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Trump and Putin Speak; Trump's Asia Trip; Ron Moore Insists Allegations Are False; Russia Investigation; Lebanese President Demands Hariri's Return; Louis C.K. Admits Guilt. Aired 0-0:30a ET
Aired November 11, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Will he or won't he?
While U.S. president Donald Trump is on his Asia tour, there's speculation about a possible meeting with Vladimir Putin. That as the Russia investigation zeroes in on Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Plus the Republican Party in the U.S. divided over Senate candidate Roy Moore as allegations of sexual misconduct grow worse.
Thank you for joining us, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier live from the CNN NEWSROOM here in Atlanta.
VANIER: U.S. president Donald Trump is in Vietnam, attending the APEC summit. The economic meetings are part of his 12-day trip through Asia but one of the most anticipated parts of the trip may not even happen. That's a potential meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Aides confirm the two may step aside for an informal chat but, thus far, their only interactions have been handshakes. Our Nic Robertson joins us live from Vietnam.
Nic, any idea on whether there's going to be a meeting?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Cyril, this morning there was another handshake and a couple of words exchanged when President Trump arrived at the APEC summit.
He walked into the room where President Putin was, shook his hand, had a couple of words, sat down at the table. This may be the extent of it. Russian officials had played up their expectation that there would be perhaps even as much as a bilateral on the U.S. side.
They've been saying, no, that's not going to happen. Indeed, President Trump is not having any bilateral meeting here. So at the moment, we may have seen all we're going to get on this. VANIER: (INAUDIBLE) a few minutes ago, the G20 meeting. It lasted
for hours. We'll see about that. But tell us about the substance of the meetings so far. There's been a lot of talk about trade and it seems Mr. Trump's vision of economic nationalism is clashing with the other visions that have been put forth.
ROBERTSON: Sure. President Trump's delivered a very strong message on trade; what the United States wants isn't the free trade as the rest of the world sees it but one that he sees as balanced, that's fair and reciprocal and, indeed, open the door for all the other nations for bilateral trade talks.
President Xi talked about how globalization was the future and that's the way to open this, and that's the way, if you don't partake in globalization, which the implication of what he's saying is that President Trump is choosing another path, then, in essence, you get left behind.
And to that point today, you have other leaders here at the APEC summit, members of the TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership, of which the United States, until President Trump came to office, was part of as well and President Trump pulled the United States out.
The other 11 members are on the margins here at APEC, basically pushing ahead with that economic partnership, leaving out the United States.
So President Trump, you know, despite his very warm visit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan, faces this essentially being pushed back in his face here, a rejection of what he stood up and spoke about, his style of trade, yesterday.
VANIER: Nic, something else is interesting when you watch this meeting, is that a person who has featured and who still features in a Russia investigation has showed up at these meetings, alongside the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Tell us about this Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska.
ROBERTSON: Sure. A rich and important and powerful oligarch in Russia, a close associate of President Putin; also associated with Paul Manafort, who has now been indicted on charges of conspiring against the United States and money laundering.
So questions about Oleg Deripaska's relationship with Paul Manafort and information, that's being investigated into the United States about Manafort's relationship with other Russian officials, coming under scrutiny because of the Russian meddling in U.S. elections.
So Oleg Deripaska, turning up here with those kind of connections, obviously, there are a lot of questions you would like to ask him. Our Matthew Chance got an opportunity. This is what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) billions of dollars (INAUDIBLE) the Trump campaign? (INAUDIBLE), just want the real truth.
Did he owe you millions of dollars?
OLEG DERIPASKA, RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE: (INAUDIBLE).
CHANCE: Did he offer those private briefings to you as a way to try and repay that debt, Mr. Deripaska?
CHANCE: Can you just answer me that, please?
It is a big issue in the United States, sir.
Did he offer you those private briefings to try and repay that some of debt to you?
Is that why he offered them?
DERIPASKA: Get lost, please. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So the answer coming back from there was he wasn't going to play ball with those questions, throwing out the lines, "fake news." Clearly he wasn't going to be doorstepped and answer these very pressing questions.
But these are very important questions because they appear to be involved very much in charges against Paul Manafort, who was, after all, President Trump's lead campaign official for a long period during part of President Trump's --
ROBERTSON: -- campaign.
VANIER: Nic Robertson, reporting live from Da Nang, Vietnam. Thank you very much. We'll speak to you in the coming hours.
Now let's get to Daniel Lynch, he's a professor at City University of Hong Kong, to talk more about the substance of these meetings as well. Mr. Trump's first with Asian leaders.
Now the U.S. president says that he's willing to enter into bilateral deals with any willing country. But as Nic just pointed out, there's been no movement on that front and no bilateral meetings between the U.S. president and the Asian leaders.
