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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  November 14, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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and finally men and women strong enough to speak out. ladies, i thank you so much for your reporting. please check it out on and thank you all so much for being with me. we're going to continue this discussion tomorrow, i can promise you that. in the meantime, i'm going to send it to washington. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" starts now. this is cnn breaking news. good afternoon. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we have a lot of breaking news in the politics lead today. it's been a packed and hectic day in washington, where three major controversies are being given a lot of scrutiny. today attorney general jeff sessions was back in front of lawmakers, insisting that false statements he made in previous congressional testimony relating to the trump campaign team and russia were not lies under oath. the attorney general today also saying he had no reason to doubt the women who have accused roy moore of sexual assault and abuse. moore, of course, running to fill the old senate seat once belonging to sessions. in a separate hearing on sexual
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harassment policies in congress today, congresswoman jackie speier testified that she knows of two current members of congress who she says are sexual harassers. the big question, of course, being with this sea change that we're seeing that the nation is experiencing regarding the treatment of women with men in places such as nbc news in new york or studios in hollywood, all of these men losing their jobs, but somehow is congress going to be impen tetrable to ts change? raising concern over the sole authority of the president to launch nuclear weapons in a hearing convened by president trump's top critics among senate republicans, who has openly questioned the president's temperament and suitability for the job. we are covering all angles of this busy day. we're going to begin with the latest in the russia investigation, which including not only questions about whether the attorney general misled congress to hide contacts that the the trump team had with russian officials but new information about previously undisclosed contacts between wikileaks and donald trump jr.
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during the campaign. we have with us cnn justice correspondents pamela brown and jessica schneider here with me. pamela, let me start with you. just to refresh people's memories. former trump campaign aide george papadopoulos previously pleated guilty to false tame statements to the fbi about contacts with russians. he said he told sessions about contacts he had who wanted to set up a meeting between trump and putin and sessions said he didn't know anything about that. but today he does remember? >> he says he does after the media reports surfaced. and this hearing on capitol hill with sessions, the attorney general, lasted for several hours, jake, and most of the focus has been on the campaign's contacts with russians from democratic lawmakers who are questioning why he's now remembering those contacts he didn't recall before. >> reporter: today, attorney general jeff sessions testifying under oath that he never misled congress regarding contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials. >> in all of my testimony, i can
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only do my best to answer your questions as i understand them and to the best of my memory. but i will not accept and reject accusations that i have ever lied. that is a lie. >> reporter: but after previously testifying he was not aware of any contacts between trump campaign surrogates and russians, sessions is now changing that answer. campaign adviser george papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi about his contacts with russians revealed he proposed setting up a meeting between trump and russian president putin during a campaign conference with sessions. sessions testifying today he now recalls pushing back against such a meeting. >> i do now recall that the march 2016 meeting at the trump hotel that mr. papadopoulos attended, but i have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting. after reading his account and to the best of my recollection, i
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believe that i wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the russian government or any other foreign government for that matter. >> reporter: sessions has been criticized for not recalling contacts earlier this year that would later be revealed. today, sessions said the confusion of the campaign led to his incorrect responses. >> it was a form of chaos every day from day one. we traveled sometimes to several places in one day. sleep was in short supply. >> reporter: sessions' grilling comes just one day after a report from "the atlantic" showing donald trump jr. was in contact with wikileaks during the height of the presidential campaign. >> this just came out. wikileaks, i love wikileaks. >> reporter: wikileaks said several twitter direct messages to trump jr., including requesting that he and his father tout wikileaks' content to their supporters. one message from wikileaks on october 12th told trump jr. their site was posting new e-mails stolen from clinton
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campaign chairman john podesta. just a short time later, donald trump himself tweeted about wikileaks. trump jr. released the messages monday night. >>. >> i'm jessica snooider in washington. tonight, the attorney general is pushing back, insisting the justice department is independent as democratic lawmakers question whether the white house is using the doj to go after hillary clinton. >> in a functioning democracy, is it common for the leader of the country to order the criminal justice system to retaliate against his political opponents? >> i would say that it's -- the department of justice can never be used to retaliate politically against opponents and that would be wrong. >> reporter: but critics are pointing to the president's own words and tweets which often take aim at sessions, plus this letter from assistant attorney general stephen boyd as cause
