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Trump Doubles Down on Anti-Pyongyang Rhetoric; Trump Holds Extended Q&A Session. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired August 11, 2017 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[00:00:08] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Things will happen to them like they never thought possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: More anti-North Korea rhetoric from the U.S. President and Pyongyang has its own new warning. Our reporters in Guam, Japan and South Korea standing by with reaction.
And Mr. Trump also had choice words for his party's top lawmaker in the Senate. We'll look at why.
Plus pop star Taylor Swift takes the stand. Taylor Swift's blunt and forceful testimony against the man she says groped her.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Isha Sesay.
NEWSROOM L.A. starts right now.
Well, we begin with new warnings from both the U.S. and North Korea. Donald Trump says his threat to bring fire and fury to Pyongyang may have been too timid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And frankly, the people who, of course, think that statement was too tough, maybe it wasn't tough enough. They've been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years. And it's about time that somebody stuck up to the people of this country and for the people of other countries.
So, if anything, maybe that statement wasn't tough enough. The people of this country should be very comfortable. And I will tell you this, if North Korea does anything in terms of even thinking about attack of anybody that we love or we represent or our allies or us, they can be very, very nervous, I'll tell you what.
And they should be very nervous because things will happen to them like they never thought possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, North Korea is not backing down either. It says the U.S. will suffer quote, "a shameful defeat and final doom if it persists with its military adventure".
U.S. Defense Secretary says his military is ready if needed but he would prefer another path.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES DEFENSE SECRETARY: The American effort is diplomatically-led. It has diplomatic traction. It is gaining diplomatic results. And I want to stay right there, right now.
The tragedy of war is well enough known it doesn't need another characterization beyond the fact that it would be catastrophic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: All right. A lot to discuss. Let's get to our reporters in the region. CNN's Alexandra Field is in Seoul South Korea; journalist Robert Santos is in Guam; and Kaori Enjoji is in Tokyo. Welcome to all of you.
Alexandra -- to you first, a fresh volley of heightened rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea. Is there a concern in South Korea that this situation could be spiraling out of control?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, there is certainly the recognition of the seriousness of the situation and the mounting seriousness of the security concerns right here on the peninsula. That's why you've had South Korean officials continually calling for dialogue which they hoped would defuse the situation.
What they've been getting instead is this war of words between President Trump and Pyongyang. They saw that go to another level again this morning with an exchange of essentially threats on both sides. South Korean officials being very clear that they are standing firmly with their U.S. ally, warning Pyongyang to stop any provocation that could lead to an increase in the conflict here.
At the same time it is feared that there is additional concern here because you do have more voices calling for added defenses when it comes for ways to protect South Korea and the people who live right here.
FIELD: Launching intercontinental ballistic missiles, boasting about an ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads -- North Korea keeps crossing the line. On the other side of this line, the equation is changing.
ANDREI LANKOV, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: Any people, in greeting (ph) people who are by no means marginal characters, whomever (ph) begin to see this talk about the (inaudible) nuclear events. I don't think it's going to happen. But the change of mind is quite clear.
FIELD: Could North Korea's furious pursuit of nuclear weapons trigger a regional arms race.
In South Korea, an opposition party leader says his country doesn't have the power it needs.
HONG JOON-PYO, LIBERTY PARTY KOREA (through translator): It is perhaps time to start discussing the redeployment of tactical nuclear weapons. Perhaps nuclear balance can bring peace on the Korean Peninsula
FIELD: A war of words between North Korea and the U.S. president is adding heat and pressure.
TRUMP: They will be met with fire and fury, like the world has never seen.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This mad man that has --
FIELD: The rhetoric sparking realistic concern for South Koreans.
[00:05:01] GRAHAM: If thousands die, they're going to die over there and they're not going to die here. At least tell me that to my face.
FIELD: Top Trump administration officials, even the President say the U.S. is firmly standing by its ally.
A decades-old agreement guarantees the protection of South Korea under the American nuclear umbrella. Some in South Korea now want more.
