Return to Transcripts main page


Report: NYT Says Fox, O'Reilly Pay $13 Million to Five Women; 11 Killed in Russian Subway Terror Attack; House Intel Comte Resumes Trump-Russia Meeting. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 3, 2017 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Less than a year after a sexual harassment scandal brought down the chairman and CEO, Fox News is facing more explosive accusations surrounding Bill O'Reilly. "The New York Times" reports five women have now received payouts from O'Reilly or Fox News since 2004 totaling $13 million. After reports of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior from Bill O'Reilly, one of the accusers, radio host Wendy Walsh used to be a regular on the show. She told the story to "The New York Times" that O'Reilly invited her to dinner in 2013 where he promised to make her a well-paid network contributor.

[15:35:00] She declined an invitation to his hotel suite and he became, quote, hostile telling her she could forget any career advice and she was on her own, end quote. Several months later, Wendy Walsh disappeared from the show and never got that contributor job. Walsh held a press conference a short while ago. Her attorney is Lisa Bloom who is calling for an independent investigation into Fox News.


LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Apparently. Fox News does not think the anti- discrimination laws apply to them. They believe they can pay woman after woman to go away and keep the harassers in place to victimize the next woman. No, just no.


BALDWIN: Joining me now is CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter and legal analyst Danny Cevallos. How does this man still have a job?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: If it was any other host or CEO of a normal company, he probably would not have a job. That was the dominant reaction to this "New York Times" bomb shell. This story was in the works for many had months. They may have found other women, but it focused on the five women who were paid settlements. We knew about one of them, but four other settlements have been disclosed. O'Reilly says these things are meritless, he says, " I made these payments quietly because I'm trying to protect my family so they don't hear about this stuff. His reputation is not a surprise." This is not a surprise inside Fox. It may sting, it may be embarrassing to hear about it. Certainly, the bosses at Fox are concerned other women may be coming forward. Wendy Walsh is not asking for money. She wants to make sure people know about his behavior.

BALDWIN: Here's a statement so we report this accurately. "Just like other prominent people, I am vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid publicity. In my 20 years at Fox News, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the human resources department. Not even on the anonymous hot line. The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News channel.: He says no one ever, ever filed a complaint with H.R., but we know the story with Roger Ails and what happened then. So, I imagine people wouldn't feel comfortable.

STELTER: It was an environment where it wouldn't necessarily pick up the phone and try to report something because the boss was allegedly doing it. Roger ran that network with an iron fist. He's been accused by many women including one new lawsuit today.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That failure to report has significance. Under the law, employees are required to report. The employer's duty is to set up a system. If there's a hot line, an avenue so complaints can be reported and the employer has an opportunity to respond. In many cases, an employee's failure to make any report to HR can be fatal to their case. At minimum, they then have the burden, the plaintiff does, to show they had a really good reason for not reporting.

BALDWIN: Can we play some sound from last summer? He was on with Seth Meyers and he was talking about the scandal involving his boss Roger Ails.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: In this country, every famous or wealthy person is a target. You're a target, I'm a target, any time somebody could come out and sue us, attack us, go to the press or anything like that. That's a deplorable situation. I have to have body guards. I have to hire body guards. Until the United States adopts the English system of civil law whereby if you file a frivolous lawsuit and you lose, the judge has a right to make you pay all court costs. Until we adopt that very fair proposition, we're going to have this out of control tabloid society that is tremendously destructive. I stand behind Roger 100 percent.


BALDWIN: We all know what happened to Roger. The department of justice is investigating Fox News as to whether or not they failed to divulge this information in the settlement to shareholders. Do we know -- what more do we know about that?

CEVALLOS: It's the southern district of New York which has a reputation for this kind of activity. The effect of a federal investigation is very serious because they have an ability to dig that you just don't have in a civil lawsuit. [15:40:00] If the DOJ is interested and start issuing subpoenas. If

they decide to dig deeply, they are the agency to do it. And they could unearth things to make a plaintiff's case very powerful. The DOJ wants to get to the bottom of it, they will.

STELTER: If they want to get to the bottom of it.

BALDWIN: Does this ding him?

STELTER: Will his viewers care enough? I think the answer right now is probably not. Will there be a boycott? The justice department now overseen by the Trump administration and this is Trump's favorite TV channel. In some ways president trump the charges against him during the campaign, the women who came forward accusing him of harassment, the way that was handled. The way people reacted to that, there might with. Some similarities here.

BALDWIN: Brian Stelter, thank you very much. We do have some breaking news here. President Trump responding now that subway terror attack that killed at least 11 people. We are live in St. Petersburg, Russia, on this, next.


BALDWIN: Breaking news here on what's happened in St. Petersburg, Russia. The motive behind the deadly subway attack still unclear. 11 people have been killed when some sort of explosive device detonated within a packed commuter train. Officials say the explosion totally ripped the car door. You see it there just off. The train was passing through a tunnel hours before the evening rush hour. Then a second device was found at another station, which was disabled. President Trump speaking today and speaking out against the heinous act.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Happening all over the world. Absolutely a terrible thing.


BALDWIN: Paula Newton is in Russia with more on this. I see people lighting memorials behind you. What more do we know about how this happened?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not so much right now. Right underneath me in this subway station, investigators are combing the area. They are speaking to eyewitnesses and as you were already explaining, this was a crude device. The subway car was traveling from one station to another. Unfortunately, that bomb or the improvised explosive device was inside that carriage car between stations in the tunnel. It meant the explosion was all that more powerful.

