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Two Separate Major Newspaper Reports Call Into Serious Question How President Donald Trump Is Conducting Himself With Regard To Russia; Country's Most Undeniable Experts On Border Security Believe Building A Physical Barrier Is A Waste Of Money; Trump Tweets "Starting the Long Overdue Pullout from Syria"; Singer Remains Defiant Amid Renewed Efforts to Mute R. Kelly; Market Watching Earnings for Clues About 2019; How History Changed American Fashion. Aired 6-7p

Aired January 13, 2019 - 18:00   ET


[18:00:31] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being here.

President Trump spending the weekend inside the White House while two separate major newspaper reports call into serious question how he is conducting himself with regard to Russia.

One of those reports in the "Washington Post" shows the extremes President Trump has allegedly gone to to high details of his conversations with President Vladimir Putin, swearing interpreters to secrecy and making sure there is no written record of at least one private meeting with Putin according to U.S. officials.

Another report from the "New York Times" that claims the FBI was so concerned after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey that they launched a counterintelligence investigation into the President himself. They were working to find out if Trump was actually knowingly unbelievably working to benefit the Russian government. And this extraordinary moment last night on Trump friendly FOX News, a show host asking the President point-blank, this yes or no question, and listen to his answer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's the most insulting thing I have ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I have ever had written. And if you read the article, you would say that they found absolutely nothing.


CABRERA: We could play the entire answer. But after nearly two minutes you still won't hear him flatly deny that he is or is not working actively to help the Russians. He doesn't even say it.

CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House right now, a very wintry White House, I should add. Boris, the President is sequestering himself in the White House behind

you. Maybe because of the weather in part. He has been tweeting that he is in there. And that he is quote "waiting." What other reactions are you hearing to those explosive reports about the President and Russia?


Yes. President Trump has yet to specifically weigh in on any of the details in either of these reports in the "New York Times" or "the Washington Post." Though, he did weigh in calling James Comey all sorts of names on twitter and going after him reigniting deep state conspiracies that we have heard the President peddle before about the Russia investigation.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders did send out two statements about both reports this weekend. Both of them very similar and she says essentially in both of them that she believes President Trump has been tougher on Russia than former President Obama, something that is provable by video tape.

We have seen President Obama talk about how he confronted and pressed Vladimir Putin on the issue of Russian election meddling. Something that we have not seen President Trump do publicly. We don't know if he has done that privately, though. And that's the gist of that "Washington Post" report about the interactions between these two leaders and President Trump's attempts to keep them under wraps.

Now some have defended the President. Senator Ron Johnson was on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning suggesting that previous encounters between President Trump and other world leaders leaked embarrassing the administration. Perhaps that's why the President wants to keep it private.

Others have been more critical. The White House again has not responded to what any lawmaker has said about these reports. The President has been tweeting, though. He actually tweeted just a few moments ago about the United States' troops presence in Syria. He is also been tweeting about the shutdown. At one point, as you noted, writing that he's in the White House waiting for Democrats to return to Washington, saying they are having fun and not even talking.

There is no indication that either side has been talking over the weekend as we have enter the fourth week of this government shutdown. But the President is apparently enjoying the snow. Look at this tweet he sent out a short time ago, writing quote "wish I could share with everyone the beauty and majesty of being in the White House and looking outside at the snow-filled lawns and Rose Garden." Really is something. Special country, special place." Clearly, the President enjoying this snow and winter weather more than some of us -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez reporting at the White House. It's amazing that you don't have a bit of snow on your black jacket there, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. CABRERA: TV magic going on. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Ana. CABRERA: Let's bring in CNN contributor Garrett Graff, author of "the

Threat Matrix inside Mueller's FBI and the war on global terror." And also with us, former assistant U.S. attorney and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig.

So let me start with you, Eli, these two reports back to back, they seem to reinforce each other. Do they not?

[18:05:00] ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes, they do. And the common theme, Ana, with these reports is obstruction, right. Efforts to keep the truth from coming to light.

