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Giuliani Tells NYT Legal Team To Decide By May 17 On Mueller Interview; New York Attorney General Resigns Over Abuse Allegations; Voters Head To The Polls In Four States Today; Salena Zito On "The Great Revolt". Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 8, 2018 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: -- a red herring. That is a distraction. There is no being under oath.

If you're talking to an FBI agent, if you lie to them it's a crime. They don't have to put you under oath. This is nonsense.

Fair point?

KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, PRESIDENT, SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF VIRGINIA: It is --

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It's a --

Oh, go ahead, Jeffrey.

CUOMO: Well, Jeffrey says fair point. What do you say, Ken?

CUCCINELLI: Yes, I think it's a -- it's a split decision on this one.

Yes, you're absolutely right about talking to FBI agents. They use this under oath language. That isn't how it works. You don't have to be put under oath formally.

However, the rest of his statement there where he said we want the report written before we sit down, etcetera -- yes, it's a political attack but he is reminding people --

CUOMO: Fine.

CUCCINELLI: -- of the rather unique treatment that Hillary Clinton got --

CUOMO: Fine.

CUCCINELLI: -- in her investigation.

CUOMO: But it wasn't an ongoing criminal investigation like we have with the special counsel. The context is different and that would also change your process.

But I just wanted to put that one out there that the -- hey, she wasn't under oath and that matters. He shouldn't be either. That's a non-issue.

The second one is this. The idea that we know that Mueller has nothing when it comes to any crimes connected to any collusion because we haven't heard yet and it hasn't leaked.

Can we all agree that that is also forwarding a line of B.S.? That this investigation hasn't ended, there's no report, so there's no way to know in an ongoing investigation what they have and what they don't.

Jeffrey Toobin?

TOOBIN: Correct, and Mueller's office doesn't leak so we don't know what they have, period.

CUOMO: Ken?

CUCCINELLI: Yes, I agree that there can be information out there.

I find it shocking at this point in time that something wouldn't have come out in one of the other investigations. The Senate investigation, in particular, still ongoing, that nothing would have showed up.

I don't think you're going to see collusion here. I think the issue for Trump is going to be truthfulness in the course of the investigation.

CUOMO: All right. You know what? I'll take it. That's better than the political dialogue -- the state of play there, anyway.

There's just so much B.S. in the air it's hard for people to keep straight what's true. And if we don't agree on what's true where do we go from there?

Ken, thank you. Jeffrey, as always -- Alisyn.

CUCCINELLI: Good to be with you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Now to this story.

New York's attorney general suddenly resigning last night after a bombshell report in "The New Yorker." Four women accusing him of physically abusing them.

We talk to one of the reporters, Ronan Farrow, who broke this story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:36:17] CAMEROTA: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigning just hours after a bombshell report in "The New Yorker" with allegations of physical abuse from four women. This report is particularly shocking given Schneiderman's role as a champion for women of the #MeToo movement.

Joining us now is Ronan Farrow who, along with Jane Mayer, broke this story in "The New Yorker."

Ronan, I -- it is the most jaw-dropping story that I've read in a long time. We use the word shocking often, I think, in this news cycle but this -- what you've described -- what these four women say that they experienced at the hands of Eric Schneiderman is like soul-crushing stories.

Can you just share with us a bit about what these four women told you?

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": These women describe -- and they produced these fact patterns independently. These are not women who are talking to each other for -- in almost all cases. They describe really horrific and serious allegations of abuse. You know, slapping, hitting, choking.

Bear in mind, this is an individual who was a very public champion of women's rights who, in fact, introduced anti-choking legislation. And he was, according to multiple women in this story, choking them among other things.

And I want to make one very important point, Alisyn. A significant part of his response to this is to say that there was role-playing in his private life. And I just want to relate the message of one of these women, and it was a shared sentiment amongst this group, that this was not role-playing.

