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Weinstein Charged with Rape, Other Sex Crimes in NY; Trump's Negotiating Style Under Fire After Failed North Korea Summit; Gas Prices Spike Ahead of Holiday Weekend; McConnell: Nothing Particularly Interesting in DOJ Classified Briefing. Aired 11:30a-12n ET

Aired May 25, 2018 - 11:30   ET



[11:30:00] ASIA ARGENTO, ACTRESS (through translation): In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein. I was 21 years old.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Weinstein maintains his innocence, saying any sexual encounter was always consensual. And now it is up to the justice system to decide.

Brynn Gingras has been following all the developments. She outside the courthouse where Weinstein's attorney spoke just a short time ago.

Brynn, a lot happened behind you at that courthouse today. What did his attorney say?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. His attorney, Kate, says what you said, that is always was consensual, that he denies all of this, and that they're going to fight it. He reiterated saying, when asked the question how Weinstein is feeling now, he said, "As well as you can be expected when accused of a crime you vehemently deny."

And then the interesting part, Kate, was that there was a little bit of a turn when asked the question, what does he have to say to all those women who made that accusation -- those accusations against him, and Brafman, his lawyer, basically, says that he didn't -- Weinstein didn't invent the casting couch, that he doesn't defend -- his job is not to defend bad behavior, but criminal charges.

I want you to hear more about that, because it was a very important part of this news conference.


BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, ATTORNEY TO HARVEY WEINSTEIN: Mr. Weinstein will enter a plea of not guilty. We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges. We believe that they are constitutionally flawed. We believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence. And we believe that, at the end of the process, Mr. Weinstein will be exonerated. Bad behavior is not on trial in this case. It is only if you intentionally committed a criminal act, and Mr. Weinstein vigorously denies that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRAS: The D.A. the one filing these charges today. And they also released a very different statement. I want to read that to you. He said, "Weinstein used his position, money and power to lure women into going to where he was to sexually assault them."

So two very obviously differing statements, Kate, but a very poignant moment today when his attorney spoke on his behalf.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. So a lot of accusations against him. These are the first charges. Tell us about these first charges and the women behind them.

GINGRAS: Yes, absolutely. These are the first ones. And that's so important to note. These are the most serious of them, rape. They involve two separate women who went forward to NYPD and they arrested him on these two separate complaints. But there are a number of charges related to sexual assault. And these, again, are just the beginning. We even heard Ben Brafman say he's been in talks with the s SDNY. Federal charges are possible. There's a grand jury convened right now. They could bring charges as well. Really, this is just the beginning for Mr. Weinstein and this legal road.

BOLDUAN: It sure is.

Brynn, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Coming up for us, is President Trump a dealmaker or the ultimate deal breaker? Pong that as the president's negotiating style comes under fire from both sides of the aisle in the wake of the failed North Korean summit, alive, dead, mostly dead, slightly alive. That's next.


ANNOUCER: In the spring of '68, the most violent period of the entire war --

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: I'm awful sick of it. I'll be so glad to go home.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR, PASTOR & ACTIVIST: I've seen the promised land. I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents' generation, King was the dream. And then he's gone.

ROBERT KENNEDY, (D), FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm announcing today my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: Oh, my god. Senator Kennedy has been shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was really the death --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wallace knew how to get a crowd energized.

GEORGE WALLACE, (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know a lot of words you don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED NEWS ANCHOR: They're over this busy intersection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Graduate" is probably most important movie of the '60s.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope to restore respect to the presidency.

MIKE WALLACE, FORMER NEWS ANCHOR: One of the most dramatic and consequential years in history.

[11:34:22] ANNOUNCER: "1968," a four-part two-night CNN original series event starts Sunday at 9:00.



BOLDUAN: It has been a tough week, I think we could say, for a man who staked his brand on being the master of "The Art of the Deal." President Trump's diplomatic deal-making, making -- taking a beating, if you will, as the North Korean summit apparently hangs in limbo. And some Republicans are criticizing his trade talks with China. How much talking are they actually doing now is one question.

Senator Marco Rubio took this poke at the White House: "Sadly China is out negotiating the administration and winning the trade talks now. They have avoided tariffs and gotten a ZTE deal without giving up anything meaningful in return by using North Korea talks and agricultural issues as leverage. This is not winning," says the Senator.

My next guest goes as far to right an op-ed with the headline, "Surprise, Donald Trump is terrible at diplomacy."

Joining me now, Max Boot, CNN global affairs analyst and senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

You wrote it, but I'll read it for our viewers. Here is one bit of your op-ed, Max: "To judge by the evidence of Trump's dealings with China and North Korea this week, it has been a disaster. The Trump train just jumped the tracks."

How are you sure of that? Trump now says the 12th might be back on.

[11:40:56] MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You can never say anything for certain with this guy because he zigzags so much. You have to look at what happened in the 15 months that he's been president, does he have a single negotiating success to show for it. Absolutely not. He's been great at breaking deals. He's left the Trans-Pacific Partnership, he left the Paris Climate Accord, he's left the Iran nuclear deal. So where are all these great wonderful, super, amazing new deals that are supposed to replace them?

