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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
The President Takes a Pass; Poll: Roy Moore Trailing Democratic Opponent by Eight Points; Senator Al Franken Accuser Speaks Out. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 16, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:04] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: We are clearly at a moment, so we begin in the middle of it.
John Berman here in for Anderson.
It has been an astonishing 24 hours. New sexual misconduct allegations against a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Roy Moore. Then, new revelations about a sitting senator, Al Franken. A new groping accusation, the seventh against one former president, George H.W. Bush. People reassessing their views of another, Bill Clinton.
Finally, there is the current president, himself accused of misconduct by numerous women and on the record bragging that he could get away with it. He is now doing what he almost never does saying -- well, nothing. He is not talking, not tweeting, even though he is known to tweet at all hours about anything and everything. The new silence in and of itself a screaming statement. More on that shortly.
All of this, of course, part of a growing picture of men with power in Washington, Hollywood and elsewhere behaving badly, and the increasing number of women and men confronting them about it.
In a moment tonight, Senator Al Franken.
First, Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore. A day after the "Washington Post" reported the stories of two new accusers, members of the Alabama Republican Party said they will stand behind him. And late today, he was defiant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY MOORE (R), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: As you know, the "Washington Post" has brought some scurrilous, false charges, not charges, allegations which I have emphatically denied time and time again. They're not only untrue, but they have no evidence to support them.
There's been comments about me taking a stand. Yes, I have taken a stand in the past. I'll take a stand in the future. And I'll quit standing when they lay me in that box and put me in the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Now, you could believe or disbelieve his accusers, of which there are now eight. You can agree or disagree with his politics. You can question where he stands, but you cannot doubt where he stands.
Now, can you doubt where a growing number of congressional Republicans now stand? They want him out. They're no longer saying if he did it. They're now saying they believe his accusers.
In addition, Roy Moore is now slipping in the polls, running 8 points behind his Democratic opponent in a poll out just tonight.
And on top of all that, President Trump you'll recall initially endorsed his primary opponent. Just in cold political terms, the downside to cutting Roy Moore loose would seem to be shrinking and yet after days and days of silence, all the president had to offer today was more silence.
He sent Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders out to sell this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Does the president believe Roy Moore's accusers and does he think Roy Moore should drop out of this race?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, the president believes that these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously, and he thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be.
REPORTER: So, that's a no, he thinks Roy Moore should stay in?
SANDERS: Look, the president said in his statement earlier this week that if the allegations are true, then that Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that.
REPORTER: How would the president like to see that truth proven?
SANDERS: Look, I'm not going to get into and litigate back and forth, but the president has been clear that if any of these allegations are true, allegations that he takes very seriously, finds very trouble, if those do happen to be true, then he should do the right thing and step aside.
REPORTER: Does the president believe that accusations themselves, that is to say the women themselves and their own credibility can be established outside of them making these allegations? What's the mechanism by which the president would be satisfied that the allegations are true?
SANDERS: Look, I don't think the president has laid out what the mechanisms are. That should be determined possibly by a court of law, but that's also something and a decision that the people of Alabama need to make, not the president, whether or not they want Roy Moore to support them in the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So even a week after the first accusers came forward and so many more followed, there is no change from the White House.
Sarah Sanders merely punting it to Alabama voters and referring back to the president's statement of the tenth. This: Like most Americans the president believes, we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.
Well, Judge Moore is clearly not stepping anywhere. Still, other Republican lawmakers have pulled endorsements. The Republican Party has pulled financial support. The president's daughter Ivanka has said she sees no reason to doubt the accusers, yet her father will not go beyond his first and only statement on the subject. He will not say whether he thinks Roy Moore should be a senator.
Now, CNN has already reported on one reason why not. A Republican source tells our Jeff Zeleny yesterday he's worried about the conversation moving to his past accusers. This source noting that the president still believes -- and again, this is the source talking that his accusers were unfair and some of Moore's may be too.
[20:05:01] All right. 360's Gary Tuchman is in Birmingham, Alabama, tonight, joins us now.
Gary, since this whole story broke, Roy Moore has done plenty of talking but has yet to actually answer questions from the press. Did that change today?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we thought he was going to take questions from reporters. A news conference actually began here in Birmingham following a rally that was held here attended by faith leaders from throughout the state of Alabama and throughout the country, speaking about how much they love Judge Roy Moore and defending him from the allegations, and something that Judge Roy Moore did himself.
So, it's, obviously, a natural topic for us to ask about. I asked about it, but instead of Roy Moore answering, the woman who organized the rally took the wheel and here is what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: The major issue here is, Judge, did you touch any of these women who accused you of touching you. Just answer it unequivocally. This is a room of faith. God's listening to you, too. Answer the question please?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's already answered that question.
TUCHMAN: No, answer that yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's already answered that question.
