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Trump Starts Sunday With Important National Security Accomplishment, Ends Day Getting Booed At World Series; Do Allegations Against Katie Hill Expose A Double Standard?; LeBron James Among Thousands Fleeing Raging Wildfires. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 28, 2019 - 14:30   ET



CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: When we respond in ways like this, there's an old saying, don't get down in the mud with the pigs because the pig likes it and you get dirty. That's what you're doing here.

Donald Trump has defined downward what it means to be president. He talked about being president as something - this is stuffed shirts and that's those people in Washington.

I still think being president and being presidential should mean something and when we react like that, I think we play into his game, whether you mean to or whether it makes you feel good or not.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Thank you so much for that, Chris Cillizza.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Obviously, the president had quite a Sunday, starting his day announcing the death of one of the world's most hunted terrorists, arguably the most important national security accomplishment of his presidency, and ending the day by being booed at the World Series.

J.W. Verret is an assistant professor of law at George Mason University, and he worked on President Trump's transition team and has since parted ways and has called for impeachment proceedings.

J.W. Verret, thank you so much for being with me.


BALDWIN: You have worked by this man's side. Going from announcing so publicly this huge victory, this death of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and now to being booed. What do you think went through his mind that evening?

VERRET: He has a tendency to make everything by himself. That's his problem.

Great presidents have a way of uniting the country, of encouraging, of instilling personal loyalty through putting country first. And I think the people are smart and they can see that. And I think that's why they cheered George W. Bush that evening in October after 9/11.

I could see some leaders that are out there -- I can see Ben Sass or Nicki Haley on one side or Mayor Pete or Joe Biden doing that again.

I could never see him doing that. That's not what he's about. He turns everything inward.

That's why his announcement of this great victory by the SEALs and Special Forces flopped so horribly. And the same day --

BALDWIN: Delta Force.

VERRET: I'm sorry, Delta Force -- on the same day he has this incredible gaffe by going to something he never should have been at. It was never going to be a warm reception for him.

BALDWIN: I was just talking to Chris about how public discourse has evolved under the Trump presidency. This is what Democratic Senator Chris Coons has said. He had a problem with how people were chanting "lock him up." Watch.


SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): I have a hard time with a crowd on a globally televised sporting event chanting "lock him up" about our president. I think the office of the president deserves respect, even when the actions of our president at times don't. I certainly hope we won't hear "lock him up" chants at Democratic rallies or at our convention.


BALDWIN: J.W., does he have a point? Did that crowd go too far?

VERRET: The "lock him up" chant is a silly chant and it made me uncomfortable at the Republican convention and it makes me uncomfortable now.

We should think about how we've made too much about treating the office of the presidency with such awe. I think that helps encourage the imperial presidents we have today.

Let's start to think more culturally and as a country about how this office is imminently replaceable. And the vice president is there to play an important role. That also plays into consideration in impeachment. The president is not indispensable. And if the president commits a crime, he needs to leave.

BALDWIN: J.W. Verret, thank you, sir, very much.

Now to this. Congresswoman Katie Hillary resigns abruptly amid allegations of improper relationships among staffers and all these private pictures being released. But do the allegations against her expose a double standard? We'll talk about the politics of revenge porn.



BALDWIN: One of the rising stars in the Democratic Party is speaking out on her decision to resign from Congress amid this ethics investigation over allegations that she had an inappropriate relationship with a congressional staffer. I'm talking about California Congresswoman Katie Hill.

Her resignation also comes after she admitted to a separate inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer and after intimate photos of her with published online.


REP. KATIE HILL (D-CA): I made this decision so my supporters, my family, my staff, and our community will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives.

This coordinated campaign carried out by the right-wing media and Republicans opponents, enabling and perpetuating my husband's abuse by providing him a platform, is disgusting and unforgivable, and they will be held accountable.


BALDWIN: CNN has made multiple attempts to reach out to Hill's husband for comment. We have yet to hear anything back.

Hill offered no evidence linking her husband to the distribution of the photos.

Jill Filipovic is the author of "The H Spot: The Feminine Pursuit of Happiness," and a frequent columnist for us at Also with us, two CNN political commentators, Aisha Moodie-Mills, a Democratic strategist, and Alice Stewart, who is a former communications director to Ted Cruz.

