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Trump Prepares to Meet With North Korea Leader; Patriots Owner Charged With Soliciting Prostitution; Interview With Presidential Candidate John Delaney. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired February 25, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:02]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Science that proves that there is -- man is not causing climate change?

KELLY KNIGHT CRAFT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS NOMINEE: Well, I think that both sides have -- you know, they have their own results from their studies. And I appreciate and I respect both sides of the science.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Both sides, she said it three times.

JOHN DELANEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right.

BALDWIN: I see you shaking your head. Is that disqualifying?

DELANEY: Yes, I think it's disqualifying.

There's no both sides to this debate, just like there was no both sides to what happened in Charlottesville, right, around race relations in this country, right? And both sides seems to be a phrase that they like to use in this administration.

There is no both sides argument on climate change. The facts are clear. They're unassailable. It's happening. And human behavior is contributing to it. We have to do something right away to avert the most negative consequences.

We're already looking at pretty negative consequences. I have a plan to do that. I think my plan is consistent with positive economic growth. We can put a carbon tax in place. I introduced the only bipartisan carbon tax bill in the Congress.

I think I can get that done in my first year as president. We should be increasing the Department of Energy research budget by five-fold to actually innovate our way out of this problem. We need new technologies in storage and energy distribution.

We ought to be investing in these technologies that can actually pull carbon out of the atmosphere. We need leaders in our country that understand how significant a risk this is, bring the American people around commonsense solutions that can actually get done and confront this, so that my kids and everyone's kids out there and our grandkids actually live in a world -- the kind of world that we have been able to enjoy.

BALDWIN: Congressman John Delaney, thank you, sir.

DELANEY: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

And do not forget everyone watching, tonight, Wolf Blitzer moderates our next CNN presidential town hall with Senator Bernie Sanders. That is live from Washington tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.

All right, we continue on. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Here's the breaking news out of Florida, where Bob Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, along with 24 other individuals, has been charged with soliciting prostitution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE ARONBERG, PALM BEACH COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY: This charges a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a mandatory $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service, and a class on the dangers of prostitution and human trafficking.

These cases aren't about any one defendant or any group of defendants. The larger picture which we must all confront is the cold reality that many prostitutes in cases like this are themselves victims.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Investigators say the Kraft visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, twice, and that there is video showing him receiving -- quote -- "paid acts" at this facility, as well as surveillance video showing him being driven to this facility.

Now, in a statement, a spokesperson for Bob Kraft categorically denied that he engaged in any illegal activity.

Sara Azari is a white-collar criminal defense attorney.

And, Sara, listening to the state's attorney, just in the last hour, we learned that he has lawyered up, retaining a defense attorney in Florida. What are their next steps here?

SARA AZARI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, look, Brooke, being a defendant in criminal proceedings doesn't often lead to a happy ending, pun intended.

But, in this case, these are nothing burgers. These are low-level misdemeanors that often get resolved by infractions. He will do some classes, he will pay a fine, and they will go away. But the bigger picture here is the sex trafficking.

It's the fact that, but for the consumers, but for people like Kraft, there wouldn't be these women who are victimized, right, so there's a supply and demand issue. These women are walking around emaciated. They're not eating. They're not talking. And with time, that code of silence is going to be broken by the police.

These women are going to cooperate they're going to speak, because they're going to realize that they can avoid prostitution charges, that they can stay in the country and get a special visa. And they're eventually going to cooperate.

And then there's a presumption of innocence. He is -- he has constitutional rights. He's a defendant. He's presumed innocent. Of course he says or his representative says that he wasn't involved, but come on.

There's video evidence, which is pretty damning. And keep in mind that these two victims may talk.

BALDWIN: Yes. Yes.

There's so much to this story, the women, the victims, obviously what happens with Bob Kraft.

Sara Azari, thank you very much.

And I will be talking with the county sheriff who's really been at the forefront of this whole investigation who was quoted today saying, this really was a rescue operation with regard to all these women. And we will talk to him in just a moment.

But back to politics right now.

The president of the United States is flying to Hanoi, Vietnam, headed to his second summit with Kim Jong-un to get the North Korean dictator to denuclearize. It has kicked off what is expected to be a week of high drama in Washington.

