tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN November 20, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
it, making it not happen at all. all of it would create this sense of a failure of time warner and at&t's part. it would be president trump sticking his thumb in it. again, that is just a theory. it's not something that has been proven in court, but at&t may well try to prove it. "the new york times" said this could be the antitrust case of the decade. >> brian stelter, bill carter, thank you. "the lead" with jim sciutto starts now. thank you, brooke. the u.s. moves. how will north korea react? "the lead" starts right now. president trump makes a move on north korea calling it a murderous regime. as he designates it a state sponsor of terrorism. but will the announcement make a difference against pyongyang? on the attack, president trump once again using twitter to tear into his opponents, but holding fire on roy moore and the sex abuse allegations against him. is the president's silence acceptable? and he haunted americans for half a century.
today, a look inside the twisted mind of the late charles manson from someone who met him face-to-face. this is cnn breaking news. and welcome to "the lead." i'm jim sciutto in for jake tapper this week. we begin with the breaking news. secretary of state rex tillerson with a surprise appearance in the white house briefing room just moments ago. to talk about brand-new measures to keep the rogue nation of north korea and its nuclear ambitions in check. >> it's really just the latest step in a series of, as you can see, ongoing steps to increase the pressure, and i think this is, though, to hold north korea accountable for a number of actions that they've taken. >> tensions have been ramping up and just this morning the president declared the nation a state sponsor of terrorism. >> tomorrow, the treasury department will be announcing an additional sanction and a very large one on north korea. it will be the highest level of sanctions by the time it's
finished over a two-week period. >> tillerson insisted that the united states is not running out of diplomatic options and that sanctions are already having an impact on north korea. joining me now is retired rear admiral john kirby as is cnn's barbara starr at the pentagon. admiral kirby, if i could begin with you. tillerson in that press conference there called these moves, in his words, very symbolic. he says they will have limited, practical effects. you spent a lot of time at the state department. >> well, the limited practical effects is the hope it will have is an effort to encourage and maybe induce other nations, our allies, partners and other nations in the region to increase their level of pressure on north korea, particularly the chinese. >> financial pressure. because, of course, china has actual trade, significant trade. this is a way to squeeze them further to stop that trade. >> i think that's what they're really trying to go for. look, the sanctions on north korea are already so severe that any sanctions that would come on top of this by labelling them as
a state sponsor are likely to be minimal at best. you're not going to feel a practical effect in pyongyang on this, but it would have the potential to galvanize and increase the international pressure. >> okay. barbara, secretary of state tillerson said the u.s. is not running out of diplomatic options and this is a message we've heard from him consistently, even when the u.s. has taken various military moves to assure the world that diplomacy is still on track here, but what are actually the additional options in the diplomatic space that there still are for the president? >> well, let me underscore what john kirby is saying. what you're looking at, whether you call them economic or diplomatic, essentially the noncombat options, and what experts will tell you is one of the things they're watching so closely right now that the u.s. intelligence community is watching, believe it or not, is north korean fuel supplies. winter is coming. they are beginning to see, we are told, shortages of fuel,
shortages of gasoline, some petro stations that should be open closed. and this can be the kind of diplomatic pressure, economic pressure that can be applied against north korea. they've got to harvest their winter crops at some point. they need fuel, they need trucks to move all of that around to feed their people. so kim may be feeling that kind of pressure, and it's coming to large extent through china. so, again, the diplomatic pressure that the white house hopes will work is to pressure china and winter fuel may be the level to try to accomplish that. >> and we heard secretary tillerson list some other countries that are no longer trading with north korea. he said malaysia, singapore, the philippines, sudan. they're feeling that pressure. here is how he described how it's working. >> i think it is having an effect. is this the reason we haven't had a approximative act in 60 days? i don't want to suggest to you.
