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THE SITUATION ROOM

Sources: AG Barr Privately Ordered Re-Examination of Michael Flynn's Case; WH Official: Trump Angry that DOJ won't Pursue McCabe Charges; One-on-One with Ex-FBI Deputy Director after DOJ Drops Probe; Dozens Of Women Accuse Doctor Of Sexual Assault After Andrew Yang's Wife Tells Her Story To CNN; Number Of Coronavirus Cases Could Be Ten Times Higher. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 14, 2020 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:13]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Wolf Blitzer is on assignment. I'm Brianna Keilar in THE SITUATION ROOM.

And tonight, there are new questions about political motives inside the Justice Department with the revelation that Attorney General William Barr privately ordered a rare review of the case against Michael Flynn. He is the former National Security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

And the second-known Trump loyalist to see unusual Justice Department intervention in the case closely watched by the president.

Also, tonight, Justice officials say they dropped their criminal investigation of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. It's a move that a source tells CNN angered President Trump, who has frequently attacked McCabe publicly.

And after a remarkable public rebuke by the attorney general, the president is now claiming he has what he calls the "legal right" to interfere in Justice Department cases.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will join us this hour and our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.

First, I want to bring in CNN's senior justice correspondent Evan Perez. And Evan, we've seen two major developments from the Justice Department tonight. Tell us what you are learning.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of them, Brianna is this fact that the Justice Department is now doing a review of this case against Michael Flynn. You remember that Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty in 2017, and he has been awaiting sentencing since then, and more recently in recent months he fired his lawyers, changed the legal team, and has been waging a campaign arguing that he actually never lied to the FBI. That is what he pleaded guilty to.

He says that essentially he was the victim of prosecutors of the FBI who were out to get him, and out to get President Trump. This is a case that has sort of garnered some sympathy from the president, from some of his supporters in Congress, and we know that Bill Barr is somebody who consumes a lot of this stuff, believes a lot of this stuff that you hear - that is in the right wing press.

So we don't know exactly what is at work here. It appears that Barr decided that he needed to see whether or not this case is really a solid as it is. In court, by the way, they have made filings that show - essentially they're preparing to defend this case. So it may well be that this review is being done so that in court they can defend against Michael Flynn who is trying to overturn and take back his guilty plea. So there's a lot more sort of legal fighting going on behind the scenes in this case. And so, we will see exactly what comes of this review.

People who I have talked to say that they believe that the Flynn case will stand up after this review, and by the way, there are other cases, other prominent cases. We don't know exactly which ones, but there are also being reviewed as part of this effort by the Justice Department. Of course, this is the same day that as you were just talking about the Justice Department announced that they are not going to bring charges against Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI.

You can tell that this is a case that the department has struggled with. It was never going to be an easy case, but it is hung over Andrew McCabe and certainly the FBI for a couple of years now. And so, they finally -- today was the announcement that, you know, that they were not going to bring a case, something that probably could have been done a lot earlier.

KEILAR: Certainly. And the -- this has angered the president that the McCabe case has been dropped. So dropping this, is this a way you think for Bill Barr, for the Justice Department to provide a counter balance to this other stuff?

PEREZ: It does seem like it is one of those split screen moments, right?

KEILAR: It is.

PEREZ: And Bill Barr gives and he takes away, right? And so that is one of the questions I think people look at. And the attorney general yesterday in his interview with ABC complained about this partisan atmosphere and suggested that he is essentially a victim of this.

But he has sort of propelled a lot of this. He has used some of the president's rhetoric to attack critics. He has played a big part in why he is seen as a partisan player, and this is something that was beginning to be a problem for him inside the department. And I think that is one of the reasons why you see him speaking out the way he did. He needed to do that.

KEILAR: And he needed prosecutors who are not going to resign as well.

PEREZ: Exactly.

KEILAR: Evan, thank you so much for that.

Now to the White House, and CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. Jim, all of this is raising questions of course about the independence of the Justice Department.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is right, Brianna. And we should point out, President Trump did not talk to reporters about this decision at the Justice Department to review the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. That move though won't sit well with many career federal prosecutors who are already becoming alarmed if president was meddling in the Justice Department's probes of his associates.

