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President Trump defy his own intelligence; Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore accused of sexually molested a 14-year-old; Comedian Louis C.K. after multiple women came forward; Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 11, 2017 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Berman.

The President likes to say America first. Unless it's about Vladimir Putin's denials of Russian election meddling in which case that's cool. In a series of astonishing statements today, the President seemed to repeatedly take the Russian leader's side over that of U.S. intelligence. I'm not even sure if you need the word seem there.

The President told reporters quote "every time Putin sees me, he says I didn't do that. And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. He means it."

You know who else means it? Every U.S. intelligence agency. They concluded that Russia did meddle in last year's election and with the goal of helping then candidate Trump win the White House. Today the CIA is standing by the intelligence community's findings telling CNN quote "the director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 intelligence assessment entitled assessing Russian activities and intensions in recent U.S. elections." The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed. Again, that word from the CIA. Has not changed.

Let's go live now to CNN White House correspondent Sara Murray who is in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, where President Trump continues his 13-day trip to Asia.

And Sara, I think of the President, what a headline to overshadow the rest of this trip, he probably needed it today.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I think that's probably right. And if he didn't want to be talking about Russia, well, he certainly through a grenade in that plan.

Look. There was a lot of back and forth about whether Trump and Putin were even going to meet. They did have a couple of informal conversations. That's how when they are being described at least three of them on the sidelines of APEC when we were in Vietnam.

Now, they talked about a number of different issues. They put out a joint statement on working together on Syria, but obviously, the one that is making headlines is President Trump saying that Russian meddling in the U.S. election did come up in their conversations in saying essentially, Putin insists that they were not involve, that Russia was not involved and did nothing. And Trump is inclining to believe the Russian President over U.S. intelligence.

Now this has been a long running story line in Trump's presidency. He believes that any allegations of Russian meddling ultimately undermine his victory. That's part of the reason he has been so resistant to come around to this conclusion that's backs by the intelligence community. And you pointed out, backed by his own people, he has tapped to lead intelligence agencies.

Now as you might expect, this is already drawn a backlash of lawmakers. Senator John McCain, chairman of Senate of services committee put out a statement saying there's nothing America first about taking word of a KGB hurdle over that of the American intelligence committee. He goes on to say Vladimir Putin does not have America's interest at heart to believe otherwise is not only nay eve, but places our national security at risk -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Astounding. Sara Murray for us in Hanoi.

And the President will have a chance to address this directly in just a few hours. He will hold a joint press conference in Vietnam. He will take questions. One of the first big questions will be the direct one. Do you believe Vladimir Putin when he tells you the Russians did not meddle in the U.S. election? That news conference live right here at 10:20 eastern time.

We should note while the President seems to accept Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent at his word, this is who does not accept the word of Vladimir Putin, his own ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, who said there is no question Russia meddled.

The President secretary of state Rex Tillerson who says the Russian election meddling created serious mistrust.

Former director of national intelligence James Clapper who said there has never been a case of election interference more aggressive and former CIA director Michael Hayden says Russia's election meddling was the most successful covert operation in history, which isn't a narrow scope right there.

I want to bring in my panel. CNN presidential historian Tim Naftali, national security correspondent of the "New York Times" David Sanger, a retired CIA chief of Russia operations Steve Hall.

And Dave, I just want you to put this in perspective for us. You have been on many Presidential trips overseas. This is not the kind of thing you generally see, David Sanger. When a President of the United States seems willing to accept the word of a foreign leader over that of his own intelligence agencies.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's not what you usually see it, John, but we actually did see it once before with President Trump. You will remember that in July, he went to Hamburg and he saw, that was the first time he had a sit-down with Putin. And after that sit-down, about a day or two later, he came out and said publicly what he had said privately too many after that session, which was exactly the same thing. That Putin told him that he had not been involved in hack. He even said had they been involve in the hack, Putin said they wouldn't have been caught because the Russians are that good and he seemed to accept that intelligence.

