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NSC Confirms Talks Back On With North Korea; President Waffles on Canceling North Korea Summit; President Escalates Misinformation Campaign against FBI; Frustration Growing Between President and DHS Secretary; Harvey Weinstein Charged with Rape and Sex Abuse in cases Involving 2 Women. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 25, 2018 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:30] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Topping the news, the nuclear summit that was off yesterday roared back to life today and grew in likelihood just in the last moments. 24 hours after President Trump pulled the plug on a June 12th meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong-un, conversations are back underway between the two countries and President Trump is saying nice things about the nice things that Kim said about him.

And late tonight, just moments ago in fact, he tweeted the following, "We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the summit, which if it does happen will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date."

For more what Fed into the remarkable 24 hours that turn around, let's get right to CNN's Kaitlan Collins, she is at the White House. So Kaitlan, I know you have talking to people in the White House, you talked to them yesterday when this was down. You are talking to them now when this is back, alive again. What changed?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, that's the question here. And it still seems to be one big question mark for a lot of the people who inside of this White House, despite the fact that the President seems to be expressing confidence that this summit could still take place in Singapore on June 12th. Most White House staffers don't feel that way. They certainly didn't feel that way yesterday with one official remarking that June 12th is essentially in the next 10 minutes when asked if it is feasible that it could still happen in the next 18 days or so.

Of course, there's so much planning and logistics that goes into a summit of this nature. So that is the question here for White House staffers. If the President does make the final decision, we're going ahead, we're going to have this summit in Singapore on June 12th, that's going to cause a lot of problems for the staffers here who are going to have to recommend that and have go and just to prepare for something like that to take place after just 24 hours ago thinking that it wasn't going to happen on June 12th. SCIUTTO: But did anything substantial change here or is it just the 24 hours ago the North Koreans were saying not nice things about at the time the Vice President and now they're saying nice things? I mean was it as simple as that?

COLLINS: Well, that seems to be the question, is the President overinflating what kind of progress has been made in 24 hours, because just yesterday what the North Koreans were saying was warranted, did enough to make the U.S. want to call off that summit, threatening nuclear war in that statement where they called the Vice President a political dummy. That seemed to be enough for them to warrant cancelling it then, so you've been raises the question of what has changed now.

We have seen a change in the communications, of course. That is one thing we should note. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was testifying on Capitol Hill yesterday and said essentially the North Koreans weren't returning his calls, and also a senior administration official noted that when the advance staff for the White House went to Singapore to smooth out the wrinkles ahead of that trip the North Koreans stood them up and didn't show up there. So a breakdown in communications certainly there, but judging by the President's latest tweet and what he said this morning, that communication seems to have been restored since the United States called off this summit.

SCIUTTO: Kaitlan Collins, you're following it like all of us there. Thanks so much.

More now on the response so far in North Korea, which has been notably short on fire and fury. CNN's Will Ripley is in the north for us, with us as we are learning more about this on again/off again summit.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, the sense I'm getting on the ground here in Wonsan is that the North Koreans are cautiously optimistic now that they might be able to salvage this June 12th summit in Singapore with President Trump. Obviously there's still a lot of mistrust on both sides about what the other's intentions are, but I think the statement that we saw from the ministry of foreign affairs in Pyongyang where they really dialed back some of the harsher rhetoric we heard in recent days, including the insult hurled at Vice President Pence, calling him a political dummy after he compared North Korea to Libya, a country that gave up its nuclear weapons only to watch its government over thrown a few years later by U.S.-backed rebel and their dictator Gaddafi killed, that obviously infuriated North Koreans. They came out with a very strongly-worded response. But after President Trump wrote that letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un calling off the summit, while the North Koreans dialed it back.

The letter from President Trump, quite frankly, it struck the right tone when trying to communicate with the North Koreans. It was courteous, it was respectful, it offered praise to Kim and in return North Korea praised President Trump in their response, saying that he was brave for taking the steps that no other U.S. President has done before, showing a willingness to sit down and talk with North Korea. The North Koreans are now saying that they are willing to open a dialogue with the United States, ready to sit down at any time.

They believe that talks are the solution here, not military escalation, which, of course, is a dramatic u-turn from what we have seen from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during much of the six years in power where he has been building up the nuclear force, testing missile.

