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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Jr., WikiLeaks Exchanged Private Messages During 2016 Presidential Campaign; New Accuser: Roy Moore Assaulted Me When I was 16; Alabama Women Weigh In On Moore Allegations. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 13, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:32] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: On breaking news, top of the hour, on Russia during the campaign involving the president's son. Three full weeks before running mate Mike Pence denied the campaign, it was quote, "In cahoots with WikiLeaks". Donald Trump Jr., was in touch with WikiLeaks.
Now WikiLeaks, if you recall, was the organization the U.S. Intelligence Committee believes was chosen by the Kremlin to spread hacked information damaging to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. What is fascinating is how the communications in the form of Twitter, direct messages meshed (ph) with the certain points on campaign timeline that we already know quite well.
October 2nd, for example, Trump friend and Former Advisor Roger Stone tweets the damaging material is coming from WikiLeaks.
The next day, October 3rd, Trump Jr. messages them, asks them what's coming, they don't respond directly.
On the 5th, Stone said there was a payload coming from WikiLeaks.
On the 7th, the U.S. Intelligence Community says it believes Russia was behind the DNC hacks to WikiLeaks begins releasing the hacked DNC Podesta e-mails.
Then on the 12th of October, WikiLeaks messages Trump Jr. asking him to link to one of their items.
The president mentions WikiLeaks 15 minutes later, and two days later, Trump Jr. tweets out the link.
On that same day, the 14th, Mike Pence denies any collusion with WikiLeaks. It is to say the least, fascinating and not just to us, Congressional investigators are certainly interested. Our Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown joins us with more details. So what are you learning, Pam?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, tonight, Donald Trump Jr. released a string of these direct messages that he have with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign. This follows a report in "The Atlantic" about these exchanges.
Now, though most of the communications were one sided, Don Jr. did interact on a couple of occasions. The first message, Anderson, came in late September 2016 where Wikileaks told him, "A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro- Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is 'putintrump.' See 'About' for who is behind it. Any comments?"
Don Jr., responded to that message saying, "Off the record I don't know who that s, but I'll ask around. Thanks."
And according to "The Atlantic" he did ask around by reaching out to members of the campaign including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, telling them WikiLeaks had reached out. We don't know and what context he was saying that, but Kushner reportedly forwarded that e- mail onto Hope Hicks.
In a separate exchange, Anderson, Don Jr. reached out October 3rd asking WikiLeaks about an impending release writing, "What's behind the Wednesday leak I keep reading about?" This was in a wake of a Roger Stone tweet that hinted out at that time. WikiLeaks didn't respond, but just four days later it released John Podesta's e-mails on the same day as you'll recall the U.S. Intelligence Community condemned Russia for using WikiLeaks to release the stolen e-mails.
Even after that, WikiLeaks reached out again suggesting Don Jr. tweet out a link to his followers to more inkling (ph) search the released Podesta e-mails. Don Jr. didn't respond directly but he did tweeted out two days later this, "For those who had the time to read about all the corruption and hypocrisy, all the WikiLeaks e-mails are right here." And then as you see, he included the link that WikiLeaks had given him. Anderson.
COOPER: And Pam, explain what the campaign was saying about WikiLeaks during this time period.
BROWN: So WikiLeaks as we know, you know, was communicating with Don Jr. now. And behind the scenes, that same day, Don Jr. tweeted out the link provided to him by WikiLeaks. Mike Pence said on Fox News, Anderson, the campaign was not "in cahoots" with WikiLeaks. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And final question about WikiLeaks, and that is some suggested on the left that all this bad stuff about Hillary, nothing bad about Trump. But your campaign is in cahoots with WikiLeaks.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing to be further from the truth. I think all of us have, you know, have concerns about WikiLeaks over the years, and it's just the reality of America. Life today and -- of life from wider world, but it doesn't change the fact that here you see the national media chasing after unsubstantiated allegations, the allegation that Donald Trump has categorically denied. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, Anderson, just in the last hour, vice president says spokesperson released a statement that reads, "The vice president was never aware of anyone associated with the campaign being in contact with WikiLeaks. He first learned of this news from a published report earlier tonight." Anderson.
COOPER: I know Donald trump Jr. released these direct messages -- the exchanges tonight after "The Atlantic" story broke, any more reaction from him or his legal team?
[21:05:03] BROWN: So his attorney did release a statement before he actually released these exchanges. His attorney said that, "We can say with confidence that we have no concerns about these documents and any questions raised about them have been easily answered in the appropriate forum."
We should note, WikiLeaks continue to reach out through July of this year, Anderson, but Don Jr. didn't respond.
I also want to note something else. As you recall, Don Jr. went behind closed doors with the Judiciary Committee a while back. I'm told that at that time the committee did not have these exchanges. But someone asked him behind close doors, have you ever had communications with WikiLeaks, and the source familiar says Don Jr. replied, yes, I have, and then talked about these messages. After that, the direct messages were handed over to Congress.
COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown. Thanks very much.
Joining us now is retired General Michael Hayden, Former Director of both the CIA and NSA. He's a CNN national security analyst.
