Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Dan Eberhart; Three Carriers in Pacific Ahead of Trump's Asia Trip; Actress Rose McGowan Speaks Out Publicly for the First Time Since Accusation; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 27, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Republican versus Republican. Steve Bannon versus the so-called establishment and the big money donors who backed those candidates before.

Dan Eberhart is one of them, a big money Republican donor. He's given to McConnell, Mitt Romney, Scott Walker, just to name a few. But no more, he says. He joins me now.

And I should tell people, I first met you, we were in North Dakota a few years ago talking about the oil boom there in your company Canary. That's where you made a lot of money.


HARLOW: And you've given a lot of money away to very establishment Republicans. Open secret says $160,000 since 2012, you say more. So Steve Bannon is interested in you.


HARLOW: So you guys meet last night.

EBERHART: Mm-hmm. Yes.

HARLOW: In New York. And?

EBERHART: Well, so not the first time I've met with him but it was a good meeting and I find him, you know, to have a very interesting perspective right now on what's going on and he obviously feels like he's got the momentum and the upper hand in this kind of gamesmanship that's going on with Leader Mitch McConnell right now.

HARLOW: But he has despises him. He has declared war on the people you've been giving money to all these years and it seems like now you're on board with him?

EBERHART: Yes. Well, I mean, look, I think it's -- I think it's a complicated situation but I'm frustrated as a donor and frustrated as a voter that the Republicans, particularly the Senate Republicans, have raised money and raised money and asked for people's votes on a platform of repeal and replace Obamacare among other things, and now they're in Washington, they have the majority and they're not getting anything done. So I'm a frustrated donor and a frustrated voter.

HARLOW: All right. So Steve Bannon's got you right now. And now he wants your money for these folks.

EBERHART: He hasn't asked -- he hasn't asked for money at all.

HARLOW: You don't think he's going to ask you for any money?

EBERHART: He hasn't asked for money at all.

HARLOW: Come on.


HARLOW: All right. Well, we know that he's meeting with people like you to raise money.

EBERHART: Fair enough.

HARLOW: But let's talk with the people that he's supporting. OK.


HARLOW: You know, you are for Jeff Flake against Kelli Ward, which is his candidate in Arizona, correct? Now Jeff Flake is out, but his picks include people like Michael Grimm in Staten Island who just got out of prison for tax fraud. Is that -- is that someone you'll back?

EBERHART: Right. Michael Grimm, no, and I don't -- I think that's a different situation. But I do back Marsha Blackburn. I do think Chris McDaniel would be a better choice than Wicker in Mississippi. And several other of his candidates that he's looking at I think are potentially very good picks.

HARLOW: An intriguing one is Erik Prince if he throws his hat in the ring in Wyoming. Obviously he's the owner -- you know, CEO of a very controversial contractor that works in Iraq, et cetera, in the Middle East, Blackwater that has had, you know, questionable episodes there including the 2007, you know, killing of 17 civilians.

Are these -- is that a candidate you're interested in, Erik Prince from Wyoming?

EBERHART: I'm interested in learning more, yes.

HARLOW: So you saw what happened with these Tea Party candidates, these sort of risky names if you will in 2010, 2012, Christine O'Donnell, Todd Akin. I mean, you saw what happened, right. It didn't work out. You think this time is different.

EBERHART: Yes, I think this time is completely different. I think the Republican voters are very frustrated that the Senate leadership is the biggest obstacle in the way of President Trump getting his agenda done. Trump can't sign bills that the Senate and the House don't send him and right now I think the biggest roadblock is Leader McConnell being able to get things like Obamacare repeal and replace through.

HARLOW: You say McConnell's star is fading, Bannon's star is rising. EBERHART: I think that's exactly what's happening right now.

HARLOW: Why do you think it's worth your money to go behind some of these candidates? What makes you so confident that they can get done what Ryan and McConnell's leadership has not been able to?

EBERHART: Well, I think I'm happy with Ryan's leadership for the record, but I think that --

HARLOW: You are?