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for concern. monday night, boyd informed the house judiciary committee that federal prosecutors would evaluate whether or not a special counsel was appropriate. after the house intelligence committee announced its own probe into whether hillary clinton improperly influenced the nine agency approval of the sale of a uranium company to russia because of russian-backed business donations to the clinton foundation. the president has pressed for a probe. >> i'm really not involved with the justice department. i'd like to let it run itself, but, honestly, they should be looking at the democrats. >> do you swear -- >> reporter: attorney general sessions pledged to recuse himself from any investigation into clinton back in january. >> to be very clear, you intend to recuse yourself from both the clinton e-mail investigation and any matters involving the clinton foundation if there are any? >> yes. >> reporter: but before the house judiciary, sessions seemed to waiver. >> are you recused from investigations that involve secretary clinton? >> mr. chairman, it's -- i
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cannot answer that yes or no because under the policies of the department of justice to announce recusal in any investigation would reveal the existence of that investigation and the top ethics officials have advised me i should not do so. >> reporter: before finally answering question. >> at your confirmation hearing you said, i believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself. do you stand by that statement, yes or no? >> yes. >> reporter: sessions did push back on any implication that a special counsel for clinton is absolutely necessary. >> i guess my main question is, what is it going to take if all of that, not to mention the dossier information, what is it actually going to take to get a special counsel? >> it would take a factual basis that meets the standards of the appointments of a special counsel. >> and the uranium deal isn't the only thing the justice department is now probing. attorney general jeff sessions disclosed today that the doj has 27 open investigations into the
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leaks of classified information. that's up from just nine investigations in the past three years. of course, president trump has made leaks a focus and now we're getting this closer look of just how big a focus it is for the doj itself. jake? >> all right, jessica schneider, pamela brown, thank you so much. we have more breaking news from capitol hill. a new proposal to repeal the obamacare mandate as part of the republican tax bill. that story's next. stay with us. we create machines that make every experience more real. because the best feature of a pc gaming machine
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i'm a citizen who knows it's up to us to do something. it's why i'm funding this effort to raise our voices together and demand that elected officials take a stand on impeachment. a republican congress once impeached a president for far less. yet today people in congress and his own administration know that this president is a clear and present danger who's mentally unstable and armed with nuclear weapons. and they do nothing. join us and tell your member of congress that they have a moral responsibility to stop doing what's political and start doing what's right. our country depends on it. parts a and b and want more coverage, guess what? you could apply for a medicare supplement insurance plan whenever you want. no enrollment window. no waiting to apply. that means now may be a great time to shop for an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. medicare doesn't cover everything.
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♪ ♪ just into cnn, senate republicans are proposing to repeal the part of obamacare that mandates that most people have health insurance known as the individual mandate and loop that repeal in with their tax bill. it's a move that president trump has pushed for several times, including in this tweet. quote, how about ending the unfair and highly unpopular individual mandate in obamacare and reducing taxes each further?
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>> not just tweets but also i'm told private calls agitateing for the inclusion of this to several top gop leaders on capitol hill. it doesn't exist in the house bill and it didn't exist in the senate bill until now. and that's because they are very wary of what occurred over the nine months when they were debating health care. they don't want that to get co-mingled with a tax reform process when you talk to aides in both chambers, they feel like it's going very well so far. here's what's changed, basically the political risk was outweighed by the policy risk of not having the money to actually move this through. they feel like this is the only way they can actually get a bill that works through senate budget rules and addresses some of the middle class concerns they've heard from some of their members. this would create $338 billion of revenue, something they desperately need for the senate bill. if you want to hear how mitch mcconnell is going to sell this,
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take a listen to this. >> every single member of my conference from susan collins to ted cruz is opposed to the individual mandate. plus, it falls most heavily on the lowest income people. plus, it is the most unpopular part of the current health care law. >> reporter: now, jake, an important clarification there, while every member of the republican conference in the senate opposes the individual mandate in isolation, they are not necessarily in support of just doing it alone, just getting rid of it alone. that's why a lot of republicans had problems with this in early iterations of the health care process. the calculation right now by republican leader is if they can give those members who are vary about this like susan collins enough on the individual side of tax reform, look, this money will be targeted for middle class tax cuts, they can bring them on board. again, it's a calculated risk. one, leaders were very wary of actually making up to this point. they decided today they simply had no other option, jake. >> all right. phil mattingly for us on capitol hill with the latest
