Return to Transcripts main page


Vegas Shooter May Have Cased Other Festivals; Country Music Reckons with Gun Rights Debate; NRA Calls for Federal Review of Bump Stocks; Trump versus Media; Trump Demands Military Options More Quickly; Catalonia Crisis; Harvey Weinstein Accused of Sexual Harassment. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 6, 2017 - 00:00   ET



[00:00:11] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: This is CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, investigators believe Stephen Paddock considered other targets in the days before his deadly shooting spree on concertgoers in Las Vegas.

SESAY: Plus the Catalan crisis deepens after Spain blocked an attempt by Catalonia to declare its independence.

VAUSE: And an already devastating hurricane season isn't over yet, another tropical storm taking aim at the U.S.

SESAY: Well, hello and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay

VAUSE: Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause. NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.

Authorities now believe the Las Vegas gunman may have considered other music festivals before his deadly rampage in Las Vegas. A week before he opened fire on country fan music -- country music fans, I should say -- Stephen Paddock rented a room at a Las Vegas condo complex overlooking the Life is Beautiful festival -- a much larger event than the one he targeted on Sunday. On any given night it could be more than twice the size.

SESAY: Paddock may have also booked a hotel room near one of the country's biggest festivals, Lollapalooza in Chicago. A man named Stephen Paddock made a reservation for the same time in August and officials are trying to find out if he's the same man behind the massacre in Vegas.

Well, investigators also say they think Paddock had every intention of surviving his attack. The Las Vegas sheriff didn't offer specifics but said Paddock put effort into an escape plan.

Well retired FBI special agent Steve Moore joins us now. Steve -- always good to have you with us.

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good to be here. SESAY: So these details of Paddock scouting other locations, possibly

other sites for attack, unconfirmed but this is the working theory right now. What does it say to you?

MOORE: It's orthodox. Every mass shooter case that I've been involved with, there is a questioning -- self-questioning. What target do I want?

When Buford Furrow came to Los Angeles and ultimately machine-gunned a class of kids because they were Jewish, his first target was the Holocaust Museum, the Museum of Tolerance.

He then went to several venues around Los Angeles before he settled basically on Plan D or E. And so they frequently chicken out of the first target and force themselves later to suck it up and go after the less vulnerable.

SESAY: Ok. There was a note found in Stephen Paddock's hotel room. It wasn't a suicide note, according to Sheriff Lombardo of the Vegas police. It's a note that had numbers on it that -- help us understand how the FBI would go about trying to ascertain its significance or interpret it. I mean what's going on behind the scenes?

MOORE: There are people at Quantico who do nothing but this -- do numerology codes, encryption, ciphers and they will most likely find out what these numbers are. He's an intelligent -- Paddock was an intelligent man but likely he hasn't gotten a code that's going to be more sophisticated than the FBI can undo.

SESAY: Ok. FBI going through all his electronic devices -- phones, computers; by this stage where we are at now, this happened Sunday night, would they have completed that search by now?

MOORE: No. No. They may have completed the harvesting of the information --


MOORE: -- but you cannot just sweep through this like a Cliff Notes book. You have to go through every web page. And what I found in some of the cases where I worked, the only indication that would be available to the outside world that this person was spinning out of control were the websites they went to.

And so I am going to be fascinated what websites he was on. What chat rooms he was communicating with. The treasure trove is just being, unlocked.

SESAY: You talk about the electronic footprint that they're hoping they discover. People also looking to the live-in girlfriend, the human intelligence, Marilou Danley --

MOORE: Oh yes.

SESAY: She is back in the United States, has already been interviewed, still considered a person of interest but she's not in custody.

So how does this work typically in these situations? Would it be a case where you bring her in several times over consecutive days? Would you put an agent with her? I mean what's the rhythm of interviewing someone like this? Because I'm sure it's down to fine art, right?

MOORE: It is a fine art but it's a very quickly evolving fine art. They are going to call audibles. They are going to make decisions on the fly as to how they deal with her. They may even change their mind halfway.

[00:04:56] But what is known for sure is if they had lost interest in her, if she had completely answered their questions to the FBI's satisfaction, she would be back on her way to the Philippines.

