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CNN NEWSROOM

President Trump Says No One Has Asked Him to Do Mueller Interview; Russia-linked Group Paid Professional Trainers to Hold Free Self-Defense Courses for Black Activists; ISIS Defeated in Syrian Stronghold; Oscar Winner Accuses Harvey Weinstein of Harassment; How Trump Handles Times of Tragedy; Exploring Pittsburgh's Changing Food Culture; Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 22, 2017 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:00] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: In a brand new interview, President Trump says, no one has asked him to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller and this comes as sources tell CNN Mueller hopes to wrap up this first round of interviews with the White House officials by the end of this month.

CNN's Boris Sanchez is live right outside the White House.

So, Boris, what else is the president saying about the investigation?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Pamela. The president strongly making the case that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia. He actually goes on to say that there is consensus between some of the different investigations that there was no collusion in an interview with FOX News that is yet to air. We only have the written portion of it.

He said, quote, "There is no collusion, I can tell you that. Everybody has seen that. You know, you have Senate meetings, you have Senate hearings, and nobody has asked us to do interviews anywhere. They have found no collusion. In fact, the other side even admits it, they come out of these hearings whether it's Senate or whether it's the House and they say, is there collusion? Everyone looks like there is no collusion."

Now, as you mentioned, several White House officials we've learned through sources have already met with Robert Mueller's team including Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, though there are still several White House officials -- current White House officials that have yet to meet with his team or at least that we've been able to confirm have met with his team including communications director Hope Hicks and chief counsel for the White House, Don McGahn.

At last we heard from one source, Robert Mueller was set to finish this wave of interviews with this first group of interviews with White House officials by the end of this month. The focus from what we've heard from sources continues to be the circumstances between the dismissal of Michael Flynn and the firing of former FBI director James Comey -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Boris. And also there are these reports that President Trump may pay for some of his staff's legal fees. What can you tell us about that?

SANCHEZ: Well, there's been some reporting through multiple different outlets that the president has decided to spend up to $430,000 to help pay the legal costs of some of his White House aides and some of his campaign team after the RNC spent about that amount of money on legal fees, partly to help his son, Donald Trump Jr. to cover his legal expenses after it was revealed that he met with some Russian officials in Trump Tower last year.

There's still no clarity, though, on how exactly that money is going to be dispersed. There is some reporting that there are some exclusions there pertaining to certain figures within not only the Trump campaign, but also at the Trump White House. CNN has reached out to the White House for comment, we are now getting this information confirmed -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Boris Sanchez, thanks for breaking it down for us from the White House.

And I want to bring in our panel, "Washington Post" political reporter Philip Bump and CNN political analyst and "New York Times" culture editor Patrick Healy.

Gentlemen, great to have you on. Earlier today you heard Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked -- he was asked about the Russia investigation, whether he thought there was any collusion, why the Trump White House has been so slow to put new sanctions on Russia. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think that the Trump administration is slow when it comes to Russia. They have a blind spot on Russia I still can't figure out, but I can tell you what happened in '16 --

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you? Has that become --

GRAHAM: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: At what point is that circumstantial evidence to you, sir?

GRAHAM: All I can say is that wherever the Russia investigation takes us, it will take us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: So blind spot for Russia. That doesn't sound like someone who's convinced there is not collusion here, Phil.

PHILIP BUMP, POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, I mean, I think it's sort of the ongoing question. I mean, the question that's always loomed is why does Donald Trump have the relationship with Russia that he has? Sort of after the election, that team sort of gelled into this idea of was the campaign aided by Russia? And I think it's important to remember that Donald Trump has said from the beginning, there's no proof of collusion, they've looked and there's no proof of collusion, which is, you know, the equivalent of a police officer arriving on a crime scene and instantaneously the guy saying oh, you're innocent because we haven't found any evidence here. Right?

The whole point is they've been looking for evidence all along. Donald Trump said there was no evidence of collusion even before this Donald Trump Jr. meeting emerged with the meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer. So I think it's certainly worth taking Trump's words with a grain of salt there. But what Lindsey Graham said there was not that oh, you're totally exonerated in the way that Trump did. Trump suggested you ask anyone, there's no collusion. That's not what Lindsey Graham just said.

