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Trump's Nuclear Moment; Harvey Weinstein Investigation; California Wildfires. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired October 11, 2017 - 3:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Here he is moments ago alongside his counterpart, Justin Trudeau.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, we have so many nuclear weapons. I want them in perfect condition, perfect shape. That's the only thing I have ever discussed.
I want to have absolutely perfectly maintained, which we are in the process of doing, nuclear force. But when they said I want 10 times what we have right now, it's totally unnecessary, believe me, because I know what we have right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, I have got CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott weighing and CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
Barbara, let me just begin with you.
We heard from the president denying this report that there was some meeting over the summer where he had said he wanted to increase the U.S. nuclear arsenal tenfold. You are now hearing from the secretary of defense weighing in on this. What did Secretary Mattis say?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, he, no surprise, is agreeing with the president.
But let's decipher it a little bit for everybody. There was a report from NBC News earlier today -- and that's pretty much how the day started at the Pentagon -- that the president had told military commanders he wanted a tenfold increase in nuclear weapons. That would be significant, dramatic, unprecedented, not too many other ways you can describe it.
The Pentagon's initial reaction was the story was not accurate and that they weren't going to address it any more than that. But the president weighing in was very significant, because he underscored some key points, that there is a modernization program going on. That expansion of 10 times may not even be necessary, according to most arms control analysts.
And then we got this statement from Defense Secretary Mattis. It was very brief, and let me read it to everyone.
It says: "Recent reports that the president called for increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal are absolutely false. This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible."
What you really have here is the secretary of defense saying that in this meeting that was described in the tank here in side the Pentagon, that there was no call for a tenfold increase. I think it's important to remember that doesn't mean that the president did not turn to his advisers and say, OK, why do we have exactly as many nuclear weapons as we have? Should we have more? Should we have less? Somebody give me some more details, some more understanding of all of this.
Any president would say that to his advisers. He would constantly question why we have what we have in the nuclear arsenal. But a very firm pushback that the president did not call for a tenfold increase, which would cost billions of dollars and be against current arms control treaties -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Also just going on to say he thinks the American -- U.S. nuclear arsenal is awesome and wants it to be in tiptop shape. We will talk more about that in a second.
But, Elise, let me just go to you, because toward the end, when we were listening to the president sitting next to the Canadian P.M., he was asked about and discussed his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Here's that part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What else?
I think I have a little bit different attitude on North Korea than other people might have. And I listen to everybody. But, ultimately, my attitude is the one that matters, isn't it? That's the way it works. That's the way the system is.
But I think I might have a somewhat different attitude and a different way than other people. I think perhaps I feel stronger and tougher on that subject than other people. But I listen to everybody. And, ultimately, I will do what's right for the United States and, really, what's right for the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: All right. So that's on secretary of state.
But, Elise, you have new reporting on this July meeting over at the Pentagon between the president and senior U.S. officials that preceded Secretary Tillerson's alleged moron comment. And what is that?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
And, look, NBC has really been in the lead on this story. And the reporters that were involved are very serious reporters who are quoting several sources in the room. So, obviously, the White House is pushing back. But we do have some reporting about this meeting that day, which, as Barbara said was, you know, at the Pentagon.
It was a meeting kind of addressing worldwide threats, worldwide troop levels and operations. And that was following a meeting the other day on Afghanistan.
And so the president, according to some of the officials there, was really kind of pushing back against his commanders, pushing back against military officials, and his advisers in a way that really kind of shocked a lot of people in the room, demonstrating a little bit of a lack of nuance, a lack of context, if you will, about some of these things.
And that might have been what Secretary of State Tillerson might have been getting at, at the end when he reportedly called the president a moron.
I spoke to one senior official that is familiar with the meeting and said, look, it was a rough day. Everyone came out of that meeting really shocked at some of the things the president said. They weren't really kind of focused on what the secretary said. But everybody was kind of just super surprised.
And so, you know, this often happens, when a president is at a meeting like that, pushing back against his commanders, against his military advisers. But I think there is a widespread view that perhaps this president doesn't -- or lacks a kind of demonstration of a worldwide, nuanced view of what's going on in the world.
And I think this is what we are seeing, especially when the secretary talked about Rex Tillerson having a different point of view. Clearly, Secretary Mattis has spoken differently about the Iran deal. His advisers, these are, some of them, historians, military man, have a very nuanced view on the world, and I think they're trying to educated this young president in terms of understanding the seriousness of his job as commander in chief.
BALDWIN: Young president. Elise, thank you. Barbara, thank you.
Let me Geoff Ziezulewicz, reporter for "The Military Times," "Navy Times," retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, who is also a CNN military analyst.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for being with me.