[17:05:09]

But I am told that the president is angry that federal prosecutors won't pursue charges against former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a favorite target of the president. He's blasted for months.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president is finding his convicted associates have friends in key places, as Attorney General William Barr's privately called on prosecutors to review the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained about the Justice Department's handling of Flynn, just as he's voiced frustrations about the trial of another former Trump associate, Roger Stone, who now faces a lighter sentence after Barr intervened in that case.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a good person. And what they did to him is very unfair, in my opinion. And what they did to General Flynn is very unfair, in my opinion.

ACOSTA: Still, the president isn't getting everything he wants out of the Justice Department. A White House official said Mr. Trump was angry when he learned federal prosecutors won't pursue charges against former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who faced accusations of misleading investigators about his conversations with the press.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI ACTING DIRECTOR: Look, I want all Americans. I've been greatly concerned by what I've seen take place in the White House and the Department of Justice.

ACOSTA: But the president is brushing off the attorney general's claim in an interview with ABC that he hasn't been asked -- quote -- "to do anything in a criminal case," asserting: "This doesn't mean that I do not have, as president, the legal right to do so. I do. But I have so far chosen not to."

CNN has learned the president was generally aware of what Barr was planning to say in the interview.

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job.

ACOSTA: A sentiment echoed by some top Republicans.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The president made a great choice when he picked Bill Barr to be attorney general. And I think the president should listen to his advice.

ACOSTA: But Democrats aren't buying it, suspecting Barr is simply looking for more cover to carry out the president's wishes.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): What the attorney general's really saying is: I know what President Trump wants. I'm going to do exactly what Trump wants. I just wish he wouldn't tweet about it, because it is so embarrassing.

ACOSTA: It's worth recalling what the president's former personal attorney Michael Cohen once told Congress, that Mr. Trump rarely gives direct orders.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: He doesn't give you questions. He doesn't give you orders. He speaks in a code. And I understand the code because I have been around him for a decade.

ACOSTA: As for his current personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the president is now admitting he sent him to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

GERALDO RIVERA, HOST, "ROADKILL WITH GERALDO": Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?

TRUMP (via telephone): Not at all. Rudy was a great crime fighter. You know that maybe better than anybody.

RIVERA: Of course.

ACOSTA: Something he denied last year.

TRUMP: No, I didn't direct him. But he is a warrior. Rudy's a warrior. Rudy went. He possibly saw something.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (on camera): And all in all, Trump advisers see the president on something of a win streak as he continues this apparent revenge towards one Trump adviser. Put it to me earlier today, that Mr. Trump drank champagne. He would be sipping some this weekend. Brianna?

KEILAR: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you so much.

Joining us now is the former FBI deputy director and former FBI acting director, Andrew McCabe. He is also a CNN contributor. Andrew, this is a big day for you. Thank you for joining us. MCCABE: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: We spoke earlier today, and this news had just broke moments before and so I wonder -- I wonder how you process things here in the last few hours and how your family and your friends are responding?

MCCABE: You know, Brianna, it is really -- it is a significant impact on -- not just me, but on my family as well to have spent the last two years constantly on the defensive, worrying about where this thing would end up, worrying about how politics and -- and, you know, might play on our fate was just - it's terrifying. And so to have that cloud lifted suddenly, it is really hard to get your mind around it. I'm sure it is going to take me some time to kind of really embrace the fact that I don't have to constantly walk around looking over my shoulder.

But of course, on the same day that that happened, we learned about the new investigation into the circumstances around General Flynn and his case and the interview that we conducted you know at the beginning of that case.

[17:10:00]

And so, I guess it just tells you that as long as this president is in the White House, and these sorts of narratives are powerful to him, that this will go on. I don't expect to ever be free of - kind of mantle of investigation that clearly has been reinitiated to some degree today.

KEILAR: So, I wonder why you think this took so long. Tw years. That is a very long time and observers of this process said this probably could have been ramped up a long time ago especially since it turned out to be nothing. What do you think? Why did it take so long?

MCCABE: Yes. Well, I don't know. I'd love to know the answer to that. I have a lot of my own kind of theories on that. It is not a complicated matter. It was a very simple set of facts for the very small number of witnesses. If they're going to look into it legitimately, they could have done that very quickly and declined it.

You know referrals from the inspector general to U.S. Attorney's offices happen many times a year. They happen you know frequently and they're almost always declined very quickly. None of that happened in my case and as this continue to drag on and on, and we got more and more reports about the office struggling with trying to find a way forward.

The question we kept coming back to is why are they failing to own up to the facts here and do their job and let us know that this thing is finished. They did not do that. They stretched it out for two years almost, and I think it is an absolute disgrace. I think that although I'm glad they finally did the right thing and made the right decision. It is just confounding to me and should be troubling to other people that they have let it continue for as long as they did.

KEILAR: And you have been a constant target of the president. I wanted to play for our viewers how he has gone after you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The people that started that investigation are McCabe who is a proven liar and was fired from the FBI.

Well, I think Andrew McCabe has made a fool out of himself over the last couple of days and he really looks to me like sort of a poor man's J. Edgar Hoover.

He is a bad guy. I think he's a sick guy, personally.

Well, McCabe certainly what he's done is just despicable.

You look at McCabe who was a bad, bad guy. He's walking around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: You really inspire a lot of ire from the president, and we learned that the president was angered by this news that your -- the investigation into you has been dropped. The White House official tells the "Washington Post" that the president was not given a head's up, and he quote believes "very strongly that action should be taken."

I wonder if you feel like yes you are free of this or do you worry that you could face further retribution?

MCCABE: Well, you know it's quite a tape montage that you played there. And I am not surprised. And I am actually not disappointed that the president is angry today about this outcome. So, I guess to answer your question, no, I don't think I'll ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage that he has directed towards me and my wife since October of 2016 for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

The president has been lying about us and defaming me and my family consistently for years now. So do I think that will stop because of the DOJ's decision today? No. I have no illusion that that will ever stop. He has made it pretty clear and the way that he has conducted himself over the last week that he has, you know, high and mighty on the tour of retaliation against everyone who had anything to do with this impeachment inquiry. And so he is a vindictive guy, and I fully expect that he will continue to hound me and my family.

KEILAR: There was a tweet earlier today, and the president said that he has the legal right to get involved in criminal cases. What is your reaction to that?

MCCABE: Well, it is another absurdity from someone who really has no understanding of the fundamental tenants of our system of justice and how we go to incredible lengths, you know the Constitution creates, gives us the rights that we enjoy as Americans, and it is our criminal justice system that delivers and protects and ensures those rights for all Americans, and the president has a responsibility to step back and allow that process to take place in a fair and unbiased manner. But he has proven time and time again that he does not understand or respect that system as he has weighed in repeatedly on the criminal cases about his friends, both lobbying for the leniency for his friends like Paul Manafort or Roger Stone and also advocating for vengeance to be meted out against his perceived enemies like myself and Jim Comey and many others. So I think it is atrocious and I think it is undermining people's understanding of in confidence in the justice system that we all depend upon. So I think it is a real shame.

[17:15:03]

KEILAR: Andrew McCabe, thank you so much for joining us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

MCCABE: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: And up next, more on the questions about impartiality at the Justice Department in the wake of the new revelations about Michael Flynn and Andrew McCabe cases. Plus, new concerns that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may still be ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:19:45]

KEILAR: Tonight, there are new questions about the political independence of the Justice Department. CNN has learned that Attorney General William Barr privately ordered a re-examination of several high profile cases including that of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

[17:20:00]

With us now is Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel- Powell. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee. And Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us.

REP. DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL (D-FL): Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: I want to see -- what is your reaction to this news that Bill Barr is ordering this review of the Michael Flynn case?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Before we begin Brianna, I just want to mention something. Today, marks the two-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting where we lost 17 lives and I just wanted to send my thoughts to the victims and the survivors of that shooting, and make sure that we don't forget what happened. We cannot allow these incidents to happen.

