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New York Times Reported Five Women Say Louis C.K. Crossed Line into Sexual Misconduct; Key House Committee Passes GOP Tax Plan; Air Force Will Draft Report Next Week on Church Gunman. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And it continues. We have more breaking news now. This is coming from "The New York Times" with this report of sexual misconduct allegations by five women against Uber famous comedian Louis C.K. So, I've got Chloe Malas, CNN entertainment reporter, and Caroline Polisi, a federal and white-collar crime defense attorney, here with me to walk through what this "New York Times" piece alleges. I'll let you do it.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: All right. "The New York Times" just published an explosive report where they have five women who are claiming that Lewis C.K. either masturbated in front of them, non-consensually --

BALDWIN: With all clothes off.

MELAS: Over the phone. In one case he took all of his clothes off in front of them. Four women are named on the record. One women has remained anonymous. In the story "The New York Times" says that they repeatedly in detail reached out to Louis C.K.'s team for comment and that he never got back to them. What I can tell you we did know this story was going to be dropping this afternoon. And that Louis C.K. had approve movie premier schedule tonight, right around the corner from here that he canceled ahead of the story, dropping. And that he was supposed also appear on the late show with Stephen Colbert tonight and he canceled that as well. He has a movie that set to be released next week called "I Love You Daddy." So, this is very shocking. But again, there have been rumblings for a while that Louis C.K. was not only vulgar on the stage in his comedy --

[15:35:01] BALDWIN: That's his shtick, if I may. He talks about what he's being accused of doing in a sense on stage and gets laughs for it.

MELAS: But there were rumblings for a while. There have been celebrities that have taken to social media previously accusing Louis C.K. of various things. But again, we have reached out repeatedly to Louis C.K.'s team for comment and haven't heard back. No denial or anything as of yet. But unfortunately, this is another celebrity who is coming out in the footsteps of the Weinstein fallout, the Spacey scandal.

BALDWIN: Add him to the list. Although this is different, and Caroline that's why we wanted to ask you, because unlike you the others on this list of allegations of sexual harassment, this is masturbating in front of women, not actually physically touching them.

CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No physical contact has been alleged at this point. But this is the reason why sexual assault allegations are notoriously difficult to prosecute. So, the Department of Justice defined sexual assault as any unwanted contact or behavior initiated without the victim's consent. So technically speaking this may fall under that definition. However, I've very rarely have seen prosecutors prosecute where there isn't actual physical contact.

BALDWIN: Where there isn't?

POLISI: Correct. Where there is not physical contact. So, I don't really see a criminal prosecution here. Also, many of these allegations are decades old, which time is the death knell for sexual assault allegations. And prosecutions really the reason why we have statute of limitations for these types of charges. Because over time witness's memories fade, their credibility, they lack credibility when they get on the stand and recount events that occurred years and years ago. In the wake of the Bill Cosby scandal, many states came out doing away with sexual assault statute of limitations for this very reason that so often --

BALDWIN: Which is the deal with Harvey Weinstein in New York.

POLISI: Yes, and you look at these women, the reason they don't come out in the beginning is because they are ashamed. They feel maybe they have done something wrong. And it's specific with sexual crimes, which is why I this I we need to do with the statute of limitations in these types of cases.

MELAS: But I'll say when you say with Harvey Weinstein, you saw with Kevin Spacey that this type of a report empowers women and men to come forward. So, we may see other accusers come forward in the coming hours.

BALDWIN: Now it seems the time more than ever to speak up, men and women, speak up. Carolyn and Chloe, thank you so much. Just to remind you about this big town hall tonight on sexual harassment Alisyn Camerota is hosting tonight 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.

Just in to us the House Ways and Means Committee has voted to advance their version of the Republican tax bill. We are going to take you back to Capitol Hill in just a moment. Stay here.


BALDWIN: Just in, the House Ways and Means Committee has voted to advance version of the Republican tax bill. Phil Mattingly is up on Capitol Hill for us. And so, this is a big deal for Republicans -- Phil.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really is. To put it in kind of historic context here. The idea of moving a tax overhaul, tax reform bill, something that hasn't been done in 31 years. Through the committee process, which something that just a few years ago wasn't an anathema. I think we kind of look past it a little bit how fast Republicans are moving on this because they are doing it almost entirely in a partisan matter. But these legislative steps before this year were something that people couldn't figure out a way to get to.

So that a big deal, legislatively, getting it through the committee process and sending to the House next week is a bill deal. Here's the road. Now the hard work starts in the House. Obviously, we talked about the Senate bill earlier in the hour. The House still has a lot of work to do. They can only lose 22 Republicans. There are 30 plus Republicans from the state and local tax deduction states they need show shore up right now. They have a lot of minor issues as well. There' certainly more issues to come in the days ahead.

