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Rose's CBS Co-Hosts: "Charlie doesn't Get a Pass"; Report: Conyers Settled Complaint Involving Sex Misconduct; Official: Additional Remains Found of Sergeant La David Johnson; U.S. Ends "Temporary Protected Status" for Haitians. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired November 21, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. A remarkable morning in television and maybe a significant moment for women, for the first time we're hearing from the women who anchor or maybe anchored the "CBS This Morning" along with Charlie Rose. Rose has been suspended from CBS, PBS and Bloomberg after scathing sexual assault allegations surfaced.
HARLOW: This is what very important reporting brought forward, that eight women are accusing the veteran journalist of harassment. The allegations include groping, lewd phone calls, allegations of inappropriate nudity in front of them and more. This morning, Rose's co-anchors on CBS issued strong reaction not giving him a pass, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORAH O'DONNELL, CHARLIE ROSE'S CO-HOST: I also want to say this, that this is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally, the safety of women. Let me be very clear, there is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive and I've been doing a lot of listening and I'm going to continue to do that. This I know is true, women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility. I am really proud to work at CBS News. There are so many incredible people here, especially on this show, all of you here. This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong. Period.
GAYLE KING, CHARLIE ROSE'S CO-HOST: I certainly echo that and -- I have to say, Norah, I really am still reeling. I got an hour and 42 minutes of sleep last night. Both my son and daughter called me. Oprah called me and said, are you OK? I am not OK.
After reading that article in "The Post" it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read. That said, I think we have to make this matter to women, the women that have spoken up, the women who have not spoken up because they're afraid. I'm hoping that now they will take the step to speak out too, that this becomes a moment of truth.
You know, I've enjoyed a friendship and partnership with Charlie for the past five years. I've held him in such high regard. And I'm really struggling because, how do you -- what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I'm really grappling with that.
That said, Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn't get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all deeply affected. We are all rocked by this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Joining us now, Brian Stelter, our senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources" and Irin Carmon, she's a contributing writer for "The Washington Post" and she's one of the reporters who brought the story to light. Thank you both for bring being with us.
And Irin, again, it is the reporters that reporting the journalism that brings this to the floor, that brings these women's voices forward. This isn't just about the horrible acts that happened over years. This is also about retaliation. Firing of the women brave enough to come forward and say this is not OK.
IRIN CARMON, CONTRIBUTOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": So, broadly speaking, sexual harassment is covered under civil rights law because the idea is that when sexual harassment happens, it is prohibiting women from equally participating in the workforce. So these allegations involve young women who were looking for jobs at "The Charlie Rose Show" on PBS or they already worked there either as interns or as employees. And during the course of their employment, their ability to participate, they say, was curtailed by the fact that their boss would walk in front of them naked, would call them late at night and talk about his sexual fantasies featuring them and engaged in all kinds of inappropriate behavior that they called -- the executive producer of the show referred to as "that's just Charlie being Charlie."
BERMAN: That's just Charlie being Charlie is deeply offensive. I mean, you know, to hear you say it out loud and to lay out exactly what these women say happened, you know, that's not anyone just being anyone. That is offensive behavior.
[10:05:02] CARMON: Well I think what you're seeing with Gayle King grappling with this is actually what's happening right now as a society. I mean, it is not just -- we -- our reporting is about one individual with a significant amount of power over a number of employees and eight women's allegations in a workplace. But overall the reason we were able to do the story now is because we do have this kind of enhanced understanding of how pervasive this is. Yes, there are some cases that the allegations are more extreme than others, but many people are having to grapple now with the fact that somebody who was always kind to them, who they always found professional, perhaps in the context in which they would interact with him, other people say they had a different experience.
HARLOW: Brian, one of the really important -- one of the very many important parts of Irin's reporting here is when "The Washington Post" team notes they reached out to Charlie Rose 24 hours before this was published, with line by line allegations, in detail, and at no point did he engage in any sort of line by line challenge.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right.
HARLOW: These accusations -
STELTER: You all are still waiting, right, for any explicit denials.
HARLOW: I mean, so what happens then? What are the consequences here?
STELTER: For now he's been suspended by CBS. I think that will become permanent in the days to come. There's no way he can return to his "CBS Morning Show". He also, you know, has this show that he leads on Bloomberg and PBS. Hard to imagine that show ever returning. If you think about that "Charlie Rose Show," the iconic show with the black background and a table, he literally set the table.
He chose for decades which leaders, which newsmakers would be at that table. These are men in various positions of power, whether a Charlie Rose or a Harvey Weinstein or the dozens of others we've heard about in recent weeks. Men who have power to set the agenda and if they were behaving in this kind of way behind the scenes, in private, in secret, it makes you wonder how they were setting the table and whether people were excluded from that table.
