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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump, Putin Shake Hands at Photo Op; WSJ: Flynns Were Offered Up to $15M to "Forcibly Remove" Cleric to Turkey; Kinzinger: Roy Moore "Needs To Step Aside Now"; Moore: I Don't Remember Ever Dating Any Girl Without The Permission Of Her Mother; A New Approach To Post Traumatic Stress. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired November 10, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:31:55] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And we're back with the world lead.
President Trump is marking this Veterans Day in Vietnam, which so obviously the site of one of the most controversial and scarring American wars. While at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, the president signed a proclamation honoring those who served in Vietnam and in Southeast Asia for almost 20 years.
Then all eyes were on the class photo as President Trump shook hands with Russian president Vladimir Putin among others.
CNN's Sara Murray is also in Vietnam and joins me now live.
Sara, before ever leaving for Asia, it was President Trump who said he expected to meet with Putin. Is it unusual that now the White House and the Kremlin cannot seem to find time for a sit-down?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, it was a little bit bizarre today to see the White House essentially scrap any notion of a formal bilateral meeting between President Trump and President Putin because it was Trump himself who left for this trip said he expected to meet with Putin, a senior administration official briefed reporters and said that they expected North Korea would be a top topic of that meeting.
And then we heard from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said he didn't see of any reason for these two presidents to meet unless there were some deliverables, some big issues on the agenda where they could make progress. That seemed to be the beginning of the White House walking it back, and then all of a sudden, no formal meeting to be had, perhaps just a pull-aside. Now, the president is still in the country for a few more hours. That could still happen.
And, Jake, it's worth noting that these meetings are always fraught between the U.S. and Russia. There is always a lot of jockeying until the last minute to try to make these happen, but obviously, the relationship between President Trump and President Putin has many more clouds hanging over it, whether it's Russia's meddling in the 2016 election or the many ongoing investigations back into the United States, into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian officials in the context of that campaign.
TAPPER: And that's, of course, the question. The trip it seems to have been largely positive, seems to be going in a largely positive direction for President Trump. But can he escape this Russia cloud?
MURRAY: Well, that might be one of the reasons they didn't want to have this formal sit-down with Putin. This is a president who is very unscripted, who has made it through a very long and grueling trip through Asia with essentially no gaffes. He had no major victories but he had no major issues either. So, it's possible he doesn't want to leave with the headline being a major sit-down between President Trump and President Putin, but it's also very clear that even if this is not what the White House wants to focus on this week, they certainly cannot escape the headlines that continue to play out back home, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray in Vietnam for us, thank you so much.
Explosive allegations against former national security adviser Michael Flynn involving millions of dollars, a foreign nation and possibly removing a cleric from this country.
Plus, a Republican congressman weighs in on what the Senate should do with Roy Moore.
All that next.
[16:38:42] TAPPER: We're back with our world lead now.
A bizarre twist in the Russia investigation involving Michael Flynn, a major foreign power and a possible multimillion dollar payday.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether President Trump's since fired national security adviser along with his son were offered $15 million to allegedly forcibly remove a Muslim cleric from the U.S. and send him back to Turkey. This is according to a report that broke in "The Wall Street journal."
CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown now picks up the story.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a bombshell allegation.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr. were offered up to $15 million to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S., according to "The Wall Street Journal."
CNN has learned special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the Flynns' role in his alleged plot. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that the FBI has already questioned several people regarding a meeting between the Flynns and Turkish government representatives in mid- December at the 21 Club in Manhattan. At the time, Flynn was just weeks away from starting his new role as Donald Trump's national security adviser.
MIKE FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The next president of the United States right here.
BROWN: In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria conducted before "The Wall Street Journal" story broke and airing Sunday on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," the Turkish prime minister denies any deals were ever made with Flynn, but hoped Flynn's previous work for the Turkish government would help him win an extradition.
[16:40:15] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Had Michael Flynn provided you with any assurance that it would happen?
BINALI YILDIRIM, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER: No, no, no. No one is -- we are not dealing with Michael Flynn. We are dealing with the government of the United States.
ZAKARIA: But he was national security adviser.
YILDIRIM: And after that, he left.
BROWN: At this point, it's not known if a deal was reached or whether money was exchanged for this proposed plan of forced extradition.
The December meeting follows revelations of related discussions months before during the campaign. Former CIA Director James Woolsey was part of a meeting in September with Flynn and Turkish officials about potential ways to get a rival of Turkish President Erdogan back to Turkey to face charges.