[15:05:00]

So, tomorrow, the Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the helm, will introduce a resolution to block the president's national emergency to fund his border wall.

That is also the same day that the President's former attorney Michael Cohen will testify behind closed doors to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Now, Wednesday is the biggie. Circle this one. Wednesday, the North Korean summit actually takes place. That is also the day that Michael Cohen testifies in public before the House Oversight Committee. So, stay tuned for that. We will take that live.

Finally, on Thursday, Cohen once again goes behind closed doors to testify to the House Intelligence Committee, and the Trump-Kim summit winds down, with President Trump returning back to the White House.

CNN political director David Chalian is with me now.

And so, David, the split-screen coverage that our colleague Stephen Collinson referenced in his wonderful piece today, that's all happening this week. Right? So you will have the president on one side, Michael Cohen on the other.

Where are you more intrigued?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I'm just intrigued in watching how the president handles the very kinds of things that tend to get under his skin and animate his Twitter feed when he's home in the White House watching the coverage.

How does he handle that overseas when he's on the world stage with a high-stakes summit with North Korea? Does he use the North Korean summit, Brooke, to try and counterprogram the Michael Cohen stuff or the stuff about the vote in the House on his emergency action?

Or does he instead allow himself to become consumed, as we have seen him do, whether waiting for the Mueller report or watching the Michael Cohen testimony or getting a readout, does that become what dominates and consumes his thinking and therefore have an impact on how he's dealing with Kim Jong-un on the world stage?

BALDWIN: On your point that he is away holding this extremely important meeting while Congress will be questioning Michael Cohen, is it appropriate for Congress to be doing that while the president is negotiating on foreign soil?

CHALIAN: Yes, I mean, I don't think that Congress has ever really stopped its investigative powers or using the power of their chairmanships of either party.

I think that what we have seen usually in the past is that they tend not to infiltrate -- or infiltrate into sort of foreign policy turf, Brooke, right?

BALDWIN: Yes.

CHALIAN: I think it would be odd if they were holding some big high- profile hearing about U.S. relations with North Korea while the president was overseas.

BALDWIN: Sure.

CHALIAN: But this is -- as you know, Michael Cohen is getting ready to go to prison. And so this has long been on the agenda item. And I can't imagine that Democrats would think that they need to halt this because of the Kim Jong-un summit.

BALDWIN: Not to be overshadowed, the president also announced a signing summit over that China trade deal, which is also not just important economically to everyone back home, but politically as well.

CHALIAN: Without a doubt, right?

I mean, first of all, if indeed this has positive impact on the markets and the president able to tout that, that, of course, has a political overspill effect. I mean, this is why I find it so intriguing.

You have things that could be potential, potential big successes and achievements that this president would want 100 percent focus on, and you have these other things going on. And it is going to be up to him, the president, in many ways to determine how much attention is paid to one or the other.

If he's able to really deliver something, whether it is China trade or whether real deliverables come out of the North Korean summit, and he's able to remain focused and disciplined on that, and not get distracted by some of the noise in Washington, that would go a long way for his ability to break through with some of those potential successes.

BALDWIN: Obviously, the Democrats hope otherwise in terms of beating the president come November 2019.

Bernie Sanders is one of them. We're hosting this presidential town hall. Wolf Blitzer is asking Senator Sanders all kinds of questions this evening here on CNN. And it's interesting to discuss. All these other Democrats are now sort of sharing his progressive lane, right, in their route to the presidency.

What will you be listening for from him tonight?

CHALIAN: It's such a good point. He really does have a lot more company in that sort of left wing of the party.

What I'm listening for is, Bernie Sanders has been asked in the last week since he launched his campaign what's going to be different this time. He said, well, I'm going to win this time.

Well, that's OK. But what is actually going to be different in his approach to running for the presidency that would result in that outcome that he thinks he would be able to win this time? What adjustments need to be made? How does he approach this in some way to expand beyond the base of support that he collected, which is clearly still there?

We saw him raise $6 million first 24 hours. He still has this national grassroots army, Brooke, but I am very curious to listen for what does he plan to do different this time.

BALDWIN: We will be watching, as you will.

David Chalian, thank you again.

[15:10:01]

Just reminding all of you watching, the live CNN presidential town hall with Senator Bernie Sanders, it starts at 8:00 Eastern tonight here on CNN. So please tune in for that.

