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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Backs Roy Moore: Vote For Accused Molester Over "Bad" Democratic Candidate; Roy Moore Campaign: "We Don't Believe These Women"; Roy Moore In His Own Words Suggests Future Wife Kayla First Caught His Eye When She Was A Teen; CBS: 3 New Accusers Allege Sexual Harassment By Charlie Rose. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 21, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: -- we can't let that go. Thank you very much for joining us. I'm Jim Acosta. Thank you for watching. "Erin Burnett OutFront" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OutFront" next breaking news, Trump's message, vote Roy Moore. The President siding with an accused child molester over a Democrat. How's that America first slogan going?
Plus Roy Moore in his own words, he said he first noticed his wife during a dance recital. According to him, that would mean she was a teen, he was about 30. And the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke under fire for his official travel, now question about his wife's travel. Let's go "OutFront."
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight the breaking news, Trump's message, vote Roy Moore. The President backing Roy Moore for Senate, making it clear that the President of the United States stands behind an accused child molester for Senate over a Democrat.
Trump speaking out about Moore for the first time since returning from his Asia trip a week ago. Here's the President leaving Washington for Mar-a-Lago just a short time ago, spelling out why Alabama should vote Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I could tell you one thing for sure, we don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones. I've looked at his record. It's terrible on crime. It's terrible on the border. It's terrible on the military.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Then, when asked directly if an accused child molester is better than a Democrat, Trump answered that question very matter of factually.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, he denies it. Well, he denies it. He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: In fact, in the course of a few-minute exchange with the press, Trump reminded everyone that Roy Moore "denies it," the allegations against him at least 10 times. Of course, forget the fact that at least eight women have come forward to accuse Moore and dozens more. Men and women have corroborated their stories. It's clear that that is not enough for Trump.
Yet, remember this, he was very quick to believe the accusers when it came to Bill Clinton. Remember this moment from last year's presidential debate just about a year ago in St. Louis? Trump held a pre-debate press conference, and there were three women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct there. He brought them there. They sat there. He had them seated in the hall for the full debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women. Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them are here tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, Trump believed those accusers. So, he believes his enemy's accusers, but even as he's made it clear, he's siding with Moore over the women who say he harassed and assaulted him -- assaulted them. He bragged that those very same women voted for Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, he denies. I mean, Roy Moore denies it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But what about the women? What about the nine women.
TRUMP: And by the way, he did say total denial. And I do have to say, 40 years is a long time. He's run eight races and this has never come up, so 40 years is a long time. The women are Trump voters. Most of them are Trump voters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny is "OutFront" tonight in West Palm Beach near Mar-a-Lago. And Jeff, the President broke seven days of silence with a loud and clear statement, vote for an accused child molester over a Democrat, or over staying home and not voting at all.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, no question. And the President was beginning what is advertised by his aides to be a quiet Thanksgiving week here. But before he flew down, you saw him making those remarks. So we tried to figure out what was going on inside the west-wing to lead the President to, you know, make this -- you know, what really is an abrupt change.
And I am told by people close to the White House, Erin, that one of the reasons is that all of the noise and confusion that has really bubbled up over this tidal wave of accusations, you know, from Hollywood, to politics, to media, really was something that has changed the President's mind and got him to essentially back Roy Moore.
This is something that's been going on, you know, for nearly two weeks now. And I am told that the President said it made it "easier to stick" with Roy Moore when all of these other allegations were happening, from some Democrats, from some, you know, big named media figures as well here.
Now, the President made clear he stopped short of specifically endorsing Roy Moore, but left no question that he accepted his denials, certainly over the stories of these eight women here and more. And even left open the door to possibly campaigning with him in the remaining weeks before that special election.
And in the words of one other Republican close to the White House, they said all of this noise and confusion has made it more difficult to find out who the bad guy is here, Erin. So that is why we are told the President decided to weigh in here. And of course, they want to keep that seat in Republican hands for the tax bill and everything else. Erin.
BURNETT: Put that bill over anything. All right, Jeff, thank you very much.
And now let's go to April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, Mark Preston, Senior Political Analyst, and Alice Stewart, Republican Strategist. Thanks to all.
