Return to Transcripts main page


Kushner Attorney: Senate Panel Playing "Gotcha Games"; Another Woman Accuses Franken of Groping; Roy Moore's 1st Accuser Describes Ordeal; Evangelicals Support Roy Moore; 1960s Cult Guru, Convicted Murderer Charles Manson Dies. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 20, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CN JUSTICE & CRIME CORRESPONDENT: -- planned as we've been reporting of some of the closest aides to the president, including Hope Hicks, who is the communications director. She's expected to be interviewed by the special counsel team along with Don McGahn. And we are awaiting word as to whether other people close to Jared Kushner will be part of the group that is eventually interviewed by the special counsel.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Shimon, I'll come back to you in a second.

And commenting on Abbe Lowell, the Kushner attorney, calling his client a hero. Is he a hero?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think Jared Kushner could be a hero if he finally gets President Trump to hold Russia accountable for their direct attack on the United States. Right now, we have a situation where Kushner's lawyer is saying that Kushner told people in the campaign not to have contact with foreign officials and not to take meetings with foreign officials. The fact of the matter is, however, that the administration which Kushner is a part of hasn't imposed any costs on Russia for their election interference. President Trump went to Vietnam a week or so ago, didn't confront Putin on his election meddling. And we have sanctions that are due to come in, in January, and Kushner could recommend that Trump impose his own time.

BALDWIN: Didn't this go from, no, no, no, no, we didn't talk to the Russians and, yes, we did talk to the Russians and everything is G- rated, nothing to see here.

VINOGRAD: There are inconsistencies with what contact they had with foreign officials, when they had it and what it was about. The counsel is looking into that. What is very clear is the Russian government tried through multiple channels to contact the campaign and they were successful.

BALDWIN: Shimon, there are officials about to be interviewed in the coming weeks. Who are they?

PROKUPECZ: There are interviews expected. Hope Hicks is of particular interest to everyone right now. She's one of the president's closest aides. She's been by his side for years working for the Trump organization, the campaign, and now the White House communications director. Hicks has been with the president during some key moments which are new under investigation by the special counsel. Don McGahn, then the White House lawyer, he was present during the Comey firing and all issues by investigation by Mueller. One of the places where Hope Hicks comes into play. And Josh Raffel was a Kushner advisor. They were aboard the Air Force One meeting where a statement was crafted by the president and sort of a misleading statement about Don Jr's meeting with a Russian lawyer and these, you know, that is part of the investigation now that is being conducted by the special counsel, that statement, and that meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer. Remember, she claimed that she had dirt on Hillary Clinton, and all of that is as expected, part of the investigation. Some of the interviews, Brooke, we're told, could take place this week.

BALDWIN: Let me put the conversation in quotes the Republican operative as, according to "The Washington Post" recorded, as saying they'll "get talked to. These things are thorough and deep in terms of the interviews, it is going to be a long winter program."

Shimon and Sam, thank you both so much.

Let's talk about Roy Moore. The first of his accusers is breaking her silence, describing what she says the Senate candidate did to her when she was 14 years of age.

And another woman comes forward to accuse Senator Al Franken of groping her. Hear what she is telling CNN and how the Senator is responding.


[14:38:07] BALDWIN: A second woman now says Senator Al Franken touched her inappropriately. This time, the alleged incident happened while he was serving in office. She is 33-year-old Lindsay Menz. She tells CNN that Senator Franken pulled her really close and grabbed her rear-end while her husband took a photo of them at the minnesota State Fair in 2010. Menz tells CNN that his behavior made her feel, quote, "gross and disrespected."

In a statement to CNN, Senator Franken says he did not remember taking that photo with her and says he felt badly that she felt disrespected.

This accusation, as you well know, comes just a couple of days after a radio news anchor says Franken forcibly kissed and groped her during a 2006 USO tour before he was elected to the Senate.

Now, the first woman to publicly accuse Roy Moore of sexual abuse is speaking on camera for the first time. She is Leigh Corfman, whose teenage picture you have well seen by now, first published in "The Washington Post," which broke the story wide open, who says Moore molested her when she was 14 years of age. She spoke out on the "Today Show," and says that she "did not deserve to have a 32-year-old man prey upon her," her word, but now she feels that a weight has been lifted.


