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Weinstein to be Charged with Rape; Interview with Mueller Discussed; Pompeo Gets Testy over Question; Rain for the Holiday Weekend; Freeman Accused of Harassment. Aired 6:30-7:00a ET

Aired May 25, 2018 - 06:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:30:05] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we are following some breaking news for you. At least 15 people have been injured in Canada, three critically, in this explosion at an Indian restaurant in suburban Toronto. Police say two men detonated an improvised explosive device. They are seen on surveillance camera. If you can look closely at your screen, police need your help here to find these guys. They entered the restaurant late Thursday. And police are asking for the public's help to find and identify these suspects.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: OK, a source familiar with the investigation into disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein telling CNN that Weinstein will face charges that he raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex on him.

CNN's Brynn Gingras live outside the police precinct in New York where we do expect Weinstein will turn himself into authorities.

Good morning, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you, Dave.

Just within the next half hour behind me, you can see that precinct house, all the media, the police officers already outside. And this is a really well-orchestrated plan, signaling that there was an agreement between Weinstein's attorneys, the Manhattan's D.A.'s office and the NYPD.

Now, this is how it's supposed to go down. At 7:00 we're expecting the disgraced movie mogul to pull up to the precinct house and turn himself in, surrender to authorities. At that time, he will be immediately arrested. We're told he'll be fingerprinted here, he'll be booked here and then he'll also walk out in front of everyone and be brought to the courthouse where he is facing charges of rape, as well as criminal sex act, as you've already described to the viewers. We're also expecting and learning this morning that his bond is expected to be set at $2 million.

So, of course, there's a whole series of events that are about to go down. But this is only the beginning for Weinstein as we know that there are investigations happening in L.A. still, in London still, and even here still in New York. We know a federal probe. And also, as we reported last week, a grand jury has been hearing testimony in this case. And so we could see an indictment come down in the next coming weeks. So a lot happening, and today is just the beginning.

I also want to mention to viewers, we know that and believe one of the women who came forward and who is a part of this complaint that is going to be filed today is Lucia Evans. Of course, we've heard her name before. That is from "The New Yorker" article, that explosive one that set this whole thing up, that started this investigation. And she claims that she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein back in 2004.

So we'll keep you updated on his arrival. Back to you guys.

BRIGGS: Boy, that will be extraordinary. Just less than 30 minutes.

Brynn, thanks.

Coming up in our next hour, we'll talk with Ronan Farrow, one of the reporters who actually won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about the Harvey Weinstein scandal just last year.

CAMEROTA: Just remarkable how fast things have gone now in this now that it's been revealed.

BRIGGS: Yes.

CAMEROTA: OK, so we're learning President Trump's lawyers and Robert Mueller's team did actually have a date set for a possible interview, but it then fell through. Why? And what does that tell us about the timing of the investigation? We take all that on, next.

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[06:36:57] CAMEROTA: OK, CNN has learned that President Trump's team discussed sitting down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and even set a date. But disagreement among his legal team caused the president's team to reject the offer.

So let's bring back CNN political analyst John Avlon. Joining him is CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston.

OK, so just to put a little more details out there. This is according to our Gloria Borger and Evan Perez. Trump's lawyers and Special Counsel Robert Mueller discussed a potential date of January 27, 2018. OK, so a couple -- a few months ago. Interview of the president before talks between the two sides stalled. The president's legal team discussed the logistics of holding the multi-hour interview session at Camp David. It raises the possibility that had they moved forward, the obstruction investigation of the president could already have been concluded by now.

So, John, this is just a little further than we know they had gotten in terms of a date.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, they -- look, January is a -- that's early and it would have been done certainly before the midterms. Now you're seeing the specter of what will be an impact on the midterms.

Presumably this time, you know, you've still got Dowd, you've got Ty Cobb, you've got folks who are really saying, do not do this interview, Mr. President. And apparently the president's impulse is, I've got nothing to hide, let's go. So that may be where the train derailed here. But, fascinating idea of a Camp David deposition.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BRIGGS: What does that tell you, Mark, about the likelihood of an interview happening at any time, given that now they are full on going to the mattresses at this point?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, I'm a betting man. I would have not bet on the Las Vegas hockey team, right, making it to the NHL playoffs and I certainly would --

BRIGGS: They made it, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Oh, OK. Thank you.

