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Trump Consistent with America First Policy; Russia Probe Expands its Web; Trump Said U.S. Not to be Taken Advantage Of; Sexual Misconduct Cases Muddy Entertainment Industry; Senator Paul's Attacker Faces Court. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired November 10, 2017 - 03:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, HOST, CNN: Make world trade fair again. That's the basic message from the U.S. president as he addresses Asia's economic leaders.

An explosive allegation with political implications. Fall out after a Senate hopeful is accused of preying on teenage girls. And yet, another Hollywood sex scandal critically acclaimed comedian Louis C.K. is the latest entertainer accused of sexual misconduct.

Live from CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN Newsroom starts right now.

Three a.m. on the U.S. East Coast the U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam this day. The issue of trade front and center there. Mr. Trump telling leaders that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit the U.S. will no longer engage in large international trade agreements that he says that ties the U.S. hands. Instead, he said that the U.S. would engage in one on one trade deals with any country in the region that abides by fair trade rules. And that it would shutout any countries that don't.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: The America first message tailored for a different audience there. Beyond the president's message to world leaders there's been another lingering question. Will Mr. Trump meet with his Russian counterpart Putin? There are confusing signals on that front.

The White House saying there's no formal meeting on President Trump's schedule although the men could bump into each other.

Russian officials have raised the possibly the two men would talk one on one. Let's now bring in CNN's Nic Robertson following the president live

from Da Nang. It's good to have you with us, Nick. So let's talk about the president's comments on the stage there. Their criticism of the World Trade Organization, the topic of North Korea certainly on the table. What more did he have to say?

NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Sure. On the issue of the World Trade Organization President Trump said something that we have heard him say before which is he doesn't feel that the World Trade Organization arbitrates fairly with the United States in terms of terms trading with other countries.

He said that the United States was no longer sort of look the other way where there are cases where intellectual property rights were being abused. That one he made very clear. He also talks about the issue of, you know, in some countries some government unfairly support the companies that the United States are trying to do business with. That was an imbalance, that something that the United States not going to be -- not going to be tolerated.

Interestingly, subsequent to President Trump speaking, President Xi has spoken that President Trump talks about making bilateral relationships with all these different countries when he's assuring globalization. President Xi said globalization really is the way of the future and those that don't share in globalization are really sort of stopping the progress of their countries.

That was an interesting comment. But President Trump also speaking the problem of North Korea, the threat of North Korea and calling for all those nations the president -- present here at APEC to be united towards North Korea's aspirations, towards nuclear weapons.

This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The future of this region and its beautiful people must not be held hostage to a dictator's twisted fantasies of violent conquest and nuclear blackmail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: So I think when it comes to trade certainly everyone here has heard President Trump and he won applause at times for this sort of nationalist populist message that, you know, I look out for my country and you should look out for yours as well.

But it does seem to be a push back in the words and minds of some of the leaders here that that's not necessarily how they see the better future of the region of this economic relationships and ties here, George.

HOWELL: OK, so let's push on that point there, Nic. So the president did speak about renewed partnership throughout the region in direct contrast to his America first message that rallies his base as we mentioned a moment ago. The message we heard America first almost tailored to the audience

there. So for anyone looking for further clarification did his message today allay any concerns about the prospect of America becoming less of a player in the region?

ROBERTSON: Well, he said that the United States was very much concerned about keeping, you know, an open and free Indo-Pacific region that specifically it appeared speaking about China and China's apparent expansionist measures in the South China Sea.

[03:05:07] He said it was important the United States supported all countries in the region for having, you know, free (inaudible) free over flight access and this is something that China is really, you know, that China has called on U.S. flights overflying that area to vacate the area and military flights near those islands that China has been militarizing in the South China Sea.

So it's a contentious issue, so, yes. That will go some way to reminding that all the countries here that the United States does have a vested interest in what happens here.

But his message before it was uplifting, if you will, and aspirational at the beginning talking about how all the different nations here in this region had prospered economically, had done well over the last 30, or 40, or 50 years talking about it as a constellation of stars.

