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Authorities Looking into Accusations against Argento; Body Found During Search for Missing Student Mollie Tibbetts; NYT: Weinstein Accuser Allegedly Paid Off her Own Accuser; Kavanaugh Charm Offensive. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 21, 2018 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Reporters ready for an update. -- their position at what has become a regular corner table for them as they wait. Let's talk about what is at stake and what the experts think.

CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti joins me. Good morning to you. I mean how would you look at this? The longer the jury is taking, good sign, bad sign for Manafort? Or we just have no idea?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well I think it's a good sign for Manafort that it's taken this long. If there was going to be a quick verdict here, it was not going to be for Manafort. It was going to be for the prosecution, because there's a lot of evidence in this case. There's a lot of documents and e-mails that are very incriminating and don't look good for Manafort. So the fact that the jury is taking its time is good for him, because it means that they are careful. It potentially means there's a holdout or two. A lot of times what happens in the jury is that there are one or two people who are skeptical or concerned. They have a different view than the rest.

And what this jury appears to be doing is going through the evidence very carefully, taking their time, going through each of the 18 counts. One thing people at home should remember is that not only are there 18 counts, which is essentially 18 separate crimes that are being charged here, but for under each of those crimes there are a number of different findings that the jury has to make to determine whether he is guilty, a lot of times juror are looking for a shortcut. Obviously you know everyone wants to go home. But you know they are taking this very carefully. I think they know that this is a high profile case.

HARLOW: Not a lot of people are talking about a potential of a hung jury here. But it could happen. I mean you need a unanimous you know decision by this jury in a criminal case like this. What do you think?

MARIOTTI: It is certainly a possibility. And as the deliberations drag longer, it has to be a growing concern on the minds of the government. Just to be clear, you can have a hung jury on some counts and not others. That happened famously in the case of Rod Blagojevich, for example. You know in his first trial, he had a hung jury on almost all the counts but they convicted him on one. And then there would be another trial potentially like there was for him or Bill Cosby on the remaining counts. But that has to be a concern and certainly, I imagine the president would cease upon that as a victory and use that to attack the Mueller investigation for this.

HARLOW: If Manafort is found guilty, if he is, he has this case coming up, another trial, big trial, lots of counts against him, money laundering, et cetera, in D.C. in just a few weeks. If he is found guilty here, could he cooperate, could he plea after that with Mueller's team?

MARIOTTI: He could but his leverage is lower. So he has already been convicted on these counts. He will you know -- there's less that Mueller would be willing to do for him. But I think it would be a good move for him. I actually think he would want to get the sentencing on all of these crimes in front of Judge Ellis who seems to have a better view of Manafort than the judge in D.C. who has been very frustrated with his failure to comply with her orders.

HARLOW: That's a good point. All right, Renato, nice to have you. Thanks.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

HARLOW: To the story we have been following since it broke yesterday morning, Los Angeles police now want to speak with the alleged victim of the actress Asia Argento after the stunning "New York Times" report, the Weinstein accuser and the face really of the MeToo Movement now accused of sexual assault in her own right ahead.

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[10:37:58] HARLOW: All right. Breaking news just in to us here at CNN. We have just been told that a body has been located in Rural Iowa. Investigators are working right now to confirm the identity of the body. Their statement this morning said this is in relation to that missing Iowa University student, Mollie Tibbets. There she is.

Tibbetts was seen last July 18 jogging in the evening in a small community of Brooklyn, Iowa. That's about an hour east of Des Moines. Her family says they reported her missing the next day after she did not show up for work at a local day care. After more than 1500 tips have poured in, 500 interviews have been done with authorities. They do say that a body has been found.

Let's go to Athena Jones, my colleague who has been covering this very closely. And look, I mean, Athena, it's notable that they put out this news in relation to the Mollie Tibbetts case. But we just don't know at this point the condition of the body or who it is.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy. That's right. We know that there's going to be a press conference held later today, 5:00 p.m. Eastern. That's when we expect to learn some more information. We don't know where this body was found. We don't know anything about a cause of death. And as you mentioned, authorities -- investigators are working to confirm the identity of this body. But if this body is, in fact, this missing University of Iowa student, Mollie Tibbetts, to this devastating news for her family, for her friends, for her loved ones. Mollie TIbbetts went missing in mid-July. It was July 18 when she was last spotted jogging in this community of Brooklyn, Iowa about an hour east of Des Moines. FBI has been involved in the search. As you mentioned, extensive interviews and now a body discovered. We will learn more about that at the press conference this afternoon. Poppy?

HARLOW: You know just last week, the Vice President Mike Pence was in Iowa for work, campaign stop. And he went and privately met with the family there, I know. Athena, thank you. Please keep us posted.