BROWN: Well, there has been some circumstantial evidence, I mean, in terms of the Trump Tower meetings and other things.

Patrick, what is your take on what he said?

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think what Lindsey Graham is saying is that President Trump shouldn't get ahead of the investigation. That things are -- that meetings, that hearings are still going on that the special counsel Robert Mueller is still doing his own investigation, still interviewing people. As we know, special counsel, special prosecutors over time usually the principal, the president is often one of the last people to be interviewed.

[20:05:03] You know, that certainly happened with President Clinton when he was under investigation with Kenneth Star in the '90s. So -- but this is, this is President Trump, I mean, he -- as Phil said, he's very invested in the sense that he has been exonerated. That he's no longer either a center of investigation, that he's no longer under any kind of suspicion, and yes, this is very important to him in terms of his -- in terms of his rhetoric to basically be able to say, you know, I'm entirely cleared.

BUMP: That's right.

HEALY: And look I haven't been interviewed. An interview may happen months from now.

BROWN: May happen months from now. I mean, in the Clinton investigation, there were two.

HEALY: About a year.

BROWN: There was Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, you know, private e-mail server, she was interviewed at the end. But it's clear that, you know, this agitates him, this Russia investigation agitates him. Talking to people close to the president. He feels like it casts a shadow with his dealings with foreign leaders that they bring it up to him. It's something he clearly wants to just go away.

HEALY: Right. BUMP: Yes, I mean, it's a standard operating procedure here for a

politician who's facing this sort of investigations to say I want them to do the work, get it wrapped up as soon as they can and say nothing else about it. Donald Trump can't stop talking about it. Donald Trump -- you know, this is what he does.

BROWN: And you know what, he hasn't gone after Robert Mueller if you noticed. He's had restraint. He did over --

HEALY: True.

BROWN: Earlier in the summer, he tweeted a few things. If you'll notice, he hasn't gone after him in the way he goes after others who he feels threatened by or he doesn't like.

HEALY: But there have been -- but there have been stories, you know, over the months that he has, you know, thought about what are my options here? You know, if I was to like replace, you know, or even to fire special counsel -- what would happen.

BROWN: Now he's saying he's not going to fire Robert Mueller. Right.

HEALY: I think he's -- no, he's always been -- he's always said that in public, but behind the scenes, in terms of the reporting that's going on, it's clear he's -- you know, he's furious as we know for months with Jeff Sessions, the attorney general.

BROWN: Right.

HEALY: For taking himself out of this.

BROWN: Right.

HEALY: And this is kind of the wound that he can't really get over. Right?

BROWN: But it's just interesting that in public posture, I mean, look, he goes on Twitter after people, today it's Congresswoman Wilson, you know, but he hasn't really done that against Robert Mueller.

HEALY: There's just not a lot of upside, right?

BROWN: Yes. So I think --

HEALY: This is the one guy in Washington --

BROWN: I think the bottom line is he's actually -- well, he's been told to not do that for others but he's actually heeding his lawyer's advice on this.

HEALY: Right.

BROWN: Let me just ask you, Philip, Axios and others are reporting, the "Washington Post" reporting that the president has pledged to give $430,000 of his own money to help cover the legal fees for some of his staffers.

Look, I mean, they're hit in the face with a lot of, you know, high bills from lawyers as part of the Russia probe. Just for context, is this normal? Could it present a conflict of interest? You first.

HEALY: Right. You know, it's strange. I mean, the -- you know, the appearance of this is that the president of the United States is saying to people who are going to be going in and being interviewed about his conduct, I'm going to pay your legal bills. I'm going to sort of cover you. That is a very, you know -- that's an appearance that I think a lot of past presidents would not want to convey. I'm even surprised, like, the White House general counsel would maybe feel comfortable with that. I haven't done reporting on that but it's very unusual.

BROWN: What do you think?

BUMP: It is urn usual, but I mean, these are -- this is an expensive thing, right? I mean, this is -- it's an unusual thing to have this sort of investigation so early in a presidency. It's very expensive. There's a lot of people who are wrapped up in this thing to have to suddenly find lawyers just because they happen to work for the Trump campaign.

BROWN: Right.

