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Curious Case Of Jared Kushner; President Trump Throwing Stones At Democratic Senator Al Franken For His Sexual Harassment Scandal; Another Woman Has Come Forward With Accusations That U.S. Senate Candidate Roy Moore Of Alabama Touched Her Inappropriately; Faith Leaders Come To The Defense Of Moore; The New Allegations Against Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke; Stories Of Sexual Harassment in Silicon Valley. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 18, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Ana Cabrera in New York.
And tonight, the curious case of Jared Kushner, the President's senior adviser and son-in-law facing accusations he hasn't been entirely forthcoming in the Russia probe. It has to do with what was said or not said on the question of WikiLeaks, the site that published the emails, stolen from the DNC in the Clinton campaign. And tonight lawmakers are turning up the heat. They are raising the possibility that Kushner could have another date with Congress.
CNN Boris Sanchez is live at the White House for us.
So Boris, break it down for us.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana.
Yes. According to a source familiar with Kushner's testimony before congressional investigators, they say that he told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he personally had not had any contact with WikiLeaks during the campaign. He also said that he could not recall anyone else on the campaign having contact with WikiLeaks. Well, the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week published a letter in which they say specifically that Jared Kushner not only received an email from Donald Trump Junior detailing some of his contact with WikiLeaks, but then forwarded that email as well. That letter signed by senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley also claims that Jared Kushner failed to provide them with certain key documents they requested. Some of them specifically pertaining to WikiLeaks.
The attorney for Jared Kushner Abbe Lowell put out a statement saying senators are asking gotcha questions. Here's what he told us.
He writes quote "this is a classic gotcha question. Mr. Kushner was asked if he has contacts with WikiLeaks. Guccifer or DC leaks, and he said no. He also said he did not know of any such contacts by the campaign. From all I have now seen, his statement was accurate then as it is now. In over six hours of voluntary testimony, Mr. Kushner answered all questions put to him and demonstrated that there had not been any collusion between the campaign and Russia."
The attorney for Jared Kushner also saying that all documents have been requested by the committee were turned over. So it seems like there's some dispute about what documents they requested. And that may mean as you said, Ana, that Jared Kushner will head back to Capitol Hill to testify once more.
CABRERA: OK. So those are the congressional probes into Russia and the Trump campaign and perhaps obstruction of justice issues. But there, of course, is the special counsel investigation, Boris. And we know a prominent member of Trump's inner circle is about to be interviewed by Robert Mueller's team in their probe. What can you tell us?
SANCHEZ: Yes, Ana. That would be hope hicks. She has been a longtime confidant of the President, served from very early on in the campaign all the way to his administration. She is now the White House communications director. She is arguably the closest person to the President that is going to be meeting with Robert Mueller. She was also there for some key moments that you are almost certain that he is going to ask about, specifically the crafting of the response on air force one when it was revealed after months of denials, Donald Trump Jr. had met with Russians during the campaign. Hope hicks is expected to meet with special counsel before the end of the month, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez, we appreciate it at the White House tonight. Thank you.
A lot of news to talk about with the panel. Joining us now to discuss, CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz, CNN contributor and staff writer for the "Washington Post" Adam Entous, and CNN legal analyst Paul Callan.
Gentlemen, these nondisclosures, these omissions, they seem to be a pattern for Jared Kushner. We already know he left off that meeting with the Russian lawyer on the security clearance form. There is now this email chain on WikiLeaks, the so called Russian back door overture, communications with Michael Flynn that the Senate Judiciary Committee is asking about. And yet, Paul, Kushner's lawyer says he has been completely cooperative. Do you agree?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He has. And he also - Abbe Lowell said that they are asking him gotcha questions.
CABRERA: Yes. Do you see it that way?
CALLAN: You know, well, you know it is funny, we use that - in the press, we use that term. But I think a lot of people don't know what a gotcha question is. What it is I think a question designed just to embarrass somebody in the political system as opposed to legitimately get information. And Lowell's contention is that they complied to these specific requests given for relevant documents.
And he also says that technically Jared Kushner's answer was accurate because he said I did not conclude with the Russian story or nor did I know anybody else who did. And that would include Don Junior because he would say the communication that Don Junior had with WikiLeaks or with the Russians didn't constitute collusion. So that's how the defense will shape up from that standpoint.
