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Roy Moore Threatens to Sue "Washington Post"; President Trump Meeting with Philippine President Duterte Examined. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired November 13, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sarah Sanders telling reporters human rights briefly came up, a spokesman for Duterte saying otherwise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump exchanging insults with Kim Jong-un but saying it would be nice if they were friend.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Strange things happen in life, but it's certainly a possibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Monday, November 13th, 8:00 in the east. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow by my side. Good to have you as always.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Happy to be here.
CUOMO: Thanks for helping us start off the week.
We begin with a defiant Roy Moore. He is now threatening to sue "The Washington Post." That is, of course, the paper that reported the Alabama Senate candidate had inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursued three other teens when he was in his 30s. Now, several members of President Trump's team are calling on Moore to step aside, but there's a huge caveat. They say if the allegations are true, but we're not going to see any law enforcement investigation here. So where will the proof come from?
HARLOW: Meantime, the president promising an announcement on Wednesday on trade and on North Korea as he wraps up this 12-day Asia trip. But the United States notably left out of the framework of a new trade deal with the Asian nations, and this morning conflicting accounts about whether the president and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte spoke at all about human rights in the country's bloody war on drugs. The White House says they did, a Filipino government spokesman says they did not. We have this all covered this morning. Let's begin though, in Alabama, with our Kyung Lah on the latest on these accusations against Roy Moore and now his threat to sue the "Washington Post."
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Roy Moore certainly indicating that he is going to be fighting back. This morning we are seeing that defiant, seeing Moore dig in his heels even deeper. There may be growing criticism out of D.C., but here in his home state of Alabama he is being buoyed by some support.
ROY MOORE, (R) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: These attacks involve a minor a child and are completely false and untrue.
LAH: Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore defiant, threatening to sue "Washington Post" for publishing allegations that he pursued romantic relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s, including a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old. The controversial former judge suggesting he is investigating his accusers.
MOORE: There are investigations going on. In the next few days, there will be revelations about the motivations and the content of this article.
LAH: Led by former Trump adviser and Moore supporter Steve Bannon, Center Seat media outlet Breitbart News also attempting to discredit Moore's accusers, publishing an article Sunday claiming the mother of accuser Leigh Corfman says reporters from "The Post" pursued her daughter, convincing her to speak out against Moore. "The Washington Post" acknowledging they approached the women who then chose to give interviews after the reporter heard about the allegations while reporting on Moore supporters.
Moore blasting the allegations as a political conspiracy as backlash grows on Capitol Hill. Many Senate Republicans abandoning the Alabama Republican, refusing to raise money for his campaign and revoking their endorsements.
SEN. PAT TOOMEY, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: I think the accusations have more credibility than the denial. I think it would be best if Roy would just step aside.
SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: We have to restore trust and confidence in our elected officials in our government, and this goes in the wrong direction.
LAH: Some signaling support for Senator Luther Strange who Moore defeated in the primary as a possible write-in candidate, but back home in Alabama many of Moore's supporters rallying around the candidate.
JACK FLOYD, FRIEND OF ROY MOORE: The thing that bothers me about those charges is that he's been in public life running for many offices, and as many times as this happened, no one has ever said anything until now.
LAH: White House officials cautioning against judging Moore before he's been proven guilty while condemning the alleged behavior.
MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR: There's no sentencing more important than the notion child pedophilia, Chuck, that's the reality. But having said that, he has not been proven guilty.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Everyone should know that conduct is disqualifying, but I also want to make sure that we as a nation are not always prosecuting people through the press.
LAH: So while that support for Moore, yes, there are glimmers of that here in his home state. We want to be very clear that that is not uniform. We have also spoken to at least one Republican woman who voted for Moore in the primary, Chris, but now she says she will no longer support him. Chris?
CUOMO: Well, it is hard to judge what the political impact will be. Roy Moore has been controversial for a long time and he's been rewarded for positions that seemed controversial at a minimum multiple times before in Alabama. So, we'll see. We'll see. Kyung, thank you very much.
[08:05:05] There's another controversy erupting on the final stop of President Trump's 12-day Asia trip. The White House claiming Mr. Trump did briefly raise the issue of human rights during a meeting with Philippine's President Duterte. Why is this controversial? Because a spokesperson for the Filipino president says the subject never came up.