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developments in the tax bill. we have a lot to discuss with our panel, plus, of course, more developments from the hill. something that has not happened in 40 years, the president's power to launch nuclear weapons. we'll talk all about of that next. stay with us. t-mobile family plans now come with netflix included. that's huge. that's right. t-mobile's got your netflix subscription covered... ...when you get a family plan with two or more lines. really? that's incredible. so go ahead and watch however you want. you're messing with me, right? all at no extra charge. this is awesome! another reason why t-mobile is america's best unlimited network. mic drop. when i met my team at ctca,
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break bread, share our day and connect as a family. [ bloop, clicking ] and connect, as a family. just, uh one second voice guy. [ bloop ] huh? hey? i paused it. bam, family time. so how is everyone? find your awesome with xfinity xfi and change the way you wifi. we're back with our politics lead and my panel. we have lots to pick over today, including the shocking from from "the atlantic's" reporter yesterday that donald trump jr. had multiple contacts with wikileaks during campaign. julia, i want to go over a couple of these moments that you were the first to describe. on october 12th of last year, wikileaks reached out to donald trump jr. on direct message on twitter, so privately, and asked
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him to get his father to tweet a link to their latest release. 15 minutes after that message, president trump tweeted, very little picked up by the dishonest media. incredible information provided by wikileaks. what's the significance of that? >> well, it's one heck of a coincidence, right? it could be a coincidence, but it's one heck of a coincidence, and that this is coming five days after the department of homeland security and the office of the director of national intelligence put out an extraordinary statement on october 7th and say, hey, the kremlin is messing with our elections, these e-mails were stolen by the russians and here is wikileaks dumping them. they're also in that same october 12th message, they tell donald jr. they say, hey, you know, we have so many stolen e-mails we can't go through them all and the media certainly isn't, so if your followers have any time, here is a link for a search two. which two days later he tweets out. not a straightforward links like
1:21 pm it has random letters in it. >> a special url. two days after the october 12 moment where president trump tweeted something that assange, julian assange had wanted him to tweet out, now vice president mike pence was asked if the trump campaign was in cahoots, not my word, with wikileaks. take a listen. >> nothing could be further from the truth. i think all of us have, you know, have -- had concerns about wikileaks over the years and it's just a reality of america. >> right. >> life today and of life in the wider world. >> nothing could be further from the truth, bill, and the vice president had to put out a statement saying he didn't know that donald trump jr. has having these private conversations with wikileaks. >> i'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not a coincidence that donald jr. gets this thing and 15 minutes later his father tweets it out. >> cahoots even. >> they were in close contact. but what's the other instance where there was a big deal made
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of donald trump jr. being in a meeting and allegedly not telling his father about it? that's the famous meeting with the russians, right? june 19th or whatever it is. it makes me think if donald trump jr. got interesting information, he told him right away, which makes me think that donald trump sr., the president, mate might be in trouble for denying -- maybe not legally in trouble, but denied he knew anything about this meeting. didn't he until him about a meeting he had with russians? >> one could argue that's what happened. look, i think what we've learned today, something that we've already already knew, lots of people in the trump orbit have been karlts with the truth for lack of a better term and that could result in some legal action. so this is just shocking to me because i didn't think it was confusing that twitter is not a secure channel of which to share information. so i think the trump administration could be in deep stuff, but republicans on the
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hill have to now come to a point where they're going to have to hold this white house accountable and hold lots of folks in donald trump's orbit accountable. i just haven't seen that that has necessarily happened. >> republicans have hat these emergencies for months. >> for months. >> and it is kind of part of a pattern, as bill was saying, of donald trump jr. kind of feeding interesting tweets, tweets he likes to his father, tweets by white supremacists, et cetera. so it's kind of not that surprising. >> another interesting moment on october 3rd of last year, donald trump jr. was messaging with wikileaks, with assange, and he asked about a rumor they were preparing another leak. quote, what's behind this wednesday leak i keep hearing about? now senate judiciary chairman chuck grassley just told cnn he found the exchanges he read between donald trump jr. and wikileaks presumably assange, he found them innocuous. do you agree? >> no. they certainly raised my eyebrows when i first heard about these exchanges, my jaw dropped. at the very least, let's say
