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Wildfire in California Doubles in Size Overnight; President Trump's Former Attorney Michael Cohen Claims President Had Prior Knowledge of Meeting Between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian; Analysts Examine Previous Quarter Growth of U.S. Economy; Official at Department of Health and Human Services Resigns amid Accusations of Anti-Muslim Bias; CBS President and CEO Les Moonves Accused of Sexual Harassment; New Drug may Help Reduce Effects of Alzheimer's Disease. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 28, 2018 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: -- deadly wildfires ripping through northern California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't think the fire was going to come here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just can't believe this is happening in your community.

WHITFIELD: Tens of thousands fleeing their homes as firefighters race to get the flames under control.

Plus, stunning allegations from six women against the man in charge of CBS, Les Moonves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She alleges in this case that he backed her against a wall and said this has got to stay between us. And she was very frightened, but more significantly, she then gets fired.

WHITFIELD: Sexual misconduct, harassment, intimidation and a culture of covering it all up.

And the former archbishop of Washington resigns over allegations of sexual abuse. CNN Newsroom starts now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Hello again. Thanks so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Complete devastation, neighborhoods reduced to ash, and now a race to save lives and thousands of homes as wildfires burn parts of California. Moments ago, President Trump approved an emergency declaration for the state. Officials confirm at least two people are dead as flames scorch the northern California town of Redding. There is also a search for two young children ages four and five along with their great grandmother who went missing after their home was destroyed. The Carr wildfire, as it's being called, exploded overnight, engulfing nearly 81,000 acres, forcing evacuations for 38,000 people. Though some families are being allowed to return home, there is not much left to recover.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's definitely devastating. It's -- never seen anything like it. And I mean, why did my house survive and most of them on this street didn't? A lot of hard work of the firefighters, and it was a tough blaze last night. It was hot. It was windy. It was -- I don't know how they fought it off back here. It's just dry brush all behind it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining me right now is CNN's Dan Simon who is in Keswick. So Dan, kind of describe the scene for us.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Fred. The destruction is just so widespread. We were driving around and went past the police roadblock. We can do that because we are a media crew, and we came across this subdivision. This is the Keswick Estates. And just look around. You can see there's nothing left.

Take a look at this other vantage point that we've set up for you. You can see that this neighborhood is just gone. This is a community that is just outside of the community of Redding. This is also the community where those three people went missing. We're talking about a great-grandmother and two young children. We don't know where they may be. Obviously, there is a concern that they may have lost their lives in this fire, and the sheriff's office is investigating.

They say that they may get some more missing person reports and there might, in fact, be some unaccounted deaths that at this point they are unaware of. But this fire continues to grow. It doubled in size overnight. At this point, we're talking about 80,000 acres and three percent containment. And the weather is just brutal for battling this wildfire. We're talking about 105 degrees. It's supposed to be like this really for the next few days, and the humidity is low and more wind expected tonight, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Oh, terribly sad. And we look at that aerial view now of the devastation. I mean, it really is hard for people to grasp just how horrible and widespread this is until you see images like that. Dan Simon, thank you so much.

So, with evacuations under way, some of the most vulnerable are also being relocated. Several premature babies from Redding's Mercy Medical Center were airlifted to another hospital safely out of the fire's grasp. This as a doctors' treat firefighters and others hurt in the flames.

Joining me right now on the phone, Mike Mangas, public information officer for Mercy Medical Center in Redding. So, Mike, first of all, I want to make sure that everyone is safe there as you're able to talk with me, give me an idea of how vulnerable you believe where you are is, and how you all are managing.

MIKE MANGAS, MERCY MEDICAL CENTER, REDDING: Hi, Fredricka. We are doing, actually, fine. There's certainly no panic here. I wouldn't say we're confident. I would say we're comfortable right now. The flames are a little ways away, so we're not too concerned at this moment. And we've been reassured by firefighting agencies that should the flames get close to the hospital, they will literally dump everything on the hospital here, all the water, everything. And they will put a ring of fire trucks around the hospital. So we're feeling pretty good about that right now.

We'll see what the weather brings. This is northern California, inland, and the temperature is usually 100 degrees or more this time of the year. We're just thankful, at least at this moment, at least where we are right now, that there's not really much wind.