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: There was at least some strong suggestion by the -- one or more of the Americans present at the meeting to the Turks that we would be able, the United States would be able through them to get hold of Gulen.
BROWN: At the time, a spokesman for Flynn denied there were any talks about physically removing Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric leader and a legal permanent resident of the U.S. Erdogan blamed the failed military coup attempt in July last year on Gulen who has been living in exile at this compound in Pennsylvania.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey. If we are strategic partners or model partners, do what is necessary.
BROWN: And Flynn is also in hot water for undisclosed lobbying that he did during the presidential campaign on behalf of the Turkish government. He retroactively registered as a foreign agent. And meantime, the government of Turkey must provide proof of a crime to have Gulen extradited.
I'm told by sources that has not happened yet. Meantime, Jake, the attorneys for the Flynns have not provided comment on this story.
TAPPER: All right. Pamela Brown, thank you so much.
And joining me now is Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL), HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: You bet.
TAPPER: So was is appropriate for Michael Flynn, the incoming national security adviser, to be doing Turkey's bidding in such a manner while President Obama was still in office?
KINZINGER: Absolutely not. If this is in fact confirmed, and I've been a huge advocate for saying let the special investigator do his work, Mr. Mueller. I think he's doing a good job of uncovering what needs to be uncovered. People deserve these answers.
But if in fact this was true that the general was in essence offering to sell a forceable removal of this cleric outside of the will or the extrajudicial process of the United States, to benefit personally from it, that's a massive problem. I don't know the exact codes this violates or the exact laws, but I can tell you working outside of the U.S. government's extradition process or even political decision- making process, if this is in fact true, this is a huge issue and sounds like we will get to bottom of whatever that is.
TAPPER: One thing we know for a fact is that Flynn did fail to disclose his lobbying for Turkey until after he had been fired from the White House for misleading Vice President Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
What about that? We know for a fact that he didn't disclose the lobbying for Turkey until too late I guess.
KINZINGER: Yes, another huge issue. And, you know, on some of these when people say I didn't remember a certain meeting or whatever, I can give some credence to that in some cases because I understand some people are in thousands of meetings or whatever, you know, every week and you can forget. When it comes to whether you had lobbying ties with a foreign government, this is why I wasn't a huge fan of Michael Flynn from the very beginning. And in fact, on early interviews, I said this is like the one administration pick that I worry about and it's coming to fruition.
So, to hide that information is not just to some level a federal crime to hide that information, but I think it goes to show that maybe he was working other issues around it. But, again, that's what the great thing about Mueller, he's going to get to the bottom of that. And I think any charges that are appropriate will be forthcoming.
TAPPER: What do you make of Stephen Miller, the White House policy adviser, having been interviewed as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation? Which obviously brings it even closer to President Trump's inner circle.
KINZINGER: I don't know what to make of it. It's tough to read the tea leaves. I mean, Robert Mueller surprised us with an indictment, you know, that happened a month prior that was announced, you know, a month later. So I think there is a lot that we don't necessarily see or know where it's going.
I think he's going to do his job. I think right now it's a huge stretch and probably a bridge too far to say this goes up to President Trump, but I think anyone around him that is guilty whether it's any version of collusion or hiding information or whatever, we're going to get to the bottom of that.
And I think ultimately he's going to do his job and I think he's a very honorable person and will get to the bottom of whatever that information is.
TAPPER: Before you go, Congressman, I'm interested in your thoughts. What do you think the Republican Party, Senate Republican leaders should do about Senate Candidate Roy Moore?
KINZINGER: Well, I think Roy Moore needs to step aside now. These allegations are disgusting and I believe them against him. And there is no way to defend this. And secondly, I think the Senate should say that they will refuse to seat him or in fact expel him if he is the -- if he is the Senator from Alabama. Look, Alabama has a right to pick their Senators, but this is beyond the pale to have this kind of contact with somebody when they were 14 years old. I don't care how long ago it was. He was an adult. And you know, there could be more information coming forward. Who knows. But this is a bridge too far and the Republican Party ought to disown every aspect of him.
TAPPER: Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thanks so much.
KINZINGER: You bet. Thanks.
TAPPER: And my panel is back with me. You Heard Congressman Kinzinger, a Conservative Republican, but something -- somewhat independent-minded when it comes to this sorts of issues saying that Roy Moore under no uncertain terms should step aside and if he doesn't, the Republican in the Senate should refuse to seat him.