You know, talking about them as individuals. Individual countries, individual identities. So that moment where he had everyone applauding where America first and your countries first really is that speaking towards nationalism and populism. And yes, that is something that countries can get behind, but there seems at the level of trade and aspiration for what globalization can do. And President Trump seems to be issuing that at the moment.

HOWELL: The possibility of Mr. Trump meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin would be an important meeting with regards to many fronts. North Korea sanctions against Russia, and certainly the optics carries significance given the ongoing investigations into President Trump's campaign in 2016 possible collusion with Russia. So with regards to that meeting will it happen? Are we hearing any new signs? Because there is a great deal of uncertainty.

ROBERTSON: I think at the moment the best way to read it is it's not going to happen other than on the margins of the meeting. You know, we have heard the White House press spokesperson say it's a scheduling issue. We understand that President Trump had a degree of time, a number of hours this afternoon where he could hold bilateral meetings.

So, are there other meetings going on that preclude this? If there are we don't know about them. It's really being held out that there's a possibility that President Trump can meet on the margins of APEC here and for sure, it was seeming conceivable that somehow they won't bump into each other. Will it become a pull aside, rather than a bilateral?

Remember back to Hamburg at the G20 last year where it was rumored to be, it was going to be they weren't going to meet, they might see each other, then it was going to be a pull aside, then it got upgraded to a bilateral.

And it seem that the Russians back in the summer really favored having it upgraded to a bilateral. And it seems it's the U.S. side again this resisting going to sort of elevate the level of any meeting that they might have. The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it's not really worth doing this.

And this regard to something substantive, you know, to agree here. And there are differences the optics of how that meeting went in Hamburg last -- in the summer this year, it didn't play out very well for the White House. It was sort of kept shrouded in secrecy than policy secrecy. You know, the agenda kept rolling out. Slowly it had to be clarified. It didn't work well for the White House.

There are other issues apart from that of course that central issue of Russia's meddling in the U.S. elections, this issue of Syria whether appeared to be some bigger differences now than they were back in Hamburg. Hamburg there was some sort of seeing with eye to eye on ceasefires within Syria.

At the moment, there sort of a difference of opinion of the outcome. President Assad is that bone of contention his leaving the leadership of the country being one part of it.

But also you can look at it as well and see that Trump did really need to meet with Putin on the issue of North Korea. The hope that Russia could join other nations, you know, perhaps the draw, necessarily draw border of North Korea, draw North Korea into some kind of talks. George?

HOWELL: OK. So mixed messages for sure. Russian presidential officials they're saying that a meeting will happen one way or another. We'll have to see as you point, Nic, how this meeting if this meeting takes place. Live for us in Vietnam, thank you for the reporting. We'll stay in touch with you.

Now in the meantime, new details are coming to light into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections specifically from the man who once served as President Trump's personal bodyguard. He testified before Congress about what allegedly happened during a 2013 trip to Moscow. Important to note this before Mr. Trump became president.

CNN's Manu Raju has this report for us.

Reporter: President Trump's long-time confidant, former bodyguard Keith Schiller testified behind closed doors to the House intelligence committee. Now several sources familiar with that testimony tells both me and our colleague Jeremy Herb about some of the details about the trip that Schiller took with private citizen Donald Trump back in 2013 to Moscow when they were discussed -- when they went there because of Trump's involvement with the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

[03:09:59] Now what Schiller told the committee was an offer made by a Russian to send five women up to Donald Trump's hotel room that night. Now Schiller said he took it as a joke. He later told Trump about it on their way up to his hotel room that night. Trump laughed it off. Schiller waited outside the hotel room. And then after several minutes sort of left and did not know what happened the rest of the night.

The reason why this is significant is this is all part of the investigation into that so-called dossier of allegations compiled by that former British agent Christopher Steele looking into any Trump/Russian connections.

