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HALA GORANI TONIGHT

Trump Feels Good About Republican Prospects In Primary Elections; United States Economy Is Up But Problems May Be Looming; Mayor Of San Juan Shames Trump; British And French Fishermen's "Scallop War" In The British Channel; Seven Bishops in The United States Have Stepped Forward to Endorse the Integrity of Archbishop Vigano; Pope Calls On Bishops To Remedy The Failures Of the Past; Putin Scales Back Plan To Raise Retirement Age; McCain To Lie In State In U.S. Capitol Building Friday; Key Me Too Movement Figure Embroiled In Scandal; Elon Musk Involved In New Twitter Spat. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired August 29, 2018 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone, I am Hala Gorani, tonight Trump sent a warning to his supporters saying there will be

left wing violence if Republicans lose control of Congress in November's midterms. And hurling smoke bombs and rocks and insults. We'll tell you

why a fight about scallops has erupted in international waters.

Also, this hour emotional scenes in Arizona as family and friends celebrating the life of John McCain as he lies in state inside Arizona's

state capitol.

The U.S. President Donald Trump is feeling good about Republicans' chances in critical midterm elections in a few weeks. Even as he issues a dire

warning about what might happen if they lose? He told a group of evangelical leaders that violence could erupt from the left. Suggesting

that Democrats will overturn his policies quickly and violently if they win in November.

Three states held primary elections yesterday and Republican candidate backed by Trump won some key races. The president tweeted, "big election

wins last night. The Republican party will make America great again, actually, it is happening faster than any thought possible. It is morphing

to keeping America great."

These are primary races to be clear. And it is as it has often been the case over the last few months of the Trump-back Republican candidates that

did well in the end. It was a big night for the progressive wing of the Democratic party, setting up a stark choice for voters in key races this

fall.

Let's get details now from White House Reporter, Jeremy Diamond and CNN Political Analyst, Josh Rogin. Let's start with you, Jeremy. The strategy

that Donald Trump is employing here ahead and in the lead up to the midterms is what exactly?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems like we are starting to get a sense of what it is and it seems to involve the same kind of fear

mongering that the president used during the 2016 campaign and now it appears he's applying it to the midterm sand you saw the president in those

comments that were reported on today from that dinner with evangelical leaders last night warning of violence from Democrats equating the

Democratic party with the Antifa activists who violently protested at times in the United States, equating them with the Democratic party and before

that we heard the president's warning of if the blue wave is not successful in retaking the House in November.

It does seem like there is a pattern reemerging here and this all comes as Republican strategists are warning voters of the possibility that if

Democrats are swept into the House that they could impeach the president. This is all aimed at ginning up the president's base. Motivating them to

get out and vote in the midterm elections even if they are not typically midterm voters. That's the strategy from the White House and the president

and his allies to try to make sure Republicans can hold onto the House.

GORANI: Josh, what's interesting is on the left and Democratic primaries, you are seeing more progressive candidates win as well. So, more Bernie

Sanders inspired candidates. So, you may see in November of some key races, Trump supporter candidates and candidates of the left of the

establishment.

JOSH ROGIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The big surprise is Andrew Gillum won his primaries in the election to be governor of Florida. That was an

indication that the progressive left is more powerful than many people realized but in other race that were decided last night, representative

Stephanie Murphy, the establishment candidate won. That competition is raging inside the Democratic party. The progressives will win some. The

Republican party there is no contest, there is only one strategy and that's to hug President Trump. What that means is no matter who's on the

Democratic side, a lot of these races will be referendum on Trump's presidency and that'll drop people from both sides. It is not turning over

the House will allow Democrats to undo all the policies and it will produce what's likely a stalemate. What it does mean is a Democratic controlled

House will start and if not impeachment and a lot of investigations. That's what he's worried about and fighting so hard.

[15:05:00] GORANI: Is there more concerns now, Jeremy, in the White House and coming from the president himself in the lead up to these midterms a

little more nervousness as we start to see polling that in some key races were thought to be solid Republican stronghold. You have some Democratic

challengers that are breathing down to these politicians' necks.

ROGIN: There is no public acknowledgment from the president nor the White House that they believe the House is headed into Democratic hands.

Privately, White House officials and Republican strategists close to the White House are acknowledging the fact that it is more likely than not the

Democratic party will gain back control of the House. You know some of them putting at 60/40 for Democrats and some higher than that.

There is this growing consensus among Republicans, Democrats are favored to win the House. If you look at the map, it is in Democrat's favor. If

Republicans can find some solace is in the Senate's map. Republicans are making it easier for them to retain control because there are a lot more

seats held by Democrats are up for grabs in 2018 giving Republican challengers a little bit of an edge there.

