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Trump to "Look Into" Whether Visiting DMZ is Provocative; Trump Responds to Sexual Assault Allegation; Producers Guild Votes to Expel Harvey Weinstein; Bowe Bergdahl Pleads Guilty to 2 Charges. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired October 16, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: So, Bob, what do you think about that? Does that change the calculous or does it change the equation, what the U.S. is used to that's, predictably, unpredictable behavior from North Korea? Is it completely altered because of where North Korea is in the process and how should the U.S. be addressing that?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think everybody's sort of hoping, Brian, the Chinese do something about this. They put pressure, economic pressure and close the borders or even Putin, of Russia, that he does the same. Right now, Kim Jong-Un is not going to back down. He wants a nuclear weapon. Don't forget that the reason Saddam Hussein lost his life is because he didn't have weapons of mass destruction. And you know, the North Korean regime is looking at that example. So I don't -- I don't see any light at the end of this tunnel, the diplomatic tunnel, unless we agree to let them have nuclear weapons.
KEILAR: The president, moments ago, was in the Rose Garden and he was asked a number of things by reporters, including if visiting the DMZ would provoke North Korea. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you view what you're trying to accomplish in South Korea? Do you intend to go to the DMZ?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going, as you know, to South Korea, to China, to Japan and Vietnam for the summit. We have a big -- a big economic summit there. I may be going to the Philippines also. We've been invited. We've been invited to the Philippines. I may be going to the Philippines. And I look forward to all of them. We haven't set the details as of this moment.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to provoke North Korea by going to the DMZ?
TRUMP: We'll take a look at that. I didn't hear it in terms of provoking, but we will certainly look into that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Can you imagine, Jean, that President Trump would actually go to the DMZ? What would that mean?
JEAN LEE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I can imagine it. This is about optics and he wants that --
KEILAR: You can't?
LEE: I can.
KEILAR: You can imagine it?
LEE: He wants that moment to look tough with the binoculars. But on the North Korean side, and they'll use this in their rhetoric and propaganda saying, look, the U.S. president has gone to the DMZ and preparing for war and he's in military garb. That means we have to get that nuclear device as close to perfection as we can.
KEILAR: Unbelievable. It would be amazing to see in this current climate.
Jean Lee, thank you.
Bob Baer, thank you.
Next, lawyers for a woman who has accused President Trump of sexual assault serving his campaign with a subpoena. The president weighing in moments ago. Stay with us.
[15:36:25] KEILAR: President Trump just responded to sex assault allegations from a former "Apprentice" contestant who accuses Trump of kissing and groping her in 2007. Summer Zervos' lawyer has subpoenaed the Trump campaign for any documents he has related to her or to any woman who claims they were touched inappropriately.
Here's how the president responded just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: All I can say is it's totally fake news. It's just fake. It's fake. It's made-up stuff. And it's disgraceful what happens, but that happens -- that happens in the world of politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I want to bring in two criminal defense attorneys, Sara Azari and Yodit Tewolde.
Sara, when you look at this and this subpoena, just walk us through how this could play out, what the campaign would have to provide, if there is a way for them to get out of this, and if the president could ultimately even be deposed? SARA AZARI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. So this lawsuit was
filed January of this year, and then the subpoena was issued in March, but compliance with the subpoena was actually put over until Trump's lawyers file and have heard a motion to dismiss. So if that motion to dismiss is actually granted I think it will be heard in October and then the subpoena dies with that lawsuit, however, I don't think that's going to happen. I think as the law stands, lawsuits can be brought against presidents for conduct that does not have anything to do with their presidency and their official capacity, but because it takes time away from them doing their job and leading the country, often these lawsuits are stayed until the president is done with his term, and so I think at best, that's probably what's going to happen here.
The issue with the subpoena itself as a separate issue because the validity of that subpoena, it's a court order, essentially, it's a court ordering the other party to produce documents or testimony. The problem that I see with the subpoena, that the court might actually see, as well, is that it is a little bit too broad. You cannot go on a fishing expedition through a subpoena. It has to be relevant. It has to identify a time period. You can't just ask for any woman's accusations against Trump from the beginning of time. So if this subpoena is invalidated, it could be re-issued and rewritten. You know --
KEILAR: In a narrower way.
AZARI: In a narrower way, where there is a time period specified, specific women named. And the relevance has to be set forth, why is it that these other women's allegations are relevant to Zervos' allegations.
KEILAR: Yodit, when you see this and the breadth of this subpoena, is it a phishing expedition or is it an important reason that Gloria Allred, her lawyer, would be looking for this information, not just the campaign and how it dealt with Zervos' specific allegations and other women, because there were many of them?
