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Trump and Putin Speak; Trump's Asia Trip; Ron Moore Insists Allegations Are False; Russia Investigation; Lebanese President Demands Hariri's Return; Louis C.K. Admits Guilt. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired November 11, 2017 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Taking time out for a chat. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin talk about Syria at the APEC summit in Da Nang, Vietnam. We'll have the details live in just a moment.
In the U.S., Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore defends himself against sexual abuse allegations but the interview seems to fuel rather than quell the controversy.
Plus Mr. Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn under scrutiny or an alleged role in a kidnapping proposed by Turkey. We'll look at reports and what special counsel Robert Mueller is uncovering.
Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining us, I'm Cyril Vanier, live from the CNN NEWSROOM here in Atlanta.
VANIER: U.S. President Donald Trump's had a few brief chats with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Asia Pacific summit in Vietnam. That's the two of them walking together before a group photo.
A longer meeting between the two leader had been anticipated, especially given the ongoing investigation in Washington, into Russian involvement in Mr. Trump's election. The two leaders seemed perfectly friendly, no sign of tensions.
Russian state media reports that they approved a joint statement on Syria. We got that information in the last hour. Let's see what that was about with Nic Robertson, who is following the summit in Da Nang and we'll also find out what else is in store for Mr. Trump during his Asia tour with Ivan Watson in Hanoi.
Nic, let's start with you.
What's the news on the Trump-Putin meeting?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I guess the big news, the headline of this meeting, if you will and let's call it a meeting, because that's what the Russian state news agency is calling it, TASS, and it's not a meeting in the diplomatic sense of a pull-aside on the sidelines of a summit or a proper bilateral. It's a meeting inasmuch as they were walking in the same direction, talking as they went.
They talked briefly. The real headline here perhaps at the moment is the Russian state news agency, TASS, and the Kremlin news service both put out details of the meeting in an hour ago and we've heard nothing from the White House so far. That's a little bit unusual.
You would expect both sides having, you know, if there's a joint communique, one side puts it out first; the other side puts out details. What the Russians are saying is there's an agreed commitment to continue with their fight against ISIS in Syria, to work to -- for military deconfliction between the U.S. and Russian militaries, working in that zone that the cease-fire that they both talked about back in Hamburg, when they met on the sidelines of the G20 there, that agreement, they talked about how that agreement is going.
They talked -- and this was from the Russian side, again, that President Assad of Syria has committed himself to the Geneva peace process, U.N. resolution 2254, that the -- calls for a transition of power and free elections. The Russians made note of that. Again, we don't have anything from the White House to know what they have to say about it.
So essentially what we have at the moment is, you know, a statement that is the continuation of everything that's already in existence. I would think there would be a bigger headline --
VANIER: Nic, if I can just jump in, we're watching live pictures of President Trump boarding what appears to be Air Force One right now. He's going to be wheels up from Da Nang, heading toward Hanoi, Vietnam, that's the next stop on his Asia tour in just a second, waving to -- well, we can't see who he's waving to exactly, on his way to Hanoi.
ROBERTSON: Yes, no, sure. And I think significant that President Trump is leaving without talking to journalists to outline perhaps what he talked with president Putin about or address some of the bigger issues that we've seen happen here, the sort of broader response to how he's put forward America's vision on trade here.
But that point of what TASS, the Russian state news agency, is saying, what would be a headline is if they'd said any of those items that they said there's continued agreement on, had been -- had a line put through them and were no longer areas of agreement.
It does seem to be that TASS, the Russians are saying it's a continuation of what was already existing, so it's not really quite clear if anything substantial was really achieved in these talks that the Russian side are talking about.
VANIER: All right, it will be very interesting to hear what comments the White House says, what assessment they have of that meeting. We're still keeping an eye on those live pics of the president, who is supposed to be wheels up from Da Nang shortly. Let's go to Ivan Watson.
Ivan, the U.S. president is coming to you next.
What's in store for the rest of his trip?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, after the multilateral meetings that have been taking place down in Da Nang this will be a bilateral meeting with the leadership of Vietnam, U.S. and Vietnam side by side, a follow-up to --
WATSON: -- a visit that the Vietnamese prime minister made to the White House back in May.
And at that meeting with President Trump, they agreed on $8 billion worth of commercial deals, a memorandum of understanding for more defense cooperation, which is remarkable when you consider the shared, very bloody, very tragic history that these two countries have.
What many people may not know is that President Trump is quite popular here in Vietnam. We have a poll numbers from a Pew survive of Vietnamese surveyed, some 58 percent say that they believed that President Trump would do the right thing, in comparison with 22 percent worldwide.
Part of that may be because of just overall appreciation and affection for the U.S. in general here in Vietnam. The same survey says that 84 percent of Vietnamese surveyed like the U.S. and, again, the worldwide figure is considerably lower, 49 percent worldwide.
So the U.S. is a popular country here. Now President Trump will be meeting with the president of Vietnam, the prime minister of Vietnam, the general secretary of the Communist Party here as well.
The part of the reason for the affection here may be because of Vietnam's inherent suspicion toward its much larger neighbor to the north, China. If you go to the military museum here, Vietnam has been fighting wars against China for thousands of years and it sees the U.S. as a counterbalance to this enormous neighbor to the north.
And they also have conflicting claims to parts of the South China Sea as well, Cyril. And the U.S. is seen as a power that can challenge China's claim to almost all of that body of water -- Cyril.
VANIER: Ivan Watson in Hanoi, Nic Robertson in Da Nang, both of you in Vietnam, we thank you both. And of course we'll continue to follow the president as he travels. He'll be wheels up in a few minutes as he travels toward Hanoi on the next leg of his trip.
Thank you, gentlemen. We'll have more analysis of president Trump's Asia visit just a little later in the program.
Moving on for the moment, embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, pushing back against explosive allegations of sexual misconduct from decades ago. Moore said that one woman's accusation that he molested her when she was 14 years old was, quote, "completely false and misleading."
For now, many of the people of Alabama who supported him in the recent primary race, seem to be sticking with him. We get more from CNN's Martin Savidge.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roy Moore, taking to conservative talk radio, making a strong denial of the accusations leveled against him, including allegations of sexually abusing a 14- year-old girl in 1979, first reported by "The Washington Post."
ROY MOORE, ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: These allegations are completely false and misleading. But more than that, it hurts me personally because, you know, I'm a father. I have one daughter. I have five granddaughters. And I have a special concern for the protection of young ladies.
This is really hard to get on the radio and explain this. And these allegations are just completely false.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore says he has no recollection of his most serious accuser. Leigh Corfman, who says when she was 14 and Moore was 32, he undressed and sexually abused her.
MOORE: I don't know Ms. Corfman from anybody. I've never talked to her, I've never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): One question looms: should Moore continue or quit his quest for the U.S. Senate. And even --
SAVIDGE (voice-over): -- fellow Republicans are divided.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they are true, that is bad. He needs to step out of the race. There's no question of that.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore is still finding support in his home state but, in Washington, where he is hoping to take over Jeff Sessions' Senate seat, more than a dozen GOP lawmakers are saying Moore should step down if the accusations are true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're true, he should step aside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If that's true, I don't believe there would be anyplace for him in the U.S. Senate.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The political scandal even triggering reaction from President Trump, halfway around the world, speaking on Air Force One between China and Vietnam, White House press secretary spokesperson Sarah Sanders first giving the impression Trump was supporting Moore. SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case, one from many years ago, to destroy a person's life.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): But in the very next line, Sanders repeating and increasingly (INAUDIBLE).
SANDERS: However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore himself is showing absolutely no indication of quitting. In an phone interview, Moore's brother says his brother's accusers are either being paid or supporting Moore's Democratic opponent.
Then comparing his brother's political problems to the persecution of Jesus Christ.
But the question remains, are the shocking accusations --
SAVIDGE (voice-over): -- impacting Alabama voters?
It depends who you talk to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do they come up 7-8 months ago when he was running, all of a sudden two weeks from now, all this stuff come up?
I believe it's a lot of BS. I really do, you know, man. I think he's a nice guy.
SAVIDGE: Those who know Roy Moore will tell you a number of things, including, first and foremost, he will not back down. He will not quit. And they do not expect the Alabama Republican Party to interfere or intervene in any way.
What they do expect is that Roy Moore will win the Senate seat for Alabama in December -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Gadsden, Alabama.
VANIER: So you just hear there more denial from an interview with conservative talk show host, Sean Hannity. Take a listen now to another key portion of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: You remember dating girls that young at that time?
ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Not generally, no. If I did, you know, I'm not going to dispute anything, but I don't remember anything like that.
HANNITY: 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: 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 my customary behavior. That's right.
HANNITY: In other words, you don't recall ever dating any girl that young when you were that old?