we're hopeful this period will continue. >> admiral, you look at that, should the u.s. read -- i don't know if hope is the right word but confidence. you've had a couple of months here without a provocative missile launch, for instance over japan. you had quite a hot period there for a few weeks. do you see anything positive in north korea's behavior? >> i do. i think you've got to be careful reading too much into it. kim jong-un can be quite unpredictable. let's get too optimistic, but it is notable there hasn't been much provocative behavior in the past couple of months. it's notable that the senior party from pyongyang went -- the fact he was able to go and have those meetings also significant. and, look, if you told me a year ago, jim, that china would cut off natural gas to the north and that would reduce by a couple of billion barrels their oil exports and that they would stop importing seafood from pyongyang, i'd have laughed at you. so i think the administration does deserve some credit for the
ability to move china in the right direction. but, again, you know, north korea, you know as well as i do is very unpredictable where this is going to go. so i think we need to be careful here. >> credit where credit is due. as you said, china has been squeezing in the last few months north korea in economic ways it had not done in the past. that's important to note. barbara, another story that's attracted a lot of attention, a top u.s. general who leads strategic command said that he would push back if president trump made an illegal order for a pre-emptive strike on the north korean regime. quite a remarkable comment to hear from the man in charge as head of strategic command of carrying out nuclear strikes. >> well, you know, jim, there is so much unpredictability with kim jong-un. potential unpredictability with president trump. that the military is very much paying attention to this and the top commander for nuclear weapons assuring americans about american launch procedures for nuclear weapons.
>> reporter: president trump designating north korea a state sponsor of terrorism also has a military objective. >> the north korean regime must be lawful, it must end its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile development. >> reporter: the president's hot rhetoric -- >> they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> reporter: about north korea's weapons causing deep worry by some he might suddenly order a nuclear weapons launch. >> we are concerned that the president of the united states is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with u.s. national security interests. >> for 20 years -- >> reporter: general john heighten, the respected four-star in charge of u.s. nuclear weapons says if he got
an illegal order from president trump to launch nuclear weapons, he would not follow it. >> i provide advice to the president. he'll tell me what to do and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? >> you say no. >> i'm going to say, mr. president, that's illegal. and gets what he's going to do. he would say, what will be legal and we'll come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is. that's the way it works. it's not that complicated. >> reporter: the weapon but be proportional to the threat, especially because nuclear weapons can kill tens of thousands of people. >> i think the general's remarks were very forceful. they were very plain spoken and they were very blunt, and, frankly, they were also very refreshing. it's very important i think for the american public to understand the types of safeguards, the types of security measures we put around our nuclear arsenal and our nuclear strike capability. >> reporter: commanders continue to say the obligation is on them to not obey an illegal order.
>> it might surprise you if i told you i have been in situations in combat where we have had to take orders that were given to us and go back to our commanders and say, hey, the lawyers say this might not be legal to do these things. >> all of this taking on added urgency because the latest assessment from both the u.s. intelligence community and the south koreans is that north korea could have the capability to launch a working intercontinental ballistic missile with a warhead as soon as 2018, and that is just a few weeks away. >> admiral kirby, the general who made these comments, i've had the privilege of interviewing him before. he's an experienced man. he's a reasonable man and not a loose cannon by any means. how significant are these commentser and. >> what's significant, jim, is that we're having this conversation. he was asked a question. he didn't volunteer that. and nothing he said there is new. i mean, we all have a responsibility in the military to obey lawful orders and just
as critically to disobey unlawful orders. there is a structure for what makes and unmakes a lawful order. of course. but what is really remarkable is that in this day and age we are now having congressional hearings about the fitness of the commander in chief to make these kinds of decisions because the authority rests with him. that to me seems much more remarkable than the fact that a four-star general, you know, had to answer a question by stating the obvious. >> admiral kirby, barbara starr, thanks very much. and breaking news. we're learning the justice department wants to take legal action to stop at&t from taking over time warner. i should mention time warner, the parent company of cnn. this according to a source familiar with the matter. the potential implications of that move. we're going to discuss it in full right after this. well, like most of you, i just bought a house. -oh! -very nice. now i'm turning into my dad.
