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Trump Feud with Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson; Tax Reform Plan; Russian Official: Raqqa Erased by U.S.-Led Bombing; Spain Political Crisis; Concerns over Debris Buildup in Puerto Rico; Bill O'Reilly Harassment Scandal; Japan Reelects Abe. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired October 23, 2017 - 0:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:10] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: He called her wacky and she implied he was being childish but it's not the average domestic spat it sounds like.
Japan's Shinzo Abe may become his country's longest serving modern prime minister. With the election a big treaty (ph) appears to have won. The polls are closed and the results are being tallied.
Our live report ahead.
Plus Raqqa, Syria in ruins and a Russian official says the city was erased by a U.S.-led bombing.
Hello everyone -- thanks for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church in Atlanta. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
U.S. President Donald Trump says when he wants to go after someone he has attacked who has attacked him, Twitter is his weapon of choice. Now a Democratic congresswoman is firing back at him with his favored weapon.
On Sunday Representative Fredericka Wilson tweeted "Name-calling is for children." She added that the country needs an adult to get to the bottom of recent ambush in Niger that left four soldiers dead.
Trump has been repeatedly calling her whacky on Twitter. He's furious that she criticized his condolence call to a widow of one of the slain soldiers.
The latest now from CNN's Boris Sanchez.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Sunday the President continued his feud with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of south Florida saying that she is the gift that keeps on giving and saying that because of here voters would vote Republican. This comes after the representative was on a Sunday morning talk show comparing the situation in Niger to Benghazi, saying that it was Donald Trump's Benghazi. This fighting between a representative and the President not likely to go away any time soon as Congresswoman Wilson is now demanding an apology from White House chief of staff John Kelly after he compared her to an empty barrel. We have yet to receive any comment from the White House over the recent remarks going back and forth between the President and the Representative.
However, the President did make some remarks on that on Fox News over the weekend. Here he is talking about his combative style and how he feels that defending himself from any kind of criticism helps to get things done. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Even your supporters say, you know, he's got fantastic policies, we want to see this through but the bickering and the feuding gets in the way.
So obviously the feuding with Senator Corker. I think there's a personal thing going on between you and Senator McCain. Do you worry that this bickering and feuding gets in the way of your agenda.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. And somethings it helps, to be honest with you. So we'll see what happens in the end. But I think actually sometimes it helps. Sometimes it gets people to do what they're supposed to be doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: During that interview the President also discussed something that White House is fully focused on this week which is tax reform. President penning an op-ed in the "USA Today" in which he said that it was time to reignite the middle class miracle in pushing for not only tax reform but tax cuts that benefit the middle class.
On Sunday the President also held a phone call with members of the House Republican Party in which House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he wanted to get the Senate's budget passed before the end of the week; this according to Republican source that was briefed on the call.
He said that President Trump and Vice President Pence were both on the call. The President saying that this is something he wanted to get done immediately, telling the Republican members of the House that they were on the verge of doing something very, very historic.
The President also heads to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to meet with Republican Senators to discuss tax reforms, many of whom he has contentious relationships with, open feuds if you will, including Senators John McCain, Bob Corker and Jeff Flake, so you can bet that their interaction s will be closely watched on Tuesday.
Boris Sanchez, CNN -- at the white house.
CHURCH: Joining us now from Los Angeles in political analyst Michael Genovese. He is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University. Thank you so much for being with us.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
CHURCH: So how is this back and forth between the President and the congresswoman playing with the American people? And how should the white House deal with this feud going forward?
GENOVESE: Well look, the President likes to get into fights, picking fights is part of his personality. It's part of his governing style.
The problem is sometimes the fights he picked are not the fights you want to be picking and in this it seems to have backfired a good deal. The Congresswoman's -- her response was politicized, yes and probably a little over the top.
[00:05:02] But President Trump is the one who started this fight, personalizing it himself by trying to take a solemn moment and then comparing his response to those of others presidents including President Obama -- his obsession.
And then General Kelly -- we need to cut some slack on because after all, he is a gold star father. He compounded the problem by saying things that simply weren't true about the congresswoman. And so she's coming out looking pretty good and the President and the chief of staff not so good.