That this was not "FIFTY SHADES OF GREY." It wasn't a grey area at all. This was activity that happened, in many cases, fully clothed, outside of a sexual context during arguments.

In one case, a woman wasn't even in a relationship at all with him, Alisyn. This was just an allegation that he came up to her at a party -- this is a prominent attorney who had worked with him -- and came onto her and when she rebuffed him, that he hit her hard. And I reviewed a photo of the mark that was left after that and it was upsetting to see.

So the allegation that this was role-playing is not consistent with what these women said.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my goodness. Ronan, you have so many illustrations that they give you of what they endured.

I'll just read one of them. This is from Michelle Barish -- Michelle Manning Barish. She was involved with him.

So here is just one of the moments that she described to you.

"All of a sudden, he just slapped me open-handed and with great force across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear," Manning- Barish said.

"It was horrendous. It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing.

I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up but at this point, there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back or take a swing and he pushed me back down.

He then used his body weight to hold me down and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad -- I kicked.

In every fiber, I felt I was being beaten by a man."

Ronan, look, you and I have talked about this before -- how hard it is for women to come forward, particularly with domestic violence. There's so much shame. People say how could you take it? Why would you stay?

Can you just describe a little bit about why these four women were compelled and were brave enough to come forward and tell you all this?

FARROW: Well, to one, they were reluctant to speak for a long time. Some are still reluctant to speak. Not every woman in this story went fully on the record.

And the reason for that is first of all, that it's hard, as you say, for any survivor of sexual violence to speak out -- any survivor of any kind of violence to speak out.

[07:40:06] Second of all, this was doubly hard because this was a prominent and powerful figure in Democratic politics and many of these women were very connected to Democratic political players. These are formidable women with careers that intersected with his in some cases.

And a lot of the time they were counted -- having conversations with friends. They all told people at the time and we interviewed a lot of people who said yes, indeed, I was there that evening. She called me right after, upset.

CAMEROTA: Including doctors -- I mean -- some of them went to for medical attention.

FARROW: Yes, that's right. And, you know, I spoke to one of those doctors and looked at some of those medical records. In that case, a woman was bleeding from the ear in a persistent way afterwards.

But the point I want to make is that in those conversations after the fact, a lot of their friends and loved ones said don't do it -- don't speak out against him. And in some cases, that was because they feared the risk of reprisals. They described him threatening people, using his office and his power to stay he could wiretap people or he could come after people.

But also, in some cases Alisyn, those friends warned them off of talking because they thought that he had the power to do too much good for the Democratic Party.

CAMEROTA: I mean, that -- that's a story in itself of the sacrifices that people think they make for the cause -- the personal sacrifices.

Here's his resignation statement.

He says, "It's been my great honor and privilege to serve as attorney general for the people of the state of New York. In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me.

While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leaving the office's work at this crucial (sic) time.

I, therefore, resign my office effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018."

Were you surprised at how quickly his resignation came after this article?

FARROW: You know, it's not for me to anticipate whether people are going to resign or not resign. Our focus here was to tell these women's stories as meticulously and factually as possible.

And all I can say about the resignation is that several of the women in this story who did a really brave, tough thing and did it because they thought it could help other women because they saw a pattern of violence here -- several of them have gotten in touch to say that it's been gratifying that they feel they've finally been heard.

CAMEROTA: The truth will set you free, as they say, and I'm very, very happy to hear that they are happy that they spoke out about this because it is such a risk.

Ronan Farrow, thank you very much for your reporting and sharing it with us.

FARROW: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Chris --

CUOMO: All right, we're on deal watch today. What could happen with the landscape of T.V.? A cable giant is making a hostile bid for an entertainment company that you all know. What it could mean for you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:46:40] CUOMO: The Trump administration ramping its zero- tolerance policy, deciding to refer every person caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution. This policy could result in the separation of far more parents from their children at the border.

Even if immigrants have valid asylum claims they may still end up with federal criminal convictions on their record.

