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Harvey Weinstein Charged with Rape, Bond Set at $10 million; Interview with Sen. Van Hollen; Trump: North Korea Talks on Summit Back On; Trump's Pattern of Attacks; What Happens to Summit Commemorative Coin if No Talks. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired May 25, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:33:35] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: This is just the beginning for Harvey Weinstein. The disgraced Hollywood producer was arraigned today in New York on charges of rape and sex abuse. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
To discuss the case, criminal defense attorney, Sara Azari, is joining us today outside the courthouse in New York.
Sara, first of all, tell our viewers what happened today.
SARA AZARI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, what happened today was Harvey Weinstein surrendered rendered to authorities for a warrant out for his arrest on two cases involving two different accusers. One involves charges of first and third-degree rape under New York law. And second one is forced oral copulation. Both of which, because changes to the New York law in 2016, are not subject to any statute of limitations.
So as you said. this is the beginning for Harvey Weinstein. I understand there's a grand jury proceeding still ongoing at which four other women are to testify against him here in New York. He's subject to multiple other investigations on the federal side in other states, in Los Angeles, abroad, in London. It's big time for Harvey Weinstein.
BLITZER: I want to get --
AZARI: And big day for his accusers.
BLITZER: Yes, certainly is.
But let me get your reaction to what Harvey Weinstein's attorney said after today's proceeding. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:35:01] BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY FOR HARVEY WEINSTEIN: He has vehemently denied any of the allegations that would suggest he engaged in non-consensual sexual activity. 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 over taken this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He was clearly referring, Sara, to the "Me Too" movement, which has called attention to sexual misconduct. Your thoughts?
AZARI: I think there's two issues. And I respect Benjamin Brafman tremendously. But first of all, that was a shocking statement essentially saying not only that the sexual contact between Weinstein and his accusers were consensual, but also that this is how it is in Hollywood, that the currency in Hollywood is the trading of the casting couch for sex, essentially, it's your career for sex. So that was the shocking part of the statement.
And the second part of the statement I actually agree with. Because look what happened in the Bill Cosby second trial. In the first trial, there was hung jury because the court did not allow the testimony of other accusers to be brought in as supporting evidence. In the second trial, there was a guilty verdict because five women were allowed to testify. You know, the prosecution in the Harvey Weinstein case has a lot of women to work with in terms of testimony and evidence. And if the judge at the trial allows those women to come in and testify in support of Evans and the other woman, who we still don't know, is anonymous, then it does not look good for Harvey Weinstein. There's definitely a drastic contrast between pre-"Me Too" trials and post-"Me Too" trials in this sort of a case.
BLITZER: Sara Azari, thanks so much for your analysis.
AZARI: Thank you.
BLITZER: Back from the dead. Just a day after calling off the historic summit President Trump now says talks with North Korea are under way right now. I'll ask Senator Chris Van Hollen what he makes of the president's change of tone. What he thinks happens, next. We'll be right back.
[13:41:41] BLITZER: A rather conciliatory tone from North Korea. The government seeming almost apologetic in the wake of president's decision to cancel the June 12th summit with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore.
Joining us now, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen. He's a Democrat. He's on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Banking Committee.
Senator, thanks for joining us.
What do you think? Can the change in tone can be seen as positive step, a sign that the president may have made the right decision, and maybe the summit will still take place?
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, (D), MARYLAND: Well, Wolf, it's great to be with you.
Look, the issue with the summit has always been that this is something that North Korean leaders have wanted to have happen for a very long time. There's no surprise that Kim Jong-Un wants to meet with American president. His father wanted to meet with American presidents. And having that meeting elevates him on the world stage and is a win for Kim Jong-Un. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have a meeting or summit. What it means is we better make sure that whenever we have a summit that we get what we need out of it. And my greatest concern is what we have seen so far is a lot of chaos, not a lot of preparation. And we don't want a summit that ends up with a photo-op. I mean that just helps the North Koreans. Doesn't do us any good. So we better be sure we have a plan. And Donald Trump better understand he's not dealing with some New York City subcontractor that he was able to bully in the past. That is my biggest concern. I mean, having a summit, fine, but remember North Koreans have wanted this for a long time. We better be prepared to get what we want out of it.
BLITZER: The president tweeted, and I'll read a line from the tweet, "The Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea."
Senator, are you rooting against the president in his negotiations with North Korea?
VAN HOLLEN: Wolf, I am rooting for success. If we can achieve the goal of getting North Korea to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and do that in a verifiable way, which is what the president said he wants, that would obviously be good for our country, be good for the world, and it would be good for our allies. In order to accomplish that, you can't just show up at a meeting and expect that you can persuade the North to do what it never has before. And that's my biggest concern. In the last year and a half, I have not seen the supposed great negotiating powers from this president. In order to be successful, you need to have a team that really knows what's going to come out of this summit in advance. So whether the summit is it on or off, from my perspective, is less important than making sure the homework has been done to get the right results, and always remembering that North Koreans want this to happen. I mean, it puts their leader on the world stage across from an American president. So let's make sure we get what we want out of this so it's just not what Kim Jong-Un wants out of this.
BLITZER: Let's talk about ZTE, Senator. That's the huge Chinese telecom company that's now been sanctioned by the United States government. They are losing a lot of jobs in China as a result of that. President Trump, he spoke about his desire to try to save the company. And now the "New York Times" is reporting that a deal has been made to keep ZTE in business. You actually, and correct me if I'm wrong, introduced a ZTE amendment as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. What do you hope to achieve?