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breaking news in our national lead. the justice department is set to file a lawsuit to block at&t's takeover of time warner, a source tells cnn. time warner, the parent company of cnn. cnn's brian stelter is in new york. brian, i know you've been reporting this out. tell me what you've been learning. >> a year ago, this was a very, very unexpected. normally these deals get announced, it takes about a year for the approval process, the government gives its blessing usually with conditions and then you see deals become official. that's what was about to happen between at&t and time warner. they were weeks away from completing this mega media merger, but the government later today will file suit in order to block the deal. that means a lengthy court process may be ahead. this is something that has been the talk of the antitrust community because there are two theories here, jim, on what's going on. the first is that the trump administration has legitimate and real concerns about whether this deal is anti-competitive, whether it would harm consumers.
the other theory is more personal. it's that president trump and his aides in the white house want this deal to be blocked and have somehow interfered in the process in order to ensure that at&t and time warner would be sued. i'm told at&t will try to pursue that theory in court in the months to come. >> i know you've been in touch with the at&t ceo randall stephenson. he has said in the past that they'd be committed to go to court to fight this in court, to carry the deal forward. is he sticking to that commitment? >> that's right. that was the message from him adds recently as a couple of weeks ago. through my reporting there was really a change a couple of weeks ago in the sense among at&t and time warner executives. they had been quite confident that they would win approval for this deal from the government the way they did from the 17 or other so countries that had to review it. earlier this month at a meeting in washington at&t ceo's randall stephenson turned much more pessimistic and expected a lawsuit to be filed. there is a dispute about what
actually happened during that meeting. some say the government wanted cnn to be sold off as a condition for approval. the government has denied that. we're going to hear all about the doj's case later this evening, but that's what provokes this question about whether the trump administration is somehow trying to punish cnn through this deal. again, they've denied that, but that's something that's probably going to come up in court. >> and the president, of course, had public comments saying he opposed the deal before the election as well. i'd imagine that would come up in court as well. brian stelter, thanks very much. >> thanks. to the politics lead. need a window into the president's thinking? look no further, of course, than to twitter. who he's taking on today and the issue he's taking heat on for staying silent. that's after this. ♪
welcome back. this afternoon, white house aides again find themselves scrambling to respond to the president's itchy twitter fingers after he spent a good part of the weekend attacking nfl stars, college basketball players and a republican senator. cnn washington correspondent ryan nobles is live at the white house. ryan, so is the white house explaining this today? >> reporter: well, jim, they don't have a good answer, frankly, and the president has weighed in on a number of topics over the past 24 hours, but he's remained silent on that controversial republican senate candidate in alabama. this despite some mixed messages from his own administration. president trump dialing up the pressure on north korea. >> today, the united states is designating north korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. should have happened a long time ago. should have happened years ago. >> reporter: the announcement that north korea is going back on the list of state sponsors of
terrorism came in front of a meeting of the trump cabinet, and shortly after the president used his twitter feed to suggest that the ucla basketball players caught shoplifting should have been left in jail and to call out arizona republican jeff flake for saying that if the gop becomes the party of trump and alabama senate candidate roy moore, they are toast. >> become the party of roy moore and donald trump, we are toast. >> reporter: trump tweeted in response at flake's political career is toast and signalled the arizona lawmaker will, quote, be a no on tax cuts. what the president isn't talking about is the senate race in alabama where the republican candidate roy moore continues to face heat over allegations of sexual improprieties with a minor. >> your thoughts on roy moore, mr. president? >> reporter: the president himself has yet to weigh in but this morning his top adviser kellyanne conway suggested voters in alabama should support the republican. >> he is a liberal, which is why
he's not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him. >> so vote roy moore? >> i'm telling you that we want the votes in the senate to get this tax -- this tax bill through. >> reporter: white house press secretary sarah sanders still refusing to say whether the president stands on moore. >> the president feels that it's up to the people of alabama to make that determination, who their next senator will be. >> reporter: the moore dilemma is not going away and the white house and republicans face two uncomfortable outcomes. one where the democrat wins and a key vote could be lost on issues like tax reform. or more wins. republicans face another round of controversy if he is seated. the president promised the tax bill will pass and warned his fellow republicans in congress that they better deliver. >> we're going to give the american people a huge tax cut for christmas. hopefully that will be a great big, beautiful christmas present. it will be up to the republicans to come through for america. >> reporter: and while the future of that tax bill remains very much in doubt, the white
house did get some good news today, one unpredictable senator from kentucky rand paul signalled he is likely to support the tax bill. of course, paul was one of the key no votes that sunk their plan to repeal and replace obamacare. jim? >> ryan nobles at the white house. thanks very much. coming up, the political storm around roy moore. three of alabama's biggest newspapers are now rejecting his candidacy. but will that impact the race? t. you've probably seen me running all over the country in search of our big idaho potato truck. but not any more. i am done with that. ooh, ooh hot - just gonna stay home on the farm, eat a beautiful idaho potato, and watch tv with my dog... tv anncr: the big idaho potato truck pulled into town today and it's really a sight to see. oh man...let's go.... (distant) you comin', boy? sfx: (dog) gulp! woof.
