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U.S. Women's World Cup Champions; Case against Spacey May be Dismissed; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) is Interviewed on Acosta Questions. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 9, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Youngest American to score in a World Cup match. You scored three goals in this tournament.


HARLOW: As you look at this and where you were at the last women's World Cup final, right, watching in a pizza shop, how big was this for you?

LAVELLE: Yes, I mean it's -- it's like so weird when something that you've seen yourself -- you've wanted to do for so long finally comes to fruition. But I think I'm just so proud to be a part of this team and it -- this isn't about me. It's about this team and about everyone who supported us along the way and has helped us get here and --


LAVELLE: I feel so lucky.

HARLOW: You battled, Kelly, a recent battle, ankle injury, et cetera.


HARLOW: That must make this win even sweeter.

O'HARA: Yes, a lot of people have asked if this feels different than 2015. And it does. All the -- you know, all the different wins and major tournaments feel different, but this one was definitely a different point in my life and stage of my career. And, thankfully, I was able to be a part of it and be a part of this amazing team. I wouldn't be here without my teammates and my support crew and everybody in my life. And, yes, it's a pretty sweet feeling.

HARLOW: This Nike ad, I'm sure you guys have seen it, that ran after you guys won. There's this one part of it that I --

O'HARA: Oh, we've seen it.

HARLOW: OK, well, good.

O'HARA: Yes.

HARLOW: Well, let's watch, because here's the part that really strikes me about you guys.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that we will be four time champions and keep winning until we not only become the best female soccer team, but the best soccer team in the world, and that a whole generation of girls and boys will go out and play and say things like, I want to be like Megan Rapinoe when I grow up.


HARLOW: What I loved about that -- you can have water. Relax.

O'HARA: We -- we need it.

HARLOW: We've got all day. You deserve some champagne as well.

O'HARA: We should have (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: Just saying.

But hearing that, that you hear her say that one day we will get to a place where little girls and little boys will say, we want to play like Megan Rapinoe, right, and like all of you.

What does that mean to you in this moment of a true fight for equality for, I think, all of us women?

O'HARA: Yes, I don't think that's one day we'll get there. I think we're there. I think there are little boys, and I know little girls, that say that and want to be like Megan Rapinoe and --

HARLOW: And Rose.

O'HARA: And Rose Lavelle, and -- and everybody and just aspire to -- to be brilliant. And, yes, I think we're there.

HARLOW: But where you're not there, Rose, is on equal pay. You guys are not paid equally. And I think -- that's OK. Do you want another sip of water? Take another sip of water.

LAVELLE: I have a tickle in my throat.

HARLOW: Because this is a -- this is a really important fight you now face at home.

O'HARA: Yes, for sure. For sure.

HARLOW: On gender discrimination, that you guys are alleging against the U.S. Soccer Federation, saying we perform -- outperform the men. Look at the revenue we bring in. Look at the ratings you bring in versus the men's World Cup last year.

O'HARA: Yes. HARLOW: But you're not paid equally.

Did this win get you closer to winning that fight?

O'HARA: Yes, I think that this win changes the conversation to, do we deserve it, to, OK, how are we actually going to get the action? What are we going to see from FIFA, from U.S. Soccer, from the sponsors, because we've always been about pushing forward, not just for ourselves but for the world and I think this win was another step in the right direction and it just shows that we do deserve it and they do have to now have action behind it.

HARLOW: But should it, Rose, take this win, right? Should you have to have all of these wins to just get equality, to just get equal pay?

LAVELLE: No. No. No, but, I mean, I think this kind of is the statement that we need. And I think, like I said, it's not really about -- it's not, do we deserve it anymore. That's -- that conversation has passed and now it's, what do we need to do next?

HARLOW: One thing that I noticed was -- it was back in high school for you, Kelley, that you talked about first noticing gender inequality. And I think all women -- we've all seen it in different ways in our lives. I think I've been far more fortunate than many women in terms of not feeling like I faced a lot of discrimination, but I've certainly gone through some.