KIM TAE-WOO, NORTH KOREA ANALYST: This is the right time for our two nations (ph) to talk about the reinstatement of tactical nuclear weapons on to South Korean soil. That can be a very wise way to avoid any armed clashes.
FIELD: But South Korea abandoned its efforts to build its own nuclear weapon under pressure from Washington in the 70s. The country's dovish new President Moon Jae-In has repeatedly called for dialogue with North Korea and denuclearization of the Peninsula.
But under mounting security threats, he's now looking for ways to increase his country defenses, green-lighting more parts of a controversial missile defense system and working to increase the payload of their ballistic missile arsenal.
Any kind of conflict could come at the highest cost to his people.
LANKOV: North Korean military is capable of shelling Seoul with dozens (ph) and then hundreds of heavy guns.
FIELD: Nearly 10 million people in South Korea's city Seoul live within range along the North Korean border.
(END VIDEOTAPE) FIELD: President Trump answered a number of questions about North Korea in just the last few hours. On the one hand, he wouldn't rule out a preemptive strike. At the same time he said there's always consideration for negotiation and he certainly did not back away from the threat that he issued just a few days ago.
In fact, he doubled down saying that he should have been even tougher when it comes to this situation. He says that he is standing up for America and for other countries and that other administrations have failed to be as tough as his.
Here in South Korea, there has been coordination between the administrations. We know that the U.S. national security advisor and the South Korean national security advisor have spoken within the last few hours. The statement from officials here in South Korea is that those parties are working together step by step -- Isha.
SESAY: Alexandra Field with that view from South Korea -- thank you.
Let's go to Guam now and Robert Santos. Robert -- considering the fact that Guam is Pyongyang's declared target should a missile strike be launched, how much support is there on the island for the President's move to double-down on his threats to North Korea?
ROBERT SANTOS, JOURNALIST: Well, as we've been talking about, you know, Guam has its two military bases. There is also the defense missiles -- missile defense system that is in place here and has been for at least a couple of years.
You know, what we have not seen is any sort of panic by the locals. You know, it's been business as usual everywhere you go in the stores, in the restaurants, at the bars, local clubs, local establishments. People are out and about and, you know, from what I understand from people, they are just relying on their faith and they're relying on their confidence in our local leaders being able to carry out what they are saying they're going to do to protect the island.
Now, you know, there's certainly a lot of questions about what will happen and that's a topic of discussion when people are together. What will happen if North Korea fires its missiles?
And so Guam Homeland Security spokeswoman did talk about that and said that if that was to happen it would take approximately 14 minutes for these missiles to arrive on the island. At the point residents would be advised by 15 all hazard alert warning systems, the government home -- mansion, and also the Homeland Security would be informed right away. And the residents will be alerted in all means of communication possible from local media to social media and also through the various village mayors' offices getting the word.
So there certainly has been talk about that and so to allay the fears, Homeland Security has come out with those possibilities just so people know what could happen.
SESAY: All right. Robert -- appreciate it. Let's go to Tokyo now and join Kaori. Tokyo -- Kaori rather -- given the North's continued threats and Pyongyang's warning that the missile would fly over Japan, what's the reaction where you are to President Trump's latest warning?
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well Isha -- I think the reaction is worried but calm. There has been no comment from government officials regarding the latest comments from the U.S. president. And yesterday was a public holiday but I think the government officials are trying to take a very measured approach towards responding to this crisis.
I mean they will acknowledge that Japan is on high alert. But the average citizen, I think, calm is the word of the day. Today is the official start of the summer holidays here in Japan.
[00:10:01] And I think people are worried about this unprecedented detail that North Korea has given, flying through three prefectures in the western part of Japan but it's the beginning of the summer holidays and the trains heading out to that area are packed this morning suggesting that individuals aren't exactly changing their plan because of this warning from North Korea.
I think there's a lot of head scratching as well as to why these three prefectures in particular were singled out -- Hiroshima, Shimane and Kochi. It is physically very difficult for a missile to go through just those three prefectures.
