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Former U.S. Intelligence Chiefs Say Trump Being Played by Putin; Alabama Voters Weigh in on Roy Moore Scandal; Inside the Church Memorial in Sutherland Springs; Wall Street Eagerly Awaits Tax Bill Vote; Trump Had CIA Director Look Into DNC Leak Conspiracy Theory; SNL Riffs on Sexual Harassment in Hollywood; Trump Sparks New Fast Food Craze in Japan. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 12, 2017 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:04] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Ana Cabrera. It is 6:00 p.m. here in New York City. Thank you so much for joining us.

President Trump may be on the other side of the world, but tonight the former head of the CIA and the former director of National Intelligence have a message they want him to hear loud and clear. You're getting played by Russia and your inability to acknowledge their meddling in the election, whether it's out of fear, ignorance, insecurity or inexperience, is putting the country in peril.

James Brennan and James Clapper spoke exclusively to CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump's interest in being flattered. And also I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Mr. Putin, afraid of what he could do, or what might come out as a result of these investigations.

So it's very worrisome and I think it sends a worrisome, very disturbing signal to our allies and partners who are concerned about Russian interference in their democratic processes as well. So it's either naivete, ignorance or fear in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-a-vie the Russians.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The likelihood that the Russians are going to pursue like interests with us is slim and none. And I think it's very naive and again in fact perilous to this country to make an assumption that Russia is going to behave with the best interests of the world or the United States in mind. They're not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Those comments came just hours after the president said that he, quote, "really believes Vladimir Putin" when he says that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 election. A statement that also included references naming both Brennan, Clapper and as well as former FBI director James Comey as political hacks. That prompted this emotional response from Brennan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRENNAN: Jim Clapper, Jim Comey and John Brennan did not write that assessment. It was written by the professional intelligence officers and law enforcement officers of this great country. Secondly, I feel very honored to be associated with Jim Clapper and Jim Comey in the same category, and considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor.

And third, I found it particularly reprehensible that on Veterans Day, that Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper who served in uniform for 35 years, who responded to the call of his country to go to Vietnam, flew in over 70 combat support missions over Vietnam, and like Senator McCain, really did put his life at risk because of this country's national security.

And to impugn the character of somebody like Jim Clapper on Veterans Day, who has dedicated so much of his life to this country I just find that outrageous and it's something that -- I think that Mr. Trump should be ashamed of, but it doesn't seem as though anything he does he feels any shame whatsoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Aside from Russia and possibly alienating members of his own Intelligence Community, the president also has another matter to deal with, whether he will use this trip to the Philippines to confront his counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, whose so-called war on drugs has seen thousands of people killed, many of them by Philippine police.

I want to bring in CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who's been trailing the president all over Asia. He's in Manila right now, the capital of the Philippines.

Jim, first, on Russia. We've gotten some very mixed signals in just the last 24 hours about where the president stands on this issue of Russian meddling.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. And make no mistake, there were no apologies, no regrets from the president when he was asked these questions at a news conference with the president of Vietnam yesterday, asked about whether or not he agrees with the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled in the election.

He begrudgingly said that he agreed with the intelligence community, but he did not walk back that stinging criticism of the former members of the intelligence community, people like Jim Clapper and so on, who he referred to as liars and hacks, in that discussion with reporters on Air Force One.

The president at one point during this news conference also sort of loudly complained about the sanctions that are still on Russia, despite the fact that there's an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Here's what the president had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People don't realize, Russia has been very, very heavily sanctioned. They were sanctioned at a very high level and that took place very recently. It's now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and broken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now nowhere in the president's remarks did he say definitively yes or no he believes that the U.S. intelligence community is correct, that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

[18:05:05] Boris, I tried to ask the president that question myself as he was walking around the gardens of the presidential palace in Vietnam. He did not answer the question.

But as for the president's agenda here in the Philippines, he is going to be meeting with leaders of the ASEAN Summit here. As you mentioned, the president and the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, they will be sitting down together, and as you said, Duterte has carried out this very bloody crackdown on drugs in this country and even bragged a couple of days ago that he killed somebody when he was 16 years old.

The big open-ended question today is whether or not the president really goes after Duterte and presses him on these human rights issues.

And one other meeting we should mention, the president is also scheduled to sit down with Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister of Australia.