Now there are some salacious allegations in that dossier and some of those salacious actually have not been verified and this is why investigators were asking about the question, they want to know whether or not Russians had dirt on Trump, just at the same time they we meddling in the United States elections.

Now this comes as special counsel Robert Mueller own investigation is ramping up itself. He interviewed Stephen Miller, one of the most senior aide at the White House talking to him about the firing of former FBI director James Comey, as well things that happened during the campaign season, given that it is Stephen Miller who is still very close to Trump during the campaign season and at the White House.

But we are told that the Comey firing was first and foremost on the special council's mind as he starts to investigate possible obstruction of justice with the president.

Manu Raju, CNN, Washington.

HOWELL: Manu, thank you for the reporting. Before arriving in Vietnam the Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of trying to undermine his country. Specifically he is suggesting the allegations of Russian athletes involved doping could be part of the U.S. plot to meddle in next year's Russian presidential elections.

Here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is what is bothering me. The Olympics start when, in February. And when our elections in March. There are big suspicions that this is all being done of course to create for someone the necessary conditions for discontent among sport lovers.

Athletes by the fact that the state was allegedly involved in those allegations and is responsible for that. There are big suspicions that in retaliation for our alleged meddling in their election they, the United States want to create problems in the election of the president of Russia, which in case it is the case is very bad as it undermines the very idea of the Olympic movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: The International Olympic Committee is investigating the allegations of a state run doping system. It has banned six cross country skiers from the Olympics for life over doping violations.

Here in the United States the U.S. State of Alabama a republican candidate for Senate is denying allegations that he pursued relationships with teenage girls.

In an explosive report the Washington Post alleges that Roy Moore initiated a sexual encounter with this 14-year-old girl, Leigh Corfman. He was 32 years at that time. Aside from Corfman the newspaper interviewed three other women Moore allegedly pursued when they were teenagers.

Moore tweeted a series of responses to the allegations on Thursday. He vowed to never give up the fight amid calls to withdraw his candidacy. He wrote this, quote, "We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message."

The White House says that Moore should withdraw from the Senate race if the allegations are true. But right now it says it doesn't have all the facts. In a statement the White House press secretary said the following.

"Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation in this case, one from many years ago to destroy a person's life."

Republican and democratic lawmakers are also responding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE MANCHIN, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: It is awful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerning will it be for the republican...

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHIN: It's very concerning -- it's concerning for anybody. I don't care what side of the aisle you're on. That's a horrific situation. It's very concerning.

JOHN THUNE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: The allegations if true, he need, I mean, he needs to step aside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerned are you that this is going to hurt the Republican Party.

THUNE: Well, I think if he does what he should do, does the right thing and steps aside, I don't think it will hurt the Republican Party.

MIKE LEE, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: If they're true, he should step aside.

RICHARD SHELBY, (R) UNITED STATES SENATOR: Well, I don't know it's a devastating nasty story. If the -- if that's true I don't believe that there's any place for him in the U.S. Senate. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Well, a lot to talk about here. Let's bring in Amy Greene. Amy is an American political science researcher and professor at the International Research University Science Po. It's good to have you with us to talk about this.

[03:15:01] You just heard a moment there the reaction from lawmakers. It's been relatively consistent. If the allegations are true he should step aside. But Moore is framing this is more of a partisan attack. Will voters see these allegations as a matter of right and left as he is suggesting or as many people are seeing it, the difference between right and wrong?

AMY GREENE, PROFESSOR, SCIENCE PO: Yes. I think you are hitting on a key, a key dividing point. I think that republican lawmakers might wish to see it as a division between left and right as republicans being able to excuse such behavior.

But you know, following the Weinstein allegations you've seen this sort of flood gate opened with women talking about their stories of survival and victimhood.

I think that societal dialogue is changing to some extent about such issues and there's this general sense that there's no appetite any longer within U.S. society to accept such things.

