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Interview with Senator Lindsey Graham; Paul Manafort and Rick Gates Back in Court; Trump Accusers Speak Out Against President; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired December 11, 2017 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: -- appreciate the reporting all morning, you've been there from moments after this happened. Thank you very much.
Joining us now is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Of course a key member of the Judiciary Committee.
Senator, we appreciate you being with us over the phone. Your reaction to what should happen at this point? We know that the suspect is a 27-year-old male named Akayed Ullah. Your thoughts after this attack?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, number one, I'm grateful no one was killed. We just sort of dodge a bullet here. My reaction is more of this coming, not less. People are getting radicalized on the Internet. For whatever reason he felt the need to kill himself in the name of, you know, the caliphate, soldier of the caliphate mentality apparently.
I'd like to keep him talking. I don't want to read him his Miranda rights. I'd like to keep him talking, find out everything we can about him, treat him humanely. I don't think you need to send him to Gitmo, you don't need to try him in military commission. I'm not worried about that. I just don't -- I want to look at this as an intelligence gathering opportunity, not solving a crime. Perry Mason --
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: But we --
GRAHAM: Not needed to convict this guy.
BERMAN: We don't know. But we don't know at this time if he has been given his Miranda rights.
GRAHAM: Right. We don't know.
BERMAN: Sometimes they would wait to provide those, specifically to find out if there is an imminent threat of other attacks at the time.
BERMAN: We know in the other attack here in New York City he waived his Miranda rights.
HARLOW: He did waive. He did --
BERMAN: So that didn't even come into play there either.
HARLOW: But you are critical, I believe, Senator, of the Trump administration --
GRAHAM: Very critical.
HARLOW: After that attack here along the West Side Highway about six weeks ago in New York City, that truck attack that killed those eight people. You said it was a huge mistake for the Trump administration to -- not to hold the suspect as an enemy combatant. Is this different in your eyes?
GRAHAM: No, not really. We had a meeting at the White House Thursday. My concern last time was that you had this guy alive, which is hard to catch these guys alive. Even if it's a lone wolf attack, somebody who pledges allegiance to ISIL in their mind over the Internet I want to find everything we can about what makes them tick and how they got to where they're at.
The public safety exception allows you to question somebody for a very short duration of time in terms of their other devices around. I want to hold this person as a suspected enemy combatant for a few days, let the intelligence community talk to him, gather as much intel as we can. They will make a decision about where to charge him and how to charge him. But the first thing I want to do is treat this as an act of terror not a common crime and the Obama administration criminalized the work, the Trump administration followed that same model, and I hope it will break here.
BERMAN: Again, this is a little bit of an unknown right now. We know from New York officials, state and city officials, they call this a terror related event.
BERMAN: They're treating it as a terror event. We simply do not know legally speaking how the suspect is being treated right now. He is --
BERMAN: He is being treated medically, we should note, at Bellevue Hospital right now.
BERMAN: And we know he made some kind of a statement in or around or after the attack, although the Police Commissioner James O'Neill would not tell us exactly what he said, whether it was a pledge of allegiance to ISIS.
HARLOW: That's right. Do you --
HARLOW: Go ahead, Senator.
GRAHAM: All I can say is that this has all the signature of a terrorist attack. It's a low tech device, apparently, most likely somebody not part of a bigger plot. I don't know, you don't know. What I'm trying to figure out here is a system that will allow us to find as much as possible when you capture one of these guys alive so that we can prevent the next attack and get into the mind of a terrorist and you can't do that in my view by reading them their Miranda rights.
I've been a criminal lawyer and military lawyer for over 30 years. The best model here is to hold him as an enemy combatant, slowly but surely gather intelligence then make a decision about where to charge him and how to charge him.
HARLOW: So you clearly haven't made up your mind whether this individual should be tried in the U.S. sort of federal court system, but let me ask you this, Senator, because what history does show us is that since 2001, since the 9/11 attacks, more than 600 convictions -- more than 600 terrorism related cases have been tried and convicted successfully in the civilian federal court system and virtually none of those has been reversed.
The track record as you know for Gitmo, for Guantanamo Bay military court convictions is much, much worse. So does the track record not show us that someone who goes through the judicial process, due process, you know, without being held as an enemy combatant and tried in these U.S. federal courts generally works?
GRAHAM: You're missing the point of this interview. The point of this interview is not whether to try him in federal court of military commission. I've got no problem trying this guy in federal court.
GRAHAM: And to be honest with you, my niece can convict him. What I am worried about is gathering intelligence.
GRAHAM: You cannot gather intelligence under the criminal justice model. No prisoner in every other war has ever been given their Miranda rights because they're fighting a war not a crime. I want to hold him as long as necessary to find out all we need to know then we'll try him later.
