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Trump's Asia Trip; Roy Moore Refutes Accusations; Spain Crisis; U.S. Opioid Crisis. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired November 12, 2017 - 03:00   ET



CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): On the Russian meddling in the U.S. election, Donald Trump says he backs his intelligence agencies but the American president would like to move on and improve relations with Russia.

Roy Moore defiant: the U.S. Senate candidate promises revelations about the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

And CNN's reporting on opioid addiction in the U.S. reunites parents with their children. We'll take you back to the streets of Boston.

Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining us. I'm Cyril Vanier live from CNN NEWSROOM here in Atlanta.


VANIER: The U.S. President Donald Trump is on his way to the Philippines from Vietnam, the final leg of his five-nation trip across Asia. He arrives in about an hour. I Hanoi earlier, he held a news conference with Vietnamese president Tran Dai Quang. The two (INAUDIBLE) faced reporters' questions, Russia and North Korea, unsurprisingly. On North Korea, Mr. Trump was asked if he could ever become friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whom he had just backhandedly called "short and fat" in his latest tweet.

And the U.S. president did not rule it out, saying, strange things happen. On Russia now, Mr. Trump says that he stands by his intelligence agencies but he also believes that Vladimir Putin is sincere when denying any meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I said, I'm not surprised there is any conflict on this. What I said there is that I believe he believes that. And it's very important for somebody to believe.

I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.

I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies. I've worked with them very strongly. There weren't 17 as was previously reported. There were actually four. But they were saying there were 17, there were actually four. But as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.


VANIER: With us now, CNN political reporter Dan Merica. He's in Hanoi, Vietnam.

You listened to that press conference.

And Matt Rivers is in Manila, Philippines, where the president will be arriving shortly.

Dan, to you first, the U.S. president was asked to unequivocally state once and for all whether he believed that Russia had meddled in the U.S. election.

Was he unequivocal?

DAN MERICA, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: He was not unequivocal. He was asked directly a yes or no question, do you believe Russia was involved in the 2016 election and did you really agree with President Putin's denials?

And he did not say one way or the other. Certainly he went further than he has in the past, saying that he stands with the intelligence agencies here in the United States. They have found with certainty that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

The reason all this has come up is because of what he said on Air Force One on the way to Hanoi when he suggested that previous intelligence officers were political hacks and detailed the fact that Russian president Vladimir Putin denied election meddling during their conversations at APEC and that he took him at his word.

This is really all caused President Trump to careen off message here in Hanoi, especially, where he wanted to focus on North Korea and trade, two issues that are really of critical importance here in the region. Take a listen to what he said in regard to Russia and how he tried to get back on message to talk more about North Korea. Take a listen to that.


TRUMP: I believe that President Putin really feels, and he feels strongly, that he did not meddle in our election. What he believes is what he believes. What I believe is that we have to get to work. And I think everybody understood this, that heard the answer.

We have to get to work to solve Syria, to solve North Korea, to solve Ukraine, to solve terrorism.

And, you know, people don't realize, Russia's been very, very heavily sanctioned. They were sanctioned at a very high level. And that took place very recently. It's now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and

broken. Those are very important things. And I feel that having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world and an asset to our country, not a liability.


MERICA: Cyril, what you hear there is a president who is ready to move on from 2016 election meddling talk. And obviously that's not going to happen. There's a special counsel investigating it in Washington, D.C., as well as multiple committees on Capitol Hill. But what you have heard from the president here in Asia --


MERICA: -- is that it is time, in his mind, to treat Russia as an ally, someone you can work with on North Korea and not someone as a foe, who many -- which is the view of many in Washington -- Cyril.

VANIER: It seems that Mr. Trump hasn't abandoned all hope of a rapprochement with Russia.

MERICA: He absolutely has not. And you heard him mention those sanctions. He described them as something that has taken a toll on Russia and they certainly have. But it's also worth noting that they haven't been fully implemented yet.

President Trump signed and approved those sanctions, which really tied his hands when it came to getting rid of them. So he has very little he can do to get rid of those sanctions. And they have and they will take an effect actually at the turn of the year.

But it's worth noting that President Trump will talk about those sanctions, say that they are having an effect and say that they will have an effect, while also saying that it's time to move on and time to treat Russia as an ally.

Those are kind of at odds with one another. And we'll see going forward, especially when he's back in the United States and presiding with all these stories that have been swirling on Russia, how he continues to talk about the country, as an ally or someone who needs to be continually sanctioned.

