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Grand Jury Releases Report on Predator Priests; Democratic Diversity in Primaries; Wisconsin Trump Candidate Wins Primary; Georgia Voters' Records Exposed; Turkey Rejects Appeal; Pentagon Aide Under Investigation; Manafort Trial Closing Arguments. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired August 15, 2018 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did to young children, but also the procedure of how they covered it up. We learned in this report that there were secret archives in every diocese and that's where they would have these internal documents that actually describe the abuse that was going on, but only one person in every diocese had the key, according to the report, and that would be the bishop.

The report also states that priests and bishops not only still remain in the church, but they have been promoted to cardinals and bishops.

And the report was written by the 23 grand jurors that listened to testimony for so long. It took two years to write the report. They listened to dozens of witnesses testifying before them and almost half a million documents.

And, Poppy, one of the most -- we can't discuss what actually happened to these young people because it's too graphic, it is far too graphic, but it was young men, little boys, little girls. Females were victims, too. And here's one of the priests that had so many allegations against him finally quit the priesthood, but before he left he asked for a recommendation so he could work at Disney World. He got the recommendation. The report says he worked there for 18 years.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: At Disney World after that.

CASAREZ: Yes. Yes.

HARLOW: One of the victims that is detailed in this grand jury report is in the hospital because of a suicide attempt and said, from her hospital bed, I just hope we finish our work and tell the world what really happened.

But what is justice for them? I mean what about the statute of limitations? Doesn't that prevent a lot of these evil doers from being prosecuted?

CASAREZ: You know, it's so true and it's so ironic. Because of the cover up that was done -- and this was outlined by the attorney general yesterday -- most of these cases can't be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run. Out of 301 priests, at this point they can prosecute two for alleged abuse. HARLOW: Two?

CASAREZ: Two. Two. But the investigation continues.

HARLOW: So what about rape? I mean is there a statute of limitations on rape?

CASAREZ: Everything has a statute of limitations at this point except murder.

HARLOW: Wow. Jean, thank you.

CASAREZ: You're welcome.

HARLOW: OK, also, to politics. An historic night of primaries. Could the nation see its first transgender governor or, and maybe and, its first Somali-American woman in Congress? The big wins and very expensive losses that marked last night's races, ahead.


[09:36:30] HARLOW: Democrats embrace diversity in the primaries Tuesday night. Vermont Democrat Christine Hallquist becoming the first transgender nominee for governor in the country. Here she is this morning on CNN talking about what she says is driving change.


CHRISTINE HALLQUIST (D), CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: We are all reacting to what happened in 2016. You know, I'm hoping our children and children's children will look back at 2018 and say, that's when we made history and we can be proud of our democracy because our democracy will have survived a despot.


HARLOW: On the Republican side, a telling result. The president's top picks proving victorious.

Let's go to Phil Mattingly, our congressional correspondent.

A big not. A lot to tick through. Diversity is the headline though.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question about it, whether you look at Vermont, whether you look at Johana Hayes in Connecticut, likely to be the first black member, when she's elected, which she should be in a safe district, from the state of Connecticut. And then you also have Ilhan Omar, who will likely be the first Somali-Muslim-American elected to Congress.

I think the top line here, when you look at the governor's races beyond Vermont, you also have Lupe Valdez in Texas, you have Jared Polis in Connecticut (ph) --

HARLOW: Right.

MATTINGLY: Two openly gay officials, major party nominees for governor.

When you look at Ilhan Omar, she will likely be the second woman Muslim elected to Congress in November as well. I think if you look across the board, there is clearly a shift in some regard.

Now, is that entirely because of the president, as Christina Hallquist said? Not necessarily. I think it's just kind of the way things have progressed over the course of a number of years. But the reality is that there is more of a willingness, specifically in the Democratic Party, to address and embrace candidates that in past I think political consultants with all of their wisdom would have said, no, don't run statewide, you don't have a chance at all.

HARLOW: Right. Right, who haven't even run, right --


HARLOW: Because they thought they didn't have a shot.

All right, let's go state by state with some big ones today.