[14:05:11] WHITFIELD: Yes. Tough situation, and terrible conditions. And of course we are all hoping the best for you, but can you tell me about the kind of precautions that you already put into place? Premature babies that were relocated out of your hospital, but then usually with the premature babies there are also sometimes the moms, and what about other people who have been relocated, whether it be the mothers or perhaps even other vulnerable patients?

MANGAS: So far, that's what we've done is sent the babies from the NICU, there were six of them, we airlifted them out a couple of nights ago as a precaution. It takes three to four hours to get a baby ready to go and be transported, so that's why just decided to err on the side of safety and have them airlifted from Redding to the Sacramento area, which is about 150 miles or so. We did prepare high-risk patients in the event that we wanted to because you've got logistics there with wheelchairs, gurneys, that kind of thing. That did not happen, though. Right now, there are no plans to evacuate anyone else at all. We're just happy that the babies are safe, away from the fire with their families with them.

WHITFIELD: So what you say, there are no plans to evacuate. You just kind of described the volatility of the conditions there and how unpredictable it might be. Do you kind of have that plan b in place if it comes to the point where everyone must go?

MANGAS: Oh, absolutely. We have had a command center set up more than two days now. We've started early in the morning on what would that be, Thursday morning, I guess. Twenty-four hours, seven days a week, we're there in the command center monitoring the conditions, making sure that we are ready. We put a lot of contingency plans in place. We're just kind of at the mercy of the weather, of the fire. But right now, we feel very, again, you know, comfortable with where we are. We're ready to move if we have to, but at this point it doesn't appear there -- that has to happen.

WHITFIELD: What about you and your staff? You all live in the in the vicinity, and I'm sure are very worried about your own properties and your families at home. Talk to me about how you continue to do your job, worry about patients and fellow staff members at the same time, worried about your own assets outside of the hospital.

MANGAS: Fredricka, oddly enough, I can look out the window of my office and see my house. I live just minutes away. We are on a green belt, which is now a brown belt because it's summer and it's hot and all the grass is dry, so that's always a concern, that regardless of what year it is and what else is going on around us.

There are other people here who have lost their homes who have still come to work, people involved in direct patient care and others also, showing their dedication to the patients and their job. And we put patients first here, so they're willing to come in even though they've got that going on around in their personal life.

And it's affected everyone in the community. So many homes have been lost that a lot of people are still trying to cope with that, to get to their work, to keep the community functioning. Although I will say, it's very quiet around here. Not only at the hospital but kind of even in the city. Fewer people out and about, certainly here at the hospital. Normally it's a hard place to get a parking space, but right now there's plenty of open parking spots.

The hospital, though, is 100 percent open other than we have cancelled elective surgeries. But besides that, the emergency room is open, which there hasn't been too many really serious cases so far, almost surprisingly so. There have been a few -- we had six firefighters come in, one of them complaining of heat exhaustion, which it's not funny, but it's funny in the way that he's from the north coast where the temperature is usually around 60 degrees or whatever and they come inland here where our average July temperature is 100 degrees, and you can kind of see why he would have heat exhaustion. He actually enjoyed being rehydrated and being in the air-conditioning for a while of the hospital.

All the firefighters, by the way, have been treat and had released. There haven't been any serious injuries. We've had some burn victims, three of those are firefighters, but again, none of those serious, and they've all been treated and released as well. We had a man in the last 24 hours, he was trimming a tree, trying to get his property safe for the encroaching flames. He fell about 30 feet out of the tree and came in with broken ribs. His injuries are moderate. He is here in the hospital and his wife was running an evacuation center at the same time.

[14:10:13] One more for you, Fredricka. There was a fire-related car crash where a son was helping his parents move their car and motorhome. Well, one of them stopped, the other one didn't see it, so there was a rear end crash. They came in. They're not seriously hurt, but they had also just lost their home. So they lost not only their home in the fire but both of their vehicles as well.

WHITFIELD: Some remarkable occurrences there. Well, you all are amazing soldiers in this colossal battle there. And I know so many are grateful that you are there to assist in so many ways. Mike Mangas, thank you so much.

