numbers down, drive people to the third party, depress her turnout, and make his 41 or 42 percent stand up.

COOPER: Gloria, I mean, that idea of trying to depress Democratic turnout ...


COOPER: ... or Democratic enthusiasm while stoking his own supporters, how worried should Democrats be about that?

BORGER: Well, I've talked to some Democrats today who are saying the danger here is that Trump gets his voters more enthusiastic about going out to the polls, and that Democrats get a little complacent. If you look at the Fox News poll tonight, only 23 percent of voters believe that Donald Trump is going to win this election. If enough Democrats are convinced that Donald Trump's going to win anyway, that could keep them away from the polls. So, what Michelle Obama, for example, was trying to do to women voters today, say to women, get out there, this is important.

The Democrats now have to get their base just as enthused as Donald Trump's core of supporters are. And I think that's what they're going about doing.

COOPER: David, is it possible to depress the other side's voters?

AXELROD: Well, I think it is possible to do that, but unlikely in this case. I think that it's just as likely that by behaving as he's behaving, Donald Trump is actually stoking up the Democratic base ...

BORGER: Yup, could be that, too.

AXELROD: ... who are becoming more and more incensed by what they see. And I think the Michelle Obama speech, which has gotten a lot of viral treatment since she gave it, is only the first of many like this. I think that you'll hear Democrats challenging -- Democratic leaders challenging Democrats to stand up for the kind of politics that they want, the kind of country they want, and try and use Trump's negative energy against him in the kind of political jiu-jitsu.

COOPER: Well also -- I mean, David, there's the issue of what Trump is doing to the Republican Party itself. And how that plays out on election day.

AXELROD: Well, I mean, you can see that the Republican Party is in disarray. There are stories tonight about Republican donors insisting that no money be spent on the Trump campaign effort now.

And you know, clearly, you have the Republican candidate for president attacking the highest ranking Republican in the country, Paul Ryan, and there is civil war within the Republican Party. There is no circumstance under which you could view what's going on now as positive for Donald Trump.

BORGER: Well, and you know, President Obama was out there late today saying to Republicans who are switching and unendorsing that he's not letting them off the hook. Democrats are going to go out there like the President saying, wait a minute, you can't just decide to flip and change your mind about the Republican nominee for president and suddenly discover that, wait a minute, he's somebody you believe assaulted somebody sexually, suddenly you're going to unendorse. But then it's not good for you, so maybe you'll endorse again. This confuses voters, confuses Republicans.

[21:25:17] AXELROD: I think there's a ...

COOPER: David?

AXELROD: I think, Gloria, there's a purpose to that.

BORGER: Right.

AXELROD: Which is, they are now turning their focus to winning Senate seats ...


AXELROD: ... winning congressional seats. There is a sense that Hillary Clinton has control of this race. And now they want to press their advantage by using ...

BORGER: Exactly.

AXELROD: ... Donald Trump against Republican candidates who are caught between a rock and a hard place. His supporters and the -- and other marginal voters who are disgusted by what he's done. So it's a very difficult situation for Republican candidate.

COOPER: David Axelrod, Gloria Borger, thank you. Good discussion. Tonight, you probably heard my interview with Jessica Leeds if you listened to our last hour, who says Donald Trump groped her on an airplane. I'll speak with the two "New York Times" reporters who broke that story, next.


COOPER: Donald Trump says the people accusing him of sexual harassment and assault are horrible liars. Trump is threatening to sue "The New York Times" over the story that came out involving two of the accusers and he's still upset about a story from back in May in which two "New York Times" reporters spoke with many women about Trump's alleged decades of unwelcomed advances and other unsettling work by his conduct. It happens to be the same reporters who broke the most recent stories of alleged sexual assault. Here's what Trump said today.


[21:30:22] TRUMP: Now today, the same two discredited writers, who should have been fired from "The New York Times" for what they did, tell another totally fabricated and false story that supposedly took place on an airplane more than 30 years ago. Another ridiculous tale, no witnesses, no nothing.


