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Roy Moore Fights Back Against Sexual Allegations; Putin Says No Election Interference & Trump Believes Him; Report: Mueller Looked At Flynn Role in Turkish Cleric Plot; Michael Flynn's Lawyers Blast Media for Reporting that he was Offered Half Million Dollars to Deliver Cleric Gulen to Turkey; Sgt. La David Johnson found One Mile from Niger Ambush with Hands Tied; Comedian Louis C.K.'s Apology Questioned; Justin Salas Defies the Odds as a Blind Rock Climber; Vote for Jennifer Maddox for CNN Hero of the Year. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 11, 2017 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:13] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Boris Sanchez, in for Ana Cabrera, in New York this week. We hope you're enjoying your Veteran's Day. And thank you so much for joining us.

We start with Judge Roy Moore, coming out swinging, fiercely denying bombshell allegations that he sought romantic relationships with underaged girls, decades ago.

Here he is arriving at a veteran's event, his first public appearance since the scandal broke. The Alabama candidate for Senate was immediately heckled by protesters. Listen.




SANCHEZ: Moore is refusing to drop out of the special election despite being accused of assaulting 14-year-old Lee Corfman back in 1979 when he was in his 30's.

During today's event, he forcefully denied all the accusations.


ROY MOORE, (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE FOR ALABAMA: 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 alcoholic 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?

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: But the hits keep coming, and more people are coming forward to corroborate some of the stories. The ex-boyfriend of Moore's accuser, Lee Corfman, is also speaking out. And he told CNN that his ex-is a, quote, "Very truly, honest person," and that her allegations are pretty much to a "T" what she told him years ago.

Joining me now from Birmingham is CNN's Alex Marquardt.

Alex, Judge Moore's denying all these accusations. Many Republicans are saying they want the process to play out before they back away from him and his campaign. But what exactly happens next? What is that process?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't really know. For now, we know that Roy Moore is standing firm, and staying very much in this race. The he has rejecting any calls from Washington or otherwise to get out of the race. This event today was a Veteran's Day event and he spent the first part honoring the veterans and thanking service men and women for the service. At the backend, he did address these accusations. And this was a full-throated rejection of all of those allegations. He tried to paint it as a liberal conspiracy theory that was being spearheaded by "The Washington Post." He said it's absolutely unbelievable that these allegations are only coming out now with just a month before the special election and almost 40 years after the fact. Take a listen.

Excuse me. Sorry. I thought we were going to a sound bite there.

But when we are hearing is what you noted in the introduction there. We are hearing from the ex-boyfriend of Lee Corfman. She was the woman who alleged the most serious allegations against him. She said at 14 years she met him at the courthouse. And he twice picked her up from her home and took her back to his house and inappropriately touched her.

She was found by "The Washington Post." Moore supported her, asking why now? Why are they coming forward? Well, the fact is that Corfman and the other women were found by "The Washington Post" and told their story.

CNN has spoken to an ex-boyfriend of Corfman's. They dated between 2009 and 2011 and he says, as you mentioned briefly, that her story is pretty much to a "T" exactly the way she told it to him, and he did indeed call her a very truly honest person.

Now, at the same time, we're also hearing from people who knew Roy Moore from that same era, specifically a woman named Teresa Jones. She was a deputy district attorney when Moore was an assistant district attorney. She tells CNN, "It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls. Everyone we knew thought it was weird. We were wondering why someone his age would hang out at high school games and the mall. But you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that."

As you mention, Boris, the hits keep on coming. How will affect the campaign and supporters, that remains very much to be seen -- Boris? SANCHEZ: Alex Marquardt, in Birmingham, Alabama, thank you.

So with Roy Moore refusing to get out of the race in Alabama, despite a growing chorus of Republicans sharing their views over allegations of sexual misconduct, some calling him to step aside.

Let's discuss with John Archibald, a prominent Alabama opinion columnist with the "Birmingham News."

John, thank you so much for joining us.


[15:05:13] SANCHEZ: First off, what is the impact here on Moore's loyal base of supporters from previous reports, we've heard many of standing by him. Does this galvanize them or do you think this might lesson the enthusiasm of some who support him?

ARCHIBALD: Well, right now, it looks like it's actually galvanized him and motivated them to be more aggressively in favor of Roy Moore. Whether that translates on Election Day to coming out and voting I guess we have a ways to see. But vocally, there's a lot of support and skepticism about the reporting. There's questions of whether it's a conspiracy by Democrats or a conspiracy by the Republican establishment in Washington. But there are a lot of denial.