You'll remember, Boris, earlier on in this administration, shortly after the president was inaugurated, he had a very tough conversation with the Australian prime minister conversation, and that relationship is certainly not fully repaired after that -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. That conversation certainly raised some eyebrows about the refugees, whether or not they were going to stay in Australia or come here to the United States.

Jim Acosta, reporting from Manila. Thank you, friend.

I want to introduce our panel now. David Drucker, he's a senior political correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Matt Viser, deputy Washington bureau chief for "The Boston Globe," Bob Baer, who's a former CIA operative, and Elise Labott, CNN's global affairs correspondent.

Bob, let's start with you. I just want to get your reaction to that strong language from Clapper and Brennan saying that the president is getting played by Russia. We haven't really heard language like that being used before from intelligence officials about the president. ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Boris, I

agree with him. I mean, Vladimir Putin hacked our elections in 2016. They've gone after the National Security Agency, the CIA, they're winning this war. But on the other hand, Putin is not going to sit down with our president and say, hey, I've got you guys and I admit this. It's plausible deniability he's built into this operation, and they're winning this cyber assault on the United States.

And so for the president any way to say, you know, pass on comments that Putin says we're innocent, we didn't do this, is not helpful. What we should be thinking about is next election, next year because they're going to be after us again unless we set up some sort of cyber defense. And that's the real problem. And yes, the president is being played.

SANCHEZ: David, to you, specifically on that topic of future elections, the president is saying that, you know, anyone that thinks that we shouldn't have a good relationship with Russia is a hater. How can we have a good relationship with Russia if they're trying to interfere in our democracy?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think that the issue for the president here is how he frames this. I mean, of course we want to have good relationships with all sorts of nations, particularly regional powers, because having a good relationship with other powers can help us defuse sensitive issues like the North Korean nuclear threat.

I think the question is on whose terms is the relationship going to occur? And what's curious is that the president has never hesitated to jawbone all sorts of adversaries and allies of the United States, allies including South Korea, including NATO.

One country he just doesn't want to seem to get into a shouting match with, for whatever reason, is Russia. And that's what makes this so curious and so I think stark in terms of how he presents our relationship with Russia. And I think all he needs to do is present the desire for a good relationship with Russia, as one that needs to occur on our terms, with a recognition that Russia is an adversary that seeks to undermine the U.S. at almost every turn.

And if he did that, then I think a lot of this other stuff would not seem as big of a deal, and, you know, one last thing, one of the tweets that came from the president in the past day or so was on the Russian reset the Obama administration tried. And he was criticizing Hillary Clinton and Obama for that reset. And that's part of the point, is past administrations now, Republican and Democrat, have tried to charm Putin. It's never worked.

And so I think this president has plenty of evidence to show that it won't work for him either. And I think he should act accordingly and that might defuse a lot of the problems that he appears to have with Russia in the United States.

SANCHEZ: Now David brought up a good point that I wanted to ask you about, this president has not been shy to address our enemies. Just last night with a tweet about Kim Jong-un and even with our allies, Mexico and Canada. He uses abrasive language to talk about our NAFTA treaty partners. Even our NATO allies. But he doesn't seem to have the same kind of aggressive tone when it comes to Vladimir Putin.

Doesn't that stand to hurt him at least in the eyes of our allies around the world?

MATT VISER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, it's very odd. He prides himself on his punch and his counterpunch. Throughout his political career, that's been the case, whether it's in the primary and sort of branding his opponents in very specific terms, you know, low energy Jeb or Little Marco, in a way that was very successful.

[18:10:14] He's not done the same with Vladimir Putin, who, if he believes our intelligence agencies, which there's some question whether he does, that they interfered in the election. And he's not done that. And it's very odd given that this whole trip, you know, had been very -- had been going pretty well. You know, he'd been somewhat scripted in each step of the way it seemed to be smooth up until meeting with Vladimir Putin.

And then it seems to have gone off the rails a little bit and returned to some of the prior questioning over what the intelligence agencies had concluded about Russia. So it's a very odd circumstance that he cannot be as confrontational with Vladimir Putin as he can be with almost every other political opponent.