But moving to the Department of Justice, what we have seen by this president and by the attorney general is a level of lawlessness that we have not experienced before. To have the attorney general act in the interest of president of the United States and not in the interest of the American people is really undermining the rule of law for this country. And I think that the American people deserve answers. I think that it is exactly why my colleagues and I sent a letter to the attorney general asking him to come in front of the Judiciary Committee and we expect him to come on March 31st, where we will be questioning this and other matters for the -- from the attorney general.

KEILAR: What do you want to know from him? What is your pressing question for him?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Well, I mean, let's look at what happened this week. We saw four career prosecutors resign from the Roger Stone case, because he followed the instruction of the president and undermined the recommended sentencing from the prosecutors. Why did this happen? We need to understand what were the orders by this president? And why he is acting as the president's personal attorney and not as the attorney general of the United States.

KEILAR: I wanted to ask you this move with Michael Flynn overruling prosecutors as well to go easier on Roger Stone. What do you see Bill Barr doing here? Do you think that he is trying to reverse the work of the Mueller investigation?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Well, you know, it is interesting is that Michael Flynn started - he began when he was convicted. He started with a sentence - with a guilty sentence. I mean he admitted that he had lied to the FBI when he was being questioned on his conversations with Russia during the - during the campaign. And so, what's interesting here now is that the attorney general goes back and forth. When you look at what the attorney general has done from the very beginning is he has undermined the independence of the Department of Justice. He has been following orders from this president.

And so at this point, I don't know if it is specific to the Mueller investigation. But I think it is the retaliation by this president for anyone that brought forth the truth that the president of the United States has abused the power of his office. And what we are seeing now is that he is continues that abuse of power by now interfering in investigations that should be completely free of any political interference.

KEILAR: Just yesterday, the attorney general denounced the president's meddling in some sensitive cases, specifically his tweeting. How do you read those comments?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: I don't trust Attorney General Barr. I actually agree with some of my colleagues that I think it is time for the attorney general to leave the Department of Justice. We have serious concerns of his independent and his ability to manage that agency. I would say that he knows very well what he is doing. I think that him and the president are in close contact. And he has been following orders from every single tweet. So his comments that from yesterday from that interview really for me, I don't trust the attorney general whatsoever.

KEILAR: Congresswoman, thank you so much. Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, we appreciate you spending time with us tonight.

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: And coming up, sources say President Trump is angry about the Justice Department's decision to end the investigation of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. So what will happen next?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:23:57]

KEILAR: In a move that is raising new questions about the impartiality of the Justice Department, sources tell CNN, Attorney General Bill Barr has ordered a re-examination of some high profile cases and this includes the case against President Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. So let's get more on this. Let's get the insights of our political and our legal analysts.

And Susan Hennessey, I want to start with you. How much could the attorney general really tip the scale in these cases involving the president's former friends and advisers, a lot, a little?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, it has appeared a legal matter. The attorney general is the head of the Justice Department. He could direct prosecutors in the Justice Department to exclusively investigate and target and prosecute the president's political opponents, to drop all cases and investigations against his political friends, right? That's Bill Barr -- this notion of prosecutorial discretion. The prosecutors have to choose their cases, and therefore they could theoretically choose their defendants. This is what Robert Jackson called the most dangerous power. And so, of course empathetical (ph) to basic notions of Justice.

[17:30:00]

And so, what Trump is openly suggesting and what Bill Barr is really standing for at this point, is the idea that the Department of Justice should be the president's political good squad. That it should go after his enemies and protect his friends. And that's why I think the sort of development, what we're seeing over the past couple of days really are incredibly alarming, because the protections against the staff are not lost. It's actually just norms and culture. And what we're seeing is an outright assault on those norms and that culture.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, you expect people not only to follow the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. And what you're saying is, that effectively, they are not following the spirit of the law here. And so what, you know, what you see from Barr is, yesterday he goes out and says, well, you know, the president has made it untenable for me. I can't do my job.

