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White House Declines to Refute Putin's Claims on Trump Meeting; G-20 Ends with Historic Meetings and Protests; Senate Republican Health Plan Faces Uphill Battle; Trump Attacks Media at Presser with Police President; Sexual Assault in Silicon Valley Exposed. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 8, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All your families are crazy, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like you got the whole family together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, it's dysfunction-palooza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 in the evening out West. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And we begin this hour with President Trump returning to the U.S. after his big meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. And we're hearing from some of Trump's top White House advisors, not the president himself, but aboard Air Force One as they're flying home with the president after his trip to the G-20 Summit in Germany.
Two of them were asked three times if they could dispute Putin's claim that Trump agreed Moscow did not interfere in the U.S. election. And those advisers deflected the questions.
President Trump has not held a press conference to share his own version of that meeting, something Putin and many other world leaders present at the summit did hours ago.
I want to bring in White House correspondent Athena Jones.
And Athena, the G-20 started in 2008. There has been a presidential news conference at every one of those. Before that it was the G-8, President Bush held news conferences there as well.
Why not a news conference for President Trump?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, it is a good question, if only we could ask the president why there is not -- why they're not having or did not have a press conference. We know he did not have a press conference on his first foreign trip. The only sort of press conference he had during this past trip was a short one after meeting with Poland's leader on Thursday, a couple of days ago.
So the issue, though, here is that as you mentioned a lot of attention has been on the meeting that President Trump had with Russia's president Vladimir Putin. Their first ever face-to-face sit-down. We know that it lasted more than two hours, about two hours and 15 minutes, and there is agreement about some of what they discussed, but big disagreements about other aspects of what they discussed.
Both sides agree that President Trump did bring up the issue of Russian meddling in last year's election. But the difference here is that according to the Russians' Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Putin himself, they say that President Trump took Putin's denials about any Russian meddling, any Russian involvement in last year's election to heart. That President Trump took Putin at his word.
Now a senior administration official tells my CNN colleague Jim Acosta that that is not what went down. But given repeated chances to correct the record, the senior administration officials briefing reporters on the flight on Air Force One headed back here declined to do so.
Listen to an exchange with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The president of another country making a statement about the president of the United States. Do you not want to respond to that and correct the record if it is wrong?
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I'm not going to make comments about what other people say. President Trump will be happy to make statements himself about that. But President Trump handled himself brilliantly. It was very clear he made his position felt and after very substantive dialogue on this, they agreed to move onto other discussions.
And I think it's very clear that they've opened a dialogue, that it's important to have a dialogue, as we said, they focused on a ceasefire on Syria, focused on making sure that we have a cyber unit to make sure that Russia and nobody else interferes in any democratic elections. And we focus on the issue of North Korea, which is a major concern to us and all our other allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you heard Secretary Mnuchin dodge that question, but also say that President Trump himself will be happy to make a statement about this. Well, he certainly didn't make one before leaving Europe.
And the last time we've had a chance to hear directly from the president about the issue of Russian meddling was on Thursday in Poland when he gave a not-very-definitive statement. He said he thinks Russia was behind it but it could have been other countries, other people, but he thinks it could have been Russia but it could have been other countries.
A very muddled statement and not at all the kind of definitive statement a lot of folks want to hear from the president on this issue -- Ana.
CABRERA: Athena Jones, the president again en route back to the U.S., thank you for that from the White House.
Let's talk more about the fallout from this meeting. Joining us, CNN global affairs analyst and online news director for the "New Yorker," David Rohde, and former Soviet agent, Jack Barsky, also the author of "Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiance as a KGB Spy in America."
So, David, three times the White House declined to say Putin is lying and of course -- of course I believe our U.S. intel agencies over Russia. Why didn't he say this?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, they structure this meeting intentionally where it was very limited. There was no note-taker from the National Security Council which would normally happen. So they're stuck in the sort of he said-she said situation.
And then this decision to not holding a press conference, that just creates more of a problem here. Again I think it's all about domestic politics, being hostile towards the press, not having press briefings that plays to President Trump's base. But I'm not sure it helps him in the long term.
[20:05:07] CABRERA: Is there any reason not to refute the claims that Putin is making?
ROHDE: I think they will eventually, but Mnuchin's in a difficult position. He wasn't in the meeting. And this gets back to why have such a small meeting, why have no, you know, note taker, and that kind of created I think a box for themselves that they didn't really need to create.
