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Mueller Investigation Targets Michael Flynn; Louis C.K. Admits Sexual Misconduct; Alabama Republican Officials Trying to Justify Roy Moore's Alleged Behavior. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 10, 2017 - 3:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Tower vanished from the public eye for close to 15 years, moving to Mexico, until a tweet from "The New York Times."

Tower's time at New York's fabled institution was short-lived. After five months, he left.

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And we roll on. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thanks for being with me on this Friday afternoon.

We begin with more of the Roy Moore fallout. Amidst the post-Harvey Weinstein awakening that has been sweeping this country, a man accused of sexual abuse of a child nearly 40 years ago could still become the next U.S. senator.

Republican candidate Roy Moore staying put, refusing to leave Alabama's Senate race after these bombshell allegations that "The Washington Post" broke. They were made by a woman named Leigh Corfman.

So, this goes all the way back to 1979. She was 14 years of age when she said Roy Moore sexually abused her. Now, Moore totally denies this. He has sent out a flurry of tweets in which he seemed to ignore the fact that Corfman is a Republican who told "The Washington Post" that she voted for Donald Trump.

So Roy Moore tweeted this: "The Obama-Clinton machine's liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I have ever faced. The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal, even inflict physical harm, if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me."

Meantime, the president is echoing the reaction of a lot of Republican lawmakers up on Capitol Hill, urging Roy Moore to drop out of the race if these allegations are true.

But his former chief strategist Steve Bannon is sticking by the Senate candidate.


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.


BALDWIN: Let's go straight to Alabama to my colleague Alex Marquardt, who is there live in Gadsden.

So, from who you are talking to and what you're seeing, are Roy Moore supporters, despite all of this reporting out of "The Washington Post," sticking by him?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, almost to a man and woman, they say they absolutely are.

The big question I have been getting all day long as I have gone across this city is, why now? Why are these allegations coming out some 40 years after the fact? Is it because these are the final few weeks of what has been a highly dramatic election? Are these women being pushed into saying this by the Democrats? Are they being pushed into saying this by the establishment Republicans, like Mitch McConnell?

The big question is, why now? And what everyone wants is more proof, more corroboration. They want these women to offer some sort of proof. And, of course, that's going to be very difficult, impossible really, 40 years after the fact in what really amounts to he said/she said situations.

And what they keep saying is this is a man who has rooted his life, has rooted his campaign in his Christian values, this is not a man who could do something like this.

I spoke with a woman at a barbecue restaurant earlier today. I asked her, if you had to vote today, would you vote for Roy Moore? She said absolutely. And I asked, well, even if you knew that he had had inappropriate relations with a 14-year-old girl?

And I want to read you what she said exactly, was, "If the good lord has forgiven him, as a Christian, I have to forgive him also." Now, I did speak with a member of the county Republican Party here. He said Moore could lose some votes, but that the vast majority of the base will stick by him. He said that they have been through fire, and that is a reference to the repeated controversies that Moore has been through over several decades, the most famous of which as getting kicked off the state Supreme Court first time for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments.

Now, one of the votes he may lose was from a woman he met on the main street here. Up until yesterday, she was a fervent Moore supporter. But the difference with her is that she knows Leigh Corfman, who is the woman who alleges that, at 14 years old, she was touched inappropriately.

Now she says she doesn't know what to believe. But says also that she wants more proof.

Now, what is clear is all of his supporters say that he will definitely stay in the race and they have little doubt he can win -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: What matters is how Alabama feels, and that is it, coming for this election in a month.


Alex Marquardt, thank you so much. Keep talking to the folks down there, please.

Let's dive a little deeper now on Republicans, Alabama's December 12 Senate election and the Roy Moore issue.

So with me now, Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for "The Toronto Star," who has been making a ton of calls to Alabama Republicans, and Josh Moon, the reporter and columnist for "The Alabama Reporter."

So, gentleman, welcome.

Josh, just to you first, you are there, you are in the weeds on Alabama politics. Are these allegations a deal-breaker for Alabama voters?

JOSH MOON, "THE ALABAMA REPORTER": No. No. They are not. As shameful as that is, they are not.

They are exactly what you just heard from most people in Gadsden. That's what you hear across the state from the hard-core supporters of Roy Moore. They don't believe it. They think it's fake news. They are going to buy in wholly into this holier-than-thou image that Roy Moore has built up.

