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Trump on Preemptive North Korea Strike; Trump White House; Crisis in Syria; Russia Reaction to North Korea Has Been Muted; Taylor Swift Testifies in Groping Allegation Trail. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 11, 2017 - 02:00   ET




ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): -- Los Angeles ahead this hour.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Things will happen to them like they never thought possible.

SESAY (voice-over): More anti-North Korea rhetoric from the U.S. president. And Pyongyang has its own new warning. Our reporters in Guam, Japan and South Korea are standing by with reaction.

Also daily life in the ruined city. Aleppo begins the slow task of rebuilding.

And pop superstar Taylor Swift takes the stand. Taylor Swift's blunt and forceful testimony against the man she says groped her.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.


SESAY: Well, if anyone thought Donald Trump was too harsh in threatening North Korea with fire and fury like the world has never seen, think again. The U.S. president says maybe his warning wasn't tough enough. His Defense secretary insists the military is ready if needed. But Jim Mattis claims U.S. diplomacy is producing results.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang is leveling new threats of its own. It says the says the U.S. would suffer, quote, "a shameful defeat and final doom" if it doesn't stop its military adventure.

President Trump says he won't discuss military options but he is not ruling out a preemptive strike. CNN's Sara Murray has more.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea better get their act together, or they're going to be in trouble, like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world. OK?


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As tensions with North Korea escalate, President Trump says it may be time to up the ante.

TRUMP: Let's see what he does with Guam. If he does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody's seen before what will happen in North Korea.


TRUMP: You'll see, you'll see. And he'll see. He will see. It's not a dare. It's a statement.

MURRAY (voice-over): After this saber-rattling rhetoric earlier this week...

TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

MURRAY (voice-over): -- Trump says that statement may have been too timid.

TRUMP: -- if anything that statement wasn't tough enough. What they've been doing and what they've been getting away with is a tragedy and it can't be allowed.

MURRAY (voice-over): The president's comments coming as he huddled for the first time this week with Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser H.R McMaster at his golf club in New Jersey. The North Korean regime has been bristling at Trump's tough talk, threatening a strike near Guam and hurling insults at the American president, calling Trump "bereft of reasoning."

TRUMP: He has disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific. And with me, he's not getting away with it.

MURRAY (voice-over): Trump said he would consider diplomatic efforts but offered a pessimistic view of their odds of success.

TRUMP: We'll always consider negotiations. But they've been negotiating now for 25 years. You look at Clinton. He folded on the negotiations. He was weak and ineffective. You look what happened with Bush; you look what happened with Obama.

MURRAY (voice-over): All while imploring China to step up its pressure on Pyongyang.

TRUMP: I think China can do a lot more, yes. China can -- and I think China will do a lot more.

MURRAY (voice-over): As Trump continues to serve up fire and fury, his secretary of state Rex Tillerson has taken a different approach, insisting diplomatic efforts are still underway and offering reassurances to the American people. REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think what the president

was just reaffirming is the United States has the capability to fully defend itself from any attack and defend our allies. And we will do so. So the American people should sleep well tonight.

MURRAY (voice-over): Trump is still insisting his administration is speaking with one voice.

TRUMP: There are no mixed messages. There are no mixed messages.

MURRAY (voice-over): Even if he couldn't quite explain the sharp difference in tone between him and his secretary of state.

TRUMP: I heard -- I mean, to be honest, General Mattis may have taken it a step beyond what I said. There are no mixed messages. And Rex was just stating the view.

MURRAY: Now the president took an unexpected number questions from reporters today and in addition to fielding questions about Iran, about North Korea, about the Russian investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, he also offered his first reaction to Putin's move to expel hundreds of diplomats from the embassy in Moscow and, in fact, President Trump said he wanted to thank Putin as the U.S. is trying to cut back on its payroll. Obviously a very different tone Trump is taking with Putin when it come to Korea -- back to you.