What I've been told basically, is they've been meeting member to member. Leadership Kevin Brady, the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, trying to extol the economic benefits to each district. Giving them slide presentations, trying to really break it down to show why overall even if you have problem with one provision or two provisions or maybe the state and local tax deduction that over all the bill is winner. There are plenty of questions about that and plenty of data that shows that for a lot of individuals, particularly in the latter half of the decade, taxes will go up. But as of now GOP aids feel they are at an OK place. The big question though, Brooke, is over the next couple of days can they get the members right now they feel are on the edge of yes? Actually, push them over the line, or does this start to spiral in a bad way. The answer to that question will determine whether or not this effort continues to actually move forward -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Yes, edge of yes, not good enough. Phil Mattingly. Thank you so much.

[15:45:00] Meanwhile president Trump is in China with a radical about face on his opinion of the country's trade practices. Standing next to Chinese President Xi, President Trump even praised him for taking advantage of the U.S.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.


BALDWIN: It's a far cry from the language and tone we heard from candidate Trump, when he was back on the trail who accused China of being an economic enemy. So, let's start there. Graham Allison is with us. A professor at the Harvard Kennedy school. Graham, so nice to have you on. Just on China and the change of tone, I mean he had once accused China of raping the U.S. and now this. GRAHAM ALLISON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DURING FIRST CLINTON

ADMINISTRATION: Well, Trump is always surprising. I would say the proposition that he's blaming his predecessors for being so soft on China and giving China a pass, is an interesting twist on the matter. And I think what he's going to say to Xi and what he has said, is that was then and now is now and I Trump are demanding a different deal.

BALDWIN: This is all of course with the back drop of North Korea nuclear tensions. And we wanted to grab a line from your "Politico" piece where you wrote, I am prepared to bet $100 of my money against one dollar of anyone who wants to wager that when Trump leaves office, a nuclear armed North Korea will remain a major challenge for his successor.

Why did you say that?

ALLISON: Well, basically Trump has got a way in which he expresses things and unfortunately many things get confused by it. He says I am going to solve the North Korean problem. And I try to point out that for better or worse, the North Korean problem is not solvable. Kim Jong-un has very good reason to have a nuclear arsenal and to keep a nuclear arsenal. And so, when either Trump tries to tell Xi -- which he did Mar-a-Largo, which he also did on this trip -- you solve North Korea. You solve this problem. And if you don't, I will solve this problem. And you're not going to like it. He's not yet in the reality zone.

When he leaves office, North Korea will continue to have nuclear weapons and the capability to threaten South Korea and Japan. Of that I feel virtually certain. So, I just was trying to put the point extremely provocatively, but it's an offer that I have on the table $100 of my dollars against the dollars of yours, that when Trump leaves office, whether it's in a year or in seven years, North Korea will still be a major nuclear challenge for the U.S. That's a sad reality but one that we'll have to cope with.

BALDWIN: Another country that is friends with, not very far away from North Korea, you know where I'm going, Russia, and we know that there is talk of this Trump, Putin meeting tomorrow, Graham. Where -- I imagine the priority is North Korea. Although we are told Russian meddling in the election, you know, is on the docket of discussion. What should President Trump challenge President Putin on specifically?

ALLISON: Great question. Everything connects unfortunately to everything else. North Korea is the most urgent problem today. If we jump ahead a year from today, either North Korea will have an ability to strike San Francisco or Los Angeles with nuclear weapons, that's option one. Or two Trump will have attacked North Korea and that may cause a war with Korea and maybe even with China. Or three, there'll be a minor miracle. And I'm praying for the miracle. And I describe that in the Op-ed.

The Russian piece of this is crucial because if Xi plays ball and squeezes Kim Jong-un and Trump, sorry, and Putin gives him a way out, then there is not a solution to this problem. So basically, Trump is going to be trying to persuade Putin not to be a spoiler, to play along in this game. And I think that's a challenge because to whatever extent we treat Russia as if they were everywhere a spoiler, they don't have much to lose. So, this is a complicated diplomatic game.

BALDWIN: We wait to see what we get out of this potential meeting. I like option three as well, sir. Graham Allison please come back. Professor, thank you so much.

ALLISON: Thank you so much for having me, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Coming up next on CNN just horrifying additional details about this gunman who killed 25 people plus an unborn child in that Texas church Sunday. A former coworker saying that he used to buy animals off of Craigslist for target practice. How could these warning signs have gone unnoticed? We'll discuss coming up.


BALDWIN: We're getting some new details now on the gunman who murdered 25 people and an unborn child inside a Texas church. The Air Force secretary speaking out moments ago after the military branch failed to relay crucial information about the killer's earlier conviction that could have stopped him from getting his hands on any guns. This as new details on the Texas church shooter paint a picture of a very troubled man.