GORANI: The economy is doing well and numbers are upwards for the U.S. as well. The president of the United States is tweeting we should keep

America great and not just typically midterms and considering a retreat for the president's party. With an economy like this one, you would expect the

incumbent president's party to do well in the midterm, right? Josh.

ROGIN: I think there are two things going on. I think sure the economy is up in macro numbers but it is not connecting to people on the ground in

terms of wages and income. That's why I think you see what Jeremy is saying a lot of these candidates are running on social issues and fear

mongering and the type of things we see when there is a bad economy. They know it does not resonates with Republicans who are not feeling the gains

of the better economy.

The other thing is it is expected that an incumbent president will lose a lot of seats in his first midterm elections. Even if Republicans lose a

bunch of seats in the House, the president can make the argument that his agenda is working and he's having the support. That's why he's saying keep

America great again. That's a 2020 message and not a 2016 message.

GORANI: Jeremy, I final thought to you, the president is saying keep America great, he is rightly saying that candidates he endorses are doing

well in primaries Republican party. The Republicans are becoming the Trump's party. Are we going to be seeing a lot of these campaign styles

and rallies and him campaigning for specific candidates?

DIAMOND: The White House is top political advisers told me last week that they are planning to send the president out on the campaign trail and have

them out 40 plus days between August and the midterm elections and sign of the president's desire to be out on the campaign trail stumping for

Republicans but they have to be careful of where they put him. There are some areas where the president is extremely popular and he's going to boost

the Republican candidate.

There are other areas where Republicans are wary of having the president close to them. And that is the case in a lot of these tightly contested

House districts that are really going to make the difference between a Republican-controlled House or a Democratic controlled house that could

pose a risk to the president.

GORANI: All right, Jeremy Diamond and Josh Rogin, thank you to both of you.

We touch briefly on the topic of economy. Donald Trump has been upbeat about the economy. He has good reason to be. Revised figures show, United

States economic growth in the second quarter was even better than first thought. It already was the strongest showing since 2014. Mr. Trump is

doing a victory lap on Twitter unsurprisingly and noting consumer confidence is on the rise as well.

Let's look at these numbers with Paula Newton she is live in New York. So, this is a continuation of a very long trend that started under President

Obama but it must be music to the years of White House officials are being revised up. They were already quite robust.

[15:10:00] PAULA NEWTON, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: I think if you had a lie detector on them that they would say the figures that the president has

bragged he would get to three or four percent growth that they surprised even them. The reason is in the first quarter, we had tepid growth and it

was not going well in the United States.

The other thing that economists have been looking at is given the fact we had both deregulation and tax reform that it did vindicate the policy in

the sense that we don't have the global synchronized growth. I don't have to tell you that sitting there in London that this is a U.S. story and you

were talking about all that consumer confidence as well in United States.

This is an economy to functions so well when consumers are spending money. The one caveat that I would give to that, here is the thing, you still have

economists kind of hedging, four may be too much to hope for but we are in an in flung fluctuations point of the economy. This is unborrowed money

and as those interest rates continue to rise, many are wondering how long it could last.

This market loves Jay Powell and they love these Trump policies and sometimes it makes me nervous. What's coming around the corner that we are

not seeing yet, i.e., inflation.

GORANI: Absolutely. There is inflation and also the increasing amount of debt in the United States that you just mentioned because tax cuts

obviously produced a bigger debt pile. This is something that and this kind of like steroid boost to the economy in the form of tax cuts to

corporations and richer Americans.

This is something that eventually fizzles out. Historically, this isn't something that gives you 10-year periods of growth.

NEWTON: It doesn't. You got to do something about the physical deficit at a certain point in time. One thing they worried here in the United States

is taking away entitlements and healthcare that seniors get from the government or other healthcare of people who are on the poverty line are

getting from the government. That's a problem. The other problem is social security. We are talking about the United States in general. The

entire globe needs to be worried about this. When you talk about the Federal Reserve having to come in and perhaps increase interest rates a lot

quickly than they want to, perhaps because of that, it could be a problem for everyone.

Having said that, you know what, Hala, I also stand alone here, we had economists on our business show on the ten days to two weeks, they admit of

what ever the Trump administration had said about the deficit and the debt is not true. In fact, it's what the budget office has said and guess what,

it has added to the deficit and continues to add to the debt. The growth is not doing good things for those balance sheets. At the end of the day,

economists seem not worried. Hala, I stand alone at this time. There are some economists that agree with me but this is going to be really

interesting to see when we look at Q3 results which were going to get just before the midterms. Sorry, go ahead.

