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Secretary Pompeo Right Now in The Way to North Korea; Iran Nuke Deal Still Exists with Other Countries for Now; One of Trump's Biggest Foes Resigns Over Alleged Abuse. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 8, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: On this big day, a historic day of diplomatic moves, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is on his way to North Korea for another round of talks ahead of President Trump's nuclear summit with Kim Jong-un.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At this very moment, Secretary Pompeo is on his way to North Korea in preparation for my upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un. Plans are being made, relationships are building, hopefully a deal will happen, and with the help of China, South Korea, and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone.


KEILAR: Joining me now we have CNN military and diplomatic analyst, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby. And we have David Sanger CNN political and national security analyst. David is also national security correspondent for "The New York Times." I want to talk to you both obviously about North Korea. David, before that, let's talk about Iran. You have covered it so extensively. You covered the agreement. The nuclear agreement under the Obama administration. The president here cited Israeli intelligence that actually is counter to the latest assessment by U.S. intelligence. What did you make of that?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, what he did was a little bit of a turn of phrase to muddy up the question of when the Iranians were doing what they were doing. So, the Israelis came and obtained in Iran, through a Mossad operation, a very large trove of information from something called Project Ahmed. It goes back to 2003 and before. And it had a vast number of war head designs, all kinds of sketches and information about how you would build a weapon. Was this new? No. We knew about this in 2008 when some other designs from the project came out. I even wrote about them in a book that was published in early 2009.

Because a lot of this evidence was presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency at that time. What the Israelis did find was a larger trove, and we learned about even more work that they did. But if you listen to the president, and you weren't aware of the history here, you would think that these designs were new. And even the Israelis did not make that argument when they made the presentation. They did say that the Iranians had recently moved them to a different location. Clearly the Iranians are keeping them in reserve. Maybe now they will break them out. But they certainly were not new.

KEILAR: Admiral Kirby turning now to North Korea here. We learned from the president that the location is set. The date is set. The time is set. We don't know what they are, but he said that these are set.

[15:35:00] Is this going to be part of what Secretary Pompeo is working out as he heads to North Korea?

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think there is probably two purposes. One I think he is going to sort of lay some final groundwork for this meeting now that the date and time have been set. I suspect there is some logistic work he has to do. It's also possible that's going to facilitate the release of the three detained Americans. We long believed and thought that their release would be part of a confidence building program getting to the summit to convince the U.S. side that Kim was really serious. It could be that he's going to secure their release. But we will have to see.

KEILAR: What did you make how the president -- when asked about the detainees, he basic three said we will find out, we will see. What did you make of that and just how he has -- he and those close to him have handled information about the detainees.

KIRBY: I want to believe he was being judicious and trying not to get ahead of it and scuttle the detail at the last moment. I also think he is a showman and wants you to keep guessing. I was greatly distressed days ago when I found out like most of the American people that the Americans were going to be worked towards release from Rudy Giuliani his personal attorney instead of representatives from the U.S. government. Then it didn't happen. Every day since is putting their release at greater risk or could have put their release at greater risk.

KEILAR: David, I want to mention a new reaction from former President Obama, obviously, who oversaw the brokering of this nuclear agreement with Iran. And he called it a serious mistake that the president, President Trump is pulling out of this. What is your reaction to that? And also, to how that is going to be received by Americans? When you look at poll numbers, when you look at where Americans are on this deal what's your reaction to that?

SANGER: The polls show that most Americans support the deal. But the support is not deep because these deals are complicated and understanding compliance with them is difficult. As you were talking with Liz Sherwood earlier today on this. But the major point is this, that President Obama went into the deal as making a pretty big gamble, that this would take the possibility of Iran building a nuclear weapon off the table for ten or 15 years. And that we could use that time to try to build a deeper and better relationship with the Iranians. During that time presumably, they will get a new supreme leader. The current supreme leader is quite elderly and there was an opportunity to build a relationship. President Trump is coming to it with an opposite theory of the case. His theory is that the deal did not deal with missiles. It did not deal with Iran's other activities in the region. It was never intended to go deal with those. And that that was a fatal flaw to this. And they believe, the Trump administration believes that they can restore sanctions and create enough pressure to really break the regime. I'm not sure that's possible if the Europeans and other allies are not with us. And clearly, they are not with us on this decision.

KEILAR: David Sanger, thank you so much. Admiral Kirby we appreciate it. Next, the New York attorney general who championed the #me-too movement publicly now accused of abusing women in private. Hear Eric Schneiderman's response to the allegations that seem to expose a very stunning hypocrisy.


KEILAR: One of the biggest champions of the #me-too movement is now being investigated over allegations he physically abused women. Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned last night after "The New Yorker" published details from four women, two who went on the record accusing Schneiderman of assault, non-consensual violence during sex and issuing death threats again them. He denies the charges. He also spearheaded legal efforts that include those against Trump University, for DACA, and also against the president's travel ban.

Joining me now, CNN political commentator Errol Louis to discuss this with us. He is a political anchor at Spectrum News. You covered Schneiderman for years. So, when you look at what you read and what seemed to be very well vetted in this "New Yorker" article, and then you look at the person that you have covered, how do you square his public and private behavior?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, it's shocking, of course, to anybody who knew anything about Eric Schneiderman. He was in public life for a good decade before becoming attorney general and then served two terms and was running for a third. This is somebody who was considered a well-known quantity. And while there would be rumors around this and rumors around that, many of which I had never heard, we are now sort of discovering that this wasn't a complete mystery to everyone -- other than the fact that he liked a glass of wine, seemed to hit the bars here and there, it was not considered out of the norm -- his behavior was not considered out of the norm at all. So, this is a really big shock to New York's political community.