But at the same time when you take a look at the defense capabilities that Japan has, there is a little bit of a corridor where the PAC-3 missiles are not present. And those prefectures fall within that corridor.
This would not be the first time that a missile from North Korea flew over Japan. It's happened once in 2009. It happened before that in 1998. And throughout that process Japan has been upping its deterrence capabilities and upping is defense systems.
So in a way, you could argue that an arms race has been around for decades now. When you take a look at the defense white paper that was issued earlier on this week, it shows that Japan is trying to up those capabilities.
We talk about the PAC-3s that are located throughout Japan but I should tell you that these are the last line of defense. They have very limited range. What's more important for Japan is the deterrence capability that the U.S. offers them under the U.S.-Japan security alliance. And those are the Aegis ships that are deployed throughout the waters of Japan.
But even with them, Japan is not and Japan and the waters around Japan are not fully covered. And when you read the defense white paper that will not happen until the year 2021.
So as I pointed out initially, Isha, very quiet from the Japanese government officials today but you can bet that they're discussing possible upgrades to some of these systems -- defense systems and that in a way is what the Japanese public is concerned about the most. I mean this is, you know, a very -- constitutionally it's very difficult and upping a defense system always stokes the ire of the Japanese public and I think that shows the quandary that Japan is faced with right now.
SESAY: Yes. It is certainly a very difficult situation, no doubt about that.
Alexandra Field there in Seoul, South Korea; Robert Santos joining us there from Guam; and Kaori Enjoji joining us there from Tokyo, Japan -- thanks to all of you. Thank you, appreciate the insight and analysis.
All right. Well, let's get some expert analysis of North Korea's capabilities. CNN military analyst Rick Francona is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. He joins us from Port Orford, Oregon.
Colonel Francona -- always good to have you with us. Let me start by asking you your view of President Trump's comments on Thursday on North Korea. As you know he doubled down on the fire and fury comment, even saying maybe those comments weren't tough enough.
I mean do you see this latest statement by the President as helpful?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Not really. I mean I think the first statement was strong enough. And of course, followed by General Mattis' statement -- I think General Mattis was just as strong as the President although he phrased it much more diplomatically.
I think the President is keeping the rhetoric up. He's keeping the pressure on North Korea. And we're seeing a little bit of response from North Korea that we haven't seen before.
This -- what people are calling a threat to Guam where they detailed out the exact type of missile, the flight path, the flight time, the range -- we've never really seen anything like that before. It was surprising to see that.
And I think it rattled them a little bit. And I think that's what caused them to do this. Now when you read the actually text of the North Korean statement it's not really a threat. It says they're developing a plan -- they're developing an option by their commander- in-chief just like the United States Department of Defense is providing military options to President Trump.
So I think they're playing this tit for tat game. They're trying to ratchet up the pressure without actually making a threat. So I think, you know, the rhetoric continues but I don't think we're edging much closer to an actual confrontation yet.
SESAY: It is also worth pointing out to our viewers, Colonel Francona, that before President Trump's comments on Thursday North Korea did issue a fresh statement and I want to read part of it.
Part of it said North Korea is warning the U.S. would suffer a shameful defeat and final doom if it insists in extreme military adventure, sanctions and pressure. And the regime vowed to mercilessly wipeout the provocateurs making desperate efforts to stifle North Korea.
It is worth noting, Colonel Francona that in this latest statement, they don't talk about striking Guam. Is that significant to you?
FRANCONA: You know, what you just read is what we always have seen from North Korea. That's the old North Korea. That's what we're used to seeing. That's the type of rhetoric we're used to.
[00:15:03] What we saw the other day with this detailed plan to strike Guam was much different and I think it has changed the rhetoric. But that statement from North Korea that everybody is referring to in looking at this threat to Guam did not come from Kim Jong-Un. It came from the chief of the Rocket Forces.
So Kim Jong-Un has not said that yet. So it's interesting that he now has the opportunity to call off his generals and appear to be the diplomat, to appear to be the statesman and therefore kind of put Donald Trump on the defensive.