just a 14-year-old girl and he at the time was 32. >> he removed emplmy clothing. he left the room and came back in wearing his white underwear. and he touched me over my clothing, what was left of it. and he tried to get me to touch him as well. and at that point i pulled back and said that i was not comfortable and i got dressed. and he took me home. but i was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult's world and he was 32 years old. >> she was a 14-year-old child. now, moore denies all of the accusations against him, insisting that he doesn't even know corfman. here is how she responded to that. >> roy moore denies these allegations and further says he does not even know you.
>> i wonder how many mes he doesn't know. >> now the three biggest newspapers in the state of alabama are calling on voters to reject moore in a front page above the fold editorial with scathing language. i'm going to quote just some of it. one here, a vote for roy moore sends the worst kind of message to alabamans struggling with abuse. if you ever do tell your story, alabama won't believe you, or worse, we'll believe you but we just won't care. i want to bring in now al.com's managing editor. thanks so much for joining me now. this is a powerfully written and clearly heartfelt position from a newspaper that it's been years since it has endorsed a democrat for the position as senator. can you describe to me what the feeling was, what the impetus in the newsroom was to make this strong stand now? >> yeah, thank you, jim.
you know, it's easy to get caught up in the hoopla of being on "saturday night live" or lite niglite -- "late night" and national news shows and think what does the country think about alabama, but what we wanted look at is what would alabama think of alabama if we voted for a man like roy moore? how could be look our wives and our sisters and our children and our neighbors in the eye and say this is the man that we voted for knowing what we know about him now. so we tried to appeal to voters in that way. you know, we all know someone who has been touched by sexual assault or child bouabuse. this is a vote no them. this is to say we're going to make alabama a place that is safe from you and not -- >> quote, to be clear, it's not only about his record on women and children that disqualifies moore, if we vote for roy moore, alabama will also show that we don't care about you if uruguay or muslim or catholic, if you're
an eightist or an immigrant. we only care about roy moore's definition of alabama and that sir is not room for the rest of us. clearly your paper doesn't think moore represents all of alabama as you said, but this is a very des vicive time. where often in races we see people choose republican or democrat without almost looking at the candidate, right? i just wonder outside the newsroom, are you hearing a similar feeling from other fellow citizens of alabama? >> well, you know, obviously the state republican party has stood behind roy moore, as has governor ivey and many other republican leaders. the same day we crossed this editorial endorsement, the young republicans of alabama immediately pulled their endorsement of roy moore later that day. there is a real generational divide. i'm encouraged by what the young republicans in the state are doing. this day and age it's easy to get caught up in the alt-right
movement or the youth that are leading the republican party now, but i'm encouraged by the fact these young republicans have said, no, if we're going to be a party that stands for morality, we need to own that and make sure we have candidates that own that. so i think you will have young republicans that will either stay home, write in a candidate or turn out and vote for doug jones. >> now you of course have the democrat doug jones, and that's who you endorsed here. are you feeling -- beyond the fact that he is not roy moore, are you feeling or seeing that there is support for him as a candidate? >> yeah. you know, it's interesting to hear kellyanne conway come out and say that republicans should vote for the republican if they want tax reform because there has only been one candidate who has been crossing the state over the last few weeks who has been talking about economic issues and tax reform and saving children's health insurance, and that's been doug jones. and so, you know, the idea that you should vote for a candidate who has built his entire career on social issues and issues that
i don't think moment alabamans agree with him on at this point in order to pass tax reform is farcical. roy moore is somebody whose own foundation of moral law has been guilty of at worst delayed tax returns and at best delayed tax returns and most likely all sorts of tax issues. >> well, if tax issues were a bar to public office, we might be having a different conversation right now, as you know. >> that's true. >> you know alabama voters. do you think that roy moore looking at -- reading the political tea leaves and i don't mean to make you a political prognosticator here, but what are the chances that roy moore loses this race? >> you know, i -- it's going to be tough to speculate. we don't know what turnout is going to look like. polls aren't going to be reliable because on the one hand, democrats haven't had a candidate for a statewide office they've been excited about in a couple of decades. on the other hand, you're not going to have a candidate like barack obama on the ballot that could increase black turnout.
