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CBS Chief Accused As He Exits Network; Georgia Governor's Race Seen As Referendum on Trump; Weekend Presidential Brief; "RBG" on CNN. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 9, 2018 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:00] ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: -- surface.

Thanks for joining us in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Erica Hill in for Ana Cabrera in New York.

Two hurricanes and a tropical storm now churning in the Atlantic Ocean, one of them headed for the East Coast.

Hurricane Florence is closest to the U.S. mainland and taking aim at the Carolinas. Forecasters predict it will become a Category 3 storm or worse before landfall later this week.

Florence, meantime, has a couple of traveling companions as you can see on your screen. Helene was just upgraded to a hurricane this afternoon while tropical storm Isaac is also churning in the Atlantic.

We're going to take you live to the Carolina coast for a look at hurricane preps there. First, though, let's check in with meteorologist Tom Sater who is in the CNN Weather Center with the latest on what has suddenly become, Tom, a very busy hurricane season.

TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, Erica. The first half of the Atlantic hurricane season was relatively quiet. The peak of the season is actually Monday. It's tomorrow, and we're really seeing an uptick.

We've got three storms. And we may have two more by the end of the week, but this is going to become, most likely, overnight tonight a major hurricane. That means Category 3, possibly developing into Category 4, maybe even a 5.

Based on historical tracks, we've never had one at this latitude and longitude to ever make its way to the East Coast of the U.S. Typically, they move to the north.

This is 1,400 miles away. A lot can change, but the impacts are going to be felt up and down the entire East Coast where landfall will be made.

Yes, we're going to obviously work on getting that down as close as we can, but I don't want anybody to really focus on landfall because a broad area of the coastline is going to be impacted. Right now, the cone of uncertainty in all the models is taking it to

the Carolinas, but, again, because it will not move in until late Thursday into Friday, this could easily change. It could move to the north, toward Delmarva.

The waters, we know, are very warm and getting warmer, so the massive explosive development of the storm is very possible and it's very real. This is going to be a formidable storm.

And, again, at Category 4 status, it may be stronger with intensification just before landfall. Everyone needs to watch this.

I know that they're buying supplies. There's sandbagging going on. Make your plans now with your family and know your evacuation routes. But, again, this can change and most likely will.

We've got two different models, the European and the U.S. And the U.S. actually -- some of the models want to keep it off the outer banks and spin it for days. That would give us catastrophic -- catastrophic! -- flooding like Harvey last year in Texas.

But there are others. Let's talk about all these because, as you mentioned, Erica, there are three.

Now, Helene was just upgraded to hurricane status. Notice Helene come off the African Coast. I'm not worried about it. It's around the Cape Verde islands. It's going to slide to the north in the open waters.

However, Isaac is going to become a hurricane, I think, overnight tonight, head toward the Lesser Antilles. Heavy rainfall for Puerto Rico, Friday. Then what happens?

And we're watching something develop off the Yucatan Coast. So that's going to be something new for this week, but Olivia is a Category 1 hurricane. And it looks like it will make landfall late Tuesday on the Hawaiian Islands.

Since the '50s, we've only had two hurricanes and two tropical storms ever make landfall. Remember, Hurricane Lane, that Category 4 hurricane just dropped over 50 inches on the big island. So a lot going on, quite an uptick for the Atlantic hurricane season.

Again, peak is tomorrow. And it makes sense when you see the satellite pictures.

HILL: Yes, it certainly does.

SATER: Yes.

HILL: All right, Tom, thank you. I want to go now to Carolina Beach, North Carolina, where CNN's Kaylee Hartung is.

You know, Tom talking about the importance of taking all of these precautions and these threats seriously. What are you hearing from folks there, Kaylee? Are they doing that? KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, the last few

beachgoers are packing up their things behind me after what's been a beautiful day on this beach filled with people.

Tourists now tell me they're headed out of town, well aware the storm is headed this way while locals, you could best characterize as cautiously optimistic like Mona Clites from as the Wilmington, North Carolina area told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MONA CLITES, WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: We have batteries, we have water, we have some food. If the power goes out, I think we'll be all right. And we're just enjoying the day now before it all comes.

