Return to Transcripts main page


Conyers Accused of Inappropriate Advances; Uber Paid Hackers after Data Breach; Rand Paul's Wife on Attack; Remembering David Cassidy; Navy Plane Crash off Japan. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired November 22, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:30:26] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A second woman is now accusing Democratic Representative John Conyers of sexual harassment. A female staffer says in 2015 and 2016 she faced so many inappropriate actions and comments from Conyers that she developed severe anxiety and chest pains. But when she tried to take medical leave, she says Conyers office demanded proof. And when she wouldn't turn over medical documents, she was fired.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Now, this woman filed a lawsuit against Conyers for harassment earlier this year. She later dropped it when she couldn't get it sealed.

Joining us now, Democratic Representative Gregory Meeks of New York. He serves on the Congressional Black Caucus with Representative Conyers.

It is nice to have you here. Thank you for joining us.

You serve together. He is, obviously, the longest serving member of Congress. Should he continue that service? Should he stay in Congress?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D), NEW YORK: Well, I think that, you know, no one is exempt from bad behavior. And I think that he's agreed -- and I see it -- clearly see we have Leader Pelosi has said that there will be an immediate ethics committee, a review. So I really think that probably the appropriate thing right now is he should step down as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and be subject to this ethics investigation so it can be determined whether or not there's a practice or pattern and then appropriate consideration should be made at that time as soon as the ethics committee finishes its review.

I think that, you know, the -- what's going on exposes not just on Capitol Hill, but in America, a sickness that I think that we have in this country. And so this dialogue and conversation is good. And I hope that, on Thanksgiving tomorrow, there is strong conversation about the two, I think, important isms (ph) that are still taking place in America, and that's sexism and racism. And we need to have a dialogue. And we need to talk about it. And that's why I think what you're doing here -- but I hope that, because I said, it's in -- not only on Capitol Hill, not only in the news, not only in corporate America and in Hollywood, it's everywhere.

HARLOW: Everywhere.

BERMAN: Here's a note. You do think he should step down as the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee even before this investigation?

MEEKS: Yes, I think that given that there is one and now another incident of women coming in to say that it would not be appropriate on the Judiciary Committee to sit there.


MEEKS: He should step down as the ranking member with the opportunity, if he defends himself and says and shows there's nothing there, that he could come back. But you can't, in my estimation, just in the scenario we're in, to be the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee at this time. I think that he should step down as the ranking committee -- ranking --

BERMAN: Let me just read you the comment from "The Detroit Free Press," his hometown paper. It's the kind of behavior that can never be tolerated in a public official, much less an elected representative of the people. And it means that whatever Conyers legacy will eventually be, his tenure as a member of Congress must end now.

They're going a step further than you are. They're saying h should step down from Congress right now. What's the argument for him staying as a member of Congress?

MEEKS: Well, I think that there is a procedure in place currently and he's agreed to go through the Ethics Committee. Now, I've only seen -- you know, you're just telling me now that there's a second woman.


MEEKS: Before there was one. And I want to make sure -- because we've got to get to a point where -- this is where this conversation and dialogue is important -- where we have a clear understanding of where we are.

HARLOW: And just to be clear, the second woman, we reported it really overnight. This isn't someone who came, you know, to CNN and said this happened to me. This is court documents that are showing all this. So, yes, this is a second case.

About Roy Moore, you tweeted this earlier this month. The Republicans embraced Moore for so long and many continue to stand by him, highlights a despicable culture of engaging -- enabling sexually violent men. Now, I assume you don't want Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate, correct?

MEEKS: That's correct.

HARLOW: OK. So why should then John Conyers now (INAUDIBLE) and that with Roy Moore these are allegations of child molestation, these are sexual harassment allegations and inappropriate misconduct against Conyers, but then why should either man have a seat in Congress? MEEKS: Again, what I think is that with John Conyers, if, in fact,

there is a continuing scenario of individuals coming forth in the same manner, then we may have a different conversation.


MEEKS: And just as I didn't think that -- that our president, given --

HARLOW: You may say if there are more -- you're saying if there are more women who come out against Conyers, maybe don't even wait for the investigation to finish, maybe he needs to step aside from Congress fully?

MEEKS: Well, that's something that he's going to have to decide. And he's going to have to -- he's going to have to decide that and those that are close to him have to help him decide. And that's why this dialogue and conversation is important.

[09:35:07] I think that -- I thought that we were beginning that dialogue and conversation when we had the president of the United States, who several women accused him. And I was just shocked when he did get elected, not just because of that, but because of the women that came forward and the kind of -- in the climate that we're in. So this is a dialogue that we have to have.

BERMAN: Can I ask you one foreign policy question, because, of course, you are on the Foreign Affairs Committee. I want to get your take on the phone call between President Trump and President Putin. They talked about a lot of things. One thing they talked about was terror, Syria, you know, Afghanistan, North Korea. The White House says it's looking for an ally in these areas. Do you think that the U.S. has an ally in Russia and in Vladimir Putin on these issues?