MOORE: I've said no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Comedian Louis C.K. said the sexual misconduct allegations against him are true. "The New York Times" reported that five women accused him of acting inappropriately. In a statement, the comedian says, "There's nothing about this that I forgive myself for and I have to reconcile it with who I am, which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.
"The hardest regret to live with is what you've done to hurt someone else."
In light of his admission, the distributor of his new film, "I Love You, Daddy," says the movie is now on hold and several media companies have dropped projects with him involved.
And another allegation of sexual misconduct in the world of sports this time, where FIFA's former president Sepp Blatter has denied accusations of sexual assault made by one of football's most high- profile female players. U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo says that Sepp Blatter grabbed her bottom as they were about to go on stage at an awards ceremony in 2013.
That's according to a Portuguese newspaper, "Espresso." A spokesman for Blatter told "Espresso" the allegation is ridiculous. Solo is speaking out now because she says that remaining silent will not change the game's rampant sexual harassment problem, according to the report.
President Trump is in Vietnam right now toward the tail end of his Asia trip. We'll talk about his travels just ahead.
And a bizarre new twist in the Russia investigation, involving Michael Flynn, his son and an exiled Muslim cleric. Stay with us.
(MUSIC PLAYING) VANIER: Welcome back.
I want to return to Vietnam now, where U.S. President Trump is attending the Asia Pacific Summit as part of a long trip to Asia. Glenn Shive is the executive director of the Hong Kong America center. He joins me now live.
Glenn, I want to talk to you about the trip overall. I know it's not over but a number of what we thought would be the meatier parts of the trip are now behind us, so we can looking at what they yielded.
First of all, the topic of conversation today and yesterday in Asia was trade. Asia countries are moving without the United States.
Does that --
GLENN SHIVE, HONG KONG AMERICA CENTER: Right.
VANIER: -- to you signal a loss of influence of the U.S. in the region or not?
SHIVE: Well, it is confrontational with Trump, first thing up, pulled out of TPP, that was negotiated over 10 years, all these other countries, 11 countries, invested heavily in their capital, politically, and to set up this multilateral trade agreement. And he pulled out summarily.
And said, we prefer bilateral relationships. We're going to be America first. So here in an ad nauseam environment where consensus and congeniality, at least on the surface of things, very important. Trump's forceful, you know, America first rhetoric goes down tough.
Mr. Xi followed him on the dais and he was talking about globalization is irreversible and you're a good neighbor and we're here to join in, in a collaborative regional trade relationship.
So the two philosophies are very different. You can see the U.S. and China kind of stacked up against each other. So, yes, in a way, this is a situation you'd never have seen some years ago.
VANIER: But so you say the U.S. and China stacked up against each other but in a sense, the U.S. strategy in the region, that they're calling Indo-Pacific, which signals to your that they're looking past Asia; they're calling it Asia Pacific anymore, Indo-Pacific, it's a wider strategy, meant to contain China, or at least that's how it's being explained.
Is that working?
Does that even exist?
Or is that just a label that was thrown out there as a talking point?
SHIVE: Well, I think it's more or less the latter. It is looking wider and including India in the process. So we're looking at Japan, India, Australia, as a big arc of relationships. But ASEAN really is crucial right in the center of that. That is where China has been building up more influence over the years.
And with -- so I think that, in a way, I mean, China's talking about it's being encirclement and containment, that's all Cold War rhetoric. And I think that the U.S., though, is looking to counterbalance the growing influence of China in the region.
Now he had an excellent visit in Beijing. I mean, they pulled out all the stops, great, sort of glamor and he liked it very much. And the rapport with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, coming off of a very strong, you know, 19th party congress, I mean, this guy is really in a strong position. You have to say Trump is not politically in a strong position.
VANIER: Well, he denies that, by the way.
He told reporters when he --
SHIVE: Of course he does.
VANIER: -- put to him, he said, by the way, so am I, I'm in a strong position, too.
Hey, real quick, one last one, are there any victories at this stage that the White House can point to?
SHIVE: Well, I think the reception in China, yes, and that rapport, it was quite striking that he declined, as it were, to blame China for the trade deficit. He said it's our fault, we should have been on the ball. So that actually got China off the hook.
And I think that there's a lot that could happen now in the sort of good feeling of that Beijing trip. It's interesting that right after that, though, he goes to Vietnam and then he gets tough and he said, we're not going to take unequal trade relations anymore. So you have two sides of the Trump personality coming out in the same trip one day after the next. So people are in Asia, saying, who is this guy?
Which Trump is going to show up?
Is he a reliable partner?
