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Omarosa Speaks Out in "Celebrity Big Brother"; Vice President Mike Pence, Kim Jong-un's Sister Sit Feet Apart at Olympic Ceremony; Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman Raises Questions Over Larry Nassar Abuse; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 9, 2018 - 10:30   ET



[10:33:06] ROSS MATTHEWS, ROOMMATE, "CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER": Should we be worried?


MATTHEWS: Don't say that. Because we are worried, but I need you to say, no, it's going to be OK.

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: OK. It was going to not be OK. It's not.

MATTHEWS: Would you vote for him again?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: God no, never. Never in a million years, never.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: "Celebrity Big Brother." This is not typically where you look for your big political headlines. But you can't ignore those words. Former White House aide and reality star Omarosa clearly not holding back, talking about her time on staff. Giving a dramatic warning about the future under President Trump.

Back with me, CNN political commentator Scott Jennings and Symone Sanders.

The dramatic music as well from the folks at "Big Brother" clearly add to what we are hearing right there.

Scott, you're laughing but she's very serious in what she says.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, this was a person that was marginalized from the day she got to the White House. Then she was fired. So I don't know exactly why we're taking, you know, seriously her ominous whispering today. Frankly I'm a little dismayed that she is taking advantage of Donald Trump the way she is. This person's entire career has been made over Donald Trump. He put her on TV, he put her in the White House, and now this act of disloyalty is really stunning.

And so I wouldn't worry too much, American people, about the whispering, you know, ominous whispering of Omarosa. I doubt she knew very much when she was there. And she certainly doesn't know anything now.

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Scott, now I don't think that's fair. So first of all, Erica, I'd like to know, it is Black History Month, and Carter G. Woodson did not go through the trap so we could sit on CNN and talk about Omarosa this month. But since we are here, I would like to know that, look, Omarosa is not the only person that has been fired from this White House and then has went on to continue to talk about her experience. And we can -- like Corey Lewandowski, we are talking about what he said today and he too was fired.

[10:35:01] I would venture to say this. I have no cookies, cupcakes or pats on the back for anyone that comes out of this White House who is so ferociously and vehemently defended Donald Trump without criticism while they were in the White House. And so for me, Omarosa is in the same bucket as Sean Spicer in this moment, is that, you know, ominous warnings mean nothing to me now because while you were in the building, you did not do much.

HILL: She talked a little bit about some of that time in the building and how she was haunted by the president's tweets now. Take a listen to this moment.


MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I was haunted by tweets every single day, like, what is he going to tweet next?

MATTHEWS: Does anybody say to him, what are you doing?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I tried to be that person. And then all of the people around him attacked me. It was like keep her away from him. Don't give her access. Don't let her talk to him. And it's like -- and Ivanka is there, Jared is there.


HILL: Do either of you think she was in fact -- if given the chance, that she could have been some sort of moderating force around the president?

SANDERS: Maybe. Look, I don't know Omarosa personally. So perhaps. Omarosa will tell you that she knows the president as her friend. And that is why she went to go support him on the campaign trail, why she was in the White House. And I think if she saw her friend saying or doing something that she perhaps thought was inappropriate, maybe perhaps she would have said something.

But the fact of the matter is that every single time Omarosa or anyone else from this White House was in a visible role such as she, had an opportunity, they defended the president without question. Even when he was wrong. So, again, I don't have any cookies, cupcakes or pats on the back today. HILL: You know, what's sort of remarkable here is that we know how

much the president praises and prizes loyalty. And the minute that he feels crossed, he makes it very clear, even if he's not speaking directly to that person, whether it's in a tweet or through someone else, he makes it very clear how he feels about someone. We have not really heard a bad word about Omarosa from the president since she left.

And it was sort of downplayed even when it was asked about yesterday at the briefing. Raj Shah saying, look, there was no contact, there was limited contact when she was here, she's gone.

Scott, did any of that surprise you? I mean, you were sort of outraged by what she's saying but it doesn't sound like the White House is.

JENNINGS: Well, I think Raj Shah, you know, told us all we need to know yesterday because this has not been elevated to a presidential statement. It's being handled at the staff level. He denigrated the access she had while she was there. He made clear she's not talking to the president. And he even made a joke and said she's been fired three times from "The Apprentice" and now been let go once by a White House.

