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Dennis Hastert Scandal; Duggar Scandal; Race to 2016; Interview with Ron Paul; Jenner Revealedj; Interview with George Pataki. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired June 6, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(OPENING MUSIC - "SMERCONISH")
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish. Welcome to the program.
We begin with the latest developments in the scandal swirling around former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
We now know there were at least three alleged victims. CNN learning that the FBI interviewed at least one more person who accused Hastert of sexual abuse. And we also know the name of another alleged victim - Steve Reinboldt. He died in 1995.
His sister tells ABC News that Reinboldt was sexually abused by Hastert as a teenager in the late '60s and early '70s. Jolene Burdge says that Hastert - then a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois - abused her brother who was the team's equipment manager repeatedly and for years. Burdge says she first learned of this when Reinboldt told her he was gay in 1979.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOLENE BURDGE, STEVE REINBOLDT'S SISTER: And I asked him, "Steve, when was your first same-sex experience?" And then he just looked at me and said, "It was with Dennis Hastert." And I just - I know I was stunned. I said, "Why didn't you ever tell anybody, Steve? I mean, he was your teacher. Why didn't you ever tell anybody?" And he just looked at me and said, "Who is ever going to believe me?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: The FBI contacted Burdge two weeks ago. Hastert is doing federal court next week on charges of bank fraud and lying to the FBI about alleged hush money that he paid to someone identified only as Individual A.
There are many open questions and it's possible that Hastert himself is a victim in all of this. Here to help me break it all down, defense attorney and CNN legal analyst, Mark O'Mara.
Mark, you're not used to this but allow me to ask you leading questions. You ready?
MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Certainly. Absolutely. SMERCONISH: Isn't it true that he is not being prosecuted for any sexual misconduct?
O'MARA: That is correct. He's not. Too late.
SMERCONISH: Isn't it true would it - if the underlying facts - if the underlying facts stemmed from events of 34 to 50 years ago, the statute of limitations for those underlying events has probably run?
O'MARA: Almost definitely. Correct.
SMERCONISH: Therefore, if he paid money to keep quiet someone who didn't have a cognizable legal claim, there is the potential that this case is one of extortion?
O'MARA: That's correct. If he was being threatened with some type of public exposure and paid money in that regard, then the person who threatened him would be guilty of extortion.
SMERCONISH: Do you - do you think - I'm finished with the leading questions and thank you for playing along.
O'MARA: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Do you - do you think that in this case, the Feds might be reluctant to charge Individual A with extortion if they think such a case exists because they regard Individual A as a victim of sexual abuse and they don't want to be put in that position?
O'MARA: Well, they do have discretion in how they're going to prosecute a case. I think that they're probably going to look at it a little bit more analytically. There are rape shield statutes that say they cannot disclose the victim's name - a sexual abuse victim - even afterwards. So we know that's why they're calling them Individual A. But I would tell you if Individual A put himself in a position of committing extortion then I think that's going to override the discretion given to law enforcement. They have a legitimate extortion claim, they're going to go forward with it.
SMERCONISH: Do you wonder if at this stage, Dennis Hastert is cooperating with law enforcement in this regard? Has he provided his version of events sufficient that they'd be able to make an extortion claim to the extent there might be one underlying all of this?
O'MARA: That's the real problem for Hastert. If I'm - if I'm his criminal defense lawyer, what do you say? Talk to the Feds about the fact that somebody who you voluntarily agreed to pay $3 million to to cover up what now seems to be a sexual abuse allegation that may well have been true with all of the other victims identified and, Michael, as you know as well as I do, this may well be just the tip of the iceberg as far as potential victims out there. So does he deal or cooperate with FBI or Feds knowing full well that within that cooperation, he is going to have to admit to every act that they're going to ask him about and every other potential victim. If I'm his criminal defense lawyer, you may want to weather this storm of this (inaudible) publicity, keep your mouth shut, deal with an archaic attack under this (inaudible) banking statute and not open yourself up to the ridicule he's going to have if he starts talking.
SMERCONISH: And, Mark, you and I as two attorneys - we're pretty far into the weeds on this. I don't want a viewer of CNN to think that I'm sympathetic toward Hastert if in fact, he was responsible for this kind of conduct. I just want to explain that there are some legal dynamics to this which make it complex. It's not just a case of did he molest these individuals.
O'MARA: Absolutely true. I mean, he - it may well be and looks more - as a more victims come out - that he did, not speculating too much. But if that's true, he's got to deal with those sins, those crimes some ways, some how, some time.
