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U.S. and Iran Nuclear Deal; West Virginia Primaries; New York Attorney General Resigns; Trump's Capitalization. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 8, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: We do get a lot of these developments once a week like you're saying. What we don't know is, if it remains an intractable problem or not. It may well remain an intractable problem. In fact, President Trump, every time he talks about this says, and if this isn't going our way, I'm going to respectfully walk away from this conversation.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Right. I mean, look, the early reporting based on this call, the call didn't feel right to me timing wise. It's like, did they not know that the Chinese leader was meeting with the North Korean leader. How could that be?

But this -- the president's out in front of his staff once again on this, I'm having this call this morning, and it does raise a concern. This is good that there is progress on the peninsula. People who don't want to open their eyes to that are playing partisan politics.

But we don't know what's going to happen and we don't know if the developments there are necessarily in U.S. interests. China has its own unique interest. South Korea has its own unique interest in terms of what they want out of North Korea. You know, the U.S. bid is, nukes, what are we going to do about the nukes? So there's a lot of unknown there and challenges for the president.

Similarly on the Iran deal, getting out is easy. No coincidence that instead of talking about what comes next, the president is going after John Kerry who gave him some low fruit by having it be out there that he's talking to his friends out there. Do you think that John Kerry is overstepping and do you think that that is a significant window into the stakes with the Iran deal?

CHALIAN: John Kerry very well may be overstepping a bit here. It's not really his role. He's no longer the chief diplomat. It's not his job to try and pursue his preferred outcome here.

That being said, we know that former secretaries of state do indeed maintain relationships and talk about world affairs. I don't think we know enough, Chris, about precisely what John Kerry's been doing and the nature of the conversations. But it does seem he's in a lane here at a time that maybe should be left to the current administration, one at a time, is a -- is a time honored tradition in the United States.

You know, it's also not entirely clear what exactly President Trump is going to say at 2:00 p.m. We know he wants to move down the road of withdrawing from this Iran nuclear deal and yet, as you just connected it to North Korea as well, we know that a lot of folks are watching how he handles the Iran deal to determine how reliable a partner is the United States in nuclear negotiations, such as the upcoming ones with North Korea.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, back here at home. I can't believe I'm about to use these two words, Super Tuesday. It's today. We're back here with the first primaries. So how are you handicapping all of this?

CHALIAN: Yes, four key states, West Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana. You see them there. This really is the midterm season now kicking into high gear. We are now just six months away from the big midterm election day in November. And I would say the highest profile contest is that one in West Virginia.

Here's a Senate race in a state that Donald Trump won by 42 points. And the Democrat, Joe Manchin, should be one of the most vulnerable incumbent Democratic senators in that kind of reality there and yet Republicans in Washington are really nervous that Don Blankenship, the former coal baron ex-con, may indeed end up with the nomination and they fear that's really going to give Manchin a good shot at winning re-election, that he would be the worst possible nominee for the Republicans to put up.

So you have all of these nervous Republicans in Washington and the White House about Blankenship coming through this primary tonight. It really is going to tell us whether or not the Senate is in play for the Democrats because if the Republicans -- if what they say is true, that this really hands a Senate seat that could be picked up to the Democrats, this could be a real lost opportunity for them and really put the Senate a bit more in play.

CUOMO: We already know one thing, it is about winning. The president said that. He can't win. Not, don't vote for a man who says this about different races, who makes these kinds of statements. He didn't say that and there's a reason.

Thank you very much, David Chalian. Appreciate it.

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, this story. New York's attorney general resigning last night after four women came forward to say he physically abused them. We have the latest in a live report for you next.


[08:38:09] CAMEROTA: New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, a prominent adversary of President Trump and a champion of women in the Me Too movement, resigning last night after allegations of physical abuse came from four women.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now with the latest.

This is a shocking story, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean it's really shocked everyone. There are police departments that I've been talking to that are trying to figure out, where do they go from here to investigate this if need be. But we're talking about allegations of physical and verbal abuse, slapping, strangling to the point two women say they had to go to the hospital. One woman says Schneiderman called her a whore. The allegations made by four women in total and paint two very different pictures of a man who until now has been regarded as a champion for women in the Me Too movement.


GINGRAS (voice over): New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigning three hours after "The New Yorker" published an article detailing abuse allegations from four different women. Two of the women who were romantically involved with Schneiderman speaking to the magazine on the record saying that the attorney general would, quote, repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Neither woman filed a police report but both say they sought medical attention after being slapped and choked, the article stated. The women also accusing Schneiderman of verbal and emotional abuse.

Tanya Selveratnam, who dated Schneiderman from the summer of 2016 until last fall, telling "The New Yorker" that the former attorney general, quote, started calling me his brown slave and demanding that I repeat that he was property. Schneiderman denying the accusations, insisting, 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 none consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.

[08:40:00] New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for his resignation and within an hour the attorney general stepped down. Quote, while these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time.