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you're chuck grassley and trying to protect this republican administration, fine, but at the very least they say an awful lot about wikileaks. and i think at this point, you know, the veil, the pretense, the charade is completely completely over at this point. >> charade of what? >> that they're a radical transparency organization. they do something akin to what journalists do. they have a clear agenda that dovetails pretty cleanly with the russian secret services. >> julia, wasn't that over in october? you covered this stuff much more closely than i have. hadn't the intelligence community said that wikileaks was in effect an instrument of the russian government? >> we should note they deny it. >> wikileaks of course denied it. >> donald jr., it wasn't like donald jr. never heard of wikileaks. who knew they were in cahoots with the russians, right? >> that's a separate issue. i'm talking about wikileaks per wikileaks. >> i understand that. from the point of view -- what it does show is that donald trump jr. was perfectly happy to take something from an
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organization. >> if it's what you say it is, i love it, right? >> right. he meets with russians and takes things from russian front organizations. >> i think it has to be said that this is also not normal. i've worked on presidential and many other campaigns, if a random entity came to me with information, this is something you flag and don't take. this is why you run your own opposition research operations inside your campaign. folks should understand this is not normal and not how business is conducted on the level of a presidential or any other level of the campaign. >> also, it just also gives you a window or a reminder of how the trump campaign ran, which is that it always seemed like the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. mike pence may have not known, the same way that, you know, it just seemed like they weren't talking to each other. the same way roger stone is tweeting out about wednesday, saying wednesday hillary clinton is done #wikileaks and don jr. is asking wikileaks saying, what's this about? so they're not kind of -- they're not necessarily talking to each other. >> interesting. i want to play some sound of
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attorney general sessions' explanation as to why he didn't tell congress earlier about his discussion with campaign adviser george papadopoulos about -- when papadopoulos said he had contacts in russia who wanted to range a putin/trump meeting. take a listen. >> frankly, i had no recollection of this meeting until i saw these news reports. after reading his account and to the best of my recollection, i believe that i wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the russian government. >> so the way that i've seen some people on twitter and social media talk about this is, jeff sessions couldn't remember this and now he remembers this story and he's the hero. >> yeah, could be, though, if papadopoulos, whatever his name is is a very junior guy. wikileaks was famous. and you're getting something -- just think about this -- i've been in campaigns, too. you're getting something from wikileaks and you don't think this is a little problematic? trump of course -- i don't know why we're going down this road
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because trump publicly called on the russian government to release the e-mails he thought they had hacked. think about that for a moment. >> how many times, somebody counted 145 times how many times he mentioned wick location. >> he mentioned wikileaks many, many teams. >> it is consistent -- the sessions testimony is consistent with some of the reporting about that meeting with papadopoulos where other people remembered sessions saying, okay, stop. enough. >> right. no, no, no -- >> but the fact that jeff sessions doesn't remember, look, that's like when i used to ask my ex-boyfriend, where were you last week? and he doesn't remember and i bring up very specifics. actually, i was there and this is what i said. it's very convenient that he does not recall until a news report comes out. what we have seen with this administration is that the media gets ahold of something and all of a sudden they now have stories to cop to they did not have before. >> everyone stick around. whether anyone could stop president trump theoretically from ordering the launch of a nuclear weapon. it was the subject of a senate hearing today. that story's next.
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sole authority to order a nuclear strike strike. cnn's barbara starr at the pentagon filed this report. >> we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. >> reporter: a warning from president trump. what will happen if the u.s. is forced to defend itself against north korea. >> the president recognizes that we're running out of time. >> many interpret that to mean that the president is actively considering the use of nuclear weapons in order to deal with the threat of north korea. >> reporter: the rhetoric leading to an extraordinary hearing. for the first time in more than 40 years, the senate foreign relations committee publicly questioning how and when a president can launch nuclear weapons. but this time it is also about donald trump. >> we are concerned that the president of the united states is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process
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that is so quick so theic that he might order a nuclear strike that is wildly out of step with u.s. national security interests. >> reporter: cnn has learned that some u.s. allies as well as some in congress have sought reassurances that trump could not rashly order a nuclear strike even though he has the authority to do so. >> many americans share my fear that the president's bombastic words could turn into nuclear reality. >> reporter: but sharp warnings about changing decades of the president's ultimate war authority. >> i think if we were to change the decision-making process in some way to -- because of a distrust of this president, think that would be an unfortunate precedent. >> reporter: a former top nuclear commander underscoring a nuclear strike order must be legal in proportion to the threat. >> if there is an illegal order presented to the military, the military is obligated to refuse to follow it.
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>> reporter: and no appetite for change from the defense secretary. >> i think that we have to keep trust, keep faith in the system that we have, that has proven effective now for decades. >> reporter: and tensions with north korea certainly not easy. the u.s. navy right now is conducting a very unusual exercise. three aircraft carriers in the sea of japan, sending a message to kim jong-un. jake? >> barbara starr at the pentagon for us. thanks so much. my panel is back with me. bill, this is the first time congress has debated the power of the president to launch nuclear strikes in four decades, since the 1970s. so i think it's always a good discussion to have, you know, these legislative challenge the executive branch but do you think that's what this is or is this about president trump? >> obviously it's prompted by president trump. i mean, i think we have pretty good checks in place, honestly. one of the big lessons of the the ten months of the trump presidency for me is that there are strong institutionings within and without the government that can contrain the
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president. and the chain of command would be through the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs i think or maybe to the nuclear commander. in any case, jim mattis is there and he's not going to execute an order that he thinks is either illegal or crazy. so that's -- that's good, but -- so i don't actually think that's the greatest threat from donald trump, but it is worth taking a fresh look. one thing one should look at also is congress' role here, congress in general in war fighting, right? congress could do more to authorize the fights we're fighting. >> they abdicate that a lot. >> right. >> they don't want the responsibility. >> i would say obviously if we're going -- i don't think we'll have to use nuclear weapons anywhere, but if there were a moment we would have to, congress should have a debate about whether we're going to have to use force and what country we would use nuclear weapons against. >> are you reassured by the presence of the so-called generals, mattis, masters, kelly? you're not? >> i am not reassured. general kelly has showed us in times he will buckle under the
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trump pressure and go along to get along for this president. that's why i believe that congress is very important. a lot of folks forget that congress is a co-equal branch of government. these hearings are important. i'm not here just to leave it up to the generals. i want my elected officials whom we sent to congress to do their jobs. >> look, trump ordered by tweet kick the transgender people out of the military. that's a lot less serious than nuclear weapons. has it happened? no, because you know what, there are laws and procedures. secretary mattis said we can review this that somebody legaling serving in the military cannot be separated on a whim of the commander in chief. that is an indication the system, the deep state the left called it, works. we should take pride in the fact that this isn't a third world country where you have a somewhat unstable guy as president he can cavalierly commit us to military or other actions. >> yet. >> okay. >> but wanted to say something to symone's point, but that's
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not the argument you heard senators making. they're saying this president is unstable, you know, saying things about a president you haven't really heard -- sitting senators say from the bench. i mean, borker is just torching the place on his way out, right? they're not making an argument about congress abdicating responsibility or stepping up and taking their fair share of responsibility, they're making a character-based argument about this president. which is kind of is a little icky, a little squeaky. >> i do want to switch to taxes for one second because there was an awkward moment from the president's economic adviser gary cohn. he was speaking to business leaders today. take a listen. >> can i ask you all a quick question? if the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment -- your company's investment, capital investment? just a show of hands if the tax reform goes through. >> okay. >> why aren't the other hands
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up? >> i've got a question quickly for -- >> gary cohn surprised apparently that not a lot of -- a room full of ceos, not a lot of hands went up, bill. >> they are center-right, center-left, no one thinks this tax bill is a good tax bill on actual economic grounds. some thing it's marginally better and marginally worse. i was struck by the lack of enthusiasm. there is a case for tax reform, a lot of things, but they managed to cobble together something that is an awful lot of old ideas bouncing around in a somewhat incoherent rate. >> the corporate tax rate would be lowered from 35% to 20% basically. you would think some people would raise their hands, sure, we're going to have more money to make more plants, more factories. >> or hand it off to their shareholders which has been one of the main criticisms of this law. unfortunately this is like a lot of republican tax plans and tax policy, there is the theory and then there is the reality and
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never the two shall meet. the insistence, no, no, no, this time supply-side economics will work. or no, no, no, this time ceos won't hand off the extra profits or the money they'll get back from the tax cuts to the shareholders but give these workers $4,000 extra per year that the white house says they're going to do. and then you actually talk to business leaders and they say, nah, not really. >> all right. thanks one and all. great panel. really appreciate your being here. coming up next, accused underage sense abuser roy moore just tweeted that the voters of alabama decide the election, not the swamp things of washington, d.c. but will republicans be able to keep him out of the senate if alabama goes along with him? that's next.
