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Mueller Interviews Top White House Aide; Woman Says Alabama Senator Candidate Roy Moore Initiated Sexual Encounter When She Was 14, he Was 32; Jeremiah Tower, The Last Magnificent. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 23:00   ET



{23:00:17] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. It's 11:00 here on the east coast and there are major new developments tonight in the Russia investigation. A CNN exclusive, top White House the 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 aide testifying that he rejected an offer by Russians to send five women to Donald Trump's Moscow hotel room during Trump's 2013 visit to the Russian capital.

But first, we want to begin with breaking news. Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama fighting back tonight against explosive allegations that he had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30's and engaged in questionable contact with other teenagers. Moore slamming that report in "the Washington Post" as completely false, calling it a desperate political attack by his opponents. I want to begin this hour with CNN's senior national correspondent, Alex Marquardt, and Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau chief of the "Toronto Star." good evening, gentlemen. Thank you for joining us. Alex, explosive allegations tonight about Alabama senate candidate, Roy Moore. Give us the latest.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, absolutely explosive allegations, which as you note, Roy Moore is denying. But the women are sticking to their stories. There are four women who came forward and spoke to "the Washington Post," saying that Roy Moore either had sexual contact with them or attempted sexual contact. The most serious allegations coming from a woman named Leigh Corfman, who at the time in 1979 was 14 years old. Roy Moore was 32. He was working here at the courthouse as an assistant district attorney. He met Corfman when she was with her mother, was here for a child custody hearing. He tack care of her during that hearing. They exchanged phone numbers. And she says according to the "Washington Post" that he invited her back to his house twice. And on the second occasion, he undressed her and touched her over her underwear and guided her hand towards his genitals. There are also three other women with allegations. They at the time were between 16 and 18 years old. They say that they either dated him or tried to date him. And at least two of them kissed him. Obviously, very problematic for a man, for a candidate in this race who has centered his campaign, his life around biblical teachings, around morals and his Christian values, Don.

LEMON: He denied the claims. Is he saying anything else tonight, Alex?

MARQUARDT: Very aggressively denied the claims in a tweet storm, the first of which read, "the Obama/Clinton machine's liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round after attacks against me I've ever faced. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message and then he finished up by saying, "so rest assured, I will never give up the fight." and this is a man who doesn't give in easily. He was twice kicked off the Alabama state Supreme Court where he was chief justice.

LEMON: Daniel, I want to bring you in now. You have been calling local Republicans in Alabama. What's the reaction tonight?

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE TORONTO STAR: The reaction has been something to behold. I called these gentlemen, mostly gentlemen, because I thought that they might be interestingly certain that these allegations are false. But what I heard from them was that not only do they believe that the allegations are false, but that they would continue, at least a couple of them would continue to support Roy Moore, even if the allegations were true. They explicitly told me that they would vote for a child-molesting Republican over a Democrat. And so, it's really something to hear. And I think it speaks to the level of partisanship on the Republican side of the ledger.

LEMON: Daniel, have you found anyone willing to criticize Moore?

DALE: I have not, I have had a few people criticize him in passing in the course of telling me they still support him. One man said, well, my grandma used to say someone who does something like that should be taken behind the house and given a good whooping and then told me why he would still vote for Roy Moore over Doug Jones. So I didn't find anyone of the eight people, county chairman and county chairwoman who would tell me they would no longer support Roy Moore, even if these allegations were found true.

LEMON: The local politicians there still willing to support him. What are the reasons they're giving you?

DALE: They're telling me that the Democratic Party is still worse. They're telling me that this was likely a Democratic setup. That Democrats planted the story to embarrass Roy Moore. This is the Democratic playbook. One of them told me, well, this wasn't forcible rape, you know? He was just with an underage woman, underage girl. Really something to be behold. So, you know.

[23:05:00] I had someone say, well, you know, it was 40 years ago. He was 32, she was supposedly 14. That was the direct quote, supposedly 14, and she just said that they kissed. Which is not, in fact, true. That is not just what she said. So, really, in a number of ways, finding ways to justify to themselves why they could and should still support this man. LEMON: It's mind boggling. Alex, is there any evidence that the four

women who spoke to "the Washington Post" were politically motivated? I know one of them is a Republican and said she voted for Trump.

