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Trump Accuses Clinton & DNC of Real "Collusion"; Trump Reacts to Bergdahl Sentence; Trump Heads to Asia Amidst North Korean Tensions; Kevin Spacey. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired November 3, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] SAMUEL RONAN, (D), OHIO CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE & FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN CANDIDATE: They bought and sold the party and all of its infrastructure back in 2015 before this even got off the ground. And I made that very clear. And I also said, during this race that, with Perez at the helm, it's going to continue to lose trust among people that the Democrat party is learning its mistakes, lessons. And as we are seeing with the Democrat party, with this book, it's come home to roost. The Bernie supporters are getting their vin da cages but is it too little too late.
BALDWIN: Good question.
But let's back up. It's Donna Brazile, and what you are saying, you saw some months ago, do you take her at her word, Sam, given that she lied about the DNC debate and giving questions to Hillary Clinton ahead of time?
RONAN: Well, I was going to say that's the most perplexing. She did give the questions to Hillary Clinton. It's not a debate. It's a fact. So the fact she's the one coming out with these revelations, that's what's truly shocking, not the revelations themselves.
BALDWIN: But can you understand this? Have you seen the book?
RONAN: Oh, yes, absolutely. Because if it's coming from her, what is the end game? And to me, I'm thinking it's either a rift within the party or possibly something to cover up something else that's happening. Who knows?
What I do know is this, that this unity commission that's trying to bring the party together, it's not going to work if it's just going to offer platitudes. I've said that from the beginning. If this is an attempt to show all the people run for office with their ideology and truly pursue a populous movement, then this is a good first step.
RONAN: But I don't think it's going to happen. I think if we are going achieve a reform, we have to have a public election for the executive board and the national delegates, otherwise, there will be no trust in the Democrat party. Sorry for cutting you off.
BALDWIN: Would you say it's accurate to describe at this moment the Democratic Party as a mess?
RONAN: Absolutely, it's a mess. And, honestly -- and it's not from lack of trying and not from lack of involvement or activism. We have all sort of people rallying in the streets, promoting this activist group, the Fight for 15, Green New Deal, the whole nine yards. There are people that are active, and continuously being pushed away. I even started Our Voice immediately after the DNC chair race, because I saw a lack of infrastructure and grassroots. The irony is, in Tom Perez official statement about this, he even talked about the no zip code left behind, which is something I proposed during the DNC chair race. So is this a true promise or empty rhetoric? I think the leadership he is conveying is something to be desired. And the reason you have to keep asking it is people look to other people for leadership whenever these scandals occur, whether the purging of the progresses, people continue to look at their leader. What is going to happen. What direction are we going to take? And I'm always in that position to answer them.
RONAN: So perhaps we should actually have a people's election.
BALDWIN: It sounds like you, Sam, are ahead of the curve on a few things. You have some work to do.
Good luck to you, Sam Ronan. Good luck to you. Thank you so much for joining me.
RONAN: Thank you so very much.
BALDWIN: OK. Thank you.
Coming up next, President Trump had called for his execution. But today, a military judge had a very different ruling for Army Sergeant Bergdahl, held by the Taliban after five years after deserting his outpost. Lots of reaction coming into CNN, including from President Trump on board Air Force One. Back in a moment.
[14:38:01] BALDWIN: The decision is in, Army Sergeant Bergdahl is spared prison time for abandoning his post in Afghanistan back in 2009, but was dishonorably discharged after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Today's military decision also reducing his rank from sergeant to private. He will have to pay a $10,000 fine.
You know the story, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban after he walked away from his post, held hostage for five years, and released in a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Taliban.
Back when President Trump was running for office, he charged Bergdahl should have been put to death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're tired of Sergeant Bergdahl, who is a traitor.
TRUMP: He's a traitor. A no-good traitor.
TRUMP: Who should have been executed.
TRUMP: We get Sergeant Bergdahl and they get five of the biggest killers that they have wanted more than any people, more than any people. For years they have been trying to get these five killers and they are all now back on the battlefield. And we have Bergdahl. And yesterday I heard he probably won't serve any time. And 30 years ago, he would have been shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: All right. So that was back in October of 2015.
Fast forward to today, here's the president's reaction about Air Force One, headed to Asia. He wrote, "The decision on Sergeant Bergdahl is a complete and total disgrace to our country and to our military."
