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Trump Junior Released E-mails; Roy Moore in Hot Waters. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 13, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Time to turn it over to Don Lemon. CNN Tonight starts right now.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: Breaking news, three bombshell stories in this country and around the world. This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
We're learning that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has asked senior prosecutors to look into the Clinton foundation, including the sale of Uranium One. Prosecutors will report directly to Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and are being asked to make recommendations on whether any matters merit the appointment of a special counsel.
Also tonight Donald Trump, Jr. releasing exchanges he had with WikiLeaks Twitter account via direct message. Trump Jr. tweeted the exchange shortly after the Atlantic first reported on the correspondence.
Much, much more on that story in just a moment. Plus, a fifth accuser has come forward against Alabama Senator Senate candidate Roy Moore. Beverly Young Nelson alleges Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager.
More than 20 republicans have called for Moore to step aside. We've got much more on that story to come as well. But let's get to our breaking news right now. A new reveal secret in the Russia investigation. Remember when President Trump said this just one month before Election Day?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This just came out. WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So apparently he's not the only one who loved WikiLeaks. He's not even the only one named Trump who loved WikiLeaks. We've learned tonight that Donald Trump, Jr. had a ten-month correspondence with WikiLeaks Twitter account via private direct message. That according to a story in the Atlantic which points out most of the messages from WikiLeaks to Trump Jr. went unanswered. Trump Jr. released the WikiLeaks exchanges tonight. But the
candidate's son, apparently didn't tell them to take a hike either. On September 20th, 2016, WikiLeaks Twitter account sent a private message to Trump Junior starting in exchange about a Trump-Putin web site.
Well, Trump Junior promised to ask around about it, e-mailing senior officials with the campaign. On October 3rd, WikiLeaks and Trump Junior had an exchange about a Wikileaks story and about Hillary Clinton. On October 12th, WikiLeaks reached out again to thank the Trumps for praising them and to pass along a link to stolen documents.
A source tells CNN Congress has had the documents for a while. Trump Junior was briefly asked about them during a closed door interview that he did with the Senate judiciary committee back in September. You know who else is going to find those documents really interesting? The special counsel, Robert Mueller, and his team.
So let's get right down -- right now to CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston, justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, and Julia Ioffe who broke this WikiLeaks for the Atlantic.
Good evening to all of you. Julia, this is a big scoop for you, a huge scoop. Let's get a closer look at these exchanges. OK? So this starts on September 20th, 2016. WikiLeaks private messages -- private messages Donald Trump, Jr. saying "A PAC run anti-Trump site, PutinTrump.org is about to launch. The PAC is a recycle pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is Putin-rump. See about for who is it behind it. Any comments?"
And then Donald Trump, Jr. responds the next morning about 12 hours later saying, "Off the record I don't know who this is but I'll ask around. Thanks."
Julia, WikiLeaks was actively looking for help and cooperation from the Trump campaign, right?
JULIA IOFFE, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: And the Trump campaign was looking for help wherever it could get it. I mean, you had then candidate Trump saying publicly, hey, Russia, if you're listening, go and find those 33,000 deleted e-mails.
I should point out, though, is when Donald Trump, Jr. says I'll ask around, he does ask around, and that same day he e-mails several of the most senior people on the Trump campaign, Steve Bannon, Brad Parscale who is in charge of digital for the Trump campaign, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law who then forwarded it on to Hope Hicks. Kellyanne Conway, who is running the campaign.
So, and it's not the first time -- it's not the only time that Donald Trump, Jr. followed through on a request that Donald -- that WikiLeaks made in these messages. And I should point out this release that Donald Trump, Jr. made where he's tweeting out these four images, the screenshots of the exchanges, it's missing a couple pages.
LEMON: Really? OK.
IOFFE: Like it doesn't include the part, for example, what he released doesn't include the part where on election night at about 6.35 p.m. when it still looked like Hillary Clinton was going to win overwhelmingly when WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump, Jr. and says hey, Don, if your dad loses, quote unquote, "it's important that he not concede and that he challenge the results," which is, you know, why is a radical kind of transparency NGO that interested in, you know, scrambling a U.S. election and trying to get one of the two candidates to not concede or not recognize the results?
[22:05:05] LEMON: The legitimacy of the election. Right. Mark, so what's incredible here is Donald Trump, Jr. told Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Jared Kushner as Julia mentioned it that WikiLeaks had made contact. Jared Kushner also forwarded that e-mail to Hope Hicks and then these were some of the most senior folks on that campaign.