SESAY: Our thanks to Sara Murray there.

Well, let's bring in CNN's Alexandra Field in Seoul, South Korea --


SESAY: -- and CNN's Sherisse Pham in Tokyo.

Ladies, thank you for joining us.

Alexandra, to you first, as we see this continued volley of heightened rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea, what's the latest reaction to the fact that the president on Thursday kept the threat of a preemptive strike on the table?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think people are wondering when this conversation so to speak will come to an end because you've got threat being answered by rebuttal and this is pinging back and forth between Washington and Pyongyang.

Certainly people in the region and specifically people in South Korea, who stand a lot to lose because of the proximity to North Korea and the vast assemblage of weaponry there are concerned when they hear things like a preemptive strike.

But publicly officials are very much standing with the U.S. allies, trying to project an image to the public that they're working closely, that they're in concert when it comes to decisions that are being made.

Of course President Trump being very vague in terms of his decision- making process. Yes, he talked about not ruling out the possibility of a preemptive strike but he also threatened that if Kim Jong-un acted in Guam, North Korea could see something the likes of which they had never seem.

He was pressed further on that by a reporter who asked what that meant. He said we'll see, we'll see, somewhat cryptically. So certainly everyone here in South Korea is hanging on every word that the president has to say, trying to have a better idea of what his plan is here.

And, yes, he did also leave the door open saying that there is always room for the possibility of negotiation. But he's doubling down on the tough talk. He's certainly standing by the threats he made just a couple of days ago, that the fire and fury quote that certainly people have heard around the world now, he said perhaps he should have been even tougher on Pyongyang.

He says that other administrations haven't been tough enough, he's standing up for America and other countries, as he put it. And again, we've got to keep saying that South Korea is standing by the side of its ally. They are condemning Pyongyang for raising the level of rhetoric here, intensifying the already dicey security situation on the peninsula.

The U.S. national security adviser has been in touch today with his counterpart here in South Korea and they're again telling the public they're working together on every piece of this process, communicating step by step, they say -- Isha.

SESAY: Alex Field there in Seoul, South Korea, thank you.

Sherisse, to you now, you're there in Tokyo. The Japanese government has declared that they are in lockstep with the U.S. and support President Trump and his rhetoric.

But at the same time, there's clearly growing concern because there's more talk about Japan's shoring up its own defensive capabilities.

What's the situation now?

SHERISSE PHAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. There's talk. There's growing talk amongst lawmakers to shore up its self-defense forces' capabilities here. But bottom line is Japanese officials and the public at large, they don't want a war on their doorstep. Officials all thisweek have been very measured in their response. The government is quiet today because it's a national holiday but earlier this week they avoided responding to Donald Trump's most fiery comments, his fire and fury comments, and of course, the more heated language that he put out overnight.

And they did say earlier this week the U.S. has said all options are on table and we agree with that. And now with North Korea issuing this detailed plan of four missiles flying over regions of Japan on their way to Guam, I clearly identified three specific regions, Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi.

But it's a national holiday here in Japan and life goes on as usual for the Japanese public. Trains to those southern areas were packed this morning and l want to zero in a little bit on North Korea's identification of one specific area which is Hiroshima because this week marks the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and you still have hotels there booked out for the holiday because people are going not only to spend their vacation there but to commemorate and remember a city that knows all too well the very real effects, Isha, of a nuclear attack.

SESAY: Very, very important perspective there. Alexandra Field In Seoul, South Korea; Sherisse Pham there in Tokyo, Japan, thank you to you both.

Let's get some expert analysis of North Korea's capabilities. CNN military analyst Lt. Col. Rick Francona is a retired United States Air Force Lt. Col. He joins us from Port Orphan (ph), Oregon.

Col. Francona, always good to have you with us. Let me start by asking you your view of President Trump's comments on Thursday on North Korea. As you know, he doubled down on the fire and fury comments, even saying maybe those comments weren't tough enough.