BUMP: Patrick is actually right. You know, there's probably a better way to do this than to have Donald Trump pay out of his pocket then be like, hey, I paid your lawyer. But this is still something we need to know. We want these people to have good representation because that's how our system works. And it's just very expensive to do.

BROWN: Let's look ahead to the week. The president is expected to meet face-to-face for lunch on Capitol Hill with some of the Republicans that he has publicly sparred with, Bob Corker to name one, Jeff Flake. What are you looking for during this lunch?

HEALY: Yes, I mean, how much the president can stay disciplined on tax reform because that is the ball that seems like could go double the field for him if he gets distracted on health care, if he gets, you know, pulled back in on defending himself on Puerto Rico and getting in the ground work. But also, you know, his own conduct over the last week, you know, around the Gold Star family and deaths in Niger, you know, to what extent he's pulled into that.

Clearly I think the White House wants him to stay focused on tax reform because they think they have an opening there with the Senate budget document that was passed last week to make headway. But he has a tendency, as we know, to sometimes get in his own way with this rhetoric so --

BROWN: Sort of stir the pot a little bit. And you know, it's interesting he said, Phil, to FOX Business News that he thinks the bickering, the feuding can actually help in terms of getting things done.

BUMP: Right.

BROWN: But we haven't really --

HEALY: The evidence of --

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: But the evidence isn't quite there.

BUMP: Yes, I mean, there certainly has been legislations passed, but all the big ticket items have fallen by the wayside in part because, I mean, if you look at health care, for example, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, these are people who he had fought with and they voted against him, right?

[20:10:02] And so I think this week, the thing he needs it seems to demonstrate to the Bob Corkers and Jeff Flakes, hey look, I'm not going to be -- I'm not going to be a mess for you, right? I'm not going to make your life harder. If he can demonstrate that, I think it'll be a more successful week than it could otherwise be.

BROWN: All right. We'll all be watching. That's for sure.

Philip Bump, Patrick Healy, thank you. Appreciate it.

And coming up, Russian trolls infiltrating America and hitting sensitive nerves on race to stoke racial divides. How American citizens were targeted without even knowing about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Well, CNN has learned of yet another Russian-connected effort to exploit racial divisions in the U.S. This one with a highly unusual twist. It turns out these operatives pose as an African- American advocacy group and hired unwitting black Americans to further their cause.

CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports -- Drew.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, CNN has learned a group associated with Russia tricked personal trainers, boxing instructors, and paid them to hold free self-defense classes, the classes aimed at African-American activists.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[20:15:13] GRIFFIN (voice-over): In January of this year, well after the presidential election, New York martial arts instructor Omawale Adewale says he was contacted by a group called Black Fist, saying it would pay him to hold free self-defense classes for members of the black community.

(On camera): Did you ever think this is weird?

OMAWALE ADEWALE, MARTIAL ARTS BOXING INSTRUCTOR: Yes. A lot of times I thought it was -- I thought it was weird. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Weird, but the money was good. $320 a month,

paid direct through PayPal and Google Wallet, to teach just four classes and Black Fist would promote it. What was also weird, no one from Black Fist ever showed up to meet him. His only communication was in text and far-away sounding phone calls from this man named Taylor.

TAYLOR: Yes, hello, Walli, this is Taylor. I wanted to confirm the self-defense classes that we talked about last time.

GRIFFIN: The digital trail suggests the contact on the phone was part of a Russian propaganda arm seeking to stoke racial tensions and disrupt the U.S. political system. CNN has confirmed the social media accounts connected to Black Fist are among the pages Facebook identified as coming from Russians, according to a source familiar up with the matter.

Links to those accounts appear on the Black Fist Web site. And Black Fist, which portrayed itself as an activist group seeking to empower black Americans, was likely developed inside the Russian troll factory in St. Petersburg, Russia.

(On camera): They convinced you.

ADEWALE: Very easily. Very, very easily. Some of the things were, you know, sketchy, but at the end of the day, it's still fitness. What is this -- what's -- it's just training. I mean we're just training people.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Look at what Black Fist said about its self- defense classes. They are by black for black and let them know that black power matters. Adewale's contact also wanted these, videos and photos of blacks learning self-defense.