Now, General Hayden, I mean, first of all, this reporting about Donald Trump Jr., what does it tell you, and does it surprise you that Donald Trump Jr. was willing to direct message with somebody he did not even know on the other side of a direct message from WikiLeaks, I mean, whether Julian Assange or somebody else and think that he's having off-the-record discussions? I mean, for a guy who supposed sophisticated international businessman, doesn't that just seem moronic?
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN (RET.), CNN NATIONAL SECUIRTY ANALYST: It takes your breath away, Anderson, when I read the story earlier this evening. I was just shaking my head. And you know -- you know what, Anderson, I have actually defaulted to the explanation of inexperience and naivete when it comes to some of the campaign's behavior with regard to Russia and WikiLeaks. And there's probably still a fair amount of that, but I have to tell you, these continued discoveries that we're picking up here, and particularly this one, I have to begin to ask the question were there any limits? Was there any sense of appropriateness? Was there any sense of propriety? Were there any lines beyond which the campaign would not go? Here, I'm not talking about it as a legal matter. I've got no expertise on that. I'm asking a question of ethics and American political culture. And there doesn't seem to have been any limits here.
COOPER: Well, the fact that according to "The Atlantic" on October 12th, WikiLeaks reaches out to Donald Trump Jr. thanking him for his father, saying something nice about them. Saying, I think he said "I love WikiLeaks," you know, at rally, and suggesting his dad tweet out a link to WikiLeaks with some of the Podesta e-mails, so people can more easily read them. Donald Trump Jr. doesn't respond, but 15 minutes later from the time the message is received, Donald Trump Sr., himself, tweets out, "Very little pick up dishonest media of incredible information by WikiLeaks." And then two days later, Trump Jr. does, in fact, tweets out the very link the WikiLeaks asked him to tweet out. Is it just -- I mean, is it possible that it's a coincidence that 15 minutes after WikiLeaks tweets his son asking the his father to do something, his father does it?
HAYDEN: So, to answer your question specifically, is it possible? Sure. I suppose that's possible. Do I believe that to be the case? I don't think so. And there are two things that come out. One, from the WikiLeaks side, it's very important, Anderson. I mean they are quite clear they are in this business to support the Donald Trump campaign. There is no other purpose revealed in the WikiLeaks side of the exchange of communications. And then there are several examples in your timeline, the one you just brought up being one of them, several examples in the timeline where the campaign clearly synchronized its actions with the actions of WikiLeaks. And that should raise a whole host of concerns, because Wikileaks, even then, was known to be hostile to the United States and I already been pointed out in your show tonight. Mike Pompeo has declared it to be a hostile non state intelligence service.
COOPER: I mean, this is now the third person associated with the Trump team that reportedly reached out to WikiLeaks. Roger Stone has said, he was communicating with Julian Assange, as with the head of the Cambridge Analytica, data firm contracted by the Trump campaign. I mean, does it, you know, collusion is not a legal term, but does it add up to collusion for you?
HAYDEN: Well, maybe, you know, many collusion with a small "c" in the political cultural sense, in the ethical sense, and the political cultural sense. And, Anderson, let's be very candid what we're talking about here, the campaign was talking to WikiLeaks about stolen goods, stolen American privacy. Keep the Russian off stage just for the moment. WikiLeaks had e-mails to which they were not the intended recipient. Someone stole them and now we're going to violate American privacy and the campaign was, frankly, excited about that, the continuous quote during the campaign, "I love WikiLeaks." And, you know, Marco Rubio pointed out during the campaign that's not a good idea. We're going to regret saying that someday, and I think he's right.
[21:10:03] COOPER: You know, if the October 12th communication where WikiLeaks said, you know, your dad should tweet this thing out, and 15 minutes later Donald Trump Sr. tweets out basically saying, you know, the dishonest media isn't paying attention to stuff the WikiLeaks has, and then Donald Trump Jr. tweets out. The idea-- if you believe that Donald Trump Jr. contacted his dad or was with his dad and said, oh, you know, WikiLeaks is -- they're pushing this, then the idea that Donald Trump Jr. did not contact his dad after sitting with a Russian attorney allegedly from the Kremlin who said not only that the Kremlin, informing Donald Trump Jr. allegedly for the first time, that the Kremlin is supporting his dad's campaigns and has dirt on Hillary Clinton. The idea that Donald Trump Jr. doesn't tell his father that seems hard to believe if one believes that he did tell his father 15 minutes after WikiLeaks texted him.
HAYDEN: And added evidence to that, the current president, the candidate then at that time made a reference during that time period about making a speech within a week that would reveal an awful lot of dirt on Hillary Clinton. So there's even more truly circumstantial evidence that there was synchronization within the campaign in addition to the synchronization between the campaign and WikiLeaks.
I remember, this was a group WikiLeaks that whose leader was likely already under indictment in the United States of America for what he had done previously with American secrets.
COOPER: I also -- I have to ask you about the president's comments over the weekend about Russian meddling that both were sympathetic to Vladimir Putin's point of view and calling three previous U.S. intelligence officials at the time, political hacks. General Hayden I understand you were so concerned about President Trump had to say that you actually called the CIA, your former agency, to confirm they stood by their intelligent assessment about Russia and the 2016 election.
