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New Accusations Against Weinstein; Deadly California Wildfires; Trump's I.Q. Test Boast Versus Tillerson. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired October 11, 2017 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:13] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: New details on the allegations against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. A-list celebrities saying they too were the victims, and horrifying audio of Weinstein seeming to admit to sexual assault.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Seventeen are dead in wildfires in Northern California, more than a hundred are missing, and firefighters are still struggling to gain control.

BRIGGS: Plus, President Trump versus his own secretary of state joked about IQ tests. Sources tell CNN it was not a joke and, of course, a new nickname for a highly respected Republican senator.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs. Just another day at the adult daycare center.

You'd win. You'd win.

ROMANS: I don't know, I'm not sure about that.

BRIGGS: I'm certain about it.

ROMANS: It's Wednesday, October 11th. It's 4:00 a.m. in the East, 1:00 a.m. in California and 5:00 p.m. in South Korea.

All right. Let's begin with accusations of sexual misconduct against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, reaching a stunning new low, this as the board of the company he founded insists they knew nothing about the many incidents now being alleged. "New York Times" reports that A-list actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie both say Weinstein made unwanted advances on them on separate occasions in the late 1990s.

They joined a growing a number of actresses and models who have spoken, making similar accusations. "The New Yorker Magazine" also publishing a story alleging Weinstein raped three women.

BRIGGS: That's a claim Weinstein's spokeswoman categorically rejected. Her statement says in part: Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. With respect to any women who had made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.

CNN reaching out to Weinstein for clarification on each specific allegation.

ROMANS: Let's talk about "The New Yorker" here. "The New Yorker" also posted audio from a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015. In it, a young model resists Weinstein's efforts to get her into his hotel room and refers to a previous incident where she says he groped her.

We want to warn you, the audio you're about to hear is disturbing.


HARVEY WEINSTEIN, FILM PRODUCER: I'm not going to do anything and you'll never see me again after this. OK? That's it. If you don't -- if you embarrass me in this hotel where I'm staying --

AMBRA GUTIERREZ, MODEL: I'm not embarrassing you --

WEINSTEIN: Just walk --

GUTIERREZ: It's just that I don't feel comfortable.

WEINSTEIN: Honey, don't have a fight with me in the hallway.

GUTIERREZ: It's not nothing, it's --

WEINSTEIN: Please. I'm not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything, I'm a famous guy.

GUTIERREZ: I'm -- I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

WEINSTEIN: Please come in. And one minute. And if you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.

GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

WEINSTEIN: Oh, please. I'm sorry. Just come on in. I'm used to that.

GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?

WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.


BRIGGS: Terrifying.

Now, Hillary Clinton and the Obamas whose daughter Malia interned with Weinstein are speaking out against him. Also, the board of the Weinstein Company said on a statement that the recent allegations come as an utter surprise to the board that they had no knowledge of them.

ROMANS: If they had settlements with -- eight settlements as was reported, wouldn't the board be alerted? That's my big question. I mean, usually, a board would know something about that.

BRIGGS: That's one of the real questions as we move forward. ROMANS: And if not, then you have a problem with oversight.

BRIGGS: Yes. How many were helping Harvey Weinstein commit these crimes?

Joining us now, senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES".

Brian does not sleep. Fortunately, he does join us at 4:00 a.m.


BRIGGS: All right. There's a lot to get to, including how many people enabled him. But let's start with the latest developments here.

STELTER: Well, for one thing, Weinstein is flying off to rehab. He says he's going to go into extensive therapy. Meanwhile, his wife Georgina announcing overnight that she is leaving him. They've been together for 10 years. They have two children together. She released a statement to "People Magazine" saying that she wants privacy at this time.

So, in terms of the personal lives here, there is -- there is that news overnight and then there is this board statement. The idea that the board claims it didn't know it was going on. There are only four board members left because half of the people on this all male board quit in the days following the "New York Times" investigation.

The remaining four board members were the ones that fired Harvey Weinstein on Sunday, including his brother Bob. So, even his brother Bob is suggesting he has no idea what was going on with Harvey Weinstein. I think a lot of people are going to find that hard to believe.

ROMANS: Weinstein's response has been evolving. First, you know, he said he was going to get help and he'd tried to change his life over the past 10 years and he said, something to the effect that was brought up in business during the '60s and '70s when this kind of was tolerable.

[04:05:02] STELTER: Yes. Lisa Bloom said he was a dinosaur.