CHURCH: And there have been calls for a Benghazi style investigation into what exactly happened in Niger and how those four American soldiers were killed. Is that what needs to happen here and will we see that happen.
GENOVESE: Well, you know, regardless of what the politicians say, the military will do a thorough review of this. That's their practice that you get after every incident because they want to know what happened if they made a mistake. If so, how do you correct it? How do you make sure it doesn't happen again?
So the military can be trusted to do that. The question will po1iticians get involved and muck it all up?
CHURCH: And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't dwelling on attacks made against him in the past by President Trump. Let's just take a listen to what he said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I'm not particularly concerned about all of this. What we're interested in is achieving an agenda for the American people.
And the President's agenda and our agenda are one and the same. We're thrilled to have somebody in the White House who supports what this House and Senate Republican majority has been wanting to have an opportunity to do for a long time. I refuse to get diverted off on the various comments that may be made at one time or another.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: It's certainly smart politics, isn't it? But do you think Americans buy it? This sudden friendship and trust between McConnell and the President to get their shared agenda through Congress and is it perhaps a misplaced trust?
GENOVESE: Well, you know the old saying, "Politics makes strange bedfellows." Republicans in the Senate for the most part are willing to tolerate Donald Trump because they think they can get a few policy initiatives through Congress with his help. To the extent that he's able to do that, they'll work with him. But they might very well find that that's not possible and in the long run, it could backfire on him.
And so -- I mean Mitch McConnell is playing it pretty cool by not personalizing it by trying to get the policies through. And it's all up to the President to get this finished.
CHURCH: And on the issue of the Russia investigation, President Trump says no one has asked him to do an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller and Mr. Trump says he doesn't know if he would do it anyway.
But this is what Republican Senator Graham Lindsey (SIC) had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think that the Trump administration is slow when it comes to Russia. They have a blind spot on Russia I still can't figure out. But I can tell you what happened in '16 and you yourself became --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: At what point is that circumstantial evidence to you, sir?
GRAHAM: All I can say is that wherever the Russian investigation takes us, it will take us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So what do you think Lindsey Graham means when he says the Trump administration has a blind spot on Russia and the investigation will take us where it takes us? What does that mean exactly?
GENOVESE: Well, it's such a complicated at this point. It's not a surprise that the President hasn't been asked to testify. He would be the last one anyway. So Mueller's doing his job the way he ought to be doing it.
I think the odd thing is from day one, the President has had an odd kind of bromance with Putin and he's had an odd policy towards Russia. Russia attacked us and he's not responding appropriately.
The question is why? And there are all kinds of theories as to why. I think Mueller is the one who's going to uncover any of the dirt that is there. CHURCH: All right. Michael Genovese -- thank you so much for joining
us. Appreciate it.
GENOVESE: Thank you.
Well Russia is slamming the U.S.-led bombing of Raqqa and says it left the Syrian city erased. A state media report a defense ministry spokesman compared Raqqa's fate to that of Dresden in World War II. That German city was the target of heavy U.S.-British bombing in an effort to defeat the Nazis. Raqqa was the de facto ISIS capital which U.S.-backed forces declared liberated days ago.
As our Arwa Damon reports, its recovery could be long and difficult.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The destruction of Raqqa is so vast and devastating. It's heartbreaking. And it's going to take at least three to four months before civilians can even begin to go back and try to take stock of what it is that they have actually physically lost because that is how long it's going to take to clear the city of various explosives and mines.
The civilian population now, by and large, languishing in overcrowded refugee camps and among them very little celebration at the liberation of their city because of the price they had to pay for it. Everybody who we spoke to knows someone who has died, whether it's a relative, a loved one or a friend.
[00:10:03] And when it comes to the actual physical reconstruction of Raqqa where is the civilian council even going to begin?
If we take Kobani that saw a similar scale of destruction to Raqqa well, only 50 percent of it has actually approximately been rebuilt. And the international donations that were pledged, they never materialized.