COOPER: Well, joining me now are the two "New York Times" reporters Trump is talking about. Megan Twohey and Michael Barbaro, who is also the host of the Run Up podcast.

So Michael, you heard what Donald Trump said today, saying, "This is," I want to get it right, "another fabricated and false story," and he's calling you both discredited writers. Your reaction?

MICHAEL BARBARO, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: I think he also said he thought we should have been fired but we're both very much employed. We thoroughly reported the episodes and the characters in this story, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks. We talked not only to them multiple times, but we spoke to people around them. In the case of Jessica Leeds, who was just on your show, that meant speaking to two of her friends, her son, and her nephew about the details she conveyed to them to make sure they were entirely consistent with what she had told us. So we felt really confident and comfortable in the reporting in our story.

COOPER: And Megan, he's also -- at one of his events today said, "The New York times" has, "Third-rate people, bad people, sick people," and that you're, "inventing false claims without any evidence, no witnesses, no nothing." Can you explain -- or if you want to respond to that. Or how you backed up these women's stories, the two women?

MEGAN TWOHEY, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, yeah, that's a great question. And we spelled this out in our story. You know, not only in the case of Jessica Leeds, did we end up speaking not just to her extensively, but to the people with whom she shared her story, prior to talking to us.

COOPER: Right. He said she started about a year, a year and a half ago telling people.

TWOHEY: Right. And in the case of the other woman, Rachel Crooks, she was 22 and working in Trump Tower as a receptionist when she says she bumped into Donald Trump outside an elevator. She introduced herself, they shook hands, she says that he then, you know, kissed her on the cheek and then moved in and kissed her on the mouth and, you know, that it made her feel extremely uncomfortable.

As she tells it, she then went back into her office and immediately called her sister to -- you know, she was so upset to tell her what had happened. And she went home that night to her boyfriend, who she was living with at the time and told him what happened.

And so, you can be sure that we, you know, talked to the sister, we talked to the boyfriend, they corroborated that. You know, the boyfriend recalled her coming home, him asking, how was her day, and her starting to cry hysterically. The sister remembers them talking, kind of going back and forth, you know, the sister asking, do you think this could have been a mistake? Was he just trying to kiss you on the cheek, and her saying, I don't think that was the case.

And so, you know, we went, you know, we certainly, you know, we've heard from a variety of people since we did our first story in May, looking at the Trump's treatment of women. And, you know, there are, obviously, you know, there's a lot of due diligence we do before we report allegations.

COOPER: Are there other people who have come forward with similar stories of some form of assault that you're looking into? Can you say?

TWOHEY: Right, I mean, what we can tell you is that we have open lines of communication. We love to -- you know, we want to hear what people have to say, what their experiences have been. That's -- you know, from people who have had -- you know, who claim to have had negative experiences with Trump, people who claim to have had positive experiences with Trump. And we're -- you know, we are reporting out the stories that are coming into us right now.

COOPER: The -- obviously, Donald Trump has threatened to sue "The New York Times" for libel. The "Times", they are standing by the story 100 percent, correct?

BARBARO: That's correct.

TWOHEY: Correct.

COOPER: Yeah. And you -- and when I spoke to Jessica Leeds, she basically told me that she saw the debate, was up all night Sunday, decided, finally, to write a letter to, I guess, the editor of "The New York Times." How quickly does that filter to you guys? Because a Trump former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was on earlier kind of raising questions about the timing of all of this and it just seems very convenient that this happens 20-some-odd days before ...

BARBARO: Right. We watched that in the green room. She was watching the question that you asked her in the debate and had a very visceral response along with a friend of hers, who we interviewed, who was watching it with her.

COOPER: Right, her neighbor.

BARBARO: Yep, Linda Ross. And she was kind of heartsick. Stayed up late, as you said, and then wrote a letter in the morning to "The New York Times" which we learned of, and began to immediately reach out to her. And reporting takes time. Good reporting that makes us feel highly confident in the material takes more than a day. And that's what we took. We took as long as we needed to feel as confident as we needed to feel to publish the story.

