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Senators: Kushner Failed to hand over Russia Documents; Mueller Calls for More Russia-Related Documents from Trump Campaign; Trump Responds to Al Franken Accusations; Human Rights Watch Accuses Myanmar's Military of Vicious Rape Against Rohingya Muslim Women, Girls; DHS Official Resigns over Past Comments on Blacks, Muslims. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired November 17, 2017 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So the question is, why would Jared Kushner have any correspondence or be talking with anyone about creating a backdoor channel between WikiLeaks and Russians? This is the kind of thing from a national security perspective really causes some concern.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you hear that.
But you said something important, which is, "I don't totally remember until the media reported it," which, a couple days ago, Jeff Sessions on Capitol Hill. So between the two of them either I haven't revealed or I don't recall, how long can they continue doing that without truly facing consequences?
TURNER: Yes, I think we are very close to that point. I mean, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions said I don't recall some 20 odd times. And I think that what this does is for all of those people out there who said early on, let's give the administration the benefit of the doubt. We don't have any hard facts. Let's let the investigation play out.
BALDWIN: How much longer?
TURNER: The picture is starting to form. And at this point we don't know exactly what the picture will look like. But clearly there is something there that these individuals would rather not have out in the public discourse.
BALDWIN: Let me read this list. And you think of Jared Kushner as figure here. From the digital operation, to Michael Flynn, to firing of the FBI Director James Comey, to communications with WikiLeaks, Trump Tower, security forms we are talking about. Jared Kushner, the theme is that he always sort of seems to be in the room.
TURNER: Yes. Jared Kushner is emerging as the central figure. He really is. That list that you laid out, those were all facts with regard to Jared Kushner. What really concerns me with regard to Jared Kushner is the fact we are ten months into him turning in his paperwork for security clearance. He's involved in all of these issues involving national security, including many on the list that you just named. And he still does not have --
BALDWIN: Security clearance.
TURNER: Right. And there did a provision to allow people to get expedited security clearance, I'm curious as to why he hasn't, and if he has, why it's taking so long.
BALDWIN: Let's talk about Bob Mueller and the Trump campaign asking for officials to produce these Russian related documents. And this new subpoena seeks additional records. And the source described it as a cleanup subpoena.
BALDWIN: What are they cleaning up?
TURNER: Yes, you know, when I look at that list, look, there are a couple of things on that list that I think could potentially have been things that were not in the original scope of the request. Or things that maybe they did not have the ability to provide. For example, the transcripts of other hearings. But there are also things on that list that were clearly in the scope of the previous request. When he's asking for, when they are asking for information related to e-mails with WikiLeaks. Clearly that was in the initial list. So clean up there were things that should have been provided originally.
BALDWIN: OK. Shawn Turner, thank you so much. Thanks to see you in person.
TURNER: You, too.
BALDWIN: Selective silence. Moments from now, the White House is set to respond to the president's attack on Al Franken, Democrat, but silence on accusation against Roy Moore, Republican, speaks volumes. We'll talk with the author of this 1995 "New Yorker" magazine piece that President Trump used specifically to attack Senator Franken on Twitter. So stand for that.
[14:37:44] BALDWIN: President Trump has broken silence about Senator Al Franken adding his two cents. Trump tweeted hours ago, quote, "To think just last week, he," -- Al Franken - "was lecturing anyone who was listening about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?"
The reference was a 1995 "New Yorker" magazine article that quoted Al Franken, joking in the "Saturday Night Live" writers room. Quotes Franken as saying this, quote, "And I give the pills to Lesley Stahl Stahl, then when Lesley is passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her, or that's why you don't see Lesley until February, or when she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her." Let's get some context from the person who was in the room, Chris
Smith, contributing editor with "New Yorker" magazine, who wrote the article in the mid-90s. He's also the author of "The Daily Show, The Book, An Oral History as Told by John Stewart."
So good to see you.
CHRIS SMITH, AUTHOR & CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NEW YORKER MAGAZINE: Thanks for having me.
BALDWIN: I bet 24 hours ago you didn't think you would be talking to me about your piece you wrote in 1995.
SMITH: Right. I was trying to right about Russian and up pops this.
BALDWIN: You were Twittering around on Twitter, as we all do.
BALDWIN: And you see for yourself the president's tweet referencing the article. What was your first thought?