Adewale wasn't the only one. Personal trainers in classes promoted in other cities, Los Angeles, Lancing, Michigan. According to Event Bright and other pages, where classes were being publicized there were dozens. In Tampa, Florida, amateur boxer Chuck "Jetton" Jefferson says Black Fist found him through Instagram, offered to pay him $100 a class, like Adewale, through PayPal. He confirms it was the same voice on the other end of the phone call.

The same demand for videos to prove classes took place. And though the entire setup sounded odd, he's having a hard time understanding why Russians were behind it.

CHUCK "JETTON" JEFFERSON, AMATEUR BOXER/TRAINER: So, I mean, when you have somebody that's going to pay you to do something you love, I mean, it's hard to see it like a negative thing. It's hard to see it in that light. But, I mean, like I said, it was weird, it was different.

GRIFFIN: The Russian magazine RBC first identified Black Fist, as well as dozens of other Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, designed to look and act like real Americans. They say were all part of the Russian internet research agency and had a reach of 70 million people weekly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: And Pamela, what is alarming is just how easy this was for the Russians to do. How U.S. social media companies had no filters that blocked or stopped or caught any of this. And I think the big question, where was and is all of the U.S. intelligence agencies in all of this?

We now know the meddling in U.S. politics by Russia continued after November's election. There is no reason to believe it's still not happening right now -- Pamela.

BROWN: Fascinating, fascinating report. Our thanks to CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin.

I'm now going to bring in Steve Hall. He spent 30 years in the CIA and ran the agency's operations in Russia. He is also a CNN national security analyst.

So, Steve, just to want get your reaction to Drew Griffin's report. The Russians using social media to try and make racial tensions worse. Does this fit in with your experience dealing with Russia? The lengths that they would go to here, having the self-defense classes?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Sure, absolutely. It's consistent with what the -- with what was the overall, you know, goal of Putin and the Russian government is right now with regard to the United States which is to drive wedges, not only inside the United States on social issues, on these hot button issues, but also across the west.

Remember back to the -- I guess the good old days when this all started with the hack of a political server here in the United States by the Russians?

BROWN: Yes. Little did we know, right?

HALL: Yes. And now look where we are. I mean, we've had this escalation where it's gone through, you know, information and influence operations, standard propaganda operations, and now we're all the way to Russians reaching out to individuals in this country.

[20:20:07] Looking in this case along racial lines, but it could have just as well have been along, you know, immigration lines. It could have been along (INAUDIBLE) lines in an attempt to manipulate these people to do things which could eventually end up, you know, in violence. And it's of course not African-American we're talking about here. You know, the Charlottesville arches, there's allegations that the Russians saw on the white supremacy side. They've been active, too.

My question is at what point do we say, look, this is effectively an act of war. And we need to decide what we're going to do because this can't -- is to go unanswered. We have to -- we have to do something in response. BROWN: You mentioned Charlottesville, I mean, it seems clear, Drew

alluded to this, that this behavior by the Russians is ongoing. They haven't been deterred.

HALL: No, not at all. And I think that they are going to continue to do this because again, this is the Russian way of thinking. The Russian way of thinking is we're going to go ahead and push as far as we can until such time as somebody pushes back, and that's why it's so important for us to draw that line in the sand and to make the Russians understand that it's simply not acceptable else it's going to continue. Now the other thing that they're --

(CROSSTALK)

HALL: Go ahead.

BROWN: Oh, no, I was just going to ask you, you know, looking at some of those CNN reporting we had about this intel investigation, interviewing the Russians who were in that meeting in Trump Tower with Don Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner. Is there any reason why should anyone expect those Russians who attended that meeting to tell the truth? How much stock should we put in them?

HALL: There is absolutely in my view no reason whatsoever to believe that those Russians would have told the truth. Look, these are Russian citizens, now they are on American soil as I understand it, but, you know, even if you ask them to put up their right hands and, you know, pledge to tell the truth, what they're going to really have to do is do what they've been told to do by their masters and by their handlers back in Russia.

They will be out of United States quickly and beyond the reach of U.S. law. It's not to say that what they say isn't of use and isn't perhaps interesting to see what their spin and what their view is on it. But I don't think we should confuse that with them telling the truth.