TUCHMAN: Have you ever touched any of them, sir? Let him speak. He's running for Senate, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has spoken repeatedly. In fact, I heard him answer that question.
TUCHMAN: Let him speak. He can answer the question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pay for his microphone.
And what I want to say is he's answered that question repeatedly.
TUCHMAN: He hasn't answered the question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it was answered sufficiently as was on Sean Hannity. Let's take a look --
TUCHMAN: Sir, would you like to answer the question, yes or no?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next question, sir?
REPORTER: Does Judge Roy Moore categorically denied he dated high school girls, teenage high school girls, when he was in his 30s?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You read his letter and it addresses that very clearly.
TUCHMAN: Can he speak for himself, please? Let him speak, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I paid for the microphone. I'm sorry.
REPORTER: Are your accusers lying?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a question about an issue?
TUCHMAN: That's the question right now.
(END VDIEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Roy Moore and his wife then left the room. He never uttered a single word at the news conference.
BERMAN: Never uttered a single word. Gary, it really looks like he has no intention of maybe ever really responding to questions.
TUCHMAN: Yes, it seemed predestined today because when I asked the question the woman who organized the rally never even looked at him to ask him if he wanted to answer my question and he never walked towards the podium. So, it does seem like he communicated before this event began that he wouldn't take any questions on this topic. If I asked him about other issues that pertained to this campaign, Mitch McConnell, for example, I think he probably would have taken a question.
But one thing I do want to tell you, John, after this ended there was a lot of anger in the room but most of the people were very kind and considerate towards reporters afterwards. Some were angry, though. One woman yelling at us at this quote, she said, you are fake lying news from the swamp -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Gary Tuchman for us in Birmingham, Alabama. Thanks so much.
I want to bring in the panel. Ed Martin, Scott Jennings, Abby Phillip, and Gloria Borger.
One thing that is not fake tonight, Gloria, this new poll from Alabama which shows Roy Moore trailing by eight points, which is a lot for a Republican to be trailing anyone by in Alabama. And this is exactly what some Republicans feared.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And he's also -- I mean, it's clearly because of women. There's a 17-point gender gap in this poll. Women are deserting Roy Moore, and that's a problem.
Republicans are worried that he is going to lose, although some Republicans I talked to were actually afraid he's going to win because they don't want him in the Senate because then they have a whole host of problems they'd have to deal with. They'd rather have another Republican in the Senate, but they can't quite figure out at this point how to get there because the president, as you were talking about earlier, the president has not told him to step aside. And he might be the only one he would listen to.
BERMAN: He has definitively not told him to step aside. Very important.
Scott Jennings, when I said eight points, exactly what some Republicans were fearing. By that I mean you. This is something that you have been predicting would happen. You have said is happening on the ground there.
Can it last, though, until election day, one month from now?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: It can last because we have no reason to believe that there isn't going to be more allegations every day, every two days for the rest of this election. In fact, I'd be stunned if we don't have more stories, more interviews with more accusers. I'd be shocked if that doesn't happen.
Polling can be volatile in the middle of a news bomb and that's what we're in the middle of right now. So, I'm not surprised to see this wide margin. How you get out of that, of course, is to get some separation from the event.
For Moore, his problems are two. Number one, the event may keep happening. And number two, let's not forget campaign mechanics. He's being outspent on television 11 to one by his Democratic opponent. That was causing him to slide even before this started happening.
So, yes, this is a toss up seat right now and I can't believe it but we're talking about a Democrat going to the Senate from the reddest state in America.
BERMAN: And, Abby, you know, Republicans like Scott Jennings want the president to come out and say, enough, Roy Moore, get out.
Yet he won't. He won't do it.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And I'm not actually convinced that had it matters whether he says it at this point or not. I mean, the alternative for Republicans right now is Roy Moore or an empty void essentially. This same poll indicated that Luther Strange wouldn't really -- the current acting senator from that state wouldn't actually do better than Roy Moore.
[20:10:08] He might lose to Roy Moore in a head to head match up, or they might just split the vote and create a scenario that makes it easier for the Democrat to win.
There's another dynamic that I think is worth pointing out. It's interesting that the same number of Alabama voters believe the allegations against Roy Moore and the same numbers disbelieve the allegations against Roy Moore. It's all together about two-thirds of the voters. The rest don't really know.
But what that tells me is that some people who even -- if they don't believe the allegations, they're still not comfortable voting for him. Maybe because they just don't like the ethos of the race, they don't like what it says about Alabama. Maybe they just are not comfortable with the fact that they exist. So that should be a red flag for Roy Moore who spent a lot of time talking about why these allegations are false. It may not matter one way or another.
BERMAN: Ed --
ED MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've been trying to be good.