You led with saying he is standing his ground. That has been Roy Moore's M.O. for his entire career. He's constantly standing his ground over some sort of nonsense or over some sort of political snafu, that it's just amazing he has been able to build this over this amount of time and continue to do this year after year after year after year.

And these people continue to follow him. And they are not going to bail on him. They are going to elect this man, if given the opportunity.

BALDWIN: You hear it now on this show, they will elect him.

Daniel, to you. You have been on the phone, calling around all these local Republican officials getting their reaction to this whole Roy Moore "Washington Post" story. And it's my understanding almost every one you talked to defended him. Tell me what they told you.

DANIEL DALE, "THE TORONTO STAR": Every single one. They said stuff that you don't expect people to say, even when you are hoping for a good quote as a reporter.


BALDWIN: Like what?

DALE: Like, well, a couple of them not only defended Moore and called the allegations false, but defended the conduct itself, saying, well, it wasn't forcible rape. Other than being with someone under age, I don't know what exactly he did.

Someone said, well, she is just saying they kissed. She was 14. He was 32.


DALE: You don't expect that.

And then a couple of -- and then three of them of the five that I got on the phone said that even if the allegations were true, they would prefer a literal child-molesting Republican to Democrat Doug Jones, who, by most accounts, is a pretty mainstream, respectable, non- extremist kind of guy.

It was really remarkable to hear.

BALDWIN: Josh, you are nodding. Are you hearing the same kind of thing about how people feel about a 14-year-old, and it was just kissing and it wasn't forced rape?

MOON: Yes.

And I used some of Daniel's reporting yesterday in the column the I wrote for today. But when you start a sentence with, "other than being underage," I mean, don't finish that sentence.


BALDWIN: Thank you. Thank you.

MOON: And look at what you are doing here, for God's sakes. You cannot elect this guy, especially when his opponent is the man who

prosecuted people from the KKK for killing four girls with a bomb. This is who he's up against. Good vs. evil cannot be more apparent in this.

BALDWIN: We may never know the truth. But I say -- I just agree with you, you can't start a sentence like that, no matter what.

Josh, staying with you, Roy Moore says the forces of evil are waging this war on Christian values. We have heard from his brother comparing to what's happening with the persecution of Jesus Christ. We have heard from the Alabama state auditor comparing Moore and this young woman to Joseph and Mary in the Bible.

The quote is: "Mary was a teenager. Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There is just nothing immoral or illegal here, maybe just a little bit unusual."

So, bottom line, I mean, that's more and more what we are hearing, right?

MOON: No, it's absolutely it.

And, first of all, they call her -- her name is the Virgin Mary, so maybe the analogy that you are using is not proper, Jim Ziegler, who is our state auditor here.

BALDWIN: Right. Immaculate conception, right.

MOON: Yes.

BALDWIN: Right. Right.

MOON: But, to the larger point, if you are using the Bible to justify underage sexual assault, pedophilia, stop doing that. It's not that hard.

BALDWIN: Yes. I don't know who wouldn't agree with you.

But, again, he says he didn't do it. He says he didn't do it. He's not backing down from this race.

And so, Daniel, conservative radio host and blogger Erick Erickson put this out into the Twittersphere: "The rush of Senate Republicans coming quickly to denounce Roy Moore is convincing more supporters that this is a coordinated hit job."


What's your reaction to that? Coordinated hit job?

DALE: I know.

I mean, it's not rational. But I think there is a powerful feeling of victimhood among many Republicans and perhaps especially evangelical conservatives, who feel like the entire world, from media to the Hollywood to even the Republican establishment, which is overwhelmingly Christian, is out to get them.

And I think Roy Moore has been an expert throughout his career as a judge, now politician, and then now with these allegations, at tapping into that feeling of victimhood and making people feel like the forces out to get me, Roy Moore, are the same forces out to get you. And so I identify with you and you should vote for me.

I think that could -- it could work for him again here.

BALDWIN: At the end of the day, though -- and, again, I go back to we may never know the truth, right? Roy Moore says he didn't do it. And this woman's obviously story is much different.

So, Josh, this will never be litigated. Statute of limitations done. Election is a month away. What is an Alabama voter to do?

