Return to Transcripts main page


"Washington Post" Publishes Article Detailing Accusations of Sexual Misconduct against Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore; Roy Moore Speaks at Veterans Day Event; Roy Moore Denies Charges of Sexual Misconduct; Documentary Details U.S. Medics' Struggles in War against ISIS; Quarterback Matt Ryan Discusses Aftermath of Super Bowl Loss. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 11, 2017 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. We're so grateful to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. CNN Newsroom begins right now.

And we are starting with breaking news. Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore has just arrived at a Veterans Day program in Birmingham. Let me pause for a moment. Can you hear this? Chants of "No Moore" from protestors there. This is his first public appearance after allegations that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl. The Alabama Republican was greeted by those protesters, also signs reading, you see them here, "GOP, grabby old pervert," and many others here.

CNN's Martin Savidge has been closely following this story. He is joining us by phone. He's there in Alabama. Martin, there was some supporters there surrounding the candidate as he walked in, but also plenty of protesters outside this library where this event is happening today.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Right. We should point out this was a previously planned event. It is scheduled around Veterans Day and it was put together by the Mid Alabama Republican Club. Interesting because, of course, it shows you despite maybe nationally the Republican Party is trying to distance itself from Moore when it comes to the state of Alabama and other organizations, they are clearly very tied to this candidate.

Also should be pointed out that Roy Moore is, himself, a Vietnam veteran, so there is a duality to this. It's not just the fact he's been invited and he's a candidate, but the date is important, as well. But the protest, that's what is striking. He's there. There's handshakes and smiles, questions from reporters, but the protests that you heard there, "no Moore," and signs that were held is in indication that these are likely to dog him now for some time. And even though the candidate may think he has spoken out and hopes that he put this to rest, it's clear for his campaign it's going to be an issue all the way up to Election Day, which is, of course, next month. PAUL: Do we have any idea, Martin, what the judge is going to say?

SAVIDGE: No. I mean, he usually sticks to his carefully prepared remarks, and again, given the occasion and his background, it's expected he is going to talk about his firm belief in his faith, his campaign, and also the fact that he is a veteran and saluting to all of those.

He tends to, you know, have a very set pattern and very set way that he speaks. It's when he wanders away from that that his message gets unclear. You saw some of this yesterday in his defense that he gave on conservative talk radio. He started off very strong in his denial and saying that he had done nothing inappropriate and said he did not even know the woman who was the most serious accuser. But then as the questioning went on and he gets away from the more scripted dialogue, then the conversation waivers some and he doesn't sound quite as sure.

But I would expect it's going to be a pretty carefully controlled environment for him today. Meanwhile, there is a statewide door knock campaign also with the Alabama Republican Party who haven't come out and said anything regarding this whole circumstance. They continue to support the candidate. They continue to go out and campaign on his behalf.

BLACKWELL: All right, Martin Savidge covering this story in Alabama. Martin, thank you very much.

We are going to go -- we've Rebecca Berg with us? We're going to Rebecca now? All right, Rebecca Berg is with us, CNN political analyst, with Real Clear Politics, as well. Rebecca, let's start with what this means for the people of Alabama and then expand this out. We've heard through Martin's reporting there are plenty of people who supported Judge Moore's candidacy for the Senate before these allegations from "The Washington Post," he has denied them, and continue to support him. He still is a plausible choice. There's a good chance he'll win.

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Not only is he the Republican candidate on the ballot, and it's a very complicated process to run as a write-in candidate if Republicans nationally were looking for an alternative to Roy Moore, but he ran in the special election in the Republican primary and now as a sort of anti- establishment candidate who wanted to buck the national Republican Party, buck the party's power brokers, and run against their best wishes.

You all know, having followed this race, that Mitch McConnell and the super PAC supporting him spent millions of dollars trying to prevent Roy Moore from being the Republican candidate in this race because even before these allegations he had past controversial remarks that were problematic, obviously lost his job as a judge because of decisions he made in that role. So he was -- Republicans believed he was going to be a flawed candidate from the beginning, and so because he ran as this sort of antiestablishment, anti-Mitch McConnell candidate, for many Republicans they feel that he's being attacked here and just bucking those national Republicans by staying in the race.