CABRERA: So may not have the answer as you say.
So, Jack, if you are Vladimir Putin right now and your comments that the president of the United States agrees with you that Russia did not meddle in the election, are you uncorking the champagne right now since those comments have not been refuted?
JACK BARSKY, FORMER KGB AGENT: It's not so much about the comments. It's about the I think one upmanship that he played rather successfully. Let's just -- I think we -- I would like to downplay this hacking, whether somebody admits it or doesn't admit it. It is important, but, you know, if Trump had insisted that Putin apologize and then not backed off, what difference would it have made?
It wouldn't have changed one thing because Barack Obama told Putin to cut it out and he didn't. So let's say why -- see why Putin is uncorking the champagne bottle because in his mind I think he won the one-on-one contest. Most importantly, I think the most important thing for him was this praising the president for being such a great conversationalist and so much different from what he looks like on TV.
He was playing to not only the world but also his internal audience because he's getting ready to be re-elected.
CABRERA: So, David, the fact that the president of the U.S. did bring up election meddling, I mean, is that a step in the right direction? Should he get credit for that?
ROHDE: He should get credit, but that's sort of an obvious political step. I think the president and his team, you know, played this up very well saying there was no agenda for the meeting with Putin, it was going to be a very short meeting.
CABRERA: And then they said it was unlikely he'll bring it up.
ROHDE: Yes. And of course he does bring it up. I mean, it would be really foolish for him not to say, you know, that he confronted him and this is serious and then they pivot to moving on. That was really the message of Secretary of State Tillerson.
You know, my concern is, you know, we just move on? So there's no price for what happened? I mean, again, there is a unanimous agreement that the Russians did meddle in the election, they did try to aid President Trump, you know -- you know, he's still in this box, and all of us think that Putin, you know, flattered Trump or not, I want to watch Trump's actions after this.
Does he, you know, reduce the sanctions against Russia? You know, does this process in Turkey -- I'm sorry, in Syria, move forward or not? What happens in Ukraine? And that's what we should, you know, watch. It's not whether, you know, Trump was duped by the nice things Putin said in this press conference today.
It's, you know, does he actually get tough on Russia, keep the sanctions in place, or start dropping things unilaterally?
CABRERA: And to your point they also said they reached that agreement of a ceasefire deconfliction zone in southwest Syria. And that's supposed to go into effect tomorrow at noon. So it will be telling to see what happens there, right?
ROHDE: True, but this is another win for Russia. Basically, you know, the administration's agreeing that Assad remains in power and that, you know, this is essentially moving forward with the script Russia has wanted to see in Syria. The alternative is, you know, confronting -- you know, the U.S. engaging militarily, I don't think anyone thinks that's realistic, but let's be honest, Russia has won in Syria, Russia has achieved the outcome it wanted.
CABRERA: So let's talk about the mind games perhaps Putin has played, Jack. He spoke almost glowingly about President Trump earlier today. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): TV Trump is very different from the real person. He's absolutely specific, absolutely adequate in his perception of the dialogue partner. He analyzes things quickly, replies to the raised questions or new elements in the conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Jack, do you think Putin respects President Trump, or is he just saying strategic flattery?
BARSKY: He respects only himself. You know, generally I don't give him much credit for the myth that he built around himself and that we for some reason in the United States accept that he was a superspy. He was not. I know. I've worked with people like that when I was trained and -- recruited and trained in East Germany.
However, what we all learned how to do really well is to sweet talk people and make them feel good. That's how you become friends and eventually possibly recruit. So that's second nature. And he did that really well.
Understand when you praise somebody already then that means you are one level above, aren't you?
CABRERA: Does that sweet talk work on Putin as well, you think?
BARSKY: It works on everybody, but I think he's more aware of this kind of stuff. And you don't know who has the bigger ego. I was afraid that room might explode at any moment there.
[20:10:05] CABRERA: David, experience is another thing, right? Putin and Lavrov, they have decades of experience on the diplomatic stage in these negotiations between the two of them versus President Trump and Rex Tillerson who are new to politics and diplomacy as a representative of a government.
Do you think that the narrative being driven by the Russians right now is in part due to the lack of experience by the current administration?