Let's go live to Jeff Zeleny traveling with the president in Manila. What happened, did it happen, it clearly wasn't a focal point of their meeting by everybody's reckoning. It's probably also not the biggest headline. It seems the president has learned something about the trade dynamic in Asia that he may not have understood when he was bashing TPP during the campaign.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. You're absolutely right. When the president was arriving here in Manila, one question was hanging over him. Would he confront the Philippine president about human rights? We know that Donald Trump wants to build relationships on these trips. That's what this is all about. The idea of him confronting him was probably never going to happen directly. But now the question is tonight here, did they talk about this at all?
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rodrigo.
ZELENY: President Trump meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, but not dwelling today on the controversial leader's bloody human rights record. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders telling reporters that human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs. A spokesman for Duterte saying otherwise.
HARRY ROQUE, SPOKESMAN FOR PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE: No, that issue was not raised. However, the president explained his war against drug. ZELENY: As reporters questioned Mr. Trump, Duterte's aides stood and
blocked view of cameras. At another point Duterte made clear he wanted to meet behind closed doors, even channeling Trump by calling out the media, referring to them as spies.
PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINES: I would like to request the media to leave us alone. You may leave the room.
ZELENY: White House aides initially were anxious about visiting the Philippines, but Mr. Trump came to amplify his message on trade and North Korea. He stood alongside Duterte during a moment of handshake diplomacy, grimacing while trying to grasp the hands of leaders during a ritual photograph. The president today basking in the glow of his travels through five Asia capitals.
TRUMP: It was a red carpet like nobody I think has probably ever received. And that really is a sign of respect, perhaps for me a little bit, but really for our country. And I'm very proud of that.
ZELENY: Yet outside the economic summit, a reality check. Protesters filled the streets. Water cannons deployed to keep demonstrators from the U.S. embassy, and elsewhere the president's head burning in effigy on a swastika. Some also protesting Mr. Trump's embrace of Duterte, blasted by human rights groups for sanctioning the extrajudicial killings of thousands.
The violent scenes were the most visible turbulence yet on Mr. Trump's 13-day trip to Asia. After carefully measuring his words for days, the president also engaged in a weekend fight with the North Korean leader, saying in a tweet, "Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat?" Yet it was Russia and President Vladimir Putin that's still hanging over the trip. After telling reporters aboard Air Force One and the he believed Putin's denial of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, Mr. Trump backtracked.
TRUMP: I believe he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership.
ZELENY: Now, the president has a final round of meetings here tomorrow before flying back to Washington. He did say today that he intends to make an announcement Wednesday back at the White House about trade, talking about everything that his conversations here over the last week and a half in Asia.
But there's also something else that has changed dramatically. The president's America first agenda is actually threatening to leave America behind in many trade pacts. On Saturday, the 11 countries that had been part of the Transpacific Partnership agreement, the TPP and the Obama administration, decided to go alone without the U.S. in this because President Trump wanted to pull out.
So the question here is of trade going forward. Can the U.S. actually have bilateral one-on-one agreements with countries or will other countries simply move beyond the U.S. here? It certainly gives a rise to China. It raises many questions about the trade practices here. So this trip will not be able to be judged a success or not from a trade perspective perhaps for months, even longer to come. But keep an eye on what happens once the president leaves here. These countries are still working together, just without the U.S. Chris?
CUOMO: That's a big deal, Jeff, there's no question about it as a political issue
ZELENY: Huge deal.
CUOMO: It will be interesting to see, does Mitch McConnell, does Paul Ryan, both of whom are very pro-TPP, take this opportunity to stand up now and make arguments that go against the president's position. They have been very shy on doing that to this point.
[08:10:08] Let's bring in CNN political analysts John Avlon and Karoun Demirjian. Good to have both of you here. Trade matters. It mattered during the campaign. The president had a very simple position then, clear and effective. TPP stinks, I'll make better deals. He goes to Asia and he sees that deals aren't being made but in the absence of the United States. What is the concern now?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The concern is that if one of the main goals of Donald Trump was to try to contain China's rise, particularly for the nationalist wing of the White House, pulling out of the TPP actually has the opposite effect because it doesn't counterbalance China with a broader trade regime in Asia. Instead that regime is going forward without any benefit to the United States and any tempt at art of the deal bilateral trade agreements may sound good on paper, but are they getting done? So it seems like a lose/lose in addition of long held Republican policy, support for free trade.