There is something as an FBI agent I can list three or four questions right now that absolutely would keep me awake at night if this were my case until I got it answered.

SESAY: What are those questions?

MOORE: The first question is just something obtuse. When she's in the Philippines and she hears that her husband has become a huge mass shooter in the United States, a friend or a relative calls her and says, have you seen the news?

Anybody else in that situation, I think, would have been terrified, would have been grieving, would have been and would have wondered what the future held for them.

SESAY: How do we know she didn't do those things?

MOORE: The Filipino authorities are saying that her communication, her response back was, "I've got this, I did nothing wrong and we're going to take care of it."

To me -- and I could be wrong. I mean it's just as likely that she's completely innocent but that statement indicates to me that there was something pre-thought out.

SESAY: A kind of awareness. Is that what you're saying?

MOORE: An awareness and "I've got a plan". How do you have a plan unless you knew something was happening beforehand? Again, I could be wrong. FBI agents are wrong and that's the beauty of the FBI, I hope that we admit when we are. But we have to follow trails like that.

SESAY: Ok. Sheriff Lombardo, without providing any evidence to support it, says he thinks he got help. He thinks Paddock got help. Does that strike you as credible given what you know of the planning, the cases that he would have had to carry into the hotel, everything he acquired over time.

MOORE: I don't understand what he bases that on. The cases that I have worked where there was mass shootings people always seem to think that one person can't put it together. But they really can.

And so I will give Sheriff Lombardo the benefit of the doubt because I'm sure --

SESAY: He may be privy to something we don't know.

MOORE: -- exactly. He didn't get where he was by being dumb. However I don't -- I'd have to see the information that he based that on because I don't see it just patent in front of me.

SESAY: Steve Moore -- always appreciate the insight, really interesting. Thank you very, very much.

MOORE: Thank you very much.

VAUSE: In recent days, some of the biggest names in music have taken to social media demanding tougher gun laws. Artists like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Moby (ph) -- the list goes on.

But for the most part mainstream country artists have remained silent -- a stark contrast with the industries long and cozy relationship with America's gun culture. From Johnny Cash in 1957 and "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" --


VAUSE: -- to Miranda Lambert's the 2007 hit "Gunpowder and Lead".


VAUSE: -- country singers know their mostly conservative fan base like their guns and are passionate about gun rights. But as Dianne Gallagher reports now from Nashville many in the country music capital are having -- are talking at least about gun violence and tougher laws aimed at stopping the next mass shooting.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 harvest festival Sunday night, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds in Las Vegas, his bullets also pierced the soul of the country music community in Nashville, Tennessee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want (inaudible) than that. I only want to play guitar.

GALLAGHER: 1,800 miles from the scene of the deadliest shooting in modern history, music city is grappling with grief. It didn't happen here but it happened to their people.

KELLY FOND, NASH PM: More than just a genre, it's a family. It really has put a whole cloud over the city for I don't even know how long that will last. Probably a very long time.

GALLAGHER: And the grief is playing out on morning radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an attack on everybody.

GALLAGHER: This week the DJs on the nationally syndicated "Ty, Kelly and Chuck Show" had been doing a lot more listening than talking.

TY BENTLI, NASH PM: That's where we think for us, is that that's what radio is kind of. It's like live therapy.

GALLAGHER: And when they do talk the topics have become a bit more controversial.

In the hours after surviving the massacre, Caleb Peter, the lead guitarist of the Josh Abbot Band who performed at the concert posted a message on his Twitter account saying, I've been a pro-opponent of the Second Amendment my entire life until the event of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. Enough is enough. We need gun control right now.

[00:10:01] T.J. Osbourne who performed on a different night of the Route 91 Festival called in to the show to talk about his changing feelings on the issue.

T.J. OSBOURNE, COUNTRY MUSIC ARTIST: I'm sorry. It's just gun control -- I mean it is out of control. It isn't controlled, you know, for someone to be able to legally a ki1ling machine like that it seems as though he did it lawfully to this point, it just shows that that's not enough.

GALLAGHER: But those artists have received some backlash. With a fan base that leans conservative. It's an industry with close ties to the National Rifle Association which even sponsors the popular concert series.