MARK PRESTON, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Right. A campaign that is super small. I mean, if you look at that right there, that is basically the Trump campaign without the whole RNC apparatus connected to it, you know, save a few people that are not there.
Now, we don't know if those folks actually read the note, the e-mail that was sent to them, but you would have to expect that at least some of them did and in doing so, were they telling Donald Trump, Jr. to stop, that you cannot engage in this kind of behavior, that this is detrimental to the campaign, this is detrimental to your father, this is detrimental to democracy here in the United States.
If it did it fell on deaf ears. If it didn't, then they were -- they were -- gosh, I'm at a loss for words right now. They just absolutely dropped the ball on that, Don.
LEMON: Pamela, do you know -- do we know when congressional investigators learned about these communications?
PAMELA BROWN, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, we have learned through a source familiar that they didn't know about these communications until Don Junior met with the judiciary committee behind closed doors as you'll recall a couple months ago. And during that session we're told someone asked him if he had ever been in communication with WikiLeaks, and much to their surprise he said yes, I have and began to detail these communications, these direct messages that he had with WikiLeaks on Twitter.
After that the committee went to -- went back to him and his lawyer and asked for the communications to be handed over, which happened. And so they didn't know about it when he initially met with them behind closed doors a couple of months ago, Don.
LEMON: Julia, so let's go through some of the timeline here. OK? Here's on October 2nd, Roger Stone, "an informal adviser to Trump tweets Wednesday Hillary Clinton is done. Hash tag WikiLeaks." The next day WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump, Jr. and says "Hi, it would be great if you guys could comment on push to this story, attaching a quote from Hillary Clinton and wanting to just drone WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange."
Trump Junior responds twice. He said "Already did that earlier today. It's amazing that she can get away with -- what she can get away with." And then two minutes later Trump Junior responds again. "What is behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about, possibly referring to Roget Stone, what Roger Stone was talking about. So explain what's going on here. WikiLeaks doesn't respond to that, by the way.
IOFFE: Right. WikiLeaks doesn't respond. There had been I don't know if you recall early October there was talk of an October surprise that Roger Stone was talking about. He had given an interview to a German magazine talking about this stuff.
What's interesting about that response, though, from Donald Junior is that even though they're both kind of in the same orbit around Trump, he doesn't really know what it is that Roger Stone is talking about. So I thought that was kind of curious.
LEMON: Another key interaction, Mark Preston, Donald Trump tweets on October 11th, "I hope people are looking at the disgraceful behavior of Hillary Clinton as exposed by WikiLeaks. She is unfit to run." The next day WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump, Jr. saying, "Hey, Don, I'm great to see you and your dad talking about our publications."
Fifteen minutes later Donald Trump, Sr. tweets this. "Very little pick up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest. Rigged system." Fifteen minutes later, I mean, that's incredible?
PRESTON: Timing is everything, isn't it? I mean, you have to wonder was Donald Trump, Jr. in the same vicinity as his father when he received that message. Did he take his phone? Did he hold his phone up and show his father, look at this message that I just got from WikiLeaks which then in turn spurred his father to put that out.
We should also note as was noted by Julia there that Donald Trump, Jr. in fact tweeted out a link that WikiLeaks was asking them to do the very next day as well. So there was even more of a connection there as well.
I am wondering too is this the first connection that we've actually seen now where Donald Trump potentially now, potentially could have been aware of what was happening? Because up until this point it seems like he has been able to hold it at a distance and it has been aides and senior advisers who potentially could have had connections or had had connections with Russian officials.
Now, if this timing does prove right, does this mean that President Trump knew at least a little something?
LEMON: Yes. Go ahead, Julia.
IOFFE: Well, what I was going to say is that link that he asked -- that WikiLeaks asked Donald Trump, Jr. to tweet out is not, you know, a straightforward link. It's not like WikiLeaks, com. It's wlsearch.tk or something. It's like it's a very strange link.
[22:10:02] And what he was asking Donald Trump, Jr. to do is to say, hey, we have this trove of documents that are stolen, probably, I mean, they're not -- they just said we have this throve of documents.