Meantime, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says it's now looking into sexual assault accusations against the actress and the MeToo Movements, one of the leaders, one of the faces, Asia Argento.

[10:40:01] This after that scathing "New York Times" report that alleges that she sexually assaulted a 17-year-old actor who had played her son in films and then paid him off hundreds of thousands of dollars for his silence. She was one of the first women to come out, publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape.

Our Jean Casarez is back with me on this story. So what else have we learned about this?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're learning that the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is looking into this. Kim Severson yesterday -- you spoke with her last night on Erin Burnett show - and she gave some more insight. She's the writer of the "New York Times" article saying that this alleged sexual assault happened in the morning at a hotel in Marina Del Rey California in 2013.

And the L.A. County Sheriff's Department says they are aware of this alleged incident. They also go on to say, quote, to date, "The LASD has not located any police report alleging criminal activity within our jurisdiction in relation to this incident. After becoming aware of the allegations, the LASD's Special Victims Bureau is attempting to reach out to the reported victim o and/or his representatives in an effort to appropriately document any potential criminal allegations."

And we have reached out to the alleged victim in this case. We are naming him publicly because his name has become public -

HARLOW: Right.

CASAREZ: -- Jimmy Bennet. And the attorneys have not gotten back to us in regards to whether they have been contacted by the sheriff's department or their client, Mr. Bennet at all. But the fact remains that we have not heard from Argento and we are reaching out continually to her.

HARLOW: Which is stunning because "The Times" have been reaching out to her since last Thursday, you've been trying since yesterday morning, no word to any reporter on this. Jean, thank you for the update.

Let's talk with my friend, my former colleague and host of "Entertainment Tonight," CNN contributor Nischelle Turner. Good morning to you, Nischelle.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: How are you, Poppy?

HARLOW: Look - I'm well. I wish this was on, you know, better news.

TURNER: Absolutely.

HARLOW: When you - I mean it is stunning. We haven't heard anything from Argento. And this is also the woman that in so many ways was the face -- a prominent face of the MeToo Movement. What's your take and what are you hearing there?

TURNER: Well, you know, you are right. She was a very early accuser of Harvey Weinstein, one of the first to publically come out and accuse him of rape along with Rose McGowan. But what I'm hearing now is that people are taking a really hard look at her story now. Does this mean that she is lying about what she says happened to her with Harvey Weinstein back in 1997? Absolutely not, but I think that people are looking at this with a more skeptical eye because of these new allegations. And you know, as they should.

We should say though, however, Harvey Weinstein's team has jumped on this. And now they are saying, you know her conduct should give everyone pause and it should show everyone how poorly these allegations against Mr. Weinstein were vetted. But her allegations have nothing to do with the current charges against him. Nothing that she has said stems from any of the allegations or the charges that he is facing right now.

HARLOW: Right. Also, when you talk about the movement as a whole, right? The MeToo Movement as a whole, I did speak last night on Erin's show with Kim Severson who is the "New York Times" reporter, who not only broke this story, these encrypted e-mails that were sent to her with all these documents, were sent to her personal account, you know, not just "The New York Times," to her account. She was the one digging on all of this. Here is what she said to me about the bigger picture here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN SEVERSON, CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": One person does not make an entire movement. And we don't know what Miss Argento's side of this was. The idea that this one incident would somehow unravel an entire case against Harvey Weinstein and this young social movement that we find ourselves in the middle of is kind of crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: And she was cautioning against it, Nischelle.

TURNER: The feedback that I have been hearing after this story broke yesterday talking to people that are involved in the MeToo Movement, what they said -- go with me here a little bit because when I first heard this, they were -- I kind of pulled back and said, what? They said what they believe this actually strengthens the movement, having something like this happen because they said, what it shows is that no one is above reproach. It also shows that not just women, that men have been victims, too.

And it also shows that change is tough and that there are going to be setbacks. There are going to be things that happen that aren't pretty. And there are going to be issues they have to face. But what it does? It strengthens their voice because it will galvanize them even more. And because this has happened - and again, we have not heard from her or heard her side of the story, but because this has happened, it does give them a stronger voice to say listen, we are still going to stand together. We're still going to tell our stories no matter what. And no matter who is the latest to you know be accused.

HARLOW: Nischelle, just remind people of the relationship between these two, if you would. Jimmy Bennet who is now 22 but was 17 at the time that this allegedly occurred because it goes way back to when he was like 7 years old starring in this film with her.

[10:45:07] TURNER: Yes. He was in a film. He played her son in a film in 2004. And that was kind of where, you know, they met and that began. There were several selfies on social media which now have been scrubbed. You know selfies with them saying, my son, I miss my son, I love him. Him responding or commenting on pictures of her saying I miss you, Mama, those types of things. We see some pictures of them on the screen there.