[19:05:05] CABRERA: So all of that technical wording and you don't see legal trouble for Jared Kushner.
CALLAN: No. To make a perjury count or an obstruction of justice count, you would have to show intentional act to deceive Congress. And this is close enough to the line that I think it would be a hard criminal charge to prove.
CABRERA: And yet, Adam, it is both the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a Democrat, and Republican who seem to have a problem with Kushner's response to some of his testimonies while as the document request. Could this have impact on Kushner's security clearance?
ADAM ENTOUS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, his security clearance remains unresolved as far as we know going on ten months now because the forms were not properly submitted to include his contacts with foreigners, not just the Russians, but all foreigners. And so there's just been a series of hiccups in his disclosures which have obviously made it harder for investigators, people adjudicating his clearance to reach a conclusion.
I am not sure that this additional omission if indeed was an omission to the congressional committees would be a factor that people adjudicating his security clearance would weigh. They are obviously are looking at a, you know, he, Jared, is somebody that's of interest to the investigation by the special counsel. They are interested in why he did not disclose certain things. And obviously they have been interviewing people. And the interplay between the security clearance and the Mueller investigation, it is sort of unclear to us how one may be impacting another or whether they are completely on different tracks. But clearly, there's an issue there that we don't have visibility into the reasons what is holding up that clearance.
CABRERA: Shimon, President Trump's communication director Hope Hicks we know will be interviewed by special counsel, Robert Mueller's team. We know she is one of his closest, his longest serving aides. What could she know?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Well, I think Boris said it right there, you know, when he talked about her just now. Look, she has been by the President's side for quite some time. What we know just based on some reporting that we have done, there's a lot of interest with her around the air force one meeting where they were crafting the statement regarding the meeting, Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting at Trump tower when that was reveal. The "New York times" was working on the story. They were getting ready to publish. And a statement was being crafted. She was present. And it could be that that is what Mueller wants to talk to her about.
There may be other things. There could be the Comey firing, you know. She has kind of had this window inside the White House where she can serve as witness to some of the key decisions the President have made. It is not clear that she was part of any team that was making the decisions, but certainly she could be a witness to the people sort of witnessing what they are doing and how they are coming to make some of these decisions.
And as we know, one of the things Mueller is investigating is obstruction of justice by people within the White House. So she could be a witness to any number of those things.
CABRERA: Paul, I would assume that there is a method in terms of when you bring somebody in to testify, even if you have your list of who you want to talk to, you want to gather information in some cases before you actually bring them in. What does this tell you about where they might be in their investigation, now that they are at that point where Hope Hicks will be talking to them?
CALLAN: Well, Mueller has been methodical in this investigation. And you can almost see there was a large circle around the White House and then he started to move in closer and closer to the real insiders. And that's where he is at now. He is at the people right around the President.
And frankly, you don't know what's going to happen when you get that close. And I will give you an example. In the Nixon proceedings, impeachment proceedings, when they interviewed Alexander Butterfield who was a staff member who worked in the White House, all of a sudden they found out about a taping system that nobody knew about before. So you never know what's going to come up when you really get to the insiders who are running the White House. And that's where Mueller is.
So I think his investigation is focused in moving quickly. And I think, you know, there will be a lot of stories probably coming up in the next couple of months, good or bad, for the Trump administration.
CABRERA: Adam, the other person we learned Robert Mueller wants to talk to is British publicist Rock Goldstone. He helped arrange that Trump meeting with Russian last in June back 2016. Apparently he has agreed to talk to Mueller. And we know Jared Kushner along with Donald Trump Junior, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, they were all at the meeting. What may Goldstone know that no one else knows? Why is he so important?
[19:10:01] ENTOUS: Right. Well, I think Mueller, and I think we all want to know why he included in his email to Donald Trump Jr. saying that the Russians were offering incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. Where did he get that language? Did somebody instruct him to put that language in that email? Obviously that's something that the investigators very much want to get to the bottom of.