HAYDEN: Yes, Anderson, I suspected that somebody from the network would call me and I wanted to have a view. And I really wanted to be able to say the agency stood by the intelligence community assessment. So I contacted them early Saturday morning and very quickly they responded very clearly the agency and Director Pompeo stood by the intelligence community assessment that the Russians did it.
The president walked that back a little bit the next day, but you know, Anderson, at the end of that exchange he said he has faith in the intelligence community as currently constituted, and frankly, that statement probably burned up most of the good will that the front end of the president's statement created when he said I believe American intelligence.
COOPER: General Hayden, appreciate your time. I want to bring in our panel, Bianna Golodryga, Bryan Lanza, Ana Navarro, Jason Miller, Brian Fallon, and Matt Lewis, as well.
Bianna, how do you see this? I mean, what do you make of these Donald Trump Jr. in communication with unknown person at WikiLeaks and confiding to that person?
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It just once again makes you ask a question, what does Mueller know that we still don't know, because every single another shoe seems to drop. Going back to your point, it becomes harder to justify that Don Jr., did not tell his father about that meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower. Donald Trump was in Trump Tower that same day that the meeting had occurred. Remember the president said, I didn't know anything about this meeting. I wasn't aware of it. The fact that he tweeted 15 minutes after his son got that tweet makes people question whether or not that was accurate.
Also remember, Wikileaks came across as an objective news site. We got from these DM's, direct messages, with Don Jr. that WikiLeaks specifically said, here's an idea, why doesn't your dad release some of his tax returns through us so we can put it out and look like we're not just pushing anti, you know, Hillary Clinton stuff, that we're also against both candidates at times.
So there you get to see once and for all the --
COOPER: -- contact with Donald Trump Jr. after the news of the Russian Kremlin lawyer meeting breaks saying, oh, I'm sorry for what you're going through, why don't you give us your e-mails, we'll put them out, --
COOPER: -- and that will help us, it'll make us look more credible, and Donald Trump Jr. ignores that, but then decides to release those e-mails.
GOLODRYGA: Exactly. And also, what I would really focus on as well is how quickly the vice president's office responded. Remember, back in June he hired his personal attorney.
COOPER: -- the second time he's like -- actually said something that's not true.
GOLODRYGA: But within an hour you hear a response from him. Clearly, they're taking this seriously. He has his own attorney that he hired back in June with regards to any matters related to the Russia investigation. So he's taking this seriously. We're just waiting here for the president to respond as well.
COOPER: Bryan, I mean, was this smart for Donald Trump Jr. to be in communications with unknown people at WikiLeaks?
BRYAN LANZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would say this, I'd say -- we're talking a lot about speculation. We're saying, if he did this the he must have been this (ph) potentially. Let's wait for the facts to bear out. I think it's important for Mueller to conduct his --
COOPER: Right, but what we know is he was in communication, was that smart?
LANZA: Yes, well, I mean, it's not -- if I was in communication something I would certainly inform people in the campaign, hey, I've got this anonymous e-mail from -- this anonymous --
[21:15:01] COOPER: Which he did. He actually sent out the e-mail people in campaign and it just continued.
LANZA: Well, the communication is going to continue, but isn't show that Don was proactive of what he was -- was being sent to him. He said, hey, they send this link. And then two days later he retweets the link. That's not a direct link --
COOPER: No, no, but he sends out to Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, who then send to Hope Hicks. Hey, WikiLeaks reach out to me.
LANZA: I mean that's the process. You want to disclose when somebody sort of comes forward with, you know, information that might be useful or information that suspect. Want to bet that stuff. So it shows that the campaign actually did have a vetting process when it came to this information.
GOLODRYGA: No one helped the FBI, that's their vetting campaign --
LANZA: Well, they --
GOLODRYGA: -- question their judgment.
LANZA: You have to question the information that came in, but you also have to acknowledge the fact that Don did the right thing, he reach out to senior management and say, hey, these people are reaching out to me. And then the senior manager has to take the role from there and you got this sort of --
COOPER: But for Don he continued to communicate with them.
LANZA: He was communicating events, news of the day. So he's not going to ignore this news of the day. That link -- that conversation about that link had been in the day for two days already. I've been in the news for two days. And finally, after two days he disclose. He's not going to disclose what's in the common thread of the conversation.
COOPER: Brian? You worked on campaigns. Does this make sense to you?
BRIAN FALLON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think Democrats need to maintain perspective. One damning revelation does not a criminal case make just like the revelation in June, about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Also, by itself is not going to produce an indictment. But there are all bad facts. The bad facts are all piling up. The territory available for Trump defenders to make a case is shrinking by the day.
And this is another clear indication of the campaign's willingness to collude. He's eager, Donald trump Jr. is, to engage with -- in this direct message chain with WikiLeaks. It's clearly influencing the campaign's actions. Donald Trump Jr. is basically taking orders about his Twitter activity in terms of tweeting out links at Julian Assange's direction, not to mention the candidate himself touting WikiLeaks today -- in the moments after this tweet was received.
And it widens the circle of people that were potentially implicated in this based on the fact that in September Donald Trump tells the high commander to the campaign he ha an active line of communication with WikiLeaks.