VANIER: And Matt Rivers in the Philippines, to you now. Donald Trump is going to get a very warm welcome where you are. We understand that President Duterte is quite fond of the U.S. president.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it appears to go both ways actually, Cyril, you know, according to a U.S. administration official prior to this trip, he described the relationship between Donald Trump and Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte as being a warm rapport between both men.

For his part, Duterte has had nothing but praise generally for Donald Trump. The big question we're looking for, when these two meet. is will Donald Trump bring up the alleged human rights abuses committed by the Duterte administration?

For well over a year now, the Duterte administration has undergone an intense crackdown on drugs and drug use here in the Philippines. Not only targeting drug dealers but also drug users, which critics say are extrajudicial killings and it has been universally condemned by human rights groups across the world.

A senior U.S. official says President Trump does plan on bringing that up with Duterte but it's an interesting issue because of what we've heard in the past. On their first call, Duterte and Trump, according to a leaked transcript obtained by "The Washington Post," apparently Trump said, during that phone call to Duterte," I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job you're doing on the drug problem."

Later an official tried to walk that back, saying that Trump was just talking about the United States' own problem with drugs. But really you have two sides of the coin there. So it will be very interesting to see if Donald Trump is willing to bring up the alleged human rights abuses with the Duterte administration in a forceful way or, as human rights groups fear, will he give the administration here a free pass and in a sense condone the continued extrajudicial killings that we've seen here over the past year?

VANIER: Matt Rivers reporting live from Manila in the Philippines. Dan Merica from Hanoi, Vietnam, thank you very much, both of you.

With an overall look at Mr. Trump's Asia trip, here's Daniel Pinkston, professor of international relations at Troy University.

Mr. Pinkston, by and large, it seems Mr. Trump got on well with all his hosts, whether Japan, South Korea, probably going to be the case in the Philippines.

Did those relationships help him get what he wanted, though?

Whether it's on North Korea or on trade?

DANIEL PINKSTON, TROY UNIVERSITY: I'm not sure exactly what he wants. He seems to enjoy personal praise. I don't think any of the policy issue has really changed in terms of North Korean threats and belligerence. Nothing's really changed there.

Trade, basically the U.S. is withdrawing from the region. Mr. Trump wants to fulfill or to implement, negotiate and implement a bilateral trade agreement. That's not how trade is going to work in East Asia. It's going to be more difficult for U.S. businesses to operate in the area. So I don't think there's much that's been accomplished.

VANIER: Mr. Trump tweeted, there's been progress on North Korea.

Is there progress there?

PINKSTON: I don't follow his tweets. He contradicts himself all the time. He lies frequently. He seems to be a serial liar. And I've stopped trying to make sense in parsing what he says. Regardless of what the policy objectives are, if we look at the United

States right now, the U.S. is undergoing the American version of the great proletarian culture revolution. U.S. agencies and departments are being decimated, including the State Department, EPA, Department of Energy, NASA, you can go down the list. I don't know which agencies are --


PINKSTON: -- not being undermined.

So with this undermined capacity in U.S. government agencies being decimated, how are we going to fulfill our policies?

VANIER: Going into this trip, America's standing in the region was being called into question.

What have we learned about that?

PINKSTON: Well, I think people in the region have seen the problem up close, at the working level. Fortunately at the working level, there are many dedicated public servants that try to maintain the relationships, to assure our allies, to reassure adversaries and potential adversaries and to demonstrate our resolve against any challengers who might challenge the U.S. or its allies.

But people are beginning to question more and more the Trump administration's commitments to its alliances and commitments to common values of human rights, democracy abroad, the rule of law, peaceful settlements of disputes and so forth. And this is causing a lot of anxiety in the region.

VANIER: Another question going into this trip was, would the Russia investigation weaken Mr. Trump abroad?

Would it hurt his standing among foreign leaders and maybe preventing from pushing for his policy goals?

Any thoughts on that?

PINKSTON: Well, that very well could be. I don't know how closely, you know, foreign countries and heads of state follow the domestic political scene. I think there has to be some concern about that and whether or not the president will be able to complete his term. So there's a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in the region.

And this administration has turned upside down what has been a bilateral -- excuse me -- a bipartisan consensus of U.S. foreign policies in the post-World War II era. Every president since President Truman has supported that consensus. And Mr. Trump is moving away from that.

