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White House Aides Planning Rallies to Distract Trump; U.N. Report: North Korea is Evading Sanctions; Abuse Allegations Inside Migrant Shelters; Ohio State's Football Coach under Fire; CBS Board Knew of Sex Assault Claims against Moonves; BMW Caught Up in Escalating Trade Tensions; "THE 2000s". Aired 11a-12n ET
Aired August 4, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:04] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington, D.C.
Right now, President Trump is kicking off his 11-day working vacation at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. But in just a few hours he'll head to central Ohio for one of his favorite things, rallying his base. This visit, coming just days before a crucial special election.
He is throwing his weight behind the Republican candidate in a fight to hold control of the House. White House aides say they want to hold more of the rallies. They lift the President's spirits and most importantly keep his mind off the topic that angers him most -- the Russia probe.
So this rally comes at a rather good time after Paul Manafort's fraud trial dominated the headlines this week, and special counsel Mueller's probe dives deeper into the Trump web.
White House reporter, Sarah Westwood joining us now from New Jersey near the President's golf resort in Bedminster. What kind of message are we expecting to hear from the President
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Fred, likely more of what we have been getting from the President all week. President Trump is set to take a break from this working vacation in New Jersey later today to campaign on behalf of fellow Republican Troy Balderson who is locked in a very tight race in that special election in Ohio.
Trump has been active on Twitter this morning twice tweeting out his support of Balderson and touting the candidate's record on border security and the Second Amendment.
Then Trump took a swipe at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who has been used by Republicans as a foil, particularly in this race but ultimately dozens of house races across the country.
And Trump went after Pelosi earlier this week during a rally in Pennsylvania. We're likely to hear more of the same from Ohio where Pelosi has factored heavily into Balderson's campaign strategy.
Now the President had already held two rallies so far this week. Sources tell CNN that White House aides hope to fill the President's schedule with more political events in order to take his mind off the Russia investigation as Trump is said to be growing increasingly frustrated with the Russia probe and coverage of the Manafort trial. So this rally could be coming at an opportune time to take the President's mind away from all of that and help Republicans hold onto a district like Ohio as well, that Trump carried by double digits in 2016 -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Sarah Westwood -- thanks so much.
As Trump rallies his base tonight, will he vent about his former campaign chairman's fraud trial? A $15,000 ostrich coat, an $18,000 python jacket and stories of a lavish lifestyle dominated week one of Paul Manafort's trial.
CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez has a look at the big takeaways as prosecutors lay out their case on bank and tax fraud charges.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The most damaging testimony so far in Paul Manafort's tax and bank fraud trial was from one of his former accountants. Cindy Laporta told the court that she and others at her accounting firm helped Manafort falsify numbers so that Manafort could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.
Laporta is the first witness we've heard from so far who is testifying under unlimited immunity deal from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Prosecutors say that Manafort used offshore bank accounts to hide millions of dollars that he was paid while doing political consulting work in Ukraine. He is charged with failing to report those foreign bank accounts and with lying on his tax returns as well as lying on bank loan applications.
Laporta said in court that she and others at her accounting firm helped fake $900,000 in income from one of those offshore accounts as a loan; that change saved Manafort as much as half a million dollars in taxes for 2014.
Now this is all building toward the big witness still to come -- Rick Gates, who was Manafort's number two and who has now flipped to provide testimony against his former boss. We expect that Gates will testify that he was part of the conspiracy to help Manafort hide this money.
Manafort's lawyers of course are expected to attack Gates' testimony by pointing out that he has now pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
The trial continues on Monday.
Evan Perez, CNN -- Washington.
WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me now to discuss -- CNN legal analyst, former federal prosecutor Laura Coates; CNN political commentator and senior columnist at the "Daily Beast" Matt Lewis; and CNN political commentator and assistant editor at the "Washington Post" David Swerdlick. Good to see all of you.
So Manafort's right hand man, Rick Gates is expected to take the stand next week and testify against him. So Laura -- what do you believe think the focus is going to be?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think the focus is going to be on what exactly Paul Manafort knew. A lot of this week has been centered on the sexier details of his wardrobe, of his lavish spending trying to convince this jury that this person believes that there was never going to be an end to his money.