SESAY: All right. Colonel Francona -- joining us there with some perspective from Oregon. We appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, if the words should turn to action between the U.S. and North Korea, who would make the first move. Later this hour we'll take a closer look of what President Trump is now saying about a possible pre-emptive strike.
And Mr. Trump could be making a new enemy in Washington, why he's turning on a key ally -- next.
SESAY: Hello, everyone.
U.S. President Donald Trump had only held a single solo press conference since taking office. That was until Thursday. He took questions from reporters twice at his New Jersey golf club. And he covered a lot of ground from international feuds with North Korea and Russia to his political frustrations back in Washington.
With me now former L.A. councilwoman Wendy Greuel and political commentator John Phillips. Welcome to you both. There is a lot to get through so let us start.
Wendy -- let's start with the promise made by the President, as you know, Tuesday he threatened fire and fury against North Korea; comments that were roundly criticized by some as being unhelpful.
Come Thursday, he doubled down and he also said this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before, what will happen in North Korea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will you do?
TRUMP: You'll see. You'll see. And he'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: So Wendy -- here's the thing. The President's critics say that these kinds of comments are dangerous when you are dealing with a situation like North Korea with an irrational leader and it could easily lead to a miscalculation. Does the President understand that as he continues to make these kinds of comments, do you think?
WENDY GREUEL, FORMER LOS ANGELES COUNCILWOMAN: I don't believe so. I mean I think he's erratic. I mean you have two leaders who are ratcheting up the language at a time where people in this country and then you look at Guam and you look all over the world are scared that somebody is going to push the button and without thinking the implications and what that means.
In this situation, words matter. How you say it matters. And making sure that you're using all the diplomatic avenues in which you possibly can.
[00:20:01] This is one of those times which you wish, you know, you have two schoolyard bullies in some way that are fighting and you want someone to come in, the principal, and say stop for a moment. Let's have a conversation about this.
Look we, obviously think that Kim Jong-Un is acting inappropriately risks, all kinds of things and threatening the United States and that there is a response that is definitely needed.
I believe that most of the country, in particular a lot in Congress don't believe the way he's gone about it is the right way to address that threat.
SESAY: John Phillips -- to that point, and I want you to weigh in on what Wendy said, you know we have learned that the comment the President made on Tuesday was off the cuff. And then he goes ahead and he makes the statement, he draws a line.
North Korea immediately steps over the line. They continue their threats and the President comes back on Thursday and he says what he did. Is he backing himself into a corner?
JOHN PHILLIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, three points. One I dispute the inference that Kim Jong-Il (ph) is somehow irrational. He's acting quite rational for a dictator --
SESAY: Kim Jong-Un, yes.
PHILLIPS: I mean this is what you would expect from someone who is in his position.
The second thing is if you look at the substance of what Trump said, the substance is actually quite in line with what Bill Clinton said. I mean Bill Clinton used very harsh language with the North Koreans as did George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
SESAY: But with tensions as high at that time when the harsh rhetoric was uttered.
PHILLIPS: He of course, added a little flamboyance and flair which we have come to expect from one Donald Trump. But, you know, it's substantively in line with what we're used to.
And then the third point I'd make is that if you looked at what he said, when he talked about that U.N. resolution today at the press conference in New Jersey, he left the door open to going back to the U.N. and imposing more sanctions that are stricter.
The Chinese negotiated out oil sanctions on the North Koreans, which was a huge mistake. We also have the ability if China doesn't cooperate and China doesn't move the ball forward to go back and impose banking sanctions on the Chinese.
That's something that we haven't done yet. That's something that would definitely cause pain in that part of the world. And it's something I think that we should put on the table because when you're talking about potential nuclear war, all diplomatic possibilities should be exhausted.
And I spoke to Rick Grenell today who's going to be the ambassador to Germany and he said that is something that the Trump administration is putting front and center.
GREUEL: But I think the difference is that he's not saying those things in his press conference. He's using just that rhetoric, that bombastic kind of rhetoric that I think is escalating this situation versus there are all the other options we have we're not ready to do the nuclear, you know, position.