Schneiderman's resignation, a dramatic fall from grace for a public official widely considered to be a champion for women's rights.

ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK: Are we ready to fight against male supremacy in all its forms?

GINGRAS: As attorney general, Schneiderman, was is not married, was at the forefront of the Me Too movement leading the legal charge against Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company.

SCHNEIDERMAN: We have never seen anything as despicable as what we've seen here, a pervasive pattern of sexual harassment, intimidation, discrimination and abuse at the Weinstein Company.

GINGRAS: Schneiderman has also been a fierce critic of President Trump and his policies, bringing more than 100 actions over everything from the dreamer program to potential presidential pardons. SCHNEIDERMAN: When bullies step up, you have to step to them and step

to them quickly. And that's what we're here to do today.

GINGRAS: In 2013, Schneiderman sued Trump for fraud over Trump University, resulting in a $25 million settlement. The president's allies celebrating Schneiderman's resignation. Donald Trump Jr. retweeting this 2013 message from Mr. Trump predicting that Schneiderman will be next, asking, is he a crook? Wait and see. Worse than Spitzer or Weiner.


GINGRAS: And the Manhattan District Attorney's Office says it has opened an investigation into Schneiderman's conduct. His replacement will be selected immediately by New York's state assembly and senate via joint ballot.

CAMEROTA: Obviously this is just breaking. I mean this is nowhere near done. We have to see if he'll be prosecuted and if more women come forward, et cetera.

Thank you, Brynn, very much for all of that reporting.


CAMEROTA: So is this another flash point in the Me Too movement or is this something different all together? We're going to discuss that, next.


[08:46:00] CAMEROTA: Manhattan's district attorney opening an investigation this morning into New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, after four women have accused him of physical abuse. Until last night, Schneiderman was a so-called champion of the Me Too movement, but he resigned last night within hours of these allegations going public.

Let's talk about all this means. We want to bring in CNN legal analyst Areva Martin and CNN political commentator Margaret Hoover.

Margaret, I'll start with you. You're here in studio with me.

If we thought that talking about sexual harassment was a taboo subject, talking about sexual violence and domestic violence is times ten. What do you think it took for these four women, two of -- all of them prominent women, all of them accosted women, two of them using their own names to come forward and detail the horrific things that they say he did to them?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What's extraordinary -- and I'm so glad you framed the question that way because the story here isn't another man in power horribly abusing his power for this -- and victims, using the number one man in law enforcement in New York state physically abusing women and then reminding them of his power to prevent them from coming forward. CAMEROTA: He'd behind the law. When they would say, don't do that, he'd say, I'm the law.

HOOVER: Because, in this case, a woman like that has very little recourse. What is she supposed to do, pull a civil suit against the sitting attorney general? So, you're exactly right, the incredible courage of women to come forward and detail their stories. And, by the way, these are not stories. These are stories, medical records, of a burst eardrum and blood curdled up and dried in her ear. Various credible allies and alibis who had be told details of this physical abuse. It's, frankly, stunning and it is extraordinary for these women to have put their name on paper this morning.

CAMEROTA: Areva, how do you see it?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, I agree, Alisyn. I feel a sense almost of personal betrayal as well because we were looking for a few good men in this Me Too movement. We were looking for men to come forward and to be champions of the cause. And we thought we had found that man in Schneiderman. So to now learn that he lived this dual life, one where he was rallying against bullies and talking about taking down those that would intimidate women, only to find that he was the biggest bully and that he led this secret life or thought -- he thought would be a secret life of intimidating and bullying women.

But I just say again, the power of women telling their stories, we can't underestimate what that has done for women and this movement and forcing men like this to be held accountable.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. Every person who comes forward makes it easier for another woman to do so who might have this secret.

So let me just read, before you comment on that, Margaret, let me just read just one of these passages, OK? This is a long article in "The New Yorker." I recommend that everybody read it.

This is a woman, Michelle Barish, Michelle Manning Barish. This is just one example of what she says he did to her when they were in a romantic relationship. All of a sudden he just slapped me open handed and with great force across the face, landing the blow directly on to my ear, Manning Barish says. 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. Then he 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.

That's just one, Margaret, of the stories of choking, of slapping, of degradation that women have shared.

HOOVER: Look, it's never easy for a new woman to come forward with a story like this, especially one as horrific as this. What it does is it shares the prevalence of this and it allows it for women to take confidence that they will be believed. Within three hours of this story hitting, the number one law enforcement official in New York City had resigned his position. That is an extraordinary thing.

[08:50:03] And, you know, I hate to comment about New York, but it seems as though in New York there is this pattern of abuse of power from high office because Eric Schneiderman, Elliot Spitzer, Dean Skelos, Sheldon Silver, there have been a number of men who have taken advantage of their position in New York.

CAMEROTA: So what is that?