This again allegedly happened in 2013 in March when he was 17. Of course, the age of consent in California is 18. So he would still be a minor. He is 22 now. And he is alleging as reported by "The New York Times" that this has affected him, his earnings and just you know everything about his life going forward. So that's one of the reasons why he felt like he needed payment.

HARLOW: Nischelle, thank you for being here. Thanks for reporting it out with us. Appreciate it to you and to Jean.

A big meeting underway right now in Washington between the nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, and Republican Senator Susan Collins who is said to be potentially on the fence. Can the president's pick for the Supreme Court win over a key vote?

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[10:50:42] HARLOW: Right now, Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is on Capitol Hill. A key meeting is underway with Republican Senator Susan Collins who is seen as a key potential swing vote here.

Joining me at Capitol Hill, Sunlen Serfaty. Good to see you, my friend. I don't get to see you very often on the show anymore in the morning. I hope you are well. Walk us through what's going on you and how big a day this is for Kavanaugh.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is big day, Poppy. And certainly is a very key moment right now for Brett Kavanaugh. He has over the course of the last few weeks on Capitol Hill, held over 50 meetings with 50 senators, but none as consequential as this meeting going on right now with Senator Susan Collins.

She is considered a very key swing vote. She has a lot of power over his future as a potential Supreme Court justice. I think speaking to the significance of that moment, the fact that this meeting today, which just is underway right now, is scheduled for two hours on the clock. And Collins going into that meeting says she's done a massive amount of research, read up on his record. Aides are saying that she has not come across anything disqualifying but certainly, indeed, she has come across issues in her words that raise questions. So that top on the agenda today.

But check out the rest of the day that he has up here on Capitol Hill. Claire McCaskill, Senator Leahy, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Senator Kamala Harris and certainly another big meeting for Kavanaugh today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He has been the Democrat leading the charge to get the documents released related to Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush White House. All these, Poppy, of course just two weeks before his confirmation hearings start up here on Capitol Hill on September 4. Poppy?

HARLOW: OK. Sunlen, thank you very, very much. Two hours, a long meeting ahead and a big day ahead for him.

Up next, University of Maryland football team is starting their season with a very heavy heart after the tragic death of one of their teammates. We will update you next.

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[10:57:15] HARLOW: The University of Maryland football team is making plans to honor their teammate who has died. Let's go to Andy Scholes. He has more this morning in the Bleacher Report. Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Jordan McNair died in June, 15 days after suffering a heatstroke at a practice. Maryland's head coach DJ Durkin remains on leave while the school investigates the circumstances surrounding McNair's death. In the meantime, McNair's teammates, they want to focus on his memory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLIS MCKENNIE, MARYLAND GUARD: It's time to get back to what is important. And that is honoring our fallen friend, brother and teammate, Jordan McNair. The moment that we stopped saying his name, the moment that we begin to forget, his legacy will begin to fade. We plan to have his legacy live on forever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Maryland's players say no one will wear the number 79 until 2021, which would have been the season after McNair would have graduated. McNair's locker will also be encased in glass and they will wear the number 79 decal on the back of their helmets throughout this season.

We have some high drama last night at the Little League World Series. Georgia is out on their last strike against Texas. Jansen Kenley going to get a hold of this one for the game time, two run, home run. All of his teammates start going nuts, as does Kenley's dad in the stand. He couldn't control himself he was so excited just running around. The game would go to extra innings. In the ninth, Georgia going to pop out to right field and then the umpire gets in the way. The winning run comes in to score for Georgia. They win a thriller, 7-6 to stay alive in the Little League World Series.

All right, Mets and Giants playing extra last night as well, looks like some of the Mets may need to go back to the Little League. Two outs in the top of the 13th inning in the Amed Rosario. Dominic Smith collide the easy popup drops to the ground allowing the game-winning run to score, that play pretty much sums up the season for the Mets. The Giants would win the game 2-1.

The Oakland A's hosting children from the Make-A -Wish Foundation last night. An A-Star Khris Davis doing something really cool. He asked a 10-year-old Anthony Slocumb who is in remission from cancer to sign his jersey. Then Davis wore it during the game. You could clearly see it while he was batting. Guess what? Davis hit a home run in the third inning. It was a blast. Davis said after the game, he thought about Anthony while he was rounding the bases and hopefully that home run brought him some joy. And I tell you what, Poppy, that's so cool. That right there is what sports is all about.

HARLOW: You are right. Made my morning. Andy, thank you for all those updates. Appreciate it, my friend.

All right, thank you all for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. I will see you back here tomorrow morning. "At This Hour" starts now.