SANCHEZ: John, I want to point out something that you wrote, because I think it's worth discussing. You write, quote, "These allegations are horrifying regardless of the spin, but we can't know if they are true without a serious investigation, and that may never happen."

It's certainly won't before Election Day. So how do you suggest that Alabama voters then make up their minds about this Senate race if there's likely not going to be any proof before Election Day, possibly even beyond then?

ARCHIBALD: Well, of course, we have four women who have come out and been named, and 30 other sources that confirm this. I mean, anyone who reads the story carefully can see that it is good traditional solid journalism. That was really written in reference to the defenses by people like Alabama auditor, Jim Ziegler, who said essentially it doesn't matter if this is true, we still support him because we would rather support someone who did this than a Democrat. And while we may never know for sure, with 100-degree certainty before the election whether this was true, we can know that defense is somewhat skewed.

SANCHEZ: What does that tell you, the fact that, in theory, they say that they would vote for a child predator over a Democrat?

ARCHIBALD: Right. I don't think it's in theory. I think it's absolute truth that -- we're not talking about everybody in Alabama. We're not talking about every Republican in Alabama. You're talking about these local hard-core Moore supporters who generally believe that even if every word in that is true, he would be better in the U.S. Senate than any Democrat. SANCHEZ: Is there a way for Democrats to play this to their

advantage, to try to capitalize on his troubles or is that making politics out of a tragic situation, if the allegations are true?

ARCHIBALD: Right. It's a very fine line. Of course, the Democrats here in Alabama really are more motivated, at least more visibly motivated to back Doug Jones than really any race I've seen in the last quarter century. This obviously motivates them as well. While people like me have, for weeks, said that interview is something, but Doug Jones really doesn't have a chance to win. It does give him that puncher's chance come december 12 that no one would have seen coming.

SANCHEZ: One last question, John. Moore has suggested there are going to be revelations over the next few days, in his words, "evidence of collusion between the accusers." Have you gotten any idea or hint about what he might be talking about?

ARCHIBALD: I don't, other than there's been a lot going around on social media and elsewhere that people claim that somebody from "The Post" had gone to solicit people to make these charges, and offered to pay them and there was a tape, and et cetera. And the district attorney in the county where Roy Moore was from is supposed to have this tape. Our reporters have gone to that defense attorney, who says, no, no such tape exists. There's a lot of effort in a lot of ways to discredit what has been reported. So far, very little of it has stuck.

SANCHEZ: All right. John Archibald, thank you so much for joining us this Saturday.

Turning oversee seas now, where President Trump is suggesting he is not going to ask again Vladimir Putin if Russia meddled because he has accepted his answer. The two men got the chance to speak a few times during the Asia Pacific summit in Vietnam. The president says Putin denied any involvement in the election and he feels it is insulting to the Russian leader to keep asking. He says the two countries have bigger things to address. In short, he says he is moving on.

The U.S. intelligence communities is not moving on. CNN asked the CIA today if the agency's position on Russia's meddling had changed since a January report that established so. The answer, it has not. Intelligence agencies have concluded that Russians did work to affect the results of the election last year, tilting it toward Donald Trump.

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee criticized the president for taking Putin's word over the findings of his own agencies. Adam Schiff, the California congressman, writes, "Mr. President Trump simply can't bring himself to put America First."

CNN politics reporter, Dan Merica, is in Vietnam today.

Dan, the president's comments seem to be out of step with the CIA and other agencies investigating Russia's involvement in the election, and with Congress too. What's his response?

[15:10:57] DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, Boris. That's exactly right. President Trump is here in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he touched down yesterday night. And he had dinner with the president of Vietnam last night.

It's really his comment earlier in the day around the APEC summit that have wrangled both Democrats and Republicans alike back home. President Trump met with Vladimir Putin three times, brief meetings, but during the APEC summit in the coastal city south of here. And there was one meeting, according to a White House official, around a five-minute meeting. And President Trump told reporters he addressed election meddling with the president, that it was brought up by President Putin, and President Putin denied meddling in the 2016 election.

Let me read to you exactly what the president said. He said, "Every time he sees me," referring to Vladimir Putin, "he says I didn't do that. And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it."