And it's looking, in contrast to China, as being a steady and, in a sense, having the economic cards, the geographic cards, growing power and in a sense, trying to, one, something very important, from the Trump visit. They are establishing themselves as on an equal footing with the United States as great powers in the world.
VANIER: All right, well, Glenn Shive, thank you very much. And the visit's not over yet; he's in Vietnam now, heading to the Philippines next so we'll get to talk again. Glenn, thank you.
VANIER: Now a bizarre twist in the Russia investigation, alleging involving former U.S. national security adviser, Michael Flynn, a major foreign power and a possible multimillion dollar --
VANIER: -- payday. It sounds like a novel but the consequences could be very real. CNN Justice correspondent Pamela Brown has the details.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Flynn's role in the alleged plot to forcibly remove Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a legal permanent resident of the United States.
"The Wall Street Journal" reports the FBI has already questioned several people regarding a meeting between the Flynn's 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.
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The next president of the United States right here.
BROWN (voice-over): And in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria conducted before the Wall Street Journal story broke and air in Sunday, the Turkish prime minister denies any deals were ever made with Flynn. But hope Flynn's previous work for the Turkish Government would help win an extradition.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: Had Michael Flynn provided you with any assurance that it would happen?
BINALI YILDRIM, TURKISH PRIME MINISTER: No, no one has.
BROWN (voice-over): 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.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey was part of a meeting in September with Flynn and Turkish officials about potential ways to get Gulen back to Turkey to face charges.
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER FBI 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 (voice-over): At the time, a spokesman for Flynn denied there were any talks about physically removing Gulen. Erdogan has blamed a failed military coup attempt in July last year on Gulen who was been living in exile at this compound in Pennsylvania.
PRESIDENT TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKEY: (through translator): Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey. If we are strategic partners or model partners, do what is necessary. BROWN: Flynn's attorney Robert Kelner released a rare statement saying, "Today's news cycle has brought allegations about General Flynn ranging from kidnapping and bribery that are so outrageous and prejudicial that we are making an exception to our usual rule, they are false."
Flynn Jr.'s attorney did not provide a comment.
Meantime, Flynn is also in hot water for not disclosing his lobbying work for the Turkish Government during the presidential campaign where he took around $500,000. He has restoratively registered as a foreign agent -- Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VANIER: In the Middle East, the departure of Saad Hariri is stoking a
political crisis in Lebanon. Hariri said that he was resigning as prime minister last week and that he feared assassination.
He made the announcement from Saudi Arabia and he condemned Iran and Hezbollah. That has many in Lebanon believing that he's being held against his will. Lebanon's president is demanding Hariri's return and the leader of Hezbollah says that Riyadh has declared war.
Saudi officials deny they're detaining Hariri and they say he is free to leave.
For more on the situation, CNN's Gul Tuysuz joins me now live from Istanbul in Turkey.
Gul, is there any merit to this idea or this argument that Saad Hariri is being held in Saudi against his will?
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, a high level Lebanese official came out and told CNN that they believe Saudi Arabia is restricting the movements and communications of prime minister Saad Hariri.
The source also came out and said that they believe Hariri cannot really express himself and that his own bloc within the Lebanese government$ had no idea about what is going on.
This coming, of course, after that shocking and very unusual resignation by Hariri. He announced it not while he was in his own country of Lebanon but he announced it from Riyadh, from Saudi Arabia. That stoked speculation and fueled allegations that Saudi Arabia had, in fact, made him resign and that he could be held in Saudi Arabia under house arrest.
These, of course, allegations denied vehemently by Riyadh. But speculations have been swirling nonetheless and there has been a great deal of confusion in Lebanon and in the region overall about what this means for the region going forward.
And it just really goes to highlight how complicated and how conflicting the region has become as regional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to face off against each other and Lebanon being just the latest in a myriad of crises for the two regional powers are facing off against each other.
VANIER: Gul Tuysuz, coming to us live from Turkey, thank you very much.
And the air in India's capital is not just dangerous but difficult for many to breathe at all.
VANIER: And before we leave you, the 1961 film, "Breakfast at Tiffany's," is no longer just an Audrey Hepburn fantasy. Tiffany & Company's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York just opened a cafe, where people can enjoy a real breakfast and other meals in a luxurious setting.
It's called Blue Box Cafe and it's decorated with Tiffany's signature robin's egg blue color and high end furnishings. And this taste for the good life is reportedly Tiffany's attempt to attract more consumers to its Manhattan store and its brand overall.
That's it from us. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us.