[10:05:12] PAUL: So, Rebecca, we have Daniel Dale, a Washington correspondent for "The Toronto Star," who says he reached out to a lot of the county GOP chairmen in Alabama. I want to read just a couple of things that he says they told him, and he tweeted this out. "Covington County GOP chairman William Blocker tells me he'd consider voting Moore even if hard proof of sexual abuse emerged, saying, quote, "There is no option to support Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee. When you do that you're supporting the entire Democratic Party."

There was also an Alabama Geneva County GOP chairman, again, this is from Daniel Dale, chairman Riley Seibenhener who Dale says he called me back, says he doesn't believe the allegations are true, but if they are true, he won't support him. But at the same time it's not, quote, "forcible rape." Quote, "I know that 14 year olds don't make good decisions," he adds.

With that, and you're listening to particularly William Blocker saying that he will vote for anybody other than a Democrat. What does this tell you about where the Republican Party is right now when you've got people like this in Alabama who are staunch supporters of this man, and yet we have people like John McCain and other senators on Capitol Hill who are saying this guy's got to step down?

BERG: Well, it shows at the grassroots level just how polarized not only Republicans are, but I think you could say the same about many Democrats, as well. You just have this intense political polarization in the United States right now where lifelong Republicans or lifelong Democrats cannot even contemplate supporting someone of the other party even when you have a candidate like Roy Moore who's now being accused of sexual assault or sexual relations with a young woman. So it's pretty astounding.

What it says about the Republican Party nationally is, you know, somewhat refreshing, I would say, that you still have these lawmakers who do not care so much about the Republican Party name as they do some values and morals. And so you have people like John McCain who are saying there are certain things that are more important than the party. In this case, finding a candidate who lives up to the values and morals he at least believes you should see in a United States senator.

So I think most people would find that refreshing, but certainly really interesting statements that we're getting from Republicans in Alabama that feel, especially because Roy Moore has run as a Christian conservative, as someone who cares about Christian values, and now you have this report, which would seem to contradict in many ways what he is running on in terms of those Christian evangelical values, but some people not bothered by that, clearly.

BLACKWELL: You bring up those Christian conservative values, which were very attractive to a group of 50 pastors who during the primary endorsed Judge Moore. We had one of those pastors on. His name is Mike Allison from Madison, Alabama. He was on this morning, and here's what he said about the timing of these allegations just a couple of weeks before the general election.


BLACKWELL: Let me ask you, pastor, what more are you waiting for? There were these four women who put their names on the record. They spoke with "The Washington Post," says it spoke with dozens of others to corroborate the allegations. They went back to make sure that this woman who was 14 at the time was actually in that courthouse in February of 1979, as she said she was. What more would you like to see?

PASTOR MIKE ALLISON, HAS KNOWN ROY MOORE FOR 20 PLUS YEARS: I'd like to hear from his lips, and until then all it is an allegation. I'm not finding him guilty. I'm surprised everybody else is ready to rush to judgment. The fact that he was in the courthouse that day?

BLACKWELL: Unless Judge Moore himself says he did it, you're going to believe that he didn't, is that the threshold for you?

ALLISON: Either that or he's found guilty of it.


BERG: So there has been, from my understanding, the statute of limitations for this has expired, so being found guilty, there are no charges filed. This has been almost 40 years now.

But I want to get to, Rebecca, the problem for the leadership of the Republican Party, because it's almost a catch-22. They can't ignore this and simply say he doesn't belong in the Senate and leave the statements where they are, right, because the country will continue, or at least some, their opposition will continue to press them on Judge Moore. But they can't go after him too aggressively, I'd imagine, because Moore, when I was in Alabama covering the race, he had a good line that he'd take to the voters where he said I would repeal Obamacare and replace Mitch McConnell. And if Mitch McConnell becomes a direct adversary, that would only embolden Judge Moore and guarantee almost he'd be -- he'd win this election in December.