BOLDUAN: What if that is the opening pitch of a long-term negotiation? That's what they say.

BOOT: Well, it could be. I don't think we have seen any evidence he's having any success negotiating. This week, what we saw could be characterized as the art of the debacle. With both China and North Korea, the negotiations just blew up and the U.S. didn't achieve any of its goals. With China, Trump was pressing for a $200 billion reduction in their trade deficit with the United States, and he had to settle for a vague promise from China to maybe buy some more American goods, which Marco Rubio and others have correctly characterized as a defeat. And, of course, his much-wanted North Korea summit, where he was already nominating himself for a Nobel Peace Prize, likely is off, maybe it will be back on again. But the way he's handled it is not increasing confidence in the United States. It is making him seem erratic and unreliable.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this. You say he's terrible at diplomacy and what message that sends. You say it is a negative one around the world. Here is how Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger put it to me yesterday when it comes to North Korea.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R), ILLINOIS: It is meeting crazy with a changing strategy to say, how do we get you to the table, and if you're not going to come to the table under our conditions, we'll have a different tone. If you're willing to come to the table, we'll have a different tone. That's just international diplomacy.


BOLDUAN: Is that international diplomacy?

BOOT: I think he is putting lipstick on a pig here. What we saw was that Donald Trump rushed into this summit with Kim Jong-Un in early March without doing any kind of the normal preparation work that you would expect at such a high-level, high-risk meeting. Then he hyped it to the skies. A month ago, he was talking as if North Korea had already agreed to denuclearize. He's pulled out of it. Maybe in the future he'll pull back into it. This is not achieving anything. It is hurting us because it is leading to a relaxation of sanctions on North Korea. China is relaxing sanctions, leading to a rift with South Korea, because Trump didn't even notify South Korea before pulling out of the summit. It is making Kim Jong-Un look like the reasonable one in this relationship with the United States.

BOLDUAN: Let's see if they get back to the table, if the 12th is on or whatever the date is.

Max, great to see you.

BOOT: They may be. But they're not going to denuclearize. BOLDUAN: We'll see what they get then. If it is anything short of

that, is that a success. We'll talk about that.

Great to see you, Max. Thank you.

BOOT: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, gas prices on the rise across the country in a big way, jumping 25 percent since last year. And the summer driving season is just getting under way. How much is the president to blame and what is the president to do? Gas price politics, that's next.

But, first, when disaster strikes, top-10 "CNN Heroes," Stan Hayes and his Pit Master Buddies, they bring comfort in the form of barbecue to those in need. This week, Stan is expanding his service to honor those who serve our country all year long.


STAN HAYES, CNN HERO: We're here with the Gary Sinise Foundation at the Invincible Spirit Festival.

How are you guys doing? Do you want a pulled pork sandwich?

We're cooking for 6500 to 7000 people.

Being here where these men and women have given so much, while protecting and serving our country, it is pretty special.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an awesome event. The barbecue is stellar.

HAYES: Barbecue is about bringing people together. And for us, this is the biggest thank you we can give those men and women that have served.


BOLDUAN: Find out more about what's happening with Operation Barbecue Relief or to nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero," go to


[11:48:14] BOLDUAN: As millions of Americans hit the roads this Memorial Day weekend, they're looking up and seeing higher gas prices pretty much across the board. Nearly $3 a gallon, a 23 percent spike since last year, according to AAA. While Democrats say this cost increase could reverberate throughout the economy, the president today doesn't seem concerned.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prosperity is booming at home. Our economy is the strongest it has ever been. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: CNN's Alison Kosik is joining me now.

What is behind this?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, well, first of all it does reverberate through the economy. What happens is you see gas prices go up, it acts like an extra tax for American consumers. It undercuts confidence. And it means people are spending more on gas than they would other things. And let's not forget about the tax cut plan that President Trump has heralded as a feather in his cap. Well, the higher gas prices are going to take a shine off that apple. A huge chunk of that extra take home pay, that will be spent on the higher gas prices.

The interesting thing is you look at the timing of this, it is happening during the summer, but then we're dovetailing into the midterms. And this is going to be at the forefront of voters' minds as the higher prices, the higher gas prices that Americans were paying. It really could be one of the pocketbook issues that really follows Republican candidates to the polls come the fall.

BOLDUAN: Talking about gas prices is something that politicians do all the time. They talk about how much control they have over it.

Great to see you.

KOSIK: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Joining me now, CNN's newest political commentator, former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, Charlie Dent.

Great to see you, Congressman.


BOLDUAN: So if you -- of course, there seems to be not so much, not a ton, let's say, a president can do to impact the price at the pump. Democrats are already though making noise about this number. And it sounds like, when it comes to gas prices, they're just going to get louder and louder about it throughout the summer, heading into the midterms. How big of a problem do you think this is for the Republicans and for the president then?

[11:50:15] DENT: I don't think it's a very big problem Kate, to be perfectly honest. I've been through this with years.