Now, it's not a surprise that President Trump is, you know, taking the question, or questioning whether the intelligence community is correct. He had done that in the past. What is remarkable is the fact he's basically saying he's taking Vladimir Putin's word, a former KGB agent and the Russian president, over his intelligence community. He also said that the former intelligence officials that help put together that finding are political hacks. And as you mentioned, he basically said he's taking his word, and this is a finished conversation between him and the president.

They spoke about it earlier in Germany, when they met earlier this year, and it was a similar reaction. They addressed it, he brought it up twice, and that was that.

But, Boris, as you mentioned, the CIA asked about the president's statements, basically said they stand by the findings in that report -- Boris?

SANCHEZ: We should also point out, the director of the CIA is Mike Pompeo, who was actually appointed by Donald Trump, so he's contradicting people he has appointed.

Dan Merica, reporting from Hanoi, thank you.

Top figures in the American intelligence community, including the director of the CIA, as I just mentioned, have long gone on the record saying they're confident Russia had some involvement in President Trump's election. Watch this.


MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: I am confident that the Russians meddled in this election as is the entire intelligence community.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Is there any dissent on the question of whether the Russians interfered with the American election?

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: There is no dissent and I have stated that publicly.

HOLT: Everybody is on board?

COATS: No doubt at all. I stand behind the intelligence community assessment that we produced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's publicly known and accepted that Russia did try to influence the campaign. To what extent they were successful, I don't think we know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and the Russian government did -- never tried to influence the outcome of the U.S. residential election, and there will be no evidence found.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): Ronald Reagan was debating about taxes and, in addressing the Americans, said watch my lips. He said, no, watch my lips, no.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't win because of Russia. Russia had nothing to do with me winning.


SANCHEZ: I want to introduce our panel, CNN political analyst, April Ryan is here. Also with us Alice Stewart, a CNN political commentator, and CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem.

Ladies, thank you so much for joining us.

April, first to you.

There's no possible way to misinterpret what the director of the CIA and national intelligence and those other officials you saw. They believe the Russians meddled in the election, but the president says he believes Vladimir Putin when he says otherwise, in part because he says he feels that Vladimir Putin means it. Did everyone that we just hear from not mean it -- April?

[15:15:00] APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Everyone that you heard from in the intelligence community definitely meant it. Words matter. And this intelligence community from this country understands the significance, when they say something, it's real. Not only that, I've talked to some intelligence people who have said anything that happens of this magnitude in Russia, Vladimir Putin knows what's going on. So this president wants to believe Vladimir Putin when he says he did not meddle, because it would lead to -- if this were true, it would lead to the fact that he may not have won on his own standing, not only that, there's an investigation. The president just wants to continue to say it's not right. It's just an effort to make -- to smear him. So the intelligence community is not always fool proof, but they have evidence -- they have evidence that this is real.

SANCHEZ: Alice, to you, at one point during his discussion with reporters, the president said the whole thing was set up by Democrats. Why is it so hard for the president to acknowledge what so many others already have accepted as fact? ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He has said from the very

beginning that he has feared that too much focus on Russian interference would minimize his victory. The reality is he won, the he won the electoral college and he is the president of the United States. It would be helpful if he would embrace that idea. There is universal acceptance that Russia interfered. To what degree it interfered with the vote we may never know. It is clear Vladimir Putin doesn't want to admit he's involved. I think the situation the president was in with him today, at a photo op in the summit, it wasn't the right place for him to really push and push and push on this issue. I think it was right that he did ask him if he meddled in the election. I think he clearly asked him a few times and Vladimir Putin denied it repeatedly. I think the problem is when he says that he believes what Vladimir Putin said e maybe he didn't directly do it or directly oversee it. But clearly, we all know they did. I think a bigger takeaway from the little conversation he did have with Putin was that they did make some headway and move the ball down the field with regard to ISIS, specifically, in Syria, and at the president said he got Russia to pull out of Syria. So I think we all knew what was going to happen with Russia, we wouldn't get any further on that but the fact that he did make progress with regard to defeating is, that is the big takeaway from the conversation.

SANCHEZ: Juliette, a couple of questions for you. Initially, what was your reaction to seeing the president say this today?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, just how really disruptive it is. I know Alex was talking about it. I don't think the Russians agreed to any changes on this policy. I think Trump gets very weak when he's confronted directly. You can go back to his approach to Mexico. While he doesn't actually demand anything of the Chinese and Russians, but I think it's actually more dangerous in this regard. We're talking about our democracy. If you wanted to be worried about 2018 and 2020, today was the day to be worried. Because what President Trump said was he essentially enabled or empowered Russia to continue what they're doing. So here you have the intelligence agencies, law enforcement, state and local voting apparatus, trying to protect democracy. This is democracy. And you have a president essentially enabling Russia by excusing them and throwing our intelligence agencies under the bus. So I am not benign about what Donald Trump did today. I think it was incredibly disruptive for our democratic norms, not just in the past, but in the future. That was a welcome mat. And all I can say is hold on because who knows what Russia has in store in 2018 and 2020.

SANCHEZ: President Trump also called out the former head of the CIA, John Brennan, the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, saying they're political hacks, and insinuating he would rather trust Vladimir Putin than them.

Juliette, how do you think current members of the intelligence community see that?

KAYYEM: I know how they see it. First of all, let's remind everyone that Brennan, Clapper and Comey have either worked for Democrats and Republicans, or Republican the only. So, the idea that -- until he was appointed by Obama. The idea these are political hacks, these are men and leaders in their field whose political identity in this world of extreme partisanship, their political identity was not how anyone would have ever defined them.

So clearly, one of the reasons why Pompeo, the CIA director, came out quickly today is they are afraid of losing their troops. That every president needs support from the law enforcement, military to support American interests. I think Pompeo coming out that strongly, Pompeo being a Trump supporter early on, the president is losing our safety and security. Essentially losing the base in terms of national security. That's very, very scary for all of us, because no one ever has viewed any of these people as partisan. They're pro-America. And Trump sees that as partisan, that's a shame.

[15:20:50] SANCHEZ: April I want to make sure I get the numbers right. Earlier this summer, Congress voted overwhelmingly in almost a surprisingly bipartisan fashion to enact sanctions against Russia. The House, 419 to three, the Senate, 98 to two. Many of those Republicans. Don't Republicans have to respond to these claims that the president is making if it contradicts what they believe about Russia and meddling in the election last year?

RYAN: And this is just indicative of what's happening. The president is snubbing his nose at the nation, this country's intelligence agency. Basically, snubbing his nose at his own Republican Party. This is one of the reasons why there is infighting with -- within this party, and the fact that some people have come out, yes, the ones who are hearing mostly from the ones who are leaving, from leaving on the Hill, talking about the president. But there is a grumbling going on about what this president is doing. It does not bode well for these leaders who have, in his own party, who have basically said Russia is a problem. We have to sanction them. We have to really take a strong stand because they have imped upon our democracy. And for the president of the United States to basically say, to snub his nose at them, there is a problem. And we're going to continue to see this play out as it relates to Russia, and his own party on the Hill. And all that's happening as relates to Russia.

SANCHEZ: Alice, very quickly to you, do you agree with April that the president is thumbing his nose at his own party?

STEWART: I think the fact we have such universal consensus that Russia has interfered we need to take some kind of action and sanctions have been approved by Congress, I do think they need to be executed by the president. He needs to impose those sanctions on Russia in order for them to get the message that would be the best way for Vladimir Putin to understand that we do mean business. But clearly, one of the things the president continued to stress when talking to reporters, it's in our best interest if we get along. Right now, I think he's doing the best he can to try to make that happen. Hopefully, at some point, we get along and make progress, or realizes that's not going to happen and flexes his muscle. Right now, that summit was an opportunity to work on building relationships and flexing muscles, hopefully, will come, if that's need.

SANCHEZ: We will have to end it there. April Ryan, Alice Stewart, Juliette Kayyem, thank you for joining us.


SANCHEZ: Coming up, a new report says the former national security advisor and his son hatched a plot to force a Muslim cleric in Pennsylvania out of the country on behalf of Turkey. It's a remarkable story. And the journalist who helped break it is with us, next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:27:57] SANCHEZ: He's already secured two indictments and one guilty plea, but Special Counsel Robert Mueller is showing no signs of slowing down. He's moving in on the White House and closer to President Trump's inner circle.