[21:35:14] COOPER: The -- one of the things Ms. Leeds said was that she believes maybe a passenger across the way might have seen or been able to see. I'm not sure that there's any way to actually find somebody who may have ridden on a brand of airline back in 1979, but is that something she also said to you, because I don't know that that was in the article?

TWOHEY: Yeah, I mean, we thoroughly reported out the details that we included in our story, you know, that she had been seated, that a stewardess had, you know, allowed -- said that there's a seat in the -- you know, in first class. She ended up sitting next to Donald Trump and her description of what followed and her encounter with him. And how she has since then relate it to friends and family, so.

COOPER: You're confident in it?


COOPER: OK. The other thing that Donald Trump has said in one of his events, he says, he has, "substantial evidence to dispute these lies and he plans on making it public." Do you know of any possible evidence that he has? I should point out during the whole birther thing in an interview with me, he said that he had sent private detectives to Hawaii ...


COOPER: ... and that they were finding out fascinating information and that he would all reveal it. And, of course, we have no evidence that he actually did send anybody there. We have reporters there who saw no evidence of a private detective.

BARBARO: If he has information, we absolutely hope he would share it with us. We invite him to do that. Megan interviewed Donald Trump on Tuesday night for the story and had a long conversation in which she went over what was going to be in the story and it would have been an opportunity for him to share information like that.

TWOHEY: And we've had subsequent conversations with, you know, some of his campaign staff and nobody has shared anything that, you know, would suggest or discredit the women, you know, included in our story.

COOPER: The -- when you originally -- I mean, it's a fascinating detail in the article, when you contacted Donald Trump to tell him about the allegations, can you characterize his response?

TWOHEY: Right. So I got on the phone with Donald Trump on Tuesday night. You know, obviously, when we collect allegations and report them out, you know, part of that due diligence is taking it to the presidential candidate and saying what, you know, here are the details, what is your response?

I'd say the moment he got on the phone with me, he just started sort of issuing categorical denials of, you know, the allegations and getting increasingly agitated and upset at the line of questioning. And, you know, he said that these were being -- you know, fabrications by "The New York Times" to make him look bad and that, you know, he threatened to sue us in that phone call and then, you know, got, you know, basically, became even more agitated and, you know, said -- proceed to call me a disgusting human being.

So, it was -- you know, and I continued to ask the questions. And I came back to the question that you had asked on the stage. Listen, you know, you, in your own words, were captured on tape, a tape that was released last Friday, saying that you had, you know, boasting that you had kissed and groped women without their consent. Have there -- you're denying these allegations. Have there been any situations, have there been any, you know, any cases in which you have, in fact, acted on that. And he said, you know, he reiterated his categorical denial that he's ever done anything of that kind.

COOPER: I appreciate you being on talk about your reporting. Thank you very much.

BARBARO: Thanks for having us.

COOPER: Appreciate it.

Coming up, Ivanka Trump campaigns for her father in Pennsylvania. She wouldn't say anything publicly about her father's comments, lewd comments, but First Lady Michelle Obama certainly did. That's next.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman, it is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts.


[21:42:49] COOPER: Michelle Obama says it's time for women to stand up and say enough is enough. In a speech in New Hampshire today, the First Lady talked about the tape of Donald Trump, bragging about sexual assault, and said it can't just be swept under the rug, especially, she says, since it wasn't an isolated incident.


OBAMA: It's one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life. And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally. And I'm sure that many of you do, too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts.


COOPER: And Jeff Zeleny joins us now. What else did the First Lady say today?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it was a personal and pointed denunciation of Donald Trump, unlike anything we've seen before. It was a call to arms, really, to women, to men, and what she said anyone who has basic human decency. But she also went on to deliver a very personal anecdote of some of her own life experiences in a way we've not heard this First Lady ever talk about. Let's listen.