But, Admiral Kirby, just staying on some of these conversations we've been having, and, again, going back to the president's conversation just minutes ago sitting next to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, when he was talking -- denying the reports about ever saying that he thought -- wanted to increase the U.S. arsenal tenfold, but then did go on to say that he also wants the U.S. arsenal in tiptop shape, what does that mean?
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes. Look, every president wants his nuclear arsenal to be in the best
shape it can be. Even under President Obama, in the last few year, I worked with Secretary Nagel when he ordered a complete review of our nuclear program, nuclear weapons, maintenance and sustainability.
And he found severe gaps in training and readiness and material readiness that we needed to fix. And President Obama took all those recommendations very seriously. Every president wants his nuclear arsenal to be in the best shape it can possibly be.
BALDWIN: Isn't that the question? Isn't it in tiptop shape?
KIRBY: I think there are still modernization needs, Brooke.
KIRBY: It's certainly obviously the most powerful arsenal in the world. I'm confident in that.
But for me to sit here and tell you it's perfect in every way I think would be disingenuous. There are things that need to be done. So he's not wrong to want the nuclear force to be as ready in a posture as possible.
Geoff, I'm coming to you in just a second with your piece in just a sec.
But, Admiral, just staying with us, reading some of the words coming out of the foreign minister of North Korea today, calling President Trump insane, saying that President Trump lit the wick of war during his U.N. General Assembly speech, and that North Korea is winning this war of words, what's your reaction to that coming out of Pyongyang?
KIRBY: Yes, I'm not surprised by that kind of rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang. This is the sort of propaganda we have seen from them before.
But you know what, Brooke? Actually, I hate to say this, but in a sense they have the point. I felt the same thing about his U.N. speech. I thought it was a sermon, not a speech, and I thought it was way too bellicose for the setting and for the moment that we are in.
Now, I think, and I have been told that the president feels like he's actually helping the process by being this bellicose, that he's helping pressurize the atmosphere to get Pyongyang to the table, actually to get Beijing to get Pyongyang to the table.
But I just don't see it working. I'm very, very skeptical about that approach. These threats, this bullying is not going to help get the diplomatic process on track or even started. It's only going to set it back. And I do believe that in essence he is undermining the efforts, not just of his secretary of state, but his secretary defense and his U.N. ambassador, who I think have been working mightily and in a very measured, deliberate way to get some sort of peaceful solution to this.
Let me move on. Geoff, thanks for your patience. And, Admiral, I want you to get to weigh in on this as well.
GEOFF ZIEZULEWICZ, "MILITARY TIMES": Sure.
BALDWIN: But, obviously, I read about your reporting about one of the big Navy ships battle mission to deter threats, North Korea, also dealing with China and Russia. You have this lengthy report in "The Navy Times," and sailors on the USS Shiloh paint a dire picture, one person calling it a floating prison.
I kept reading and I kept seeing the word suicide pop up in your reporting. These surveys, they're hearing from these sailors, can you tell me more?
So this summer a young sailor aboard the Shiloh, it's based out in Japan, went missing. Everybody thought he was overboard. It turned out he was just hiding on the ship.
Several sailors reached out to us anonymously, and said you need to dig a bit deeper on the command aboard the Shiloh. So we received the -- what are called the command surveys and every page features the exact comments you are talking about, sailors feeling suicidal, feeling ground down by a micromanaging C.O., this guy called Captain Adam Aycock.
BALDWIN: C.O. is commanding officer.
ZIEZULEWICZ: Yes, excuse me. C.O. is commanding officer, Adam Aycock.
Feeling like they couldn't get the mental health resources they needed, and, kind of tied to North Korea, some allegations that -- the ship is meant to shoot down North Korea missiles. And there are several sailor comments in there where they're saying we went out to sea and that equipment wasn't fully functional.
It's called the Aegis weapon system. And so the comments reflect several disturbing fronts, I guess.
BALDWIN: Not just guess. It sounds in incredibly worrying.
BALDWIN: Admiral Kirby, what are you hearing from officials on the Shiloh?
KIRBY: Well, I'm hearing from the Navy that they take these -- this command climate seriously.
First of all, just so you know, these command climate surveys are done every year. In the case of Aycock and the Shiloh, after he had been on board for 90 days, they did the first one, which is typical after you get a new commanding officer.
They were so bad that his leadership said you know what, we are going to do these every six months, because we don't think you are running a very tight ship here, or maybe too tight. So, they start doing them every six months. They did not see much of an improvement, but over time they began to see the ship performing better in exercises and engineering evaluations and so they left him in command.
I think that's really an open question here is why, if the command climate was so bad over such a long period of time, that he was allowed to retain his command all the way right up until the end.