We've learned investigators have interviewed Steven Miller, making him the top Trump aide still working in the White House to be questioned so far. According to a source familiar with the investigation, the special council asked him his role in the firing of James Comey. Miller is said to have helped President Trump draft a letter explaining why he was firing the now former FBI director. White House counsel refused to let the president send the letter, saying it would be to problematic. We're also learning he wanted to know about this Trump campaign meet held last March. You see in the middle of the picture George Papadopoulos, apparently pitched setting up a meeting there between then Candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Steven Miller was at this meeting. Along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He's on the lower left. This is still just a piece of what Robert Mueller is looking into.

The "Wall Street Journal" reports the special counsel is also investigating former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. According to "The Journal," the Flynn's were offered as much as $15 million to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric from the United States and deliver him to Turkey. This plot was allegedly discussed during the presidential transition at the 21 Club in New York. Flynn's attorneys deny these allegation allegations.

We're joined now by journalist James Grimaldi, who helped break the story for the "Wall Street Journal."

James, thanks so much for joining us.

You revealed you'd before working on the story for several weeks maybe several months, if I remember correctly. What was it that finally led you to publishing this report?

JAMES GRIMALDI, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, you want to make sure what you have is some corroboration for what you're hearing.

[15:30:00] You know, it's really pretty -- as you, yes, pointed out, a pretty extraordinary set of events and circumstances.

I think when we had -- when we were able to kind of confirm that the FBI was investigating, that they had interviewed a number of people about this, because we may have actually known about people who were aware of it before the FBI actually started questioning people. So, we felt like if the FBI thought that this allegation was potentially worth pursuing that then, therefore, made it newsworthy.

But I think when you're dealing with some really quite -- I mean, as Mr. Flynn's lawyers said last night, he called it, prejudicial, I think, and outrageous. And, you know, it's a pretty strong charge; we wanted to make sure that we thought that we had enough sources to go with the story.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, his attorney said that these allegations were false. As you said, the FBI's apparently investigating this meeting.

Do you know how far along that investigation is -- what evidence they might have?

GRIMALDI: Well, they've talked to several people about it. You know, I -- it -- I have to say, there's already plenty of circumstantial evidence that's on the record.

We know, for example, that Mike Flynn received half a million dollars for a contract that involved efforts to try to return Mr. Gulen. Now, not this forcible-type scenario we're talking about, but, to try to lobby.

We know that after he received that money, or his part of that contract, he -- and while he was working for the Trump campaign, he wrote a very strongly-worded, almost inflammatory article for "The Hill" newspaper, in which he compared Mr. Gulen to a terrorist, said it was a terrorist network, called him a cult leader, and said a lot of very, very strong things, which seem to be setting the predicate for trying to push a government to try to extradite him, or maybe even lay the groundwork for something extra-legal.

SANCHEZ: Are we -- we should point out to our viewers that part of the reason that Turkey and Erdogan wanted this cleric is because he blames him for that failed coup attempt that took place in Turkey last year.

I did want to ask, Michael Flynn is one of many figures near President Trump that's under scrutiny by Robert Mueller's special investigation. How do you think these allegations ultimately play into that?

GRIMALDI: Well, it shows how thorough that they're being in looking at all things that are out there. I'm sure part of the reason they began investigating is because "The Wall Street Journal" reported this earlier September meeting. And we reported it in March, and, at the same time, CNN followed up with an interview.

We had an on-the-record participant in that meeting, Jim Woolsey, who was kind of shocked at what he was hearing when these discussions took place. Of course, this latest story says, oh, they had another meeting in December during the transition, which really places it sort of at a -- much more front and center.

So I think, you know, they build slowly -- build up a case. If they feel like they've got potential charges like they had in the Manafort case, maybe they'll bring those forward and continue to investigate.

But as you know, it's like a pyramid They work their way up --


GRIMALDI: -- the chain until they find -- they see how far up they can possibly go, and see what kind of evidence they will bring for their bosses.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and all indications are that there will be more charges in this investigation in the future. James Grimaldi --

GRIMALDI: Thanks, sir.

SANCHEZ: -- thank you so much for being on the show, sir.

GRIMALDI: OK, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, new details on the death of an American soldier killed in Niger. Could the clues help reveal what happened during a deadly ambush there? You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:38:21] SANCHEZ: U.S. officials are relying on local eyewitness accounts of what happened during the ISIS ambush of U.S. soldiers in Niger. Four American soldiers were killed in that ambush. But what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson is especially troubling.

Local tribesmen now say the body of Sgt. Johnson was found nearly a mile away from the scene of the ambush with his hands tied. Johnson, as you recall, went missing for nearly two days; when his body was recover and returned home, his pregnant widow and mother of his two children could not have an open casket service.