Listen, I made two observations. Number one is we heard the same thing about polling and Scott makes a good point in a storm, in an issue, you know, you have a certain amount of volatility. I just would tell you Donald Trump was going to lose the election by double digits all over the place on polling, and one of the things that drum beat had done to him after Billy Bush was made it so you weren't going to say that you voted for Trump in polling. And we in Missouri, he was going to win by 41-19.
But here's the other thing. I think you're missing this, John. It's very important. He did send a message. Everyone was waiting to hear what the president said.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders said very clear, the people of Alabama will decide this, which is the same thing Al Franken asked. He said, don't decide, don't make me resign today. Let me go to the ethics committee in a few months and work this out.
Donald Trump sent that message. I think the people of Alabama heard that message. I really do. And I think that when Roy Moore says, I'm going to sue the "Washington Post" which he said and my sources with him said they're preparing that, I think the people there are saying, OK, it's us versus them.
And I think in Alabama, they come home on abortion, immigration, on a lot of issues to somebody who is conservative. BORGER: And the swamp. And the swamp. I mean, another thing this
poll shows is that 6 in 10 of these voters say they disapprove of the way Mitch McConnell is handling his job. And that's his campaign.
BERMAN: Scott, you want --
JENNINGS: I think Ed makes a good point about voters coming back to the Republicans. I still think Roy Moore could win this race. I don't doubt that.
I would just say that I'm pretty sure if Roy Moore loses the popular vote in this election in Alabama, there will not be an Electoral College to save him. And so, he's got to not just get to 45 or 46, which the president did, he's got to get to 50.
MARTIN: Yes. But I'll tell you, there's a moment here where Mitch McConnell is going to have to look at all these guys and Roy Blunt from my state, and look at the numbers and say, wait a second, we have a vote for judges and on these major issues that Roy Moore is good on and there's going to be a reality.
These guys all say they have a position --
BERMAN: OK, two things. One on judges, bad on molesting a 14-year- old.
MARTIN: No, it's not proven, John. Come on. Come on, John, please?
BERMAN: I'm not saying proven or not, but I'm saying for these senators looking at it --
MARTIN: You just said it.
BERMAN: No. I'm saying they're looking at it, some of them including Republican senators saying they believe the accusers.
MARTIN: Al Franken admitted today he sexually assaulted a woman who was out of it. So, you're saying that a woman says something and we're supposed to say Roy Moore is -- I'm going to go with the president who said this, right? Everybody is saying this. I have no reason to doubt those accusers. I also have no reason to doubt Roy Moore.
So, before you say he molested --
BORGER: Ivanka Trump didn't know that.
BERMAN: I just want to throw up on the screen right now, all the senators right now. I think we have a list. These are the U.S. senators calling for Moore to withdraw. In many of these senators, including Republican senators, Republican male senators say they believe -- these are all Republicans, they believe the accusers. I'm just saying that they believe what the accusers are saying,
including this woman who says when she was 14, she was sexually molested. There's that.
I also want to can you ask you, Ed, the question you say the president answered isn't necessarily the biggest question here, which is, do you think Roy Moore should be senator from Mississippi? I'm sorry, from Alabama? Do you want Roy Moore to be the next senator from Alabama?
MARTIN: Are you asking me or the president?
BERMAN: The president.
MARTIN: Well, but I think you saying the question -- he hasn't answered or commented on this. Sarah Huckabee Sanders came out and she delivered an answer. The answer was the people will decide.
And, by the way, I think that that's fair. I'm not saying Al Franken's -- the woman that's accused him, I don't think she should be believed over Al Franken either until we see what happens.
And if Roy Moore won't go into court and sue, like he said he would, "The Washington Post", so those women get their day in court, then shame on him. But I think he said he will, and I'm willing to say, let's take our turn. And by the way --
BERMAN: There's no court before election day, I will say that. People are going to have to look at it and decide as all these Republican senators have and people are just asking the president for his view.
We're going to talk much more about this. We're going to talk a lot more about Al Franken coming up and to Ed Martin's delight. It's going to be about how the senator is apologizing after a woman came forward with her story of how he forcibly kissed and groped her while on a USO tour in 2006.
[20:15:06] What she is now and how he's now responding. That's next.
And we do have breaking news in the Russia investigation. What we're learning tonight about Jared Kushner and what he may have kept from the Senate about the Russians and WikiLeaks.
BERMAN: A news anchor who says Al Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her says the incident left her feeling belittled and humiliated, but she thinks the senator's apology is heartfelt. This happened in 2006 while Leeann Tweeden and Franken were in a USO tour entertaining troops. She says it wasn't until after the trip that she saw this photo of Franken groping her while she was asleep on the plane. Tweeden also says Franken insisted they practice a kit with a kissing scene in it.