[10:10:10] BERG: You're absolutely right. I mean, we saw what happened in the Republican primary in this race, which is that Mitch McConnell and his allies spent millions of dollars trying to boost Luther Strange over Moore and take down Moore, and instead of helping Luther Strange, ultimately it hurt his candidacy for that very reason, because Alabama Republican voters decided they didn't want Washington Republicans telling them who to vote for, and so they backed Moore, who was bucking the establishment in their minds and running as this anti-Mitch McConnell, anti-Washington candidate.

So this really is a problem for Republicans. I mean, they want to keep control of this seat. They want to keep this seat in Republican hands, but at the same time they feel, and we've seen this in many statements that have come out over the past few days, there are many Republicans here in Washington and across the country that feel that it just wouldn't be right to seat Roy Moore as a Republican senator. So many statements coming out, obviously, rescinding their support or

rebuking him, saying he should drop out of the race. But the fact of the matter is as of right now there's no sign that Roy Moore will drop out of the race. He's still, as you said, has a very good chance of winning this race, especially because it is a special election and the electorate is so unpredictable in a race like that. So it's a very good chance that some of these Republicans will be working with him come next Congress.

PAUL: And, Rebecca, is there any indication, any idea as to what Senate will look like if Roy Moore, if he wins? How do they move forward? How do they work together? How do they pass legislation?

BERG: That's a really great question. You've already had all of these Republicans come out and say that they don't support him, that this is a disqualifying allegation. If it's true, and even Republicans who say that they don't care about his defense, that they believe these accusers, it would be an awkward situation to say the least. He wouldn't -- he would come into this Congress not feeling as though he owes Republicans anything. He would probably be very difficult to corral on many votes as a result and to get to work with the Republicans in the direction that they want to go. He would be a very unpredictable presence.

PAUL: I'm sorry, we want to listen to Roy Moore here as he's getting ready to speak.

ROY MOORE, (R) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Shift these little things here around just a little bit. Somebody left some sunglasses. OK. Well, welcome. OK, so that you can hear me. If you can't hear me, just raise your hand.

I want to thank Bill Armistead, who has been a great campaign chairman. This has been a very rough race from the very beginning. We fought everybody from Washington to across the country. We were having to fight for this position. And Bill is an excellent fighter, excellent campaign chairman. Also have Harold Sachs here, who is the chief of staff of the Republican Party. I want to recognize him. And Paul Reynolds and Vicki Drummond from the National Committee, raise your hand. OK. There you go. Nice to have you all.

Starting to recognize people in such a crowd is very difficult because you always forget people. But I want to recognize one fella here, right here, Russell, stand up, please. Russell served with me in the 198th M.P. company battalion in Vietnam in Da Nang, and he has been a good friend. He happens to be in Birmingham. It's not often you see a fella that you served with in Vietnam. I see other Vietnam veterans here. Welcome. And probably -- let's see, we got any World War II veterans?


MOORE: You all stand up. Stand up. Give these guys a hand.


MOORE: How about Korea? Anybody from Korean War?


MOORE: Now Vietnam.


MOORE: How about Afghanistan and Iraq? Right back here.


[10:15:00] MOORE: I want to thank Paul DeMarco, who is a great representative and still serving for his chairmanship for this party, and Joe Fuller, who introduced some things earlier. And go back to my wife. She is pretty, and I appreciate that. You know, she -- sometimes we get older, ladies sometimes put these masks on, you know, at night, and you wonder how they stay so pretty, but they put the mask on and it's a good thing, I guess.

But the story goes, one little girl came through her mother's bedroom and she was putting the mask on, and she said, grandma, what are you doing? She says I'm making myself beautiful, honey. And so the little girl went on, and came back a little bit later and the grandmother was washing the makeup off, the mask off. And she said what are you doing now, grandma? She said, well, I'm taking off. The little girl said, did you give up?


MOORE: You know, I think that's an interesting little story to recognize where we are in this country. Are we going to give up on our country? Now, these men that you've recognized here, they didn't give up. They knew a country a while back that was far different than the country we live in today.