In addition, why is he volunteering to come? I think the reason why he is making himself available is that he wants at least to appear publicly, maybe genuinely he is trying to be and appear cooperative. This is a strategy that you see from the White House as well, from Jared Kushner. It is a strategy to try to dispel the idea that there is an effort to hide anything. And so by volunteering and making himself available without needing to be a subpoena is one way to try to dispel and tamp down suggestions that there might be something more nefarious at work here. And so that is what I believe is going on here where is trying to obviously -- try to clear the air. And whether that actually does clear the air, we have to wait and see.
CABRERA: Attorney General Jeff Sessions cracked a joke about the Russia investigation. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: But I just was thinking, you know, I said, what I asked you is ambassador Kislyak in the room before I get started here? Any Russians?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So he is there before a friendly crowd. But Shimon, is it risky for the attorney general to be making a joke of this, especially coming on the heels of that testimony that he had earlier this week when he couldn't seem to recall a whole lot when it came to the questions about Russia and his connections.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. So Ana, you know, when I heard that, I chuckled. And I think most of us did. But the reason he made that joke is because he was at a hotel where there was intelligence back, you know, last year indicating that there may have been another meeting there with the attorney general and Kislyak. And he had to actually answer questions about it and he has denied it. And there was, you know, maybe some different takes on what exactly went on at the hotel.
But there was intelligence that indicated there may have been a third meeting. He has denied it. In fact, the FBI director, the former FBI director Comey when he testified before the hill after he was fired, it was asked of him this question of whether or not Sessions had another meeting. He wouldn't respond to it. He did at some point address it in closed door sessions.
However, like you said, I think it is a little risky given how serious some people are taking this investigation. The Mueller investigators take this serious. So yes, it is sort of risky, perhaps somewhat funny. But for an attorney general who is still continuing to ask questions, to have to answer questions about his contacts with Russia, certainly ad probably not the most appropriate time to make that joke.
CALLAN: You know, Ana, who would think we get to the point where Jeff Sessions is funnier than Al Franken. But that's where it has gone at this point.
CABRERA: All right.
CALLAN: Thank you.
CABRERA: Thank you. Paul Callan, Shimon Prokupecz, Adam Entous, we appreciate all of you.
Coming up, President Trump takes a swipe at Al Franken for sexual harassment. But is this tricky territory for him considering this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: And travel baggage. Another member of Trump cabinet facing questions about private jet flight and why he didn't document this.
Plus, the tech world's dirty underbelly. A former worker opens up about the bro culture in Silicon Valley, including an office kink room where women had to clean up underwear. You won't want to miss this.
[19:18:19] CABRERA: It is the issue turning the White House into something of a glass House. President Trump throwing stones at Democratic senator Al Franken for his sexual harassment scandal while calling attention to his own silence on Republican Roy Moore, not to mention his own controversial past with women.
The President seized on the photo released by a woman that says Franken groped her and forcibly kissed her more than a decade ago. Now President Trump tweeted the Al Franken picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures two, three, four, five and six while she sleeps?
Now let's remember, more than a dozen women have accused the President On the Record of assault and harassment. And of course there's this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you're a star, they let you do that. You can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (bleep). You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: To all that, the President has said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in someone that literally wrote the book on political optics. Josh King is the author of "Off Script, an advancements guide to White House stage craft, campaign spectacle and political suicide. And also with us, Lynn Sweet, the Washington bureau chief for "Chicago Sun Times."
Thank you both for being here.
Josh, were you surprised the President would go after Franken?
JOSH KING, AUTHOR, OFF SCRIPT: Not really. I mean, this is a person who will seize on any particular news at any particular time and try to draw attention to himself. If you look at the time stamp of the two tweets, Ana, the first one comes at 9:06:00 p.m. on Thursday night. The second one comes at 9:15 p.m. on Thursday night.
These are not normal working hours for a President. You can imagine Donald Trump on the second floor of the White House, probably watching your competitor, probably watching the top of the news wrap, and getting this smart idea in his head that he should take on a person who has been a tough critic of himself, Al Franken, and send those tweets.