PRESTON: I certainly would not bet on Donald Trump ever sitting down with Robert Mueller or anybody of his team. Though, the Camp David thing does make a lot of sense because it takes it out of the glare of the cameras. It's a very secure place. He could get in, get out. We might not even know it ever happened. He could just say he was going up there for a weekend. You could have saw the Mueller team go up there.

Having said all that, as John said, his legal team has turned over so much and there's so much confusion and direction right now that I bet you they don't have a real plan.

CAMEROTA: OK, I want to get to this other remarkable moment in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, OK? And this is when Secretary of State Pompeo was appearing and they were asking him questions, including questions about whether the president is benefiting from being the president with his vast real estate empire, because, as you recall, this week we learned, or maybe last week, who can remember, the whole Chinese high-tech ZTE issue that the president wanted to help them save jobs. Everybody said, how could that be? Why is he doing that? And then we found out that China had given money to Indonesia, where President Trump has a real estate investment. And people wondered if there was some sort of connection.

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: So, the senators asked the secretary of state about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM UDALL (D), NEW MEXICO: Given that the president refuses to disclose his tax returns, how can you assure the American people that American foreign policy is free of his personal conflicts of interests?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Senator, I -- I -- I find -- I find that question bizarre.

I've been incredibly involved in this administration's foreign policy now for some 16 months and I have seen literally no evidence of what you are scurrilously -- scurrilously suggesting.

[06:40:05] UDALL: Well, that's what I want to ask you -- ask -- ask you specifically about.

POMPEO: Scurrilously (INAUDIBLE).

UDALL: No, it is not scurrilously.

POMPEO: It is an -- it is an outrageous suggestion.

UDALL: My friend, it is not scurrilously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Scurrilously.

John, is the lady doth protesting too much? I mean what -- he was so outraged by the question.

AVLON: Yes. Yes. And, you know, once you thought the scurrilous gauntlet in Congress, that, by the way, is an invitation to fisticuffs later.

But -- but, no, I mean, look, this is actually the -- you know, the senator was asking a reasonable question. When Jimmy Carter was president, he put his peanut farm in a behind trust. President Trump has declined to put any restrictions functionally on his global business empire. And their fact is that the resort they're building in golf -- a resort -- a hotel and golf resort they're building in Indonesia did seem to be the beneficiary, at least one step removed, from Chinese money. So these are reasonable questions to ask. It's not -- it's not sufficient for a secretary to say, they are bizarre.

Now, he may say, look, I've seen him play straight -- you know, he's been a straight shooter with me. But that, combined with the lack of the tax returns also come up and this is this pattern. It's absolutely reasonable to ask about what the conflicts are.

BRIGGS: The president did say way back two days ago that he wants, quote, total transparency. Now, that's, of course, when it comes to the spy --

AVLON: Yes.

BRIGGS: Versus an imbedded source. But was it a fair question, Mark, for that setting at that moment?

PRESTON: Of course it was. I mean, absolutely. Listen, Congress has an oversight role to oversee everything that's going on in the administration, to make sure that the president is staying in line. That's why we've had all of these conversations about what can Robert Mueller do, can he actually charge the president or can he not? You know, can the president be charged? Well, ultimately, that will all fall to Congress. Congress can't make any decisions without proper oversight.

But what's interesting about Pompeo's answer I think in watching how people have left the White House, how people who are continually in the White House, there are two ways of thinking in the White House right now. There is one that says, I have to stay to try to protect the country from Donald Trump. There is that group thinking there, whether Donald Trump will acknowledge it. And then there's the bunker mentality where they all feel that they are under attack right now. And when we always talk about gas-lighting, saying things over and over and over again, there are a lot of people in the White House that actually believe what Donald Trump is saying right now and they know deep down --

CAMEROTA: So which one did you think that one fell into.

PRESTON: That one fell into, I want to keep my job and I don't want to get called into the West Wing after this hearing and get yelled at. Oh, and, by the way, have him call all of his friends and say, I don't think Pompeo should be secretary of state anymore and have it leaked out.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, by the way, there are all sorts of White House former ethics czars who say that they believe the president has violated the emoluments clause and they're looking into that. So this is -- it's far from a bizarre question.