The thing I see in this country today is maybe we don't appreciate our country enough. Maybe we don't appreciate our constitution, form of government, enough. Maybe it's because we don't understand it. On this Veterans Day, it's a special day. It's a special day that we recognize those who served in all the armed forces, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, but we also want to recognize the people that serve here, the police, the firemen, and people that serve our communities.

I'm proud of my service in Vietnam. I'm proud to serve people like Russell Pageant, did such a great job there. And they did their job. Nobody wanted to go. People don't want to go to Vietnam. They don't want to go to Korea, Vietnam War. It's just not a comfortable position to be in. You leave your home, your family, and never know whether you will return. Some of us, some of my classmates from West Point, didn't return.

I'm proud to have my father who has served in World War II. He's been gone for many years now, but he served in World War II, and now two of my sons are in the military. One is serving in the Army Reserve here in Birmingham. He goes to his meetings and travels and other things. And the other is serving with the United States military academy in his second year. So he's got a military career ahead of him.

From Valley Forge to Yorktown, from Shiloh to Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor to Normandy, from the cold, barren hills of North Korea to the jungles of Vietnam and the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan, we've got veterans all over this country that have served their country. Therefore, when we say the pledge of allegiance, when we say --

BLACKWELL: All right, so you've been watching a Veterans Day event there in Birmingham, Alabama. This is Judge Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for the open Senate seat there. Of course, this comes as he is denying accusations that he sexually abused a 14-year-old girl back in 1979 and pursued other teenaged girls, as well. Ahe age of consent there is 16, was then, is now, deciding not to talk about it at this event today.

PAUL: As far as we can tell. We have to take a quick break. We're going to continue to monitor this as there are protesters outside this hall, and a lot of people look like standing room only almost inside of the hall waiting to hear from him. We'll continue to monitor this. We're going to be back with you in just a moment. Stay close.


[10:23:33] BLACKWELL: All right, the breaking news you're seeing on your screen right now, this live out of Birmingham, Alabama. GOP nominee for the open Senate seat there in Alabama, Roy Moore speaking at a Veterans Day program, first public appearance after allegations that he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl. He has denied those allegations, but Moore was greeted by protesters shouting "No Moore." We'll continue to monitor that, though so far he has not mentioned the allegations.

Let's bring in our panel. A. Scott Bolden, the National Bar Association's chair of the Political Action Committee, and Jack Kingston, CNN political commentator, former congressman from Georgia and former senior adviser to the Trump campaign. Gentlemen, good morning.


BLACKWELL: Jack, let me start with you, and I want you to listen to Adam Kinzinger, Republican member of Congress from Illinois, on what should happen next regarding Roy Moore.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R) ILLINOIS: I think Roy Moore needs to step aside now. These allegations are disgusting and I believe them against him, and there's no way to defend this. And secondly, I think the Senate should refuse to seat him or, in fact, expel him if he is the senator from Alabama.


BLACKWELL: Two-part question here. The likelihood of one of those happening, I know you don't believe that he's going to step aside, but also would that not be politically advantageous for the president and for the party?

JACK KINGSTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think if the party wants to split the baby in half, what they may say is vote for Moore and then you could have him not seated and have the Republican governor of Alabama replace him, and that would be a way to get there, but I think it would be very awkward and hard to follow.

[10:25:11] But I think the better route would be for Moore to answer the allegations and explain why they are not true and do this in the presence of his wife and family and do this drawing on the 40 years of good will he has created as a public servant in Alabama. I think if he's unable to do that, then the Democrats are going to have a good victory down in Alabama.

But I want to point out, at this point there are more Republicans who have denounced Roy Moore like AdaM Kinzinger, than we have heard from Democrats denouncing Robert Menendez. It's funny that the Democrats are saying Menendez has to go through a trial period and let's find out --

BLACKWELL: I got to keep you on task, Jack.

KINGSTON: I just wanted my friend A. Scott Bolden to speak about that.


BLACKWELL: He does better pivots than figure skaters. Scott, let me get back on focus here, because he mentioned that potentially Democrats could have a big win there, but Democrats have to be careful here because if they start flooding in money and start flooding in big names from the party, that's going to damage any chance that Doug Jones has of winning this race.