And who knows what's going to happen? We'll watch T.V. and try to figure out which direction it's going to go.

Well, we've been here a couple years, and it seems like you just have to wait until it gets closer. It's so far out right now that it's hard to tell which direction it's going to go. So that's kind of what we've learned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARTUNG: Those locals not coming to the beach today without first making sure they're prepared, Erica. One longtime resident of this area told me he wakes up every day prepared for a storm because that's the risk you run when you live in this part of the country.

HILL: Kaylee Hartung with the latest for us. Kaylee, thank you.

Fresh controversy for 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. The tennis superstar slapped with a $17,000 fine for her three violations. This comes a day after that upset in the final against Japan's Naomi Osaka, a 20-year-old winning her first Grand Slam title.

[19:05:03] But the match overshadowed by the heated exchanges between Serena Williams and the umpire, Carlos Ramos. Williams visibly upset after given a warning over illegal coaching, which she then tried to explain to the umpire was not happening.

Then there was the penalty when she smashed her racket. But she was docked a game after she approached the chair another time and called the ump a thief.

Williams went on to lose. Naomi Osaka won the open six-two, six-four. Williams venting her frustration in the post-match press conference a short time after that moment you see there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER, UNITED STATES OPEN TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS: I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff. And for me to say thief and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. I mean, like, how -- he's never taken a game from a man because they said, thief. For me, it blows my mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Last hour, I spoke with Rennae Stubbs. She's a U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion. She's a tennis analyst for ESPN. And I started by asking if she agrees with Williams' assessment that there is, in fact, a double standard on the court.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENNAE STUBBS, ESPN COMMENTATOR: Listen, this, obviously, is being talked about a lot over the last 24 hours, particularly with us at ESPN, with our crew.

I think that the bottom line is the umpire overstepped his boundary at the start of this match when he gave the warning for the coaching. We all know that there's coaching going on from the sidelines.

What Patrick Mouratoglou did with the innocuous movement with the hands is so something that should have really been let go of. And I think that was the problem from the beginning.

I think he should have said to Serena, I saw Patrick. It would have given Serena an opportunity to say what she did once the warning was given, which was he never coaches me. I don't look at him. I'm not somebody who cheats.

And I think once Serena felt that she was being unfairly treated at that moment by getting a warning for something she doesn't do -- she's not known to be a cheater and certainly not --

HILL: Right. And that's what she was trying to explain to him.

STUBBS: And she was --

HILL: Hey, I just want you to know we don't do this.

STUBBS: Yes, she was so upset. And I think the one thing I want to know from Serena is, did she think that he was going to take that warning away once she sort of made the argument to him on the changeover?

So then when she broke the racket for the second warning and then -- she didn't even realize that she had a point penalty. You know, as a player, once you get that second warning, there's a point penalty. She walked down the other end and actually walked to the first court.

You should have walked to the second court knowing that you've had a second warning. So I wonder if she even realized that he didn't take the warning away. As a player, you know.

HILL: Yes.

STUBBS: Once a warning is given, it's on the books. Then she should have known. So she was very careful, I believe, in the third instance when was going at him at the chair --

HILL: Yes.

STUBBS: -- to not swear, to not say anything that would've given her another warning because then she knows possibly it's a game or the match. So she was very, very understanding of that rule.

And I think what she said, in my opinion, was a little innocuous. I mean, that was something that a lot of other players, particularly men, have sworn at him --

HILL: Right.

STUBBS: -- have said things to him in the past and have not got a warning. This is not about taking the game. This is about giving a warning.

HILL: Right.

STUBBS: The cumulative effect of that was the game.

HILL: Is the game.

STUBBS: And that's why the crowd was so upset as well.

HILL: You know, a number of men -- I mean, I spoke with James Blake earlier. He was one of them. He said, look, I've done far worse things. I mean, there are plenty of examples we can all point to, but a lot of men have come out, you know, even on social media, and said she's absolutely right. You know, I have done worse.