GORANI: The good thing I am saying of making predictions economic predictions, is that at some point you are always right. And at some

point, you are always wrong. You can say the stock market is going to crash, at some point it will or you can say it will go up and you will

probably be right for the next few years. Let's talk about the Canada potential which does not happen. Canada/U.S. deal, the president of the

United States signed a Mexico/U.S. deal that was broadcast to the world. We heard from the Canadian foreign minister about the talks that's are

ongoing right now. Let's listen to her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We are encouraged by the progress that they made with Mexico this summer. Mexico has made some

specific concessions which would be good for Canadian workers. On that bases, we are optimistic about having some very good productive

conversations this week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: So, she's optimistic, should she be?

NEWTON: She is and that's because of the negotiators she's with at the table and her prime minister are also optimistic, Trudeau, just a few hours

ago says he was hopeful of a deal on Friday and President Trump just book moments ago, says he's also optimistic is that they'll get on the deal on

Friday. Again, an extraordinary turn of events. You are talking about trade deals that takes months and months to figure out. They won't have

all the technical documents but they'll have some kind of a handshake deal on Friday.

Here is the thing, in terms of Canadian officials that I talked to in these negotiations, they have learned the hard way, even if they get a deal just

a few steps from the White House that they get a deal at the Representative Trade Office, they march it over to the Oval Office, and if the president

does not like it. It will not fly.

Stay tuned because it will still be a cliff hanger this week.

[15:15:00] GORANI: Paul Newton, thank you.

Trump administration is once again under fire today for something happened almost a year ago. There has been a shocking revision of the number of

people who died when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last September. Officials say almost 3,000 people died from the storm. That's nearly 50

times more than the 64 people initially reported dead.

Just moments ago, Donald Trump said that his administration did, quote, "a fantastic job in Puerto Rico and is still helping." Critics say the new

death toll shows the government's response was sorely lacking. The mayor of San Juan blasted the White House in an emotional interview on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Shame on President Trump for not even once and yesterday just saying look, I grieve with the

people of Puerto Rico, shame on him. He does not take the time of the day to say look, I am sorry that you people are grieving, I am sorry that your

people died.

Secondly, what is there to be proud of? 2,175 deaths, is that what he's proud of? Is he proud that this is over now and it is going to go away?

We'll remember this forever. This will be a stain in his presidency for as long as he lives because rather than come here and support us, he came here

to throw paper towels at us and we'll never forget and we'll always remember. I am hearing today and this is ridiculous.

People from the administration, the Puerto Rican government saying, well, nobody is prepared for a hurricane five. Well, that may be true, the one

thing we were prepared for was to tell the truth. As just as I saw it and know that this was not a good news story and people were dying and the

bureaucracy were killing us. Everybody should have the presence of mind to go out and tell the truth. Think they did not want to tell the truth

because they want to sing to the tune of Donald Trump and the spin of a good story. Now, it is proven, this is a people died story. This is not a

number. It is 2,975 people and they're calling it an estimate.

2,975 people that'll never see the light of day. Many of them died because of neglect that was done by the Trump administration and silently approved

by most of the political class in Puerto Rico.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Carmen Cruz is the mayor of San Juan, you may remember that Donald Trump called her nasty. She went on television with a shirt that displayed

the word "nasty" as she gave interviews to television stations. Interestingly the new death toll of Maria made it more deadly than

Hurricane Katrina, almost 3000 people estimated to have died. Still to come. Tensions on the high seas, why the French are virtually willing to

go to war for scallops, next.

Honoring a political giant, family and friends paying their respects to U.S. Senator John McCain in Arizona. We'll be right back.

[15:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: The old saying goes teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. It seems if you teach enough of fishermen, they'll go to battle

in the English Channel. French boats on Tuesday rammed a British fishing vessels to let them know that by hell or high water they're not taking

loads of scallops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: It was a night of high drama on the high seas.

Rocks and angry insults hurled across the water as French and British vessels clashed in the English Channel. French fishermen are trying to

drive their British counterparts away from the coast of France, away from precious scallop fishing waters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We are trying to get rid of them because if we let them get away with it, they're going to clear out our

area.

GORANI: The French are unhappy that British boats are allowed the fish for scallops all year with no limit while they are restricted by French law to

only fish between October and May. The confrontation happened just off the coast of Normandy in international waters where it is legal for British

boats to fish. A spokesperson from the UK fishing industry have said, British boats have done nothing wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The French fisheries protection was standing by watching the French fishermen engage in illegal activity. You know there

was a possibility of people getting injured and possibly even killed because of the actions of the French fishermen, I am not exaggerating with

that.

GORANI: As dawn broke over a calm sea, the mood of the English Channel has lifted. The British boats forced out of the area. The French fishermen is

satisfied for now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was worth it in the end because they have gone further than 20 nautical miles. As my colleagues said, we

won the battle but not the war.