SMITH: My first thought is what Al Franken did with Leeann Tweeden is wrong. No question about that. It's bad. It's wrong. He's apologized. Volunteered for ethics investigation. My second thought was Trump's attempt and subsequently or I don't remember the chronology, Sean Hannity's attempt to somehow connect this with what Al Franken said years ago at two in the morning, "Saturday Night Live," this is pattern of behavior, is ridiculous.
BALDWIN: Let's back up a step. So this is 22 years ago. You are at "Saturday Night Live: writing this piece. Wee hours in the morning.
[14:39:56] SMITH: Yes, I spent a couple of months all access behind the scenes at "SNL." And it was about late-night television. And the context is really important here. Those couple of lines which everybody has pulled up in the past 24 hours, thanks to the prodding of Trump and Hannity, they look really bad. And we can have a long discussion about what should be inbounds, out of bounds, in comedy.
BALDWIN: Joking about raping a "60 Minutes" correspondent.
SMITH: But two in the morning, back and forth, and I've been in comedy rooms over the years, there are women comedy writers who will say things to make your skin crawl, and it's all in the spirit of what can we use on stage or on the air. And to be very specific, Franken was never advocating what he was talking about there go into the sketch on the air, he was trying to provoke the discussion. The ultimate segment that Norm McDonald did where he's parities this Norm, Andy Rooney character, was a lot tamer. So he is not then or now advocating violence against women.
BALDWIN: Do you think then, just really last question, in the president's tweet was out of bounds because it loss the context of the conversation.
BALDWIN: From 22 years ago.
SMITH: But let's be clear here, and you know this, they are not trotting stuff out because they are champions of women. They are trying to get a Senate candidate elected in Alabama who was trolling for dates at the mall. They are trying to get past the Russia investigation. They are trying to pass a tax bill, which is a huge corporate giveaway.
BALDWIN: But isn't this his own personal accusers, officially on this?
SMITH: Yes, you would think so. And you guys and a lot of other folks are saying, well, you have 12 or more on the record accusers over decades saying Donald Trump as a civilian, you know, did a lot of bad things with women. So it may backfire. And we'll see.
BALDWIN: That's why we've been calling it hypocrisy.
SMITH: There you go.
BALDWIN: The way he's talking about Al Franken and not saying anything more on Moore, other than saying, via Sarah Huckabee Sanders, if the allegations are true, he should step aside.
SMITH: Again, not dismissing Franken's conduct in any way.
BALDWIN: Totally. Totally.
Chris Smith, thanks for swinging by.
SMITH: You're welcome.
BALDWIN: Moments from now, growing fallout from the Roy Moore and al Franken scandals. As we were discussing Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be standing there at the podium at the White House briefing room. We know the reporters will be asking the questions. It's just a matter of how they answer them today.
But first, to a powerful piece of CNN reporting. Our Clarissa Ward traveled to a refugee camp in Myanmar, and what she found, nothing short of heartbreaking. We will show you the horrific reality of sexual violence. A CNN exclusive. Please stick around to watch.
[14:47:31] BALDWIN: Turning now to the brutal refugee crisis in Myanmar. A new report by Human Rights Watch accuses Myanmar's military of carrying out a vicious campaign of rape against Rohingya Muslim women and girls in the country's Rohingya state. Earlier this week, a U.S. envoy said sexual violence was, quote, "Being commanded, orchestrated and perpetrated by the armed forces of Burma." Burma's military released a report on Monday denying all allegations of rape and killing by security forces. It also announced it was replacing the general in charge of the Rohingya state. CNN senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, has been in the
Bangladesh refugee camps where hundreds of thousands of refugee Rohingya Muslims have fled to. She spoke to multiple women who describing being raped as part of her ongoing reports.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESOPNDENT (voice-over): Rasheed rarely speaks these days. When she does, tell her story, she speaks quietly and mechanically, as if trying to recount what happened without reliving it.
"We were five women with our babies," she says. "The military grabbed us, dragged us into the house and shut the door, and they raped us."
She tells us they stabbed her and tried to kill her. She survived by pretending to be dead.
"It will be good if I had died," she says, "because if I died, then I wouldn't have to remember all these things."
Stories like Rasheed are all too common in the Bangladesh camps that now host nearly one million Rohingya Muslims.
Ever tent has a story of agony and shame and death inside it.
When the military came to an Aisha's village, her husband fled, leaving her alone with five children.
"Two soldiers stood guard in front of my door," she says. "Another came in and pointed his gun at me. He raped me."
(on camera): Did he say anything to you?
(voice-over): "He punched me and ripped off my clothes. He said, if you move, I'll kill you. If you scream, I'll kill you. And he covered my mouth with his hand," she says. "I felt so awful. He did it so roughly. He did it without mercy."