O'HARA: Yes.

HARLOW: When did you first start feeling it as a high school player?

O'HARA: It actually wasn't high school, it was more so college, just because you can see the difference in what the football players get, American football players get, compared to, you know, women's soccer. And I went to an amazing athletic school in Stanford and they treated us really, really well, but it's just, that's par for the course, unfortunately. And that was really the first time that I felt it. I was lucky enough to grow up like you, not really feeling it and kind of always thought I was better than the boys. And I think that's just how my parents raised me, thankfully. But, yes, I think in college is when I first felt it. And then becoming a professional soccer player, then you really, really feel it.

HARLOW: Rose, if the president invites you guys to the White House, we'll see, he says they're thinking about it, do you want to go? Is that important for you and the team?

LAVELLE: I think we're kind of all on the same page as this. Kind of, I guess, we'll cross that bridge when we get that. But, yes, right now we're just celebrating. But I think we're on the same page.

[09:35:03] HARLOW: Which is -- what page is that, Kelley?

O'HARA: Umm --

HARLOW: Are you going or are you not? O'HARA: I think that's a conversation we have to have as a team and I think that we'll -- like she said, deal with it after we enjoy all this time together.

HARLOW: What about Congress? You've been invited.

O'HARA: I know.

HARLOW: Capitol Hill.

O'HARA: Yes. I think that's -- yes, we'll have to talk about it. We -- we're pretty busy ladies.

HARLOW: All right, well --

O'HARA: Our schedules are full. But, yes, it would be pretty cool to do that.

HARLOW: You're so busy. Thank you so much for taking the time to be here today. A highlight of my day for sure. We're excited for tomorrow. We're going to have live, special coverage, my colleagues, Alisyn Camerota and Dave Briggs are going to be down at the parade.

O'HARA: Awesome.

HARLOW: Have fun.

O'HARA: It's going to be great. Yes, come out. We'll see you guys tomorrow in New York.

HARLOW: Enjoy it. I mean our -- my three-year-old daughter and one- year-old son will be reading about you in the history books.

O'HARA: Yes, they will. Awesome.

HARLOW: Pretty great. Congrats, guys.

O'HARA: Thank you.

LAVELLE: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thanks very much.

All right, tonight, their fellow player, World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, will sit down one-on-one with Anderson Cooper. You'll see that right here, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

All right, coming up for us, a wild hearing in the sexual assault case against Kevin Spacey. The judge could toss the whole case out. We'll tell you why.


[09:40:24] HARLOW: A Massachusetts judge could throw out the sexual assault case against Kevin Spacey after his accuser in court yesterday invoked the Fifth Amendment. This was a surprising and turbulent hearing. The actor is accused of getting an 18-year-old man drunk and groping him at a bar in Nantucket back in 2016. The accuser apparently sent text messages and a video to a girlfriend during the alleged incident. The phone he used, though, because the defense is asking to see it, is now missing apparently, as are some of the messages. But after testifying that he did not delete those texts, Spacey's accuser decided to take the Fifth.

Jean Casarez was in court. She is with me now following this case.

What a dramatic turn and one I did not expect.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was an amazing hearing. I mean from beginning to end. And the lead investigator had testified that data on the phone had been altered. They didn't do more forensic work to determine exactly what had been altered, but they knew that something had been changed.

But the accuser took the stand and he said emphatically that he did not delete anything, but he said he and his mother talked. Yes, maybe they talked about five times. Over five times. She had possession of the phone. Maybe theoretically the two of them had talked about deleting some of the text messages.

So then there's a break. A long break. And another attorney that was in the courtroom, on another criminal case, must have approached him and said, you have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because if you're not telling the truth on the stand, if he had deleted -- I'm not saying he did -- but potentially, or, in fact, if there were other aspects of this case, tampering with evidence, he could be charged.

So then he comes back -- and that attorney, who just met him, stood up in court and said, your honor, he's invoking his Fifth Amendment right.