ROMANS: Right. Well, you know, lots of dinosaurs didn't act like that and, you know, my father, for example, came up in the business in '60s and '70s. That is not normal behavior.

Then, he said he was getting help. Then he said he thought his brother was sabotaging him and now he's going to rehab. Where's the contrition from him?

STELTER: Yes, there's been a lot of discordant responses. He has told his friends that he believes his brother Bob betrayed him and tried to force him out of the company. We've not heard anything publicly from Weinstein since Sunday night except for that statement you all just read denying the rape allegations. You know, the allegations in "The New York" article, which was 10

months in the making from Rona Farrow, they are absolutely disturbing. Three women, two of them on the record accusing Weinstein of rape. Other assaults, other behavior also alleged in the article, and it has 16 people, 16 sources in and around the company that said this was something that folks inside the company knew about at the time.

BRIGGS: You say Ronan Farrow's piece was 10 months in the making. These accusations are decades in the making. How did it talk so long?

STELTER: Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie now speaking out to "The New York Times" saying that in 1990s, that's when Weinstein came on to them, Jolie says, look, I never worked with him again. And I warned other women about his behavior.

And really that's what was going on for decades, a whisper network, mostly among women, also among some men in Hollywood saying be aware, Weinstein has a reputation. It's not everybody in Hollywood knew, but enough folks knew to kind of pass along the word, to spread the word amongst each other, and yet, there's always that next person coming to New York for the first time in the case of the woman we hear in that 2015 video, coming to New York hoping for her big break and then falling into these traps that Weinstein was setting.

ROMANS: You know, all women in business, there are these settled bias in the news room, in the office, this takes that to the extreme, but what is so chilling for everyone is that now, you've heard people say, men say, powerful men say they won't take a private meeting with a woman because they don't want anything to look untoward. So, that just reinforces the old guys network, the old boys network again. You know, like woman don't have that access anymore, because the guys like this, who makes things so gross.

The political angle of this.


ROMANS: Hillary Clinton took five days to distance herself or disavow him, right? Some people say that's far too long. He was a power player in Hollywood but a huge Democratic fundraiser.

STELTER: Yes. Not just donating his own money but bundling money from his friends as well, bringing that to the likes of Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama weighing in five days after this first investigation into Weinstein's behavior so it's one of those better late than never situations, and it also casts a spotlight on what President Trump has said about Weinstein.

So far, Trump has only said, I wasn't surprise when I heard about these allegations. We've not heard a condemnation or a leadership moment from President Trump. The way we did hear from Obama last night saying, hey, every woman needs to be able to come forward in a moment like this and express themselves and be taken seriously.

ROMANS: It's tricky for Trump because he's on tape talking about groping women. BRIGGS: Yes.


BRIGGS: Look in the mirror first.


All right. Brian, come back in a half hour and talk more about these developments.

All right. Turning now to the wildfires raging in California from north to south. At least 17 people have been confirmed dead. Hundreds more hospitalized. Authorities are warning that the death toll is almost certain to rise.

At least 2 -- oh, look at Santa Rosa. At least 2,000 buildings have been destroyed or damaged. More than 100,000 acres burned.

CNN's Dan Simon has more for us from Santa Rosa in the heart of California wine country.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, authorities are still evacuating people from danger, the flames still advancing on people's homes. At this point, about 180 people are reported missing. That does not necessarily mean they are believed to be dead. It could just mean that there is a communication issue.

We are in the Coffee Park neighborhood, really devastation as far as the eye can see. Not a single home left standing.

Still so many people evacuated, 20,000 or so. The evacuation centers are filled. The need is great. They need clothes, they need children's toys.

Meantime, officials say that the death toll is at 17. They've begun releasing the identities. They include an elderly couple, the husband 100 years old, the wife 98 years old, unable to leave their home as the flames advanced -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: Thanks.

BRIGGS: Dan Simon, yes, thank you.

Joining us now on the phone, Brad Wagenknecht. He's a member of the Napa County Board of Supervisors. He's been directly involved with emergency management since the fire started.

Good morning to you, sir. Thanks for joining us so early.

BRAD WAGENKNECHT, MEMBER, NAPA COUNTY BOARD OF DIRECTORS (via telephone): Good morning. BRIGGS: Brad, what's the latest on the 180 people missing and how do you go about finding them and accounting for all of them?

WAGENKNECHT: Well, we have the -- the evacuation centers, now they're shelters that people can come to and check out.

