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EARLY START

New Accusations Against Weinstein; Trump Vs. Tillerson Over I.Q.?; Wildfires Claim At Least 17 Lives In Northern California; U.S. Flies Bombers Over Korean Peninsula. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 11, 2017 - 05:30   ET

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


[05:32:40] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: New allegations against the former Hollywood producer and mogul Harvey Weinstein. Oscar-winning actresses say they were victims, politicians speaking out, and stunning new audio show Weinstein admitting to sexual assault.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The White House says President Trump is just joking about an I.Q. test face-off with his secretary of state. Sources tell CNN oh, no, it's all too serious.

BRIGGS: Seventeen dead in wildfires in Northern California and more than 100 missing. Thousands evacuated and the fires are still uncontrolled.

ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START this Wednesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Thirty-three minutes past the hour.

We start with Harvey Weinstein -- accusations of sexual misconduct against the 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 actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie both say Weinstein made unwanted advances on them on separate occasions all the way back in late 1990s. They join a growing number of actresses who have spoken out making similar accusations.

"The New Yorker" magazine publishing a story alleging Weinstein raped three women.

ROMANS: And that's a claim Weinstein spokeswoman categorically rejected.

Her statement says, in part, "Any allegations of non-consensual 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 have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relations were consensual."

CNN is reaching out to Weinstein 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, though, the audio you're about to hear is rather disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, HOLLYWOOD FILM PRODUCER: I'm not going to do anything. 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 at --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE MODEL: I'm not embarrassing you.

WEINSTEIN: Just walk --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE MODEL: It's just that I don't -- I don't feel comfortable.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE MODEL: It's not nothing. It's --

[05:35:00] WEINSTEIN: Please -- I'm not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in.

On everything. I'm a famous guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE MODEL: I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE MODEL: Why yesterday you touch my breast?

WEINSTEIN: Please. I'm sorry. Just come on in. I'm used to that.

Come on. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE MODEL: Are you used to that?

WEINSTEIN: Yes. Come in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. 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 that the recent allegations come as an utter surprise to the board. That they had no knowledge of them.

Joining us now, senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, host of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES." Good morning.

I know some of the --

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, HOST, CNN "RELIABLE SOURCES": Good morning.

ROMANS: -- members of the board have left.

But, you know, for a board of directors -- the people watching the show right now who are business people -- for a board of directors, if you don't know this is happening and your company is making payouts to women, your board has failed. Or, your board did know about it and they're not admitting it.

So, what's the latest?

STELTER: This news statement overnight just raises more questions about why the board didn't know. If they really didn't know it was going on right under their noses, why did they not know? So that's a business question going forward as the company tries to figure out its future.

Amazon, for example, which is buying some shows from the Weinstein Company, they're having some second thoughts. They may try to cancel those contracts. So the future of the company is in doubt.

There's going to be a name change --

ROMANS: Sure.

STELTER: -- and things like that, but that may not be enough.

On a personal note, Harvey Weinstein's wife of 10 years, Georgina Chapman, said overnight she is leaving him. They have two children together. She's asking for privacy right now.

And, Weinstein is physically heading away from the family, heading to rehab. We don't exactly know where, for how long, but his spokeswoman confirmed to me he is going to rehab. That means he'll be out of the public eye for a while. Perhaps that, in his mind, is a way to give him some time to get through this crisis.

Remember, he said in his statement yesterday he would like to have a second chance from Hollywood. He's hoping to win a second chance from the Hollywood community. It's hard to imagine that happening right now but we'll see.

BRIGGS: Impossible to imagine. All right.

So, many are asking the question how did this go on so long with all the women -- the decades that it goes back to.

And, here's Seth MacFarlane, the comedian, at the Oscar nominations back in 2013 making a joke about this monster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SETH MACFARLANE, HOST, 2013 OSCARS: Congratulations. You five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The audience laughter is key there.

BRIGGS: That's the key. That entire room knew what Seth was talking about.