[19:05:07] Alice, let me start with you. Look, the President saying it himself for the first time today. Obviously it had been very clearly implied by his press secretary in recent days, but he had been silent. Today, it was very clear. A Republican, even one accused of molesting a child, is a better fit for the United States Senate than a Democrat.
ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's really disappointing. But clearly, the consensus and the mind set around the administration is that we can't afford to lose one seat in the Senate, so let's put all of our energy behind Roy Moore. And the sentiment we heard from the President as well as Kellyanne Conway is that we'd rather have Roy Moore than a Democrat.
But talk to other Republicans, and myself included, I would much rather have a Democrat than a pedophile in the U.S. Senate. Look, this comes down to what is right and what is wrong. And when we have someone with all of these allegations and the President says 40 years is a long time, well it is, but there's no statute of limitations on the truth.
And in my view, the accusations from these women far outweigh the denials from Roy Moore. I think it's really important that we do what is right here and stand with someone that has principle as opposed to what is best for the party. I think this is a critical time to stand up and show leadership that we cannot accept someone with all of these allegations flowing out there.
BURNETT: That's too bad. Moore isn't speaking as eloquently and -- with the leadership that you are, Alice.
I mean, Mark, Trump clearly is not doing that. He feels the tide has turned for Moore because he was silent, he waited. He obviously far from led on this, right? He waited. He let his prior endorsement basically stand, and now he's making it very clear. He's taking an accused child molester's side. There's no other way to put it.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There is no other way to put it. And you know, I think Alice really hit on something that is very, very important. This could be a generational fight right now in the Republican Party. We already know that the Republican Party is going through a whole transformation as we head further into the 21st century. The Democratic Party is as well.
But the governor of Alabama, a woman, has also said she will vote for Roy Moore, even though she believes the accounts of the women who have made these accusations. But what I do think is interesting, in Alabama specifically on Saturday, the Young Republican Federation of Alabama, they withdrew, they suspended their endorsement of Roy Moore, and this is what they had to say.
They said, "Our duty is not to the individual candidate, but to the long standing growth and sustainability of the Republican Party." So when you think of that, you have young Republicans in Alabama right now that are looking to the future.
Donald Trump, we should note, has not been a Republican his whole life. And certainly, is not beholden to the growth of the Republican Party. And clearly is not looking towards the future.
BURNETT: I mean, April, the President is saying you have to listen to Moore, one person against up to 60 people who either accuse or corroborate the accusers, who are both male and female. And he is saying this is because Moore denies the accusations. Here's the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He totally denies it. He says it didn't happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right, loud and clear. One man's word over dozens of men and women, just like he did, April, with his own accusers, of course.
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes. Well, you know, I'm also struck by what the President said as well when he said, you know, Roy Moore has run several races, and this has never come up. But now is the time for women to speak. And their voices are very loud. The noise is actually deafening, and it's not necessarily noise. But this is now a morality thing, a morality issue.
Alice hit the nail squarely. It's about what's right over wrong. And this makes me think of what happened today, the reporter asked, "What about you? What about your allegations?" He totally ignored that and kept talking about Roy Moore. He denied it. He denied it.
The President doesn't want to talk about this. But the President wants to focus in on trying to get a legislative win with a possibility of Roy Moore, who is very much tainted right now.
And think of it, the President's only had three wins since he was elected, president-elect. He won the -- well, since he won the election to be President, one win against Hillary Clinton. Now, Gorsuch, the second win --
RYAN: -- and then bringing the three UCLA players home, but he has not had a legislative win. And he is desperate at this time for a legislative win to go beyond the brink to do this.
BURNETT: So, Alice, I want to play another exchange the President had today with reporters in light of what he is saying about believing Roy Moore, supporting Roy Moore. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, what is your message to women? This is a pivotal moment in our nation's history.
TRUMP: Women are very special. I think it's a very special time because a lot of things are coming out and I think that's good for our society and I think it's very, very good for women. And I'm very happy a lot of these things are coming out. And I'm very happy -- I'm very happy it's being exposed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:10:07] BURNETT: I mean, putting aside, you know, his own situation, Alice, he's saying this even today, as he's essentially calling all the women involved in the Roy Moore situation liars.