[04:10:07] They register -- they register there. There's also a -- there's also a Website that people can register to and -- and that helps. Facebook has been working with that also and people are -- are coming -- following through and being found on that.

If that's the problem, there is no just one way to do it at this point and people have so many different options when you're taking on an evacuation. We had 300 in the evacuation centers the first night, and then we went down to 200 the second night, and now, we have three more neighborhoods that are -- that are needing to evacuate, and I have not been able to be down at the centers to see -- see what the numbers are, but what happens is people come in and then they -- they find other accommodations.


WAGENKNECHT: Friends or relatives or something like that.

ROMANS: My sister-in-law lives there and she and her family have moved twice now just moving from one friend and that friend, suddenly, they have to evacuate and they move to another friend's. There are a lot of people are on the move --

WAGENKNECHT: Yes, that happened.

ROMANS: Yes, outside of those folks who you have in those shelters.

Let's talk a little bit about the winds. They've died down, but late -- they're expected to come back and it is still very dry and, you know, firefighters were telling us even last night, Brad, that you know, the conditions are not under control here. This is still not under control.

What's your sense of whether they're getting a handle on this?

WAGENKNECHT: That's -- you're exactly right. The conditions are not under control. The contained embers are still, at last briefing that I was at were still at zero. So, these things are -- and the wind shifted this evening and has endangered three new neighborhoods in the Napa area. I can't tell you what it's doing in the Sonoma area, but three new neighborhoods have been evacuated in the Napa area.

And tomorrow, we're looking at north winds to come up to 30 miles per hour. We're -- we're nervous as heck.

ROMANS: Oh, our thoughts are with you guys.

BRIGGS: The loss of life also, of course, of utmost important. But you talk about these neighborhoods just leveled by fire. Do people have insurance? Are they covered? WAGENKNECHT: Well, most people that are buying their house have to

have insurance for their loan, and that's one of the good things, most of us don't own the house outright and so, we have -- most of us have insurance. There are going to be people that don't and there are renters, of course, that may not have insurance, and, of course, the contents may or may not be covered. This is going to be something that changes a lot of lives.

ROMANS: You know, a beautiful part of the country. Wine country there. We know at least a couple of vineyards or wineries have had some damage here. This will have a long-term impact do you think on how people make a living where you live?

WAGENKNECHT: Well, we -- you know, we always hope and we -- and the wine country has been resilient in the past. You know, we've suffered through floods and earthquakes, so we expect to be able to make it through this, but it -- these are the times that try men's souls.

BRIGGS: Quickly, Brad, has the federal response been adequate?

WAGENKNECHT: Oh, yes. Our -- you know, our congressman is coordinating with the senators and the White House to make sure that FEMA is informed. You know, we don't -- we don't know what the nature of the final -- the final nature of this catastrophe is going to be. So, you know, but they're all informed and they're all -- they're all giving us the right answers at this point that they're ready to go.

ROMANS: Brad Wagenknecht, a member of the Napa County Board of Supervisors, we sure wish you all the very, very best.

And hopefully they can try to get this under control and the weather starts to help you. We're nervous as heck, he says. I think that's a real great way to put it.

Thanks, Brad.

BRIGGS: All right. Firefighters in California may face tougher conditions today.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins with the latest on that.


PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Dave and Christine. The conditions across California here, really a brief window for the firefighters to gain some ground. You notice 33 large active fires, much of it across the northern portion of the state. Almost 120,000 acres of land consumed.

But we think the winds will begin to really shift and also become gusty going into this afternoon here as the elements come together.

[04:15:02] And notice the 75 to 80 percentage there for the humidities. That really drops by 11:00 to noon today down into the 20s. There are wind streamers coming from the north, meaning they're going to have a drier wind here and, of course, as much as 30-mile- per-hour gusts expected. So, I don't think we're going to have a large window here beyond early Wednesday morning to get some upper hand on these fires across that region of California.

On the East Coast, how about this, some showers pushing in around the northeast. Some mild temperatures expected. We think this actually begin to really build into the weekend before a shot of cooler air tries to come in early next week.

So, at least the next couple of days looking very mild. We'll shoot for 72 today in New York. In Nashville, high temperatures around 77 -- guys.


ROMANS: All right. Pedram Javaheri, thank you for that.

All right. So, the White House tells the press corps, get a sense of humor.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president certainly never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke.