DENT: I've seen gas prices ebb and flow. Happens all the time. It all comes down to supply and demand. You could make a case that the economy is doing better or there's greater demand for it, that's maybe driving prices up. There's a whole bunch of factors that effect this thing. So I don't think it's that big of an issue, but it could be. If things got considerably higher, then I'd started to push the panic button, but not yet.

BOLDUAN: But, again, that has never stopped a politician in the past even if they don't have so much control over supply and demand. Look no further than Donald Trump in years past. He himself has touted his own influence, Congressman, on gas prices in the past. Even in 2012, tweeting out, "Gas prices at crazy levels, fire Obama." What's he going to do about it now?

DENT: I remember, I've heard Donald Trump do that. I've seen Nancy Pelosi do that. Politician also demagogue gas prices, ad nauseam. When they go low, who takes credit for that? Somebody will always be yelling about big oil, big oils. Always a conspiracy. There really isn't. Again, the price of oil is set on global basis and it really comes down to supply and demand. And speculation is also affected by supply and demand. But I've been through this some many times. I don't -- as a former member of Congress, I never got panicked about these gasoline prices because they're really outside of our control and you have to manage the issue as it is.

BOLDUAN: Do you think voters here that if it hurts and Democrats railing against the fact any benefit to the tax benefit is wiped out because of gas prices?

DENT: Well, you can make a strong case. As a Republican member, I would say, well, the Democrats have done everything they could possibly do to make sure that it would be difficult to access oil. They make it harder to drill. They want to make it more difficult. They want to see the price higher, in many cases, based on their policy decisions. So Democrats have a tough time arguing higher gas prices given that seems to what be their policy is to drive the price up.

BOLDUAN: And when they're in power, no one wants to be blamed for it when prices do go up.

So let me ask you while I have you about the Justice Department classified meeting and classified briefing with members of Congress yesterday. It was all of this lead-up, talk of a spy, talk of getting the truth about the Mueller investigation, and the roots of the investigation. And pretty much it was crickets coming out. Or Democrats saying that there was no evidence, or Mitch McConnell saying nothing surprised him. What do you make of it?

DENT: Well, I believe it's really pretty simple, that this investigation is going on as it should be going. There was no grand conspiracy here. It doesn't appear that anybody was implanted in the Trump campaign from the FBI or some informant. That wasn't the case. It's a big nothing as far as I'm concerned. I thought Rod Rosenstein had it right when he said there's concern about this investigation. Well, we'll have the inspector general look into it. That's the proper way to deal with it.

I think the president, you know, damaged himself by calling this spygate and trying to make more out of this than he should. I think the strategy of some in the White House is to attack the investigators, attack the fact finders, rather than going after the investigation or the facts. I think that's really the bigger issue here, that the political strategy is simply try to discredit or taint this investigation so when Director Mueller comes out with his findings, enough people will be able to say, oh, see, this is a witch hunt, it's all fixed. I think that's the whole issue.

But from a legal perspective if you are cross hairs of Director Mueller, he's not paying attention to all of this political hyperventilation. He's not paying attention to it. But what Director Mueller is doing, and he's already indicted how many people and others have pled guilty already.


DENT: If you are in the legal cross hairs, all this political drama won't help you much.

BOLDUAN: Sure makes a lot of noise though. That's for sure.

Great to see you, Congressman. Thanks so much.

DENT: Have a great weekend.

BOLDUAN: Have a great weekend.

DENT: Thanks. Great to be with you.

[11:54:19] BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Coming up is there still hope for peace summit with North Korea? Trump says talks are dead. The talks are now under way right now to try to set something else. What's happening here? Details ahead.


BOLDUAN: Fifty years have passed since the tumultuous events of 1968 that changed America forever. On Sunday night, CNN's new two-night original series event explorers that pivotal year.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chanting, marching, roaring for change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time is up for the female condition.

FOREMAN: That is the women's movement now, and then.


FOREMAN: And 1968, more than any other year, found women, such as Singer Janis Joplin, Activist Betty Credan (ph) and Congressman Shirley Chisholm challenging every stereotype of what every woman should be and could do.

SHIRLEY CHISM, (D), FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: I am the candidate of the people of America.



FOREMAN: That year sees the first conference on women's liberation and the rise of the term "women's lib." Yale announces it will finally admit female undergrads. President Johnson's order to government contract to end discrimination against hiring women takes full effect.

While audiences today more easily embrace female comics --

UNIDENTIFIED COMEDIAN: One of my best friends got married this morning. She's an anthropologist. And by that, I just mean she goes to the store of anthropology a lot.



FOREMAN: In 1968, the brand-new show, "Laugh In," turned some tropes about female sexuality inside out.


FOREMAN: Even as it reinforced others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the name?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I know your name. I meant the name of the horse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, a lot of the fellows have been calling him lucky.


FOREMAN: And women were just beginning to flex their modern political muscles, capturing more elected offices, concentrating their votes, moves that would pay for the last presidential election, which saw the first woman chosen as a national party's nominee.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet.

FOREMAN (on camera): Many women back then might have been surprised to know it would take so long, but then it might have been even longer if not for the amazing events of 1968.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington


[12:00:11] BOLDUAN: "1968" airs this Sunday and Monday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Thanks so --