And both "The New Yorker" and "The New York Times" story said Harvey Weinstein relied on many others around him to essentially enable him and make these things happen -- make them go away. So how did it just go on so long for decades?

STELTER: Yes, the idea of that this fixer is a key part of this. That he had employees at his company, whether assistants or executives, who would in some cases arrange these meetings with young women.

Now, in some cases he was holding audition sessions. He was considering who to hire for his films. But in other cases it seemed more explicitly an attempt, you know, to create a romantic or sexual situation between Weinstein and these women.

This went on for decades, according to "The New York Times" and "The New Yorker." We know about settlements as early as 1990 and as late as 2015.

Actress Rose McGowan is up early on Twitter this morning. She is one of the women who reportedly received a settlement from Weinstein. She doesn't use his name explicitly, which may be an indication that she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement --

ROMANS: Sure.

STELTER: -- but she continues to say the board knew, Hollywood knew.

Her tweet this morning was "YOU ALL KNEW" about this.

ROMANS: Interesting. So much to talk about on this story.

Thank you so much, Brian Stelter --

STELTER: Thanks.

ROMANS: -- for being on top of it for us. Thank you.

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 I.Q. test after Tillerson reportedly referred to him as a moron.

Here's what President Trump told "Forbes" magazine. Quote, "I think it's fake news but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare I.Q. tests. And I can tell you who is going to win."

The White House claims the president was joking when he made that comment, but a source close to the White House tells CNN's Jim Acosta the president was not kidding. The president was genuinely upset about reportedly being called a moron by his secretary of state.

ROMANS: Let's bring in "CNN POLITICS" digital director Zach Wolf, live for us from Washington. Good morning.

A few minutes ago, we played for everyone sort of the long list of the montage of the number of times the president has talked about his I.Q. so I won't play that again. But suffice it to say, the president has brought this up many times before.

What is it about height, and intellect, and these numbers of stature that this president seems to be obsessed with? I mean, it almost appears childish on the surface but his supporters --I think it really works for them.

ZACHARY WOLF, DIGITAL DIRECTOR, CNN POLITICS: Yes. I think you see somebody who's pretty obsessed with being the alpha -- who's being the best, the richest, the smartest, the -- you know --

ROMANS: Tallest.

WOLF: He used to go -- Jeb Bush -- he used to call him low energy, you know.

[05:40:00] He just wants to be the most -- the biggest, most virile guy in the room and that kind of colors when he -- when he turns against you how he's -- how he's going to do that.

BRIGGS: Yes. And the reference to height, of course, the tweet from the president referencing Liddle -- L-I-D-D-L-E -- Bob Corker. Not a word. Does not need an apostrophe.

But the largest question is battling the Republican establishment. Is that something this White House and this president thinks works for them and will continue, given what Steve Bannon said the other night? They're going to challenge every incumbent Republican senator except for Ted Cruz.

WOLF: You know, it might work for them in keeping the president's base -- the core supporters he have behind -- he has -- keeping them behind him sort of rallying them around him.

It's not going to help them pass an Obamacare repeal. We already saw that didn't work.

It's not going to help them, I don't think, pass a tax reform package, which a lot of Republicans argue is even more important, I think, than Obamacare repeal for them. It's not going to help them get an infrastructure package.

So, it's not going to help them do the things he promised to do as president.

It is going to help them kind of keep Trump as this sort of, you know, opponent --

ROMANS: Sure.

WOLF: -- to all these people.

ROMANS: You know, tax reform is so important here from -- you know, in my beat, for example, and where are we on tax reform? The president's talking about the size -- the height of the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or he's, you know -- you know, causing all these fights with the -- with the NFL. So that's a concern, you know, for many people in business.

But let me ask you a quick question about this Weinstein story because it veers into the political -- more than veers into the political because Harvey Weinstein was a very big donor and bundler for the Democratic Party -- a champion of the Democratic Party. And almost, like a friend of Bill Clinton, and there's lot of photos with Hillary and Clinton together.

And, Malia Obama, the former president's daughter, interned for him. It took five days to get a statement from Hillary Clinton -- Sec. Clinton. I will say quickly what she said.