LEIGH CORFMAN, ALLEGED SEXUAL VICTIM OF ROY MOORE: At 14, I was not dating. At 14, I was not able to make those kinds of choices. I met him around the corner from my House. My mother did not know. And he took me to his home. After arriving at his home on the second occasion that I went with him he basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceed to seduce me, I guess. He would say, and during the course of that he removed my clothing. He left the room and came back in wearing his white underwear, and he touched me over my clothing, what was left of it, and he tried to get me to touch him, as well, and at that point I pulled back and said that I was not comfortable, and I got dressed and he took me home, but I was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult's world and he was 32 years old.

It took away a lot of the specialness of, you know, interactions with men. It took some trust away. It allowed me to delve into some things that I would, you know, wouldn't have otherwise. It took years for me to regain a sense of confidence in myself, and I felt guilty. You know, I felt like I was the one that was to blame, and it was decades before I was able to let that go.

So when "The Washington Post"" sought me out -- I didn't go looking for this. It fell in my lap.


[14:41:23] BALDWIN: Corfman said, at the time, she shared the story of what happened with her family and friends. And she considered confronting Roy Moore years ago and decided against it to protect her young children. Corfman said she was never paid to tell her story, and speaking out has cost her.

Despite allegations, Roy Moore says he is not dropping out of Senate race in Alabama. And he has many supporters, many of whom are in the evangelical community. One pastor told "The Boston Globe" that even if it turned out Roy Moore did, in fact, molest teenage girls and women, that he would still vote for him.

With me now is Astead Herndon, the reporter for "The Boston Globe" who spoke with that pastor and so many others.

Astead, thank you so much for coming on.


BALDWIN: Can you just -- tell me about some of these conversations with these evangelical pastors.

HERNDON: Yes. They were truly extraordinary. I had seen a list of 50 evangelical pastors that had previously supported judge Moore and so then after the allegations began to come out and some serious and distressing allegations, I just decided that I would go down the list and try to get as many on the phone as possible. I ended up speaking with about ten of them and called dozens of others and the ones who I have spoken with, all of them stuck by him. Some of them have said that the allegations made them more likely to vote for the judge and this happened because of a couple of reasons. Some of them straight- up did not believe the women and would say disparaging, personal things about the women and some of them said that even if -- as you said, even if the judge would have sexually molested teenage girls and other women, they believe that it's still better than voting for a Democrat simply because of issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and other things they find totally unacceptable, even something as bad as pedophilia.

BALDWIN: Hang on. It's taking me a minute to wrap my head around the point you're making.


BALDWIN: These are men of faith.

HERNDON: Un-huh.

BALDWIN: How can they -- how is it that ideology for them Trumps criminality in some cases and personal transgressions?

HERNDON: So they would come from it from two ways. One is they would cast a lot of doubt on the allegations against judge Moore saying that they didn't believe the women, that it had taken them too long to come forward, that the women in some cases, they had seen stories that made them not believe the reputation of the women and on the other hand, even if it was true, then I would still vote for him because the worst thing, in my book, one pastor told me, that the worst thing in his book would be to support someone who is for full-term abortion or same-sex marriage like Democrat Doug Jones. And multiple other pastors told me straight-up that even if the judge were to have committed these serious acts, that partisanship and supporting the other social conservative was the most important thing for them.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you, quickly, and then I'm going to let you go, this wasn't a pastor you talked to. You talked to Al Franken radish.

HERNDON: I talked to him, as well.

BALDWIN: There you go. Of course, you did. You talked to these different people.

I read this quote where he said these accusations are, quote, "a war on men and more women are sexual predators than men."

How does he explain that?

[14:44:57] HERNDON: He told me the same thing. He used anecdotes that if you see women on the streets they're sometimes dressed provocatively and they're trying to attract the attention of young men. I pushed back on this and I said the overwhelming sexual predators and throughout the country and the legal system are men, but this is not something he was really interested in hearing. This is the same pastor that used several racial terms in the conversations with me saying that judge Moore was being lynched in the public square saying that Senator mitch McConnell and John McCain in calling for judge Moore to step down were being, quote, political field hands in the picking cotton of the Democratic plantation.


HERNDON: A lot of those quotes were astonishing and, frankly, kind of shocking.

BALDWIN: Listen, I'm glad you picked up the phone and called them. This is a part of the population we need to hear from. And a lot of these folks are the ones voting in Alabama.

Astead Herndon, thank you so much, from "The Boston Globe." Thanks.

HERNDON: Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: You got it.