The new rules went into effect Friday.

CAMEROTA: "The Wall Street Journal" reports the cable giant Comcast is making plans to make a hostile bid for 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets. In a $60 billion all-cash offer it could crash Disney plans for Fox. In December, Fox agreed to sell Disney its entertainment companies for $52 billion in stock. Comcast is apparently waiting on the outcome of the AT&T-Time Warner trial before deciding to proceed with their bid.

CUOMO: Lava, toxic gas continue to threaten people on Hawaii's Big Island.

Look at that. Look what happens to this car because of this molten rock. It just eats it up. It does the same thing to anything it touches.

Look at this. Lava spewing right next to a house. Same deal -- anything it touches, gone. Nearly three dozen structures have been destroyed.

And a lot of those people are working people. The insurance is very expensive so many of them won't have it.

Officials say volcanic activity has subsided at all 12 fissures but that could be temporary. And you still have to deal with the hazardous fumes that could sicken people for some time to come.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.

Well, primaries are underway in four states today. How will President Trump's brand of populism impact these races? We break it all down, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:34] CUOMO: Salena Zito and I are talking about me. We've got to talk about her. She's got this very insightful book that gives us a great look at what's going on in the campaign.

I appreciate it. We'll talk about me after the segment.

But the voters are heading to the polls in four states today -- Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia. You're hearing a lot about West Virginia but there's a good reason for that.

But overall, this is the first Super Tuesday of the primary season.

So, President Trump's election changed a lot in the playing field even though -- Salena Zito will tell you -- Donald Trump did not create what's going on this country. He is the result of what's happening.

Salena Zito's here, the author of a new book, "The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics." And do you know who says that this is an important book? No less than the President of the United States, tweeting that this is a book that people should read.

So first of all, congratulations to you.

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, AUTHOR, "THE GREAT REVOLT: INSIDE THE POPULIST COALITION RESHAPING AMERICAN POLITICS": Thank you so much. CUOMO: Always appreciate the insight. Early on, you were telling me you have to pay attention to these people. Trump isn't creating them, they are creating Trump. Pay attention.

ZITO: Yes.

CUOMO: You were right.

So let's do a little state of play. West Virginia -- Don Blankenship. "I'm Trumpier than Trump."

Do you agree with his assessment of him? Do you believe that he is more appealing to the base than Trump might even have been?

ZITO: Well, I -- you know what I think is so interesting about all of the races is they are running -- they are trying to outrun each other as being the most Trump candidate.

So it shows the durability of the coalition because these guys want to place their stamp and say I'm the Trump guy. I'm even more Trumpier than Trump. Like, who says that, right?

But that is understanding what the voters are looking for. It's understanding that this coalition is still making an imprint not just in the ballot box but in almost everything that we do.

CUOMO: So the president comes out and says don't vote for Blankenship. He can't win in the general. People around him say he would be Roy Moore, the judge from Alabama --

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: -- on steroids.

He doesn't say don't vote for a man who refers to Asians as "China people" or as African-Americans as the "negro race" or any of the other things that he has done, including his felony past.

Why not?

ZITO: Because he wants to say the key word, which is win. Win is his operative word not just for him but this coalition. This is a coalition that believes that culturally, they're not respected.

[07:55:05] So to them, and to him, talking about the win as opposed to all the other nuances within the race and sort of the things that Blankenship has said, that they connect on that word, and that's why that was important.

CUOMO: So -- and now then, you get into a big question we have all the time that I think you can answer better than most, which is the Trump base -- OK -- by the way, they need a name. They have to be about more than Trump because their concerns are more than Trump.

ZITO: Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: They identify Trump as an agent for their concerns --

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: -- but he did not create their concerns.

ZITO: Yes.

CUOMO: However, they don't care about what he says, they don't care about what he does. They don't care about decency, they don't care about the old conservative politics of character. They don't care about his sexual behavior. They don't care about anything.

