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CNN TONIGHT

Republican Senate Candidate in Hot Waters; Mueller Getting Nearer to Trump's Inner Circle. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[22:00:00] (CNN TOWN HALL)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Alisyn Camerota, thank you very much. That is a remarkable town hall discussion, one that we will continue here on CNN.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

And we begin with breaking news. Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama fighting back against explosive allegations that he had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s and engaged in questionable conduct with other teenagers.

Roy Moore slamming that report in the Washington Post, calling it a desperate political attack by his opponents. Top GOP senators on Capitol Hill up in arms tonight, saying if the allegations are true, Moore must drop out of the Senate race.

And more breaking news tonight. On two fronts. In the Russia investigation, a CNN exclusive. Top White House adviser Stephen Miller interviewed as part of the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller. He is the highest level aide still working at the White House known to have talked to investigators.

And Keith Schiller, President Trump's former security chief and personal aid testifying that he rejected an offer by Russians to send five women to Donald Trump's Moscow hotel room in 2013.

A lot to get to in the next few hours, so let's begin, though, with allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. I want to bring in now CNN senior national correspondent Alex Marquardt. Alex, good evening to you. You are down in Alabama for us, walk us through these allegations.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Don, these are explosive allegations coming just weeks before a special Senate election which was already hugely contentious and very divisive. These allegations centering around a young Judge Roy Moore when he was in his early 30s so this is from 1979 to 1981 when he was an assistant district attorney here at the courthouse in Gaston.

These allegations coming from four different women who spoke with the Washington Post alleging sexual contact or attempted sexual contact. The most serious allegations come from a woman who is now in her 50's. Her name is Leigh Corfman. She was just 14 years old at the time. She met the judge, the assistant district attorney then, here at the courthouse.

She was with her mother, who was here for a child custody hearing. Moore offered to take care of the young Corfman during the hearing. Her mother accepted. They exchanged phone numbers and we understand that Moore then picked up 14-year-old Corfman twice, according to her story, taking her back to his house.

And on the second visit, she says, he undressed her, touched her over her underwear and then allegedly guided his hand toward her genitalia. Now, there are other allegations from three other women who at the time were between 16 and 18. They say that Moore either dated them or attempted to date them and that he kissed at least two of them.

Of course, this could be hugely problematic for a man, for a candidate who has centered his life, his candidacy on his morals and Christian values. Don.

[22:04:56] LEMON: Alex, Roy Moore adamantly denying any wrongdoing right?

MARQUARDT: Absolutely. Coming out with a tweet storm this afternoon, slamming this Washington Post report. He put out a number of tweets. I'm going to read just two of them.

The first one reading, "The Obama/Clinton machine's liberal media lap dogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I've ever faced. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silent our message."

He then wrap up, "So rest assured I will never give up the fight."

This man, Don, is not someone who backs down from a fight. He was twice removed from the state Supreme Court where he was chief justice. And I was speaking with a well-known GOP conservative activist here today who said that his supporters will not believe this. They will see this as an attempt to smear him. This will anger them and this will backfire, she says, bringing his supporters out in bigger numbers for that election next month.

LEMON: Alex Marquardt in Alabama. Alex, thank you very much. I want to bring in now CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash, Chris Cillizza, CNN politics reporter and editor at large, and political commentator, Matt Lewis.

What a story. Good evening, everyone. Dana, I'm going to start with you. Republicans are saying if the allegations are true, Senate candidate Roy Moore he needs to step aside. A few of the voices right here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE MANCHIN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: It is awful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerning will it be for the republican...

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHIN: It's very concerning -- it's concerning for anybody. I don't care what side of the aisle you're on. That's a horrific situation. It's very concerning.

JOHN THUNE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: The allegations if true, he need, I mean, he needs to step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerned are you that this is going to hurt the Republican Party.

THUNE: Well, I think if he does what he should to, does the right thing and steps aside, I don't think it will hurt the Republican Party.

MIKE LEE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: If they're true, he should step aside.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Wow. So, Dana, John McCain, Ted Cruz, other key GOP senators speaking out. But Roy Moore says he is going to fight. Republicans are in a tough spot with this one.