SANCHEZ: Elise, I think we have to talk about the backdrop of this trip, in part the president wanted to show unity with Asian allies. He specifically said that the United States wouldn't run from conflict, referring to Kim Jong-un and the advancement of the North Korean nuclear weapons program.

It's also a time where China is mixing to flex its muscle around the world, not just in Asia. But doesn't the president kind of lower himself when you hear these former top intelligence officials saying that he's intimidated by Vladimir Putin? Shouldn't he have confronted him further?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think he's lowered himself in the eyes of allies in a lot of ways. That's just one of them. I mean, listen, the president was talking about wanting the world to confront North Korea and working all together and then talked about a very America first, very isolationist economic and trade message. And these leaders are looking for President Trump to lead all across the globe, not just on North Korea, but they're looking on trade and they're looking on Russia.

Listen, it's not just on the election meddling that President Trump is not willing to confront Russia. He's not willing to confront Russia on its activities in Syria, although there is some small cooperation taking place on the Syrian front. But in Ukraine, he's -- while he's pushing China on North Korea, he doesn't seem to be pushing Russia all that hard.

So it's -- you know, on both fronts, he's not listening to his intelligence community on Russia. He's not confronting Russia on these other issues. And when President Trump goes to them on North Korea or other issues and says, this is what my intelligence community says, these leaders are saying well, you just said you didn't trust your intelligence community on the Russian meddling. So he's sending a very mixed and very disconcerting message to allies and it's not the first time.

SANCHEZ: I want to play some sound for you all from James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, when he talks about the impact that Trump's stance on Russian meddling might have on intelligence officials. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLAPPER: It can have -- it cannot have a positive impact on the morale of the workforce in the intelligence community. But I do believe in my heart that the men and women of the intelligence community will continue to convey truth to power, even if the power ignores the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Bob, how do you think this affects the morale of law enforcement officials, intelligence officials, that often risk their lives to maintain national security?

BAER: It demoralizes them, Boris. No question about it. They're coming after Mueller on this Russia investigation and the rest of it. He's basically saying, I don't trust the intelligence communities. I can figure this stuff out myself. I can go to Breitbart. I can go to FOX and the rest of it. And it has demoralized people. People I know in the CIA are just shaking their heads and asking what is going on here?

And I have to ask myself, I mean, these communities are doing a great job. They discovered this Russian hacking and they put their names on the bottom of these assessments, and they were right. The Russians did hack, and for the president to throw any doubt on that demoralizes the intelligence community.

SANCHEZ: David, to you. President Trump is now in the Philippines, face-to-face with P Rodrigo Duterte, who has said some colorful things. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. RODRIGO DUTERTE, PHILIPPINES: Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there is 3 million, what is it, 3 million drug addicts, there are. I'd be happy to slaughter them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Earlier this week, Duterte also said that he killed a man with his bare hands when he was 16 just for looking at him and then he assured the crowd that he wasn't joking. What do you expect to come of these meetings between President Trump and Duterte? [18:15:03] DRUCKER: Well, let's just correct Duterte on one thing.

The holocaust killed 6 million Jews and we should always get that right. But I don't think that we're going to see much from the president in the way of lecturing or even gently nudging Duterte to maybe act in a more democratic fashion. He has shown his approach to foreign policy is to stand behind autocrats and dictators essentially, and say look, as long as you can work with us on the things that are important to us and the United States, I'm not going to give you a lecture about democracy.

And I don't think that's really where the president sees his role in foreign policy. And I think this administration, even though behind the scenes there are figures that are more traditionally steeped in the post-World War II U.S. approach of trying to foster democracy as good for the U.S., I think -- you know, I think President Trump doesn't necessarily see a benefit to that. And so I think we saw in China and Vietnam, and we've seen his relationship with Vladimir Putin, that he doesn't really have a problem with strong men or people that want to run their country that way, as long as he can extract from them the concessions or deals that he wants.

And so I don't think we're going to see anything different. Especially when the president has been critical of other leaders, he usually does not do it in front of them, and we have not seen him really do it on their own turf, with the one exception being I supposed his first foreign trip when he went to Saudi Arabia and gave that speech. And then, you know, here and there with NATO when he was on his European trip.

But in general, as we've seen on this trip, he hasn't really pushed them. When the Chinese didn't want to hold a press conference, he acquiesced. And so I think we'll see more of that in Manila.