MANGAS: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Intense heat is making a tough job nearly impossible for so many of those firefighters, as you heard in that incredible account there right there on the ground. Some even captured what looks like a fire-nado, whipping flames into a frenzy. Let's bring in CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, explain how that happens.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, because it looks very scary, but it can be very dangerous, and that's the key thing to note. Again, it looks very much like a traditional tornado in that sense, but what exactly causes this? How does this form? And again, what damage can it produce?

So with fires, naturally you have that heat, intense heat. Well, hot air rises, so that air goes up. New air comes back into that to replace that, and as the multidirectional airflow comes in, it starts that spinning of that column of air.

Here's the problem. Just like in traditional tornados, you have debris, but instead of, say, pieces of wood or cars, this tornado ends up taking embers of fire, and it can throw them in other places, which in turn means this firenado can actually trigger brand-new fires in places that hadn't prior had any. And again, it can do it very rapidly, not to mention spread the fire that it originally formed from.

So the question then becomes, what is the actual forecast that we're dealing with, because unfortunately for the fires that already exist, weather conditions are simply not going to improve. Around these areas, especially the car fire location, triple-digit temperatures are expected to stay in the forecast for at least the next three to five days. Humidity are expected to remain very, very low. In addition to that, wind, locally, very gusty in some areas. What that means is not only is that going to spread the current fires, but it can then take those current embers and move them to other places and start new fires.

In addition to that, you have absolutely zero rain in the short-term forecast. We have about 90 active large fires. This doesn't even account for the smaller fires, Fred, but this is over a dozen different states. So it's not even just California that's been dealing with the wildfires.

WHITFIELD: My goodness. All right, Allison Chinchar, thanks for that update. Appreciate it.

Straight ahead in the Newsroom, President Trump standing firm in his denial that he did not know about that Trump Tower meeting before it happened. But Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is reportedly prepared to testify to the contrary.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:17:31] WHITFIELD: Deny, deny, deny. The president and his team are adding yet another denial to the running list, arguing that then- candidate Trump has no knowledge of the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting. This latest denial coming after Trump's longtime lawyer and loyal friend, Michael Cohen, claims Trump knew in advance about the meeting, according to sources. And those sources tell CNN Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller.

Joining me right now, CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson. Good to see you both. So, Joey, you first. Cohen said there are no recordings of this moment, so is it simply his word against the president's?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is, and good to see you, Fredricka and Ron. Look, the reality, though, is that we do know that it would be his word against the president's, but I think there is even more corroboration here. In a standard case, what you look at for a person's credibility is you look at what their motivation to lie would be, and certainly from the president's perspective, right, Michael Cohen has every reason to lie. The feds are after him. He's in a very tight spot and therefore he'd say things that would be contrary to the president, beneficial for himself.

But from the perspective of having an opportunity to observe and being the president's fixer, he would know everything, right? And if he was such an incredible person, that means that he was not a person that was trustworthy, why did Trump keep him around for such a long time?

But at the end of the day, whether Trump knew or didn't know in my view has no legal significance for a variety of reasons. Does it really take Michael Cohen to tell us something that I think we already really think and do know? From Trump saying two days before the meeting takes place something to the effect of, hey, I'm about to give a big speech, there's big news coming out about Hillary, the blocked calls that Don Junior is making. That's the reality. So I think we already know.

And furthermore, so what? If the president did know about the meeting, all right, it's another lie to the press. He's become very good at that, and with impunity, there seems to be in consequence to that. And then finally, Fredricka, on the issue of him knowing about a meeting, a meeting in and of itself doesn't establish collusion. You meet with who you want. So I don't think there's any legal significance in any event, from my perspective, as to whether he lied or not.

WHITFIELD: All right, so, Ron, what are the potential consequences here of this kind of information getting out?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It depends on the -- I think that the critical question is where's the venue in which this is ultimately judged? Is it judged in a court of law or is it judged in Congress in some kind of proceeding, eventually?

[14:20:09] Look, Bob Mueller could choose to challenge the Justice Department guidance under both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton that a sitting president cannot be indicted. He could choose to do that. Most people think it is more likely that whatever conclusions he reaches about the president, he turns over to Congress.

And in that venue, in that, in effect, courtroom, the standards could be very different about what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors. I think there's no question that Republicans in Congress would not view even a lie by the president about his knowledge of this meeting as sufficient grounds to move against him. I don't think there's any grounds that they would take, short of an e-mail from Vladimir Putin saying, here's what's coming.

