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Harvey Weinstein's Lawyer Speaks Out After Bomb Set at $10 Million; Trump Leaves Door Open for Possible North Korea Summit; President Trump Repeats Unproven Campaign Spy Claims; Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired May 25, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:17] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. So glad you're with us. We begin with breaking news out of New York.
Harvey Weinstein's lawyer is set to speak in just moments. This is just after this morning. He was arraigned on rape charges and a number of sex crime charges.
The lawyer in this case, the federal lawyer, Kevin McGrath, set a stunning bond at $10 million. The expectation was that Weinstein would be set at a $2 million bond. The judge, though, Kevin McGrath setting the bond at $10 million.
We're waiting to hear from the man next to Harvey Weinstein who you see right there in the red tie. This is moments ago as they were entering the courthouse. This is live. Live as they're exiting the courthouse. We are expecting to hear from that attorney, Benjamin Brafman, in just a moment.
Again you're looking at these live pictures. Our Brynn Gingras is outside of the courthouse.
This of course is the culmination of the bravery of the women that came forward to speak about all that they endured at the hands of Harvey Weinstein and, of course, the reporters, Jodie Canter and the "New York Times" team that broke this story.
Do we have our Brynn Gingras with us as we wait for this? Because again we're waiting to hear from the attorney, Benjamin Brafman, who will address us -- Brynn.
OK, as soon as we get that, we'll bring it to you. You'll hear from his attorney.
Also, we have a lot of breaking news this morning. The president talking about that canceled summit with North Korea. Could it be back on? Just moments ago the president said to reporters that his team is talking to North Korean leaders right now and that he still is holding open the door that this meeting that he just canceled 24 hours ago could be back on.
Listen to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to see what happens. We're talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out. We'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. It could even be the 12th. We're talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it. We're going to see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That's very significant. The president right now is on his way and you see him there in Annapolis, Maryland, he was going to give the commencement address there at the Naval Academy. We'll bring that to you live.
First, though, let's go to our Joe Johns at the White House.
Joe, you were among that team of reporters asking the president these questions. A lot of headlines, the big one, the summit could go back and be back on for June 12th.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And after only 24 hours, a tense 24 hours, certainly, in the region where there was great consternation about the president canceling this summit, now a suggestion from him that it could be back on, on the date that was originally scheduled, June 12th, and certainly will be received both here in Washington and in the Korean peninsula as a change in tone coming from the president of the United States.
And he, essentially, portrays this as something that happened because of a statement that was put out by North Korea, you heard him speaking about it there, in which North Korea made it clear they were very much interested in having this summit go forward. So the president using that as room to say that the United States, he, the president, would like to do it, too. Of course, there are a lot of obstacles to that. Certainly there are logistical questions and parameters have to be worked out.
HARLOW: Joe Johns, let me take our viewers back to right outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan.
BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, WEINSTEIN'S LAWYER: -- a brief press statement in writing as well, which hopefully you will share and I may take just a couple of questions.
Mr. Weinstein intends to enter a plea of not guilty. We intend to seek --
BRAFMAN: I'm going to make a brief statement. I'm going to distribute a brief written statement, and I may take a few questions.
Mr. Weinstein will enter a plea of not guilty. We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges. We believe that they are constitutionally flawed. We believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence and we believe that at the end of the process Mr. Weinstein will be exonerated.
[10:05:05] Someone inside asked me how Mr. Weinstein feels this morning. And my response was as well as can be expected when you are accused of a crime that you vehemently deny having committed. So we are going through the process. Today is the first step. We knew that Mr. Weinstein was under investigation for more than seven months. He voluntarily surrendered this morning, and we have met all of the bail conditions by agreement so that we would not have extended court proceedings. We have a right to revisit any issue in this case later, in the event that an indictment is returned, and I anticipate that this case will ultimately be resolved favorably as to Mr. Weinstein. I'm going to take just one or two questions.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are the bond --
BRAFMAN: I'm going to make that decision next week.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are the bond conditions?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Weinstein, would he maintain that these relationships were consensual?