VANIER: Daniel Pinkston of Troy University speaking to us from South Korea, thank you very much.

Embattled U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore is again slamming allegations of sexual misconduct from decades ago. The controversial Republican judge made his first public appearance on Saturday since the explosive accusations were reported on Thursday.

"The Washington Post" article was based on interviews with more than 30 people. But Moore denies any wrongdoing and charges "The Post" report was politically motivated to try to derail his campaign.

Despite Moore's denials, numerous people are backing up the accounts about his past. One woman who worked with Moore many years ago says it was common knowledge at the time that he dated high school girls. We get more now from CNN's Alex Marquardt.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Roy Moore has come out swinging in his first set of public remarks since these allegations were made, striking a defiant tone, issuing a full- throated rejection of these allegations, saying that they are completely untrue, that there was never any sort of sexual misconduct.

He said that it is completely unbelievable that they're coming out now, just a few weeks before the special election and almost 40 years after the fact. Take a listen.

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


That is the refrain, the question that we keep hearing from the candidate, the campaign and his many supporters.

Is this part of a smear campaign by these women, just a few weeks before the election?

Is it being backed up by Democrats?

By establishment Republicans?

They don't know but they see a conspiracy theory here. They say they don't see any proof and until they do, they want Moore to stay in this race and they believe that he can win.

Now we have been digging more into his past and speaking with people who knew Judge Roy Moore around this era, specifically one woman, Theresa Jones, who worked alongside Roy Moore in the late '70s and early '80s, when he was a young assistant district attorney.

She was a deputy district attorney and she tells today "It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls. Everyone we knew though it was weird. We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and at the mall. But you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that." MARQUARDT: Common knowledge, meaning that other people knew and if they come forward, this could pose a huge problem for the Moore campaign -- back to you.


VANIER: The most serious allegation against Moore was made by a woman named Leigh Corfman, who says Moore molested her when she was 14 years old. Mike Ortiz is one of her former boyfriends and here's what he told WNBA.


MIKE ORTIZ, LEIGH CORFMAN'S EX-BOYFRIEND: I believe her. I mean, I believe her. I don't, you know, I think she always fought with whether to come out with it in public or not, you know, you know, internally what she needed to do with it.

You know --


ORTIZ: -- to let people know about it. But I believed her when she told me and I still believe her, you know. She doesn't -- she wouldn't lie about something like that.


VANIER: And Moore is promising revelations to expose the truth behind the allegations. As a reminder, he says those allegations are completely false and misleading.

Attorneys for Michael Flynn are flatly denying a report about the former national security adviser and his son in "The Wall Street Journal". The report says special counsel Robert Mueller is probing Flynn's alleged role in a kidnapping plot.

"The Journal" writes that Turkey wanted to recruit Flynn and his son to deliver Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen from the U.S. to a Turkish prison. Turkey says any allegation that it would resort to means outside the law regarding the cleric are, quote, "utterly false, ludicrous and groundless."

Turkey's president blames the cleric for last year's failed coup. The report says the Flynns would have been paid up to $15 million. But Flynn's attorneys have issued a statement, saying this, "We have 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."

In Iraq now, mass graves containing the remains of at least 400 civilians believed to be executed by ISIS have been found in Kirkuk province. That's about 3 kilometers north of Hawija. The governor of Kirkuk is calling on the Iraqi government and the U.N. Commission of Human Rights to conduct DNA tests in order to identify the victims.

In Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to start campaigning in Catalonia ahead of December's regional election, this comes as thousands of protesters packed the Barcelona streets, demanding the release of eight former Catalan lawmakers and two activists.

They remain in jail while Spanish authorities investigate the role that they played in the region's bid for independence. Supporters at the rally say they want their leaders to know they have people behind them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am here because there are political prisoners that should not be in jail. We are appalled, angry and mad because of this situation, because people don't deserve it.

We do things peacefully with a desire to build a country and without any desire to hurt anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We want the political prisoners not to feel alone, that they have the people behind them. Citizens are supporting them. The social majority and the politicians are protesting on the streets of Barcelona today to ask for freedom, to demand freedom for the political prisoners.


VANIER: Spain's central government seized control of Catalonia over the region's banned declaration of independence and they set new government elections for December 21st.

They did not know that their adult children addicted to opioids were still alive until they saw a CNN report about them. When we come back after the break, what a father is doing until his daughter gets help. Stay with us.