People had to build their homes if they could afford it out of their savings. And additionally just because ISIS has physically lost the territory of its caliphate as we keep hearing time and time again that does not mean that ISIS as an ideology, as an entity capable of carrying out attacks and drawing in even more recruits is necessarily over.
What we heard from a man from Bahrain who has been detained by the Kurdish forces, is that ISIS already has a plan in place. He says they have the finance. They have the means. They have the capability to morph and reemerge again.
Arwa Damon, CNN -- Kobani, Syria.
CHURCH: Well the U.S. Secretary of State is looking toward the end of the battle against ISIS and says it's time for the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to disband. At a joint meeting between the Iraqi and Saudi Arabian leaders, Rex Tillerson said this. "Those militias need to go home. And foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home and allow the Iraqi people to regain control of areas that had been overtaken by ISIS and Daesh that have now been liberated. Allow the Iraqi people to rebuild their lives with the help of their neighbors.
A Spanish politician is sounding a lot like another leader you might know. Spain's foreign minister says some images the world saw of its violent crackdown on Catalonia were fake news and alternative facts. Next, Spain's political crisis hits a turning point with accusations of a coup d'etat and the threat of direct rule.
Plus, it's now been a month since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and still people are without power. Homes are decaying and garbage is piling up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was one of the first few houses to start pile up over there. And it seems every day it's just been getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And right now is when they were starting to clean it up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The latest on the crisis in Puerto Rico when we return.
[00:12:25] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I'm CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera checking in now with your weather watch here across the United States. If you're going to be traveling, big cold front across the eastern part of the states but this feature has been bringing severe weather and even tornadoes -- reported tornadoes yesterday across the plains and into the southeast.
What's happening here we're dividing two seasons -- winds carry warm temperatures to the east and on the backside of that front a significant plummet of temperatures the next couple of days as cold air begins to pull in from north to south.
[00:15:07] The area of low pressure still headed off to the north and east so kind of a cloudy, rainy start to the work week here across New England and through the 95 corridor. This rain will get out of the way and make way for the cold air and that will be pushing in rather quickly here as temperatures begin to thaw there.
The thunderstorms in Atlanta, big hub there, may find some delays early on with the heavy rainfall and wind and then back behind it will begin to cool off. Pretty quiet in San Francisco down towards southern California.
High temperatures -- we'll see low 20s once again for Monday. Then there's the dip as temperatures come back into the mid and upper teens. In fact, these are the high temperatures into the evening. It will drop even more so through the (INAUDIBLE).
Across Central America, partly cloudy with afternoon thunderstorms in the 20s.
CHURCH: Both sides of Spain's political crisis are accusing each other of carrying out a coup d'etat. The central government in Madrid wants to suspend the region's autonomy and rule directly until new elections are held. Catalan leaders are accusing Madrid of attack their right to be independent. They say they won that right through an unofficial referendum.
Meanwhile the people of Catalonia themselves are divided. These residents outside of Barcelona welcome Madrid's direct rule, others strongly oppose it. And even some in Spain's capital is supporting the independence movement.
These protester chanted "Madrid is with the Catalan people".
With us now, Roger Senserrich, a political scientist. Thank you so much for joining us.
And I do want to start by getting your reaction to this denial from Spain of any attempt at a coup as Madrid moves to assert control over Catalonia.
ROGER SENSERRICH, POLITICAL SCIENTIST: I think the central government essentially ran out of options. The Catalan conflict has been left aside. The central government essentially Mariano Rajoy has been postponing a decision for the past several years and letting the (INAUDIBLE) escalate without trying to give an adequate response to the problem.
Some sort of negotiations, someone for the regional government will actually sit down and try to reach an agreement. So the issue has escalated to the point that the only way that the central government had out of what the region was doing was actually suspending the -- ending the autonomy, suspending the regional government
CHURCH: So is it a coup or not a coup?
SENSERRICH: It is not a coup. Pretty much every single generation has similar or (INAUDIBLE). When one of the states or one regions is doing something that is either breaking the law or against the general interest -- German, (INAUDIBLE) even the U.S. have similar tools at their disposal, constitution-wise to actually try to get the region go back or get back to the constitutional order.