One question that I have about this is whether or not any Russian handlers from the Russian embassy or other Russian officials in the United States were present because if this is, as I suspect, an intelligence operation, these were cutouts, I would be very nervous about putting folks like that in front of either Bob Mueller or any of the oversight groups. That would be -- that would make me nervous as a Russian intelligence officer.

BROWN: I want to just get your take quickly on CNN's exclusive reporting that the man they call Vladimir Putin's chef was actually behind the troll -- Russian troll factory. He -- look at this, he served caviar to President Bush in 2002. Just look at this picture, and to think this is the guy, the chef of Putin who was behind the Russian troll farm. What do you know about him? Any thoughts?

HALL: Well, oligarchs come in a lot of different shapes and sizes in Russia. You know, you can be a railroad guy, you can be an oil guy, you can be a restaurant guy. Really all you have to do is be favored by Putin, be allowed to make a whole lot of money but understanding always that there will be something that the Kremlin may come to you for in return. And in this case, it looks like what it was, was opening up a troll farm and running this sort of -- this sort of propaganda and influence operations.

And you know, you have to understand that this also gives Putin a great deal of deniability. He can say look, this is not a Russian intelligence officer, this is not a Russian government official. This is a patriotic Russian, you know, who was concerned about whatever it is. And he understands that there are people in the West who will be confused by that and perhaps even say, well, you know, maybe he's right. And that's exactly the earmark of a good active measure's operation on the part of Russian intelligence.

BROWN: Just fascinating to hear you break it all down for us. Steve Hall, thank you.

HALL: Sure.

BROWN: Well, coming up, a landmark moment in the war on terror, ISIS' de facto capital has been liberated. CNN takes you to Raqqa, Syria, for a rare look inside a terrorist prison where captives tried to do everything they could not to be forgotten.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:28:40] BROWN: It was an emotional moment, U.S.-backed fighters declaring the Syrian city of Raqqa fully liberated.

These scenes unthinkable just weeks ago. Dancing hand in hand with music blaring, the Syrian forces that drove ISIS from its self- declared capital celebrated what they call a brutal defeat.

Our CNN international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has been reporting from Raqqa and brings us a rare look inside a former ISIS prison.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ISIS usually leaves places looking like this in their self-declared capital. It was no different, with one exception.

Where are the people? Hardly a soul here but the victors swarming around ISIS' old HQ, the stadium.

(On camera): It's extraordinary to stand exactly where ISIS just a matter of weeks or months ago may in fact have been plotting attacks against the West. This, the stadium, one of the symbols of their presence here.

(Voice-over): It was underground where this place mattered most, torture, imprisonment of foreigners, even their own.

(On camera): Eerily, graffiti here, some of it actually explaining to prisoners why they were here. One saying, "If you're reading this, there's four main reasons why you're here. You did the crime and were caught red handed.

[20:30:03] Using Twitter, GPS locations, or having GPS location switched to pawn all on a mobile phone, uploading videos and photos from a sensitive Wi-Fi account source, i.e., you need your emir's permission, which you didn't do. Be patient, be patient, be patient. The enemy of the Muslim, Satan, will do every whispering while you stare at the wall or the floor."

(Voice-over): Further down still, the hazard that still remains. A city beset by tunnels that run deep. The main fight may be over but the flame that ISIS's sick ideas lit flickers worldwide online. The global fight here for its volunteers, though, is over.

(On camera): How was it?

JOHN, VOLUNTEER: Sad now that we're not fighting anymore.

WALSH: You enjoyed it?

JOHN: Yes, like -- yes.

WALSH (voice-over): John is on his way back to sleepy Colorado.

(On camera): How close to ISIS did you get?

JOHN: Like seven meters, you can see them running in the street.

WALSH: Is this kind of a thrill for you?

JOHN: It's better than sitting in a desert doing nothing, drinking chai.

WALSH (voice-over): Will life for him be the same again?

JOHN: I'm 34. I was doing customer support fixing computers and stuff.

WALSH (on camera): Right.

JOHN: So I don't know what I'm going to do.

WALSH: So probably not that.

JOHN: Probably not that.

WALSH (voice-over): What life can return here, where the only building not eviscerated is a hospital where ISIS held human shields. This is the only ISIS fighter we saw, the bodies cleaned up fast.