The driver of the train took it to the next station and then it was sheer panic. The eyewitnesses we talked to saying they really thought they were going to die. People scrambling out of the carriage cars. They were breaking windows and trying to pry open those doors to try to get out. Other people running towards the car to help those already lying on the ground or on the platform and were clearly quite hurt. In terms of the investigation itself, this is a terrorism investigation. People are saying they are not ruling anything out. But unfortunately, many people here know Russia has been attacked before and know that given the offensive right now in Syria that they would possibly be a target again. It's been heartbreaking. I have seen dozens of people breaking down in tears, coming to light candles and lay flowers.

It's been a traumatic eight hours. Everyone trying to find family members. You can imagine you're sitting right there in Columbus Circle in a busy train station. That's what it's like here. This is a station where your family members would be passing through at least once a day, sometimes two or three times a day. So still profound shock here.

BALDWIN: So totally frightening all the people injured including the children there. Paula newton, thank you so much.

Coming up next, could the U.N. ambassador be stealing a little spotlight on the world stage from secretary of state. She's talking right now there over at the United Nations responding to that very question. We'll hear from her, next.


BALDWIN: Live pictures here of former South Carolina governor now ambassador to the U.N. Live pictures right now Nikki Haley is speaking live. She has been seen as rising star in the Republican party. She voiced strong opinions on Russia and China and North Korea.

One of the big questions being bandied about is with Tillerson with a smaller role it seems is ambassador Haley eclipsing him on the national stage. She was asked about that moments ago and here was her response.


NIKKI HALEY, U.N. AMBASSADOR: Every position I ever had, people have assumed that I am looking towards something bigger. When in reality, I am the daughter of Indian parents who said to me whatever I do, be great at it and people will remember you for it. That's all I am trying to do.


BALDWIN: Let's talk to Michelle about this. Understanding her answer, what's the word in Washington as far as ambassador's role compares to Secretary State Tillerson?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: We knew she's being considered. So, we knew that was the case, as to all of the this intrigue as to why he may have turned it down and her thinking. That's kind of talked about now. Her world has been interesting. He's out spoken, it seems like she's speaking her own mind and it will turn out that the white house was going to say it is news and the Russia example was a good one. Early on, the question, it continues to be a question but the fact that you know what is the stance on Russia going to be. What about sanction and all of a sudden one day, it was a hard line. She was one of the first ones to say those sanctions are going to be in place and Crimea belongs to Ukraine. We knew that she's going to say that, we are on board of all of that.

She's been high profile of things she says freely. Hear a lot less from Rex Tillerson but he wants it that way. Coming from the corporate world where he had seen jobs for decades, he's not a big media guy. He likes it that way. Haley is a governor and used to that kind of attention and makes it work and getting her points across even though it does not align perfectly of what we are hearing of members of the administration.

BALDWIN: Michelle Kosinski. Coming up here, breaking news involving the house intelligence committee looking into possible ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign after cancelled hearings, rough couple of weeks for this committee. Are they set to get back on track? We have an update for you on Capitol Hill, live, coming up.


BALDWIN: Breaking news from Capitol Hill looking into the Russian ties to the 2016 election. About an hour from now we are learning. This is coming from the committee that seems to fall apart last week with the ranking members, Adam Schiff and others calling for the recusal of the Republican chair Nunes.

Meantime, over on the senate side their intel committee is working on this issue. Remember last week, ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn requested immunity for his testimony on this investigation into the Trump administration's ties to Russia.

Manu Raju, or go to guy on all things congressional, he joins us with what, now they scrapped all the meetings last week. You are telling me they are getting together in an hour?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, that's right. At least they are going to discuss about the way forward. One of the things that the house intelligence committee is trying to finalize is the list of witnesses they actually want to interview behind the scenes. Democrats even though they are for chair Nunes' recusal. They say they want to move forward with this investigation.

Nunes is saying he's not going anywhere that this investigation will continue with or without Democrats who as a result, you will start to see the two sides coming together and we'll see what they agree to in terms of who to bring forward. On the senate side, they're planning to interview up to 20 witnesses and they're beginning today of some people who are not Trump's associates, none of those big names we are expecting like a Paul Manafort or Michael Flynn potentially down the line. But, that's the thing with the house intelligence committee is going to look at and of course, bound to come up this meeting of the secret classified documents. Schiff on Friday and Devin Nunes looking at -- surveillance or whether or not people are improperly unmasked. Now, one thing that the committees are also doing is this issue of whether to give Michael Flynn any immunity as part of the exchange testifying before the committee.

I talked to Republican, Lyndsey Graham who does not think it is a great idea.


RAJU: Do you think congress should give immunity to Michael Flynn?

LINDSAY GRAHAM, SENATOR, SOUTH CAROLINA: The whole situation with General Flynn is a bit bizarre. He said in the past that nobody should ask for immunity unless committed a crime. The whole situation is really strange.

RAJU: What about the president saying he should be given immunity.

GRAHAM: I think he's coming forward. I am not sure if that's the purpose. The bottom line is there were contact of the trump campaign and contact with the Russians, I want to find out about it and the whole world to know about it.

RAJU: I talked to John Cornyn who sits on the committee he says it is too premature to consider that at this point.


BALDWIN: As you point out. The house intel committees holding this meeting at 5:00 eastern time, Manu, we'll look for that report. I am Brooke Baldwin, "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts right now.