And I think that's something really that maybe leadership should answer for. But I also think it's important, Brooke, that we don't -- and, again, those surveys paint a very dark picture aboard the ship. There's no question.
And hats to Geoff and "Navy Times" for writing those pieces, but we shouldn't extrapolate from one ship to the entire 7th Fleet. The 7th Fleet does have some ship handling problems. They're investigating. They're moving forward. They have made some leadership problems.
And Shiloh as part of the 7th Fleet certainly should be wrapped into that. But the command climate under this ship, we ought to be careful before we draw any big threads between that and what's going on fleetwide.
We've talked. I have been on a ship in the Persian Gulf. My dear friend was a C.O. And I saw it firsthand. It's all about leadership.
Go ahead, Geoff. Last thought.
ZIEZULEWICZ: No, I was just saying, tied to what the admiral said, these showed no improvements. And the Navy claims they were counseling Aycock.
But his boss is actually fired as a part of all these firings we are seeing in the wake of the destroyers where the 17 sailors drowned this summer. And I had three retired surface warfare officers review these surveys and they had never seen anything like this.
And there's no indication that during the three surveys during that time frame, anything appeared. And several sailors accused Aycock of goosing the numbers and the readiness of the ship to make his command look good to his superiors.
So, I think I kind of differ with the admiral on that point.
KIRBY: Well, listen, I was just presenting with the Navy's case.
I wasn't saying that I agree with it. In fact, I did say...
ZIEZULEWICZ: Do you still work for the Navy?
KIRBY: No, I don't. But I do believe that it's an open question why he was allowed to stay in command so long.
I have said that clearly, Geoff. I'm not siding one side or the other here. But I'm just telling you what the Navy's case was, that they saw improvement and so they decided to leave him in command.
BALDWIN: Geoff, I'm glad you bought all of that to those superiors. And please keep doing good journalism.
ZIEZULEWICZ: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Our sailors, they really matter.
Geoff Ziezulewicz with "The Navy Times," thank you.
And, Admiral Kirby, as always, a pleasure.
Coming up next here, new developments in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, as more and more accusers are coming together. Could the Hollywood mogul be in real legal jeopardy? Today, the Manhattan district attorney explaining why he decided not to bring charges years ago, when they gave that woman the wiretap.
Also, Eminem drawing a line for his supporters. You are either with him, Eminem, or Donald Trump. Hear the freestyle rap that slams the president.
Also, the Boy Scouts of America announcing a historic shift, welcoming female Scouts into the organization.
We are back in a moment. You're watching CNN.
BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
To the breaking news in California, the wildfire devastation that is overwhelming the state. The firestorm is just practically historic. An update this hour is that the fast-moving flames now have claimed the lives of 21 people in Northern California; 600 people are still missing.
And the damage, more than 3,000 homes and buildings now ash. Nearly two dozen fires are still burning and the winds fueling them are hurricane-strength at times.
Investigators still have no idea how all this started.
Ryan Young is our CNN national correspondent there in Santa Rosa, one of the areas hardest-hit.
And you said it. We've been talking to guests. It's like looking at a war zone.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really feels like a horror zone at this point.
And we were walking to so many people who were trying to escape these flame. And imagine the idea of you walking outside of your house and you're seeing the flames rolling toward your house. You jump in your car and then you're stuck in traffic.
That's what people have been describing to us. We want to show you another one of the scenes here. You can see just maybe the utter confusion here, as these cars have been left sort of in the middle of the street. They have been melted down to nothing. Even the tires have melted off this car that's sitting right here left in the middle of the street, of course.
And as we moved to the middle, we noticed something that was kind of strange here. It's a boat. It's a boat and car that's been flipped over. How did this happen? It's so hard to explain some of these things. More than 20,000 people had to evacuate.
We talked to one man who said his dog actually woke him up. And thank God for his dog, because he says he didn't think he would make it out alive. Then you talk about the death toll. So many people have stories about the idea they're about their neighbors.
More than 8,000 people lived in this neighborhood. And now, no matter where you look, Brooke, you can see the utter destruction here.
As I walk you back around, this kind of stuck out to us. All the trees somehow lasted in this neighborhood. So, despite all the manmade destruction, we have seen a lot of this survive.
But people have a lot of questions tonight about what do they do next. And, quite honestly, they're terrified. Firefighters are still fighting the fires as we speak.
BALDWIN: Firefighters absolutely incredible. Massive job still ahead of them.
YOUNG: They are.
BALDWIN: And to hear these stories of the flames leaping the 101, leaping freeways as people have mere minutes to escape.
Brian Young, stay on it. We are telling the story in California. Thank you.
