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Trump on UCLA Players; Bill To Address Lapses in Armed Forces Reporting; Moore Accuser Breaks Silence; Trump on NFL's Lynch; Trump's Last TV Interview; Late Night in Trump Age. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired November 20, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris.
After winning the release of three American basketball players from China, President Trump now says he should have left them in jail. What do his Republican supporters think? That's next.
CAMEROTA: President Trump now says he should not have helped free three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China. This after one of the players' fathers downplayed the president's role in securing their release.
Joining us now to talk about this and so much more, we have Republican Congressman Scott Taylor of Virginia.
Your tie looks good, congressman. No need for adjustment.
REP. SCOTT TAYLOR (R), VIRGINIA: Thank you. Good morning.
CAMEROTA: Good morning. Great to have you here.
TAYLOR: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: Let me read the president's tweet from yesterday about these UCLA players. He says, now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAnglo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail.
Do you understand what the president is saying there?
TAYLOR: Sure. I understand what he's saying. I mean I don't think, as leaders, we should seek out credit. But I will say, these -- you know, his tweets are very effective because most Americans would agree with him.
[08:35:03] I mean I just did some reading about China's punishment for theft. And it's a minimum three years in jail, maximum ten years in jail. So it is a big deal. Shoplifting is a big deal in China and the president did help.
CAMEROTA: It is a big deal. But do you -- I mean just to clarify, do you think that most Americans would agree with the president that an American college student should be left to rot in a Chinese jail?
TAYLOR: :No, no, no. I don't believe that at all. But what I'm saying is, I think most Americans -- most everyday Americans would agree that, you know, the father should be appreciative that the president helped his son out, who made a mistake, no question about it. But over there, it's a lot more severe of a mistake than it is here.
As I said, you know, I don't think leaders should seek out, you know, the "that a boys" and stuff like that, but I do think those tweets are effective because I do think most Americans agree that the -- that the father should be a little more appreciative.
CAMEROTA: Do you think that Donald Trump is putting out a tweet like that to stage sort of a diversionary tactic, a distraction, from, say, the tax issue or from Roy Moore and what's happening in Alabama?
TAYLOR: I don't know the answer to that. But if he is, it's pretty effective. We're talking about it right now. And I know you guys have talked about it before me, too.
CAMEROTA: And, I mean -- OK, I hear you. I think you're right. But is it -- is that good? Should we be distracted by things like this?
TAYLOR: No. I mean, I'd rather talk about other things, of course. You know, like our bill with Tulsi Gabbard and other things. No. But, like I said, that's a good question that you have. If that was his intention, it worked.
CAMEROTA: OK, your wish is my command.
So let's get to that piece of legislation because it is new and it is really important. So you and Tulsi Gabbard have this legislation that is -- I mean this is in light of what happened, the horrible massacre that we witnessed at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, that killed 26 people, including children. And this gunman had a violent past.
Let me remind people, I'll put it up on the screen, of who this guy was. He had been charged in 2012 with assault and battery against his wife. He had choked her, pulled her hair, kicked her. He had, I believe, charged with aggravated assault against his stepson, who was an infant, cracked his skull. Four charges involving firearms that were dropped in a plea deal. Then, in 2014, charged with animal cruelty. He did kick a dog there and punched a dog. Given bad conduct discharge from the USAF.
So how would your legislation change what had happened in Texas?
TAYLOR: Sure. So I think that, you know, a lot of folks, they -- with these shootings, they want something done, of course. And, you know, when you hear reasonable, when you hear common sense, this is a measure that would do that, that would actually prevent things without taking people's Second Amendment rights away.
When you look at studies with gun violence, and you look at folks that have committed domestic abuses, they are more likely to use gun violence against others, of course. A lot of times with people they know. But this bill would require the military, which the uniform code of military justice doesn't necessarily match up with the civilian code completely. So the Air Force had come out and said that they had failed in reporting this person to the national database, which would prevented -- had prevented him from getting a gun. The Army came out and said the same, that they had underreported, as well.
So this bill, with myself and Mrs. Gabbard, would require that military, all of DOD, within three days, to report domestic abuses that are convicted there. And, again, the language is different between the military justice system and the civilian one. But this would deal with that. And then perhaps prevent -- doesn't take care of all gun violence, obviously. You're not going to have 100 percent security. But it would -- it would make sure that the folks that are domestic abusers are reported to that system, therefore potentially preventing them -- if they have -- if it's felonious -- from getting a gun.
CAMEROTA: And do you think that your bill goes far enough in preventing mass shootings or gun violence, or would you like to see other measures taken, as well as your bill?
TAYLOR: Unfortunately, the reality is, any law that you create isn't going to prevent all mass shootings. It's just -- you know, or the potential. I think that is a false notion. A fashion narrative that you hear.
But this bill is a common sense -- is a reasonable measure that closes a loophole that is necessary for reporting to make sure that people who shouldn't be getting firearms shouldn't -- or should not -- or do not get them, excuse me.