DANA BASH, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: They are because Roy Moore had absolutely no incentive to drop out based on the comments that you're hearing and the pictures that you're seeing on this screen because the way he seize it, it's very clear from his comments, not to mention his history, is those people never wanted him in the Senate in the first place.

And that is true. Most of them supported the republican whom he beat last month in a special election primary in Alabama and most of them are not thrilled about the idea of him coming to Washington at all.

Having said that, you know, even though it is going to be potentially very tough for the Republican Party if Roy Moore does come through, there's not a whole lot that they can do if he ends up staying on the ballot, staying -- remaining as a candidate and winning the special election.

It wouldn't be until he is seated that two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to expel him. Meaning they couldn't even stop him from being seated. So that's why they're coming out publicly. But because of his history, because he is such -- an anti-establish -- or really the ultimate anti-establishment candidate, that will only emboldens him to hear those republicans.

LEMON: Yes. This reminds me of a year ago with the Access Hollywood tape, remember, when everyone said well, this could be the end of it. But he vowed to fight and they told him to fight and he kept fighting.

But I just want to get some more responses, Chris, with that backdrop of what I just said. Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star has been contacting Alabama lawmakers and the responses are stunning really. Alabama Geneva County GOP chairman told him "I know that's bad enough, but I don't know. If he withdraws, it's five weeks to the election. That would concede it to the democrat."

And then Alabama Marion County GOP chair told him "I really don't see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She's not saying that anything happened other than they kissed." So he was already controversial before these allegations, but it looks like people are going to stick with him.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNN: Well, he was controversial in a different regard, you know, of the as you mentioned, Don, or Alex mentioned, you know, twice he was removed as the state's Supreme Court justice.

That tells you something. It tells us he's controversial, but it tells you that he was elected the state Supreme Court justice after he had been removed once. Roy Moore has a following in the state. We learned that very clearly when Luther Strange with all the force of the establishment in Washington, including Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader behind him came up well short against Roy Moore in both the first primary and then the run-off.

He has a following of people who without question will see Washington Post and assume that it's wrong and that it's fake news. Now, having worked there for a decade, I can tell you, I know the reporters who did this. Read, I would encourage people to read the story.

LEMON: Yes.

[22:09:57] CILLIZZA: It's meticulously reported, meticulously sourced. Talking about 30 sources. Talking about four women on the record, talking about their experiences when they were teenagers with Judge Moore.

So, but that will -- he will -- if he stays on the ballot, I think there is a decent chance he could still win. You know, I don't think that we should assume that this is game over for Roy Moore.

LEMON: I said for people who are calling it fake news, and listen, they're allegations, but...

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: That's right.

LEMON: But if you read -- if you read the accounts in here, I mean, it is pretty well sourced and well written.

CILLIZZA: And I just can't -- it just frustrates me. These people are my former colleagues, Don. You know, I'd say about any mainstream news organization. These people spent weeks and probably months on this. They talked to -- they talked to more than two dozen people. The people are on the record with these allegations.

So, the idea that you can just say fake news and dismiss is it and then we shouldn't pay attention to it anymore, it does a disservice to what facts are and what reporting is.

LEMON: That's the danger of what's happening with this administration and its relationship with the truth and with saying that everything is fake news.

And again, allegations now. But, Matt, I've got to read these because this is stunning to me. The Alabama state auditor, Jim Zeigler told a local paper, "Even if you accept the Washington Post report as being completely true it's much ado about very little."

He also told the Washington Examiner, "Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter they became parents of Jesus. They're just -- there's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe it's just a little bit unusual."

BASH: And illegal.

MATT LEWIS, COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes. And I think this speaks, though, to what we've been saying tonight, which is that Roy Moore could still win the election in Alabama. This isn't Virginia where we just had a primary a couple nights ago. He's very popular there. Look, I thought that Roy Moore should drop out of the race before the sex allegations.

LEMON: Right.

LEWIS: He's not -- if you're a mainstream conservative, you don't even have to be an establishment republican. He's from a strain of the party, of the movement that you really -- has no place, I think, in the U.S. Senate to begin with.