So, all those people I suspect they've already been brought into the Grand jury or given a voluntary interview already. But if they had -- they are now all implicated. The circle has widened. So the more of these bad facts that come out, they're only incriminating, not exculpatory. And in many ways they contradict past statements of the campaign officials have made which suggests that they have a lot to hide.
COOPER: Jason, I mean, does it feel to you like every now and then we learn more and more about e-mails and communications that Donald Trump Jr. had? I mean, it makes me wonder, you know, when Mueller who has access to all the e-mails he sent during campaign, what else there might be?
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I still feel like we're viewing everything that happened in 2016 through a 2017 lens. And when we're talking about these dates, I mean, there's a lot of back and forth and people weren't sure who exactly was behind the WikiLeaks.
And one of the things to keep in mind to defend Don Jr. for a minute here, you get an outreach from WikiLeaks, OK, these guys clearly have a lot of tactics and techniques they're using online. You don't want to go pissed these guys off, and so you wouldn't want to go and blow them off like, hey, fine, off the record, I'll check, you know, just kind of -- you know, play (INAUDIBLE) and play nice. Why would you pick a fight with WikiLeaks at that moment when you know that they're involved with all this stuff?
(INAUDIBLE) to be on this point about going to the FBI, at that point in the campaign, the only thing we had seen with the FBI is they were basically, from the view of the campaign, it really seemed like they were in Secretary Clinton's pocket. I mean, there was -- everything happened at the FBI, and with the DOJ, with Loretta Lynch. I mean there's -- that didn't exactly seem like the safest place to go. So --
COOPER: But, you know, I mean, you know, I'm on Twitter and I got direct messages from people I don't know. You don't have to respond, like, you don't have to -- I mean I'm sure some nice people, some nasty people have sent -- have reached out to me. You can just ignore them like, there's -- if you get an e-mail from WikiLeaks and you're not a reporter, you're on a campaign, and there's this stuff floating out there, I mean -- it's not an -- I know you're saying maybe he's afraid of WikiLeaks. But he didn't have to respond. He couldn't just pretend, sorry, WikiLeaks, I never got your message.
COOPER: He can mute them. FALLON: At one point he reach out -- what is this news of a potential leak I'm hearing about? He was soliciting information. So it went beyond just --
MILLER: They were pinning (ph) him several times and even in the 2017. I mean, it didn't seem like a relationship he was trying to develop or he was trying to foster. And again, through all of this there's nothing that Don Jr. did illegal here. I mean, I'm not seeing anything that was at all illegal. I mean, and I haven't heard any of the panelists or any of the experts that have come on. And so, it really seems Don Jr. is getting unfairly beat up here.
COOPER: You would want a guy running an international business to be responding to anonymous people who are direct messaging him and telling them, oh, this conversation's off the record? I mean --
COOPER: -- for a guy who's in international business. That just seems -- I mean, again, I know nothing about business. I could not run the cooperation he runs. That just seems moronic to me.
MILLER: That goes to your earlier point that, I think, a lot of people viewed them as some sort of news agency or though that may be they view themselves as a news agency, otherwise that's why he --
[21:20:05] ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me tell you how Republicans viewed Julian Assange, they viewed him as a traitor. They view him as a national security threat.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is the part that bothered me the most, right? Because what we know about Russia is that they're trying to tear America apart, about race, everything. They want to drag us apart. And the part where they direct message Don Jr. and say, if your dad loses it would be nice if he didn't concede, if he challenged the media and other types, you know, saying that the game was rigged. So what they're trying to do -- is like Russian cutout. I don't know how directly involved Russia is here, but it really seems like this could have been very bad for America if Trump lost and refused to concede. It would have torn the country apart even more.
COOPER: We got to take a break. We're going to continue this discussion with the panel.
Later, the growing calls from Washington Republicans for their Senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore to leave the race. New accuser has come forward with a serious allegation of sexual misconduct. We'll hear from her ahead and the candidate is responding.
COOPER: Julian Assange has weighed in on the breaking news, direct messages between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks during the campaign. Assange tweeted, "I cannot confirm the alleged DM's from DonaldJTrumpJr to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks does not keep such records and the Atlantic's presentation is edited and clearly does not have the full context. However, even those published by the Atlantic show that, 1, WikiLeaks loves its pending publications and ignores those who ask for details. Trump Jr. was rebuffed just like Cambridge Analytica. In both cases WikiLeaks had publicly teased the publications. Thousands of people asked about them." Assange goes on "2, WikiLeaks can be very effective at convincing even high profile people that it is their interest to promote links to its publications." Back now with the panel.
Ana, how do you see this?
NAVARRO: As a real, I mean honest to goodness, it's the kind of stuff that you can just say to yourself, can we be in reality here? You can't make this stuff up.
First of all, I think it's no coincident that it is Donald Trump Jr. are going after -- again, right? He is the weakest link. He is also the one that the Russian lawyer contacted to say, hey, I got dirt that we can share with you. There's obviously, you know, a sense that we're dealing with twiddle dumb the way that you -- that they talk to him. Hi, we got something to tell you, the simple ways that they talk, the language says that they thought going after Trump Jr. was an effective fishing mechanism, and it worked.