[21:05:11] The North Koreans stated the steps they took here inside the country just within the last couple of days, the apparent dismantlement of their nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, destruction of the tunnels, they've used to conduct six nuclear test since 2016. They say that is a meaningful first step towards denuclearization, a sign to the United States that they're willing to work with them on this issue.

But the North Koreans believe it is not going to happen quickly. They don't think that they're just going to give up their nukes unilaterally in a matter of months and get nothing in return from the United States. They expect a much longer process, a more drawn-out process, step-by-step in lock step with the United States. They would like to see the eventual withdrawal of troops from the Korean Peninsula. They'd like to see the end of the American nuclear umbrella and yes of course they also want to see economic concessions in exchange for their willingness to talk and to take steps towards denuclearization.

Still lots of to be worked out, but on the ground here in North Korea, Jim, they do believe that it might be possible to salvage these talks and move forward, making progress towards peace with the United States. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Will Ripley there inside North Korea. Well, very few individuals bring the kind of experience to this story that our next guest does. We want his expertise on North Korea as well as all the late developments in the Russia investigation. Leon Panetta, he serves as the Secretary of Defense and the CIA director before that White House Chief of Staff. We are happy to speak with him tonight.


SCIUTTO: So Mr. Secretary, just yesterday the summit between the U.S. and North Korea was off. The President said in his letter to Kim it was inappropriate. Today the President said they got a very nice statement from North Korea, the summit might be back on. Does that kind of back and forth -- that kind of drama set these talks up for success?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I'm worried that this kind of summit backlash is kind of -- it is focusing on the wrong issue, which is whether or not there's a summit. The real issue is whether or not a summit can be successful or whether it is going to be a failure. And the problem I see right now is that while there's been a lot of this back and forth, I'm not so sure there has been sufficient preparation by both sides in order to ensure that when a summit takes place that it can be successful in laying the ground work for negotiations in the future. I think people are missing the point of a summit. A summit is about whether or not both countries can ultimately agree on some kind of comprehensive approach to disarmament.

SCIUTTO: So on that issue, on the substance of these talks, what they're intended to do, is there any evidence that you have seen that both sides share a mutual understanding? For instance, the key issue here of what denuclearization means, because both sides sent signal that in fact their definitions are very different?

PANETTA: Yes. I think that's a real problem. Part of it is that, you know, in some ways this has been handled badly from the beginning. The President immediately agreed to going into a summit without any kind of preparation or discussion about what the North Koreans were prepared to negotiate. Then there's been this kind of almost open speculation by the President in tweets, by national security adviser, by the vice President in talking about the Libya model.

You know, the North Koreans have been doing some of the same. But there has been no hard discussion about just exactly what are we dealing with here when it comes to denuclearization. North Korea's first and foremost goal is to protect the regime. That's the reason they developed nuclear weapons, is to make sure that that would be the key to protecting the regime. It is very difficult to believe that they're suddenly going to walk into a room with Donald Trump and give up all of their nuclear weapons, because that would mean in their view the end of the regime.

SCIUTTO: I want to talk about another issue, which is the latest really episode in the President's long-term campaign to undermine the Russia investigation, the Department of Justice, et cetera, the FBI. As you know, the President in the last several days has repeatedly used some variant of the word spy, at least 20 times in fact in the past week, to describe this confidential source that was part of the counterintelligence investigation. You used to lead the CIA. You have a lot of experience with this kind of thing. From what you have seen, do you see any evidence here that a spy was, as the President has claimed, planted inside his campaign?

PANETTA: No, not at all. And if you listen to both the Republicans and Democrats who came out of those briefings, they basically said there's nothing new here. And very frankly, there's been almost deadly silence coming out of the White House about just what was involved in terms of those briefings, except for the President's tweet.

[21:10:22] SCIUTTO: On another issue related to the ongoing Russia investigation, we had an unusual episode yesterday where the President's own lawyer, the White House counsel showed up at what was a confidential briefing on the hill. Rudy Guilliani, the President's personal attorney told my colleague Dana Bash last night that the President's legal team wants to know as much as they can about the government's confidential source as were describing because, in his words, "the sooner we know it, the better."

Is that the way the intelligence and judicial systems are supposed to work here to assist the President's personal lawyers, in effect to give them inside information on an ongoing investigation?

