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Sex Allegations Rock Alabama Senate Race; Conflicting Signals on Trump-Putin Meeting. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 10, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These women agreed to speak publicly, to show Alabama voters that there's another side to Roy Moore.
[05:59:21] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the Moore allegations are true, the president thinks he'll step aside.
STEVE BANNON, BREITBART NEWS: "The Washington Post," that dropped that dime on Trump, dropped a dime on Judge Roy Moore. Is that a coincidence?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was his first project and it is "own up (ph)" on the Republican Party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he continues to stand, the chance of a Democrat picking up that seat will go up considerably.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House telling reporters the president will not hold a formal sit-down with Vladimir Putin.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The Kremlin spokesman said there would be a meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That Russia clearly involved itself to change the American election leads up to the question: is there a crime committed?
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, November 10, 6 a.m. here in New York, and here is our starting line.
President Trump and Republican lawmakers are calling on Roy Moore, the GOP's nominee for Alabama's Senate seat, to withdraw from the race if allegations of sexual misconduct with several underaged girls are true.
Remember, an allegation is a suggestion without proof. You do have proof here. You have multiple women saying that it happened. That is an accusation. It raises the question: Does what these women say matter? "The Washington Post" [SIC] is calling the report "a desperate political attack," vowing to never give up the fight. That's what Roy Moore is saying, according to "The Washington Post."
This explosive set of charges unfolding one month before a special election. The GOP's narrow majority in the Senate hangs in the balance, but this is about some bigger issues than just an election. You have to remember, politically, Roy Moore is Steve Bannon's latest soldier in his war against the establishment, so he has no loyalty to listen to the party's leaders. And Bannon and his like at Breitbart are strongly supporting Moore, even in the face of these suggestions.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And then, on the other side of the globe, all eyes today on President Trump and what was supposed to be his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House now says there will be no formal meeting, but they did not rule out an informal sideline encounter. The Kremlin says it's getting contradictory signals.
And a CNN exclusive on Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. CNN has learned that the special counsel has interviewed White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller about his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
There is a lot to cover, so let's begin with CNN's Martin Savidge. He is live in Gadson, Alabama. What's the latest?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Morning, Alisyn.
You know, the allegations now that have been leveled against Roy Moore, the candidate here, come as a shock on two fronts. One: just what is being alleged here. And then, on top of that, the timing. Just weeks before this very critical Senate election. And they all go back to the courthouse here behind me here, where Roy Moore was then an assistant D.A.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The Trump administration responding to the bombshell allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually molested a 14-year-old girl over 30 years ago, with a nod to both Moore's conservative supporters...
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life.
SAVIDGE: ... and establishment Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
SANDERS: However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.
SAVIDGE: McConnell saying Thursday that if the allegations are true, Moore must step aside. Concerns echoed by a growing list of Republicans on Capitol Hill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're true, he should step aside. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that's true, I don't believe there would be any place for him in the U.S. Senate.
SAVIDGE: But Moore is digging in, denying the charges and blaming the, quote, "Obama-Clinton machine's liberal media lapdogs" for the "vicious and nasty round of attacks." And vowing to never give up the fight.
President Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, standing by Moore, whom he championed during the primaries, comparing the timing of the "Washington Post" report to the release of the "Access Hollywood" tapes just before the 2016 election.
BANNON: Now is that a coincidence? That's what I mean when I say opposition party.
SAVIDGE: Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when she was approached by Moore outside a courtroom in 1979. He was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. Corfman says he offered to stay with her while her mother went inside for a hearing. She says that Moore got her phone number and later took her to his House on two separate occasions.
BETH REINHARD, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": On one of the occasions, you know, undressed her, undressed himself and, you know, touched her over her bra and underwear and guided her to touch him over his underwear.
SAVIDGE: She said she was uncomfortable after that incident and asked Moore to take her home but never reported his behavior to police.
Three other women sharing troubling stories about Moore in recent weeks, telling "The Washington Post" that Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18, while he was in his thirties. But none alleged forceful sexual contact.
Moore, a devout Christian, is no stranger to controversy, remarking just this year that he thinks that the September 11 attacks was God's punishment for America's lack of morality and telling a reporter in a 2005 interview that homosexuality should be illegal.
ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Just behind -- because it's done behind closed doors, it can still be prohibited by state law. Do you know that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast, is prohibited in every state?