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we're back with the politics lead and republican senate candidate roy moore charging ahead with his campaign despite growing calls for him to drop out. a long list of republican members of congress want him to quit the race or step aside if the sex abuse allegations are proven true. in response, moments ago, moore tweeted this, quote, alabamaens will not be fooled by this inside hit job. mitch mcconnell's days as majority leader are coming to an end very soon, unquote. a clear jab at the senate majority leader who said this today. >> he's obviously not fit to be in the united states senate. and we've looked at all of the options to try to prevent that from happening. >> meanwhile, loyal supporters of roy moore are trying to discredit the accusers, particularly the fifth woman who came forward yesterday with her compelling press conference. cnn's nick valencia joins me
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live now from gadsden, alabama. nick, loyal supporters pushing back against these allegations. >> reporter: not only are they pushing back, jake, it seems they're trying to do everything in their power to discredit these women. beverly nelson allege she was sexual assaulted when she was just 16 years old in a parking lot of a restaurant called the old hickory house. moore's wife said there is no way that could happen because the old hickory house did not exist at the time. the largest media outlet here in the state of alabama investigated this and found the old hickory house in a directory and also report that that business has now changed names. now, even still, this has not stopped moore's supporters from coming out to question the credibility of the women who have come forward, even questioning the timing of these women, also purported they may have been paid by the "washington post" who initially broke this story. the "washington post" pushed back on that saying they did not pay these women. they had to convince them to come forward. beverly nelson put it best when
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she said, she may have taken this story to the grave had it not been for the other colonel of the women who came before him. jake? >> nick valencia, thank you. as the calls for moore to quit the race, it begs the question, exactly what options do republican leaders have to try to stop moore from becoming a u.s. senator. tom foreman is live for us at the magic wall. tom, lay out the scenarios that could play out. >> the first question, could the republicans block the december 12th election? yes, the alabama governor who is a republican could delay the vote but says she will not. further more, she says she's going to vote for moore, but only at this moment in time when she adds we don't have all the facts. so can moore's name be withdrawn from the ballot? no. the deadline for withdrawal is 76 days prior to the vote. we are way past that. and many absentee ballots have already been cast. so let's say the election goes forward. could moore be won't?
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well, sure. she's allegations have cut into his lead in the polls, and while alabama has elected only republican senators since the mid-1990s, the state has a long history of democratic senators before that. in addition, the republican party could put all of its efforts into a write-in candidate, and if president trump endorsed that alternative candidate, that might help. although bear in mind the president supported moore's primary challenger and moore won anyway. so even if you put someone like jeff sessions back there as the write-in candidate, which they're talking about, moore could lose. but it's a job to get done. can they stop moore in washington if he wins? yes. majority leader mitch mcconnell could lead the charge to find him unfit for office. they could swear him in and two-thirds of all senators could agree they could immediately throw him out. in which case the alabama governor who, again, is a republican, who appoint an interim senator, almost certainly another republican, until a special election could
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be held. jake? >> but, tom, moore still has substantial levels of support in alabama, despite everything that the voters there have heard. what are the risks for the republican party if they stop him the way you describe? >> look, a lot of voters might not like that. so the first is payback. steve bannon and other anti-establishment folks who support roy could -- roy moore could harass, impede and hurt mainstream republicans in retribution, bringing in all of those voters. saying you were cheated. the thing is they're pretty much doing that to the mainstream republicans anyway so presumably it could get worse. but the second one may be the bigger worry for mitch mcconnell and all the others out there. through all of these maneuvers, the democrat doug jones could win. and that would cut into republican control of the senate, posing a whole new set of worries for the gop. jake? >> all right. tom foreman, thank so much. we have more breaking news. one female lawmaker publicly testifying today there are two
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current members of the congress who sexually harass women and the speaker of the house just weighed in. stay with us. you do all this research
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mic drop.
