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Farrow Addresses Lauer Allegations; Polls on Impeachment; Pompeo Adviser Resigns. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 11, 2019 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And we know how quickly those things can spread and even jump the freeway, et cetera. So please be careful. Thank you very much from your reporting from there all morning for us.

OK, now to this story. Ronan Farrow's new book, "Catch and Kill," is not out until next week, but this morning he's speaking out about those explosive allegations against Matt Lauer and NBC News executives.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Did Brooke or her attorneys use the words "rape" or "sexual assault" when they went to NBC?

RONAN FARROW, AUTHOR, "CATCH AND KILL": We're very careful about laying out exactly what happened and what she said when she went to them. She unambiguously described a rape or a sexual assault.

Her attorney did what is done very often in criminal investigations, in cases like this where someone complains at a company, asked a clear series of questions that elicited answers that, without any doubt, said this is nonconsensual and even stopped the proceedings to say this was nonconsensual, we want to be clear.


CAMEROTA: All right, let's bring in CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers and CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter.

Guys, if you thought that you had heard all of the nitty-gritty sorted details about Matt Lauer, no, we haven't. There's more that is coming out in this book. Ronan Farrow is out talking about it.

So, Brian, is he saying this morning that in terms of that particular case, the Brooke Nevils, which goes further than other cases in terms of the -- what she alleges was the violence --


CAMEROTA: And nonconsensual aspect of it, is he saying that NBC executives knew before they fired Matt Lauer about those? STELTER: He is saying that they knew the substance of her complaint in

very vivid detail, but that she didn't use the word "rape" when she came forward two years ago. And that matters because there's a lot of anger internally at NBC News from staffers saying to management, why didn't you tell us that this was an alleged assault. It was described at the time on the day he was fired as inappropriate sexual behavior at the workplace, not as an assault or a rape. So what we're hearing now from Farrow is, in the meeting, in this pivotal HR meeting, she described everything that happened. But because she was still processing what she says was this trauma, she didn't use the word "rape."

CAMEROTA: Of course it's complicated. I mean, of course, as we know, Kirsten, there's always various sides to these stories. Here's Matt Lauer's statement that he put out yesterday. I'm not reading the most graphic part of the statement. He was -- he released a very graphic, personal statement, but this is the heart of it. The story Brooke tells is filled with false details intended only to create the impression that this was an abusive encounter. I never assaulted anyone or forced anyone to have sex, period. He claims that all of this was consensual.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I have to say, I think he still doesn't understand exactly what happened. I mean even if -- even if we take the assault claim out of it, even it's not -- it's still not consensual if the person is Matt Lauer and is your boss and is somebody who's bigger -- you know, is basically the "Today" show, right? I mean he had so much power and he's not understanding the power dynamic.

CAMEROTA: She'd also supposedly had -- drank six shots of vodka.

POWERS: Yes. And, well, there's that, too, right? I mean but even, again, even if you take that out of it, he's not understanding the power dynamic. He's not understanding that these women actually felt like they didn't have a choice, that this was something that if Matt Lauer makes a move on you, that you don't really have a choice to say no.

CAMEROTA: There are other headlines coming out this morning from Ronan Farrow and he's speaking about it. Basically that there isn't just the women that we've heard about. There were also, he's saying, secret settlements for years with other women that involved Matt Lauer. So listen to this.


RONAN FARROW, AUTHOR, "CATCH AND KILL": What we show in this book, with the paper trail, with documents, is that there were multiple secret settlements and nondisclosures being struck with women at NBC News.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: But those were after the fact, weren't they, the two nondisclosures?

FARROW: Nope, years before, over a period of six to seven years. A period in which NBC had previously denied --


FARROW: Any settlements. There were seven nondisclosure agreements. Multiple ones of those were with Matt Lauer accusers. This is years before this incident with Brooke Nevils and the firing.


CAMEROTA: That's a big deal, Brian.

STELTER: Yes. And it gets to the idea of who knew what when inside NBC, whether this was an open secret that Lauer was having relationships with staffers at the network.