So I have with me Sean Langan, British journalist and documentary film maker, who interviewed Bergdahl about his film about Bergdahl's homecoming.
And I should also mention Sean was held hostage by the Taliban, same group, back in 2008, while he was working along the Afghanistan and Pakistan border.
So, Sean, thank you for being with me.
SEAN LANGAN, BRITISH JOURNAIST & DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER & FORMER TALIBAN PRISONER: Yes, thank you.
BALDWIN: First, is your reaction. No time?
[14:40:04] LANGAN: I think it's the justice was done today. I think you can get that sense in court, that justice was done. And it was the U.S. Army acting perhaps, if I may say this, standing up to political and media pressure. And as a former hostage, when Bowe Bergdahl told every second in captivity feels like an eternity, I think they accepted how can you punish someone who spent five years in captivity. So, yes, I think it's a good day, but also, I think justice was served.
BALDWIN: So I want to ask you about some of the fascinating quotes from your dock, but first a lot of his platoon members would not agree with you. We had one on that called him a coward. They feel he walked away and put a lot of people in danger and punishment does not fit the crime. What would you say to him? LANGAN: I would say as a former hostage I empathize when Bowe said
every second feels like a captivity. For me it felt like a lifetime. But I also spent 20 years covering wars in Afghanistan. And intense privilege to witness and spend time with U.S. forces. And I understand this principle. And the real anger and resentment when one of your own abandons their post. So I think it was important that Bowe Bergdahl stood up in court and face the fellow soldiers that risked their lives. And one of the powerful moments in court this week when one of the wife of the soldiers who had been shot in the head. We watched a video at home and took one hour to lift husband up from his bed. And that was very important that those people were able to have their day in court.
But then Bowe Bergdahl stood up earlier this week and made apology and first chance to do so, to speak to the Army, one soldier to another. And I think the apology was felt in the court, including the former platoon who were in court, accepted he was sincere. And then they listened to his territory of five years. And when everyone heard in court he endured the worst case of prisoner abuse since Vietnam because he resisted the enemy, he escaped, and he was collecting intelligence. I think for many in the Army who were there in court they were able to hear things for themselves. I think it brought closure. It perhaps is a shame it couldn't happen earlier. But for those see for themselves, it drew an end to this saga.
BALDWIN: Such a compelling interview from your documentary in 2015.
Sean Langan, thank you so much for your perspective from Fort Bragg there in North Carolina. Thank you very, very much.
Happening right now, President Trump is headed to Asia, embarking on longest foreign trip since taking office. This is amid new intelligence from the South Korean spy agency that North Korea may be preparing to carry out nuclear tests. We'll discuss what is at stake as the president is heading to Asia, next.
[14:48:05] BALDWIN: President Trump is heading to Asia right now, embarking on longest foreign trip since taking office. This is 12 days, five-nation tour, begins in Japan, and continues with stops in South Korea, China, Vietnam and Philippines. Really, the stakes could not be higher with the threats from North Korea hanging over his head. And at home, the growing intensity of Robert Mueller's Russia investigation bearing down on his inner circle.
The president is expected to come face-to-face with Vladimir Putin for a second time while visiting the region. They were asked in the briefing yesterday whether there would be a pull-aside. They haven't said yes yet.
CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd, is back with us today to discuss first just big picture looking at this trip.
Huge, huge trip. What are some of the top three land mines he needs to maneuver? SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think a lot of
issues to discuss on the trip. But the biggest land mine is United States continuing to look like it doesn't do what it says it's going to do. The United States has lost so much credibility under this administration as we have kind of arbitrarily pulled out of international agreement, made statements that we haven't followed through on. And a failure to reestablish credibility on this trip means that leaders like Kim Jong-Un may not think that President Trump is going to follow-through on his threats to, for example, hold North Korea accountable if it continues to move toward a nuclear weapon.
BALDWIN: What does he need to do? You mentioned Putin.
VINOGRAD: I think he does. How he meets has direct implications for national security. A failure to meet with Vladimir Putin means we'll continue not hold the Russian government accountable for interference in the U.S. election, which means they may think we can go ahead and do it over again. But also sends a signal that the United States doesn't respond to direct attacks on the homeland. This is a dangerous signal to send to a leader like Kim Jong-Un who has threatened to launch rockets at the United States and our territories.