[21:25:19] I think the overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence means that you really have to suspend disbelief in order to think that there is no connection going on here. It goes back to the point that this mushroom cloud keeps growing and growing and growing and it's not going away. And at some point Bob Mueller is going to come out with the facts.
LANZA: I would say this. You know, less than two weeks ago you had Senator Feinstein who is a former chair of the intelligence community asked by this network that she see the collusion between Trump campaign and Russia and her answer was no.
And so what we have is a lot of conjecture. We have a lot of sloppiness on the campaign at least (INAUDIBLE) sloppiness. But when we have one of the top intelligence persons of the Democratic Party who says she sees no collusion, I tend to believe her. It's a lot of noise. You know, a lot of mistakes were made, but nothing to the point where it's criminal. It's really nothing to the point that a Democratic senator, former chair of the intelligence community sees collusion. I think that's powerful and that gets lost everything (ph) in this conversation.
GOLODRYGA: Look, I thought David made a powerful point on -- in the last hour with you where he said it's going to become harder and harder for WikiLeaks to justify itself as a credible news organization. I mean, you see from what they laid out and the DM's, that they were, in fact, rooting for Donald Trump, they were giving him advice as to what to do so they would look more objective and they be dish on both sides.
And throughout all of this, WikiLeaks said they had not taken or colluded or been involved with Russia at all and pushing forward any e-mails. It's harder and harder to justify them and take them seriously given what we've now seen.
COOPER: I mean, during the campaign, e-mail is forwarded to Hope Hicks, is that -- I mean, she was with candidate Trump all the time. I mean, wasn't she -- I mean, when Lewandowski was running the campaign, the few time I happen to go there to do interviews it would be the candidate, Corey Lewandowski and Hope Hicks. I mean, they were pretty (INAUDIBLE). So if you're sending e-mails to Hope Hicks, is that in order to get an e-mail to candidate Trump at the time?
MILLER: Well, frequently Hope would be traveling with the president, but I don't know on that particular day where people were -- or if that was to give her a heads up in case there is a media inquiry or something like that. So, that something I've discussed with them. But I think going back to a point that Bryan made a moment ago where we're talking about -- a lot of conjecture over the past couple of weeks here. It's even more than the last couple weeks. I mean, over this past year or so that there's been this investigation into this so-called collusion between the campaign and a foreign entity. There's still -- there's no proof that anyone on the campaign was colluding.
COOPER: But now Mike Pence has come out twice, he's been prodded out to be like the kindly face of this and say, gosh, darn, there was absolutely -- no, I can't believe, this is just -- you know, the media going after this thing going down a rabbit hole. And now -- an hour later, you know, once this thing is reveal it comes out saying, well, we actually had no idea about this report. And we just learned about it from this report. Apparently they believe this report because they're responding to it and are taking it seriously. I mean --
FALLON: Let's not forget.
COOPER: -- not good for Mike Pence.
FALLON: And given every -- how little we do know about the Bob Mueller probe. We do know at least that there's at least one guilty plea and one cooperator already helping the federal investigators working this case. They've already succeed based on the evidence that they revealed from that guilty plea in pegging the timeline in terms when Trump campaign first knew that the Russians were offering help back to April. So that opens up all kinds of possibilities of what may have unfurled (ph) itself over (INAUDIBLE) months.
I think that there's plenty of evidence to believe the White House at least perceives an increasing threat. You have -- late tonight, we're learning that Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate that phony Uranium One controversy to potentially try to distract and fire up the fog machine.
You had -- to connect it to the other big news of the day, today, Roy Moore. You have the White House itself, two White House officials floating the possibility of Jeff Sessions retaking his Senate seat. I think that -- I can't imagine that part of the motive there is not to try to get Jeff Sessions out of DOJ bring a attorney general in there who could potentially disrupt the Muller investigation.
COOPER: Let's go to our next breaking story. We got to take a quick break, but a new woman accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual abuse speaking out today, so as Mr. Moore speaking out.
Also the list of lawmakers on Capitol Hill saying he shouldn't bow out of the race is growing. We'll cover that when we continue.
[21:32:35] COOPER: There's more breaking news tonight. Just (ph) a support on Capitol Hill is eroding for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. A new accuser come forward her name is Beverly Young Nelson. She says that back in the last week's 1977 or the first days of 1978, Moore sexually assaulted her when he offered her a ride home from the restaurant where she worked and he ate. With Attorney Gloria Allred by her side, Mrs. Nelson spoke to reporters this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: He stopped the car. He stopped the car and he parked his car in between the dumpster and the back of the restaurant where there were no lights. The area was dark and it was deserted. I was alarmed and I immediately asked him what he was doing. Instead of answering my question, Mr. Moore reached over and begin groping me, and putting his hand on my breast.
I tried to open my car door to leave, but he reached over and he locked it so I could not get out. I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping he began squeezing my neck attempting to force my head onto his crotch.
I continued to struggle. I was determined that I was not allow him to force me to have sex with him. I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and struggling and I was begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face.
