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President Donald Trump Contradicting His Own Intelligence Agencies; Senate Republicans Unveiling The Details Of Their Plan To Overhaul The Tax Code; Judge Roy Moore Is Fighting For His Political Life. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 11, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:18] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Boris Sanchez in for Ana Cabrera. It is 4:00 p.m. in New York. And we hope that you are enjoying your Veterans Day.
First up, Judge Roy Moore defiant in the face of un-slaughtered blistering sexual misconduct allegations and involving teenage girls decades ago. The Alabama Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, he walked into angry protest of this Veterans Day event. His first public appearance since the scandal broke. He is refusing to drop out of the special election in Alabama despite allegations that include a sexual assault on 14-year-old Leigh Corfman back in 1979 when he was in his 30s. Moore is adamantly denying these accusations. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: To be a pact for allegation of sexual misconduct contradicted my entire career in law. I want to make it clear to the media present and the 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: That denial despite numerous calls for him to step aside, many coming from fellow Republicans even though that it previously endorsed him.
CNN's Alex Marguardt joins me now.
Alex, set the scene for us. What was the mood like at that event today?
ALEX MARGUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is fascinating because we have not seen Roy Moore yet in public ever since this explosive allegations came to light. So he arrived here at this small county public library for his first event. It was a Veterans Day event. It was not a campaign event. He arrived to, as you can imagine, a scram of press. All of us surrounding him and asking him questions. But there were also a number of protesters, not too many around and dozens of them carrying signs saying no more and wanted to accuse him of being a pedophile. But you can imagine the type of people who would come out and hear him speak. Those are some of his strongest supporters.
Moore received a standing ovation as he went up and put the podium to give his speech. He got lots of encouragement throughout his speech. And he received the standing ovation at the end of it.
The theme at the end of Moore's speech was really this full throated rejection of these allegations and absolute denial of these allegations that he had inappropriate contact with these four young women. The youngest of whom was allegedly 14-year-old.
He said that it is absolutely unbelievable that these allegations are coming to light just four and a half weeks before the special election that they are coming to light, some 40 years after the fact.
You heard that question he asked there, why now. That is the question that we are hearing now, not only from Moore and his campaign but also from his supporters. They see conspiracy theories in here. They believe that this is part of a plan to smear Roy Moore in these final weeks of the final election. They said they don't know who is behind it. Maybe it is a Democratic. Maybe it is establishment Republicans. But they want to see a lot more proof. And until they do, they want to see Roy Moore staying in this race. And they do believe that he has a solid chance of winning -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: And speaking of proof, Alex, we are already finding that Moore people are coming forward to corroborate at least parts of "the Washington Post" report. Apparently, the ex-boyfriend of Moore's accuser, Leigh Corfman, is also now speaking out.
MARGUARDT: He is. So Leigh Corfman was the 14-year-old who allegedly went to where Moore's house twice. And she said that he inappropriately touched her. CNN has spoken with Corfman's ex- boyfriend. They dated between 2009 and 2011. And he said to us that pretty much to a tee that the way she told the story to "the Washington Post" is exactly the way that she told it to him. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE ORTIZ, EX-BOYFRIEND OF ROY MOORE'S ACCUSER, LEIGH CORFMAN: I believe her. I mean, I believe her. I don't, you know, I think she thought with whether to come out with the public or not, you know? Internally what she needed to do with it, you know, to let people know about it. But, I believe her when she told me and I still believe her, you know. She would not lie about something like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARGUARDT: Someone else who police chiefs her is someone from Roy Moore's path, from exactly that same period in the late '70s and early '80s when Moore was in Gadsden, Alabama as an assistant district attorney. We, at CNN, have spoken with Teresa Jones, who at the time was a
deputy assistant - excuse me, deputy district attorney. She worked alongside him. She told us it was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls. Everyone we knew thought it was weird. We wonder why someone his age would hang out at high school football games in a mall, but you really would not say anything to someone like that or think about that. She was saying it was common knowledge that Roy Moore dated teenage girls.
So this is starting to see more and more allegations are coming out. We are hearing more and more from people in Roy Moore's past. So it remains very much to be seen how his campaign reacts whether he stays in this race. But for now he is standing firm -- Boris.
[16:05:40] SANCHEZ: Yes, Alex. And we have heard other surrogates of Roy Moore. Even more himself saying that there is some kind of evidence coming forward to prove these allegations are false. We'll see what comes about.
