Return to Transcripts main page


New Signs Mueller May Be Closer to Trump Interview; Who Is Recy Taylor, Named in Oprah's Golden Globes Speech; Investors Want Apple to Fight iPhone Addiction in Kids. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 8, 2018 - 14:30   ET



[14:31:40] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump may soon come face to face with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And that prediction coming from one of the insiders who is investigating possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Here is Senator Richard Blumenthal.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D), CONNECTICUT: Unquestionably, there has to be that kind of face-to-face interview. The timing is important because the special counsel needs to have as many facts and as much evidence before he has that face-to-face interview with the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: So when might that happen?

BLUMENTHAL: My view is it will probably happen sometime this year.


BALDWIN: So with me now, CNN legal analyst and defense attorney, Mike Geragos, and Caroline Polisi, she is a federal and white collar criminal defense attorney.

Great to have you on.

Mark Geragos, you're up to bat first.

Do you think it's inevitable that these two, that the president and Robert Mueller, will be sitting down together, face to face, or can the president somehow avoid it?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANAYST: I don't think that he can avoid it. And you'll remember that this has happened before, there's precedent for it during Clinton -- the investigation with Bill Clinton, President Clinton. And they've been telegraphing it. The president's lawyers have been putting it out there that they'd like to sit down with him, and he has nothing to hide, so to speak. And usually, in an investigation like this, it's usually at the tail end of the investigation when they sit down with the person, because I they want to make sure that they fully understand what all of the witnesses will say, what all of the facts that they've gathered will tell them before they would sit down with them.

BALDWIN: So, you are correct that that has been up for discussion. But some of the reporting also has been, maybe he can avoid it and maybe he can do written answers to questions presented to the president, so they don't meet eyeball-to-eyeball. Do you think that's even possible?

Mark Geragos?

GERAGOS: Do I think it's possible for him to avoid it?


GERAGOS: He could if he wanted to. I think the optics of it is horrible.


Caroline, if you are, you know, advising the president, legally, what are you thinking? What are you planning behind the scenes? What would that sit-down look like and would it be Bob Mueller himself?

CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL & WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think we as a country like the idea of a Mueller-Trump one-on-one. Likely I don't think that's how it will happen. I think it's more likely Andrew Weissman, the top dog, the top aide to Mueller, will be conducting the interview. And he's a real pit bull. Mueller is the one that's really overseeing it. I don't even think he would be in the room. He may be, maybe not. But there would be FBI investigators and, obviously, Trump and his attorneys are allowed to be present, as well. I don't think he can avoid it. I know we've heard reports that apparently his legal team is trying to supplement with affidavits attesting to the fact that there was no collusion. That simply is not going to cut it when it comes to a white-collar criminal investigation of this nature. There is no substitute for a face-to-face interaction. And Mueller, he will subpoena him if he has to. Hopefully, he won't get to that, as Mark alluded to, but he could.

BALDWIN: Mark, let me play a little bit more sound. And this is from Senator Blumenthal.


[14:35:00] BLUMENTHAL: We'll have more convictions -- there have been two already -- and more indictments.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: How do you know there will be more?

BLUMENTHAL: I think that the evidence accumulating against individuals within the White House, within the administration, the mounting evidence of obstruction of justice that's public, and we have no idea all of what is available to the special counsel.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: From where you sit today, you believe that Don Jr and Jared Kushner could be facing indictment? BLUMENTHAL: Well, I'm not predicting. And I'm not saying what all

the evidence may be. But certainly, the evidence points to continued investigation. And there ought to be some very searching consideration of whether they face criminal charges.


BALDWIN: So, Mark, you heard the exchange. He mentions Don Jr and Jared Kushner. Do you think he knows something no one else knows?

GERAGOS: Yes, because I will tell you, defending these cases for years, normally, what's leaked out there, what the public knows about these cases is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, so to speak.


GERAGOS: Until you actually see and know what they have, until you see the documents, including the FBI 302s, until you see the interviews that they've done, until you see what kind of documentary evidence that they've assembled, you really have no idea. And everybody keeps saying, well, there's no proof, no proof. Maybe in the public realm, but you really don't know what they have. I can't tell you how many cases where the prosecutor will do a document dump after a client has been arraigned and, all of a sudden, you say, whoa, now I understand what it was or why they went down this road and why this client is in harm's way. So I think what he's saying is a truism. And he's got a law enforcement background, so he knows. This is always the case. Whatever the public thinks they know is just a small fraction of what is actually there.