[14:50:12] BALDWIN: Yes. He was, of course, traveling with his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. And in this interview last night, two points on that. One, pretty lukewarm, not fully embracing Secretary of State Tillerson on the eve of this huge trip. And secondarily, he was addressing the vacancies at the State Department.
This is what he said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So we don't need all the people that they want -- don't forget. I'm a business person. And I tell my people, you don't need to fill slots, don't fill them.
The only one that matters is me. I'm the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: What does that sound like to you?
VINOGRAD: It sounds not factual. Ambassadors or not on the ground, the fact that we don't have an ambassador in South Korea means that we don't have a lead diplomate on the ground engaging with President Moon on these issues.
The fact that Donald Trump says I'm the one that matters is more reason he needs to meet with Vladimir Putin. That kind of message tells them that President Trump has negotiating capability. So if they don't immediate Vladimir Putin and his government will continue speaking with U.S. officials without thinking they are really empowered.
BALDWIN: I have a feeling I'll be seeing a lot of you in the next 12 days. Again, first stop, Japan.
Sam, thank you so much for your smarts and expertise.
Coming up though, let's talk Kevin Spacey. Kevin Spacey's "House of Cards," eight people from this hit Netflix series, current and former employees describing how he turned the work environment into, how they describe it, "toxic," through a pattern of sexual harassment.
[14:56:21] BALDWIN: Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards" star, has been dumped by talent agency and publicist on new allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Eight current or former "House of Cards" employees told CNN he turned the "House of Cards" set into a toxic work environment through a pattern of sexual harassment.
With me now is CNN entertainment reporter, Chloe Melas, who broke the story wide open.
This is where you start cold calling former and current employees of House of Cards. What did they tell you?
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, Brooke, I reached out to more than 100 people, and a lot of people didn't want to talk to me for the story. And they kept telling me keep going, there is something there, I want you to blow this wide open. So I kept going. And the more I spoke to people, I finally got people to come and talk to me. But all these people that I spoke to, a lot of people are why don't they want to go on the record? Well, they still work on the show or industry. And afraid of the professional repercussions. Remember, Kevin Spacey is two time Oscar winner, executive producer on this show, and hundreds of people work on this show. And in Maryland, not a lot of shows filmed there. But these people are working in back yards. And they'll be out of a job if Kevin Spacey gets canned. And he's the E.P. of the show. They were afraid to come forward thinking, who is going to believe me. I'm just a production assistant. I'm just, you know, crew guy. Why are they going to believe me?
BALDWIN: So interesting that's the pattern of a lot of these people. And multiple stories coming forward. Now that one voice has emerged a lot of people feel encouraged to speak up. Has he said anything?
MELAS: Well, all right, I was trying to reach Kevin Spacey's team for over 24 hours with allegations, and didn't hear anything back from his team, that's his team is in the process of dumping him as a client. Like you said, the P.R. company parted ways and announced it after our story broke last night.
On top of this though, which I find mind blowing, is Netflix and Media Rights Capital gave us statements for our story and what they said is, there was an incident, Media Rights Capital, the production company for 'House of Cards,' said there was an incident in 2012 but they said they handled it. So there is a lot of, what did you know and not know.
According to the person accusing Kevin Spacey of sexual assault, unnamed right now because he doesn't want to come forward right now, but considering it. He has said to me that he did complain to his supervisor about repeated sexual harassment. And their temporary solution was to not let him be in situations alone with Kevin Spacey. Although they did end up putting him in a car with Kevin Spacey to pick him up offset a few months later. He was a production assistant at that time. And then the sexual assault took place in the car.
There's a lot of questions, a lot of breakdown of authority. It's sick that Kevin Spacey allegedly created this toxic environment and preyed on these young or straight young males in their 20s.
BALDWIN: It's awful, because a lot have been Kevin Spacey fans, myself included.
But keep digging.
MELAS: And more people reaching out telling me their stories.
BALDWIN: Let us know where it goes, and obviously if Kevin Spacey has anything to say for himself.
Chloe, thank you so much.
MELAS: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Now this.
All right. We continue on. You're watching CNN on this Friday. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
Let's continue with this. President Trump dropping hints the U.S. is conducting military action against ISIS in response to this week's terrorist --