But what he was really doing is saying, you know what, stop tweeting, I get you. I know exactly what we need to do here, and I don't need you to broadcast it all across America. Because I'm facing a mutiny at my department, and I don't want these lawyers to leave, so just be quiet, Mr. President.

KEILAR: So we've learned the president is pretty furious, right? He's furious over this decision not to charge former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe , after what was a very long investigation, two years. The reaction though to that criticism from Bill Barr has been pretty muted. So I wonder if you can just, John, put that in context for us.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, that the president is angry that Andrew McCabe was not prosecuted is the least surprising thing that you could ever hear. This is a president whose thoughts on these subjects is not reasonable or rational, it's primal. It is I want to smite my enemies and protect my friends.

Remember, somebody who said Hillary Clinton should have been locked up, he said that what he learned from impeachment is the crimes were on the other side. He has called Adam Schiff corrupt, zero evident of evidence of that. So that's just how he is.

In terms of Barr, Gloria and Susan were exactly right. This was an attempt to calm a backlash. He knows that Bill Barr is on his team.

And I think one thing relevant to this point is, Bill Barr gave a speech a few months ago. He's a conservative Christian, where he said that we, conservative Christians, are victims of a war by militant secularists who are trying to change the nature of the country.

The Republican Party is the vehicle for, from his point of view, for depending in that war. So he is bound to the president by larger interest than just the president's interest. This is where the Republican Party needs to go, and this is how the Republican Party is holding together right now.

KEILAR: Abby, I know you agree with John. You're not surprised that he's upset about this Andrew McCabe news. And I don't think anyone will, if they watch this. This is so -- these were some of the things that the president has said about Andrew McCabe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: I don't think I'll ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage that he has directed towards me and my wife. Since October of 2016 for absolutely no reason whatsoever, the president has been lying about us and defaming me and my family consistently for years now. So do I think that will stop because of the DOJ's decision today? No, I have no illusion that that will ever stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: So that what actually what Andrew McCabe said after I played all of the things that the president has said about him, which were, you know, pretty stunning just like insult after insult. What's your reaction to that?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think it was interesting hearing Andrew talk about, about it that way, because you forget sometimes that these are real people. That this is an actual family, two people who, you know, Andrew McCabe's wife who the president has called out by name, has spun into this elaborate conspiracy theory in his own mind, about her involvement in all kinds of things that frankly there's no evidence for. And this is the kind of thing that the president is pressing Bill Barr and the Justice Department to pursue as official government legal matters.

I mean, that's the part of this that I think is really extraordinary. It is that there is so little evidence to support a lot of the theories that the president is obsessed with. And now, the entire apparatus of the federal government is engaged in this process of pursuing his personal grievances.

And unlike Bill Barr, as John points out, Bill Barr has a lot of interests that are to the conservative cause of the Republican Party. The president has his own interest, and they are purely personal. They are all about, you know, retribution against his perceived enemies. And that is where we get into really dangerous territory here.

I mean, I think that's why it is so, you know, for the Justice Department to see what is going on even with what Bill Barr said yesterday, it is really just not going to be enough to calm the waters.

[17:35:00]

KEILAR: That's my question for you, Abby, because you cover him and you know as you watch him, is he going to let this go? What is this going to look. He -- Andrew McCabe basically said he is never going to be free of the president's ire.

PHILLIP: It is not. The president is not going to let any of this go. You know, even if Andrew McCabe weren't in the picture, there are, you know, a handful of other people. I mean, I think we're already seeing the president trying to undo the legal processes that have gone forward with people who have been prosecuted.

HARWOOD: The Mike Flynn case.

PHILLIP: The Mike Flynn case, they are trying to literally undo a process that went through a jury trial, you know, with Roger Stone, and Mike Flynn who plead guilty in that case. The president would like all of that to be undone. This is not over, and I think it's only going to ...

BORGER: He has accused Bob Mueller of a felony.

HARWOOD: Exactly.

BORGER: He has accused Bob Mueller of lying to Congress. Where is the evidence for that, that he will never let any of this go. And by the way, we have Rudy Giuliani still out there and the Justice Department sort of shoving that to somebody else to investigate, so that is still on the burner, that's what Ukraine was all about.