"The New York Times" tells us about the efforts to - you know, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation because they believed in fear that Trump fired Comey to prevent him from digging into the Russia case.

"The Washington Post" tells us about Trump's effort to seize the notes and to tell the interpreter to keep quiet. Again, to keep the truth from coming to light.

And on top of that we are about to begin the confirmation hearings for William Barr as attorney general which is the number one job in this country responsible for bringing truth to light. And the problem with William Barr is he sent this long memo to DOJ unsolicited six months ago where he attacks not Robert Mueller generally. He doesn't say everything Mueller doing is crazy but specifically the obstruction of justice investigation. He calls it fatally misconceived. And earlier Barr had said that the obstruction investigation is asinine. He said that to the Hill.

So our senators really need to dig into that and say is this how you view the obstruction investigation? Do you stand by your own words? And they really cannot accept mille-mouth (ph) dodgy coached up lawyered up answers.

CABRERA: Let me talk to you about Barr here more in just a second. But as you put it very nicely all in one package, it does show that obstruction is a big piece potentially of Mueller's investigation.

Garrett, you are sort of our Mueller expert. On the "Washington Post" reporting, do you think Trump's concealment of the records pertaining to his meetings with Putin are of interest to Robert Mueller?

GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR. THE THREAT MATRIX: Absolutely. But I think the bigger thing is Eli is saying here is the pattern, and again, you even look at the interview that the President did last night, you know. If I was being accused of being a Russian agent, I would be much more annoyed about being accused of being a Russian agent than I would be the investigation itself. That's not what we are seeing from the President, you know. It would be easy for him to come out and deny this. What we have to, you know, almost assume at this point is that the

President in his campaign were compromised by Russia in some meaningful way that is not yet clear. That's the evidence that we are seeing sort of pattern after pattern both from the staff and the President's own actions. You know, this is a President who in many ways has gone out of his way to continue to be soft on Russia and Vladimir Putin. To continue to be complimentary to Vladimir Putin, you know. Up to and including that astounding Helsinki summit which was the subject of part of the "Washington Post" report where the President met privately with Putin and then basically came out on the stage with Vladimir Putin and complimented Putin and questioned the American intelligence community.

CABRERA: Garrett, do you know, could Congress try to question that interpreter?

GRAFF: Well, I think that's not -- that's a very complicated answer. And there are some legitimate executive privilege concerns stemming from the idea that President's need to be able to have some private conversations with foreign leaders and that's not necessarily a precedent that we should want to set as a democracy and as a government.

But you do have to look at the pattern of behavior here which is, you know, this is a President who knows that these questions are being raised about his behavior with Russia vis-a-vis Vladimir Putin and is still going out of his way to have these incredibly odd one on one no staff conversations with the leader of Russia.

CABRERA: Eli, is that executive privilege going to end up being the President's best defense?

HONIG: It may be. I do think Congress is going to try to subpoena the interpreter. Adam Schiff has said it straight up. He said he tried to do it under last Congress but the Democrats were out-voted. They were the minority. Now they are the majority. He said we are going to want to talk to her.

The only really way to resist that is through a claim of executive privilege. And it's an interesting claim. On the one hand executive privilege is meant to protect and keep secret conversations between the President and his close advisors, his attorney general, his counsel, his chief of staff. It would be quite a stretch to say that should also include his conversations with foreign heads of state. They are not advisers. We really be stretching that.

On the other hand, I think Garrett has a good point. There is a legitimate interest in keeping confidential, high level diplomatic conversations, diplomatic conversation. And if you look at the Nixon decision from 1974 when the court said, yes, executive privilege exist. But no, it doesn't apply to this situation.

What they did say to Supreme Court back in 1974 is it is really intended to protect military secrets, national security secrets. So there may be an argument, a creative argument that Trump can make that we need to expand executive privilege to cover this kind of situation. CABRERA: I want you, guys, to stay with me as we bring in also David

Gergen who as many of you know at home has worked in four White Houses.

And so thank you, David. I'm so glad that you could be part of the conversation tonight with this extraordinary reporting.

