Return to Transcripts main page


Harvey Weinstein Turns Himself In To New York City Police Department; Defending NBA Champions In Trouble; CDC: Bug-Borne Diseases Are On The Rise In The U.S; Trump Cancels Singapore Summit In A Letter To Kim Jong Un. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 25, 2018 - 07:30   ET



[07:31:23] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we do have some breaking news for you.

Moments ago, Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced movie mogul, turned himself in to New York City police. A source tells us that Weinstein will face charges for allegedly raping one woman and forcing another to perform a criminal sex act on him.

One of the alleged victims spoke with "The New Yorker's" Ronan Farrow. Ronan recently won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Weinstein and he joins us now.

Ronan, what is it like for you to watch this moment?

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE NEW YORKER", PULITZER PRIZE WINNER FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN INVESTIGATION: Well, I think for every woman who spoke in this story it's an incredible and unexpected moment, Alisyn.

When I began speaking to Lucia and other accusers of Harvey Weinstein, they barely imagined --

CAMEROTA: And the woman, just to be clear -- right. Lucia is the woman who says that she was forced to perform a criminal sex act on Harvey Weinstein and she --

FARROW: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- was part of your original story.

FARROW: Right. So, many women spoke, obviously.

Lucia Evans was actually the very first of the vignettes in that first "New Yorker" story. And look, she and all of those other sources grappled with an extraordinary decision in coming forward in the first place in the press.

Lucia then grappled with another life-changing decision because the day that article ran, members of the NYPD cold case squad, which handles cases that are no longer alive, reopened that case and began trying to contact her. And saying, hey, if you don't talk to us too, potentially upending your life for years, putting yourself on the stand and in the crosshairs of a powerful guy and his legal team, he may walk.

CAMEROTA: This moment, to your point, would never have happened without your reporting and without the cooperation of these women. And these are women who thought that whatever happened to them was long buried. I mean, they had given up -- will you correct me if I'm wrong -- on any chance of justice.

Had they? I mean, did they think that they stood any chance against this media mogul?

FARROW: Not in a million years.

And one of the hardest conversations that I had over and over again with these brave women was that in addition to the sacrifice they were making in telling this story they didn't think they would ever be heard if they did take that leap.

Let alone to see actual accountability for someone who, of course, in this very jurisdiction narrowly escaped accountability in 2015 after one woman did file criminal charges -- I mean, I'm sorry, complaints and the D.A. then declines to file charges as a result.

So there are actually members of that investigative team from 2015 who are involved in the current investigation of Lucia Evans' case who felt the D.A. made a quote "corrupt decision" -- that was the words of one -- and now are looking at a very different landscape, Alisyn, where they say the D.A. is really proactively responding to this criticism and making sure that they don't drop the ball again.

CAMEROTA: Listen, I don't want to overstate how much the landscape has changed but it feels as though the sands have shifted beneath our feet in this whole MeToo movement. I mean, the idea that we're watching Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in the country, be perp walked because these women were brave enough to talk to you. You won the Pulitzer for this.

I mean everything has -- this changes everything.

FARROW: Well, we were lucky that there were -- it was not just me -- a lot of brave reporters banging their heads against the wall on this issue of sexual assaults and violence in the past year. And these brave women, as you say, who really went through hell to tell this story.

And again, I would just stress it is yet another hell that anyone subjects themselves to if they decide to be a star witness in a case like this. This could be years of Lucia Evans' life.

CAMEROTA: Well, let's talk about that, OK? So let's talk about what the tipping point was for being able to charge him today with rape and what these women are looking at now.

[07:35:03] FARROW: Well, so I'll tell you that it was a very careful investigative process involving both the D.A. and the NYPD, and they worked in tandem. The D.A.'s office -- the term is 'developed' the case of this one woman who has not yet been named.

CAMEROTA: The one that we believe the rape charge is based on.

FARROW: The rape charges appear to be associated with.

And in Lucia's case, it appears the charge will be a first-degree sex act. We'll see when the filing actually becomes public. Lucia's case was developed by the NYPD cold case squad, as I said.

And over many months investigators went to many, many different places, including around the world, looking for potential witnesses who had spoken in these stories. And these two were what they believed to be incredibly strong cases.

You know, I quote in today's article that I wrote about this with sort of the backstory of how these charges came about. Investigators are saying this is a very, very credible witness in Lucia Evans, with a lot of corroborating evidence.

CAMEROTA: Can you tell me a little bit more about her story?

FARROW: Lucia Evans was an aspiring actress. This is in the mid- 2000's. She met Harvey Weinstein at an event. He was very interested in her, she thought professionally, and then she got a lot of follow- up calls.