CHURCH: So Spain's prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced plans Saturday to sack the regional government of Catalonia and curb some of its freedoms. You're saying that is constitutional. It's able to do that and establish direct rule.
SENSERRICH: There's quite a bit of discussion that's exactly when the 155 -- the article that they're using actually allows. The article is really big. The Spanish Parliament never got around quite really developing what they meant by that article so there is not a clear guide path on what can be covered and what not.
So there are some legal scholars that say that it is above what the article allows. There are some others that say that this actually bears what's (ph) reasonable. The most likely outcome is that this is going to be challenged by the regional government. It's going to be probably be to the constitutional court and it's probably going to be litigated away.
So they are actually going litigate exactly how much control the central government can exert over the region.
CHURCH: So that would have to be determined by a constitutional court. That could take time, couldn't it?
And I did want to ask you too. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont stopped short of declaring independence but he told Europe the Catalonians will continue to fight. What do you make of those mixed messages? And how will this likely turnout, do you think?
[00:19:59] SENSERRICH: He's under a lot of pressure right now. Most of his government and most of the secessionists, most of the (INAUDIBLE) that are backing him in parliament actually are pressuring him to declare secession, I know, actually at some point this week.
There are several voices we think he's hearing (ph) as well, as well as most of the Catalan press and part of a few business groups calling him to actually -- to call an election, to call an a snap election at the regional government and postpone the declaration of independence or even declare independence and then call an election and call a constitutional -- use the election to call a constitutional convention to actually get out the 155 and avoid getting the regional government suspended.
The central government of Rajoy has signaled that if Puigdemont calls a snap election they are not going to go with suspending the region government.
CHURCH: Now, in that interview we referred to earlier, Spain's foreign minister sounded a lot like another politician we all know. I want you to listen for just a moment if you would. And then I'll come back to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALFONSO DASTIS, SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Many of those pictures have been proven to be fake pictures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
DASTIS: If there was any -- use of force, it was a limited one. And prompted by the fact that, you know, the law and order agencies were prevented from discharging the orders of the courts. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're saying that those pictures that people
saw of Spanish police intervening aggressively in polling states are all fake pictures. They didn't happen?
DASTIS: I'm not saying that all are fake pictures. But some of them are. And, you know, there has been a lot of alternative facts and fake news here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: How concerned are you when you hear Spain refer to those pictures as fake news, given what we know?
SENSERRICH: First of all, the externa communications policy of the Spanish central government has been completely baffling. They just don't understand what's going on with social media, how they are actually losing this communication.
The reason that -- he does have a point. There has been a lot of misinformation coming from the Catalan authorities at some points and actually has been -- the war of facts and the war of ideas has been -- has been not really straightforward in some ways. He's definitely wrong in this case.
The central government went way over the line trying to block the vote. But if it was only (INAUDIBLE) -- they went way over the line. And actually I don't really understand why they are trying to hide what everybody saw in an event that was widely covered not just by the Spanish, by the foreign press as well.
CHURCH: All right. Roger Senserrich -- thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
SENSERRICH: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: We are now receiving new aerial footage of the damage from Puerto Rico. It's been more than a month after Hurricane Maria tore through the island and a sense of normalcy is slow to return for millions of residents. Only 20 percent of the island has power while 73 percent has access to clean water. Now Puerto Rico is facing yet another challenge -- garbage and debris have built up on the streets.
CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest now from San Juan.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, officials here in Puerto Rico are facing a monumental task and that is clear. It's huge piles of debris from neighborhood across the island.
We visited the neighborhood just west of the city of San Juan where we found a virtual maze of debris, rotting garbage essentially before though much of that was people's belongings, people's livelihoods now littering a sidewalk. They sit there soaked, waiting for crews to clean them up. Now thought over the weekend we witnessed crews basically moved in and began to clear out some of this material though. There is a method to all of this. Officials hiring a local contractor to essentially survey those debris piles and remove the potentially toxic materials like paint, certain appliances, refrigerators and so on.
All of that has been put aside so the Environmental Protection Agency can then move in and then dispose of that properly. This is leading however to another concern. You see the EPA has already detected several violations in some of the landfills throughout this island which is where much of this debris is going. So the question here is some of these landfills are already full to capacity, where will all of this garbage go?