SESAY: I was going to throw out that -- and I want you both to weigh in -- the fact that the President is using this bombastic language if you will countered with, you know, the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who was seemingly holding the door open to negotiations. Some people saying that there's mixed messaging coming out of this administration.
Is this going to cause credibility issues for the President when it comes to dealing with this issue, this mixed messaging?
GREUEL: Well, I think there's -- you know, we've all seen the good cop, bad cop and that there's a plan and a strategy for those kinds of things that happen in diplomacy and other ways.
But I think the fear that I have or the concern that I have and many others I've spoken to is the fact is there's no clear plan. You know, is this -- was it really his intention to be that, you know, that fury and show that kind of anger and moving the ball down the road farther than people thought. Was that really something he planned or not? And I don't think we know the answer to that.
SESAY: We don't (inaudible) -- Russia.
PHILLIPS: Digging our head in the sand got us to this point. I think making it clear in no uncertain terms and maybe he didn't use the Queen's English but he made it very clear to Kim Jong-Un that if he attacks us or our allies, it's game over and he needs to understand that.
SESAY: Ok. Let's talk about Russia and President Putin's decision to expel hundreds of American diplomats. The President was asked to give his reaction. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll. And as far as I'm concerned, I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There's no real reason for them to go back. So I greatly appreciate the fact that they've been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We'll save a lot of money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: John -- Politico is reporting that these comments went over very badly with the rank and file in the --
GREUEL: Morale is bad.
SESAY: -- State Department. They were not happy.
PHILLIPS: Oh, they hate him anyway.
SESAY: I was going to say do they have a right to be upset?
PHILLIPS: Fell on deaf ears with me -- I thought it was hilarious. He signed the sanctions on Russia for invading Crimea and interfering in our election.
SESAY: Forced to. You argue with all the facts.
PHILLIPS: That's what counts -- did he sign it or did he veto it? He signed it and Putin is being snippy because of it, because he doesn't like the fact that that bill was signed. And Trump threw a joke back at him. I see no problem with it.
[00:25:04] SESAY: You see no problem. You don't think that it maybe -- Wendy, to you, the criticism that had been leveled at the President is that it seems to suggest that he's not on the side of his diplomats. He's not on the side of the U.S. team.
And also the other question is, why is this President routinely reluctant to criticize Vladimir Putin? GREUEL: Right -- I mean it's a big deal that they took 750 employees and said you can no longer be here as part of the United States of America. That is a big deal.
It's not a flippant comment that you need to make. And the morale is very low in the State Department for these employees.
And the other part of it is there was a job that those people were doing. Now maybe you could say oh yes, we need to cut and trim and reduce the payroll but I think when you look pretty closely, you're going to see that those people had jobs that were protecting the United States of America that was there.
And I think you're right. The point is he seemed so reluctant to say to Putin this was wrong. We don't believe you should have done this. And instead makes a joke of it.
SESAY: All right. John -- I know you want to weigh in but you can weigh in next on the special counsel investigation. As you know, it's ongoing. You heard the President's comments on it today.
He was asked about the raid on Paul Manafort's home. Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman. This is what the President said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man. And he's like a lot of other people probably makes consultancies from all over the place. Who knows? I don't know.
But I thought that was a very -- that's pretty tough stuff.
TRUMP: You wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that's pretty tough stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: John -- your reaction to this comment.
PHILLIPS: I think he's right. I think the FBI was trying to send a message. Based on everything that I've seen and read, Paul Manafort has been fully compliant with every request that the FBI and other investigators have made.
So when someone's giving you everything that you've asked for, the only reason to do something like this is to make sure it's on the front page of the newspaper and everyone is reading it.
SESAY: I'm going to push back on that only because we know that to be able to execute such a raid you have to get a warrant. That is done by a judge, you have to provide the evidence. So the judge -- it is not just something that you can get up and do willy-nilly -- Wendy.
GREUEL: Well, I think that's the point that so many people have made that there was a reason that they did this raid. He clearly was not sharing everything that they knew he possibly had.