Farrow makes the argument in his book that his own reporting about Harvey Weinstein was tabled by NBC because the network had a lot of secrets, including secrets about Matt Lauer. He was trying to reveal nondisclosure agreements and secret settlements with Weinstein and he's saying NBC had some of those own deals that were done, that no one -- nobody knew about.

So that's the heart of his argument that his reporting was buried because NBC was trying to cover up its own secrets. And also perhaps cover up Weinstein's.

Now, NBC denies all of that, but he makes the case in the book.

CAMEROTA: Of course it's weird that Weinstein is connected to this. However, it is not weird that there are other secret settlements, because, as you and I know --


CAMEROTA: There's rarely one woman.

POWERS: Right.

CAMEROTA: That rarely when men do this, to this level --


CAMEROTA: As with Harvey Weinstein, and with the prolific nature that Matt Lauer had, they do it repeatedly.

POWERS: That's true.

I think a very important part of this story, though, is that, you know, Ronan Farrow, at least, I haven't read the book but in reading about the book, you know, he goes to meet with one executive who's not super sympathetic and then he finds out later that a million dollars has been paid out by -- to a woman who this executive harassed.


And so that's one of the reasons these stories are very hard to break is because so many of the men at the top of the chain have engaged in the same kind of behavior.

And the thing that I was thinking about is, if women executives routinely behaved in a way that cost the company millions of dollars, it would be an argument against women in power, simple. I mean, really, after like the second time it happened, they would be like, we can't afford this. Like, we can't afford to pay out millions of dollars because these women can't, you know, control themselves.

CAMEROTA: Be trusted.

POWERS: And yet it's such a boys club that they think it's normal.

CAMEROTA: OK. Well, there's a lot more to come out in this book, obviously. We will have Ronan on next Tuesday.

STELTER: Yes, he'll be here.

CAMEROTA: Brian Stelter, Kirsten Powers, thank you both very much.

POWERS: Thank you.

STELTER: Thanks.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I've got to say, I was glued to that conversation.

So where do Republicans stand on impeachment and is history any guide to the Republicans' next move? We'll take a look behind the numbers, next.



BERMAN: We have a new look this morning at the numbers that could determine the president's future. Namely, where do Republicans stand on impeachment, and what does history tell us? There is one man equipped to handle this level of analysis, senior politics writer and analyst --


BERMAN: Harry Enten joins us now.

ENTEN: Hello. Shalom.


ENTEN: Good Shabbat. Look, you know the deal, John. The deal is pretty simple. The deal is, you're going to need 20 -- at least 20 Republican senators to vote to remove Donald Trump from office if this ever gets to the United States Senate. So, let's take a look. This is why it's so important to understand

where Republicans stand because Republican senators and members of the House are ultimately going to listen to their voters.

So, take a look right now. To impeach or remove Trump from office, among Republicans, this is an average of polls after the impeachment inquiry, only 11 percent say they want to impeach or remove President Trump from office. Now, the question is, can that go up?

Now, take a look at the Nixon trend line after that impeachment inquiry started, because I think it gives you an idea that, yes, it can, in fact, go up. Back in December of 1973, only 12 percent of Republicans for impeaching or removing Nixon. That jumped to 15 percent and 19 percent. And then right just before Nixon resigned from office, it was up to 31 percent.

BERMAN: It wasn't until the end. It wasn't until the very end you really saw the numbers spike.

ENTEN: That's exactly right.

And I will say, we've already seen some movement among Republicans. So on the inquiry question, look at that, that has jumped from 8 percent before the inquiry to 16 percent who now support the impeachment inquiry among Republicans. On the impeach or remove, a little less movement, but even there, still, we've seen some movement. Seven percent before the inquiry to 11 percent now.

So there has been some movement and Republicans saying that, in fact, maybe we do support these impeachment actions against Trump.

CAMEROTA: That's really interesting to look at the trend lines because I don't know if 1974, if there's anything applicable from then to now.


BERMAN: Bell bottoms.

CAMEROTA: Beyond that.