HARLOW: Karoun, you have to think part of this walking away from TPP is also because, guess who is behind TPP. President Obama. And President Trump has done all he can to reverse nearly everything that President Obama had done that he can do on his own. Two gifts to China in this, which John just explained. This gives him huge leverage in the region. They weren't part of TPP and now they get to be part of this. And the second thing here is this comes on the heels of President Trump saying at the end of last week, I don't blame China for anything they've done to this country on trade. How do you see it?
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, that does hand a little bit of the mantle over to China to be able to basically work without the criticism of the president that is coming down as fiercely as it could have had he started off on a different foot.
But again, you in the intro raised the question of will other Republicans who have been pushing for TPP, who did think these trade ideas were a good idea even when Trump was campaigning very, very fiercely against them, will they step out in front of them now, it would take such a shift for that to happen either for the president alone or for the Republicans in Congress to decide that they're going to cross him on these matters now because of this trip when they have to work on tax reform and other things that this just kind of seems like a little bit of putting things in relief, a little bit of the harsh light of reality shining on what the negative consequences are of some of these decisions.
But I don't know that means that we're necessarily going to see a dramatic change in policy because everybody started to realize, oh, wait a second, we may have handed over more to China than we meant to. And also remember, China does not exist in a vacuum when it comes to trade issues. We are very, very reliant on them when it comes to the North Korea issue, and the president and the administration are clearly loath to get too far into China's face on many things right now because they don't want to jeopardize that.
CUOMO: So you had that entrenched policy dynamic that's going on through here, and that's going to take a long time to develop. You had a much more immediate political dynamic there, which was how the president of the United States would regard authoritarian types abroad. And we saw that he has been using Twitter to go at it with Kim Jong-un. That's one dynamic.
Putin, he came away from that meeting with Putin once again seemingly to believe on some level the Russian president's denials of involvement in the election, and certainly human rights weren't a focal point with the Philippine strong man Duterte. How do these all net to positive and negative for the president?
AVLON: I think one of the many unfortunate things about the president's sort of ill-advised high school mean girl tweet about Kim Jong-un is it undercut a lot of the progress that's made on this trip with diplomacy to build a broader coalition to contain North Korea because all of a sudden it makes it look like the president is engaging in a tit-for-tat and not dealing seriously with a nuclear rogue regime.
But in general I think one of the troubling things about the president has been a certain affinity for strong men like Duterte and a lack of willingness to take them on. When he goes up on a Veterans Day and sort of takes President Putin's word at no meddling over our own intelligence agencies and then tries to clean it up a day later, that doesn't exactly send a clear America first signal in the best sense. So too often I think this president seems to enjoy at the gravitational drift of company with soft authoritarian leaders or outright authoritarian leaders.
HARLOW: Karoun, let's talk about Roy Moore. The latest development on this is even in the face of four accusers who did not seek out the press, who reluctantly shared their stories of sexual misconduct that they alleged against Roy Moore with the press, now the response from the Alabama Senate candidate is sue "The Washington Post," and that is directly out of the president's playbook and the president's handbook. He said it about "The Washington Post," "New York Times," the A.P., you name it. You have a lot of skeptical voters that our reporters, local reporters on the ground talked to in Alabama. They don't believe a lick of this because they don't believe the sourcing being "The Post." So now what?
DEMIRJIAN: This is the irony of this whole thing. Roy Moore did allow "Post" reporters to go around with him earlier this year with his campaigns. It's not like this has been a long seeded distrust of the "Washington Post" or at least he hasn't demonstrated that.
Calling into question 30 sources and a very, very well researched and reported article where, again, I know that you showed the Breitbart clip in the (inaudible) again and people saying the reporters, you know, pursued this subject and asked him to talk that's called reporting.
It means it was a reported story and not some sort of opposition plant. And then also, you know, there is a question, basically, of Moore is pushing back at this with everything's he's got.
He's threatening a lawsuit. We'll see if it materializes. He's threatening to go after the people who came forward. I mean, his supporters are questioning why they didn't come forward before. This is proof of why people don't usually step out with these stories when they have them.
If the person they are accusing is saying, well, I'm going to impugn their character now with everything I've got. So, this is kind of -- you're seeing -- in a way you're seeing so many of the different chapters of this story about what it means to have gone through these experiences for women in 2017 play out in this particularly acute Senate race right now.
