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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 11, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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watch out front anytime anywhere on cnn go. "ac 360" are anderson cooper starts right now. good evening, a bigger evening tonight accusing new accusers coming forward in the weinstein scandal. also new reporting turmoil on the white house. we begin with breaking news in the battle to save lives over property in another piece of paradise, northern california whine ice country. the death toll stands at 21. yesterday mandatory evacuation order wen out for the county of calistoga. tell us what you've been seeing on the ground there. >> reporter: anderson, first of all this fire in sonoma county is still zero to little percent
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contained. i want to show you what we see behind us. you can see the smoke, obviously there's fire in the hills. the concern is tonight the winds could pick up and send this fire to more communities including wineries in the area. it has been obviously a very difficult four days. this is now considered the most destructive wildfires in history. i spent this afternoon on a helicopter and two thing stuck out. first the utter deaf stagt that you see from that birds' eye perspective, you get a appreciation for the burned areas, street after street, home after home. and how much active fire there still is. people are still being evacuated, authorities are still going door to door trying to get people out. you just talked about the evacuation order in calistoga.
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by in means are we over this. >> the fire has the potential to be the deadliest california wildfire on record. >> reporter: that is the fear anderson. 21 people are confirmed dead. the deadliest fire you have to go back to 1933 when 29 people died. obviously you don't like to talk about it but we're getting close to those kind of numbers. at this point you got 500 or so people reported missing. that does not mean that they are feared dead. it just could mean there's a communication problem, the cell phone towers have gone down and people may have not reported their members are safe. >> how does it work? do people get advanced notice that the fire are sedding in their direction. are there public warning systems. do people go around with mega
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phones saying you've got to evacuate this area? it's such a widespread area. >> reporter: when they have that rapid urgency when it's time to get out, certainly there is door to door. if in fact authorities can get to those home in time. of course we're learning people by social media had a number of news coverage conferences. of course you got the traditional news media. and also people by cell phone. so a number of ways to get people know to get out. and the biggest concern for authorities is that people heed those evacuation orders. that's one thing that human beings can control. they can control wen they leave. one thing of course nobody can control is the weather. everyone is hoping that the winds die down. there is a flag warning tonight. so, unfortunately the winds are going to kick up and we could see more devastation, anderson. another accuser come forward with allegation of weinstein.
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model krar ra dell venue. posting on instagram, recalling a phone call from weinstein that disturbed her. in the hotel room he asked her if she'd slept with any of the women she'd been seen out in the media at the time. that troubled her. i swiftly got up and asked lim if he knew that i could sing, she writes and i began to sing. i thought tltd make the sichgt better, more professional like an audition, i was so nervous. she said she left and weinstein tried to kiss her. she said she kept silent afterwards because she didn't want to hurt his family. more than two dozen women have now leveled alleges against harry weinstein including one italian actress whosz weinstein
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zbroeb zbro groped her in our new york hotel room in 2013. she went to police who were persuaded enough by her story and asked her to see him again and record it. she did. >> what do we have to do here? >> nothing. >> i don't drink can i stay on the bar. >> no, please i swear i won't. just sit with me don't embarass me in the hotel i'm here all the time. >> i'm feeling very uncomfortable. >> please come in now. >> but you touched my breast. >> please i won't do it again. come in i'm used to that. >> your used to that? >> yes, come in. >> despite that the da denied to do any charges. harvey weinstein's alleged behavior was apparently an open secret. open to the point of an mc smarking about it but for the women involved there was no
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joke. he's brought so much of this to light, stories of 13 women claim to have harassed or assaulted. in your piece, three women detailed how he raped them and others tell about how he sexually assaulted them. for years it's been years after the assault took place. why do you think they decided to speak now? >> every single woman talked about a culture of fear and silence. a vast machine designed to shut down these allegations. they faced off against pr operatives who planted smear items. that's so in miss gutierrez's case the woman you just heard. they faced off against lawyers. we talk at length in this story about the nondisclosure
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agreement thesis wome women werd to sign. >> one thing about your article, and i encourage everyone to read it. there seems to be a systematic way of trapping these women and trying to control or force them to have sex with him. >> there's a number of patterns that show up in these accounts. false pretext that seem like professional meetings and moved into hotel rooms. bathrobes, massages, ugly details of these stories described over and over again. and they also describe a feeling of guilt. i want to point to an italian actress who alleges rape. she talks about the fact that she wen back to her alleged attacker. that was a common theme in a number of these stories, it's