ENTEN: Maybe this jacket. This jacket a little bit.

CAMEROTA: Maybe the way you dress, yes.

ENTEN: Now, I think that this is important to understand where these impeach/remove numbers are moving for Trump. And they'll see why in a second.

Look at this. So among the moderate to liberal Republicans, that's where we've seen the largest jump in our CNN poll from May to now. They've jumped 12 percent to impeach/remove. They went from 16 percent in May to 28 percent now. Now, as you go to the right on the ideological spectrum, the somewhat conservatives, you've only seen a jump of 6 points. And then in this very conservative group, in fact, it's gone back a point and only -- right now only 1, 1 percent of very conservative Republicans support impeach and removing Donald Trump from office.

BERMAN: And that matters because --

ENTEN: That matters for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is, that is the group that is growing most in the electorate compared to 1974. Very conservatives only made up 9 percent of Republican voters back in 1974. Now they make up 33 percent, while the moderate and liberals have fallen backwards, 47 percent in 1974 to 32 percent now.

And we don't just see it here. Take a look at this. This, I think, is rather important. Take a look at Republican ideology based upon your congressional voting record.

Back in 1974, when they put the articles of impeachment before the House Judiciary Committee, look at that, the median House member who voted for impeachment on a scale of zero, which is most moderate, to 100, which is most conservative, the median House member who voted -- Judiciary Committee who vote for impeachment was a 16. The median House member who voted against impeachment was at 37. The median Republican senator overall today is a 45. So they are further to the right than the median House member who voted against impeachment in '74. So the party has really changed, and I think that's a reason why we should be suspicious given the polling numbers that these very conservatives are actually going to move and given that the very conservatives now make up much more members of Congress.

CAMEROTA: Back to my point about 1974.

ENTEN: You were right on the ball, Ms. Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. I'm glad -- it took a while to get there, but --

ENTEN: I took a little while, but I was able to get there.

CAMEROTA: You did. All right.

BERMAN: All right, everyone's right. You're all so smart.

ENTEN: We're beautiful people on a Friday.

BERMAN: All right, I'm smart enough to know there's an election this weekend, Harry, we should be paying attention to.

ENTEN: Yes, Louisiana. The governor jungle primary. This is Harry's average in a state Trump won by 20 points. A top two primary. That means that if someone gets 50 percent plus one, they win. Everybody is running in this no matter of what matter. If no one does, you have a top two run-off in November. The Democrat governor, John Bel Edwards is at 46 percent right now. He's right near that 50 percent threshold. The real question, there are 8 percent of voters in the average who say they're undecided. Can Bel Edwards get over the top and get over 50 percent? That would be major news in a state that Trump won by 20 points back in 2016.

[08:45:03] BERMAN: Bet now so I can hold you to it on Monday.

ENTEN: If I am betting, I am going to say that he does, in fact, get there, that he does break 50 percent. But, you know what, I'm not really sure. It's a toss-up in my mind.

CAMEROTA: Is Harry yelling?

BERMAN: No. No, no, no.

ENTEN: No, I'm not yelling. I'm just energetic.

BERMAN: He's getting ready for the football.


ENTEN: I'm getting ready for the football. The Bills, 4-1. It's a bye week coming up, though, so I'm going to Queens to see some goats, folks. I love goats. Don't you love baby goats?

BERMAN: I have no idea what that means.

Harry Enten, thank you very much for being with us.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Harry.

BERMAN: Leave the goats out of this.

CAMEROTA: Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 12:00 p.m. ET, Pompeo speaks in Nashville.

1:45 p.m. ET, Little League champs visit White House.

8:00 p.m. ET, Trump rally in Louisiana.


CAMEROTA: OK, the clock is ticking as to whether or not former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is going to be appearing this morning as House Democrats are hoping for questioning.

BERMAN: The State Department literally, moments ago, unresponsive to our questions about whether she will testify.

CAMEROTA: OK. Well, it would be good to know right about now. So we're going to get "The Bottom Line," next.