Alex Marguardt, reporting from Alabama. Thank you.
So what does the fallout mean from all of this mean for the upcoming special elections in Alabama and for the Republican Party as a whole?
Joining me now is Derryn Moten, chair at Alabama State University's history and political science department.
Sir, thank you very much for joining us this Saturday. Sir, how likely is this political fire storm likely to affect the outcome of the polls?
DERRYN MOTEN, CHAIR, ALABAMA STATE UNIVERSITY HISTORY AND POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT: Well, that's yet to be determined. I think it is going to matter, how it is going to matter is uncertain. These allegations are pretty damming. I think a lot of people would say that 32-year-old Roy Moore who was the district attorney should be treated just like a 32-year-old schoolteacher who had an inappropriate relationship with an underage student.
SANCHEZ: Now, sir, Moore has suggested that there will be revelations over the next couple of days which he call, quote "evidence of collusion" between the accusers. Steve Bannon, a supporter of Roy Moore, seems to think that this was a political head swing (ph) of the "Washington Post" as apparatus of the Democratic Party. But do you see any hint that these four women named in the report, some 30 different sources in the report, and now others near those women coming forward. Do you think there is a possibility that everyone in this story is colluding against Roy Moore.
MOTEN: I think it is very unlikely that these women are in collusion. I think that because of old and new stories in recent days and weeks about sexual harassment and Hollywood and other crisis, maybe they give these four women the courage to come forward. I understand or I think I understand why they may not have come forward in the 1970s. I mean, we have to keep in mind that Judge Roy Moore was not a judge and that he was an assistant district attorney which is a very powerful position. And something a position that I think someone would not want to take on because it is prosecutorial role.
SANCHEZ: Yes, one point, Leigh Corfman tells the "Washington Post" that she didn't come forward sooner because she had two young children and she was afraid how the public might perceive them and her if she put out these allegations.
But what ends up happening if Roy Moore wins? How do you see Senate Republicans, many of them who are not supportive of him before these allegations working with him?
MOTEN: Well, there is, you know there is o the likelihood that the Senate, the folks who expelled, my understanding is that you know it would take 19 senators in order to do that. I am not suggesting it will happen, but it is a possibility (INAUDIBLE).
SANCHEZ: All right, now the government --
MOTEN: You know, I don't know how U.S. Senate would work with senator if he were elected Senator Moore. I think that - you know, I think he would be tainted, if you will, there would be state and certain attached to his election.
SANCHEZ: As you know, sir, this election was already delayed, the question was asked of the governor of Alabama if perhaps it could be delayed again. That idea was shutdown. But we are hearing from several sources that Republicans might be working behind the scene to try to - to show more and more out of this race one way or another. Are you hearing similar claims?
[16:10:11] MOTEN: I think that is an - yes, we are here of the same things to whether or not that materializes is yet to be seen. I think that this end judge Moore as embarrassment to the national group Republican Party. And I think they are going to do whatever they can do quietly to try to compel him, to step out of the ways.
SANCHEZ: Derryn Moten of the state university of Alabama. Thank you so much for the time, sir.
MOTEN: Thank you for having me.
SANCHEZ: Looking overseas now, it is in Asia the President Trump today appears to have picked the side end of the day over Russia's alleged involvement in last year's election. The President says that he believes President Vladimir Putin who says no. Russia had had nothing to do with trying to meddle in last year's election. That's the exact opposite of the entire U.S. intelligence community which says yes, Russia did meddle in last year's elections.
Presidents Trump and Putin spoke a few times on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam. President Trump says it is insulting to the Russian leader to keep asking about the 2016 election and that he will not ask him about it again.
Today, CNN asked the CIA if they also believe Vladimir Putin, that Russia had nothing to do with President Trump's election. The CIA told us they stand by their findings that Russia did meddle in last year's election.
CNN politics reporter Dan Merica is in Hanoi, Vietnam today.
Dan, the President and his intelligence agencies two wheels apart when comes to these charges. The President's critic saying that he is siding with Russia. How does the President respond to that?
DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. Hey, good morning, Boris from Hanoi, Vietnam where President Trump, as you mentioned, once again is questioning the U.S. intelligence committee and their findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
Now, President Putin and President Trump briefly spoke three times out of here in (INAUDIBLE) in the APEC summit. One meeting which we were told was about five minutes long according to a White House official. And it was during one of those meetings that --.