[18:05:07] But you're right. The legal analysis of this which - again, we get this passionate 'cause we have to be - you start looking at crimes of 30 years ago, statutes have run even with the one person who had acknowledged or stated to the sister about the abuse - that wouldn't make it into a courtroom. So yes, there are some real legal problems with where we're going on this case.
SMERCONISH: Final question for Mark O'Mara. What business is it of the federal government if an individual has more than $10,000 in a bank and chooses to withdraw it?
O'MARA: Not very much, to tell you the truth. It's the Al Capone - maybe - method where you can't get him on much so you get him on tax evasion and they used a sort of archaic law to say one, he took money out and why, and then when you don't tell us the truth, you lied to us, and they may try to get him on some - well - you know they're trying to get him on this archaic banking argument and then maybe lying to the Feds about it. It's difficult. It's a stretch. But we all know now that we're probably looking at the underlying sexual abuse crimes 'cause that's what they found out about and now, they're just trying to bring it to the forefront however they can.
SMERCONISH: We'll learn more at the arraignment on Tuesday.
Mark O'Mara, thank you as always for your analysis.
O'MARA: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: I want to turn now to the molestation scandal that's rocking the Duggars - the popular family behind the TLC show "19 Kids and Counting."
Jim Bob and Michelle speaking out for the first time this week. But their interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly has left more questions than answers, particularly about the so-called safeguards they put in place after eldest son, Josh, admitted to molesting four of his sisters.
Two of the sisters, Jessa and Jill, spoke out about the scandal. Here's what they had to say last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JESSA DUGGAR: In Josh's case, he was a boy - a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls and that got him into some trouble and he made some bad choices that really the extent of it was mild, inappropriate touching on fully-clothed victims - most of it while girls were sleeping.
JILL DUGGAR: We didn't even know about it until he went and confessed it to my parents and they shared it with us.
INTERVIEWER: Neither one of you knew?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: I want to bring in psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz. She wrote the book "Anatomy of a Secret Life: The Psychology of Living a Lie."
So the sisters are defensive of the brother. Is that to be expected in a case like this involving family?
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: It's not unusual. It's not unusual actually when children are abused by their parents or by a sibling because they still love that person and they need to have that person be a good person in their lives as they stay attached. So it's a defense mechanism to feel to some degree, this is understandable or excusable. It's sometimes why victims feel shame and guilt like they - "Did I do something? Is it my fault in some way?"
On the other hand, it may also be that if you have treatment over time and the other person has treatment over time, that you are able to rebuild a relationship. I don't want to say you should therefore not love your sibling anymore and have it all be over, but, yes, to defend them is your second defense mechanism.
SMERCONISH: I heard dad say this week, "Well, we didn't have a reporting requirement." What is a parent to do if, God forbid, they find themselves in the position of learning that a son or a daughter has acted improperly like this?
SALTZ: Right. I think, unfortunately, in a scenario like this, parents are kind of in a no-win situation as far as the law is concerned. That's a different scenario from, I think, the public health issue of "Is it safe to have this person around - around your children, around other children?" and that's why public reporting or reporting to authorities, child services being able to come in and assess is so important. And that's often done by the medical professional which is why it's also so important to get treatment - treatment for the victims and treatment for the perpetrator.
SMERCONISH: I get that. But do you think most parents really would report to the authorities what has taken place with a 14-year-old son?
SALTZ: I think they often would not.
SALTZ: How - and - but you're asking me, "Is that a good thing?".
SMERCONISH: No, I know it's not a good thing.
SALTZ: Yes. It's not a good thing but I think it's a common - first of all, you convince yourself that you can handle it within the home. I think these parents love their children and the sister loved the brother. I mean, they really tried in the way that they knew how but there were some failings and the failings come into account in terms of what kind of mental health care treatment. I think not all treatment is created equal. They've been very vague about counselors. Counselors doesn't mean anything.
SMERCONISH: Right. Consultants - yes. Exactly.
SALTZ: It doesn't - that doesn't have a (inaudible) so you need someone who is really trained, has an expertise in this area, has a real degree and really knows how to work with and treat because treatment does help. But not - but treatment can hurt if it's with somebody who is not qualified.
SMERCONISH: They are upset. The family is upset that this is playing itself out in public and yet, the Springdale, Arkansas city solicitor says, "We went by the book. The names were redacted in the way in which we produced this information pursuant to a (inaudible) request.