So, I think that while some lawmakers may like to see it as a simple left and right matter, what you are seeing is a discussion that's changing deeper in American society or one can hope that the dialogue is starting and that there will be absolutely no tolerance for such lawmakers than, you know, or people in positions of power that abuse their power in this way.

HOWELL: Moore has indicated that he will not give up. The question here what recourse do people have if he decides to not step aside and to keep in this?

GREENE: Yes. I mean, the question is sort of, you know, what do his -- what does his party leadership impose on him? How does the party rebound from that? I mean, should he decide not to step down of course, you know, that doesn't harm him in the sort of the immediate specters but the question is the image for the entire party afterwards.

And you know, it comes down to this question of sort of moral stance that is coming back again and again, time and time again since the election of Trump where obviously issues and even beyond this one which is until where will the party, you know, not take the moral stance, not make a decision to distance itself from problematic behavior, from abusive behavior.

So, you know, you might not see a change in this, you know, the fate of this particular person in the immediate sense but the repercussions can certainly be much more far reaching for office holders and for the party in general even nationwide.

HOWELL: So, especially at a time when the subject of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct is front and center, if Moore continues on, what impact would this story would these allegations have on the party? Because again, this is something that is resonant with so many people and we heard the reaction from lawmakers but if he continues will this have a substantive impact, substantial impact?

GREENE: I mean, you could certainly think that it would and of course, you know, the republicans have been taking such an important losses in these smaller elections. I say smaller but, you know, it's not small at all these victories.

You know, the question is really looking to 2018 and what are the consequences of the party. And again, it's this question of moral high ground of what's right versus what's wrong. You know, we've been seeing a demand from women and from men all throughout the country, you know, sort of asking for stronger leadership, asking for consciousness about these issues.

You know it's interesting because we look at what's going on in Britain right now, and you know, and we see that because of the fall- out of sexual harassment allegations at the highest levels and throughout the party. You see the defense secretary, for example, stepping down.

So, you know, there can be consequences beyond, you know, one stubborn person. But I also tend to think that if the party makes this a priority, if they take a stand and say this is not acceptable. There are mechanisms within party leadership to pressure this person to step down.

So, I mean, it really does come down to a question of what is the Republican Party willing to tolerate, where does it take a stand and, you know, and when does it decide or not decide to take the moral high ground on such an important issue.

HOWELL: We'll have to see where the story goes. Amy Greene, thanks for being with us with your insight and perspective today.

GREENE: Thank you.

SHOWELL: till ahead here on CNN Newsroom another story about sexual misconduct allegations. This time against the comedian Louis C.K. We have details ahead. Also on Capitol Hill, a big day for the GOP tax plan. Stay with us.

[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell. Beyond the investigations, beyond the finger pointing, and beyond the salacious allegations some of the people's work is also being done on Capitol Hill. Thursday was a very important day for the republican tax plan. But it's not a done deal yet.

CNN's Phil Mattingly has this report for us.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Tonight for the republican tax plan one major step forward in the House. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill is passed. The committee is adjourned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: As the GOP proposal unveiled in the U.S. Senate underscores just how many differences still remain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH MCCONNELL, UNITED STATES SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: In 30 years America is ready for tax reform again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: The House Ways and Means committee voting approve their version of the tax overhaul putting the bill on track for a House floor vote next week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We ran in 2016 on doing this tax reform. The president ran on doing this tax cut and tax reform. So this is about fulfilling our promises to the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: But even after late changes to the bill to bring it in line with budgetary targets, still major differences from its newly released Senate counterpart.

The House collapses individual brackets from 7 to 4 and a top rate of 39.6 percent. The Senate seven brackets, the top rate 38.6 percent. The House bill makes immediate a corporate rate cut to 20 percent from 35 percent. The Senate bill phases that cut in over a year.

The House bill allows the state and local property tax deduction up to $10,000. The Senate bill repeals that entirely.

The House bill caps the mortgage interest deduction for new mortgages at $500,000. The Senate bill leaves that untouched. With each difference republican members and no shortage of lobbying interests fighting to keep their own preferred route alive. Potentially imperiling the bill each step of the way.