Here, we are talking about what the "Washington Post" is reporting about the President's efforts to really conceal his interactions with the Russian President. In fact, even confiscating notes from one of his interpreters. Have you ever heard or experienced such a thing with other presidents?

[18:10:31] DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. And I worked for President Nixon and we never had anything like this. I must say, Ana, that if you combine the story in the "Washington Post" that you just talked about along with the "New York Times" reporting about the fact that the FBI opened this counterterrorism investigation, if I were in the White House, I would be terribly worried.

I would be terribly worried not just about my President. I would be worried about the office to the presidency which I think is threatened in this situation. It's almost like a spy thriller that we are going through. It's just unbelievable we would be here.

But I would also be worried about the country because I think this could be very damaging to us as Americans that if this unravels and the patterns that seem to be developing, the patterns are very, very suspicious.

In the "Washington Post" I would also commend to people a new piece by Max Boot, who is a contributor to CNN on all the reasons why we should be suspicious, all the things that -- the alignments of President Trump and Vladimir Putin. Again and again and again, it's a really arresting piece.

CABRERA: David, what typically happens with the notes that are part of these meetings that document what has taken place?

GERGEN: Sure. Well, first and foremost, they are shared with the principles committee which are essentially the secretary of state, secretary of defense, CIA director, the White House chief of staff, the national security adviser, the head of the joint chief. All those people need to know what's going on. There has to be a transparency. Those are all the top people, the top circle around the President on national security. And they are typically shared with them for information purposes so they know, you know, what the other side is thinking, very importantly, but they also know what our President is saying in pledging.

And so it is -- I can go back the next day. Sometimes he held a meeting one on one with the Russians and would have only an interpreter there and indeed an American Vernon Walters served as an interpreter for both sides on some occasions. But since then the tradition has been one of sharing, of more transparency. Because we have such a complicated government with so many different kind of sprawling relationships that really makes a difference that people are brought up to speed. After all, these are the people we trust with the utmost secrets of the government.

So to trust them with that is no stretch at all. It is traditionally what is done. Stobe Talbott, for example, who became later became head of Brookings, very fine person worked with President Clinton on many, many occasions. He was the note taker. He went in because he and President Clinton were long-time colleagues, friends. And Strobe would take these notes in meeting after meeting after meeting that Clinton had with the Russians and those notes would then be religiously shared with others and then they would go into a master file for a variety of reasons. So you can have a comparative purposes.

Now, if you don't know what your President is saying or thinking, you have no sense of continuity about how relationships develop and you don't know how the Russians are trying to play him, you know. Because after all, that at the end of the day is what a lot of this is about. Have the Russians played him, have they turned him to what used to be in the cold war called a useful idiot.


CABRERA: And you wonder if now the Russians can spin the narrative that they want from what happened in the meetings without being able to prove something different happened.

David Gergen, Eli Honig, Garrett Graff, great to have all of your thoughts with us. Thank you.

GERGEN: Thank you very, very much, Ana.

CABRERA: As the government shutdown extends to a 23rd day with no end in sight, one border sheriff says he supports the President 100 percent, but when it comes to the wall, it's a different story.

Plus, a new report says the White House requested plans from the Pentagon to attack Iran.

And mounting allegations of abuse by R. Kelly are prompting investigations and now a movement to ban his music is gaining momentum. The latest live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[18:18:47] CABRERA: The President may be willing to build his promised southern border wall at any cost. But many of the country's most undeniable experts on border security believe building a physical barrier there is not only a waste of money but one that won't work very well. These men and women patrol the border every day as border officers.

And CNN's Gray Tuchman road with a sheriff of a border county in Texas who supports President Trump 100 percent except when it comes to that wall. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Keith Hughes is a border county sheriff in a remote county in Texas where illegal immigration apprehensions have increased.

How big of a problem do you think illegal immigration is?

SHERIFF KEITH HUGHES, TERRELL COUNTY, TEXAS: I think it's going to devastate our country one of these days if we don't do something about it, if it hasn't already.