[11:05:06] That golden goose of Yanukovych and that cash spigot they spoke about was one that allowed him to elude Uncle Sam, unlike anyone else could do.
So now they're going to focus on well, in opening statement, the Defense said, oh, no, no, no -- this was all Rick Gates. He was the person who knew. He duped his boss, he betrayed him.
Now the question is going to be we ask Gates what exactly did Manafort know? Are you actually a scapegoatable person, did you betray him or were you somebody who was simply complicit and got a good plea offer.
WHITFIELD: This is all an extension of the Russia probe. But of course, very damaging to hear Manafort's accountant spell out how she falsified his earnings in order to pay less in taxes.
But reportedly, you know, that's not what has most upset the President. Instead, Manafort's python and ostrich jackets have been stealing the show this week and people close to Trump are telling CNN that that's the thing that frustrates the President -- David.
So what do we suppose is going through the mind of the President right now?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Good morning -- Fred.
The President is feeling that pressure and of course would be irritated by all these descriptions of Manafort's lavish life-style. But I'm kind of in line with what Laura was saying a moment ago, the table was set by the accountant yesterday laying out that in flush times Manafort had all this money coming from Kremlin-linked President Viktor Yanukovych coming in and was hiding that money from the IRS or was alleged to have been hiding that money from the IRS.
And then the accountant laid out that allegedly in lean times he was essentially inflating his worth and his income so that he could get money from banks to further his life-style or further the image that he was still having successful going concern. With that table set, Fred, we're going to get into the testimony of Rick Gates next week, and as Laura said, it's going to be this question -- was this just Gates acting on behalf of the firm or was Manafort dialed into this all along and aware of everything that was going on that's being alleged by prosecutors and some of the other witnesses.
WHITFIELD: Yes, the inferences of birds of a feather kind of, is really big here. So Matt, the President ran on the whole issue of, you know, draining the swamp. CNN Steven Collinson actually wrote this about Manafort's trial in part for those outside the courtroom, it is turning into an implicit indictment of the sleaze and greed swirling around Washington itself and the culture of influence peddlers who cut multimillion dollar contracts to counsel shady foreign autocrats.
So this is a microcosm potentially -- this Manafort case, that perhaps this whole draining the swamp, you know, philosophy is widespread.
SWERDLICK: Yes. Look, I think that, you know, if you look at Paul Manafort, this is a guy who's been a lobbyist for like 40 years or more, who was taking money from Russian oligarchs, and who is living this ostentatious life-style.
And he was Donald Trump's campaign manager and very, you know, despite what Donald Trump says, very important to Donald Trump and he had been friends and associates with Donald Trump for decades as well. So I don't know that anybody really buys the notion that Donald Trump was going to drain the swamp, at least in the sense of getting rid of influence peddlers in Washington D.C. But if they do buy it, this I think would undermine that notion.
COATES: And you know, the idea that you can dismiss Paul Manafort as a coffee boy is absurd. I mean George Papadopoulos perhaps you can make an argument. Carter Page, but campaign manager for four months during the height of the Presidential election is an impossible feat to dismiss this person.
And it reminds you everyone of those commonalities -- I mean it cannot be coincidences that there are all these connections to some of the same, you know, people in the same vicinity.
COATES: Right. And I am glad you say coincidence because when talking about the Mueller probe, everyone's been wondering, why is this about collusion? How could this possibly be about that if a lot of the allegations pre-date his time as a campaign chairman of the President of the United States.
Well, the question is always why would Russia or the Kremlin believe that they had a receptive ear, somewhere in the United States? Why would they believe that it was sympathetic campaign that they may be able to --
WHITFIELD: It's the correlation of the Israeli nation.
COATES: It's the co-relation perhaps. And that's the underlying innuendo -- the jury is going to read. If you do not sequester, Fred, they're there hearing the news, the media -- they have for 18 months. And so now, that little seed has been already --
Meantime, a lot of this might frustrate, you know, David -- the President. Also this continuing discussions about whether the President will be talking with Robert Mueller, his lawyers, of course, saying publicly they don't want that to happen.
But we know that the President likes to be in the driver's seat. And perhaps he feels it might be beneficial to talk to Bob Mueller's team because maybe he might be able to kind of, you know, turn the corner or convince them of something that the President wants prosecutors to instead concentrate on?