[03:25:02] GOP leaders in both chambers brushing off the differences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: And yes, the Senate bill is going to be different than the House bill because you know what, that's the legislative process. But what's encouraging in all of this is we have a framework that we established with the White House and the Senate and these bills are being written within that frame work. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Democrats remain unified in the opposition to the bill and the entire process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MINORITY LEADER: Why don't we do it where there's the least opportunity for people to review it. Let's do it very fast. Very fast. Speed of light. In the dark of night. And back rooms without even their own members. And what an insult to the intelligence of their own members, what an insult to the intelligence of the American people as they make an assault on the middle class.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: As even top GOP targets for potential bipartisanship panned the GOP path so far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANCHIN: We are not involved at all. On the Senate side being a conservative democrat fiscal conservative democrat not even asked to sit down by my republican colleagues and senators. I just don't think that's the right way to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: But for now GOP aids tell CNN they remain on track to complete the bill by President Trump's request - Christmas. Even as one aid acknowledged to CNN, quote, "there's no shortage of land mines in front of us to blow up at any time."

HOWELL: Thank you to Phil Mattingly for that report from Washington.

Still to come here on Newsroom, President Trump says the U.S. will no longer tolerate trade imbalances that harm American companies and workers. Plus, CNN has exclusive reaction from inside North Korea over President Trump's negative remarks about that nation's capital. Some responses that may surprise you.

CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta, Georgia this hour simulcast on CNN U.S. here in the states and CNN international worldwide. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:30:00] HOWELL: Three thirty a.m. here on the U.S. East Coast. Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. This is CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell. Thank you for being with us.

The U.S. president addressed leaders just a short time ago in Vietnam at the summit of Asia-Pacific leaders. He vowed to change a huge trade imbalance between the United States and other Asian countries including China. The president says decades of wad deals by previous administrations have hurt U.S. companies. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the United States enters into a trading relationship with other countries or other peoples, we will from now on expect that our partners will faithfully follow the rules just like we do. We expect that markets will be open to an equal degree on both sides.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Mike Chinoy joins us now from Hong Kong. He's a senior fellow at the U.S.-China institute at the University of Southern California. It's good to have you with us to talk about this story.

Mike, the president's message on China and trade. He says he no longer blames China but rather blames the leaders who came before him for what he sees as trade imbalances. This is clearly a major shift from the message he had for his base when running for president which was much more severe on the topic of China. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing. China is taking our jobs, our money, our base, our manufacturing. What they've done to us is the greatest single theft in the history of the world. The greatest abuser in the history of this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: So the question to you, you know, that was the message back then. A very different message now. Is all forgiven now that the president is deflecting blame to people who came before him?

MIKE CHINOY, SENIOR FELLOW, U.S.-CHINA INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: In China Trump seemed to be going out of his way to flatter the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He talked a great deal about what a close personal relationship he had. And I think what he was looking for on the trade front were signings of agreements that he can trump it as billions of dollars for American companies.

And the agreements that were signed, however, were mostly memoranda of understanding it's going to be long time before a lot of those ever come to fruition if indeed they do.

And my sense is that on the more profound structural questions U.S. access to the Chinese market, the Chinese regulations that force American companies to hand over I.T. or intellectual property for access and so on, Trump really didn't push that very hard. He was looking for kind of a quick political hit.

And I think one question going forward is once he gets back to Washington, will Trump and the people around him start to push China harder on trade because he certainly didn't appear to do so while he was in Beijing despite his tough campaign rhetoric. HOWELL: OK. So, in Vietnam we heard a more nuance, you could say,

maybe a refrained message of America first. The president suggesting to other nations that he will put America first, he expects other nations to do the same. This populous message that seems in contrast to world leaders. Many of these leaders focused on growth through globalism.

So do other nations welcome those populous points of view, that new direction? Or do they dismiss that and just move on without the U.S.?