EBERHART: Yes. I think he's done a good job. I think the difference is, the difference is, they will know who sent them to Washington and they will hear the voters and know what happened this cycle and will respond accordingly. I think the problem is, I think the Republican populace in D.C., particularly in the Senate, is expecting to be able to get away with just getting there and being there and not getting that much done.

HARLOW: How much money are you willing to put behind some of these candidates that Bannon is backing in the midterms?

EBERHART: I mean, it depends case by case but I mean, how much do they need.

HARLOW: Really?

EBERHART: I mean --

HARLOW: I mean, give me some numbers. Are you willing to max out on how many candidates?

EBERHART: I don't know, three, four, 10? I don't -- I think there's eight, seven or eight, potential Republicans that Bannon is looking at.

HARLOW: Do you think that, for you, can they put sort of the tube back in the toothpaste, the establishment -- the toothpaste back in the tube?

EBERHART: Toothpaste back in the tube.

HARLOW: The establishment, if McConnell can get tax reform through, for example.

EBERHART: Sure. I think that would be a game changer and I would do a complete rethink. I mean, I'm very hopeful that we can get tax reform done and I think we need tax cuts and I think need tax reform and I think it's past due time and I'm hopeful that the Senate will feel the pressure and be able to get something done.

[10:35:01] HARLOW: So if tax reform gets through this changes everything for you, as a big money Republican donor?

EBERHART: I would do a complete rethink on where we're at.

HARLOW: So the question becomes, you -- when I interviewed you last in North Dakota, you were just a CEO oil company man.

EBERHART: Which is my job.

HARLOW: OK. But now you're out talking politics. Should we expect a run from you, perhaps, home state Arizona?

EBERHART: Well, not in the immediate future, no. I have a lot of work to do at Canary and we've got a lot of good things going on.

HARLOW: You know that's a totally political answer. Right? So you're already prepped for politics.

EBERHART: Well, that's my answer. I don't know if it's political or not.

HARLOW: We'll be watching, Dan. Appreciate it. Keep us posted on future meetings with Steve Bannon.

EBERHART: OK. Thank you for having me.

HARLOW: Nice to have you here. We appreciate it.

Ahead for us, the Defense secretary on the Korean peninsula, what he said about diplomacy next.

And an incredible firsthand account. Our Brooke Baldwin takes you on the Seventh Fleet aircraft carrier. Inside the lives of the men and women serving this country abroad.


[10:40:03] HARLOW: This morning Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. is still trying to use diplomacy to defuse tension with North Korea. Getting in the way he says, though, is what he calls the North's obsession with its weapons program.

Earlier you see him there visiting the DMZ. Here's what he said yards away from North Korea.


JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Our goal is not war, but rather the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.


HARLOW: Well, this is ahead, of course, of the president's visit to Asia next week. Will he visit the DMZ? We don't know at this point. But the U.S. Navy is certainly flexing its muscles in the region.

Two more carrier strike groups have now arrived in the western Pacific Ocean there, joining the USS Ronald Reagan, which you see right here. It has already been carrying out and taking part in the joint military drills with South Korea.

A woman who was on that carrier, who was standing right where James Mattis was this morning, is Brooke Baldwin.

You spent a week on the peninsula, incredible access, you got a lot of pieces.


HARLOW: This is the first.

BALDWIN: Yes. So let's talk about the first one. I -- honor of the lifetime for the U.S. Navy essentially to say.


BALDWIN: Would you like to have this rare embark on this massive ship this aircraft carrier, just even the journey to, you know, from Osan Air Base on the South Korean peninsula, zigzag through the air, didn't know where we were going. I know arriving on this C-2 cod, on board, you know, the Ronald Reagan, and then I just wanted to go really twofold.

It was mission for me and also morale in the wake of some of the stories coming out about the Seventh Fleet which we addressed in the piece. I wanted to know how these soldiers are doing. Do they have all the tools necessary in case that call comes in at any moment? Will they be ready? And you'll hear from them. They say they are.


BALDWIN (voice-over): For a few hours in an undisclosed location, the U.S. Navy invited CNN on a 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 2nd Class Sharese Grey first signed up to see the world.

PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS SHARESE GREY, U.S. NAVY DAMAGE CONTROLMAN: I'm here for the bigger picture and then 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 is that like? Does that just pull at your heartstrings?

GREY: Somewhat. It's not -- 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 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 (on camera): Do you feel that the region feels increasingly tense? Do you sense that out here? Because we certainly do at home?

SPECIALIST SASHA HASBROUCK, U.S. NAVY SENIOR CHIEF CULINARY SPECIALIST: I don't really sense it too much out here. I'm just concentrating on the mission of making sure that, you know, we have the three square meals a day, we're feeding the crew and making sure that the crew is good to go.

BALDWIN (voice-over): 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 that these two nations speak the same language, militarily 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 (on camera): 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.

[10:45:03] 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 morale 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 we're doing what we need to do. And that 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.


HARLOW: "Somebody has to do it." And thank goodness for these men and women. Can you believe, you know, leaving everything, to fight for all of us? It's incredible. And this is the first. I mean, you didn't just spend time there.


HARLOW: You spent time with all of these service members for a week.

BALDWIN: Right. We had a busy week in Korea. HARLOW: Yes.

BALDWIN: And I'm so grateful for the opportunity, thank you just to the U.S. Navy and to the U.S. Army. You know, we went out and hit the ground running on the aircraft carrier and then for the following, you know, five or six days we were zigzagging along the peninsula, going to different bases. You know, going as far up to the DMZ where Secretary Mattis was, you know, -- because I wanted to understand.

It's easy for us to sit in a comfy perch here in America and talk about --


BALDWIN: You know, this war of words between Washington and Pyongyang. I wanted to go there and I wanted to talk to these Americans, both military and civilians, you know, and have a conversation about what does it feel like to live in South Korea when you know that there is this threat and at any moment, there may be a call.


BALDWIN: And what does that feel like and just talking to some of these family, talking to daughters who've moved 11 times who are living in South Korea. It was a phenomenal experience. And I just look forward to bringing it to everyone next week.

HARLOW: So these pieces will be on next week on your show.


HARLOW: 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Don't miss them.

Brooke Baldwin, thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you, my friend.

HARLOW: We appreciate it.

Ahead, wait until you hear what Rose McGowan just said speaking for the first time publicly since accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape. She says she has been silenced for decades, that it is time to clean house. Hear her powerful speech.


ROSE MCGOWAN, ACTRESS: Good morning, women, allies.



[10:53:34] HARLOW: Actress Rose McGowan just finished a powerful speech, her first since accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape. '

Our correspondent Jean Casarez is in the room in Detroit where she just spoke.

Jean, what did she say?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, she had a lot to say. This is the women's convention and there are thousands of women here. They're going to be here for the next few days, from all over the country, empowering women.

Rose McGowan, these were the first public appearance that she has made since she did tweet out that a man by the initials of HW had raped her. She did not say Harvey Weinstein's name in the speech but she had a lot of other things to say. Take a listen to this.


MCGOWAN: I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned, and you know what, I'm just like you. Because what happened to me behind the scenes, happens to all of us in this society and that cannot stand and it will not stand.


CASAREZ: She did mention the head monster of all, not naming any names, but she said, we're not going to wait anymore because we don't have to.

Now I've got to tell you, I spoke to women before she spoke this morning. They didn't realize that she was going to be part of the welcoming remarks. They call her brave, they call her absolutely the one that allows others to come out and say what they have experienced and she makes it easier for every other person -- Poppy, John.

[10:55:13] HARLOW: Jean Casarez, thank you so much for the reporting. We appreciate it. Such important words to hear.

Thank you so much for being with me today. John Berman and I will see you back here on Monday morning. Have a great weekend.

Ahead, though, President Trump pushes for the gag order to be lifted on the confidential FBI informant. It's a rare and controversial move from the White House. More on that straight ahead.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and happy Friday. I'm Ana Cabrera in for Kate Bolduan. Great to have you with us this morning. President Trump faces new scrutiny for potentially tinkering in an investigation that he --