They are sent in quick succession. They are the normal kind of Trump bullying and trying to take the upper hand. When as you point out in the quick package at the top of the segment, he is a guy in a glass house throwing stones with 12 or 13 accusers of his own. And the fact that you and I are sitting, having this segment now on a Saturday night after he did that on a Thursday night is testament to the sort of idea that it is not that good for him to have what is now three days of news cycle questioning his judgment on sending a tweet like this out of Thursday night. He hasn't addressed the Roy Moore situation.
CABRERA: Exactly. And that's part of it.
KING: He did talk about Al Franken. And now here we are three days later, still talking about it.
CABRERA: Lynn, on the Franken story, the President's son, Donald Junior actually tweeted this. Is it still alleged when there's a picture? Now could that same logic be applied to his father's Access Hollywood tape?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, of course. I don't know why Don Junior wants to even start up. I mean, Al Franken put out a statement. He called for ethics committee investigation of himself. He didn't deny the reality of the photo or anything that the woman, a Los Angeles broadcaster, said. So the - and he also had to take it because a lot of Democrats also condemned what he did, including fellow senator from Minnesota, Amy Kobishar. So it just goes into what sense at all does Don Junior have even
wasting time doing this when it will of course trigger more discussions of what his father said, which is on videotape, which you just played. So sometimes I think you need a psychiatrist and psychologist here to talk about this more than journalists or former advance men to understand why somebody would do something that ends up it seems that brings up stories of their own past poor behavior, or in the case of Donald, his father's.
CABRERA: It certainly created more questions for the White House press secretary Sarah Sanders who was asked how Franken's case differed from the President. Here is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Senator Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the President hasn't. I think that's a very clear distinction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So can they make that argument when it was just a year ago that Trump lined up all of Bill Clinton's accusers at the Presidential debate and said believe these women - Josh.
KING: Well, you know, it wasn't a very wise move back then and for President Trump to be talking about Al Franken on Thursday night wasn't a wise move a year later. Sarah Sanders on Friday in her press briefing did her best jujitsu to try and deflate, to try and create an apples and oranges situation. One who has admitted to it and one who didn't. You know, I think we are probably a year away from midterm elections. President Trump will be asked about this repeatedly between now and then.
CABRERA: I think Al Franken, I think just to make sure our facts are straight. He didn't necessarily admit fully to the allegations from Leeanne Tweeden, the kiss in particular. He said I remembered it differently. But regardless, I'm really sorry. And of course, the picture, that obviously is proof of something that was inappropriate.
Lynn, you know, the sexual harassment debate, though, is much bigger, it has revived questions about the behavior of former President Bill Clinton with Democratic senator Kristin Gillibrand this week saying he should have resigned over the Lewinsky affair. And I asked Clinton's former chief of staff Leon Panetta about that statement. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: My only judgment with regards to President Clinton is that he more than paid the price for what he did. The fact that he went through impeachment process as President of the United States, the House of Representatives voted for articles of impeachment, the Senate did not, but the mere fact that he went through an impeachment process as President means that there will always be a shadow on the legacy of his presidency. So at least from my point of view, I think he has more than paid the price.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So Lynn, has Clinton paid the price, have Democrats had a reckoning on what happened during the Clinton era? And can we in effect move on?
[19:25:04] SWEET: Well, thank you for asking me this. I covered this extensively. I covered the House Judiciary committee impeachment. I covered the Senate trial in 1999. And people out there, if you want some spicy reading tonight with salacious details, please Google the Ken Starr report that came out the summer before. And you can get some, like I say, you can get some nice bedtime reading there.
This is some of the most humiliating information about a sitting President you could ask for. Now, there's a lot of ways to punish somebody for behavior. Resignation might be one. In the case of Bill Clinton, all the women that you just showed, and I just want America to know this because it is not like no one has heard from them, it is a President who will as you -- more than, I don't know if more or less a price, but he paid one.
All of the women there from Paula Jones and everyone had their stories told. There was great interest in talking to them. Now we could disagree if the stories were favorable or not, but there was enormous coverage of what these women accused President Clinton of, and by the way in a lot of detail, including details of what he did and where and what with Monica Lewinsky.
So come on, America, if you think this hasn't been litigated, it has been. And it is worth talking about if he should have resigned or not, but it is not as if he did not pay a price.