We know that these documents were stolen by hackers tied to the Russian government. He's saying maybe your followers can uncover stories, like sorted stories that the media, the mainstream media is not covering and then two days later, low and behold, Donald Trump, Jr. says, hey, for anybody who has time on their hands, have at it and tweets this link.
LEMON: So, Julia, how is this not collusion?
IOFFE: I'm not a lawyer. I'm not going there.
LEMON: Let's see. Pamela, Mark -- I'm kidding.
IOFFE: But you know what? What is interesting is that it's not that at this point in the game it's not that people didn't know about the ties between WikiLeaks and the Russian government. There were people already talking about it.
People who had followed Russia for a long time were saying, hey, we've been telling you there has long been a Moscow/Assange connection going back to at least 2013 when WikiLeaks' number two accompanied Edward Snowden the whole way from Hong Kong and essentially delivered Edward Snowden into the Russian's hands in Moscow.
This was all out there. So it's not like only now in 2017 we're realizing about this Russia connection. This was all out there, and it's interesting that at no point Donald Trump, Jr. does not say you know what, guys? I don't want to touch this.
He did not call the FBI, as we've seen numerous times, right, when Natalia Veselnitskaya, this Russian lawyer reaches out to him. He does not -- or through Rob Goldstone. He does not call the American authorities. It's this kind of, you know what, whoever is willing to help us, however they're willing to help us, we don't know. We welcome it.
LEMON: So Pamela, speaking of, then, you know, how does the Intel community view WikiLeaks?
BROWN: Well, what's interesting here is that he tweeted out that WikiLeaks link after the intelligence community had released its statement in October saying the Russians were behind the hacked e- mails of the DNC and they were using WikiLeaks as a vehicle to get those e-mails out.
So even after that Don Junior tweeted out that link. If you look at this past April, Mike Pompeo, of course the head of the CIA came out and had very strong words about WikiLeaks, calling it a none state hostile intelligence service. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES CIA DIRECTOR: It's time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is. A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Now, we should point out, to be fair here, Don, the Don Junior stopped responding to these direct messages from WikiLeaks in 2016, late 2016. WikiLeaks continued to reach out, according to Julia's reporting through this year, July of 2017, but Don Junior was not responding after late 2016, Don.
LEMON: Go ahead, Julia. Do you want to respond?
IOFFE: No. That's exactly right. I think that's a key point that Pamela made. This was a full week after -- or just a week after the intelligence community released this amazing assessment. It was the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence saying this is coming from the highest levels of the Russian government.
And that day the Access Hollywood tape dropped and then about a half- hour later or a few hours later WikiLeaks starts dumping the Podesta e-mails. So it's not like the link wasn't there when Donald Trump, Jr. was tweeting out these links and when his father was tweeting out his support for WikiLeaks.
LEMON: The timing certainly is interesting, isn't it? Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Julia, thanks, Pamela. I appreciate it. When we come back, I'm going to talk to a member of the House intelligence community for her take on newly revealed correspondence showing direct contact between Donald Trump, Jr. and WikiLeaks. Does she think this is evidence of collusion?
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, newly revealed communications between Donald Trump, Jr. and WikiLeaks.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a member of the House intelligence committee. Congresswoman, good evening. Thank you so much for joining us. I want to get your reaction to this new reporting that WikiLeaks and Donald Trump, Jr. were secretly corresponding. How troubling is this to you?
JACKIE SPEIER, (D) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think it's deeply troubling. I mean, this is coordination. This might even be conspiracy. And it doesn't stop with Donald Junior. I mean, we have evidence that Cambridge Analytica that was working for the Trump campaign was attempting to communicate with WikiLeaks and so was Roger Stone.
So -- and the president himself as a candidate kept saying I love WikiLeaks. Well, WikiLeaks, by his own director of intelligence, the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, you just had it in the last segment basically called it an intelligence agency a hostile one. It was a non-state hostile intelligence service.
I mean, when are we going to start protecting our country instead of trying to just protect the president from those who are identifying that he was rigging the election. It was interesting, during the campaign he kept saying it's going to be rigged. It's rigged. Well, it was rigged, it appears, but it was rigged by Donald Trump,
Vladimir Putin, WikiLeaks and any number of other individuals.
LEMON: You were not aware of these exchanges, were you?
SPEIER: I'm sorry.
LEMON: Were you aware of the exchanges between Donald Junior and WikiLeaks?
SPEIER: I can't really say.