At some point, he gave up. And he then looked at me, and he told me, he said, "You're just a child." And he said, "I am the district attorney of Etowah County, and if you tell anyone about this, no one will ever believe you."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:35:00] COOPER: Roy Moore tonight denied the allegations and as we said even before Beverly Young Nelson spoke up today, support among the Republicans who Moore would serve with on Capitol Hill elected was slipping. Today it seems to fall off a cliff. CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us with that. So Phil, a lot more senators saying Roy Moore should withdraw. What more we learned tonight?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Started as trickle, a lot of heavily caveated (ph) statements if the allegations are true, that has shifted. What was a trickle is now a waterfall. Right now Republican senators saying in a simple declarative sentence often times, it's time for him to step aside. Anderson, it was led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. People like John Thune, the number three rank Republican. Saying that it's time for him to go, gone are the -- if he's guilty, if the allegations are true caveats. Now it's just definitive.
The real question right now is, what power do these Republicans who are being clear right now that he needs to get out of the race actually have? And the answer is, not a lot. I was talking to several Republican operatives throughout the day and evening tonight trying to get a sense of what their end game here is, and the hope is very clearly that Roy Moore drops out. There's also talk potentially of write-in campaigns, people like Luther Strange, the individual who lost the primary to Roy Moore, perhaps Jeff Sessions who's made very clear he's not interested in it through associates of his.
So what is the actual end game here? What are they hoping for? One Republican operative texted back to me tonight, Anderson, question marks. They don't actually know. They just know Roy Moore, at least two Republicans right now on Capitol Hill, is not the answer.
COOPER: I mean, it seems unlikely that he would drop out, certainly, at this point given his public statements. I mean, could the same senators refuse to seat him? Should he actually get elected?
MATTINGLY: So it's very unlikely. It is very kind of rigid set of rules to refuse to seat somebody. But what they could do is try to expel him. And what was probably the most interesting and the most dynamic statement of the entire day, Cory Gardener, the head of the Senate campaign on the Republican Senate campaign putting out a statement saying clearly that if Roy Moore wins his election, if he does not drop out and if he wins, that he should be expelled.
Now, this wasn't something (INAUDIBLE) embrace by every senator. A lot of the top senators who came out saying he should step down didn't weight in on this specifically. Others said hold on, let's wait and see how this process plays out. But the fact that very politically -- Cory Gardener, head of the Republican campaign, I'm going to put this out there as an option, makes it clear that they're trying to explore every option here.
Now it's worth noting. This is not something that happens very often. Only 15 senators in the history of the chamber have ever been expelled. The last one in 1862 and the process isn't (ph) easy. Senate Ethics Committee would have to start an investigation, then 2/3 of Republican all senators would have to vote for it. So it's not easy process. But just the fact it's on the table right now, Anderson, shows you how serious this is. And how all Republican support at least that -- that still existed, has completely flown away, Anderson
COOPER: Yes. Phil Mattingly. Thanks.
More on the latest accuser with allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, she showed a yearbook she claims he signed, we'll show you that. Plus we'll get our panel's take on all this ahead.
[21:40:11] COOPER: Breaking news tonight, another woman coming forward with allegations against Roy Moore. The alleged sexual assault took place when the accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, was 16- years-old. Moore denying the allegation saying, I don't even know the woman. At a press conference Nelson brought her high school yearbook to show where she says Moore signed it.
In inscription read, "To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas." She said he signed it, "Love, Roy Moore, DA," and the date December 22nd, 1977.
I want to bring back in the panel.
Ana, I mean, the -- for the Republican Party, I mean, this is certainly the last thing they need to be dealing with and we're certainly seeing that in the reaction of a lot of senators on Capitol Hill.
NAVARRO: It's horrific. It's horrific for the Republican Party in a bunch of ways.
First of all, you know, what is this Republican Party now? Grand old pedophiles? It is embarrassing. You know, they should have been embarrassed by Roy Moore a long time ago when he was --
COOPER: OK. There were a lot of --
NAVARRO: -- when he was, you know, saying horrific homophobic things comparing gay marriage to maybe marrying a bridge, saying thing against Muslims. He has said enough and done enough before this, that he should have been an embarrassment. This is absolutely unacceptable.
I am glad to see Republican leaders are coming out unequivocally now and trying to distance themselves from him and doing everything they can to cut off the stringing. It's a little lately.
It's also a big problem for the Republican Party because it shows the rift, the civil war, which does exist within the Republican Party. We are seeing that Washington Republicans are saying one thing and we're seeing people in Alabama, Republicans in Alabama still defending. We're seeing evangelicals come out and defending him. We are seeing, you know, we're hearing things like, you know, comparisons to Mary and Joseph. We are hearing things like comparison to lawnmowers. This is crazy. This should not be politics. It should be about decency, morality, basic right and wrong. This should not be about base versus establishment. This should not be about Democrats versus Republicans. This should be about protecting women, about protecting 14, 15, 16 year old girls. It is shameful that we are this --
LEWIS: And you can thank Steve Bannon for is first victory this electoral cycle happens to be Roy Moore, and the he lost with Ed Gillespie. So that's his track record. (CROSSTALK)
LEWIS: But I think the establishment Republicans actually in this case is -- a little more credit. I mean, nationally speaking, they were pretty quick to disavow this. I think that Mitch McConnell as the Majority Leader came out. Said he believed the women. And I think it was a smart move politically. I mean, obviously, it was the right thing morally, but politically speaking this is triage. I mean, I think that Republicans are saying, if this is going to happen in Alabama, keep it in Alabama. We don't want this spreading. We don't want every Republican candidate and American will have to answer the question, do they support Roy Moore or not? I think they've probably stemmed the bleeding or at least kept it in Alabama.