VANIER: Over the last few weeks we at CNN have been reporting on the U.S. opioid epidemic. The problem is so bad here that President Trump declared it a public health emergency. Our Gary Tuchman went back to Boston to follow up with two heroin addicts that he met on the streets.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Last time we saw Billy Donovan, he was trying to find a vein for his needle.

BILLY DONOVAN, OPIOID ADDICT: I'm a junky. I have been shooting heroin for 16 years. I am homeless and live on the sidewalk. This is my life.

TUCHMAN: We met Meghan DiGiacomo in the same neighborhood just South of downtown Boston. She is also a heroin addict.

MEGHAN DIGIACOMO, OPIOID ADDICT: I lost the love of my life because of overdose. (INAUDIBLE).

TUCHMAN: Are you afraid you are going to die from this?

DONOVAN: I know I'm going to die from this.

TUCHMAN: Are you afraid you are going to die from this?

M. DIGIACOMO: Not really afraid. Honestly, sometimes it just death seems easier.

JULIE CHANDLER, MEGHAN DIGIACOMO'S MOTHER: I'm never giving up on Meghan. She won't die. She can't.

TUCHMAN: This is Julie Chandler, Meghan's mother. Until she saw our story she didn't know where her daughter was, a daughter who she says was always a happy go lucky little girl. She didn't know for sure if Meghan was alive.

Remarkably, the same goes for Billy, until his mother also saw our story, she didn't know for sure where her son was. The little boy she says who was always kind and friendly and she too feared the worse.

KRISTINA BARBOZA, BILLY DONOVAN'S MOTHER: If my son were to die I just don't know how I would go on.

TUCHMAN: Both Meghan and Billy have gone through treatment many times but they have always relapsed. Two weeks after we first met I went back to find Meghan. It is nice to see you again. How are you?

M. DIGIACOMO: I'm good.

TUCHMAN: and I found her dad, too. Paul DiGiacomo, Megan's father saw our story, located his daughter and is now living in the streets with her, refusing to leave until she gets help. He brought Meghan's dog along, too.

M. DIGIACOMO: I was like literally sleeping here. And I woke up to my dog licking my face and my dad is like, we all moved in. I'm like, what are you doing here? He's like I'm not leaving until you get help or go to the hospital.

PAUL DIGIACOMO, MEGHAN DIGIACOMO'S FATHER: My kids are everything to me. They really are.

TUCHMAN: Is she breaking your heart?

P. DIGIACOMO: Of course, she is. Of course, she is.

M. DIGIACOMO: And for me like I feel all right with myself sleeping on the street. I'm like, I check on him 100 times during the night and see...

TUCHMAN: Isn't that the irony, you check in on him and but you're the one how really needs the help.

M. DIGIACOMO: That's how I am. I always take care of other people before I take care of myself.

P. DIGIACOMO: She wants to help others before she will help herself.

TUCHMAN: As Paul tries to convince his daughter to leave the streets and seek treatment, Billy's mother walks out of her house with some of her son's personal and sentimental belongings for a special delivery.

Billy has decided to get treatment. Some of Billy's friends who saw our original story found Billy and convinced him to go to this Detox Center in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Kristina Barboza is making the delivery to her son at the facility and hopes that this time, treatment for Billy works. She talked to him on the phone for the first time in many months the night before. What did you say to Billy when he called?

BARBOZA: I told him that I loved him and he said I know and he said I love you, too.

TUCHMAN: How did that make you feel?

BARBOZA: Like I was dancing on top of the moon.

TUCHMAN: Meanwhile, Meghan remained on the street among the dozens of other heroin addicts in this neighborhood. She loves her father and wants him not to worry anymore. Can you go in for treatment?

M. DIGIACOMO: Yes, I want to.

TUCHMAN: So why don't you go? Am I being too simplistic?

M. DIGIACOMO: No, I don't -- I don't know like one moment I really want it and the next, you know, I'm like I will go later. I'm a procrastinator.

TUCHMAN: We say good bye to Meghan. And she, her father and her dog prepare to spend another night outdoors sleeping on plastic bags in the mud -- Gary Tuchman, CNN, Boston.


VANIER: At this time yesterday we were telling you about dangerous smog blanketing New Delhi, not only reducing visibility but also causing serious health problems for residents. (WEATHER REPORT)


VANIER: Thank you all for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment.