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Pompeo Now Says State Dept. Will Investigate Possible Surveillance Of Then-U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine; Andrew Yang's Wife Evelyn Shares Her Story Of Sexual Assault. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired January 17, 2020 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. Hey, good to see you.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you. So, one of the more outrageous pieces of new information that has come out has come to light, a courtesy of Rudy Giuliani's associate, Lev Parnas, is the allegation that the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine was under surveillance by allies of President Trump. This came out in the form of text messages released by Parnas to the House Intelligence Committee. And that was then released publicly, Tuesday. Since then, Ukraine has launched a criminal investigation into the matter, and from the State Department, utter silence until now. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he first had this to say this morning while avoiding questions largely before, he had this to say this morning when he was -- I'll just say sort of asked about it on Hugh Hewitt's radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGH HEWITT, AMERICAN RADIO HOST: Until this story broke, were you aware that Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was being surveilled while serving as ambassador?
MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes, I'd never heard about this at all, Hugh.
HEWITT: OK. Now --
POMPEO: Until the story broke, I had, best of my recollection, I'd never heard of this at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: To the best of my recollection. And just now on another radio show, Mike Pompeo is finally saying more and saying this, included, "We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there. I suspect that much of what's been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as Secretary of State, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate."
Joining me right now, another former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who worked with Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine, Ambassador John Herbst. Ambassador, thanks for coming in. JOHN HERBST, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: What is your -- what do you make of what we now hear from Mike Pompeo?
HERBST: Well, I think this is a positive step. I would have liked him to say something like, you know, the allegations of coup are outrageous. But he said the right thing, he said, it's something we need to investigate. That's good.
BOLDUAN: And we -- and an important to point out, and you have as well, is we do not know if what is alleged here about surveillance is true. It is still an allegation, and an outrageous one if true, as you have said.
BOLDUAN: But what does -- until literally moments ago, Mike Pompeo had said absolutely nothing and avoided reporters' questions about this. What is Mike Pompeo's silence until today -- what does that say?
HERBST: Well, he's in a tough spot. As the chief executive of the State Department, he should be out there defending his troops, including our smeared and unjustly removed Marcio Vinewood (ph) who did a terrific job in Ukraine. But he didn't do that because he didn't want to risk his position with the President. Most of my colleagues have criticized him strongly for that. And while I think that criticism is not wrong, I also recognize that he has been sound on the policy issues. And I'm glad that his policy voices heard in councils to make sure that the policy does not go astray.
BOLDUAN: Because I do wonder, from your perspective, is there any good reason for a Secretary of State, the head the department, to not speak out in defense of one of his own, because remember, Marie Yovanovitch was recalled as Ambassador to Ukraine, still a State Department employee at this moment.
HERBST: Look, again, as manager, Pompeo should have spoken out strongly in his defense and her defense, one, because it was the right thing to do. And two, because it's a message to all of his employees that he has their back. So, his reluctance to do that hit him as a manager properly so, but there were policy reasons, which I'm not going to say justify it, but which I understand. And again, he's been a sound voice on policy towards Ukraine and against Kremlin aggression.
BOLDUAN: It obviously sends a chilling message, it could be another hit to morale amongst State Department employees in Foggy Bottom and in the field. I guess at this point, when you hear these words and you say it's a step in the right -- step of progress coming from the Secretary of State, what message does he need to continue to push to reassure diplomats in the field going forward?
HERBST: Well, regarding this issue, there has to be a serious investigation. And he has to plainly and clearly present the results once that happens.
BOLDUAN: Ambassador, thank you so much for coming in.
HERBST: My pleasure.
BOLDUAN: It's always great to have you. I really appreciate your perspective on this.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, the wife of Andrew Yang, Evelyn Yang, in an emotional interview. She opens up for the very first time about being sexually assaulted allegedly by her doctor. We'll be right back.
BOLDUAN: Evelyn Yang, the wife of 2020 presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, is revealing something that she kept secret for years, even from her husband. For the first time, Yang is speaking out about being a survivor of sexual assault. And she's sharing her story exclusively with Dana Bash. I'm going to play you her story, but a warning first, her story is graphic and may be disturbing.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Evelyn Yang has a story so secret she never even shared it with most of her own family. But spending time with her husband, presidential candidate Andrew Yang on the campaign trail, and hearing so much gratitude from voters for talking about son, Christopher's autism, made her feel newly empowered.
EVELYN YANG, WIFE OF ANDREW YANG: Meeting people and seeing the difference that we've been making already has moved me to share my own story about it, about sexual assault.
BASH: It was 2012, she was pregnant with her first baby and found an OB-GYN who had a good reputation, Dr. Robert Hadden. Initially, she says her visits were routine. But after a few months, things changed.