HARLOW: I mean what --

CASAREZ: The judge realized that he could. And the judge said, we've got to strike all this testimony.

So you're ending up --

HARLOW: That's remarkable.

CASAREZ: With no cellphone so the defense can look at forensically a little deeper and the young man can never testify about the phone during a trial.

HARLOW: And an attorney, who was not even his attorney?

CASAREZ: Not even his attorney.


CASAREZ: Someone who's there for someone else.

HARLOW: A few -- a few questions on this.

At one point the accuser's father was threatened with contempt of court.

CASAREZ: That was amazing. He took the stand. The emotions that he had inside were so overwhelming, because it's his son and he believes that his son was sexually assaulted by Kevin Spacey and he had no respect for the stellar defense attorney, Alan Jackson. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you've had way too many questions that have gone way too far.

JUDGE: Sir, listen to me, you keep this up, I'm going to hold you in contempt. This is a criminal proceeding and you will cooperate or, as I say, you'll be held in contempt.


You want to let everyone know what that was that happened?

ALAN JACKSON, KEVIN SPACEY'S ATTORNEY: Who was there when you looked at his text message?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I asked you a question.

JUDGE: Listen, are you not hearing me, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: : I am. I'm sorry. Look, I'm sorry. My son --

JUDGE: Listen to me. This is not about that at this moment. It's about what you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's turned into that.

JUDGE: You -- you -- listen, you're real close.


CASAREZ: The Massachusetts State Police had testified that they gave the phone back to the father in December of 2017. He testified, I don't remember that that at all. They went to his home. So the cellphone will never be found.

HARLOW: Wow. Jean Casarez, please stay on this. I know you will. Remarkable to see that play out in court. We appreciate it very much.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you, Jean.

All right, this morning the president's own labor secretary is facing mounting pressure to resign over a sweetheart deal that he cut as a federal prosecutor years ago with Jeffrey Epstein, a multi-millionaire now accused of running a sex trafficking ring of minors. So is Congress going to step in here and do something? I'll ask a lawmaker, next.


[09:48:45] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back.

Minutes from now a source tells us that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will call for the resignation of the president's labor secretary, Alexander Acosta. Acosta is facing growing criticism over that sweetheart deal that he helped get Jeffrey Epstein some ten years ago when Epstein pleaded guilty to two state prostitution charges. Well, today, he is charged with allegedly operating a sex trafficking ring of minors and abusing dozens of underage girls.

My next guest has been calling for months for the DOJ to investigate Acosta. Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is with me this morning.

Thank you so much for being with me.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): You're welcome. Good morning.

HARLOW: And even after -- even after your calls for the DOJ's inspector general to look into Acosta, you said just yesterday, if the DOJ will not adequately review an account for the miscarriage of justice that Acosta authorized, Congress must step in and provide that vigorous oversight.

You sit on the House Oversight Committee.


HARLOW: Obviously it's the Senate that confirmed him. What should we expect Congress to do about this?

SCHULTZ: I mean, really, what we're -- what we're dealing with here is that the president essentially knowingly appointed someone to be his secretary of labor, who, by the way, is responsible for policing human trafficking laws in this country, who coddled a sexual predator, who allowed a sexual predator, Jeffrey Epstein, to get off without prison time, to get off without any real consequences. And finally, thanks to the Southern District of New York, there's been an arrest and now for new charges there's -- there's going to be a case that will move forward.

[09:50:20] What we need to do in Congress is be very careful about not interfering with that prosecution. And so while Congress certainly needs to engage in accountability here, and I want to see -- I want to see that happen, we also have to make sure that we are careful, as we usually need to be, when there is a criminal case moving forward.

HARLOW: OK, so you're waiting and watching, it sounds like.

But this criminal case against Epstein --

SCHULTZ: No. No, I wouldn't say I'm --

HARLOW: Well, just -- I guess I'm just wondering what you --

SCHULTZ: Yes, I wouldn't say waiting and watching.