[10:35:05] I'm worried about gathering intelligence. You read him his Miranda rights then you get into plea bargaining, you're turning the war into a crime, and that's going to -- we're losing a lot of valuable intelligence this way.
BERMAN: All right. We understand where you stand on be this subject. But once again --
BERMAN: Just to let our audience know, we want to make clear, we do not know.
BERMAN: If he has yet been read his Miranda rights.
GRAHAM: No, we don't.
BERMAN: And there is often a gap of time and they can use this gap of time to try to figure out if there is an emergency and get as much information as possible and the last attack in New York City, just to put a button on it again, Senator, the man was not -- he waived his Miranda rights. So it didn't even come to play there.
While we have you, if we can ask you a political question right now, I'm told there's a big election in Alabama tomorrow.
BERMAN: You may have heard of that, Senator, Roy Moore, the Republican nominee, obviously, accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl, many Republican senators have said they do not want to see him in the Senate.
If he does win, Senator, do you see yourself as being willing to support expelling him from the Senate. If he wins, he will likely be seated because there's no way to stop that, but then there will be an Ethics Committee investigation and some senators have suggested that they will vote to remove him. Will you vote to remove him?
GRAHAM: Well, you asked two good questions. Number one, seating him, you can't deny him the seat. But the moment he's seated he becomes a member of the body. The Senate has its own way of dealing with membership in the body. We have an Ethics Committee that will look into allegations before he's a senator versus the time you're a senator is a bit different.
But there will be an Ethics Committee investigation and the Ethics Committee in a bipartisan manner supports the allegations of these women that he, in fact, is a child molester, then my view is that's inconsistent with being a member of the body but there will be due process offered, Mr. Moore, if he wins, but there will be an investigation and each senator will have to determine the qualifications for the body itself.
I'll have a hard time, quite frankly, keeping somebody in the body that I think molested a child, but we'll see what happens.
HARLOW: We will see what happens. Polls open in less than 24 hours.
And Senator Lindsey Graham, just one follow-up to that before you go. If indeed Roy Moore wins, and as you said if he does he will be seated.
HARLOW: And if he is not expelled and serves in the Senate as a Republican colleague, what do you believe that does to your party especially heading into the 2018 midterms?
GRAHAM: Well, if you're running as -- in 2018 as a Republican, Roy Moore become your best friend. You'll be asked about 10,000 times what do you think about Roy Moore. Roy Moore will be the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats. It will define the 2018 election, at least 2018, and to think you can elect Roy Moore without getting the baggage of Roy Moore is pretty naive.
I wished he would have stepped aside. They're going to have the election tomorrow. We'll see what the people of Alabama say. But the Senate will also speak. There's a process within the Senate to regulate membership of the body.
From a political point of view there is no winning with Roy Moore in my view.
HARLOW: Senator Lindsey Graham, we appreciate you taking the time very much this morning. Thank you.
BERMAN: And we need his niece's number if we need a good lawyer also.
HARLOW: There you go.
BERMAN: We don't know how old she is but --
HARLOW: There you go.
BERMAN: All right. Thanks to you.
We got breaking news, obviously, this attack here in New York City, four people injured, a lot of new details coming in. We'll be right back.
[10:42:44] BERMAN: This morning Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are back in court.
HARLOW: They are. They are trying to reach a deal on the terms of their bail. Of course right now they're under house arrest. This is all with Special Counsel Bob Mueller and the Russia investigation.
With us out by the court house, our justice correspondent Jessica Schneider.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy and John. We have just learned that Paul Manafort has left the courtroom. Rick Gates, though, still inside. All part of this status hearing.
We're waiting for updates as to exactly what has transpired inside the courtroom. But the flashpoint and focal point of this hearing has been both the bail conditions for both of these defendants as well as an op-ed involving Paul Manafort. Prosecutors last week discovered that Manafort had been involved in
this op-ed that published on Thursday in the "Kiev Post," that's an English language newspaper in Ukraine. The actual op-ed spoke favorably of Paul Manafort. So prosecutors say that this is problematic for two reasons. First of all they claim that this op-ed and Paul Manafort's involvement in it violated the gag order that was imposed by the judge several weeks ago prohibiting all parties from speaking out in any way that might prejudice this case.
Secondly, prosecutors say that because of that, Paul Manafort's restrictive bail that places him under house arrest, they say that it should remain in place. Now what's interesting about this, is before the op-ed was discovered, both parties had reportedly agreed to some sort of modification in Paul Manafort's bail terms. They would release him from house arrest and instead place him under an $11 million bond that would actually be procured through his real estate collateral.
But now we know that the parties are fighting over this, saying that it should no longer be lessened, so now that's playing out in court here, John and Poppy. We're waiting to hear more on whether or not Paul Manafort will remain under house arrest or maybe get something a little bit more lenient. Back to you both.