DANIEL LYNCH, CITY UNIVERSITY, HONG KONG: One of the difficult things, Cyril, about negotiating with the U.S. under President Trump is Asian leaders can't be sure how long his administration will last.
I mean, they can't be sure whether he can actually deliver on any agreement that he might sign. I'll give you an example. There was talk before the summit in China that China might demand a new communique, comparable to those that established the foundations of U.S.-China relations in the 1970s and '80s, to frame Taiwan's future moving ahead.
But in the end, China didn't demand that. And I think of the reasons is they couldn't be sure that someone like president Trump, who might not have the staying power, could actually deliver on an agreement like that.
VANIER: One of the first things Mr. Trump did when he came into power was he ended the TPP; well, actually, he pulled the U.S. out of the TPP, which was the trade deal. The Obama administration had set it up with the Pacific Rim countries, the Asian countries in the region.
It turns out they're moving ahead with that trade deal, just without the U.S. So are we witnessing the U.S. losing ground and losing influence in the region or is that not how you read it?
LYNCH: We'll have to see how it play out. But on this question, a related important issue is that I think it's really fascinating to think about how Trump's effusive praise of Xi Jinping's authoritarian China this past week must be playing out in Southeast Asian capitals today.
As you know, most southeast Asian countries hover on the boundary of authoritarian and democratic. So by praising Xi Jinping's China like that, he has sent a signal, a strong signal, that not only will the U.S. accept Asian authoritarianism as normal but if it's effective and impressive, the U.S. under Trump will go out of its way to praise Asian authoritarianism.
And I think if he praises President Duterte of the Philippines tomorrow and Monday, then he'll be doubling down on that.
How do you read that?
How do you read that phrase of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping?
Is it a tactic to get what he wants from China, perhaps, on North Korea, perhaps or trade or not?
LYNCH: No. I think probably not. I think the Chinese did a terrific job blowing him away with the magnificence of Chinese history, because he had dinner in the Forbidden City and going out of their way also to impress him with the strength of China now that it has risen so successfully in international relations.
That's actually a key promise that Xi Jinping made, to the Chinese nation, he'll restore China to centrality even in world history and international relations. And he wanted to communicate that to President Trump during the summit and I think he did that successfully.
And it was in that context that Trump fell all over himself praising Xi Jinping and China. VANIER: The shorthand vision of what's happening in the region is China up, U.S. down. China is gaining in influence both economically and politically while the U.S. is isolating itself under this current leadership.
Is that how you read things?
LYNCH: That's how I read it. But, again, we don't know how long the Trump administration, frankly, is going to last. We know about the election results last week, last Tuesday, in the United States, the Mueller investigation and so on.
So I think all through Asia, I think leaders are asking themselves, well, is this going to continue?
Is President Trump maybe an aberration?
And so let's wait and see. It's interesting, if they move ahead on the TPP, those other countries without the U.S., that sort of reinforces this notion that they're saying eventually will the United States will be back, will return to normal. And we want to create the conditions to welcome it back when it does return and come back to normal.
VANIER: All right. We're also looking at the live pictures, by the way, of the APEC leaders lining up for that group photo, second one today, in Da Nang, Vietnam. We saw Mr. Duterte, Mr. Trudeau. We saw Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.
So as we look at these live pictures, let me get back to this trade issue.
What leverage does the U.S. have to get what the U.S. president wants, which is these bilateral deals, better trade deals for the U.S.?
LYNCH: Well, he has a great deal of leverage in terms of the negotiation. But you've got to remember, when it come to trade with China in particular, that U.S. companies actually make a lot of money going to China, investing in China, manufacturing for export including back to the United States.
So that's not entirely a loss. There is a huge trade deficit, there's no -- not about that but it's not entirely a black-and-white situation, where it's completely a loss for the United States. So Trump would also have to be able to influence the investment decisions of U.S. --
LYNCH: -- multinational corporations. He'd also have to be able to influence the buying decisions of U.S. households, the consumption decisions of U.S. households if he's really committed to ending the deficit.
So, of course, the United States has the largest economy in the world, is always going to have a lot of influence in international economic questions but it's not perhaps nor as much as President Trump thinks.
VANIER: All right, Daniel Lynch, speaking to us from Hong Kong, thank you very much.
