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Washington Post Exposes Fake Roy Moore Accuser; Trump Calls Warren "Pocahontas" at Event Honoring Native Americans; Prince Harry & Meghan Markle to Tie the Knot Next Spring. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired November 28, 2017 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[06:32:31] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The conservative group Project Veritas exposed for trying to entrap "The Washington Post." The newspaper confronting a woman who falsely claimed that Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager.
CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joins us now with the full story.
Veritas caught at its own game.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. These are conservative provocateurs, sometimes this man, James O'Keefe, has been called a prankster.
But this latest attempt was much darker. Here is what happened and here is how "The Post" tricked him.
STELTER (voice-over): "The Washington Post" says this woman identified as Jamie Phillips approached the paper about three weeks ago, falsely claiming that Senate GOP candidate Roy Moore impregnated her as a teenager, leading to an abortion.
During routine fact-checking, "The Post" uncovered several inconsistencies in her story, including this fundraising post for a woman with the same name that said she accepted a job working for a conservative media outlet to combat the mainstream media.
In a subsequent interview, reporters pressed Phillips about that online post and explained that she was being video recorded.
STEPHANIE MCCRUMMEN, WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: Do you still have an interest in working in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceit of the liberal MSM? Is that still your interest?
JAMIE PHILLIPS: No, not really.
PHILLIPS: Not at this point.
MCCRUMMEN: No? STELTER: Phillips claimed the job was with "The Daily Caller". But
the site's executive editor later told "The Post" that none of us has interviewed a woman by the name Jamie Phillips.
During previous conversations, "The Post" says that Phillips pressed reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claim could have on Moore's candidacy, raising eyebrows. But she insisted that she was not working with anyone that targets journalists.
MCCRUMMEN: Are you in contact with other people? Are you in contact with the Roy Moore campaign?
PHILLIPS: No, no.
MCCRUMMEN: Or Steve Bannon?
MCCRUMMEN: Or Breitbart?
PHILLIPS: No, not at all.
STELTER: However, on Monday, reporters for "The Post" saw Phillips entering the offices of Project Veritas, an organization that uses fake stories and secret recordings to try to discredit news outlets.
AARON DAVIS, WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: Did Jamie Phillips work for Project Veritas? Did you send her to pose as a victim of Roy Moore to "The Washington Post"?
JAMES O'KEEFE, PROJECT VERITAS FOUNDER: I'm 15 minutes late to this meeting. So, I got to -- I got to run. But I will -- we'll get in touch with you. OK?
STELTER: Project Veritas founder James O'Keefe refusing to answer repeated questions.
DAVIS: Did Jamie Phillips work for Project Veritas? Did you send her to approach "The Washington Post" under a false name and with a fake story?
[06:35:03] If you're not going to answer that question, we're done.
O'KEEFE: I want to talk about one of your national --
DAVIS: I'm disappointed. All right.
STELTER: The newspaper now stinging the supposed sting artist, deciding to publish off-the-record details, saying this so-called off the record conversation was the essence of a scheme to deceive and embarrass us. We weren't fooled and we can't honor an off the record agreement that was solicited in maliciously bad faith.
STELTER: Bottom line, this group made up a fake sexual assault allegation to discredit the real women who have come forward. The goal was to hurt "The Washington Post" and help Roy Moore.
But, Chris, it has clearly backfired and embarrassed James O'Keefe. Even some of his past supporters are now saying this looks really bad for O'Keefe, even as he's promising to release even more videos of "The Post". I think we've seen in great detail here how this trap was set and how "The Washington Post" figured it out and actually trapped him instead.
CUOMO: Brian, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The tables have turned. Brian, thank you very much.
So, the president called Senator Elizabeth Warren "Pocahontas" during a Native American event. What does the head of the Navajo Nation think of that? He was at this Oval Office ceremony. He joins us live, next.
[06:40:25] CAMEROTA: President Trump taking a shot at Senator Elizabeth Warren, calling her Pocahontas at a ceremony during a White House ceremony honoring Navajo code talkers. It's not the first time Mr. Trump has used that insult.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pocahontas, that's Elizabeth Warren.
I called her Pocahontas and that's an insult to Pocahontas.
And Massachusetts is represented by Pocahontas, right? Pocahontas.
It may be Pocahontas, remember that.
What an insult to Pocahontas, isn't it?
I was being hit by Pocahontas.
And Pocahontas is not happy. Elizabeth Warren, she's one of the worst senators.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. Joining us now is Russell Begaye, the Navajo Nation president. And Sonny Skyhawk, he's an actor, producer and founder of the American Indian Film and Television.
Nice to have both of you gentlemen here with us.