BERMAN: All right. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much. Stand by.
We want to cut right now to a news conference we're listening in on. This is with several of the women who have accused now President Trump of various forms of sexual indiscretions over the years. Let's listen in.
RACHEL CROOKS, TRUMP ACCUSER: -- well beyond the initial occurrence and feelings of self-doubt and insignificance I had. Unfortunately, given Mr. Trump's notoriety and the fact that he was a partner of my employers', not to mention the owner of the building, I felt there was nothing I could do.
[10:45:06] Given this hostile work environment my only solution at the time was to simply avoid additional encounters with him.
I do realize that in the grand scheme of things there are far worse cases of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault, but make no mistake there is no acceptable level of such behavior. That some men think they can use their power, position or notoriety to demean and attack women speaks to their character, not ours, which believe me is a tough lesson learned.
In my case I only felt the redemption of knowing it was not my own flaws to blame when I read the account of Temple Taggert whose story has so mirrored my own that I finally felt absolved of the guilt that I had somehow projected an image that made me an easy target. Instead this was serial misconduct and perversion on the part of Mr. Trump.
Unfortunately, this behavior isn't rare in our society and people of all backgrounds can be victims. The only reason I'm here today is because this offender is now the president of our country. I can promise you that I would much rather have gained public interest because of something great that I accomplished rather than something in this case quite negative that happened to me.
I shared my story last year because it was relevant. Mr. Trump dismissed his words in the "Access Hollywood" tape as locker room talk but having been the victim of such actions I knew better. I decided to let my encounter with him be known along with the various others yet our stories seem to fall on deaf ears.
Recently the "Me Too" movement has gained momentum and women have found strength in one another and the courage to come forward leading many powerful men to suffer the consequences of their action. Trump, however, has escaped his past unscathed but over a dozen women have come forward about his sexual misconduct and we have video proof of him promoting such behavior.
In an objective setting without question a person with this record would have entered the graveyard of political aspirations never to return. Yet here we are with that man as president.
I want to believe that as Americans we can put aside our political inclinations and admit that some things in fact do transcend politics. That we will hold Mr. Trump to the same standard as Harvey Weinstein and the other men who were held accountable for their reprehensible behavior. Therefore I ask that Congress put aside their party affiliations and investigate Mr. Trump's history of sexual misconduct. Thank you.
JESSICA LEEDS, TRUMP ACCUSER: I'm Jessica Leeds and I am the senior member of this group. My story goes way back and it was an episode on an airplane where I sat next to Trump and he decided that he was bored and wanted some entertainment. I managed to get away from him and go away and -- but then three years later I ran into him again. And he remembered me. So that really stuck in my memory.
Years later, I come -- I come to realize that he is serious about running for president. And I start telling my story. Thirty years had elapsed at least, but I told everybody. I told my friends, I told my neighbor, I told my book club, I told the ladies at the Y, I told anybody and everybody that I could that you want to know what kind of person Trump is, this man who is running for president, let me tell you what kind of person this is.
So, obviously, when the Hollywood tape came out and then the debates happened, I got so angry that I wrote a letter to the editor of "The New York Times." They responded. Not just with publishing the letter, they did a video and they did a story. Never in a million years did I ever think that one day I would open up my door and pick up my newspaper and find my picture on the front page.
The story was as simple as what I just explained. It was an encounter on an airplane and a totally inappropriately behavior on his part. So then there was a kind of a media scum -- scrum as they call it and then the election came and he won. And I was absolutely destroyed. But I figure the United States is a big, strong country, we can survive this person. But during the course of the year, I kept hearing from people who would come up to me on the street, in the subway, at the library, at the grocery store, at an airport one time, in the swimming pool, all -- and everybody had a story.
[10:50:13] Everybody had some experience of being vulnerable and being attacked. And, you know, I thought, I thought things had gotten better for women in business, but apparently I was wrong. Then the anniversary came of his election, there were some renewed interest by the media as to, you know, what I thought and all that. And then the Weinstein story hit and it was like an explosion in a shingle factory.
It just -- things were flying all over the place. And it became apparent that in some areas, the accusations of sexual aggression were being taken seriously and people were being held accountable. Except for our president. And he was not being held accountable. In fact, his staff made a big point of calling us all liars.
So we're at the position now where in some areas of our society, people are being held accountable for unwanted behavior. But we are not holding our president accountable for what he is and who he is. So I'd like to see this moment -- I think the "Me Too" movement is fascinating and I'm hoping that it creates more movement and that we get a change, but we shall see. And we all have to hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thanks so much to Rachel and Samantha for sharing their stories. We'll take some questions now from the media. I think the first question go to Francis.
BERMAN: All right. We've been listening to this news conference right now with three women who say that President Trump conducted acts of sexual misconduct on them over the years right now. We're going to talk much more about this right after the break.