And you know, everybody around the President who even those who are most loyal to him sort of shrugged their shoulders when you phrase this. And he say how could he say it? They say, well, he can't bring himself to admit any of this because he believes it undercuts the legitimacy of his presidency.

He has a hard time holding two thoughts at the same moment. First that the Russians clearly meddled. And the evidence is pretty overwhelming. And secondly, that even if they did, they may not have affected the outcome of the election. And he just can't do those two together.

[19:05:35] BERMAN: You know, Steve, to you, you have been on the inside here. And though the President may have done this before, he is taking the word of this Russian leader sitting right there former KGB agent, as John McCain likes to point out, over the intelligence agencies which you worked for. What does that say to these intelligence agencies?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's just astounding to me as a former intelligence officer. And I can't imagine that there aren't people inside who also astounded.

I mean, we are talking about Vladimir Putin. We are talking about lying Vlad, right. This is a guy who kills journalists, who kills opposition figures and then lies about it. This is a guy who, you know, he helps his own athletes dope so they can win at the Sochi Olympics. I mean, there's absolutely nothing to be believed from Vladimir Putin. And wet what the President does, he says, yes, I'm taking this guy's word for it. And I think that those other political hacks, namely guys like you know, my former boss, John Brennan, who came up through CIA, the former director of national intelligence Jim Clapper who spent you know the better part of the half century in being an intelligence, the furthest thing from a political hack.

Interestingly, Mr. Pompeo who is currently the director, does come from a political background, but even he says, yes, look. This was definitely the Russians.

I agree with David. The President can't seem to make a distinction between meddling in the elections, attacking the U.S. elections and the collusion argument. I mean, it would be easy for him it would seem to say look, yes, the Russians did try to do something and that's terrible and try to set the collusion part, but I had nothing to do with that. Yet he can't seem to figure that all out, which is extremely distressing and has to have a negative impact on the intelligence community I would guess.

BERMAN: All right. Let's take a walk down memory lane, Tim, before we bring you in to this discussion right now and remind people what the President has said about Russian meddling in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She is saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't -- maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It could also be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK.

I agree. I think it was Russia. But I think it was probably other people and/or countries. And I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Again, nobody really knows. It was a large human on a bed who might have done it as opposed to what the intelligence, which was Russia.

To me, Tim, and the question I want to ask you is, you know, we hear from the intelligence angle from Steve right there, the cost that may come from the President's statements. Seems to me, this continue statements come at a political cost to him. He keep on saying this and it's a reminder you know, of the Russia investigation that's going on.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I just want to talk about a historical note here, you know. It's been nearly 70 years since the Kremlin has had as useful a political figure in the United States.

Henry Wallace in 1948, who was a Presidential nominee, Henry Wallace was against the Marshall plan and he equated the soviet meddling in Czechoslovakia with our liberation of France. So not since 1948 has the Kremlin has useful a spokesperson at a high level of our government.

Now whether President Trump is a dupe or whether he is somewhat closer to the Kremlin, we can't say. But it is outrageous that on Veterans Day the President of the United States, the commander in-chief, should be spouting KGB propaganda.

BERMAN: You know, look. We don't know. I mean, we don't know. We haven't seen any proof yet of Russian collusion, even though that's a word that doesn't necessarily have any legal grounds right there. We don't know that. But again, it does seems to me that when the President speaks like this, it just begs the question or begs the reassurance that yes, this is why we have these investigations going on.

NAFTALI: You remember what the President is doing. The President is defending a foreign power in a domestic dispute. He is saying I will take the word of a foreign dictator over the advice of my government. That's what he is doing. It's outrageous. It's never, it hasn't happened since for seven decades.