[11:09:16] SWERDLICK: Right -- Fred. The special counsel's team and the President's team have been sort of circling each other for months now because there's a disconnect between the political realities of the situation and the legal realities of the situation.
Most prosecutors, most lawyers would say if you had a client in the situation that the President is in, you would not want them to have to answer questions verbally to the special counsel team. Maybe you would answer written interrogatories to give yourself an opportunity to give the answers that you exactly wanted to do but not subject yourself to verbal questioning and follow-up questions. They don't want the President to wind up giving inconsistent statements.
On the other hand, the political realities are that we get to the point where the President absolutely refuses to go before the special counsel and answer questions it is going to look like he has something to hide.
And I think that's where the disconnect is, and that's why this negotiation is going on. Of course, special counsel Mueller can subpoena the President, but he doesn't probably want to get to that because that will change the pace of his investigation and will also subject his authority to a court challenge.
WHITFIELD: And so Matt, it's going to be difficult to discern whether the President is going to refuse to talk to the special counsel team or whether he will refuse to take the advice of his own attorneys.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And Donald Trump, of course early on said I want to talk to Mueller and then has backtracked. They shouldn't let him do it. Donald Trump can't --
COATES: He doesn't always follow.
LEWIS: Yes. You're totally right. So that's the interesting thing. He could go against the advice of Rudy Giuliani and everybody who knows what they're talking about. 2 trying. He should listen though because Donald Trump cannot be consistent when he is not talking to Robert Mueller. You know, he says one thing, a couple days later, you know, he's fast and loose, has a casual relationship with the truth. If he goes before Robert Mueller and does this, I think he is really inviting the potential for perjury.
And the Laura, what is this meeting with the Manhattan Madam, you know, Kristin Davis with the Mueller meaning for the voluntary interview.
COATES: Well, we have a voluntary interview. First of all, the person who -- there was a Manhattan Madam -- has been in jail before. She's well aware of what the stakes are, talking to federal investigators in a criminal investigation. So she's aware of that.
So voluntarily trying to be interviewed means maybe you were trying to get into the good graces, and no have yourself -- be the recipient of another investigation -- that's criminal.
And also, she has a connection to Roger Stone who is the person who has connection to WikiLeaks. He's a person that even Sam Nunberg infamously on CNN and other channels talked about a meeting how there was a connection in this meeting between Julian Assange and Roger Stone; and of course, again somebody in the orbit of Donald Trump.
And of course, again somebody in the orbit of Donald Trump. So it could mean one of two things. Either one-- this is another way to get closer to Donald Trump as candidate and eventually president or Roger Stone may be the new target, the same way that we didn't think Michael Cohen had anything to be afraid of, suddenly everything changed. Paul Manafort, same thing. Roger stone may be in that next category.
LEWIS: I remember when Bill Clinton was president many, many years ago, Rush Limbaugh would say how many of your associates do you know who had been indicted, or who have died or been killed under mysterious circumstances, or who are in jail, I don't know that many people who are in jail.
And the insinuation was the Clintons must be involved. Well, ask yourself the same question about Donald Trump right now. How many people in his orbit have been indicted at this point?
BARTIROMO: The web is very tangled -- David.
SWERDLICK: Yes. No, I was just going to say I agree with Matt. You have this playing out on a split screen almost. You have the special counsel investigation getting closer and closer to the President with the possibility of him going in and answering questions, although as Matt said I think his lawyers are resisting that.
And at the same time going back to Manafort. You basically have a situation where if you believe what the prosecutors are alleging -- the swamp is not just drained, it is at the President's front door in the form of Paul Manafort. Someone who had this many dealings overseas with Russian money, funding President Yanukovych, I should say in Ukraine at the same time this guy winds up as President Trump's campaign manager.
WHITFIELD: All right. David Swerdlick, Matt Lewis, Laura Coates -- we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.
SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. President Trump sends a letter to North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Meanwhile, there are serious accusations that North Korea is violating U.N. sanctions and even ignoring an arms embargo. We'll hear what could happen next.
Also sexual abuse allegations at a migrant shelter; the victims -- migrant children. The latest on the case coming up.