In the dust of this refugee camp where many have fled misery are these new sparkling tents, home to 200 ISIS fighters and their families who surrendered after a negotiated deal. We weren't allowed to talk to them. They once lived on and in fear. Yet fear drove them to surrender and a future uncertain almost certainly now haunts their nights under the cold canopies here.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Raqqa, Syria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Our thanks to Nick.

And coming up, fighting to end the conspiracy of silence, another Oscar-winning actress steps forward with accusations against Harvey Weinstein. Her stunning account up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:36:23] BROWN: And we are back with the fallout, new fallout in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The Director's Guild of America has now filed these preliminary charges against him. So that will likely lead to his expulsion.

Now the news follows yet another actress's account that the sexual harassment that she endured from the disgraced Hollywood mogul. In a stunning new "New York Times" op-ed, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o says she was invited to Weinstein's home back in 2011 under the pretense of screening a film. Well, she alleges that Weinstein then pressured her to go into his bedroom, where he asked her to give her a massage and then tried to take his pants off.

Nyong'o also claimed she turned down another advance by Weinstein not long after the massage incident and when she asked if they were good, Weinstein allegedly said, quote, "I don't know about your career, but you'll be fine."

And Nyong'o says she's speaking out now to end the conspiracy of silence. Writing, "Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein by speaking up, speaking out, and speaking together, we've regained that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now."

And Weinstein has unequivocally denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Joining me now to discuss CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.

You know, Brian, there are so many similarities between her accounts and the dozens of other women who have come forward alleging similar things. And now there are investigations in more than just Los Angeles, right?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That's right. New York, London, and Los Angeles. Police departments in all three cities are speaking with accusers of Harvey Weinstein, trying to find out if it's public to bring a case against him. It may be difficult, or maybe relatively easy. It depends on whether police can corroborate these case and whether they fall within the statute of limitations.

But we know that at least in some of these cases they could be able to prosecute. In New York, for example, a rape allegation from 2004. In Los Angeles, an allegation from 2013. Relatively recent allegations against Weinstein.

BROWN: And whenever something like this happens, you have all these people coming out sharing their stories, it raises the question, who else knew about this?

STELTER: Yes.

BROWN: And when? And Harvey Weinstein's company has actually written an open letter denying that they ever knew about this behavior that they were in some way complicit in the behavior. They write, "We all knew that we were working for a man with an infamous temper. We did not know we were working for a serial sexual predator. We knew that our boss could be manipulative. We did not know that he used his power to systematically assault and silence women."

What more can you tell us?

STELTER: The company is in limbo right now. It's about to be sold, but the staff is in the dark. And that's why these 30 staffers wanted to write this letter and say, hey, you think we knew, we didn't know. We knew that he could be a creep, we knew that he was cheating on his wife but not that he was a serial predator. So these staffers are trying to break from the idea that everybody in Hollywood knew.

I think the truth is, people in Hollywood had different levels of knowledge. If you were his assistant, you might have known one thing. If you were Quentin Tarantino, we can talk about, you might have known a different thing. So there were different levels of knowledge about Weinstein.

BROWN: Or maybe a suspicion to actually seeing something going wrong. And you mentioned Quentin Tarantino, the director, he actually gave a very candid interview where he says he wishes that he had done more. He said, "I knew enough to do more than I did. There was more to it than just the normal rumors and normal gossip. It wasn't secondhand, I knew he did a couple of these things."

STELTER: Yes.

BROWN: What has been the reaction to that?

STELTER: It's a better-late-than-never situation.

[20:40:02] You know, good on Tarantino for sharing this finally in an interview with the "New York Times," but he's admitting that he knew about the behavior decades ago and didn't speak up at the time. And I think there were a lot of people like Tarantino that have some measure of regret. I think Tarantino more than others because he was so closely affiliated with Weinstein. Their career kind of grew together in Hollywood. But there are others and executives and agents and stars that have other levels of regret as well about why they didn't question more or look more deeply or focus more on this behavior.

You know, there were lots of women who had isolated stories and sometimes the dots weren't connected at the time until now actually.

BROWN: You really are seeing this movement and what some are calling the so-called Weinstein effect. Tell us about that.