Wisconsin. I found this fascinating. You had this establishment candidate who had a lot of support. You know, the radio and talk show hosts there very supportive of her. But this is -- this is a woman who was so anti-Trump just, you know, two years ago. She went around calling him offensive to everyone. Fast forward, she wore a Trump pin, she was embracing him on the trail and it worked.

MATTINGLY: Look, it's the reality of the base. It's the reality of the Republican Party. You can look across some of the primaries we've seen and see people who took an anti-Trump position, who are no longer in politics, at least actively. Leah Vukmir was willing to embrace President Trump on the campaign trail. As you noted, she had major establishment support. Paul Ryan, obviously the speaker of the House. While Governor Scott Walker didn't endorse, his family was very involved in super PACs that were involved in her. And she had big money donors.

Now, Kevin Nicholson, who lost to Leah Vukmir, also had big money donors in the form of Richard Uihlein.

But I think why Wisconsin's most interesting, and this is going to go for Minnesota as well, is this is the blue wall that President Trump punctured. This is a very kind of split state when it comes to Democrats and Republicans. Leah Vukmir is going to have a very, very tough race against Tammy Baldwin. When you talk to people on both sides, the numbers right now very much in favor of Tammy Baldwin. But when you have the money, when you have the president, you've already seen him out tweeting --


MATTINGLY: This is going to be a race that will matter when you look at the Senate dynamics going forward.

HARLOW: And when you talk about Minnesota, my home state, it is, you know, fascinating when you drive outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and you drive to more rural parts of Minnesota, what's happening there, right? And this was a more state -- blue state and increasingly you've got Republicans thinking 2020, can they flip it. What did last night tell us?

MATTINGLY: Yes, look, I don't think there's any question about it, and I think you'd agree with me, Poppy, Minnesota is the most fascinating state right now when it comes to politics.

HARLOW: I think so.

[09:40:04] MATTINGLY: You -- and not just because you're from there. Obviously you have --

HARLOW: Remember Jesse Ventura?

MATTINGLY: Yes, I know, it's just -- it's a different dynamic. And I think you've hit on the key point. Take a look at Minnesota's 8th district. A district that has been in Democratic hands for decades now. You have Pete Stauber, who obviously is the president's endorsement, a very strong candidate. If you look across the House map, Poppy, you look at places where Republicans can go on offense, there are very few.

HARLOW: Right.

MATTINGLY: In Minnesota, there are two very clear districts. Now, one of the most interesting elements last night in Minnesota we talked about, Leah Vukmir, who had negative things to say about President Trump and flipped and survived.

HARLOW: Right.

MATTINGLY: Someone who didn't, Tim Pawlenty, former governor of the state.

HARLOW: Right.

MATTINGLY: Obviously, at one point, a presidential candidate, considered the future of the Republican Party, expected to be the nominee of governor again. He got

toasted last night.

HARLOW: He did.

MATTINGLY: And largely because -- and there were a couple reasons, obviously. He's a very highly paid lobbyists in D.C. He'd been a governor in the past.


MATTINGLY: But his opponent made very clear that Tim Pawlenty's negative remarks about President Trump didn't reflect where the Republican Party was in the state and as we've seen across the country, that meant Tim Pawlenty is no longer in politics.

HARLOW: Yes. I think he left a $2.7 million a year job to run.


HARLOW: And his name is known so well in the state and so well nationally.

All right, Phil, thanks for taking us through it all. Appreciate it.

As we are fast approaching the midterms, as we just talked about, election security, of course, is in focus. This is the headline, though, that may not sit well -- won't sit well with you. Six million Georgia voters, their records exposed.

Our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports the state of Georgia may still be vulnerable to attack.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Right around the same time, Russians were trying to penetrate state voting systems in the summer of 2016, cyber security expert and part time hacker Logan Lamb decided to check out how Georgia's centralized voter system was holding up. What he found was an open window.

LOGAN LAMB, CYBERSECURITY RESEARCHER: There were documents with Election Day supervisor passwords. There was a voter registration database with 6.3 million records of all of Georgia's voters.