PANETTA: No, not at all. And it really raises concerns about how you handle highly classified information. You don't allow lawyers to walk in on that. You don't allow chiefs of staff to walk in on that. You don't allow other people to be -- to suddenly get involved with that. Why? Because this is highly classified information, and it ought to be protected in that way. So I'm concerned about the breakdown in procedures that we've seen over the last few days.

SCIUTTO: Indeed, many share your concerns on both sides of the aisle. Secretary Panetta. Thanks very much for your time.

PANETTA: Thanks very much Jim.


SCIUTTO: There is a lot more ahead. Next, the President's angry confrontation, his border wall you might say with the cabinet secretary in charge of the border. It is a revealing look at the President's inner thinking on the issue, and some of what is in the report is causing really an up roar.

Later, Harvey Weinstein, the sex crime charges against him and my conversation with a journalist, Ronan Farrow, who helped bring these cases to light.


[21:15:40] SCIUTTO: If President Trump has a foundational issue, it is illegal immigration and the southern border. Questions have arisen about whether any of his policy positions are driven by anti-immigrant animus.

Today, in the pages of Washington Post, we've got a picture of at least some of his thinking on the issue, the story laying out the hostility between the President and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who the reports, he berated sharply, blaming her for a surge in boarder crossings. He has also details a meeting early last year at which Mr. Trump reminisced to senior staffers about how campaign crowds just loved his immigration talk. Reading from the article, acting as if he were at a rally, he recited a few made-up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed such as rape or murder. Then he said the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country.

The Washington Post Nick Miroff joined me. He shares the byline on this one and he joins me now to take an inside look at the President's thinking. So Nick, reading the story, one thing that stuck out to me was that the President has chastised Nielsen on several occasions, not just one, that this has become something of a pattern.

NICK MIROFF, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, this is something that's been developing all spring. You know, the President's been seeing arrest numbers from the Mexico border climbing up, and it is taking away one of the -- one of what he considers his proudest accomplishments, which was the sudden decline in the months immediately following, you know, his inauguration in illegal border crossings.

SCIUTTO: He also is expressing apparently you report frustration that his wall has not been built yet. It seems like he is directing that anger and frustration at Nielsen, where perhaps she's not responsible for both of those things, whether the wall or the numbers of folks being arrested at the border.

MIROFF: That's right. I mean, well, some of the heat has fallen on her because she really led in some ways DHS's negotiations with lawmakers on the hill to try to get a deal earlier this year. That failed. And when it did, some of that blame fell on her. But on, you know, the broader point of the migration numbers, she is under this tremendous pressure and he's facing, you know, a boss, a President who sees this in very raw, emotional terms, and as something that he feels is essential to his connection with his base so to speak. And he doesn't want technical or legal explanations of why one or another policy option is just not possible.

SCIUTTO: Right, especially when there's so much political capital based on it, it seems. You talk about a behind-the-scenes moment the night before President Trump delivered his first speech to Congress in February of 2017 involving the issue of immigration, something of a shocking conversation. Tell us about that.

MIROFF: That's right. Well, sources told my colleague Josh Dawsey and I that essentially on the night before the President went to give the speech he was, you know, being told to tone down the rhetoric on immigration. And he waxed nostalgic really in one moment, talking about how he could read the Hispanic-sounding names and imagine the crimes they might have committed like rape or murder, and that the crowds would erupt. And he was remembering that, you know, thinking of that fondly, and Stephen Miller and Mr. Kushner laughed at that, at that particular moment.

SCIUTTO: They laughed at it. You say that he used made-up Hispanic- sounding names and described potential crimes they could have committed such as rape and murder, and you're saying Miller and Kushner laughed at that story?

MIROFF: That's right. That's right. That's what our sources have told us, who are familiar with that exchange.

SCIUTTO: That's just remarkable.

Lastly, does it seem like in light of this back and forth and the fact it is a number of times that the President has chastised his homeland security secretary, is it your sense that her days are numbered?

MIROFF: Well, you know, we've seen this before, and when certain cabinet members have fallen in and out of favor, but in her case, you know, I think her fate is very much tied to Chief of Staff John Kelly's fate. He's the one who wanted her in that position and is responsible for putting her there, and he's her closest ally. To the extent that his relationship with the President has failed, it has put -- not failed, but frayed. It has put her on shakier footing.