MARQUARDT: One of them, Leigh Corfman, the one who had the most serious allegations, who was the 14-year-old, is, in fact, a Republican. She said in the last three Presidential elections, she has voted for the Republican candidate, including Trump last year.

LEMON: Alex Marquardt and Daniel Dale, thank you very much. I want to discuss this now with CNN contributor, Frank Bruni, New York Times op-ed columnist. Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, "USA today" columnist, political commentator, Ana Navarro. Frank, you just heard that. What did you think?

FRANK BRUNI, NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED COLUMNIST: You know, I'm just as stunned as you are, Don, by this notion that Republicans down there are explaining it away or saying that even if it's true, it's really not so bad, it was so long ago. But you know, that brings up a very interesting question and point. In another state, at another time, you would assume that Roy Moore was over, that this was the end of the road. I'm not at all sure that this will cost him victory in this. It's a much more complicated situation and what he is doing, what he is saying is, if you're holding the hand of cards that he is holding, it's probably the right thing. He is saying, this is the institutional media rearing its head. I'm going up against all those forces that you've heard our President, you know, talk about and malign and I'm an underdog here. And it's going to be really interesting to see how voters in Alabama respond to that.

LEMON: I want you guys to listen to, this is Steve Bannon, what Steve Bannon said tonight. Watch this.


STEVE BANNON, CHIEF STRATEGIST TO THE WHITE HOUSE: But it's interesting, the Bezos, Amazon, Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos, Amazon, and Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now, is that a coincidence? That is what I mean when I say opposition party. Right? It's purely party of the apparatus of the Democratic Party. They don't make any bones about it.


LEMON: Dropped a dime on Moore and Trump. I mean, Ana, Trump wasn't a victim. He admitted on tape, the tape said exactly what he said. Bannon tonight comparing the accusations against the GOP senate nominee to the media coverage of the "Access Hollywood" tape. What's your reaction to that?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, you know, I see the game that Steve Bannon is trying to play. He is trying to make this into an establishment Republican versus Trump Republican type of thing. He is trying to make Roy Moore a victim. That could not be further from the truth. This should not be establishment Republican versus Trump Republican. This should be decency. This should be consistency. This should be legality. This man, Roy Moore, one of the things that bothers me most about this story is the hypocrisy of this man, who has been going around thumping a bible and maligning homosexuals. He is a homophobe. He is a racist. He is a bigot who has spoken against Muslims. He thinks Muslims should not be allowed to serve in congress. Well, you know what? I think a child predator should not be allowed to serve in congress. That is what we should all be outraged about today. This is not about a civil war within the Republican Party. This is about basic decency and morality. And we should not fall prey, nobody should, for what the game that Steve Bannon is trying to play again and again. How low can our standards go?

LEMON: Kirsten, how should the White House react to this? Because I don tonight, tonight a White House official urged caution, ok, about the Moore allegations, but said, quote, if true, then, yes, there is no path forward. Ok, this is the same White House, you know, that we heard from during the "Access Hollywood" tape at least, it was the campaign then, and some of the same people are there. But how do you think -- how do you think the White House should respond. Scott Jennings said the President should come out and say he needs to step aside.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Of course, I think that any decent person thinks that, that is what should happen. But we have to also remember, think about who the President is, and think about the fact that Republicans obviously didn't have a problem with the, you know, more than a dozen accusations against him. And so the idea that somehow they're going to care about accusations against Roy Moore, I don't know why people think that these voters are going end to up car caring. We see the kind of statements coming out of elected officials in Alabama, really disturbing things.

[23:10:00] Even some people suggesting that there's just actually nothing even wrong with dating somebody who's 16 or 14 when you're 32 years old, if you're not a married man. So, you know, I think that they've made a calculation that the voters aren't beginning to care. Now, look, the reality is that the race is a lot tighter than it should be. He is only up by about six points and Donald Trump won the state by 28 points. I think it remains to be seen whether or not it will hurt him or not. But I think Ana's right, he is playing the victim and he is trying to convince people that he is waging this sort of holy war and he has this evangelical pace that is probably going to stand behind him.

