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Republicans Split Over Accused Child Molester Roy Moore; Candidates Make Final Push In Alabama Senate Race; Bullied Boy Goes Viral; NYPD: Confirmed Explosion Near NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 11, 2017 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00] ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't want to hold some Hollywood producer to a higher standard than I would hold a U.S. senator or a President of the United States.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But --

ED MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, PRESIDENT, EAGLE FORUM FUND: He admitted it.

CAMEROTA: Ana, but hold on, hold on. Ana, last question.

I mean, what I think Ed is suggesting is that if you're a single-issue voter, if you're anti-abortion, then Roy Moore's your guy. That's all you need to know. That all this other stuff somehow you can compartmentalize and put away.

And that he's saying that if you, you know, feel very, very strongly about Roy Moore's position on immigration and abortion that gives you your answer.

NAVARRO: Look, I think that's true. I think that -- I think it's a page right out of Donald Trump's playbook.

The smartest thing Donald Trump did in that campaign, in my view, was put out that list of potential Supreme Court nominees. And I have a lot of friends -- a lot of good, decent, Republican friends who voted for him because they wanted that Supreme Court justice who he, in turn, gave them.

I think that's what the Roy Moore campaign is doing. You know, attaching themselves to one issue and just preying on that over and over again. And if that's the type of voter you are, I think you do have your answer.

I hope the people of Alabama, many of them, can see the whole picture and can see that sending an unfit person to the U.S. Senate is just not fair to their state. It's not fair to our country.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

So, Ed, last question. Do you think --

MARTIN: Yes. CAMEROTA: -- he's going to win tomorrow?

MARTIN: Oh, my gosh, yes, it's obvious. It's obvious he's winning.

Gloria Allred rolled out a positive story for Roy Moore on Friday because she knows he's going to win. She's setting up for the fight afterward.

Everybody --

CAMEROTA: What do you mean?

MARTIN: -- knows he's going to win.

CAMEROTA: What do you mean she rolled out a positive story?

MARTIN: Well, that story that she rolled out. Well, however you spin it, the story was here's my client. She has a yearbook which we didn't produce and some of it, she wrote.

It was covered in Alabama as a story that she lied. I'm not saying she did. I think she had an explanation, but --

CAMEROTA: She made -- she made sort of little notes. She's saying --

MARTIN: Right, but --

CAMEROTA: -- that it's still his signature, it's still his message --

MARTIN: But -- right.

CAMEROTA: -- it's his signature, and she made like an annotation.

MARTIN: Right. But rolling that out on the Friday before, it was not a negative hit on Roy Moore. It was kind of a let's get attention, and that's because on Wednesday morning she's going to be back saying let's have hearings.

And by the way, Wednesday morning two things should happen. One, Mitch McConnell should resign as the leader of the Republicans in the Senate.

And two, there should be a conversation -- I'm for it -- about the credibility of the allegations against Roy Moore by the women.

Let's have that conversation in the Senate Ethics Committee, on C- SPAN, and then let's move right on to all the other senators that have had allegations in the last 40 years of misconduct. Let's have them all out there. I'm for it. Let's drain that swamp with bright sunlight.

CAMEROTA: OK.

Ana Navarro, Ed Martin, thank you very much for the debate.

MARTIN: Thanks, guys. CAMEROTA: Chris --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We all need to stop doing whatever we're doing in a couple of minutes. We'll give you through the break.

When we come back we have a video of a kid who's a victim of bullying. You need to look at this kid, you need to listen to him, and then you have to do something about it. There is a reason this has gone viral.

I know we talk about bullying a lot. Not enough has been done. Please watch this with us and then take the next step. We'll tell you what that is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:36:54] CUOMO: Tomorrow is Election Day -- a big, special election in Alabama. Polls show the Senate race is in a statistical dead heat despite accusations of child molestation and sexual abuse.

Republican candidate Roy Moore does have the strong support of the president and some in his party.

Joining us now is Democratic Sen. Chris Coons, vice-chair of the Senate Ethics Committee. Good to have you, Senator.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE), VICE-CHAIRMAN, SELECT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS, MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: You think Moore wins?

COONS: Well, I think that's going to be up to the voters of Alabama. This is going to be very close as the last segment on this show reminded us. It is a hotly-contested race where there are a great number of issues.