SANCHEZ: It appears we are having trouble with Dan's signal in Vietnam. We will get back to him as soon as possible.
But for now, coming up, President Trump, as we said, contradicting his own intelligence agencies when he says he believed Vladimir Putin's claims that Russia did meddle in the election. So what does that mean for the Russia investigation going forward? We have a panel to discuss next.
[16:16:59] SANCHEZ: President Trump says one of the reasons he does not believe the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfere the last year's election is because it was being led by quote "political hacks." There is one problem for the President though, it is not just Obama appointees who believe that Russia interfered, the President's owned handpicked appointees agreed that Russia is responsible and again said so publicly. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: I am confident that the Russians meddled in this election. It is the entire intelligence community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any decent within the intelligence community oversee on the question of whether the Russians interfered with the American election?
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: There is no decent and I stated it publicly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is on board.
COATS: And I stated it for the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt at all. I stand behind the intelligence, intelligence community's assessment that we produced.
MIKE ROGERS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: And I think it is publicly known and acknowledged and accepted that Russian definitely did try to influence campaign. To what extent, they were successful. I don't think we know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Let's bring in our panel to discuss. Joining us from Washington political reporter Louis Nelson and here in New York City CNN political analyst and historian and professor of Princeton University Julian Zelizer.
Louis, let's start with you. In that clip we just played, Dan Coast, the director of national intelligence says that he has told President Trump in private. There is no disagreement that Russian interfered in last year's election. Coats is the President nominated. A fact from that you have Mike Pompeo, another Trump appointee sticking with that report that Russia meddled in last year's election. So why is it so hard for the President to believe people that he has picked out himself?
LOUIS NELSON, REPORTER, POLITICO: That's a great question, I would imagine that the President's position is that the idea that Russia sought to influence the election, sought to meddle in the election and furthermore sought to do so on his behalf in essence that he is the preferred candidate of the Russian government, of the Kremlin, I would imagine that he finds that - that he sees that as damaging to him politically. Obvious, he hasn't sort of answer this question. So this is sort of speculations to some extent but he has been fairly consistent and always returning to this idea that he doesn't totally trust anything about the national - about the intelligence community's assessment. He didn't trust the Obama era intelligence community. And obviously not to trust his own intelligence community when it comes to these sort of consensus assessment that the Russian government interfere or sought to interfere in last year's election.
SANCHEZ: But Julian, as you know, the President is in the middle of this long trip through Asia. Part of the focus of this trip id to show a united front with our allies in Asia to North Korea. And to suggest that the President is to not pure conflict, right. However, it seems like he is avoiding conflict with Vladimir Putin. So what imagine does that send to our allies if there is unanimous consensus that Russian meddled but he refuses to point the finger at Putin?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look. I think it creates the same kind of confusion abroad as it does in the United States. No one is really arguing about the intervention other than him. And so, if you make statements like this that is so contracting, intelligence, agency are saying, what other foreign leaders are saying, what many U.S. politicians in both parties have agreed to, it is unclear why he feels the need to do this and it undercuts the ability to actually be united. It undercuts to actually discussions with Russia because they are all tainted by his position on the investigation.
[16:20:33] SANCHEZ: Louis, the President doesn't trust his own intelligence officials including the people that he appointed them. Who is he listening to or getting advise from when it comes to making decisions on foreign policies specifically when it comes to Russia and sanctions that were put in place or at least agreed to by Congress in an overwhelmingly fashion.
NELSON: Yes, that's a great question. And it is not entirely clear. He does seem at times to take great heat or to, you know, pay great attention to his intelligence folks, his - the intelligence community, the people he has appointed, the people he has nominated and hired to be around in both inside the west wing and the intelligence community out in, you know, sort of in the other regions of the executive branch.
One thing that has reported over sort of over and over again or at least a few times about the president is that, occasionally, he seems to just sort of pair it the last person he spoke to. And so what that means is that sometimes he listens to with the last person he spoke to happens to be Vladimir Putin that the line that he is going to repeat and say is the line that you hear from Vladimir Putin that happens to be his national security apparatus folks, that it is going to be those sorts of sentiments that he is going say as well. He hasn't had a consistent position on this. And so it is not totally clear where he is getting his information or what information he finds credible and what information doesn't.
SANCHEZ: Interesting thing to point out there.