SANCHEZ: Matt, according to "The Washington Post" during their first phone call after Trump won the election, he praised Duterte's anti- drug crackdown and strong scorn internationally for extra-judicial killings. How do you expect him to call him out for human rights abuses? Will he at all?

VISER: I mean, as David was pointing out, probably not, at least not publicly. It's hard to tell sort of what goes on privately in some of these meetings. But, you know, publicly, President Trump has not shown a willingness to criticize leaders on their own turf. Even when he went to Mexico and talked about the wall, he didn't, you know, really push that point. When he was in China just a few days ago, he didn't push the point about China in sort of trade war type language.

He's really been sort of strident on during his campaign and as president. So you wouldn't expect him to do too much differently while he's in the Philippines to push the leader on human rights issues, just as he sort of backed away from some of those things. At least publicly in some of the other countries.

SANCHEZ: Still have so many questions to get to, unfortunately we are out of time.

Matt Viser, David Drucker, Bob Baer, and Elise Labott, thank you all so much for the perspective.

Coming up, it is a critical race for Republicans. But will a sexual misconduct scandal sink Roy Moore's chances at a Senate seat?

We are live in Alabama hearing from voters.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:22:28] SANCHEZ: Trump administration officials today are making clear that if there is truth to the sexual misconduct accusations surrounding Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, he needs to drop out of the race.

Four women told "The Washington Post" that Roy Moore pursued romantic relationships with them decades ago when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers, including the one on the right, Leigh Corfman who was 14 at the time.

Moore vehemently denies the accusations. Earlier on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that if true, Moore should step aside. Counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, says she's willing to go further than that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I said very early in this process that the conduct as described should disqualify anyone from serving in public office, and I'll stand by that. The president and others in the Republican Party have made clear that if the allegations are true, this man should step aside. But I'm going farther than that, and I've reflected something the vice president said as well, which is everybody should know that conduct is disqualifying.

And Mr. Moore has denied that conduct. I think you've got other people out there talking about what did or did not happen many years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now from Gadsden, Alabama.

Martin, Roy Moore is well known to the people of that state. Do you think this scandal is going to derail his campaign? What sense have you gotten from voters?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is pretty clear that those that support Roy Moore still support Roy Moore and those that don't like him, like him even less. But it doesn't appear that it has changed the map when it comes down to the critical election, which is exactly one month from today.

You had so many people that say, of course, if it's true. The problem is we're talking about an accusation that dates back some 40 years. So proof and the evidence would be very hard to come by. And then on top of that, it is very doubtful, Roy Moore has already come out and absolutely denied any of the accusations that have been leveled against him.

So trying to get past that hurdle of if it's true, it seems that many voters will be caught in the quandary. And to sort of show you what kind of quandary, here's one churchgoer we spoke with today. It's complex but listen carefully.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK FLOYD, ALABAMA RESIDENT: Roy Moore is my friend. I'm a Democrat, and I'm not going to vote for him because I'm a Democrat. But I've known him a long, long time. The thing that bothers me about those charges is that he's been in public life, run for many offices, and as many times as this happened, no one has ever said anything until now.

[18:25:06] And I don't think it comes from any place except Washington. It comes from Washington, it comes from the Republican Party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: It is the timing that has so many people here suspicious. But going back to the last thing he said, there are people who believe there's some sort of, you know, political conspiracy here at work. But he points to the Republicans, not the Democrats, which would seem the obvious choice -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Do Republican officials in Alabama have a contingency plan if Roy Moore is forced to drop out? We know that his name will still be on the ballot even if he does.

SAVIDGE: Right. And that sets up a real problem because then it would have to be some kind of write-in campaign. And that is pretty much a recipe for disaster. So the Republicans, and especially conservative voters, say they actually would be willing to put Roy Moore into office, even with all the questions, rather than allow a Democrat to win. That is a tough thing to consider, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, certainly some Republican officials saying they'd rather have a child predator in the Senate than a Democrat.

Martin Savidge, thank you so much for the reporting.

Coming up, a show of strength and unity in a grieving town. A Texas church reopening as a memorial one week after a gunman's rampage.

We're there live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:30:36] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Sixty-one people are dead and at least 300 injured after a 7.3 earthquake hit the Iran-Iraq border.