Myself, as a lawyer, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it's striking to me that Roy Moore was a Supreme Court justice in Alabama and was twice disciplined for failing to understand that the -- that the law comes first.

Those of us who are people of faith may be strongly moved by our faith principles. But when you get sworn in, either as a senator or as a judge, you put your hand on the bible and your swear allegiance to the constitution, not the other way around.

CUOMO: He understands, Senator, he just doesn't accept it.

Let me ask you something. If he wins and he comes to the Senate -- I know you're not going to talk about particulars or process, but there is this notion that Roy Moore may not be seated as a senator. I question that suggestion. I don't see how you could keep him from being seated.

COONS: That's right, Chris. A Supreme Court precedent strongly suggests that as long as a candidate meets the constitutional requirements to be seated, he must be seated. It is more likely that there will then be some vigorous debate about whether he should remain in the Senate.

CUOMO: Right, but the expulsion process is really difficult. It's been done a handful of times in our entire history.

Where is the confidence that that would be anything that would happen -- at least something that would happen in any kind of short order?

COONS: Well, Chris, it would be the Senate Ethics Committee that would review --

CUOMO: Right.

COONS: -- allegations before any vote of expulsion so I'm not going to get into any specifics about that.

CUOMO: Right, but it wouldn't be quick, that's for sure. And who even knows if the process would be respected. Why do I say that? It isn't what just happened with Al Franken.

Are you comfortable as a Democrat that you guys pushed him out before due process even took its place?

COONS: When you say you guys, Chris, I made no public statement about Sen. Franken.

CUOMO: Got to own your team, Senator. Got to own your team.

COONS: I'll say that as the vice-chair of the one committee that is truly bipartisan, I have worked very hard to stay out of the matter relating to Sen. Franken.

CUOMO: I get it. You're troubled by the standard, you know.

People will say, and we just heard in the last segment -- Ed Martin say hey, he admitted it. What did Franken admit?

He apologized to women who felt that he had been inappropriate. He's sorry they felt that way. He doesn't remember things the way they say things happened.

He never said he groped. They show the picture of him. Admittedly, objectively, a stupid picture but not evidence of groping. He doesn't say it was evidence of groping.

[07:40:00] So what is the standard at play here about when someone can stay and when someone has to go?

COONS: All right. Well, Chris, this is a political process, not a legal process, but I'll say that I have confidence in the Senate Ethics Committee.

I do think it is striking that the president, who is not subject to the Senate Ethics Committee, has bragged about sexual assault, has been accused by 19 different women and yet, that is not being actively debated, discussed, or closely reviewed by members of the other party.

It is my hope, though -- I'll say this, Chris -- that we are at the beginning of long-overdue reckoning in our country of a long and widespread practice of men in positions of power misusing that power in ways that have truly harmed women at all levels in our society.

And so, I'm someone who, as a lawyer, believes in due process. But I also think that we are -- we are at the beginning, not at the end of what I think is an important moment in American society.

CUOMO: Well, I'm just saying we saw where a big list of Democratic senators wind up trumping due process. The Senate investigation hearing never was able to be resolved with Franken.

Now, there are calls to look at the allegations into President Trump. Do you think that happens?

COONS: Well, I certainly hope voters keep in mind their views about what the president did or didn't say and do. It was known and it was litigated before the election.

But in my view, it's distressing when people are willing to put morality aside and to vote for or against someone based on what they will or won't do on taxes, or on immigration, or on constitutional rights. I don't think that we should have folks in public life who are above the law and who are not accountable.

CUOMO: Do you think it gets reviewed?

COONS: My hunch is it gets reviewed at the next election. We don't have --

CUOMO: But not -- but not by the Senate?

COONS: -- the mechanism to review it.

CUOMO: Right.

COONS: Right. We don't have the mechanism to review it --

CUOMO: Right.

COONS: -- in the Senate at this time.

CUOMO: Right. I think that's a good point to make and for the audience to hear because there's a lot of talk about will it happen. I don't know how you could make it happen other than some impeachment process, but we're a long way from that.

You're also calling for a hearing into possible presidential interference with the U.S. Attorney's offices. How so?