[21:20:12] SCIUTTO: Nick Miroff, great to you ans Josh Dawsey, great reporting. Thanks very much.

MIROFF: My pleasure. Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: With me now, CNN Political Commentators, Paris Dennard and Symone Sanders.

Paris, if I could begin with you. Can the President make his case for a more secure border, stronger immigration policy without the derogatory comments?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Jim, I think that we need to be very clear in how we address the situation. Once again, we're dealing with the news stories about palace intrigue, about what goes on inside of the White House or what doesn't go on inside the White House. The sources that are --

SCIUTTO: Let's be fair. The President's derogatory comments about immigrants have not been principally in private. They've been very public, I mean from the very start of his campaign.

DENNARD: Well, I thought you were talking about the alleged derogatory remarks about Hispanic-sounding names, whatever, White House --

SCIUTTO: Well, I mean, that is supporting, but you can't dismiss it as something that secret sources say inside the White House because the President has been very public with this rhetoric for more than two years now. I'm just curious, can he make the security case without derogatory comments about immigrants, illegal immigrants, people from Mexico and elsewhere?

DENNARD: Well, I think the President has laid out the case. You know, it doesn't even need to come from the President himself. I think if you listen to those families that have been impacted by some of the violent crimes that have happened because of illegal immigrants that have come to this country and done those things, that --

SCIUTTO: Although the numbers show no greater rate among immigrants than the average, broader American population.

DENNARD: And, quite frankly, no greater pain than to lose the life of your child at the hands of somebody who has broken the law to get here. If you listen to people who are in this economy affected the border -- I'm from Arizona so I know about this firsthand. You listen to the impact that this happens on the border, not just in Arizona but going into Texas, you listen to the people who understand the impact of illegal immigration. It is not just the President who can make the claim about why we need to have immigration reform, why we have to stop illegal immigration. You can listen to the people directly impacted every single day by it.

SCIUTTO: Symone Sanders, your response?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, Jim, I absolutely think we can talk about immigration reform. We can talk about immigration policy in America that puts families first, which is currently not what we have, when families are ripped apart at the border. But I absolutely wish that the President could have a conversation about undocumented people in this country without using demeaning and derogatory terms. It is a slippery slope. And when you strip away humanity from someone, we are on a path to somewhere I believe we don't want to be as Americans.

SCIUTTO: Paris, a former DHS official says the following, "The President has a very rudimentary understanding of what the border is about." We also had an interesting comment today from a member of the boarder patrol union someone who supports President Trump, who made the point that the deployment of National Guard troops at the border that Trump has ordered, 4,000 troops, he calls it a colossal waste of resources. I just wonder, do you believe that the President -- if this is a rhetorical argument he is making here, that he is making a practical argument about what is necessary at the border when you hear comments, criticism like that even from his own supporters.

DENNARD: Well, in an interview on another network, the Secretary of Homeland Security agreed 100% with the President and said, we do need a wall. We need to have a wall at the border. And she stated that she is frustrated as well as the President is frustrated at the pace by which we are getting this immigration issue under control. And he is even more frustrated and she is frustrated because of the fact that the Congress seems to say, I'm just going the keep pushing this down the line, I'm not going to take up this issue of DACA and the rest of it because they want to go on vacation. No, they need to get back to work.

SANDERS: So wait, I want to know because you brought up DACA. I believe that Congress does and has been trying to do something about deferred action for childhood arrivals. It was the President, aided and abetted by Mitch McConnell, that scuttled the original deal.

And now there are members of Congress that have come together to put a deal on the floor, and Republican leadership is refusing to bring it to the table. And so I really believe that, one, this business about the wall, the fact of the matter is the majority of folks that come into this country undocumented are not coming, climbing over or under a wall but are coming on planes. And so the wall actually does not address our immigration issues. It does not truly lend to immigration reform. So I think this is a platitude and a talking point from the campaign trail that does not translate into solid, good policy.

SCIUTTO: There's another point made in "The Washington Post" piece, but it also in the numbers, is that -- Paris, and I'm curious how you respond to this, it is about economic demand, some of the rise in arrests along the border of people attempting to come across, demand particularly from the agricultural industry, it is seasonal, and that kind of thing and the President has gotten pressure from agricultural companies to find a way, right, to meet that demand. I mean, as you look at those numbers, in your view are they purely about whether the DHS secretary is delivering or is there another element here, an economic element to it?