STEWART: Well, Erin, he's really not essentially calling them liars. He is calling them liars, actually, because he's discrediting all of these accusers out there and that's really unfortunate.
Look, I agree with what Ivanka said. There is a special place in hell for people who prey on children. At the same time, there's a special place in hell for people who support people who prey on children.
Look, at the end of the day, whether this White House supports him or not, the people of Alabama have the right to choose who their senator will be. The polls indicate -- some internal polls are indicating that he does have a chance to win. And if that's the case, then the people of Alabama should have him be their senator.
But unfortunately, now is the time for us to get together and work hard to support a write-in candidate, someone that supports the views and values and character of the Republican Party. And it's important for us to get on that right now. But it looks like right now that the administration and some Republicans will continue to stand behind Moore, which in my view is really troubling.
BURNETT: Thank you all so very much.
And next, Roy Moore on when he first -- was struck by the woman who would become his wife. According to Roy Moore, she would have been 15 or 16 years old at that time, he was about 30. This is his own recollection.
Plus breaking news, CBS reporting three more women have come forward with accusations against Charlie Rose. And more breaking news, a top Democrat, the longest serving member of the House, now under investigation for sexual harassment, as a once secret settlement is revealed.
[19:15:41] BURNETT: Breaking news on the attack. Roy Moore's campaign lashing out over allegations that Moore committed sexual assault and pursued teenage girls as young as 14 when he was in his 30s. Moore's aides say they have no doubt Moore is telling the truth and that it is -- all his accusers who are liars.
Martin Savidge is "OutFront" in Gadsden, Alabama. And Martin, to say Moore's campaign is doubling down, I think watching what we saw today would be a huge understatement.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It would. I mean, this campaign really came up blasting, especially the two most serious accusers against Roy Moore. That's Leigh Corfman and Beverly Young Nelson. Corfman is the woman who said at 14 she was molested by Moore.
The campaign was trying to point out inaccuracies in the women's account. In the case of Corfman, she said that she talked to Moore on the telephone in her room. The campaign cited at Breitbart interview in which Corfman's mother said that her daughter didn't have a phone in her room.
Beverly Young Nelson had said she had been assaulted by Moore in the dark parking lot behind the restaurant where she work, near some trash dumpsters. The campaign said they talked with some former employees who said it was a well lit parking lot and the trash dumpsters were on the side. Here's more of what came from the event today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN YOUNG, CONSULTANT FOR ROY MOORE: We believe Judge Moore. We don't believe these women. It's just that simple. And the question is, can you be tricked? Can you be tricked? Because all hell is coming to Alabama against Judge Roy Moore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: That was Dean Young who is a consultant for Roy Moore. And he kept using that phrase over and over. Alabamians don't be tricked.
BURNETT: And Martin, you know, today's, you know, incredible pushback from all of these three men came as we are learning more from Roy Moore. And this is in his own words, specifically about when his wife, Kayla, first caught his eye years ago, and she was very young.
SAVIDGE: Right. This is all important because, of course, many of Moore's supporters said that they do not believe the words of his accusers. So we decided to go at this from another direction, which is Roy Moore himself.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): In 2005, Roy Moore published "So Help Me God," a book about his life in politics. This, by the way, is the opening of the audio version, which Moore reads himself.
ROY MOORE, FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE: It doesn't seem that long ago that I became a circuit judge in Etowah County.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore mixes controversial and political stands with personal stories. In Chapter 5 entitled "Providential Design," Moore talks about attending a dance recital and being enthralled by a young performer.
MOORE: Many years before I had attended a dance recital at Gadsden State Junior College, I remembered one of the special dances performed by a young woman who's first and last names began with a letter K. It was something I had never forgotten.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Moore's describing when he first laid eyes on his future wife, Kayla Kisor, who he would eventually see again at a Christmas party years later.
MOORE: I just immediately began with a line, "Haven't we met somewhere before?" And she replied, "I don't think so."
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Listen to Moore tells the story again of the dance recital and the captivating young performer, this time in an interview this past summer. It includes a detail that was left out of the book, a timeframe.