Ladies, I can't wait to get into all of this.

Aisha, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi put it this way, she said that the former congresswoman woman, quote, "has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a member untenable."

And she went on, "We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress and in all workplaces."

Do you think she made the right decision when she resigned?

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the whole situation is quite unfortunate.

The reality is that there are men who are serving in Congress right now, including her colleague from California, Congressman Duncan, who have done worse, frankly, who are under investigation by the House, who we know are spending taxpayer dollars philandering, taking their staff that they're having affairs with, out, taking lobbyists out, et cetera, and they're still sitting there and voting.



BALDWIN: We're coming back to a double standard.


BALDWIN: Did she do the right thing?

MOODIE-MILLS: The truth is she's a distraction and this is a seat that matters. Beyond Ms. Pelosi, Cheri Bustos is high balling the map saying we need to maintain that seat. It was a Republican pick up, want to keep it in Democratic hands. The politics of that matters also.

BALDWIN: Alice Stewart, how do you see it? Do you think she made the right decision by resigning?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. Nancy Pelosi said it best, her actions made it untenable to serve her constituents.

Every year, they go through training that it's inappropriate to engage in relationship with staffers. This goes against House rules to engage in this kind of activity. She acknowledged herself that it's time to step down.

This is not about whether she is a woman or whether she is Republican or Democrat. This is about a violation of House rules. And she did the right thing.

As for her -- what her ex-husband wants to do about her actions, that's something they need to talk about in divorce court. It's not something that needs to be discussed with regard to the Ethics Committee.

But she understands full well she violated House rules and she certainly should have stepped down. This was not about what anyone else has done in the past. This is about her owning up to her own actions.

BALDWIN: We don't know that she violated House rules because this was a campaign relationship that we don't know --they're investigating. I want to make sure we're clear on that.

I want to come back to the fact is there are all these photos being published of her. She says she'll pursue legal action. She's contacted capital police. And she eluded to this as she sees this as revenge porn or electronic assault.

I don't know if everyone is familiar with the phrase "revenge porn. Can you define it as best as you can? JILL FILIPOVIC, CNN.COM COLUMNIST: Sure. Revenge porn, or what she

calls electronic assault, essentially happens when usually an ex or some form of former romantic partner uses photos to publicly humiliate someone they want to get revenge on.

Victims aren't always women but they are usually women and perpetrators aren't always men but are usually men.

It's to target women for being sexual creatures. To publicly shame them. Women have lost their jobs around the country for having these photos published. And it's disturbingly common and something we should talk more about.

BALDWIN: I want to stay on this. This is a huge part of the story.

Do you think, in essence, by resigning that she is letting the extortionists, those who are putting all these photos of her out there, do they win?

FILIPOVIC: No. I don't think so. I think Hill is doing the right thing. Having an affair with a subordinate is wrong. I think we can say that.

I think we can also say that revenge porn is many, many magnitudes worse. She's done the right thing. She's resigned. Over.

Now let's talk about what happened to her, what she was a victim of, and what, frankly, Congress should be doing to make sure no other woman ends up in Hill's position.

There should be a federal revenge porn law that every legislator should be looking at. Congress should be looking at, for example, Red State, which published these photos from an anonymous source, we're all assuming from her husband. Red State gave them the cover of anonymity. That is wildly irresponsible and probably should be illegal.

BALDWIN: Back to your point on double standards, do you had the gender roles been reversed and the man was on the receiving end of the revenge porn that he, thus far, would not have resigned?

MOODIE-MILLS: Certainly. We wouldn't have seen him resigned. What's so problematic, that would have been a little bit of a notch in a belt, if you will, of machoism, oh, yes those are pictures of me. It wouldn't be the same humiliation that women feel and suffer through when pictures of them come out. Again, consensual situation.

Not even completely revealing. There was nothing necessarily improper about this woman living her best life. It was the person who was the creep that attempted to humiliate her that is the one that is problematic here.

BALDWIN: I want to hear you, Alice. Go ahead.

STEWART: I think it's an excellent point. Hell hath no fury like a scorned spouse with photos that can be used against you. More than anything, I think it's important to address this revenge

porn issue. It's a serious issue.