[08:50:29] CAMEROTA: OK, as we await word as to whether or not former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch will be able to show up on Capitol Hill and answer questions, which we should get the answer to really any minute, we also should mention that a top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has resigned rather suddenly. His name is Michael McKinley. And that's curious about why he's resigned.

So let's bring in -- let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN's senior political commentator David Axelrod. He's the host of "The Axe Files."

So, David, it's significant, I think, that this top adviser to Pompeo has resigned. Our Kylie Atwood says her source says that he resigned because of the silence at the top ranks of the State Department about Yovanovitch being recalled.


CAMEROTA: And so he -- it sounds as though he resigned on principle.

My State Department source says, it's a real loss for Pompeo and the State Department. McKinley was level headed, had excellent judgment, very well respected. Morale will suffer as a result of his departure.

AXELROD: Yes, I think there's a morale crisis in the State Department right now and a lot of it stems from the unwillingness of the secretary to stand up for his career employees. And McKinley was a -- he was a career diplomat and was widely respected within the bureaucracy there.

But this Yovanovitch episode is chilling to career diplomats across the whole bureaucracy there. And so, you know, Pompeo has basically traded the loyalty of his employees for his fidelity to the president. And it's going to have ramifications.

BERMAN: We are waiting on what will ultimately be the president's decision on whether or not they will try to block former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, from testifying within the next hour. And, David, as we talk about his decisions, you spoke to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.


BERMAN: And, first of all, it's great to see him healthy and full of vigor speaking to you. But I was really interested in what he told you about how he now assesses the president's thinking. So listen to this.


HARRY REID, FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I used to think that Donald Trump was not too smart. I certainly don't believe that anymore. I don't think he's intellectually a powerhouse, but he is basically a very, very smart man. He -- no matter what the subject, any argument he involves himself in, it's on his terms.

AXELROD: But if you're a candidate, for example, running against him, how would you advise they deal with that? REID: Well, I -- what I say initially, and I say it right here on your

show, anyone that thinks Trump's going to be beaten easily should have another thing coming.


BERMAN: That's high praise from a strategist, the likes of Harry Reid. It really is.


CAMEROTA: And also a warning, I think, to his fellow Democrats.


AXELROD: Well, there's no doubt about it.

Listen, Harry Reid is a flinty-eyed, seasoned observer and participant in politics. And he was just assessing Trump as a competitor. He was quite caustic about the things that Trump had done.

But I -- he's acknowledging what I think most people have to, which is that trump has a certain genius for commanding the stage and driving the debate. And, you know, we've seen it now for three years. We've seen it throughout his presidency. And it is a challenge for Democratic candidates who are running against him or the Democratic candidate running against him because he tends to dictate the terms of the debate. And you have to strategically figure out how you break through and how you deal with that and how you don't essentially become complicit in his idea of where he wants the debate to go.

CAMEROTA: I see you as a flinty-eyed anchor often.

BERMAN: I am flinty-eyed. And Axe is right, I mean I read through the transcript of this, and Reid unloads on President Trump. It's not that he likes him, it's just he was suggesting that he's got some political prowess there and it's important to recognize that.

David, thank you very much for being with us.


CAMEROTA: And everybody tune in to "The Axe Files" tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern for David's full interview with Harry Reid.

BERMAN: So, it's never too late to cross things off your bucket list or to make your dreams come true. CNN Hero Webb Weiman pulls lonely seniors out of isolation in order to live their best lives.



WEBB WEIMAN, CNN HERO: The reality of living in isolation is out there. And it's real. And that's really one of the driving forces for us to keep going, for us to take those people out of isolation and make an example of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, we're moving.

WEIMAN: I looked at it like much more than a hot air balloon ride. There is a sense of accomplishment. A story that they get to take back to their community. It lifts their spirits.


BERMAN: To see more of the bucket list adventures Webb provides to seniors, you can go to That sounds wonderful.

CAMEROTA: OK, CNN "NEWSROOM" is next after this very quick break.

BERMAN: And, importantly, we're still waiting to hear if this U.S. ambassador to Ukraine will testify. That could break any moment, so stick around.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good Friday morning.