[21:25:29] DENNARD: Well, look, I believe today the secretary put out a statement saying that on the visa issue, the seasonal visa issue of 15,000 we're going be granted for that. So I think that you see the administration doing is looking at the policy, looking at the implementation of it, and adjusting where it needs to be adjusted to accommodate for the economic need that's here in this country for some of those workers, especially as it relates to crabs and things over in Maryland, some of the fishermen. But I think at the end of the day what we cannot deny is the fact that these people are coming here illegally, and we are a country that is governed by rules of law. And we've got to enforce the law.

SANDERS: An unjust law is not a just law at all.

SCIUTTO: We're nearly out of time. Symone --

DENNARD: It was just under Clinton administration, it was just under the Obama administration --

SANDERS: So I just want to be very clear, the last thing I want to say is that this administration has literally -- is ripping apart families. They've lost almost 1500 children -- migrant children that have come across the border and they don't know where they are. It is a travesty. Our immigration policy needs to be better and families and the kids deserve betterment. I just wish the administration would start looking at undocumented individuals and people and not just the others.

SCIUTTO: OK, we're going to have --

DENNARD: Tell the Congress to act.

SELLERS: We're going to have to leave it there.

DENNARD: They failed to do so.

SCIUTTO: Symone and Paris, thanks very much for taking the time.

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes has been one of President Trump's key allies in pushing the so-far unproven notion that there were spies inside the President's 2016 campaign.

When we continue, a visit to the congressman's district to see how his message is playing at home.


[21:30:27] COOPER: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is often accused of carrying water for President Trump on the Russia investigation. The question is what do his constituents think. CNN's Kyung Lah reports from his hometown.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have avocado, please.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sandy's Country Junction in Clovis, California, 2300 miles away from the chaos of Washington. LILLIAN KNDER, REPUBLICAN IN REP. NUNES' DISTRICT: Here, all we can do is vote for someone hoping they can do something there.

LAH (on camera): Do you think he is a guy who can do that?

KNDER: I think he is, yes.

LAH: Her Congressman, Devin Nunes. These registered Republicans squarely in his corner, especially when he's an attack dog for Trump.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R) CALIFORNIA: We have no evidence of collusion. We've turned up nothing.

KNDER: I like it that he does stick up for the President. I mean the President is our leader whether we agree with him or not.

SUSAN PITTENGER, REPUBLICAN IN REP. NUNES' DISTRICT: I appreciate his honesty and his being open with the people and with the Presidents.

LAH (voice-over): Not that they can all follow every detail.

MIKE SMITH, REPUBLICAN IN REP. NUNES' DISTRICT: Everybody is talking about Russia, and I don't understand why. I really don't.

LAH: But he still knows who he'll vote for in November.

(On camera) Will you be voting for him again?


LAH: So even though you're frustrated and you feel that it's a mess, you're still going to vote for him?

SMITH: Sure, sure.

LAH: Why is that?

SMITH: Because at this point I'm going to play the party side.

LAH (voice-over): Not all Republicans in this district feel the same. Some are beginning to question Nunes and his unwavering support for the President.

(on camera): You voted for Congressman Nunes?


LAH: And this year?

MITCHELL: I'm not going to. I've already made that decision. His allegiance to Donald Trump seems to be overwhelming and that's one of the things in my own mind, you know, politicians shouldn't be doing.

LAH: Do you feel that he's more aligned to the President or to Republican voters such as yourself? MITCHELL: Well, I would say I think he's more aligned with the President and feels responsible somehow to protect him as much as he can.

LAH (voice-over): Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by 10 points in this heavily agricultural conservative district. We found a rare Democrat unleashing on Nunes.

STUART DEVELASCO, DEMOCRAT IN REP. NUNES' DISTRICT: I think he is a liar and a propagandist that will say anything.

LAH (on camera): One growing resentment is that Nunes's rising star and controversy has meant he's not as visible to his voters, one noting he doesn't remember the last time Nunes was here in his Clovis district office or held a town hall.

(voice-over) But that may not matter. Nunes won by more than 30 points two years ago and is considered likely to win again.


LAH (on camera): A repeat?

JENNINGS: No question.

LAH: Without doubt.