BOLDEN: Well, maybe, maybe not. You know, when the other side is sliding through the hole, don't get in their way and don't try to save them. That's one theory. The other theory is, if he starts polling really well in the next week, then you may have to dump some money in that race. It's all about what's winnable and what isn't winnable. They don't want to do anything to hurt Doug Jones.

But we've got to see what happens in the next week or two. If other women come out as detailed as "The Washington Post" report was, who have just as many details over the course of the -- over the course of time, then I think Jack is right. Oh, God, did I just agree with him?

BLACKWELL: Yes, you did.

KINGSTON: I heard it.

BOLDEN: I think he's right that Moore is going to have to do more, forgive the pun, than just come out and deny it, because what makes this a legitimate story and gives pause and concern to the Republicans is that lies have no details, and this woman and these women have a lot of details that corroborate what the allegations are. So he's going to have to do something more than that.

BLACKWELL: "The Washington Post" actually spoke with dozens of people in addition to the four women who say that he made advances toward them when they were teenagers.

Jack, let me come back to you and the question of, you know, there have been these members of congress, there have been people in the state who say if this is true then he should step aside. What fulfills that if? What confirms this? There are not going to be any cell phone recordings because it was 1979. There's no trial, there's no testimony. What gets people to believe it, if not the reporting thus far from "The Washington Post"?

KINGSTON: Victor, I can't answer that question, but I do think that the voters are going to have to decide for themselves who's more credible. And I think that if Judge Moore can kind of hold his own in the moral debate of it and then shift it to politics and say, well, this is the Washington establishment, these are the people who are against me in the primary, these are the people you and I have been fighting against for my 40 years in public office, and I'm out there to take on these people but they don't want me because they know I'm going to vote to repeal and replace, I'm going to vote for a middle class tax cut, and I'm not going to impeach President Trump the way Senator Jones would. He's not going to stop that. That's a big agenda right there.

BOLDEN: Here's the problem --

BLACKWELL: Hold on, I want to play a segment from a radio show, and this is an exchange between the host and Judge Moore.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: At that time in your life, let me ask you this, you do remember these girls. Would it be unusual for you as a 32-year-old guy to have dated a woman as young as 17? That would be a, what, 15-year difference, or a girl 18? Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?

ROY MOORE, (R) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Not generally, no. If I did, you know, I'm not going to dispute anything, but I don't remember anything like that.

HARLOW: But you don't specifically remember having any girlfriend in her late teens even at that time?

MOORE: I don't remember that, and I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother. And I think in her statement she said that her mother actually encouraged her to go out with me.


BLACKWELL: Scott, when asked if he dated teenagers in his 30s, he said, "not generally, no. I'm not going to dispute it." BOLDEN: Yes, you know, Victor, as a former sex crimes prosecutor, let

me say this -- this is about moral character. And he doesn't deny dating them. He admits what he cannot deny and denies what he cannot admit.

[10:30:02] He denies the sexual touching of the 14 year old, but he admits or at least does not deny that he may have dated young women. And this concept that their mothers or fathers gave him permission borders on the nonsensical. We know the statistics show us those who are molested are often molested by friends of the family or relatives or even family members, if you will. So that simply makes no sense.

KINGSTON: Scott, one of the women actually said that her own mother told her she was lucky to date him.

BLACKWELL: I got to wrap it here. I know you have to have the conversation. What's the gray area there, Jack? You simply can't just answer that with one word?

KINGSTON: No, he has got to deny it and he has show something like, you know, this happened on a Monday.

BOLDEN: Even if it's true? Even if it's true?

KINGSTON: No, if it's true he should do the honorable thing and back out. But what I'm saying he's got to no very firmly.

BLACKWELL: Jack Kingston, Scott Bolden, thank you very much. We got to end it there.

BOLDEN: Thanks, Victor.

KINGSTON: Thanks, Victor.

PAUL: Thank you, gentlemen.

President Trump says Russia's president says that they did not meddle in U.S. elections and he believes him. But President Putin's aide says this conversation never happened. What's going on here? We have details ahead.