You can see this chandelier swaying inside a building in Baghdad, some 200 miles from the epicenter of the quake. Iraqi state media is reporting that the quake was felt throughout the country and beyond.

This video was recorded inside a Baghdad grocery store. You can see items and overhead lights swaying.

Iraq's meteorological organization is warning people to stay away from buildings and to not use elevators.

Back in the United States now. Visitors are being allowed inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs for the first time since a lone gunman walked in and opened fire a week ago today.

The church sanctuary has been turned into a memorial for victims, 25 church members and an unborn child who died in the massacre. Worshippers had to gather for their service in a tent on a nearby baseball field this morning.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung had a chance to go inside that church memorial a short time ago. She joins us now live.

Kaylee, what did you see?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, I was told just before I entered the church that to anyone who knew what it looked like before, it would be unrecognizable. And I can tell you, the feeling that I had as I walked in was something I have never felt before.

The church had its carpet taken out. The pews removed. Painted from floor to ceiling in white. And you're immediately struck by the 26 chairs you see in that sanctuary.

Each chair placed in the spot that that victim's body was pound. The name of the victim written in gold along the back of the chair, a red rose sitting in each chair. And one small pink rose for the unborn baby, Holcombe.

As you're in the sanctuary, you can hear a recording being played. As we learned, First Baptist would record each church services each Sunday. They have for the past three years to post to YouTube.

Well, many of these victims, they were part of the service week to week. They were seen on those recordings. Their voices then played over that speaker inside the sanctuary to hear.

There's also a poster board along the back of the sanctuary. A Psalm that was supposed to be read on the November 5th service that was never read, because that point in the service was never reached. It's from Psalm 100 that asks for you to remember God's eternal love.

Now, the sanctuary opened to the public as a memorial site. Some telling me they believe it will be an important part of their healing process. Others telling me they believe it will help bring them closure.

And this sanctuary will be open on Sunday morning as Frank Pomeroy preaches to his congregation there. Boris? SANCHEZ: Kaylee, one quick question. Texas Senator John Cornyn also

visited the church today. He shared a personal moment and also talked about a bill that he plans to introduce regarding guns. What did he talk about?

HARTUNG: Well, the gunman should never have been allowed to purchase a gun. The United States Air Force has admitted that while he was charged with domestic abuse in their military courts, that information was never sent to the federal background check. So when he went to buy a gun, he was allowed to.

Senator Cornyn is spearheading bipartisan legislation -- he says he could introduce this earliest tomorrow -- to make sure that that disconnect between military courts and civic courts no longer exists.

But what Cornyn did share with us after the service was his reaction to Pastor Frank Pomeroy's sermon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: I saw him standing there at the front of the church, comforting others, and he lost his 14-year-old daughter. It's remarkable, but a testament to their faith and their compassion for others during this very difficult time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: Frank Pomeroy preached perseverance, the need for strength in the fight against evil.

Boris, the strength he exhibited to his community today was an example to us all.

SANCHEZ: Yes, difficult to imagine the heartbreak that he must be feeling as well.

[18:35:00] Kaylee Hartung reporting from Sutherland Springs, Texas. Thank you.

Coming up, is Donald Trump embracing a conspiracy? The President convincing the CIA Director to meet with a man who argues that the cyber attack on the Democratic Party during last year's election was an inside job.

But first, CNN's Alison Kosik has more on the congressional vote that investors are anxiously awaiting this week. Alison?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Boris. With earning season pretty much over, it's all about tax cuts. Investors are focused on developments in Washington. This week, the full House could vote on its tax bill, and the Senate is expected to begin marking up its own legislation.

Hope for tax cuts has powered the rally on Wall Street, but we saw some jitters last week as investors wonder whether the legislation can actually pass. After all, the House and Senate bills have some major areas of disagreement.

For example, the Senate version gets rid of the entire state and local tax deduction while the House bill let's people deduct property taxes up to $10,000. Also, the Senate bill leaves the deduction for mortgage interest alone, while the House bill caps it.

Those are just two of the many differences between the two bills, setting up a dramatic showdown over tax policy in the next few weeks.

In New York, I'm Alison Kosik.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:41:02] SANCHEZ: A day after criticizing past leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies as political hacks, President Trump is clarifying, saying that he stands behind those agencies that say Russia meddled in the election.