He invited her for, again, she thought a professional meeting at his office. It was also with another associate of his so she assumed it was on the up and up. And she alleges that he forced her to perform oral sex on him in that office.

And there are a lot of individuals who witnessed the two of them meeting, witnessed her going into that office, and other pieces of evidence.

And look, I made the same assessment that those investigators made when I spoke to her and after ferreting out were there other people around, where there documentation that we could point to. It was very clear that she's an incredibly solid witness of this kind of behavior.

CAMEROTA: What has her life been like since she came forward to you?

FARROW: Wrenching, Alisyn. She had a hard time telling the story in the first place. It was incredibly upsetting for her to relive, as you might imagine.

And then to, right after, be contacted by the police was, I think, both satisfying one level because anyone who makes this decision does it in the name of accountability --

CAMEROTA: And justice.

FARROW: And justice.

CAMEROTA: Hopefully, somehow it would be served.

FARROW: She only spoke because it was a chance to help other women, even though she knew that it would expose her to all of these public attacks and public scrutiny.

But it still -- it's hard. She talks about it in today's story how she was initially elated to be contacted by police. They showed up at her parent's house because that's the address they could find, and then they began calling her and this escalated very fast based on that article.

And she said she was initially heartened and then she was terrified. And it did take her months and months of talking to investigators, soul-searching, talking to people she loved, and she, in the end, decided this was a chance that she couldn't pass up.

CAMEROTA: And so, in the old days there was a feeling of well, women will be diced and sliced in the courtroom. You can't ever bring these things to trial. Your character will be assassinated. They'll call you all sorts of nasty names.

Has that changed?

FARROW: I don't think that's changed, and I think that she is making this decision knowing that that could be the case.

That this could be drawn out for years, that Harvey Weinstein still has powerful counsel in Ben Brafman who is a very aggressive attorney. And that the tactics that we documented him using over the years to smear and intimidate and have people followed, that may all be deployed again. And I can only hope that there is a watchful eye and that there's enough public scrutiny that the use of those tactics will be restrained.

Obviously, Harvey Weinstein has a full right to a robust defense but that shouldn't entail destroying women in the process.

CAMEROTA: Well, Ronan, regardless of what happens next, you and these women have to feel a sense of tremendous satisfaction today watching Harvey Weinstein surrender to New York City police.

FARROW: I am immensely grateful for what they've done in this case and, frankly, for our culture. We are now hearing stories like theirs and that's thanks to their bravery.


Ronan Farrow, great to talk to you. Thanks so much for being with us.

FARROW: Always a pleasure. Thanks, Alisyn.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Just some outstanding journalism there. All right.

Ahead, the CDC has a warning for you about this Memorial Day weekend. Why they want everyone to be aware of bugs.

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


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.

[07:40:00] 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.



BRIGGS: All right. The defending NBA champs are on the ropes. Houston one win from reaching the finals. Lindsay Czarniak has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Good morning to you. Stunning finals could be on the way.

LINDSAY CZARNIAK, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, this is going to get really exciting now.

They need to do it now though or it's going to be a massive disappointment for Chris Paul, the storyline of the Rockets. Paul, making it for the first time to the conference finals, is one dominating these playoffs.

The Rockets also rallying behind their city after last week's school shooting at Santa Fe High School. First responders and students from the high school were given tickets to the game. They were also honored before tip-off of game five. Some of them sang the National Anthem.

And man, the Rockets gave them a performance to remember.

Chris Paul, he was feeling it. Look at this three-pointer over Steph Curry. And then he shimmies in Steph Curry's face to get back at Curry a little bit.

BRIGGS: I'm sure he liked it.

CZARNIAK: He did enjoy it, yes.

[07:45:00] And look at this double-clutch three-pointer.

Justin Timberlake was there. He was sitting beside Texans star J.J. Watt. You see both of them here courtside. They loved it, too.

And, Eric Gordon also turning heads with a team-high 24 points off the bench.

Now, after the game, James Harden acknowledging the tone of the night was set from the beginning.


JAMES HARDEN, JR., GUARD, HOUSTON ROCKETS: It's extremely emotional especially what happened to those kids. You know, the fear. It's the only thing they'll remember in high school. But we tried to bring them some joy, invite them to the game, and kind of cheer them up a little bit.


CZARNIAK: They're really into each and every one of these games thinking about that also as a motivation.

Something fans are also talking about today, Chris Paul injured his hamstring at the end of the game. He's now questionable for game six Saturday in Oakland. So it will be difficult for them, clearly, if they don't have one of their star players. BRIGGS: You lost this one at J.T. hanging courtside with J.J. Watt.

CZARNIAK: I mean, what -- no -- he's got me back.

