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Five Women Accuse NBC's Halperin of Sexual Harassment; Bush 41 Apology says, I Patted Women's Rears from Wheelchair; Front Lines of the North Korean Threat. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 26, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: -- highly anticipated government files on what happened to JFK. Details on what we are expecting moments from now.


For the first time since stepping forward with sexual claims against powerful Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, actress Ashley Judd is telling her story explaining to ABC news how she repeated declined his advances 20 years ago.


ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: He kept coming back at me with all this other stuff. And finally, I just said when I win an Oscar in one of your movies, OK.

[15:35:00] And he's like, yes, when you get nominated. I said no, when I win an Oscar. And then I just fled.

Which I think am I proud of that? I'm of two minds. The part that shames myself says no. The part of me understands the way shame works says that was absolutely brilliant. Good job, kid. You got out of there. Well done.

It's a very important word, shame, and it's very important thing to talk about. So, we all do the best we can. And our best is good enough. And it's really OK to have responded however we responded.


BALDWIN: It is narratives like Ashley Judd's that are prompting more and more women to break their silence about sexual harassment. Separately here five women are now sharing their previously undisclosed accusations against veteran journalist, Mark Halperin. All but one of them worked at ABC news with him. Halperin has announced he is leaving his current role at NBC. So, let's start here. I've got CNN senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy, who broke this story wide open. Hadas Gold, CNN politics, media and business reporter is also here. And Elizabeth Plank, host of "Divided States of Women" for VOX Media. Welcome to all of you. And you, sir, you broke the story. So, you tell me what are these women -- what are their stories? OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: So, the accusations range

from Mark, while he was at ABC news, in a powerful position as politics director, propositioning employees for sex. And they ranged from that to him forcibly kissing and pressing himself up against women in very graphic manner. And groping their body parts. Things frankly it's uncomfortable talking about it on TV. And so, they have accused him of this. And while he was in a very powerful position at ABC news. Our investigation found from the 1990s to the 2000s this behavior was occurring there.

BALDWIN: What is he saying?

DARCY: He denies the serious allegations of pressing himself up against women in a graphic way. And but he did release a statement that says, during this period I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with including some junior to me. I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. Under the circumstance, I'm going take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.

NBC news -- he's analyst at NBC news, he's leaving that role the network announced today, and from MSNBC, and HBO just released a statement. They had plans to develop his forth coming book on the 2016 election into a mini series of sorts or that's in for a project plans they are no longer proceeding with those plans.

BALDWIN: HBO now dropping him?

DARCY: And Showtime, he had a show "The Circus," they are going to be evaluating whether they continue with that. So, a lot fall out and a lot more still to come.

BALDWIN: To me all these women finally filling liberated and coming forward.

ELIZABETH PLANK, HOST OF "DIVIDED STATES OF WOMEN", VOX MEDIA: Right. And, you know, we were talking earlier, I'm receiving text today from women in media who are older, younger, new to media, and a very sort of junior reporter told me one of the things she was told when she started working on the campaign trail was she was warned about Mark Halperin.

And so, in a way he was the Harvey Weinstein of media. Although that there are actually a lot of other men in media who also hopefully, there'll be more women who have the courage to come forward about their stories. Unfortunately, I don't think he is an exception. And that's very worrying. Because you look at someone like Mark Halperin, someone like Harvey Weinstein, these are men who are at the top of their industries. And who are in control of the stories that we tell and the narratives that we choose to talk about.

And I seeing this news just remembered the first "New York Times" profile -- actually that came out about Donald Trump harassment claims and groping claims, he on live television said there was nothing illegal in that article, which isn't true. And he said to me this is not politically correct, but his interpretation really of that account was that sexual harassment was OK. And that's really, really dangerous.

BALDWIN: On Mark Halperin talking about him, talking about Harvey Weinstein, let me move on to another story, separate story, but former president here. New accusations against former President. It's Heather Lynn, is this actress alleging that former George HW Bush touched her inappropriately while he was sitting in his wheelchair during a photo op. So, let me read this response, the statement from Bush 41 spokesperson.

[15:40:00] At age 93, President Bush has been confined to wheelchair for roughly five years. So, his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put at ease the president routinely tells the same joke and on occasion he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent. Others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.

So, Hadas, you know, in reading these statements it's almost like he didn't realize that he was being inappropriate or inappropriately touching these women?

HADAS GOLD, CNN POLITICS, MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: And actually, there have been reports even from a few years ago that that joke is that he would say reportedly that his favorite magician is David cop a feel, while he would pat these women. And it's something that appears to have been going on for some time. But I think that the reaction that we're seeing to this sort of allegation and also to the Mark Halperin stuff, with Leon Wieseltier, the famous editor, is that there is now consequences. That businesses are realizing that this is also a business risk if they keep these people on.

And what we are seeing today, what Oliver and I are following all day today is reaching out to these companies and saying you have a book deal. You have a production deal with this person. Do you stand by them? Are you still going to continue working with them? And we are seeing more and more companies realize that it's just not worth it for them.