LEMON: You can't say. OK. Fair enough. Because there is an investigation going on, and you're part of it as a congressperson.
So, listen, do you think some of these interactions suggest that Donald Trump, Jr. was telling his father about what WikiLeaks was telling him, because at one point WikiLeaks messages Donald Trump, Jr. about a story and then 15 minutes later Donald Trump sr. tweets about WikiLeaks?
SPEIER: Yes. I thought that was very interesting. And we've got to remember, this was a family-owned business and Donald Trump was the patriarch of that family business. And they worked very closely together. So I don't think that Donald Trump, Jr. did anything without first checking with his father and vice versa.
LEMON: Yes. Congresswoman, there's also this from Vice President Mike Pence. This is on October 14. Right when so many of these conversations were going on. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:20:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some have suggested on the left all this bad stuff about Hillary, nothing bad about Trump that your campaign is in cahoots with WikiLeaks.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nothing could be further from the truth. I think all of us have -- you know, have had concerns about WikiLeaks over the years, and it's just a reality of American life today and of life in the wider world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, congresswoman, the vice president's office put out this statement saying "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. And he says he didn't know that the campaign was in contact until tonight." What's your reaction?
SPEIER: That could be true. I don't think he was allowed necessarily into the inner circle in terms of making those kinds of decisions. And I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't know.
LEMON: Donald Trump, Jr. is tweeting out the full exchange. His attorney says they have no concerns about these documents. Do you think he could be in hot water?
SPEIER: Well, I think he could be in hot water, and it's oftentimes what is not released or not produced in documents. So it will be interesting to see how everything squares once we are able, if we are able, to get documents through Twitter to see what else might have been communicated.
It's interesting to note how infrequently Donald Junior actually communicated with whomever it was at WikiLeaks. It wasn't every tweet or every direct message that he responded to. So it will be interesting to know if there was some other form of communication.
LEMON: Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.
SPEIER: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you. When we come back, much more on the breaking news. Donald Trump, Jr. exchanged private messages with WikiLeaks multiple times during the election, but is any of this a crime and what does it mean for the Russia investigation?
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Breaking news, word tonight that Donald Trump, Jr. exchanged private messages with WikiLeaks during last year's presidential campaign.
And a fifth accuser comes forward today to say that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore abused her when she was a 16-year-old girl.
I want to bring in new CNN legal analyst Laura Coates, political commentator Mike Shields, and republican strategist Rick Wilson. So much to talk about.
Rick, I'll start with you. In response to new reporting from Julia Ioffe in the Atlantic, Donald Trump, Jr. has released copies of communications with WikiLeaks from 2016, from the 2016 campaign. Your reaction to this news?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, who is surprised by this at this point? Every time the Trump campaign or organization denies they're in contact with the Russians we find new information about it. And the fact of the matter is our intelligence community has identified WikiLeaks as an element of the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence agency and Julian Assange is an active part of Russian intelligence matters.
And so of course, Don Junior's relationship with him shouldn't surprise anybody, but of course, once again, they've lied consistently about their contacts with Russia. They've lied consistently about their relationship and the quid pro quo and the discussions and the involvement level of their campaign with Russia.
And I think it -- the story never gets any better. And for Don Junior the story got much worse today. I think -- I think that this may be a preview of coming attractions from Robert Mueller in the near future.
LEMON: Laura, I have to ask you, any potential crimes being committed here and how likely is this going to be significant in the Mueller investigation?
LAURA COATES, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, the crimes you have are the ones that are already in existence. The idea of collusion, collaborating with a foreign entity to try to interfere or influence an American election. And what you have here is the continuity of that same premise.
But you also have about 10 to 25 miles past the land of plausible deniability. Remember, all of this is about a digital footprint. It happened with George Papadopoulos, who of course has already pled guilty based on what the investigator and special counsel already knew about his digital footprint on Facebook and his meetings, et cetera.
And now you have once again the emergence of another footprint. So I'm sure special counsel Mueller and his team already know about. But as further confirmed that you're getting closer and closer to the inner circle of Donald Trump and certainly on the campaign. And you can no longer have the idea of selective amnesia riding the day. Instead you have additional scrutiny.
But I suspect that this point in time they already knew that on Mueller's team. Now it's about what else they don't know and what they're trying to do to get that information.