ROHDE: I think it's a communications mistake. Again, I credit the president and his team for handling the buildup to this meeting and the actual length of it very well. Again, they played down expectations. He confronted Putin, it went on for two hours, why not have a press conference? Why not get your own message out about what occurred in this meeting? So it's really -- it's not the meeting itself, it's afterwards.
And I -- again, I know they're very hostile towards the press and to all of us, but hold a press conference. You have a live camera in front of you, you are the president of the United States, you can say anything you want about the G-20, about the meeting with Putin, about anything you want. And I think it's a mistake he didn't have a press conference.
CABRERA: So, Jack, when you say it doesn't really matter that Putin didn't apologize for Russian election hacking, that would have been totally unrealistic to expect him really, you know, coming forward and us getting anywhere on that issue.
What would have put him in his place? What could President Trump have done in this meeting to really send the kind of message that a lot of Americans are wanting him to send?
BARSKY: Well, tighten the economic noose a little bit. You know, sort of drawing a line, and this is where -- you know, what bothers me about the whole setup and the lead-up to this meeting, I'm still looking for something called the Trump doctrine.
What I'm seeing right now it's sort of all ad hoc policy. And I'm not sure -- it is ad hoc, but it looks like that to the public. And there doesn't seem to be a consistent strategic game plan. And without that, this kind of a meeting is just simply, you know, get to know you and exchange some pleasantries.
And even in a press conference, you know, all that would have come out is a bunch of generality, oh, we had a good meetings, wonderful, and what does that mean?
CABRERA: David, has as of today the Trump administration done anything that's going to deter Putin from meddling in future elections?
ROHDE: We don't know what was said in the meeting, but, you know, I agree. Sanctions are the key thing here. The sanctions that President Obama put in place are hurting the Russian economy, Putin is very eager to get those sanctions removed. So, you know, Trump has kept them in place, that's important. But watch what happens.
If they reduce these sanctions unilaterally, you know -- and again, these sanctions were in response to Russian behavior, the seizure of Crimea, in violation of international law, implementing it -- you know, this violence in Ukraine, and then this intervention Syria where, you know, many civilians have been killed. So it's Russian action that's provoked this. You know, they need to change their behavior before these sanctions are reduced.
CABRERA: All right, David Rohde, Jack Barsky, thank you both.
Ahead this hour, the dark side of one of the most powerful places on earth, Silicon Valley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kept saying no, and I remember him saying just one night only.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Our Laurie Segall's powerful interview coming up.
And do you notice anybody out of place in this photo? Look closely, Ivanka Trump taking her father's seat during a meeting at the G-20. Why some are saying this is out of line, next.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:17:47] CABRERA: Historic meetings and loud street protests stole most of the headlines at the G-20 in Hamburg, Germany this week. It was the first chance for Donald Trump to bring his America first message directly to the leaders of the world's other largest economies.
Economist and author Ben Stein is joining us now from Los Angeles to discuss.
So, Ben, you watched this summit like the rest of us this week. Give me your top takeaway from it.
BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: My top takeaway is there are an awful lot of protesters who are awfully angry gangster like people and I don't like calling them protesters, they're really criminals. But my main takeaway is we have a very, very powerful economy in the United States of America. I think the other countries in the world are a little bit envious of how powerful our economy is.
I hope Mr. Trump does not screw it up by putting in place some kind of trade deals that are very disadvantageous to free trade. I'm very worried about that. Free trade is a good thing for us, not a bad thing.
I'm very worried about the fact that our economy is extraordinarily strong largely because it's four strand, with deficit spending, and the same is true all over the world including even in China. And I'm -- I think we're kind of in a charmed economic situation. Low unemployment, high corporate profits and almost no inflation is as good an economic time just about as there has ever been and I hope we enjoy it because usually they don't last forever.
CABRERA: So German officials came out and said some strong words before the meeting with president at the G-20. In fact the German Foreign minister is saying the United States may start a trade war with Europe. Could you see that happening and what would the consequence be?
STEIN: Well, if he -- if the president does do that, that would be very bad, Europe is an enormous customer of United States especially in agricultural products and high-tech. I don't think the president will do that. Mr. Trump has promised he's going to do so many things that he has not in fact done. That I don't think he's -- he just has given us a lot of evidence now he's not going to do an awful lot of those things that he said he was going to do.