i will say anecdotally when you drive around the suburbs or birmingham or huntsville or mobile or montgomery, you are seeing a lot more support for doug jones. you know, i think some voters who may have voted for donald trump despite him facing similar an allegations aren't willing to do the same for roy moore because he's not promising to bring back jobs and promising the same types of things donald trump was promi promising. he's really only appealing to his votes and that's a specific sect of evangelical voters. maybe -- will weigh down on his candidacy and there won't be enough crossover voters to put him over the edge, but i think that it's a toss-up right now, which is, you know, shock for a state where donald trump won by 20 points. >> it's a race we're going to be watching very closely here at cnn. thanks very much for taking the time. >> thanks a lot. president trump may be
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contributed the white house trees in 1998 and 2003. this year, it is a 19'12". tree. my panel with me here now. lots of news. over the weekend, the president using his favorite forum, twitter, to take some shots at the nfl. three ucla basketball players. hillary clinton, of course. and senator jeff make. i wonder, bill kristol, listen, we've commented often times before about has the president gone too far with this? does it serve any purpose? et cetera. will his advisers hold him back. i just wonder over time, do these twitter attacks have the same impact they've had before? >> i've talked to some reluctant trump supporters, i would characterize them as, who are getting a little sick of it. maybe get some erosion in that sense. it's a good way to distract people. he tends to pick on people who are unpopular, at least with his supporters and people who don't
stand up for the national anthem. the -- from minority groups where i think he has a little bit of a dog whistle there. i don't have proof of it, but i don't think he's entirely foolish. he knows what he's doing. if i can pick fights with unpopular people or people who seem to be like hillary clinton, you know angry because they lost, that's better than actually debating the issues. >> joseph, in your view, is it a racial dog whistle to go after? i mean he'll go after the ball father, but, i mean, greg popovich, nba coach has been very comfortable, you don't hear comments about him. steve kerr, et cetera. >> on some basic level you can't deny there is a racial component because there is a preponderance of the evidence there. i think there is a larger macro issue here, right? talking about an individual who is always ready to go after individuals who have a smaunl platform than he does. i think that is something that is much more, you know, indicative of this thing.
