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Epstein's Accusers Speak To Court As Case Dismissal Is Expected; Former Google Executive Has Been Arrested For Theft; Tropical Storm Dorian Is Expected To Be Near Hurricane Strength When It Reaches Puerto Rico. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired August 27, 2019 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin, you're watching CNN, thank you so much for being with me. We are covering three major court cases today involving big names from Washington, D.C. to Hollywood.

Actress Lori Loughlin is in court soon in the whole college admissions scam, and a deadline involving the President's tax returns hits in less than two hours. But we want to begin this hour with the hearing for the survivors of serial sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, a multi- millionaire financier who killed himself 17 days ago inside his Manhattan jail cell.

So today's hearing was scheduled after prosecutors told the judge that they are seeking to have Epstein's indictment dismissed. But that judge wanted to give all of these women, all of these accusers, at least a dozen of them there today a chance to speak on the record about what Epstein allegedly did to them.

And at least one was thankful for the chance not only to be heard, but to also hear from others who survived as well.


JENNIFER ARAOZ, EPSTEIN ACCUSER: I just wanted to thank everybody for constant support during this really difficult time. It was so powerful in there hearing all the other victims and very similar stories that I have endured.

I want to thank the judge for letting us speak. Having some closure. It's still going to be a rough road. But I also wanted to thank all the survivors that had reached out to me as well, and telling me their stories. It really means a lot. I'm here for anyone that went through something similar. I thank everybody.


BALDWIN: Melissa Murray is a Professor at NYU Law School, also with a CNN Senior Reporter, Vicky Ward. So ladies, thank you for being here. And I mean, to me, this story is about the women. Right?

Vicky, starting with you. I heard one description inside the courtroom that they filled up three and a half of the benches.


BALDWIN: The seats in this courtroom because they wanted their voices heard. What does that say to you? And what did they say?

WARD: Well, I think, you know, Judge Berman really made this about the victims. He did not have to do this today. It was a very sort of controversial and unprecedented in many ways decision. He was very clear at the outset that this was a moment, this was the day for the victims to be heard. They deserve to be heard.

And you know, I think they went in there and they told stories that have been out there and should have been told in some cases a long, long time ago. Terrible stories of abuse by a man who is now dead.


BALDWIN: I want to just play a little bit more. This is Chauntae Davies, who says Epstein raped her on his island. She told the courtroom today she has suffered job loss, damaged relationships and that Epstein has won. She said, "He won in death. I have found my voice now and I will not stop fighting. I will not be silenced anymore."

And then Melissa, just to Vicky's point, you know that the judge could have signed an order dismissing the indictment and just put an end to it. But he chose today, this is what he said, he said, "His office remains committed to doing its utmost to stand up for the victims who have already come forward, as well as for the many others who have yet to do so."

MELISSA MURRAY, PROFESSOR, NYU LAW SCHOOL: The fact that Judge Berman decided to have a public hearing and open court and he even moved this hearing to a larger courtroom than his typical courtroom speaks to the public interest in this case and to the broader interest in having these victims have their day in court. And they were uniform in their commitment to seeing this prosecution through even though Jeffrey Epstein has passed away.

They want the prosecutors to continue prosecuting this case, and to bring his associates and enablers to justice.

BALDWIN: So what happens now?

MURRAY: Well, this is all in the Southern District of New York and in the U.S. Attorney's court, so the prosecutors are building a case and apparently, they have built a case, the cases against Jeffrey Epstein, but he wasn't functioning alone.

So now, the ball is in the prosecutor's court to do more and bring the rest of these associates to justice.

BALDWIN: Also the fact -- I was reading this morning, Vicky, about how his will was filed in the Virgin Islands. Right? And so that is where he maintained a home. So might that make it more difficult for his accusers who would like to collect damages? WARD: Yes, and the trust -- two layers -- the trust and being in the

Virgin Islands deliberately making it just that bit harder for the victims to get any sort of forms of restitution.

BALDWIN: And why is that?

WARD: You know, this is a man who has sort of played a game of chess his entire life, always being one step away, really from receiving justice. And you know, even in his death, right? It's a similar pattern. He seems like he was playing chess. I mean, that's the way some that knew him well described him -- playing chess.