This is what she said to Jake Tapper on "THE LEAD" today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEEANN TWEEDEN, AL FRANKEN ACCUSER: The whole time in my mind I'm thinking it's like Bob Hope, you know, you're going to come in for the kiss. I'm the girl and I'm just going to turn my head and -- or I would cover my -- his mouth. It would be funny, right, because we're doing this to entertain the troops. It's like a shtick, right?
And so he comes in and it all happened so fast. He comes in and, you know, at the last second, we're coming in and he just -- he puts his hand on the back of my neck and he comes in so fast and he just sort of -- you know, it's like that, you know, there was no finesse to it at all, let's put it that way, and he just mashes his mouth to my lips. And, you know, it was like wet and he puts his tongue in my mouth.
[20:20:01] And, you know, my reaction, it was just sort of a -- you know, I push his chest away with my hands, and I'm like if you ever do that to me again -- I was so angry. I was in disbelief really. And I just sort of -- you know, to this day I talk about it and my hand clenches into a fist because I think my initial reaction is that I wanted to hit him. That's what I feel. And I still feel that to this day, I think.
And, you know, I just looked at him and said, don't you ever do that to me again because I won't be so nice about it the next time.
I was nervous to come out about it. This doesn't make me feel good. Everybody goes, oh, you're so strong. You're going to feel so great talking about it. I still have a knot in my stomach. This is -- you know, this isn't some like oh, yes, I'm going to do it and I feel great about it.
You know, you always -- I don't want to be cliche, but, you know, you talk about trying to leave the world a better place for your kids, you know? Sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Senator Franken put out a lengthy statement apologizing to Tweeden, to every one who was part of the tour, everyone who has worked for him and everyone he represents.
The statement reads in part, quote: Over the last few months, all of us -- including and especially men who respect women -- have been forced to take a good hard look at our own actions and think perhaps shamefully, for the first time, about how those actions have affected women. For instance, that picture. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture and it doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate.
Franken says he's asking for an ethics investigation, and he will gladly cooperate.
Back now with our panel and joining the conversation, Bakari Sellers.
Gloria, did Al Franken do enough?
BORGER: Well, I think his -- he's going to go before the Ethics Committee and it remains to be seen. You know, he issued a first statement, which was really perfunctory, I have to say. It was sort of like I don't remember the rehearsal and I shouldn't have taken the picture, and I shouldn't have done it and it wasn't funny. And that was just nothing.
And then clearly, somebody got to him or he talked to his staff or he talked to other senators who were clearly starting to say how outraged they were by it, and then he wrote the second statement, which he read from.
And she was gracious enough today to say she wasn't asking for him to leave the Senate. She accepted his apology, and she didn't want anything in return other than to make this a better place, as she said to Jake.
And so, is it enough?
I think the Senate is going to have to be the judge of that. I think the people of his state are going to have to be the judge of that. And the country will judge. But he got better as the day went on --
BERMAN: Abby, it's interesting, Democrats, they could have asked for more than the Ethics Committee. I will talk about the ethics committee issue in just a moment. But no one jumped to his defense. There is not a single Democratic senator who jumped to his defense, including some Democratic senators who are starting to return campaign donations from Al Franken. They're clearly trying to create some distance here.
PHILLIP: Yes, I think they recognize that they're in a perilous moment where everybody can get caught up in this storm. It's not just Republicans. It's not just Roy Moore. And if they don't acted quickly, they can be quickly labeled a hypocrite.
I mean, I think they have for many, many years not had to fully answer for, for example, Bill Clinton and the accusations against him. I think they recognize that times have changed. The environment in which Democrats are operating in is different. They are right to act quickly.
However, you know, this ethics investigation thing is -- it's unclear what that even is. What is it that an Ethics Committee can do to reprimand Al Franken for things that he did two years before he became a U.S. senator, that he admits to doing? It's unclear.
BERMAN: That's the point. I'm confused what the ethics investigation will be. And this is a point that Ed made before and I know will make again, which is that if you're judging Roy Moore, saying, I've seen enough to know I don't want him to be a senator. Why have this ethics investigation -- why shouldn't these senators say, I've seen enough to know that Al Franken behaved poorly and shouldn't be a U.S. senator? BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think we all know that the Ethics Committee is a place where complaints go to die. I don't think the Senate Ethics Committee has actually sanctioned a United States senator in 10 years, if I'm not mistaken.
Look, I think Al Franken should resign. I don't think -- I don't know if that's a Democratic talking point or not, but he committed a sexual assault, right? That's an unwanted touching to a woman who is asleep.
I can be a Democrat and tell you that I don't think that Senate should have someone like Al Franken and as much as we thought him to a contender in 2020. I don't think Roy Moore should be a United States senator. And I don't think Donald Trump should be president of the United States. I think that there is a direct correlation between all of them.
The problem that people have is we're so hyper partisan in the United States that people think that sexual assault and sexual harassment are partisan issues.