But a Democratic Congress in 2019 might view evidence that the president knew about this meeting and subsequently dictated a press statement, a misleading statement about what the purpose of the meaning was when it was very clearly indicated that it was going to be about dirt on Hillary Clinton, they might view that in a very different light.

So if we understand that this is ultimately most likely going to be judged in a political context, I do believe this accumulation of evidence of the president's awareness of what was going on and his continuing efforts to obfuscate after the fact could be relevant in an obstruction of justice kind of consideration.

WHITFIELD: Because Joey, no matter what this piling on, bottom line is it only draws more inference to the what's being hidden here.

JACKSON: It really does. And just to piggyback a bit off of what Ron is talking about, here's the reality. In the event that we're talking about impeachment, you just need a majority in the House to impeach. And so 2018 midterm elections are critical because if the Republicans lose control and it goes to the Democrats, big problem for the president.

But not so fast, because then you have to be impeached, right, where -- or actually removed and convict by the Senate and it takes two- thirds. And so therefore you need much more than just a majority that's there, so that's problematic.

But, it's interesting, though, Fredricka, because the president appears to lie with impunity and just get away with it one after the other after the other. And at the end of the day, in the event that you cannot impeach or otherwise indict, rather, a sitting president, what therein lies the consequence? This seems to me to be a lot more political than it would be legal, particularly in the event that the Republicans maintain control.

WHITFIELD: Ron?

BROWNSTEIN: Can I add real quickly. First of all, there are political consequences. You're talking about a significant majority of the country consistently saying the president cannot be told to tell -- cannot be trusted to tell the truth, and that's one reason his approval rating is around 41 percent or 42 percent with unemployment under four percent. Just an incredible disjunction there.

WHITFIELD: Except within the party --

JACKSON: He's at 90 percent.

WHITFIELD: The rating is very, very high.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. In his own party, it's very, very high, and that's one of the reasons why they won't act.

And I think it's important to recognize also that there's a lot of investigatory space for Congress between doing essentially the minimal amount, which is where we are now, and going all the way to impeachment. For example, Joey mentioned the blocked phone calls from Donald Trump Jr., both before and immediately after this meeting. Republicans have refused to subpoena those records.

JACKSON: I wonder why.

BROWNSTEIN: So far, they have are refused to call him back for testimony, public testimony, about who he told and what he told and kind of having him under oath before the cameras to do that.

Look, there is a lot -- we continue -- the one thing we continue to find out is that we do not know all of this story. Bob Mueller knows a lot more of the story than anyone in the press and anyone in the public. There is a lot more to learn, and the question is do we ever get that full accounting. There's no question that if Democrats win the House, they are going to be much more aggressive in pursuing answers than Republicans have so far.

WHITFIELD: Also very fascinating. Ron Brownstein, Joey Jackson, thanks, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

All right, the U.S. just logged its best economic performance since 2014, but the threat of new trade tariffs is still hanging over the economy. Straight ahead, a former U.S. ambassador to China weighing in on whether this could become an all-out trade war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:28:51] WHITFIELD: The U.S. economy is roaring. The latest numbers show it grew at 4.1 percent in the spring. That's the biggest growth spurt since 2014. Combine that with a near 18-year low in unemployment, factory orders on the rise and a surge in exports, and that gave President Trump a chance to pat himself on the back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've turned it all around. Once again, we are the economic envy of the entire world. We've accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right, some economists say that bump may be temporary as farmers rush to ship products before new trade tariffs from China kick in. I want to bring in Stephen Moore, he is a CNN senior economics analyst and a former Trump economics adviser, and Linette Lopez, she is a senior finance correspondent at "Business Insider." Good to see you both. Linette, you first. Let me ask you, how much credit should the president get for this surge in the economy?

LINETTE LOPEZ, SENIOR FINANCE CORRESPONDENT, "BUSINESS INSIDER": We've hit 4.1 percent GDP, or 4 percent GDP before a couple times before during the Obama administration. Trump likes to say this is the first time it's happened in a long, long time. That's not a fact. The only difference now is that we have a president who touts these numbers like a flailing balloon man outside of a used car lot.