GRIFFIN: Including full names, dates of birth, even driver's license and partial Social Security numbers, all wide open to anyone snooping around. And now we know, during this same time, Russians were snooping around. According to the Justice Department's special counsel investigation, that included snooping around websites of certain counties in Georgia to identify vulnerabilities. Lamb didn't know about the Russians, but he did know, having voting records so easily accessible was a problem. So he e-mailed and then he called Georgia's Center for Election Systems running out of this house on the campus of Kennesaw State University to warn them. Six months later, all that Georgia voter data was still unprotected.

GRIFFIN (on camera): All the passwords, everything was still available to anybody who wanted it?

LAMB: Right, yes.

GRIFFIN: What does that tell you about the secure election of the state of Georgia?

LAMB: Georgia's election systems, they should not be trusted.

GRIFFIN (voice over): Eventually, Kennesaw State closed the security loophole and notified the state. A lawsuit was filed challenging the security of Georgia's elections. Then, shockingly, evidence of what took place vanished. I.T. workers at Kennesaw State University wiped the election system's computer hard drives clean, deleting any potential evidence of tampering. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I blow up government spending.

GRIFFIN: The person in charge of Georgia's elections is Georgia's Secretary of State Brian Kemp. He is the Trump-styled Republican now running for governor and the voting mess under his watch has turned into a mild campaign issue. Kemp's office says the secretary of state had no idea Georgia's voter information system was so vulnerable to attack until months after Logan Lamb's warning. Kemp blamed Kennesaw State's Center for Election Systems for the entire debacle, ended the state's long-running contract with the center and shut it down. On FaceBook he called the actions of the election center employees reckless, inexcusable and showing undeniable ineptitude. And then he hired the director of the center to work with him at the secretary of state's office. And to assure everyone all this didn't mean anything, he posted, Georgia's elections are safe and our systems remain secure.

GRIFFIN (on camera): How could he possibly say that?

MARILYN MARKS, COALITION FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE: He cannot possibly say that with a straight face.

GRIFFIN (voice over): Marilyn Marks, a self-funded advocate for improving election integrity, is part of a group that has sued Georgia. She says the state system is easily penetrable and if the system fails, if it's hacked or infected with malware, there would be no way for Georgia to double check the votes. In part, she wants a paper ballot backup for the upcoming midterm elections. The state says no.

MARKS: When told that, hey, you've been exposed to bad guys, you've been exposed to viruses, you've been exposed to every known bad thing that could happen to an election system, they just say, OK, next election.

[09:45:03] GRIFFIN: And that pretty much sums up what Georgia's Secretary of State Brian Kemp is saying, we'll take care of this in 2020, after he becomes Georgia's next governor.

GRIFFIN: The Georgia secretary of state's office says it's just too late to switch to another system of voting before the next election, saying it would lead to voter confusion and possibly suppress the vote. And in Trump-like style, Brian Kemp is blaming the press for overhyping Georgia's voting problems, saying any report like the one you just saw is fake news.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.


HARLOW: Important reporting. Drew, thank you.

Ahead for us, Turkey hits back at the United States with a double blow. More on this escalating feud between allies, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:50:16] HARLOW: So, this morning, another shot fired in the growing feud between the U.S. and our ally Turkey. Turkey has announced significant new tariffs on some key American products, including American cars. A spokesperson for the Turkish president says Turkey is not in favor of an economic war, but we cannot remain with no reaction if there is an attack on us.

This comes as a Turkish court today rejected a second appeal by this man, the American pastor, at the heart of this ongoing spat. His name, Andrew Brunson. He has been detained since 2016. He is accused of helping plan that coup against Erdogan. Earlier this month, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on two top Turkish officials in an attempt to try to get Brunson back to the U.S. He remains held in Turkey.

Christine Romans is here with more.

It's so significant to have this spat back and forth and back and forth --


HARLOW: Between the U.S. and a key ally for us in the region.

ROMANS: Yes, a NATO ally that sits on the border with Syria that we need to rely on for so many different geopolitical reasons.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: And you have Turkey doubling these tariffs on U.S. imports. Turkey, a relatively small economy, but its companies are heavily indebted. Its foreign denominated debt. So when its lira plunges, that's a real problem for the economy and for the country.