But, I mean, a trade war which discouraged the Europeans from buying American high-tech would be very bad. A trade war which discourages from buying American agricultural products would be a very bad idea. We are not heavily reliant on exports unlike the European countries and unlike Japan, but we're reliant enough so that a trade war would be very bad. [20:20:06] This whole idea that Mr. Trump has that we are the victims
of all kinds of bad trade deals is simply mistaken. I mean, I like him. He's a nice likable guy. I like his family, but this idea is just very much mistaken.
CABRERA: But in the first three months of this year we do know that some of our trade deficits have grown with countries like Mexico, Canada, China. The trade deficit got bigger. Does that concern you?
STEIN: No, it doesn't concern me at all. I mean, we could have very, very large trade deficits for a very long time and it's not going to be a problem. Mostly the money that people take in in trade deficits with the United States is reinvested in the United States bonds and United States securities. We are the safest country in the world in terms of investments. So that money just gets recycled back here.
No country ever went broke and disappeared from having too large trade deficit. Countries can get in very large trouble from having too large public debt, but on trade deficit no country has ever gotten in real trouble from that.
CABRERA: Let me switch gears for a moment. There was a moment today that raised some eyebrows when Ivanka Trump took her father's place at the table. Here's the picture. You can kind of see her hidden behind some of the other leaders in between the president or the leaders from Britain as well as Germany, as well as China.
This is during a presentation, mind you, by the president of the World Bank. Some Trump insiders have shrugged it off, other analyst haves called it very unusual. What do you think?
STEIN: You know, if you had asked me to think of the most trivial thing that has ever happened in the history of the Trump presidency, it would be this. It doesn't make any difference whatsoever where she sits or where any of them sit. What makes the difference is the kind of policies that come out of this meeting. Where people sit in chairs doesn't matter one bit to me. And I think --
CABRERA: But she's not the head of state, and she's among the rest of them who are.
STEIN: It doesn't matter. She's -- it doesn't matter where these people sit. I mean, you can find some reason to complain about everything. She's perfectly able to sit anywhere she wants to sit. What we want to find out is, as you aptly asked before, are there going to be trade wars? If there are going to be trade wars, that's a very serious matter.
Where somebody sits at a table is not a serious matter. I mean, it's kind of interesting in a small way, but trade wars, that's what we're concerned about. We don't want there to be trade wars and we want there to be a robust lively partnership between the U.S. and the other industrial countries.
CABRERA: All right, Ben Stein, thanks. We appreciate it.
STEIN: Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
CABRERA: So from the global economy to President Trump's economic priority here at home, jobs, it's time for a look at some of the other stories you may have missed this week including June marking the 81st consecutive month of job gains with a strong 222,000 jobs created in June alone. Now with this uptick comes a more worrisome increase of the number of people who work part-time but want a full-time job rose to 5.3 million.
So also this week, new evidence that could work in the favor of tennis legend Venus Williams who was involved in a fatal car crash last month. Police say surveillance video shows Williams lawfully entering a Florida intersection on a green light seconds before the crash. The tennis star faces a lawsuit from the family of a 78-year-old man who died after the crash in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Police investigation, by the way, is still underway.
And turning to President Trump and his first paycheck. Trump just donated it to the National Park Service. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that close to $80,000 from the president's first paycheck will help fund restoration at a national battlefield. An environmental conservation group criticized this donation saying America's parks need real funding, not a giant fake check. That's a quote.
Now under Trump's proposed budget the Interior Department funding would be slashed by more than $1.5 billion.
Now a little bit of a lighter story here. When it's been more than a century since a baby girl was born into your family, you go big with the birth announcement. Take a look.
Friends of a South Carolina couple plastered their newborn daughter's picture on a billboard along the side of a highway. A 12-feet tall double the width and a hot pink background, the dad said the billboard is a little obnoxious. Co-workers at his advertising company set it up for him, and her parents say they chose the name Carter because it's a strong name and she'll need it in a family full of men.
Coming up, while all eyes have been on Europe, stateside health care remains front and center. Up next, the latest on the Senate's plan and possible amendments they're considering.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:28:57] CABRERA: Live pictures right now. This is Air Force One just touched down at Joint Base Andrews. President Trump has just returned from his trip to the G-20 summit. And we are awaiting him coming off the plane.
The question of course on a lot of peoples' minds tonight, will President Trump respond to Putin's claim that he agreed that Moscow did not interfere in the U.S. election? We will be watching and waiting. We of course will bring you any news if he comes off and makes a statement. We'll keep you posted.