BALDWIN: Up until the very end. Okay. Vicky and Melissa, thank you, ladies very much on Epstein here. We are also following breaking news this afternoon. A law enforcement official tells CNN that a former Google executive has been arrested for theft. This high ranking Google employee is now indicted on 33 counts of stealing self-driving car technology. CNN's Dan Simon is following these developments for us.

[14:05:13] BALDWIN: I never thought I'd see the day. I mean, tell me more about this arrest and the charges.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Brooke. No doubt this is a story that will be the talk of Silicon Valley. It involves the alleged theft of trade secrets from one of the world's biggest and most well-known companies, Google, specifically, it involves the former lead engineer of Google's self-driving unit Anthony Levandowski.

It is alleged that towards the end of 2015, Levandowski used his personal laptop and downloaded thousands and thousands of files from Google servers. He then allegedly took that information, formed a new company, which was then acquired by Uber.

Well, today, the U.S. Attorney announced that they are charging Levandowski with 33 counts for stealing trade secrets. Levandowski turned himself in peacefully. His attorneys just gave a press conference.

I want to read to you a brief part of that statement. It says, "For more than a decade, Anthony Levandowski has been an industry leading innovator in self-driving technologies. He didn't steal anything from anyone."

The bottom line is what the U.S. attorney is saying is that these trade secrets that are the hallmark of the technologies involved in Silicon Valley that they're taking all of this very seriously that if you're going to go work for another company, you can't steal anything when you're out the door -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: And just quickly, so I'm clear when you see trade secrets and the hallmark of this technology, what really does that mean?

SIMON: What it means is that when these companies are, you know, spending and investing millions of dollars to develop these various technologies, all of that information ultimately gets stored on servers. It's the backbone, the blueprints to create these amazing technologies that they have, specifically with self-driving cars, lot of engineering, a lot of work.

Countless hours goes into creating that kind of technology, and it is alleged that Levandowski took the blueprints for that type of technology, and then ultimately took it to Uber -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Got it. Got it. Dan Simon, thank you very much on that Google executive there. Also just in, an executive at home improvement store, Lowe's is caught on video making offensive remarks about Hispanics and what's even worse, it is a corporate video that was broadcast company-wide to all the employees.

CNN Business Correspondent, Alison Kosik is following these breaking details, and we understand this guy is now apologizing.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is coming from "The Washington Post." So let me back up and talk to you about this video that you said, you know, of this internal video. Apparently, this is a weekly internal video that Lowe's Hardware puts on. It sort of highlights one of their big products for the week.

And this week, it was all about the $99.00 DeWalt 12-volt cordless drill and --

BALDWIN: We have it. We're told we have it.

KOSIK: Yes, Joe McFarland, Lowe's Executive Vice President of Stores is talking about that product. And here's a clip of that.


JOE MCFARLAND, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF STORES, LOWE'S: I want to say something. I want to say something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to do 99 bucks.

MCFARLAND: Wow, how about that? We should sell like 22 of those a week then.


MCFARLAND: At ninety nine bucks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll start with -- we'll try five per store per week.

MCFARLAND: Five, all right. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then for the rest of the quarter.

MCFARLAND: Not a week, but the DeWalt name, name number one power tool for the pros, right? And the thing is compact, it fits anywhere. Small hands, right? So those customers that really had the affinity towards Mikita, some of our Hispanic pros with smaller hands. This is perfect for them. Lifetime warranty on this thing, like what else could you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a great product to demo. Great product to demo.


KOSIK: Okay, so I'm highlighting here. The remark -- that was the insensitive remark, "Is some of our Hispanic pros with smaller hands. This is perfect for them." So clearly insensitive.

But the thing is this video is usually put on their internal website, you can go back and watch it. This one wasn't. Of course employees were outraged.


KOSIK: Then comes today where this apology comes out. Where John McFarland says, "I am sorry for a careless and ignorant comment I made during an associate broadcast yesterday." He goes on to say, "Our associates shared how my statement was harmful and inappropriate. This is a key reflection moment for me and I take full responsibility for my comment. I will be spending time in the coming days and weeks with our associates, customers and business leaders to learn and grow from this moment."

"The Washington Post" had an interesting comment from an unnamed Assistant Manager in the Pacific Northwest who said -- immediately afterwards happened, this associate said, "Everybody was like, 'Whoa, why would he say that?'"

BALDWIN: Yes, I think a lot of people --

KOSIK: It is the first thing that you think, why would he say that?

BALDWIN: See the video and wonder the same thing.

