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Bloom Wants Confidentiality Agreement Release; Bloom Criticized for Representing Weinstein; Cyber Monday Sales; Prince Harry Engaged; Trump Backs Moore; Access Hollywood Tape Fake. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired November 27, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:14] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic Congressman John Conyers says he's stepping down as ranking member of the Judiciary Committee amid an ongoing sexual harassment investigation.
Joining us now is Lisa Bloom. She represents the woman who filed the complaint against Conyers. Bloom wants her client released from a confidentiality agreement so the woman can speak freely.
Good morning, Lisa.
LISA BLOOM, CLIENT FILED SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST REP. CONYERS: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: We have talked so much on this program since the Harvey Weinstein thing about confidentiality agreements and about these nondisclosure agreements that women are often forced to sign and then that silence them.
So just explain to us what would happen if your client were to break her confidentiality agreement? What if she were just to speak out freely, then what?
BLOOM: Well, certainly Congress should not be a victim silencing machine. And that is the process that complainants go through. So my client settled a case with Congressman Conyers a couple of years ago and she was required to sign a document, even before the process started, guaranteeing confidentiality of the entire process. And then, when it was resolved, that she had to sign a confidentiality agreement which binds her but not him.
So he's been speaking out, giving his side of the story, namely that there was no sexual harassment. His attorney has been speaking out. And she is prohibited. If she violated that, she could face a breach of contract action. She could be sued. You know, she's a regular person. She's not a wealthy person. So she's in fear.
And all I'm here to say is, Congressman Conyers, please release her to tell her side of the story. She has a powerful story to tell. You're giving her side. It's only fair and decent to allow her to speak as well.
CAMEROTA: Here's Congressman Conyers' statement. He says, I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger. I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.
Is your client, Lisa, part of an alt-right blogger's effort?
BLOOM: Absolutely not. She worked for him for many years. She's a Democrat. I'm a Democrat. This is not a partisan issue. This is about sexual harassment and claims that were raised years ago. She doesn't know how this story leaked. She had no connection to this right-wing blogger. Ultimately it was Buzzfeed, by the way, which is a progressive media outlet that vetted this story and broke the story.
CAMEROTA: But aren't there some things, Lisa, some crimes that trump a confidentiality statements -- I mean -- settlement, I mean? If you witness a crime, if you're the victim of a crime, how can you be silenced?
BLOOM: Well, here's something that trumps a confidentiality agreement, a lawfully issued subpoena. And so I am calling upon the House Ethics Committee to send a subpoena. I will accept it on my client's behalf. Any victim, whether she has a confidentiality agreement or not, if she is subpoenaed, that overrides that confidentiality agreement and she can go in and speak.
She would like to speak. She would like to tell her story. She can go before the House Ethics Committee as early as this week if they see fit and she can tell her story there. I think that's a good outcome.
CAMEROTA: You know, one last thing on this. So many people have said they didn't know that there was this fund that has paid out $17 million over the past decade to settle some of these suits, often sexual harassment suits. And even lawmakers on -- in Congress didn't know that there was this quite shrouded settlement fund with taxpayer dollars. So your client is one of the people who received one of these settlements. So do you think that lots of people new in Congress?
BLOOM: I have no idea whether people knew or not. I certainly didn't know. I consider myself a pretty well-informed person. But clearly if our tax dollars are going to pay people, we should be entitled as taxpayers to know about what the allegations are.
By the way, here in Los Angeles, where I practice sexual harassment law, claims against the city are made public, claims against the state are made public. We don't have confidential settlements. We all know about them. It should be the same for the U.S. Congress.
Please release my client to speak and tell her story. I think that's the good and fair and decent thing to do.
CAMEROTA: So, Lisa, this is the first time that you've been on our program since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. And, of course, you had been doing work for him during that time. And I know that you have called your work for him a, quote, colossal mistake. And so I'm wondering now, in the weeks since then and hindsight, I mean what should you have done when he called and asked for your help?
BLOOM: Well, unfortunately, I'm no longer authorized to talk about that case since I withdrew about a month and a half ago. I can tell you that I've won three sexual harassment cases for victims in the month and a half since I withdrew. I won a big appeal for Janice Dickinson against Bill Cosby. So I'm looking forward to continuing to doing the work that I've been doing for 31 years, which is representing victims. That's been 99 percent of my work. Occasionally I have represented a man who has come to me and said he was wrongly accused. We're not doing that anymore at my law firm. We're just representing victims going forward.