Coming up next: Vice President Mike Pence meeting face to face today with Venezuela's opposition leader, assuring him the U.S. is with him 100 percent. We will take you to Colombia live after a weekend of violent protests.

Plus, President Trump lashing out at former Democratic leader Harry Reid after he spoke exclusively to CNN. Hear how the senator said that the 2020 candidates, how they should handle Trump on the campaign trail.

And, later, Spike Lee up in arms after losing the best picture Oscar to "Green Book." We will talk to a guest who says he's right to be mad and calls "Green Book" an embarrassment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:15:09]

BALDWIN: New today, the U.S. is calling for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to deal with this crisis unfolding in Venezuela.

This comes as two U.S. defense officials tell CNN that U.S. military reconnaissance flights have ramped up off of Venezuela's coast. They say the goal is to gather critical classified intelligence about embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Vice President Mike Pence is in Bogota, Colombia, right now. He personally assured the man who wants Maduro's job that he has full U.S. support, the vice president delivering a message from President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He sent me here to stand with you and to stand with our friends and allies in Venezuela.

And to you, President Guaido, a very simple message from President Trump, that we are with you 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Maduro is blocking trucks carrying aid from the U.S. from entering the country. Shipments were set on fire over the weekend. And there were violent clashes at Venezuela's border with Colombia.

And CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in Bogota for us this afternoon.

And, Nick, the vice president today told Latin American leaders it is time to do more. What are the next steps?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he wants a travel ban by basically all Venezuela's neighbors against Maduro government officials. Now, that may be something we see come into effect reasonably soon.

Unclear. He himself unveiled sanctions -- not a lot, frankly -- against key Venezuelan governors, regional governors, in the areas where the disturbances over the weekend actually occurred.

And he promised more potentially down the line in the next two or three days. He did also tell Juan Guaido that America is 100 percent behind you. But it's the practical measures that really count here.

Today was a show of regional unity behind Juan Guaido. But we're talking about a man who is now outside of Venezuela, declared himself president over a month ago. And the weekend was sort of a key test for him. He left the country especially for it to try and bring aid from Colombia into Venezuela.

And you saw the picture of those classes. Well, cynics are saying that was inevitable, frankly, and perhaps part of the opposition's plan to have scenes like that so public, to make the next steps against the Maduro government, fierce as they may be, more justified.

We will wait and see what they are. Today, I think, was really about showing international cohesion behind Juan Guaido -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Nick, thank you very much in Bogota for us there on this -- the clashes that continue and this humanitarian crisis unfolding.

Meantime, here at home, the monsters are the men. Those are the words of the sheriff who announced the sting at a Florida day spa. It has resulted in charges against some of the country's most powerful men.

But coming up next, we will talk about the women at the center of this story.

Plus, former Democratic Senator Harry Reid once called George W. Bush, the worst president, but now he says he would gladly take him in the Trump era. More blunt talk from Harry Reid ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:22:55]

BALDWIN: Enough.

We have to talk about these women who are vulnerable, who don't feel empowered to use their voices. They don't have the platform, sometimes the courage or certainly the means to say, enough.

They have been used and tossed out like trash by billionaires, music stars, powerful men who have been accused of horrendous things. And too often these seemingly invisible women get overlooked.

Let me give you the last three examples.

In the case of R. Kelly, the charges against him date back decades, showing a pattern, years of alleged sexual abuse. So, why now?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMILAH LEMIEUX, INTERACTIVE ONE: We have been asking for decades to pay attention to the stories of these black girls.

Why do you think it took so long?

LEMIEUX: Because they were black.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Kelly has been accused of cruising Chicago fast-food joints, his old high school, preying upon starstruck teenagers.

And, sometimes, Kelly would wait in his car while someone on his team would allegedly approach these girls, getting their numbers.

Enough.

In the case of Robert Kraft, the billionaire Patriots owner, get past the tabloid headlines and the charges against him of soliciting prostitution, first-degree misdemeanors, and you will see women allegedly being trafficked around the world, around a state, living in despicable conditions, forced into hell, hell in plain sight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM SNYDER, MARTIN COUNTY, FLORIDA, SHERIFF: They were averaging eight clients a day. And, if you do the math, that's approximately 1,500 men a year, with no days off.