GORANI: This so-called scallop war can continue until the lasting deal can be made between the two countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Nic Robertson joins us now. Just to be clear, the Brits are doing nothing illegal. They are fishing where they are allowed to fish. Why are

the French physically attacking them?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, that's not clear. What is clear that emerges here that no one seems to be telling the

French to be doing this. Everyone calmed down and the EU weighed into this if you can wait for that pun. Both sides negotiated in the situation. The

sub text here, well, this was successful and frustration as you said that. They are worried about their livelihoods and they think they are being

cheated out of those livelihoods.

GORANI: It is their own government banning them from fishing a certain number months of the year. The UK government is not banning the Brits from

doing it. They're in international waters. They're complaining -- are they complaining to the wrong people or attacking the wrong people? Should

they be turning to their government?

ROBERTSON: In this case, it would seem logical and that's what they should do. They haven't they vented their anger on the people that are closest.

And as you heard the fishermen said they think it worked because they chased them off.

GORANI: That said. Over fishing is a huge problem.

ROBERTSON: It is.

GORANI: You need to address this as well. That's why the French government is banning fishing year round.

ROBERTSON: What concerns the French fishermen there because they see the year on year the British bringing in bigger and bigger boats. What they

were able to tolerate 10 years ago they can't tolerate it now because it's changed.

[15:25:00] GORANI: Now, there is Brexit on the horizon in case someone was so unclear about that. What is going to change because for British

fishermen they won't be able to go as far into international waters as they have been?

ROBERTSON: These waters are controlled by European Union. No, they won't. Britain will have to negotiate with the European Union depending on the

terms of what is agreed in the Brexit deal to go into these waters. This was the situation over night they were in the international waters that

were controlled by the European Union. What they have to do is look to the Norwegian model, Norwegians every year rationally without ramming boats and

butting heads and doing this kind of nonsense actually negotiate with the European Union fishing quotas. And that is probably what this is going to

come down to. It's going to come to fishing quotas.

GORANI: It seems like Brexit is going to hurt economically, British fishermen, it seems that won't be a good deal for them.

ROBERTSON: The fishermen mostly voted for Brexit because they believe they needed that. Because the European Union had been hurting them for too long

that their quotas weren't allowed, were significant enough. And when you talk to fishermen today, they say, look, when you look at all the fishing

that European nations fishing vessels that come in and fish in British waters. The preponderance is on the outside of the Europeans and not the

British. They feel even now that they are being harmed. Would we have seen here. This is at the end of the puzzle. What we are seeing is an

indication of what may come to.

GORANI: Nic Robertson, thank you very much. These waters are so overfished. We have to be careful with them so it's just a question I was

seeing what is fair.

Still to come, the pope's story, a profound mark on him, more on that scandal that shaken the Catholic Church ahead. And the Russian military is

on the move in a major way. We'll tell you why 300,000 Russian troops are headed into action. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Pope Francis says he has prayed for mercy repeatedly over the Catholic Church's child sex abuse scandals. He says that in his weekly

Vatican address earlier today, those comments followed to his weekend trip to Ireland where he met eight survivors. He said that experience left a

profound mark on him as he mentioned.

[15:30:00] He also said I many occasions beg the lord for forgiveness for the sins and scandal and the sense of betrayal. More words contrition from

the pope, will it be enough for the victims?

CNN's Senior Vatican Analyst, John Allen, joins us live from Rome. Rosa Flores is in Washington. She is tracking growing calls for a tough United

States church official to resign. We'll get to Rosa in a moment. John Allen, it is similar words and similar sentiment and message from the pope

that we heard before, but is he going far enough?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, first of all, Hala, let's talk about what the pope did not address which were the bombshell

accusations that emerged over the weekend from a former papal ambassador in the United States, Italian Archbishop, Carlo Vigano, that Pope Francis had

been aware of as early as 2013 of sexual misconduct concerns about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington who recently had to resign the

College of Cardinals over that allegation.

But took no action during that period. The Vatican appears to be riding out that storm. Today, there are at least seven bishops in the United

States have stepped forward to endorse the integrity of Archbishop Vigano and calling for a thorough investigation so it is not clear whether a

strategy of silence is ultimately going to work. The bigger question you are asking is what beyond additional statements of remorse is required

here?

And I will tell you I was in Dublin, in Ireland following the pope's trip this weekend. Certainly, the drumbeat there was that until Pope Francis

addresses what many observers see as an accountability gap in the church's response to this problem that is imposes accountability, not simply for the

crime of sexual abuse but for covering up that crime. And the perception is to date that hasn't been done, then many people just not going to be

satisfied.

GORANI: And Rosa Flores in Washington, you spoke to a top catholic officials in the United States, what are you hearing?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in the U.S., Hala, there's just this sentiment that Catholics are fed up by all of this. They want

transparency and accountability. And so there are high-profile Catholics. They're asking for the removal of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who was also the

archbishop of Washington.