LEMON: Yes. Mike, I want to talk to you about the Alabama Senate race because today a fifth accuser came forward with a powerful personal account of abuse at the hands of Roy Moore. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: As Mr. Moore reached over and began groping me, him putting his hands on my breasts, 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 grabbed at my neck attempting to force my head on to his crotch.
He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and I was struggling and I was begging him to stop. 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)
LEMON: Do you think, Mike, that he's going to be the U.S. senator?
[22:30:01] MIKE SHIELDS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I hope not and I think if he is it looks like he might get expelled from the Senate. I don't see, I think there would be a pretty high vote if not unanimous to get rid of him.
And, look, I believe these accusers. I believe the women just like I believe the accusers of Bill Clinton and they should have been listened to as well. And I commend the majority leader today Mitch McConnell for saying he believes these accusers.
I think he should get a little bit more credit from women's groups that want men in power to come out and say I want to hear your story. I want you to step forward. You should be encouraged to tell these stories.
I think the idea that the Washington Post had some kind of conspiracy to this is ludicrous. II think it was a well-reported story. You and I have talked about this. I think t's a real shame the Washington Post has lost credibility with so many Americans that they somehow might believe that this is a conspiracy, and that's a whole other topic that we could talk about some other time.
It's a shame that that's the way the media is viewed. That women now come forward and tell their story and Americans will hear that and go I'm not sure if the media is telling that right. And so I hope Roy Moore steps aside. I think he should, you know, he should do the right thing.
I think we saw this as another story past the Washington Post. My guess is you're going to see more things come out on and eventually I think the weight of it will get him out of the race.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: What do you, I want to ask you, Rick, because there are couple of things here. But even now, I think, I don't think that in this day and age, that even with Bill Clinton, that that activity would be put up. I think the culture has changed.
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes.
LEMON: And referencing Bill Clinton is like referencing Bill Cosby, you know, 10 years ago. I think the culture has changed and they wouldn't put up with that activity now.
WILSON: I think that's right, Don. I mean, I think -- look, what I think what Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinski in the White House and with the other women that he over the years was accused of inappropriate conduct with was reprehensible.
WILSON: And I think that, you know, we can't just say Bill Clinton got away with it so it's OK for our guy, Roy Moore to get away with it just because there's a political way. I think we are in a position of great moral peril if we put political -- a single political seat ahead of the fact that these women that have come out are telling these stories on the record, that they are credible, that they are serious, that they obviously have all suffered from some emotional damage based on this.
And this pattern that is emerging isn't driven by politics. It isn't driven by -- it isn't driven by some conspiracy by the establishment to hurt Steve Bannon's hand-picked candidate. It isn't, you know, evil opposition research.
This was good reporting of a terribly emotional and difficult story for these women to tell. And we owe the honor of treating them as seriously as they took in taking the risk to come out and talk about this.
And I think you're right. The culture has change. We're at a moment in this country where I think we are rightly less tolerant of the behavior, especially where there is abuse of power in order to achieve some sort of sexual end.
LEMON: And more open to the stories of women telling their story and coming forward...
LEMON: ... rather than thinking there is...
WILSON: As we should be.
LEMON: ... there is something behind it. Yes. Absolutely.
LAURA COATES, LEGAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, you know, usually I am an optimist in circumstances. However, I have to say this culture is not emerging. It's not novel to most people.
In fact, probably half the population of America and beyond the world, these stories are not novel and the isolation of picking out Bill Clinton or Donald Trump or Roy Moore or Harvey Weinstein by having it seem that they're isolated incidents that somehow woven together really belies the fact that this happens to a number of men and women, boys and girls across this country.
What is different, you're right, is the notion that rather than immediately side with the person who is accused, there is credibility that is now assigned to the victims who are telling their stories.
But you do have a difficult and obvious elephant in the room that right now we've got delayed reported cases that you're talking about with Roy Moore that are well beyond the criminal statute of limitations period.
So the court of public opinion will govern this case and unfortunately victim blaming is such a problem in society that it may not turn out the way we believe the culture thinks it will at this point in time.
LEMON: Hey, Mike, how do you think -- what do you think President Trump will do about this when he gets back from his Asia trip?
SHIELDS: You know, I can't, I don't know. You know, obviously what the White House...
LEMON: What should he do, do you think?