BALDWIN: Got it. Got it.

Mark and Caroline, we'll leave it. Thank you both so much.

Still ahead here, Oprah not only brought people to tears with her speech last night at the Golden Globes, she also brought to light harsh realities faced by women and minorities. One of the women, Recy Taylor. Why we all should know who this woman was, her story, and her place in the civil rights movement, next.


[14:41:30] BALDWIN: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globe speech, for all its passion and inspiration, was also filled with hard truths about the racist brutality committed against black women during Jim Crow. She told this story of a black woman by the name of Recy Taylor.


OPRAH WINFREY, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: A name I know, and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from her church service she'd attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road, coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago.


BALDWIN: With me now Nancy Buirski, the documentary filmmaker and producer who brought Taylor's story to life in the film, "The Rape of Recy Taylor." Also nominated for an NAACP Image award for a featured documentary.

Congratulations for that.


BALDWIN: It is such a pleasure to meet you.

In commercial break, did you even know that Oprah was going to mention Recy Taylor's name? And you said no. And what did you do?

BUIRSKI: I stood up and screamed.

BALDWIN: You were screaming.

BUIRSKI: Yes. And I was sure people would knock on my door and my apartment because I was screaming like crazy and the phones started ringing and the texting came in.


BUIRSKI: We were all so excited. We really -- we truly believe that more people should know about Recy Taylor. That's why we made this movie. "Time" magazine came out with the cover of the women that were part of the Me Too movement, and the person that wasn't on the cover was Recy Taylor.

BALDWIN: Recy Taylor.

BUIRSKI: Oprah Winfrey corrected that, and we are so grateful to her.

BALDWIN: The second I heard her name come out of Oprah's mouth, I was Googling away and wanted to have this conversation on TV. We heard a bit of her story, 24, leaving church in Alabama and she's raped. What happened?

BUIRSKI: She was walking home from church with a friend and her friend's son, and this car comes up behind her and it circles around, and then it comes up again and circles around. And these guys get out with a shotgun and they tell her, if you don't get in the car, we'll kill you and we'll kill your friends. So they take her to this pecan grove, and the rest, obviously, you know that they kept her there for four hours and they raped her, and they pretended that they had given her money. They left her on the side of the road. Her father found her. And instead of going home and not saying anything, which is what most women did in those days, that night she spoke up. That night, she went to the sheriff and she said, I've just got to tell you what happened to me. That's what's so incredible about her. She was so brave when her life was at risk. So you know, she's the start of this movement. She's really the foundation for what we're celebrating today.

BALDWIN: Say her name, Recy Taylor.

BUIRSKI: Correct.

BALDWIN: I was trying to read if she ever saw any sort of justice, and it sounds like with the juries all white, all male.

BUIRSKI: The grand juries never indicted any of those men. And some of them confessed to the killing and we have their testimony in our film.

BALDWIN: Incredible.

BUIRSKI: But she was given an apology by the state.

BALDWIN: Not by the men.

BUIRSKI: Not by the men, of course, not.


BUIRSKI: But by the state. But that wasn't really enough and her brother, Robert Taylor, who plays a big role in our film, was committed to having her story told. He's -- he's courageous himself, as is this whole family. The strength of the family is amazing.

[14:45:13] BALDWIN: Just last quick question, what do you think I don't know -- she passed away 11 days ago now. I don't know when you were last in touch with her or anyone in her family. What would she have thought watching that last night?

BUIRSKI: You know, I'm sure, on some level, she would be so gratified, and understand that her story is the story of so many women. There are so many Recy Taylors.


BALDWIN: And so many we don't know.

BUIRSKI: That's right. And so she's not only courageous on her own, but she is a symbol and a metaphor for so many women who didn't have the chance to speak out. I'm sure she's proud, and I know her family is.

BALDWIN: Nancy Buirski, thank you so much. Thank you for bringing to light the story. "The Rape of Recy Taylor" is the film.

Good luck this weekend.

BUIRSKI: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Winner of the NAACP Image award. Thank you so much. Continuing on, as the president defends himself against concerns of

his mental fitness, CNN is learning he is still fuming behind the scenes, and it involves his former chief strategist. We have detail ahead.

Also depression, insomnia, even suicide. Some Apple investors say these are all very real dangers of iPhone addiction, especially in young people. And they actually want the company to do something about that. Their concerns, next.


[14:51:01] BALDWIN: Oh, are smartphones so easy to use. They put a universe of instant smartness at our fingertips, plus games and photos and pug puppy videos. Guilty. So no wonder we're all blissed out over them.