MEEKS: No, I don't. I think that dialogue and conversation are never against that. But you've got to know who you're talking to. And I don't think that Mr. Putin has proven that he wants to be an ally of the United States by injecting himself in our election. But even more than that, what he's been doing with our European allies, who are concerned (ph), and the annexing of Crimea and you look about what he's done in Georgia and how he's trying to make sure that he weakens the link between us and our European allies because he's trying to use the influence himself.

So I think that it is Putin trying to play us so that -- to the benefit of himself and to Russia. And we've got to understand that when we're dealing with him.

BERMAN: Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York, thanks for being with us. Have a great Thanksgiving.

MEEKS: Thank you.

BERMAN: I know you're having a house full of people from as far away as London. So go get to work.

HARLOW: Enjoy it. Thank you. The cover-up worse than the crime, or at least just as bad? We're talking about Uber, where hackers stole information from 57 million Uber users.

BERMAN: That's a lot.

HARLOW: That's a lot. But then, get this, the company paid those hackers to hide this. Seriously?


[09:41:11] BERMAN: All right, new this morning, Uber is admitting that hackers stole the personal information of more than 57 million people and -- and that the company covered it up for more than a year.

HARLOW: But wait until you hear how they covered it up. They paid the hackers that stole the information 100 grand to keep quiet and delete the information that they stole that was phone numbers, e-mail addresses, even driver license numbers from employees and customers.

Our Samuel Burke joins us live now with more.

First of all, how on earth could they do this in good conscious, but why did it take more than a year to this to even become public?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Good morning, John.

It is absolutely clear through the actions and the words of this company that we are only finding out about this right now because Uber did not want us to find out about it ever.

Now, we report on lots of hacks. And I know people say they all start to sound like each other. But in this case, this one is very different from all the others for two reasons.

Number one, Uber did not disclose. This happened in October of last year. So they have had over a year to tell regulators. Already one regulator has come out and said that they should have been notified right away.

And, number two, and perhaps more worrying, is the fact that Uber did actually pay these hackers, they told me, $100,000. Just two hackers received that money.

Now, that is not illegal. But I spoke to the CEO of one Israeli cybersecurity firm who deals with exactly these type of situations. He told me the first thing that he tells companies is not to pay the ransom because then it creates a market for them to come back and do it again.

Let me just put up on the screen what the new CEO of Uber is saying about this. This all, of course, happened under the previous CEO. And now Dara Khosrowshahi says none of this should have happened and I will not make excuses for it. While I can't erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes.

Mistakes that could become legal headaches for this company.

BERMAN: So Uber paid these hackers $100,000 to delete the information and stay quiet about it. But, Samuel, how do we know that they did it? I mean why should we trust that the hackers did that?

BURKE: And, by the way, asking them to delete the information, one lawyer told me, that could be illegal. But the experts say there's no way of knowing whether they deleted the information or not.

What they're doing is they're going on the dark web, checking to see that that information that you see on your screen right now is not out there for other people to buy. Hopefully it's not there, but it doesn't mean that these hackers don't have a copy in their back pocket waiting for some other time to disclose it.

BERMAN: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Samuel Burke, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

All right, so it wasn't a scuffle. This was a blind side attack. The wife of Senator Rand Paul breaks her silence and really lays into the neighbor accused of attacking her husband.


[09:48:22] HARLOW: Senator Rand Paul's wife says the attack on her husband was deliberate and it was blindsided. She's just written a new opinion piece on talking about what happened when this neighbor tackled the Kentucky senator on his property earlier this month.

BERMAN: The senator has six broken ribs and his wife says, quote, there have been several nights where I had my hand on my phone ready to call 911 when his breathing became so labored it was terrifying.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty following this story for us.

Sunlen, this op-ed is very interesting. She felt the need to come forward and say this.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. And you have here, we're now three weeks after this attack by senator -- from Senator Paul and it's still something of a mystery what exactly happened when his neighbor went after him in early November. And that, again, is underscored by the fact that his wife, Kelley Paul, is now having to come out three weeks later and write this op-ed for

In this op-ed she does indeed reveal some new details about not only his pain. She describes how she wakes up at night, as you said, listening to him labor breathing with her hand on the phone just ready to call 911. She says she is not -- her husband had not taken one single breath since the attack without pain.

And she does describe with new detail and specifics about what exactly happened that day in this op-ed. She writes, the only dispute existed solely in the attacker's troubled mind, Kelley Paul says, until, on a beautiful autumn day, he ran down the hill on our property and slammed his body into Rand's lower back as he stood facing away wearing noise- canceling headphones to protect his ears from the lawnmower.

[09:50:04] You know, certainly Kelley Paul here is getting at this big question on what exactly is the motive of the attack.

Now, the neighbor's lawyer, Rene Boucher, here -- their -- his lawyers say that this was some sort of long-running dispute over property maintenance. That's the line that they have said in the aftermath of the attack.