And yet his statement follows an unusual request that he made to his CIA Director to look into a theory that the leak of Democratic Party e-mails last year was the result of an inside job, rather than the work of Russian hackers.

CNN's Jim Sciutto has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Multiple sources tell CNN that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met, at the President's urging, with one of the principal deniers of Russian interference in the U.S. election.

As first reported by "The Intercept," Pompeo met October 24th with William Binney, a former national security agency employee who has theorized that the theft and release of thousands of Democratic National Committee e-mails was actually an inside job, carried out not by Russia, but a DNC employee.

Binney tells CNN that Pompeo began the meeting, which lasted an hour, by saying, quote, the President told me I should talk to you.

Regarding the meeting, the CIA refused to comment, but it said that Director Pompeo, quote, stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 intelligence community assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

The President himself has repeatedly questioned Russia's involvement, both during the campaign --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia.

SCIUTTO: -- and since his election as well.

TRUMP: If you don't catch a hacker, OK, in the act, it's very hard to say who did the hacking. With that being said, I'll go along with Russia. Could have been China, could have been a lot of different groups.

SCIUTTO: In October, Director Pompeo prompted a clarification from the CIA when he said at a speech that the U.S. intelligence community determined that Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not affect its outcome.

MIKE POMPEO, DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: The intelligence community's assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.

SCIUTTO: Soon after the speech, the CIA issued a statement, saying, quote, the intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed, and the Director did not intend to suggest that it had.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Coming up, "Saturday Night Live" tackles the tricky subject of Roy Moore's sexual misconduct scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKEY DAY, ACTOR: Look, it's all lies. I'm not that guy.

BECK BENNETT, ACTOR: Perhaps, Roy, perhaps. But it's hard to convince people that you're not into young girls when you dress like Woody from "Toy Story."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[18:43:45] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: "Saturday Night Live" pulled no punches in last night's show after it went after the topic of sexual harassment. No stone was left unturned about recent claims which have made headlines.

Here is how guest host, actress Tiffany Haddish, summed it all up in her opening monologue, referring to the scandal in which comedian Louis C.K. admitted that he exposed himself to women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIFFANY HADDISH, ACTRESS: We've been talking about the whole sexual harassment stuff that's been going on, and look here, OK, guys. Fellas, I got a tip for y'all.

I like to call it Tiffany's tips. This is Tiff's tip. Listen, fellas. Listen, OK?

If you got your thing-thing out and she got all her clothes on, you're wrong! You're in the wrong!

(APPLAUSE)

HADDISH: Wait until she takes her own clothes off, then pull your thing-thing out. OK?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: A lesson that, clearly, many have not learned. CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas joins me now.

Chloe, some sites are criticizing "SNL" today because --

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Yes.

SANCHEZ: -- though there were some references to Louis C.K. -- he was a former writer on the show and has appeared at least four times -- it wasn't really that aggressive of an attack. They didn't really call him out by name more than once.

MELAS: Right. So, I mean, yes, they did talk about sexual harassment throughout the entire show, not just a skit here and there. That was the overall theme of last night's episode.

But a lot of people took to social media afterwards to say, you guys did an entire skit on Roy Moore, but you only mentioned Louis C.K.'s name one time in a joke that was kind of laughed over and stumbled upon.

You guys didn't really tackle it head on, and what's up with that? Is that because he's a former host of the show? Because he's a fellow comedian, friend of so many on the show?

So a lot of people feel like they handled it with kid gloves and that they should have gone harder on him, especially when Roy Moore has denied allegations but Louis C.K. came out and admitted to all of it.

[18:50:01] SANCHEZ: Yes, especially because Louis C.K. hasn't been shy in his opening monologue when he has guest hosted about talking about very sensitive things.

MELAS: Right.

SANCHEZ: I think we have a clip of them skewering Roy Moore. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE MCKINNON, ACTRESS: They say you even admitted to being with a couple of 16-year-olds.

DAY: Oh, come on, Jeff, you know I was just kidding.

MCKINNON: Oh. All right. Well, that's a relief.

DAY: No, kidding is the term I use for dating young ladies. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Funny, but not really that funny, right?