And obviously we have to deal with these specific allegations, but this is also part of a larger story about people who are either unvetted or just frankly not ready for primetime who are being promoted by Steve Bannon and other forces and thrust now -- I think -- here is something.

It's less likely -- I put it this way, it's more likely that other republicans will be attacked and hurt because of Roy Moore than it is that he would lose in Alabama.

LEMON: And then it will be detrimental to the party. Dana, I just want to get this in because he mentioned Steve Bannon and then I'll let you respond.

BASH: Yes.

LEMON: We just got this in from Steve Bannon now the former White House strategist. He is comparing the release of the Access Hollywood tape involving as I just said now Trump to Roy Moore. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: But it's interesting the Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now, is that a coincidence? That's what I mean when I say opposition

party, right? It's purely part of the apparatus of the Democratic Party. They don't make any bones about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Dana, I have so ask you, number one, Breitbart did the same thing comparing Bezos, Amazon, and Washington Post saying you know, it's basically an arm of the Democratic Party. But saying drop this on Donald Trump.

Number one, why is Donald Trump the victim when he is on tape saying what he said and admits that he says and then gave somewhat of an apology for it. But what do you make of that?

BASH: You know, it's funny that you played that because this is the point that I was going to make when you and Chris were talking about fake news. I know that's the term that Roy Moore used initially, but the way that Moore and his allies are coming at it is exactly as you just illustrated with Steve Bannon, and that is it's about the institution.

It's about the big bad media or the big bad, you know, business that is related to the media going after the person who they're nervous about. And that is, they believe, clearly the most effective way to keep the people excited about Roy Moore because it keeps their anger focused on big institutions.

And that in large part was -- or I should say in part was the story of Donald Trump's election. It's the anger at the institutions, the media, of course, being one of them. Another was and is Washington. And that is exactly the way that they're playing it now.

[22:15:05] LEMON: Yes. They need a foil or a foe or an enemy and so they have made the media that enemy, right.

BASH: Yes, yes. Exactly.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: But the media won't just look, if Roy Moore wins, I think the Republican Party and the media look more impotent, more out of touch, and that's another irony of this is that, you know, Donald Trump did the same thing. They're the ones breaking the norms and going against things like civility and yet it will be the media and this...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: It's a whole that mind trick that a lot of people -- that a lot of people will fall for. But I've got -- listen, there is no process to remove Roy Moore's name from the ballot. So what happens? I have another question for you, Chris, but I want Dana to respond to this and I'll ask you something else.

BASH: OK. So, you're right. There's no way at this point to remove his name from the ballot. The special election is about a month away. So the only way for him to not officially be a candidate is if he drops out. Doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon or if the Alabama Republican Party says we don't want him as our candidate and doesn't, I mean, who knows. That could happen.

But regardless, what it means is that if there is another republican candidate out there, there needs to be a write-in campaign and that's not easy to do. And so at the end of the day, if Roy Moore stays on -- stays as a candidate or not, his name is going to be on the ballot, which will invariably confuse things.

LEMON: Yes. And if he wins, if he gets elected, Chris, Capitol Hill, will they have to seat him?

CILLIZZA: Yes. They don't have the power -- as Dana mentioned, they don't have the power to not seat him. The power -- the only power that exists is in the state Republican Party.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: If he does not choose to withdraw, and as Dana said there's certainly no indication he's planning to do that. The state Republican Party has the capacity withdraw him, though we're not still entirely clear how that would happen. If that did happen his votes would be invalidated and therefore he couldn't win.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: What that almost certainly would mean is Doug Jones the democrat would get elected. But he would be seated in the Senate, and then as Dana mentioned this is important point to note, two-thirds of senators would have to vote to get rid of him.

You know, it is not -- this is always true. It's always true with politicians. It is much harder to get rid of someone if they don't want to be gotten rid of.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: It's just -- there's lots of...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: The important thing is...

CILLIZZA: Good for democracy, Don.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: But in situations like this if you're the Republican Party it makes things very uncomfortable.

LEMON: The interesting thing here is that they're saying that it is, you know, the liberal media and his accuser is a republican who votes republican. Thank you all. I appreciate it.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, Don. LEMON: Just ahead, breaking news on the Russia investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller setting his sights on the president's inner circle. Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller just interviewed as part of the ongoing probe.