Kyung Lah joins us now. So typically he has a strong position in this district, but I understand there's a Democratic opponent that might make it closer than expected?

LAH: Yes, I mean there is any opposition at all is what is notable here, in a district that is so Republican. There is a Democrat who managed, Jim, to rake in more than a million dollars just in the first quarter. We're also seeing outside opposition groups move into this district, again, almost a burgundy district here. There are street signs, billboards that are posted along the main highway, the heart of this district, that are anti-Nunes signs. And also on a weekly basis there are citizens gathering outside of his office just to protest. And we've spoken to some of these citizens throughout the year that we've been covering this district, and I can tell you that these are people who live there. They are outraged, and all of this is driven by Nunes and his involvement with the Russia investigation. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Kyung Lah on the scene there. Thanks very much.

LAH: You bet.

SCIUTTO: And coming up, disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein now charged with rape. I'm going to speak with Ronan Farrow, who first broke the Weinstein story, that's right after



[21:38:22] SCIUTTO: It is a day that many accusers never thought they would see. Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs, arraigned on rape and sexual abuse charges. These involving two of the dozens of women who have come forward with nightmarish stories about him. Ronan Farrow wrote "The New Yorkers" extensive report on Weinstein and he joins me now.

Ronan, truly remarkable day, seven months, a short time after these stories broke. You're in touch, I know, with many of the women including the two women involved in the cases today. Certainly it cannot be a moment of joy, too much pain involved, but is there satisfaction? Is there relief they're expressing and feeling now?

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTER AT THE NEW YORKER: I think all of those things, Jim. You're absolutely right. It is a complicated day. I think it is bringing up a lot of emotions that are very powerful and complicated, but also for every woman who spoke against all of the odds, this is a moment of vindication.

SCIUTTO: Surprise as well? I mean disbelief even from the women that you talked to, that this powerful man, that this tighten really of the business fell?

FARROW: Every time I had the conversation with a brave woman struggling with whether to speak about this, one of the facets of that conversation was even if I make all of these sacrifices and face all of this retaliation, is it ever going to change anything? The fact that not only are we seeing repercussions culturally, but we're seeing signs of criminal accountability is extraordinary. I think, as you say, unexpected.

SCIUTTO: Now, there were a number of accusers of Harvey Weinstein. There were two cases involved here, one of Lucia Evans and another unnamed victim. Why these two cases in particular?

[21:40:06] FARROW: The police sources that I spoke to in this latest article that came out overnight talked about their long, pain staking process. And I've staying in touch with a lot of the sources over the course of seven months of traveling around the world, talking to potential star witnesses. And these are cases that they thought were extraordinarily well-corroborated.

SCIUTTO: Harvey Weinstein's lawyer spoke today after his hearing and I want to play you some of what he said because I really want to hear your reaction to this. Have a listen.


BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, HARVEY WEINSTEIN'S LAWYER: My job is not to defend behavior. My job is to defend something that is criminal behavior. Bad behavior, Mr. Weinstein did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood, and to the extent that there is bad behavior in that industry, that is not what this is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: Did I just hear him there defend the casting couch, kind of dismiss this?

FARROW: Well, you know, it is correct to say that these are two separate things. And I would point out what the women and certainly that "New Yorker" story that Lucia Evans was featured in were accusing Harvey Weinstein off was not the casting couch. It was rape and sexual assault.

SCIUTTO: Physical assault, yes.

FARROW: Yes, exactly. Harvey Weinstein is entitled to a robust defense. In the press context we made sure that he had fall and fair airing of his response to all of these allegations. He has always maintained all of these activities, now from dozens and dozens of women, every allegation he says is consensual. But obviously there's a very different story any time you talk to any of these women.

SCIUTTO: You bring out something about the Manhattan DA here. That in 2015 he went down this path and pulled back. Now he is pursuing it, but that decision, one of the investigative team called it a corrupt decision not to proceed in 2015.

FARROW: There was this instance where the NYPD squad involved in a sting operation that secured direct evidence, audio of Harvey Weinstein admitting to a forcible touching, felt frustrated when charges didn't result. And as you say, one of the officers involved said, you know, this was corrupt. What they did agree on was after extensive criticism, Cyrus Vance, the DA, is behaving in a different way now. Indeed, one of the women behind today's charges was cultivated by the DA's office.