COONS: Well, we have a troubling series of incidents here where the president, we know, called the former FBI Director Jim Comey and asked for personal loyalty, and tried to get him to go easy on Gen. Flynn, who has not pled guilty to one count and is cooperative with Robert Mueller's investigation.

There are recent allegations or reports that the president is now actively interviewing U.S. Attorney candidates in a number of jurisdictions where he also happens -- he and his family -- to have significant real estate holdings.

Now, this is just part of long and troubling pattern of behavior where the president doesn't respect the separation between the Department of Justice and his role as the president.

The president's lawyers have recently suggested that the president's not capable of committing obstruction of justice because he has complete authority over the Department of Justice. I just think that's not a tenable standing. That would suggest our president is above the law and could do whatever he wants with any investigating or proceeding.

I've specifically focused on the U.S. Attorney hirings because I think this has not gotten a lot of attention and it's just the latest in a whole series of troubling steps by this president to interfere in our Department of Justice and its regular workings.

CUOMO: All right. Senator, I appreciate you making the case. I know some of this stuff is sticky but I've got to pick at it.

COONS: Yes.

CUOMO: That's the job. And if I don't get to speak to you, have a very merry Christmas, and good to see you, as always.

COONS: Thank you. Merry Christmas to you, too, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, Chris.

There's big news from Syria. The major announcement from Vladimir Putin in that war-torn nation, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:48:00] CUOMO: Vladimir president -- Vladimir, president. Monday morning, forgive me.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering a drawdown of Russian troops from Syria.

During the visit to the war-torn country today, Putin said he made the decision since both Russian Armed Forces and the Syrian Army have defeated the quote "most lethal group of international terrorists." We take that as reference to ISIS.

CAMEROTA: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refusing to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming trip to the Middle East.

The snub following President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Abbas views that move as the United States withdrawing from the peace process and he is declining formal communications with U.S. officials.

Vice President Pence's spokeswoman called that decision unfortunate.

All right. It's a rough day for quarterbacks across the NFL as four starters go down with injuries.

Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report." Ouch, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, Alisyn. Good to see you this morning.

The Eagles' Super Bowl dreams became essentially a nightmare despite a comeback win over the Rams in L.A. Their star quarterback Carson Wentz suffered what the team fears could be a season-ending ACL injury.

And we want to show you in Houston a scary scene that calls the NFL's concussion protocol into question. Texans quarterback Tom Savage's hands were shaking as if he were seizing after a big hit in the team's loss to the Niners.

The team evaluated him on the sidelines but they cleared him to play just 11 minutes later. He eventually did leave the game with a concussion. The League says they're investigating the matter.

Fans in Jacksonville threw objects over a wall at Seattle's Quinton Jefferson as he was being escorted to the tunnel during the Seahawk's loss to the Jags. Jefferson was one of two Seahawks players ejected after a fight on the field. But when one object appears to hit him, Jefferson attempts to climb up over the wall into the stands. Fortunately, he was stopped before he was able to do so.

Jefferson likely to be fined by the League, at the very least, for his ejection from the game. And any fans that may have been involved could face consequences as well -- Chris.

[07:50:05] CUOMO: All right, thank you very much. Appreciate the reporting, my brother, as always.

A boy's plea against bullying has been watched more than 20 million times. This is 20 million times the good. The biggest stars in Hollywood -- people are coming out. You have to watch the message.

The kids in this school wouldn't even let him eat his lunch. What did the school do about it? Not enough. It's time for people to come together.

Watch this with us, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right, are you ready? Whatever you're doing -- I know it's Monday. We're just about to turn 8:00 -- five minutes before the hour. Please take a moment for this, all right? We know there's bullying, we know we have to do more about it, and we have new proof of it.

This emotional message from this kid in Tennessee about being bullied in school has gone viral with millions of views. You've got all these celebrities and athletes are coming to the side of this very brave boy.

CAMEROTA: His name is Keaton Jones and his mother posted this heartbreaking video on Facebook after she says he had to pick him up at school, yet again, because he was too frightened to go to lunch.

[07:55:10] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEATON JONES, BULLYING VICTIM: Just out of curiosity, why do they bully? What's the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? It's not OK.

KIMBERLY JONES, MOTHER OF KEATON JONES: What do they say to you?

KEATON JONES: They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends.

KIMBERLY JONES: What'd they do to you at lunch?