YANG: It started with inappropriate questions around how intimate I was with my husband, sexual activity, just very inappropriate, probing questions that were unrelated to my health. The examinations became longer, more frequent. And I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time. Most women don't know what you're supposed to get when you're pregnant. I didn't know that you're not supposed to get an exam every time you went to see the doctor.
I feel like I put up with some inappropriate behavior that I didn't know at the time was straight up sexual abuse/sexual assault until much later. And I regret having put up with that because it ended up in a sexual assault that was indisputable. Quite blatant. BASH: Yang says the worst assault happened when she was seven months pregnant.
YANG: I was in the exam room, and I was dressed and ready to go. And then, at the last minute, he kind of made up an excuse. He said something about, I think you're -- you might need a C-section. And he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and examine me internally ungloved. And at first, I was a little bit like, what's going on here?
BASH: And there was no one else in the room?
YANG: No, no. In fact, when I think back to most of our exams, I don't think there was somebody in the room. Yes.
BASH: You got yourself -- this isn't just inappropriate banter. This is much different.
YANG: Oh, he -- I mean, I -- at that moment, I knew that was -- I knew it was wrong. I mean, I knew I said -- I knew I was being assaulted.
BASH: She said she thought she was the kind of person who would run away but she couldn't.
YANG: I imagine myself as someone being, you know, like I would throw a chair at him and run out yelling, bloody murder. It's not what happened. I was confused. And then, I realized what was happening. And then, I just kind of froze. Like a deer in headlights, just frozen. I knew it was happening. I remember trying to fix my eyes on a spot on the wall and just trying to avoid seeing his face as he was -- as he was assaulting me.
BASH: Was this --
YANG: I'm just waiting for it to be over.
BASH: She left that day and never went back.
Did you tell your husband Andrew?
YANG: No. I didn't tell anyone. I didn't tell anyone what happened. I didn't tell Andrew or my family because I didn't want to upset them. I thought, this happened to me, I can -- I can process this. I can deal with it. I can compartmentalize it. And --
BASH: And did you?
YANG: I tried, I tried, but I just didn't want to affect others. And I certainly didn't want Andrew blaming himself for not being able to go with me to these doctor's visits because, honestly, if he was with me in the room, if anyone was with me in the room, this obviously wouldn't have happened. And at the time, he was traveling a lot for his nonprofit. And most of the scheduling just didn't work out.
BASH: Many months later, after her baby was born, a letter came in the mail. Robert Hadden had left his practice. YANG: I Googled him. And there it was, there was a headline that said that he had assaulted another woman, and she reported it to the police. And at that moment, everything just stood still.
It was this sense of relief of finally realizing that I wasn't alone in it. He still picked me. But that it wasn't because of --right, it wasn't something that I did. It was -- you know, this was a serial predator. And he just picked me as his prey.
BASH: It was at that point, she told husband Andrew.
YANG: I just needed to tell someone, you know, I needed to share it in that moment because it felt so big to me. I needed that support, and I told him -- I can't cry. If he was appalling. He -- there were tears.
YANG: And he said it's because he remembered when I told -- when I came home one day, ranting about pervy doctors. I said something like, why do they let men be gynecologists? It makes no sense. And he remembered that I had made this comment. And he felt so bad, he felt guilty that he didn't make the connection or asked me more.
BASH: She found a lawyer who discovered the Manhattan district attorney had an open case against the doctor. Several other women had come forward with similar stories of being assaulted by him.
YANG: And that was just life changing. It felt so good to not be alone in this.
BASH: She worked with an assistant district attorney who was collecting information from 18 women, including Yang, with allegations against Hadden. Yang testified before a grand jury, which indicted Hadden on multiple felony sex charges.
YANG: Every time I talked to the ADA, the case was going great. And she was always telling me how strong this case was, how we were going to put him in jail, how he wasn't going to be able to do this to anyone ever again. And all of a sudden, there was this drop off. I didn't hear from her for months.
BASH: Finally in February 2016, she was told the D.A. agreed to a plea deal with the doctor. He would lose his medical license, register as the lowest level sex offender, but not go to jail.
YANG: He was getting off with the slap on the wrist, basically.
BASH: Not just that, although he was charged on nine counts involving six accusers, he only pleaded guilty to two charges involving two women. Evelyn Yang was not one of them.
YANG: They said that the punishment was the same, regardless of how many counts he pled guilty to, that the punishment would have been the same. So, it didn't matter. And I thought, well, it matters to me for obvious reasons. And it wasn't until after MeToo and the Weinstein case came out that the victims in this case realized that we were betrayed twice. First --
BASH: That's how you feel, you feel that you were betrayed twice?