[11:14:41] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. We are following new developments today with North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with his North Korean counter part at a conference in Singapore. The two met briefly and shook hands. And later Pompeo passed along a letter from President Trump. Earlier this week Trump himself received a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, with me now. So Elis -- Pompeo, you know, in the exchange or in the middle of this exchange of letters --
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Right.
WHITFIELD: -- what's the content of the letters?
LABOTT: Well, we don't know what the context of either the letter from Kim Jong-un to President Trump or the letter from President Trump to Kim said. But you know, now this is the new thing -- Fred that ever since the two met, it needs to be a letter from either leader to one another. But it almost --
WHITFIELD: Whatever happened to the phone calls? You've got my number.
LABOTT: Or tweeting at each other. That's what they used to do.
But it doesn't really matter almost anymore. These are just pleasantries, really. We think we should talk, we are committed to denuclearization. That's what the foreign minister and Pompeo both said. Yes, we should talk to one another when they shook hands in that video.
[11:19:56] But this comes in a week where there's a lot of concern over North Korea. It is making good -- not making good on its commitments that Kim Jong-un made to President Trump. You had a week in which there has been reports that North Korea is continuing to develop its nuclear program.
You know, this week Mike Pompeo said North Korea will be setting the pace of its denuclearization because there's not been any progress. And so even though there are these pleasantries between the two leaders, it is certainly true that although it is progress that they're talking, you know, we're not getting much progress in the way of denuclearization -- giving up that nuclear program.
WHITFIELD: What about sanctions? Is there anything new in terms of whether more will be imposed or whether any are being honored?
LABOTT: Well, I think right now new sanctions are going to be on hold. But a very damning report yesterday came out by a U.N. sanctions committee that said North Korea is continuing to evade all of those sanctions in terms of ship to ship transfers of oil, which is under embargo right now. They're violating an arms embargo, and countries like Russia in particular are, you know, helping North Korea evade those sanctions.
Take a listen to Secretary Pompeo earlier today talking about sanctions busting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I want to remind every nation that are in support of these resolutions that this is a serious issue and something that we will discuss with Moscow. We expect the Russians and all countries to abide by the U.N. Security Council resolution and enforce sanctions on North Korea.
Any violation that detracts from the world's goal of finally fully denuclearizing North Korea would be something that America will take very seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LABOTT: And the problem here, Fred -- is that now that President Trump and Kim Jong-un said that they're trying to work towards this normalization project -- there's like sanctions fatigue. Countries are now giving up a little bit of the sanctions. They're letting North Korea, in particular Russia entering into new agreements, letting North Korean workers which were banned operate in the country.
And so even though these pleasantries are going on --
WHITFIELD: Are they throwing up the hands, essentially?
LABOTT: No, I think it's just realizing that this is going to be a lot slower than President Trump has said when the problem was over. As soon as Secretary Pompeo left Singapore where all of these Asian nations were meeting, North Korea was back to its old antics saying that, you know, criticizing the United States for its process and not lifting sanctions and said that, you know, we can't denuclearize if there are not confidence building measures, i.e., lifting those sanctions. It's not going to happen.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elise Labott -- thanks so much.
All right. Sexual abuse charges inside a federally-funded shelter for migrant children. Ahead we'll explain the accusations against a former care worker.
[11:22:54] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
A federal judge is slamming the Trump administration for suggesting that the ACLU be responsible for finding hundreds of parents that the government separated from their children at the border. The court documents suggesting that the government would help facilitate family communications and the ACLU should use their network to find the deported parents and determine their eligibility for reunification.
A federal judge responded with harsh criticism. He called the government's tardiness in tracking down migrant parents unacceptable and declared the administration be held 100 percent responsible. The judge set a new deadline. The government must produce detailed information on all of the deported parents and plans for reunification by August 10.
And inside one migrant shelter, a youth care worker was indicted for 11 charges of sexual abuse in 2017; the victims -- eight teenage boys between the ages of 15 and 17. This is just the latest in a series of abuse allegations involving federally-funded shelters.
We want to warn you that some of the details may be difficult to hear.
Here is CNN's Dianne Gallagher.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Any time you have to report on something like this, it is difficult. It makes your stomach turn. And look, we need to reiterate, the subject matter here, it might be difficult for some of you out there to hear.