[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Breaking news on two fronts in the Russia investigation. I want to bring in now senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju, and justice correspondent, Pamela Brown. So, Pamela, I'm going to start with you about the details tonight on this special counsel Mueller investigation. They have interviewed White House adviser Stephen Miller.

PAMELA BROWN, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. That's right. He is a top aide. He is a senior policy adviser in the White House. And now he's been interviewed as part of the special counsel Russia probe.

And we're told that there were an array of issues that were brought up during this interview, including the firing of James Comey and Stephen Miller's role in that. And anything he can provide in terms of the president's decision to fire James Comey.

He was with him that weekend in Bedminster, New Jersey, just before they publicly announced the firing of James Comey, former FBI director. He actually wrote the initial memo that was eventually scrapped in exchange for Rod Rosenstein's memo that was cited as the reason for firing Comey. But he certainly played a role.

And so that was part of the interview. In addition, he was at the March 26 meeting -- 2016 meeting, rather, with George Papadopoulos where he allegedly said -- George Papadopoulos allegedly said that he could connect Trump with Putin. And so we're told that Mueller has wanted to interview those who were in attendance at that meeting to learn more about what happened. And so this clearly is a development in the investigation here, Don.

LEMON: And Manu, the president's former bodyguard is telling congressional investigators that then businessman Donald Trump laughed off a Russian offer to send five women to his hotel room in Moscow back in 2013. What are you learning?

MANU RAJU, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes. The reason why this came up, Don, was because of that dossier of allegations compiled from former British agent Christopher Steele. Now we know that they are the most salacious allegations have not yet been verified, those allegations including his activities that allegedly took place in 2013 when he went to Moscow for the Trump -- I'm sorry, for the Miss Universe pageant that Trump was helping -- helped bring to Moscow.

Now, what Schiller was asked was about those allegations in the dossier and a separate Daily Caller report that included some of these allegations. And Schiller confirmed that the Russian made an offer to send five women up to Trump's hotel room when they were there. Now, Schiller took it as a joke, Don. He said that he didn't tell

Trump about this until they walked up to his hotel room later that night and that he told Trump about this offer. He said that Trump laughed it off and then he went back -- he stayed outside the hotel room, chiller did, and then he left. He said he did not know what happened the rest of the night.

But investigators wanted to learn whether or not the Russians had actually gotten any dirt on Hillary -- on Donald Trump, and that's one reason why they asked this one key aspect of it. Schiller says he had no knowledge of any of this and essentially didn't flat out deny anything happened that night, but just said he didn't know because he wasn't there.

LEMON: Yes. Hey, Pamela, you know, Schiller was the one who delivered the Comey firing letter, right. So did investigators ask him about that?

BROWN: I'm not sure. I'm going to have to refer to Manu on that.

LEMON: OK, Manu, do you know?

[22:24:56] RAJU: Yes. They did ask him about that. They said that he delivered that letter to the FBI with the news of the Comey firing, but he didn't really give them much. He said that I didn't know. I was not involved in those deliberations, I'm told.

He said that he was simple there to deliver this information. Much like a number of other issues that they asked him about, Russian Trump connections, any of these meetings between associates and Russians. He just didn't know much about it. And actually, investigators left somewhat frustrated at the end, Don.

LEMON: Manu and Pamela, thank you so much. I appreciate it. When we come back, yet another twist in the Russia investigation. We're going to speak to a congressman on the House intelligence committee who heard the testimony that Pam and Manu were just talking about. What the president's former bodyguard had to say about an offer of prostitutes by the Russians.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: There's news tonight about long-time Donald Trump confidant Keith Schiller rejected a Russian offer to send women to Trump's hotel room. Does it discredit the alleged in the Russia dossier?

Here to discuss now Congressman Mike Quigley, a democrat on the House intelligence committee. Good evening, congressman. Thank you for joining us.

President Trump's long-bodyguard...

(CROSSTALK)

MIKE QUIGLEY, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Thanks for being here. [22:30:00] LEMON: ... told your committee that he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to then private citizen Trump's hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow. Does that prove anything to you?