Do you see this latest statement by the president as helpful?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Not really. I think the first sometimes was strong enough and of course followed by General Mattis' statement, I think General Mattis was just as strong as the president --


FRANCONA: -- although he phrased it much more diplomatically.

I think the president is keeping the rhetoric up, he's keeping the pressure on North Korea. And we're seeing a little bit of response from North Korea that we haven't seen before. This, what people are calling a threat to Guam, where they detailed out the exact type of missile, the flight path, the flight time, the range, we've never really seen anything like that before. It was surprising to see that.

And I think it rattled him a little bit and I think that's what caused him to do this. Now when you read the actual text of the North Korean statement, it's not really a threat. It says they're developing a plan, developing an option to provide to their commander in chief just like the United States Department of Defense is providing military options to President Trump. I think they're paying this tit-for-tat game; they're trying to ratchet up the pressure without actually making a threat.

So I think the rhetoric continues but I don't think we're edging much closer to an actual confrontation yet.

SESAY: It is also worth pointing out to our viewers, Col. Francona, that before President Trump's comment on Thursday, North Korea did issue a fresh statement and I want to read part of it.

Part of it said, "North Korea is warning the U.S. would suffer a shameful defeat and final doom if it persists in extreme military adventure, sanctions and pressure. And the regime vowed to mercilessly wipe out efforts the provocateurs, making desperate efforts to stifle North Korea."

It is worth noting, Col. Francona, that in this latest statement. they don't talk about striking Guam.

Is that significant to you?

FRANCONA: What you just read is that we always have seen from North Korea. That's the old North Korea. That's what we're used to seeing. That's the type of rhetoric we're used to.

What we saw the other day with this detailed plan to strike Guam was much different. And I think it has changed the rhetoric.

But that's statement from North Korea that everybody is referring to and looking at this threat to Guam did not come from Kim Jong-un. It came from the chief of the rocket forces. So Kim Jong-un has not said that yet.

So it's interesting that he now has the opportunity to call off his generals and appear to be the diplomat, appear to be the statesman and therefore kind of put Donald Trump on the defensive.

SESAY: All right, Col. Francona, joining us there with some perspective from Oregon. We appreciate it. Thank you.

Quick break here. And President Trump is never shy about making his gripes known and that also means complaining about those around him. Now he seems to have a new target in Washington.

Plus businesses reopen and people return home. We'll tell you how Aleppo is slowly getting back to normal.




SESAY: All right. Returning to the feud between the U.S. and North Korea. So far it's been an extremely heated war of words. Much of the world is hoping it goes no further than that. But the reality is no one is quite sure right now. [02:15:00]

SESAY: There have been stern warnings of drastic action from both sides. North Korea has laid out a concrete plan to hit the American territory of Guam. And Mr. Trump responded that any such action would be at their peril.

Let's bring in now former L.A. council woman Wendy Greuel and CNN political commentator, John Phillips.

Thank you to you both for joining me for round two. I want to pick up on North Korea. The president also saying on Thursday, as he took questions from reporters, that there are no mixed messages coming out of this administration.

The point has been made that there is a difference in tone from the president and the likes of the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Wendy, to you first. He says there's no mixed messaging but the marked difference in tone is noteworthy.

Do you believe this is an administration that has a fully coherent, on the same page plan for North Korea?

WENDY GREUEL, FORMER LOS ANGELES COUNCILWOMAN: I think that is the concern of the American people and a lot of our elected officials in Congress about what is the plan and the strategy.

Is this just a good-cop-bad-cop exchange and that they really are working in tandem on a diplomatic effort as well as a strong or tough America positions as well?

So I think it's unclear and because the president, when he officially made his comments, was really off-the-cuff, it did not seem like it was a planned strategy. And this is a serious issue for this country, this world. We think that there should be actually a plan, a strategy that people are aware of.

SESAY: John?

JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We've stuck our head in the sand up until this point. So I think it's high time that we start using language that is rough.


SESAY: -- when you say the U.S. stuck their heads in the sand, what do you mean?

They've been putting sanctions in the U.N. There have been multiple efforts.

PHILLIPS: Sanctions that haven't worked. We've had administration after administration that's kicked the can down the road. And now North Korea has the ability to shoot these missiles that could potentially hit the American cities of Honolulu or San Francisco or Los Angeles or Seattle.

This is no longer an abstract international issue. This is a local issue for those of that live on the West Coast. And I think that Kim Jong-un knew exactly what Donald Trump meant when he got up there and gave those very harsh words. And I think it's high time that someone from that position did that to him because he's caused so many problems and he's pushed the world to the point where we're at right now that to have the American position as clear and as forceful as it has been I think is a good thing.

SESAY: Has it been clear and forceful? (INAUDIBLE) on Tuesday which North Korea promptly jumped over.

PHILLIPS: I think all this needs to be put in the context of what happened in Syria and what happened in Afghanistan when Donald Trump bombed each of those countries.

People know that this guy doesn't play around and that's in the back of Kim Jong-un's head as he does his strategic planning.

SESAY: All right. Let's move on and talk about the special counsel investigation because as we've said there was a lot discussed in those comments by the president on Thursday as he took those questions from reporters.

Wendy, the president was asked about the possibility of firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigator. Listen to what he said.


TRUMP: I haven't given it any thought. I've been reading about it from you people. You say I'm going to dismiss him. No, I'm not dismissing anybody. I want them to get on with the task. But I also want the Senate and the House to come out with their findings.


SESAY: So Wendy, when the president says I haven't given it any thought, which directly contradicts press reporting --


SESAY: -- so can Mueller stop looking over his shoulder now?

GREUEL: Absolutely not.


GREUEL: I think a lot of people and this is, I believe, the hand of his new chief of staff, who is saying we have to just move off that issue. He has a lot of support, Mueller has a lot of support in Congress and the public believe they want to see the truth of this.

And I think Trump has finally realized he cannot fire him without there being a huge battle, huge fight and discrediting him and the rest of his administration --

SESAY: John, is this the work of John Kelly? (INAUDIBLE).


PHILLIPS: Oh, he could be the angel on his shoulder. You never know.

He says he's not going to fire him. I take him at his word. But I think that Mueller should stick to the task at hand, which is to investigate whether or not there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

If he starts to veer off course and he starts to look at finances or financial deals that happened 10 years ago in the construction world, I think that that's -- he's taking his eyes off the prize.

And I think that Trump is right to throw him brushback pitches every so often.


SESAY: All right.

Speaking of look over one's shoulder, yes, the president does appear to have a bull's-eye on the back of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He has been trolling this man for a number of days, made a number of public statements and he didn't let up on Thursday. Listen to what he had to say.


TRUMP: I'm very disappointed in Mitch.


TRUMP: But if he gets these bills passed, I'll be very happy with him and I'll be the first to admit it. But honestly, repeal and replace of ObamaCare should have taken place. And it should have been on my desk virtually the first week that I was there or the first day that I was there.

I've been hearing about it for seven years.


SESAY: John, is this a winning strategy, to take on the most important person on Capitol Hill, the person you need get to get your agenda through?

PHILLIPS: He should be trolled. They've run how many different national campaigns on repealing ObamaCare?

And they voted for it and the got the votes when there wasn't a president that would sign it. They finally have a president that'll sign it and suddenly the votes aren't there.

John McCain, OK, he's a contrarian. I understand. He leaves the reservation all the time. And Susan Collins comes from a liberal state. I get that.

But how can you not pressure Lisa Murkowski into voting for this thing?

The woman comes from a political machine in Alaska. Just give her money for a moose sanctuary. And if that doesn't work, punish her somehow. But that's --


GREUEL: They tried that. They were going to try that.