[18:10:10] SALTZ: I think it was a huge mistake to release this information. It's terrible for the victims. It's terrible for any potential victims. Confidentiality is the cornerstone to psychotherapy of any decent psychotherapy and it's the cornerstone of this kind of reporting in juvenile kids. You ask me, "Are parents going to be able to report it?" Certainly, they won't if they think it's going to follow them for the rest of their lives and be revealed. So I think they had a duty to keep that confidential. That's a moral duty. Is it legal? That's a different story.
SMERCONISH: OK. How about this judgment on their part - the judgment of after these events have played themselves out, there's a knock at the door and someone wants to do a reality television program and bring cameras into your home? Isn't the reasonable answer to say, "Holy smokes, we've got some issues here. We don't want the cameras." It's the same question, Dr. Saltz, that I ask about Dennis Hastert. Dennis Hastert followed sexual impropriety in the part of his predecessors. You'd think that he'd say, "I've got some skeletons. Maybe I shouldn't be Speaker of the House."
SALTZ: We're always curious about this. Why do people come out and do this public thing that's so far in the opposite direction, become the pillar of morality when there's actually some real skeleton - let's say - in their closet? And I think it's psychically motivated. It's called splitting. It's basically the mind's way of saying to itself, "I am not guilty of this. I do not have this urge to do something sexually wrong. In fact, I'm the opposite. I'm so the opposite that I will be the moral pillar for the world and show everyone and show myself that I'm that good."
And it's something that psychologically goes on, you could be talking about Mark Foley, right? You could be talking about (inaudible). You could be talking about lots of people that we say, "Why were they actually the representatives of the best of the best when this was going on?" And that is what the mind does to try to squelch urge when the better thing to do is to understand that urge so that you don't need to continue to act on it and behave on it.
SMERCONISH: Final question about the Duggars. I am not a psychiatrist. I only get to play one on TV. Is this confirmation of my poof theory of life that if you keep your kids so buttoned up and don't give them a taste of freedom, when they have the opportunity, they can't handle it?
SALTZ: Is being incredibly sexually repressed going to produce some problems? Potentially, yes. Do most people who are so repressed with their kids have their - have their 15-year-old molest their 5-year- old? No. So it can't account for all of it, I would say.
SMERCONISH: OK. Sound like the DSM will not have the poof theory in it at any time soon. Thank you for that, Dr. Saltz.
Coming up, so far, Ron Paul hasn't had much of a role in his son's campaign but that's been by design, maybe, to keep conservatives happy? And is it about to change? Is a new Rand Paul emerging?
Ron Paul joins me next to discuss the father/son relationship.
[18:15:01] SMERCONISH: Welcome back.
Fresh off his Patriot Act fight, Rand Paul is proving he's a lot closer politically to his father Ron Paul than some rank-and-file Republicans are comfortable with. So far, Ron Paul hasn't had much of a public role in his son's presidential campaign but is that about to change?
Ron Paul joins me now.
Let's talk about the 2016 cycle. What is it about Rand that gives you hope that he can get to the next level that you were never able to achieve?
RON PAUL, FORMER TEXAS CONGRESSMAN: Well, I think the main thing is he's the only one that, from my view point, is talking any common sense. Obviously, people point out that we're not identical and who would expect us to be identical? But he speaks more about personal liberty and limited government, a changed foreign policy, auditing the Fed and looking into our (inaudible) system and they said - when he did the NSA thing, people said, "He's done. He's finished." And the Republicans and Democrats all over the senate - everybody in Washington jumped on him. Yet when you did a poll - the national people, they were with him and not with - not with McConnell.
So the American people, I think he is able to talk more to the American people than the other candidates because I think he has a set of principles which means that he'd much rather see smaller government and not make excuses for expanding the surveillance state and not expanding our military presence around the world. They can't - you can't be conservative if you're always expanding government on surveillance and expand the government in the military industrial complex and expanding our government around the world. There's nothing conservative about that. That's big government spending as far as I'm concerned.
SMERCONISH: Now that he's running for the White House, does he ever call you and say, "Dad, you've got to rein it in on these issues? Don't rock the boat."
PAUL: No. No, he never has. Actually, like I said, he's made his own decisions politically and it's a busy job. And he has called me on things like mortgages and things and financial issues. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and what we went through in '09. So those kind of things (inaudible) financial but he'll - he stays pretty busy. He'll be visiting us this summer. We'll probably visit some more.
SMERCONISH: Are you going to get out on the stump for him?
PAUL: There's no plans for it and we haven't talked about it. So I don't know what we'll do. I went to his announcement and supported him there but it's his show right now and I don't want to - I don't want to distract from what he's doing. So it's one of those things that I think it will work its way out.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Congressman, when you ran for president, you had to share the debate stage but not with 15 or 16 other candidates. How should this process by managed given the number of individuals who are seeking the GOP nod?