I think he made it pretty clear about how they feel about Omarosa's tenure and I frankly am really dismayed at the disloyalty she's showing. I know why she's doing it. I understand what her career is, and I understand she thinks this is what's best for her. But when you take these jobs in public service, it's not about you, it's about the country, about the president you serve and I don't feel like she's taking that very seriously today.

SANDERS: But, Scott, do you think that Sean Spicer has been disloyal? Because he went on another network not a couple of days ago noting that, oh, he wished he would have done things differently, he's kind of sorry about this and about that. So is that an effort -- look, I'm no Omarosa fan clearly, but I am also not here for the double standard when it comes to people coming out of this White House.

JENNINGS: I think Omarosa's entire tenure was a joke. I mean, you know, we've read --

SANDERS: What --

JENNINGS: -- stories from the press that she spent most of the time planning her wedding and having her wedding party come into the White House and that she had to run over to the residence and try to save her job and now she's claiming that she was the one trying to stop everything from happening that she didn't like? I mean, it's a complete and total joke. So I don't think we should treat her as anything other than that. This is a --

SANDERS: But Erica, the --


HILL: Symone, real quickly because I have a question for Scott on that point.

SANDERS: The last thing I want to say is this, look, I want us to be really, really careful about the double standards that we apply to folks coming out of this White House, particularly when people -- for people of color, particularly for black women. And it's not just Scott. It's everyone who wants to speak one way about Omarosa and another way about everyone else.

Lots of folks that work in this White House are a joke. But Omarosa is a professional person who don't have a -- who did amass a certain level of access and not just because she was cute, because she was in some way, shape or form qualified for whatever she was doing.

HILL: And the president wanted her there. And to that point, what does it say about the standards of the people who are being hired in the White House, Scott, as you're railing on Omarosa? If she shouldn't have been there in the first place, then why was she there?

JENNINGS: Well, that's a good question. And a lot of the people that came in at the beginning of this administration have been washed out. I mean, Omarosa came in with, you know, Sebastian Gorka who was washed out. You know, Scaramucci was in and out in a short period of time. I mean, they had some people early on that came in and have now washed out. And they've replaced them in many cases with professional people.

I don't know that Omarosa will be replaced because I think the job they gave her was one that was created. I don't recall the Office of Public Liaison ever needing its own separate communications person back when I was in the Bush White House, or even in the Obama White House. So I think this whole thing is kind of --


HILL: We're going to --

JENNINGS: And we ought to take her words for what it is. Somebody who is trying to be famous and trying to play on her job.

HILL: We are going to have to --

JENNINGS: It should be about public service but she's making it about herself.

[10:40:08] HILL: Scott, Symone, we've got to leave it there.

SANDERS: Happy Black History Month, Erica.

HILL: And to you -- thank you. Thank you both.

They are miles away on policy. Just feet apart in the VIP box, though, at the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics. How did Vice President Pence and Kim Jong-un's sister end up sitting so close to one another?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HILL: Vice President Pence this morning just feet away from Kim Jong- un's sister. You see them both highlighted in that photograph. They're sharing a VIP box there at the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics.

Joining me now from Pyeongchang, CNN correspondent Will Ripley who has the very latest on that. An interesting seating chart.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And believe it or not, Erica, they would have actually been sitting even closer but Vice President Pence switched seats that he could be farther away from the North Korean delegation because the official seating chat had actually had the North Koreans sitting directly behind him.

[10:45:09] So that was actually -- they were trying to avoid the kind of optics that we saw, but they would have been literally one seat, one row behind each other, instead it was one row and four seats is how they were able to work it out.

And we also know that there was no interaction between the North Koreans and the vice president. And it would be a very awkward interaction if that were to take place given the fact that Vice President Pence was speaking out against what he called a tyrannical regime, he talked about North Korean people desiring freedom, he met with North Korean defectors here in Pyeongchang.

Meanwhile as the North Korean delegation and Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, is shaking hands with South Korea's vice president and trying to -- she was sent here essentially on a mission to try to warm up relations between the two countries and a lot of observers think she was sent here to try to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul.

HILL: Well, there are also questions in terms of driving that wedge and warming relations what will happen at this luncheon. President Moon inviting the North Korean delegation and Kim Jong-un's sister, of course, to this luncheon tomorrow. What do we expect to come out of that?

RIPLEY: So that's going to be happening at the Blue House in Seoul. And this is very significant because by holding an informal lunch it allows for the kind of casual conversations, perhaps a message from Kim Jong-un could be passed along to President Moon.