BERMAN: So David Sanger, what does Vladimir Putin get out of this right now? SANGER: Either one Vladimir Putin got going on the Russia hack, which

really started in 2015 when they first got into the DNC and then a different intelligence agency got in in 2016. We can -- what he was trying to do was sort of saw chaos in the American electoral system. Only later did it turn into an effort to try to discredit Hillary Clinton. And only after that, the very end, did it actually turn to support for Donald Trump or at least that's the conclusion of the American intelligence agencies.

So what does he get? A year out from the election, a year and a couple of days out from the election, it's still going on. He is still able to go drive that division in the American polity that he was attempting to do.

Now how could that have been avoided? Imagine if the President when he took office had gone down to the press room and said look, I have seen the intelligence. There's a lot here we need to learn. I believe I was legitimately elected. But let's create a Presidential commission that will be appointed half by Democrats and half by Republicans. Send them off to figure out first what happened. And secondly, what we need to do to keep this from happening in the congressional election in 2018 and the Presidential election in 2020.

He could have handed all these issues off. And when questions like this came up, he could have said I'm waiting for the commission report. And instead, he put together a commission to figure out where the three million votes went that Hillary Clinton got that he didn't that he believes were fraudulent. Strikes me that he sort of picked probably the wrong issue to have investigated here.

[19:11:38] BERMAN: It's an interesting point.

And Steve Hall, you brought up before, Mike Pompeo who is the President's handpicked CIA chief is now in the position where he has to stand by the intelligence report. He didn't write it. But he is now asked almost daily it seems to say yes, I stand by the report that the Russians meddled in the U.S. election. This is got to put him in a bind especially when he already has critics say that he is too political as a CIA director.

HALL: Sure. I mean, Pompeo is in a difficult position.

And just to clarify on my earlier comments with regard to people inside the intelligence committee. Look, this is a group of dedicated professionals who is used to serving under different political parties. But this, you know, as was just pointed out, this is something of an historic situation, you know. You recall earlier when the intelligence community, when Trump referred to the intelligence community and the CIA specifically as Nazi-like or making a Nazi comparison there. So there does reach a point.

But how hard would it have been for Donald Trump to have gone in to a meeting with Vladimir Putin off the record as it was. There was no public meeting. And emerge in the meeting and say look, I was firm with Putin. I told him that I was unhappy with his involvements. And now we are going to move on to more important things because you know I think we can cooperate with Russia which is still I believe a mistake. But that's not that hard of a thing to do. Instead, he comes back out and does the opposite and then denigrates you know, the intelligence community all in one shot. It's breathtaking. It is amazing.

BERMAN: And it guarantees that in this press conference which will be held in three hours right now, this is the focus.

NAFTALI: He stepped in it. You could have discussed our policy towards Asia. He has been promoting -- the President has been promoting American trade. And once again, he has stepped on his own message. There must be something emotional. There must be some emotional tie that he has to this Russia business because he brings it up. He brings this upon himself time and time again.

BERMAN: It would be fascinating to see what the questions are and how we response.

Tim Naftali, David Sanger, Steve Hall, great to be here with you. Thank you all so much.

And a quick programming note. This continues tomorrow morning. Former CIA director John Brennan, former director of national intelligence, James Clapper. President Trump today called both of them hacks. They will be the guest of Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION" tomorrow. Hear them respond, 9:00 eastern time.

Coming up, Roy Moore fires back facing allegations of sexually molesting a 14-year-old when he was in his 30s. The Senate candidate now claims he never met her and that this is all a smear campaign.

Plus, a new alleged scandal involving the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Was he offered millions of dollars to effectively kidnap someone on U.S. soil and send them out of the country?

And later coming clean, comedian Louis C.K. admits to sexual misconduct. The latest harassment case that is getting so much attention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:18:39] BERMAN: Vladimir Putin says Russia did not meddle in the U.S. election. So there you go. President Trump said today he really thinks that Vladimir Putin means it. A comment that not only could overshadow the tale under this entire Asia trip, but really that flies in the face of everything the U.S. intelligence community has said. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, CIA DIRECTOR: I am confident that the Russians meddled in this election. It is the entire intelligence community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any decent within the intelligence community oversee on the question of whether the Russians interfered with the American election?