LEMON: A 30-year-old man and a 14-year-old. I got to you in here, Frank. And let me read this. Daniel Dale, you just heard, he was on. And he told me about local Alabama politicians, how they are responding. They're sticking behind Moore. This is what the state auditor, he spoke to the "Washington examiner" and he said this about Moore, ok? "He is clean as a hound's tooth. Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual." The reason I ask that, not to, you know, just to sort of beat a dead horse here, but in recent weeks, and we have talked about this, Frank, you've seen immediate and swift consequences from allegations about Harvey Weinstein, about Kevin Spacey, about Mark Halperin and others. Why do you think that it is different in the world of politics?

BRUNI: I think we have become -- and part of the answer is we've become so partisan that you look for any sort of rationalization, you look for any sort of excuse to be able to hold on to the candidate who's a member of your tribe. That is part of what's going here. You know but it's interesting, I'm glad you mentioned all those other cases, all those other men. Because Steve Bannon is planting the notion that this is only coming out now, because the election is almost around the corner and this is a classic Democratic or media trick.

This is coming out now because women are coming forward now. I have to assume that a lot of what set this in motion and brought this to "the Washington Post's" attention and facilitated what was incredibly thorough and persuasive reporting is the fact that women are speaking up. They're feeling emboldened when they didn't feel emboldened before. And so if you want to talk about timing here, that is as good an explanation for why we're hearing this story now and not during previous candidacies of Roy Moore has any sort of dirty trick by the media or by Democrats. We run stories when we have them. This is when "the Washington Post" nailed the down the story. And this is a very disturbing story. You can talk about Mary and Joseph all you want, it doesn't change a thing.

LEMON: yes. So listen, this is what the most says. Neither Corfman nor the other women sought out "The Post." While reporting a story in Alabama, about supporters of Moore Senate Campaign, a post reporter heard that Moore allegedly had sought relationships with teenage girls. And then over the ensuing weeks, they talked about who they spoke to, all four women, and they were reluctant to speak publicly. What do you think, Ana? Is this a left-wing conspiracy against Roy Moore?

NAVARRO: It's not. Look. One of the writers of the story is Beth Reinhart. She used to be at "The Miami Herald". I know her from there. And she was also at "The Wall Street Journal" before going to "The Washington Post" very recently. Beth spent two weeks in Gadson, Alabama, researching this story. And one of the very smart things they did. First of all, every woman is on the record. The woman's mother is on the record and one of the smart things they did is, the woman who was 14 years old says, look, nobody's going to ever accuse me of being a saint. They go and they talk about her bankruptcies and her divorces, so that it's not brought out against her. She brought it out herself. This is about hypocrisy.

And one of the things that should really bother the people of Alabama, who I hope make the right choice if this guy stays in the race, is that when this happened, he was a prosecutor. He was an officer of the court. And after that, he went on to serve as a Judge. He was judging other criminals, when he, himself, had issues that should have been putting him in jail, had it been, you know, within the statute of limitations. So the hypocrisy of this man -- look, the one Republican vote is not worth cheapening the senate and the institution to the level of having to admit a man who is a sexual predator. Not now, when women are speaking up. You know, women in Alabama cannot allow this to happen.

LEMON: Yes, Kirsten, what are the chances that Moore steps aside or the people of Alabama elect someone else if he stays in the race?

POWERS: Well, I don't think he is going to subside. You can already see the way people are rallying around him. You look at what Steve Bannon said, Sean Hannity has come out and said a lot of troubling things in support of him, as well. And even if he steps aside, I don't think there's -- it's not like anybody can really replace him. So I don't think he'll step aside and I think probably he'll win, but like I said, the race is unusually close for, you know, a race in Alabama. He should be up by much more and he is already a very controversial person, even separate from this. So, so because of that, he could be in trouble. But otherwise, I think he would probably be fine if he wasn't already so controversial.