TUCHMAN: No county on America's southern border gave Donald Trump a bigger win on Election Day than Terrell County. Sheriff Hughes voted for him.

HUGHES: I support him 100 percent. I think he has done a great job, so.

TUCHMAN: But the President during his oval office speech said professionals want and need a wall. Do you want and need a wall in your county?

HUGHES: No, sir, I do not. Either one do not want one, do not need one.

[18:20:01] TUCHMAN: That's because he says they already have one, a natural one, the Rio Grande which separates the U.S. and Mexico.

This stop sign, there may be no other mandatory stop sign in the world because if you don't stop here, it's about a 300 foot drop to the Rio Grande. Which means it is 300 feet up.

The sheriffs and others here call these cliffs God's wall which lines the river throughout most of Terrell County. That's why the sheriff has always thought that the concept of a continuous border wall made little sense. Other parts of the county's border though are level as the Rio Grande once with heavy brush.

In a plat area like this where it's easier to cross the river, different than they were before?

HUGHES: Right.

TUCHMAN: And you have this money, would you use any of it for the wall? Would you take all the money and use it for more people and more technology?

HUGHES: I wouldn't use it for a wall. Use all the money for technology and people. That money would be better spent on those situations instead of the wall.

TUCHMAN: Sheriff Hughes says every dime received should be spent on law enforcement and technology.

Terrell County has a small population, but it's about 24 00 square miles. The sheriff only has four deputies and there are very few border patrol agents. Most of the time it's only cows observing migrants swimming across the Rio Grande.

HUGHES: The hell with the wall for right now. I mean, it's going to happen, it's going to happen. If it's not, it's not. But we need to quit dwelling on the wall and deal with right now.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Terrell County, Texas.


CABRERA: Now here's a different perspective from a Texas border control agent in the Rio Grande valley. He told me a wall is necessary. Watch.


CHRIS CABRERA, BORDER PATROL AGENT: We do have hundreds and sometimes thousands a day of people coming in to request asylum or to get asylum through the catch and release system. What that does is it ties our hands and we are unable to patrol the other areas where people are out to avoid detection, and ultimately get into the United States. So the wall is necessary down here. There's communities out here that have benefitted greatly from the wall. It's not stopping everybody from coming in, but it is funneling them into areas where we can apprehend them.

And unfortunately, a lot of politicians down here will tell you one thing on camera, but behind closed doors, it's a different story just because the wall is such a touchy topic that a lot of local politicians don't want to take a stand against the status quo.


CABRERA: I want to bring in someone else who knows the area well, Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar who has represented Texas' 28th district since 2005. His districts includes 290 miles of the southern border.

Congressman, good to have you with us. We just heard now from that Texas border patrol agent who says a wall is necessary. Gary Tuchman talked to the Texas sheriff who insist the wall is not necessary. Who is right?

REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D), TEXAS: Well, you know, the sheriff is right and border patrol was right in 2012. Let me explain that. If you look at the union patrol back in 2012 their position was that the wall was not necessary because that people could do a tunnel, dig a tunnel, climb over it, and it was useless waste of dollars. So the sheriff is right, and then the border patrol before 2012 were correct on that.

So again, I do support border patrol strongly. I want to see more of them hired. In fact, 2000 of them -- there are 2000 of them short. We need to make sure we hire more border patrol and make sure that if we want to stop drugs, look at where drugs come in. Most drugs will come from ports of entry, period. That's where they come from. So we need to modernize our ports and put technology and personnel and k-9s at the ports of entry.

CABRERA: Let me just emphasize what you just said because we also saw in a letter from the House speaker Nancy Pelosi outlining what kind of border security improvements Democrats support. She says more technology to scan cars and trucks at the ports of entry, new technology to detect unauthorized crossings, more agents, better port of entry, infrastructure. We have heard President Trump and Republicans express support for those things as well. So that's where everybody agrees.

The wall, though, is the big question right now. As someone who represents border communities, do you think Democrats should be willing to pay for a wall in some areas of the border?