YODIT TEWOLDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. There could be a question of M.O. Is there a pattern of behavior? I don't know what Gloria Allred's team's strategy is. But like Sara said, the question is whether a sitting president can be subject to civil litigation in federal court over private acts? That is the issue right now that the courts haven't answered. So Trump's team -- they cited an argument made in the Nixon versus Fitzgerald case in that that suit was dismissed because the sitting president was -- it was over his official acts. But here, that case is so far removed from the actual case right now. When you think about what Trump just said at that press conference, he said it was fake news. He's doing it again. What Zervos' team is trying to keep him from doing. This is a defamation suit. He's saying what they're alleging is fake news. He's digging himself a deeper hole --
[15:40:31] KEILAR: And this a New York court. (CROSSTALK)
KEILAR: It's a New York court.
TEWOLDE: It's in state court, so then it's even another layer. There's no precedent for this. Trump has 75 or so lawsuits pending against him that he'll have to deal with one day. And many of these are brought in state court because these are state cases and misconduct subject to state law in different states, California, New York. I believe this one was filed in New York.
KEILAR: It was.
TEWOLDE: Nonetheless, if the court allows this to proceed during Trump's presidency, then that's a huge precedent. For the other 74 lawsuits or however many there are and future presidents who may be subject to lawsuits for misconduct.
KEILAR: We have a new development --
KEILAR: News just in that the board of Producers Guild has just voted to expel Harvey Weinstein. There was a question about whether this would happen. This is 48 hours after the Academy would do the same thing. We know two cities are investigating sex assault allegations against him. Where do you see this case going?
TEWOLDE: Well, it's not a surprise that the Producers Guild suspended his membership. I mean, this is all about the bottom line. They're trying to send a right message, obviously. I think it was the right decision to make considering the amount of allegations and accusers that have come forward. This isn't a shock. Absolutely not. Hollywood is speaking out. They should. We know Woody Allen just spoke out, which I'm not sure why he did that, but probably --
KEILAR: Warning against a witch hunt, and then he had to backpedal on that.
TEWOLDE: Of course, he had to.
AZARI: Sometimes silence is, you know, an endorsement and if the Producers Guild were to remain silent after the academy of motion pictures dumped him essentially, I think that would also send a message that they're OK with this.
TEWOLDE: That I have to stand in concert --
KEILAR: That's right.
Sara Azari, thank you so much.
Yodit Tewolde, thank you, ma'am. Appreciate it.
TEWOLDE: Thank you.
KEILAR: Next, Army Sargent Bowe Bergdahl pleads guilty to deserting his unit in Afghanistan, saying he couldn't get a fair trial after President Trump's comments about him. Bergdahl's former roommate and platoon member will join me live with his reaction and what he wants to see happen now as punishment.
[15:45:17] KEILAR: A guilty plea today from an American soldier who was held captive by the Taliban for five years. Army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl pled guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He was accused of deserting fellow soldier after walking away from a remote military post in Afghanistan in 2009. Bergdahl was later captured by the Taliban. And despite making multiple escape attempts, Bergdahl was exchanged for five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in 2014.
In a just-released interview obtained by ABC News, Bergdahl says, "A fair trial would have been impossible under a Trump administration after Candidate Trump called him a traitor and said he should be executed."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOWE BERGDAHL, FORMER ARMY SERGEANT: We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs. They got what they wanted. The people to the point of saying, just shoot him, you can never convince those people to change their minds.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It hurts?
BERGDHAL: It does hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: The president responded just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you believe that your comments in any way affected Bowe Bergdahl's ability to receive a fair trial. And can you respond to his --
TRUMP: Well, I can't comment on Bowe Bergdahl because, I guess, you know, I guess he's doing today as we know, and he's also they're setting up sentencing, so I'm not going to comment on it. But I think people have heard my comments in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: So very much standing by his comments from the past.
Bergdahl will be sentenced next Monday. He faces a maximum punishment of life in prison.
And joining me now to discuss this is retired Army specialist, Cody Full. He was a member of Bowe Bergdahl's platoon when he went AWOL in Afghanistan.
Cody, thank you very much for joining us.
CODY FULL, RETIRED ARMY SPECIALIST & MEMBER OF BOWE BERGDAHL'S PLATOON: Thanks for having me.
KEILAR: I know that you've been monitoring what's happened, and what do you think about these guilty pleas, I should say?
FULL: Well, my first comments would be I think Bowe Bergdahl is a coward. He was a coward nine years ago when he deserted. I think he showed he's still a coward. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Maybe I'd like to see some of these news networks who lost loved ones looking for this clown and ask them if they think this is a kangaroo court or not.
