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The Battle Over Impeachment And Witnesses Heats Up Ahead Of Impeachment Trial; Senate Approves New North American Trade Deal; Andrew Yang's Wife Evelyn Shares Her Story Of Sexual Assault. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired January 17, 2020 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Investigated by Bill Clinton, that many members of the -- of the Senate were still convinced that Clinton had done wrong and were talking well, we need to call this witness and that.
And the reality is the record you have is the record the House sent and that I think witnesses are going to be witnesses that are relevant to that record. We didn't call anybody outside the purview of what the House brought us and we thought that that was -- that was the proper way to look at it.
So there may be witnesses called, but I think they will be witnesses that are already on the record and they want clarification of maybe what those witnesses testified to.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Where does it say in the Constitution --
SANTORUM: It doesn't.
BERMAN: It doesn't -- it doesn't say in the Constitution --
SANTORUM: No, but I think that's how --
BERMAN: -- that you can only call witnesses that were part of the impeachment process.
SANTORUM: Yes, I think that's how -- that's how members look at this, which is it's the --
SANTORUM: -- House's responsibility to bring to us a case. They're the ones who said these are -- these are offenses that are worthy of the president being removed from office. Here is the record --
SANTORUM: -- here are the -- here are the charges, and we need to examine exactly what -- You know, the Senate didn't impeach. The senators didn't say we think
the president should be removed; the House did. And so we are going to look at the record the House presented us. We're going to look at the witnesses and say are there questions that we have to the people that brought this case forward and relied on these witnesses and look at their testimony.
But to bring in extraneous testimony, I don't think members feel it's their obligation or duty to do so.
BERMAN: The extraneous testimony -- Lev Parnas says that he personally told the Ukrainians that they would not get aid. Listen, I understand he has credibility issues but listen to my full question here. It's new evidence which does get to the central issue here.
It seems to me that you're saying even if President Trump came up today and said you know what, I did this -- I withheld the aid -- I'm guilty of this -- I admit to all of it -- you would say you know what, it's inadmissible. It's inadmissible because it didn't come --
SANTORUM: I'm not -- I'm not --
BERMAN: -- it didn't come up at the House impeachment investigation.
SANTORUM: I'm not saying it --
BERMAN: You can't include his confession because it didn't come up in the impeachment investigation.
SANTORUM: First off, I'm not saying it's inadmissible. I'm just telling you how members are perceiving this. And if something groundbreaking would come forward, certainly there might be a reason to bring that information in. All I'm suggesting is that most members believe that even if you accept everything the Democrats say as true, it doesn't rise to the level of removing a president.
This is what happened in 1999.
BERMAN: That's different. But that's a different -- but that's a totally different argument than saying we shouldn't hear witnesses, right? That's a different argument.
SANTORUM: Again, that's what the -- again, let's go back to 1999. That's what the Democrats in 1999 said -- we don't need witnesses. We don't want witnesses because even if you convince us that everything you say in these allegations are true, we don't believe it's an -- we don't believe it's an offense that rises to the level of removing the president.
BERMAN: But you --
SANTORUM: So that's why they were against witnesses. And I think principally, that's why Republicans are against witnesses --
BERMAN: All right.
SANTORUM: -- because they believe even if you accept everything as true, this is not a -- an offense worthy of removing a president.
BERMAN: Don't you want to learn new stuff? Isn't learning new stuff in life and in legal proceedings a good thing, Senator?
SANTORUM: Again, go back to the premise I just said, John, which is even if you accept the fact that the president withheld this because he had some political motive behind it, do we think that the Republicans believe that's wrong? Yes, we believe that it was wrong for him to do so.
But you don't remove a president for that. You have other -- you have other ways of dealing with this issue other than removal.
BERMAN: All right. Again, that's not what I was asking. I was asking about hearing witnesses here.
And I know you --
SANTORUM: Well, but there are witnesses --
BERMAN: -- I know -- I know you said -- I know you said --
SANTORUM: But, John, John --
BERMAN: -- you think it's wrong. I'm not convinced that every Republican in the Senate thinks what the president did was wrong, but that's a different thing.
SANTORUM: But, John, here's the point. When you say hearing witnesses, to what effect? To the effect of proving what the House said is the case.
SANTORUM: And if -- again, if I accept -- article two is different. Remember, there are two articles here. I think article two is going to fall and it's going to fall bad.