Now, the president of a university has asked for his ouster. A preacher, a pastor has also asked for his ouster. And so all of these people are

coming forward. Let me start with the priest who this Sunday from the pope asked for the archbishop to be removed. He said, "We are all hurting. Your

stepping down will be the first necessary step in the process of healing."

Then there's also catholic teachers, 50 of them who sent a letter to the news or the ambassador, asking for the removal of the Cardinal Wuerl. And

then there is the first president of a catholic university coming forward and asking that the cardinal be removed. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT MCGUIRE, PRESIDENT, TRINITY WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Yes, I think Cardinal Wuerl should resigned. And I think that is part of expressing

this deep sorrow on the part of the church for what has happened to these children.

But he still needs to take an action that expresses his sorrow and sense of penance and atonement and that is best done when you're a leader, by

stepping out of the leadership role.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLORES: The archdiocese did respond to us. We asked them specifically about these individuals who were coming forward in his archdiocese asking

for his removal and the archdiocese saying that they stand by him, that he has always stood by survivors and that he continues to do so. Hala.

GORANI: John Allen, I have one last question for you. We talk a lot about past cases of alleged sexual abuse. The pope has expressed contrition,

remorse, sadness. Is there a system in place today to make sure this is not happening as we speak in the Catholic Church?

ALLEN: Well, Hala, no system is ever foolproof, of course. But I mean, in fairness, it has to be said that the Catholic Church has made enormous

strides over the last decades or so since these scandals erupted.

Today, it has a very vigorous system of abuse, prevention, detection, and then reporting, when it is discovered. So much so that I know a lot of

secular experts. I mean, people who work for Interpol or academics in secular universities, over regard the Catholic Church as a pay center.

The problem is that that vigorous accountability for abuse is not matched by a vigorous system of accountability for covering up that abuse. Nobody

knows who that should be reported to. Nobody knows what procedures would be followed in those cases and nobody really knows what the appropriate

punishment would be.

And again, I think it is going to be difficult for Pope Francis or anyone else in the leadership in the church to sell that they really gotten their

hands around it until that happens.

GORANI: But do you have a system where if someone is suspected of abusing a child, or at least the set of rules that make it clear what they need to

do that these people then are reported to authorities or is that still not happening?

ALLEN: Well, to some extent -- well, depending where you are. But it certainly throughout the western world it's happening. I mean, when I was

in Dublin over the weekend, every parish in Ireland has a poster when you walk in the church that says, if you have reasons to suspect child abuse by

someone who works for the Catholic Church, call this number. And when you do that, that accusations relayed both church investigators and also the --

authorities.

So, it's not that the Catholic Church has done nothing. The problem is that there is just a big piece of the puzzle that is missing because,

ultimately, the reason the scandal happened isn't simply because a small percentage of priests are pedophiles. It's because the system protected

them.

And until that system gets fixed with a vigorous system of accountability, then I think most people would say the work is undone.

[15:35:00] GORANI: John Allen, as always thanks so much. Rosa Flores, thanks to your reporting from Washington.

GORANI: Here's something you don't hear every day or every week. Vladimir Putin is backing down. The Russian president is scaling back his plan to

raise the retirement age in Russia amidst widespread protest sent anger over the plan. The plan still calls for men to retire at 65, but scales

back the retirement age for women to 60.

Putin says Russia desperately needs pension reform because the economy can't support the large number of people approaching retirement age.

Frederik Pleitgen is in our Moscow bureau with this as well as some news about the Russian military. Let's start with this pension reform.

So Vladimir Putin used to have for, you know, it doesn't happen very often or often at all -- or at all. But kind of backed down in the face of

protests?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, he backed down a little bit. But I think one of the things that was really

remarkable is that fact that he did back down a little bit. But also he announced all of these on television, gave an address to the nation. I

think it chose two things.

First of all, how important it is to him and to his popularity. But then also how important this pension reform and pension ages to Russians, in

general, because it is an institution here in Russia that goes back really to the early days of the Soviet Union.

He was saying that he went back a little bit. You already mentioned the fact that he decided to scale back a little bit. The raising of the

pension age for women. It was supposed to be raised by eight years, now doing by five. But for men, it's going to be raised to 65. And it is

causing some anger here in Russia because life expectancy, Hala, for men in this country is only 66. So you're probably not going to have very much of

your pension if you have to retire at 65.

So naturally, a lot of people were not happy about this, about the whole way that all of this was rolled out. It was announced on the first day of

the world cup. 90 percent of Russians are against it. Some of the reasons why you see Vladimir Putin make that move.

The other thing that's really interesting about this, Hala, is the fact that President Putin was always really isolated from a lot of inner

political events here in this country. He really didn't get much of heat when they were unpopular political decisions.