[23:15:21] NAVARRO: And you know, Don, there's a reason why you're not seeing Democrats, why you're not seeing Chuck Schumer and other Democrats out there beating the drums on this. They might actually want him to win. Do you know how badly they're going to beat up the Republican Party? The Republican Party is going to be known as what? The Party that looks the other way and turns a blind eye when it's about sexual predators and sexual harassment? Just as long as we can get a Republican in office. That is shameful.

LEMON: Yes. And give Mary and Joseph analogies. So we're going to continue to cover this, but I've got to ask you, Frank, and it's so good that we have you here and you're a fairly new contributor to CNN, because I want to ask you about a legend. And I know it's a hard turn here, but you were once a chief restaurant critic for "The New York Times" and before this news broke today, we were going to have you on to talk about this new Jeremiah tower show, the last magnificent that is airing on Sunday night. I want to play a clip and then get your response.

BRUNI: Sure.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most people would not know who Jeremiah tower is. And sadly, he certainly is considered, in my book, anyway, a father of the American cuisine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1972, Jeremiah Tower walks in and everyone reluctantly or not would have to agree that he put the place on the map. Jeremiah Towers' menus made it the place that everybody wanted to go.


LEMON: Wow. What else are we going to learn about this legend?

BRUNI: A guy with a really, really interesting life. But the main thing you're going to learn is that there was this towering, forgive my weird play with the sir name, but this towering figure in American culinary history, who probably has as much to do with some of the food vogues and the way we eat in restaurants today as anybody else. And yet because he was a celebrity chef, just a little bit before the time of the celebrity chef, he has somehow kind of been erased from history books. It's a very interesting documentary, because it's a correction of the record and a filling in of history that I think was long overdue.

LEMON: Thank you, Frank Bruni, I appreciate that, and thanks to Ana and Kirsten as well. "Jeremiah Tower: the last magnificent" it airs this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. On CNN.

Just ahead, a number of powerful men accused of egregious sexual misconduct, way do they act out in an aggressive sexual manner against women, and we will try to get answers from the experts. That is next.


[23:21:13] LEMON: So comedian Louis CK, the latest public figure accused of sexual misconduct. I want to bring in Dr. Fred Berlin, the associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. Robert Weiss is a sexologist who is the author of "Sex addiction: 101." and Stacey Horovitz is a Florida sex crimes prosecutor. Good evening. I've been -- I can't wait to talk to you all about this, because it's just fascinating to me. Good evening, Dr. Berlin. I want to start with you. "The New York Times" is reporting that five women have accused the comedian, Louis CK of sexual misconduct. They says that Louis CK masturbated or asked to masturbate in front of them. Louis CK has no comment. However, he has addressed these accusations in the past. He did not offer a denial. What is this behavior all about? Why do some men do this?

FRED BERLIN, DIRECTOR OF SEX AND GENDER CLINIC, JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL: Well, we're not all the same, sexually. And sometimes people have abnormal sexual cravings that are very hard for us to understand. In exhibitionism, for example, any man is capable of exposing himself, but the average man, it doesn't ever occur to him to do so. That may, indeed, what's been happening in this particular instance.

LEMON: Robert, we have seen a pattern of these stories lately, but before I get to that be with do you think it's a power thing?

ROBERT WEISS, INTIMACY DISORDER EXPERT: I don't -- I do think it's a power thing, but I don't in the same way that rape is a power thing. But I don't think it's played out in that way. I think the person who is doing it, the man who is doing it, it's more like a coy game. It's more like grooming a child in child abuse. It's more like setting up a situation than it is directly violating someone in a very physical way.

LEMON: That is certainly a very extreme setup or very extreme grooming. Robert, we see a pattern with these stories. Harvey Weinstein masturbating in front of women. Weinstein has apologized for any pain that he may have caused, but didn't respond to specific allegations. You have Mark Halperin, who is accused of masturbating in front of a female colleague. He denies it. Bill O'Reilly hasn't said anything, because of legal settlement, but is accused of making phone calls where it allegedly sounded like that is what he was doing. How common is it for a man to masturbate in front of a woman without her consent?

WEISS: Well, I think we see exhibitionism, which is a form -- all the time.