QUIGLEY: All I can talk about with regards to the Schiller testimony is in the larger picture, much of the Steele dossier seems to be accurate. I don't want to get into exactly what he said and whether I believe him or not.

I think it's important to put it into a larger picture. This investigation is a lot like previous investigations. It begins at the periphery and moves to the core. We learn a lot more about finances and connections. It gains momentum when there's an indictment or two, especially if someone is flipped.

But in the larger context, there is an inexorable path in this investigation toward learning about more Russian connections, more Russian communications, more players in the Trump world, especially as we've heard recently at a higher level working and talking to Russians.

LEMON: OK. Let me ask you this because I didn't want to interrupt your train of thought there. But you said that what you could say about Schiller is that the Steele dossier is accurate. Is that according, much of it, according to his testimony? Did he confirm some of it?

QUIGLEY: I don't want to connect that to the dossier at all. You know, it's a hearing in which we were going to let Mr. Schiller speak his piece and not talk about it. So the reference was to something connected to the dossier. Apart from that, I'll just say the large extent what I have learned overall, aside from the Schiller testimony, is much of the dossier was accurate and extraordinarily important.

LEMON: Why is your committee...

(CROSSTALK)

QUIGLEY: It's not the subject of the investigation, though.

LEMON: Why is your committee focusing on this dossier?

QUIGLEY: I don't think it's the exact focus. I think the focus is what did the Russians do and was there cooperation and even conspiracy with Trump associates to move that plan forward? The dossier presented evidence toward that end, much of it was raw data.

But the fundamental aspect of the dossier, what it was stating, long before our Intel community talked about it, was that the Russians were responsible for the attack on our democratic process and they were favoring one candidate over another.

Again, it's raw data. Some of it will be proved and some of it will be disproved. That is again not the core element of what we're investigating. Obviously when people testify some of its discussion, some of its elements will come out, whether or not we believe those to be true.

LEMON: Understood. So congressman, Schiller's lawyer says your committee should investigate individuals leaking misleading versions of his testimony. How concerned are you by the volume of information that has been leaked.

QUIGLEY: I've been on the committee three years. I'm always concerned that leaks take place in the intelligence community, including out of the committee. The extraordinary number of leaks that have taken place out of the White House in a short period of time of the Trump administration.

You don't want an investigation by leaks. One of the four elements of this investigation is what leaks took place at the beginning and how to prevent them in the future. I agree. I will say, though, I do have some colleagues I serve with who seem to be far more concerned with leaks that took place, especially at the beginning, than the actual Russian attack on our process.

LEMON: Yes. I've got to ask you about the White House, because they have been dismissing George Papadopoulos as a low level volunteer and just a coffee boy. But we're now learning that he represented the Trump campaign at meetings with the British government, government officials and Israeli settlers. What do you make of that?

QUIGLEY: Yes. I think you hear them dismiss anyone who gets close to this investigation, Mr. Knicks, Roger Stone, Peter Smith, George Papadopoulos, Carter page. You know, at some point it becomes far more difficult when we talk about Mr. Kushner and Trump Junior.

LEMON: What about Stephen Miller testifying.

QUIGLEY: Sure, Stephen Miller most recent one. That's reported. And I'm not reacting to the report of that. It's natural for the White House to try to dismiss these as they get closer and hotter parts of this investigation. I understand the rational for what they're doing.

It gets very difficult with the revelations about Mr. Miller and what we already know that Don Junior said, quote, "If that's what it is, I love it. Can we do this in August," knowing that he was getting dirt on Hillary Clinton.

[22:35:02] LEMON: Congressman Mike Quigley, thank you sir.

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, more on the testimony by the president's former bodyguard and their trip back in 2013. We're going to talk to our legal and intelligence experts about how the Kremlin ties to gather -- tries to gather Intel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: More developments in the Russia investigation. Keith Schiller, Stephen Miller, Hope Hicks, three of Donald Trump's closest associates all asked to testify. What does that say about where this is all going?

Here to discuss, CNN contributor John Dean, a former White House counsel for President Nixon. CNN national security analysts, Juliette Kayyem and Steve Hall. Steve was head of Russian operations for the CIA. Good evening to all of you. Let's see.