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one of things that kept the women silent. >> the people within the company though, you talked to multiple people who worked at harvey weinstein's company, that he used as honey pods to help lure women into his office or into a hotel room basing with the idea it wasn't just going to be him, that there was actually going to be a legitimate meeting. how would that actually work? >> so we talked to 16 former kpech executives and assistance and again and again they talked about these meetings to discuss career prospects with aspiring actresses and models that would take place several times a week. for those meetings as you said female employees could be asked to join from the beginning and asked to leave them behind in a hotel room. a lot of the executives and assistance said they were
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disturbed by their role in that, they carried guilt for years. they're only speaking out now, sfi despite legal agreements from their employment. >> was there an hr department within the company though, that any of those competenemployees have gone to? because the board seems to say they are shocked by what they are hearing. >> over and over again the women talked about how ineffective how they viewed the hr department. everything told to the hr department would be funneled back to mr. weinstein. that's not uncommon in all companies. they feared a culture of fear and retaliation in this company. >> you probably can't say based on your reporting, is it possible that, you know harvey weinstein's brother, tat people on the board did not know what's going on? >> like you said anderson,
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anything that's not in this important article that went through a new yorker fact checking process i'm not going to speculate about. broadly speaking, again and again the sources in this story talked about a culture of silence and awareness of this. >> what about the case police were pursuing against weinstein back in 2015? from your sources they were close in the investigation? why do you think they ended up dropping the case? >> most were talking about how angry the officers were. once we quoted a man saying this made me as angry as a man in career involving these investigations. >> that recording that we played thou, that was the model asked to do that by authorities? >> this was a sting operation conducted in cooperation with officers and she was shadowed by
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undercovered offers during that operation. >> and it was all to the district attorney listening to that case whether or not they felt it was enough evidence to actually move forward. >> the officers involved from the nypd special victim's division worked for sometime on this. multiple sources close to this investigation said they felt they had the evidence then it went to the da's office, yes. >> obviously harvey weinstein protected by industry insider, by the media, nbc declined to go with your story, you ended up publishing it in the new yorker. why did nbc decline to move forward with this? >> i think it's important, anderson to keep the focus on what these women have done after struggling for so many years. they poured their guts out telling this story and endured a lot of fear. so i want to keep the focus on
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them. i'll say broadly speaking, we talked in the story about plead ya organizations not reporting on this and why that happens. in general i think it's pretty clear in each of these women's stories, that one reason it doesn't come out sometimes for decades is because media organizations don't act when they have significant evidence about this. >> do you have any doubt there are more women out there? >> begun i'm not going to speculate but this is a story involving a lot of women. >> he's been in business for a long long time. >> and i'll also stress this goes to the recent pass. the reason i was given over and over again these women told me why they decided to talk, they said this may protect the next woman that comes along. they realized it was a previous woman before them who remained silent and if that hasn't happen they could have been safe. hillary clinton now speaking
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out on camera for the first time on cnn about harvey weinstein. what president trump said on the road today and the chaotic white house he briefly left behind. what twisted ankle? what muscle strain? advil makes pain a distant memory nothing works faster stronger or longer what pain? advil. something we all think about as we head into retirement. it's why brighthouse financial is committed to help protect what you've earned and ensure it lasts. introducing shield annuities, a line of products that allow you to take advantage of growth opportunities. while maintaining a level of protection in down markets. so you can head into retirement with confidence. talk with your advisor about shield annuities from brighthouse financial
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ocuvite. be good to your eyes. harvey weinstein's wife left him. he's supposed to be headed to europe with some rehab center. tmz reported his daughter called 911 when he showed up at her house this morning. with all due respect though, this is not will be the alleged serial victim miser and how he is feeling it's about his alleged offenses and crimes, what so many people failed to do even though some may have known about them. it's also about those who encouraged his endorsement and what they did wen they call became known or what they didn't do. today one big beneficiary hillary clinton spoke to fareed about this situation. >> what was your reaction when
