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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; How Sanctions Are Harming North Korea. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired November 11, 2017 - 04:00   ET

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


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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin talk about Syria at the APEC summit. We'll look at the details in a live report.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In the U.S., Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore defends himself against sexual misconduct allegations. But the interview seems to fuel the fire.

ALLEN (voice-over): And Mr. Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, under scrutiny for an alleged role in a kidnapping proposed by Turkey. We will look at reports that show what special counsel Robert Mueller is uncovering.

HOWELL (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, we want to welcome viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. NEWSROOM starts right now.

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HOWELL: 4:00 am on the U.S. East Coast. Good day to you.

The U.S. President en route to the next stop throughout Asia. But before he left the APEC summit in Vietnam, he did cross paths with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin says that Mr. Putin and President Trump did meet. And they did approve a joint statement on Syria.

The two spoke again at the APEC Summit in Vietnam and appeared friendly. This despite continuing probes here in the United States on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

ALLEN: They repeatedly agreed in Vietnam there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and they must push for peace through the U.N.-sponsored Geneva talks. The White House has yet to confirm any of that.

HOWELL: Our reporters are covering the story from every angle. Nic Robertson live in Da Nang at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, Jill Dougherty in Moscow and Ivan Watson in Hanoi, where the president is headed next.

Let's talk now with Nic Robertson live in Da Nang.

Nic, great to have you with us. So we saw the presidents Trump and Putin, these two presidents together, crossing paths in fact several times. Now we hear from the Kremlin on the joint statement on Syria.

What more can you tell us about the substance of the statement?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: George, it is hugely interesting we have not heard anything from the White House about this meeting so far. What we have seen is that, when they've sort of been in the same room, they have shaken hands and there have been few words exchanged.

Or as we saw with President Trump and President Putin walking today to a photo opportunity, again, there was a chance to talk. And they talked but nothing that we we're aware of that appears to be substantial; no pull aside. No bilateral meeting.

So it is very odd the White House isn't commenting on what Russian state news agency TASS is saying and the headlines of what TASS is saying is sort of business as usual, if you will.

There is an agreement to continue to tackle ISIS; there is an agreement for military deconfliction between U.S. and Russian forces operating in the same theater in the Middle East. So there is an agreement that already exists, that there would be a peace agreement or peace talks and that a political process is the only way forward in Syria, that a military option won't work.

So all of this that is coming from Russian media about this meeting would be more of a headline if they had said some of the things were agreements that were now ended. It is really -- seems to be a statement of continuity of what's been going on for some time.

And it does, the whole scenario harks back to the last time, when President Trump and President Putin met in July this year at G20 in Hamburg, where they met for 2.75 hours; they talked about a cease-fire in the southwest corner of Syria.

And apparently they've, again in this conversation, caught up on that. But back then, if you go back to back then, it was, again, the Russian side that got the news out first and in detail. And the White House had to play catch-up with it. So at the moment, we are waiting to hear what the White House version of these talks is all about.

HOWELL: Hearing from the Russian side. Not heard from the U.S. officials on this. Nic Robertson, live for us, Nic, thanks for your reporting.

ALLEN: For more about it, let's bring in CNN contributor Jill Dougherty. She was formerly CNN's Moscow bureau chief and is a global fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Center. She joins us live from Moscow. What are you hearing from there about the meeting, Jill?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot, in fact, Natalie, the Kremlin has had this on their website. I just checked for about two and a half hours now. So they seem to be able to issue statements.

We are hearing nothing from the Americans yet. And as Nic pointed out, I don't think the statement is particularly new. There is nothing in there notable. But I think if you look at the meeting -- and they were very brief: a handshake here, couple of minutes of discussion walking together.

I think it is more notable for what didn't happen than for what --

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DOUGHERTY: -- actually did happen. You go back a day before the two leaders said hello and shook hands and you had a sense of frustration, coming out from the Russians, who really did want a meeting, some type of more substantive meeting with President Trump.

In fact, the foreign minister was in an interview with Russian TV and was asked about this, when will the meeting take place?

He, in real frustration, said, Why are you asking me? Why don't you ask the Americans? We hear from President Trump that he wants a meeting. But then he said but you have to ask, what are those pencil pushers -- as he put it -- doing, those minor bureaucrats with Trump?