FORD: I think people are so afraid of getting political that I don't expect a ton more artists to do that. That was pretty bold.

GALLAGHER: But the conversation is happening.

SHAWN PARR, LEGENDARY COUNTRY DJ: Whatever side you're on it's opened up a discussion that's like, hold on a second, I was in that scenario. Let's take a minute and look at how this happened and what can we do to prevent that?

GALLAGHER: Right now, though, Nashville is focused on how to heal.

ERIC CHURCH, COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER: UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tha night, something broke in me on Sunday when that happened.

GALLAGHER: And it seems Music City plans to do that by doing what it does best.

CHURCH: The only way I ever fix that's broken in me is with music.

GALLAGHER: Now, of course, those musicians, those artists want to help their fans heal as quickly as possible. But look, the music industry is worried about the artists and those who work-around them as well making sure that they are working through exactly what happened in Las Vegas.

An organization called Music Cares already on the ground here in Nashville holding listening and therapy sessions so they can make sure that their artists and the people who surround them are also processing exactly what happened.

Dianne Gallagher, CNN -- Nashville, Tennessee.


VAUSE: Kris Daniels is a radio host at 102.7 in Las Vegas, a country music station. And she was backstage at the concert on Sunday night.

Chris -- thanks for being with us. It must have been a pretty tough few days. You're also a therapist. Tell me how you and your husband are coping right now?

KRIS DANIELS, COUNTRY MUSIC RADIO HOST, 102.7 LAS VEGAS: You know, we're doing really well. I think it really hit us Monday after -- we hadn't really watched a lot of the news. And then we started watching the news on Monday. And for myself at least, that's when I started really processing what was going on.

But, you know, I've been trying to help people since. I've been counseling. We've been counseling each other or I've been counseling him so we're doing a lot better. Thank you for asking.

VAUSE: You know, I had one person saying, thank God this was a country music concert because that meant there were a lot of ex military, ex-servicemen, off-duty police who were in the audience and they kind of sprang into action.

DANIELS: Yes. You know, what was incredible was just -- first of all, you never think this is going to happen obviously to you. You never think this was going to happen anywhere, especially a country concert.

But everyone was helping everyone. It was just -- looking back now, it was just amazing to see how everyone was just coming together. We didn't even know half the people. They didn't know us. And that was something that can be said for that. And there were a lot of military there as well.

VAUSE: Yes. Country music fans are known, you know, for mostly being conservative and liking their guns and their gun rights. Someone like you who spent 20 years in the country music industry, do you think this will change any attitudes towards guns and gun laws?

DANIELS: You know, because it's so weird to be in a situation like this, because you never expect to be in a situation like this, I think everyone -- well, I can't say everyone, I can only speak for myself -- but I'm still processing what happened.

And I'm more concerned about the mental health of a lot of my friends or people that reached out to me that they're like can you please just help us with therapy? And I'm like absolutely. You know, I've offered free therapy for those in need who were there because I understand. I was there and well, obviously, you know, I'm a therapist as well. So I haven't really -- I haven't even thought about going in the politics direction or the gun direction, you know.

VAUSE: Well, eventually, I guess the conversation will come to that but right now, it seems many in the country music industry are maybe avoiding talk about gun violence, for example this -- in Billboard. Billboard reached out to more than two dozen country music acts and executives asking them if the October 1st massacre led them to reconsider their gun views. Most declined to comment.

So as you say, it could be too soon to start this conversation or are they worried about a Dixie Chick-like backlash that was -- you know, the group spoke out against the Iraq war in London in 2003. This was the moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As usual, I didn't plan anything, but I thought I'd say something brand new and just say, just so you know, we're ashamed of the President of the United States --


[00:15:07] VAUSE: You probably remember better than most that, you know, they were shunned for years, that no one bought their tickets, no one bought their albums. They did manage a comeback but it took a very long time.

You know, there are similar concerns if country music artists come out and, you know, start talking about well, we need some sensible gun reform here?

DANIELS: You know, I can't speak for the country artists but I can tell you this. The country artists are amazing. They all have -- they're great to their fans and that's why everyone as country music fans come together and stuff.