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you heard the news of weinstein? >> i was sick. i was shocked, appalled. it was something intolerable in every way. like so many people have come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who i and many others had known in the past. >> would you have called him a friend? >> yes, i probably would have. and so would so many others. people in democratic politics for a couple of decades appreciated his help and support. and, i think these stories coming to light now, and people who never spoke out before having the courage to speak out, just clearly ndemonstrates that this behavior he engaged him cannot be tolerated and cannot
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be overlooked. and i'm hoping that the -- >> do you think it was tolerated because he was powerful -- >> i don't know. >> people say people knew. >> well i certainly didn't and i don't know who did. i can speak for myself and many others who knew him primarily through politics. but the courage of these women coming forward now is really important because it can't just end with one person's disgraceful behavior and the consequences he is facing. this has to be a wake-up call and shine a spotlight on behavior like this any where at any time. we've had a revelation of plenty of companies in silicon valley sexual assault being so
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accepted. that's where a lot of young people have their first or most significant jobs. this can't be tolerated whether it's entertainment or anywhere. >> senator blooming that will says people should give back the money he donated. he donated money to you directly or indirectly. would you give it back? >> well there's nobody to give it back. what my colleagues are saying people are donating it to clarity. of course i'd do that. i give 10% of my money to charity every year. there's no doubt about it. >> the panel joining us now. gloria this is the first time we're hearing secretary clinton speak about this. what do you make of it? obviously she became under criticism because it wasn't until yesterday she released a statement. >> look, i think she was late, i
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think president obama was late. they're trying to figure out what to do because this is somebody who has been very generous to them personally, in their campaigns. i think hillary clinton's outrage at this was evident but it was also interesting to me that she made the case in a way that the political class didn't know. and, everything we're hearing is that it was an open secret in hollywood. and if it's an open secret in hollywood, you know these thing get around. so, the question is how did the political not know? and, i don't -- i just -- i just don't know the answer to that. if you consider someone a friend and you have a lot of friend in hollywood, and democrats do, then how come this never sort of became front and center while they were taking contributions? i think that is still a question that needs to be answer.
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>> susan, secretary clinton put out a statement yesterday five days after the initial "new york times" reporting. a lot of people says she should have said something sooner or at least to gloria's point. is it possible that this wasn't known by a lot of people he gave money to? >> well, i don't know whether she really knew about it or not, i guess we need to take her as her word on that. i do think as gloria says she was slow to come out, she was very outspoken in the past. remember how outspoken she was when allegations were brought out against donald trump. she didn't wait 24 hours to criticize him. they've benefited from the money that he's given and that he's raised and so it means the bar is really high for democrats to show this is unacceptable. i think it puts republicans on a
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little bit -- i don't think it's all good news for republicans because it is a remind of some of the allegations against donald trump and the other men in power. this is a subject that clearly is getting ahead of steam in america. >> gloria, also harvey weinstein in one of his initial statements seemed to be trying to play to those, you know to liberals, to democrats by saying he was going to take a step back and focus his anger on the nra as if that might sort of quiet the liberals from speaking out against it. >> it's ridiculous. it was completely lewd chris as if anybody given the extent of what he did would listen -- would listen to that. i'm one of you guys, i'm going to focus on the nra and that's where i'll put my efforts. that was just -- i mean it's silly, it's absolutely silly.
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i think the question now the democrats have is how do you unravel all of these donations, anderson. you're limited to what you can give individuals to a certain amount so harvey weinstein was limited to that. he's bundled way over a million dollars or many, we have no idea. he's bunt ld all this money for hillary clinton and other democrats and how do they unspool that to decide what they do with the money that he gave to them. i think it's tough, i think they have to figure it out. >> thank you guys very much. we'll revisit that sting tape from 2015, talks more about why the da decided not to pursue a case. next. get 4 unlimited lines for just $40 bucks each.
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the focus is not only on what harvey wean steen did to women and -- paint a portrait of a predator willed power of women and their lively hood and power to make the lively hood of any wrong doing go away. we'll talk about that with the panel. more on this from gary tuchman. >> harvey weinstein didn't know it but the model was wearing a microphone given to her by police to capture an encounter between the two in the hal way.