Now the debate over health care meantime continues in the Senate. Republican senators are considering an amendment now to their Obamacare replacement bill by a conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz's amendment would allow insurers to offer cheaper stripped down policies that are unregulated by law. And right now we know at least 10 GOP senators oppose the current Senate bill. Recent polls show the current Republican health plan has not yet reached even a 20 percent approval rating.
Our Tom Foreman breaks it all down for us -- Tom.
[20:30:01] TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, congressional Republicans have been waiting for years for their opportunity to overturn Obamacare. And now with it sitting right in front of them they just can't figure out how to get it done.
FOREMAN (voice-over): From the Republican-controlled Senate a stunning change of direction. Majority leader Mitch McConnell saying he will work with Democrats to prop up Obamacare if his own party can't pass an alternative plan.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY: Premiums are going up, copayments are going up, deductibles are going up. So we have to solve the current crisis. And I think repealing and then delaying the replacement doesn't work.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight I am also calling on this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.
FOREMAN: CNN has learned the White House was caught off guard by McConnell's comments coming less than a week after the president's own surprise move when he tweeted, "If Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date."
But that has gained no traction, even as the Republican bill has continued spinning its wheels. Some senators in their home districts for the July 4th recess face tough questions from constituents.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I still am a no unless the bill is dramatically changed.
FOREMAN: So bipartisan support, limited as it may be, is swirling around McConnell's idea.
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Senator McConnell is correct in that we need to make sure that the individual market is a stronger market than it is today.
REP. DAN DONOVAN (R), NEW YORK: I believe what Mitch McConnell says is the right path to take. FOREMAN: Even amid furious pushback from conservative quarters.
Heritage Action for America saying such a deal with Democrats would be catastrophic for the Republican Party. And on it goes with various Republicans offering their own solutions about how to end the impasse, unite the party and somehow turn the turmoil into triumph.
REP. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I think we got to get the job done. But we got to do it right. That results matter. It's not just passing a bill whose title is Obamacare repeal. We actually got to do something that fixes the problem.
FOREMAN: Watching Republicans twist themselves into knots trying to deal with the health care reform riddle was a wonderful holiday recess for congressional Democrats, only it was less like Independence Day and more like Christmas in July -- Ana.
CABRERA: Tom Foreman, thanks so much.
Coming up, it's a he said-he said situation. The White House and the Kremlin giving different versions of their meeting.
And while you saw President Putin and Sergey Lavrov give their version of what happened, what was discussed, we are still waiting for President Trump or someone from the administration to step in front of a camera and give their version.
Now that the president has landed, maybe we'll hear something. We don't know. But we'll keep an eye on it.
You're live in CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:36:57] CABRERA: Welcome back. The president has returned to the U.S. This from just moments ago. You've got to come and watch this. This was actually a light moment. We just wanted to play it for you. Provide a little relief as we are covering all this serious news. You see a Marine alongside Marine One lost his cap. The president goes to help put it back in, it falls off again as he pats him on the side. He goes and grabs it again.
It's so windy obviously from the helicopter. He's trying to right the ship here and help out the Marine who's standing alongside apparently cannot move from his current position. And then the president boards.
We expect him to be landing back at the White House here before the top of the hour. So, again, we'll continue to monitor the president's movements. And these are some live images now Marine One in the air headed to the White House.
The G-20 Summit, it's done, over, wrapped up in Hamburg, Germany, without one news conference from President Trump. But his predecessors, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have held news conferences at every G-20 or before that the G-8 Summits going back to at least 2004.
The only time Trump took questions from reporters was before the G-20 began at a joint news conference in Warsaw with the president of Poland where he blasted the American media's coverage of his presidency. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They have been fake news for a long time. They've been covering me in a very dishonest way. Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: President Trump delivered a parting shot at the media as he departed Hamburg, Germany, as well on Air Force One, tweeting a response to the Polish president, saying, quote, "We will fight the fake news with you."
CNN media analyst Bill Carter is joining us now via Skype.
So, Bill, a free press is the hallmark of American democracy. President Trump is hardly the first president to have an adversarial relationship with the media, but what do you make of him slamming U.S. journalists on foreign soil and in a country where their president has tried to restrict free -- the freedom of the media and the press?
BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, that doesn't sound a lot like America first, does it? I mean, that's not very pro-American to slam your own media that way and your own citizens that way really. These are American citizens he's dealing with. But I think a lot of this now is really him fleeing the press. I mean he's attacking the press partly because he just doesn't want to deal with them.
And really I think you could say it's move from an anti-media approach to an anti-accountability approach. He just doesn't want to be accountable. He doesn't want to hold a press conference. He doesn't want to comment on this. He doesn't want to be called on the carpet for any of his actions. He really wants to keep a big wall between himself and the representatives of the people. I mean that's what the press is doing, really.
CABRERA: President Trump was the first U.S. president to not hold a news conference at the G-20, but a lot of his counterparts did. We saw Russian President Vladimir Putin taking questions today and aim to take control of the narrative the day after that high stakes meeting with the president. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:40:03] PUTIN (through translator): Oh, and regarding personal relationship, I think that was established. I don't know how this will sound, but I will tell you how I see it. TV Trump is very different from the real person. He's absolutely specific, absolutely adequate in his perception of the dialogue partner. He analyzes things quickly, replies to the raised questions or new elements in the conversation.
So I think if our future relations will unfold the same way as our meeting yesterday, there is every reason to believe that we can restore at least partially the level of cooperation we need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So gave a lot of praise for President Trump. And the White House has yet to publicly dispute Putin's claim that he also made at that same press conference that Trump agreed Moscow did not interfere in the U.S. election despite a number of opportunities to do so.
What do you think is going on there, Bill?
CARTER: You know, there's only one of two reasons this could be, either he's so adamant about steering clear of the press that he's willing to let the president of Russia control the narrative in this really sensitive and serious issue, or there was some agreement with Putin that he would let Putin do it. That he would just say, OK, we won't say anything, we'll let you say your message is.
And it's one of those two things because at the moment it just seems unthinkable that you'd allow someone to control the message this way. If you think it's different, you ought to be challenging it. Instead he's just -- we'll see if he does it, but it certainly seems like at the moment he's backed off from any confrontational issue with Putin at all.
CABRERA: It was such a contrasting response that our country had or the U.S. had compared to the Russians following this meeting. We saw, you know, Trump letting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson go out and address the media but insisted no cameras, we couldn't take the audio until after the press was updated or was rather, you know, given their report. And then the Russian counterpart there, Sergey Lavrov, welcomed the cameras, declared Trump took Putin at his word.
Is this a case where Russia took advantage of this administration's reluctance to address the media on camera?
CARTER: It certainly looks like that. It certainly looks like they know that they have a guy who's, you know, at such war with the press and is so unwilling to deal with them that they can go out and say, hey, look at us, we're open. We'll give you the answer. We'll tell you what happened. And, again, that allows them to control the message.
I mean, you know, Trump is fond of saying he's modern-day presidential. Well, this is certainly modern-day presidential when you don't even step up to defend yourself or defend your country's position in this very serious talks. It's not what we've seen before. In fact, we've seen presidents contradict Russia and be very strong and say this is not the way it happened. It's totally different with this guy.
And, you know, I think we do have to remember he was a CEO. He didn't have to be accountable to shareholders. He just doesn't have that in his, you know, makeup, that he's willing to come forward and address things to people he represents. I mean, it is a totally new approach.
CABRERA: Well, Bill Carter, we appreciate your take. Thanks for being with us.
CARTER: Good to be with you.
CABRERA: For the first time a Silicon Valley woman recalls the night a powerful investor would not take no for an answer. She is now telling her story in part to empower other women in the technology industry to speak up about sexual assault. Her emotional story is coming up next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:47:50] CABRERA: You can call this a watershed moment for Silicon Valley, stories about sexual harassment, sexual assault revealing the dark side of one of the most powerful places on earth. Women are now stepping forward, including one entrepreneur who is sharing her nightmarish experience of being sexually assaulted by one of Silicon Valley's most powerful investors.
And I want to bring in CNN's senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall who's with us.
So, Laurie, you spoke with this woman sharing her story for the first time about an encounter with an investor who would not take no for an answer. What did she tell you?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: You know, I spoke with Sheryl. I wanted her to kind of come forward and tell her story. And I -- she had actually written a blog post as all these stories have kind of come pouring out. And she said it was incredibly difficult to talk about this. This happened three years ago. And she finally feels like that she's in a position where she can say something.
She described to me an alleged incident where she says Dave McClure, a very powerful VC, crossed the line. Listen to what she said.
