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EARLY START

South Korean Military Data Stolen By Hackers; New Accusations Against Weinstein; Deadly California Wildfires; Trump's I.Q. Test Boast Versus Tillerson. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 11, 2017 - 04:30   ET

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


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the cyber threat is certainly part of the arsenal that North Korea has developed.

[04:30:00] And for years now, we've been talking about North Korea's ability to conduct these cyber attacks in a number of high profile ways, frankly, across the world.

Now, we're looking at two allegations on two different fronts of the latest hacks. You've got a cyber security firm saying that hackers linked to the North Korean government sent phishing e-mails back in September. The company says that those e-mails were intercepted. They were assessed to be early stage reconnaissance and that the actors behind those emails seemed to have no ability in any way to compromise the U.S. power supply.

The more concerning hacking allegations, however, come from a South Korean ruling party lawmaker right here in Seoul. He says he has information from the defense ministry in South Korea that North Korean hackers got into the database back in august of 2016. They were able to retrieve some 235 gigabytes of data, data that included the U.S. and South Korea's wartime plans, along with procedures for how to decapitate the leadership if necessary.

The defense ministry here in South Korea isn't commenting on any details of the breach. Neither is the Pentagon, but they are insisting the plans are safer and secure. We know that these plans are being constantly updated. It was just within the last day that President Trump was being briefed by national security advisors about the range of options that he has when it comes to dealing with the mounting crisis here -- Christine, Dave.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Alexandra Field for us, thank you so much, in Seoul, South Korea.

All right. As if it couldn't get more disturbing, new allegations against former Hollywood power player Harvey Weinstein, how is it that the board of the company he cofounded can claim he never knew a thing? Just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:35:53] ROMANS: More allegations against former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Oscar winning actresses say they were victims. Politicians speak out and stunning creepy new video seems to show Weinstein admitting to sexual assault.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And the White House says President Trump is joking about an IQ test faceoff with the secretary of state. Sources tell CNN it's all too serious.

ROMANS: Seventeen dead in wildfires in northern California. More than 100 missing, thousands evacuated and the fires are still uncontrolled.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: A video, devastating Napa Valley.

ROMANS: Terrible.

BRIGGS: Good morning, everybody. I'm Dave Briggs. Thirty-six minutes past the hour.

We start with these new accusations of sexual misconduct against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, reaching a stunning new low this morning. This as the board of the company he founded insists they knew nothing about the many incidents now being alleged.

"The New York Times' reports that A-list actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie claim he made advances on them on separate occasions in the late 1990s. They joined a growing number of actresses who have spoken out, making similar acquisition. "The New Yorker" magazine also publishing a story alleging Weinstein raped three women.

ROMANS: Now, that's a claim Weinstein's spokeswoman at categorically rejected. Her statement says, in part: Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. With respect to any women who had made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.

CNN is reaching out for clarification on each specific allegation.

BRIGGS: "The New Yorker" also posted audio from a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015. In it, a young model resists Weinstein's efforts to get her into his hotel room and refers to a previous incident where she says he groped her.

We do want to warn you the audio you're about to hear is disturbing.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, FILM PRODUCER: I'm not going to do anything and you'll never see me again after this. OK? That's it. If you don't -- if you embarrass me in this hotel where I'm staying --

AMBRA GUTIERREZ, MODEL: I'm not embarrassing you --

WEINSTEIN: Just walk --

GUTIERREZ: It's just that I don't feel comfortable.

WEINSTEIN: Honey, don't have a fight with me in the hallway.

GUTIERREZ: It's not nothing, it's --

WEINSTEIN: Please. I'm not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything, I'm a famous guy.

GUTIERREZ: I'm -- I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

WEINSTEIN: Please come in. And one minute. And if you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.

GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

WEINSTEIN: Oh, please. I'm sorry. Just come on in. I'm used to that.

GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?

WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROMANS: Now, Hillary Clinton and the Obamas whose daughter Malia interned with Weinstein, they are speaking out against him and the board of the Weinstein Company said in a statement the recent allegations comes a, quote, utter surprise to the board, that they had no knowledge of them.

Two points about the board. If you had no knowledge of them, then you've got a real problem on the board and if you have settlements to women, find it very difficult to believe that the board was not alerted to that. That's just how --

BRIGGS: Similar to what we heard in the wake of Roger Ailes accusations. Yes.

ROMANS: That's how legitimate business works. Joining us now, senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES".

Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

ROMANS: So much here. Developing story, a power player, a huge Democratic supporter and donor. What do we know?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: That he is on the way to rehab and the board is left to pick up the pieces and figure out if there even is a future for the Weinstein Company. Meanwhile, you have these women, at least a dozen of these women who took the courageous step of speaking to Ronan Farrow, "The New Yorker" and Jodi Kantor of "The New York Times", sharing these new accounts of harassment and assault, and in the worst cases, alleged rapes. Now, you had mentioned that Weinstein says there was never any

nonconsensual sex. That's really his only defense at this time. He's not denying the predatory behavior and that's what you hear on that audio tape, isn't it? A sort of predator versus prey dynamic. That he is the predator. He sounds like someone who knows what he's doing.