But hang on, because now comes word a couple of Apple investors are worried our kids are addicted to their phones. So addicted, in fact, that parents and teachers cannot pry these devices from the determined grip of a child.

One of those investors should know. It is the retirement fund for California teachers. They are demanding Apple do more to battle what heavy smartphone use can actually do to a child's mental health.

This is such an important discussion we all need to have starting now.


BALDWIN: With us, CNN senior technology correspondent, Laurie Segall, and CNN digital correspondent, Kelly Wallace, who focuses on family and work/life balance in all her great reporting here at CNN.

So, Ladies --


BALDWIN: -- we are all fessing up over commercial over how much we use our phones.



BALDWIN: You, my friend, have done a lot of reporting with Silicon Valley and you're hearing. And you found engineers who are essentially saying, yes, we know they're addictive.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: There is this huge moment of reckoning, more so than I've ever seen. And I will never forget, Brooke, going into this underground meetup less than a year ago.

BALDWIN: Of course. SEGALL: We had engineers -- right? Engineers from Apple, Uber, you

name it. And I was sitting with an engineer, and he said to me, we used to sit around a table and we used to high five each other when we got you to pick up the phone more than you would pick up a cigarette. And then we thought a couple of years later, well, wait a second, maybe that wasn't the best thing. My thought was, what are you doing now. He said, we're trying to figure that out.

So, you know, that was incredibly alarming to me. But I am so happy we are now beginning to have this conversation because now the studies are coming in and it's not looking good. And in Silicon Valley, there's this idea, will we live in this utopian world or this dystopian world. And if we're not careful, we face one or the other.

BALDWIN: What is this doing on our brain, Mom?

WALLACE: We don't know for sure. We don't have the study to say what this is doing to our brains. But there's enough research that attention issues, kids are suffering, they're more distracted. They're not sleeping. They're on their devices all night, so they're getting less sleep. Less sleep could lead to mental health issues. The more time on devices, and enough research there, mental health issues, depression and suicide. There's enough concern. And I agree. I've been covering parenting for a couple of years here.

BALDWIN: You have how many kids?

WALLACE: I have two kids.


WALLACE: Eleven and a half and 10. Only one has a phone so far.

BALDWIN: I was wondering.

BALDWIN: One who doesn't seem to be addicted? But I know that's the exception. And I do feel that the pendulum is swinging, that we are all now talking about, wait a second, there are a lot of positives here, but there are a lot of concerns, and do we all need to be doing more, especially because our kids' brains are still developing. So what impact are these devices having on them?

BALDWIN: What is Apple doing about it or any of these investors?

SEGALL: I think they're having conversations now. And I think it's interesting to look at the broader conversation with social media. Every year, Mark Zuckerberg creates the New Year's resolution. This year, it was to fix Facebook. Mark doesn't look to go on camera. He went on camera with me a couple of months ago, because they were changing their mission from being more open and connected to actually bringing the world closer together, because there's this understanding that we've seen this bad stuff.

Something we should talk about, though, is he said time well spent. We want you to spend better time online. Well, that could also mean spending less time online, which is completely against add-driven model that Facebook has had. Getting you to spend less time on the screen probably not the best for Apple in the long term. So you have to look at the business model. So you want people to put their money where their mouth is, but we have to have a larger conversation about how that plays out.

WALLACE: There's also a big question, will these tech companies, especially when the bottom line is impacted, do more?

Then it becomes, look, an uncomfortable question for all of us parents, is there more that we can be doing? Yes, we can try to keep the phones out of the bedroom. You can try and assert some screen- time rules. It's hard, but we do have a role to play as parents.

BALDWIN: Totally.

WALLACE: And that can have an impact on our kids, too.

BALDWIN: Totally. And us as grown-ups, as well.


[14:55:02] BALDWIN: Kelly and Laurie, thank you so much.

Moments from now, President Trump will be touching down in Nashville. Live pictures there of where he'll be speaking. This, as the president is having to defend his own mental stability these days.

Also, more on our breaking news involving Mitt Romney. CNN learning he was treated for prostate cancer just last summer. We're back in a moment.


[14:59:54] BALDWIN: And we are back. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me.

In the next hour, President Trump will speak at a farmer's convention there in Nashville. A live sneak peek of where he'll be. He's expected to praise his tax cut policy. The speech comes on the heels of another self-promotion, his recent tweets declaring how smart he is.