The reason you go early in the morning is to ensure that things are not thrown away, that they're not deleted and that you have that early morning raid. I think it was very clear that they were going in a surprise situation to say we want to see everything that you have.
SESAY: There is so much to talk about and we didn't get through all of it. But I know you'll be back next hour. Wendy Greuel, John Phillips -- thank you for round one.
PHILLIPS: Thank you.
GREUEL: Thank you.
SESAY: All right. Quick break here.
The U.S. has made it clear it does not want to go to war with North Korea but if diplomacy is not enough, would the U.S. land the first blow. We'll take a closer look at that question after the break.
[00:28:03] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.
SESAY: Assuming North Korea is not bluffing about targeting Guam, will the U.S. make a preemptive strike or will it wait for North Korea to strike first and then retaliate?
Here's CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump not ruling out a preemptive strike against North Korea.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't talk about that. I never do.
STARR (voice-over): The president has been given updated options as always for a preemptive strike, using aircraft, missiles, ships and submarines even though many North Korean weapon sites remain hidden. The death toll if war breaks out could be horrific.
WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There is a contingency and it's real. But it has consequences which I think the American people and the world would find really unacceptable.
STARR (voice-over): But if Kim Jong-un moves first, attacking America as he has threatened by hitting the waters near Guam with four ballistic missiles, a decision shoot the missiles down will have to be made so fast that it could come without President Trump even being consulted several U.S. officials tell CNN.
Once Kim fires, a shoot-down decision must be made within minutes.
For Guam, the U.S. THAAD missile system there will be the final layer of defense against a North Korean intermediate-range ballistic missile attack.
LT. GEN. SAMUEL GREAVES, DIRECTOR, MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY: My sincere hope is that the testing that we have done to demonstrate THAAD capability will provide confidence to the residents of Guam that they're protected from an IRBM shot coming their way.
STARR: But the next move is up to Kim for the moment.
President Trump late today appearing to set a new red line if Kim attacks Guam.
TRUMP: Let's see what he does with Guam.
STARR: Vowing a U.S. response.
TRUMP: It will be an event to the likes of which nobody has seen before, what will happen in North Korea. It's not a dare. It's a statement.
STARR: Trump signaling earlier in the day his initial fire and fury vow against Kim more than stands.
TRUMP: Maybe that statement wasn't tough enough. And we're backed by 100 percent by our military.
STARR: Even as the State Department talked diplomacy, Defense Secretary James Mattis had warned, if the regime initiates a conflict, the U.S. will destroy it.
TRUMP: To be honest, General Mattis may have taken it a step beyond what I said. There are no mixed messages.
STARR: U.S. military officials are preparing for tensions to rise in the coming days. An already scheduled annual 10-day war game in South Korea begins August 21 to test how well U.S. and Korean troops can work together.
More than 17,000 U.S. troops will participate. Kim Jong-un routinely steps up his rhetoric during the war game.
STARR: And, for now, U.S. officials say they see no evidence that North Korea is preparing for a missile attack -- Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
SESAY: Still to come, pop star Taylor Swift tells a court that a former radio deejay groped her. The deejay says it didn't happen. The latest developments from the trial in Denver. Stay with us.
SESAY: "Horrifying and shocking," that's how pop star Taylor Swift is describing an incident four years ago when she said a former radio deejay groped her. Her testimony part of a civil trial initiated after that deejay sued Swift, claiming her accusation was false and cost him his job.
Swift is counter suing, claiming sexual assault. Our Scott McLean is following the latest developments in court.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Isha, Taylor Swift was the center of attention in Denver not on the concert stage but on the witness stand. Swift appeared confident, assertive and at times combative with the attorney for the plaintiff in this case, David Mueller a former Denver radio deejay.
At one point she told him, quote, "I'm not going to allow you or your client to make me feel in any way that this was my fault, because it isn't."
Swift says that the single photo taken of the incident shows the moment Mueller's hand went up her skirt but Mueller's team says that cannot be true because the front of Swift's skirt was undisturbed.