This as we were watching the live pictures of the leaders in the region, lining up in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Even in Asia, the stormy clouds of the Russia investigation loom over President Trump. The latest rumble, a "Wall Street Journal" report about former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The details now from CNN's senior diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kosinski.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this gets murkier and it's not just Russia. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is now probing allegations that former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his son were involved in an alleged plan with Turkey to remove a cleric by force from the U.S. and outside the U.S. legal system in exchange for millions of dollars.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): After Michael Flynn had been named national security adviser, weeks before the inauguration, "The Wall Street Journal" now reports he met with representatives of Turkey at New York's 21 Club. Flynn and his son were allegedly offered as much as $15 million to forcibly get a Turkish cleric named Fethullah Gulen out of the United States.
The Turkish government blames Gulen for the coup attempt there last year and has been fixated on pressuring the U.S. to extradite him, which so far hasn't worked.
This plan, according to "The Journal's" report, was to remove Gulen, who has been living on a green card in Pennsylvania, and denies involvement in the coup, get him on a private plane and send him to a Turkish prison island.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There would be actually cash payments involved with this removal, with someone who, at the time, was working for the transition, had been nominated, then became the national security adviser before he was then fired by the president.
So, yes, it's a pretty remarkable allegation that's being investigated by the FBI and being investigated rather seriously.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): Attorneys for Flynn responded in a statement.
"Out of respect for the process of the various investigations regarding the 2016 capitalizing, we've intentionally avoided responding to every rumor or allegation raised in the media. But today's news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn ranging from kidnapping to bribery that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we're making an exception to our usual rule. They are false."
A lawyer for Flynn Jr. declined to comment. It's unclear if any agreement was reached on the plan or any money changed hands. But former CIA director James Woolsey had previously told CNN about another meeting with Turks that he heard part of a month earlier in September 2016, again, to discuss how to remove Gulen outside the U.S. legal system, a conversation he called "deeply concerning."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it looks as if there was at least some strong suggestion by the -- one or more or more of the Americans present at the meeting, to the Turks that we would be able, the United States would be able through them to get hold of Gulen.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): At the time, Flynn's spokesman vehemently denied that any such discussion had happened. Flynn and son are also under investigation for not disclosing lobbying work they did for Turkey during the campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Election Day. I'm excited.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): On Election Day, Flynn Sr. wrote an op-ed in "The Hill," making a case for extraditing Gulen, calling him "shady."
"The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gulen, who is running a scam."
So what's being alleged right now are discussions, at least two of them. But involvement in a plan like this, according to experts, could constitute a serious crime for a number of reasons.
So another good question, of course, would be who else might have known about these discussions or been involved with them and why. Not long ago, CNN's Fareed Zakaria sat down with the Turkish prime minister who denied that Flynn had made any kind of assurances about removing Gulen or even that the Turks were working on this with Flynn -- Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Washington.
VANIER: We just want to show you some pictures we just received here at CNN, coming to us from Da Nang, Vietnam. Mr. Trump and, to his right, screen left for you, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. All the APEC leaders here walking to the family photo. This happened moments ago for APEC.
Of course we've been wondering since the beginning of Mr. Trump's Asia trip whether or not he would have a meeting, whether formal or informal or one-on-one, with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Remember that a few months ago, Mr. Trump, when he met Mr. Putin --
VANIER: -- at a G20 meeting, ended up spending hours with him in a room, discussing a whole range of topics. All right, those pictures just fed into us from Vietnam.
Coming up after the break, U.S. goalkeeper Hope is telling Portuguese media former FIFA president Sepp Blatter groped her at an awards ceremony. Stay with us.
VANIER: Welcome back.
Embattled U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore still has the support of one of his strongest allies, former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Moore is under fire for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl many years ago.
Now he denies the allegations, calling them completely false and misleading. Here's what Bannon said on Friday night in Moore's defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP CHIEF STRATEGIST: I think you're going to find in the mainstream media, either tonight or tomorrow, I think there's going to be some pretty interesting stories about how that information got dropped and who paid for it and who weaponized it, right?
The -- you know, it's -- is it just a coincidence that the Bezos- Amazon-"Washington post" did the Billy Bush hit and they did the hit on Judge Moore?
Yes, just a complete, complete random thing in the universe, right?
So I think you'll see tomorrow. Look, like what Donald Trump has said, when I stand with a man, I stand with him right?
And I told Trump that day, you got 100 percent chance, just focus on what's important. Until I see additional evidence on Judge Moore, I'm standing with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Well, despite that support, Moore's path to the U.S. Senate seems to be growing more difficult. Two more Republican senators have withdrawn their endorsements. Here's the latest from CNN's Martin Savidge.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roy Moore, taking to conservative talk radio, making a strong denial of the accusations leveled against him, including allegations of sexually abusing a 14- year-old girl in 1979, first reported by "The Washington Post."
ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: These allegations are completely false and misleading. But more than that, it hurts me personally because, you know, I'm a father. I have one daughter. I have five granddaughters. And I have a special concern for the protection of young ladies.