MOON: Well, you know, I think first of all, when you talk about we are never going to litigate that, that's true. But we have kind of moved past that with some of these people here, where they are justifying it as though is true.

And their answer to a lot of this is they are considering it true-, and then still justifying it. So I think you see where a lot of those people stand.

And I cannot fathom before this happened anyone selecting Roy Moore over Doug Jones. I mean, I can't do it. When you compare the two and their history and what type of people that they are, there's just -- obviously, I'm coming from a different angle than a lot of voters here, but at the same time, if you just look at their records over the course of their lifetimes in politics, there is no comparison between the two of them.

But now you add this in and still justifying it, you know, I just -- they are going to do it. They are going to elect them. I know that. I know where I live. I know the sad state of affairs in this state.

But I just -- I can't wrap my head around it. I don't know where we have gone here that we have reached this depth in this state among people who claim to be so good and so Christian and so caring. I just don't understand it.

BALDWIN: It is a kind of thing, though, that these -- on a national level, a lot of these members of Congress are going to be asked about how they feel about Roy Moore every single day for the next couple of weeks until this election where you are in Alabama in a month.

Josh Moon, thank you. Daniel Dale, thank you.

MOON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We will continue to stay on that.

Coming up next, though, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the crosshairs of special counsel Robert Mueller. We will talk live to one of the "Wall Street Journal" reporters who broke this story today on this alleged plan involving Michael Flynn, millions of dollars and this Muslim cleric living here in the U.S.

Also, here's a quote today; "These stories are true." That is the comment from comedian Louis C.K. after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. What he went on to say about the pain he has caused these women and what he plans to do now.

You are watching CNN.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN.

President Trump's fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is now under investigation for this alleged plot to forcibly send this Muslim cleric living in the U.S. to Turkey in exchange to up to $15 million.

This whole story has been broken today by "The Wall Street Journal." That cleric is in self-imposed exile right now in Pennsylvania, as the Turkish president, Erdogan, is seeking revenge and blaming this cleric for last year's failed military coup.

So with me now, Aruna Viswanatha, who helped break the story for "The Wall Street Journal."

Nice to have you on.

And former U.S. attorney Michael Moore.


BALDWIN: Good to see you.

Aruna, how were Michael Flynn and his son expected to even carry this forcible removable, as you all describe it here, out?

ARUNA VISWANATHA, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": So, I guess, just to be clear also, our understanding is that the FBI is trying to get to the bottom of that question and trying to figure out if all of this is accurate.


VISWANATHA: So, the allegation is that there was this meeting where they discussed getting him out in the dead of the night and putting him on a plane and getting him out of the country, obviously, through extralegal means.

And our understanding is that the FBI is asking questions about these allegations and trying to figure out, is this actually what they were agreeing to do?

BALDWIN: And, again, just so we are clear, because I think there were a couple of different meetings that were mentioned in your piece, there was the 21 Club meeting, which I believe was December, and so that would have been after he knew and been tapped to be the national security adviser, correct?

VISWANATHA: Right, exactly. It was mid-December, which was well after the election, and a few weeks before inauguration.

BALDWIN: So, given that fact, Michael Moore, as he would have been, you know, vetted by the White House to have this huge, huge job, if in fact this comes to light that this is true, how much trouble could Michael Flynn and potentially his son be in?

MOORE: Yes, I think they are both in a world of trouble. And it's almost unbelievable that we are talking about this.

If you had this fact pattern anywhere else, we would think we were talking about a spy novel or something. But the idea that the man who is the top national security administration official is talking about by I guess undercover secreted someone away in a plane and getting him, kidnapping in the middle of the night is absolutely crazy.

But I think what's happening and what you are seeing...

BALDWIN: And getting millions of dollars in return for it.

MOORE: Absolutely. Absolutely.

What you are seeing that Bob Mueller is like an acupuncturist and he understands where to police these needles, and he understands where those needles will get the most effect and where he can get the most pressure.


And so now that he's looking over and he's looking at Michael Flynn and his son, he knows by pushing and talking investigating this allegation into Michael Flynn's son, that that's putting pressure on Mike Flynn.

He knows that, when he puts pressure on Mike Flynn, that we move on up the line. A criminal case is a lot like a pyramid. You take it and you start with the base blocks. And you have to build that foundation.