But I think that -- I think there's some pretty strong personalities out there that if that's how they feel they would maybe phrase it a little different because that wasn't necessarily on guns that was against the President at the time.

VAUSE: Yes. You know, it's interesting because there's always been this argument that, you know, guns are there. If people had guns, they could defend themselves, you know, a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.

But in a situation like you went through, this guy was on the 32nd floor, and there wasn't a lot a good guy with a gun could do.

DANIELS: Yes, that's true. And you know, this was a very sick individual that unfortunately for whatever reason did something that 22,000 people are going to have to deal with for the rest of their lives and not only that but the rest of the nation. You know, would you feel safe going to a concert?


DANIELS: You know, that's a kind of a thought. And the thing is though we can't let this stop us going to concerts.

VAUSE: You know, I've got a 13-year-old daughter. She loves going to concerts. We're terrified as I guess a lot of people are as well.

I'm glad you're doing well. I'm glad your husband is doing well. And I hope, you know, the healing and the process continues. And thank you for sharing your story. We appreciate it.

DANIELS: Yes, thank you. Pray for Vegas.


Well, Anderson Cooper will host a special dedicated to the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. "LAS VEGAS LOST", it's commercial-free on Saturday, 9:00 a.m. in Hong Kong. You can watch it at 5:00 a.m. in Abu Dhabi.

SESAY: We're going to take a quick break now.

And next on CNN NEWSROOM, the Las Vegas massacre may motivate Congress to take action on at least one gun control issue. We'll explain what they might do.

VAUSE: Also ahead, a new tropical storm pummels Central America -- not done yet. We'll have details after the break.


SESAY: Well prior to Sunday night's massacre in Las Vegas, few Americans had ever heard of a so-called bump stock.

Well, it's an add-on device that uses a rifle's natural recoil to fire more rapidly almost as fast as a fully automatic weapon. This video is demonstrating one of those in action.

[00:20:01] VAUSE: Many of the guns in the shooter's hotel room has been modified with bump stocks. Even the National Rifle Association seems to have been caught off guard by the devices.

SESAY: With the gun law being (inaudible) in a statement the NRA released the device is designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulation.

VAUSE: U.S. lawmakers and federal regulators consider what to do about bump stocks, U.S. President Donald Trump has indicated a willingness to do something.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll be -- we'll be looking into that over the next short period of time.


TRUMP: We'll be looking in -- we'll be looking into that over the next short period of time.


VAUSE: Well, joining us now is a political analyst Peter Matthews. He's a professor of legal science at Cypress College. Good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

SESAY: Welcome -- Peter.


VAUSE: Notably no details on what the President actually plans to do. But I think we have a bit of a clue in this statement that we got from the NRA. We'll read another part of it out.

"The National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law."

Specifically the NRA wants a government agency to look at this, not congress. So there is no prolonged gun debate here. CNN is also reporting that the ATF option is the one preferred by the Republican leadership in both Houses. So get this out of the way, do something small and then be done and move on

MATTHEWS: It's all tactical. This is something that they're intentionally that way. That way you can keep control of the debate and not have too much of a regulation, just a minimal one so it's look like something has been done. In the end nothing will be done that has been done to really stop this.

SESAY: So from the Democrat point of view do you take the victory in the, you know, bump stocks have been regulated? Or do push for more, bear in mind the midterms are right around the corner. What's the strategic move there?

MATTHEWS: You've got to go for more because the bump stock regulation, what that means, will not be nearly enough. I mean background checks are important. There are so many other things that have to be done in terms of the --

SESAY: But they can't get them with a Republican majority. So how hard do you push?

MATTHEWS: Well, here's the thing. I think quite often, they're stuck in a bind about it. There are not Democrats in the House. They look at the numbers rather than going for the issue.

And if they would just act in a non-partisan way, bring people together in both parties to say this commonsense. They might be able to get enough Republicans to join them to pass some kind of real gun control reform, gun regulation reform -- let's put it that way.

VAUSE: It's a pretty low bar if this is the best they can do, tweaking a few regulations for bump stocks.