CUELLAR: Look, there's already 654 miles of fencing across the United States. As the sheriff said a while ago in west Texas, what do you have? You have those large cliffs. I have been there. Those are huge cliffs. Then you have the rivers, the natural boundaries.

CABRERA: Right. You don't need a wall there, right?

CUELLAR: Yes. That's like he said, that's God's wall. So, again, you know, we already added 654 miles of fencing on it. Now, I would say that back in 2008, this is an important point. Senator Cornyn and myself and a Democratic county judge came up with a compromise in the Bush administration when we did a levy wall.

So there are some sort of ways that we can provide flood control and security. The problem is that Washington wants to dictate the type of fencing that where they want to put it. If they would just let the local border patrol chiefs have some independence, and if they can work with the local communities, you would be surprised what they can work on.

[18:25:25] CABRERA: So just to make sure I'm clear, would you be willing to vote for any legislation that offers some money to walls or steel slats in some places? I know -- I talked to a fellow Democrat like a congressman Garamendi just yesterday who said yes, as long as you specify where the wall is needed and why.

CUELLAR: Well, again, like I said a few minutes ago, we have worked out on the past, levy walls. But the local community was involved, and that type of infrastructure if Washington would allow the local community input where they can work along with them, we can come up with some infrastructure. And that's the key. Washington doesn't dictate. It's the local community working with the local border patrol sheriffs and you'll be surprised what they can work on.

CABRERA: OK. Here's what the President tweeted this morning suggesting potential negotiations about the wall for DACA protections. He tweeted this.

Democrats are saying that DACA is not worth it and don't want to include in talks. Many Hispanics will be coming over to the Republican side. Watch.

Congressman, what's your response to that?

CUELLAR: Well, again, the President is known to say or tweet so many things that are just not correct. I would just leave it like that.

Look, we want to make sure that we have protected dreamers. We want to make sure we also have full immigration reform. We want to see immigration reform. The problem is that the Republicans and the President only wants to talk about certain extreme immigration reforms that they talked about. They don't want to sit down or look at what, you know, we have done in the past. There's a lot of things that have been already drafted that we could work on, but they just don't want -- they -- when they say negotiate, they say take our position and that's how you negotiate. And that's not negotiations.

CABRERA: But haven't Democrats in the past offered DACA protections and we will give you the money for the wall?

CUELLAR: Some people have. I have not been one of them. I think those are two different things. I think we need to do everything to protect our dreamers and I voted for the dreamers. But the wall is something else.

When you protect -- I mean, when you represent, you know, landowners that have had lands for so many years and a government is going to come in and build this fence and keep in mind when you have the river, many a times they have to go up one mile, one mile walk from the bank, you are giving up one mile of territory that becomes a no man's land and that's what we are saying is that, you know, we got to protect private property rights. And again, you will be surprised if we can get together, we can get rid of the (INAUDIBLE) which is this evasive type of brush that we have. We can build those roads so the border patrol can work there. We can hire, you know, more border patrol. There are 2000 border patrol.

As you know, the administration put out a $297 million contract to show them how to hire border patrol and with $14.8 million. You know how many border patrol they hired? Two. Two border patrol. I would rather use that $297 million give it as retention bonuses to our border patrol, to our CPP (ph) officers so we don't lose those men and women.

CABRERA: OK. Congressman Henry Cuellar, glad to have you with us. Thank you very much.

CUELLAR: Thank you so much.

CABRERA: We will be right back.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump tweeting just moments ago that the long overdue pullout from Syria is now underway. He says what remains of ISIS territory will be hit hard. The President also says the U.S. will devastate Turkey economically if it attacks the Kurds, but he also warns the Kurds not to provoke Turkey.

Let's get right to CNN's national security reporter Kylie Atwood. Kylie, what do we know?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, Ana, we are learning some substantial new information about the U.S. plan to withdraw from Syria from President Trump's tweets today.

First of all, he says that the U.S. will devastate Turkey economically if they hit the Kurds. Now, that is a new economic threat that we have not heard.