[20:25:07] They're not. And we need to cleanup on our house on the Democratic side and Republicans need to cleanup their house on their side.
I'm tired of this what-about-ism. People want to say what about Bill Clinton or what about Anthony Weiner? People want to say, what about Roy Moore or what about Donald Trump?
We need to focus on cleaning up our own houses. And to be quite specific, I know that we're having a conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault on both sides, but men in this country have to fundamentally do a better job, and men that are elected positions have to do a better job and hold themselves to a higher standard. I don't care if you're Democrat or Republican.
So, Roy Moore needs to go. Donald Trump needs to have some reckoning with his sexual harassment problems. And Al Franken needs to resign.
BERMAN: That's a big statement. I want to be clear here. Bakari, what you're saying there is a big deal.
Ed, I want you to respond.
MARTIN: Yes. I want to join in on the one and I'm pleased about how you talked about the whole thing with Franken. I just want to point out, if what he did happened in federal context, because he was on federal trip, is that's assault, that's sexual assault what Franken did, and there ought to be a prosecute who looks at it. Yes, I agree, there's going -- ethics charges are going somewhere.
But the one thing I think about Franken doing that in the ethics committee is the woman will get a chance to speak and Franken will have to answer under oath, and one of the things I've said about Roy Moore, is if he's going to sue, if he said I didn't do it, if he said, I did none of it, then he should sue "The Washington Post" and he should let those women be under oath and say that. But, by the way, CNN reported today on CNN.com, I want to do this.
Let's drain the swamp, $15 million, CNN reported, $17 million spent in settlements. Why is it every single member who had to settle out there and whoever they are, whatever parties, let's post them tomorrow.
BORGER: I think it's a scandal. I think we should know the names of the people.
BORGER: And I think, you're right. The Ethics Committee in a way is kind of an easy way for people to not deal with Al Franken or anybody else and say, oh, that's before the Ethics Committee. They're going to handle it now. And then maybe it goes to die there or as you point out --
SELLERS: The irony in the Ethics Committee, though, is that it wasn't Al Franken's idea. The first person who came out with that was Mitch McConnell and Mitch McConnell knows full well that things go there to die.
BERMAN: There is the theory -- Scott Jennings, who walked out of the room, has a theory about why that is. We'll talk about that. We're going to continue this discussion after a quick break and hear how some of the senators' female colleagues are responding. That's next.
[20:30:29] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: As we reported, Senator Al Franken is apologizing and welcoming an ethnics investigation after Leeann Tweeden revealed today that he forcibly kissed her while they were on USO tour together in 2006 and in another incident posed for photo where he is groping her as she's sleeping. Here is what two senators had to say in response to the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO, (D) NEVADA: Very disappointed. I support an ethics investigation. This kind of conduct should not be tolerated by anyone or any public official.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should he resign?
MASTO: You know, that's something I think we're going to have to wait to see how it plays out on the ethics investigation which I support and I think that should move forward.
SENATOR DEB FISCHER, (R) NEBRASKA: There's serious allegations they need to be investigated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about fitting behavior for a U.S. senator? FISCHER: No. It's not fitting behavior for anyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you support it --
FISCHER: It needs to be looked into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Interesting, both the Republican and Democrat though not saying that he should resign at least not yet, which is not going as far as Bakari Sellers just when a moment ago, who said that Al Franken should resign right now.
Gloria Borger, the (INAUDIBLE), Scott Jennings suggested that the reason that Mitch McConnell is pushing for Ethics Committee for Al Franken and so if Roy Moore wins, he can say, there is precedent for us to investigate and expel someone for something they did before they were U.S. senator.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's a brilliant analysis. And then Democrat and Republican could potentially be expelled at the same time, which would also keep the ratio. If you want to be cynical about it, you can be cynical about it, but it was sort of surprising that immediately, Mitch McConnell came out and said Ethics Committee and, you know, the wheels turn in Mitch McConnell's head. And, you know, that was where it was headed.
And clearly, if Roy Moore were to win, he would be in the Ethics Committee and then they would have to do something. And they would have to decide, take it to the floor and decide whether he ought to be expelled. And that would put more pressure on the Franken case obviously.
BERMAN: All right, something else has happened in the last few minutes as we've been out here talking which has Kirsten Gillibrand, senator from New York has got an interview with the "New York Times," Abby, where asked directly about former President Bill Clinton and his behavior, some of which he was punished for, some of which he paid for literally while he was in office. Other accusations though never held to account in some ways.