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: OK, thank you, Mark Preston, John Avlon.

BRIGGS: Get some tea and crumpets and scurrilous things, OK.

Ahead, actor Morgan Freeman apologized after a CNN investigation uncovered a pattern of inappropriate behavior involving at least eight women. We talk to the CNN reporter who broke that story ahead.

CAMEROTA: And, 1968 was one of the most consequential years in U.S. history. Don't miss this special two-night CNN original series starting Sunday at 9:00 eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:47:13] CAMEROTA: OK, there's tropical trouble brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, taking aim at the southeast U.S. Chad Myers has your holiday weekend forecast.

How does it look, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I recommend renting the gazebo for your Monday picnic. How about that? It will be a wet weekend for sure. Tropical trouble here, yes, as you said. A 90 percent chance of something developing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, this is not a cone yet because it doesn't have a name. If it does get a name it will be Alberto. The models are running, taking it into the Gulf of Mexico and likely along the Gulf Coast.

But I'm not worried about landfall right now, I'm worried about how much rain is going to come down with this storm. This is the European model, just pouring rainfall into Florida, into Georgia, into the Carolinas, all the way to New Orleans and up the East Coast. Some spots, Dave, could have four to six inches of rain by Monday afternoon. And some of these red spots, that's eight inches by Wednesday afternoon. So that certainly has a chance of flooding there.

Have a great weekend.

BRIGGS: You too. Indoor barbeques for the folks down there.

All right, coming up, eight women accusing actor Morgan Freeman, one of the iconic actors of our time, of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior in a CNN investigation. We'll have the CNN reporter who broke this story, next.

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[06:52:31] CAMEROTA: A CNN investigation has uncovered a pattern of alleged inappropriate behavior by legendary actor Morgan Freeman, both on set and at his own production company. Eight women say they were the victims of what some call harassment and others call inappropriate behavior. Freeman issued a statement saying, anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. Multiple entertainment reporters, though, say that Freeman made inappropriate remarks to them during press junkets. One of those is CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas, who's experience led to this entire investigation.

Chloe, great to have you here.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: What are the accusations against Morgan Freeman?

MELAS: Yes. Well, you know, this was a months' long investigation and my co-reporter, An Phung, and I, we spoke to 16 people who agreed to share their stories with CNN. Eight of those claim to be victims of either harassment or inappropriate behavior by Morgan Freeman. And eight of those are witnesses.

Now, in that behavior that we're talking about, which includes some inappropriate touching. One male said that he actually saw Morgan Freeman massage the shoulder of an intern who appeared visibly uncomfortable. We also have a young female production assistant who worked on the movie "Going in Style" in 2015. Now she claims that Freeman repeatedly touched and rubbed her lower back and that he actually attempted to lift her skirt in one incident and asked her if she was wearing underwear. She claims that this incident allegedly happened in front of Freeman's co-star in the movie "Alan Arkin," who we tried to reach out to for comment and he was unavailable. She claims that he actually told Morgan Freeman to stop and chastised him and that, her quote was, that Morgan Freeman appeared to be freaked out. We have another incident in our story that we have three people who

attended a birthday party thrown for Freeman at his production company where women were asked to stand in a circle -- men and women, and introduce themselves to Morgan Freeman, and that he only walked up to the women and stood within inches of their face, looked them up and down, no words exchanged, and then went on to the next woman. This incident happened in front of, according to our eyewitnesses, Lori McCreary. Lori McCreary is the co-president of the Producers Guild of America and she founded Morgan Freeman's production company with him in 1996.

[06:55:01] CAMEROTA: And did she have any reaction when this was happening?

MELAS: No, we have not heard back.

CAMEROTA: What was your personal experience?

MELAS: So, when I was six months pregnant, this was over a year ago now, I went to interview Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine at a junket for the movie "Going in Style," that I just mentioned. And as soon as I walked into the room, Alisyn, he started to make sexual comments to me. And one of those was caught on tape.

CAMEROTA: Let's listen.

MELAS: Well, I do want to set -- I want to set it up, though.

CAMEROTA: Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.