HOOVER: But what -- but what it even more -- is more important here, I think, is that because these women had no other recourse, they had absolutely no -- they couldn't file a civil suit. They couldn't file an ethics complaint. They had no way. The press, the First Amendment and the freedom of the press and the -- frankly the power of these journalists, Ronan Farrow and his co-author, good on them for finding these women and credibly laying out the stories so that the number one law enforcement official had no other recourse but to resign his power and his position.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point.

Areva, you're our legal analyst. Does -- is Eric Schneiderman going to face charges? Is he going to face jail time for what these women say that he did to them?

MARTIN: Well -- well, Alisyn, I absolutely hope he does.

And I want to push back a little on this notion that there was no recourse. We know that when women are abused and intimidated, they feel as if there's no recourse. But I think if there's anything that we can learn from what has been happening in this movement and from the Bill Cosby verdict is that no one is above the law and even rich and powerful men in positions, like Schneiderman --

CAMEROTA: But who could these women have gone to? I mean I understand -- I agree with you, but who could these women have gone to? He was the top law enforcement official in the state.

MARTIN: But, remember, he's one person in a huge office of law enforcement career prosecutors. And there are people that are in that office, his office and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, that would have happily, I believe, taken the complaints of these women.

And I'm not trying to in any way suggest that the women did anything wrong, because it takes a lot of courage to tell these stories. And there is fear and -- about going forward to law enforcement. But we have to keep in mind, he's one person. And this office will continue to operate.

And we now know the Manhattan District Attorney's Office is investigating these charges. And he may possibly face criminal charges and hopefully there will be civil lawsuits filed as well because it doesn't appear that any statute of limitation has run, particularly with the woman who says these -- this assault happened just last year.

CAMEROTA: Last year, yes. MARTIN: So -- yes, so we know that there's a possibility of both criminal and civil actions moving forward.

And I hope women -- those women who are sitting, you know, at home perhaps watching this, who have been in similar situations are -- who are in those situations now will take some comfort in knowing that you can take down even the top law enforcement officer in the state of New York.

CAMEROTA: And you're not alone.

MARTIN: You're not alone.

CAMEROTA: Areva, Margaret, thank you both very much for this conversation.

All right, Chris.

MARTIN: Thanks, Alisyn.

CUOMO: All right, you know what we need today, some "Good Stuff." And we have it for you, next.


[08:56:37] CUOMO: All right, some blessed "Good Stuff." And this one is all about giving back to one of our nation's heroes.

Ninety-two-year-old Paul Swanyas (ph) is in hospice. The World War II vet had a last wish and it was to have one final dance with a beautiful woman. So a Mississippi sorority made his wish come true by throwing him a patriotic dance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It feels good to be with all these beautiful women.


CUOMO: His daughter could not be more grateful.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My father, this happy, that this younger generation appreciates everything he did and sacrificed for so that they could sit here and have fun and have the freedoms that they have.


CUOMO: You know, on top of what he's dealing with in his own life, how good for him, his family and for these younger kids to realize, helping veterans, showing your appreciation. A beautiful act.

CAMEROTA: I think this story is also that men don't change even at 80, even in their 80s and 90s. They're pretty motivated by one last dance with a beautiful woman. Meanwhile, we are captivated by President Trump's tweets. Are we? The apparent shouting in all caps, the random capitalization of letters, the bad grammar. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He is the king of capitalizing, whether it's wrong or right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the original travel ban.

MOOS: Maybe someone should ban the president from traveling to upper case. In a single tweet Monday, the president capitalized "witch hunt," "no collusion," "coordination," "probe," "obstruction" and "fighting back"?

MARY CULLEN, PRESIDENT, INSTRUCTIONAL SOLUTIONS: Grammatically it doesn't make sense.

MOOS: That rule about capitalizing proper nouns.


MOOS: They don't even have to be nouns to get the capital treatment. Phony witch hunt. We hunted for a pattern in President Trump's chaotic grammar.

TREVOR NOAH, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": There is no chaos, only great energy. I've got to say, man, if this whole president thing doesn't work out, Trump would be dope at writing fortune cookies.

MOOS: A Twitter account devoted to policing the president's grammar tweeted, dear Mr. Stable Genius, stop capitalizing nouns.

MOOS (on camera): But President Trump seems to have a capital strategy. These don't seem like mere mistakes.

MOOS (voice over): Sure comedians make fun of his language skills --

BILL MAHER, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": New rule, if you can't read, you can't be president.

MOOS: But business writing instructor Mary Cullen and other experts thinks there's a method to the president's capitalizing madness.

CULLEN: It would enable them to become easy buzz words, right?

MOOS: Those not sure "lover" is a buzz word the president wants to be accenting. Since Twitter has no bold or italics feature, capital letters are the next best thing to shouting in all caps.

Take it from Golum.


MOOS: Capitals are precious to the president. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fake news media has never been so wrong.

MOOS: Angling for the upper hand, he counts on upper case. There's no such thing as capital punishment in grammar, even if the president's grade is --


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: It was about time someone diagrammed those things.

[09:00:00] CUOMO: Yes. Now we get it. No.

All right, time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman and Poppy Harlow.