It's interesting as we talk the umpire. Sally Jenkins wrote this morning in "The Washington Post."

I'm going to just quote a little bit here, but she was talking specifically about Carlos Ramos in his role saying, he took what began as a minor infraction -- to your point -- and turned it into one of the nastiest and most emotional controversies in the history of tennis all because he couldn't take a woman speaking sharply to him.

She goes on to say, all good umpires in every sport understand the heart of their job is to help temper the moment and to be quiet stewards of the event rather than to let their own temper play a role; going on to say, he made himself the chief player in the women's final.

Would you agree with that assessment?

STUBBS: One hundred percent. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind what Sally wrote was perfect because in that instance -- and I've talked to a bunch of umpires that have done very big matches in the last 24 hours.

And one of the things that you have to understand as an umpire, the moment. You have to understand the player. You have to understand the time that it's happening. And I think the first warning for the umpire -- for giving the

coaching was the worst decision that he has made in a long time. I've had him as an umpire. I've actually sworn on the court in an instance where he didn't give me a warning.

So we've all had our instances with him where it's a little ambiguous. And that's the problem with the umpires, is that there's too much ambiguity. And that's where you heard Patrick Mouratoglou say Rafa's coach coaches all the time.

HILL: Right.

STUBBS: And Sasha was coaching from the other end. And that's the problem.

And I think for Serena, who is somebody who is not known to not get a lot coaching from the side of the court -- she doesn't even use on- call coaching when it's available to her. She's the last person that would probably. So that's where it got really heated for her in the end.

HILL: Really quickly, we're tight on time.

STUBBS: Yes.

HILL: But what about Naomi Osaka?

STUBBS: I know.

HILL: I mean, it is getting -- she's playing her idol.

STUBBS: Yes.

HILL: She's --

STUBBS: Yes. It was --

HILL: I mean, the emotion from her --

[19:10:01] STUBBS: It was terrible. It was so terrible to see what happened on that dais when she was about to receive.

She played unbelievable last night. She deserved that win. The last point was an incredible serve. She didn't get overruled by the situation.

I've got to tell you, it was one of the most amazing matches that I've seen a young player play, to play her idol. But that moment, unfortunately, was overshadowed by what happened last night.

And I know Serena putting her arm around her on the trophy celebration there was a pretty amazing moment. And for me, as a player, and all of us as viewers, it was hard to watch. And I hope she can enjoy this moment today.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HILL: Rennae Stubbs joining us there.

Vice President Pence responding to questions over whether he is the author of that scathing "New York Times" op-ed, saying he'd take a lie detector test to prove it wasn't him. All this as a former Trump campaign aide says he knows who the author is.

Plus, the head of CBS is reportedly out as fresh claims of sexual misconduct are revealed. We have those new details. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:02] HILL: As the White House intensifies the hunt for whoever wrote that scathing "New York Times" op-ed about a quiet resistance inside the Trump administration, the Vice President wants you to know, not only did he have nothing to do with it, he will go to extremes, if needed, to prove it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Should all top officials take a lie detector test, and would you agree to take one?

MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would agree to take it in a heartbeat and would submit to any review the administration wanted to do.

WALLACE: Do you think that the administration should do that?

PENCE: Oh, no, look, that would be a decision for the President. But, look, I think the --

WALLACE: Would doing it --

PENCE: The honorable thing to do here is for this individual to recognize that they are -- they're literally violating an oath. If they are that senior administration official, that they're violating an oath not to the President but to the constitution.

WALLACE: Treason?

PENCE: Look, it's un-American, and I think that's why you've seen Republicans and Democrats condemn this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Joining me now is CNN's senior political analyst, former adviser to four presidents, David Gergen.

David, I mean, there's a part of this where you think -- Mike Pence came out early on and said, look, it wasn't me. I'm not sure there were many people who would have thought Mike Pence was behind this.