MARY KATHARINE HAM, SENIOR WRITER, THE FEDERALIST: I think this has unfortunate -- some of the unfortunately a long way to go because I don't think Roy Moore is stepping aside because when you elect somebody who's thing is that he's defiant of such social norms, he's going to be defiant of those norms and not act like a normal actor in that situation. And then there's some questions as to exactly what that means for the law. Whether the Republican Party would consider removing him from the ballot, he doesn't actually come off the ballot. But then what happens if a bunch people vote for him which I do think many of them will. (INAUDIBLE) you can do a write-in for Luther Strange. By the way, Luther Strange signed a bill that said -- makes write-ins harder in that situation. So that's all -- there are a lot of steps here before you get to the part where the Senate would do that. but I think McConnell has prided himself in the past of being hard on this kind of scandal in particular so it's a tough thing for him to be in. TAPPER: I want you to listen to another excerpt from Roy Moore's
radio interview with Sean Hannity. Obviously one of the contexts of this story is it's not just this alleged sexual assault of a14-year- old, it is the idea that when he was in his 30s, he liked dating girls in their teens, 18, 17, 16, 14 are the ages in that story. So Sean Hannity asked him about that. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Would it be normal behavior back in those days for you to date a girl that's 17 or 18?
MOORE: No, not normal.
HANNITY: If my daughter is 17 -- my daughter is 16 years old -- if she's 17 or 18, I don't want her dating a 32-year-old.
MOORE: I wouldn't either.
HANNITY: And you can say unequivocally you never dated anybody that was in their late teens like that when you were 32.
MOORE: It would have been out of -- out of my customary behavior, that's right.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: It would have been out of my customary behavior is not no.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Not a total denial.
TAPPER: I mean, I can tell you, I didn't get married until I was 37. I did not date any teenagers in my 30s period.
POWERS: Right. No, it wasn't --
TAPPER: It's not a difficult question to answer is what I'm saying.
POWERS: It's something you know the answer to. I think that's right, I don't think it was a clear denial of that. So, now, you know, I don't -- I mean, there is a difference between an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old also.
POWERS: Legally, right. So I think that, you know, I mean, either would be deeply disturbing, but I think that you know, we just kind of get back to, you know, how do you decide when you look at these cases whether or not to believe the allegations? And sometimes there are allegations that are not true, though it is rare that that happens. In this case, if you look the story and I would just encourage everyone to go and read the Washington Post story if they haven't. You know this is a pretty compelling case. When you have 30 sources, you have also -- you have to ask what would the motive be of this14- year-old to have real-time told two friends about it, who remember it and remember specifics about it. It doesn't really make sense because did she somehow know in 40 years that he was going to be running for the Senate and she was going to try to take him down? I mean, it really doesn't make sense. And so I think when you consider that, I think you have Republicans looking at this, the Mitt Romneys and saying this is obviously true.
TAPPER: Or the Adam Kinzingers. He said I believe her. He should step aside.
HAM: It's a bit of a tell when the tone of the denials such that they are, are like Roy Moore's.
TAPPER: That would be out of character for me to do such a thing.
HAM: Right. A friend of his in Alabama who didn't really say, oh, my gosh, I can't imagine that that would ever happen. It was more like, eh, is this such a big deal? That is a tell that no one is sort of flatly saying absolutely not.
TAPPER: And you also hear people at places like Breitbart drawing real distinctions between the age-- the age of consent in Alabama was and is 16 years old. And you hear people who are supportive of Roy Moore really drawing that line. Oh, 17, 18, that's no big deal. The only one is problematic is this one allegation and we don't believe it. And I just have to say, I don't know that even though legally, yes, 16 is the age of consent, I don't know that morally or ethically it's -- there's really that much of a difference between 16 and 14.
[16:50:11] POWERS: No, I don't think so. But I think as a legal matter there's a difference. And so that's -- but yes, there were people that -- you know, the Washington Post was going through and also interviewing after the story ran interviewing various people in Alabama. And more than one said what you just said, which is there is nothing really wrong with that.
TAPPER: Hannity also asked Roy Moore if he remembered dating anyone who was in their late teens. Listen to this response.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MOORE: I don't remember that and I don't remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: I don't remember dating any girl without permission of her mother. Mary Katharine, when asked if he ever dated anybody in their late teens.