BRAFMAN: Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that any sexual activity he engaged in was consensual. He has vehemently denied any of the allegations, which suggest that he engaged in nonconsensual sexual activity.
Many of these allegations are long overdue, quite frankly, having been made about events that are alleged to have occurred many years ago. They were not reported to the police at the time these events occurred and I anticipate that the women who have made these allegations, when subjected to cross examination, in the event we even get that far, that the charges will not be believed by 12 people, assuming we get 12 fair people who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are the details of the bail conditions? And is he wearing an ankle bracelet?
BRAFMAN: I think the details of the bail conditions were discussed in open court. I really don't want to revisit them now. He has met them. We deposited the million dollars of cash bail that was required by the court, and we have agreed to turn over Mr. Weinstein's passport and that's where we are.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- is that what you plan on if you get to that point?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A vigorous cross examination?
BRAFMAN: I anticipate a vigorous defense. That's been my professional job for almost 40 years and I think most of you know that.
BRAFMAN: I think the federal investigation, if it occurs, we will deal with it when and if that happens. I am hoping to continue my discussions with the Southern District and my efforts to dissuade them from proceeding that investigation too has gone on for many months.
Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- dozens of women who claim that there is a pattern of behavior, a pattern of misconduct by Mr. Weinstein against these women.
BRAFMAN: Well, let me say this without defending behavior, 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. Bad behavior is not on trial in this case. It is only if you intentionally committed a criminal act and Mr. Weinstein vigorously denies that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They say that he did commit a --
BRAFMAN: I understand that. That's why we're here. That's why we're here. People don't get convicted based on accusations. People get convicted only when there is credible evidence beyond a reasonable doubt and in this case, I do not believe that the district attorney has that, nor do I believe that Mr. Weinstein has intentionally violated the law. Thank you very much.
HARLOW: The headline out of those statements from Harvey Weinstein's attorney Benjamin Brafman is that his client Harvey Weinstein will plead not guilty on all of the charges against him.
Let me bring in former U.S. attorney Michael Moore with me. There is so much to digest here, Michael. I will say let's remind people of the charges against Harvey Weinstein because his attorney there talked about bad behavior, not being criminal behavior. This is a man, a Hollywood mogul, who is charged with three counts, rape in the first degree, rape in the third degree, and criminal sexual act in the first degree.
He -- his line of defense seems to be, for Weinstein, that these events took place, he says, a long time ago, and were not reported to police at the time.
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, I'm not sure that I think that's the best tact to take. Obviously we're just hearing the statement now.
MOORE: Yes. I think you can talk to Bill Cosby's lawyers about whether or not things that could have happened in the past and challenges just on time.
MOORE: What's of interest to me was that he said basically that we're not going to have a trial or there cannot be a conviction about bad behavior.
MOORE: You know, but he's setting up the theater if you will for there to be a discussion now or real argument about consent. That's what rape is all about. Was there consent from these ladies at the time? And if it's going to come down to simply a question of credibility, it will come down to whether or not they consented, he talked about the casting couch, and this type of thing, I'm not sure that that argument is going to save the day.
HARLOW: You know --
MOORE: You have a pattern of behavior over and over again, you see things over and over again, jurors I think start to believe, OK, there is more to this than just bad behavior.
HARLOW: Yes. You know, a few interesting points, he also seemed to question, Michael, whether this would get to trial because he was asked by one of the reporters about cross examination, and he said, well, if it even gets there, indicating they think maybe there will be some settlement. I'm not sure. I mean, these are criminal charges here from the Manhattan district attorney.
HARLOW: But he also said, he questioned the ability to get a fair jury in this, right? The fundamentals of having justice play out and he said, if we can get a fair jury that has not been, quote, in his words, "consumed by the movement," talking about the Me Too Movement, what did you make of that?
MOORE: Well, I always think it's interesting when lawyers come out and make a statement on the courthouse steps and want to talk about whether or not they can get a fair and impartial jury at the same time they're basically tainting the jury pool by making public comments about an ongoing criminal matter. Those arguments are better left in court and made in court.