SHIELDS: I think that everyone, I think every republican should encourage Roy Moore to step aside and not put himself first even if he's -- even if he's somehow wants to go fight this in court. If he really care -- if he care about having a republican senator in Alabama, then let's come up with another way to have a republican senator in Alabama and not make it about this one person who is accused of these things.
And so, I don't know what the president is going to do. That would be my advice is let's work as a party to make sure that we have someone we can be proud of as a senator from Alabama.
LEMON: Rick, how do you that when similar charges have been brought against the president or accusations?
WILSON: Well, I think the first thing that has to happen is that the Republican National Committee which Donald Trump controls top to bottom, needs to pull the 11 field staffers that are still as this very hour working on the ground for Roy Moore.
[22:35:04] Until those people are pulled out, this isn't serious.
You know, I was a very young guy in the first Bush administration, and when David Duke was going to be governor of Louisiana, the President of the United States put the RNC to work against him.
That's the right thing to do when you have a candidate who may have your party label after their name, but they are anathema and they are, you know -- and Roy Moore, if he represents your values as a republican and those values include, you know, cruising Chuck E. Cheese for girls, no.
You've got to throw this guy over the cliff and you've got to say that Steve Bannon is going to have a sad because his hand-picked candidate was morally so flawed that, you know, the guy probably belongs in jail not the U.S. Senate.
You're going to have to face those facts and you're going to have to stand up and take the action that's going to make a part of your base very unhappy, but too bad. That's what leaders actually do. And I hope the president recognizes that Steve Bannon has picked a guy and pushed a guy who is frankly, you know, an embarrassment to the Republican Party at every possible level.
LEMON: Laura, you know, Roy Moore said today that he knew this woman. He apparently signed her yearbook. He even signed it Roy Moore there. It is right there. And he said I'd never heard of the restaurant and there he is. He said old hickory house, which is apparently where they met that she said, but he doesn't remember the restaurant. But there it is his apparent signature. What do you think?
COATES: Well, if you look closely, it says Roy Moore, comma, D.A. I don't know the last time I signed anyone's check or anything else that actually had Laura Coates, former federal prosecutor on it. It's not one that you would normally put or gale as part of your like, overall tag line unless you were somehow emboldened by your powerful position and you were looking to capitalize on this in some way.
And so, this really, this signature, him placing himself there at the time with the yearbook, et cetera, really shows they have met at some point in time. But he fails to remember her and the allegations are true, then there certainly is a pattern of behavior that is far more disturbing.
But in the reality here is what you're seeing is a pattern of behavior that's not just this yearbook, that angle is bad. It's also about the other women that have accused this man of his behavior.
But this is only one part of the things that I think are legally disturbing about Roy Moore. This is a man who is running for the Senate in the United States of America and has twice been removed from the state Supreme Court because he believes he should not have to follow the Supreme Court, or of course the First Amendment.
And so on many different grounds, almost on a three legged system here you've got the idea that somebody is trying to gain power, capitalize on that power and potentially exploit it not for the benefit of the American people. That surprises me that he would still be a contender. But stranger things have happened.
LEMON: So Mike, I've got to ask you a similar question that I asked Rick. How does the president -- if the president is to do or should do what you say he should do when he comes home, you don't know how he's going to respond, but would you think republicans should do the same thing that Risk said.
But how does he respond to this without people asking a very serious, fair question, then how do you respond to the women who have accused you of similar things?
SHIELDS: Look, I can give advice. I can't tell you what he's going to say or how he's going to do it or what. But look, I believe that he should ask Roy Moore to not run and I believe that if Roy Moore gets elected, that he's going to be thrown out of the Senate immediately and we're going to get sent into this whole other situation.
And so, I think as the party leader, as the president he should tell him not to run. I think getting tied up in any other issues or accusations is beside the point for that decision. I don't think that that should dissuade him from doing the right thing because people have accused him of things shouldn't stop him from turning around and doing what is the morally right thing to do which is asking Roy Moore not to run for the Senate.
I do want to respond to something that Laura said. Yes, Roy Moore has sort of bucked the system and put the Ten Commandments in his court. I don't think you should combine these two things, OK? Because what happens there is people who might believe these accusers hear that and they start to go, see, this is really about politics. You didn't like what he did with the Ten Commandments and now you're angry with him.
And I understand the point. You're looking at it as a legal analyst, and I think that's a correct thing to do but we should be very careful. These women's accusations need to stand on their own and we need to address them on their own. We don't need to bring in that he's a republican or democrat.