Ukraine was all about Joe Biden a political enemy.

PHILLIP: And that's not over yet.

KEILAR: No, it isn't.

PHILLIP: Yes, clearly. KEILAR: Thank you guys so much. Next, we have a follow-up on an exclusive CNN story after the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang revealed that she was sexually assaulted by her OB-GYN. Dozens of new accusers have come forward.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:41:03]

KEILAR: More than 35 new accusers have come forward since Evelyn Yang, the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, said in a CNN exclusive that she was assaulted by her OB-GYN whole she was pregnant. The new accusers bring the total to nearly 70 women who say they, too, were a victim of the doctor. He got a sweetheart plea deal in 2016 and did not spend a single day in prison.

As CNN's Drew Griffin reports, as more alleged victims emerge, the district attorney in New York is being pressured to file new charges.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An attorney now representing dozens of former patients say that this man, Dr. Robert Hadden, could be one of the most prolific sexual predators in New York's history, all the more stunning to his accusers that this former OB-GYN has never spent a day behind bars.

EMILIA HECKMAN, FORMER HADDEN PATIENT: He is retired. He raped and molested all of these women, and nothing has been done. And it makes me furious, how can that be?

GRIFFIN: Emilia Heckman, the latest to come forward, say she trusted him, even believed he was doing her a favor, squeezing her in to being his last patient of the day back in 2012. She was told to completely undress and says while naked on an exam table, he assaulted her.

HECKMAN: The exam went from a rubber glove examination to a tongue and beard, and I recoiled, tensed up. He abruptly got up, and I put my clothes on really fast, because I didn't know we were the last ones in the office. And I didn't know if he was going to rape me or --

GRIFFIN: You didn't know if the attack was over.

HECKMAN: Yes, yes. I didn't, I ran out.

GRIFFIN: And you never saw him again?

HECKMAN: I never saw him again.

GRIFFIN: Heckman was a young model at that time. She say she didn't tell anyone about the assault, worried no one would believe her. Years later, she learned that there were many others.

In 2012, New York Police first arrested Hadden for allegedly licking another patient's vagina. But prosecutors didn't file charges and Hadden return to work at the Columbia University's Medical Clinic for more than a month. That's when he allegedly assaulted at least two more women, including Evelyn Yang, wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

EVELYN YANG, FORMER HADDEN PATIENT: What happened to me should have never happened. He was arrested in his office, and he was let back to work.

GRIFFIN: Two years later Hadden was arrested again, this time indicted on nine counts involving six of his patients. But even though the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance knew of 19 potential victims, prosecutors cut a deal. Dr. Hadden pleaded guilty to two charges, gave up his medical license and walked away. No prison time, no probation, not even community service.

YANG: It's like getting, you know, slapped in the face and punched in the gut. The DA's office is meant to protect us, is meant to serve justice. And there was no justice here.

GRIFFIN: Since Evelyn Yang told her story on CNN last month, their attorney says dozens more former patients have come forward, saying they too were assaulted. Emilia Heckman and 40 other patients who were not included in the plea deal want the DA's office to reopen the case.

HECKMAN: I want the district attorney to revisit some of these cases. I want to be included. You know, I wasn't included before.

GRIFFIN: Heckman and Yang, along with dozens of other women are suing Dr. Hadden and Columbia University, his former employer, saying Columbia did nothing to stop the serial sexual abuse on countless occasions. In legal filings, Columbia says it did nothing wrong. Hadden has made a guilt involving just two of his patients.

Heckman listed in their lawsuit as Jane Doe #23 says after Evelyn Yang came forward, her husband James Heckman, a media company executive, encouraged her to go public.

[17:45:04]

HECKMAN: I think that the more victims come out and show their face, like, hey, I'm a real person and not Jane Doe, you know, maybe the district attorney will listen to that.

GRIFFIN: Emilia Heckman says, she plans to present her complaint directly to the district attorney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has not spoken publicly about the Hadden case and has refused CNN's request for interviews. But in a statement, the DA told us that while we stand by the disposition of this difficult case, we regret that the resolution has caused survivors' pain. Those alleged survivors of Dr. Robert Hadden say that's just not good enough.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.