[14:30:10] A lot of businesses are very concerned about the fact that tariffs are going to hit. They're concerned about what's coming in the future, so they're making a lot of investments now, and I think that's why we saw a surge in investment, which, by the way, is only as great as -- it's about the same level as it was in 2012, so nothing historic there either. And so one concern that economists have is indeed that we're going to see these numbers drop off in the next quarter.

WHITFIELD: OK, that's a lot of cold water, Stephen. So you've got a president who said a couple times yesterday that this level of growth is sustainable, but interest rates are going up and the effective tax cuts won't last forever. So, do you think this is temporary?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: No, I mean, when we used to -- Larry Kudlow and I used to talk to Donald Trump all the time during the campaign, and we formulated this strategy, cutting taxes, deregulating the economy, promoting American energy, being pro- American business, we used to tell him, Mr. President, we think you can get sustained economic growth of three percent to four percent for five or six years. So I'm sticking with that prediction.

As you just said, Fredricka, we're seeing record growth in our manufacturing. I don't know if you saw the numbers earlier this week about construction. Everywhere you go, construction crews are hard at work. We've got record levels of construction. So, it is a really -- the economy is firing on all cylinders. It's that simple.

LOPEZ: Does your plan still stand if Trump's trade war goes through and we're not able to make deals with NAFTA. And we have a deal to make a deal with the Europeans, but the Trump auto tariffs that he seems to be thinking about, that could disrupt that because the Europeans really very, very big in the auto market and care a lot about that. So the question is, does Trump ruin all of your plans for Trump?

MOORE: That's a great question. And look, I am nervous about the trade situation as you are, and correctly so. I do think what happened on Wednesday this week, Fredricka, was a big deal. It's a handshake agreement, but if the Europeans go forward with this, they capitulated. They basically said we're going to lower our tariffs on American agricultural products or manufacturing products, our oil and gas. That's good news. That's always what Trump has wanted. Trump is not a trade protectionist. He wants to level the playing field.

LOPEZ: I don't think they agreed to much of anything, actually.

WHITFIELD: How much confidence do you have? Until it really is happening and there is an agreement, right now it was kind of like in principle.

LOPEZ: This is very complicated stuff, and what we've learned from the Trump administration in doing trade deals is that they don't seem to be great at getting into the nitty-gritty and holding -- they're going after the Europeans. They didn't hold the Chinese accountability and ZTE, which is the company that stole our intellectual property and traded with North Korea. And the Trump administration is playing it fast and loose with China there and still talking loud to our allies and friends. And this is -- and while the European is, you know, the Europeans are playing nice with us for now, but that's not --

WHITFIELD: Stephen, respond to that.

LOPEZ: The devil is in the details.

MOORE: That's absolutely true. The devil is in the details, but what happened, let's just get the chronology straight here. Trump threatened the Europeans with a 20 percent auto tariffs unless they started bringing their tariffs down. That terrified the Germans. The Germans sell a lot of cars in the United States. They sell a lot of BMWs and Mercedes and they can't live with that. And the Europeans came to the table and they basically made some agreements.

Now, whether they follow through with that or not, we will see. But if he can win on this in getting Europe to be cooperative, and, by the way, one of the things they talked about was why don't we go to zero tariffs, which would be a fantastic agreement.

LOPEZ: Getting to be cooperative? Europe is one of our -- is our best friend. We have been getting them to be cooperative. We could have had them come to the table in a much nicer way without damaging our relationship.

MOORE: Maybe except they've had these high tariffs on us for a long time and nobody's done anything about it.

Now, my point is, if this goes well, and it's a very fluid situation, what we want to do is isolate the bad actor on the world scene, and we all know who that is. That's China. China's stealing, they're cheating, I heard you talking about lying with impunity earlier on the show. If there's any country that lies with impunity and they've been doing it for 30 years, it's China. So if we can isolate China, I think we've got a situation where we can see real strong growth for a long time.

WHITFIELD: Earlier I asked former ambassador to China Max Baucus if a potential trade war will hurt Republicans at the polls, and this is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAX BAUCUS, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: The election is not too far away. If we have a trade war -- I hope we do not, we all hope we do not -- the effects of that may not really take effect for another couple, three months. It takes a little while for that to work its way through the economy in the form of higher prices and fewer products bought. It takes a little while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:35:05] WHITFIELD: All right, so, Linette, what do you think? LOPEZ: Business owners are actually already talking about this at all

levels of the economy. They expect that trade war to start hitting them and for us to start seeing it in the data in the coming quarters. Now, how quickly does that impact jobs in sectors that are directly affected? How does it impact how farmers are going to deal with this? That is kind of a different story.