OBAMA: It's that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them or forced himself on them and they've said no, but he didn't listen. This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable. And it doesn't matter what party you belong to. Democrat, Republican, independent, no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserve this kind of abuse.

If we let Hillary's opponent win this election, then we are sending a clear message to our kids that everything they're seeing and hearing is perfectly OK.

That bigotry and bullying are perfectly acceptable in the leader of their country. Is that what we want for our children?

[21:45:01] And remember, we won't just be setting a bad example for our kids, but for our entire world.


ZELENY: Democrats believe that she is speaking from the moral high ground or what's left of it in this very nasty presidential campaign here. But Anderson, she is becoming more involved in this campaign than she ever intended.

I talked to two friends of hers earlier today, and they said that she saw those comments on Friday from Donald Trump, from that videotape, or the audiotape, excuse me, and she decided that he had to weigh in, in a different kind of way with her daughters in mind and others in mind and she'll be giving more of these speeches, I'm told, in the coming weeks, Anderson.

COOPER: I understand that Hillary Clinton also talked about this at a fund-raiser in California today. ZELENY: She did. She was speaking at a fund-raiser not long ago in San Francisco. And she said that -- you know, first she drew attention to this speech. And she said that everyone should watch this speech and the campaign is, indeed, sending it around and raising money off of Donald Trump. But she said it was powerful words from Michelle Obama, you know, with her own life experience here. And, you know, she is using now a phrase from Michelle Obama that she invoked at the convention. When they go low, we go high. That now has become a rallying cry for Hillary Clinton, as it started with Michelle Obama this summer at the convention.

COOPER: Yeah, she mentioned that at the debate on Sunday. Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, thanks.

Ivanka Trump was back on the campaign trail today in Pennsylvania speaking at small events. The big question is what she thinks about that tape of her father bragging about sexual assault and the accusers who have come forward. Dana Bash today tried to find out.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump gets the raucous crowds, but his daughter's trip on the trail is speaking volumes. Ivanka Trump's whirlwind schedule is targeting the areas likely to determine whether her father becomes president. The suburbs of Philadelphia.

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: I wouldn't be able to go into the office every day if I didn't have a safe place to bring my child.

BASH: She played it very safe, fielding several of the same softballs at multiple events, like why she thinks her father would make a good president. Then darting out, ignoring our attempts to ask questions, first in Chester County ...

Ivanka, what was your reaction when you heard your father's tape?

And again later in Delaware County.

Ivanka, can you answer a question?

She preaches to the choir. Pennsylvania women already all in for Trump, despite his lewd language caught on tape and the new multiple allegations of groping.


BASH: You sound a little reluctant when you say that?

CURTIS: Well, I think it's just been a hard road.

MELISSA BRATHWAITE, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: He wasn't saying what he does to women, per se, I think he was just bragging.

BASH: Team Trump is hoping local media coverage will help with the political reality not reflected inside these suburban Philly events. GOP officials privately tell us that Donald Trump's 2005 comments hurt him big time here, especially among women. A new poll shows Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by a whopping 43 percent among female voters right here in the Philly suburbs.

TRUMP: The suburbs of Philadelphia, because we've got to get that vote. We want to get that vote.

MARLENE FURGIUELE-MENTZER, MEMBER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Donald Trump is the change candidate and the right person to get things done.

BASH: A group called Women for Trump is feverishly trying to do just that, even those who are not thrilled with his behavior.

FURGIUELE-MENTZER: I'm a feminist. And, of course, it bothered me. However, the topics that are facing this country are far greater than the words on that tape.

BASH: On the suburban Philadelphia streets, some female Trump supporters say they're motivated by their opposition to Hillary Clinton.

COLLEEN GREEN, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I think she's a liar. I think she's a fraud. I think she covers up a lot of things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lift up. Pull up. Pull up.

BASH: But the owner of this yoga studio in Westchester, P.A., says her female clients are now more likely to vote Hillary.

SUSAN SLUK, YOGA STUDIO OWNER: I'm hearing a lot of women that are really starting to dig their heels in and feel empowered about themselves based upon what's happening in the campaign.