Julian to you. The President has, let's say, a prayed relationship with Congress, whether he comes to the affordable care act. The things are seemingly work out at least for now on tax reform. We will see how that goes. But specifically when it comes to the sanctions in the House, 419-3 in the Senate, 98-2. This bill was signed into law in August. But it appears that the White House s, let's say, dragged its feet in implementing and forcing these sanctions. So what message do lawmakers, specifically Republicans take from hearing the President say this and basically dismissing what they believer and what they put into law?
ZELIZER: Well, it is extraordinary frustrating. That legislation was not something the Republicans Congress wanted to have to pass for a Republican President because part of it was limiting his ability to actually curtail the sanctions. And yet here, he drags out the implementation. And that we have comments like this which causes more problems for a Republican Party that is really struggling. They just got through Tuesday with that results. And this increases the tensions that exist between the White House.
And this is an issue unlike many others where the Republicans actually reacted to the President with that sanctions legislation. So I'm sure many are shaking their heads today in disbelief that he decided at the end of this trip essentially to make the statement.
SANCHEZ: All right.
And Louis, to you. How do you think Republicans should respond to this?
NELSON: Well, in the past, previously, there is a good indication of how Republicans will respond to this which is that they generally are incredibly frustrated. Republicans, especially the ones who are sort of high profile when it comes to foreign policy and especially Russia, people like Lindsey Graham, people like Bob Corker, people like John McCain, tend to be fairly willing to express their frustration with the President especially on this issue. Those three especially have not shown any hesitation about their willingness to criticize the President, to push back and against the President when it comes to issues related to Russia. I would expect probably some of the same coming up tomorrow and then into next week as well as he comes back from the end of this Asia trip which now I think will somewhat be shadowed at least a little bit by these remarks.
And Julian, if Congress is done, it is part. And the intelligence community has done their part publicly calling out Russia. But the President, the leader of our country refuses to who stands up to Vladimir Putin. Who feels that void?
ZELIZER: Well, the United States won't. And said that it is incumbent on other countries to do that. Whether you are talking about the annexation of territory or the interference in electoral process is. There are many countries that are upset about this. They believe someone has to stand up to it. So the United States isolates itself rather than isolating Russia which is the exact opposite of what needs to happen in public policy.
[16:25:05] SANCHEZ: All right. Julian Zelizer and Louis Nelson, gentlemen, thank you very much both for the time.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
NELSON: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Still ahead, allegations of sexual contact between the U.S. candidate Roy Moore and underage girls. Moore says the "Washington Post" article is just a ploy to destroy his political campaign. But is an article with some 30 sources really to blame for his current predicament? We will break it down next on the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:29:56] SANCHEZ: Senate Republicans unveiling the details of their plan to overhaul the tax code just one week after their House colleagues released their own fiscal reform legislation. But Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell now claims that he misspoke when he previously said that no one in the middle class would get a tax increase under the Republican plan.
CNN national politics reporter M.J. Lee is joins us now to break it down for us.
M.J., McConnell told the "New York Times" that he misspoke. What exactly was he was trying to clarify?
[16:30:26] M. J. LEE, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. McConnell is now walking back what he said a couple of days ago. And what he said at the time was nobody in the middle class is going to get tax increase under the Senate bill.
Now, he spoke to "the New York Times" and clarify and actually said that he misspoke. And here is how he clarifies his previous statement.
He said quote "you cannot guarantee that absolutely no one sees a tax increase, but what we are doing is targeting levels of income and looking at the average in those levels and the average will be the tax relief for the average taxpayer in each of those segments."
Now, of course, McConnell is talking about this new Senate bill that was unveiled on Thursday. And the reality is that some middle class Americans will definitely see a tax relief but there are going to be others who do end up paying more. It really just depend on everyone's income level and their financial circumstance. And I think the political reality here, Boris, is that McConnell and House speaker Paul Ryan, they have been hearing from many of their rank and file members who say that it is either the House or the Senate bill go to affect, their constituents are going to end up paying more.
And this is going to be sort of the biggest challenge that leadership faces in the next couple of weeks is convincing some of these members to go for a bill but they say it is not perfect.
SANCHEZ: Yes. And then their possible challenge are gaps between House plan and Senate plan. I am thinking of the disagreement over how many brackets might be in a tax plan. Walk us through these next steps.
LEE: Yes. Really important to keep in mind that there are two tracks on Capitol Hill right now. There is a House bill and there is a Senate and there are some key differences as you noted. One of those differences is the number of tax bracket or versus seven in the House and the Senate plans. What to do with the salt of that state and local tax deductions. The House bill will keep that in place but will repeal them rather but keep the property tax in place. The Senate plan will fully repealed soft.