PHILLIPS: Well, do more. But that should be a vote that we can flip.

SESAY: Wendy, is it the point here that I think that the question people ask me is does the president understand that getting things done on Capitol Hill comes down to trust and goodwill?

And that by doing something like this kind of eroded that.

GREUEL: I don't think he understands that. What he does understand is when there's success he takes credit for it. When there's failure, he blames someone else.

There he was in the Rose Garden after the House passed a repeal of ObamaCare and was celebrating it. But I don't think lifted that many fingers to help on the Senate side.

I'm not someone who wants to defend McConnell. But I think when you look at this, it does take a process. It is not just a dictatorship where you can say, I want this to happen.

You could also say President Trump, if you've been thinking about this for seven years and to repeal it, where was your plan initially?

And where did you get the votes to make it happen?

And I think what you're finding right now is that Congress is having to deal with a lot of things that Trump created. And when you look at the White House, it kind of -- you know, it's White House "Survivor."

Who's going to survive there?

That is making it chaotic and that is taking away from, I think, the work in Congress by having all of these deflections that are --


SESAY: We're almost out of time but I don't want to weigh in --


SESAY: -- not that, because I know what you're going to say.

(INAUDIBLE) on "Time" magazine 's new cover which features none other than John Kelly.

Can we put this up?

There it is. And the headline is "Trump's Last Best Hope."

John, you know that this is a president who does not appreciate sharing the spotlight. When Steve Bannon got his cover, it wasn't all butterflies and roses in the White House.

So does this spell trouble --?

PHILLIPS: Yes, I think "Time" magazine is trying to put a horse's head in his bed with that cover. But I don't think it's going to work this time. I think John Kelly is there to stay.

SESAY: You think that, Wendy, what do you think?

They say he -- the headline there, "Trump's Last Best Hope," l mean it's easy to say but then you have to question, after the comments on North Korea this week, they were off the cuff. He's got his work cut out for him.

GREUEL: He has work cut out for him. But I think you are seeing some of the effects of John Kelly being able to control the White House a bit and we'll see if that actually works. I think the question will whether or not John Kelly gets frustrated and says this is enough for me. I'm not staying. My reputation will be ruined if these kinds of things continue to happen.

SESAY: I'm not sure watch it very closely.

Wendy Greuel, John Phillips, always a pleasure.


SESAY: Thank you.

It's going take months to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from ISIS. That's according to the Syrian Kurdish commander in charge of the military offensive. Troops are moving slowly as they face snipers, car bombs and booby traps.

Hekmati says about half of the old city been taken back. The U.S.- backed forces have regained control of surrounding towns and villages to cut ISIS fighters off from the northeast and west.

That all comes as Aleppo tries to rebuild. It's been months since the Syrian regime took over the city. Now some businesses are reopening and some residents are returning to their homes. Our Fred Pleitgen has more.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It was one of the most brutal battles in the Syrian conflict when Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, launched their final assault on rebel-held areas in Aleppo, taking it back from the opposition.

Nine months later, much of Syria's second largest city still lay in ruins. But life is starting to emerge once again. Thousands have returned to former battle zone neighborhoods, many relying on aid donations to get by.

We came to this neighborhood just as residents were rushing to get break handouts. "Most people who return are in bad need of almost everything ," the

local head of this NGO said.

"Many come back find that their homes are reduced just walls and ceilings. We help them as much as we can."

Some stores --


PLEITGEN (voice-over): -- are also reopening and market vendors coming back. This area was once held by rebels, some who fled fear reprisals if they return. But all the people we me were vocal supporters of the government and its Russian backers.

"The Russians are our friends," this man says. "They are honest with us like are we are honest with them. Bashar al-Assad and the Russians are one."

Amid this massive destruction, the tiny efforts at reconstruction appear almost lie a drop in the bucket. But inside the bombed and burned ruins, Aleppo's industry is starting to spring back to life.