[10:55:13] HARLOW: All right. You're looking at images of three women who accuse President Trump of varying degrees of sexual misconduct. They have come forward before but are coming again forward again publicly as part of this film. Also calling on Congress to investigate the president for all of this.
Joining us now, Emily Tisch Sussman, Democratic strategist and campaign director for the Center for American Progress in Action.
I believe -- do we have Ben Ferguson with us as well? All right. We're working to get Ben with us, back with us .
But, Emily, let me begin with you. These are women who told their stories before, the one who's speaking just now did a long sit-down with Anderson -- and Ben is back with us as well. Now they're coming forward and saying Congress, you must investigate.
Where do you see this going?
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: I think it's pretty likely that Congress takes this plea seriously and does start to look into an investigation. Of course Republicans control both branches of Congress and it's been very clear that, although they found the accusations credible and appalling during the election, they're willing to make a deal with the devil.
Look, the Republican Party is searching for the soul -- their soul right now. They were willing to get behind Trump because they wanted things like a Supreme Court nominee and a tax plan. Now they have both of those things. Are they willing to continue to stand behind him when more and more allegations come forward? And are they willing to stand behind the Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore when the allegations are many, credible, and against children. It really makes you wonder where the compassionate conservatives are.
BERMAN: You know, it is interesting because every Republican when they're interviewed is now asked about this.
BERMAN: Where they stand not just on Alabama, where they stand on the president including Republicans who work in the administration. Listen to the ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley when she was asked about these women you're looking at right now and the claims they made against the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard and dealt with and I think we heard from them prior to the election and I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way they have every right to speak up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: You know, it's interesting, Ben, hearing Ambassador Haley say that these women, again, that you're looking at right now accusing the president of sexual misconduct, they should be heard, which is different than White House spokespeople have said which is they're lying.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, it depends on what perspective you're coming at from this. I mean, there's many that say that these women are lying and the president was elected and people knew their stories before the election, they chose not to believe them. There's also the same people saying that in Alabama right now.
I have no problem with you telling your story for as long as you want to, to whoever you want to or it if you want to make a film about this and promote that film as they're doing right now. I mean, this is about promoting a film. That's what this press conference is really about. It's regurgitating the same exact things that they said during the campaign.
You have the right to do that. But the people also have a right to decide if they believe you or do not believe you in this situation. If Congress wants to go into this they have the right to do that as well and I think ultimately what you're going to see here in Alabama is the people in Alabama have looked at these accusations, some of them I think they believe, some of them I think they don't believe, and ultimately they have to decide, are they going to vote their morals or are they going to vote their interests.
HARLOW: Well, Ben, let me ask --
FERGUSON: And a lot of voters in Alabama said look, I'm going to vote my interests.
HARLOW: Let me ask you about Alabama quickly because you've said, look, Roy Moore has no place in the Senate, he shouldn't serve.
HARLOW: We had Lindsey Graham on, who went further than that and he said, he'll work to expel him if he wins, he said that there's no winning for the Republican Party if Roy Moore serves in the Senate and that it is a gift that will keep on giving for the party if that's the case. Do you see it that way?
FERGUSON: Yes. I do. I completely agree with Lindsey Graham on that one. And I think there's a lot of people that in Alabama that truly believe that he may not serve for that long. That he might get elected and then they'll have a Republican that's appointed and that's why they said to me, people that call into my show that's carried in Alabama, they said, look, I don't like Roy Moore, I didn't even vote for him during the primary.
FERGUSON: But I'm not going to give this seat up to a Democrat who does not represent my interests.
BERMAN: Let me ask --
FERGUSON: And a lot of voters I think are actually betting on that, that he will never actually serve for longer than a couple of days.
BERMAN: We got just about 45 seconds left, Emily. President Obama taped a phone call to support Doug Jones. The Jones campaign now trying to figure out if they should use it or not. What do you think?
SUSSMAN: They absolutely should use it. Not only is the African- American turnout critical in this race but the president -- but maintaining the legacy of President Obama is one of the top polling issues. That and health care. So look, once they actually really get into the issues if -- Roy Moore is disgusting for a lot of reasons, he's disgusting for the allegations against him, but his policies are also terrible as well, even Bob Corker said so.
SUSSMAN: You want talk about health care as a top polling issue, he said he wants to repeal Obamacare that will impact over 180,000 Alabamians. BERMAN: Emily --
SUSSMAN: So want to get him with issues, he's there bad as well.
BERMAN: Emily Tisch Sussman, Ben Ferguson, thanks so much for being with us. Sorry we're so tight on time.
SUSSMAN: Thank you.
HARLOW: Thank you, guys, very much.
Thank you all for being with us this very busy Monday morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts now.