CHINOY: I think it was very telling that just before Trump arrived in Vietnam there were reports that the other countries who had along with the U.S. negotiated this Transpacific Partnership, the TPP, the Pan Asian trade deal, which Trump pulled out of, announced plan to try to go ahead and move ahead without the United States.

I think what that tells you is that rest of the countries in the region are committed to multilateralism. They aren't comfortable with the direction Trump is taking.

It's also interesting that when Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to APEAC he was the one who talked about multilateralism. He talked about tackling climate change, poverty eradication, and he got a much warmer reception than President Trump did. So I think that tells you something.

HOWELL: Mike Chinoy, live for us in Hong Kong, thank you so much for the insight today.

The view now from North Korea. CNN's Will Ripley is in Pyongyang where he's the only TV reporter from an American news outlet. He has an exclusive report on how North Korean's are reacting to the president's tough words about their country.

[03:35:08] WILL RIPLEY, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: In North Korea where the news is under government control, state media gave only a brief mention of President Trump's speech at the South Korean National Assembly. No details of his scathing indictment of North Korean human rights and harsh words for their supreme leader Kim Jong- un.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Despite heavy restrictions on the flow of information our government guides allow us to tell Pyongyang citizens exactly what Trump said. "That's absurd says housewife Ri Yong-hui (Ph). The reality here is very different. We're leading a happy life, and we enjoy exclusive rights."

When you say you have rights people don't have outside of North Korea, what do you mean by that? "One example is our outstanding leader, Marshal Kim Jong-un," she says. "He's leading us to a better future. Trump has no right to talk about human rights. He's a simple war maniac."

Her answer echoes North Korea's leading newspaper which called President Trump's words, quote, "war mongering filthy rhetoric spewing out of his snout like garbage that reeks of gunpowder to ignite war."

Ri Won Gil is an editor at a publishing company, I asked him about President Trump's claim that North Korea is a failed state where most live in poverty, drawing a stark contrast to their neighbor in the south.

Why do you think that South Korea's economy is much larger than North Korea's? Do you agree with President Trump that it's your policies that are to blame?

"He knows nothing at all about this part of the country," he says. "Here we have free education, housing, medical care." Ri was raised an orphan. His parents died serving the government. Now he has a job in the showpiece capital. The United Nations says most North Koreans live without regular electricity, clean water and nutritious food.

What about people who don't live here in Pyongyang, people who live out in the countryside? "We're building our economy even under the sanctions and economic blockade by the Americans," he says. "And even in western countries there's a big difference between life in the capital and small towns."

On 17 trips to North Korea I've never heard anyone criticize the government. There is zero-tolerance for dissent of any kind. Defectors testifying to the U.N. often paint a much darker picture of life inside of North Korea. But here, no deviation from the party line. They say this country is not hell, it's home.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.

HOWELL: The U.S. First Lady Melania Trump did not accompany her husband to the APEC summit in Vietnam. Instead she'll be staying behind in China for an extra day to tour a section of the Great Wall, one of the country's most famous landmark. Earlier she visited the renowned panda exhibit at the Beijing zoo. After leaving China she will fly to Alaska to spend some time with U.S. troops before returning back to Washington.

Still ahead here on Newsroom, the famous comedian the latest celebrity accused of sexual misconduct. We'll tell you about the fall out against Louis C.K.

And shining bright light on sexual harassment here a town hall discussion on CNN exposes outrageous practices on Capitol Hill.

[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOWELL: Welcome back to Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

A U.S. comedian is under fire. Five women are accusing Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct. The allegations are part of a bombshell report in the New York Times and the reactions to the fallout have been swift.

CNN's Tom Foreman has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOUIS C.K., COMEDIAN: Are you having a good time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it OK if I stay here for a few more days?

C.K.: Let me think about it and we'll talk about it, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you.

C.K.: I love you, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FOREMAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Even in the best of times I love you, daddy might be controversial, a movie about a divorced man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that your girlfriend?