MATTHEWS: Oh, it's very low bar. Look what Australia did.


MATTHEWS: They went much further than that and had an impact on reducing the number of mass killings.


SESAY: And when you look at that, you have to wonder -- I mean obviously there is the fear of the NRA but then you counter that with the fact that 90 percent of the country wants to see some kind of common sense gun control. And you have to say, how much is that just misplaced fear and kind of almost like overlording the NRA.

MATTHEWS: Well, the NRA used to actually be for some kind of gun regulation way back in the 1920s when it was founded. It got away from that with all these gun manufacturers making lots of money from the sale of guns.

So the public is with the reforms. And the NRA has to be challenged by the public and by Congress with the public pushing Congress to go forward with some significant reforms.

VAUSE: The NRA is a lobby group for the establishment --


MATTHEW: A big lobby -- huge amount of money.

VAUSE: Ok. Well, the President started his day escalating the war on the media with an early morning tweet. "Why isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the fake news networks in our country to see why so much around news is just made up, fake."

Well, later the White House spokesman Sarah Sanders, she was asked about this and if the President wanted news organizations to be investigated, here is what she said.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think right now when we've seen recent information that says that only 5 percent of media coverage has been positive about this President and this administration while at the same time you have the stock market and economic confidence at an all time high, ISIS is on the run, unemployment is at the lowest it's been in 17 years, we've cut regulations at a historic pace, we're fixing the V.A. for our vets. You've only found 5 percent of your time to focus on some of those big issues and frankly those are the issues most Americans care about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Ok, Peter. So essentially what we're hearing now is that for this administration and for this president fake news means non-fawning news.

MATTHEWS: Right. You don't fawn over him, it's fakes news.

Even though it's actual factual -- and this is a phrase he's used during the campaign and his base -- he's using it over and over for his base to -- responding to him, the base. The 35 percent that supports him and the fact is it is completely fake in itself.

VAUSE: I just don't feel like 95 percent, they're so sure about; the 5 percent, you know, positive coverage. There's also been a lot of things the President has done which has generated negative coverage, like his reaction to Charlottesville, you know, and his trip to Puerto Rico -- exactly.

So, you know, to cherry-pick, you know, some good economic statistics which people will argue a legacy of the Obama era, that in itself seems quite disingenuous.

MATTHEWS: That's pretty fake, if you ask me.

[00:24:59] You know, you can look at some of the actual facts, so- called facts that Trump has come up with. For example he says the United States pays more taxes than any other country in the world. And yet, if you look at the percent of GDP, it's only 26 percent are taxes, in our situation. In Europe it's 34 percent.

So he comes up with these non-factual lies basically or misinformation and he claims it's true. But it's really not true at all and he doesn't look at the details of it at all.

VANIER: Broad brush strokes.

MATTHEWS: It's propaganda basically. Broad strokes, yes.

SESAY: You know, as John said his point is that, you know, they want the media to fawn over them. They want to cower the media with this kind of language and investigations, and all the rest of it. I mean I'm sure this White House realizes that news organizations y aren't likely to fall in line and do what they want. So what is the end goal with all of this rhetoric?

MATTEWS: They better realize it that because this is a very dangerous game they're playing. It's goes at the heart of democracy. Democracy requires independent media, a critical media including -- and that's what President Obama said. We welcome criticism when he was in office.

Many presidents -- President Bush said the same thing.


VAUSE: But (inaudible) aren't going to get that. What are you playing for, the point? MATTHEWS: He's playing for his audience -- through his Twitter --

tweets. And so the mainstream media is going for that 35 percent. He can't afford to lose any of that because if he goes down below 30 percent, the Republicans in Congress will leave him and they might even -- other things may happen, you know.

VAUSE: This is a bit of an intimidation tactic (ph)?

MATTHEWS: It is an intimidation practice -- to the people in the news.

VAUSE: Ok. Last item here, just a few hours ago, the President met with military commanders in the White House. He made it clear that he wanted them to move a lot faster when it came to drawing up military options. Here's what he said.