The Kurds are the primary group that make up the Syrian Democratic Forces which are the U.S.-backed fighters in Syria. However, the Turks consider the Kurds to be terrorists because they make up certain terrorist groups in Turkey.

President Trump is saying if you go after this group that the U.S. has backed, we're going to come at you with something like sanctions which are going to devastate your economy.

The second important thing in President Trump's tweet is that he says that the U.S. is going to create a 20-mile safe zone.

Now, he doesn't give us many descriptors of what that safe zone is going to be. But what we can infer from it is that the U.S. is going to work with Syria and Turkey to try and create an area between the two countries where there is safety, where the Kurds are not going to be attacked by the Turks.

[18:34:58] Now, we're going to have to see, obviously, how the Turks reply to this because, in the past, they have been very out front in defending their position that the Kurds within Turkey are terrorists.

CABRERA: Kylie Atwood, thank you for that reporting.

Singer R. Kelly is facing renewed backlash after a docuseries alleging years of sexual abuse by him. A movement to ban his music is now gaining momentum, but investigators may face an uphill battle. We'll discuss next with the founder of the #MeToo movement.


CABRERA: The fallout continues days after the explosive docuseries, "Surviving R. Kelly," aired on Lifetime alleging years of predatory sexual abuse by the singer. The Illinois State Fairgrounds now denying a permit for R. Kelly to host a concert there in April citing security concerns and protests.

The Mute R. Kelly movement to ban his songs from radio stations and streaming platforms is now gaining momentum. R. Kelly himself remains defiant and denies any wrongdoing.

[18:40:02] CNN's Martin Savidge has the latest.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guilty on all charges. MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Lifetime

docuseries, "Surviving R. Kelly," has generated incredible ratings for the network and has dominated social media since its premiere over a week ago.

The docuseries details sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelley from the mid-1990s all the way up to the present day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robert is the devil.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It's also renewed interest among law enforcement. Investigators are now looking at allegations against Kelly in Atlanta and Chicago.

The Savage family of Georgia are featured in the documentary, and they are helping police in both investigations. They allege their adult daughter, Joycelyn, is being held against her will by Kelly in a sex cult. They haven't seen her since late 2016.

TIMOTHY SAVAGE, FATHER OF JOYCELYN SAVAGE: We, as of right now today, have no proof of life whatsoever. And that's hard for me to say, that I have no proof of life that my daughter is living right now. None.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Joycelyn, herself, said in 2017 that she's happy and safe and not being held against her will.

And Kelly has continuously denied the allegations against him and has never been convicted of any charges in the past. His legal team has said the documentary is full of false allegations.

Speaking to "Good Morning America," Kelly's lawyer, Steve Greenberg, said the Lifetime network is defaming his client.

LINSEY DAVIS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Does he deny ever having a sexual relationship with someone who is under age of consent?

STEVE GREENBERG, ATTORNEY FOR R. KELLY: Yes, he absolutely does. No one ever complained about anything until some producer came and found them.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The mounting pressure has cast a spotlight on cracks within Kelly's own family and the music industry.

Kelly's estranged daughter posted this statement on Instagram, supporting the alleged victims. She says, in part, the same monster you all confronting me about is my father. I'm well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house.

Singer Lady Gaga, who recorded a song with Kelly in 2013, apologized for what she called a twisted collaboration.

CROWD: Mute R. Kelly. Mute R. Kelly.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The misconduct allegations also sparked a small protest in front of Kelly's West Side, Chicago recording studio, demanding a boycott of his music. Part of a larger effort that's been dubbed "Mute R. Kelly."

Meanwhile, Kelly appears to be unfazed by all of this, making a late- night appearance at a Chicago club in the early hours of Thursday.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Even as people continue to condemn R. Kelly, sales and streams of his music have spiked. Streaming services report that plays of Kelly's songs have more than doubled, and that would suggest that the public is torn between the music they love and the man many now vilify.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


CABRERA: Joining us now to talk about all of this is the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke.

And, Tarana, I know you appear in this docuseries.