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>> come in. >> what do we have to do here? >> according to the new york magazine ambra told police earlier that weinstein touched her breast while going over here modeling photo, including putting her hand up her skirt. the police asked her to meet with him again. gutierrez agreed and wen to the hotel where he was staying. >> i'm not going to do anything for do you. yesterday was kind of aggressive for me. >> i won't do a thing. please i swear i won't. just sit with me. don't embarrass me in the hotel i'm here all the time. >> i know but i don't want to. >> please sit there please one minute. >> wean steen asked her to go to the bathroom. gutierrez said she wanted to leave to go down stairs, then came this key exchange. >> please don't have a fight
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with me please i'm not going to do anything i swear on my children. on everything, i'm a famous guy. >> i'm very uncomfortable right now. >> please come in now. and one minute if you want to leave. >> the -- you touched my breast. >> i'm sorry, please come in i'm used to that. >> you're used to that? drs yes, please. >> i'm not used to that. >> come on sit here for a minute. >> no i don't want to. >> weinstein saying he wouldn't do it again, then he was used to it. part of an exchange that seemed to back up gutierrez's allegations. >> please you're making a big scene. >> no, but i want to leave. >> okay fine. >> despite those words caught on tape, the manhattan district attorney's office deciding not to prosecute. the da's office's saying while the tape was horrifying it wasn't enough to prove a crime had occurred.
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>> i want to get the panel in on this. so, mark, did zsh wh-- what do make of this audio recording? did the district attorney have if you have to bring charges? >> no. anderson i'm never afraid to second guess a prosecutor. in this case, i think they were right. the tape is horrifying to most people when they think about it as a layperson. but as a practical matter for hitting all the elements, they didn't have enough. i think the explanations today may range true to me. the police should have gone to them. should tell them this is what we need. this tape, actually to my mind is more devastating if you have a separate case with somebody else and this is what they call
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1101 or 401 b. light crime's evidence. this is a good case to force him to plead to something but it was not a good case to bring if you're a prosecutor. >> laurie could harvey weinstein still face charges on the alleges now against the women who've come forward? >> absolutely. not just the woman you're talking about from the 2015 incident. you've got criminal and civil liability. on the civil side you may have charges against harry weinstein in terms of lawsuits but also about the weinstein company. you also have the issue of criminal liability if some of the alleged conduct did occur  within the statutory limitations. new york and california neither of which no longer have a statute of limitations period that was as long as before. if these were recent allegations that can be brought within that statute you will have the liability to say he has a lot of liability and explaining to do.
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i agree with mark on the issue of the 2015 case. what you're missing from the audio alone, and of course the nypd says they had far more in the background. from that audio alone you are missing the criminal, the mens e raya and if there was consent given. >> it's incredible listening to that recording, sickening. trying to get there woman to do what he wants. ordering her, begging her, bringing in his children, swearing on his children. to hear it is -- it's one thing to read it, it's nothing to actually hear it. >> yeah, it is incredible. it makes you think that this must have worked for him in the past, right. usually people don't do thing unless they get the kind of results they want. somehow this bullying and this trying to wear down a woman whose clearly resisting is not
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something he's not only comfortable with but enjoys. i think as a layperson here, listening to lawyers talking about it, it seems to me inconceivable right that this couldn't be used to prosecutor somebody. i think it's so hard for women because you sort of wonder what does it take if this isn't enough to prove he admits to it on tape having done this the day before. >> you know, anderson that's a real good point. whether y when you listen to it visceraly, you say to yourself how could this not be a crime, and that's what disconnect is. the prosecutor -- and mind you, the woman whose head of the sex crimes here in new york, this is not a shrunking violent, she's someone who prosecute cases. but, the fact is that to hit the
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elements, they must -- i mean i'm thinking if i'm the prosecutor in this case i'm going crazy. why didn't the police come to me or tell me or let me give input into what she should have been asking. because obviously, this woman -- what was she 19-year-old, she was troubled, she didn't want to do this, that is a great fact if you're a prosecutor, she's not trying to sue, she's not trying to do anything else. and they probably are frustrated beyond all get out as to why they weren't brought into the loop. >> but if i can, as somebody whose prosecuted a lot of sexual offenses as well as delayed reporting one of the big frustrations in the hurdles is not whether there was an alliance between the police department and attorney's office. it's also a societal viewpoint about people who are delayed in their reporting. in this case it's almost an