CAMEROTA: Understood. OK, Congressman Scott Taylor, thank you very much for explaining it to us today. Great to have you.
TAYLOR: Thanks for having me.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, another big story. One of the first accusers who says Alabama Senate Nominee Roy Moore sexually abused her when she was just 14 is speaking out in her first TV interview. Leigh Corfman, what does she say about their encounter? Next.
[08:43:21] CUOMO: One of the first women to accuse Alabama Senate Nominee Roy Moore of inappropriately touching her when she was only 14 just spoke out in her first TV interview. Her name is Leigh Corfman. And she describes in detail what she says happened when she met with Moore, accusing him of preying on her.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins is live in Gadsden, Alabama, with more.
What are we learning? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Chris, Leigh Corfman is really the woman who opened the floodgates of these accusations against Roy Moore when she came out with her story about him in an interview with "The Washington Post."
Now, she was only 14 years old when she was at a courthouse here in Gadsden, Alabama, where Roy Moore is from, when a man who was in his 30s approached her and her mother and offered to watch her while her mother went inside for a custody hearing.
Now, of course, that man was Roy Moore, and he got Corfman's number and later took her to his house and here's what she said happened from there, Chris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEIGH CORFMAN, ACCUSED ROY MOORE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: On the second occasion that I went with him, he basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce me I guess you 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 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[8:45:33] COLLINS: Now, Roy Moore has denied these allegations and said it's all part of a conspiracy between the media and the Republican establishment to derail his campaign. But Leigh Corfman said this morning she was not paid to make these accusations against Moore. And, in fact, she's voted Republican for years. But, for her, this isn't political, she said, it's personal.
Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Kaitlan, thank you very much.
So, listen, it's always more powerful to hear from the person. We've read her accounts. We know the story. But to hear from her herself and what happened, that does feel different. I does -- I didn't -- I mean to hear those details, suddenly, I don't know, it does feel really more intense and graphic.
CUOMO: And it matters more than usual because ordinarily if there's going to be a trial, if we hear from one side, all right, that's good, or both sides, that's good, but it's not about just us and them, it's about a jury, it's about a judge, it's about a prosecution and a defense. Not here. For people saying, well, he's guilty -- he's innocent until proven
guilty, that's true, but only in that context. This is the court of public opinion. This is only going to be about what you think about what she said, how it is offset by what he's able to offer up, like that he was assigned to her divorce case, it didn't come up sooner, those kinds of things, his denials. And then you get to make a decision. The lawmakers make a decision. The Alabama voters make a decision. This is the only process we'll have.
CAMEROTA: Yes, it's really interesting to hear the rest of her interview, as well. She says that she did consider many times going more public in a more national way, but she did tell friends and family at the time.
CUOMO: There is corroboration with most of these accounts. You have to read "The Washington Post" reporting and the reporting that's come afterwards. Too many people are having opinions without doing that.
CAMEROTA: There you go.
Meanwhile, President Trump calls on the NFL to suspend raiders star Marshawn Lynch for sitting during the national anthem. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report."
What do you know, Coy?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
President Trump was up easily blasting yet another figure from the sports world. First, LaVar Ball. This time, beast mode, Marshawn Lynch. The Raiders' running back has been sitting during the national anthem all season long and he said it's not a protest, just something he's always done.
Well, yesterday, before the Raiders/Patriots game in Mexico City, Lynch sat for the anthem, but then stood for Mexico's anthem. President Trump tweeted saying, quote, Marshawn Lynch of the NFL's Oakland Raiders stance for the Mexican anthem and sits down to boos for our national anthem. Great disrespect. Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.
Now, Marshawn Lynch has not said much about the ongoing anthem protests, but he did wear a shirt last month before a game that said "everybody versus Trump."
CUOMO: All right, Coy, we see the president doing what he does very well here, picking an issue that he knows divides people that may play to his base and doubling down. President Trump also reshaping the late night landscape. Everybody's got a take. The biggest names in comedy boldly taking him on. Why? Brian Stelter is going to be here with a preview of his late night in the age of Trump special, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:52:04] CAMEROTA: Well, it's been about six months since President Trump has given an interview to a TV news organization other than Fox News. Will he ever do a hard news interview again?
Let's discuss with CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter.
So these have not been terribly challenging interviews that he's done with Fox News. No indication that he'll ever do a challenging interview again.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it's worth pointing out how unusual this is. I had a segment on my program yesterday just noting it's been more than six months now. If you remember Lester Holt and President Trump at the White House the same week Trump fired James Comey, that's the last time we've seen President Trump in a sort of non-Fox News sit-down TV news interview style.
CAMEROTA: And that interview caused some problems.
STELTER: It caused a lot of problems. It's going to end up being part of the Mueller investigation. So you think back six months since then, normally, whether it's a President Bush, a President Obama, or any that came before in the TV age, they would go around to every major network from time to time, even President Obama, who didn't like Fox, once and a while appeared on Fox.