And Moore's throwing everything he's got, which is not as much as was in this article it seems like.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, look, there are vulnerabilities here, let's be very clear. This has taken a long time for the stories to come out. He has been in public for a long time. Yes, there are dynamics where women don't want to come forward. They're afraid and we're seeing part of the reason that they are afraid to come forward playout in terms of how they're being vetted. We'll call it nicely.
But look, here's the real problem for me, John, and then you take it any way you want to take it, saying he needs to step down if the allegations are true. That is a hitch. There is going to be no investigation here.
That is a proper position when there is going to be a trial. Let's wait and see what is going to happen. That is not going to happen here. You have to make a determination on whether or not this is important to you and then you have to go with the facts as they develop to this point because you are not going to get any Moore proof.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, unless more suits, which I hope he does because then we'd actually get -- and that may happen, although it's probably just a flanking move for political purposes. Look, you've seen some senators like Pat Toomey say all things being equal, he should probably step aside. So, not everyone is retreating (inaudible). Senators, conservatives who supported him but backed away. But Moore was a deeply flawed candidate for many folks even before this range of allegations and to those folks who say it took a long time for these women to come forward, I'd say the same thing is true in Harvey Weinstein's case.
Someone who was powerful and public and people who remain quiet for reasons of personal fear and embarrassment and will they be believed? What is most troubling for me is this playbook. If you don't like the facts and you can't fight the facts, you attack the free press.
That may help rally your base around you, but it's not a long-term winner for democracy. It's not a long-term winner for our society.
CUOMO: I'd love to see the deposition. I hope it happens.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: He is looking at the leader of the free world doing that on a daily basis.
All right. Ahead, a deadly 7.3 magnitude earthquake has struck the Iran/Iraq border region, about 200 miles north of Baghdad. Iranian television reporting at least 336 people have been killed and thousands more have been injured. Most of those casualties, we've learned, are on the Iranian side of the border. The tremors felt as far away as Pakistan, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Turkey.
CUOMO: We have new reporting about the investigation into the death of an Army Green Beret in Mali. Citing two operation sources. The "Daily Beast" reports Army Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar discovered that two Navy SEALs were suspected of killing him, were allegedly taking money from a fund to pay informants.
CNN has not independently confirmed these new details, but sources also told the "Daily Beast" the SEALs offered to cut Sgt. Melgar in on their deal, and he refused and now he's gone.
HARLOW: Deliberations in the bribery trial of New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez will essentially start over this morning with an alternate juror in place. After 16 hours of deliberation last week, a juror was excused for a previously scheduled vacation.
The woman then told reporters many jurors appeared to be leaning towards an acquittal, but that she anticipated a hung jury. Prosecutors accused Menendez of accepting gifts from a Florida ophthalmologist in exchange for political favors. Both of those men deny the charges.
CUOMO: And just to be clear, this is not a surprise move. The judge cut this deal with this juror beforehand. So, all that conspiracy talk --
HARLOW: But didn't know she was going to talk.
CUOMO: That's true. Now that's something else, but this was not a surprise. That conspiracy talk, no need. All right. Roy Moore on the offensive denying allegations of sexual misconduct and refusing to quit his Senate race. What can the party do here? Will they stand by him? We'll discuss.
HARLOW: And when you're in the car on your way to work, if you can't be in front of the tv, turn the radio on and keep with us on NEW DAY on Sirius XM Channel 116. It's free for a limited time. Listen now.
CUOMO: Free? I like free.
CUOMO: All right. In the days since the "Washington Post" reported on Roy Moore and allegations of sexual misconduct, you've seen members of the GOP come out with real questions about him. But what can they really do about these allegations that he pursued teenage girls in his 30s?
He's now threatening to sue "Washington post" for reporting it and he says it's all untrue. If he stays in the race, what is the party going to do?
All right. Here to discuss we have CNN political commentators, Ana Navarro, and Alice Stewart. Alice, let's start with you. What is your take on what the party should do about Roy Moore and these allegations?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think clearly the establishment wing of the GOP has been against Roy Moore from the very beginning, but even more so now understandably. Look, I think for him to continue this attack on the media and continue to attack on his opponents and certainly the women victims here, I think is wrong.