SCIUTTO: You're not the judge, you're not on the jury, but looking at this and based on the people you are talking to, is there an expectation that Harvey Weinstein will go to jail?

FARROW: This is a case where there's a lot of evidence backing these women's stories. This is an investigation that took a long time and the investigators involved are proceeding very carefully. And the reason you're seeing this happen today is because they feel they have a good case now. And beyond that, you know, I can't handicap how this will play out.

SCIUTTO: Ronan Farrow, thanks very much for your time tonight but also your work on this incredible story.

FARROW: Always a pleasure. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: And just ahead, this Sunday night marks the debut of two- night CNN Original Series "1968" chronicling one of the most turbulent years in recent American history. The first two episodes will air this Sunday at 9:00 Eastern Time. I will talk about it with CNN Presidential historian, Tim Naftali. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:47:23] SCIUTTO: This Sunday marks the premiere of a CNN Original Series Event, "1968." It is hard to think of a more consequential year than that, even today.

Joining us now, CNN Presidential Historian Tim Naftali to put it in context.

So just to remind our viewers, '68, I mean the incredible string of events, Tet Offensive, MLK assassination, RFK assassination, two months later, riots at DNC, just a remarkable year in America's history.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: A remarkable year when the country didn't know what direction it was going in. It was a time of great unrest. The Democratic Party was imploding over Vietnam. You had the draft. Young people were debating with themselves about what was -- what is patriotism. Do you support a war that no one supports anymore? I mean what happens in 1968 is that for the first time the Vietnam War is no longer popular.

Up to '68, more Americans supported it than opposed it. At the same time you have a white nationalist leader named George Wallace who is using white nationalist language and getting 13.5% of the popular vote. So that election was a key election, very close election. Almost won by Hubert Humphrey, ultimately won by Richard Nixon, that was a period of time when the country was on a knife edge. It wasn't clear what direction it would go in. The fact that we survived 1968 should be a source of hopeful optimism for people. It was a tough year.

SCIUTTO: Is it overstating it to make parallels between '68 and the division that you have in the country today?

NAFTALI: It is not stretching it. We don't know where the division, the anxiety of today will take us. But the country was divided, the country was fighting with itself. There was a lot of hatred in 1968. There was a lot of concern about our future, and there were a lot of people that didn't like the social and cultural changes that had occurred. Feminism, they didn't like the civil rights changes. They wanted to move back to a different period. That was the national dialogue in '68 --

SCIUTTO: Sounds familiar.

NAFTALI: -- and sadly we hear it again today.

SCIUTTO: Was there hope in '68 that we could draw on today?

NAFTALI: Oh, at the end -- this is a four-part series. It is riveting. The last few minutes are about Apollo 8. When we got to see our planet for the first time, and that leads to the environment -- the environmental movement started a little bit before, but for many Americans when they saw our planet, they realized how fragile it was. So you want hopefulness, you want the Apollo 8 story unfold and you realize even in a dark year like 1968 some good came out of it.

SCIUTTO: So you're saying you have to watch from start to finish, right? Because you're going to see all that led up to that.

[21:50:00] NAFTALI: The drama -- even for people that remember 1968, you will be surprised. You will have forgotten the collusion between the Nixon campaign and the South Vietnamese that affected the election. You will have forgotten how close that election was, and you would have forgotten the beauty and the poetry and sadness of Martin Luther King but also of RFK's assassination and the funeral that followed. There's a very touching and deep --

SCIUTTO: That train ride through the country with his body. Tim Naftali, thanks very much. Definitely worth watching.

Just ahead, Anderson speaks with Jimmy Hatch, seriously wounded in a mission to rescue Private Bowe Bergdahl.

First, though, a preview of "1968."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the spring of 1968, you had the most violent period of the entire war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm awful sick. I'll be so glad to go home.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I've seen the Promised Land. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martin Luther King has been shot and was killed tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For my parent's generation, King was the dream and then he's gone.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, AMERICAN POLITICIAN AND LAWYER WHO SERVED AS A U.S. SENATOR FOR NEW YORK: I am announcing today my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. Senator Kennedy has been shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was really the death vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wallace knew how to get a crowd energized.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police and demonstrators hustling over this busy intersection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "THE GRADUATE" is probably the most important movie of the sixties.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I hope to restore respect to the presidency.