Mr. Begaye, I want to start with you. You were in the room yesterday when President Trump used the term Pocahontas with the code talkers. What was your response? RUSSELL BEGAYE, NAVAJO NATION PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, this was
a day when the code talkers were being honored. They're war heroes. They helped put an end to the war.
We are enjoying freedom today as it is because of their work, because of what they did, their sacrifices. Some of them did not return. Some of those that were there with us in the Oval Office yesterday, they were injured there on the islands when they were there in the campaign.
And so, this was a day to honor them and to insert something like that, the word Pocahontas as a jab to a senator, you know, that belongs on the campaign trail. That doesn't belong in the room when our war heroes are being honored. That was a good gesture by the president, by the White House, to be able to bring our code talkers into the Oval Office and has not happened before.
But then to be able -- and to insert that, I thought it was uncalled for. And we need to honor these war heroes, our American war heroes in a respectful way, in any situation, in any circumstance, in any environment. And this was a good environment for Americans to say thank you, code talkers.
BEGAYE: Navajos. You use your language. You've done this. You really built this nation to what it is. You were part of the successful war during those years. And so, we honor you, we thank you for what you've done.
CAMEROTA: You thought it was unnecessary?
BEGAYE: It was unnecessary.
CAMEROTA: Do you see it as an ethnic slur?
BEGAYE: I feel that the way it was used, yes, it was, because -- now Pocahontas is a real person. It's not a caricature, something that's made up. This is a person -- a young lady, a Native American woman that played a critical role.
BEGAYE: In the life of this nation.
CAMEROTA: Was a hero.
BEGAYE: Exactly. And to use that person in that way, you know, is unnecessary and is being culturally insensitive.
CAMEROTA: And, Sonny, what did you think when you heard about it?
SONNY SKYHAWK, ACTOR, PRODUCER: I agree, first of all, with Mr. Begaye and good morning, sir.
BEGAYE: Good morning. SKYHAWK: I thought the whole thing was staged, the fact that Andrew
Jackson appeared in the back of the room.
CAMEROTA: What about that? I mean, did you -- Sonny, I wanted to ask you about that, because that portrait of Andrew Jackson that hung in the back, did you see that as a deliberate slight?
SKYHAWK: I definitely do. And I think every other native person that knows who Andrew Jackson was believes the same thing.
Mr. Trump has been in television enough and he knows the staging. He knows how and what people are going to see. And I think it was a co condescending racial slur that he delivered, unfortunately, at an inopportune time when these heroes were being honored.
It's uncalled for, totally uncalled for. And he know what he was doing and inexcusable.
CAMEROTA: You think he does know the history of Andrew Jackson and the trail of tears?
SKYHAWK: Pardon me?
CAMEROTA: You think that President Trump does know the history of Andrew Jackson.
SKYHAWK: Of course he knows Andrew Jackson. I think Andrew Jackson is one of his heroes. He acts like him. He talks like him. He wants to be him in modern day.
But, again, it was totally uncalled for in regards to mentioning Pocahontas in this setting, especially in the fact that it had nothing to do with this gathering.
[06:45:00] This was all about honoring the code talkers, and rightly so.
CAMEROTA: Sonny, one more question.
CAMEROTA: I read that you said that you want Americans to know the proud history of Native Americans and their service to this country. And you say that the native people of America have voluntarily served with honor by per capita in larger numbers than any other race in America, in every conflict in defense of this country, we did not stoop to claim spurs in our feet.
Can you expound on that?
SKYHAWK: Exactly, and I stand by that statement.
Our people have served honorably in just about every conflict the United States has had, in numbers, in total numbers, including the code talkers. And, of course, the Navajo code talkers were not the only code talkers. We had other nations that were represented by code talkers.
So, again, to slur the history of the code talkers or any service person is totally uncalled for. And he knew exactly what he was doing.
CAMEROTA: Mr. Begaye, in our remaining seconds, what do you want from the president? Do you want an apology?
BEGAYE: Well, I would like for the president to first continue honoring the code talkers, our veterans. And he needs to stand by the armed forces, by our veterans, especially war heroes that really made a huge contribution to this country, to the freedom that we enjoy and he needs to just put it in his mind and in his head that these are American war heroes.
And when you're in the midst of great heroes, you need to respect them and leave everything else aside and just honor them and thank them. And this is what we -- that is who we are as Americans, is that we thank each other, especially in defense of freedom of this great nation.
And for Native Americans, this is our land. Every inch of it, every mountain, every stream, every water that is out there, it is ours. It's Native American country.
That's why we will defend it all the way, because we have no other place to go. America is Indian country. And so every non-Indian out there is a guest of Native Americans in this country. And that's how they should act.
If you're a guest in this nation, that's how you should act, especially when you're in the middle of and in the midst of these war heroes. So, I ask the president to respect our people, to respect our heritage, to respect who we are as Native Americans, especially war heroes.