We came across this textile shop where they repaired the machines and are manufacturing clothes once again.

"When the people who fled see that business is coming back, they'll return and we'll work together to make Aleppo as great as it used to be and even better," this shift leader says.

Aleppo's historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Much of it now reduced to rubble. Some of the fiercest battles revolved around the highest point of the city, the ancient citadel.

PLEITGEN: The ancient citadel was one of the main battlegrounds here in Aleppo and like so many parts of this city, repairing the damage will be a monumentous (sic) task.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): We climes to the highest point of the citadel, getting a stunning view of all of Aleppo, one of the oldest cities in the world, badly damaged but now with a chance to stand up once again -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Aleppo, Syria.


SESAY: Next here on CNN NEWSROOM L.A., the growing danger of military showdown between the U.S. and a nuclear North Korea. We'll has a live report from Moscow to get the Kremlin's reaction.

And pop star Taylor Swift takes the witness stand, accusing a former radio deejay of groping her. That testimony still to come.


[02:30:05] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.


SESAY: U.S. and Russian officials have discussed the worsening situation on the Korean peninsula. But Moscow has been silent about President Trump's "fire and fury" remark and Pyongyang's heated responses.

For more now, let's go to Phil Black, joining us from Moscow.

Phil, what's our sense of Moscow's view of this heated back and forth between the U.S. and North Korea?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They don't approve, Isha. There's no doubt about that. The Russian view of this sort of diplomacy, it really doesn't achieve anything. And particularly when it comes to this particular issue. Russia doesn't believe in heated, fiery colorful language. It doesn't believe in threats. It doesn't believe in talk of military action when it comes to North Korea. The Russia view is there is no military solution. It has to be dialogue. They have to return to dialogue, to sit down and try to come up with a settlement that is acceptable to everybody. Russia does not want North Korea to have nuclear weapons but, at the same time, Russia doesn't believe the U.S. should be conducting the shorts of military exercise that, in Russia's view, allows North Korea to feel threatened. So they want everyone to take a step back and to really not behave in this way. So what we're seeing from Russia, you're right, not a lot of comment. There have been some cautious comments but the sort of remarks that are essentially calling for everyone to take a step back and settle down -- Isha?

SESAY: So what does the Kremlin hope will happen now?

BLACK: Well, I think they're really just waiting for this to blow over. They are waiting for this period of tensions to pass. They want to work towards creating some sort of dialogue that could ultimately result in a political solution of some kind. But they know, and we've heard this from the Russian ambassador to the U.N. the other day, they know that's not going to happen. There's no chance of that getting under way within this current environment, within the atmosphere as it stands. So they will be working behind the scenes trying to persuade people not to indulge in the sort of language we've been hearing, trying to get people to step back, to not make threats, to stop talking a military option and so forth, in the hope that once things calm down for a little while that all sides can again begin to talk more constructively and move down the path that Russia would like to see.

SESAY: Phil Black joining us with important insight. Phil Black, in Moscow. Thank you so much.

Quick break here. Still to come, pop star, Taylor Swift, tells a court that a former radio deejay groped her. The deejay denies it. The latest development of the trial in Denver. Stay with us.


[02:37:05] SESAY: Pop star, Taylor Swift loves singing in glamorous music venues for an adorned public but, these days, she's appearing in a small courtroom in denver, Colorado, where she and a radio deejay are locked in a bitter battle. She alleges he groped her. He calls the accusations false and said it cost him his job.

Our Scott McLean is following the case.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isha, Taylor Swift was the center of attention in Denver, not on the concert stage, but on the witness stand. Swift appeared confident, assertive and, at times, combative to the attorney for the plaintiff in this case, David Mueller, a former Denver radio deejay. At one point, she told him, quote, "I'm not going to allow you or your client to may me feel in any way that this is my fault, because it isn't."