But in this case, it's different. In this paid case, I wouldn't necessarily say that his popularity plunged, but these ratings certainly

were scratched a great deal. And I think he's realizing that and that's why he made this move today. It was very interesting to hear his speech

that he gave there on television where he was asking for people to accept this pension reform while scaling back a little bit. But he said that it's

something that's absolutely necessary.

Because on the one hand, as you mentioned, Russia suffering from bad economy but of course, also very much suffering from demographics with a

massive population declined since the end of the Soviet Union, which he actually likens to the population declined that they had after World War

II. That's how big an issue this is for Russia and for this government, Hala.

GORANI: Quick word on the military exercises. The scale is tremendous, 300,000 troops, a thousand aircrafts, 900 tanks. You don't see this in my

western country this type of military exercise, why are they doing this?

PLEITGEN: Yes, it's certainly massive. I think it's 36,000 tanks and fighting vehicles in total. Chinese and the Mongolian involved as well.

Look, the Russians are saying it's because they have issues with a lot of western countries. They'd say it's because of sort of the negative things

that they've been hearing from western countries, they feel that this largescale military maneuver is justified to obviously show everybody the

readiness of the Russian military, the size of the Russian military, and the drill that's able to conduct.

But in this particular one, I've been to a couple of these military drills in the past for the Russians. I do these every year but not on the scale.

And one thing that stands out, Hala, is the fact that conducting this together with the Mongolians and also with the participation of the Chinese

and the Russians really want to show that that alliance between Russia and China is growing ever stronger as both of these countries have major issues

with the United States, Hala.

GORANI: Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, thanks very much.

Well, his love of country wasn't just a slogan on a yard sign but something he actually lived and thought for throughout his entire life, that's what

people who loved John McCain say. That praise was just one of the many tribute we've heard today, as the late U.S. senator lies in state of the

capitol building in Arizona.

Family, friends, and members of the public are paying their respects. And we've seen some really sad and heartbreaking scenes.

McCain's wife Cindy briefly laid her head on the flag-draped casket. And moments later, daughter McCain's daughter, Meghan, broke down in grief.

McCain died on Saturday of brain cancer.

Let's bring in CNN's Nick Watt. He is live in Phoenix, Arizona.

So, what are the -- he's lying in state now in Arizona, what are the plans going forward? The funeral plans and plans to honor the late senator,

Nick.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in about an hour and a half, members of the public here in Arizona are going to be able to file past his flag-

draped casket and pay their last respect.

[15:40:06] Now, John McCain represented this state as first a congressman then a senator for 35 years. And prior to that, he was very famously shut

down over North Vietnam and kept prisoner for five and a half years. He is a Goliath of American politics.

And it's unclear kind of who will replace him if anybody can replace this figure. He was, of course, one of the few and the most vocal critics of

President Donald Trump from within the Republican Party.

Now, he is known for some time that his days were numbered. And one of the very few benefits to that is that he got the chance to plan his own

farewell.

So he is here right now in his home state of Arizona. His adoptive home state. Tomorrow, there'll be another funeral service here which Joe Biden

will speak, the former vice president. Then Senator McCain's body will be flown to Washington D.C. where he will lie in the state of the capitol

there where there will be a ceremony on Saturday. The national cathedral at which president's Obama and George W. Bush will speak.

President Trump is pointedly not invited to that ceremony. Of course, the two men have clashed during the campaign. Trump kind of belittled McCain's

military service and almost mocked him for being captured during Vietnam. And of course, John McCain passed the deciding vote that shut down Trump's

bid to repeal Obamacare. So there was no love lost between the two men.

And indeed president Trump has come under some fire for the way he has handled the death of John McCain. He'll be buried Sunday. His successor,

if anyone can succeed him, will be named sometime next week. Hala.

GORANI: Nick Watt, thanks very much, live in Phonies.

Still to come tonight. A new voice is heard in that tangled web of accusations surrounding a prominent Me Too accuser. We will unpack the

latest details surrounding Asia Argento after the break.

And disgraced Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein goes on the offensive against one of his accusers. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: I want to bring you up to date on a story that's been developing around the Me Too movement. It involves this woman, Asia Argento. She, of

course, has been a key figure in that movement. You'll remember she was one of the many women who came forward with claims of sexual misconduct

against Harvey Weinstein.

Now, she's recently denied allegations of sexual assault made against her by a young actor, that she had taken advantage of a 17-year-old at the

time.

The woman on the right, Rose McGowan, another prominent activist is now trying to distance herself from her former friend, Argento.

And now there's a new face in all of this, someone named Rain Dove. This is the partner of Rose McGowan. Now, Rain Dove has come out with a

statement acknowledging text messaging Argento about the accusations against her.

Sara Sidner has seen those text messages, has spoken to Rain Dove, and Sara is in Los Angeles.

[15:45:03] So, if you could explain kind of the ins and outs of this story, because Asia Argento was accused by this young actor of sexual assault.