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instantaneous report that has not satisfactorily for the prosecutors satisfying the elements. as mark eluded to, this has parallels to other cases we've heard about, multiple women's who has made the allegations and this could go towards getting the information about the mo of the person. this is his mo as kerry eluded to. it's been successful in the past. those can come together even if they're outside of that period to betres the claims of someone who is a standing plaintiff in the case. we saw that in the bill cosby case. dozens of women came forward and one was able to be criminally prosecuting in that. >> kristen you read the account and the number of people in harvey weinstein's office who seem to be kind of in on this strategy of, you know women who were -- to sit in on meetings
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early on so that the potential target would feel comfortable and then they would leave and maybe the meeting was in a hotel room and it seemed legit at first. and all of a sudden everybody leaves the room and it's harvey weinstein and the person he apparently wants to assault. >> right. the thing is it's not just harvey weinstein whether or not he has twhose the problem, there's a whole system that supports what he's doing. we talk about institutional racism there's also institutional sexism and massage any. how am i -- that's something you see over and over. we talked last night how similar this was to fox news. all the same factors are there to the same type of people
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enabling this behavior. >> you want to know something, anderson? part of the calculus of the prosecutors in this case with this young woman is precisely derivative of what she just said. they floated out today. this woman had testified in the italian prime minister bun ga case and they have kind of posttraumatic prosecution syndrome from the case. so, there is something that filters into that, it's built into the system. it's not just film, it's hollywood, music, movies, it's fame. that's a real problem. >> mark, laurie, kirsten thank you very much. there's more on this ahead. reaction from van jones and others next. knowing where you stand has never been easier.
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the president just lashed out yet again at the prisz, not only tacking the -- attacking the messenger but attempting to destroy the messenger. here to talk about it van jones, author of the new book beyond the messy truth. jesse miller, and brian stelter. so brian you see this tweet in
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the president. is there any other way to interpret it other than a threat against freedom of the press? >> you could say he is venting. he is angry at the coverage of his presidency and white house in crisis. we should take his word seriously. he is suggesting that networks, local stations should have their listens provoked and given to pro trump owners. that's against the amendment and unamerican. it is the talk of an auto accurate. it's a shame anderson when the u.s. state department are speaking out for journalist detained in prison in turkey trying to uphold the values. the president of his united states is contradicting the department and trying to tear down those values. >> jason, do you think that's appropriate? >> there is one of the one times i have to disagree with the
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president. brian i do have to say we have to get you an oxygen tank, sounds like you're running out of breath bringing out turkey and licenses. >> it's what rex tillerson said today. >> brian trying to bring that into the president, clearly he's frustrated about things in the media. i disagree, freedom of the press is very important. if i was still working with the president and with him right now, i'd probably say mr. president, the press corp is focused on two thing, one harvey weinstein and two the fact that the nationals one a big game. let's talk about your attacks rally you just had in pennsylvania. no need to get into there one. i disagree on this one. >> van it is -- the president on the campaign would talk about the amendment and how he loves the constitution. i don't know if he's oblivious
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and don't understand, or because he's annoyed, oh this part of the constitution not important. >> it's remarkable this is happening in the united states of america. this is the kind of stuff that will happen in latin american countries, african countries. the united states would be rushing saying it is not acceptable for a leader of a company to silence people, to use and abuse executive authority, to essentially ha handcuff and blindfold the public. we used to fight temporary freedom of the press around the world. an idea that a sitting president would threaten local news outlets, broadcast networks, i'm going to snatch your license, that could have been -- i mean even a novel with that in it would not have been published because it's so all of a sudden chris but here we are. >> to be clear it's impossible. licenses are given out eight