MOORE: But I remembered that, never did meet her there. I left and it was, oh, gosh, eight years later or something, I met her. And when she told me her name, I remembered K.K. And I said, "Haven't I met you before?" Of course, she was younger. She said, "I don't think so." SAVIDGE (voice-over): When the couple married, he was 38 and she was 14 years younger. It's a marriage that appears to be holding strong. Moore emphatically denies all of the allegations made against him and Kayla is standing by her man.
KAYLA MOORE, ROY MOORE'S WIFE: He is a loving father and a grandfather. Most important, he is a Christian.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): But Moore's own story of how he came to know his wife seems to mirror his accusers' accounts of an older man interested in younger teens. By his own words, Moore's timeline suggests Kayla was 23 when they spoke at that Christmas party. But eight years or so earlier when Moore was in his early 30s and captivated by her performance, Kayla Kisor was 15 or 16.
[19:20:08] There's nothing to suggest Moore had any contact with Kayla when she was a teen. But when Moore was first drawn to her, she was the same age as Beverly Young, who has now come forward accusing Moore of sexually assaulting her behind a restaurant where she worked. Young was a sophomore then seen in this yearbook photo, from the same high school and the same class of another young teen, Kayla Kisor.
SAVIDGE: Roy Moore and Kayla will celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary next month. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Martin, thank you very much. That picture rather disturbing seeing those two young girls side by side.
"OutFront" now, member of the AL.com Editorial Board and a V.P at Alabama Media Group, which includes all of the major papers in State of Alabama, Michelle Holmes. She's back with me. And the board recently published an editorial that said Moore is grossly unfit for office and cannot become a U.S. senator.
Michelle, I want to give you a chance to respond to that report, and obviously, Roy Moore in his own words admitting he was enthralled by his future wife when she was just 15 or 16 years old. He would have been about 30. That is pretty disturbing to see, and these are his own words.
MICHELLE HOLMES, AL.COM EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Thank you. I'm happy to respond to that. That is the work of Kyle Whitmire, an Alabama journalist at AL.com, who put that timeframe together in a published column today. I think that's the kind of work that the press in Alabama is doing.
Despite the press conference call today in which the Roy Moore camp said, "We're here to ask the kind of questions that the press is not asking. We're here, we're asking these questions." My reporters for the most part are born and raised in Alabama. They have been doing this work on the behalf of Alabamians their entire adult lives. We're bringing out stories that matter. And this is certainly one of them.
BURNETT: It matter a lot, Michelle. The question is, do you think right now they are going to matter with voters when obviously you have the Roy Moore camp coming out as they had today, Dean Young one of them there, urging voters to think about Moore over the Thanksgiving holiday, calling all of this sort of a group from hell attacking Roy Moore, including media like yourselves, like us, including Mitch McConnell, including Democrats. Let me just play Moore's friend, Dean Young.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: I want you all to think in your brain, Judge Moore that we have known for 25 years, are we going to be sold a bill of goods by Mitch McConnell and the fake news? Are we? Are we that gullible? And that answer is going to be no.
(END VIDEO CLIP
BURNETT: What do you think -- where do you think voters stand right now, Michelle?
HOLMES: I think the people of Alabama are kind and generous and smart. I think the people of Alabama are rejecting this, seeing through this. Now, the voter turnout is a different story. And this really comes down to who gets out to the polls.
BURNETT: And that obviously is going to be the crucial question. But thank you for being with us and for sharing all of your incredible work. Thank you, Michelle.
HOLMES: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next breaking news, Charlie Rose fired, and now three more women are coming forward with sexual harassment allegations against the veteran journalist. And breaking news, the longest serving member of the House under investigating -- under investigation for a sexual harassment case he settled, which leaders in Congress knew about his case. And why are we the public just hearing about it now?
[19:27:34] BURNETT: Breaking news, three new accusers coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Charlie Rose. This time, female employees at CBS, according to a CBS report tonight. CBS, PBS, and Bloomberg all severing ties with the veteran journalist less than a day after he was accused by eight women of sexual harassment and assault in a "Washington Post" report.
The disturbing stories ranged from inappropriate phone calls, to groping, to showering, walking around naked in front of the women. Rose was caught on camera briefly last night. He seemed to not accept responsibility for his actions as he arrived at his New York City home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to say anything to those accusers that are accusing you?
CHARLIE ROSE, ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: What?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to say anything to those accusers, the people that's accusing you of all these wrongdoings?