BALDWIN: In the Bush 41 case, you no, you have actress and another woman coming forward, but then you have the like legendary Andrea Mitchell, who tweeted this today, Mrs. Bush was at his side -- she's referring to the photo op here -- Mrs. Bush at his side, he's in a wheelchair with Parkinson's syndrome. Really? She tweets. Someone should be ashamed, and it isn't 41.

What do you guys think?

PLANK: First of all, there is something really ablest. I'll say assuming someone is in a wheelchair and not being able to be in control of their actions. And clearly, he is because he's made this joke repeatedly and the statement that was made admitted that. That it was intentional. The he was groping these women in intentional way to make them feel comfortable or something which is abysmal, and I have trouble sort of following that logic. But it really shows us that a lot of men don't know what sexual harassment looks like. They don't know what sexual assault looks like. And it is totally belittled and that's why women don't report it. That is why it takes so long. Women who were a victim in the 90s are now coming forward today.

BALDWIN: Let's just end the segment by saying, ladies and men speak up because people are really, really listening.

PLANK: Email us or Brooke or reporters and we'll listen to your stories.

BALDWIN: Hadas, Liz and Oliver, thank you all so much. Keep digging. Thank you, guys.

Coming up next to the front lines of America's response to North Korea. We were granted where access on board this aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan. It's a crucial piece in the Navy's increasing role in the Pacific. What sailors told me last week when I was in Korea about their mission and the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang. And of course, the sacrifices that these amazing men and women are making each and every day just to be there.


BALDWIN: A threat by North Korea foreign minister about a possible test of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean should be taken literally a senior North Korean official tells CNN. This is just the latest volley in this ongoing war of words between Washington and Pyongyang, that is rattling nerves really around the globe. I just returned from a trip for a week to South Korea where U.S. Navy offered us this rare glimpse into the life of a USS Ronald Reagan. This aircraft carrier currently stationed off the Korean Peninsula. And I was there, and I talked to these sailors and these officers of the Seventh Fleet about their mission, morale, and what it's like to be on the front lines of any potential escalation with North Korea.


BALDWIN (voice-over): For a few hours in an undisclosed location, the U.S. Navy invited CNN on rare embark aboard the USS Ronald Reagan somewhere off the Korean Peninsula. This aircraft carrier serves as the front lines to any escalation with North Korea and is home to more than 5,000 American sailors. Petty officer second class Sharese Grey first signed up to see the world.

PO 2ND CLASS SHARESE GREY, U.S. NAVY DAMAGE CONTROLMAN: I'm here for the bigger picture and make a name for my family and support the country.

BALDWIN: At 23 years of age, Grey's job is damage control on the ship. But never far from mind her 2-year-old baby boy Messiah back home in Sanford, Florida.

GREY: It's a big challenge because it started off for a full year just me and him, and came overseas, and I see him about twice a year.

BALDWIN (on camera): You see him twice a year in person?

GREY: Yes, ma'am.

BALDWIN: What's that like? Does that just pull your heart strings?

GREY: Somewhat. I know what I'm making the sacrifice for now. I know it's going to pay off in the end.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Sacrifice is it a word that carries profound meaning in these waters. Lieutenant Brain Allen and senior chief culinary specialist, Sasha Hasbrouck, are also parents. And rising tensions in the region brings an unwavering commitment to the mission.

LT. BRIAN ALLEN, USS RONALD REAGAN: I'm concerned about my mission daily. All the action that I'm going through on the flight deck every day. All the people that are working for me keeping them focused with our mission, our current mission, and staying ready so if something does happen we'll be ready to take care of it.

BALDWIN: Do you feel that the region feels increasingly tense? Do you sense that out here? Because we sense it at home?

[15:50:03] SPECIALIST SASHA HASBROUCK, U.S. NAVY SENIOR CHIEF CULINARY SPECIALIST: I don't really censor too much out here. I'm just concentrating on the mission and making sure we have the three scare meals a day we are feeding the crew and making sure the crew is good to go.

BALDWIN: Last week the U.S. Navy conducted a round of joint exercises with the rock their allies in South Korea. It is essential if there were an emergency tonight the these two nations speak the same language military speaking.

CAPT. MICHAEL DONNELLY, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS RONALD REAGAN: We are out operating constantly in Seventh Fleet, regardless of the current situation that's going on politically or what heightened tensions may be perceived that are going on. We rely on the inner operability of working with our close allies like the Japanese or like we're doing now with the Koreans, so we can fold into any eventuality.

BALDWIN: Despite the unpredictability in this region, the sense of mission among these sailors is strong. So, how will President Trump's upcoming trip here to South Korea resonate among the men and women on the front lines?

REAR ADMIRAL MARC, H. DALTON, USS RONALD REAGAN: I think that the president's been very clear about using all the leverage, all the tools available to us to convince the North Korean government to change its aggressive and dangerous behavior. And I think the sailor's appreciate that, that we're looking for any way to avoid conflict and to keep deterrence working.