[13:45:14] VAN HOLLEN: Well, yes, there's strong bipartisan opposition in the Senate, in fact, in the whole Congress to the president letting ZTE get off the hook here. And we passed an amendment, 23-2, in the Banking Committee. That will go to the floor as part of the defense authorization bill shortly. That says the president can't union laterally do that. That the president has to come to Congress and make certain certifications. And, Wolf, this is a company that not only poses a national security
threat but has violated our sanctions against North Korea repeatedly. So it totally undermines our effort to put maximum pressure on North Korea to say, oh, we just caught ZTE cheating and lying about selling goods to North Korea, but you know what, if you can cut a deal with the president of the United States on some other trade-related issue not related to our security, we'll let you off the hook. That sends a terrible message to everybody else with respect to our seriousness about our sanctions on North Korea.
BLITZER: Senator Van Hollen, thanks for joining us.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, President Trump is increasingly attacking almost every institution that could one day hold him accountable. We'll take a closer look at the risk of the president's attacks.
And with the on-again, off-again summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un on the rocks, at least for now, what happens to that commemorative coin minted in preparation in the United States? There you see it. You see the president and Kim Jong-Un, the North Korea flag, the U.S. flag. That's the coin all ready for the summit. What happens to it now? We have details.
[13:51:26] BLITZER: From calling the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference a witch hunt to claiming there's a criminal deep state conspiracy within the American government working against him, President Trump's targets fit a pattern or sorts.
CNN politics reporter, Chris Cillizza, is with us.
Chris, these are all institutions, one way or another, that potentially could have a direct impact on him.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: There's no question. Let's start closer to you. We have Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller. These are all people that Donald Trump has publicly castigated. The first two of which he put into these offices. Bob Mueller was picked by Rosenstein to be the special counsel. Yes, these are people who, in Rosenstein's case, has the broad authority, Wolf, over the entire Mueller investigation, obviously, Mueller, and his attorney general. You would think that wouldn't be people he would attack. But that's Donald Trump.
The other one we have down here is the media. Donald Trump has made no bones since who became a candidate that he was absolutely convinced the media was against him, they were reporting fake news. I would tell people, Donald Trump's definition of fake news is negative news for him. Not false news, but news he doesn't like. It's not the same thing but both of these go to the deep state idea, Wolf. Donald Trump believes there's a built-in group in Washington, the Intelligence Community, the media, some politicians, all of whom did not want him to get elected, worked against it, and are continuing to try to undermine his presidency. This is all of a piece and makes sense to him, though I would argue the facts don't bear it out.
BLITZER: What about the summit with Kim Jong-Un right now?
BLITZER: On-again, off-again, conciliatory, not such conciliatory, threats of nuclear war.
BLITZER: We have a commemorative coin that's ready to be distributed --
CILLIZZA: So this is the coin, obviously, that was pre-pressed prior to the cancellation. As you covered on the show this hour, Wolf, maybe the un-cancellation. We don't know.
This was Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un sort of facing off. This was done before the cancellation on Thursday. Still for sale at a discounted price at the White House gift shop. I would say to people, maybe don't unload it just yet because you really never know. Honestly, Donald Trump is now making it sound like maybe this could be back on, if not June 12th, maybe some other time.
It only has -- I don't think of it as a specific date. It just says 2018. Could still be true. I think we have one more side that shows people -- right, "If summit does not occur, you can request a refund."
Honestly, given what we know about Donald Trump, Wolf, with the "maybe this will happen, maybe it won't, stay tuned, we want it to happen," I'm not so sure today we can say the summit won't occur. And that's remarkable, given that 24 hours ago, we had a letter from Donald Trump to Kim Jong-Un saying, "Sorry, I have to cancel the summit."
BLITZER: Regular price, $24.95. Deal of the day, priced $19.95.
CILLIZZA: I wonder why it's deal of the day.
BLITZER: If you buy a whole bunch, free shipping on orders over $150.
CILLIZZA: That's --
BLITZER: Let's go back to the coin.
BLITZER: I want to take a closer look at the coin.
If you can put it back on the screen.
You see "President Donald J. Trump, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, 2018" and you see "United States of America" and over here you see "Democratic People's Republic of Korea." So it's very, very specific. CILLIZZA: It is. The one thing I would say, you don't have June
12th, 2018 there, so who knows. One of the reasons we know Donald Trump wanted to do this is for history's sake. He's someone who sees himself as a record setter, a history maker. Sitting down with Kim Jong-Un, whether it happens June 12th, July 12th, next year or two years, would be history, Wolf. No American president sat across the table from a North Korean leader.
So the coin to commemorate it doesn't surprise me. It's in keeping with what we know about Donald Trump.
[13:55:22] BLITZER: This is a U.S. government coin that will be sold by the U.S. government.
CILLIZZA: Yes. Absolutely right.
BLITZER: We'll watch it and see what happens to that coin.
CILLIZZA: And $150, free shipping.
BLITZER: Did you get one already?
CILLIZZA: Not yet. I'm waiting until they drop to $15.95.
BLITZER: Maybe if we get a group, we can get than $150 worth and ge4t free shipping.
CILLIZZA: I don't make that Blitzer kind of money. I'm down on the $15.95, not $19.95.
BLITZER: Nice coin.
CILLIZZA: It is. My father, a coin collector, probably will buy one.
BLITZER: A lot of people aren't sure they want this coin.
BLITZER: Chris Cillizza, thank you very much.
CILLIZZA: Thank you.
BLITZER: There's more news we're following, including a stunning new report about the president berating his Homeland Security secretary. And why he reportedly made up Hispanic names and their crimes to make a point on immigration. Stick around for details.