The EPA already estimating that Puerto Rico produced about at least 8,500 tons of garbage a day -- this is before Maria, before all of this debris but I can tell you though the residents in some of these towns have been overcome by a sense of relief.
[00:25:05] For nearly five weeks they have driven past these piles of debris that have become virtual breeding grounds for rodents and diseases as well. This is something that they certainly welcome. But of course, the main, biggest challenge -- the main question now is where will all this debris eventually be docked.
Reporting in San Juan -- Polo Sandoval, CNN.
CHURCH: A typhoon slams into Japan bringing fierce rain and wind leaving behind flooding and mudslides. Where it's heading, next.
Plus the exit polls in Japan, Shinzo Abe is on the track to victory. Kaori Enjoji is joining us now from Tokyo -- Kaori.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: A power grab by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- we'll have the latest on the Japanese national election after this quick break.
CHURCH: Welcome back. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.
Want to take a quick look at the headlines right now.
CHURCH: Typhoon Lan pushed gales of rain in time for Sunday's election but that didn't stop voters from sending Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to a third term in office.
Exit polls show Mr. Abe and his party are poised for an overwhelming win, calling the snap election was a risky move for Mr. Abe but one that apparently paid off, giving him a stronger mandate to deal with North Korea and push his agenda for Japanese domestic life forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This election was about, firstly, the North Korea threat. You could even say North Korea is the biggest threat ever and also it was about the growing birth rate. If we don't do something now, it will be too late.
This is a national crisis that can't wait.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And we have some breaking news on all of this. Let's get to the latest too with journalist Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo.
What are we hearing?
ENJOJI: Rosemary, the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, had a telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump about two hours ago. And in this 30-minute telephone conversation, they reaffirmed their commitment; they discussed North Korea, which as you heard earlier has been one of the key issues in this national election.
They also discussed plans for U.S. president Donald Trump's visit to Japan in early November, on November 5th. He will be visiting for a couple of days and it looks like another round of golf diplomacy will be on the cards.
This was a big win for the Japanese prime minister and throughout this campaign he has been keen to put forth and emerge that the rapport he has with president Donald Trump and the alliance that Japan has with the U.S. is the bedrock for national security, particularly at a time when these tensions surrounding North Korea are escalating.
And he would be the safest pair of hands, the most experienced pair of hands to deal with this crisis. So it is fairly poignant that the two had a conversation right after -- right as these polls were closing.
And the official numbers are still not out but it looks like he's going to win a resounding victory, a two-thirds super majority, which basically means that, if he wants to push forth with constitutional reform, which many analysts say that he will and he wants to make this a signature policy, he has the momentum to do so.
But at the same time, he has been emboldened by these nuclear missile threats from North Korea, the tests that they have been conducting, the threats from North Korea to sink Japan.
But any kind of mention of beefing up the military here in Japan raises or stokes the ire of key allies in the region, like South Korea, also China as well. So this is a very tricky balance and a delicate balance that the Prime Minister will have to navigate going forward. But having said that he and his coalition partners, the call made to have one, this two-thirds majority, so this is a resounding rebound for a prime minister who, only a couple of months ago, was being dogged by scandal and his support ratings were at record lows.
ENJOJI: At the same time, I think it was a crushing defeat.
CHURCH: Yes, I just wanted to talk to you about that the fact that this is very historically significant for the country. But talk to us about what Shinzo Abe plans to do and how different his leadership may be, if it is different at all, in his third term.
ENJOJI: Well, because of the margin of victory, his party is bound to reelect in his party lead, which carries with it of course the premiership, which means that all things being equal, he will probably be the longest-serving prime minister that Japan has ever had.
Now make no doubt, there is no doubt that his dream has always been to reform the constitution, to give legitimacy to the self-defense forces and give them a more active role. And since his term cannot be extended beyond 2021, I think there are high expectations that he will accelerate this program.
So I think that is going to be critical; as far as the economy is concerned, the equity market is trading at two-decade highs. I think they're going to stick to the Bank of Japan governor and stick to easy monetary policies.