[14:10:10] BALDWIN: He is apologizing. Presumably there will be all kinds of follow up fallout which we will continue to cover. Keep us posted on where this thing goes.

KOSIK: Keep in mind, this is a high level executive who pulls in $3.7 million, at least pulled that in the last year.

BALDWIN: Wow. Wow. Alison, thank you very much. Alison Kosik. We are keeping a close eye on Puerto Rico right now as well. Tropical Storm Dorian is expected to be near hurricane strength when it reaches the three million Americans who live there.

Plus, President Trump continues to heap praise on President Vladimir Putin while trashing a former U.S. President on U.S. soil and he is not giving up his fight to get Russia back into the G8.

And we'll talk to a voter who has done his homework and has already made up his mind. What Senator Elizabeth Warren did to seal the deal for him? You are watching CNN on this Tuesday. We'll be right back.


[14:15:44] BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. The Atlantic hurricane season is picking up the late summer pace. Tropical Storm Dorian has its eye on the Caribbean and Puerto Rico is right in its path.

Right now, the island is under both a Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch. The storm's center is expected to pass near or just south of Puerto Rico tomorrow afternoon. So of course the next 24 hours are crucial for the people in Puerto Rico.

Major preparations are under way. The new Governor has already declared a state of emergency and is urging everyone to get ready, and of course none of us have forgotten the deadly path of destruction left by Hurricane Maria in 2017. People across the island are still recovering.

So that said, let's go to Ponce, Omar Martinez is live for us in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and you tell me, are people ready? And what are they doing to prepare?

OMAR MARTINEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, at this point, we are in Ponce. It is about 70 miles driving distance southwest of San Juan, and we spoke to the Mayor here who tells us that people are taking no chances despite whatever the forecast for Dorian may be.

And there are a few things that she in particular is concerned about. One, about controlling the flow of rain, and that's because there is a northern part of this city that is very mountainous, and she fears that have too much rain builds up there, it could be disastrous for the town below.

She says they do have control measures in place, but if those are overwhelmed, or if they're not maintained properly throughout this event, that could spell disaster.

And here's how she described the nature of the flooding event that Ponce may face during Dorian.


MAYOR MARIA MELENDEZ, PONCE, PUERTO RICO: The flooding is a danger -- is very dangerous. So we are going to talk with the people, at the same time to move to the area, the ones that have low house. The ones that live in the area that are flooding, they have to move out to other areas.


JIMENEZ: And it's a town obviously that is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Maria now almost two years since that hurricane made landfall here on the island.

President Trump weighed in on that a little bit earlier today, in fact tweeting out, "Wow, with yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico, will it ever end? Congress approved $92 billion for Puerto Rico last year, an all-time record of its kind for anywhere."

Well, that's a little misleading, only $42 billion were actually appropriated by Congress, about half of which was actually committed to and about $12.5 billion has actually been spent. And that's according to our own Federal government's disaster relief website.

And of course, when you look at this again, now two years just about since Hurricane Maria made landfall, the Mayor in the immediate aftermath here in Ponce said that in this town alone, this town of 160,000, their damage has reached up to a billion dollars, and here we are all this time later, there are still places with tarps on the roofs and still places left to be rebuilt -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: We will stay in close contact with you and the folks in Puerto Rico in the next 24 hours as this storm is approaching. Omar Jimenez, thank you very much in Ponce.

Meantime, the President of the United States blasts his predecessor and in the same breath praises Vladimir Putin. This is happening as Russia bans two U.S. senators from entry.

Plus a judge rules that Johnson & Johnson is liable for Oklahoma's opioid epidemic. So why did its stock rise? And who could be next? We'll be right back.


[14:23:36] BALDWIN: With the world watching, the President at his third G7 Summit, President Trump attempted to rewrite history. When asked if he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin should be re- invited to the annual gathering of the world's most advanced economies, the President quickly turned his attention to his predecessor.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent. Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him, whether or not he could come psychologically, I think that's a tough thing for him to do.

You have a G8, now, it's a G7, and you invite the person that was thrown out really by President Obama. And really because he got outsmarted.

President Obama was helping Ukraine. Crimea was annexed during his term. Now, it's a very big area, very important area.

President Obama was not happy that this happened because it was embarrassing to him. Right? It was very embarrassing to him, and he wanted Russia to be out of the -- what was called the G8. And that was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin.