MELAS: It's very short. And I understand that. But we're presenting the entire facts of the case, right? Or not of the case, but of a story, of an investigation.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

MELAS: And there were comments made to me before and after that were not caught on tape. And in this he says to me, boy, do I wish I was there, while looking me up and down. So take note of his eyes in the clip and also that Michael Caine and Alan Arkin both look at him when he makes this comment.

CAMEROTA: Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CAINE, ACTOR: One time I congratulated a woman on being pregnant, and she wasn't. And so I've never done it again. For 50 years, I've never done it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) CNN a couple of times.

MELAS: You've learned your lesson.

CAINE: I've learned my lesson.

MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: Boy, do I wish I was there.

MELAS: Oh, this movie is --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELAS: And so -- and if you have the full context that there were comments made to me when I went in the room --

CAMEROTA: Can you tell us what those comments were?

MELAS: Yes. So when I walked into the room and I went to go shake everyone's hand, as I always do before an interview, Morgan Freeman would not let go of my hand and was giving me different variations of, I wish I was there, while looking me up and down. And then as I got up to leave, he made some comments about my body and said that I appeared to be very ripe. And it was a very uncomfortable situation.

And, you know, also, "Entertainment Tonight," Alisyn, has just released video and their own incidence of Morgan Freeman making some of their own reporters uncomfortable. And more women in the industry have now spoken out about the same type of behavior.

CAMEROTA: And I'm curious, did his co-stars say anything when he did this?

MELAS: They did not. And we reached out to them for comment. Michael Caine declined to comment and Alan Arkin, again, unavailable.

CAMEROTA: And how did you feel to be on the receiving end of those comments?

MELAS: You know, it's unpleasant for anyone, but I would have to say I was shocked. I've been doing this for over a decade as an entertainment reporter and I really had never had somebody be that brazen with a comment like that before. So that's what stood out to me. And that's what made me think to myself, well, if he could be this bold to me, let me start looking around. And then that's when my co- worker, An Phung, and I started to make calls and do this investigation.

CAMEROTA: You know what's interesting about that, Chloe, is that to some people, before the Me Too movement, OK, they would say, OK, I get it, gross guy, says inappropriate things, but that's a commonplace experience, OK, that all of us --

MELAS: Of course.

CAMEROTA: Before the Me Too movement used to just navigate around.

MELAS: I understand (ph).

CAMEROTA: But you're saying that this rose, for you, to a different level. This wasn't a commonplace experience.

MELAS: And it did. And, look, when we -- when An Phung and I started to look into this and call people, what we found was what appeared to be a systematic pattern. And it didn't just happen on film sets. It happened on junkets. It happened in front of other people. I mean what makes this different than some of the other stories that we've heard in this, you know, Me Too wave in Hollywood is that a lot of it happened behind closed doors. But in this, we're out in the open. Cameras are rolling. There's eyewitnesses. And, you know, it's gone on for quite some time. And even at his production company.

So, again, it's not just an isolated incident and it's not just a woman thinking that flirtation went too far. There is a difference.

CAMEROTA: And I am so glad that you made that point, that there seemed to be some sort of tacit approval going on with all of this.

Also, you did the right thing. You went to your bosses and reported what had happened.

One more time I want to just read his apology just to make sure that it's in here. Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected -- that was never my intent.

We only have a few seconds. How do you feel? What's your response to this?

MELAS: I think that he's addressed somewhat of what we have in our story. Now, there are others like Kevin Spacey who don't say anything and they go radio silent after repeated attempts and everyone handles these things different.

I would like to point out, though, that the SAG Awards, who just gave him a lifetime achievement war, they've released a statement to CNN saying that they are contemplating resending that. Visa has now suspended their campaign with him. And the transit system in Canada has now suspended their campaign with him as well.

So we will monitor the fallout.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for all those developments and for sharing your story, Chloe, great to talk to you.

MELAS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you CNN "TALK" is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For President Trump to unilaterally withdrawal, it concerns me. So what's the administration's strategy next?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said they still do want to talk with the United States. They say it's crucial to have a summit.

[07:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope that Kim Jong-un will ultimately do what is right, not only for himself, but for his people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's an effort to try and (INAUDIBLE) the Department of Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House said (INAUDIBLE) was there to talk about the