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welcome back. breaking today in our politics lead. speaker paul ryan just announced mandatory anti-sexual harassment training for the house of representatives. this news comes hours after a hearing on sexual harassment and assault in congress. today congresswoman jackie speier, democrat of california, a survivor of sexual assault on the hill, testified how the current system is failing those affected. >> in fact, there are two members of congress, republican and democrat, right now who
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serve, who have been subject to review or not have been subject to review but have engaged in sexual harassment. >> let's bring in cnn's mj lee and sara ganim who interviewed more than 50 former and current lawmakers and staffers about the state of sexual misconduct on capitol hill. mj, let me start with you. the hearing today raise a lot of questions about how effective the current reporting system works. >> reporter: yeah, jake, that's right. there is clearly this growing recognition that the current system, the current process that's in place simply does not work. that's it is too antiquated, that it doesn't adequately protect victims. just to give you a sense of how complicated this process is, this office of compliance is where a congressional aide would need to go to file a formal complaint and it takes a really, really long time in order for someone to be able to file that complaint. just to walk you through that a little bit, first they would go to the office and they would need to go through 30 days of mandatory counselling.
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if they choose to move forward after that point, they would need to sign a nondisclosure agreement, an nda, that, of course, would prevent them from speaking about this case in the future. then 30 days of mediation is required and then you have to wait another 30 days. this is called a cooling off period. all in all, three months before anyone can take the step of filing a complaint. you can imagine when a person has gone through sexual harassment or assault, the idea of waiting three months is a really, really long time and i think that has had the affect of discouraging people to speak out. jake, i would note the other big takeaway from that hearing is that the female lawmaker says that current members of congress have been accused of sexual harassment. and i think it's really important to highlight what kind of behavior we are talking about here. congresswoman speier, she said her office has been inundated with stories of sexual harassment and talking about stories like harassers exposing their genitals and also victims
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having their private parts grabbed on the house floor. those quotes kind of speak for themselves. they're really stunning. >> it wasn't just her, republican congresswoman barbara comstock sharing such anecdote. let's put this chart up. this to me, mj, not to put too fine a point on it, this to me looks like the kind of process you would establish if you are trying to discourage somebody from filing a complaint. it looks like a process set up by sexual harassers themselves. sara, anyone who reports has to sign a nondisclosure agreement there in step two if they want to move forward. is that normal? >> well, it is to have a nondisclosure agreement when you're in the process of litigation against someone. we saw that with harvey weinstein. we heard about the ndas through his company. but what i've learned today from speaking to an attorney who has handled a lot of these cases is that these particular ones, these capitol hill cases, the ndas are so broad they include
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you can't talk to your family and friends about it. you can't talk to your therapist about it. you certainly can't talk to your colleagues or report it to the police or to the house ethics committee. so the limiting nature of what that means if you go forward and report it through the process, which you noted is the way that they're supposed to do it, then you are so limited in -- you give up so many of your rights to approach the problem from a different perspective. it really dissuades a lot of people from reporting at all. we know from congresswoman speier's office that 80% of the victims that have come forward to them in the last few weeks with stories, 80% of them did not go through this process because of what they learned it was going to be. some of them say they started the process and walked out, saying this is not going to help me, this is going to hurt me. >> sure is handy if you're writing the laws. mj, i have to say, with this current wave of women reporting
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sexual misconduct in other industries and it's having an effect. men for the first time are losing their jobs, but i wonder you hear about this on capitol hill today, congresswoman speier mentioning two current members of congress but not naming them. why such hesitancy on the hill to speak out? i haven't heard about a current member of congress involved in inappropriate sexual behavior since mark foley which is maybe a decade ago. why is this the current situation on the hill, mj? >> reporter: this is a really important point. in hollywood, in media, we have recently seen these kinds of watershed moments where women and men are speaking out against powerful figures and actually naming the perpetrators. on capitol hill that has not been the case. we have not seen, as you said, members actually being named. that has been -- that moment has really not come. i'm sort of haunted by a conversation that i had with a congresswoman who told me that she has been harassed multiple times over the years but she does not feel like she can name
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that person. >> unbelievable. mj lee, sara ganim, thank you so much. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. you can follower me on twitter @jaketapper. i turn you over to wolf blitzer right next door in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now. breaking news. lacking total recall. attorney general jeff sessions testifies that he now results a trump campaign meeting at which russia contacts were discussed. why couldn't he remember it at an earlier hearing? sessions denies ever lying to congress. does he just have a faulty memory when it comes to russia? politically motivated? the president says he is not improperly influenced by president trump, so why has he now asked federal prosecutors to look into the clinton foundation as demanded by the president and congressional republicans? unfit for office. as a growing number of republicans call gop senate candidate roy moore unfit, majority leader


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