So I think the dynamics are very, very important here. The Russians, let's say, observers and Kremlin-friendly experts are saying essentially that Donald Trump cannot really do much of anything because he is tied hand and foot and cannot provide any type of progress in the relationship.

They are saying, on the one hand, we are frustrated but, on the other hand, we really realize that Donald Trump, because of domestic circumstances, which we all know, the Russian investigation, et cetera, is not able to really deliver too much of anything.

ALLEN: Right. It has caused some paralysis as far as relations, that's for sure. Jill Dougherty, watching things from Moscow for us, thank you, Jill.

HOWELL: Let's now bring in Ivan Watson live in Hanoi, Vietnam. That is where the president is due to arrive and we continue to monitor for that.

But, Ivan, what is on the agenda there when the president and his team arrive?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A round of bilateral talks with different levels of the Vietnamese government. And unlike previous stops on this Asian, tour like South Korea, for example, where President Trump is very unpopular, according to polls, here, he is quite popular. The latest Pew survey saying that some 58 percent of Vietnamese

surveyed said that they believed that President Trump would do the right thing. That is much higher than the worldwide average.

Part of that affection may be result of the fact that the U.S. in general is quite popular here in Vietnam; 84 percent of Vietnamese surveyed in the same poll said that they basically like the U.S.

Again, much higher than the worldwide average. It is pretty striking when you consider the very bloody and tragic history that these two countries share together, the long war that they fought against each other.

And part of that affection may stem from Vietnam's traditional suspicion of its very large neighbor directly to the north and that's China. The two countries fought wars against each other for thousands of years, essentially lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, virtually all of it, really, which Vietnam also lays claim to.

The Vietnamese have been working with the U.S. to try to balance those claims. The U.S. has provided a Coast Guard cutter to Vietnam to defend its coast. And the two countries, the two leaders, basically, Trump, when he met with the Vietnamese prime minister at the White House last May, they talked about and agreed to a memorandum of understanding for further defense cooperation.

So he is likely to get quite a warm welcome here in the capital, in a country where President Trump and the U.S. in general are quite popular -- George.

HOWELL: So continue to support in defense. But, again, it seems that the issue of trade, that seems to be the contrary factor here. President pushing America first with leaders in that part of the world that are focused on globalization.

Ivan Watson, certainly on deck for us in Hanoi, Vietnam, where President Trump is due to land. We will stay in touch with you to continue our coverage as that happens. Thank you, Ivan.

Back here in the United States, the embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is pushing back against accusations that he molested a 14-year-old girl decades ago. Moore says the allegations of one woman are completely false and misleading.

ALLEN: For now, many of the people of Alabama who supported him in the recent primary race seem to be sticking with him now. We get more from CNN's Martin Savidge. He went to Alabama.

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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 --

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MOORE: -- 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 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 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.

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ALLEN: So you just heard Moore's denial from an interview with conservative talk show host Sean Hannity.

Now listen to another key part of that same interview.

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SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: Do you remember dating girls that young at that time?

MOORE: 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 is 17 or 18?

MOORE: No, not normal.

HANNITY: You can say unequivocally you never dated at anybody that was in their late teens like that when were you 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) HOWELL: At least two Republican senators have withdrawn their endorsements of the controversial judge. The December 12 election is to fill the left Senate seat, the vacant seat of Jeff Sessions when he became the U.S. attorney general.

ALLEN: We want to talk more about this story now. Joining us from Paris is Amy Gruene, a professor at the International Research University (INAUDIBLE). She's also the author of "America after Obama."

Amy, thank you for talking with us about this. Certainly we just heard candidate Moore saying these allegations are completely false. And he is staying in it to win it. We also heard people say, if this is true, he should step aside.

Well, the allegations are out there. And he denies it.

So where does that leave things?

AMY GRUENE, AUTHOR: It is interesting. You have this sort of a few of the Washington establishment Republicans who are distancing themselves. We talked about John McCain and Mitch McConnell who've said effectively if this is true.

Then you have people like Steve Bannon, who just recently said in an interview, underlines his unconditional support for candidate Moore. So you have the very interesting division between Washington establishment and Alabama grassroots establishment versus Trump.