And it is imputed to them as an amorality or a moral indifference.

You say we're missing the point.

ZITO: Yes.

CUOMO: What is the point and what they seem willing to ignore in Trump?

ZITO: What they see is they see themselves as not having someone having their back and they decided to be pragmatic. And then -- and they decided to have -- and, you know, the book has seven different archetypes that make up this coalition -- a variety of very different people -- and they decided that they were going to be more pragmatic and they were going to put the traditional silos of elections and character in a president to be about someone having their back.

And it doesn't mean they always stay with him. Like you said, it's not about them. This book isn't about Trump. This book is about them and not just how they're impacting the ballot box.

They are impacting -- look at Dick's Sporting Goods, look at the NFL. Look at how those -- I mean, it went from the number one like most popular brands in this country. And I forget where the number is now but it has fallen.

And so they're willing, not because of him but because of how they think that the people that live in the super zip codes that make the decisions in everything that we do, don't respect them.

CUOMO: And he is also benefitting from something else -- a very low bar of their feelings about politicians in general.

ZITO: Exactly.

CUOMO: If Donald Trump were running for pastor -- you know, it doesn't happen that way but whatever. If he were running --

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: -- for a position where they were valuing the morality, valuing --

ZITO: Right. CUOMO: -- decency, valuing how he treats other people, they might have different feelings --

ZITO: Exactly.

CUOMO: -- about it. But they're saying well, we're putting them into the swamp.

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: So who are we going to put in the swamp? The cleanest person, the person that we revere? No, not that right agent for our cause. So it is highly pragmatic.

So you talk about the seven things and look, here's my pitch on the book. Yes, Salena Zito is a friend of mine and I trust her and respect her as a journalist but you need to understand your interconnections and where your fellow Americans are. You can't just write off everything that you don't like on Twitter as being a bot.

A lot of these people are just dealing with real hard needs in their lives and they're unlike from anybody else's and they're looking for someone to help them. That's how they arrived at Donald Trump. You may not like it but that's the truth.

So, the silos of them. One of them caught my eye where you say Donald Trump is their King Cyrus.

ZITO: Yes.

CUOMO: And everybody's got to Google King Cyrus --

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: -- and you will say he took down Babylon. And he was seen, unlike Trump, as a very fair broker of the people that he did overtake.

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: He would respect their rules --

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: -- and wishes. You're not talking about that part.

ZITO: Right.

CUOMO: There are people in the base who see this man as delivering them and killing things off that they don't like. So you've got cultural and economic. How so?

ZITO: Yes. So, evangelical voters have always gone with the person that's like them, that looks like them.

It's like the beer test, right? This is a guy you can have a beer with. This is a guy whose values I share.

And they -- and there have been a lot of like fiscal conservatives that have said you guys got to kind of not do that anymore because you're impacting our races.

And so, you take a look at this election -- and I saw this in the primaries -- evangelical voters going more towards him because they wanted someone who was going to win and stand up for the two -- the like two to three things that were most important to them -- religious freedom, the Supreme Court, and the Second Amendment.

CUOMO: So you give us what we want. We don't care who you are or what you are.

ZITO: Yes. They were a little bit --

CUOMO: A little bit of hypocrisy.

ZITO: Very pragmatic. Oh yes, very pragmatic and they'll admit it.

CUOMO: Right.

ZITO: It's in the book. They'll admit it. This is not someone they share values with but this is someone who was standing up for them in his strong -- for the things that they believe are important in their lives, in their communities, and then they believe in the country.

CUOMO: Salena Zito, thank you for doing the work, traveling all 700 bazillion miles as you go around this country --

ZITO: I know.

CUOMO: -- even though you were seeing it right back at home for you and in your own family's bakery. Thank you very much --

ZITO: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- for being with us.

ZITO: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

We're following breaking news. What do you say? Let's get after it.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, May eighth, 8:00 in the east and we do begin with breaking news on two major foreign policy issues.