[15:55:00] Former Air Force colleague telling CNN that the shooter some years ago claimed he had bought animals off of Craigslist with the purpose of killing them. He told her, and I quote, was using dogs as target practice. This same woman shared with CNN that the Texas shooter praised the white supremacist who walked into that Charleston church in 2015 and murdered nine people during Bible study saying, he wished he had the nerve to do that. Let's start with Art Roderick, CNN law enforcement analyst and former assistant director for the U.S. Marshal Service and CNN pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. And Barbara, let me begin with you on, how did the Air Force respond to the questions on why they didn't report this information?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, they did very quickly of course begin their own investigation into why his criminal convictions at court martial for assault were not entered into federal law enforcement databases. And what we learned from the Air Force a few minutes ago, they do expect to have an initial report on all of this as soon as next week. Trying to explain where it fell short, how it fell between the cracks, because as you say, that conviction at military court martial would have prevented him from buying weapons. What they have determined is that 12 of the 26 victims did have a connection somehow to the U.S. Air Force either through direct service, family members, something like that. So, it's hit very hard with the Air Force.

They are now along with the rest of the military reviewing all of their databases on criminal convictions trying to make sure that they are being reported to federal authorities and if they are not, where all of that is breaking down. The Air Force says it's going to go all the way back to 1996 to make sure that those federal databases are now up to date -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Barbara, thank you. As that review is under way, and that's just a piece of the story, Art, to you. I mean, we're learning these details about this derange man who was buying dogs to practice shooting them. And talks about the racist murderer in Charleston and the quote to this friend at the time was, he would say, he wished he had the nerve to do it, meaning kill people, but all he would be able to do is kill animals. He obviously sick, doesn't even begin to describe it, but what does it tell you about mental state and what could have been done.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I mean, every day there's a new white flag that pops up here that could have prevented this individual from purchasing firearms. First of all, the conviction, for all intents and purposes, is a felony conviction involving domestic violence. He was in a psychiatric institute. Those three things right there would have barred him.

I think the other issue we have to look at is not only do you also have an incident where a clerk or an analyst did not enter those convictions into the system, but you also have these people starting to come forward with very disturbing information about this individual. Who was enthralled with serial killers, enthralled with the killing in the Carolinas at the church and then killing dogs. Somebody should have reported this somewhere to law enforcement that this individual was either having these thoughts, posting this stuff on social media to try and take a look at this individual and put him on the radar.

BALDWIN: At least, you know, according to this woman, the Air Force did try to do a few things. He talked to a chaplain, officials refer to him to a mental health office. You know, but still, obviously that didn't stop him from doing what he did.

RODERICK: Yes. Go ahead.

BALDWIN: No, just my last question is, you know, part of the frustration on behalf of law enforcement, they still can't get on his phone. And apparently Apple is saying they did reach out immediately to the FBI to try to help them out, but still, we remember San Bernardino, this is a huge problem.

RODERICK: That's exactly correct, but I will tell you that for several years, there's been this working group of law enforcement communications committee that is made up of basically federal agencies that use electronic surveillance to do their jobs. I know my old agency, it's imperative they have these capabilities to arrest and locate wanted fugitives. And you're exactly correct, it boiled to the surface during San Bernardino when I can say during, since San Bernardino there has been some agreement that has been reached, whereby, if the FBI goes and gets a search warrant, Apple will cooperate. I think they have found some middle ground here, and they should be able to get some cooperation here and get the information that's needed off that particular phone. The added point I wanted to make was I'm glad to hear that Barbara reported that this review of what's going on in the Air Force will also expand to army, CID, Naval, criminal investigators surface and the U.S. Coast Guard, investigative services. Because this has got to be DODY.

BALDWIN: 100 percent. Yes. Art Roderick, thank you.


BALDWIN: Coming up next, more on the breaking news. These accusations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican senate Roy Moore. He denies all of this, but lawmakers up on Capitol Hill today saying he should step aside if these allegations are in fact true. Back in a moment.


BALDWIN: FEMA is finalizing plans to help temporarily relocate hurricane Maria survivors from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland. It'll be the agency's first air bridge. Priority will be given to nearly 3,000 people who are still living in shelters. They will be flown from the U.S. territory to New York, Florida, states chosen by the island's governor because of their sizable Puerto Rican communities. About 60 percent of the island is still without electricity. Nearly two months after the deadly and destructive storm.

I'm Brooke Baldwin, thank you for being with me here today in New York. A lot of breaking news on a Thursday. Jake Tapper's going to take it from here. "THE LEAD" starts now.