And the other issue too like the estate tax or what is to be done about the mortgage interest deduction. Those are just a couple of those wave in which the House plan and Senate plans are different.
And in the next couple of weeks, they are really going to have to figure out how can we reconcile those differences? And as you know very well, they are facing a lot of pressure from President Trump to get something done before the end of the year. We want to political victory.
SANCHEZ: And not just President Trump but also other Republicans including Senator Lindsey Graham who said if we don't get this, we don't get the house next year.
LEE: That's right.
SANCHEZ: So M.J. Lee, thank you so much. Still ahead, amid allegations of sexual contact between U.S. Senate
candidate Roy Moore and underage girls, Moore says "the Washington Post" article is just ply to destroy him and his political campaign. But this article has some 30 sources sided and more are coming forward so who is really to blame for Moore's current predicament? A discussion next.
[16:37:16] SANCHEZ: Judge Roy Moore is fighting for his political life amid allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls decades ago. Most damaging claim that he assaulted 14-year-old Leigh Corfman back in 1979 when he was in his 30s. Moore is fearlessly denying the claims saying they are the definition of fake news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: "Washington Post" established or published rather yet another attack of my character and reputation in a desperate attempt to stop my political campaign for the United States Senate. These attacks involving with a minor and they are completely false and untrue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Joining us now, CNN's senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter. ]
Brian, is this fake news?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: "The Washington Post" has meticulously reported on this subject. And anyone who reads the original story on WashingtonPost.com will see all of the details and some of the disturbing details that come from the four women all in the records as well as other sources who then corroborated their account. It is really unusual amid this slaughter (ph) allegations affecting Hollywood and other industries to see all these women actually speak On the Record.
You know, a lot of the allegations the (INAUDIBLE), people like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey were actually anonymous.
STELTER: In this case, these women took a risk and did something courageous by speaking on the record. And that's a big reason that I think a lot of people are taking this so seriously. Another reason is because "the Washington Post" did not go looking for these accusers. So instead, according to "the Washington Post," there was a feature reporter who was in Alabama on a multi week tour when during reporting about the Alabama race when she met a woman who started telling her about this. Quote "it was a random encounter. It was not something set up." From there, you open one door then you start to open others. And this reporting team of "Washington Post" found other accounts.
But all of the evidence from "the Washington Post" side suggests this is a very serious story of the opposite of fake news. And then it is interesting in this political environment that Roy Moore went straight to that fake news. Because he knew it would appeal to apart of the electorate.
SANCHEZ: Right. It is basically the message that his base embraces that there are these people out there to get him whether it would be Democrats or establishment Republicans.
Speaking of establishment Republicans, you have Senator Mike Lee pulling his endorsement telling the Moore campaign to take him out of any ads. Do you foresee more Republicans distancing themselves from him in that way?
STELTER: And as of today, Mike Lee still showing up in at least one of those ads.
Right now, we see a lot of Republicans who want to distance himself, who have taken half steps or three quarter steps away from Moore but not entirely. They are caught in a very difficult position (INAUDIBLE) as they think they are.
A lot of this is fueled, you know, by negative partnership, right. The idea that you are not supporting Moore per se, you just hate the other side so much. And that is the phenomenon we saw at play during the election.
Last year nationally, we see it throughout society now, this idea of negative partnership that because you are so opposed in this case to a Democrat, then you are going to support the Republican no matter what. I think that's a troubling change in the polarization of the country. It is not new. It has been happening for a while. It is been getting worse and worse. But that's why Moore immediately blamed the National Democratic Party, right, and the media and he blamed Democrat Party even though there is little evidence that either is at fault here.
[16:40:39] SANCHEZ: It is surprising that you had some Republicans say that even if these allegations were true, they would rather support a child predator than his opponent, Doug Jones.
STELTER: So I think that gets to the idea of negative partnership, right.
STELTER: That you are so in grained against the other side.
SANCHEZ: Yes. I have to ask because he said that there is in his words, evidence of collusion between the accusers. Has there been any indication that there might be some kind of conspiracy or plot here?