DAN RATHER, JOURNALIST, FORMER ANCHOR, "CBS EVENING NEWS": One of the most dramatic and consequential years in history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "1968", a four-part, two-night CNN original series event starts Sunday at 9:00.



[21:55:42] SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Recently Anderson sat down with 25-year navy veteran Jimmy Hatch, he seriously wounded in combat during a mission to help rescue Private Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan. Jimmy s the author of a new book "Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars."


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You were severely injured in 2009 Afghanistan while searching for Bowe Bergdahl. I'm wonder as you look back now on that mission, do you see it differently than you did back then?

JIMMY HATCH, AUTHOR, "TOUCHING THE DRAGON": No, I mean, I think hindsight with regard to the trial and how things came out --

COOPER: Because you testified at the trial?

HATCH: Yes. I felt like we were doing the right thing and I felt like that when we went on the mission for sure.

COOPER: You write about this a lot on the book, "Touching the Dragon" and Bergdahl obviously was charged with desertion, dishonorably discharged, didn't serve any present time, was that a just sentence?

HATCH: You know, I said -- and they'd asked me previous to the prosecution that hey, what would you like to see happen to him? And I guess the only thing that really popped was I wanted to make sure that he got a dishonorable discharge because in essence that's a life sentence.

COOPER: And one of the things you -- the phases that you write in the book, you refer to clean, shining edges of time. And when I read that, it just -- I don't know, it really struck me and I keep thinking about it. What do you mean by that? Is that what combat, being in the field feels like, clean, shiny edges of time?

HATCH: Gun fights are definitely that. There's no agenda, there's no personality conflict. It's you and your crew against them and, you know, the thing that you worry about the most in a gun fight isn't that you're going to get hurt or killed, it that you're going to do something wrong and one of your buddies is going to get hurt or killed. So having that pure motivational drive for just a few minutes is a gift.

COOPER: This is not just a sort of a -- this is not a tell-all book about life on the battlefield. I mean, there's a lot of exciting stuff about missions you were on, but it really is something for other people who are going through life's battles.

HATCH: You know, I just had really good people help me out. They stepped in. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to deal with life. I didn't really want to be alive. And, you know, people -- at the end of the day people showed up. Sometimes they knew what to say, most of the time they didn't. But they helped me get to where I need to be so that I could be an asset to society again.

COOPER: One of the things you also write in the book, which I thought was so pointing is, I'm paraphrasing it, is that there's -- you had teammates on the battlefield and you had teammates back at home, both of whom saved your lives. The ones on the battlefield might get medals for it but the people back here will never get medals for it.

HATCH: Right. And even, a couple other guys and I'm -- I used their characters in the book, I call one on the fly fisher and one the mechanic, as what they did previously to me in the military, but those guys were actually -- effective the night that I got wounded, and saving -- stopping me from bleeding to death and saving my life. And later when it was embarrassing, when I was at mess, drunk and high and overdosing on my meds and putting guns in my mouth and creating havoc for everybody, they stepped in again. The first time what they did was heroic, and they got some medals for it and not that that's what they were doing it for. But the second time it was embracing and nobody gets medals for that but they did it out of love.

COOPER: No one gets some medal for driving you to hospital when you need to want to go?

HATCH: Right, for intervening and you're pathetic, self-observed sadness, you know, there's no -- I don't even know how to phrase the strength that it takes to do that stuff.

COOPER: How important has -- Spikes K9 Fund is the foundation that you've started, which I'm a huge fan of, you provide Kevlar vests for working dogs, police dogs. Most police departments all of them can't afford to actually have Kevlar vests for dogs, dogs that get killed in the line of duty. How important has that been for you -- for your recovery?

HATCH: It's everything. It's my mission, right? So I needed that. I needed something to throw my heart into. And I -- you know, when I have buddies from my former unit or former special operations unit who get out, that's my advice, like, you needed to find something that your heart's in because that's the way we've been in our whole lives. And we need to be committed to something. So for me Spikes K9 Fund is the mission for sure.

COOPER: Well, your heart is certainly also in this book, "Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars." Jimmy Hatch, thank you.


SCIUTTO: Thank for watching 360. I'm Jim Sciutto. The "CNN Special Report: A Double Life: The Spy Inside al Qaeda" hosted by Christiane Amanpour starts right now.