KEILAR: So, what happens now to the cases that he is working on?

[15:45:00] LOUIS: Well the cases themselves will be in very good hands actually. Barbara Underwood who is going to be running the office. She is the acting attorney general now. Very well regarded. She was the solicitor general. Argued 20 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Impeccable credentials. Very well regarded. The cases themselves will continue. Some of them are pretty aggressive. The chart that you just put up showed that many of them are kind of defiant of the Trump administration reflecting Eric Schneiderman's penchant for taking on powerful forces if he thought the cause was right. On questions like DACA, Trump University, he was front and center.

The Muslim ban, the travel ban. Those cases will continue. Without question. I think the larger question though is who is going to inherit them? And what will be the nature of their stance not only toward the Trump administration but frankly towards Wall Street. I mean a whole other part of Eric Schneiderman's portfolio dealt with suing companies like Goldman Sachs. You know, he was really front and center, very, very prominent. It's somewhat the nature of the position. In part because state laws cover a lot of activity on Wall Street.

KEILAR: And he was taking on Harvey Weinstein and his brother as well in addition to Wall Street and in addition to Donald Trump. And Donald Trump Jr. For instance, has been celebrating the news. Kellyanne Conway tweeted gotcha. It gives a lot of ammunition to Schneiderman's enemies, this story does.

LOUIS: It does. But I would have to tell you -- and I wrote about this on I mean, that's a passing phenomenon. The reality is -- and Donald Trump Jr. shouldn't get his hopes up about this, nor Kellyanne Conway. The reality is whoever inherits that seat, if they are a liberal Democrat, and the politics lean in that direction they are going to continue what the last three attorney generals have done. Before Schneiderman there was Cuomo. Before that, Elliot Spitzer. All of them have been very aggressive, hitting these national issues, taking on Wall Street, taking on powerful enemies all over the place because it is really a very important kind of national perch. A lot of national issues, national ambitions are hatched right there in that attorney general's office. That's not going to stop just because we had somebody resign under a cloud. Errol Louis, thank you so much we appreciate your perspective there.

LOUIS: Thank you, Briana.

KEILAR: We are going to speak to a domestic violence attorney next. She has been counselling one of Schneiderman's accusers. And she will explain why these women decided to speak up now.


KEILAR: More now on the sudden resignation of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over abuse allegations, DAs in two New York counties are now opening investigations against Schneiderman. A Democrat, he denies the accusations from all four women and released this statement. It said, quote, in the privacy of intimate relationships I have engaged in role playing and other consensual sexual activity, I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex which is a line I would not cross. Joining me to talk more about this is Jennifer Friedman, a domestic violence attorney and you've been providing legal guidance for Tanya Selvaratnam and she is one of Schneiderman's accusers. She went on the record, she went public with her name in this "New Yorker" piece. I know there is

a lot because of that and because of privilege that you cannot comment on but tell us how she's doing and about how she came to the decision that she will speak out. JENNIFER FRIEDMAN, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY: Well thank you so

much, Brianna. Tanya is a wonderful person, someone who came to me through a mutual friend. And I have -- as you stated, I've counseled in and been an assistant, a guide through this complicated process of making a decision about what was the best thing for her. I think it is really critical to understand that victims of domestic violence and intimate partner violence have to make the choices that work the best for them and increase their safety. So, she made this decision to come forward when she was safe, when she felt that she had her feet underneath her in the ground, and she made this decision when she started to understand that there was at least one other and possibly other victims out there and really felt it was critical that this not happen to anyone else.

KEILAR: And what did you make -- considering -- as we read what is a graphic story here, a long story in the "New Yorker" that details allegations of Schneiderman slapping women, not always in the context of sex. But abusing them in other situations as well, he's defending himself and said he is role playing. What do you think about that reaction from him?

[15:55:00] FRIEDMAN: It begs credibility. For anybody who read the articles, we're talking about strangulation against multiple victims, three different victims talk about strangulation and hitting, spitting. He has used derogatory language, racist language, Tanya his brown slave. The idea that this was consensual role play -- it just doesn't pass the sniff test and frankly I think we're all beyond and tired and sick of the stereotypes, these cliches that get trotted out that women want this kind of behavior and they ask for it and I think it is beneath him and beneath his office and what happened in the hours following that description of his explanation I think says it all.

KEILAR: Jennifer, we do appreciate your time. We know this is just the beginning. We'll be talking to you again in the future. Jennifer Friedman, thank you.

And the CNN is reporting President Trump is entertaining the idea of firing his embattled EPA chief. Find out why.


KEILAR: We're learning today that President Trump is entertaining the idea of firing embattled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt as his list of controversies grows longer and longer. Sources say White House officials saw a fresh opening to sway Trump against Pruitt following a report in "The Atlantic," a story that alleges a Pruitt aide tried to spread stories about Ryan Zinke. Apparently, the president was so bothered by it, that he's grown more open to his aides' arguments that Pruitt me go.

And the "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.