STELTER: Not that I have found. Not that I have seen. In fact, we heard from a lawyer from one of the four women today who said that Roy Moore is defaming the women by saying this, by suggesting they are liars. And this lawyer call in on Roy Moore to stop doing that. I fear, however, we are at the beginning here of what's going to become uglier and uglier. You can the starts of a smear campaign by saying that in the future,
the campaign or its allies are going to be releasing evidence against these women. This is exactly what women who come forward feared.
STELTER: This is exactly what the accusers of Harvey Weinstein, for example. Said they fear what happened. We are seeing some of that. I don't want to go too far with this but we are seeing some of that in Alabama. And I think we should consider one of the root cause is why people would distrust this "Washington Post" story.
There are good reasons and there is not so good reasons. You know why there is distrust in media. Some good comes from people like President Trump and other Republicans denouncing the media in every opportunity. Some becomes from self-inflicted wounds, media mistakes. Some of those mistakes are out of proportions I think by politicians who wants to tear down the press.
But it is worth considering this moment. Yes, there are negative partnership reasons why and folks will stick with more. There are also reasons why some voters are incline to distrust the media. And that's a challenge for newsroom like ours for the "Washington Post."
SANCHEZ: I leave so many questions on the table every time we chat.
Brian Stelter, thank you very much for joining us.
SANCHEZ: Don't forget to watch "RELIABLE SOURCES" tomorrow at 11:00.
SANCHEZ: Still ahead, almost a week after a gunman killed more than 20 people at a Texas church, his ex-wife is now speaking out. Why she says she lives in constant fears, next.
[16:47:09] SANCHEZ: Last week's massacre of a Texas church has renewed attention on the vulnerability of churches. Now more religious leaders are considering new measures to protect their worshippers. And some security companies are stepping up to offer training and advice to them.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung joins me now live from Sutherland Springs.
Kaylee, as churches considered what to do, we are actually also hearing for the first time from the ex-wife of the Texas church gunman, what is she saying?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, Tessa Brennaman said she lives in fear of her ex-husband, a man who she says had a lot of demons or hatred inside. She described a marriage full of abuse in "Inside Edition." Listen to this story she shared when he threatened her as she received a speeding ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TESSA BRENNAMAN, EX-WIFE OF TEXAS CHURCH GUNMAN: And he had a gun in his holster here and he took that gun out and he put it to my template. And he told me, do you want to die? Do you want to die?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: Brennaman says Kelly threatened to kill her and her family multiple times. The two were divorce in October of 2012. It was a month later that he pled guilty and was charged with beating his ex- wife and her infant son.
And as we get a clear picture of the trouble existence that Kelly lived that led him to walk up to First Baptist church with an assault rifle and attacked the innocent worshipers inside. There is a conversation brewing among parishioners and church staffs about the lengths they would go to, to protect themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you will snap it in there one time.
HARTUNG (voice-over): Will is training me like he has with hundreds of others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to embrace the advantage of being better than the bad guy.
HARTUNG: So, are you carrying a gun on Sunday?
BRIAN ULCH, PASTOR, TRINITY LIGHTHOUSE CHURCH: Absolutely. If I'm on property, I will always have a gun.
HARTUNG: Pastor Brian Ulch is a gatekeeper, a volunteer trained, licensed and insured to protect his church by the Chadwick's family Christian security institute.
ULCH: We have a responsibility to every single member that walks into a safe hive and that walks in to a place of worship and warning a place of phase to provide the protection.
HARTUNG: Will and his dad Chuck created the gatekeeper program more than a decade ago just outside of Dallas.
WILL CHADWICK, PRESIDENT GATEKEEPERS SECURITY SERVICES: It is so hard in those early years to get somebody to spend $20 on subscriptions of our Web site. Now, we have thousands and thousands of churches that are part of our national organization.
HARTUNG: And in the last week, following the deadliest shooting in the U.S. house of worship, their phones have been ringing off the hook. From New York to Hawaii, churches called wanting to learn how to protect themselves. CHADWICK: We take people that have absolutely no experience and we
pride ourselves on really being able to hone these skills.
[16:50:04] HARTUNG: In the six day course, they say volunteers are taught defensive tactics more around professional security and law enforcement standards. But tailor to challenges the church ministry could face like how to interact with an unruly parishioners
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And take that in, OK.
HARTUNG: And how to use a gun against an act of shooter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being able to place your mind in there and see how you are going to react is important.
HARTUNG: There is a psychological evaluation and a background check, too.
Pastor Ulch, like many other gatekeepers, did not have any prior security training. Seven years ago his church in Texas discussed hiring a private security company but they needed more.