[06:05:00] SAVIDGE: Moore is maintaining that this is nothing more than just a dirty tricks kind of political action just weeks before this critical vote, but conservative Christians that I've talked to here have said they don't see this so much as politics. They see it as a matter of faith. This is a man who has wrapped himself very closely and clearly to a deep Christian abiding faith. If the allegations are true, they say, he needs to come forward, even before the election, and confess. That's if they're true -- Alisyn and Chris.
CUOMO: Martin, it's a real complicating factor here, not to separate the moral issues at play here and potential legal issues. But even if he withdraws, I think under state law there, his name stays on the ballot. So if they were going to put in a write-in candidate, he's going to siphon off, he's going to split the ticket, effectively. So they would have problems there no matter which way Mr. Moore decides to respond to this.
Martin, thank you very much for the reporting.
So what are the Republicans in Washington doing over this? Well, there's obviously a lot of stunned faces, but most are saying that Moore should step aside if the allegations are true. This is big for Republicans, because there party only has a narrow majority in the Senate. Him not being in the race, him presumed to have a very good chance to win, could put that slim margin at risk.
CNN's Brianna Keilar live on Capitol Hill with more. They're in a box, because the idea of saying, "Well, if it's true, he should step away," you know, when women say that something happened, that has to be considered more than an empty allegation, something that needs so much further proof. So they're in a box here, in terms of how to judge this, Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are. And they don't have all the control over this. My read on what Republicans are saying is that they really do not want Roy Moore there, and they don't want to be talking about this. They want to be talking about their tax reform plans that they unveiled yesterday that this story completely hijacked. As they're already facing really difficult political head winds, which was made so apparent on Tuesday night as Democrats swept mayoral, gubernatorial and state legislative races.
Here's a look at how some Republicans were responding to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. McConnell, do you believe the women who made these accusations against Roy Moore?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the record, these accusations against Roy Moore, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: You see here, Chris and Alisyn, how uncomfortable Republicans are. And yes, Mitch McConnell has said if this is true, Roy Moore should step aside. But pay attention to what his former chief of staff has said. And this is something that Josh Holmes would not be saying without the blessing of the McConnell camp. He said that this is what happens when, quote, "reckless incompetent idiots like Steve Bannon recruit candidates."
So the feeling from so many Republicans is that these women are credible. You look at "The Washington Post" story, they are Republicans, some of them Trump Republicans. A pattern is established. And so even though you have this "if true" caveat, there are also members like Senator McCain who dropped the "if true" caveat.
The reality, though, is that when it comes to Senate Republicans, they're not so much in control. The voters of Alabama are in control. The GOP party in Alabama is in control, because either Roy Moore steps aside, which seems unlikely at this point, or the state party asks the secretary of state there to invalidate his nomination. Only after that, if Roy Moore were to come to the Senate, then would they have to hit a very high two-thirds vote bar to get rid of him.
So it's really up to voters in Alabama and the party there -- Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: It is complicated, Brianna. Thank you very much for all that reporting.
Here to talk more about it is CNN political analysts Karoun Demirjian and David Drucker. We also have the managing producer of "Reckon" by AL.com, John Hammontree.
John, I want to start with you, because you're on the ground there in Birmingham, Alabama. So what's been the response to this bombshell?
JOHN HAMMONTREE, MANAGING PRODUCER, AL.COM'S "RECKON": It's definitely been a mixed bag. We've seen Governor Ivey, even before these accusations came out, she said that she was planning to vote for Roy Moore but would not go so far as to endorse him.
But then you're seeing from the state auditor, Jim Ziegler, who ironically, led the crusade against Governor Bentley last year, over that sex scandal, he said this was much ado about very little. He made comparisons to biblical figures.
CAMEROTA: Yes, and John, sorry to interrupt you, but we have that, and I think that it's just really instructive. So let me just read that for you, what you're referring to. So this is the Alabama state auditor, John -- Jim Ziegler, saying, "There's nothing to see here. The allegations are that a man in his early thirties dated teenage girls. Even 'The Washington Post' report says he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse. 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."
[06:10:04] CUOMO: Well, you have a 14-year-old who says that he took her back to his House and touched her. That would be an assault. The age of legal consent in Alabama is 16.
CAMEROTA: So he's wrong about illegal. Yes. CUOMO: So there's a certain aspect of legality here. But also, just what do you make of that, of trying to make a reference to Mary and Joseph for what we're seeing with Roy Moore? You talk about cheapening a biblical premise.
HAMMONTREE: Well, and the whole premise of the Mary and Joseph story is that she was a virgin. So I'm not entirely sure what he was going with there.