MELAS: Right. I mean, look, at the end of the day, people look to "SNL" to cover what people are talking about. And people have said the "SNL" has their finger on the pulse of America. So during good times or bad, that's who we turn to on Saturday nights.

But, again, people feel as though, why did they go so hard on Roy Moore when it seemed like they kind of just let Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. and others kind off the hook in a way?

SANCHEZ: Yes. Spacey has actually hosted twice, and as we said before, Louis C.K., four times. I think we have another clip of them addressing sexual assault. You said it was constant theme.

MELAS: Colin Jost during "Weekend Update." He did do something, though, that I will give him kudos for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN JOST, ACTOR: Well, it's a good weekend to stay inside since it's 20 degrees out, and everyone you've ever heard of is a sex monster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Everyone you've heard of is a sex monster.

MELAS: Look, although he is joking but at the end of the day, they did show everybody's face up there from Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey. They did show Louis C.K.'s face up there on the screen.

And to Colin Jost's point and to everybody that keeps asking me, why does it feel like everybody is coming out now with allegations of sexual assault, and it's because it is kind of all happening all at once, because people are feeling more emboldened to come out and speak and name their abusers, more so than they have in the past.

SANCHEZ: All right. Chloe Melas, thank you so much the reporting.

MELAS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Much appreciated.

Coming up, President Trump may be far from the U.S., but his food choices aren't straying too far from home. We'll explain, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TREVOR NOAH, COMEDY CENTRAL HOST: He's in Japan and he's eating hamburgers?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:56:29] SANCHEZ: Finally, this hour, you know the old saying, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Unless you're Donald Trump in Japan. Jeanne Moos explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump may have moved on from Japan, but he left behind a sizzling culinary star. A burger blessed by the President.

NOAH: He's in Japan and he's eating hamburgers?

MOOS: Japan's Prime Minister ate one with him at a golf club before the two men teed off. The Japanese Prime Minister tweeted a photo of the burger bromance that included Heinz ketchup, saying, we're getting down to business right away over hamburgers.

But the business that boomed was Munch's Burger Shack. The chef and owner was asked to come to the golf club to prepare the VIP burgers. President Trump pronounced his very good.

Now, it was already considered one of Tokyo's best burger joints is going gangbusters. One of the two branches even ran out of meat. Munch's posted on Facebook that it was an honor to serve President Trump, but warned customers of trouble due to congestion, given their new popularity.

And to think that when President Obama visited Japan, he and the Prime Minister ate at a legendary sushi restaurant where meals run $300. Trump's cheeseburger cost $10.50.

Tweeted one fan, Trump won the election because he eats hamburgers and not high-end sushi.

We all we know the President loves his KFC and McDonald's. He even did a McDonald's commercial.

TRUMP: A big and tasty for just for a dollar?

MOOR: Now, he's inadvertently advertising for a Japanese burger joint.

Will the Colby Jack cheeseburger end up being rechristened the Trump burger? The menu hasn't changed yet, but this was a happy meal for Munch's Burger Shack.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: If that didn't make you hungry, how about this? He may be the most famous chef you've never heard of.

Jeremiah Tower revolutionized how and what we eat in restaurants. But then a culinary mystery, he disappeared and was written out of history. Now, Anthony Bourdain is on the case trying to find out why.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was the master of ceremonies, he was the ringmaster, and he enjoyed being someone who could play host to the gathering of rich and powerful and important or self-important people.

JERRY MATTEES, FORMER PATRON, STARS: It always amazed me that I know he spent a lot of time in the kitchen. And if he got splattered with some food, he'd go down and change. Because he'd come walking out around the crowd, shaking hands, saying hello, being Jeremiah. And I was just looking so pristine.

MARTHA STEWART, FOUNDER, MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA: Totally in control. And, of course, you love that. You wanted to see him. You wanted to see who was touching your food, who was making it, and who was directing the rest of the guys in the kitchen. I think Jeremiah was a celebrity chef. He was one of the firsts.

ALEXANDRA TOWER EWERS, FORMER PATRON: It was like a conductor walking through with an orchestra, and that's what he would do. And he usually had a glass of champagne in his hand. If he didn't, somebody brought it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[18:59:57] SANCHEZ: Do not miss this. The CNN film, "JEREMIAH TOWER, THE LAST MAGNIFICENT" tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.