Several diplomatic sources are telling me that it is a good possibility that Kim Yo-jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un, will actually invite President Moon of South Korea to visit North Korea at some point later this year. That would be a major development. President Moon has indicated he might be willing to visit North Korea under the right conditions.

What is unclear is what North Korea would want in exchange. Would they want the United States and South Korea to continue to postpone their joint military drills? Would they want economic sanctions lifted? But clearly it's a diplomatic effort on the part of the North Koreans, even as the United States has been calling on South Korea to disengage after the Olympics and join the United States in this campaign of maximum pressure.

HILL: Will Ripley live for us there in Pyeongchang. Will, thank you.

A CNN exclusive, gold medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman weighs in on disgraced former doctor, Larry Nassar. Why she is blaming the U.S. Olympic Committee for not protecting athletes.


[10:51:50] HILL: A CNN exclusive for you. As the 2018 Olympics kick off in South Korea, gold-medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman sits down with Jake Tapper to explain the changes she believes need to happen now to protect future athletes.

Raisman is one of the more than 200 women who accused former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar of molesting her. For the first time she says one of her Olympic coaches may have known about that abuse for years before Nassar was arrested.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Gold medalist Aly Raisman says she'll be enthusiastically cheering on Team USA at the opening ceremonies tomorrow, but she also says the officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee have betrayed the athletes.

ALY RAISMAN, OLYMPIC GYMNAST: I was abused at the Olympics. Larry Nassar was the Olympic doctor. They are very, very much responsible for this.

TAPPER: Days ago, the Olympic Committee hired a law firm to conduct what they call an independent investigation into who knew what about Nassar's abuse. And when. But Raisman is skeptical that this investigation will go far enough.

RAISMAN: This should have never ever happened. You know, if one adult listened or had the character to act, you know, we would have never met him.

TAPPER: And now Raisman is revealing for the first time that the man who coached the 2012 gold medal Olympic team known as the "Fierce Five" might have known about the abuse years before it was reported to USA Gymnastics, the Olympic Committee, or the FBI.

RAISMAN: We would talk about it amongst ourselves and one of my teammates described in graphic detail what Nassar had done to her the night before and John Geddert was in the car with us and he just didn't say anything. I don't know what he did or didn't do from there. I know he didn't ask us any questions. But that just is why we need the full independent investigation to really get to the bottom of who knew about this.

TAPPER: That coach, John Geddert, has since retired. Law enforcement in Michigan say they're investigating complaints against him but refuse to describe the nature of the complaints to CNN. Geddert's lawyer did not respond to CNN's request for comment. So who did know about Nassar and when? New reporting from the "Wall

Street Journal" reveals that the CEO of the Olympic Committee, Scott Blackman, was alerted in July 2015 to reports that an Olympic gymnast had alleged abuse by a team doctor. Nassar kept seeing patients and abusing them for more than a year after that.

The U.S. Olympic Committee tells CNN, quote, "We learned in 2015 of a doctor potentially having abused an athlete and that was reported to the FBI. That's what is supposed to happen," unquote.

Olympic CEO Scott Blackman refused to talk to us amid congressional calls for his resignation.

(On camera): Do you have confidence in Scott Blackman?

RAISMAN: Well, I think to be a good leader you have to have character. And you have to be a good person and do the right thing and I don't think he is any of those things.

TAPPER: How are you doing?

RAISMAN: I think every day I cope differently with it. I feel -- I would say, I'm very tired a lot. I'm just really trying to listen to my body, you know. Some days I feel good and I'll do a workout.

[10:55:03] Other days I wake up and I just -- I can't even get through a 10-minute walk and I'm -- that's crazy for me to say being an Olympic athlete, but I just think people need to understand that the stress and trauma, it is so exhausting.

I would love for USA Gymnastics and USOC to hear this loud and clear, that since they only care about medals, reputation and money, if we were that successful, while we were being molested, wouldn't we have been more successful if we had the right doctor that actually helped heal our injuries, that didn't traumatize us? And if we had people around us that genuinely wanted to help us and weren't doing well out of fear?

TAPPER (voice-over): Jake Tapper, CNN, Newton, Massachusetts.


HILL: Strong words from Aly Raisman.

A White House now in crisis control mode, what we're learning about the Rob Porter scandal.