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: There is no decent and I stated it publicly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is on board.

COATS: And I stated it for the President.

ADM. MIKE ROGERS, DIRECTOR, NSA: No doubt at all. I stand behind the intelligence, intelligence community's assessment that we produced.

COATS: And I think it is publicly known and acknowledged and accepted that Russian definitely did try to influence campaign. To what extent, they were successful. I don't think we know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I want to bring in Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He seats in the foreign relations committee. He is a veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The most important thing I will say in this interview, congressman, is thank you for your service.

You bet. Thanks.

BERMAN: And thank you very much for being here.

Look. We heard the President say today of Vladimir Putin and the notion that the Russians meddled in the U.S. election. This is the exact quote. He just every time he sees me, he says I didn't do that and I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.

Your response, congressman.

[19:20:08] REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, it's unfortunate. It's going to be two things. Number one, I think it's going to overshadow what has been a really successful trip by President and probably will continue to be. This comment reminds me of when President Bush said at one point he looked in Vladimir Putin's eyes and saw his soul, which I know the President regrets having said that.

Vladimir Putin is a master manipulator. This is the same guy that says that there were no Russian troops in Crimea. There were just magically 20,000 troops with no markings on their uniforms that just showed up. He is the same guy that says, you know, that Georgian occupation is totally OK and that is what we supposed to be. He says there's no troops anywhere. He's doing no information campaigns anywhere. And we know for a fact he is.

And his whole purpose in meddling in this election I don't think was necessarily to elect Donald Trump. I don't think he elect Donald Trump, but it's to undermine the foundation of democracy, which goes two or three generations from now into like very serious stuff, if people lose faith in their ability to have their voice heard in the democracy, democracy goes away because it is the only one to hold us together.

BERMAN: So taking Vladimir Putin at his word or at least noting that he believes it when he says that Russia did not meddle in the election, is that America first?

KINZINGER: No. I don't think so. And like I said, I think the President's had a great trip so far. And there is going to be a lot of good things to come out of it. This is an unfortunately huge I think overshadow of that. This is -- I hope the White House clarifies this.

It's one thing for the President to say I brought it up with Vladimir Putin. He denied it. We moved on because we had big things to talk about. Unfortunately, by the way, Syria is not that thing. We never - we should never work with the Russians in Syria.

But that said to say that you believe him when our intelligence agencies say the opposite, I agree with your prior guest. This is unprecedented. And as somebody that wishes President Trump a lot of success, I sure hope they can walk this back.

BERMAN: And I do want to talk to you about North Korea, which was a big part of this trip in a second, but I don't know if the President is watching and of course CNN is international. But moments ago, he put out a statement on Twitter. Let me read you part of it.

He said, when will all the haters and fools out there realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing not a bad thing? They are always playing politics. I think he means they are there. They are always playing politics. Bad for our country. I want to solve North Korea, Syria, Ukraine terrorism and Russia can greatly help.

Congressman, I'm not so sure these two things are mutually exclusive. The United States perhaps should pursue a working relationship with Russia, but is that mutually exclusive from saying that Russia did meddle in the U.S. election?

KINZINGER: No, I think admitting that Russia meddled is essential to a better working relationship because we have to go into this eyes wide open. We have to understand that our allies in France and everywhere else have been a victim of this same thing.

By the way, Republicans are going to be a victim of this, too. So this is not even partisan thing. It is just - he is trying to undermine America. But yes, I guess there's areas we can potentially work with the Russians. But when they try to undermine the foundation of what we are as a country, I'm not eager to work with him. And when they back a dictator that has murdered 500,000 people in Iran and Hezbollah against our allies in the region, I have a really hard time seeing where we have anything in common with this guy Vladimir Putin, who continually threaten is our neighbors, threatens NATOs and occupies Ukraine.