But very clear that Kelley Paul at least disputes that. She says in this op-ed, it wasn't a scuffle, it wasn't a fight, it wasn't a dispute. These people, she says, haven't spoken for ten years.

Now, Rene Boucher, the lawyer, he says that -- he has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault and his attorney has said that he regrets the incident, but it could have been handled more diplomatically. So a lot more here to find out.

HARLOW: Yes, to say the least.

Sunlen, thank you for the reporting. And, obviously, we're wishing his recover all the best.

So, ahead for us, actor, singer David Cassidy, teen idol, known best for his role in the '70s show "The Partridge Family" has died. We'll take a look back at his career.


[09:55:15] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY (singing): I can feel your heart beat and you didn't even say a word. I can feel your heart beat when you didn't even say a word. Oh, I know, pretty woman, that you're loving me heard (ph).


BERMAN: An ageless show.

All right, actor and singer David Cassidy has died. The 67-year-old was best known, of course, for his role in "The Partridge Family."

HARLOW: According to his publicist, Cassidy died after suffering from organ failure. Our Stephanie Elam takes a look back at his life.


DAVID CASSIDY, (singing): It's one of those nights when you turn out the lights and you --

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): David Cassidy was the ultimate teenage idol, known for his role as Keith in the 1970s hit TV series "The Partridge Family," Cassidy's fresh face and wide-eyed charm captured the hearts of millions of girls worldwide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're taking auto shop?



ELAM: "The Partridge Family," a musical sitcom about a family in a rock and roll band, gave Cassidy a national audience for his own music.

THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY (singing): I think I love you.

ELAM: "I Think I Love You," the show's first single, topped the Billboard 100 in 1970 and sold over 5 million copies.

CASSIDY: I was always a musician. It always played, but I never pursued my career as a musician. It was just fate, you know, the way the stars align themselves.

ELAM: Cassidy's wispy voice and wholesome persona broke out from the small screen and into sold-out arenas around the globe. His fan club at one time reportedly had more members than Elvis or The Beatles.

But in 1972, at the height of his "Partridge Family" fame, Cassidy began to shift away from his squeaky clean image. He appeared naked on the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine and in the article admitted using drugs and alcohol. It marked a turning point in his career and his life.

Four years after "The Partridge Family" hit the air, his teenage fan base had moved on, and so had Cassidy.

CASSIDY: This hero worship was so great, I had to leave it. I couldn't sustain it any longer.

ELAM: Superstardom long behind him, Cassidy turned to Broadway. In 1993, he starred in the British musical, "Blood Brothers." Three years later, he moved to Vegas where he headlined the MGM Grand's EFX Show. At the time, the largest theatrical production in the world.

In private, though, Cassidy struggled with alcoholism, a battle that would soon take a very public turn. In his 60s, Cassidy faced multiple charges of driving under the influence and went through rehab.

CASSIDY: It's very humbling and it's also humiliating.

ELAM: But his biggest battle was yet to come. In 2017, Cassidy revealed that he suffered from dementia. His mother had died of complications from Alzheimer's disease only a few years before.

CASSIDY: To watch someone that raised you and was so vibrant start to lose -- lose their mind and disappear is arguably the most painful thing I've ever experienced. ELAM: Looking back on his own life, there is one memory Cassidy hopes

will never fade, his 1972 concert in Madison Square Garden. Cassidy leaped on to the stage in his signature white sequin jumpsuit, thousands of adoring fans screamed his name. His own family among them.

CASSIDY: It was just so emotional for me. And I just felt so blessed to have that moment with them. I mean it's the highlight of my life.


BERMAN: So back when you had UHF channels, VHF and UHF, before you were born, before there was cable --

HARLOW: I was just going to say, what year was there?

BERMAN: There were these stations that used to show "The Partridge Family" for like six hours after school every day. And I would go home and watch. Spend my afternoons with David Cassidy. A very, very talented guy.

HARLOW: I got to interview him five years or so ago in Florida at his home and he was vibrant and, you know, young -- I mean he was young, 67 years old. Sad to see him go.

BERMAN: All right, the next hour of NEWSROOM starts right now.

HARLOW: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman.

So what could be more presidential than name-calling and self- aggrandizing on Thanksgiving eve? The president serving up a dose of both this morning from his Mar-a-Lago resort, attacking the father of one of the t here college basketball players released from a Chinese jail. And this comes just after the president backed and accused child molester, Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore in the race for Senate in Alabama. We're going to get to all that in just a moment.

HARLOW: We will. But first, the breaking news this morning.

Eight U.S. Navy personnel have been rescued after their military plane crashed off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. Three others, though, are still missing. Search and rescue for them underway right now.

Let's go straight to the Pentagon. That is where we find our Barbara Starr.

Barbara, I know it's just, you know, a few hours after this happened, but what can you tell us at this point?

[10:00:04] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to both of you. U.S. and Japanese forces at sea continue to search for the three who are still missing.