[04:40:00] It doesn't sound like he's doing this for the first time in 2015. In that case, the police were investigating him for groping the woman you hear on that tape. The case was referred to the district attorney's office and the case was dropped. There were no charges were ever pressed. The D.A. says, hey, if we could have prosecuted we would have, but that's not a satisfying answer to a lot of people.

BRIGGS: No, it's not and neither is the fact that nobody knew, because here's "The New Yorker" story. All 16 that accused him said the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Here's "The New York Times", it relied on an elaborate system of cooperation from others.

Here's Seth MacFarlane comedian at the Oscar nominations, back in 2013, with a joke about Weinstein's disgusting behavior.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SETH MACFARLANE, ACTOR: Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: OK, the laughter is what's most telling.

BRIGGS: That wasn't an inside joke. Everyone in that room knew it. How did it go on so long?

STELTER: Well, it's one thing to have a reputation as a creepy or a sleazy guy. He wouldn't be the only one in Hollywood with a reputation for pursuing younger women. The difference here is a idea of a pattern of harassment, a pattern of alleged in the New Yorker, of assault.

Now, how widely known that was, I think that's still up for debate. We heard Meryl Streep say, if everyone knew, I didn't know. We've heard George Clooney say he didn't know some of the details. Some of these A-list Hollywood stars --

ROMANS: But he had heard -- but he had heard rumors that he was sleazy.

STELTER: That's right, that's right. There was this whisper network in place people gossiping about Weinstein's reputation. This is one of those cases where it seems like a lot of people didn't want to know that much, didn't want to look back closely, didn't want to look in that direction, too, carefully. It's a lot like the Roger Ailes scandal. A lot like the Bill Cosby

scandal. You might make analogies to the Donald Trump sexual harassment allegations last year. In all of these cases, powerful people who were alleged to have been harassing women for a number of different years and there were folks in positions who might have been able to raise alarm bells and didn't.

ROMANS: Angelina Jolie told the New York Times that she -- that he had -- that he had done to his her, that he had unwanted advances toward her, and that she had rebuffed him and tried to say away from him, didn't work with him again. And then when she had power, she made sure she told all the women who are working for him, hey, stay away. She was warning people behind the scenes.

STELTER: But it does feel like one of Hollywood's dirty secrets.

ROMANS: Yes.

STELTER: You know, the idea that even if she was alerting her friends privately, it wasn't something that was well known to the general public. He was working -- he was at the top of his game for decades.

ROMANS: And had the checkbook.

STELTER: And had the checkbook.

BRIGGS: Yes. Let's talk about where this goes next in the 5:00 a.m. hour. Brian, thank you.

ROMANS: Thanks, Brian.

BRIGGS: All right. President Trump adding to questions about whether he respects and supports his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The president suggesting the two men could square off in an IQ test after Tillerson reportedly told him as a moron.

Here's what President Trump told "Forbes" magazine. I think it's fake new, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests and I can tell you who's going to win. The White House claims the president was joking when he made that comment, but CNN's Jim Acosta tells us that may not be the case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, a source tells CNN President Trump was not joking when he said that he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should square IQ tests. The source close to the White House said the president was upset about being called a moron and spouted off about Tillerson's intelligence because he was mad.

That's contrary to what White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters when she insisted the president was just joking and that the press should get a sense of humor. Here's what he had to say.

SANDERS: The president certainly never implied that the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke, nothing more than that.

He has full confidence -- he has full confidence in the secretary of state, that he wasn't questioning the secretary of state's intelligence. He made -- he made a joke. Maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime, but he simply made a joke.

ACOSTA: The White House is also pushing back on Republican Senator Bob Corker who said the president could be leading the country into World War III. Sarah Sanders told reporters Corker was entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. This from a White House that's use the term "alternative facts" -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. As Jim mentioned, the White House and its allies are pushing back hard against Senator Corker's criticism. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said corker should resign immediately for undermining the president.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, she weighed in on that yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: I think that's a decision for Senator Corker and the people of Tennessee, not for us to decide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The president, surprise, surprise, resorting to insults on Twitter, claiming the failing New York Times set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation, was made to sound to sound a fool and that's what I'm dealing with.

[04:45:04] Actually, Mr. President, that's not what you're dealing with. That claim by the president is utterly false. It was not a setup. The audio shows Senator Corker encouraged "The Times" to record the interview and Senator Corker told "The Times" he was recording it as well. It was a mutual agreement between "The New York Times" and Bob Corker for a very important interview, an interview that ultimately the president didn't like.

BRIGGS: All right. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to stand for the national anthem. He sent a letter calling for an end to the controversial protests. He writes, it's a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy and we want to do that together with our players.