HARLOW: OK. OK. Fair enough.

What you would like Congress to do, as it pertains to Acosta's position, right, as the feds prosecute Epstein, what do you think should happen in the meantime to Acosta?

SCHULTZ: Well, first and foremost, the president should fire him. If the president doesn't fire him, he -- he certainly should resign. This is a person, again, who is responsible for the human trafficking laws, responsible for enforcing child labor laws and protecting the vulnerable from being abused. And when he was the U.S. attorney in -- in my community, he allowed Jeffrey Epstein to get off nearly scot- free. He sexually abused dozens of girls and is accused once again of that. And this is the last person on God's green earth that should be responsible for protecting the vulnerable in this country.

HARLOW: And just to note, for people who -- who don't know all the back story here, it wasn't just getting -- cutting this sweetheart deal. It was also moving part of this to Miami to keep it out of the hands of the press, away from the victims, many of whom, you know, were very poor --

SCHULTZ: For protecting the people who assisted him, Poppy.


SCHULTZ: I mean Acosta cut a deal that allowed others to get off.

HARLOW: But --

SCHULTZ: They hid -- they hid the non-prosecution agreement from the victims. A federal judge has said that that violated the Crime Victim's Rights Act and that they broke federal law with the non- prosecution agreement.

But yet President Trump is still coddling this --


SCHULTZ: This -- this guy who -- who protected a sexual predator, which we shouldn't be surprised about because the president himself has been accused by more than 20 women of sexually assaulting them. So it's not really -- it shouldn't surprise us.

HARLOW: All -- all of -- all of -- and the president has denied vehemently all of those accusations.

Let me get to this, though, because he was confirmed by the Senate in 2017. Senator Tim Kaine questioned him extensively about this case. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): My understanding is that there's a pending civil lawsuit filed by a couple of the victims in that case seeking to argue that they should have been given notice prior to the plea deal being entered into. Is that your understanding as well?

ALEXANDER ACOSTA: The -- my understanding is that there is a pending civil lawsuit.


HARLOW: So there's that. But, still, you had nine Democratic caucus members, including independent Angus King, who voted to affirm Acosta. Six of them are still in the Senate.

In fact, here is what West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said, quote, about Acosta, if he made a mistake or a judgment call or something like that, does that affect the way he's doing his job now? I'm basically going to judge him on the job he's doing and how he is doing it.

What's your message to him?

SCHULTZ: If Senator Manchin made that comment recently, then I vehemently disagree with his assessment. I've led an effort with my -- with my other colleagues to insist that the Justice Department have their independent office of inspector general do an investigation about the appropriateness of that non-prosecution agreement and for there to be consequences for all involved, including Acosta. And what they did was they sent it over to the Office of Professional Responsibility, which has no accountability because that line of authority goes right to the attorney general, who's essentially functioning as the president's personal lawyer, and his only interest is in protecting the president.

So, at this point, thanks to the really incredible investigative journalism by Julie K. Brown at "The Miami Herald," we know a lot more than we did when that confirmation hearing took place. You know, there has been a massive spotlight shown on just how awful the results and the impact of this non-prosecution agreement was. You know, even if the president and his administration would say they didn't really know as much as they should have when they first nominate him, now they do. And the last thing he should be doing is protecting a sexual predator -- someone who allowed a sexual predator to nearly get off scot-free. And he should resign or the president should fire him. But this is not a person who should be at all responsible any longer for protecting the vulnerable. And, again, the secretary of labor is responsible for --

[09:55:20] HARLOW: Right.

SCHULTZ: Enforcing the child labor laws --

HARLOW: Congresswoman --

SCHULTZ: And making sure that we go after human traffickers.

HARLOW: We have to leave it there. Thank you very much for being with me.

SCHULTZ: You're welcome.

HARLOW: And I think, for everyone, if they have not yet read Julie Brown's incredible reporting in "The Miami Herald," they should read it in full.

Thank you very much.

We'll be right back.