PAUL: Well, I'll take it out of the hands of the media because that becomes very biased. I remember the first debate - a little bit of that happened before a most important first debate was in New Hampshire and it was a Fox debate and I was scheduled to be on and I was doing very well in the polls but I think two days before something, they said, "Ron Paul, you're not allowed to come to the debate", which obviously, was a negative for me. So, no, I don't think - I don't think they should have that much clout. I think it was better when (inaudible) voters or some other independent group but truly independent group would schedule the debates rather than media outlets because I think they're very, very slanted.
SMERCONISH: Well, does one media outlet - Fox - I mean, let's call it out - play too much of a kingmaker role in this process?
PAUL: Well, for the Republicans, I guess so. But I think that that the American people right now are getting more of their news off the majors because they are concerned about it. We need more people like you, Michael, because you and I at least can discuss these things. But this is not average that we're able to have a discussion and respect each other's viewpoints.
[18:20:01] Too often, it is very, very slanted. That is the toughest part to maintain a little bit of decorum when those who are interviewed are always trying to set you up and do harm to you because they have their agenda. And Fox is well-known for that on somebody like myself who is more libertarian than typical conservative, pro- war, yes, they don't like that.
SMERCONISH: Congressman, I want to show a picture. It's a picture that I saw on Twitter and I believe that it's you with your wife looking at a television set as Rand Paul is speaking from the floor of the United States senate and it brings to mind this final question: "What is the source of more pride? Your own personal achievements in elective office or the achievements of your son?"
PAUL: I have to admit. I think they're one and the same because political achievements are secondary for me. I thought they were worthwhile for me, as well as for Rand. But for one reason that we're promoting something we seriously believe in, that we believe we're making - doing some good. And so I can look at what he's done with NSA and I have to say that I have to sort of search around for what I've achieved. But I made an effort and maybe opened up the door. But, no, I would say it's equal and if the measurement is whether or not anybody respected the views we have and actually nudged them. And where I get personal satisfaction is when I talk to young people - the college kids that are still willing to talk about these issues and they tend to like civil liberties and they're anti-war and they would like to see less of our fighting overseas and they like sound money. So that's what I personally get satisfaction from. But I think that's equal for Rand and myself.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Congressman, it's good to catch up with you, again. Thank you so much for being here.
PAUL: OK, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Coming up, Caitlyn Jenner's big reveal. She made a splash this week in the world, got a VIP invite to her coming out party. Next, I'll speak with a physician who has herself transitioned and now performs gender confirmation surgery.
Also, 2016 could also bring us the first female president or first Latino. It could also bring the first bachelor since 1856. Lindsey Graham has no wife, no kids, some would say no baggage. But will that help or hurt him?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, DAILY SHOW HOST: Oh, with all due respect, the president does not care for he is a coward and a scoundrel. Why it is plain as the alabaster tone of my (inaudible) and as civil as my maid kicked in the head by a donkey. Will this president (inaudible)?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[18:25:01] SMERCONISH: Welcome back.
This week, the world met Caitlyn Jenner. My next guest has a very unique perspective on this story. Dr. Christine McGinn is a plastic surgeon who specializes in gender confirmation surgery. Since her own transition 15 years ago, she's been an activist and speaker on gender variant issues. She also appears in the documentary "Trans."
Dr. McGinn, thank you so much for being here.
DR. CHRISTINE MCGINN, PLASTIC SURGEON SPECIALIZING IN TRANSGENDER SURGERY: Morning.
SMERCONISH: So what did you make of the rollout - of Caitlyn's rollout?
MCGIN: Well, I was excited to see it and I think she looked great and I did catch her Diane Sawyer interview and so far so good.
SMERCONISH: No elements of it that seem exploitative to you given the reality show?
MCGINN: Well, I definitely cringe as a physician whenever I see the world get their education on gender dysphoria through a show like "The Kardashians", but it's a free country and she has a right to tell her story. But she's in a unique situation that her livelihood sort of depends on it. So just as long as the world knows that not every transgender person goes through a transition like this.
SMERCONISH: Well, this seems rather rapid but you're the expert. Is the pace with which this transition has taken place typical?
MCGINN: I think it always seems rapid to those who aren't directly involved because most times, it's kept a secret for so long and then when that person makes up their mind and decides to go through with it, it happens fast because, I mean, for Caitlyn, a whole lifetime. She couldn't probably get it done sooner.