And you work your way up by continuing to pressure, to flip people, getting people to cooperate with the investigation. Here, he has got enough information, if these allegations bear out, to clearly put the pressure on Flynn.

BALDWIN: Let's back up for a second here.

MOORE: Sure.

BALDWIN: Because, Aruna, we know that Turkey had been lobbying the then Obama administration, to no avail, right, for help.


BALDWIN: And perhaps found this sympathetic ear in Michael Flynn. So, how does Flynn's background and all of that fit into this plot,

this idea?

VISWANATHA: So, right, the Turkish government has been trying for a long time to get this guy back to Turkey. And they did try through an extradition request. They didn't have enough evidence. The Obama administration told them they couldn't do it.

And so they hired other people to try to figure out, is there another way we can make this happen? And Mr. Flynn was someone that they had turned to, to try to figure out if there is something else they can do there.

BALDWIN: What does this say, Michael, just last question, about the scope of Mueller's investigation and how concerned the White House should be?

MOORE: Well, I think they ought to be extremely concerned, because I think you are seeing that he's working his way toward the top of that pyramid.

What it tells us about the scope is that he's trying to at this point to decide whether it's incompetence or complicity that you are seeing in these administration officials with the president himself or with people in his senior administration team.

So I think that he's expanding somewhat, but I think he's doing it in a way that's normal in a prosecutor who is tactician. And Bob Mueller is that. He again is looking at how he builds his case, where he exerts his pressure, and what pressure is going to get the most effect, and provide the most proof and evidence, ultimately, in a potential case of either criminal charges or perhaps for impeachment in the Congress.

BALDWIN: All right. Michael and Aruna, thank you very much.


MOORE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Good to see you.

Just in, a candid admission from comedian Louis C.K. after a "New York Times" article detailed multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him. My panel includes Heather McDonald, who says she had heard the stories about this man for years.



BALDWIN: We're back with breaking news here on this Friday. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Listen, it has been a stunning week when it comes to allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. You have Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore denying these accusations that he engaged in sexual acts decades ago with a 14-year-old when he was in his early 30s.

You have this criminal investigation launched against Oscar winner Kevin Spacey after a former TV anchor detailed a sex assault that she said Spacey committed against her son. And that's just one piece of it.

Then there is Emmy Award-winning comedian Louis C.K. in this "New York Times" article detailing multiple instances where he masturbated in front of female colleagues.

And every day, brave women have been coming forward to share their voices, share their stories. And, today, that included former Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, who says she was abused by a team doctor -- I'm out of breath almost -- and -- right? -- and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad, who wrote a gut-wrenching article about going to molested by her school swim coach when she was a teenager.

So, here is part of what Diana shared with me and her story last hour.


DIANA NYAD, CHAMPION DISTANCE SWIMMER: This was my cross to bear, being sexually abused as a kid. And it wasn't just the first time that that you read about at age 14. It was all through the high school years, humiliated, degraded.

It has stayed with me. As you just said, I'm a bad-ass. And I am. I walk around the world like this is my planet. I own the place.

BALDWIN: Good for you. Good for you.

NYAD: But there is a little hurt corner of that soul. The rage and the humiliation and the shame never go away.


BALDWIN: Love that she said that.

Let me bring in my panel, CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas, who has been breaking a lot of these Kevin Spacey stories. Liz Plank, host of the Vox series "Divided States of Women," is here, and comedian Heather McDonald there in Los Angeles.

And so, ladies, thank you so much for being with me on this Friday afternoon.

But let's just begin with Louis C.K.

And, Heather, this one is from you.

We got this huge, huge statement from Louis C.K. and his people awhile ago. And I do need to point out, in the first line, he name-checks these five women -- or four women -- and then one woman didn't name herself.

And then he says this: "These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was OK because I never showed a woman my bleep without asking first, which is also true."

He goes on: "But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your bleep isn't a question; it's a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me, and I wielded that power irresponsibly."

He goes on at the very end. After expressing remorse and regret, he says, "I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now take a step back and take a long time to listen."

Heather, as a comedian in this world, how do you take that?

HEATHER MCDONALD, COMEDIAN: I love that the women came out. I appreciate that he is admitting that it's true, because it is.