But it's what happened during a phone call between President Trump and Sgt. Johnson's widow that made headlines for several weeks. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson took issue with how the president addressed the widow.

CNN Correspondent Rosa Flores joins me now from Miami, Sgt. Johnson's hometown, at a prayer service for the congresswoman.

Rosa, have you been able to speak with Congresswoman Wilson? Is she aware of these eyewitness reports coming from Niger?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I just talked to her office, and they tell me that the congresswoman is aware of these reports. Now, she's expected to arrive in about 30 minutes, and we're expected to talk to her in about two hours, so we're going to make sure to ask her that question.

But I can tell you is that she has been very adamant from the get-go about getting answers regarding this attack, and she has made her questions very public -- she wants to know what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson, and the circumstances around that attack.

And she has been very clear, Boris, about her insistence that this needs to be investigated, and that she needs to be briefed. So it's going to be interesting to know if she was briefed before this


report was released.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Rosa, several lawmakers saying that they've received contradictory or incomplete information about the ambush.

But tell us about this prayer service that you're attending. Who organized it and why?

FLORES: You know, it's all connected.

As you mentioned, there was a lot of controversy after the President of the United States had that conversation with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and how Congresswoman Wilson was critical of that conversation.

Well, after that, she received thousands of threats, not only just here in Miami to her offices here, but also, in D.C. So this prayer service is organized by the pastors of this community. There's going to be about 50 pastors that are going to be present.

And I talked to one of them. They said they were outraged by how the President of the United States treated the congresswoman. She -- they felt that she was being belittled, and this is a congresswoman who grew up here.

A lot of the pastors that are going to be here know her -- they've known her for years. Look, some of them went to school with her, Boris. So, they want to shower her with prayers, of course, because some of those threats were very chilling, and they want to make sure that they cover her with prayers for her safety.


SANCHEZ: Oh -- we look forward to seeing what she has to say about -- or, what she knew about these new details coming from locals in Niger.

Rosa Flores, thank you very much.

Coming up, amid yet another accusation of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, one actor is now admitting that he is guilty. We'll tell you why critics say that his apology wasn't really an apology. Here live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:45:43] SANCHEZ: Sexual misconduct and assault allegations rocking the entertainment, sports and political world recently are now aimed at another big Hollywood name -- one that is admitting his guilt.

Comedian Louis C.K. has admitted the sexual misconduct allegations brought against him by five female comics are, quote, "true."

Late Friday, C.K. released a statement admitting his, quote, "irresponsible behavior." As a result of his admissions, film, cable and streaming video deals have all been canceled, and C.K., previously among "Forbes'" highest-paid comedians, will not receive compensation for any of those now shuttered productions.

I want to bring in CNN Entertainment Reporter, Chloe Melas.

Chloe, it's been really a stunning week when it comes to allegations about sexual misconduct being levied against major Hollywood names, even in politics.

Specifically about Louis C.K.'s apology, though, it was different than some of the other ones we've seen -- though, a lot of people felt like it wasn't enough.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Yes. So on first glance, you see that Louis C.K. releases this very lengthy statement. He waited almost 24 hours after "The New York Times'" bombshell report. And some people criticized him for not coming out ahead of the report, or even commenting in "The New York Times'" story, because he declined to comment.


MELAS: There also had been rumblings for years that maybe Louis C.K. had been involved in, you know, issues involving sexual misconduct -- you know, celebrities had come out and tweeted about it.

In his apology, though, when you read it a couple times later, you realize, like myself, he didn't say, "I am sorry." That did not come into the mix at all -- he just says, "I'm remorseful." He did namecheck all the accusers in the first sentence, which people gave him kudos for. But, again, people are also saying that his apology seemed very self-serving.

SANCHEZ: He also repeats several times in there that -- and it received a lot of criticism -- that these women admired him. He said it at least four times --

MELAS: Yes, he did.

SANCHEZ: -- in that apology. Does he have some kind of point, though, in at least acknowledging, unlike some of these other men, that he took advantage of his position of power over these women? MELAS: You know, it was great that he did, you know, acknowledge these things, and he was very introspective. But at the same time, this is very different than what Harvey Weinstein did, which was deny, deny, deny. Then you look at Kevin Spacey, who gave kind of a "Sorry, not sorry" apology --


MELAS: -- came out as gay in the apology that he got widespread criticism for. And then, he's now gone radio silent, and hasn't responded to CNN or any other outlets about allegations against him for sexual misconduct.