COOPER: Although, if he gets elected, I mean, they're faced with the dilemma (ph) of what to do.
GOLODRYGA: Right. And we've heard from Republican leadership, I think you're right it was important for them to say I do believe these women as opposed to, you know, if, in fact, it did happened. But we also not hear anything from the president. I mean, his excuse for the past few days, is I haven't really been following the news, I'm traveling overseas. The official statement was, you know, that he shouldn't step down if, in fact, this did happen, but I think he needs to be more definitive about this right now. And remember, Republicans are wanting to focus on one thing and one thing only, that's tax reform. They said by next they want the House to pass the vote on the tax reform bill. This is not an issue they don't want to be focusing on. The president just tweeted about tax reform, but the president is going to have to be talking and --
NAVARRO: I can't agree with you more. Because, look, first of all, if somebody can make a difference in Alabama, it's probably Donald Trump, it's not Mitch McConnell, it's not Republican leadership in Washington. I suspect that a lot of people are saying to Donald Trump you really shouldn't weigh into the middle of this, God knows you've your share of issues when it comes to this topic, but precisely because he does, he should on this side, on this time, be on the right side.
COOPER: Jason, do you think the president should weight in on this?
MILLER: Not at all. And where do I agree with the other panelist is that, this is absolutely disgusting. Roy Moore has no business for the U.S. Senate and that he has to go. So we completely agree on that point. But I think where I disagree with the number of the panel that are up here. I woke up his morning thinking there was a snowball chance in hell that Roy Moore was ever going to get into the U.S. Senate and then all these national politicians started jumping in and start saying, to the people of Alabama who's here you should and shouldn't pick? Gloria Allred comes sprinting out with a press conference.
Now, and again, I don't want that to go and step on this lady's story, which is very compelling and -- it's heart breaking to see and especially to see that note, the yearbook makes you want to throw up, I mean, that's just some pretty disgusting stuff. But there is nothing that's going to go and make the people of Alabama want to rally around one of their people than having a bunch of cultural immediate (ph) elites from Washington.
COOPER: It's an interesting point because --
[21:45:00] MILLER: You shouldn't vote for this.
COOPER: I talked to somebody who works on his campaign earlier -- in the last hour who said, they're actually getting more people calling him and say, look, I want to volunteer, I want (INAUDIBLE) sign. It seems for that very reason.
LANZA: The proper course through these things is normally criminal trial. We've been robbed of that opportunity because of delay in the reporting. So now have a political trial which is going to be Election Day. So you have everybody weighting in to try to, you know, make this a political trial, and that very much should be. I mean, seeing that woman, you know, on T.V., you know, recount her experiences was gut wrenching. It very much reminds me actually the bunch of -- it reminds of when (INAUDIBLE) teenage prostitutes gave an interview on T.V. and said, hey, this guy abused us. He hired us as his prostitutes and dismiss. These were teenage prostitutes less six years ago that was brought up and nobody called on him to step down. Where the -- why they hypocrisy exist here? You have proven. You have proven allegations --
NAVARRO: Well, those teenage prostitutes recanted the story.
LANZA: They were paid by --
NAVARRO: Do we always have to do this, what aboutism (ph)? Can we just --
LANZA: Can we just be consistent?
NAVARRO: Yes. Can we just be consistent on the fact that, you know, this should not be a about politics. This should not be about one thing or another --
GOLODRYGA: -- nothing to gain --
GOLODRYGA: -- forward.
COOPER: We got take a break.
NAVARRO: And, by the way, Bob Melendez is on trial. So he is --
LANZA: Not for these charges --
NAVARRO: He's going to have to, you know, deal whatever the consequence.
COOPER: When we comeback, Roy Moor state is largely up to the Alabama voters now. Our Kyung Lah spoke to women in Gadsden, Alabama for their take on the candidate. That's next.
[21:50:07] COOPER: Before the break we touched on the seemingly die hard support that Roy Moore still enjoys back in Alabama. CNN's Kyung Lah spoke with women in the state to get their take.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For decades in Gadsden, a town of 35,000 in the Northeast corner of Alabama, the whispers lingered, mainly among the women.
ANN GREEN, GADSDEN, ALABAMA RESIDENT: It was my whole entire adult life it was always Roy Moore's stories.
KATHY SISSON, FRIEND OF ACCUSER'S MOTHER: Well, it was common knowledge. You just steered away from him.
I don't know how else to answer that. You just knew that things took place.
LAH: But for Kathy Sisson, a Republican, it wasn't just rumor. She says she's close friends with the mother of Leigh Corfman. Corfman told "The Washington Post" that four decades ago the then 32-year-old Roy Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14 years old. Sisson learned of this decades ago from Corfman's mother.