STELTER: Well, if you look at just the past week, a top executive at Amazon forced out. An executive here in New York at Vox Media forced out. We've seen a number of resignations and firings and other revelations and newspaper articles about men in Hollywood and other industries that have alleged to be engaged in harassment. Not just once or twice, but a pattern or behavior over years or decades. And all of these stories are really a result of the Weinstein scandal.

We know that Harvey Weinstein's off in Arizona apparently in some sort of rehab. I'm told by his spokeswoman this weekend that he's going to be in treatment for another month. But Weinstein sort of doesn't matter anymore. The bigger picture here is what happens all across Hollywood and other industries, whether it's the fashion industry or in politics. There's been open letters in Sacramento, for example, the California state house, lobbyists and others in Sacramento saying, we need change here. There is a culture of sexual harassment. We've seen that in the animation industry.

BROWN: Mm-hmm.

STELTER: All of these far-flung examples of the Weinstein effect.

BROWN: It's all sort of coming together and you know, I know the hope is that perhaps the culture will change but also that companies will perhaps handle it differently when someone comes to them and says look, I was sexually harassed. I mean, we're just learning Bill O'Reilly was resigned after a sexual harassment settlement a month before. Right?

STELTER: A $32 million harassment settlement.

BROWN: Yes.

STELTER: The company says it didn't know price tag, but maybe it should have. You know, there are cases where people are given second, third, fourth chances. Maybe that's changing now.

BROWN: All right. We hope so. Brian Stelter, thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.

BROWN: Coming up, President Trump in times of tragedy like the Las Vegas massacre, why does he choose to say things like this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle, the police department has done such an incredible job.

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[20:46:00] BROWN: President Trump just doesn't seem to want to let it the go. He tweeted again this morning about a congresswoman in Florida calling her whacky and a disaster after she claimed he was insensitive in a call to a Gold Star widow. But it's hardly the first time Trump's words have gotten him into a little bit of trouble during a time of tragedy.

CNN's Tom Foreman explains.

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TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hurricane Harvey slams Texas. The president salutes the calamity then spins to the relief effort.

TRUMP: It's been really nice. It's been a wonderful thing. It's -- as tough as this was, it's been a wonderful thing.

FOREMAN: Maria's dark clouds hit Puerto Rico and he embraces the silver lining.

TRUMP: But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing, nobody's ever seen anything like this, what is your -- what is your death count as of this moment, 17?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixteen.

FOREMAN: Even when a gunman slaughters dozens in Nevada, he looks beyond the sadness.

TRUMP: And what happed in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job.

FOREMAN: For his political opponents, President Trump often runs long on political posturing and short on empathy, especially when it comes to the military.

TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.

FOREMAN: During the campaign he trashed Senator John McCain, a longtime prisoner of war in Vietnam.

TRUMP: He's a war hero because was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK?

FOREMAN: Trump accepted a Purple Heart from a veteran even though he never served, let alone got wounded.

TRUMP: I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.

KHIZR KHAN, GOLD STAR FATHER: You have sacrificed nothing and no one.

FOREMAN: And of course there was his titanic confrontation with the father of an American officer killed in combat, who spoke at the Democratic convention. TRUMP: Who wrote that? Did Hillary's script writers write it?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: How would you answer that father? What sacrifice have you made for your country?

TRUMP: I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I've created thousands and thousands of jobs.

FOREMAN: And it continues. In so many moments that would appear to demand sensitivity, the president unapologetically focuses on optimism and strength.

TRUMP: I was having fun. They were having fun. They said, throw them to me, throw them to me, Mr. President.

FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

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BROWN: Our thanks to Tom Foreman.

Coming up on this Sunday, pierogis in Pittsburgh. Anthony Bourdain delves into a dining scene that's booming. But is it good for everybody? A preview of tonight's brand-new "PARTS UNKNOWN" up next.

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[20:54:08] BROWN: Well, on tonight's brand-new "PARTS UNKNOWN," Anthony Bourdain delves into a dining scene at a crossroads. Think one part working class comfort food and one part foodie boomtown. Here's a preview.

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ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN": Oh, man. I'm very happy about this. Sausage and peppers, one of my favorite things.