There was a democrat who was running for mayor of Richmond who was by the way, by the Washington Post referred to as the bad boy of Virginia politics. And so, you know, they need to be consistent and treat these accusations the way that they should be treated and we should focus on them without any politics.
These are -- otherwise people just -- you give them the excuse to say the only reason you're doing this is partisan politics and that's not why these women came forward. They came forward because they had finally the courage to come and say someone abused me and that should be for anybody in the country.
COATES: And that's true.
[22:39:56] LEMON: So, Laura, it's not a pattern of behavior for someone who doesn't follow the rules? It's not necessarily political.
COATES: Well, no. I don't think this is -- I don't think I've made it and I'm not saying your assessment. I've made it a partisan issue. I cited the First Amendment of Constitution as well as the separate equal branches of government. And on both grounds that's not a republican or democratic issue. That's an American democratic issue. And on both grounds Roy Moore has failed to that degree. He has not followed the Supreme Court's presence...
SHIELDS: Yes, but that's not to the people of Alabama, that's my point.
COATES: Well, and that that may be true. However, the people of Alabama are part of the United States of America and the Supreme Court of the United States precedent regarding same sex marriages that actually stands. It's stands as more than persuasive. It's binding.
And the First Amendment talks about the separation of church and state. I'm not making it a partisan issue. And you're absolutely right. I'm not also conflating with the allegations made against Roy Moore by the women who have accused him sexual assault or misconduct or impropriety. But what I am saying is that the people in the court of public opinion
in Alabama have more than one thing to actually look at to figure out if this push should be disqualified from the Senate or the race.
They also have the fact that he's trying to run for an office that requires you to adhere to the principles of the law. And to that end he's already proven not just in the court of public opinion, not just the Washington Post allegations, but that he's unwilling or unable to do so.
But you're absolutely right. The idea of conflating these for partisan gain would be the wrong thing to do.
COATES: But I heard in that press conference that she did not do that. In fact, she said I voted for Donald Trump and it's not a republican issue.
LEMON: I've got to go. That's got to be the last word. Thank you very much. We have much more on this story. Straight ahead, we're going to talk to an attorney for one of the five women accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct.
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LEMON: Tonight Alabama's republican Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore denying that he sexually assaulted a woman when she was 16 years old. Beverly Young Nelson came forward with the accusation today, saying that Moore sexually assaulted her after offering her a ride home one night from the restaurant where she worked while in high school.
Roy Moore calls the accusation absolutely false and says he doesn't know Beverly Young Nelson. But she produced her high school yearbook showing that Moore wrote a note in it, wishing her a Merry Christmas. That was in 1977 and signing it I love -- and signing it "Love Roy Moore, D.A." And then putting the restaurant on it where they apparently met.
Joining me now exclusively is Paula Cobia, and she is the attorney for Gloria Deason, another of Roy Moore's accusers. How are you doing?
PAULA COBIA, ATTORNEY FOR ROY MOORE ACCUSER GLORIA DEASON: I'm doing well. Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Yes. I know that you've been upset and frustrated over the last couple days. I'm going to ask you about the stories of especially the latest accuser, but you've been upset and frustrated and you put out some pretty strongly worded statements. Why is that, Paula?
COBIA: I've just been outraged, once again, that these women did the most difficult thing in their lives knowing that it was merely an effort to tell the truth, nothing in it for them at all. Nothing financial. No lawsuits, no criminal, no civil actions, which have long been time-barred. And they did not know each other. But they were brave enough to come forward, even after they were told,
my client by me and the other women by their representatives, they were told how bad it was going to be. Because we know from history that there's almost always immediately, especially with a powerful figure who has been able to keep his crimes hidden for years, decades.
We know there's going to be immediate victim shaming, immediate persecution, and it's going to be vicious and indeed it was. And that has me outraged. It really does.
LEMON: Do you think that people in authority are using their authority to silence your client, the accusers and others?
COBIA: The only individuals that I have seen in authority trying to silence and intimidate are Mr. Moore himself, Alabama Republican Party officials like Bill Armistead, Jim Ziegler, Ed Henry and others, who in my opinion were releasing statements that were just so ludicrous and insulting on their face, comparing Mr. Moore to Jesus, like he's some kind of Messiah, and he's far from it.