It was clear that multiple women were working and living inside the spas. They were cooking on the back steps to the business. They were sleeping in the massage parlor on the massage tables. They had no access to transportation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: As Sheriff Snyder told "The New York Times," it was really a rescue operation. He said the monsters are the men.

Enough.

And one of the president's Cabinet members, former U.S. attorney Alex Acosta, served as the federal prosecutor in charge when a billionaire got a sweetheart of a deal.

[15:25:07]

The Department of Justice found to have broken the law in the case of Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused, but not convicted, being a serial six abuser of underage girls. And these girls, according to all this reporting out of "The Miami Herald," included some of the most vulnerable, a foster child who he promised new shoes for school, or a runaway lured to be a part-time masseuse.

These are girls he paid to bring him more girls, according to "The Herald."

His punishment, a plea deal, which meant Jeffrey Epstein only got 13 months in prison on lesser prostitution charges during which he could leave for work and no federal trial. Just think about that. A federal investigation identified at least 36 under age victims, 36.

Enough.

As Roxanne Jones wrote in a CNN piece, the common thread, she says: "This is systematic exploitation of young girls and women who often are poor, vulnerable, ignored, and silenced."

And I will say, in the past two years, our collective conscious has been awakened to this as a result of allegations against Hollywood's biggest names, or NFL owners, or Grammy Award-winning musicians.

We should note R. Kelly and Robert Kraft have deny these allegations they're facing.

But let me be clear. This story is bigger than these men, much bigger. We should be focused on empowering and protecting the women they're accused of victimizing. Let this be a time of reckoning. These seemingly invisible women need to know your voice has a power no amount of money or power or fame can buy.

Enough is enough.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, you just heard me quote him, is with me now. He was the one who announced this sting in Florida just last week that includes those solicitation charges against Bob Kraft.

And moments ago, the state's attorney for Palm Beach County said that there are no charges of human trafficking yet.

But, Sheriff, you tell me. That could change as the investigation proceeds?

SNYDER: Well, yes, Brooke. Good afternoon.

It could absolutely change. As a matter of fact, just before I came on air with you, I was watching an interview with one of our victims, one of the women who had been trafficked. And I was listening firsthand to her story.

And our goal with her is to get her to cooperate, give us the probable cause we need to add to the existing charges. And that would be a charge of trafficking.

BALDWIN: It's interesting hearing how you say try to get her to talk.

I was reading that there were -- a lot of Mandarin translators were brought in and a lot of these women -- is it a trust issue? Why is it so difficult for them to speak their truth?

SNYDER: You know, what I try to do, I try to put myself in their position and try to understand what their rationale is and why they are oftentimes reluctant to cooperate.

And what we're trying to understand in our cases is, what was the coercion point? What is it that caused these women to go and allow themselves to be trafficked, to work long hours, from 9:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night, no days off, eating off of hot plates?

They had the -- they had the ability. They could have walked out into the street and asked for help, but they didn't. And in our case that we're working now, she is maintaining that she was afraid that her family in China would be at risk if she cooperated.

BALDWIN: Which explains why you call this a rescue operation.

Sheriff, you're a former state legislator who wrote the first human trafficking bill in the state of Florida. So you have a lot of history on this very issue. Will you just tell me, why has this been so important for you?

SNYDER: In my whole life, in my career in law enforcement, one of the things that I have always detested was the bully.

And although we're tasked with investigating crimes where there may not be bullying, whenever there's a power imbalance -- and I think your former guest was talking about it -- I feel like it's my job, it's my responsibility to try to step in and stop the bullying.

And, in this case, this is really the ultimate bullying. You have a woman who probably comes from a province in China where maybe education isn't the biggest thing in her life. And she finds herself lured here to the United States, in our case, she testified, to the promise of working in a nail salon, and then finds herself trafficked.

So your question to me, what was -- why is it so important to me...

BALDWIN: Yes.

SNYDER: ... is because, if I don't give them a voice, they have no voice.

BALDWIN: Thank you for the work you do, Sheriff Snyder. Thank you so much.

SNYDER: You're very welcome.

BALDWIN: We are getting some breaking news now, getting word the foreign minister of Iran has just resigned. We have details on that next.

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