BERMAN: All right. This trip began in Japan and then South Korea with a lot of discussion about what the United States should do vis-a- vis North Korea. Do you think the U.S. is in a wetter position now as the President, you know, heads home shortly in a better position now in the tail end of this trip that we were before?

KINZINGER: I actually do. I think the actually the administration of the President has been doing the right thing on North Korea. A lot of people are uncomfortable with the rhetoric. I think the rhetoric is part of trying to prevent the military option from ever happening to show the seriousness of the military option. So I think whether it's bringing the allies together, whether it's showing that America is interested in Asia, which is also just by visual, very important, I think we are in a better position.

That's not to say we are in a great position. This is a country that's worked on nuclear weapons for decades. And frankly, we are in a pretty frightening situation there. But I hope the President and I hope the administration and I greatly hope our allies and adversaries understand the seriousness of this and really put the squeeze on North Korea, not just to make it painful for him, but to prevent them from having the material to finish their nuclear program.

BERMAN: Congressman, before I let you go, yesterday, you came out strongly against senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama. I assume your mind hasn't changed since then. But do you think that -- the President was asked about it today and didn't go any further than his statement. Do you think the White House needs to be more firm and say that Roy Moore needs to get out of this race?

KINZINGER: I think President has to be cautious about that. This is a big deal obviously. For me, I just feel very strongly that somebody that has this accusation against him with number of witnesses who were there to say this was the case and the consistency and the story, it is not somebody should serve in the Senate.

I'm not Alabama. I don't get to vote for or against Moore, but I think the Senate should not seat this guy if in fact these things are true. And everything I have seen so far lends credence to the fact there's some reality to this.

[19:25:16] BERMAN: Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, again, let me say thank you for your service. You know, a Veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan war. Thank you, sir.

KINZINGER: Thank you.

BERMAN: Coming up, we were just talking about him, Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore. What does he do? He is railing against the allegations that he, the accusation frankly, the On the Record accusation that he sexually molested a 14-year-old. He calls it a desperate attempt to stop his political campaign. We will tell you what else he had to say coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:10] BERMAN: The man who wants to be the next U.S. senator from Alabama today says that sexual misconduct allegation against him are nothing more than a personal attack and charade. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: These attacks involve a minor and they are completely false and untrue. I have not been guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone. These allegations came only four and a half weeks before the general election on December 12th. Why now?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. That is judge Roy Moore, who promises quote revelations will come out in the coming days about accusations that he pursued sexual relationships with several teenage girls many years ago. He called them sexual misconduct allegations.

There is one On the Record accusation that he sexually molested a 14- year-old girl. Now while the judge did not give any more details about what the revelations might be that he has, CNN's Alex Marquardt is in Birmingham, Alabama this evening.

You know, Alex, what are you hearing on the ground tonight?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this really has thrown into doubt what could have been a fairly comfortable victory for Roy Moore in the special election next month. This is a state, one of the reddest of red state, that hasn't sent a Democrat to the Senate in a quarter century.

What we are hearing from the candidate, what we are hearing from the campaign, is this tone of defiance. They are saying that these allegations are part of a liberal conspiracy led by Democrats, led by "the Washington Post." They are completely discounting them.

Now remember, this is a man who is known as a fighter. Known as an antagonist. That is something his supporters know and love. And his supporters now are asking, why now? Just like what you heard Roy Moore there saying? Why are these allegations only coming to light now just a few weeks before this election? Why are they being pushed as smear campaign by the Democrat, by establishment Republicans?

So far, the supporters that we have spoken with don't believe these allegations. They say they want more proof. And rather surprisingly, they say that even if these allegations turn out to be true, some will still support him. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOTTIE FINCH, ROY MOORE SUPPORTER: I still will support Roy Moore because I feel as if that's happened in the past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if he was inappropriately touching a 14-year- old girl.