But the fact that we, as a country, are in a place where the Vice President is saying, I will take a lie detector test just to prove that I didn't write this letter, there's something in there that -- it really gives you pause, David.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the whole idea of giving lie detector tests to people in the White House and cabinet agencies is just a terrible idea.

It comes up periodically. I well remember, in the Reagan administration, when President Reagan was angry about leaks, that he had leaks up to his keister, and Jim Baker -- and he wanted to do -- he wanted to give lie detector tests.

And Jim Baker, the Chief of Staff, fought against that successfully. George Schultz, the Secretary of State said the day they come with a lie detector test is the day I leave the administration.

And I think one of the things that's interesting, Erica, is that the Vice President has now taken a very, very hard line. He's soft-spoken but a hardliner. He's very loyal to the President.

And people who think that the 25th Amendment may be around the corner are just smoking something because it's very clear the Vice President is not going anywhere near the 25th Amendment. He is going to be a staller to the -- for the President all the way.

HILL: It's fascinating to watch the media blitz that we're seeing, not just on the Sunday shows today but what we're hearing from the White House.

And this is despite our reporting that staffers, including counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, have tried to get the President off of this --

GERGEN: Yes.

HILL: -- have tried to shift his focus away from this letter. The focus remains, and we are seeing this media blitz of folks being put out there to say this is terrible. In fact, here's what Kellyanne had to say earlier to Jake Tapper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: What really was the motivation, too? If the motivation is what they say it is in that ridiculous op-ed, they failed miserably. They missed the mark completely. I think the motivation was to sow discord and create chaos, and I refuse to be a part of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: So Kellyanne Conway is saying that she feels -- and it's not the first time she said it -- that the motivation behind the letter is to sow discord and chaos. And as all of this is coming out, they're not on a media blitz, David, to say, hey, by the way, the situation that's described and the dysfunction, that's not happening.

GERGEN: Well, it's -- the chaos and the sowing discord is not coming from the anonymous op-ed piece. It's coming from this obsession about finding who stated this.

And, you know, I think there's a part of what's going on at the White House, a serious part of it is, there are people there who like this story focusing, now and into its fifth day, on who put this out there because it's distracting everybody from the content of the message itself, which is there is this chaos and that there are groups of people inside the White House, senior people, adults in the room, who are trying very hard to steer the ship and stay in a better direction or in a good direction.

And, you know, the other thing is, from their point of view from the White House, you have to wonder -- maybe Kellyanne Conway thinks this -- it's such a distraction. The news is so much on this obsession that what is also being lost on the side is not just the content of the letter, but what's going on with the economy.

You know, they had some very good news at the White House this week about the state of the economy. It's doing very, very well. It's the best thing they've got going for this administration, and they can't get the focus back on their strength. They're playing to their weakness.

[19:19:56] HILL: And it is fascinating when you point that out because it's something that we'll hear the President complain about.

GERGEN: Yes.

HILL: And we will talk about how strong the economy is and yet we are not hearing it from the administration itself, which I think is such a valid point.

GERGEN: Right.

HILL: I mean, what lessons -- just based on your experience, David, what lessons are there for this White House when it comes to dealing with anonymous authors? Because you've been through that.

GERGEN: Well, I think, first of all, it's a question of the culture of the White House itself that you really have. You can't do this just by rules. People are going to disobey rules if the culture is rancid.

And I think that culture starts with the President. It's an -- or any organization, people in the organization take their cues from the person on top, the CEO, the man or woman who's running the show. And that's especially true in the White House.

You get a president who's very, very honest like Jerry Ford and you're going to find that the rest of the White House staff is going to click too and be very honest and open and transparent.

You get a president who's engaged in shady dealings like Nixon and, boom, you get people around him who are shady and cut corners.

And this president has sent messages that are about his erratic -- and we all know about this. We've been talking about this forever. But the fact is there's been nothing done in a serious way that's been successful in cleaning up the culture of this place and putting it on a better course.

And, you know, despite the good economy, they could go down. Americans are talking more about -- frankly, about what's going on in Washington than they are about what's going on in the economy as best I can tell.