CABRERA: Josh, this is what we have gotten this week from the President himself on Roy Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President? Do you believe the accusers? Should he resign?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Josh, reporters shouting questions, the President walking away. You're a former advance man, you know this is going to keep hatching. How do you handle it?
KING: Well, Ana, you know, that -- those questions were asked of the President in the diplomatic reception room on Thursday. This was the big read out speech from the Asia trip, he had been speaking about 30 minutes. And the pool is escorted into the room to be able to witness these remarks.
There's no way to really get out of the scene like this without ducking the questions as he did. The President may put out a statement on the Asian trip that said was in the graft of statements that said if these allegations are true, then Moore should step aside. Since then, so many Republican colleagues have qualified that answer by saying he should step aside. The President hasn't yet done that.
And so I think he walks a very thin line between upsetting his base who he thinks would not want him to criticize or to withdraw his support of Roy Moore and now trying to get out of dodge basically without answering these questions.
It is difficult to know how many more days that he could avoid being on camera and being asked this question. Sarah Sanders has answered many times and it is for the voters of Alabama to decide. But sometime soon the President is going to be on camera in a situation like this, we asked that question in a way that he can't walk away and will have to answer it.
CABRERA: Well, of course, the election is a few weeks away, not until December 12th. So there is time for more questions to come forward. It would be interesting to see if he changes his response.
Josh King and Lynn Sweet, thank you both so much.
SWEET: And thank you.
Coming up, another woman comes forward with allegations against Senate candidate Roy Moore. So how are Alabama voters reacting to this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moment we walked in, it was full on assault. I mean, he was very, very flirtatious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:33:18] CABRERA: Welcome back. And another woman has come forward with accusations that U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama touched her inappropriately.
Tina Johnson says Moore groped her when she was in his law office. This was in 1991. It is the first allegation against Moore at a time when he was married to his wife Kayla. She told CNN's Erin Burnett about the experience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TINA JOHNSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: The moment we walked in, it was fall on assault. I mean, he was very, very flirtatious and commenting constantly the whole time. And it was not like for five minutes it was like you were there a long period of time. It was so uncomfortable. I knew something was up but I just ignored it, you know, just what it was. He proceed to come to the end of the desk and really close up on me.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUTFRONT: You said so close you could sort of feel his breath?
JOHNSON: Right. Actually I think his knee might have been touching my knee, you know. He was -- his hands were not on me. He just like maybe his knee was brushing mine or something. And then when it was time for us to leave, my mother had got up and left the room, you know, to go out the door. When she was going out the door and I proceed out, and he just grabbed me from behind on my buttocks and he just squeezed it really hard. And I remember thinking I was so ashamed. I felt humiliated in that moment. It took everything out of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:35:01] CABRERA: Despite the growing list of accusers, Moore is vowing to stay in the Senate race.
CNN correspondent Nick Valencia has the latest from Alabama - Nick.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, this has been a difficult week for the Republican Senate candidate in the face of sexual assault allegations. However, he and his campaign have remained defiant. It was earlier this week that we saw faith leaders come to the defense of Moore saying that his character is being assassinated and that he is being framed by the GOP establishment.
They went so far to suggest that "the Washington Post" which initially wrote the story paid the women to come forward. The women for their part say they waited nearly 40 years to tell their stories because they felt at the time of these alleged incidents, no one would listen to them.
It was earlier today that we heard from faith leaders in Birmingham to convened to say they believe that Roy Moore is a danger to the state of Alabama because of his policies and his principles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. WILLIAM BARTBER, PRESIDENT: It is unlikely that any of Moore's accusers can definitely prove that he sexual assaulted them 30 years ago. A point the defiant former judge knows well. But even, and this is critical, particularly for the media to hear, and where we have to stand as Christian ministers, even before these allegations made national headlines it was clear that Moore's policy agenda endangered children of Alabama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: Perhaps Moore's biggest supporter, his wife, Kayla, who yesterday was joined by about 30 or 40 women who say that they personally know Roy Moore and that the accusations that are being leveled against him do not speak to the character of the man that they know.
Kayla Moore said that she and her husband are in a political fight and that the battle will continue to go on. There's no sign of Moore withdrawing anytime soon -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Nick Valencia in Alabama. Thank you.