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years are almost always renewed. it's a process through the federal government. the chill lg effects of the world, the threat even if it's empty it still has an impact. fcc staffers are going to read the president's messages. >> can i just say one more thing about this? the president is apart of the republican party which is a party that is allegedly conservator. the idea of the government intruding to the private market further and imposing its will on private broadcasting should have republicans marching in the streets. can you imagine if barack obama said he would have start snatching licenses. this would have been declared a constitutional crisis the minute it hit the internet. the idea you have republicans that say they love the constitution, respect the free
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market, don't want government overreach has said nothing. a shocking statement from a president is telling it in and of itself. you have an anti-liberal party. anything is fair game so long you're attacking liberals. >> jason, i want to ask you about the vanity fair reporting that says steve bannon believe there's an end time on the president's term. only 30% chance of making it a second term with 50% looming in the background. do you share any of this concern? the portrait that's painted of what's going on in the warehouse, again it continues this idea of chaos in the warehouse it seems worse. >> so anderson, i feel like i'm back on the campaign trail where we'd be traveling with the president. some story would pop up saying
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the campaign was in disarray, something crazy was happening, disconnected from reality, things were going pretty well. i think there are couple things in the story that jumped out at me as red flags it really seemed disconnected from reality. number one it said people around the president was trying to control him. first of all if you're working for president trump and surrounding him that's not the type of language -- >> that is what senator bob corker also said what he said based on his own knowledge. >> again, the point was building up to here was this is the kind of thing that somebody whose not a part of the team or inner circle says to try to throw shade on the president. the point you brought up about steve ban this wasn't a quote from steve bannon. he's out trying to recruit supporters from the president's agenda. which one is it? is he recruiting people to support the president or does it
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seem like he's going to do well? >> so you're saying general kelly wasn't brought in to try to kind of restore order and control access to the president, control the information the president got? >> i think general kelly was brought in partially to put in real structure which is the white house needed. there's a difference between instilling structure and helping to run government which we obviously need. there are thousands and thousands of people who ultimately report to the folks in the warehouse. there's a difference between that and trying to control president trump. that's silly. nobody around the president talks like that. that's part of the reason why he won there last fall because he isn't some politician that has to go and have 22 people read all of his tweets, or has to go and have -- >> i'm not sure i understand the difference between imposing a structure on the president and controlling him. i'm not sure there's much of a difference.
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what about president trump's close friend tom, who ran the administration telling the "new york times" quote he's been shocked and stunned. and that quote, he's been better than this? that is a close friend to the president publicly saying that. >> tom bar rack is a good friend of the president's. i h ideologically he doesn't match up on some of the issues. freedom country he's free to express his opinions. i think particularly on the flfl and national anthem issue weave seen over the last few weeks, that's one where president trump won on that one, that's been proven clearly. if tom disagrees, that's his right but, you know, no two friends are going to agree 100% of the time. i'm sure if tom wen on longer in that interview you'll see other thing where he think it is president's doing a good job pushing the tax plan and whole
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another issues. >> van. >> so we're supposed to be comforted by the fact that maybe the president beat up on some football players successfully, meanwhile you got corker saying he might start world war iii his best friend saying he's melting down. but all is well because maybe the nfl might go along with him. this is where we are now. people have tried to adapt to absurdy. part of the reason why i wrote the book i wrote is because we got to have a crew said against the crazy. there is crazy it's got to stop. it's wrong for the united states to attack the free press in our country. >> tmarket's doing great. the gdp the economy -- >> they can see that when they have a dictatorship of the country too but that's not america. thank you very much. >> guys thank you very much.
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up next an update to an exclusive. we tell you how the chief -- last great salmon fisheries on earth. that was after he met with an executive. law makers want answers we'll talk to them in a moment. oh, that's really attached. that's why i rent from national. where i get the control to choose any car in the aisle i want, not some car they choose for me. which makes me one smooth operator. ah! still a little tender. (vo) go national. go like a pro.