ULCH: When you look at the outside private security sector, they have dynamic resources but they don't know your congregation. They don't know the heartbeat of your ministry. But when you look at bringing your volunteers through, they not only know your campus, know your community, know your members, they can identify things that don't look right.
HARTUNG: How do you believe the events at First Baptist Church could have been different if they had a gatekeeper?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, one I really absorb that I was going. I sure wish they had a gatekeeper.
HARTUNG: The Christian security institute have trained gatekeepers in churches with congregation as small as 100 and as big as 10,000, Boris. And on this Veterans Day among the services being held this weekend, we are remembering the live of Robert Coregan, one of those killed last Sunday as folks here behind gather to honor all 26.
SANCHEZ: All right. Kaylee Hartung reporting from Texas, thank you.
Today on Veterans Day, Vice President Mike Pence paid tribute at two events today. First at the Vietnam Veterans memorial. He participated in an early morning volunteer service events of cleaning the wall in coordination with the national park service. And later on, Pence participated in a replaying ceremony at the thumb of the unknown in Arlington National cemetery.
After the break, we are going to show you a retreat that is trying to prepare veterans that are coming home for life after war. Stick around for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[16:56:17] SANCHEZ: Today is Veterans Day, the day chosen to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when World War I came to an end. A century later, many veterans dealing with today's military conflicts also find themselves facing post-traumatic stress disorders. But now there is a new way to treating PTSD.
CNN's Jake Tapper takes us to a retreat near Washington, D.C. with the kind of military training of soldiers already know is used to help prepare them for life after war.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You might think you have seen a story like this one before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You stop before he moves away.
TAPPER: I mean, this is familiar for a Veterans Day piece right? Gentle giant, team building exercises and counsellors aiming to treat at post-traumatic stress. But here at Boulder Crest Retreat near Washington D.C., everything is not as it seems.
KEN FALKE, FOUNDER, BOULDER CREST RETREAT: I spent 19.5 years disposing a bomb in my profession. You just cannot keep making the same mistakes over and over. And when we look at what happened in attritional therapy and medication therapy, it is just it seems to be the same mistakes over and over.
TAPPER: Founder Ken Falke and a staff of veterans are approaching post-traumatic stress not as a disorder to treat but as a mission to train for.
FALKE: We create a training program not a mental health therapy program. And we can take combat veterans and create a peer to peer model that over seen by clinical psychologists and therapists.
TAPPER: The end goal is post-traumatic growth using veterans' worst experiences to make them stronger.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We believe in struggling to strengths. That's what we believe.
TAPPER: It is an angel concept now being applied to a curriculum for veterans and their spouses in a first of its kind program.
DEREK CARVER, ARMY VETERAN: Every day at people and every day we are going to take negatives in turning in the positives and why are veterans any difference?
TAPPER: Former army captain Derrick Carver lost his leg in 2010 in Afghanistan after his platoon was ambushed. Carver is fully embracing the challenges of this program with a personal aim in mind.
CARVER: I hope to be the person that I was supposed to be before I got blown up. No veteran wants to be a (INAUDIBLE). And if you can find something that helps you move away from that and help you get closer to where you want to be then you should absolutely take advantage of it.
TAPPER: In partnership with the (INAUDIBLE) foundation and the disabled American veterans, this privately funded nonprofit unique program starts with seven intense days here in Virginia. But physical exercises, meditation, discussions and art are just the beginning. Veterans can returned home of 18 months of additional practices and guidance.
DUSTY BAXLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BCA: (INAUDIBLE) so I was just going to go, hey, can I talk about my feelings? Something is wrong here. You are non-operational which should be said as we are going to be OK. He hey, I am experiencing the same thing. It is alright. It is natural.
TAPPER: The effectiveness of this unique approach is currently being research by psychologists advising the program. After three months, (INAUDIBLE) suggest participants symptoms of PTSD, depressions and anxiety decreased by about half. The VA says that while it does not require measurement of post-traumatic growth as part of its current mental health program, it is quote "supportive of any program that effectively treats and has veterans' well-being at its core.
As the sun sets over Boulder Crest, the veterans gather around the fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for showing up.
TAPPER: Reflecting on whether the trauma of their past can actually empower their future.
SANCHEZ: Welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Boris Sanchez, in for Ana Cabrera. It is just about 5:00 p.m. in New York. We thank you so much for joining us. And we hope that you are having a great veterans day.
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