It is very interesting. The question about, if this is true, you know, this is really where abusers operate in this gray area. You know, we've had the watershed moment with the Weinstein accusers and going on and going forth from that.

The floodgates have opened. The question that can be asked is, is it sufficient if one woman comes forward? Is it sufficient if four?

At what point, how many accusers do there have to be for the allegations to be taken --

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GRUENE: -- seriously?

So for the Republican Party, the real challenge is, when these accusations hit home, what is the position that they take?

Do they claim the moral high ground?

Do they opt for right versus wrong?

And how much are they willing to attach their name to a candidate who is problematic, regardless of whether or not they are able to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt if the accusations are true?

But absolutely the question here is really one of right or wrong, moral high ground versus support for a candidate, who is clearly in a gray space now.

ALLEN: You mention Republicans.

Moving forward, if Mr. Moore becomes a U.S. senator, what does that spell for Republicans, moving forward with the other elections that are coming up?

GRUENE: It will be interesting to see what voters do with their ballots in 2018 if Moore does become senator. That is a huge hit for the Republican Party, in the sense that there's a loss of credibility, if you will.

Republicans should not take any chances, given the results of the elections notably in Virginia. There is a huge backlash for Trumpism. It's interesting because everything ties together when you see the campaign surrounding the defense or support of Roy Moore. You have this notion of fake news, it's a media conspiracy, nothing is verified, et cetera.

This old, classic argument, trying to drum up base electoral support of the so-called Trump voters. So the question really become for the Republican Party how to distance themselves from someone like Roy Moore.

Clearly if he wins the Senate race, they will have not done enough. So the question becomes will Democrats, will Republicans who are tired of Trump politics, move and support candidates who are not the Republicans, who are independent candidates or Democratic candidates?

So the question really becomes what is the consequence in the 2018 elections?

ALLEN: Right. It is really showing a split between the establishment Republicans, those who want -- fans of President Trump and Steve Bannon and his crusade to unseat these Republicans. Steve Bannon in a statement said he felt this story was all about "The Washington Post" having an agenda.

GRUENE: Yes. Absolutely. Again, it comes back to this Trump argument.

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STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP CHIEF STRATEGIST: Bezos, Amazon, "The Washington Post," did the Billy Bush hit?

When they did the hit on Judge Moore?

Just a complaint random thing in the universe, right?

So I think you will see tomorrow. Look, likely Donald Trump has said, when I stand with a man, I stand with him. Right?

And I told Trump that day. You got a 100 percent chance. Just focus on what's important. Until I see additional evidence on Judge Moore, I'm standing with him. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: All right, so continue on, Amy, your thought about where this leaves the Bannon versus the establishment.

GRUENE: Bannon is talking to the base Trump voters. It goes back to this argument of discrediting the media, the Trump circle trying to reframe the truth, trying to call into question reputable news sources and investigative journalism, the very nature of the trustworthy media itself by reframing the truth.

So what you have there is a Bannon call to Trump voters to play in this gray area and to try to reframe the truth.

So the question really becomes, what does the Republican Party do with this information?

They have several accusers against Moore at this point.

So do they take the moral high ground and do they do what is right?

Of course Bannon is appealing to the base voters. Perhaps even more specifically to Alabama voters. We have seen the local state officials come to his defense, citing like you mentioned earlier that the reporter mentioned earlier, comparing him to Jesus, saying that all men date younger women.

But of course, you know, legally, we know that this is, if proven true, statutory rape. So the question is trying to reframe the truth and call into enough doubt and appeal to the cultural argument, so- called cultural argument in Alabama, just to get this Republican seat filled.

Again, it comes down really to party leadership to take a stance against this type of behavior and decide once and for all, do they support women who come forward and several women?

Or do they decide to support a candidate and do absolutely anything for one simple victory?

ALLEN: Amy Gruene, we appreciate you joining us, thank you for your thoughts.

GRUENE: Thank you, Natalie.

ALLEN: Coming up here on NEWSROOM, alleged bribe, a kidnapping plot and a Muslim cleric. The latest allegations against a former Donald Trump adviser.

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ALLEN: Welcome back.

A bizarre twist in the Russia investigation allegedly involving former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn, a major foreign power and a possible multimillion dollar payday.

HOWELL: All that told together sounds like a novel but the consequences could be very real. CNN's Justice correspondent Pamela Brown explains.