Human rights groups say that rape is one of the Myanmar military's most feared weapons. While it's hard to estimate how many women been done assaulted, hundreds of cases have been reported.
[14:50:06] WARD: These Rohingya women are learning songs to offer support to the victims.
WARD: "Rape can happen to anyone," the lyrics go. Within three days of rape, you need to consult a doctor.
The program developed by Doctors Without Borders is headed by Midwife Arilyn Phiel. She explains beyond practical concerns, many victims are struggling to reclaim their dignity. ARILYN PHIEL, MIDWIFE, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: The piece for me that
is kind of the most heartbreaking is that women coming in are still wearing the same skirts, which is heartbreaking, but three months later you are still putting on the same skirt that someone assaulted you in.
WARD: For Aisha, the pall of shame still hangs heavy.
"When I remember what happened tears come to my eyes. Why did they do this to me," she asks. Why did they rape me?"
WARD: She finds peace in reading the Koran. For many here, faith and ritual provide some solace among the squalor.
Rasheed's anger skill burns.
(on camera): What do you want to see happen to the men who raped you?
(voice-over): "If we get the opportunity, then we must take revenge," she said. "We'll be pleased if the military who raped us and killed our parents are hanged."
WARD: But for now, survival takes priority over justice. There are mouths to feed and a new generation to protect from the horrors of the past.
Clarissa Ward, CNN, in the camp, Bangladesh.
BALDWIN: To Clarissa and team, thank you for shining a light on these women and girls and pleas. There are several pieces you can see. Just go to CNN.com for Clarissa's powerful reporting.
Coming up, the White House holding its briefing amid two scandals, two different reactions from President Trump. Why he is attacking Al Franken and not Roy Moore? We'll see how they respond today.
And moments ago, an interesting moment involving Attorney General Jeff Sessions, what he told a crowd about Russians being in the room. Stand by for that.
[14:56:53] BALDWIN: Just in here, we want to turn this video around for you, a lighter moment, shall we say, from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He was speaking to the Federal Society, still speaking. And interesting enough, it's at the Mayflower Hotel where one of his infamous meetings with a Russian happened. Here's the A.G.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: But I was just thinking, I should -- I wanted to ask, is Ambassador Kislyak in the room --
(LAUGHTER) -- before I get started here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Jeff Sessions with the humor, I guess.
A Department of Homeland Security official has resigned over past controversial comments he made on the radio about black and Muslim communities. The comments go back to nearly a decade. Reverend Jamie Johnson's resignation as director of DHS's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships comes after CNN "KFile" investigation into a time the conservative talk radio host and guest.
"KFile" senior editor, Andrew Kaczynski, is with me now.
And so, Andrew, we know that Reverend Johnson, he was White House chief of staff, who John Kelly hired when he ran DHS. What did he say that got him into trouble?
ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, "KFILE": Johnson, a former radio host and pastor in Ohio, in his capacity, he basically went on talk radio for probably about the last 10, 15 years. And in there he made some very controversial comments about African-Americans, about Islam. So basically, what we do is mind these clips and found the numerous examples. One in which I think we have to play is him talking about how he believes that black people turned inner cities into slums.
BALDWIN: Here it is.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
UNIDENTIFIED RADIO HOST: A lot of blacks are anti-Semitic. Why?
REV. JAMIE JOHNSON, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR FAITH-BASED AND NEIGHBORHOOD PARTNERSHIPS, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I think one of the reasons why is because Jewish people, from their coming to America in great waves in the early part of the 1800s, immediately rolled up their sleeves and began to work so hard. And it's an indictment of America's black community that has turned America's major cities into slums because of laziness, drug use, and sexual promiscuity.
(END AUDIO FEED)
BALDWIN: Major cities into slums. So that was on African-Americans who said he had disparaging comments.
KACZYNSKI: Also disparaging comments about Muslims. You have to understand that his job is basically doing faith and community outreach for DHS and FEMA. So if there's a natural disaster
KACZYNSKI: Yes. He's the guy who goes and speaks to these groups.
Basically, on Islam, he made a large number of controversial comments that we can play for everyone right now.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)
JOHNSON: I agree with your Dinesh D'Souza, your friend and mine, that says really all that Islam has given us is oil and dead bodies over the last millennia and a half. And they are not our friends. They are not our friends.
(END AUDIO FEED)
BALDWIN: All right. So, you, sir, and your, you know, colleagues at "KFile," you --