start talking about the attacks on women and minorities. there is a connective thread there. for us as a nation, i think we spoke earlier, you know, it was just kind of understood that the president of the united states would kind of accumulate gray hairs on behalf of, you know, a grateful nation. now you're sitting here looking at this tweet stream and it feels as if a torn nation is sitting there forced to collect gray hairs on behalf of an ungrateful president. it's difficult difficult to rectify these things. >> you supported president trump before. does that make you change your position on him? >> i was not an individual who voted for him, but i was in favor of having tax rofrm reform and the pertinent conversations to getting to a health care system that worked for all people. the reality is we are no longer following in those footsteps. the agenda is the cultural issue and these tiny warns. every time you have a small opportunity for this president to unite a nation across partisan grounds, he literally, you know, instead of, you know,
dampening the flames of division he takes out a flame thrower and lights everything ablaze. >> sometimes to his own detriment because jeff flake, although -- no love lost between the two of them, hilary rosen, he needs jeff flake's votes -- if he loses jeff flake on tax reform, a tax cut, whatever you want to call it, with ron johnson, that's dead on arrival. it's not smart for him to not just be picking that fight but adding fuel to that fight. >> they can't afford to lose three senators. it's one of the reasons why you see the president so reluctant to attack roy moore. instinctively they think he could win. we saw kellyanne doing something today which disappointed me, which to suggest that a vote for a pedophile is actually better than a vote -- >> it disappointed you? >> that's the word i'll choose. anything in favor of the agenda. i do think, though, that part of what the president does is something that he has done from day one, which is that he personally believes he is the
best communicator in the administration. and that the news media doesn't say the right things, doesn't focus on the right things, that his own staff doesn't focus on the right things, so he uses twitter to try to move people's attention to the issues he wants to focus on. that he thinks the american people will pay attention to. >> joseph and bill, this begs further discussion, kellyanne conway's comment saying in effect -- and, you know, pressed by the fox host saying are you saying for, you know, vote for roy moore here? it raises the question, what is the threshold then? where does the support end? we're talking about a man accused repeatedly of preying on underage girls. just 14 years old. >> there is no excuse for pedophilia. you can't wipe that away. on some basic level i think we're asking the wrong questions. history shows us there are always people willing to live and die on the wrong side of history. i think what we're not talking about is the fact that the election has not happened yet
and that the people of alabama have an opportunity, you know, to quote that old, you know, george wallace phrase, draw a line in the dust. alabama can draw a new line in the dust and they can be on the right side of history. i don't think that necessarily means you have to go to the polls and vote for doug jones, but it is an opportunity to say you cannot go to the polls and vote for roy moore in the name of a merciful god. you cannot go to the polls and vote for child molestation in the name of a tax credit in your christmas stocking. >> i think that's a really important point, which is we are giving donald trump too much authority here for how we think, for how we vote, for how we act, and the fact to s. that this country has rejected much of what he has said in his divisiveness since he became elected and we have the opportunity to consistently do it over and over again to reject that, to reject the politics of division. and to not let sort of a fake moral authority overtake this. >> bill kristol? >> i agree with that.
you see something earlier in alabama, an alabama pastor -- how these girls came up with this, i don't know. they must have had some sweet dreams down the line. plus there are some 14-year-olds who the way they look could pass for 20. the degree to which when learned about what's happening. -- this is -- i mean, this is a kind of corruption of you start down the road of defending donald trump himself. well, all of those women lied about him. then you go another step down the road. it doesn't matter because we want tax cuts. and another step. and all of a sudden you've got a pastor in alabama-- >> i've got a 2-year-old daughter she's 12 years away from being, right, but by that standard, being a target. it's sickening. >> it's the conflation also of this moral authority of using the bible, of using religion, which it has historically been used by roy moore to divide people, to put people down. to now suggest somehow that that is going to be the saving grace for roy moore, i think, you know, again that is not what
people of christian faith want to see. >> joseph, let me ask you this, if roy moore wins, which is certainly a possibility here, what does that mean for the republican party? damaging on a national scale? >> well, i think we have bigger problems than the republican -- this is not a republican issue in my two cents of the world. if roy moore wins, what is the outcome? you're really left with poor options because are you going to not seat him? are you going to seat him and then expel him? you're saying that individuals who sit in the senate have the right to dictate who can serve. where does that end? as much as we can talk about the fact how repugnant it is. to talk about in 2017 how people can justify pedophilia against a tax break or justify pedophilia against tribalism and all of these things that should have no place in our politics. it's unfortunate. i think there is ant opportunity for us to get some things done. >> thanks to the panel. as always, difficult topics. next, the intrigue with an icon of evil.