ROMANS: Sources tell CNN that might not be the case. Oh, the battle over the IQ test. That's next.


[04:20:14] BRIGGS: President Trump adding to questions about whether he respects and supports his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The president suggesting the two men could square off in an IQ test after Tillerson reportedly referred to him as a moron.

President Trump told "Forbes" magazine, quote, I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ test, and I can tell you who is going to win.

The White House claims the president was joking when he made that comment, but CNN's Jim Acosta tells us that may not be the case.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, a source tells CNN President Trump was not joking when he said that he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should square IQ tests. The source close to the White House said the president was upset about being called a moron and spouted off about Tillerson's intelligence because he was mad.

That's contrary to what White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters when she insisted the president was just joking and that the press should get a sense of humor. Here's what he had to say. SANDERS: The president certainly never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke, nothing more than that.

He has full confidence -- he has full confidence in the secretary of state, that he wasn't questioning the secretary of state's intelligence. He made -- he made a joke. Maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime, but he simply made a joke.

ACOSTA: The White House is also pushing back on Republican Senator Bob Corker who said the president could be leading the country into World War III. Sarah Sanders told reporters Corker was entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. This from a White House that's use the term "alternative facts" -- Dave and Christine.


ROMANS: Entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

All right. As Jim mentioned, the White House and its allies are pushing back hard against Senator Corker's criticism. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon called Corker to resign immediately for undermining his president.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders weighed in on that.


SANDERS: I think that's a decision for Senator Corker and the people of Tennessee, not for us to decide.


BRIGGS: The president resorting to insults on Twitter. Shocking. Failing New York Times, Liddle --

ROMANS: Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle -- I don't know.

BRIGGS: Liddle Bob Corker by recording his conversation was made to found a fool and that's what I am dealing with. Now, that claim by the president is false. By the way, it was not a setup. The audio shows Senator Corker actually encouraged "The Times" to record the interview and he told them back he too was recording it.

Liddle is not a thing. Liddle is not a word. And there's no apostrophe after it if you want to sue that.

ROMANS: I -- and, look, sources in the White House say he's going to keep doing that. He's going to keep making the name-calling because they say it works. They think it works, little.

BRIGGS: Because Bob Corker is short. We get it. He's 5'7".

ROMANS: All right. Time for an early start on your money.

President Trump promised Americans their health insurance options would improve after he signs an executive order loosening restrictions on buying policies across state lines. Exact details of what's in the order are not yet known by the president says he'll likely sign this in the week. In the past, Trump has said he'd like to make it easier for small businesses to buy coverage by joining together.

So what can we expect? The order will probably make it easier for small employers to buy insurance through association health plans, small plumbing firms for example, different states could ban together to form a group and buy coverage together. The switch could allow association plans to deny coverage or set rates based on a patient's medical history.

To deny coverage or set rates based on your history. That means higher rates. Supporters say this would increase competition and allow people to buy more coverage across state lines.

Critics say these would draw younger healthier consumers away from the Obamacare market, leaving sicker and older Americans in the exchanges and driving up the rates for everyone else. So, watch this space. The White House tweaking with health care.

BRIGGS: We've heard for years and years that opening up across state lines would help.

ROMANS: Yes, we'll see if the president would like to do that.

BRIGGS: We shall see.

All right. U.S. planes flying over the peninsula in a show of force. Plus, new details about North Korean hackers who targeted companies and governments. We're live in Seoul, South Korea, next.


[04:28:54] BRIGGS: A show of force overnight by the U.S. military flying bombers over the Korean Peninsula. It's part of a training mission with Japanese and South Korean jets and comes as President Trump is briefed by his top two defense officials on a range of options concerning North Korea but also to, quote, prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons.

ROMANS: Meantime, South Korea claims North Korean hackers may have stolen classified military documents. They include a joint South Korean-U.S. wartime operational plan that includes procedures to decapitate Pyongyang's leadership. And just hours ago, new reporting that hackers working for the North Korean government may have been targeting U.S. electric companies as well.

Let's bring in CNN's Alexandra Field. She is live for us in Seoul with the very latest.

These developments clearly alarming and show even without conventional weaponry being used, there is -- there's a lot of activity in this conflict. ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the cyber threat is

certainly part of the arsenal that North Korea has developed. And for years now, we've been talking about North Korea's ability to conduct these cyber attacks in a number of high profile ways, frankly, across the world.

Now, we're looking at two allegations on two different fronts of the latest hacks.