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PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 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 --

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BROWN (voice-over): -- 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.

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HOWELL: There was an interesting turn of events at the APEC Summit in Vietnam. Specifically the person arriving alongside the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, none other than Oleg Deripaska. He is the Russian billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin and also close ties to former Donald Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

There are reports that Manafort offered to give personal briefings about the 2016 campaign to Deripaska just weeks before Mr. Trump accepted the nomination.

ALLEN: Our Matthew Chance tried his best to get answers from Deripaska. Take a look.

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MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) billions of dollars (INAUDIBLE) the Trump campaign?

(INAUDIBLE), just want the real truth.

Did he owe you millions of dollars?

OLEG DERIPASKA, RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE: (INAUDIBLE).

CHANCE: Did he offer those private briefings to you as a way to try and repay that debt, Mr. Deripaska?

DERIPASKA: (INAUDIBLE).

CHANCE: Can you just answer me that, please?

It is a big issue in the United States, sir. Did he offer you those private briefings to try and repay that some of

debt to you?

Is that why he offered them?

DERIPASKA: Get lost, please. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Clearly ignoring and trying to deflect Matthew's tough questions.

Matthew, thank you, obviously, for the reporting.

You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead, explosive allegations of sexual misconduct threaten to derail the candidacy of a Republican judge running for U.S. Senate. You'll hear what some of his supporters are saying.

CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta, Georgia, this hour, simulcast on CNN USA here in the United States, and on CNN International worldwide. Good to have you with us. We'll be back.

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HOWELL (voice-over): Welcome back to viewers in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. Here are the headlines.

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ALLEN: Saudi Arabia denying it is holding Hariri. But there are fears its proxy war with Iran might be moving to Lebanon. CNN's Gul Tuysuz joins us live from Istanbul.

Gul, you're monitoring these developments.

What is the latest?

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Natalie, a high level ministry source in Lebanon told CNN that they believe Saudi Arabia is restricting the movements and communications of prime minister Saad Hariri. The source also told CNN that they believe Hariri cannot freely express himself while he is in Saudi Arabia and also said that Hariri's own bloc within the Lebanese government had no idea about what was going on.

Speculation has been going around since the announcement of that resignation. And Hariri announced his resignation not in the usual way and from his own country but rather while he was out of Lebanon and made that announcement from Saudi Arabia, which really fueled some of the speculation around his announcement, basically that Saudi Arabia had forced him to resign and that he was possibly under house arrest.

These, of course, allegations denied vehemently by Riyadh, Saudi Arabia coming out and saying that these allegations that he was forced or that he is under house arrest are baseless.

But just yesterday, in a speech, the leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, came out and reiterated and said these same things about the resignation being forced against. He also said that the words and actions of Saudi Arabia were tantamount to war. Take a listen.

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HASSAN NASRALLAH, SECRETARY GENERAL, Hezbollah (through translator): It is clear that Saudi Arabia and (INAUDIBLE) officials in Saudi Arabia have declared war against Lebanon and Hezbollah.

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TUYSUZ: Very strong words from the leader of Hezbollah there. And just going to show you and highlight the fact that the region has become more and more tense as these two regional rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia, continue to face off against each other through proxies -- Natalie.

ALLEN: It also comes at a time of internal conflict there in Saudi Arabia as well. We thank you, Gul Tuysuz, spelling it out for us there in Istanbul.

HOWELL: The embattled U.S. Senate candidate, Roy Moore, still has the support of one of his strongest allies, the former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

ALLEN: The Alabama judge has come under fire for alleged sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old girl many years ago, accusation he strongly denies. For the latest, here is CNN's Alex Marquardt.

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ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If anything can be said about Roy Moore's supporters, it's that they're fervent and loyal.

Drawn to him in spite of a controversial past, his values-based campaign centered around Christian beliefs is popular and is reddest of red states. And that loyalty now still strong despite these new bombshell allegations. Supporters unnerved, but so far, unwavering. At Merrill's BBQ, Dottie Finch works in the kitchen. She says she doesn't believe Moore had that sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl or pursued other teenagers. And even if proven true she says, she'd still vote for him.