Coming up next, the leader of a murderous cult, Charles Manson, dies behind bars. We'll talk to a who was just 14 when she was indoctrinated into his cult.


[14:50:37] BALDWIN: For decades, his name invoked fear and terror, but to his followers, master manipulator, Charles Manson, was the epitome of love. The '60s cult leader of the Manson family has died. He was 83.

Manson was the mastermind behind the bloody Tate and LaBianca murders in Los Angeles in 1969. He was known for his iron-gripped sway over young drifters, mostly young women, who he convinced to carry out his murderous plan. He called them "the children" when CNN interviewed him in 1987.


CHARLES MANSON, CONVICTED MURDERER: It's, like, the same thing goes with the same disposition with the children of the Tate-LaBianca fame. They were soldiers fighting for this country, but only in a different perspective that your society can't seem to get it through its head that your children can only function and reflect what you put down in their brains! If you put something down in your children's brains and they raise up with you and Jerry Ruben's up there saying, come on, kids, kill your mother and dad, come on, kids, kill your mother and dad, so the kids are going and killing their mothers and dads, and then you say, oh, the kids are all messed up.


BALDWIN: With me now, Diane Lake, the youngest former member of the Manson family. And also with us is Deborah Herman, who co-authored with Lake this book, "Member of the Family: Life Inside the Cult and the Darkness That Ended the '60s."

Ladies, thank you so much for being with me.

Diane, let me begin with you. You were his youngest cult follower. You were just 14. You weren't

involved with any of the murders and ended up playing a role as a key witness in the trial. And the Manson story is in so many ways also your story. How did you feel when you heard he died?




LAKE: A sense -- because for too long he has played the media. I think he has enjoyed his role, you know, as the icon of evil and the crimes that he, you know, instigated against some really innocent people including the people that he mind-controlled to do the dirty work is just such a travesty. I think that -- I'm hoping that this will be one less bogeyman in our -- in our history.

BALDWIN: Can you still feel that pull? Can you remember back to being a teenager and how you were drawn in by him?

LAKE: I can, but I wonder now that, you know, I'm 50 years older, how that -- I understand how it could have happened, but -- and it also helps me to understand that the mind of a 14-year-old is definitely not that of an adult, although most 14-year-olds think they're adults.

BALDWIN: You helped her a year --


# -- writing the book. There have been so many books and documentaries out on this man in these, I don't know, last couple of years. What have you learned about him that surprised you?

HERMAN: Seeing the Manson story unfold through the eyes and experiences and memories of Diane was the most unique position to be in. I'd always wondered who would wind up with Charles Manson, and I also as we wrote the book together, thought about there, but for the grace of god go I and many people he in the beginning looked like any other new age or '60s guru. People are very impressionable. They were looking for answers. The most surprising thing was for me to see through Diane's eyes his dissent into what I consider further madness, and how he took so many people with him, and how down was up and up was down. But as a lawyer journalist, the best thing for me, if there is a best thing, was looking at all of the pre-trial motions and the actual transcripts of the trial to see how he really was a formidable opponent. He was a scary, brilliant, in a manipulative way, and it surprised me how he was able to get away with the things he did during the trial. It wasn't just as -- people have the interest of the murderers and the trial and they dedicate their lives to it. But if you really analyzed how things unfolded, he bettered people with great education and brilliance, and he was able to fool them. He's a master manipulator.

[14:55:40] BALDWIN: How did you, Diane, this last question, become unfooled? How did you come to your senses? LAKE: Well, being in jail was helpful, and hearing people say, those

poor girls are never going to make it. And I hadn't taken any drugs, and so I finally felt safe enough to tell them my real name, my real age, and then they separated me, and I became a ward of the court, spent time in a hospital. And my arresting officer, from Barker Ranch, took me in as a foster child and really gave me some self- worth. All of those instances gave me self-worth and prepared me to face him in trial, and facing him in trial was like my final milestone in moving on, you know, and realizing the player he was.

BALDWIN: I think you said it best at the top, relief. Relief is what you felt knowing that Charles Manson is no more.

Diane and Deborah, thank you both so much. Thank you.

LAKE: Thank you.

HERMAN: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: Just into us here at CNN, some positive news for President Trump and the fate of his Republican tax bill. Senator Rand Paul saying he will likely be a yes vote now. But there are others holding out. The White House briefing is moment away.


[15:00:08] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

We are watching very closely that White House podium.