CABRERA: These allegations have been out there for years. These stories are not new. Why do you think it's hitting a peak, the outrage, now?

BURKE: Well, I mean, we've seen a lot of things exposed over this last year because of #MeToo. And I think that the placement of this documentary and the trajectory of the year has been perfect timing for people to realize that these allegations that have been -- been talked about for years fit right into the trajectory of other things that we've been talking about. It's just that these victims look different than the other victims.

CABRERA: And when you say these victims look different, we heard from Chance the Rapper who said if these victims were White, there would have been a different reaction. What's your view on that?

BURKE: I would agree. Jim DeRogatis, who is the reporter who's been reporting on R. Kelly since the very beginning since the tapes were exposed, said, after he had extensive time spent with this case, that it's clear to him that there is no person in the country that is more vilified than Black girls. Nobody cares less about people in this country than Black girls.

CABRERA: And do you speak to that from personal experience in some --

BURKE: Absolutely.

CABRERA: -- in some regard?

BURKE: Absolutely. I think that -- I mean, we see that, you know, #MeToo exploded. And I'm glad it exploded in the way that it did, but I was doing this work for over a decade before that and we were in the Deep South working with Black girls. People weren't particularly interested in having this conversation and definitely not on the national scale. CABRERA: Wow, how far we've come and yet so far to go.

BURKE: Absolutely.

CABRERA: You know, it's not just law enforcement now taking action. You see the fallout in other ways.

You have Lady Gaga, who had a duet with R. Kelly, now removing that song from her digital album on iTunes and Apple. We have radio stations across the country dropping R. Kelly's songs as we mentioned earlier. But his record label is still behind him. Are you surprised?

BURKE: I'm surprised and I'm actually disappointed. I think that, at some point, these record labels, these companies, these businesses have to also be accountable.

Because R. Kelly is able to do the things that he's -- that he is alleged to have done because he's supported by the money that he makes from his music and through his record labels. And so they're, in fact, enabling him to do these things and to behave the way that he was doing because he has the resources to do it. They have to be accountable on some level, too.

[18:45:06] And there's also evidence that people in his record labels knew about these allegations and didn't do anything about them. So to continue to have him on the label when he's not even really a popular singer at this point, right? He's not like a top singer that we have hits coming out, you know --


BURKE: -- on a regular basis. So I don't understand it.

CABRERA: Tarana Burke, good to have you with us.

BURKE: Thank you. Good to be here.

CABRERA: Always appreciate it. And we'll be right back but, first, I want to bring you Christine Romans with this week's "Before the Bell."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Earnings season kicks off this week and profit growth is expected to slow.

Analysts predict fourth-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 will rise about 11 percent. Now, that's still in the double digits but slower than the first three quarters of 2018.

Several companies have already signaled what's coming. Two weeks ago, Apple cut its revenue forecast, citing slowing iPhone sales in China. Macy's, Carnival, and FedEx are among the other companies warning of disappointing results.

The big question -- have investors already priced in slower earnings growth? Last week, the stock market rebounded despite some downbeat earnings news, and Apple shares have recovered since the company issued that sales warning.

Still, the market will be watching closely for clues about the 2019 outlook. If tariffs concerns and other macroeconomic worries dominate those earnings calls, that's not a positive sign for investors.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.


[18:51:07] CABRERA: We are giving you a front row seat to the runway of American history. From World War II to the women's movement to Woodstock, all these forces have influenced what Americans wear to work and play.

And it's this collision of history and fashion that's the subject of a brand-new CNN ORIGINAL SERIES, "AMERICAN STYLE." Here's a preview.


KIMBERLY TRUHLER, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, GLAMAMOR: Forties and '50s were definitely America finding itself.

TIM GUNN, FASHION HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR: Americans felt very second- rate when comparing ourselves to Europe.

VANESSA FRIEDMAN, FASHION DIRECTOR AND CHIEF FASHION CRITIC, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sportswear became the defining style of the United States.

GUNN: The bikini was the biggest thing since the atom bomb.