Steve, I want to start with you because President Trump's long-time bodyguard says that he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to Trump's hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow. Is this how Russia usually goes about collecting or compromising material on someone?

[22:39:56] STEVE HALL, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, CNN: Yes, Don. I frankly would have been shocked if such an offer hadn't been made at some point during Trump's stay. I mean, yes, this is very, very common modus operandi for FSB, for internal Russian intelligence service.

Even though at the time Donald Trump was not a, you know, presidential candidate, he was looking at it through a Russian lens, he's an American oligarch. So he's a guy with some influence, guy with a considerable amount of money, somebody that the FSB would have just almost automatically collected against.

As a matter of fact, if there had been other American millionaires or billionaires coming through and staying, you know, in a high -- in a high nice place, nice hotel in Moscow, they would have collected against him too. So this is not at all uncommon in the sending of women, the photographing, the taping, the microphones, all of that is very, very standard. Very different from the way Russian intelligence services work but very, very common for the Russians.

LEMON: Juliette, President Trump has repeatedly insisted that the entire dossier is fake news. I just had a congressman on that said a lot of it was confirmed and even through some of the testimony of Schiller. Does this new reporting corroborate more of the dossier?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, CNN: I think so. I mean, you have to remember that the administration sort of story line on Russia has changed so significantly from the beginning which is we had no contacts with Russians to the seven major players in the campaign having contacts with Russians to now the dossier.

But I want to remind people that the dossier is not just about the prostitutes or the more salacious things. Actually the substance of the dossier is about the sharing of information between the Russians and the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016.

And even if that's not a crime, I think what you're starting to see, at least from the public reporting from CNN and others, is that even if that collusion is not a crime, the obstruction of the investigation would be. And that's why I think the interviewing of Hope Hicks and Steve Miller is relevant. So, all of these pieces, if you take a step back, they seem disjointed, they may actually -- we might be starting to see a theory of the case coming out of the special prosecutor.

LEMON: John Dean, this shows that Russia was at least was trying to get compromising material on Trump. What does that mean for the Russia investigation?

JOHN DEAN, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, it certainly does show that, and there are pieces of the dossier that are being corroborated. I re-read it today, as a matter of fact, just to refresh my recollection of what was in there. And with regard to the sex charges, they of course weren't only Moscow but they were St. Petersburg involving Trump.

So there's a lot there. And it was an evolving document over many months. You know, I think that clearly the special counsel is going through this. He's looking at it as probably just one piece of the puzzle that he's trying to put together. But a significant piece because of its impact.

LEMON: Yes. And Steve, Keith Schiller was very specific, saying that the Russians offered to send five women to Trump's hotel room. Five women. Why do you think he was so specific like that?

HALL: You know, it's unclear as to whether he was just trying to remember it as best as he could. I mean, one of the other things it's worth remembering that he was also very specific about was the fact that he stayed outside of Trump's hotel room for a couple of minutes.

So at least we know for that period of time there was nobody taking anybody up on any offers. Past that I suppose we're not sure. We just don't know.

But you know, jumping on to what both John and Juliette have said with regard to the dossier, just because a piece of it and I'm certainly not an apologist for it, but having seen a lot of raw intelligence in my day, what you have in the dossier is a series of freestanding reports from separate sources.

So, this isn't something that where you -- if you find one piece that's wrong or one piece that's a little bit off or something is misspelled, you just dispel the whole thing and get rid of all of them and throw out of the window. That's not the case. You have a bunch of individual reports sourced back to folks, individual sources that Mr. Steele was essentially running as intelligence assets inside of Russia.

So this is not a monolithic document. These are a collection of documents, some of which might be very accurate. Have turned out to be pretty accurate and others which have yet to be proven or might be entirely inaccurate.

LEMON: Yes. Juliette, I need to get your reaction on CNN's exclusive reporting that White House policy adviser Stephen Miller has been interviewed as part of Mueller's investigation. He was with the president and helped draft a memo about Comey why Comey should be fired. What does that say to you about where Mueller, where this investigation might be going?