C.K.: God, no, that's my daughter, China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Whose teenage daughter starts dating a much older film director.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that weird?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not that weird. He likes young girls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: But now the premier and a promotional appearance on the late show have been canceled after the New York Times report that the film star and director exposed and fondled himself in front of women in several incidents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

C.K.: Well, you know, sexual perversion is a problem. You can't stop it. People got to do what they got to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: It's the kind of behavior Louis C.K. frequently jokes about in his standup act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

C.K.: I'm getting kind of a rape vibe from this girl. I don't know. You think I'm going to rape you on the off chance that hopefully you're into that (muted)?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Indeed the comedian has built a TV show, an army of fans and a reputation as a comedy ground breaker with his coarse talk about sensitive matters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China is a minor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A minor what?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: But the accuser's time by the time are saying his jokes about sexual misconduct aren't just fiction. In numerous instances they say they were invited to private places such as hotel rooms where he stripped off and masturbated in front of them. Then they say they felt pressured to keep quiet and act like nothing was wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, everybody is a pervert. I'm a pervert. We're perverts. Who cares?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: CNN has not independently confirmed any of these allegations. We have reached out to Louis C.K. for any comment and have heard nothing yet. And his publicist told the New York Times the comedian will not be answering any questions.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

HOWELL: Tom, thanks for the report. HBO is also distancing itself from the comedian. The company says that Louis C.K. will not be part of its upcoming special, night of too many stars, America unites for autism. HBO is also removing his past projects from its on-demand services. And F.X. says it is troubled by the allegations and is conducting a review of the situation.

More fall out on actor Kevin Spacey over sexual harassment allegations against him. Spacey is being cut out of the upcoming film "All the Money in the World." That decision made by the film's director and supported by Sony Pictures.

[03:44:55] Spacey will be replaced by actor Christopher Plumber. That movie is still set to be released in December, December 22nd. That's a very big change to happen in a very short amount of time. CNN's Chloe Melas tells us a move like this is almost unheard of.

CHLOE MELAS, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER, CNN: This is unprecedented move by Sony to take Kevin Spacey out of this movie that set to hit theaters in just six weeks. That means that they don't have a lot of time and it's going to cost them a lot of money to not only reshoot the scenes that Kevin Spacey was in but they have to get Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, these other big stars to come back and do this as well.

I have never really heard a situation like this before where they actually not only decided to cut somebody out of the movie but recast him. So Christopher Plumber has now taken on Spacey's role and they have a lot of work ahead of them.

Now, no word from Stacey's camp. I have reached out repeatedly about this new development also the recent allegations of sexual assault against him. No word. But what I can tell you is that Sony Pictures doing this is setting the bar for other Hollywood film studios to not stand for sexual harassment, assault.

Although Spacey has not been criminally charged with anything, this is important right now because we are living through a movement when it comes to these type of allegations.

You know, I spoke to people at Sony and insiders in the film industry to say that the reason that they're willing to spend all this money to reshoot and recast Spacey's parts in the film it's because it's a great movie. And it's going to be one of the biggest movies hopefully during Oscar's season, and that they want people to go into this film with an open mind and not have these Spacey allegations looming over the film.

Back to you, guys.

HOWELL: Chloe Melas, thank you for the report.

A U.S. senator wants Congress to do a better job in handling sexual harassment complaints. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York appeared Thursday on a CNN town hall on sexual harassment. It was moderated by a CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, HOST, CNN: New reporting by CNN has exposed a little known government program. It turns out that for years Congress has been paying out settlements to victims of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill with our taxpayer dollars.

And that's not the only outrageous part. The current policy says if you work in Congress and you accuse someone of sexual harassment you are required to go through 30 days of counseling, then 30 days of mediation, and then you have to wait another 30 days before you can file a formal complaint.

And lawmakers have no idea how much settlement money is being paid out. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced a new legislation to overhaul this entire system. So you are trying to change things, and it is stunning that the U.S.

government is using taxpayer money to pay for these settlements. Do you know how many of these secretive settlements there have been?