TRUMP: Moving forward, I also expect you to provide me with a broad range of military options when needed at a much faster pace. I know that government bureaucracy is slow but I'm depending on you to overcome the obstacles of bureaucracy.


VAUSE: You know, he didn't talk about any particular situation but does that -- is that about North Korea? Is that about Iran? He's going to decertify the Iran nuclear deal? You know, is he about to declare war?

I mean he also said this is the calm before the storm at that meeting.

MATTHEWS: He's setting the agenda, setting the atmosphere to do things like decertify the Iran nuclear deal which would be a horrible mistake. I mean all the major countries in the world are a party to that; other nations want to keep that deal.

That should be a model for what we do with North Korea. That's a good negotiating model in the same way. And in fact, the prime minister of Britain or Germany said that will be the way to go, use that Iran model with North Korea and then negotiate and work that out. I know it's Merkel that said that.

And we should -- the President is trying to scare, set up an atmosphere of fear and of militarism as opposed to negotiation. And he's contradicted Tillerson, his Secretary of State the other which was so --

SESAY: He's also dressing down of his military which isn't likely to go over well and will have ramification.

MATTHEWS: That's true.

SESAY: In fact that's what (inaudible) will say --

(CROSSTALK) MATTHEWS: Yes. He'll say that.


VAUSE: Peter -- good to see you.

SESAY: Peter -- thank you.

VAUSE: We thank you.

SESAY: Appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: Thank you so much.

VAUSE: Still to come here the deepening crisis over Catalonia's independence votes -- Spain's highest courts makes a controversial new move and how Catalonia is now responding.

SESAY: Plus sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood heavyweight, Harvey Weinstein. How long it's been alleged -- how long it's alleged it's been going on rather and his surprising response.




VAUSE (voice-over): Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM in Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.

SESAY (voice-over): And I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour:


VAUSE: And with all the details, here's Erin McLaughlin reporting in from Barcelona.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Thursday, we saw more pressure in Madrid, this time from a high court order suspending the special session of the Catalan parliament which had been scheduled for Monday. After that session we expected a declaration of independence.

Now with the court ruling, that sequence of events is in doubt, the president of the Catalan parliament saying they are currently weighing their options.

If and when they declare independence, all eyes will turn to Madrid. Thursday morning we heard the Spanish prime minister say all options are on the table including the article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which would allow him to exert emergency powers over this region. That's really seen as a last resort. We're hearing for calls for

dialogue. But so far the two sides aren't talking and the Spanish government is ruling out an independent mediator, which the Catalan government is calling for and Spain is saying they need to act within Spanish law -- Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Barcelona.


VAUSE: Tropical storm Nate is lashing Central America with live- threatening floods and mudslides. The storm is passing over Honduras with winds of 64 kph. Some areas could receive up to 27 meters of rain.

SESAY: It may be a weaker storm in this busy hurricane but it has already proven deadly. At least 20 people have been killed and 5,000 people are staying in shelters.


SESAY: Some say it was an open secret in Hollywood and then the open secret hit "The New York Times." Sexual allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, what he's saying about it next on CNN NEWSROOM.



VAUSE: He's a Hollywood powerhouse behind some of the world's most famous films. Now Harvey Weinstein is apologizing for years of sexually harassing women.

SESAY: It comes as "The New York Times" detailed numerous accusations going back three decades, identifying some of his accusers, including actress Ashley Judd. In a statement Weinstein said he came of age when the rules about behavior were different. He says he knows he's caused a lot of pain and sincerely apologizes.

Let's bring in Sharon Waxman. She's the founder and CEO of "The Wrap."

Sharon, thank you for being with us. Let's say off the bat you know Harvey and you've covered him and you consider him a friend. We can get that out of the way.

Let me ask you this. A lot of people have known for a long time that the allegations were out about improper behaviors, it was an open secret.

With that said, how much of a shock is this "New York Times" piece and how much outrage is it generating in Hollywood?

SHARON WAXMAN, FOUNDER AND CEO, "THE WRAP": That's a really good question. I think it's not a surprise and I don't think it's a shock. And I don't really think that there's a lot of outrage in Hollywood because people did know, that there were rumors many years. I myself -- and while it is true that I consider Harvey a friend, certainly when I'm practicing journalism, he knows that I know that we have to set that aside.