He's going to defend this case vigorously. There's no question that he'll move forward with many defense motions, he'll challenge the charges, he'll move to dismiss, he'll have a vigorous cross examination of the ladies. I've got no doubt about that. I'm sure Mr. Weinstein has a very good lawyer. HARLOW: Yes. Yes.
MOORE: But at the end of the day, these cases come down to whether or not jurors believe the ladies and the victims over the accused, and I just don't know that going in and saying basically, yes, the events happened, but, you know, it's just the Hollywood casting couch and he didn't invent that, that's -- I'm not sure that's the tact I would take going in.
HARLOW: Michael, thank you so much for the expertise. Stay with me as I bring in our Brynn Gingras who's outside the court and you heard all of this.
And, Brynn, to give people some background on this lawyer, this is the 69-year-old former Manhattan prosecutor, known as one of the best trial lawyers around, no surprise that he's going to vigorously defend this, if it -- you know, through trial, et cetera. But again a $10 million bond set and a not guilty plea that is going to be entered.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. First, I just want to mention that casting couch comment certainly struck me as well when asked that direct question, what do you have to say to all these victims who have come forward with accusations.
GINGRAS: That I thought was very poignant with this press conference. But I do want to mention, we know we -- there is reporting that Harvey Weinstein left out of a back door of this Manhattan courthouse. Obviously you didn't see him next to his attorney here. So we know that he is under GPS monitoring. We know that he posted that $1 million cash bail and we know that his bail requirements are that he has to stay either in New York or Connecticut. We know he has a home in Connecticut.
We also learned a little bit more out of that news conference that I want to point out, if you guys haven't already, and that's that Mr. Brafman has been in conversations with federal authorities for several months now. And that was something that we just learned this week or earlier this week. I'm getting my timetables off, that there was a federal probe into this.
Now he also -- there's a grand jury going on still today, that going forward, it's been going on for weeks, to give more charges to this case. And we know that that grand jury has heard from at least four witnesses, they've heard other evidence in this case, and by next Wednesday, may 30th, Mr. Brafman says he will have to make his decision on whether or not Harvey Weinstein will testify in front of the grand jury. So that's important there. So a lot happened out of that news conference. Again I think the most striking was his response to all these women's accusations that, of course, he's his defense attorney, but he says he doesn't defend bad behavior. That was very interesting to me.
HARLOW: Brynn, thank you very much for the reporting. And, again, just a reminder, these comments from the lawyer as his client, Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood mogul, is charged with rape in the first degree, rape in the third degree, criminal sexual acts, and one of the women who's come forward is an actress named Lucia Evans who alleges that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in a meeting in his office back in 2004. And soon it will be on the hands of a jury.
All right. Still coming, we're waiting for the president to speak, he'll give the commencement address at the Naval Academy in just moments. As soon as he does, we'll bring that to you live.
[10:19:01] HARLOW: Breaking news, just moments ago, the president saying that that canceled summit with Kim Jong-un on June 12th could be back on the table. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're going to see what happens. We're talking to them now. It was a very nice statement they put out, we'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. It could even be the 12th, we're talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it. We're going to see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: With me now is our global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier.
I mean, that is really significant.
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, usually we don't see this kind of stuff playing out in public. Past negotiations I've covered, Northern Ireland, the Israeli-Palestinian talks, the Iranian nuclear deal, drama behind the scenes is normal. But the fact that we're getting to see it play out by tweet.
DOZIER: Like this, lends to this feeling that we're watching a teenage breakup and makeup session.
HARLOW: Let me ask you. Is it in any way beneficial to the process, to the ultimate goal of peace? Right? And a denuclearization of the peninsula, to have this play out like this in public?
[10:20:10] DOZIER: Well, we are in a different era in that now North Korea can threaten the United States with a nuclear weapon, that never applied before.
DOZIER: So that raises the stakes and, yes, they did need to break the normal negotiating pattern and step things up. The problem is now we had North Korea say that denuclearization is not automatically on the table. And yet it seems that the summit has become a goal in and of itself. So the danger is, in this back and forth drama, we lose sight of the U.S.' original goal and sacrifice that just for the sake of having a meeting.