LEMON: Go on, Robert.

WEISS: And it doesn't really matter whether it's -- you know, what I would say about the situations we're seeing is in front of, right behind every one of these men who has caused himself public humiliation and harmed other people, there are many, many hundreds of men standing behind him. It isn't only the power that leads to this kind of situation. But it does lead to the ability to get away with it for much longer periods of time.

LEMON: That is what I want to ask Dr. Berlin. Do they use their power in their business to cover up this kind of behavior?

BERLIN: Well, let me answer it this way. I've seen people who have virtually no power, who behave in exactly the same way. And I think one of the issues here is we very seldom have a serious discussion about male sexuality, about the differences in male sexuality. I'm very concerned that as we're speaking, there are young men out there who are already aware of the fact that they have recurring urges for coercive sex, for sex with children, for exposing themselves publicly. And the last thing they're going to do is raise their hand and come forward seeking help, because we've so demonized them. We use terms like predator and so on, that we're driving the problem underground. And I think that does a disservice not only to them, but to society in general.

LEMON: Stacey, you see this in a criminal sense all the time. What do you make of what the other two guests have said?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Well, I think that the point that the gentlemen before he was making, that it's underground and they're not going to come forward, very rarely are you going to find these people coming forward, but until they get caught doing something in a criminal situation. Either they're arrested or somebody told on them, and that is when all of a sudden all of this comes to light.

[23:25:08] I think a lot of it dealing with these powerful men is that these victims knew that these guys generated power and knew that maybe it was kind of like a David and Goliath. If they come forward and say something happened against this individuals, who's going to believe them? And I think now with all of these other women coming forward, it's a snowball and domino effect. They feel empowered now. A celebrity has come forward against these other celebrities, these powerful men, and they feel if they can do it, I can now do it. I'm not going to keep this secret anymore.

LEMON: Let me ask you this, Stacey.

BERLIN: I want to ask -- LEMON: Go ahead. Go ahead.

BERLIN: Well, there are people that come forward. For example, a lot of folks are getting in trouble now for viewing child pornography. And we're not as professionals required or mandated to report that. We've seen numerous people come in, either on their own, with their families. The problem is, we don't reach out to these folks. When we hear public service announcements all the time, if you have a drug problem, a problem with alcohol, come forward. When's the last time we heard an advertisement that said, if you're worried you may have unacceptable sexual urges, please come in before you hurt others or destroy your own life in the process.

WEISS: I have to jump on that, if I can. Because Dr. Berlin, I really respect you and have known you a long time and the good work that you have done. We are not sex offender advocates, as such. We just want the culture to offer an opportunity for people to come forward and talk about it. For us to have communication as a culture about it. I mean, you know, when any group in our culture becomes the worst of the worst and they're all the bad people that worries me. Because there's a little piece of each of these men, as it was said earlier on your show, in every man in America.

LEMON: Stacey, I have to ask you about the legal part of this. What is the difference or is there a difference between -- if they aren't physically touching women?

HONOWITZ: Well, listen, you have -- in every state, of course, the statutes and the crimes are different. But certainly in a private area, if this gentlemen is exposing himself to the woman, there's not a crime, at least in Florida. We don't have a crime. It's disgusting, it's perverted. He hasn't committed a battery. He hasn't committed an assault. Certainly, if he does it in a public place, then you have exposure of sexual organs. Now, in different states, even in a private area, it could be considered exposure or a lewd act. But the chances of it being prosecuted in most cases, it's not going to happen.

Certainly, it differ ifs it's in front of a child, if he is masturbating in front of a child, you have the crime of lewd and lascivious exhibition. But every state is different. I think when you're hearing these cases of a man taking out his penis and masturbating in front of a woman, it can be considered a lewd act or an exposure, but I don't think that a lot of those cases would ever be prosecuted.

LEMON: I'm wondering if these men understand how this makes a woman feel, Robert.