But also, at the same time, stress the message to young and old people, do not get yourself involved in a situation like this. Do what you can to have photos like this taken. The only way you can ensure that private photos are not released to the public is to not have them taken in the first place.


While it's hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube, it's hard to get the message out there while we're debating --


MOODIE-MILLS: I think the message could be to abusive men that, if you release intimate photos, you will go to jail.



FILIPOVIC: Yes, yes.

This idea that the takeaway should be here that women shouldn't be sexual, that women shouldn't use their phones to take photos. Human beings have taken photos, taken pictures, drawn images of humans in sexual situations since time in memorial.

This is part of the human condition. We are sexual beings. We like seeing images of people having sex. We have always attempted to capture sexual images of ourselves well before cameras were even invented.

People are going to continue to use their Smartphones to take and distribute photo to themselves to people they trust.

Katie Hill, it seems, sent those photos to someone she shared finances with, who she lived with, who she shared her bed with, who she trusted. There's no reason we should be looking her as someone who is suspect for having had intimate, sexy photos taken.

We should be looking at the men and some of the women who distribute these photos in an act of sexual humiliation and what is typically misogynist ways.

MOODIE-MILLS: A criminal act in the state of California, by the way.

BALDWIN: Yes. Thank you for having this conversation with me this afternoon.

And, Alice, of course, thank you as well. I'm sorry you weren't here with us, but I really appreciate you.

It's a huge conversation. I appreciate it. (CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: All right, just in --

STEWART: Thank you.

BALDWIN: You've got it.

A new statement from the former Trump official who refused to show up to his testimony today in the impeachment scandal. What John Bolton's former deputy is saying.

Plus, breaking news out of California today. This new fire breaks out in Los Angeles. Celebrities forced to leave their homes, sending a warning to their neighbors, get out while you can.



BALDWIN: In Los Angeles right now this fast-growing wildfire is on the edge of a major highway, forcing thousands to escape, including LeBron James. It's one of several wildfires raging at both ends of the state.

The NBA superstar tweeting early this morning, "Man, these L.A. fires are no joke, had to emergency evacuate my house, driving around with my family trying to get rooms, no luck so far."

Arnold Schwarzenegger also tweeted saying he evacuated safely.

These are not the only people trying to get out of the way of this Getty Fire edging right onto Interstate 405. Nearly a half a dozen homes have burned and more could follow suit.

Los Angeles authorities issuing urgent evacuation orders before dawn. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti warning, "Get out when we say to get out."

Ericka Macabuhay is one who did get out. She's a senior at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles. She's with me now

Ericka, I am so glad you're OK.

We have video you tweeted out of your escape. Let's look.


ERICKA MACABUHAY, CALIFORNIA STUDENT ESCAPED WILDFIRE: Look how close the fire is. It's literally right there. Oh, my god. No way.



BALDWIN: Oh, my goodness. Ericka, talk to me about that. Just sitting in that car, I don't know

if you felt the heat from where you were sitting. How did you get out? What was your experience like?

MACABUHAY: So it was really crazy. So around 2:30 in the morning, our R.A.s came in and they were telling us, you need to get out. Make sure you get everything that you need and book it.

So what happened was really like I was trying to get out of my hallway, out of the building, trying to find someone to get me out and when I walked out, the only thing I could really smell was smoke and I just saw the fire right in front of me and I was just running for it.

BALDWIN: You talked to your parents. You told your mom you're OK? Obviously, she's seeing you on CNN --

MACABUHAY: Yes, I did.

BALDWIN: -- so she knows you're OK.

What are your plans right now?

MACABUHAY: Honestly, I'm just trying to stay home, calming down because it was really intense experience.

BALDWIN: I know you're a senior. You're just like focusing on graduating on time.


BALDWIN: Ericka, I'm glad you're all right.

Ericka Macabuhay, thank you for coming on.

MACABUHAY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And we'll stay in contact with you and think of everyone there in L.A. I appreciate it.


In other news today, Chairman Adam Schiff says he will not let the White House play a game of, quote, "rope a dope," refusing to delay the impeachment investigation after a key witness refuses to show up.

Plus, former chief of staff, John Kelly, with some damning remarks about the president and how he warned him of impeachment.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.