SISSON: And in the 90's Nancy confided in me and told me the story that was printed in the newspaper in confidence. I never said it. I never told anybody because it was in confidence. But because of that I knew I would never vote for the man.
LAH (on camera): How did you vote in the primary?
CARIL CALLIS, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN VOTER: I voted Republican -- for Roy Moore.
LAH (voice-over): Carol Callis list is a registered Republican too.
(on camera): What happens on December 12th?
CALLIS: Before I'm a Republican, I'm a mother of daughters. I can't vote for him now. I just can't.
LAH (voice-over): Callis says she's known Leigh Corfman for years as well, but says she never knew until "The Washington Post" published its story about Corfman and three other women. Those three women told "The Post" that Moore in his 30s pursued them as teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18.
JOAN SLEDGE, GADSDEN, ALABAMA RESIDENT: For me reading it in the newspaper and realizing that I truly knew two of these people and knew their mothers and all of a sudden they weren't rumors anymore. My heart broke. It's a devastating feeling to think what those individuals have gone through all these years, not feeling they could speak up.
LAH (on camera): By a show of hands, how many of you think Roy Moore will be elected to the U.S. senate? None of you think he's going to win?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
LAH (voice-over): That may be wishful thinking on their part.
ROY MOORE, U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: It's absolutely unbelievable.
LAH: Supporters in his home state cheered as Moore denied the allegations. We spoke to numerous women voters in Alabama who say they still support him, but amid the allegations that Moore pursued minors, they were reluctant to say so publicly. Joyce Shelly is the exception.
JOYCE SHELLEY, ROY MOORE SUPPORTER: I've been knowing Roy Moore a long, long, long time. I'm talking about probably 40 years.
LAH (on camera): Have you heard anything like this about him.
LAH (voice-over): We spoke outside the court house where Moore was an assistant district attorney.
(on camera): On December 12th when your state goes to the ballot box, who is going to win this election?
SHELLEY: I still think Roy Moore will.
LAH: Why do you believe that?
SHELLEY: I just know he know a lot of people and a lot of people feel the same way that I do.
COOPER: The women you spoke to, what did they say about the possibility of Roy Moore getting expelled from the senate if he's elected?
LAH: You know, some of the women we spoke to mainly our first group, Anderson, say yes, that is the way to go. That is the safety net. But that last woman in my story, she said there is one way to widen that rift between D.C. and states like Alabama is to expel him if Alabama sends him to the U.S. Senate, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Kyung Lah, thanks very much for the reporting.
Coming up, when world leaders call each other names. It's just like the playground only with the threat of nuclear war. "The Ridiculist" is next.
[21:57:21] COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist" and tonight we have to talk about the president trading insults again with North Korea. Over the weekend North Korea called his speech in South Korea reckless remarks by an old lunatic, and the president, of responded on Twitter, "Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat? Oh well I try so hard to be his friend and maybe someday that will happen."
Yes, it's juvenile -- yes, the fat calling cattle fat. Yes, it's absolutely insane that it ends with, "I try so hard to be his friend."
But before we delve further into the ridiculousness of the tweet, just a quick reminder that its backdrop is no big deal just a little thing called potential nuclear Armageddon. I believe it was T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Man that warned this is the way the world ends not with a bang but on Twitter. The president's tweet Saturday night just in time to make weekend update.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look how vain and catty he is. They're like, you lunatic old man, and he's like, old?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's true. It's an exchange that could have been straight out of mean girls but even in mean girls they eventually apologize for all the name-calling sort of.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Melissa, I'm sorry I called you a gap-toothed. It's not your fault you're so gap-toothed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gretchen, I'm sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhea at Barnes & Noble and I'm sorry I told everyone about it. And I'm sorry for repeating it now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Laura, I don't hate you because you're fat. You're fat because I hate you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Think about that for a second. Come to think of it, the president's "I would never call him short and fat, but I try to hard to be his friend" isn't nearly as nuance than biting as what kids in high school can come up with. Somebody on Twitter transferred it into crayon which is actually more fitting to the age group and sentiment. And finally, close to an exchange in "Pee-wee's Big Adventure".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a nerd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. You are, but what am I?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're an idiot. I know you are, but what am I?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you are, but what am I? I know you are, but what am I? I know you are, but what am I? I know you are, but what am I?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you are, but what am I infinity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Pee-wee. If the president absolutely has to hurl juvenile insults with potentially catastrophic consequences perhaps he should aspire to at least make them interesting or original, maybe he should start Veep to get some pointers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- great with you buddy, you feel good moments.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a dirty little.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't get the complexity. You're the world's biggest single cell organism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was an accident, OK? Much like when big foot got your pregnant resulting in you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to get some cardio exercise you have to have a heart.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have time to ignore you, Jonah (ph). Gary, could you please ignore Jonah for me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't you patronize me with your no jaw, you congressman no jaw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't forget your booster seat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shove it up your --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's what we call ending on a positive note on the ridiculous. Thanks for watching.
Time to turn it over to Don Lemon, "CNN Tonight" starts right now.