BALDWIN (voice-over): The potential for nuclear conflict in Korea isn't the only cause for concern for the Navy's Seventh Fleet. This summer, 17 sailors were killed in what the Navy admits were preventable collisions on board the USS Fitzgerald and McCain. Those investigations are ongoing. In addition, reports of deteriorating moral and a severe lack of leadership on the USS Shiloh led the Navy to replace the ship's captain and put in new measures to better gauge the mood of its sailors. Every one of those ships belongs to this fleet.

(on camera): When you heard about the McCain and the Fitzgerald, how did you feel?

GREY: Well, being a damage control manager, it gave us the reality feel. Like it definitely -- anything can happen. Every once in a while, we have to take a step back, get a breather. Everybody understands that. Not so much it stretches me thin, but yes, we work hard.

BALDWIN: Do you feel cared for? Do you feel looked after, respected?

GREY: Oh absolutely.

DALTON: The deaths of the 17 sailors, you know, I mourn the loss of the sailors, the bond, the sacred bond we have to keep the sailors that work for us safe is one that hasn't changed in the history of sailor's going to sea. Those investigations complete, we are going to go after the recommendations. And I've been very clear with my sailors that the things that we do, we are going to make changes and we're going to assure that they're safe.

BALDWIN (voice-over): Navy leadership has introduced new round the clock watch rotations and updated its system to navigate through heavy traffic. Efforts they hope assure sailors are safe.

(on camera): What do you want families back home to know? Because there is concern, but we're proud of you too.

HASBROUCK: I just want them to know we're out here and we're supporting the mission and doing what we need to do. And they can rest easy knowing that we're out here protecting them.

ALLEN: And that we're trained professionals, every day we're working hard and doing the job right, and training for emergencies. Training for any situation that may arise and we all take care of each other. So even though they're not with their family back home, they have a family out here.

BALDWIN: For people who are watching, who are wondering how you could leave a little, itty bitty, sweet precious boy behind to be out here in the middle of the ocean fighting this unpredictable threat, you would say what?

GREY: Somebody has to do it. You know, so I'm here to be that person.


BALDWIN: My sincerest thank you to the U.S. Navy for their service and sacrifice and allowing us on the Reagan. Also, while I was in in Korea last week I spent a lot of time with U.S. soldiers station on bases throughout the Peninsula including right on the DMZ. I really wanted to go to shine the light on the lives of Americans so close to North Korea. There are thousands of them living there. So, we'll be sharing their stories with you next week.

Any moment now, the long-awaited release of classified documents surrounding John F. Kennedy's assassination. Back in a moment.


BALDWIN: Any moment now top-secret government documents on John F. Kennedy's assassination will finally go public. We may see everything from, you know, the FBI and CIA ever learned about gunman Lee Harvey Oswald and the 1963 tragedy in Dallas that changed a nation. President Kennedy riding in an open convertible, his glamorous wife Jackie by his side and gunshots ripping through daily plaza. So, the murder of a president fueling so many conspiracy theories, Congress passed a law in 1992 requiring the government to release all files of JFK's assassination in 25 years unless doing so would harm national security. Only president Trump can block the release. So, with me now, Larry Tye, author of "Bobby Kennedy: Making of a Liberal Icon" and Larry, what are your three biggest unanswered questions here on the daily plaza assassination moment?

LARRY TYE, AUTHOR, "BOBBY KENNEDY, THE MAKING OF A LIBERAL ICON": They are whether anything that happened in Dallas had anything to do with the year-long secret war that the Kennedy's had waged against Fidel Castro. Whether they had anything to do with this unprecedented campaign against organized crime that the Kennedy's had been involved with. And whether they had anything to do with Jimmy Hoffa and the war against the Teamsters that the Kennedy administration launched. Those are the three things that most plagued Bobby Kennedy for the rest of his life. And those are the questions I'd love to see some sort of hint at when we see this last 30,000-plus pages of documents being made public.

BALDWIN: 15 seconds, do you think you'll get your answers?

TYE: I hope so, but we've been waiting for a long time and I don't really hold out that much hope.

BALDWIN: Larry Tye, your book is "Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon." Thank you so much sir. We're waiting for -- actually, I misread the clock. I have an entire minute with you. So, you don't -- you don't anticipate -- you know, I read one historian said that there's going to be no smoking gun. I mean, this is, this is the last little bit of information that the public's going to get, right?

TYE: It is, and I think that one has to ask why they would have held this stuff off for that long if it wasn't more interesting and telling, on the other hand, we don't know what the president will decide to release and whether he'll listen to security agencies if there are sensitive things talking about the role of the FBI or the CIA or anything else that could be embarrassing. On the other hand, this is our last shot at getting a look at things. Let's hope this answers some questions. BALDWIN: Let's hope. We should be getting it we think today at some

point, shortly. Larry Tye, we know you'll be watching for it. Thank you so much sir, I appreciate your time.

I'm Brooke Baldwin, thank you so much for being with me here in New York. We're going to send things to Washington "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.