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

MARQUARDT (on camera): 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 since then, I believe that the good Lord's forgiven him as a Christian, I have to forgive him also.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Moore has slammed the accusations as a liberal conspiracy to thwart his campaign.

MOORE: It's obvious to the casual observer that something's up. We're also doing an investigation and we have some evidence of some collusion here, but we're not ready to put that to the public just yet. This is a completely manufactured story meant to defraud this campaign.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): And Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, now head of Breitbart News had been one of Moore's most prominent backers. Comparing the Washington Post story to the Access Hollywood tape unearthed during the campaign.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, how are you? Hi.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP'S CHIEF STRATEGIST: If you saw the way they came after him like they're coming after Judge Moore today, this is not -- they didn't debate, you know, policy or politics. This was the politics of personal destruction, right?

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Alabama's state auditor went so far as to call the allegations, quote, much adieu about nothing. Take Joseph and Mary he said. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.

And like Jesus, Moore's brother told CNN on Friday, the judge is being persecuted. J. Holland works for the county's Republican Party and has known Moore for decades. He thinks Moore could lose a few votes, but come Election Day, the turnout will be strong.

MARQUARDT: Do you think there's any chance he drops out of this race?

J. HOLLAND, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ETOWAH COUNTY GOP: No, no, you don't know Roy Moore. He is a fighter. He -- if you got to have somebody in a foxhole with you, you want Roy Moore.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: The big question now that his supporters are asking is why now?

Why are these allegations only coming to light, 40 years after the fact?

Do these women have -- are they waging a smear campaign against Roy Moore just weeks before this election?

Are they being put forward by the Democrats?

Are they being put forward by establishment Republicans like Mitch McConnell?

But most Roy Moore supporters want to see right now is more proof, more corroboration, but until then, they want to see Roy Moore staying in the race and they believe that he can win -- Alexander Marquardt, CNN, Gadsden, Alabama.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Comedian Louis C.K. says the sexual misconduct allegations against him are true.

"The New York Times' reported that five women accused him of acting inappropriately.

HOWELL: Here's a statement from the comedian. He says the following, quote, "There is nothing about this 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."

ALLEN: In light of this admission, the distributor of his new film, entitled, "I Love You, Daddy," says the movie is now on hold. And several media companies have dropped projects involving him.

HOWELL: Still ahead here on NEWSROOM, new signs that international sanctions imposed against North Korea are beginning to impact its economy and Kim Jong-un's influence as well.

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ALLEN: While U.S. President Donald Trump continues his trip to Asia, he is trying to line up support for more turning up pressure on North Korea.

HOWELL: But according to intelligence reports, the sanctions already in place are working. Our Brian Todd explains.

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BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump implores his Asian allies, don't let North Korea's young strongman get away with his weapons buildup.

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.

TODD (voice-over): Trump is hitting Kim Jong-un on two fronts, another personal attack and a call on China to tighten the economic screws on Kim.

But at the same time, secretary of state Rex Tillerson says U.S. intelligence indicates the sanctions just imposed on Kim following his hydrogen bomb test in September are working. The highest-ranking North Korean defector in decades, a former diplomat, tells CNN, the sanctions could be chipping away at the loyalty of Kim's closest lieutenants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the sanctions started, Kim Jong-un did not have enough money to buy the hearts of North Korean leadership. So these years, Kim Jong-un could not deliver the luxury gifts to his senior leaders.

So, so far, the only means he can use is the reign of terror.

TODD (voice-over): The new sanctions are supposed to be cutting North Korea's oil imports, cutting Kim's sales of textiles overseas and shutting off the flow of money from the laborers he sends overseas, who build statues and buildings in places like Africa.

The U.S. believes they send back more than $500 million a year, almost all of it going into Kim's pockets to be used to buy off those closest to Kim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The regime actually gives you bonuses, gives you gifts. You may get cash.

[04:45:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may get a television. You may get a car. It also provides a platform for basically engaging in extortion. So you are able to squeeze people in the market. You are able to engage in businesses that maybe other people are not.