Look at car tariffs. They put 120 percent tariff on U.S.-made cars. On alcohol, 140 percent. And that's what's happened to the lira. It's up a little bit here right now. Some -- some nibbling around the edges, right? They're going to limit short selling, but they haven't said they're going to step in and jack up interest rates to try to defend the currency. And they haven't announced big capital control. So we'll have to see where it goes from here.

But the bottom line here is that the country has so much foreign denominated debt that when the U.S. dollar is strong and its currency is so weak --


ROMANS: That that makes it that much more expensive to keep going.

HARLOW: And the rapid growth the U.S. saw in the second quarter, for example, is exacerbating this, right?

ROMANS: Absolutely.

HARLOW: I mean where do we land, for the average American at home thinking like why does this matter for me?

ROMANS: It matters because banks own some of that debt and if there's some kind of a knock-on contagion, which no one really is forecasting right now, but remember in 1997, the tide bot (ph), relatively small currency problem in Asia. You know, everyone said that would be contained, and it wasn't. it caused a financial crisis in east Asia that rippled around the world. No one's predicting that here now, but that's why when there are problems in small economies --


ROMANS: And this is a small economy. A $1 trillion economy. Compared to the United States, we're $19 trillion. I mean Turkey has more to lose in all of this than the United States does, at least economically. Now, politically, you know, that strategic NATO ally right on the border with Syria, that's important.


Thank you, Romans. Good to have you, as always.

ROMANS: You're welcome. Thanks.

HARLOW: The Pentagon's chief spokesperson is now under investigation. CNN has learned the exclusive details. What is she accused of? Using her staffers to run personal errands, even buy pantyhose? And this is a woman that reports directly to Mattis.


[09:57:32] HARLOW: All right, so, this morning, a CNN exclusive.

A Trump political appointee and a senior advisor to the secretary of defense is under investigation this morning. The Pentagon's chief spokeswoman -- you see her there, Dana White -- is accused of misusing staffers for personal errands, like fetching her dry cleaning, getting her lunch, even buying her pantyhose from the pharmacy. This is strictly against guidelines there. Sources tell CNN, White retaliated against employees who apparently complained about this.

Barbara Starr has the exclusive reporting and joins me now.

What can you tell us?


What we now know is that Dana White has been under investigation by the inspector general for several weeks. And we want to emphasize -- investigation, allegations, no conclusions about any of this. But there is extensive detail about her asking -- requesting -- whatever you want to call it -- her staffers to do these personal errands for her. And that is against the ethics rules. You cannot use your staff to do your personal business. Some of the allegations include getting her dry cleaning, getting pantyhose, helping her with her mortgage paperwork, getting lunch and snacks, driving her to the Pentagon on snowy days here in Washington. And then retaliating against employees who didn't want to do this or expressed concern about the ethical violations. So all of this now with the inspector general.

The Pentagon not officially commenting on it. Dana White issuing no statement. The Pentagon only saying that the matter is under review and that they can't comment on it.

But. Poppy, this comes at a time when this is a Pentagon run by James Mattis, who prides himself, quite correctly, on ethics and obeying the ethics.

HARLOW: Right.

STARR: Jim Mattis is often seen in the Pentagon hallways going and picking up his own dry cleaning.


HARLOW: There you go, setting an example from the top.

Barbara Starr, thank you.

STARR: Sure.

HARLOW: All right, let's get to it. Top of the hour. 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

And we are at a make-or-break moment in the first criminal trial brought by the special counsel and the first of two trials facing President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Closing arguments set to get underway in minutes in Manafort's bank fraud and tax evasion trial in Virginia after 10 days of testimony from the government, 27 government witnesses, zero defense testimony and zero defense witnesses brought to the stand.

Jessica Schneider is with me again outside the courthouse in Alexandria.

So we're waiting, waiting for these closing statements, closing arguments to be made. What are you expecting today?

[10:00:12] JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're expecting that the prosecution