This is according to court documents that were first reported by ProPublica dealing with a migrant care facility run by Southwest Key in Mesa, Arizona. And now the former youth worker at this facility named Levian Pacheco is accused of molesting eight boys ages 15 to 17 starting in August of 2016 through July of 2017. And the accusations that are laid out in the court documents range from touching them over their clothes or genitalia area to performing oral sex on two of the boys, to trying to have sexual intercourse with at least one of those boys there.
Now again, these kids were under his supervision. Southwest Key released this statement to CNN saying quote, "Any employee accused of abuse is immediately suspended and law enforcement called. This is what we did in this case. In addition, we reported it to ORR and the appropriate state agency. We report these cases to law enforcement and state agencies when they happen." [11:30:00] Now Pacheco denies these charges but his case is not the only one. Just this week on Tuesday at another Southwest Key facility in Phoenix, Arizona -- a worker was arrested for suspicion of molestation of a 14-year-old migrant girl who was staying in that facility.
And while we seem like we're hearing this more and more because the housing of these migrant children is making headlines, this is something that appears to have been going on for years.
ProPublica released an investigation last week looking at they were able to get some documents from 70 of the roughly 100 of these migrant child care facilities. And they found that over the past five years, 125 calls related to sexual offenses had been made from these type of facilities.
Now, it is in no way comprehensive, but it does give us a look. It does not account for children who may not have spoken up or may be afraid to have said anything in the first place if something did happen.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks -- Dianne Gallagher.
All right. One of the country's most successful college football coaches under fire. What did Urban Meyer know about allegations of domestic abuse involving one of his assistants? We'll tell you what that assistant is saying next.
[11:31:15] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Washington.
College football titan Urban Meyer is speaking out while on paid administrative leave from his head coaching job at Ohio State University. Meyer is on leave while the school looks into allegations of domestic abuse against his former assistant Zach Smit -- Smith rather, in 2015. Meyer says he followed proper reporting procedures and denies he was indifferent to domestic violence.
CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung is following this story for us. Kaylee -- we're also now hearing from the assistant coach.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right -- Fred. And when this story initially broke, when Bret McMurphy's reporting really upended the college football world, there was not much room for debate about whether or not Courtney Smith was the victim of domestic violence. She shared photos and text messages that supported her allegations.
But now we're hearing a very different version of events from Zach Smith. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ZACH SMITH, FORMER OHIO STATE ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH: Anything that happened to her body was all just defensive movements to remove myself from the situation and that's it. I'm not going to get charged because I didn't do anything wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: And here it goes against the mountain of evidence that exists against him and it also draws attention to the fact that police made the university, the Ohio State University aware of the allegations against him.
That leads me to believe there's a paper trail here, Fred -- a paper trail that could help build out a time line of who knew what and when. And that is how Urban Meyer's fate as the coach of that football team will be determined and standing in the bigger picture for this university.
WHITFIELD: But the fact that Urban Meyer does at least admit to knowing something to report, how much does this kind of muddy the waters in terms of how culpable he is?
HARTUNG: It does. It does muddy the waters. And he is trying to make sure everyone understands that he believes he followed proper reporting protocol and procedures.
This is a man who's a husband, a father to two daughters, a leader of young men. And he understands that in the past couple of days, he has been painted by many as someone indifferent to domestic violence, someone who didn't take action when he had a chance to.
He issued a very strongly worded statement on Twitter yesterday where he said in part, quote, "Here's the truth. While at the University of Florida and now at the Ohio State University, I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false."
So Fred -- that statement, it essentially broadens the question to not just what did Urban Meyer know, what did the university know? What did its athletic director know? And what did they do about it as well.
WHITFIELD: Kaylee Hartung -- thanks so much.
Ten months after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the motive remains a mystery. Investigators say they were never able to determine why the Las Vegas shooter opened fire on a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in October. Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were injured. The investigators' final report released just yesterday does conclude the shooter acted alone.
Governor Jerry Brown is planning to see for himself what kind of damage the deadly Carr Fire has done in northern California. His visit will comes as conditions for firefighters get even worse this weekend. The area is supposed to see stronger winds and temperatures above 100 degrees.
The Carr Fire is the biggest of 11 major wildfires burning right now in California. It left six people dead, including two firefighters, and has destroyed about 1,500 structures. It's only about 40 percent contained.