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time for a follow-up to a keeping 'em honest report. last night on the program, we had an exclusive investigative story. we told you how the head of the
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epa, scott pruitt, moved to withdraw environmental restrictions for this area, alaska's bristol bay, which is a pristine spot, it's home to one of the largest salmon fisheries. the restrictions for the area were put in place by the obama administration after years of scientific study showed that mining the area would cause irreversible damage. but last may, mr. pruitt quietly moved to drop those restrictions after meeting a mining company ceo who wants to dig a massive mine there. what's more, the lifting of the restrictions was done with no discussion with epa scientists or experts of the region. in fact, about an hour after that meeting, epa staffers were surprised to receive an e-mail, which cnn exclusively obtained, telling them to start removing restrictions. now, if it goes forward, the protection would be scrapped, wiped away. today the first of two public hearings on the move took place in alaska, for the ceo of pebble limited partnership, it was a huge win. and when he talked to cnn's drew griffin, he had no apologies. take a look. >> reporter: and do you think it was not wrong that mr. pruitt did not even look at what the
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work had been done? >> not a science decision. it's a process decision. >> you know, the optics on this look -- >> the optics on this are right. they don't look bad a bit. >> this looks like the head of a gold mine went into the new administrator and got him to reverse what an entire department had worked on for years. >> then put your glasses back on, because you're not seeing the right optics. >> well, lawmakers didn't even know about the details of the decision or the e-mail directing the withdraw of the restrictions until drew's report. they do now. some want answers, including the democratic senator from washington, maria cantwell. she joins me now. thanks so much for being with us, senator. i wonder what your reaction when you first found out about this and how you found out. >> i'm amazed. i found out from your story that they actually had an agreement, the minute he walked out of his office. look, the taxpayers of america demand that we have somebody in the federal agency that is supposed to protect the environment, to be a fair process. and doing a sweetheart deal for
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a mining executive, five minutes after he leaves your office, is not the due process that taxpayers want. >> were you surprised how quickly this whole thing seemed to go down? it was just a little more than an hour between when secretary pruitt met with this mining company ceo and when he issued the order to lift the restrictions. >> well, it's appalling. and i can tell you that there are fisherman all up and down the west coast, from alaska all the way to california, who count on these fisheries for their jobs. and to think that you would make a decision about mixing toxins from a mine with the head waters of the largest salmon estuary in the world is just ridiculous. that somebody would even think that the science existed. so, we went through a process over the last several years, eight hearings, lots of scientific input, that reached this decision. and to have him have a mining executive walk out of his office and minutes later, that's the only information he has and he makes this decision, it's just
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appalling. >> the mining company, pebble limited partnership, argues that they're just looking for a fair shake at submitting a proposal for their mine and what lifting the restrictions does is gives them a shot at the approval process. i guess the argument is, why not allow them to move forward, given there's still a chance the mine proposal may be struck down. >> because this was a process. so mr. pruitt is wasting taxpayer dollars. he's wasting money that a process took place, eight hearings, lots of scientific review, that basically said, what i consider something that you know is too dangerous. so the issue is that the scientists determine that it was too risky. so we need to base our decisions on that science and quit wasting money from the taxpayers. and ultimately, ruining a fishery that so many jobs and so many family wages depend on. >> cnn did some analysis on secretary pruitt's meetings between april and september, they found that pruitt held 100
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meetings with representatives of the fossil fuel industry during the time, only five with environmentalists or scientists. does that concern you? >> yes. absolutely. this is not what we expect the head of the environmental protection agency to do. we expect them to try to protect the environment. it is the resource of all people. it is not a special interest for sale sign that should be in the lobby of the epa. >> so what's next? what would you like to see happen now? >> well, we're sending a letter from many of my colleagues, asking for hearings on this. by that, i mean, both around the region that's impacted, as well as an accounting of this very issue. and an investigation. >> senator cantwell, i appreciate your time. we'll continue to follow this. thank you. >> thank you. up next, new reporting that suggests the white house is in major chaos. plus, more of the president's threat against the free press.
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also, the president levels a new threat against the press and this time it's not a vailed threat. he spent the evening pitching his tax plan to truckers and ceos. he struck mostly to the teleprompter and was low key. when asked a about his differences about handling north korea, here's what he said. >> i think i have a little bit different attitude on north korea than other people might have. and i listen to everybody, but ultimately, my attitude is the one that matters, isn't it? that's the way it works. that's the way the system is. but i think i might have a somewhat different attitude and a different way than other people. i think, perhaps, i feel stronger and tougher on that subject than other people. >> cnn's jeff zeleny begins our coverage at the white house. the president is going after the press again tonight in invoking potential government action. >> reporter: he is, anderson. this is in a series of messages