[08:35:14] CAMEROTA: And, I mean, but just on a personal level, what do you want to share about what you've learned about this whole episode?
BLOOM: Well, I've learned there's a lot of anger and hate in our culture. I got a lot of death threats, I got a lot of rape threats. I got people very specifically saying what they were going to do to me.
As an attorney, you know, I represent people. Sometimes they make mistakes. They make bad mistakes. They do terrible things. So I don't know what else to tell you about that. I am no longer authorized to speak about that case with any level of specificity.
But I'm very happy to represent the woman accusing John Conyers. And I hope that we'll have a chance to go before the ethics committee.
CAMEROTA: Lisa Bloom, we really appreciate you coming on and telling us about all of your various cases. Thanks so much for being here.
BLOOM: Thank you.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Prince Harry is getting married to an American actress. Up next, we're going to talk to a royal expert about what we know about the big day.
[08:40:18] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It is time for "CNN Money Now."
Black Friday's digital sales hit record numbers. What about cyber Monday? Could be even bigger. How do I know? Christine Romans tells me, CNN's chief business correspondent.
What do you see?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I mean probably best ever for online sales today in history. This holiday season it's all about what you're buying online. Americans expected to spend 6.6 billion today. A record for Cyber Monday. That would make it the largest online shopping day ever.
So far this has been a record-breaking season overall for online shopping. Five billion on Friday. Nearly three billion on Thanksgiving. And with more Americans shopping online, fewer are actually setting foot inside stores. Our early estimates show foot traffic down about 2 percent so far. But shoppers shifting online is not a new trend. So this year the physical retailers, the brick and mortar stores, they made big investments on their websites and on how they deliver their goods.
And they also put out some pretty deep discounts. Today, expect deals on things like toys, laptops, and shoes. Strong digital sales are good news for retailers. It's been a terrible year for retail. But a profitable holiday season could help slagging (ph) sales. Americans are expected, Alisyn, to spend a trillion dollars this year.
And my advice for today, if you are shopping online, look for the 50 percent discounts. Anything less than 50 percent I don't think it's worth your time.
CAMEROTA: That's great advice. I love that. Thank you very much.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
CAMEROTA: All right, dreams do come true. Prince Harry is getting married to an American actress, Meghan Markle next spring. This will be the first wedding between a member of the British royal family and an American in 80 years. And the couple is about to make their first public appearance since this news broke.
CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter joins us with more.
So this is a very modern day fairy tale.
VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: This really is. I mean this is the stuff that dreams are made of, certainly in America, where princess culture is so huge. And here we have Prince Harry, who -- he's been probably the world's most popular bachelor for the longest period of time. But he's finally ready to settle down. He's chosen what by royal standards is an unconventional bride, but clearly the two of them are very happy.
CAMEROTA: Well, that's what I mean. That's what makes it modern day is that he's imperfect --
CAMEROTA: She's, I suppose, imperfect. I mean she is quite accomplished. She's very beautiful. But she's imperfect on paper in terms of if you're looking for someone who fits the sort of princess mold.
CAMEROTA: And so that's what makes this kind of special.
ARBITER: It does make it special. But I think it's going to be quite eye-opening for Meghan. When you think about Kate, she grew up in a country where the royal family is just on our front doorstep all the time. So while she wouldn't necessarily have known the protocols and traditions as they pertain to her, she was aware of how the system worked. Now we bring in Meghan, who's grown up in a country where there is no
royal family and most of the time you're just seeing horrendous tabloid headlines that have sort of made everything up. So I think this is going to be quite an initiation into a totally different way of life. She is, as you mention, incredibly independent, successful in her own right. But life is going to change dramatically.
So we've just gotten word from our foreign desk that her name, once they're married, will be Princess Henry of Wales? What's up with that?
ARBITER: Well, she's not a princess in her own right. So actually Princess Diana was always incorrect. Princess Kate is incorrect. They're not princesses in their own right, like Princess Anne, Beatrice, Eugenie. Chances are the queen is actually going to confer a dukedom on Harry. So much like William and Kate became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Harry and Meghan will become the duke and duchess of it remains to be seen. My guess is Sussex (ph).
CAMEROTA: But then does she get her own name and doesn't have to use a dude's name? I mean --
ARBITER: I mean let's go with Sussex (ph), just for this hypothetical. She'll be her royal highness, the duchess of Sussex. No doubt she will be Princess Meghan as far as all the tabloids are concerned. That will be incorrect. It will drive me crazy. But that's what she'll be.
CAMEROTA: You're a stickler for the traditional.