KEILAR: I do want to ask you about something on that because as we've heard over time there's been this question, did people die looking for Bowe Bergdahl and certainly not to take away from talking to many members of the military who saw someone who walked off base created a giant risk for so many of his fellow soldiers. But some people experts say, no one actually did die looking for Bowe Bergdahl. You feel very differently about that.
FULL: Who are these experts because the prosecution brought up and did prove that people were injured while looking for him. It was used in his case. So what are these just experts on tv or actual people on the defense team or prosecuting team? Who are these experts?
[15:50:16] FULL: Well, I think -- talking about a technicality. I'm just telling you, over all
KEILAR: -- there are some folks, over time, who have looked and said that not necessarily, but there seems to be some disagreement on that. I'm sure you've heard about that. And certainly, it's been brought up that's a possibility.
KEILAR: Some people feel it may not be true.
But I think, to your point, certainly, there was a feeling -- and you are in a unique position to explain it to us. From our position, as someone who was there on the base, and so many other guys who were there, what did it feel like after he left, and really the action that you had to jump into in order to try to see where he was, if he could be rescued, and the risks that that brought? Because I think that really speaks to why there is so much emotion behind this for people like you.
FULL: Well, he willingly deserted. He pled guilty. We all know that when myself and others came out nine years ago, we were telling the truth, and as much to the dismay of politicians trying to make him a hero, as evidence of his pleading guilty, he's obviously not. During the time he left, the whole country of Afghanistan stopped and looked for this individual. So if you can imagine a whole country that's currently in a war stopping and looking for one person, that was the magnitude of his actions. Every aircraft, every person, every dog, everything stopped and went directly to try to find him.
KEILAR: And everything did mobilize. You make a very good point there.
He's facing the possibility of life in prison. What do you think is the fair sentence and.
FULL: I'm not going to speculate. I want to see the justice system play out. I don't feel comfortable on commenting on what should happen or not happen. It's not up to me at the end of the day, it's up to the judge. It doesn't matter what I think or what I don't think.
KEILAR: Do you think the way he suffered under the -- under terrorists in Afghanistan, in the tribal area, that that should play into the consideration of how he is sentenced?
FULL: I mean, he did it on his own, so, I mean, again, that's not for me to decide. That's up for the judge. He pled guilty. He's going to be sentenced next Monday, and I guess we'll see if that plays a part or doesn't play a part.
KEILAR: You know his assertion was he left -- he left the outpost because he wanted to report what he felt was a critical problem in his chain of command. That's what prompted that Dust One, the status whereabouts unknown and mobilized everybody, certainly to considerable risk. Have you heard anything from him about his ordeal that makes you at all sympathetic to him, even when you clearly have major disagreements with him about not taking responsibility, as you see it?
FULL: Well, I mean, so, people throughout the history of time have always had an issue with their boss or superior, whether it be in the military or civilian world. And there are steps put in place in the professional world as well as the military chain of command to where you can go voice those concerns. There is an open-door policy. So at no point in time is it even a rational thought to do what he did. He literally put thousands and thousands of people's lives at risk just so he could go and want to complain for whatever transgressions he thought happened or didn't happen.
KEILAR: Yes, and I know there are so many people who feel the way you do and what's really a divisive argument about the future of Bowe Bergdahl. We are waiting to see obviously the sentencing phase.
Specialist Cody Full, thank you so much for your perspective.
FULL: Thank you for having me.
KEILAR: Still ahead, it's a bipartisan dinner date. Who Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner just invited to dinner tonight. And what's on the menu for conversation. We'll be back in a moment.
[15:58:27] KEILAR: The quarterback who started a national conversation about taking a knee is now accusing NFL owners of punishing him and colluding to keep him out of the league. Colin Kaepernick started the protest to speak out against racial injustice, and he's been out of a job since ending his contract with the 49ers in March. Then, there was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the field right now.
TRUMP: Out. He's fired.
TRUMP: He's fired!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Kaepernick's attorney says the grievance was filed because players should not be denied jobs because of political provocation by the executive branch of our government.
Well, the president just weighed in again, a short time ago, when asked about Hillary Clinton's support for players who protest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And if Hillary Clinton actually made the statement that in a form sitting down during the playing of our great national anthem is not disrespectful, then I fully understand why she didn't win. I know --
I mean, look, there are a lot of reasons she didn't win, including the fact that she was not good at what she did. But I will tell you, that is something that I have just heard about. And I think that her statement in itself is very disrespectful to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: The NFL has a big meeting this week with team owners and the players' union to try to resolve the controversy.
That's it for me. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Brooke Baldwin.
"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, THE LEAD: Thanks, Brianna.
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