CHRISTOPHER REID, FORMER RAPPER, KID 'N PLAY: Disco was very important in terms of people being free to express themselves.

CHRISTIE BRINKLEY, MODEL AND ACTRESS: In the '80s, it was a lot of excess in every way.

CARSON KRESSLEY, CELEBRITY STYLIST AND FASHION DESIGNER: We had our Calvin Klein's and Ralph Laurens and Donna Karans.

GUNN: Calvin Klein's advertising was rather scandalous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His underwear ads stopped traffic in Times Square.

BOYD: By the '90s and 2000s, things have become less formal.

TINA CRAIG, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BAG SNOB: Supermodels really brought fashion into every household.

JOHN A. TIFFANY, FASHION HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR: Now, what's embraced is being yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Style gives you a voice. It's freedom.


CABRERA: I spoke earlier to celebrity stylist Joe Zee about how American style came into its own. Take a look.


CABRERA: It seems that American style is constantly evolving, so how do you define it? What makes it unique?

JOE ZEE, FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AND EXECUTIVE CREATIVE OFFICER, YAHOO! STYLE: Well, I mean, I think when you really break down American style, it really isn't about fashion. You know, fashion isn't really just about clothes, but it's really about an expression, a way of life.

And I think, as you've seen it in all of these decades -- and I think that's the beauty of this particular series, that you've seen how fashion can really articulate a period of time and how it can really reflect culture and all these social themes that are happening around us all of the time.

CABRERA: In our premiere episode, it starts out by looking at American style in the post-World War II years. What styles and trends would you say helped the U.S. make its mark on the world stage in the '40s and '50s?

ZEE: Well, I mean, I think fashion-wise, America has always lived in the shadow of the European fashion cities, Paris and Milan. But I think what happened in the '50s, particularly right after the war, was that you had the emergence of American sportswear.

And really, you have to credit that to one American designer, Claire McCardell. You know, she really took the idea of, like -- it was literally sportswear, like cotton jerseys and things that were reserved for something that was a lot more leisurely made into everyday clothes.

And people were scandalized and shocked by this idea because it wasn't as per seen as -- as what they were seeing overseas with the new look at Dior and everything but the fact that women could put this on, look incredibly great and stylish, and feel comfortable at the same time.

CABRERA: And yet I think of American style in the '50s as more conservative or proper and preppy. But then comes the '60s and '70s, and it seems like everything changes. What were some of the cultural forces at play then?

ZEE: Well, I mean, I think, definitely, you saw the world of "I Love Lucy" in the '50s really morph into -- like the hipsters and the hippies and Woodstock but, really, '60s was about a really great economic time.

And I think you've all heard this before, the hemline index. As the economy goes up, so do skirt lengths. And I think that's when you saw the emergence of miniskirt because it was a very sort of fruitful, economic times at that time. So it was really about fun and having that sort of frivolity in the world and you saw that reflected in the clothes.

CABRERA: Yes. Of all the fashions that are explored in those first couple of episodes, from the bikini to the zoot suits to the miniskirt --

ZEE: Yes.

CABRERA: -- do you have a favorite of that time period?

[18:54:53] ZEE: Oh, wow. You know, I think it was the idea of something as basic as a white T-shirt. And I think you saw the men's white undershirt really come to life with Clark Gable, literally in a movie, who took his white shirt off and was wearing a men's white undershirt. And it really became all the rage in, like, quote/unquote, in that time, became viral. But you know -- but the white T-shirt really being so --

CABRERA: The white T-shirt.


ZEE: -- being really sort of brought to life by someone like James Dean. And I think you saw something as simple like that become a staple of American style.


CABRERA: Our thanks to Joe Zee. Make sure you tune in tonight. Don't miss it. It's the premiere of "AMERICAN STYLE" at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

Two bombshell reports in just 48 hours rocking Washington this weekend, raising more serious questions about the President's relationship with Russia.

Like, why would President Trump reportedly confiscate notes of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin? And what are lawmakers going to do about it, if anything?


[19:00:07] CABRERA: Top of the hour, you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.