FINCH: If he went to the Lord whatever and asked for forgiveness for that and hasn't done anything like that in since then, I believe that if the good Lord's forgiven him, as Christian, I have to forgive him also.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: So even if he molested a 14-year-old girl, many of his voters are willing to forgive him. That's how (INAUDIBLE) many of them are, John.

BERMAN: Now one of the thing that's happening right now on the ground there, Alex, is that people are trying to go back and talk to people who knew Roy Moore during these years when he was in his 30s. What do these people say?

MARQUARDT: Well, one person in particular a former co-worker of Roy Moore says that she absolutely does believe these women. Her name is Teresa Jones. She was a deputy district attorney at the same time Roy Moore was an assistant district attorney over in Etowah County. She worked with him in the late '70s and early '80s and she told CNN today in a statement that it was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls. Everyone we knew thought it was weird. We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall, but you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that. She is saying it's common knowledge, which implies other people know. So a lot more allegations could come out which could really rattle this campaign - John.

BERMAN: It would be interesting to see if we hear more voices in the coming days. And you want to know senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana just tweeted moments ago that he is withdrawing his support of Roy Moore based on what he knows now and has seen.

Alex Marquardt in Birmingham tonight. Great reporting, Alex. Thanks so much.

Coming up, five women, a hotel woman and an offer for some Russians to Donald Trump. The President's long-time bodyguard talks to investigators about one of the more explosive parts of the dossier.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:38:26] BERMAN: Welcome back.

President Trump said today who is he to argue with Russian leader Vladimir Putin when he denies meddling in the U.S. election. Listen to this quote. Every time he sees me, he says I didn't do that and I believe, I really believe when he tells me that, he means it. I think he is very insulted by it, to tell you truth.

Joining me now Jack Barsky, a former KGB spy.

Jack, thank you so much for being with us. I'm asking one spy about another, Vladimir Putin, former KGB colonel. Is he the kind of guy you should just believe every statement he makes on his face?

JACK BARSKY, FORMER KGB SPY: Bizarre. It is beyond belief that what our President has said, you know. Putin, I was listening to your program and you had a congressman on said Putin is a master manipulator. I respectfully disagree. He is a phenomenal liar. And if you believe anything that comes out his mouth without verifying it, you are a damn fool. I'm sorry to say that.

BERMAN: He says that when Vladimir Putin says the Russians did meddle, he means it. President Trump says he can't argue with him every time he brings it up. Do you think that's an effective posture in dealing with Vladimir Putin?

BARSKY: I don't even know. I would say just ignore it. But the problem that I see, which is really important that our President is going against his entire intelligence apparatus. Which you know, people, there are some people who are ardent Trump supporters and they say our President is masterful at playing games.

I don't know what game he is playing. Who is he playing against? I mean, if you, if you think you know better than your intelligence apparatus, you might as well not have it. And you know, this is so wrong on so many levels. It's fundamentally bizarre.

[19:40:18] BERMAN: Fundamentally bizarre.

Let me get your take on something else that happened this week. CNN is reporting that Keith Schiller, who is the former bodyguard and worked for the President in the White House also, he testified before the House intelligence committee. They talked about an episode in 2013 in Russia when the two were in Moscow together dealing with the Miss Universe pageant. And Schiller says that a Russian offered to send five women up to the hotel of Donald Trump and Schiller basically said, no, forget it. We don't want that. Is this the type of thing that the Russians would try to do?

BARSKY: Yes. Absolutely. And the KGB has done this famously in history many times. It's called entrapment. They would actually get visitors, businessmen or journalists, politicians, what have you, to sleep with one of their agents. Pretty looking women and they have pictures taken and you know, try to blackmail them. This is out of the arsenal of the KGB for sure, yes.