When I spoke to him today, spoke to him purely as a journalist and he understood that. And he also knows that 10 years ago I did an investigative piece that never made it to print when I was a "New York Times" correspondent covering this.

At the time, there were not people who were willing to go on the record like they did now. I think one of the things that's change, you haven't asked me about, I will just go there, today as to why it's taken all this time.

SESAY: You know I was going to ask you that.

WAXMAN: Well, it's a fair question. I think that two things are happening. One, is, and this is the most significant one, is that women are feeling more emboldened to speak out. They're willing to put their name on things.

What happened in the past with Harvey which made it very difficult for reporters to write about this or other executives who wanted to give you information but you couldn't print it because this is very libelous and you have to be careful, is that you needed someone willing to stand up and say this happened to me.

But in fact, what "The New York Times" is saying is there's eight cases and in fact we reported this afternoon that there's actually probably 12 cases that were admitted by Harvey's lawyer in an emergency board meeting on Tuesday. So there's probably more coming of payoffs.

And the payoffs are by definition so the women don't talk. That's why they were done. So it's really hard for this to come out in public.

The other thing that's going on the reality is that Harvey Weinstein does not have the power that he had 10 years ago or even 20 years ago. The movie business in general is more challenged so I think that he doesn't pose the same threat that he might have, certainly in publications, where he might advertise, might think twice before they went ahead and published this kind of story.

SESAY: You mentioned you spoke to him.

WAXMAN: I did this evening, yes, I did.

SESAY: Tell us about that conversation.

WAXMAN: Basically he called to dispute something we published this afternoon, which is that he wanted us to know he wrote the apology himself.


SESAY: People have said it's odd, it's rambling.

WAXMAN: It is odd and it is rambling, that's true because he goes on and he apologizes and he takes accountability for bad behavior.

At the same time, he says he will take a leave of absence and channel the anger that he needs to deal with into fighting the National Rifle Association, which is a complete non-sequitur. So some people felt it was a half apology that kind of gave him some kind of excuse or cover.

So he was calling to say -- oh, and, at the same time, the other piece of it that people found mitigating, that apology, was his lawyer, Charles Harver (ph) coming out and saying he would sue "The New York Times."

So I didn't really understand that myself. But I'm like --


WAXMAN: -- are you apologizing, but you've copped to having done bad things -- we don't know exactly what -- and you will sue "The New York Times," how does that work?

So he was calling to say I did mean that apology, I wrote that apology myself. I'm sincere about it, I'm not going to challenge the victims. I'm not going to attack the victims.

SESAY: Is he going forward with "The New York Times" -- ?

WAXMAN: He is intending on going forward with suing "The New York Times."

SESAY: And I want to read something of that because we're almost out of time but I do want to read this. He gave an interview to "Page Six." This is what he said. Let's put it up on-screen. He explains why he's going after "The New York Times."

"What I'm saying is that I bear responsibility for my actions. But the reason I'm suing is because of 'The Times'' inability to be honest with me and their reckless reporting.

"They told me lies. They made assumptions. 'The Times' had to deal with us so they would tell us about the people they had on the record in the story so we could respond appropriately. But they didn't live up to the bargain."


WAXMAN: That's not exactly what he told me. He told me, because he made a series of interview and --


WAXMAN: -- "Page Six" before you look to ours, which is not vastly different. But basically he said they only gave me two days to respond: it wasn't enough time and then Lisa Bloom, his lawyer, hops on the phone and said -- and not only that, they said had to publish at 1 o'clock. We asked them to hold so we could go these multiple allegations and go through them one by one. Some of them are true and some of them are not true. He wanted to

admit to the things that are true and counter the ones that weren't true.

But the reality is I don't believe for a minute that "The New York Times," having worked there, knowing the reporters who were involved, did not actually give him the names and details. But he probably wanted more time.

SESAY: Sadly, we are out of time. But thank you for coming in and great get, getting him on the phone and getting his side of things. We appreciate it. Thank you.

And you're watching CNN live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

VAUSE: I'm John Vause. "WORLD SPORT" starts after the break.