WEISS: No. No. In fact, I think these men are much invested, I've worked with enough of them, when you're in those moments, and you're very invested in making sure that person doesn't make you feel bad about what you're doing. We heard Harvey Weinstein calling women the next morning and saying, we're still friends, right? You have that same attitude, as long as it didn't bother you that much, it couldn't have been that bad a thing. That is not someone who's really capable of looking at their own behavior.

LEMON: Fascinating conversation. I appreciate all of your perspective, thank you so much. When we come back, the Russia investigation is heating up here at home as the President travels to Vietnam to a summit where he could potentially meet with Vladimir Putin. Fareed Zakaria will join me to break it all down. That is next.


[23:33:07] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: New developments in the Russia investigation. White House senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, was interviewed by Robert Mueller's team. He is the highest level aide still working at the White House known to have spoken with investigators. I want to talk about all of this now with Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS." Good to see you this evening. Two new revelations today to talk about the Russian investigation, Fareed. First, Keith Schiller, the President's longtime adviser told congress or, you know, was his bodyguard for a while, but he is been with him for a long time, told kop congressional investigators that he rejected a Russian's offer to send five women to Donald Trump's hotel room during the 2015 visit to the country. And the second one is the White House counsel, White House adviser, Stephen Miller, also speaking to the investigators, or speaking to the counsel. What's your take?

FAREED ZAKARIA, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS SHOW HOST: It's very tough to tell midstream in the middle of these kind of investigations, when you get these revelations. It's worth pointing out, both of these people are very close to Donald Trump. What I was struck by was the level of detail that the bodyguard went into to say there was an offer, there were five women offered, we turned it down. Why not say nothing? What it suggests is that there is some substance to that rumor that there were, at the very least, some conversations, discussions, who knows what? I think that in general, we -- my understanding, talking to a few people who do this kind of thing, law enforcement, former U.S. Attorneys is he was probably ensuring that he could not be in any way considered to be perjuring himself. That is, that there might have been somebody else who could corroborate the offer. Nobody knows, of course, what happened one way or the other. I think to me the larger point is, it certainly suggests that Donald Trump was in Russia doing business and there was some kind of, you know, crazy stuff going on. There were offers, down by, you know.

[23:35:14] LEMON: These things that are reportedly in the dossier and some of these salacious things, some of which CNN has not reported on, but he seems to be confirming at least that there was some activity at least leading towards that.

ZAKARIA: Some elements within it that were -- you know, it feels a lot like the Don Jr. meeting with the lawyer who had ties to the kremlin. In other words, we know that an offer was made. And what we are now being told is that Donald Trump, in one case, Donald Trump Jr., rejected the offer. And if the offer was rejected, that is great. But it's interesting that we now have increasing evidence that there were offers made of various kinds from the kremlin to try to, you know, kind of entangle Donald Trump in the kremlin's web.

LEMON: So the President is now off to Vietnam. So is Vladimir Putin. They're both attending a summit. It has been said they will possibly meet on Friday. What do you think will happen?

ZAKARIA: I think the great puzzle of Donald Trump's foreign policy continues to be why he remains very sympathetic, friendly towards Vladimir Putin. Why he has never really condemned him. He gave that long speech at the U.N., all about how thuggish behavior and aggression will not be tolerated. He singled out Venezuela and Cuba and Iran. He never mentioned Russia, never mentioned the annexation of Crimea, and never mentioned the war in Ukraine. So there is still, I think, this big puzzle about why is it that this one guy, Donald Trump, the tough man, the guy standing up for America, doesn't say much? And so I think it's -- it is the one meeting you would love to be a fly on the wall. I think I can kind of picture almost every other meeting that Donald Trump has with foreign leaders. This is the one where there's still a mystery.

LEMON: He said worse things about his allies here at home than he has said about Vladimir Putin. What do both sides want from that meeting, do you think?

ZAKARIA: As I said, honestly, there is a mystery as to what -- if you were to look at it from a conventional way, what Vladimir Putin wants is the relaxation of sanctions against Russia. But most importantly, what we now know what Vladimir Putin wants from America is the lifting of what is called the MagNitsky sanctions. And those are not just sanctions against Russia and the Russian economy, those are sanctions against particular kremlin officials, particular Russian oligarchs close to the kremlin. People who are said to actually guard Vladimir Putin's own money and assets.