I think it would be important. It would be the right thing for the Republican Party to continue to call for him to step out of the race. I gave him the benefit of the doubt at the beginning. But his inability now to categorically deny the most serious charges here is very telling.
I think I agree with Pat Toomey from here that his accusations have more credibility than his denials. This is not good for us to have a Republican running for office in such an important race and I think it's important for a party to call for him to step down.
CUOMO: So, Ana, why are we hearing so many members of your party saying if the allegations are true, he should step down. That's kind of a hallow sentiment, isn't there?
[08:25:06] There's not going to be any legal investigation or any prosecution. How will you get to the level of satisfaction with whether or not they're true?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You won't. I mean, the bottom line is, you won't. I think they're giving themselves a little wiggle room with notable exceptions like John McCain who has been vocal about it and has been unequivocal about it and brave as usual about it.
That being said, look, the ultimate trial here is going to be up to the people of Alabama. Regardless of what the people of Alabama decide to do, I think the Republican Party has got to continue calling this guy out.
This should not be about establishment versus base. That is the picture that Steve Bannon is trying to paint because this is Steve Bannon versus Mitch McConnell. He wants to defeat Mitch McConnell. He wants to defeat Washington and he wants to score for him. He wants the victory for him.
Even if it means supporting a guy who is a sexual predator. Even if it means supporting a guy who's been accused of pedophilia. That is how ridiculous it has gotten, is how personal it has gotten for Steve Bannon who wants to remake the Republican Party in his image.
He wants that victory. I was shocked today to read that 40 percent of Evangelicals are still thinking of supporting him in Alabama despite these accusations. Folks, this isn't --
CUOMO: They don't believe the accusations. They say they should have come out before now. You know, where were these people with all these different elections and opportunities they had to come out before now. That's what they're betting on. They believe Roy Moore.
NAVARRO: Listen, they were afraid. The 2017 has been a watershed moment and year for women everywhere. I think that they have seen much more to gain and there is much more strength and speaking and keeping silent. Women have lost the fear.
And this idea of attacking these women it's -- you know, it's frankly victim shaming and it's shameful for the Republican Party in Alabama for leaders there to be engaging in this, to be doing things like bringing up the bible in order to excuse what Roy Moore has done. I mean, it really is baffling.
CUOMO: That was a state official, by the way. The Alabama state auditor said, you know, Mary and Joseph had a big age gap, also. We should look at it in this context. It's not really a big of a deal what Roy Moore was doing.
NAVARRO: The only thing I got to say to that is oh, Jesus.
STEWART: Chris, I think -- I think your point is, you know, a lot of the people that are supporting Moore say where have these women been for the last four decades and why didn't the stories come out earlier?
The women were exactly where these women are now. They were afraid to come forward because they were afraid they were going to be attacked and their character impugned. That exactly is what is about to happen.
CUOMO: Bannon's minions have done them a favor because if they're down there digging and all they came up with is that the "Washington Post" reporters had to really push on these women to come forward, not only called reporting, but it showed their reluctance to come forward.
The big discovery so far hasn't really unveiled itself to it. But, Alice, here's a political reality. I'm not saying that you should mix these two in these types of situations, but that is where we are in the state of play.
If Roy Moore does step aside, how do the Republicans have any chance to win that seat? With such a thin majority number, do you think that's influencing how strongly they're calling for him to step away?
STEWART: Well, Alabama is a very red state and if we get another solid conservative in that spot, they will win.
CUOMO: But Moore stays on the ballot under the state law, doesn't he? Even if he steps away, his name stays on. He is going to split your own ticket.
STEWART: His name will stay on the ballot because this happened within the window where his name will stay on the ballot. In my view, there are plenty of candidates that can and should step up to the plate as write-in candidates.
I would like to think the people of Alabama would do the right thing because important to have their conservative values represented in Washington with their senators, but they also need it to be with someone of integrity and someone that they could rely on without skeletons in their closet.
And I think there's opportunity for write-in candidates that would make the people of Alabama proud and also represent their values.
CUOMO: Alice, Ana, thank you very much to you both. Always good to see your faces on NEW DAY -- Poppy.
HARLOW: All right. Doubts about the Republican tax plan weighing a little bit on Wall Street. How the debate on Capitol Hill could impact the market and your savings. CNN money reports next.