BERMAN: Now, you know, first word of this type of endeavor in relation to Donald Trump came up in the so-called dossier, the details were published by Buzzfeed and others months ago. In the dossier, it says that, you know, they achieved what they were going after. That the women did go up to Donald Trump. From Keith Schiller says they did not.

But it is interesting at a minimum I think that at least part of the story that at least there was an offer now seems to be b verified.

BARSKY: Well, the offer doesn't convict obviously. But it is interest that the Russians you would thought that there might be, there might be a possibility there. I'm not going to go any further, you know. To me at this point, the dossier, the worst of the dossier is that it added one word to the vocabulary of many Americans. I would like to see some real hard evidence before I, you know, believe in the sensationalist type of stuff.

BERMAN: Jack Barsky, great to have you with us. A very interesting perspective on this evening. I really appreciate it, sir.

BARSKY: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up quote "these stories are true," that from comedian Louis C.K. after multiple women came forward and said that his famous jokes about sex have a disturbing connection to real life.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:47:05] BERMAN: All right. A new claim of sexual misconduct by a celebrity. A legendary Star Trek actor and LGBT activist George Takei has been accused of sexual assault by a man who was an actor/model in the 1980s. (INAUDIBLE) tell CNN the alleged assault took place in 1981 at Takei's home when he was 23, Takei was in his 40s. But he said he felt like he was going to pass out after Takei served him two drinks in "Star Trek" glasses. He says he woke up with Takei on top of him. His pants down around his ankles and trying to take off his underwear.

Now Takei denies the alleged incident ever took place. This is what he wrote today.

The events he described back in the 1980s simply did not occur. And I do not know why he has claimed them now. I have racked my brain to ask if I remember Mr. Button (ph) and I cannot say I do. Button says he decided to come forward after Takei started in on Kevin Spacey over his sexual assault accusations or the allegations against Kevin Spacey, calling it quote "a classic case of pot calling the kettle back."

All right. Comedian Louis C.K. says the allegations against him are true. He did act inappropriately towards several women now accusing him of sexual misconduct.

He issued a long apology Friday saying in part quote "the power I had over these women is that they admired me and I wielded that power irresponsibly. I have been remorseful of my actions and I have tried to learn from them and I run from them. Now I'm aware of the extent of my impact. I learned yesterday the extent I left these women feeling badly around themselves and cautious around other men who never would have put them in that position."

Well, falloffs have been pretty swift. The comedian's next movie "I love you, daddy" has been scrapped. The standup special pulled and many of his TV deals canceled.

CNN's Tom Foreman has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you having a good time?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me think about it. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, too.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even in the best of time, "I Love you, Daddy" might be controversial. A movie about a divorced man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that your girlfriend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God. No, that's my daughter, China!

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't that weird?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not that weird. He likes young girls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sexual perversion is a problem. You can't stop it. People got to do what they got to do.

FOREMAN: It's the kind of behavior Louis C.K. frequently jokes about in his stand up out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm getting kind of a rapey vibe from this girl. You think I'm just going to rape you and off chance that hopefully you are into that? (Bleep)

[19:50:01] FOREMAN: Indeed the comedian has built a TV show an army of fans and a reputation of the comedy groundbreaker with his coarse talk about sensitive matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China is a minor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Minor what.

FOREMAN: But the accusers' name at the time his jokes 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 pressure to keep quiet and act like nothing was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, everybody is a pervert. I'm a pervert. You look pervert. It is OK.

FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: All right. Joining me now is Matthew Belloni, editorial director for the Hollywood reporter.

Matthew, thank you so much for being with us.

Look. The comedy world is different. It's its own little universe inside the entertainment industry often course in a rival to say the least. How hard do you think it was for these women finally to come forward?

MATTHEW BELLONI, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Well, it's worth noting that these rumors about Louis C.K. have been floating around the comedy world for years. And it was something you kind of heard about but people didn't know the specifics. The comedian (INAUDIBLE) who has worked with Louis C.K. has made reference to this.