Coming up, flying high on the taxpayers' dime. The new allegations against interior secretary Ryan Zinke and why it could be a problem for the President who promised to drain the swamp.
[19:41:27] CABRERA: So just weeks after a member of Trump cabinet was force to resign for taking pricey private jets on the taxpayer' dime, another member of the President's team is now coming under scrutiny for his travel habits.
CNN's Tom Foreman takes a closer look at the controversy surrounding interior Ryan Zinke.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To hear the horseback riding, hunting, handshaking secretary of the interior tell it, his official trips are a model of transparency.
RYAN ZINKE, INTERIOR SECRETARY: Every time I travel I submit the travel plan to the ethics department that evaluate it line by line to make sure I am above the law. And I follow the law.
FOREMAN: But a probe by his own department's inspector general is casting serious doubt on that claim.
Our investigation has been delayed, Mary Kendall wrote in a memo by absent or incomplete documentation for several pertinent trips and review process that failed to include proper documentation and accountability. Among the trips drawing scrutiny, a flight to the Virgin Islands in late March where he attended a Republican fundraiser and went snorkeling at a national monument. A trip to his native Montana in May wherein he attended a political rally, spent a day and a half at his home.
And in June, a journey to meet with the professional hockey team in Las Vegas, owned by a political backer, before taking a chartered plane to his Montana home once again.
His office knows even though he spent almost $73,000 this way since taking office, Zinke is making no apologies.
I would like to address in the words of general Schwarzkopf a little BS on travel.
FOREMAN: Zinke's staff says part of the problem is paperwork mess inherited from the Obama administration. The inspector's investigation is not done and they issued this memo in hopes of addressing the matter. Still, several other cabinet members are also being scrutinized. And one has already resigned over questions about what in some cases looks suspiciously like private travel on the public's dime.
CABRERA: Keeping them honest. Thank you, Tom Foreman.
Coming up, shocking stories of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley including one worker who says her office had a kink room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Silicon Valley has a dirty underbelly and that is that women are viewed as the people that clean up underwear and do the dishes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:48:32] CABRERA: From Hollywood to the world of media to Capitol Hill and beyond, the issue of sexual assault and harassment is dominating the national conversation now. We are talking about it on TV and online, the #metoo. That movement and the voice to victims after years of silence.
In the upcoming special, "Divided we code," CNN's Laurie Segall investigate this issue in the tech industry, including one Silicon Valley startup sued for a culture of sexual harassment and sexism. That included a space in the office called a kink room.
Here is a preview.
DAISY BERRS, FORMER EMPLOYEE, UPLOAD/R: We had a room at the office that was called a kink room. We had a kink demo in there before I started and that name just stuck. And so anybody that attended our event would very much know there's a bed, it wasn't like an office party, it was a party. So people probably used the room for God knows what.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever have to come in and clean up the party?
BERRS: Yes. Most definitely. I would. Everyone will find underwear in that room and we would, you know, make jokes about it and have to clean it up.
SEGALL: Said take a second. Did you had to clean up underwear from your office space.
BEERS: Yes. That was a part of it. Start off like, I guess.
SEGALL: And I guess that's my question. Is it?
BERRS: That is the sad truth. That is what is a part of it. That Silicon Valley has a dirty underbelly and that is women are viewed as the people that clean up underwear and do the dishes.
SEGALL: Do you think that you got the same opportunity as men at the office?
[19:50:00] BERRS: No, definitely not. It was very well known that I, as the general manager of Upload did the dishes. We had a male general manager before and he did not do that. That being said, everyone small people would help me but it was part of very much my role and it was very much distinct to me and not necessarily the general manager role.
CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall.
What a revealing interview. What happened with this company?
SEGALL: I mean, for me, I look at it and it was a perfect storm. First of all, I have spoken to the UPLOAD founders and they said, you know, it wasn't just the women that did the dishes, it was the role that they had and that's why they did that more but everyone pitched in.
I'm thinking to myself, Ana, it is 2017 and we are having a conversation about women who say they had to clean up underwear and condoms from parties and do the dishes was a startup. So it was a perfect storm. This is a startup with, you know, early 20-something year old founders with no HR structure, with millions in funding. The idea was to make virtual reality cool so they would throw these parties.