ROMANS: Well, President Russell Begaye of Navajo Nation, and Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television, thank you very much for sharing your perspective.
SKYHAWK: Thank you very much. Thank you for your service, sir.
ROMANS: All right. A new alliance between the U.S. and Britain. Prince Harry engaged to an American actress, Meghan Markle, now a household name. How does Harry think his mother would have reacted? He gave a very interesting answer.
Our royals expert has it next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MEGHAN MARKLE, PRINCE HARRY'S FIANCEE: Just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee.
PRINCE HARRY, BRITISH PRINCE: Of course.
INTERVIEWER: Was it an instant yes?
MARKLE: Yes. As a matter of fact, I could barely let you finish proposing and ask, can I say yes now?
PRINCE HARRY: She didn't even let me finish. She said "Can I say yes". Then there were hugs and I had the ring in my finger. I was like "Can I give you the ring". She said, oh, yes, the ring.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Prince Harry's engagement to a biracial American divorced American actress Meghan Markle making waves around the world.
Does her engagement signal a shift in the British monarchy.
Let's discuss this and so much more with CNN contributor Sally Bedell Smith, author of "Prince Charles: The Passion and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life".
Sally, great to have you here.
SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Great to be here, in London of all places.
CAMEROTA: Yes, you're perfect, perfect timing. This does seem --
SMITH: I timed with my trip. I thought this was going to happen.
CAMEROTA: No, come on.
SMITH: I did.
CAMEROTA: Come on.
SMITH: I was over in Thanksgiving and I thought I would stay a next week.
CAMEROTA: But how could you know, if Meghan Markle was surprised by the engagement, how could you know?
SMITH: I didn't know. It was my best guess, given the anniversary last week and Christmas coming up, I thought it was the perfect moment. Let's put it that way.
CAMEROTA: OK. You have a future as a psychic, number one. Number two, given -- look, Meghan Markle is extremely beautiful.
She is accomplished in her own right. She does good works. However, given the history, which is nontraditional, doesn't this signal a sea change for the royal family? SMITH: Well, I think it's more of -- yes, in some respects, it is,
because she is American and the first American to marry someone in direct line to the throne. I mean, Harry is fifth and soon will be sixth. I mean, the last American who did that was Wallis Warfield Simpson who 80 years ago was universally rejected by the royal family.
But I don't think you could find anybody who was more diametrically oppose d to Wallis Simpson than Meghan Markle. She is a woman of -- obviously, it was clear in the interview yesterday, she's a woman of high intelligence, she's poised, she's knowledgeable. She's warm. She is sensitive.
She has a history of philanthropic involvement. You know, in every single -- every single category, she is different from the last American who married, in this case, a British monarch. But I think you could see in that clip a few moments ago what struck me is how, you know, their body language, what a deep connection they have.
SMITH: They obviously adore each other. They're the sort of couple who can complete each other's sentences.
CAMEROTA: Yes, we did see that. I mean, it's hard to imagine a better introduction of them as a couple than that interview. You really got a flavor for their romance and how deeply connected they are and excited they are, at the moment.
But one more thing -- I just want to play, obviously, Princess Diana came up. Harry spoke of his mom.
CAMEROTA: And Harry spoke of his mom. So, I want to play this for you and for everyone. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY: As thick as thieves, without question. I think she would be over the moon, jumping up and down, so excited for me, but then probably would have been best friends with Meghan. No, it is days like today when I really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news. But with the ring and with everything else going on, I'm sure, she's --
MARKLE: She's with us.
PRINCE HARRY: I'm sure she's with us, yes, jumping up and down somewhere else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Sally, what did you think?
SMITH: Well, I thought it was so sweet. Obviously, William said the same sort of thing when he and Kate had their engagement interview. And I think in Harry's case, Princess Diana really loved the United States. She visited a lot.
And so, I think she would -- she would probably really approve of the fact that he's marrying an American. Also I think Meghan's causes -- we have to remember she's not -- she's not, you know, a Jane come lately to this. She has been engaged, in serious issues and edgy issues for a long time. And I think Diana would have appreciated that, the kinds of causes that she advocates. And I think she will slip beautifully into the royal trio of Kate and William and Harry and become a royal quartet.
And they will really be a powerful force for the array of philanthropic causes that they advocate.
CAMEROTA: Yes, it certainly seemed like it. There were a lot of high hopes yesterday as you hear their interview. And it really is a touching moment and inspirational.
Sally Bedell Smith, thank you very much. Thanks for being in London for us.
SMITH: You're welcome. My pleasure.
CUOMO: All right. Big movements in Washington today. Republican senators are looking to clear a major hurdle for their tax plan.
President Trump is going to Capitol Hill. He is trying to sell on the tax bill. What can he offer? Where will it lead? Next.