But I think the fact that it's now out in the open is pretty significant. The fact that these women came forward and gave their names and told their stories is a big, big deal in the comedy world.

BERMAN: Look, coming forward with your name and your specific story is an act of courage and bravery. And we are seeing it all over the place right now, not just in entertainment but in politics as well. You know, it's a remarkable act of bravery.

I know at your publication, you're having to deal now -- I imagine you're refocusing much of what your publication pay as attention to because these sexual misconduct allegations are everywhere.

BELLONI: Absolutely. I mean, we have redirected our entire staff at Hollywood Reporter to investigate, vet, look at all these claims that have been made. We are being contacted by dozens of people that have stories to tell. And we are looking closely at everything that they have to say. And we have published a number of people's stories on this subject.

But I think that the mood in the entertainment industry in general has changed. I mean, there is a state of panic, there is a state of embarrassment, there's anger and there's a lot of questions as to how do we get beyond this, how do we fix this problem?

BERMAN: I think that fix is going to come from men stopping to do some of the behavior that they have done. One of the things that's interesting, you talk about Louis C.K., you know, that it was out there, these stories were out there. Are you finding that there is smoke with so many of these cases, that there is fire?

BELLONI: Well, I think people have said that these initial allegations against, you know, first Harvey Weinstein, then Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K., these were sort of, for a lack of better term, the low hanging fruit. The people that had kind of being known in the industry but not known, you know, where you heard things but didn't know for sure and people weren't willing to say On the Record that they were true. But now I think we are going to go beyond them. There is really going to be people that are going to surprise people that these allegations are going to be made against them.

BERMAN: I'm loathe to ask what happens now to Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. Because I think the more important question is, you know, what can be done for the women who were victimize or men in Kevin Spacey's case and you know the victims of this, in some cases? But, you know, this is the world of entertainment. I think there is some curiosity. You know Kevin Spacey's shows have been cancelled. Some of the scenes have been reshot, you know. Will there be a place for Kevin Spacey or Louis C.K. in Hollywood after this?

BELLONI: I personally don't think that Kevin Spacey or Harvey Weinstein will ever work in the industry again. But a number of people have pointed out the irony of the fact that Mel Gibson is starring in the big movie this weekend "Daddy is home, two." And he was completely vanished from the entertainment industry years ago for the comments that he made and some of the things that came out about how he treated women.

So, you know, I don't know. I can't predict five years downs line whether Louis C.K. will be able to make a comeback. I just don't know.

BERMAN: It is interesting. You know, Mel Gibson not only starring in a film, but he's done a full publicity tour. I have seen him in all of the various, you know, morning shows and what not selling that movie. So not just accepted but in some cases welcomed.

BELLONI: Absolutely. He was nominated for an Oscar last year for Hacksaw Ridge. So he has been fully embraced by the entertainment industry. And you know, as much as Louis C.K. is a pariah right now, there -- people are willing to forgive. And I just don't know. I think the culture has changed some. So I you don't know if he will ever be welcomed back. But you never know.

BERMAN: And again, in Louis C.K.'s case, the women who were the victims here, you know, there will be a place for them in Hollywood going forward, I hope?

BELLONI: I think so. The entire culture has changed where people are now feeling much more comfortable to come forward with these claims. And I do believe while it takes exceptional courage to do so that there will be fewer repercussions against these women for coming forward now than there might have been even five years ago.

[19:55:17] BERMAN: Matthew Belloni, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

BELLONI: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up, President Trump defied his own intelligence community by saying that Vladimir Putin noting that Vladimir Putin believes it when he says the Russians did not meddle in the U.S. elections. But what will the ramifications be of this? We will discuss.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:59:52] BERMAN: All right. John Berman here. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Vladimir Putin says the Russians didn't meddle in the U.S. election so that settles it. Is that really the position of President Trump this evening? In a series of astonishing statements today, the President repeatedly seemed to take the Russian leader's side over America's owned intelligence community.