ROSE: It's not wrongdoings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: CNN Senior Media Analyst Brian Stelter is "OutFront." So, Brian, what can you tell us about the three new accusers we're hearing about at this hour?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: These are wrongdoings, despite what Rose said in that clip. CBS is confirming they have received new information today about three employees at the news organization who have come forward anonymously and described inappropriate behavior, inappropriate sexual contact and innuendo from Charlie Rose.
He, of course, has been the co-host of "CBS This Morning" for the past five years. Earlier today, the other two hosts of the show, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King addressed that the scandal within their own building.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORAH O'DONNELL, HOST, "CBS THIS MORNING": 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.
GAYLE KING, HOST, "CBS THIS MORNING": 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: At lunch time today, CBS terminated his contract effective immediately. Now, the questions are the same we asked about Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men accused of predatory behavior. Who knew what and when did they know it?
BURNETT: Obviously that is now the crucial question that we are asking as more people come forward. Thank you so much, Brian.
And "OutFront" now, Irin Carmon. She is one of the reporters who broke the story in "The Washington Post," and HLN anchor of "On the Story," Erica Hill. She was the Rose's co-anchor at "CBS This Morning" for six months.
And I just want to say full disclosure. I've known Charlie for a decade. He was professional towards me. I was disgusted to hear about these women's experiences that we are learning about and all of this reporting.
Erica, let me start with you because you anchored with Charlie. You sat next to him every day. What was your reaction when you heard this news, when you saw Irin's story?
ERICA HILL, FORMER CO-ANCHOR WITH CHARLIE ROSE AT "CBS THIS MORNING": I mean, you said disgusted. That's exactly how I felt. I saw this cross yesterday and everything stopped. Your reporting was amazing and so detailed.
And my blood started to boil, I have to be honest. I felt terrible for these women who have been put through everything they were describing. And I was frustrated, I think, in many ways, too, by a culture that has allowed this to happen for so long -- a culture across the board in so many industries as we saw.
And it was deeply disturbing to me that this had happened, and also, if you read into the report, it's not just about these allegations they have of the sexual misconduct, but it's the talk of the power. And I think that's something we have all seen.
And I think it's something we see a lot as women, especially with older men. This sense of no one will question me because I'm in this powerful position. And people look up to me. And I'm going to wield that power over you.
And it makes you think back to the 20 past years of your career, and did I maybe misinterpret something or did I let something slide when I shouldn't have?
BURNETT: And that's the question. I mean, what was your experience working with Charlie?
HILL: I mean, Charlie was professional towards me, as you say. He did not lay a hand on me. He was not inappropriate physically.
Are there comments I look back on and I think, that's really not OK to say those things to someone? Yes. And it's not just Charlie, I want to say.
I mean, this isn't something we routinely talk about because we all go about our lives. We go about our business, but it's an important conversation we're having more and more. And so, in no way does any comment that I have ever been on the receiving end of equate to the horrors that a lot of these women have described.
HILL: But there's also a point where you have to say, it's not OK to make inappropriate sexual jokes to someone sitting on set.
BURNETT: No, it isn't. You're right. As you point out, there is a spectrum. But just because one thing is worse does not mean the other thing is therefore OK, right?
Now, Irin, since you broke this story, what has happened? IRIN CARMON, CO-WROTE "WASHINGTON POST" STORY ABOUT ROSE MAKING
UNWANTED SEXUAL ADVANCES: Well, it was swift. He was suspended from CBS. He was suspended from Bloomberg. Bloomberg has ceased to carry his PBS show. Most of the allegations, all the allegations we reported on here took place at PBS show, so we're now focusing on what's happened at CBS. CBS, of course, fired him this morning.
This has moved very quickly, but I should say these kinds of stories don't move quickly. Relatively speaking for an investigation, the three weeks that we were working on this piece, two and a half to three weeks, was quite swift. It normally takes a long time to get people to talk about these kinds of experiences.
BURNETT: But that's changed -- I know you first heard about this years ago, right?
CARMON: I first heard about this in 2010, and I partnered with Amy Brittain to report on it, but I'm just saying that things have really progressed in the last 24 hours with terrifying speed. Just terrifying for anyone trying to keep up with what's happening because we're in this new moment.