ROMANS: Now, current NFL policy does not require players to stand for the anthem. But Goodell says he wants a uniform approach for all 32 teams and the league has a plan that could be enacted during next week's NFL annual football fall meetings. Meanwhile, the White House is defending Vice President Mike Pence's taxpayer funded trip to Indianapolis. to the Colts game last weekend.

Remember that Pence quickly left when some players kneeled during the anthem. The White House says it was appropriate for him to stand up for the flag and the men and women who died for it.

I know, Dave, you've done a lot of work on the NFL and what they think and what their policy is about standing for that anthem.

BRIGGS: Nothing has changed. This is directly from the NFL players on the field and bench should stand at attention face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand and refrain from talking. That's always been their rule, nothing has changed here.

ROMANS: OK.

BRIGGS: Just to be clear, they've always had this rule.

ROMANS: But Roger Goodell is not enforcing it.

BRIGGS: They're not enforcing it, not punishing players.

All right. The president's crusade against NFL players who kneel and protest during the national anthem just one of the issues rapper Eminem took on at a freestyle rap at this year's BET Hip Hop Awards.

Here's part of the performance which quickly went viral.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMINEM, RAPPER (rapping): Fork and a dagger in this racist 94-year- old grandpa, who keeps ignoring our past historical, deplorable factors, now if you're a black athlete, you're a spoiled little brat for, trying to use your platform or your stature, to try to give those a voice who don't have one.

He says, "You're spittin' in the face of vets who fought for us you bastards," Unless you're a POW who's tortured and battered, cause to him, you're zeros, 'cause he don't like his war heroes captured.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Whoa.

BNRIGGS: Eminem also told his fans they could either back him or President Trump.

ROMANS: Wow.

All right. Forty-seven minutes past the hour. Time for an early start on your money.

Stocks mostly higher around the world. A great day on Wall Street yesterday, U.S. stocks rose record highs, folks. The Dow gaining 69 points, I think by my county, that's the 64th record high since the election.

BRIGGS: Wow.

ROMANS: The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 also up. President Trump will make one of his most important decisions,

nominating the leader of the Federal Reserve. His advisers have narrowed the list of candidates to roughly five.

Three out of five are not economists. That's unusual. Every Fed chair since 1979 has been an economist. Let's see who's on this list.

Former Fed Governor Kevin Warsh. He's considered the front runner. Current Fed chairman, Janet Yellen. We're told she's still in the running. Fed Governor Jerome Powell. Trump's top economic advisor, Gary Cohn, former Goldman guy. And Stanford, renowned Stanford economist, John Taylor.

Warsh, Cohn and Powell are not economists. In the past, presidents have re-nominated Fed chairs chosen by other political parties. Unclear if Trump will do the same.

It could quite very well be that Janet Yellen, one of the most -- if not, I would say the most powerful women in the world, she and Angela Merkel really right there, she might be the first Fed chief since 1979 not to be renominated. We'll have to see.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, deadly wildfires raging in northern California. Firefighters unable to bring them under control. We'll have the very latest for you, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:53:17] ROMANS: All right. We want to turn now to those wildfires in California, raging from north to south. At least 17 people confirmed dead. Hundreds more hospitalized and authorities are warning they think this death toll is almost certain to rise. At least 2,000 buildings have been destroyed or damaged, more than 100,000 acres burned.

We're showing you here Santa Rosa, California.

CNN's Dan Simon has more for us there, the heart of California wine country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, authorities are still evacuating people from danger, the flames still advancing on people's homes. At this point, about 180 people are reported missing. That does not necessarily mean they are believed to be dead. It could just mean that there is a communication issue.

We are in the Coffee Park neighborhood, really devastation as far as the eye can see. Not a single home left standing.

Still so many people evacuated, 20,000 or so. The evacuation centers are filled. The need is great. They need clothes, they need children's toys.

Meantime, officials say that the death toll is at 17. They've begun releasing the identities. They include an elderly couple, the husband 100 years old, the wife 98 years old, unable to leave their home as the flames advanced -- Dave and Christine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRIGGS: All right. Dan, thanks.

A few minutes ago we spoke with Brad Wagenknecht, a member of the Napa County Board of Supervisors who has been involved with the emergency response since the start of these fires. He told us the situation there is extremely dangerous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD WAGENKNECHT, MEMBER, NAPA COUNTY BOARD OF DIRECTORS (via telephone): Conditions are not under control. They contain -- the contain numbers are still, at the last briefing I was at were still at zero.

[04:55:02] So, these things are in -- and the wind shifted this evening and has endangered three new neighborhoods in the Napa area. And tomorrow, we're looking at north winds to come up to 30 miles an hour. We're -- we're nervous as heck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. We hope -- we wish them well and hope they can get that under control here today.

Fifty-five minutes past the hour. Last summer, a group of hackers showed how easy it is to infiltrate the American election system. Now, they want to show how to fix it. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream", next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: All right. It's that time of the morning, just about the top of the hour. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream".

Stock markets around the world are mostly higher.