And we know this now, because there are several trails where, you know, the people who were reaching out to the Trump campaign were people who had for a long time had this one demand. So we now, in a sense, have a feeling for, what it was that the Russians were asking for. We know that they were offering something things to the Trump campaign. This is now fairly well established. The Trump campaign even admits it. Says, we never accepted or never colluded, because we turned them down. So we know the Russian government was in some way offering help. We now understand what it is they wanted in return, which is, they wanted the lifting of these sanctions, not so much against Russia in general, and that they do want those lifted, but against particular Russian businessmen and officials close to Putin who people say guard Putin's money.

LEMON: Fascinating. And, oh, to be a fly on the wall on that meeting if it does occur on Friday. Thank you Fareed Zakaria. Always a pleasure. Make sure watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. When we come back. Will the allegations against Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore make

voters think twice about electing him? We'll talk about that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:43:32] LEMON: Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Alabama

facing explosive allegations tonight. I want to bring in CNN political commentator, Charles Blow, an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, CNN contributor Jason Kander and political commentator Alice Stewart. So good to have all of you on. Alice, first up, what do you think about these allegations against Roy Moore? How big of an impact do you think it's going to have on the race?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, my first television job was in Dothan, Alabama, and I can assure you there the people there in Dothan, Alabama, are not going to be swayed by one story in "The Washington Post." He is getting some positive local news coverage. I talked to the campaign manager tonight and he said, look, they're trying to be respectful to these women, but at the same time, they are going to vigorously fight against these claims. They say they are false allegations and people in Alabama are going to see that. They are going to fight these. They have sent a strongly worded letter to "The Washington Post" saying this is inaccurate information and defamation of his character. I strongly think he should stay in the race. He says these are not true. Unless they are proven true, he needs to stay in the race and he will win. People of Alabama are going to continue to stay behind him.

LEMON: Let me ask you this. Moore sent out a fund-raising e-mail tonight saying in part, the forces of evil are on the March in our country. I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values. Alice, do you think it's appropriate for him to raise money off of these allegations? You just said they're trying to be respectful to the women.

[23:45:02] STEWART: I think fund-raising off something like this is inappropriate. I don't think that is the best way to go about doing it. But I can say, look, the more he fights against this and makes this about the liberal media and the Clinton-Obama machine and fighting against fake news that will rally his base. That will get conservatives out there. And that will help to get voter turnout in this last stretch before the Election Day. But I do think it needs to be on him proving these allegations wrong and standing on principle and continuing to fight for his conservative principles, which have gotten him to this point where he is.

LEMON: Charles, these are bombshell accusations. And Roy Moore, he is saying he has a huge target on his back, he is blaming the liberal media, he is blaming Democrats, and on and on and on. The election is on Tuesday. Huge win for Democrats. You wrote about that. Do you think they can capitalize on this? Is this election winnable there now?

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, before you get to the politics of it, I'm sorry --

LEMON: Go for it.

BLOW: I just have to deal with the allegations and the kind of unevenness of the response, because people have tried to politicize these particular kinds of things. You know with Weinstein, you know there was conservative media all over it saying, why is the liberal media not talking about this? In fact, it was reported in "The New York Times" and reported in The New Yorker" and he lost his job before anything went to trial. People just said enough, right? But somehow, you know, politically, we're not acting that way. We didn't act that way when women raised those allegations against Donald Trump. He still was elected. I think you've got to say, you have to believe him or at least respect him enough to let the story stand until somebody knocks it down.

This is not like some hearsay. These people are on the record "The Post" did an incredible job of like literally going and tracking everything that could be tracked. There's something wrong here and I think conservative voters, Republican voters, have to ask themselves, do you ever want to be believed again? Because what you're saying is, particularly Trump, and maybe with this guy, it really doesn't matter what you do, as long as you're on my side and you're going to do my bidding. Like, the morality seems to be out the window on the right about all of this. And that is a very disturbing thing. And I think long-term, that is politically detrimental.