HAM: Yes, that seems to suggest that either he was a very chivalrous man who always asked the permission of the mother or that he was dating some women who perhaps he needed the permission of the mother.
TAPPER: I mean, it's just -- this is not how somebody who didn't do it answers questions. POWERS: Right. Yes, I mean, I think he's trying to kind of -- you
know, obviously Sean didn't press him on this.
TAPPER: Kudos to him for asking the questions, so I have to say.
POWERS: Yes, but I think he's been defending him, hasn't he?
TAPPER: For that, I'm just saying.
HAM: Interestingly, I think the tone did shift in this radio interview and perhaps that is because the messages coming from overseas are delayed. Perhaps someone is upset about this.
TAPPER: Kirsten and Mary Katharine, thanks so much. I really appreciate it. Coming up next, this Veterans Day Weekend, using the strength that the military gives to our veterans to help heal those same heroes. Stay with us.
[16:55:00] TAPPER: We're back with the "BURIED LEAD" now. That's what we call stories we think are not getting enough attention. Ahead of Veterans Day, we're taking a close look at a new first of its kind way of treating post-traumatic stress. It's something that hundreds of thousands of veterans and other people are coping with. A new program is approaching PTS for veterans differently. Taking the kind of military training that soldiers know well and using it to help them prepare for post-war life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just see what happens when you greet them.
TAPPER: You might think you've seen a story like this one before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You stop before he moves away.
TAPPER: I mean, this is familiar for a Veterans Day piece, right? Gentle Giants, team-building exercises, and counselors aiming to treat post-traumatic stress. But here at Boulder Crest Retreat near Washington D.C., everything is not as it seems.
KEN FALKE, FOUNDER, BOULDER CREST RETREAT: I spent 19 1/2 years disposing of bombs. In my profession, you just can't keep making this same mistakes over and over. And when we look at what happens in traditional therapy and medication therapy, it just -- it seems to be the same mistake over and over.
TAPPER: Founder Ken Falke and a staff of veterans are approaching post-traumatic stress, not as a disorder tore treat, but a mission to train for.
FALKE: We created a training program, not a mental health therapy program, and we can -- took combat veterans and created a peer-to-peer model that's overseen by clinical psychologists and therapist.
TAPPER: The end goal is post-traumatic growth. Using veterans' worst experiences to make them stronger.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We believe in struggling to strength. That's what we believe.
TAPPER: And today, it's old concept now being applied to a curriculum for veterans and their spouses in the first of its kind program.
DERICK CARVER, ARMY VETERANS: Everyday people in everyday world are taking negatives and turning it into positives. Why are veterans any different?
TAPPER: Former Army Captain Derick Carver lost his leg in 2010 in Afghanistan after his platoon was ambushed. Carver is fully embracing the challenges of this program with a personal aim in mind.
CARVER: I hope to be the person I was supposed to be before I got blown up. No veteran wants to be a statistic. And if you can find something that helps you move away from that and it helps you get closer to where you want to be, then you should absolutely take advantage of it.
TAPPER: In partnership with the Garrison East Foundation and the Disabled American Veterans, this privately funded nonprofit's unique program starts with seven intense days here in Virginia. But physical exercises, meditation, discussion, and art are just the beginning. Veterans then return home for 18 months of additional practice and guidance.
CARVER: I'm not going to come up to my platoon sergeant and go, hey, can I talk about my feelings? Something's wrong here. You're nonoperational. What should be said is, are you going to be OK? Hey, man, I'm experiencing the same thing. It's all right. It's natural.
TAPPER: The effectiveness of this unique approach is currently being researched by psychologists advising the program. After three months, their data suggests participants' symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety decreased by about half. The V.A. says that while it does not require measurement of post-traumatic growth, as part of its current mental health programs, it is, "supportive of any program that effectively treats and has veterans' well-being at its core." As the sun sets over Boulder Crest, the veterans gather around the fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you know showing up.
TAPPER: Reflecting on whether the trauma of their past can actually empower their future.
TAPPER: Veterans are able to attend Boulder Crest free of charge and the program is expanding, another campus just opened last month here in Arizona. Here at THE LEAD, we want to take this time to recognize all of our nation's service members and their families and thanking the service members in particular for their service and sacrifice. Be sure to tune in this Sunday morning for CNN's "STATE OF THE NATION." My guest will be Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and the Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin. It all starts at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern only on CNN. That is it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I'm turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Have a great and restful weekend. Happy Veterans Day.