There was some sort of financial settlement, allegedly made, and then an exchange of text messages in which Asia Argento admitted in those text

messages to having had some sort of relationship with a young actor. Tell us more.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Rain Dove, as you mentioned, met Asia Argento through Rose McGowan. And you will remember that Rose McGowan

and Asia Argento both came forward, they're very prominent, perhaps the first two that publicly come out against Harvey Weinstein, saying that they

were raped by him.

So they became very prominent in the Me Too movement. Which is why a lot of people, frankly, are talking about this. Because now it turns out

there's an accusation that one of those women, Asia Argento, had an inappropriate relationship that could potentially be criminal with a 17-

year-old, an actor who was a minor at the time. He is now 22, his name is Jimmy Bennett.

So, here is how Rain Dove fits into all of this. Rain Dove, who is non- gender conforming, so I will use the word "they" when I refer to Rain Dove, they basically said, look, I met Asia Argento through Rose McGowan, when

Asia was dealing with the death of her boyfriend, someone who we all loved quite well, Anthony Bourdain. And they became very, very close during that

time.

And while they were friends and while they were talking, a New York Times article was about to come out and that Times article was about to say

something about this man, Jimmy Bennett, who had allegedly been paid off to the tune of about $380,000, an arrangement made by Argento and her

boyfriend.

And so Rain Dove says, look, Argento came to me, she said, I need help. I need help trying to figure out what to do because of this report that's

coming out, and they had this conversation.

I want to show you the text messages that prompted Rain Dove to do something differently than she thought she was going to do, which was just

talk Argento through it.

OK. So the top is basically Asia saying, look, the public knows nothing, only what The New York Times wrote, which is one-sided. The shakedown

letter, the horny kid jumped me. She is referring to Jimmy Bennett there. And then Rain Dove is in the blue there, so it was rape or attempted sexual

action? I had sex with him. It felt weird. I didn't know he was a minor until the shakedown letter.

And that is supposedly Asia Argento responding to Rain Dove, asking those questions.

Now, as soon as Rain Dove saw that, knowing that Jimmy Bennett was 17 years old at the time, which in California is not the age of consent, 18 is the

age of consent, Rain Dove decided to ask a lot more questions, trying to figure out what happened here.

And in the end, Rain Dove decided that a potential crime had been committed, that she did not want to be complicit in that, so she -- excuse

me, they went to police and reported this to the Los Angeles sheriff's department, who has said that they have not been able get in touch with the

alleged victim in the case, that is Jimmy Bennett, but that they are looking into it. So that's where we stand right now with Rain Dove.

I do want to mention this, Hala. We did have a conversation, Rain Dove and Rose McGowan are on an island right now in Spain, but they were able to

give us a call, so Rain Dove said this about -- after receiving all those text messages, in their own words.

RAIN DOVE, PARTNER OF ROSE MCGOWAN (through telephone): I mean, the whole entire thing really just tipped at the point of, yes, this person engaged

with this individual when they were a minor. That is considered in the state of California, I believe, statutory rape.

I know it's controversial. A lot of people have been talking about the age of consent, but still, it's against the law. And I was waiting for -- my

hope was that Asia would come forward and be honest about it. If they were honest about it and said, hey, I did have sex, I did engage sexually with

this individual at 17, and, I want to work forward to rectify the situation. I would have worked alongside Asia.

SIDNER: So there Rain Dove is saying, look, I would have worked alongside Asia if she would have come clean, but she says that Asia actually ended up

not telling the truth when she made a statement to the New York Times and that is what prompted, actually, Rain Dove to come forward to the public.

GORANI: All right. So there's a lot -- there are many layers to this story.

SIDNER: Yes, complicated.

GORANI: But Asia Argento is the one who -- is being accused of having had intercourse with an underage-at-the-time man. These text messages were

released. She was let go from her job in Italy, a singing competition in Italy. Is she responding to any of this?

[15:50:09] SIDNER: She's not responded to the new information, the text messages. There is also a photo that one of the, the publications here has

put out of her and Jimmy Bennett in a compromising position.

However, earlier on, Asia Argento completely denied that there was any kind of sexual relationship between her and Jimmy Bennett. Not now, not ever.

And so that, again, is what prompted Rain Dove to come forward and say what they knew, which was the text messages and the conversations. And that was

all handed over to the sheriff's department. Hala.

GORANI: So this is a bit of a mess and I've seen on Twitter people say, are these the figureheads of the Me Too movement? I mean, there is a real

risk here that this movement that was designed to lead to accountability, to men who have abused power for a very long time, in certain industries,

that this might, that it might lose its credibility. Is that a possibility?

SIDNER: Look, I think, in the words of those who have been in the movement and who have survived being attacked, many of them will tell you that it

has nothing to do with it.