BALDWIN: Let's get some smart and analysis. With me now, former Republican Ohio Governor, John Kasich. He is CNN Senior Political Commentator as well. So, Governor, a pleasure, sir. Welcome. And just first of all, you know, it was a joint decision by the then G8 to suspend Russia. So fact. Why do you think that this President continues to attack President Obama on foreign soil instead of say, Vladimir Putin?

[14:25:13] JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I don't understand it. And look when we talk about them getting back in, which I'm sure -- I can't promise you, but most of the members wouldn't be in favor of.

Think about this, the Russians are still in Crimea. Okay, the Russians are developing a super missile, which, you know, we had this big explosion last week. We still don't understand what it's all about.

And think about their actions in Syria, where they propped up Assad and think about the vicious murdering regime there that they propped up. Why would we then want to turn around and say, "Oh, come on back in"?

No, they would have to do a number of things to change who they are to get back in, and I don't -- I can't explain why he is into that.

He said, "Well, it's better to have them in than have them out causing trouble." No, they've got to earn their way back in and to give them a reward for a super missile and not interested in arms control, and what they did in Syria, and they're still -- get out of Crimea, we will put you back in. How about that for an idea?

BALDWIN: What do you think the late -- I'm thinking of him as, you know, we came up on the year since his death last weekend. What would the late Senator John McCain say about this one?

KASICH: John McCain would be like, I don't know, we'd be flabbergasted. I think we're all sort of prepared for things that we have never heard before, things that we don't understand, Brooke.

The one thing we have to be careful of is not to allow this to become a new normal that -- you know, that we just say things that really don't make any sense, and we have to work with our allies.

And John McCain would remind us that the people that he was sitting with over there at that Summit, are people who had their soldiers shedding their blood with us to protect ourselves freedom and democracy.

And look, Vladimir Putin is a thug and he is going to continue to be a thug. Look at his involvement in our elections.

So it makes no sense to invite him back in. I couldn't disagree more strongly with the President.

BALDWIN: Meantime, you have the news coming out that Democratic Senator Chris Murphy and Republican Senator Ron Johnson were both denied visas to enter Russia and just can't ignore the juxtaposition of the President over there, you know, praising Putin, and yet, he is denying entry for U.S. lawmakers.

KASICH: Hey, Brooke, you know, it's -- you know, I have this book coming out in October where I explain, these things cannot be the new normal. We cannot get frustrated and wring our hands, and we have to figure out how we contribute to a stronger America from the bottom up.

I think we can get all worked up and wrapped around the axle here, which many of us do from time to time, but I'm not going to let that distract me from the purposes in my life to bring about a healing and a connection as best I can with other people.

BALDWIN: Listen, I'm all about healing. But it's also really important to call out the President in certain instances, because you just cannot -- one cannot condone certain actions, certain words and certain behavior.


BALDWIN: Also, let me just point out also at the G7, President Trump said this about North Korea's Kim Jong-un.


TRUMP: Kim Jong-un, who I have gotten to know extremely well, the First Lady has gotten to know Kim Jong-un, and I think she would agree with me. He is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.


BALDWIN: And you see the First Lady sort of looking up at her husband and she is saying this -- I mean, Melania Trump and Kim Jong-un, Governor, have never met. The White House then had to issue the statement. This is what they said after that, quote, "President Trump confides in his wife on many issues, including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim. And while the First Lady hasn't met him, the President feels like she has gotten to know him, too."

Just, well, what do you think of this?

KASICH: Well, if I had done something like that, and said that my wife was really pleased to have met somebody that she never met, she would put on her own statement. It wouldn't even to come from my communication shop. She would put out her own.

Listen, Brooke, and back to what we said a few minutes ago. I call him out more than anybody and I have been doing it.

BALDWIN: I know you have.

KASICH: I didn't have like a change of heart where we see some people say, "Oh, I used to support him. And now I don't." I suspected this from the beginning that this was going to be disruptive to our country and disruptive to our allies. And it's been precisely that.

I don't want to say "I told you so," I just do the best I can to stay, you know, centered and not be distracted because every day, you know we are kind of in an upheaval every single day. It's just unbelievable. And upheaval is not good for the country to be stronger over the long run.

BALDWIN: Not good for the soul, not good for the soul.


BALDWIN: Governor John Kasich, we will talk. I know you mentioned your book. We'll talk up until, you know -- we'll talk about that as well. Thank you.