But we're talking about two different things. One is consumer pricing, which takes longer, and the other is actually business decisions and what's going to happen to employment, which I think we'll see a little bit faster, and I think that will impact.

MOORE: But you know what --

WHITFIELD: Steven, do you see that making an impact at the ballot box?

MOORE: Here's the situation right now. China's economy has slowed down a lot. Their stock market has done really terribly this year. Our stock market has done really well. In other words, what I'm saying is these tariffs, a trade war would crush China. China can't live with a trade war with the United States right now. Their whole economy is dependent on selling stuff to the United States, so we have a lot of leverage here.

LOPEZ: But you have to think about how the Chinese economy works which is that it's completely controlled by the government, and if they want to put their foot on the gas, they can do that.

MOORE: How? What does that mean that they can put their foot on the gas?

WHITFIELD: It's hard to look into a crystal ball.

LOPEZ: If they want to turn on the spigots, ease credit, make money easier to flow through the economy, backstop job losses, they can do whatever they want.

WHITFIELD: All right, well, it's tough to know for sure.

MOORE: I think we're going to win on trade.

WHITFIELD: Linette, Stephen, both of you making your forecasts. I appreciate it. Thanks so much. Good to see you.

MOORE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, a department of Health and Human Services official has resigned after a CNN investigation found that she made anti-Muslim comments and spread conspiracy theories. How this all played out next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:41:26] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. She made anti-Muslim comments and spread conspiracy theories on social media. Now Ximena Barreto, an official at the department of Health and Human Services, has resigned. She was appointed to a communications post at the agency back in December. CNN KFILE senior editor Andrew Kaczynski joining me now. So Andrew, you helped uncover some of this information. Were they allegations or was it indeed the case she admitted to doing these things that led to her demise?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: So basically what happened is, as you mentioned, Barreto, this far-right pundit, basically got hired in December of 2017 to work at HHS. Now, what we found along with a number of other outlets like Media Matters is that she had a history of making deeply, deeply anti-Muslim comments. She used the #BanIslam a number of times, and she spread a lot of conspiracy theories.

Now, what happened following these stories is she was placed on leave for a number of weeks while HHS reviewed the material. After a few weeks passed, she was allowed back on the job and issued a public apology. Now probably about a month after that, the website Mediaite found that she had made additional comments, spread more conspiracies, made more anti-Muslim comments, and found that she sent a tweet in which she basically called our story a smear.

So, what happened was she was basically sort of forced to issue this public apology to keep her job, but then was on her private Twitter feed also calling our story a smear. And what we heard was she was basically being protected by some higher-up staffers who knew her from the Trump campaign, and when those staffers left HHS, she, it seems, was also shown the door.

WHITFIELD: So if there was a track record preceding this position, why weren't those things taken into account before she actually got that job?

KACZYNSKI: Yes, so what I actually did, because I was very interested in that point that you just raised as well, I FOIA-ed a copy of her resume to see what she had put on her resume, and her resume actually listed that she wrote for this conspiracy website, that she had this YouTube show where she made many of the same anti-Muslim comments, and it also listed her work for the Trump campaign. It's unclear if that was in a volunteer capacity or if she was paid staff. I'm not sure.

But it's sort of that pattern we've actually found where a number of former Trump campaign people, deputy state directors, people who had roles in individual states, then got hired by the administration, and we find that they have these history of making controversial comments, anti-Muslim, spreading conspiracies, and a number of them have resigned, and she's just one of a handful.

WHITFIELD: All right, Andrew Kaczynski, thank you so much.

KACZYNSKI: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:49:06] WHITFIELD: He's one of the most powerful men in television. CBS President and CEO Les Moonves is the latest high- profile media executive to face accusations of sexual harassment. An investigation by "The New Yorker" details allegations by six women of harassment, intimidation, and retaliation. CNN has not independently confirmed the allegations and Moonves denies them. One of the accusers, actress Illeana Douglas, described a meeting in 1997 while she was working on a pilot for CBS. Here's an excerpt from "The New Yorker's" account. I'm quoting now, "In a millisecond, he's got one arm over me, pinning me," she said. "Moonves was violently kissing her, holding her down on the couch with her arms above her head." "The New Yorker" recounts a similar claim from writer Janet Jones during a work meeting. She says, quote, "He came around the corner of the table and threw himself on top of me. It was very fast.