KAYYEM: It seems just from who we're seeing lining up that the obstruction of justice or the reasons for firing Comey are part of what Mueller is looking at, whether the president or his team is lying about the reason for why they would have fired Comey in the first place.

So what they're trying to do is they're getting a lot of different interviews here, a lot of different people speaking who were all in the same place and saying who may be telling the truth and who may be lying.

[22:45:00] That then leads to the capability of saying one of them we think that you are lying to the FBI or the special prosecutor, do you want to now tell the truth. If it turns out that what Trump really was doing -- and let's just be honest here.

Trump has essentially admitted it that he fired Comey to stop this investigation, then that leads to the obstruction of justice charges. But you know, I'm over the school that Trump sort of already admitted it in his tweets and elsewhere. It's not like he's hiding his reason for firing Comey.

LEMON: Yes. John, Mueller's investigation it seems to be narrowing towards the center. You have Schiller, you have Miller, you have Hope Hicks. The president, he continues to insist that he is not under investigation, but does what we're learning seem to suggest otherwise?

DEAN: Well, it certainly does. This is the way typically investigations work, from the outside in. And Don, one of the interesting things as former White House counsel and having gone through Watergate with Nixon, there's been no effort to invoke any kind of privileges here of the executive privilege will not hold up in front of a grand jury.

But it does hold up in front of a congressional committee. Yet that hasn't been attempted. I'm not a defender exactly of Trump, but whoever is counseling him is being smart to get it out there because it's going to come out eventually anyway.

LEMON: All right. Thank you all. I appreciate it. Fascinating conversation.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

LEMON: Multiple allegations of inappropriate sexual contact with minors now threatening to up end the Alabama Senate race. National republican leaders call for Roy Moore to step aside while state leaders are standing up for him. Why is that? And what does that say about the party's future?

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LEMON: Republican leaders asking embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore to step aside if sexual allegations reported tonight turn out to be true. What does it mean for the Alabama Senate race and the republican majority in the Senate?

Here to discuss, CNN political commentators, Scott Jennings and Bakari Sellers, and Bob Cusack, editor in chief of The Hill.

Good evening, everyone. Scott, since you're here I'm going to start with you. Because I want to start this discussion with a quote, it's from Bib County, Alabama, Republican Party Chairman, Jerry Powell. This is what he told the Toronto Star. He told the -- it's Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star. He was asked about the accusations about Roy Moore and he said, "Powell tells me he would vote for Roy Moore even if Moore did commit a sex crime against the girl. I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn't want to vote for Doug Jones. I'm not saying that I support that he did."

SCOTT JENNINGS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes, this is a...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Does this say that the party cares more about politics than principle? What do you think of this?

JENNINGS: Well, this is an extremely misguided viewpoint, but it is indicative of the tribalism through which we view everything these days. There are moments where we have to stop viewing ourselves as part of a tribe and start viewing ourselves as decent people.

Look, I don't know what happened with this 14-year-old girl. The allegations are very troubling. The Post story is extremely well sourced. Moore denies it. There will never be truth. But I know this. There are like a million republicans in the state of Alabama. Virtually any of them would get elected to the United States Senate.

Can we find one that is not presently accused of molesting a 14-year- old girl? Probably, we could find one. The Republican Party cannot stand for this, endorsing, standing by, getting onboard with candidacies like this will cost the republicans the majority, just the way it did in '10 and '12.

Remember, we've done this before, going down this path with candidacies with people who have no business in public service. We can't do it again.

LEMON: He may get elected, but do you think that he will ultimately hurt the party?

JENNINGS: Yes, yes, this hurts the party. The Republican Party has to stand up against issues like this. Again, this guy does not represent most republicans that I know. He won a primary, fine. But most republicans I know would much rather have a republican senator from any state, Alabama included, that doesn't have this kind of stuff hanging over his head. We can do better.

LEMON: Bakari, there were people who said that republicans had said that about candidate Trump. Is this the real Trump effect, though, you think that accusations of any kind can be overlooked because we have a president in the office who is caught on tape admitting to grabbing women's genitals?