And in Kirsten Gillibrand was ask -- the senator was asked, do you think that Bill Clinton should have resigned. And she said, yes. She tells the "New York Times" tonight, yes. In this moment that we are in right now, there seems to be a dramatic reassessment of some recent history.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, it's the great reckoning of the Bill Clinton era that Democrats have postponed for many, many years. I mean, I think that 2012 campaign prolonged that reckoned or I'm sorry -- 2016 campaign prolonged that reckoning even further because of how it became in some ways kind of a side show. I mean, remember the debate in which the accusers were brought in and it was just as -- it was became kind of a theatrical, but the accusations are very serious. And I think, you know, to Bakari's point, there are a lot of men out there who have never had to come to terms with this. And I think in reality Bill Clinton is one of them. He is not had to say how he accounts for these accusations. He has been protected by the Democratic Party in a lot of ways. I think Kirsten Gillibrand is at the younger generation of Democrats and she recognizes that there are younger voters, particularly women, who will not stand for this anymore.
There -- in the 2016 campaign, a lot of younger voters that I talked to out on the trail with Hillary Clinton were deeply uncomfortable -- deeply uncomfortable with this issue. And she never was able to get past. And I think going into 2020, no Democrat is going to be able to go out there without having a firm stand on this.
BERMAN: Ed, I'm sure you would be eager to look into former President Clinton's past, you talked about that?
ED MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not particularly.
BERMAN: But there is issue with President Donald Trump, for whom there were more than a dozen women came and made these accusations during the campaign. To what level does he need to be held account for this?
MARTIN: You know, I worked for Phyllis Schlafly -- the late Phyllis Schlafly and she said once about this, you elect the president, not a pastor. I mean, Donald Trump run and people knew about him, about his life, they knew about his divorces. I don't he try to put himself out as someone who was -- and it's Al Franken too, to be honest. He was a comedian who said raunchy things that lot of us were surprised he won election twice.
I think the one thing I would say at this moment, and I know you're going to be surprise when I say bring it back to Roy Moore.
[20:35:04] It's very disconcerting to be a public person who runs for office and be out there and even journalists, and have people be able to say something and not have some way to get to the bottom of it.
And by that I mean, I think Al Franken he said, I did. And George H. W. Bush has had to say some of these things he did do. Right, he said appropriate jokes by the things. But we're living in world where accusation -- the speed of it can destroy a person's life. And we need to honor the victims. We need to honor real victims. But we need to be careful about how this is -- I don't want to go back and litigate Bill Clinton.
PHILIP: Why isn't Roy Moore --
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But I think why are we --
PHILIP: -- why is that Roy Moore wont' answer questions about this?
MARTIN: Well, now he's got a lawyer because he is and suing the "Washington Post." PHILIP: I guess that's where we are.
SELLERS: So with Donald Trump.
PHILIP: That's where we are.
SELLERS: Donald Trump is suing the "Washington Post" and all of his accuses and where is that lawsuit? It hasn't been here. But one of the things that we're talking about is that when we talk about Donald Trump and we can talk about the reckoning of Bill Clinton because, you know, you had an impeachment, you have all this other things, but yes, there still are issues and questions that have to be answered.
But with Donald Trump, you have Sarah Huckabee Sanders who goes to the well, or goes to the podium and simply says all of those accusers are lie and moves on. I mean, you have people who have credible stories of harassment against the President of the United States. And I think that that is justified and looking into. I think that --
PHILIP: I think to Bakari's point, it's important to know -- and I'm just responding to what you said, it's important to know that these are not just accusations being thrown out there. And a lot of cases, they're collaborated by the other people who are either present or who have been told at that time. These are not just people going out there saying --
PHILIP: -- this thing happened to me. There are other people involved. So I think you have to make a distinction between just random talk and the only kind of short of going back in time and taking DNA tests and taking rape kits, what other evidence would you require?
BERMAN: What we're going to do is we're going to leave it here guys. I want to thank you for the conversation. I would like to continue this conversation and I think we will over the coming days and weeks, because it's an important one and not going away.
Make sure to tune in at the top of the hour, Senator Franken's accuser, Leeann Tweeden, joins Jake Tapper.
Next more breaking news, Jared Kushner under fresh scrutiny in the Russia investigation over something he did not do, see why when we come back.
[20:41:02] BERMAN: More breaking news and at the risk of saying another day, another previously undisclosed Russia contact on the part of the President's inner circle, another day, another previously undisclosed Russia contact in the part of the President's inner circle. This time Jared Kushner in the form of e-mails he withheld from Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, which is drawing complaints from the committee's top Republican and top Democrat.
In addition, we just learned about special counsel Robert Mueller issuing a subpoena to the Trump campaign, why he did it and what it could mean? Senate Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown joins us here with more breaking news on both items.
Pamela, the first, tell us about the Trump campaign subpoena that now part of the Mueller investigation.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We'll John, we've learned the Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena to the Trump
campaign expanding search terms for documents related to the Russia investigation source tells my colleague Gloria Borger. And this also described it as cleanup subpoena to cover more documents beyond what the campaign has already handed over, which were the same documents handed over to Congress.