TODD (voice-over): That is the carrot approach that Kim uses to keep his elites loyal. The stick, according to the defector, has been Kim's binge of bloody purges since he took power, hundreds of top officials executed, including his own uncle, some with anti-aircraft guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mostly, all of the elite and leaders in North Korea are frightened. That's why it seemed that Kim considered his power in a very short span of time. But what I want to say, in -- for the long run, I don't think that he actually considered his power. TODD: Analysts believe the sanctions are eroding Kim's ability to pay off his elites. They said that he might have stashed away a lot of money and goods to pay them off while the sanctions take effect.

The question now is how long that stash will last and what happens when it runs out? -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Again, the story we are following, Donald Trump in Vietnam now. The U.S. president set to land in the capital of Hanoi very soon. Let's get some context in this story with Glenn Shive, Glenn is the executive director of the Hong Kong America Center, live for us this hour in Hong Kong.

It's good to have you with us, Glenn. We were just --

GLENN SHIVE, HONG KONG AMERICA CENTER: Glad to be with you.

HOWELL: -- a moment ago you heard the report from Brian Todd about North Korea and Kim Jong-un and now we have some new comments coming from North Korea's foreign ministry.

In a statement, calling President Trump a, quote, "destroyer," saying the president begged for nuclear war during his visit, his speech in Asia, across Asia. So clearly North Korean government watching the president's comments and now giving their response.

SHIVE: Well, Mr. Trump actually was -- toned his comments down when he went to South Korea. He gave a speech to the combined legislature. And he was rather moderated instead of -- people were fearing perhaps he would sort of be more incendiary as he has in the past.

But I think he understands North Korea is pretty nervous and that he needs to build solidarity with allies of South Korea toward the North. Really one of the main objectives of this trip is to marshal support across the region for deeper sanctions -- and especially with China.

And I think with his rapport with Xi Jinping, I think that he has put pressure on Xi to bring more sanctions, pressure on the North. China wants to be sure that it pinches but does not destroy this regime.

If it implodes internally, as maybe as suggesting these sanctions are beginning to bite, there is a very complex and dangerous situation in the region. And it is important for the U.S. and China and Japan and South Korea to be on the same page as to how they would react to the situation.

And that neither would be prepared to sort of take advantage of the situation and to maintain stability as much as possible during a possible meltdown of the regime.

HOWELL: Let's push past North Korea to issues of trade and issues of United States influence throughout the region. The question of this president impression throughout that region, pushing that brand, America first, in a part of the world that has invested heavily in globalization.

Where does this leave the United States in the minds of leaders in the region?

SHIVE: The first impression people had of Trump upon being elected, surprisingly to us all, was that he was pulling out of TPP, an American initiative negotiated over 10 years; 12 countries in the region. Really put America central to the further development of the economy. It's very -- generating very substantial economic growth.

And then he pulled back. And so Trump has the kind of reputation for being unpredictable, of course.

And is he a reliable ally?

So it is very important that he meet these leaders in Southeast Asia and talk to them and explain what does America first mean in terms of -- does it just mean that we care about ourselves?

Or that is there a different logic to an open rule-based trading system that the U.S. is committed to?

And it is very important these Southeast Asian countries are sort of hedging between rising China power and where is America?

Is it committed to engaging in the region, both economically as well as militarily?

This is an open question. And it is --

[04:50:00]

SHIVE: -- important for the president to be there and reassure. Right after he gave a speech in Da Nang, there was -- Xi Jinping followed up and he said more of a moderate, considerate position, to say we are committed to globalization. We are your good neighbor, a lot of strength in the Chinese economy.

So a lot of these countries sort of in the middle, in the ASEAN region and beyond, are concerned, what is America's economic policy?

America first: is it a bilateral treaty, trade treaty?

What does that mean?

Is that U.S. going to take as much advantage of us as possible?

Or is the U.S. still committed to a consensual, regional set of cooperative principles on continuing opening of trade that would benefit everybody?

He has got a lot to show here. And he has a very important opportunity to show his new thinking.

HOWELL: All right. We will see what he has to say next in Hanoi, as we continue to monitor for that. Glenn Shive, thank you so much for your insight today.

SHIVE: Pleasure.

ALLEN: A deep freeze for the Eastern United States while India's capital struggles just to breathe. Derek will have the latest forecast for both extremes coming right up here.

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ALLEN: Welcome back. We are talk a little weather now. The Eastern United States is in a grip of an unusual cold snap.

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ALLEN: We will get back to our top stories right after this, our next hour, in just a minute.