So I don't expect a whole lot of change on that front. But I think they have been emboldened by this victory. It will be interesting to see what kind of partners they come up with, given the way some of the opposition fared in this latest national election.
CHURCH: We will be watching very closely. Kaori Enjoji, joining us there from Tokyo, many thanks to you.
And though Typhoon Lan is moving away from Japan now, it caused extensive damage as it blew through with 165 km --
CHURCH: -- winds, driving trees into buildings, flooding streets and causing mudslides. So far we know two people were killed. The mammoth storm smashed into Japan's southern coast before heading out to sea. Let's get more information now from our meteorologist, Ivan Cabrera.
CHURCH: We'll take a short break here but still to come, new details on sexual harassment claim against former FOX News host, Bill O'Reilly, how much he reportedly paid in a confidential settlement. We're back in a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.
New allegations against former FOX News anchor, Bill O'Reilly, a former FOX News colleague threatened to sue him for sexual misconduct. So he reportedly paid her a whopping $32 million.
"The New York Times" detailed the allegations in this expose, O'Reilly settled new harassment claim then FOX renewed his contract. O'Reilly calls the report "smears and lies."
Former FOX News anchor Gretchen Carlson summed up the entire situation as "horrifying and outrageous." Brian Stelter reports.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there. Yes. This is a story about money and power involving Bill O'Reilly and a long-time legal analyst at FOX News named Lis Wiehl. She was a regular on O'Reilly's program, "The O'Reilly Factor" --
STELTER: -- until the end of last year.
And that's where the story gets really complicated. So in January of this year, Lis Wiehl went to O'Reilly and threatened a sexual harassment lawsuit. O'Reilly settled out of court. He agreed to pay her $32 million.
A few weeks later FOX News renewed his contract for an incredible $25 million a year.
Now the next part of the story you've probably already heard about. It's when Bill O'Reilly was fired by FOX News in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal. This happened in April after "The New York Times" reported on other secret settlements that O'Reilly had reached with accusers.
There was an advertiser boycott and, by the end of April, O'Reilly was out of a job. But now he's been mounting a comeback. He's been trying to find another TV channel that will hire him.
And that's why this new "New York Times" story landed with such a thud. According to "The New York Times," Lis Wiehl was alleging harassment and a non-consensual sexual relationship with O'Reilly.
We don't know exactly what she says happened because she is now sworn to secrecy but "The New York Times" obtained details of the settlement and published them over the weekend.
Now O'Reilly says he's never mistreated anyone. He says this is bogus and he is vowing to respond on Monday. But "The New York Times" story was a shock to the TV world. I spoke with former FOX News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who, of course, sued Roger Ailes, the head of FOX News last year. She received a $20 million settlement herself.
She told me she was shocked to read this new "New York Times" story about O'Reilly. She was also disturbed that FOX brought him back on the air last month with Sean Hannity. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETCHEN CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Brian, I think it's horrifying and outrageous that any company after dismissing somebody for allegations such as that would not only re-sign a contract but allow that person to come back on the air. It's outrageous and it's one of the reasons that I wanted to make sure that I chronicled so many other women's stories in my book because now we are on a movement.
We are on a movement to speak up and be heard and there's no turning back for women in the workplace.
Why should women have the American dream taken away from them?
We work just as hard as anyone else and it's time that it stops.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Gretchen Carlson says she is really inspired by all the women that have come forward against Harvey Weinstein. And as a result of the Weinstein scandal, coming forward against other men who've harassed them in the workplace.
But this Bill O'Reilly story is a reminder about the power of ratings, the power of million-dollar contracts. FOX renewed O'Reilly's contract and wanted him to stay on the air until it was impossible for him to remain. The idea that he had this $32 million settlement was just the cost, the price of doing business for FOX News.
Now it's been exposed by the sunlight and it's embarrassed both FOX and O'Reilly but it's created this educational moment about how money and power work in relationship to sexual harassment charges -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Thanks, Brian.
And thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back at the top of the hour with more news. "WORLD SPORT" picks this things up from here after the quick break.