BAKARI SELLERS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, I mean, I'm going to surprise, I think, a few people with this answer, but I don't think it's the Trump effect, per se. I do think that he exemplifies something that's deeply troubling and wrong in our country. I mean, look, you see Hollywood being uprooted with Louis C.K., with

Kevin Spacey, with so many different people who have committed acts of sexual assault and sexual harassment. I mean, you look at Anthony Weiner in the Democratic Party. Now you look at Roy Moore. You look at the president of the United States. I mean, the list goes on and on and on...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Can I just interject something, Bakari, and I let you...

SELLERS; Sure.

LEMON: All of those people you mentioned, everyone in Hollywood lost their jobs, you know, their endorsements, their money, they're being shunned and on and on. And even, you know -- but the president is still in office and Roy Moore could win.

SELLERS: And I'm not necessarily harping on that. It does seem as if the liberals do pay a price. Don't get me wrong. But what I'm talking about is the actual behavior. And I think that the behavior that we're seeing in this country is not partisan at all. One party doesn't own this troubling, vile behavior.

I mean, men in this country have a problem, Don. I mean, we need to sit down and have a conversation about how to make sure that we're treating young ladies the proper way. I think this is not a partisan discussion, per se, but we're having -- we're having a deeper discussion that the president and Roy Moore actually do exemplify.

LEMON: Yes. Bob, I wonder what you think. Because many republican voters, when they voted for Trump, they said they had to hold their noses while punching the ballot. But I'm wondering if it's not necessarily that with Roy Moore, if he stays on the ticket and the people who are supporting him, they seem to be, you know, sort of in your face. Like, yes, we're going to support him and this is just all made-up.

BOB CUSACK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE HILL: Yes, that's right. Without a doubt, Roy Moore can still win. I mean, it's been such a bad week for the Republican Party. And you get to see why Mitch McConnell did not want Moore to win the primary and he won it fairly easily.

[22:54:55] So, you know, I think this is going to be a disaster in the coming weeks, because Moore is not going anywhere. There's no way to prove it, the reporting has been very detailed. But Doug Jones, remember, the polls were fairly close, single digits before this, so I'm very interested to see the next poll. Does Jones actually pick up a point or two or maybe five...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Could it energize him, Roy Moore?

CUSACK: It could.

LEMON: Roy Moore?

CUSACK: Yes.

LEMON: I mean, energize the supporters.

CUSACK: Yes, absolutely. Yes, going after the media. It worked for Trump. That helped him get elected. And I think he's using the same script by saying fake news and denying all of this. We don't know what the truth is, but without a doubt, I think this is going to be a close race, but Moore can still win.

LEMON: Go ahead, Scott.

JENNINGS: I can tell you that Donald Trump can change everything, if he said, you know what, I'm reading these reports. I don't know what the truth is. But I think the right thing to do is for Roy Moore to step aside.

Donald Trump could change everything, he could change everything by doing that. I hope he doesn't. I don't know what the White House is going to do. I heard what Vice President Pence said tonight, which was, he expressed shock, called the allegations troubling, if they're true, he should step aside.

So we're getting closer to the Oval Office here. Donald Trump could take control of this party tonight and call for him to step aside. It would be an amazing piece of political leadership if he did that. I've seen what Steve Bannon said, but Bannon's not the head of the party, Trump is.

LEMON: You're reading my mind. Because Bannon told him to stay in the race with the Access Hollywood tapes and that he could win. And you heard Bannon out there tonight saying this is all Jeff Bezos and the liberal Washington Post and on and on and on.

JENNINGS: Look, if I were Donald Trump, I would be outraged tonight. Steve Bannon, your chief strategist who used to work for you, has said, I and I alone should be allowed to vet and choose and candidates for the U.S. Senate in 2018.

This was his first project. It is blowing up in the Republican Party space tonight. The president has to have a republican majority to govern.

LEMON: Yes.

JENNINGS: Candidacies like Moore's put that in jeopardy. So the president should not stand for this.

LEMON: Thank you, all.

Straight ahead in the next hour, more of our breaking news coverage of the explosive allegations that Senate candidate Roy Moore is facing right now. And the Russia investigation getting deeper into President Trump's White House inner circle.

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