BRIGGS: That is a powerful --

CZARNIAK: Can you imagine -- This is where I plugged back in.

BRIGGS: -- bromance, man.

CZARNIAK: Can you imagine if he showed up to a game and he was sitting there in front of you? What -- wouldn't you know -- I mean --

BRIGGS: Do you think I could hang out with those two guys?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Yes, you could for sure.

BRIGGS: All right. I thought I could hang out.

CAMEROTA: As soon as they meet you they'll want to invite you --

CZARNIAK: Your man-to-man club.

BRIGGS: The Cavs could get eliminated tonight, so LeBron on the ropes tonight as well.

CZARNIAK: That's true.

BRIGGS: Lindsay, thanks.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

OK, summer is almost here and the CDC says bug-borne diseases are on the rise. Officials say there are more bugs in more places this year and a single bite can transmit a life-threatening infection.

So, CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us with more. This is worrisome.


So, with Memorial Day upon us and with it the reminder that deadly bugs are out there.

We spoke to a woman in Ohio who after one bug bite, her life was on the line. She has a message for all of us.


COHEN (voice-over): Jennifer Slone, a librarian in Ohio, loves the outdoors. But last summer, the outdoors didn't love her.

COHEN (on camera): You had blood transfusions, you had meningitis, you became septic.


COHEN: How high was your temperature?

SLONE: About 104 at one point.

COHEN: And could doctors get it down?


COHEN (voice-over): Her husband, Nick, feared the worst.

NICK SLONE, HUSBAND OF JENNIFER SLONE: I really thought she was going to die.

COHEN: This was the culprit. A tick gave Jennifer a bacterial infection called ehrlichiosis.

Diseases spread by ticks, mosquitos, and fleas are on the rise. Reports of people who have gotten sick have tripled in the past 13 years according to the Centers for Disease Control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maine -- we get them from all around the country.

COHEN: It's gotten so bad that every week, about 1,000 people who have been bitten by ticks send them here to this lab at the University of Massachusetts. The ticks are tested to see if they carry diseases.

STEPHEN RICH, MICROBIOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST: It's important to know early because most of these diseases can be treated more effectively if they're treated early.

COHEN: Deep, dense woods surround Jennifer's home here in Waverly, Ohio. Ticks love the woods but you don't have to be in the woods to get bit by a tick. Studies show that three-quarters of people who get sick from ticks -- they're bit on their own property.

Jennifer thinks that she was bit here in her own garden.

COHEN (on camera): Summer's about to start. What message do you want to get out?

J. SLONE: I would just encourage people to take every precaution possible -- long-sleeve protection.

COHEN (voice-over): Cover yourself, spray yourself with insect repellant, and check yourself for bugs after you come inside.

Jennifer doesn't want her family to ever have to watch her suffer again.

J. SLONE: Half of it, I was not even really conscious of it. I had to rely on my husband to talk to the doctors.

And my daughter was very worried to see mom like that. It was very scary for her.

COHEN: As the nation heads into summer, scientists are worried, too.

RICH: There's more ticks in more places so the ticks are expanding into places that we haven't seen them before.

COHEN: Ever the librarian, Jennifer likes to quote one of her favorite Harry Potter characters.

J. SLONE: In the words of Mad-Eye Moody, "constant vigilance."


COHEN: Now, if you do find a tick on you, remove it. And if you get sick make sure that you tell the doctor that you found the tick. It will help them figure out how to best treat you -- Dave.

BRIGGS: I'm unfortunately an expert at removing ticks from our dogs in Connecticut.

All right. Thanks, Elizabeth. Appreciate the story.

Coming up, our top story. President Trump calling off his much- anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin calls this decision puzzling. We ask him why, next.


[07:53:25] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP RALLYGOERS: Nobel, Nobel, Nobel, Nobel.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's very nice. Thank you. That's very nice -- Nobel.

I just want to get the job done.


BRIGGS: Less than a month ago, a crowd cheered for President Trump to win the Nobel Prize but this morning, his meeting with Kim Jong Un is off and the path to peace is unclear.

Here with reaction, Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Good to see you, Senator.

You called the decision to call of the Singapore summit puzzling. Why?

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD), MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, Dave, first, it's good to be with you.

The crisis on the North Korean Peninsula is caused by Kim Jong Un and North Korea by violating international norms.

I think everyone understands that the only way to resolve this is through diplomacy. There is no military option without extreme risks.

So it's puzzling that the president has now thrown diplomacy off track and there's always a risk of a miscalculation, and a miscalculation could have extremely dangerous consequences.

I think most people believe the president is doing this for negotiating reasons. I'm just puzzled by it.