There are more star actresses coming forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment. A huge question now, is the movie mogul in legal jeopardy? And why didn't the prosecutor in New York act on these allegations years ago? He just responded.
BALDWIN: We are back with these explosive new allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
More than two dozen women, including some of Hollywood's biggest actresses, now speaking out against the media mogul, alleging years of sexual harassment, abuse, and, in the case of three women, rape.
This is happening as the Weinstein Company board, including Weinstein's own brother, insist they knew nothing about the alleged abuse.
But "The New Yorker" reports this morning that some employees now say they witnessed or at least had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances.
Meantime, Manhattan's district attorney just held a press conference fending off this criticism for not pursuing a case against Weinstein, despite having evidence, a wiretap in 2015, where Weinstein admits -- you will hear it on the tape -- to groping a woman. Here it is.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HARVEY WEINSTEIN, CO-FOUNDER, THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY: Go to the bathroom.
AMBRA BATTILANA GUTIERREZ, MODEL: Please, I don't want to do something I don't want to.
WEINSTEIN: Go to the bathroom. Hey, come here. Listen to me.
GUTIERREZ: I want to go downstairs.
WEINSTEIN: I won't do anything, and you'll never see me again after this. OK? That's it. If you don't -- if you embarrass me in this hotel where I'm staying...
GUTIERREZ: I'm not embarrassing you.
WEINSTEIN: Just walk.
GUTIERREZ: It's just that I don't feel comfortable.
WEINSTEIN: Honey, don't have a fight with me in the hallway.
GUTIERREZ: It's not nothing, it's...
WEINSTEIN: Please. I'm not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything. I'm a famous guy.
GUTIERREZ: I'm -- I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.
WEINSTEIN: Please come in. And one minute. And if you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.
GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touch my breast?
WEINSTEIN: Oh, please. I'm sorry. Just come on in. I'm used to that.
GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?
WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, now here is the Manhattan DA Cy Vance, who said this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYRUS VANCE, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I understand that folks are outraged by his behavior.
I understand that there are many other allegations that have surfaced. But in our case, we really did what I think the law obligates us to do. If we had a case that we felt we could prosecute and my experts felt we could prosecute against Harvey Weinstein, we would have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: All right, so let's begin with Michael Daly, special correspondent for The Daily Beast.
And so, Michael, you just wrote this whole piece. NYPD was ready to arrest Harvey Weinstein after this woman -- he admits groping her. Take us back to that time. How did NYPD get involved?
MICHAEL DALY, THE DAILY BEAST: She went right from being -- one thing that makes the case stronger, she went right from being with Harvey to a friend who took her to the Ninth Precinct, which is near where he lived.
He then took her to the First Precinct, which is where this thing occurred. They got the Special Victims Unit. They're talking to her and they're saying maybe they might do a controlled call, which is where they would -- you have the victim call the suspect, hoping to incriminate himself.
Before they can do that, he calls her. And she agrees to meet him the next day. And she does. They are watching. They record the conversation with two cell phones, one they gave her.
BALDWIN: Let me stop you. I'm not seeing a microphone on you at all and I'm being told we can't actually hear you. DALY: Oh, good.
BALDWIN: So let's see if we can quickly find a microphone as we listen to Michael Daly.
DALY: That's kind of appropriate. I'm talking about a recording. Now I should have put it on my phone. Let's start again.
BALDWIN: Let's start again.
DALY: OK. I'm sorry. I didn't...
BALDWIN: It's OK. It's live TV. It happens.
That's my first live TV moment.
BALDWIN: So, NYPD.
DALY: So, the NYPD, she goes directly from her encounter with Harvey Weinstein to a friend, who takes her to the Ninth Precinct. The police note that she's distraught and upset. They take her to the First Precinct, which is the precinct where it happened.
And they call, notify Special Victims Unit to come over. Everyone knows SVU, right? So they come over. And they're talking to her about making a controlled call, which is a kind standard thing where the cops will have you call -- a victim call the suspect, hoping that they he will incriminate himself.
Before they can do that, Harvey calls her. He thought she was going to take a ticket and go to a show with him, say, where are you? And then she agrees to meet with him the next day.
She goes to meet him. The cops are watching. They arrange to record it with two cell phones. One is theirs and one is hers. So, that's her recording what's going on there.
And at one point, he, they say, apologizes. And then she excuses herself to go to the bathroom. She goes to the bathroom. She's panicking. A female detective speaks to her and says, listen, not for nothing, it's OK. We will be watching you. If you go upstairs, nothing will happen.
And then she went upstairs with him, scared. And then, when she got up to the room, she kind of lost her nerve and backed away.
But, in that recording -- I mean, I talked to someone last night who is about as experienced a sex crime prosecutor as there is in the world. And she listened to that tape and said