HARLOW: You have an interesting read on something the president said this week, which is that ultimately if a deal is reached, the U.S. would protect the safety of Kim Jong-un. You think that that actually really irked him.
DOZIER: I think that that really stuck in their crawl because North Korea, what Kim Jong-un feels like right now is that he's negotiating from a position of strength as in nuclear armed power. By the president offering him protection, that's the same sort of thing as South Korea having to rely on the United States for its nuclear umbrella.
HARLOW: Yes. It makes him look weak.
DOZIER: North Korea called South Korea a lackey. They don't want to join that club.
HARLOW: If these talks, I mean, eventually become back on for June 12th, do you expect a different strategy from the White House from Kim Jong-un heading into them, seeing what can happen with these abrupt cancellations?
DOZIER: Well, what I think Trump's national security team is wishing is that the new element will be that he will listen to them and conduct more of this behind the scenes, giving them room to maneuver because, you know, a peace negotiation thrives like mushrooms, best in the dark initially. So that they can make some of these high stakes bargains.
DOZIER: And then have the two leaders meet.
HARLOW: And so the concessions, for example, don't need to be in public, potentially embarrassing one or the other, forcing them to pull out.
HARLOW: Kimberly Dozier, nice to have you. Thank you very, very much.
Also this morning President Trump is repeating those unproven claims that a spy was embedded in his campaign. Meantime, the White House is being heavily criticized from both sides of the aisle for sending the lawyer for the president, Emmet Flood, into yesterday's confidential DOJ FBI briefing on that confidential source.
Now the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is laying out a quid pro quo for the president to sit down for an interview with Mueller.
Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash spoke with Giuliani, she joins me now.
He is being, Dana, remarkably transparent in saying you give us this and maybe we'll give you the interview.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You and Kimberly were just talking about how out in the open the drama is on North Korea.
BASH: That is the case for what is going on in the Russia probe. Not the Mueller side, we have no idea what is going on inside that investigation. But certainly in terms of the president and his legal team strategy here.
And you're right, Rudy Giuliani said to me, point blank, I'm not going to send my client, the president, in for an interview where he will be trapped and by trapped in this context, Giuliani was saying that that would be if they don't know anything about or enough about the confidential source that the FBI sent to have conversations with Trump officials, Trump allies, people in Trump's orbit, during the campaign.
So that is -- that is point one. But point two is the fact that they are so sort of nonchalant about the notion of the president's legal team or his lawyer, the White House counsel's office, and his chief of staff attending this meeting yesterday with the so-called Gang of Eight, which traditionally is done with the briefers and members of Congress and the White House is not involved. And that's for basic briefings, Poppy. Never mind a briefing --
HARLOW: And this is not -- I mean, this is not --
BASH: Exactly. This is about an investigation --
HARLOW: This is about -- president, right?
HARLOW: Yes. This is not basic. And it brings up the big picture issue, Dana, which you so aptly point out, which is how complex it gets when you have the presidential campaign being looked at under investigation and the president, you know, helms the Justice Department.
BASH: Exactly. Look, there are so many, you know, sort of overlapping issues here, which would be complicated in any situation. I mean, the last time we really saw this, to this extent or even close to it was during the Clinton era.
BASH: And when you have a president and his campaign being investigated by a special counsel's office.
[10:25:06] And this president is completely OK with shattering every single norm and every single bit of traditional protocol that goes along with it. It makes it -- it turns everything upside down. And you know, I have not talked -- I've talked to some pretty senior officials who have historically been involved in these so-called Gang of Eight meetings. When I say Gang of Eight, I mean the four bipartisan leaders in Congress and the four heads of the intelligence committees.
And nobody has said that it is normal for a White House to be involved. Never mind in this kind of situation where they are the subject.
HARLOW: I'm glad Rudy Giuliani talks and talks to you so you can bring us the thinking of his team and the president on this. Appreciate the reporting, Dana.
BASH: Thanks, Poppy.
HARLOW: Thank you.
All right. We are waiting to hear from the president at any moment. He will deliver the commencement address to the U.S. Naval Academy, see him being introduced right now. We'll bring it to you live. Stay with us.