I think they'll be Democrats who vote against this because the idea that you impeach a president because he doesn't cooperate with Congress is a horrible precedent. I think there will be a lot of Democrats -- I could be wrong but I think there will be a lot of Democrats who vote against article two.
But article one is the issue as to whether the president did something illicit with respect to his withholding aid from Ukraine and had a quid pro quo and all these things. And even you -- here's my point. You don't need more witnesses if you believe that even if those witnesses substantiated that, that it's still not an offense to remove the president.
BERMAN: So --
SANTORUM: And that's why more witnesses really are irrelevant I think to most members.
BERMAN: Unless they come up with new information.
I will note, Senator, that when I asked you this question about witnesses, you're shaking your head at me but you didn't call me names, right?
BERMAN: You did not call names, which is not the way that Arizona Sen. Martha McSally chose to respond to the same basic -- it's a fair question -- you'll agree, before I play the sound, it's a fair question?
SANTORUM: Yes, it's a fair question.
BERMAN: All right, let's play the sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?
SEN. MARTHA MCSALLY (R-AZ): Manu, you're a liberal hack. I'm not talking to you.
RAJU: You're not going to comment, Senator, about this?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So how should she have responded to that question which you told me is fair?
SANTORUM: Well, she should -- I -- she shouldn't have responded that way. And I think she realizes she shouldn't have responded that way, although I understand she's fundraising and doing things, and here's why.
It's just that unfortunately, what we -- what we've seen happen in this town over the last few years is that there have been two camps that have developed and the media has -- media, whether it's Fox or CNN or MSNBC has seemed to align itself in the camps. At least that's the perception of most members of Congress. And that if you're -- if you're with this news agency, well, you're aligned now with the other side and you're just out to get me.
And I think that's sad. I think that's not what should be happening. But that's what I think the perception is of many members of Congress and that's why journalists who -- and Manu is certainly a legit journalist -- are sort of treated with the stain of being in the enemy camp.
BERMAN: You said she thinks what she did was wrong -- or she knows it. She hasn't apologized. Should she apologize? SANTORUM: No, I -- look, I -- look, just because -- look, I've been in many situations where I've said things that I wish I hadn't said. But, you know, sometimes you've just got to own it and try to make the best of it even though you may have -- you may have said something that, you know, I probably shouldn't have said that.
But you know what? It's either own it or -- and pay -- or pay the price for the bad decision you made.
BERMAN: Do you think she should apologize?
SANTORUM: I think -- I -- you know, it would be -- it would probably be a good idea to have a conversation with Manu and have that -- again, I think what people are not recognizing is the difference between Manu, himself, and CNN overall. And I think she sort of sees CNN as in the enemy camp and Manu is just sort of collateral damage.
BERMAN: Well, she's wrong on both fronts in this case.
SANTORUM: No, I'm just saying. I'm just trying to tell you what the perception is.
BERMAN: I understand -- I understand, Senator.
BERMAN: I appreciate you being with us and I appreciate you answering all the questions --
SANTORUM: All the time.
BERMAN: -- that I asked you.
BERMAN: All right.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Without any name-calling. It is possible.
BERMAN: Yes. Even if he wanted to call me a name, he didn't.
CAMEROTA: He suppressed it.
It's time for CNN Business Now. The Senate approving President Trump's new North American trade deal. It is coming at the same time as his Senate impeachment trial. It passed with bipartisan support.
Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us with more. Tell us about this.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, EARLY START: Good Friday morning to both of you. No name-calling here.
Two big trade wins for the president this week. The revised NAFTA, also known as the USMCA, passing the Senate. Canada, the U.S., and Mexico first signed this in November 2018 but it took a year of negotiations between the administration and Democrats to pass the House.
What's in it? The new version raises labor standards, it creates new rules for digital commerce, and more auto content must be made in North America by workers making at least $16.00 an hour to be tariff- free for the cars.
A day earlier, the president inked a phase one trade deal with China, easing tensions but punting on the biggest issues.
As impeachment grips Washington, the president is counterprogramming celebrating his two trade wins. At a youth prayer event with a poster of the 2016 election map on his desk, he complained that the trade deals weren't the top story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The President of the United States, who's led the greatest growth -- the greatest -- the greatest economic revival of any country anywhere in the world is the United States. Our country has never done better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: So, true, the stock market is at record highs and some jobless rates are at record lows, but the economy overall has been stronger in history and jobs growth in the Trump economy trails the Obama recovery.