CHERYL YEOH, CEO, CHERYL YEOH AND COMPANY: Came over after dinner and, you know, started out pretty normal, you know, just jamming on ideas. And they had brought whiskey over and it was in my apartment. So I thought, you know, sure, I'll drink. Right? But Dave kept pouring whiskey into my cup and before I even finished it, he kept pouring it. We're in a conversation I couldn't keep track of how many drinks I had.
All of a sudden people were tired and they ordered their Ubers and they wanted to leave. So when everyone left, Dave was there, he didn't leave. You OK? You drunk? You can crash on my couch, or I have a guest room. And then he followed me into my room and that's when he started propositioning me, suggesting that we sleep together. And I was like, no, no. Like, you know, what are you doing? I have a boyfriend, remember? And this is not OK. So I told him, you know, I think you have to leave. I was leading him
out, showing him the door, pretty close to the door. He pushed me and pushed himself on to me and started kissing me. And I kept saying no, and I remember him saying, just one night only, please just one time. I just can't forget those words.
[20:50:05] SEGALL: What was going through your head?
YEOH: He knows I have a boyfriend. He has a wife. He has kids. Like, oh, my god, like what do I do? What if he uses force -- more force on me? So I was pretty shocked and didn't quite know what to do beyond just pushing him away. I felt like I couldn't speak up because we had this deal that we were going to do to bring an accelerator to Southeast Asia.
SEGALL: You were worried that if you said anything that, you know, the money that he was going to commit and the role that he was supposed to play, that would go away?
YEOH: Mm-hmm. So that's where I think it's a problem because there was a huge power dynamic at play here. If you go on record in terms of there are career repercussions, some people are fundraising at the time. They don't want to jeopardize their ability to fund these.
SEGALL: How do you feel now?
YEOH: Yes. I think there's more closure. But I still felt like this needed to be told. There's a difference between making an off-color joke or sexist comment to actually sexually assaulting someone without consent, right, touching or kissing someone without permission. The gory details is what matters and what would make a difference.
SEGALL: And, Ana, I reached out to Dave McClure about the alleged incident. He didn't say anything, but he did write a blog post before this story came out, titled, "I'm Sorry, I'm a Creep," acknowledging broader inappropriate behavior.
And what Cheryl said to me, she said, you know, it could have been worse. You know, it could have been a lot worse. She said but this power dynamic at play, I couldn't say anything. And, you know, the stories about Dave have been pouring out. And now so many other stories are beginning to come out, talking about this bad behavior and for so long, people have been really afraid to talk about this culture in Silicon Valley.
CABRERA: So it's not just this one story or this one investor who is involved in these story, but the floodgates, you say, have opened.
CABRERA: Why have women been so afraid until now to speak out?
SEGALL: You know, I've been covering tech for something like seven or eight years, and I've heard these stories throughout. And we tell them here and there, but so many women will say, I'll get blacklisted if I speak out. I won't be able to get funding for my next investment. You know, if I will be looked at as difficult.
And I'm even hearing kind of behind closed doors is Silicon Valley, you're already hearing the conversation going in a way that's a little bit concerning, where you say, you know, investors are saying, maybe we -- maybe we need a chaperone when we're hanging out with women. I mean, so, you know, there's a culture of sexism that we're really pulling the curtain back on now and these stories are coming out and we're going to hear lots of them.
We've spoken to up to seven women, so we're going to have even more coming out this next week.
CABRERA: Thank you for bringing them to us. A gripping story there from Cheryl and it's an important issue to talk about it. And we appreciate it, Laurie.
SEGALL: Thank you.
CABRERA: The family of a British baby whose very life is on the line has new reason to hope tonight. We'll tell you why the hospital where Charlie Gard is being treated asked the high court for a new ruling.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:58:50] CABRERA: All right, I want to bring you this update right now. Parents of baby Charlie Gard have some new hope tonight in their fight to save his life. The London hospital caring for the 11-month- old has now requested a new hearing to consider fresh evidence about a possible life-saving treatment for his rare genetic condition.
The UK's high court previously had ruled the hospital can discontinue life support against the parents' wishes. Appeals up to the Europe's top court confirmed that decision. The parents were also denied the right to seek treatment for Charlie in the U.S., despite raising more than $1.5 million. But now, again, request for a new hearing.
I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you so much for being with me. I'll be back tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. Good night.