[14:50:06] Moonves, she said, began trying to kiss her. Jones said that she struggled and then shoved Moonves away hard yelling, what do you think you're doing? Moonves, appearing startled, got up, well, I was hitting on you. I wanted a kiss, she recalled him saying. Jones began to leave. He said, oh come on, it's nothing."

In a statement, Moonves says, quote, "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected and abided by the principle that no means no and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone's career." "The New Yorker" article was written by Ronan Farrow. He also

detailed allegations of rape and misconduct against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In an interview with CNN, Farrow describes the atmosphere of power and intimidation behind these latest allegations.

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RONAN FARROW, WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": You're dealing with both an individual who is at the top of his game and on whom many, many other powerful people depend for their livelihoods, and also a corporation that is at the apex of our culture, that shapes our news, that shapes our fiction that we consume. And as it turns out within this, in many facets of the company, and we're careful not to over generalize but we do say that there are a string of examples manifested in litigation and complaints inside the company where people said this happened to me too. This wasn't just Les Moonves. This was a culture of protecting powerful people.

That was the feeling of several of these women, that this seemed practiced. And they all continue to fear retaliation. Janet Jones, the writer you just mentioned, describes him calling her afterwards and threatening her and saying these things that appear to be cliches to us but obviously coming after a work meeting and after an alleged assault like this are very, very serious and frightening, like, you're never going to work again. And she and these other women were still frightened to come forward but said they were doing so because they wanted to expose what they feared was a culture of impunity.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: Moonves' wife, Julie Chen, in a tweet today says she fully supports her husband and that is not the man that she knows. The CBS board says it will hire a law firm to help conduct a full investigation into the claims.

Still ahead, a potential breakthrough in treating Alzheimer's. A new drug may actually slow the disease's progression. The new hope for families next.

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CHARLIE JABALEY, ENTREPRENEUR: At a young age, I started getting into hip hop, signed artists like 2 Chainz. We won a Grammy and built a business up to do over $15 million a year in revenue. The bigger my business got, the bigger I got. Something weird that happens in your head when you're binge eating, you can't get full.

I've been overweight my whole life.

I would probably eat between like 10,000 to 15,000 calories in a night.

My addiction to food just beats me down.

I honestly didn't know if I was going to live long. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It had grown, and they said it could start corroding the top of my spinal cord. So I remember the morning and the room started spinning, and I passed out. I knew that everything had to change.

I walked away from my business. I decided to change how I was going to eat. I went just to plants. I eat living food, real food, and that's what has saved my life along with exercise. Losing the 130 pounds has been life-changing.

My brain tumor is under control. I've run four marathons, an Iron Man, and right now, I am biking across America, talking to everybody, getting people thinking about their dreams.

I want to help transform a million people's lives. That's the type of millionaire that I want to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And a possible medical breakthrough for thousands living with Alzheimer's. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, I know a lot of people are interested in what is happening with new medication, BAN2401, and I'll tell you, it is exciting, but it is also very early. We're talking about a medication that could potentially do a few things when it comes to Alzheimer's disease.

Take a look at the list. This is an early trial, but they showed with this medication, an IV medication, that they could decrease the amount of plaque in the brain by some 70 percent. They could also prevent new plaques. These are the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer's that could prevent those new ones from forming. And then the bottom point, Fred, I think more than anything, obviously, for patients, decrease the rate of cognitive decline by 30 percent as compared to a sugar pill or a placebo.

That's what has got people excited about this medication, but again, I just want to emphasize, it's early days. It's a phase two trial. The results I just showed you were in patients who had the highest dose of the medication, some 161 patients. They were followed over 18 months. We'll have to see how this pans out. It's got to go through bigger trials and more locations, and see if the results stay the same, and that could still take several years.

But Fred, look, there's some 5 million people in this country with Alzheimer's. The numbers are expected to triple over the next 30 years.