BURNETT: So, I want to play for you again, Charlie Rose last night when he arrived at his home, saying that there were no wrongdoings. That was his response. That's all we heard from him.
Let me just play it again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: You want to say anything to those accusers that's accusing you. You want to say anything to the accuse accuser, the people accusing you of wrongdoings.
CHARLIE ROSE, TV HOST: It's not wrongdoings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Not wrongdoings.
HILL: Not wrongdoings.
You know, it's incredible to me, the filters that people have used over the years. And I think the filter that many of us are now using to look at certain events.
I think we can all agree that what you reported on would certainly, as Brian said, too, would rise to the occasion of wrongdoings, and I think it's also interesting, I think Norah and Gayle did a wonderful job in a really difficult situation this morning addressing this. And Norah made the point this is systemic and she's right.
And when people are saying they're not wrongdoings but it's been going on for decades in an industry, that's part of the problem.
CARMON: This was not the first statement we got from Charlie. We had a statement in our piece where he talked about, you know, he admitted that he felt regret over some of these incidents. He challenged some of the allegations, although we did give him an opportunity to respond to them line by line before our story was published. We told him everything, there were no surprises in terms of what was going to be published, including the three women who went on the record to describe some of this behavior, and he did not challenge that directly.
He did say at a certain point in that statement that he thought he was acting out of shared interest, which very much differs from what the women told us.
BURNETT: Right, and to your point, I think goes back to the whole point of power and how it can be abused, and how perception can be so very different. The power in and of itself is a warping thing when it comes to something like consensuality, as you point out.
All right. Thanks so very much to both of you.
And next, breaking news. Robert Mueller's investigators now looking at Jared Kushner's interaction with foreign leaders during the transition.
[19:35:03] One particular incident involves a dispute at the United Nations. This is according to a "Wall Street Journal" report breaking this morning.
And a sexual harassment complaint against a top Democrat settled quietly in 2015, only now becoming public. Why?
BURNETT: Breaking news: the House Ethics Committee is now investigating the longest serving member in Congress -- think about that for a moment -- after a report of sexual harassment allegations surfaced. This coming just hours after Democratic Congressman John Conyers confirmed a "BuzzFeed" report that he settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former staffer but denied other allegations in the story such as that he repeatedly or repeatedly made sexual advanced to female staff, which included requests for sexual favors.
A statement from Conyers reads in part, and I quote: It is important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true.
[19:40:03] My office resolved the allegations -- with all expressed a denial of liability -- in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic congressman from New York, Jerry Nadler, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee.
You know, you've served with Congressman Conyers for nearly 25 years. So, you know him. You have seen him in professional environments. He says that a settlement doesn't mean anything. It was just done to move this along because he didn't want a protracted legal issue. Do you believe him?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, first of all, let me say it's very important that women are speaking out now and bringing all these allegations about many, many people to the front. The outpouring of the stories comes from the lack of justice and from the fact that I think the dam finally has broken. And that is very, very good.
Now, the allegations against John Conyers are very serious. And they're not just about the one settlement. There are a lot of allegations from a number of different people. And they're very, very serious.
And that -- and shocking, and that's why I was among the first this morning to call for an investigation by the Ethics Committee and for passage of legislation such as the Speier bill to make the process less intimidating to people and more transparent. I think it's very important. These cases are different, one from the other, and you can't generalize. But it's very important we have a proper investigation quickly.
BURNETT: OK. On this case, though, and I know you're calling for Ethics Committee. Congressman Mike Quigley has come out and he's gone further. He has said that if he was in his place, Mr. Conyers' place, he would leave.
Should he resign?
NADLER: Well, I think it's a little too early to say that. I mean, Mr. Conyers has denied all the allegations. And I think it will very swiftly become clear what the facts are. And I think we should wait a little while before you make that conclusion.
BURNETT: But Congressman Quigley pointed to the fact that Mr. Conyers used his own resources, raised own access to funds within his office to make the settlement payments instead of going through an official process. He said that specifically concerns him greatly.
Do you share that concern?
NADLER: I am concerned about that. It is apparently legal to do, which doesn't make it right. But it's one of the things the Ethics Committee has to look at and one of the things the legislation that we're supported would specifically outlaw. But I think we should wait a few days, certainly, before jumping to conclusions.