BERMAN: Brian Stelter, Irin Carmon, again, we thank you so much for your reporting. Appreciate it.
CARMON: Thank you.
HARLOW: New this morning, accusations of sexual misconduct against a sitting Democratic Congressman and a settlement payoff two years ago, apparently to keep it quiet.
BERMAN: According to documents obtained by "BuzzFeed" representative John Conyers, the longest serving member of the House of Representatives, -- settled a wrongful dismissal complaint two years ago after a former employee says she was fired because she would not, quote, "succumb to his sexual advances."
Our Sunlen Serfaty is on this story. Sunlen, what are you learning?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, CNN first and foremost has not been able to independently confirm these allegations coming from "BuzzFeed", but according to document that "BuzzFeed" obtained, this complaint was filed in 2014 and a settlement reached in 2015. And in their documents they have four signed affidavits from four former members of Conyers' staff where they alleged repeatedly sexual advances made by Conyers to female members of his staff, a request for sexual favors, contacting and transporting other women with whom they believed Conyers was having affairs with, correcting their hand, rubbing their legs and backs in public, so some pretty egregious charges coming from those documents, coming from those accusers against John Conyers. I should say CNN has reached out to Conyers' office. They have repeatedly not responded to these allegations. So certainly we are looking into them. But we do have a statement from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan out just in the last moments in which he calls the report deeply troubling. He says, "People who work in the House deserve and are entitled to a workplace without harassment or discrimination."
And in this statement, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also alludes to the review that they're going -- undergoing in the House through the committee on House administration looking into potential other changes that need to be made to the process of which people on the Hill report sexual harassment, make claims, and file formal complaints with the office of compliance and how that's reported after, if it reaches to the level of them reaching a settlement. Now, we know there's House legislation and Senate legislation, many options out there, very clear. And again, Speaker Ryan emphasized in the statement that additional reforms might have to be reached.
BERMAN: All right, Sunlen Serfaty for us. Sunlen thanks so much.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: All right. We do have some breaking news. We want to get you right away. It has to do with Sergeant La David Johnson, he of course, one of the four U.S. servicemen who were killed in that ambush in Niger.
Our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon with the latest on this. Barbara, what have you learned?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John and Poppy. CNN has learned that human remains of Sergeant La David Johnson have been discovered in Niger. I want to get right to the key point here. We also can tell you his family has been briefed by the U.S. Military on this development. His family is aware of everything that we are able to say about this. They've had a briefing from military investigators.
[10:10:03] These are human remains of Sergeant Johnson that were discovered in early November when military and FBI investigators went to Niger, went to the scene where the ambush took place, where four U.S. servicemen were killed.
At that time, they recovered human remains and they have now identified them through Armed Forces Medical Examiners as being remains that do belong to Sergeant Johnson. He is the young man whose body was missing and not recovered for 48 hours after the ambush took place. What we don't know publicly is whether any of these remains now will provide additional clues to investigators on how Sergeant Johnson died and what happened to his body during that 48 hours he was missing before the body was recovered, reportedly by Nigerian Forces.
So this could all be some important clues in this investigation, which is not expected to be concluded for several weeks yet. All dating back to this ambush in early October in Niger in Africa when this team led by Green Berets got ambushed by some 50 fighters. And when the investigators went to the scene, they found additional remains. They've identified those remains as belonging to Sergeant Johnson. They've gone through the very painful, sensitive task of briefing his family on all of this. John and Poppy?
HARLOW: Barbara Starr, we can only hope that this finding helps bring the family some much-needed answers. And also investigators that want to know exactly what led to Sergeant La David Johnson's death. Are you getting any indication from your sources in the early stages here that these are starting - these remains are starting to give them some more answers?
STARR: I have to tell you candidly no. This is one of the most close hold investigations that we have seen in a long time. There is a lot of rumor. There is a lot of chatter out there. Investigators have talked to local villagers and gotten some certain accounts of what local villagers say happened. We know there had been published reports out there that Sergeant Johnson's hands were potentially tied. We have not confirmed that here at CNN. We are reporting that investigators are looking at all of those reports.
And the reason this may be very significant that these remains have been found, is you will recall that Sergeant Johnson's young widow was advised by the U.S. Military not -- and this is very sensitive -- not to look at the remains of her husband's body when he came back. Now, of course, every military family has the right to do whatever they wish when the body is turned over to them, but she was advised that it would be very difficult and that she should not view the remains. There was a closed casket during his funeral. So we know that when he was -- his body was out there for some 48 hours, something happened that made it perhaps very difficult for his family to view the remains. John and Poppy?