The subpoena is so wide-ranging, John, that the source that it could take months to respond a hand over all those documents. But for context here, Mueller has issued a lot of subpoenas throughout the investigation. So this isn't necessarily unusual or unexpected, however we're told the White House has not received a similar subpoena.
BERMAN: All right, and I understand Jared Kushner has failed to disclose certain documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee, what do we know about that?
BROWN: Yes, that's right. The Senate Judiciary Committee released a laundry list of documents known to exist but that Kushner hasn't provide to the committee's investigators and it's all related to Russia and the ongoing Congressional investigation. They include communications related to Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor, including documents about his firing and his registration as a foreign agent and whose documents about Kushner's security clearance.
We'll recall Kushner had to update that clearance form three times to include his meetings with foreign entities, including Russians. Kushner claimed over the clerical error but it clearly investigators want to know more. The committee also asking for an e-mail chain that we know involved Donald Trump, Jr. related his direct messages with WikiLeaks, and which Kushner didn't forward it to Hope Hicks.
The committee said Kushner also didn't hand over communications with Sergei Millian, he's a Russian businessman. He was importantly believed to be source D in the dossier, the infamous dossier. The committee says Kushner was copying some of those e-mails with Millian but hasn't turned those e-mails over? And they also went documents about attempt to establish a back door line of communications to Russians and a dinner invites surrounding that.
In addition, the request includes Kushner's phone records that he has shown up in documents others have provided to the committee. So, all in all, John, the committee says Kushner seemed has failed to turn these documents over and the latest batch of document production from earlier this month
We did received a statement from Kushner's attorney which says in part, we've provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to with Mr. Kushner's calls, contacts, or meetings with Russians during the campaign in transition, which was the request. And in the statement also says, Kushner will continue to provide voluntary cooperation.
BERMAN: All right. Betty (ph) stay with us. I want to bring in Carrie Cordero, former counsel to the U.S. Assistant to Attorney General for National Security. Carrie, what do you making this development? Let's start with the Mueller team, the subpoenas to the Trump campaign.
CARRIE CORDERO, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF L AW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I think Pamela is right. And there's -- it's not really surprising giving the scope of the special counsel's investigation that he would be issuing subpoenas to the campaign. Obviously, they're requesting documents voluntarily but also he's going to serve legal process and subpoena is just basic form of investigation. So, I don't think there's anything particularly surprising about that.
BERMAN: The timing Pamela, according to the Wall Street Journal, a subpoena went out in mid October. We know that was about 10 days after George Papadopoulos plead guilty or we learned that he plead guilty in lying to the FBI, and two weeks before charges file against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, anything to the timing?
[20:44:57] BROWN: It makes you wonder, for sure, particularly as it relates to Papadopoulos because as we know, he was called a proactive cooperator according to the government, the court records. And so it does makes you wonder if perhaps he told investigators anything that made them want to search for more documents that the campaign had.
We don't know that for certain but it does certainly raised a question whether they went back and looked at what they had and that there's a lot more there, we need to issue a subpoena to get the rest of the documents that we believe we need for this investigation.
BERMAN: All right. Carrie, on the Kushner story, yet again, we see Jared Kushner forgetting, maybe conveniently forgetting, key contacts or key meetings, forgetting to fill something out, forgetting to turn something over. Is there a pattern here which should be of note to the special counsel?
CORDERO: Well, again this was, certainly the special counsel can be paying attention to that. But I suspect that the special counsel is a sort of a beat ahead of the congressional investigators in terms of the information that they have gathered because of course, a special counsel inherited the ongoing FBI investigation. What's interesting about this report is that it certainly shows a sign of life in the Senate Judiciary Committee investigation because so far it's been the Senate Intelligence Committee that's been really been taking the lead on the Russia investigation.
And so this shows that the Senate Judiciary Committee is still conducting a very serious inquiry. And remember that over the summer Jared Kushner had issued a statement in July explaining his statement and supposedly all of the contacts that he had with Russian officials or any contacts that might be questionable over the course of the campaign. And in that statement he said that he had no improper contacts. So, if there's new information and a new information coming to light now, the Congressional investigators are going to be interested in that.
BERMAN: Right. Pamela, quickly on Robert Mueller, we know he interviewed Stephen Miller, who is a speech writer and key advisor for the President, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer also expected to speak to Hope Hicks, which is very interesting. Do we think Jared Kushner might be on the list?
BROWN: We do you believe that eventually Robert Mueller's team want to talk to him because we know, we've reported that the team is interested in Kushner because of the fact that he has been at the nexus of so many parts of this investigation including the firing of James Comey. So, it is believed that eventually investigators were going to talk to him.
BERMAN: Pamela Brown, Carrie Cordero, thank you so much for being with us.