Next, a new report says CBS knew about sexual harassment allegations against its chief executive Les Moonves months ago. Did the network try to sweep the allegations under the rug? We'll discuss next.
[11:40:07] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: A new report in the "Los Angeles Times" claims members of the CBS board knew months ago that police were looking into sexual assault allegations against chairman and chief executive Leslie Moonves. A woman who worked with Moonves back in the 1980s made the claim, but prosecutors this week said the statute of limitations had expired and they will not file charges.
[11:45:01] This comes after the New Yorker published an article where six women claimed Moonvess sexually harassed them or acted inappropriately. The CBS board said it is hiring outside attorneys to oversee an independent investigation.
But critics say the board still isn't doing enough. One of those critics joins me right now. Melissa Silverstein is the founder and publisher of the Women and Hollywood News Web site which advocates for more gender equality in the entertainment industry.
Good to see you.
MELISSA SILVERSTEIN, WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD NEWS: Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: So what are your thoughts on what the board has done and what it should do at this point?
SILVERSTEIN: Well, I think one of the biggest things is the fact that this person who is being investigated is still in charge of the company. And it is very difficult for people to give clear answers to questions from investigators when the boss is still in charge. And you never know if you're going to run into him or you're going to run into people who work with him.
So one of the things that I think is appropriate is for people who are accused of things like this, inappropriate activity at work and harassment and retaliation is for them to recuse themselves from their workplace and the board actually to suspend him during the investigation.
Other things that I think need to be handled is we need to get rid of nondisclosure agreements because these are the things that silence women. And what could have happened is that people would have known what is going on in advance not only in this case but in other cases if they were allowed to talk about these issues.
WHITFIELD: So as it pertains to the investigations, we really are talking about at least two, right because there's the investigation that already took place according to the CBS board, hired outside attorneys after Les Moonves apparently went to them and said look, there are these allegations. And then that investigative arm said there's nothing to it.
And now you have outside attorneys at CBS has hired, an investigation is on-going as a result of that New Yorker article. So are you saying that as a result of the more current investigation that's enough for CBS to say it is time for you, Les Moonves, to step aside?
SILVERSTEIN: I'm not sure about any earlier investigations where people said that there was nothing there. I believe that was the police that said that they weren't going to press charges against him for that activity.
But my understanding is that there are two different law firms hired for this investigation. And what I think we all need to understand is that the boss sets the tone and the culture of the environment. And one of the things in this piece that I think resonated with people was about how the tone of CBS is toxic and it goes from the top -- down.
And we need to create safe workplaces for women and for men so that when they go in to work that they know that they are not going to be assaulted or harassed or retaliated from the top down.
WHITFIELD: Moonves apparently did have a conference call this week, right, with the company's financial analysts. Should something at that juncture have been said?
SILVERSTEIN: Well, I think the board has been very clear that money is the most important thing to them. They're very happy with their dividends and what -- the money that CBS is making so they need to make a decision whether their dollars on Wall Street are more important or the people who work for their company.
And what the message that they're sending now is that the corporate structure and the money is more important than the safety of the people who work in their workplace.
WHITFIELD: So last year particularly at the, you know, the height of a very publicized Me Too Movement, Les Moonves actually took a stand and even, you know, advocated, and made a commitment, you know, to make sure that women were being considered by merit and catapulted to the top, and how advantageous it was to a culture to a business.
Now with these allegations, do you see a real incongruency there? Do these new allegations take away, you know, from what many had applauded him to say and do last year?
SILVERSTEIN: Well, just because a person supports and promotes women doesn't mean they're not harassing and retaliating against other women. So we just need to keep that in mind. The environment that this boss has set for his entire company is, my understanding from all the reporting, a toxic environment and it goes from the top down. And women need to feel safe when they go to work. And I think that's kind of the bottom line.
So it's very easy for a person who's got this in their history to say, you know, I'm sorry about this. I promote women, I support women. And we understand that, but also, that person needs to set the tone for the company going forward.
[11:50:06] He's made a lot of money at this company. He's made a lot of money for the people who work with him and for the board. And really this is about how are we to change the culture of our workplaces in the future. That's what this whole conversation is about.
Do we want things to stay the same or do we want things to change? There are a lot of people who are very happy with the status quo. And what a lot of other people are saying, including myself, is this is time for systemic change.