BERMAN: All right. Barbara Starr, thank you for this reporting. Again the breaking news, additional remains of Sergeant La David Johnson found in Niger.
Nearly 60,000 Haitians could be kicked out of the United States, a major change coming over their immigration status.
Plus, big questions and very few answers in the death of a border agent.
HARLOW: And the Department of Justice is now investigating one of the nation's top universities. Why Harvard's admission policies are now under scrutiny.
[10:18:08] HARLOW: The father of one of the UCLA basketball players just released from China after shoplifting spoke extensively -
HARLOW: Extensively with our Chris Cuomo on CNN. If you haven't seen it yet here is why LaVar Ball will not thank President Trump for aiding in their release. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVAR BALL, FATHER OF BASKETBALL PLAYER JAILED IN CHINA: If he said he helped, that's good for his mind.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What do you mean good for his mind?
BALL: If you helped you shouldn't have to say anything. If you helped, you should not - if I help somebody I don't walk around saying I helped you now. Come on now, give me some love. I helped you. Man, come on. For real? I would say thank you if he would have put him on his plane and took them home. Then I would have said thank you, Mr. Trump, for taking my boys out of China and bringing them back to the U.S. There's a lot of room on that plane. Did he help the boys get out? I don't know.
CUOMO: Why do you doubt it?
BALL: I don't know. If I was going to thank somebody I would probably thank President Xi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. That was just one part of it.
HARLOW: Of 20 minutes.
BERMAN: It went on and on and on and on, didn't get more cogent.
Joining us now, CNN political commentators Paul Begala, Alice Stewart and Washington bureau chief for the "Chicago Sun-Times" Lynn Sweet. You know, Paul, to you, the president is in this back and forth with LaVar Ball. And you know who is winning this morning?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, these two deserve each other, don't they? Can we give them a private table at Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving and just let them throw turkey legs at each other. I guess in the sense the president is winning. Those young men did get out of jail. I do believe the president intervened to help them. That is a good thing.
Where he hurts himself desperately though, our president, is when he says, well, maybe I should have left them in jail. Can you imagine an American president saying he should have left American citizens in a communist dictator's jail?
[10:20:01] That's where President Trump, as always, loses whatever little moral high ground he can claim when once in a while he does the right thing, which he did here with these kids in China. You can't say that when you're the American president. You can't say, oh, I should have left some Americans in jail. That's monstrous.
HARLOW: Alice, look, the comment of the president to LaVar Ball, to his son, to the other UCLA players, to NFL players, et cetera. The question, you know, it begs the question, whether there is some sort of race element here, right? Most of the athletes are African- American. How do you see it?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't see it as that. I see this as the president, in my view I think he did a good thing here. I think him stepping in in the middle of a major foreign policy trip to speak with Xi about helping release these three basketball players. I think that was a positive gesture on his part.
He made a mistake by expecting them to thank him and then pushing back even further. I think the act of kindness is simply that you don't do it for anything in return and the fact that LaVar Ball has come out and pushed back saying I don't owe you a thank you.
Here's the problem here. This was a good gesture that should have been done and now we have a big baller and a big bully and one-on-one game here on Twitter and currently the ball is in the president's court. I pray that he puts the ball away and stops engaging in this back and forth because he's got certainly much, much more important things to be worrying about.
BERMAN: All right. Big baller versus big bully aside, which is a great comment right there, Lynn Sweet, my question to you, is America a better place this morning, is earth a better place this morning, because of what has gone on between these two men? It's not a rhetorical question in the way that Sarah Sanders sometimes suggests things in a rhetorical question.
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": I'll take a stab. I don't think the earth is a better place. I think I don't have to go off on a him on that one. I concur with everyone. President Trump did the right thing. He went to bat for Americans who did something wrong.
SWEET: Shoplifting is wrong. And you would think that those young men should have apologized to UCLA, and to their team, and everyone else. I hope they have by now. As well as to the American people and thanking President Trump and apologizing to the Chinese people for causing this brouhaha.
But President Trump taking on the big baller in the way he did, either he knew what would happen because this man is a provocative figure in his own right, well-known, or he didn't know and should have known. Maybe he could have Googled him to know is this the fight I want, maybe the answer would have been yes.
By the way, I commend Mr. Cuomo for how he tried to navigate that interview. That was something. I also read the transcripts to see if it read better or different. It was something.
BERMAN: You win for trying to read the transcript. Good job on that.
STEWART: One thing, I do think the back and forth was entertaining I guess you could say, but look, I think that I understand where this LaVar Ball wouldn't want to give an apology. I can understand that. But for him to go on to say at the end of this interview to say he would give the president a thank you if he gave the three shoplifters a free ride on Air Force One and a trip around Asia, I think that is really, really stretching it too far. But I think at this stage, it would be best for everyone if they just took their collective corners and called it a day.