BRIGGS: Yes, art of the deal. He's always said you've got to know when to walk away from a deal.

But let's talk about the North Korean reaction to the canceling of the summit, unusual to say the least.

They said they're willing to meet face-to-face with the U.S. at any time and then adding, "We highly appreciate the fact that President Trump made a brave decision that no president in the past has made and puts efforts to make the summit happen."

[07:55:02] This was almost Trumpian language from the Foreign Ministry there in North Korea.

What do you make of their reaction? Are they ready to deal?

CARDIN: Well, the question is what is the deal? I think that the president's been pretty clear that we need to have a North -- a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons. How quickly can we get there? What are the trade-offs? There's a lot of questions that need to be asked.

But one of my concerns is that what is our game plan? What are we trying to achieve recognizing that it cannot be one-sided? North Korea is not going to just give up their nuclear weapons.

So going into the summit there was a concern as to whether both sides were adequately prepared for a successful summit. That's a legitimate concern as to whether we know what we want to achieve.

Normally, there would have been a great deal of consultation with Congress. There would have been a lot more openness as to what was expected. In this case, that's not what has happened.

BRIGGS: When it comes to that, Nancy Pelosi seemed to have an interesting reaction to this one-page letter that is extraordinary in just about every way.

Let me play you Nancy Pelosi's reaction to it and get your thoughts.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: In this very chummy, palsy-walsy letter to Kim Jong Un, he -- Kim Jong Un -- is the big winner. He's the big winner. And when he got this letter from the president saying OK, never mind, he must be having a giggle fit.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIGGS: Palsy-walsy, giggle fit -- is Kim Jong Un the big winner and does Nancy Pelosi risk the suggestion that Democrats want the president to fail here?

CARDIN: No, we certainly want the president to succeed. This is an extremely dangerous situation and millions of lives, literally, are at risk if there is a miscalculation.

Now, we want -- all of us want the president to succeed and find a diplomatic way to end the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. It's in our interest, it's in North Korea's interest, it's in South Korea's interest, it's in China's interest.

So we want the president to succeed and we know the way to succeed is from diplomacy and we want to make sure that when a summit takes place, and we hope it will, that it will be properly prepared and we can have a favorable outcome.

BRIGGS: You mention our allies there in Japan and, in particular, South Korea caught flat-footed by this.

Where does this leave our allies?

CARDIN: Well, you know, the president conducts foreign policy in a way that I find very, very disturbing.

South Korea has been a major player. They're the ones who used the Olympics to start the conversations. It was President Moon's campaign to open up relations between the South and the North that was extremely positive.

And here, the president makes a major decision to cancel the summit and doesn't notify the South Korean leader in advance. I think that's just a mistake and it's the way that President Trump conducts policies, and I think there's negative consequences to that.

BRIGGS: It is a very ad hoc foreign policy at this point.

But to the notion that President Trump has suggested China may, in fact, be in the driver's seat and has been all along -- the recent meeting, May eighth, between Kim Jong Un and President Xi in China really seemed to be the tipping point for the rhetoric and the negotiations.

Is China in the driver's seat and what do you think they want?

CARDIN: Well, China's a key player. The good news is that China's interests and the U.S. interests align here. Both China and the United States do not want North Korea to be a nuclear weapon power.

The United States has made it very clear that we're not for regime change. Neither does China want regime change. So there's a 'pay it forward' for the United States and China working together.

North Korea's economy depends upon China -- that's their principal partner -- so that China can put the pressure on to require North Korea to move forward. China's a very key player in this.

BRIGGS: Senator, at the heart of all this is the notion of President Trump as a dealmaker.

But, of course, in this 15, 16, 17, 18 months he has proved to be a deal breaker when you look at the TPP, when you look at DACA, when you look at Obamacare. You could go -- the list goes and on and on. Of course, the Paris Climate deal.

How has the unpredictable style of the president and the notion of being a dealmaker paid off for the United States?

CARDIN: Well, I think it's been very damaging to our country. We've been isolated. 'America First' is America alone.

We were isolated in what he did with the Iran nuclear agreement in Paris. We're the only nation in the world that's not part of the climate accords. Time and time again we've been isolated from the rest of the world and that's not in the U.S. interest.

So the president certainly has not engaged the international community and certainly has not been successful in concluding issues on the international stage.

BRIGGS: All right, Sen. Ben Cardin. Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. Appreciate you being here this morning.

CARDIN: Thank you. Thank you, Dave.

BRIGGS: All right. We're following a lot of news, so in the words of Chris Cuomo, let's get after it.


TRUMP: I have decided to terminate the planned summit in Singapore on June 12th.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vice minister --