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D) UNITED STATES SENATOR: No, I don't, and hopefully we can find that out. But the system is broken. And Congress should never be able to play by their set of rules or ever be above the law. And so, what I've done with a number of colleagues and we're going to try to introduce a bipartisan bill soon is to change how it works.

And so, that the process can now be transparent and accountable that you don't have to do that mandatory counseling and mandatory mediation, that you can choose what you want what process you want for yourself. It will be confidential advisers in place.

And I think the most powerful piece of legislation will be a survey done every two years to determine what's the climate here. Because how many interns out there have never felt that they could report these things? How many young staffers feel if they report something that they will be scorned or will never have a job on Capitol Hill again?

And I'm most worried about them. And so we need to change the process for them so that they can have accountability and have at least some process that doesn't marginalize them or embarrass them or try to stifle their views.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Kirsten Gillibrand speaking with my colleague Alisyn Camerota. And our international viewers of course can watch the full special with Alisyn in just over an hour from now. Tipping point, sexual harassment in America. That's coming up at 10 a.m. in London, 6:00 p.m. in Hong Kong only here on CNN.

Still ahead here on Newsroom, the latest altercation that left a U.S. senator with six broken ribs. What we know about the relationship between Rand Paul and his alleged attacker.

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HOWELL: Back here in the United States there is still a great deal of mystery over what led to the apparent attack on a prominent U.S. lawmaker. The neighbor who allegedly assaulted Senator Rand Paul has pleaded not guilty and he's not saying much else beyond that.

Our CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has this report for us.

DREW GRIFFIN, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, CNN: Rene Boucher silently entered court this morning, pleaded not guilty and within minutes had slipped out a back door with his attorney avoiding more than a dozen members of the media still trying to get one question answered, why did you do it?

Boucher is accused of blind siding U.S. Senator Rand Paul last Friday, tackling him while the senator was cutting his own lawn. Landing Boucher in court and the senator recovering from six broken ribs and fluid around his lungs.

For 17 years these two men have been neighbors, sharing this property line in a gated community just outside Bowling Green, Kentucky. An investigation is continuing, and Boucher's fourth degree misdemeanor assault charges could, according to Warren County attorney Amy Milliken become much more serious due to Senator Paul's injuries.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY MILLIKEN, ATTORNEY, WARREN COUNTY: The non-financial bond conditions include a 1,000 foot stay away, 200 feet stay away if he's at his home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Boucher is a retired anesthesiologist and a democrat who has posted anti-Trump messages on his now shut down Facebook account. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist and staunch republican. That is enough to fuel right wing speculation Senator Paul was attacked for political reasons. The senator even piling on by re-tweeting two articles that raised politics as a motive.

Rene Boucher's attorney again said that is all bunk.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[03:55:02] MATT BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR RENE BOUCHER: This has absolutely nothing to do with any politics, any liberal versus conservative or republican versus democrat. It's just not about that. It's a personal dispute between two neighbors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Attorney Matthew Baker says the motive is in line with what CNN has already reported. That the two men who share this long lawn has a long-standing dispute over landscaping.

But Senator Paul's adviser while not providing more details said not true. As to reports of a long-standing dispute with the attacker, the statement read, "The Pauls have had no conversations with him in many years. The first conversation with the attacker came after Senator Paul ribs were broken. This was not a fight. It was a blind side violent attack by a disturbed person."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAKER: They had not spoken to each other in years, but I still think that you can have -- I'm certain that you can have a personal dispute without having spoken. It has to do with the maintenance of each other's property and the disagreement that two neighbors, two adjoining neighbors have had over that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: Drew Griffin reporting there. Thank you so much. And thank

you for being with us. I'm George Howell at the CNN center in Atlanta. For our viewers here in the United States, Early Start is up next. For viewers around the world the news continues with my colleague Max Foster live in London. Thank you for watching CNN, the world's news leader.

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