Swift says the single photo taken of the incident shows the moment Mueller's hand went up her skirt. But Mueller's team says that cannot be true because the front of Swift's skirt was undisturbed. But Swift fired back, saying, that's because, quote, "My ass is located in the back of my body."

Swift's testimony last barely an hour after her defense team chose not to cross examine her.

The court also heard testimony from the photographer who actually took that photo in question, and insists she saw the alleged assault. But in court, she could not say whether Mueller's hand was inside or outside of Swift's clothing at the time.

We also heard testimony from two of Mueller's former bosses, one of whom Mueller accused of saying that he had actually touched Swift inappropriately, something he called a complete lie.

The trial continues Friday morning -- Isha?


SESAY: Thank you to Scott McLean for that.

And CNN legal analyst, Areva Martin, joins us.

Areva, good to have you with us to talk about this.

Taylor Swift defended herself by saying what Mr. Mueller did was very intentional. Will this case be determined by whether or not it was intentional, premeditated, if you will?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This case is going to come down to credibility. You have two people telling very different stories about one incident. The jurors -- there are eight of them, six women -- are going to have to decide who is telling the truth. Because, as we just saw, the photographer, though she was taking the picture, she couldn't see what was happening behind Taylor Swift's back. So she's not really an eye witness in the sense that her testimony could sway the jurors in one direction or the other.

But I think something really important, for me, as I've been following this case as an attorney, Taylor immediately told her security team, she told her management team. And although they chose not to call the police, she made a spontaneous response after this happened. And that speaks volumes to me about her credibility. I think the women, in particular, sitting on that jury are going to find that very credible.

SESAY: Taylor's mother took the stand and she explained why Taylor didn't speak out publicly right after it happened. Let's put it on the screen. She said, "I did not want her to have to live through the endless memes and giffs and anything else that tabloid media or trolls could come up with, making her relive this awful moment over and over again. We felt it was imperative to let his employers know what happened."

The fact of the matter, people are suggesting she didn't speak out that there's no credibility to this. But this happens all the time --

[02:40:29] MARTIN: But she did speak out.


SESAY: Not really in terms of --


MARTIN: She took appropriate steps. On the day that this happened, she told her security team. Her security ream then told the disc jockey's employer. So there wasn't silence about this. Now she didn't file a lawsuit. She didn't make a public statement. She didn't hold a press conference. But we know, often times, women don't, because they are subjected to humiliation, to shaming, to victim shaming. And she didn't file this lawsuit until she was filed. This is a counter lawsuit. The disk jockey sued her originally claiming that her claim to his employer caused him to be fired and lose his income. So he sued her for defamation and for loss of his job for $3 million.

SESAY: How much will her celebrity play into all of this?

MARTIN: I think celebrity plays a part in any trial. When you have a high-profile performer, entertainer, like Taylor Swift, of course, some of the jurors are going to be mesmerized by her, by her fame, by her status. But I think this case is so clear in terms of credibility. Why would a superstar with so much of their lives going on, so much to do, take time out to be present in a courtroom every day to participate in lengthy litigation is this didn't happen? I just don't see any motive for her to file a countersuit if this is all made up. And we should be clear that the disc jockey as told, according to his employer, different stories.

SESAY: Different stories, yes. MARTIN: Which is why after the employer set up its own investigation they made the decision to fire him. Because they said he went back and forth. He said he accidentally may have touched her. He didn't do it, maybe someone else did it. And the judge admonished the disc jockey during today's proceedings as well because allegedly had audiotaped conversation with his boss but --


MARTIN: Coffee was spilled on the computer and all of these statements that the judge found to be pretty unbelievable. And he really took him to task with this.

Again, I think this case is going to come down to credibility. Do you believe Taylor Swift, not because she's a super star, but because of the actions she took immediately following. You have to ask that question, why was she telling this story.

SESAY: Areva Martin, always appreciate it. Thank you.

MARTIN: Thank you.

SESAY: Thank you.

It's a nine-day trial. We'll see what happens next.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.

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