"I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and their support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior."

Did the five-day gap hurt the Democrats here in not responding more to someone who has been a power broker within Democratic donors?

WOLF: Well, you had a number of senators, you know, returning -- say they would return donations from Weinstein almost immediately. So I'm not sure it hurt the Democrats writ large.

It did hurt -- I think that five-day silence did hurt --

ROMANS: Right.

WOLF: -- the Clintons and the Obamas. They could have spoken probably a lot more quickly about this.

ROMANS: And we do have a statement now from the former president, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle Obama, as well, but it took -- it took a few days there.

BRIGGS: Well, Hillary had a 90-minute opportunity the other night. She punted. Always got to poll test these things.

All right. Zach Wolf, "CNN POLITICS" digital editor, thank you, sir.

ROMANS: Nice to see you, Zach.

WOLF: You, too.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get back to those deadly wildfires raging in Northern California firefighters are struggling to control. But the weather, folks, does not look good for this. This is still a very dangerous situation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:47:20] ROMANS: All right. We want to get back to those wildfires in California, raging from north to south. We can tell you at least 17 people have been confirmed dead. Hundreds more are hospitalized. And, authorities are warning that the death toll is almost certain to rise.

At least 2,000 buildings have been destroyed or damaged, more than 100,000 acres burned.

CNN's Dan Simon has more for us. We have him in Santa Rosa, 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 Coffey 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)

ROMANS: That breaks my heart.

BRIGGS: It is just a devastating story and not over yet.

Time for a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Alisyn Camerota is joining us. ROMANS: Hi.

BRIGGS: A packed show. Good morning to you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, guys. Great to see you.

As you know, the Harvey Weinstein scandal is exploding. There are all sorts of high-profile actresses coming forward to talk about what they experienced at his hands.

So today, we're going to have two of the women who say that they experienced harassment and/or being accosted by Harvey Weinstein. They're going to be here for this conversation that we're going to have all morning with our experts about is this an inflection point?

Is something changing? Are high-powered men now on notice that women will speak up, and will bond together, and will fight back?

Is Gwyneth Paltrow right that this kind of behavior ends now?

So we're going to talk about all of that when we see you at the top of the hour.

I understand it's also another very big news day for somebody. It might be a birthday?

BRIGGS: It is my birthday. It's a big one, yes. I'm very excited. Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Happy birthday.

ROMANS: I know.

BRIGGS: Thanks so much. Appreciate that. Have a great show.

I'm not that excited about my birthday --

ROMANS: I know.

CAMEROTA: I can see that.

BRIGGS: -- as you can see. Forty-one -- 41. Not that excited.

ROMANS: Forty wonderful.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: And next year, you'll be 40 terrific. And then, 40 thrilling and then, 40 fortunate.

BRIGGS: I like that. Thank you.

ROMANS: That's how it goes.

CAMEROTA: That's really good.

BRIGGS: Put a positive spin on it all.

ROMANS: I like it. I like it.

BRIGGS: See you in a bit, Ali.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Ali.

Last summer, a group of hackers showed how easy it is to infiltrate the American election system. Now, they want to help fix it.

We get a check on "CNN Money Stream," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:54:50] BRIGGS: A show of force overnight by the U.S. military flying bombers over the Korean Peninsula. It's part of a training mission with Japanese and South Korean jets, and comes as President Trump is briefed by his top two defense officials on a range of options concerning North Korea, but also to quote "prevent North Korea from threatening the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons."

[05:55:10] Meantime, South Korea claims North Korean hackers may have stolen classified military documents which include a joint South Korean-U.S. wartime operational plan that includes procedures to quote "decapitate Pyongyang's leadership."

And just hours ago, new reporting that hackers working for the North Korean government may have been targeting U.S. electric companies as well.

Let's bring in CNN's Alexandra Field live in Seoul with all the latest. Good morning to you, Alex.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Dave.

We know that cyber threats are part of North Korea's arsenal. And certainly, North Korea has been linked over the years to high-profile hacking attacks.