KEILAR: Coming up, why some experts fear there may be tens of thousands more cases of coronavirus than currently recorded.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:50:51]

KEILAR: There's concern tonight that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak still lies ahead, and the number of cases may be substantially higher than what's being reported right now. CNN'S Brian Todd is working this story for us. And, Brian, US health officials are putting out some really troubling warnings here.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are, Brianna. Tonight, there are serious warnings about the numbers. There is severe criticism of the way China has handled this, and US officials seem to be struggling over how to give Americans some clarity on coronavirus.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): An up-close look at a killer. The US government puts out images of particles of coronavirus, seen here in yellow, under a microscope. This comes as President Trump presents an optimistic view of the outbreak.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: There is a theory that in April, when it gets warm, historically, that has been able to kill the virus, so we don't know yet. We're not sure yet but that's around the corner.

TODD: But the head of the Centers for Disease Control says they are preparing for a much longer-term scenario in the United States.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: This virus is probably with us beyond this season or beyond this year. And I think eventually, the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission.

TODD: So far, there are more than a dozen confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. More than 64,000 cases worldwide and nearly 1,400 deaths, the vast majority of them in Mainland China. But some health experts believe even those numbers are just scratching the surface.

ERIC FEIGL-DING, PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think they are under diagnosing the number of cases in China dramatically. The lab tests cannot catch up with all the number of cases that are just soaring. And experts think that there could be up to ten times more cases in China that has not been identified whatsoever.

TODD: And the people being counted on, the caregivers on the front lines are among those affected. Chinese officials say more than 1,700 medical workers there have contracted coronavirus and half a dozen have died. One nurse talks about how she tried to reassure her parents.

JIANG WEI, INTENSIVE CARE NURSE: I always say it's OK since we are well-protected. Actually, I was just saying that to give them peace of mind. We're actually afraid and worried.

TODD: Meanwhile tonight, more than 3,600 people, including hundreds of Americans, are still stuck on the floating disaster zone, otherwise known as the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Yokohama, Japan. More than 200 people on board have been infected with coronavirus. But officials have decided to let off some elderly passengers who tested negative and needed assistance.

Tonight, the criticism of China's handling of the virus is scorching. The CDC says China has not yet accepted its offer to send its top experts to China to help. And US officials are concerned that world health organization teams that are going in will be sidelined.

ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: It will not serve a purpose if the WHO team goes and is just confined to a conference room and handed sanitized data. They have got to be able to work shoulder to shoulder with their Chinese scientific colleagues.

TODD: Chinese President Xi Jinping is being lambasted by his own people on social media for the government's downplaying of the outbreak at the beginning, for the regime's vilifying of the doctor who warned about it and then died from the virus. Xi disappeared from public view for days at the height of the crisis, then reappeared wearing a surgical mask. And he's purged several top health officials in the region where it broke out, replacing them with people loyal to him.

YUN SUN, THE STIMSON CENTER: With one virus outbreak, we see the Chinese government scrambling, trying to react to it effectively. And a lot of his reactions, a lot of his measures have been regarded as ineffective. Then it has to beg the question, is China as great as it has claimed it to be?

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TODD: As much as China has been blistered with criticism for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, analysts say Beijing is not the only major government that has mishandled this. So far, neither North Korea nor Indonesia, one of the most populous countries in the world, have reported any cases of coronavirus, which analysts say is patently absurd since both countries very, very likely do have cases. Brianna?

KEILAR: Thank you so much for pointing that out, Brian. And coming up, new revelations spark new questions about political motives and presidential influence inside the Justice Department. We'll have details and major developments in the cases against Michael Flynn and Andrew McCabe.

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KEILAR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is on assignment. I'm Brianna Keilar in "The Situation Room."

And tonight, Attorney General William Barr is intervening in another political sensitive criminal case criticized by the president. US official say Barr has privately ordered a review of the case against former national security adviser and Trump loyalist Michael Flynn.