Yes, it's disturbing in a way that I don't think happens very often here in local politics. Typically, you would think -- you know, we have very strict laws in terms of teachers interacting with students, that children are off-limits. There's been some mental gymnastics by party leaders here in the state. Some have said, even if the allegations are true, that they would still vote for him, because it's better than voting for a Democrat.
Now, I don't know that that's necessarily going to be the case for rank and file voters. I think, even prior to these accusations, you were seeing that this race is going to be much tighter than Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.
CUOMO: Well, he was very controversial before this. I mean, we've had him on the show talking about this man's tendency, even when an elected officer of the law, the chief of the supreme court down there, to put his reckoning of his faith before the U.S. Constitution.
CUOMO: And a lot of this pushback we're hearing reminds of what I was hearing on your special last night, on the town hall. "Well, this happened a long time ago." You know? "He was only in his thirties then."
CUOMO: You know, "Look, I mean, they're saying it, but we don't know if it's true." I mean, these are dangerous aspects of dialogue.
CAMEROTA: Yes. But it does feel, Karoun, as though something has shifted in the past month, where it's no longer being called "he said, she said." Suddenly, we see these things in a different light.
CUOMO: Well, they are -- McConnell, "if true."
CAMEROTA: I know that. They're trying, but I just am saying that it's a different landscape than it was even a few months ago.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, look, this is -- this would have been a story anyway. It's more of a story because we are in the post-Weinstein era. It's more of a story also because the GOP just doesn't like Roy Moore very much.
But yes, we are in a different climate right now, where you're seeing new high-profile figures be exposed, on a weekly basis -- more than a weekly basis, frankly -- for sexual assault against various women. When it's young women who are children, that's even more horrifying,
because that is just something that pretty much there's universal disgust on that front. I think most people who have ever parented or -- a 14-year-old period would argue that that's just a normal thing for somebody in his mid-thirties to be hitting on a teenager. So...
CUOMO: Touching. Touching. Touching -- touching counts.
DEMIRJIAN: I'm sorry, that's right. It is touching. This is -- as you said goes into the assault category.
So you know, to invoke the religious reference is a little bit -- seems like a little bit of a dog whistle to his followers: "Remember, you know, I'm your, you know, Christian candidate. Don't listen to what they're trying to say about me." But it -- this is directly -- it's kind of hypocritical to do that right now, when you're trying to avoid accusations that are fundamentally based on, in one instance, you know, criminality, but in the other instances, morality. And then to invoke this sort of moral thing, that's not working so much anymore in this era, because we are a lot more woke to that sort of thing, I guess, is what I'm trying to say.
DEMIRJIAN: As a society, we -- we are...
HAMMONTREE: And this is all he's running on...
DEMIRJIAN: ... accepting women's word. Yes.
HAMMONTREE: ... is the morality issues.
CAMEROTA: So David Drucker, you...
HAMMONTREE: It's not -- sorry.
CAMEROTA: Sorry, John, but I just want to get David in, because I know that you spent time covering his race. You were in Alabama. And then, you know, fast forward to looking at Mitch McConnell there in that awkward presser where he -- they're smiling. They're trying to shoo away the press. This is not what they need.
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's not what they need. It's not what they want. Let's remember: Mitch McConnell, through his super PAC, spent almost $10 million to try and defeat Roy Moore in that run-off in late September. And it didn't work. And one of the reasons it didn't work, and I was talking to a lot of voters down there, even voters that weren't particularly big fans of Roy Moore. They were very angry at Washington and angry at McConnell. And so they voted with -- for Roy Moore, knowing everything they knew about him at the time.
And I guess what I'm trying to present here is the difficult position the Republican Party finds itself in, in that, you know, ten or 20 years ago, Alisyn, if the national party or major party leaders called for somebody to step aside, or even intimated they should step aside, that would carry a lot of weight with voters, and voters might reconsider whether or not they should support somebody, even if it meant the candidate from the other party would win. And that kind of influence just doesn't exist anymore, because especially among Republicans, I think even among Democrats, voters are so distrustful of what they view as the party establishment that is against them. And that's what Roy Moore is trying to use to his advantage here, by trying to write this off as an establishment attack on his character, to derail somebody like him, who's going to challenge them, from getting here.
I spoke yesterday to Dean Young, Roy Moore's close friend from the last 25 years and a political advisor. He told me they expect more attacks to come. One way or the other, that they're prepared for them. Dean Young categorically denied that anything happened, said he spoke -- he spoke to Roy Moore about it.