YANG: Oh, absolutely. It's like getting, you know, slapped in the face and punched in the gut. Either the D.A.'s office is meant to protect us. It's meant to serve justice. And there was no justice here.
BASH: The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is the same one that was lenient with Jeffrey Epstein over his registering as a sex offender and also initially, failed to prosecute Harvey Weinstein. When asked for a response, the D.A.'s office told CNN that obtaining a felony conviction was the goal in this case. And "while we stand by our legal analysis and resulting disposition of this difficult case, we regret that this resolution has caused survivors pain." Though Hadden was not a big name like Weinstein or Epstein, Yang says he did have a powerful protector, Columbia University, which runs the medical facility where he practiced.
YANG: The fact that it's a, you know, a name brand University behind this doctor and using their influence to protect themselves at the expense of the victims in the case.
BASH: Some six weeks before Yang says she was assaulted, police went to Hadden's office and arrested him. Another patient told police he sexually assaulted her and licked her vagina during an exam. The arrest was voided. And he went back to seeing female patients.
YANG: What happened to me should have never happened. He was arrested in his office and he was let back to work.
BASH: Without anybody in the room.
YANG: Without a -- without a chaperone. I mean, at the very least, the bare minimum would be to make sure that there's an aide all the time. I -- and that's what's very painful, is knowing that actually what happened to me could have been prevented.
BASH: Yang's attorney says there are at least 32 women who now accused Hadden of sexual assault. Most of them, including Yang, are part of civil suits against Columbia University, its affiliates, and Hadden. Among the allegations, accusing Hadden of aggressively penetrating and groping their bodies and genitalia, forcing them to strip naked, groping their breasts, digitally penetrating them, and licking their vaginas. The suit also claims Columbia knew about allegations against Hadden; received numerous complaints of serious misconduct, and kept the complaints secret to avoid negative publicity.
The lawsuit is still ongoing. Hadden denies all the allegations against him except the ones he pleaded guilty to. CNN sent detailed questions to Columbia, including why Dr. Hadden was allowed to return to work after his initial arrest. But the university only responded that the allegations against Hadden were abhorrent. And they deeply apologize to those whose trust was violated. Yang fought in court for more than two years to keep her identity anonymous, which makes going public now even more remarkable.
Why do you want to do this now? What do you want to accomplish now?
YANG: My Personal life and this growing public life, they're not separate. And in this case, my experience with the sexual assault, and then what happened, all that happened afterwards, is such a powerful and upsetting example of the truth that women are living with every day. And I just happened to be able to have a platform to talk about it. I need to use that voice. I feel like it's something that's an obligation but also a privilege. And a gift that I get to share my story now, and also help other women. The process of getting to this point is very hard. You know, I -- like I haven't slept at days. This is very hard to come out with. But I hope it's -- and I have to believe that it's worth it.
BOLDUAN: Dana is here with me now. I mean, Dana, I think everyone is so struck by Evelyn Yang's strength in this, but also how she describes how alone she felt and don't -- and not to forget, in such a vulnerable part of anybody's life, being seven months pregnant.
BASH: Uh-hmm. Absolutely. You know, we both know how vulnerable you are and how uncomfortable any trip to the gynecologist is at any point in a woman's life can be. And the fact that I -- one of the things that I want to underscore is how she said that she did go ahead early on and find him because he had such a good reputation, and that she felt that she could trust him because he was her doctor and maybe it's me. And it wasn't until she realized that it happened to others that she did it. You know, she knows that it's not her. And one thing I just also want to say --
BOLDUAN: And she --
BASH: Go ahead.
BOLDUAN: Yes. I was just going to say, and she also says it's a gift to be able to speak out now. What are you hearing about the response from her speaking out? And what's happening with the case?
BASH: Well, at the very end of the piece, we heard her say, I hope it's worth it. And already, we're saying that the answer is, yes, in that there -- her lawyer is building a new and bigger case. Her lawyer Anthony DiPietro has told myself and Bridget Nolan, my colleague, that since this piece first aired last night, six women, six new women he didn't know existed, have contacted him saying that they believe that this same doctor assaulted them.
BASH: Six women. So, again, that was the goal that she had in this -- in this -- doing this piece and coming forward, you know, we'll see. And the one quick thing I want to say is that as part of the plea, the 18 women who are involved initially are not allowed -- the D.A. can't prosecute them. There are now 32 women, maybe even a lot more. So, the attorney is saying that he hopes that they can find a way to find justice.
BOLDUAN: Just amazing, not even 24 hours out. You can see the strength and what it means to speak out. Dana, thank you so much. And thank you to Evelyn Yang for your courage. We'll be right back.