Meanwhile, new evidence an almost-two-year-old trade war has hurt China. Economic growth there the weakest in 29 years. In 2019, China's GDP rose 6.1 percent -- 6.1 percent, you guys, is strong by global standards but that's the slowest for China since 1990, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Yes, very interesting to see how 6.1 is seen in different ways. Thank you very much.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
CAMEROTA: All right. So coming up, we have the wife of presidential candidate Andrew Yang opening up for the first time about a sexual assault. Hear how she says she found the courage to tell her husband.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVELYN YANG, WIFE OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ANDREW YANG: I needed to share it in that moment because it felt so big to me. I needed that support. And I told him and he cried.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: We have much more of her exclusive interview with Dana Bash, next.
CAMEROTA: Evelyn Yang, the wife of presidential candidate Andrew Yang, is revealing something she kept secret for years, even from her husband. For the first time, she is speaking out about being a survivor of sexual assault.
She is sharing her story exclusively with our Dana Bash. We should tell you part of her story is graphic -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, Alisyn.
And, Evelyn Yang told me that she was going through letters that supporters sent her husband, Andrew Yang, and one woman wrote that he said something about empowering female entrepreneurs that inspired her -- this woman -- to sue one of her business investors for sexual assault.
And, Evelyn Yang said she read that and she thought to herself, I feel you. I have a story, too. She said that and other experiences like it promoted her to go public.
BASH (voice-over): 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.
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 (voice-over): 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 but quite blatant.
BASH (voice-over): 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 (on camera): 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 anyone in the room.
BASH (on camera): You thought to yourself this isn't just inappropriate banter; this is much different.
YANG: Oh, he -- I mean, 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 (voice-over): She says she thought she was the kind of person who would run away, but she couldn't.
YANG: I imagined 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 what 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. I was just waiting for it to be over.
BASH (voice-over): She left that day and never went back.
BASH (on camera): 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 (on camera): 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 (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): It was at that point she told husband Andrew.
YANG: I just needed to tell someone, you know. I needed to share in that moment because it felt so big to me. I needed that support.
And I told him and he cried. He wasn't bawling -- there were tears.
BASH (on camera): Yes.
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 ask me more.
BASH (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 (voice-over): 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 a slap on the wrist, basically.
BASH (voice-over): 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 (on camera): That's how you feel? You feel that you were betrayed twice?
YANG: Oh, absolutely. It's like getting slapped in the face and punched in the gut. It -- the D.A.'s office is meant to protect us. It's meant to serve justice and there was no justice here.
BASH (voice-over): 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 name-brand university behind this doctor and using their influence to protect themselves at the expense of the victims in the case.
BASH (voice-over): 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 (on camera): Without anybody in the room.
YANG: Without a chaperone -- 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 (voice-over): Yang's attorney says there are at least 32 women who now accuse Hadden of sexual assault. Most of them including Yang, are part 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.
BASH (on camera): 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. 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 happen 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 haven't slept in days. This is very hard to come out with but I hope it's -- and I have to believe that it's worth it.
CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, Dana, what an interview -- the revelations that she's making. I mean, this is disturbing obviously on so many levels --
BASH: So many.
CAMEROTA: -- but we applaud her for being brave and for recognizing the power of her platform to help so many other women who have suffered in silence the way she has.
BERMAN: Look, I mean, there's a lesson here, which is that you're not crazy, you're not alone. When something like this happens to you, you need to know that you can trust yourself and your instincts here. And it's remarkable that she came forward with this.
Look, she's one of 32 women who have accused this doctor. Can he be prosecuted for any of this at this point?
BASH: Well, the other thing that's part of the deal that -- the plea deal that Hadden made, the D.A. agreed not to prosecute him for any of the known offensive -- offenses, rather. So at the time of the plea deal that was 18 women. Now that number, as you mentioned, is 32 who have accused Hadden of sexual abuse.
Their attorney says that they want justice. They want to see him behind bars. But whether or not he's going to be tried for those additional allegations is really unclear, guys.
CAMEROTA: This is stunning what the D.A. -- the D.A.'s decision all throughout this.
CAMEROTA: I mean, appalling.
BASH: Yes, yes. The D.A., Columbia -- there are a lot of answers still that we need from a lot of open questions.