In fact, Rain Dove argues that they're doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing, which is, if you know something, you tell authorities. And

you go forward and you come out publicly and you say, here is what I know, whether it's a man, a woman. It doesn't matter. It needs to be put out

and justice needs to be done.

And so there is a sense, though, that what Asia has said in the past about Harvey Weinstein, basically, Rain Dove says, look, look at these -- it's

two separate incidents. They can both be true at the same time. But they need to be investigated.

And that is Rain Dove's whole point. Is that if something happens, the Me Too movement is all about trying to make sure that justice is served and in

order to do that, the truth must be known. And there needs to be an investigation, which is why Rain Dove came forward and went to police and

encourages other people to do so, no matter who this may have happened to.

GORANI: All right. Sara Sidner, thanks for unpacking this story that's -- that has many layers to it that's become quite complex for us. Thank you

so much.

Now, the legal team of the disgraced former film executive, Harvey Weinstein has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by actress Ashley

Judd. Of course, Harvey Weinstein and the accusations against him are what started this movement.

CNN has on obtained documents that were filed in the U.S. district court in California and according to those, Weinstein's legal team is questioning

Judd's claim that he sabotaged her career. Chloe Melas joins me with more. She's live from New York. Talk to us more about these legal proceedings.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, as you just stated, Ashley Judd, who was the first major actress in Hollywood to speak out against

Harvey Weinstein, in The New York Times, last October, she filed this lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein in May, saying that ever since she

thwarted his sexual advances towards her in a Beverly Hills hotel room in 1997, that he torpedoed her career.

And that he kept her from being even more successful than she arguably already is and kept her from starring in "The Lord of Rings" franchise,

because he allegedly told Peter Jackson, the director, that she was difficult to work with.

Well, Harvey Weinstein's team has fired back. We've obtained the documents and they say that just because he made a sexual advance towards her, that

it was neither, quote, "severe, nor pervasive." So saying that, OK. I might have made an advance towards her, but that has nothing to do with

hurting her career and that her entire lawsuit is baseless and rife with speculation.

Now, there is a court hearing scheduled for September, but it'll be interesting to see if the case does get dismissed.

GORANI: Chloe Melas, thanks very much.

We'll be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, Tesla boss, Elon Musk is upping the voltage again on Twitter, once again taking shots at a British diver who helped save boys

trapped in a Thai cave. Musk tweeted that it was, quote, strange he had been sued after previously calling the diver a pedophile.

This goes not too long after the CEO's interview with the New York Times where Musk said he worked around 120 hours a week.

Clare Sebastian is here with more.

We're hearing from the -- I mean, he's bringing -- because I think he called him a pedo or something.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

GORANI: And as the cave diver's attorney is saying, no, no. We're going ahead.

SEBASTIAN: Right. Well, Musk has said that he's not suing. He isn't yet. But we have a letter from attorneys that have been obtained by this cave

diver, Vernon Unsworth, who say that they are preparing a civil complaints to libel. They're inviting Musk to get his lawyers to reach out to them

and attempt to avoid litigation.

But the complaint is being prepared, they say, and it will be filed in the near future. So Musk did delete those original tweets, don't forget, and

he did apologize, but him doubling down on this today has been noted by these attorneys. So it's clearly not going to be very helpful to the case.

GORANI: It's actually remarkable that he would bring it up again.

What about Tesla? I mean, this has to be worrying investors, this type of behavior?

SEBASTIAN: Extremely worrying. And particularly this topic. This was something that caused a top tech analyst at the time to say, you need to

take a Twitter sabbatical. Had he done that, Hala, I don't think really the scene the precipitous falls and the stock price over the last month

since he made that go private tweet on August 7th.

So stock falls almost 20 percent of its value. It was down again today. This is causing a serious loss of confidence. And frankly, it's snatching

defeat from the jaws of victory, because Tesla was only just starting to get close to making a profit, to slowing its cash burn, and to meeting its

model through their production targets.

GORANI: Very briefly, I mean, he is -- the way he's acting, also, is there any concern there?

SEBASTIAN: I think there are people who are concerned. Obviously, we've seen that in New York Times interview, where he said he was working, as you

say, 120 hours a week, never seeing his family, barely made it to his brother's wedding. He was taking Ambien in order to sleep.

So I think there are a lot of calls now from investors and the board is known to be looking at bringing in a number two, a COO, who can help

relieve that burden. I think this adds on the pressure to them to do that.

GORANI: Sure. Clare Sebastian, thanks so much.

That's going to do it for us for this evening. Thanks for watching on this Wednesday. I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. There's a lot more ahead.

Your top business news stories are coming up on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CLOSING BELL RINGING)

[16:00:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you guessed it. More records on Wall Street. It's Wednesday, the 29th of August.

END