[10:35:17] PAUL: Well, Alabama's Roy Moore at a Veterans Day event right now, and just moments ago addressed the allegations that have come up against him in the last several days. Let's listen.

ROY MOORE, (R) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Shortly after becoming the Republican nominee to the United States Senate, "The Washington Post" began an attack on the foundation for our moral law on my wife and on me. For weeks we read about my salary, which they distorted, about taxes, which they said should have been paid on money we never got, but we endured that.

Later they came about and openly endorsed my opponent in this race. Just two days ago "The Washington Post" established, or published, rather, yet another attack on my character and reputation in a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate. These attacks involve a minor and they are completely false and untrue about something that happened nearly 40 years ago.

But more than being completely false and untrue, they are very hurtful to me personally. I've been married to my wife, Kayla, for nearly 33 years. We have four children. I have one daughter and I have five granddaughters. I have the highest regard for the protection of young children. When I returned to Gadsden 40 years ago after military service I went to work in the office of the district attorney. As a student of the law, I have served in public office on and off for the last 40 years.

To be attacked for allegations of sexual misconduct contradicts my entire career in law. I want to make it clear to the media present and to people present, I have not provided alcohol beverages -- alcoholic beverages, beer or anything else, to a minor. I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone. These allegations came only four and a half weeks before the general election on December 12th. Why now? For 40 years I have been closely scrutinized in the press and the public media. I've had investigations by the attorney general. I've had investigation by the judicial inquiry commission on more than one occasion. I've had investigations by the court of the judiciary. I've been in five statewide campaigns in which they do opposition research. They do investigations, as you can see in every one I've ever run, three county elections, and two major controversies over religious liberty and the Ten Commandments and same-sex marriage.

I've been investigated more than any other person in this country. To think that grown women would wait 40 years to come before, right before the election to bring charges is absolutely unbelievable.


MOORE: Why now? The Democrats and the Republican establishment know the importance of this election. In fact, most people in America know the importance of this election. They see it as a prelude of the elections coming in 2018. It may very well determine the future of our country.

My opponent is 11 points behind. That came out just days before this article came out. They are desperate. This article is a prime example of fake news, an attempt to divert attention from the true issues which affect our country, like health care, military readiness, tax reform, immigration, and national debt. We do not intend to let the Democrats or the establishment Republicans or anybody else behind this story stop this campaign. There are investigations going on. In the next few days there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article. They will be brought to the public.

[10:40:04] We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade and to vote in the primary coming up. As Mr. Armistead said, we do not engage in negative campaigning. We haven't, and I've been blistered in articles from last two to three months on television, and it will continue. I do not expect "The Washington Post" to stop. I think they have a political agenda, and I think they are running that agenda and everybody in this room, every person watching on these cameras should ask themselves, isn't it strange that after 40 years of constant investigation people have waited to four weeks prior to the general election to bring their complaints? That's not a coincidence. It's an intentional act to stop the campaign.

May God bless you, bless the state of Alabama, and the United States of America. Thank you.


BLACKWELL: All right, you've been listening to Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for a Senate seat there from Alabama. Of course, this comes as he is denying allegations of sexual abuse of a 14-year- old girl back in 1979 and making advances on other teenaged girls, as well. We've got our Alex Marquardt up for us. And Alex, the applause line there, as soon as -- OK, we've got Alex ready. The applause line there was for these women to wait 40 years just before an election to bring these charges is absolutely unbelievable. It got cheers and applause from the room there.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This was a full-throated rejection of these charges, and this is a refrain that we've been hearing from the Moore campaign and from his supporters over the last few days. Why now? Why are these allegations only coming forward now in these final weeks of the campaign, why are they only coming to light 40 years after the fact?

Moore, clearly after listening to these comments, sees a conspiracy, specifically a liberal conspiracy. He accuses "The Washington Post" of having an agenda. He listed at length the accusations that "The Washington Post," he says, has made against him, and he believes that this is just the latest ploy by Democrats and by "The Washington Post," he says, to bring down his campaign in these final few weeks.