ARBITER: That's right.
CAMEROTA: OK. So this wedding, will Kate's children be in the wedding?
ARBITER: I would imagine so, yes. George and Charlotte served as bridesmaid and pageboy at their Aunt Pippa's wedding earlier this year. So nothing like royal bridesmaids and pageboys. But they also -- the royal family like to have children in those roles. So, yes.
But Kate herself actually could be heavily pregnant. They're saying a spring wedding. Her baby's due in April. So I think they're probably just working on logistics now.
CAMEROTA: But this will be an extravaganza, right? I mean the couple, even if they consider themselves nontraditional, they must have a royal British extravaganza.
ARBITER: Well, extravaganza within reason. You've got to understand, with Brexit going on right now, the economy as it is, the royal family has to remain in touch with what's going on with the nation. Harry's also only fifth in line to the throne. He'll be sixth when the new baby comes along. So my guess is this will be at Windsor Castle, at St. George's Chapel, where you can still have the royal fireworks, so to speak, but on a slightly smaller scale.
[08:45:03] CAMEROTA: Let's hope that we get a junket to go and cover it.
CAMEROTA: Victoria, thank you very much for all of that.
ARBITER: Thank you.
CUOMO: Last time Victoria and I covered one of those weddings, it was nothing small scale about it when William got married. We'll see what happens this time.
All right, so critics are slamming President Trump for pushing his agenda by backing Roy Moore. But what are the ramifications of that decision? The senior editor at large for "Breitbart News" joins us next.
CUOMO: President Trump making a political decision in defending Roy Moore and resisting efforts from within his own party to push Moore out amid child molestation allegations. So is this about agenda being more important than moral compass?
Joining us now to discuss, the senior editor-at-large for "Breitbart News," Joel Pollak.
Joel, good to have you back. How you doing?
JOEL POLLAK, SENIOR EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "BREITBART NEWS": About five pounds heavier than the last time we spoke before Thanksgiving. Otherwise, pretty well.
[08:50:01] CUOMO: You look good. You look good.
So the move on Moore for the president, is it just a naked political move?
POLLAK: Well, I think this president sees that Roy Moore is still doing well in the polls. He wants to be on the winning side. And I also think that he's shifting the focus of the race to Doug Jones, who is the Democrat, and who's more liberal than the kind of candidate Democrats have traditionally run in red states and red districts. As you and I had discussed last week, that's where the focus of this race is going to be, is Doug Jones too liberal for Alabama.
CUOMO: Right. But it has to be on balance with what is apparently a supervening moral question, right? I mean, you know, this is what Bannon talks about all the time, that you have to have higher principles than just expediency. It's such a core piece of his notion of populism. The president isn't putting that into practice here. He's saying that the allegations against Roy Moore are basically tantamount to his position on taxes.
POLLAK: Well, have you ever seen a Democrat, whether a Democratic president or a Democratic leader telling members of their own party, hey, we don't like our Democratic candidate, go out and vote for the Republican? I mean this is not something that happens in politics.
What the president is doing is actually rather normal. He's telling people, look, there are bigger issues at stake here and the issue here is whether you have, as he puts it, a Schumer/Pelosi puppet or whether we have someone who supports the agenda you elected in 2016.
CUOMO: So do you embrace what he's doing here? Do you think that these allegations aren't important enough to merit independent scrutiny and you should just stick to politics by the numbers and get the seat because it's better to have someone from your party?
POLLAK: Well, empirically what we know about allegations like these is that most of the time they're true, but we also know that some of the time they're not. And when they come up in the heat of campaign season, especially just a few weeks before a general election, then there's reason to treat them with additional scrutiny. And I think that some of the allegations, at least upon further review, are looking a little bit shakier. That doesn't mean all of them are.
But, again, the issues for Alabama voters are bigger than what happened 40 years ago. I think, as you and I discussed last week, people would have liked to have seen this come up earlier in a primary where there was a choice of Republican candidates. So there's some discounting that the public is doing now that they're coming up so late.
CUOMO: Right, but the timing -- we know there are lots of reasons for that. And, you know, it's interesting in terms of, they're usually true, sometimes they're not. Can you think of another case where you had more than five women coming forward who don't know each other with allegations of this nature and they were found to be false?
POLLAK: Well, there are lots of cases where Democrats have won on elections where they were under investigation or they had been convicted of something. You know, this is, again, like you --
CUOMO: I know. I'm asking you something different, though, Joel. A case where you had five women come forward with accusations of this nature where they wound up being false.