We aren't seeing President Trump do that. And I wonder, actually, a couple months from now, we're going to have the Super Bowl. That's usually a big moment for a presidential interview. If President Trump will even avoid those sorts of (INAUDIBLE).
CUOMO: Who has it this year?
STELTER: So that would be Matt Lauer, or Savannah Guthrie, or Lester Holt. You know, so far, President Trump doesn't seem to want to appeal to those major network audiences. He doesn't do "60 Minutes." He obviously doesn't do CNN. But it really is unusual compared to what we've seen from past presidents.
CUOMO: Look, the obvious question is, why would he, right? I mean so far what he's trying to cultivate in terms of his base, he doesn't need to. Can he grow his tent, get ready for the next election? That's the challenge.
So another reason he's not going on is because he's getting beat up on a regular basis. We see that specifically in late night TV.
STELTER: Right, I think he's under siege. Right. Right.
CUOMO: What's your take on that? And we know it's the subject of this big special you've got too.
STELTER: Yes, we have a special tonight. We wanted to spend several months looking at how late night TV has changed because of President Trump, because it really has become more polarized, much more political. I think in some ways these shows, whether it's Stephen Colbert or Seth Meyers or now Jimmy Kimmel, they're actually channeling liberal angst better than Democratic politicians are. They've captured the moment -- this kind of anti-Trump moment in America in some ways better than politicians, better than liberal news anchors.
CUOMO: What's it doing for their numbers for them?
STELTER: You know, these shows are basically still at election levels. So normally, you know, you have an election, then the ratings trail off, whether it's for news or comedy. Not anymore. It's because we're sort of in this permanent campaign.
CAMEROTA: I want to show a couple of clips of "SNL." Kate McKinnon, as you know, had been doing her Jeff Sessions impersonation, which is a particularly -- OK, so you see -- you see Melissa McCarthy playing Spicer on the right. But look at Kate McKinnon on the left, because she's been doing this every single weekend. And it's a particularly demented, dark version of Jeff Sessions. And do we know how the president feels about women? First of all, he doesn't like that.
STELTER: Right. Remember when Melissa McCarthy was playing Sean Spicer. That was reportedly uncomfortable at the White House.
CAMEROTA: Right, because it was a woman playing a man. And now here's Kate McKinnon --
[08:55:02] CUOMO: But that was the least of their concern, that it was a woman playing a man. It's that she was spot-on was the problem.
CAMEROTA: But sometimes the president (INAUDIBLE). She was spot-on. (INAUDIBLE) the president didn't like that.
STELTER: There were multiple reports the president particularly upset about the fact that it was a woman playing one of his -- one of his aides. And now, you know, just when you thought "SNL" couldn't top Melissa McCarthy playing Sean Spicer, I think they've done it with this Jeff Sessions impersonation.
Now, there's some --
CUOMO: But is she like the kind of like the gremlin version of Jeff Sessions. Like Alfry (ph) Newman mixed with Jeff Sessions.
CAMEROTA: Oh, yes, she's a gremlin of -- yes. Yes, like a -- and a ferret.
CUOMO: Yes, and a --
CAMEROTA: And mixed in a ferret.
CUOMO: Some type of marment (ph).
STELTER: You've thought about this. I appreciate that.
CAMEROTA: I have.
STELTER: Yes, she also played Julian Assange on Saturday --
STELTER: She could essentially do the whole show. It could be a one woman show. She's outstanding. And she's really the breakout star of the year on "SNL."
CAMEROTA: So it's been a boon for late night.
CAMEROTA: And what else are we going to learn in your special?
STELTER: Yes, I think in some ways you could make the case that these shows are also changing President Trump. Or at least changing his audience's -- his fan base's feelings. You know, when these shows attack President Trump on a nightly basis, it also causes some of the people you interviewed for your focus group to dig in their heels further. I think when we interviewed some of these comedians, some of these producers, there's a concern they have, kind of deep down inside, that they're just preaching to the choir.
STELTER: That they're not actually changing any minds. And that's one of the themes of tonight's special.
CUOMO: The opportunity will be in the bridge. You know, that's what we're seeing right now. There is fomenting going on. The president is savvy on this. We're seeing late night pick up on it to their own advantage. But who is going to bridge. Who will be the bridge in this situation?
STELTER: Chris Cuomo? Alisyn Camerota?
CAMEROTA: We'll try.
Brian, thank you very much.
CAMEROTA: Be sure to watch --
CAMEROTA: Bridge. Do you like that metaphor?
STELTER: I like it.
CUOMO: We'll see. CAMEROTA: All right. Be sure to watch Brian's CNN special report, "Late Night in the Age of Trump" tonight at 9:00 p.m. only on CNN.
CUOMO: I see myself as more of a tunnel than a bridge. I mean but that's a personal assessment.
CUOMO: CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman is going to pick up right after this break.
CAMEROTA: It can't happen quickly enough.
[09:00:07] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, top of the hour. Good Monday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman.
New this morning, a remarkable series of developments in the Alabama Senate race.