But Swift fired back, saying that's because, quote, "my ass is located in the back of my body."
Swift's testimony lasted barely an hour after her defense team chose not to cross-examine her. The court also heard testimony from the photographer who actually took that photo in question and insists she saw the alleged assault.
But in court she could not say whether Mueller's hand was inside or outside of Swift's clothing at the time.
We also heard testimony from two of Mueller's former bosses, one of whom Mueller accused of saying that he had actually touched Swift inappropriately, something he calls "a complete lie."
The trial continues Friday morning -- Isha.
SESAY: Thank you to Scott McLean for that.
And CNN legal analyst Areva Martin joins us.
Areva, good to have you with us to talk about this. Taylor Swift defended herself on (INAUDIBLE) by saying what Mr. Mueller did was very intentional.
Will this case be determined by whether or not it was intentional, premeditated, if you will?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This case is going to come down to credibility. You have two people telling very different stories about one incident and the jurors, there are eight of them, six women, are going to have to decide who is telling the truth because, as we just saw in that clip, the photographer, although she was taking the picture, she couldn't see what was happening behind Taylor Swift's back.
So she's not really an eyewitness in the sense that her testimony can sway the jurors in one direction or the other. But I think something really important for me, as I've been following this case as an attorney, Taylor immediately told her security team, she told her management team.
And although they chose not to call the police, she made a spontaneous response after this happened. And that speaks volumes to be me about her credibility. And I think the women in particular, sitting on that jury, are going to find that very credible.
SESAY: Taylor's mother took the stand and she explained why Taylor didn't speak out publicly right after it happened. Let's put it up on screen.
She said, "I did not want her to have to live through the endless memes and gifs. And anything else that tabloid media or trolls would be able to come up with, making her relive this awful moment over and over again.
"We thought it was imperative to let his employers know what happened."
The fact of the matter is people are suggesting because she didn't speak out that there's no credibility to this. But this happens all the time in --
MARTIN: Well, she did speak out --
SESAY: -- in terms of outing him.
MARTIN: She took appropriate steps. Like I said, on the day that this happened, she told her security team. Her security team then told the disk jockey's employer. So there wasn't silence about this. Now she didn't file a lawsuit. She didn't make a public statement. She didn't hold a press conference. But we know oftentimes women don't because they are subjected to humiliation, to shaming, to victim shaming.
And she didn't file this lawsuit until she was filed. This is a counter lawsuit. So the disk jockey sued her, originally claiming that her claim to his employer is what close him to be fired and to lose income.
So he sued her for defamation and for loss of his job and opportunities -- for $3 million.
SESAY: How much will his celebrity play into all of this?
MARTIN: I think celebrity plays a part in any trial. When you have a high profile performer, entertainer like Taylor Swift, of course some of the jurors are going to mesmerized by her -- by her fame, by her status.
But I think this case is so clear in terms of credibility, why would a superstar with so much in their lives going on, so much to do, take time out to be present in a courtroom every day, to participate in lengthy litigation, if this didn't happen?
So I just don't see any motive for her to file this counter suit if this is all made up. And we should be clear, the disk jockey has told, according to his employer, different stories, which is why the employer said, after its own investigation, they made the decision to fire him because they said he went back and forth, he said he accidently may have touched her. He didn't do it. Maybe someone else did it.
And the judge admonished the disk jockey during today's proceedings as well because he allegedly had audiotaped conversation with his boss but --
MARTIN: -- on the computer and all of these statements that the judge found to be pretty unbelievable and he really took him to task with this.
So, again, I think this case is going to come down to credibility.
Do you Taylor Swift, not because she's superstar, but because of the actions she took immediately following?
And you've got to ask that question, why would she fabricate this story?
SESAY: Areva Martin, always appreciate it. Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you.
All right. And thank you for joining us here at CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay. Don't forget to connect with us on Twitter @CNNNewsroomLA for highlights and clips from our shows. "WORLD SPORT" is next. But then I'll be back with another hour of news from all around the world. You're watching CNN.