[06:15:15] CUOMO: But it depends on the kind of attacks. It depends on the kind of attacks. I mean, there's reporting out there now about his son, who now I think is about 27 years of age, and the number of arrests that he's had. First of all, it's the guy's kid. The kid isn't on -- he's an adult, but he's not on -- running. And some of them seem to be addiction related. That's something that deserves discretion from the media and others.
This is not that. You know. And Karoun -- Karoun, so that's where we find ourselves with this, is how much should this matter? The fact that he was in his thirties versus where he is not? Should that be relevant in the consideration of the materiality of the criticism?
DEMIRJIAN: Well, I guess it depends on the voter that you're talking about. With these sorts of incidents, though, you want to see, especially somebody, again, who's running on a platform and has made his career on, you know, making moral judgements on many things. You want to see somebody like that at least come clean and not try to bury the accusations of several -- several people who are victims, really, of -- of what he had done at a younger age.
So I mean, some voters are going to say, "Yes, that happened a long time ago. That doesn't count right now." But again, when you're making voting judgements, yes, you're doing it based on a person's policies, but you're also doing it based on a person's character. And how they handle something that comes up from 40 years ago and their past is also somewhat of a testament to their character.
And again, in this day and age right now, I mean, if we were having this conversation maybe 20 years ago, you'd say, "Oh, well, you know, that's just a different place and time," because we were not in the middle of this firestorm of a discussion, nationally, about sexual assault, about taking the women who come forward, these accusations, credibly. I mean, there's a very important paragraph in that "Washington Post" story that almost pre-refutes what the rebuttal has been from the Roy Moore campaign, which is that "these women are Republicans. We found them. They did not come to us. This is not standard opposition research."
So that's important to take into account. And more people, I think, probably are, because of the context in which it's happening at this time.
CUOMO: It's a dangerous play for Bannon. Bannon is out there saying that this is just dirty politics. It's one thing to say he was dating women of an age of consent. Sixteen is the legal age of consent.
CUOMO: So 18 in Alabama. Eighteen, OK. Then that's, you know, how do I feel about it kind of question.
CAMEROTA: Right, that's different.
CUOMO: But 14.
CUOMO: And touching a 14-year-old is very different. That's not a political attack. It's a potential criminal allegation.
CAMEROTA: Karoun Demirjian, David Drucker, John Hammontree, thank you very much.
So this headline is another distraction of the president's overseas trip. The White House says now that there will be no formal meeting with President Trump and Vladimir Putin.
However, they might see each other on the sidelines, have some sort of informal interaction. So we're trying to get to the bottom of what is happening? Next.
[06:22:05] CUOMO: So are Trump and Putin going to meet or not? There are all these conflicting signals now. It's now called the possible meeting between the president of the United States and the Russian president. The two are attend the Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam. But it's unclear if there's going to be some kind of face-to-face. And the question is why? Why is this still uncertain? It had been seen as a certainty up until about 15 hours ago.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny live at the conference in Vietnam with more. What's your take?
ZELENY: Good morning, Chris.
Well, the White House says it's off. The Kremlin says it's on. But it's this uncertainty over this face-to-face meeting that is actually shining an even brighter light on that Russian controversy that's still hanging over this White House.
ZELENY (voice-over): A highly-anticipated encounter between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, under negotiation for days, is awash in confusion this morning. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders telling reporters a scheduling conflict will prevent a formal meeting, although the two leaders could still cross paths.
SANDERS: ... the same place, so are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely, but in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there's not one on the calendar and we don't anticipate that there will be one.
ZELENY (on camera): Just today?
SANDERS: There's not going to be anyone (ph).
ZELENY (voice-over): But a Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, said a meeting would take place one way or another, adding that the White House is making conflicting statements.
The president's 13-day trip to Asia continues to be overshadowed by a series of events at home, including developments in the Russia investigation, which is growing even closer to the Oval Office.
Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, seen here with the president aboard Air Force One, has been interviewed as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe, sources close to the investigation tell CNN. Miller is the highest-ranking aide still working at the White House known to have spoken to investigators.
His role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey was among the topics discussed as part of the inquiry into possible obstruction of justice, a source told CNN.
The president's long-time confidant, who delivered the letter of Comey's dismissal to FBI headquarters, Keith Schiller, also wrapped up in the investigation.
Schiller testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee this week that he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to Trump's hotel room during his 2013 visit to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant. Schiller told House members he took the offer as a joke, sources told CNN. And Mr. Trump, then a private citizen, laughed it off.
The president remaining focused on a series of priorities here in Danang, amplifying his call to confront North Korea's nuclear ambitions. And again, pledging that his administration would do what his predecessors did not and close the trade imbalance with countries like China.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.