HILL: You know, before I let you go, what's interesting is that this letter actually took some of the pressure away from the earlier fire that we saw last week that the President wanted to put out, which was this book that's forthcoming from Bob Woodward.

Well, now, that book is going to come out.

GERGEN: Yes. Yes.

HILL: And one would imagine that's a whole separate set of chaos that we're going to be seeing in the week ahead.

GERGEN: Yes, I think that's a really good point, Erica. I think you're going to see this just because we're not going to find before Tuesday when the book comes out who this person was, and it's going to flow right into the Woodward book. We're going to have more and more conversation about this.

This could wind up being a two or three-week story, which in itself -- it's not just a distraction but the story itself becomes like one people scratching their heads and saying, what in the world is going on in that place?

Let me just make one final point, Erica. I do think that this White House and this anonymous letter overstated one thing, and that is how dangerous it is to have people in the White House who do not agree with the President's agenda on everything and try to steer him in the directions, you know, that they like.

That happens in every White House. And in fact, I think it's really imperative for presidents to have some naysayers, some people on their team who question the conventional wisdom inside.

You know, back in the Vietnam, we had something that was called groupthink that described the Johnson White House and prosecuting the war in Vietnam. And later, we have historians pointing out, had there been more people to dissent inside, to push back, that war might have taken a very, very different turn.

But when groupthink takes over, you can really make some terrible, terrible mistakes. So I would argue you need people in there who are questioning what you're doing and pushing, and you've got a conflict going and it's healthy for -- internally.

So everybody doesn't take their cues simply from the president. The president actually listens to his people, and in this case, a president who desperately needs to know from his people what the context is of any decision and what the choices are. These are -- HILL: It is such an important point.

GERGEN: This is such an important place, yes. OK, thank you, Erica.

HILL: Absolutely. David, always appreciate it. Thank you.

GERGEN: Thank you.

HILL: Stunning developments at CBS. CNN learning Les Moonves is set to leave the network becoming the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to lose his job amid harassment allegations in the #MeToo era. Brian Stelter breaking the story here live, next.

[19:24:06] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Breaking news. Les Moonves, the embattled head of CBS who has faced sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks, including allegations by six women, new allegations just published today, is out.

His exit part of an ongoing corporate battle for control of CBS and we are just getting some new details of the settlement that was reached. Brian Stelter is joining us with these details.

Brian, you broke this story earlier today. This is something here. There will be a $20 million donation to the #MeToo movement and equality programs to support equality for women in the workplace?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And it will come out of Moonves' big paycheck, however much he ends up making, that's right. This is one of the ways that CBS is trying to be on the right side of history at this moment in time.

Look, go back six weeks. Ronan Farrow's story comes out in "The New Yorker" with detailed allegations of harassment by Moonves. The company did not suspend him. He did not step down.

Fast-forward six weeks, a second story comes out from Farrow today. Six more women, even more disturbing allegiances.

And now, 7:30 Eastern Time, Moonves is out. This is effective immediately. It's just been confirmed by the company. One of his deputies will be taking over in an acting capacity.

But let's just recognize the stakes here. This is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, one of the most powerful men in media. One of the best- paid men in media, all of a sudden out of his job, largely because of these #MeToo allegations but also because of a courtroom, court boardroom battle that's been going on for months.

[19:29:48] With regards to that battle, the other side won. Shari Redstone won. The company is going to be shaken up in a big way. With regards to Moonves, he is now potentially going to make a lot of money. That's a big question mark going forward.

HILL: And that is fascinating because there was so much outrage from people about the fact that, even as this was being negotiated in the last several days or weeks, that Les Moonves could leave with tens of millions, at one point they were talking about --

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: $100 million.

HILL: So it's on hold while the investigation is pending but do we know what ultimately that number could be?

STELTER: Earlier in the day, a very well-placed source said it will be over $100 million. But the giant caveat here, which has been confirmed by CBS in the past few minutes, is that all these talks about severance, all these talks about $100 million payout will be on hold until the law firms that are investigating the claims against him finish their work.