BURNETT: So, you know, the thing about putting it to House ethics. I understand that. That's the mechanism you have, right? However, it often results in a sort of slap on the wrist. The last time someone was expelled from that was for bribery racketeering, James Traficant, Democratic congressman, in 2002. That's a long time ago.
Do you -- do you worry that saying House ethics is a bit of a punt at this point?
NADLER: No, I don't think it's a bit of a punt. First of all, it is the only choice we have, number one. It's what the --
BURNETT: Other than calling for an outright resignation, which you're not ready to do.
NADLER: Which we're not ready to do yet. I think we have to be fair and let the defense come out as well as the allegations. And I think it's going to work itself -- I think the whole thing is going to work out very, very rapidly.
BURNETT: Donald Trump today was asked specifically about whether Congress needs to open up the records. There's been $15 million in settlements paid out for various forms of discrimination, whether it'd be gender, sexual harassment or race in Congress. We don't know who was involved in those payouts.
The president thinks Congress should put those names out there. Here he is today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you believe Congress should release the names of lawmakers who have settled on sexual harassment claims?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do. I really do. I think they should.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you agree with him?
NADLER: No, I don't, because I certainly think that all settlements, if any, should be public going forward. I think they were wrong to do it the way they did, but you may very well have people who thought that -- who were innocent but who thought better get a settlement than go through protracted litigation.
BURNETT: And expected it to stay private and wouldn't have made that decision. OK --
NADLER: And wouldn't have made public, and it would be unfair -- unless you're going to give hem the opportunity to defend themselves now, if you wanted to reopen it and do the whole thing over again, that would be a different question.
Now, I introduced legislation two years ago to say that all settlements in court. Very often, someone sues a corporation for an unsafe practice or whatever, and there's a settlement and they get $100,000 or whatever, but you got to be quiet so the corporation can continue being unsafe the next time. My legislation, which unfortunately, the Republicans haven't permitted to advance, says that the judge must determine that all settlements, that all confidentiality agreements are in the public interest.
BURNETT: And before we go, "The Wall Street journal" reporting that special counsel, Bob Mueller, is now asking people about Jared Kushner's contacts with foreign leaders during the transition, very specifically about that issue. How significant could that inquiry be?
NADLER: It could be very significant.
[19:45:00] I mean, what we know about Jared Kushner is that he has lied incessantly from the beginning. He lied on his forms for --
BURNETT: Security clearance.
NADLER: -- security clearance forms. He lied about not having meetings with the Russians.
He's lied incessantly. He's been one of many people on the Trump campaign who has lied incessantly.
And we know there's tremendous collusion, whether there was criminal conspiracy remains to be seen, but there was tremendous collusion, certainly we now know, WikiLeaks and the Russian government and the Trump campaign. And Jared Kushner seems to have been at the middle of it so this could be very significant.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman. I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
NADLER: Thank you.
And next, what is it about cabinet secretaries' wives and travel. New questions about the interior secretary's wife and some trips she's taken.
And a CNN exclusive. The shocking story of child soldiers, 12 and 13- year-olds who ran away from home to kill for ISIS.
BURNETT: Tonight, another cabinet secretary's wife is under fire for accompanying her husband during business trips. Documents show Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's wife Lola's travel has been creating headaches for the Department of Interior staffers.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As investigators pore over Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's private plane trips, newly released documents show his staff was also frustrated by his wife's travel plans and apparently deep involvement in his schedule. With her helping decide who attends some official events and clearly expecting the staff to heed her commands.
Ugh, an e-mail reads to the last minute itinerary change by Lola Zinke with another note adding, everything was clinking, and all now shot to hell.
[19:50:07] RYAN ZINKE, INTERIOR SECRETARY: Thanks. It's great to be here. You know, I'm glad to have my wife next to me.
FOREMAN: The department says the Zinkes have paid for all her trips to events such as this NRA leadership dinner, a European jaunt, and a visit to Alaska, where she asked for a military plane home but ended up flying commercial. And her husband has roundly rejected accusations that he may have used tax dollars for political and personal travel.
ZINKE: I'd just like to address, in the words of General Schwarzkopf, a little B.S. on travel.