KEATON JONES: Poured milk on me and put ham down my clothes. Threw bread at me.

KIMBERLY JONES: Is it just you --

KEATON JONES: Yep.

KIMBERLY JONES -- or is it other kids, too, that feel that way?

KEATON JONES: I'd say it's other kids, too.

KIMBERLY JONES: How's that make you feel?

KEATON JONES: They do it to me enough. I sure don't like that they do it to other people because it's not OK. People that are different don't need to be criticized about it because it's not their fault.

But if you are made fun of just don't let it bother you. Just stay strong, I guess. It's hard but it'll probably get better one day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. I was just going to reach for a tissue for all of us because that is -- you can't have a better spokesperson for what it's like to be on the receiving end of it.

Let's discuss the massive reaction that this video has caused with CNN media analyst Bill Carter. Well, that's heartbreaking.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST, AUTHOR, "THE WAR FOR LATE NIGHT": It sure is. It's also infuriating, by the way -- CAMEROTA: I know.

CARTER: -- that this happens to kids -- and it's infuriating.

CAMEROTA: But then, you know, you see social media, which this is the paradox of social media. It's so interesting --

CARTER: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- that social media can so often, as we know, be toxic --

CARTER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: -- and it can be the place where people feel free to insult each other and criticize each other.

Or, it can have this moment of this rallying cry where all of these people -- strangers out there come to his defense and show that there are better angels and there's a bigger world out there.

CARTER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: That's the upside of social media.

CARTER: Yes, and it is heartening to know that -- you know, they have this many people -- 20 million people or whatever it is reacting. It is also sort of like a question about why -- if the kid asked the question why does this go on, why do people do this.

CUOMO: Yes, that's what I seize on. I'm not a bit Kumbaya type, as one who chooses to engage on social media. Some have stepped away from it -- not me.

But I am angry by this. I'm angry by this because I guarantee you there's a systemic failure in place. I've covered this a ton for years very closely, very forensically.

It is almost without exception that when this crap happens there is a school at the center of this, and if they want to come at me, bring it on. Tell me what you did for this kid.

CARTER: Yes.

CUOMO: Give me the list of actions that you took. Tell me the protocols that you changed so that this can't happen because I guarantee you knew about it.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

CUOMO: So what did you do about it because too many schools don't do enough and parents like this kid, Keaton's mom, are left with no choice but to put her kid on social media and hope that the rest of us push for something better for his kid? And it shouldn't have to happen that way and it keeps happening that way.

CAMEROTA: Bill, we have breaking news. I'm sorry that we have to cut you short but thank you very much --

CARTER: Go for it.

CAMEROTA: -- for being here.

All right, so we do have some breaking news we're following right now because there are emergency crews in New York City.

They're responding to reports of some type of possible explosion. We understand that it's near the Port Authority bus terminal which, obviously, is heavily trafficked. It's one of the major in points of all commuters coming in on a Monday morning. Officials say this happened at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, an extremely busy area.

CUOMO: That's right. We're trying to get some reporting now. There's been a lot of confusion over this. It was described by some reports as a big event. That is not the word that is coming out of the state government about it.

There was a device that was found. We don't yet if something -- if this went off, if there were injuries, if this went off when it was trying to be defused.

We do know what you see. There's a heavy police presence there. The head of the MTA is on the scene. People are being urged to stay away from the area.

As soon as we get information that we can verify, you will get it.

CAMEROTA: One more thing. We don't know of any injuries -- none that have been reported, at least, publicly.

So at this moment there's not a lot we know other than it appears that 42nd and 8th is basically at a standstill with all of those emergency vehicles there because if there were to have been an explosion at Port Authority, that would be obviously, very scary. It would be huge for a Monday morning commute.

But all we know is that there is a device that --

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- that is suspicious of some kind.

CUOMO: Now, so how do you explain the inconsistency between if it's not that big a deal why is there so much stoppage? Because they have a sweep area. So what happens is as soon as they find the device -- this is all going on below ground, right, so even though they're above ground -- that's obviously where they had to park their vehicles.

They have a sweep area that is far more extensive than where they found the device because they go on the assumption that if they found one there may be others. So what you have is massive amounts of crews flying around right now looking for similar packaging to that which they found this reported pipe bomb.

CAMEROTA: We're hearing two separate things.