We're seeing two allegations on two different fronts this morning, the latest coming from a cybersecurity firm that says it intercepted e- mails sent by hackers which they say are connected to North Korea.

Those e-mails were being sent to U.S. power companies, but the company says that the hackers behind those e-mails had no ability in any way to compromise U.S. power sources. These e-mails reported a reconnaissance mission.

The much more alarming allegation comes from a South Korea lawmaker, part of the ruling party here. He says he has information from the South Korean Defense Ministry that back in August of 2016, North Korean hackers successfully got into the South Korean Defense Ministry's database where they were able to pull out some 235 gigabytes worth of data. In that data, plans put together by the U.S. and South Korea for

potential conflict with North Korea, including possible operations for the removal of North Korean leadership.

The South Korean Defense Ministry isn't commenting on this. The Pentagon isn't commenting on any details of this alleged breach either, but they are saying that the U.S.' plans are safe and that they are secure.

We know that President Trump is being constantly updated with the latest plans for every eventuality when it comes to dealing with North Korea. Just in the last day he met with his top national security advisers where he was briefed on the latest options.

And it was just in the overnight hours here in the region, Dave, where you saw the U.S. send B-1 bombers over the Korean Peninsula. This is a move we've seen routinely from the United States.

It's a show of force but it is certainly one that North Korea sees as a major provocation. They have responded in the past with bellicose rhetoric. No comment yet out of state news in North Korea but we'll keep an eye on it for you, Dave.

BRIGGS: You will, indeed. Alexandra Field live for us in Seoul just ahead of 7:00 p.m. Thanks.

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

Stocks around the world are mixed. European markets slightly lower now. U.S. stock futures are barely moving, really.

Delta will report earnings before the bell today. Low fuel prices have been a boon for airlines and stocks in the U.S. still very close to record highs. A record for the Dow yesterday, I think the 64th of the year.

Hackers are vowing to work with the government to help make future elections more secure. A group of hackers showed how easy it is to infiltrate voting machines at a conference last summer. Now, those same hackers are forming a coalition to focus on ways to make elections more secure on the federal, state, and local level.

The Department of Homeland Security said 21 state's election systems were targeted by Russian hacking in the last election.

All right. We have a very important Wall Street story today. We are all bullish on Dave Briggs this morning because it is his birthday.

He is 40 wonderful years old -- 41. Happy birthday, Dave Briggs.

We decided to invite you to CNN -- his first CNN birthday.

BRIGGS: Wow.

ROMANS: CNN would like to say happy birthday, Dave Briggs. BRIGGS: Totally unexpected.

ROMANS: What are you going to do today for your birthday?

BRIGGS: I just want a Bloody Mary and some of this cake.

ROMANS: A Bloody Mary and some of this cake.

(LAUGHING)

BRIGGS: And what I wished for. Thank you very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome. Welcome to CNN. And --

BRIGGS: Thanks so much.

ROMANS: -- my birthday is January 31st and I like cupcakes.

BRIGGS: OK, it's done. We got it.

ROMANS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Harvey Weinstein stands accused of rape and assault.

LOUISETTE GEISS, FORMER ACTRESS: He excused himself and when he came back he was just in a robe, buck naked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It definitely feels like our culture is starting to take this more seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Obamas and the Clintons embraced him. I think it's a dark mark on their record.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He made a joke and nothing more than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I laughed when he said it. He did not laugh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need the president to act like a president instead of undercutting his own secretary of state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just trying to get out of here. You saw it and now it's going to cross the road. It's all done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is still zero percent contained.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tried to go direct in a couple of different places and we got outrun by the fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota. CAMEROTA: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, October 11th, 6:00 here in New York.

Up first, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein facing explosive new allegations from at least two dozen women. Some of Hollywood's most high-profile actresses coming forward with accounts of how Weinstein harassed them early in their careers.

Gwyneth Paltrow said this way of treating women ends now.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Three women also accused Weinstein of rape. Weinstein's wife is said to be leaving him as he reportedly heads to rehab.