FOREMAN: But as investigations continue into the travel of several cabinet members, some other spouses are also being scrutinized. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton drew attention for a request made and then withdrawn for a military plane to take them on their European honeymoon and for a trip to Kentucky during the eclipse in which he Instagrammed about her designer outfit. They too insist all the travel was legit and taxpayers put in no inappropriate bill.
But a recent photo op with a sheet of new dollars did nothing to quiet the storm.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: What were you thinking?
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Well, again, I didn't realize that the pictures were the public and going on the Internet.
FOREMAN: Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price came under fire for his use of private and military jets sometimes with his wife Betty tagging along. None of it pleased his boss.
TRUMP: I'm not happy, OK? I can tell you, I'm not happy.
FOREMAN: Price pledged to repay the money but the uproar ended with his resignation anyway.
BURNETT: Tom, you know, when you see this it seems the spouses are a smaller part of the possible problem here, but yet they are drawing so much attention.
FOREMAN: Yes, because it's bad optics, that's why. I mean, look, there's no question that many times in politics and in business, spouses can travel along and actually very much add to the effectiveness of the main character in that relationship.
But if they start going along too often, those business trips start looking suspiciously like vacations, especially for watchdog groups. They start paying attention. And with all this swirling around the Trump administration, that's exactly what's happening here -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you.
And next, a CNN exclusive, a child soldier shot in the chest risking his life to fight for ISIS, telling a war story, shared by an entire generation of young boys. What happens to them now?
BURNETT: New tonight, a CNN exclusive, child soldiers trained to fight for ISIS. But now, what happens? Do they keep fighting? Do they look for other radicals or do they turn their backs on terror?
Arwa Damon is OUTFRONT.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Khalid (ph) is the youngest of the class. He says he ran away from home to join ISIS about a year-and-a-half ago when he was 13 or maybe 12, he's not sure. He's sheepish, shy and struggle to verbalize what he was thinking and feeling. Their lecturer doesn't want to be filmed is dissecting and disproving ISIS's interpretation of Islam and their draconian rule, as part of a fledgling rehabilitation program.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): After you get out of here, reflect on everything and don't let others manipulate it.
DAMON: Khalid (ph) is categorized as level two, an active fighter. He says his mind was blank the first time in battle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): I just wanted to advance, there is no retreat.
DAMON (translated): And who was with you on the frontline?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): They were all my generation.
DAMON (voice-over): A unit of children, teens at best, used as cannon fighter on ISIS front line in Elbar (ph). They would get ferried to a fight and just told which direction to shoot.
Khalid was wounded within a day. The bullet went through his chest and out his armpit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): I stayed home maybe a week and then I went back to the front.
DAMON (translated): What did you mother say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): She was crying and she said don't go, but I didn't respond.
DAMON (voice-over): Again, within days he was shot, this time through the leg.
(translated): You're not afraid of death? You didn't want to live?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): No.
DAMON (translated): Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): They, ISIS, would talk about heaven.
DAMON (voice-over): At the Syrian Center for Anti-Extremist Ideology, he's with other ISIS members, battle hardened fighters and level three detainees, the foreign fighters, most from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The wives of the foreigners live in the same compound along with their children. Little Amita (ph) was born in Iraq.
Her mother says she have no idea what they were getting into. She's Russian born in Ukraine. Her husband is from Kiev, a convert to Islam, and they ended up in Tal Afar where he was assigned to the frontlines with a Russian speaking unit.
Her husband's claimed he's turned away from ISIS and its twisted beliefs, but behind bars, they all say the same thing.
Khalid (ph) was once a kid who just loved history and geography. He still has the demeanor of a child, one who regrets his actions and is desperate to rejoin a world that may not accept or forgive him, or could very well push him back towards a brutal way of live.
The center's leaders say it's the ISIS ideology that is the most dangerous. It's gripped on a person's psyche more profound than imagined. Combating that is a necessity, but it's also unchartered territory.
DAMON: But, Erin, at the very least, the center's leaders say that they have to try, because if they don't, then what hope is there for Syria's future?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Arwa, from Syria tonight.
And thanks so much to all of you for joining us.
John Berman is in for Anderson Cooper. And AC360 begins right now.