And then, you know, down the road, it took a lawsuit. And it wasn't Daisy who sold them off that you just heard from. The woman named Elizabeth, who is not really allowed to speak about it because it's been settled.
And it was interesting because Daisy said to me, she said, she was actually the one that received that was handed the lawsuit when it came in. And she said it wasn't until I saw it all in writing that I knew it wasn't OK, what happened there. And that is where I think this kind of get into this idea of the me too movement, right, with you see all the stuff in writing. And you see women and other victims of sexual harassment coming forward and then sharing their story. I think that's kind of what spurred it. And even personally having covered tech for so many years. I started thinking when I look at this of, you know, the some terrible techs and investor sent me at weird hours saying weird things. And you begin to understand that, you know. This really isn't you (ph).
CABRERA: And it's not OK.
SEGALL: And it's not OK.
And I think that is why we are hearing people speak out.
CABRERA: Because I think culturally, societally, we sometimes have brushed over this sort of treatment because it's somewhat socially acceptable or is considered normal and what has been exposed is, wait a minute, this shouldn't be normal. And yet we also hear from people who say I was afraid to come forward because of the potential consequences.
Is anything be done in the tech world to help embolden these women to come forward without the fear of what that could mean for them in their professional lives or personal lives?
SEGALL: Well, this is where it is interesting because it is a real problem in tech but tech can always provide a solution. And I think we are adjusting, there's actually a company that is launching in the next couple of weeks called all voices. You have a VP at 20 percent (INAUDIBLE). Here name is Claire Schmidt. We also have a woman named Susan Fowler. And her name might sound familiar because she was an Uber engineer who actually spoke out against Uber and it shed light on sexism and they are creating a tech tool for people to anonymously try to report harassment and what is happening at their companies and what all voices will do, it will analysis data and send it back to the company.
So we will see how that works out. But you want some kind of solution because it's really difficult to come forward because women, all sorts of people, feel retaliation for speaking out against sexual harassment.
CABRERA: Real quick, you are also are hearing from men regarding this me-too movement.
SEGALL: Sure. You know, I was at a tech conference and I said tell me what people won't say out loud. And what one investor say is well, a lot of us don't want to take meetings with women after a certain hour. We are being a lot more cautious. You know we are sacred. You know, this is polarizing. That this is going to impact us with a witch hunt right now. So we have to find a better way to have a civil conversation about this, to really push it forward.
CABRERA: And to bring men and women together on the issue.
CABRERA: Laurie Segall, thank you so much.
SEGALL: Thank you.
CABRERA: The entire special Divided we code, it airs Decembers 9th. But in the meantime, be sure to catch Laurie's "MOSTLY HUMAN" series streaming right now on CNN Go.
We are back after this,
[19:58:21] CABRERA: On tomorrow's new episodes of "PARTS UNKNOWN," Anthony Bourdain is in Seattle where pot is legal, chefs are creative and brunch heroes are sharing the city with techy.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, PART UNKNOWN: Seattle, if you are looking for a dump site to dispose of the recently killed victim of your serial killing spree, this would be you are the perfect environment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Literally you can hide bodies like a short drive from wherever you are.
BOURDAIN: In fact, it's been favored by serial killers throughout the ages. Also chefs. Wow, that's really good. And musicians.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are thousands of bands here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact you had us on the show made me realize that we have run out of things that --
BOURDAIN: Are you kidding me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's the landscape that inspired Kurt Cobain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, look at that!
BOURDAIN: Look at that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no how much that costs to arrange.
BOURDAIN: Yes. Queue the stunt whale.
CABRERA: "PARTS UNKNOWN-Seattle," it airs tomorrow night at 9:00 right here on CNN.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Top of the hour. We start off with the Russia investigation. New questions surrounding one of the closest individuals to President Trump personally and inside the west wing. His own son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee say Kushner received an email about WikiLeaks and passed it on to a campaign official only Kushner didn't recall any contact with WikiLeaks when he spoke to Congress.
And tonight lawmakers are turning up the heat racing the possibility --