charles manson, why the obsession with the cult leader and mastermind nearly a half century after after his crime? our next guest squared off with him face-to-face. wakey! wakey! rise and shine! oh my gosh! how are you? well watch this. i pop that in there. press brew. that's it. so rich. i love it. that's why you should be a keurig man! full-bodied. are you sure you're describing the coffee and not me? full-bodied. at t-mobile, when you holiday together, great things come in twos. like t-mobile and netflix. right now when you get an unlimited family plan, netflix is included. ho ho ho! t-mobile covers your netflix subscription... best christmas gift ever! ...so you can binge watch all year long. now you're thinking christmas! and now when you buy any of this season's hot new samsung galaxy phones,
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we're back now with our national lead. he was a psychopathic cult leader who commanded his followers to kill for him. the mastermind of a haunting set of murders, including actress sharon tate. grizzly killings that paralyzed los angeles and terrorized the entire country back in the summer of 1969. charles manson died overnight at the age of 83 from natural
causes, but despite being in prison for nearly half a century, the public fascination with his twist, evil charisma, you might say, and ability to brainwash dozens of young men and women has never abated. his very name becoming synonymous with murder, manipulation, fear and helter skelter. joining me now is veteran journalist shelly ross who produced manson's first ever jailhouse interview. shelly, thanks very much for joining us today. i want to ask you first why you think manson has had such a lasting impact, why his story has maintained fascination for so many years, decades. >> it was the end of an era. it was the '60s, love, peace and flowers, and with charles manson's crimes we learned, yes, hippies can murder as well. >> you saw him face-to-face in prison. you sat with him. we have some photos of that here on screen. you played cards with him in
prison. poker, i believe you said. in your face-to-face encounters with him, describe him to us. was he intimidating? was he frightening? was he oddly charming? >> there was nothing charming about charles manson i can promise you. that picture with his hand around my neck, i was told that he would test me to see if i believed in the prosecution's theory that he was the mastermind and this big murderer and a terror. and when that was actually when he was testy, when he didn't like the setup for the interview. tom snyder who actually did the interview was 6'5", charles manson is 5'2", 5'3", depending on what source. he was my height basically and when he was grabbing my arm, he said i will look up to no man.
so he stood actually for much of the interview so he wouldn't have to look up to tom snyder. when he had his hand around my neck, he was actually -- it was very creepy. and he was actually saying to me, are you going to ask questions like is this where i hold the knife to women's throats? and my blood ran cold until i realized as i was warned that this was a test. so i'm actually responding right there, oh, charles, you're such a kidder. and he shrugged and a littlismish and walked away. >> jesus. that's frightening to imagine. why do you think he was so good then at man inlatesting people? particularly vulnerable women. many of whom who stood by him, even after the conviction of these crimes. >> he was a little bit older than they were. he had been raised in the prison system and his closest friend was a pimp who really taught
him. he always said this guy is my father. and he taught him how to manipulate in the prison system. because he was so scrawny and tiny. and he got out in 1968 and basically there were a lot of drugs. this group took -- smoked a lot of havsh, dropped a lot of acid and he pontificated. these were little runaway suburban girls who were fascinated and hung on every word. and i don't think that he believed it, but he sure had a captive audience. they had a lot of sex, drugs and rock and roll. and that was a crash waiting to happen. >> goodness. no question. i mean, in the time since then, have you seen anyone in this category whose met that sort of notoriety in terms of capturing the fear of the nation really? >> osama bin laden. >> yeah.
>> that was -- that marked a new era. before osama bin laden, charles manson was the bogeyman in chief. >> now you did this interview some 35 years ago. did you keep in touch? i mean, keep it touch as a journalist, i mean. keep up in contact with him in that time period? >> no. i just went back -- 1981 was the first interview. this where i'm playing poker. i went to see him in 1982 when he had been transferred where he was in an isolated cell block to san quintin's mainstream population. where i thought he would really be killed as a trophy. i went to see him, what i thought might be his last interview. and he agreed to talk to me but said put away your reporter's notebook and i'll talk to you as we play five-card draw occur. i think it was to look like he had me as a visitor.
>> right. always playing. journalist shelley, thanks very much for taking the time today. >> thank you, jim. you can follow me on twitter @jimsciutto. that's it for "the lead" today. i turn you over now to jim acosta who is in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now. sponsor of terror. president trump puts the squeeze on north korea by putting it back on the list of nations that sponsor terrorism. the move comes with additional sanctions but are they largely symbolic? closing in. as the russia investigations draw closer to the president's inner circle, a senate panel accuseds the president's senior adviser and son-in-law jared kushner of not disclosing key documents. kushner's lawyer accuses the senators of playing gotcha games. antitrust suit, the justice department is set to file a lawsuit to block at&t's takeover of time warner, the parent company