You can thump your bible all day long, but it does not make you Jesus. It does not entitle you to where your Messiah complex around trying to intimidate people, trying to take advantage even of Christianity.
I'm a Christian, and I am so insulted that anyone would try to use religion to hide behind and cover-up their crimes. And I do not fault Christians. I don't fault the Evangelicals who want to believe in this man who they've believed in for years.
That must be as devastating to them to have to realize what he has done to all of us, because if you rape one of these women, if you molest a child, then you have done it to all of us, because we all have an inner child, and it is unforgivable.
[22:49:53] But I have to give credit where credit is due. I am so thankful that majority leader McConnell and other republican senators today, they did the right thing. They forgot about party. And they simply said you know what, there's a right and there's a wrong.
And it doesn't matter what your party affiliation is. It doesn't matter what your policy differences are. There's a right and there's a wrong. And in this case they did the right thing. They pulled support for a man because they believed, and they said they believed -- they believe these women in Alabama.
COBIA: And I thank them for that.
LEMON: And Paula, I want to stick right there. We're going to continue our conversation on the other side of this quick break. Don't go anywhere.
LEMON: Our breaking news, a fifth accuser has come forward against Roy Moore. Back with me now, Paula Cobia who is the attorney for Gloria Deason, another of Roy Moore's accuser. I have to ask you about the woman who came out today, Beverly Young Nelson who is the fifth woman to come alleging sexual assault.
What's your reaction, in part, is she in part the reason that you are doing your first interview TV interview, your interview here on CNN?
COBIA: Yes, I am. I have resisted doing interviews since the Post article was published because frankly this story is not about me. It is their story, and they told it so well and so eloquently in such a heartwarming fashion, and the Washington Post covered it brilliantly and with such compassion themselves and such empathy that I felt that story need to be read by people.
That that story did not need to have any distraction by a lawyer coming on and talking about their story. Because I can't tell it better than them. But it's important that they be protected, too. And wanted to shield them from some of the fall out we also anticipated, the threats, even death threats and constant phone calls.
LEMON: What has that been like, Paula?
COBIA: Well, it's not been pleasant, that's for sure. It's not been pleasant at all. But honestly from my personal perspective, people who do that, who hide in the shadows and act like a bully, they are just cowards, you know. A coward...
[22:55:05] LEMON: Is there something you want to say to the people -- because there are have been many people who have come out to try to undermine the credibility of these women. And in your -- in your estimation putting out planting false stories in the media or at least coming on doing interviews and planting false land mines, you know, during the questioning. What do you want to say to that?
COBIA: Well, I think there's a pretty famous expression going on right now that you can warn us all you want to, nevertheless we will persist. We will never be quiet, not ever again. You will never have the benefit to any of the abusers out there, you will never have the benefit of our silence again. Count on it.
LEMON: Yes. You have been deeply affected by this. Why is that?
COBIA: Well, you know, as a woman and also I'm 60 years old, I certainly know what it's like, especially have been raised in the south, which I love. There's so many wonderful, good people here. Sincere, honest, hardworking, good people.
But nonetheless, you know, it's always been difficult for a woman particularly to even be in a male profession. And it's honestly only been in the past few years I think that women have really felt brave enough to come forward. And that's because other women were waiting there for them to help them. And I am grateful for the women even in Hollywood that were willing to
speak up and standby each other and share their truth. And because of that, I'd kind of like to make an interesting observation. I think the biggest criticism that we are hearing is that because of the passage of time that for some reason these women are not to be believed.
How could it possibly have been easy for them to come forward when it was not easy at all for women who are famous, who are known around the world, who are fortunate, who have a lot of support, who have financial means, who should not have been able to be intimidated and yet they were. And I understand why they were. And I don't fault them for that. I commend them for that.
COBIA: So how on earth could teenage girls in the 1970s in the small southern conservative town possibly have been expected to say anything about the assistant D.A. who had intimidated them in such a fashion that they couldn't even talk to each other.
LEMON: Yes. Well, Paula, I think that you're making a difference, and best of luck to all the women. And we appreciate you speaking out. You're a very powerful voice, and we thank you for coming on this platform and using it. Thank you so much.
COBIA: Thank you, Don. Thank you for shedding light on it.
LEMON: Absolutely. When we come back, our breaking news, more on our breaking news, growing -- a growing number of republican senators calling on Roy Moore to drop out of Alabama Senate race.
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