Botcha, the ancient game of kings. Throw the little ball, try and get the other balls close. Closer than the other guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uncle Jay, this is Anthony Bourdain.

BOURDAIN: How do you do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 103 years old. 103 years old.

BOURDAIN: Looking good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was up and down his Botcha course faster than anybody else.

[20:55:06] BOURDAIN: Delicious. This is a weakness of mine. You know, they have these street fairs in New York where they do sausage and pepper stands. I cannot walk past one of those things without getting them. So how long have you lived in this community?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 78 years.

BOURDAIN: So your whole life? Now do the first wave of Italians who came here from Italy, why'd you come here? They came here for steel jobs, coal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually trade. I think they come here more for the trade.

BOURDAIN: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, plumbers, bricklayers, any kind of trade like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some Italian said that they were told to come over here and they were going to find the roads paved with gold. They said -- they didn't tell us we had to build them first.

BOURDAIN: Yes.

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BROWN: And CNN's Ana Cabrera recently sat down with Bourdain to talk about the changing face of Pittsburgh.

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BOURDAIN: It's something we see in a lot of industrial company towns, these, you know, sort of the dream cities that were built with boundless optimism and hard work. And it's a city that still prides itself on its -- you know, sort of a romantic view of its past, working steel mills and physical labor. When really that manufacturing base has largely disappeared. And they have gone through a very, very difficult time where the population shrank considerably.

And like some of the other cities, like Detroit, like Seattle, to some degree, you know, new entrepreneurs are coming in, in the tech sector, the arts, and the service industry. And of course, that causes the old-timers to get cranky. The nature of the city is changing. Who are all of these hipsters? Who are all of these people coming in?

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It's hard to let go of the past.

BOURDAIN: Expensive coffee bars. Who gets to live in -- you know, property values are cheap now. It's a very livable and affordable city, and a beautiful one. But of course, as new people are lured to the city, the property values will go up, rents will go up. And it will become increasingly difficult for those who stuck it out through all the bad times to continue to live there in some cases.

So again a trade-off and again part of that transition we're seeing so many beautiful places that -- you know, where the company left town. A transition from manufacturing to the service industry.

CABRERA: How do you see the food scene playing a role in the revitalization? BOURDAIN: There are often, you know, sort of the hip restaurant, the

hip farm-to-table restaurant is often the tipping point. It's the game changer for a neighborhood. And that brings with it, you know, one successful sort of trendy but delicious restaurant that gets a lot of national attention. It started to happen in Pittsburgh, about 10 years ago. You know, that inspires other people to open similar businesses and soon you have a -- revitalized, albeit more expensive neighborhood that may be very different than the one before, but it brings in new people, attracts talent, attracts money and causes change.

CABRERA: Do these chefs, these owners of some of these restaurants or facilities feel like they have a responsibility to the wider community?

BOURDAIN: I think many chefs, most chefs, perhaps understand the impact, both good and bad, that they are having on their neighborhood and are doing their best to be a positive force within their neighborhood or not an outside entity. But I think, you know, you've got to be realistic about who's going to be -- who's probably going to be eating in your restaurant, your $29.95 order of scallops and who won't be.

CABRERA: And traditional food there is more on the Italian or the Polish side.

BOURDAIN: Yes.

CABRERA: Do you find that that, too, is evolving in terms of the types of food that are influencing these communities?

BOURDAIN: You can still get, you know, beer and pierogi, just like the old days, and a lot of that eastern European, southern Italian, for sure, that's still available. But now you have sort of hipster homages to that cuisine, as well.

CABRERA: And when I think of hipster, I'm thinking like farm-to- table, and some of that stuff.

BOURDAIN: Yes, lighter, prettier-looking versions of traditional Polish food, for instance, you see here and there, rather than the -- you know, a pierogi that's hanging over the side of your plate, maybe a cute little one with a little bit of foam on top.

CABRERA: And what fun is that?

BOURDAIN: There is something to be said for it, sure.

CABRERA: Sounds delicious, nonetheless.

BOURDAIN: Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And a brand-new "PARTS UNKNOWN: PITTSBURGH" airs next right here on CNN. That does it for me. I'm Pamela Brown. Thanks so much for spending a

part of your Sunday evening with me. Hope you have a great week.