This is really hard to get on the radio and explain this. And these allegations are just completely false.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore says he has no recollection of his most serious accuser. Leigh Corfman, who says when she was 14 and Moore was 32, he undressed and sexually abused her.
MOORE: I don't know Ms. Corfman from anybody. I've never talked to her, I've never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): One question looms: should Moore continue or quit his quest for the U.S. Senate. And even --
SAVIDGE (voice-over): -- fellow Republicans are divided.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they are true, that is bad. He needs to step out of the race. There's no question of that.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore is still finding support in his home state but, in Washington, where he is hoping to take over Jeff Sessions' Senate seat, more than a dozen GOP lawmakers are saying Moore should step down if the accusations are true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're true, he should step aside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that's true, I don't believe there would be anyplace for him in the U.S. Senate.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The political scandal even triggering reaction from President Trump, halfway around the world, speaking on Air Force One between China and Vietnam, White House press secretary spokesperson Sarah Sanders first giving the impression Trump was supporting Moore.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case, one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): But in the very next line, Sanders repeating and increasingly (INAUDIBLE).
SANDERS: However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore himself is showing absolutely no indication of quitting. In an phone interview, Moore's brother says his brother's accusers are either being paid or supporting Moore's Democratic opponent.
Then comparing his brother's political problems to the persecution of Jesus Christ. But the question remains, are the shocking accusations impacting
It depends who you talk to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do they come up 7-8 months ago when he was running, all of a sudden two weeks from now, all this stuff come up?
I believe it's a lot of BS. I really do, you know, man. I think he's a nice guy.
SAVIDGE: Those who know Roy Moore will tell you a number of things, including, first and foremost, he will not back down. He will not quit. And they do not expect the Alabama Republican Party to interfere or intervene in any way.
What they do expect is that Roy Moore will win the Senate seat for Alabama in December -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Gadsden, Alabama.
VANIER: Comedian Louis C.K. says the sexual misconduct allegations against him are indeed true. "The New York Times" had reported that five women accused him of acting inappropriately. In a statement, the comedian says he's remorseful, that he has tried to learn and that he cannot forgive himself.
And another accusation, in the world of sports this time. FIFA's former president Sepp Blatter has denied allegations of sexual assault made by one of football's most high-profile female players. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo says that Sepp Blatter grabbed her bottom as they were about to go onstage at an awards ceremony in 2013.
That's according to the Portuguese newspaper, "Espresso." A spokesman for Blatter told "Espresso" that the allegation is ridiculous. Solo is speaking out now because she says that remaining silent will not change the game's rampant sexual harassment problem, according to the report.
After the break, a political crisis drives fears of another conflict in Lebanon. We'll have more.
Plus New Delhi gasping for air as dangerous smog blankets the region. Stay with us.
VANIER: The departure of Saad Hariri is stoking a political crisis in Lebanon. Hariri announced that he was resigning as prime minister last week. He made the announcement in Saudi Arabia, which has led many people to believe that he's being held against his will.
Lebanon's president is demanding that Hariri return and says he won't --
VANIER: -- accept the resignation until he's back. Here's Ben Wedeman in Beirut.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's been seen meeting with Saudi and Emirati officials and Western diplomats. But more and more back in Lebanon, they're wondering about the true status of Saad Hariri, who resigned as prime minister a week ago, from Saudi Arabia.
Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah says he knows. In a speech Friday afternoon, he said Hariri's resignation from Riyadh was made under duress and that he's being held against his will.
And it's not just him. A senior ministerial source in Beirut tells CNN he believes Hariri is not free to express himself or to move about and he says that Hariri's own political bloc, the future movement, has no idea what is going on with their leader.
He hasn't given an interview to anyone, not even his own television station in Beirut. No one seems to know when or if he'll return home. And the longer his status remains a mystery, the more jittery nerves here become.
In a speech, Nasrallah, closely aligned with Iran, accused Saudi Arabia of inciting Israel with the enticement of billions of dollars to attack Lebanon. But he warned Hezbollah is stronger than ever and cannot be destroyed.
The U.S., which until now has publicly supported the ambitions of 32- year-old Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, threw out a warning to all in the following statement from secretary of state Rex Tillerson.
"The United States cautions against any party, within or outside Lebanon, using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country."
It's not at all clear, however, whether U.S. friend or foe will heed Tillerson's warning -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.
VANIER: And dangerous smog is expected to last until sometime next week in New Delhi. India's capital has declared a pollution emergency, banning trucks and construction activity. The poor visibility is also causing railway and air travel delays.
One government official described the city as a gas chamber. Hospitals have been treating thousands of patients with respiratory illness. And that does it for us for now. Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us.