BASH: Even some who say she is hardly their first choice.

HANNAH COLLINS, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: If it were any other Republican candidate, maybe I would like try to write Bernie in, but it's just not the time for a protest vote.

BASH: Democrats at this Clinton phone bank say that Trump is making their jobs easier.

DR. VAL ARKOOSH, COMMISSIONER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, P.A.: A number of people have said to me that, what was sort of a, I'm going to hold my nose and vote for Secretary Clinton has now turned into steadfast support.

BASH: The question is whether Ivanka or any Trump can turn that around in under four weeks.

Dana Bash, CNN, Malvern, Pennsylvania.


COOPER: Well, just ahead, Trump and Pence supporters in a key swing state weigh in on the new sexual assault allegations Donald Trump's facing. Are they still going to vote for the Republican ticket on November 8th? Find out, ahead.


[21:53:27] COOPER: As we've been talking about an unforgettable day on the campaign trail, the running out, running mate, Mike Pence stumping eastern Pennsylvania today. More from Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Some of the most loyal and active Republicans in Lehigh County Pennsylvania about to hear Republican vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence speak about why this nation needs Donald Trump, but ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would prefer to have Pence on top of the ticket.

TUCHMAN: Would you feel more comfortable if Mike Pence was running for president at this point, rather than Donald Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honest answer? Yes, I would.

TRUMP: These claims are all fabricated. They're pure fiction and they're outright lies.

TUCHMAN: Donald Trump's continuing moral controversies are making many people uneasy, including many of these registered Republicans about to see his running mate speak.

Ron Beitler is a Republican town commissioner who diplomatically says he might not vote for Trump.

RON BEITLER, LEHIGH COUNTY, P.A. VOTER: I've never not voted for a Republican in my life and I'm going to make that decision coming up on the race. If Governor Pence were running on the top of the ticket, I would certainly be voting for him.

TUCHMAN: So, you're more comfortable with Pence?

BEITLER: I'm very comfortable with Governor Pence.

TUCHMAN: But there are people here who say no matter what the allegations they are staying loyal to Trump.

BOB PEIRFY, LEHIGH COUNTY, P.A. VOTER: If I were electing a pastor or a minister, yes. President, I want the strongest available person and right now I believe Trump has that gumption that can keep us going in the right direction.

Mike Grin says he's also staying with Trump.

What would it take for you to say, you know what, I can't support Trump anymore? What does the man have to do?

[21:55:04] MIKE GRIN, LEHIGH COUNTY, P.A. VOTER: Give up. TUCHMAN: Does it trouble you, the accusations against Donald Trump?

ALBERTA SCARFARO, LEHIGH COUNTY, P.A. VOTER: Of course, so as a woman I find those -- that behavior demeaning towards women.

TUCHMAN: But Alberta Scarfaro says she will vote for Trump anyway over Clinton.

So many of the Republicans here do have concerns about Donald Trump and his morality and we're curious to hear if Mike Pence would address the allegations. He did briefly saying the accusations against his running mates are unsubstantiated.

But Pence did not declare unequivocally, the women are lying ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Pence? Governor Pence?

TUCHMAN: ... and he would not take any reporter questions.


COOPER: Gary joins us now from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Did any of those who would like to see Pence at the top of the ticket said they won't vote for Trump as president?

TUCHMAN: Well, most of the people we did talk to, Anderson, who like Pence at the top of the ticket would want to see him there, say they will vote for Trump-Pence no matter what. But we did talk to two people who did not want to go on camera and did not want their names used because it's a very uncomfortable situation because they are part of this prominent Republican group but they told us they cannot vote for a Republican ticket with Donald Trump on top of it. They said they will never vote for Hillary Clinton, but they said they will not vote for Donald Trump. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Gary, appreciate the reporting. We'll be right back.


[21:59:59] COOPER: Quite a day. That does it for us. Thanks for watching.

"CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon" starts right now.