He says he has a lead against his Democratic opponent Doug Jones. The Democrats understand the importance of this election and how it could reshape the Senate, and therefore they are launching an all-out assault in the final few weeks against him to tar him, to tarnish him, and launch this sort of smear campaign through these four women.

Just want to read you some of the things that he said. For the first 20 minutes, this was a fairly standard veterans event in which he paid tribute to those who had served in the U.S. military and the various wars overseas. But then he did launch into this defense, and this is something we heard from him through one paper statement, but also again in speaking to Sean Hannity yesterday on the radio, but he said that this is a desperate attack to stop his campaign. He said it's completely false, and he said unequivocally that he is not guilty of any sort of sexual misconduct.

He highlighted his 40-year career in the law, in the public sphere. He said it completely contradicts his career in the law. He said over the past 40 years he has been investigated more than anybody. So this was a full-throated rejection of these accusations, certainly no indication that he's dropping out of this race. And he is certainly forging ahead. PAUL: Alex, also he said in the next few days there will be

revelations in the motivations of the allegations that have come out. It will be interesting to see what comes out in the next few days. But Alex, we appreciate the update so much. Thank you for being with us here.

Now, we want to point out voting is under way for the CNN Hero of the year. We don't want you to miss this. Here's one of the year's top ten heroes, Andrew Manzi.


ANDREW MANZI, CNN HERO: It's an amazing feeling when you can look at another individual out in the water that you don't know tons about, but you know that person's been through some stuff.

How are we doing?

I enlisted in 2003. A few weeks before our invasion of Iraq. People got blown up, people got shot, but no matter what happened the day before, you had to wake up the next day and do your job. I came home, felt like I had no control over myself and I was afraid of myself. And then I started surfing. I started meeting veterans in the water and teaching how to surf.

Let's do it.

[10:45:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have PTSD, but PTSD doesn't have me. I've tried to learn how to redefine and be OK with looking back. Just being lifted up in that wave, it's like finding peace.

MANZI: I'm full of joy when I know their heart's a little bit lighter and they can enjoy this beautiful life.


PAUL: You can vote for Andrew or any of your favorite top ten heroes now at


BLACKWELL: Well, this Veterans Day a new documentary highlights the western medic saving lives on the front line. One photographer spent six months fighting ISIS in Syria and saw firsthand how civilians are getting trapped in the middle of a war.


[10:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isis was created in 2006.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The heartbreaking part of all of this is the civilians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter what you do or how hard you try.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's more civilians arriving. We need to get these kids out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It ain't enough. You can't save them all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. I've never seen nothing this bad.


PAUL: Joining us now, executive producer Ricky Schroder and Director River Rainbow Hagg with us. Thank you both so much for being here. Ricky, tell us why this was important to you.

RICKY SCHRODER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE VOLUNTEERS": Well, to showcase what River and the other four volunteer medics did in Syria, some of them were there for over a year, I thought was important. I think it's important to emotionally connect an audience with the tragedy that's happening over there, instead of just getting small sound bites, but really seeing, feeling, and experiencing it.

BLACKWELL: River, I've seen only the trailer thus far and it's a riveting minute and 45. I can only imagine what the two nights of this presentation will be. First, let me start with the question, why go?

RIVER RAINBOW O'MAHONEY HAGG, DIRECTOR, "THE VOLUNTEERS": In 2014 when I was with Ricky, we discussed, you know, possibly going to Syria. But really it was 2015 was the impetus for me. There was -- ISIS was controlling the narrative coming out of Syria. They were controlling basically all the stories, and, you know, there was a real lack of in-depth storytelling. So, you know, for myself, I felt, you know, compelled to take my camera and go to Syria and try to answer some of the questions that I had, and Ricky was really supportive with that, and that partnership really helped.

PAUL: Let's listen here to one of the parts of the trailer that was really riveting and stood out for me.


HAGG: You caught us, you'd chop our head off. When we catch you, we fix you up.