When we come back, the Trump administration will not allow people to import endangered elephant trophies from two African countries. That decision popping is swift backlash which we'll get into next.
[20:51:13] BERMAN: A new decision from the Trump administration to allow the importation of some African elephant trophies has already prompt and swift backlash the Obama rules restricting importation were put in to protect the dwindling elephant populations Zimbabwe and Zambia from big game hunters, big game hunters such as such as President Trump's sons.
Now some say removing those restrictions will hurt the endangered animals. CNN Tom Foreman has the latest.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The pictures for some are brutal. Wild African elephants killed by people paying tens of thousands of dollars to pull the trigger.
Donald Trump Jr. has traveled to Africa to hunt many times and defends it.
DONALD TRUMP JR. PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: Once you get exposed to it, you realize it's not just like, you know, savage thing.
FOREMAN (voice-over): And the new rules from his father would allow more Americans to hunt elephants and return home with their trophies, tusks and all. The money from their sport in theory helping to protect other elephants. A Safari Club International put it, hunting is beneficial to wildlife. And these range countries know how to manage their elephant populations. And it fits neatly into President Trump's promise to cut government restrictions.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want regulation for environmental. We want regulation for safety. But the regulations are massive.
FOREMAN (on camera): This bill would kill -- he insists a few days ago, even.
FOREMAN (voice-over): However, the move stands in stark contrast to Obama era efforts to stop elephant poaching by cutting off the world ivory trade.
In 2015, a joint deal was struck with China, the biggest ivory market to ban virtually all ivory imports and exports. In New York, a ton of illegal ivory was crushed.
REPRESENTATIVE GRACE MENG (D), NEW YORK: The U.S is the second largest market for ivory in the entire world.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Some elephant hunting was still allowed under Obama. But outrage over this broad change of plans has been swept. Chelsea Clinton, infuriating, will increase poaching, make communities vulnerable, and hurt conservation efforts. Habitat laws and hunting have had devastating effects. At the start of the 20th century, there were three to five million African elephants according to the World Wildlife Fund which says only 400,000 remain.
WAYNE OACELLE, THE HUMANE SOCIETY CEO: So, if you want to generate economic activity in Africa, in Zimbabwe, in Tanzania, in Kenya, in South Africa, keep the wildlife alive.
FOREMAN: John, the President's plan does not open up all of Africa, it just expands hunting in Zambia and Zimbabwe, places where advocates of this move say, they feel elephants are doing comparatively well.
Still critics insist it is a collusively bad move for a species that has been under so much pressure for so long. John.
BERMAN: All right, Tom Foreman, thanks so much.
Up next, the latest news from Capitol Hill, where the House version of the Republican tax bill passed today, but there is still a long road ahead before it becomes law.
[20:57:58] BERMAN: Today the House dealt with Trump administration an important legislative win. The Republican tax reform bill passed by a comfortable margin there, but the fight to make the bill a law is far from over. Phil Mattingly, who's been in the middle of this, joins me now from Capitol Hill. Phil, interesting development today, with the main selling point for this bill has been that it will cut taxes for the middle class. But the new study out says that may not be the case. What's going on here?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. And his is for the Senate bill, obviously still moving through the process, but the Joint Committee on taxation, John, it's a nonpartisan entity putting out the numbers for that bill. There's a pretty startling ones, if you're lower and or middle income, particularly by 2021.
According to this analysis, any individual or family making between 10 and 30,000 dollars a year would see a major tax increase. Now, why is that? It's because of the inclusion of the repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate. The analysis is basically saying that people would no longer get subsidies because they would fall off insurance, therefor the tax would go up.
Republicans quibbled with that analysis. Don't believe that's true because people will saw the option of purchasing health insurance. That's obviously one red flag. The other red flag is because tax cuts phase out, because of a sunset, because of the budget constrains in this bill. Anyone making under 75,000 dollars by 2027 would see a tax increase. That's something Republicans are going to have to address, John.
BERMAN: About 30 second left Phil, what are or perhaps I should say who are the major hurdles facing this bill in the Senate.
MATTINGLY: List a couple of M's for you, Susan Collins, obviously, we know a lot about her with health care, the inclusion and individual mandate repeal, is problematic. Senator Ron Johnson, party saying he is opposed to the bill because of the past through entities. You've got people like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz saying that these tax cuts don't go deep enough.
John McCain, obviously flash back to healthcare. His issues are all procedural. He's OK with it so far. But that could always flair up. The big issue right now is potentially deficits. Senator Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, don't want this bill to add to the deficit.
John, there are a lot of issues they need to iron out, a lot of hurdles left to go. They think they can get there, but obviously a lot of work left.
BERMAN: All right. Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill gets back to work. Thank you so much for watching 360.
Time now for us to hand things over to a good man with a terrific interview that you absolutely want to see, Jake Tapper now with the special edition of The Lead.