LEMON: So let's talk about morality, ok, Jason? And this is -- I want to -- this is what's happening down in Alabama. The state auditor spoke to the "Washington Examiner" and said this about Moore. This is a quote. He is as clean as a hounds tooth. Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.

JASON KANDER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I was the only Jewish kid in a catholic school, but I paid enough attention to understand that the relationship between Mary and Joseph was different than the non- consensual relationship that is being described with this.

LEMON: Well, that was the whole reason that they came up with the virgin birth, because the two were not supposed to have consummated their relationship, because one was underage and the other was an adult. So even this analogy makes no sense, but go on.

KANDER: Right. I mean, you know the whole idea of -- we really don't need to get into that, I guess. But it's a pretty ridiculous defense. And look, I guess what we ought to just look at here is if you take the party labels off and just compare the two individuals on the ballot, you have a person who is accused of this kind of behavior with underage girls. And you have the person on the other side who prosecuted in a cold case, you know, Doug Jones prosecuted people who were guilty of, you know, bombing a church and killing young girls during the civil rights movement. That had gone away and he brought it back, took on a lot of people to do it and put them in jail. So the character of these two candidates, there's no comparison. It really can't be debated at all. Party label may make a difference, but you can't get around that.

LEMON: It's interesting, the White House has responded tonight. Steve Bannon also responding, as well. Are they on the same page? We'll discuss when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:53:21] LEMON: Back now with my political team. So the White House tonight is reacting with caution. Let's see if it's true. Then he should step down. But Steve Bannon talked tonight about what happened during the campaign, comparing this with that "Access Hollywood" tape. Watch this.


STEVE BANNON, CHIEF STRATEGIST TO THE WHITE HOUSE: Billy Bush Saturday we got kind of the high command and a war council and everybody went around the room and Trump once again is asking for percentage. I think the highest percentage was 40 percent. And they were telling him some guy is going on "60 minutes" and cry on Ivanka shoulder and other people do this and do that and apologize and apologize and apologize. He came to me and he said what? I said, he said what's the percentage? I said a 100 percent. He goes don't give me -- I said a 100 percent. And he said I don't want to hear it now. He really blew up. He was not happy. And I said no. I mean it, right. They don't care about this. They care about their country. Right? I said we double down now. Right? You're Donald Trump and they're not.


LEMON: Does anybody care about doing the right thing or is this all just a big game? What's going on her?

BLOW: Listen, this is the Trump era. This is misogyny, sexism have become enshrined in the Trump era. It's no longer necessarily something that kills your career if you're a politician. It's no longer something that the religious right will say we've had enough, we can't do it. My whole life I dealt with the religious right and at least I thought that they were moral people. At least I thought they were principled people. I may not agree with what you're saying, but you really believe this and now I'm realizing that, that is all a lie. That they're willing to sell their souls for political gain and take anything.

[23:55:05] LEMON: I want to get reaction from both of you. First Alice, I have a very short time, quick please.

STEWART: Don, I think it's different. We heard the words right out of Donald Trump's mouth in that. That is completely different from what we're seeing with Roy Moore. I think it is really wrong to convict someone they found something that we read in the newspaper. He says this didn't happen. He says these allegations are not true. And my view right now, this is a he said versus she said. And we need to get to the facts of this before we throw him out of this race and convict of something that he says isn't true.

LEMON: At least three, four she says. But go ahead, Jason. I will give you the last word.

KANDER: The thing that stuck out to me in that clip is Steve Bannon said one of the things that they were considering was him going on TV and basically saying that he was sorry for his inappropriate behavior toward women over the years.

LEMON: Using his daughter as a shield. But go on.

KANDER: Yes. Also it means that every day when the White House comes out and says that every woman who is saying this about President Trump is lying, clearly that is a lie. One of the things that they were actively considering with President Trump in the room was him going out and admitting it. I mean they wouldn't be considering that if he wouldn't be admitting to something that wasn't true.

LEMON: Thank you. I've got to go.

BLOW: You don't find it strange that he wanted to cry on Ivanka's shoulder instead of Melania's. I'm just saying.

LEMON: Good night.

STEWART: Good night, Don.