POLLAK: Well, we have cases where they wound up being true and the candidate still won. Bill Clinton in the Democratic primary in 1992, faced one allegation after another.
CUOMO: I know. But the notion that it's OK to vote for Roy Moore because sometimes these accusations are false, that's not backed up by fact. I mean you could make that decision as a voter, even as a Christian voter who's supposed guided by a moral compass that goes beyond just the laws of man.
You can do it, but where is the consistency on that? I mean you can't come up with a single case where women in this volume have been exposed as part of some conspiracy to undermine a man running for office. POLLAK: Well, when you talk volume, you know, you started the segment
by saying allegations of child molestation, right? Now, there's only one single allegation of a woman who was under legal age. So you're walking (ph) in --
CUOMO: Arguably two, right, because you had that other lady, 16, 17. She wasn't a minor, but she was very young to have somebody who's that age come on her, let alone if it was an unwanted touching, known as assault.
POLLAK: You know, in 1973, Ringo Starr hit number one on the Billboard Charts with a song "You're 16, you're beautiful, and you're mine." And it was a remake of an earlier song. He was 30 something at the time singing about a 16-year-old. You want to take away Ringo Starr's achievement?
CUOMO: You can't be serious.
POLLAK: I mean --
CUOMO: You can't be serious.
POLLAK: You can't be serious. You're talking about relationships that were legal.
CUOMO: Oh, I'm dead serious. You think that Ringo Starr's song is supposed to be a nod towards allowing 30-year-old men to prey on teenagers? You don't believe that, Joel. You're a parent. You don't believe that.
POLLAK: You're also a parent and you know that when you raise sons, the risk that our sons face today is that they're going to be exposed to accusations that may or may not be true. And that's a new thing. You talk about raising daughters. You always worry about your daughters, the kind of risks they are going to face. But what our sons have to worry about is what you're talking about, where you're lumping in allegations of illegal behavior with illegal conduct. And it's part of a campaign of character assassination that the mainstream media has been a part of and people --
CUOMO: Or character appraisal. Character appraisal. It's not one woman who came out and said something that's a little bit sketchy. You've got to vet all accusations. This is different. You've got numbers and you've got degree.
But let me put that to the side for a moment. I want to ask you about something else while I have you. I'm running out of time.
[08:55:01] Trump coming out and saying that the "Access Hollywood" tape may not be authentic. Do you put any stock in that notion at all?
POLLAK: You know, it's interesting how presidents sometimes do rewrite history a little bit. We know that he apologized for it in 2016. Barack Obama wrote in "Dreams from My Father" certain things that were functionalized, like his (INAUDIBLE) girlfriend and his literary agent for 16 years promoted his book as if he were born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. And there are things that a president rewrites maybe just to get through the moment.
CUOMO: You think that President Obama was born outside the United States?
POLLAK: Chris, you know that's not the point I'm making. The question here is --
CUOMO: Well, you brought it up and it seems to plant that seed, just like Trump saying the tape may be inauthentic.
POLLAK: Well --
CUOMO: It's a dog whistle.
POLLAK: Let me give you another example. You have Hillary Clinton going around the country on a book tour claiming the Russians stole the election from her. Did the Russians prevent her from campaigning in Wisconsin? I mean sometimes people who are driven to become high achievers do have a way of recasting reality so that they're better able to achieve their goals.
You know, Scott Adams, who's appeared on CNN and who's a great writer about persuasion, has pointed out that one of Trump's inspirations was Norman Vincent Peale who wrote the book, "The Power of Positive Thinking." And there's a chapter in that book about not accepting defeat.
So we're only speculating here because we haven't seen Trump say this publicly and we only are hearing hearsay about what he's talked about with that "Access Hollywood" tape. But it's possible that he's trying to reshape that setback -- and it was a setback during the campaign, that way it allows him to look forward.
CUOMO: Right, but it would be a lie. But it would be a lie. Would you accept that?
POLLAK: Well, he's not lying to the public. He's not lying -- the only thing --
CUOMO: If he says the tape may not be authentic, it's a lie, would you agree?
POLLAK: The only lies that count in politics are the lies you tell the public. What he tells himself is up to him.
CUOMO: Joel Pollak, appreciate getting your take on NEW DAY, as always.
POLLAK: You're welcome.
CUOMO: All right, we're going to take a quick break here. CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman is going to be here. There's some big headlines. Stay with CNN.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:00:05] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, good morning, everyone. John Berman here. It's 9:00 a.m. in the East. But in Washington, it is more like high noon.