HARLOW: I think you're tight. Hold on, Paul. We just want to get you on something else. Just stick with us for a moment, OK.
BERMAN: OK. Because almost eight years after the poorest nation in the hemisphere suffered a really bad earthquake, the Trump administration says it will end the temporary protective status for Haitians living in the U.S. That of course, unwelcomed news for some 60,000 Haitians who have been living here since then under temporary protected status.
HARLOW: Raising their families some 30,000 children born of these Haitians here in the United States as a result. Our Abby Phillips is at the White House. So, look, this follows a similar ruling on those from Nicaragua and one that will be made next month on those from El Salvador. What was behind the White House deciding this now?
ABBY PHILLIPS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, these are really difficult decisions. As you mentioned, many of these people have been living in this country in the case of Haitians for about eight years now, but in other cases, for decades. And the White House has been trying to resolve some of these issues and this process for the Haitians began over the summer when now White House chief of staff John Kelly was leading up the Department of Homeland Security. He extended their status for another six months, which is a shorter than normal period, leaving it up to acting Secretary Elaine Duke to make a final decision. And her decision is essentially that Haitians need to either find another form of status to remain legally in the United States or go home by next July.
[10:25:00] For Haitians here in the United States, it's a really tough call. But sources at the White House tell me that the White House is very much concerned about creating or sort of regular status for these people who are kind of in between here and have been for many decades. There are some in the White House, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who have argued in favor of moving more and more of the folks covered under temporary protective status into either allowing them to leave the country or into more permanent status.
By being here temporarily they're protected from deportation. They are allowed to hold jobs, but that is no longer going to be the case. I think a lot of Haitians here are very worried about their fate and as you mentioned lots of children after all this time born in the United States. We know that many of them are trying to find ways to, perhaps, go to Canada because Haiti is very much still, according to Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Haiti is still not a place where these folks should or can go back to.
BERMAN: All right. Abby Phillips at the White House thanks so much.
Our panel is back with us on this. Paul, let's just get your reaction to this news?
BEGALA: Well, you wonder why they did it, right? It's clearly not because of security. There's no threat from Haitians. And, of course, refugees and other immigrants have a lower crime rate than those of us who are born in America. It can't be because of jobs. It's only 59,000 people. And the unemployment rate is at 17-year low, thanks Barack Obama.
It's got to be something else. Gee, I wonder what it is. It's politics. This president has not done anything, frankly, to help those folks who helped him sneak through the Electoral College and get in. So what he's going to do instead of helping the people who elected him he's going to try to hurt people who don't look like those who elected him. And I think it's a really low moment. This country really with was built by people like those Haitian immigrants who came here seeking the American dream, came here seeking freedom. In this case, came here to seeking a chance to live and if we send them back to this country their prospects are not very good. Haiti is still badly, badly damaged.
HARLOW: OK. To be fair, Alice Stewart, these Haitians, 59,000 of them, came to this country under the Obama administration under something called temporary protective status. It was never permanent. To Paul's point, he says this is about hurting people that don't -- that aren't white. That, you know, that don't look like many Americans. Do you see it that way?
STEWART: Well, Poppy, you said the keyword, temporary. This was always meant to be temporary. It wasn't a long-term strategy. And look, this was made after a careful consideration with Haitian officials to make sure that they were able to bring these people back into their country and I think it's important for us to make sure that this stays as it was intended, temporary, never to be long term. And they have taken into consideration the difficulties of it. They've extended it for 18 months to help ease the transition. I think it's important that they do that. And return these people back to their homeland and do it in a way that is thoughtful and considerate for all their needs.
BERMAN: Lynn, it fits a pattern when it comes to refugees, immigrants legal and illegal, doesn't it?
SWEET: It absolutely does. One other byproduct of this, this also now intersects with the big debate over what will happen with Dreamers. Those are the youths already in the United States, illegally, through no fault of their own. As mentioned now, these Haitians who were here temporarily have had children while they were here and I believe you could consider those kids almost a new class of people because they will have little or no ties to the country that they may be sent back to. So I would think whatever happens with Dreamers may happen to them.
HARLOW: And again, a similar decision, to be made very shortly on, you know, the biggest groups of these under temporary protected status which is those from El Salvador, 200,000 in this country right now. Thank you all very much. Paul Begala, Alice Stewart, Lynn Sweet.
Could President Trump's tweets backfire on his presidency? CNN's special report, Twitter and Trump, that is tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
BERMAN: All right. A big phone call set to happen this morning. President Trump due to speak with President Putin. Last time they spoke, President Putin told him that Russia did not meddle in the election. President Trump didn't push back because he said Putin believed it. What will happen this time?