PAUL: If he had been caught, if you had been caught, River, you would have been beheaded, and yet here you are fixing this guy up, so to speak. River, I want to ask you, do you know what happened to that man, and what was that moment like for you knowing, seeing what you had seen these ISIS fighters do and knowing you had one right there with you?

HAGG: Well, first as a medic we take a creed to do no harm. So for me I didn't see ISIS fighter, I saw an injured person in front of me. You know, I separated his politics and his actions from where he was at that moment. I don't know where they took him or what they did, but I know we stabilized him and we treated him as a human and as a medic.

And that's what America's about, you know, that's what American veterans are about. We serve the world. Not only our country, but we serve the world. And this is my way to serve the world. If somebody comes up to you and they are injured and you hurt them, you are not going to be a very good person.

BLACKWELL: Ricky, this is your I read third war documentary, your second with River?

SCHRODER: That's right.

BLACKWELL: When you saw the footage that he brought back, what went through your mind?

SCHRODER: Goodness, how do I tell the story and share this with the world without offending them, without turning them off, without making it too hard to watch, at the same time giving them enough context and enough of the grisly components of war to really engage them so that they could feel something and, you know, really understand what's going on over there. It's a real tough balancing act how much to show and how much to edit out.

PAUL: And how did you make that decision for yourself? When you watch -- you've seen, obviously, much more footage than we'll see. What struck you most in everything that you saw?

SCHRODER: The things that touched me the most were, obviously, the children. That was the toughest thing to work into the edit was how do you show the children, you know, that are trying to escape from ISIS-controlled towns through minefields, getting blown up with their families, how do you tell that story without exploiting their suffering was really a challenge. And so you just want to show enough without being gratuitous.

BLACKWELL: River, to you, there's a segment in this trailer where you are saying this is the hardest thing I've ever done, you're crying in the car with a cigarette in your hand. What do you hope people understand, not about the plight of the medics, but about the plight of the civilians who are just caught in the middle of this?

HAGG: Well, that's exactly it. They are just caught in the middle. And we're -- I'm involved in mankind, and we're all involved in mankind or humanity. We're all involved in humanity.

And so, you know, the fact that this is happening, this isn't just a number, so we hear all the time 50 civilians or 60 civilians or 13 civilians, or whatever the number is, and this puts a face to it. This puts a face and a humanity to that number.

[10:55:04] And so, you know, I'm really grateful for DirecTV and AT&T for, you know, having the courage to show this type of programming. Oftentimes the media, this stuff is kind of blown over. So I am really appreciative.

PAUL: River, thank you so much for what you do. Ricky, thank you so much for what you do, as well. We're going to be watching AT&T audience network tonight and tomorrow night, "The Volunteers," is where you'll be able to see it. Thank you both, gentlemen.

SCHRODER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: As we leave you today, thank you for watching and a live look here at Arlington National Cemetery, where Vice President Mike Pence will speak at an event later today. We'll bring you that live in the next hour. There's much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom.

PAUL: Stay close.

BLACKWELL: All right, before we go, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has found a way to overcome a heartbreaking loss. Earlier this year in this weeks "Difference Makers," CNN sports anchor Coy Wire finds out how he overcame that defeat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A crushing defeat for Atlanta. New England storms back to win Super Bowl LI in overtime.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I know you had to have some bad thoughts after that collapse in the Super Bowl. What was going through your mind?

MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS QUARTERBACK: It's tough. I mean, in the moment you're just like, man, this is -- I can't believe this is happening. But at some point, you know, you have to move on. If this is the worst thing that happens in my life, I've been pretty fortunate.

WIRE: So we hear you can gain strength through your struggles, but how do you get through that pain?

RYAN: I think you use it. I think there's always going to be a little part of you that hangs on to it.

WIRE: What advice do you have for people out there who are naysayers?

RYAN: Everybody's going to have their two cents. Doesn't matter. For me I focus on the things that are important -- working hard, trusting the people that are around me. When you're surrounded by a great team, the outside noise doesn't matter.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The nation pausing to give thanks to those who have served our country. Live pictures right now at Arlington National Cemetery where Vice President Mike Pence is expected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and speak to those in attendance.