ZELENY: So with all these distractions, it may be a perfect time for the president to be out of town, focused on the matters at hand here.
[06:25:03] But about that meeting between President Putin and President Trump, the two leaders are going to be at least near each other at a dinner that's happening in a short period of time here this evening in Danang.
The White House is trying to lower expectations for anything big to come out of this meeting. But I can tell you, Chris and Alisyn, this conference is in a pretty small location. Only a couple dozen country leaders here. No doubt they're going to run into each other. The question is, will there be a formal sit-down meeting? The White House says no -- Chris and Alisyn.
CUOMO: The Kremlin says yes. Welcome to reality. All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
Let's bring back Karoun and let's bring in counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd.
We have some very big headlines right now. We have these developments in the Russia investigation. We have the development that they interviewed the White House aide, Stephen Miller, about the Comey firing.
CAMEROTA: Like senior policy advisor.
CUOMO: So that is all being reported out. Let's figure out its significance. Phil Mudd, talking to Stephen Miller, what does that mean to you? What does it indicate?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: You've got to understand the timing of this. The timing is critical. He's got to know about critical issues in the investigation, including the circumstances surrounding the Comey firing.
But here's why I raise the issue of timing. Just a couple of weeks ago we have the Mueller team indicting a few people, including Papadopoulos, for lying to federal -- federal agents. When you're going into this meeting as Steve Miller, you've got a couple of questions to ask. No. 1, "How much does the Mueller team know about what I know?" And second, most significantly, "If I make a mistake, if I lie, the Mueller team has now proven that they will bring what's called a 1001 charge." That is lying to a federal officer.
When you look at the initial Mueller charges, Chris, look at the timing. They come right before the conversations with senior White House officials. What does that tell me? The message to those White House officials is "If you think this is a joke, if you think you can shuck and jive around critical questions about what you knew, if you lie, we'll give you a federal charge that will last with you throughout your entire life." A pretty serious conversation at the White House.
CUOMO: One quick point on this, the president keeps saying, "I'm not under investigation. It's not about me. It's not about me." Phil, what's your take on, if they're talking to Stephen Miller about the firing of Comey, unless it's just idol curiosity, isn't that proof that they are investigating the circumstances surrounding Comey's dismissal? Ergo, they are investigating that situation...
CAMEROTA: Obstruction of justice, right? CUOMO: ... which means the president is under investigation, by
extension of his role in that?
MUDD: Why the heck would anybody care what the White House says about who's under investigation? They don't run the investigation. The way this game works is you follow the facts where they go.
Clearly, the Mueller team has not picked up every fact they can in the investigation. They still have interviews under way. So as the White House says, "We're not under investigation," someone like me looks at this and says, look, if the Mueller team finds out something in a future interview that -- that implicates somebody in the White House, they're going to drop a federal charge on him. So I'd ignore what the White House says and watch the investigation instead.
CAMEROTA: So Karoun, Miller, Stephen Miller is the highest adviser to the president that we know of to have been interviewed by Mueller. Miller and Mueller are very similar, by the way. But here's -- here's who else we know at the moment. Stephen Miller, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Keith Kellogg. So I mean, what do you glean from that roster?
DEMIRJIAN: I mean, it shows that Mueller is moving closer and closer towards Trump's inner circle. And this makes sense. This is how investigations go. You talk to people at the periphery first, you build up your case. You move in.
Mueller started also with allegations that he already had, basically he inherited about Manafort's -- Manafort's financial issues and started with that, as well.
But basically, it's moving from the outer circle into the center. And it's doing so very deliberately. The fact that you're talking to Stephen Miller, who's been quite influential through all -- about policy planning, about all -- strategizing of the Trump team through many months, not just of the pre-presidential term, but he's still there. Means that he's got the continuity.
When you talk to people like Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, I mean, they don't necessarily still have the same allegiances to the White House as Stephen Miller would right now. But Stephen Miller has to think, if Mueller is talking to a whole bunch of other people, how loyal is he going to be?
DEMIRJIAN: Because everybody has to worry about both that but themselves, as well. Especially because Mueller is showing that he's not going to be pulling punches at all in this investigation when he has something.
CUOMO: And just to be clear, being interviewed by the FBI is not proof of wrongdoing. But it is proof of what and who is being investigated. And that's why it's relevant absolutely, regardless of what comes out in the interviews.
Now, something that could be proof of wrongdoing is what's being reported this morning in "The Wall Street Journal" and has been reported in part previously by CNN.