I will say, though, that it is very interesting to see so many companies distance themselves so quickly --


MELAS: -- from Louis C.K. faster than any of the other celebrities. And that's because, I think they're kind of learning as they go, that they have to cut ties really quickly.

SANCHEZ: Yes. We have to finish this conversation there.


SANCHEZ: But it certainly seems like there's a tipping point now, where women that are victims -- or men that are victims of sexual assault feel more comfortable coming forward --

MELAS: Definitely --

SANCHEZ: -- and that's really a good thing.

MELAS: -- I think change is coming.

SANCHEZ: All right, Chloe, thank you so much.

MELAS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Justin Salas lost his sight as a teenager, and after a couple of years, he took up rock climbing. Now, the 23-year old is on his way to Scotland to compete in his first rock climbing World Cup. Watch this.


JUSTIN SALAS, PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER AND ROCK CLIMBER: I get to kind of interact with rock in (ph) a way that I think very few people get to experience. Climbing has taught me how to navigate the world in a completely different way.

NARRATOR: Justin Salas is a professional rock climber. He's also legally blind.

SALAS: Being a young teen boy and losing your vision is one of the hardest things I could've imagined. I was about to get my learner's permit, and that was just robbed from me.

NARRATOR: Despite years of tests, doctors couldn't determine the cause of his vision loss.

SALAS: I spent probably two or three years just not doing anything at all, until a friend of mine that worked at the local gym told me that I didn't need to see to rock climb, and, I was hooked.

NARRATOR: Justin can't see anything straight ahead, so he relies mainly on his peripheral vision.

SALAS: When I'm looking at a wall, I don't see holds most of the time; it's just out of feel or muscle memory, or having a sight guide call for me.

NARRATOR: That's where Matt Frederick comes in.

MATT FREDERICK, SIGHT GUIDE AND FRIEND: Your next foot is at your waist.

NARRATOR: As a sight guide, he directs Justin up the wall.

FREDERICK: I've learned a lot about how he climbs, and I think, what would he want to do here. Based on that, I'll call holds in a specific order.

NARRATOR: Together, they're headed to the 2017 IFSC World Cup in Edinburgh, where


Justin will climb against other visually impaired competitors.

2017 IFSC WORLD CUP, ANNOUNCER: On your marks --

NARRATOR: On his first ascent, Justin suffered a major setback.

FREDERICK: You're on a bolt, you're on a bolt.

NARRATOR: By mistakenly stepping on a bolt that wasn't part of the course, his first climb was disqualified.

FREDERICK: It's just, a no-go?




NARRATOR: But he regained ground on his second climb.

FREDERICK: To the left -- perfect.

NARRATOR: And qualified for the finals.

FREDERICK: Good job, man.

NARRATOR: In the main event, Justin challenged for the top spot --

FREDERICK: Great, stand on it.

NARRATOR: -- coming in just short of finishing first.

2017 IFSC WORLD CUP 2017, ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, a big round of applause (APPLAUSE) for rock climber Justin Salas from the USA! He will receive second place (ph) --

SALAS: I had no idea that I was going to do this well. All I wanted to do was make finals, and getting second place for my first World Cup was really, really cool.



[15:55:26] SANCHEZ: It is just about that time. Voting is now underway for the CNN Hero of the Year. Here's one of this year's top ten, Jennifer Maddox.


JENNIFER MADDOX, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, CNN COMMUNITY HERO: A lot of our young people are fearful to even come outside -- the shooting, the killing. Five-, 6-, 7-year olds, they're losing people that they love and care about --





MADDOX: We are in a state of emergency here in the City of Chicago.

I'm a law enforcement officer, but I'm also a mother, and a member of this community.

I don't think that any child should grow up feeling like, this could be it. Our center offers an escape for the young people.

MADDOX: What's that?

MADDOX: We make sure that the kids have healthy, hot meals. They get help with their homework.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eleven. So what you do with the one?


MADDOX: Don't cry. Don't cry, baby.

MADDOX: I am very proud to be one of the bridges to connect police and community. We have to learn to trust one another.

SANCHEZ: Jennifer is one of many inspiring stories, and you can watch and vote for any of your favorite top ten heroes now at Stay with us, we'll be right back.