WHITFIELD: Melissa Silverstein -- thanks so much.
SILVERSTEIN: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Caught in the middle of a trade war -- President Trump's tariffs on China are impacting popular automaker BMW. And that does not bode well for a key part of Trump country. Details on that, next.
WHITFIELD: BMW, one of Germany's most famous carmakers, is caught in the cross hairs of the trade war between the U.S. and China. That's a problem because BMW has its largest plant in the heart of Trump country, South Carolina.
CNN's Martin Savidge has the story.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It may not look like it but Spartanburg, South Carolina is a war zone -- a trade war thanks to the President most folks here voted for.
Spartanburg is home to the largest BMW plant in the world. Last year they made more than 370,000 luxury SUVs, employing 10,000 people, pumping billions into the state's economy.
(on camera): Is it safe to say how well BMW does is how well Spartanburg County does?
JESSE JONES, SPARTANBURG RESIDENT: You might say that because there's a lot of industry in Spartanburg County that are directly connected to BMW. MARILYN SAUCEDO, SPARTANBURG RESIDENT: Growth, jobs, and I know that that's brought in a lot of families into the area. It brings money into the area.
SAVIDGE (voice over): Spartanburg's also deep red, meaning in 2016 the county voted 63 percent for Donald Trump. But President Trump has threatened to place tariffs on imported BMW vehicles and parts. That could make BMWs made and sold in America a lot more expensive.
The company is already feeling the impact of Trump's trade war with China. Over 80,000 Spartanburg-made BMW SUVs are sold in China every year. Now China's striking back placing tariffs on the American-made vehicles.
It's an economic double whammy of Trump's making which BMW says could have negative effects on investment and employment in the United States. In other words, BMW might have to scale back production and lay off workers in Spartanburg.
DAVID BRITT, SPARTANBURG COUNTY COMMISSIONER: I feel like I helped birth BMW.
SAVIDGE: David Britt is the Spartanburg County commissioner and a Trump backer.
(on camera): How concerned are you now about talk of tariffs and trade war?
BRITT: I'm extremely concerned because the impact, the ripple effect -- it goes beyond BMW and the automotive industry.
SAVIDGE (voice over): Britt is one of the few Republican politicians in the country willing to tell Trump he's wrong.
BRITT: These tariffs could put the foot on the throat of growth and stop it. We don't need that.
SAVIDGE: Other Trump supporters we talked to here say they support the President's policies but some are concerned. None wanted to talk on camera.
And they're not the only ones reluctant to speak out. Many South Carolina companies are also concerned but fear if they criticize the President's policies they'll become a target of his Twitter wrath much like what happened to Harley-Davidson.
TED PITTS, SOUTH CAROLINA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT: I think the President has shown that you're better off working with his administration on issues to help them understand it and allow them to get to the right answer.
SAVIDGE: Ironically Trump's tough talk on trade was part of his appeal to voters in South Carolina. Now there is growing concern Trump's trade war is about to backfire on them and possibly eventually on him.
BRITT: I don't see this issue changing voters' minds. Now if you look down the road and there are concerns.
SAVIDGE: Fred -- a lot of people may not know it but the largest exporter of American-made cars, it's not Ford and it's not GM, it's BMW. And they make those cars right inside the plant here.
They're also a big trading partner with China. And that's the problem because as you know, the U.S. and China are not on the best of terms which has put that plant and this community right in the middle of the crosshairs.
WHITFIELD: Martin Savidge -- thank you so much.
All right, from Enron to the sub-prime mortgage crisis to Bernie Madoff -- the 2000s were a time of economic turmoil. That's the focus of an all new "THE 2000S".
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democrats and Republicans who have opposed this plan, I say step up to the plate. Let's do what's right for the country at this time, because the time to act is now.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the greatest market disruption that's happened since the crash of 1929. Reality finally imposes itself on Capitol Hill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion is adopted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given a second chance, the house did an about-face easily passing the $700 billion bailout of the financial industry.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There were moments this week when some thought the federal government could not rise to the challenge. But thanks to the hard work of members of both parties in both Houses and the spirit of cooperation between Capitol Hill and my administration, we completed this bill in a timely manner.
[12:00:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the aftermath, people criticized Paulson for this, and the other and that -- fine. But the truth is --