And those law firms are not going to be done anytime soon. So CBS is delaying the really awkward questions about how much Moonves will be paid until sometime later. But the headline they can take away tonight is that he is leaving.

HILL: That he's out.

So what are you hearing from elsewhere inside the company?

STELTER: I think there's a lot of people concerned about how this looks. Reputationally, what it means for CBS to potentially be paying a man tens of millions or $100 million when he's been accused by women, not just anonymously, although those are serious, too, but on the record, women claiming misconduct, claiming harassment, claiming assault.

Some of these cases are from decades ago. Some are more recent. Together, it's a damming portrait of misconduct by one of the most powerful men in TV.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: -- these allegations that were published today in Ronan's story, some of the women and (INAUDIBLE) said that I was so frustrated with what I was seeing essentially in the way that this was being handled, that's why I decided I had to say something.

STELTER: That's why they came forward for today's story. They felt that CBS was moving too slowly, not taking action. So today we do see bold action. The company says that any payment to Moonves in the future will depend upon the results of the independent investigation.

HILL: Brian, appreciate it, you have been working hard all day, my friend, thank you.

Just a reminder, you can catch Brian's show, "RELIABLE SOURCES" every Sunday morning at 11:00 Eastern here on CNN.

A battle brewing in Georgia where a high-stakes governor's race could be a referendum on President Trump. New polling just out shows the candidates in a statistical tie. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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[19:35:00]

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HILL: These are the first chimes ringing from the new Tower of Voices Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The 93-foot monument is dedicated to those on board United Flight 93 when it crashed on 9/11. There are 40 distinct wind chimes, one for each of the 40 passengers and crew.

The president and first lady will visit the memorial on Tuesday, which is the 17th anniversary of the attacks.

A midterm governor's race could make U.S. history. If the Democrat wins she will become the nation's first ever black female governor. The Republican candidate meantime staking his campaign on voter support for President Trump.

And a brand-new poll out shows the two candidates in Georgia are locked in a tight battle with less than two months to go. CNN's Kaylee Hartung spoke with both of them.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STACEY ABRAMS (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, GEORGIA: We are writing the next chapter of Georgia's future.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Democrat looking to become the nation's first black female governor...

ABRAMS: Where you come from shouldn't determine how far you can go.

HARTUNG: -- versus ...

BRIAN KEMP (R), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, GEORGIA: This is about fighting for literally, ladies and gentlemen, the soul of our state this fall.

HARTUNG: -- a Republican using every page of the president's playbook.

KEMP: I got a big truck just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take them home myself.

HARTUNG: Georgia's gubernatorial candidates polar opposites on seemingly every issue from abortion to taxes, immigration to guns.

ABRAMS: We can repeal campus carry --

KEMP: I own guns that no one's taken away.

HARTUNG: But this race is about more than the future of the Peach State, it's become a microcosm of the political divide in America.

GREG BLUESTEIN, "ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION": This is going to be something of a warm-up act for 2020 right here in Georgia.

HARTUNG: Greg Bluestein is a political reporter for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

BLUESTEIN: Democrats want to desperately prove that Georgia is a battleground state in a way that it hasn't been in a few decades. Republicans want to do everything they can to fortify Georgia to make sure it still stays in the red column.

HARTUNG: No Democrat has won a major statewide election in Georgia since 2000. Despite that fact, Abrams believes the math works.

ABRAMS: I'm going to talk to the millions of Democratic leaning voters and those disaffected Republicans who want to see something else and those independent thinkers who haven't --

[19:40:00]

ABRAMS: -- quite decided.

HARTUNG: Important to her formula, Georgia's dramatic demographic shifts in recent years getting younger and more diverse in the former Republican stronghold of the Atlanta suburbs, proven by recent presidential elections.

In 2000, George W. Bush won Georgia by 12 points; in 2012, Romney by 8. The Republican margin continuing to decrease in 2016 when Trump won the state by just five points.

Still, President Trump's endorsement in a contentious GOP runoff helped Kemp win by nearly 40 points.

KEMP: That was like pouring gasoline on the fire that we had.

HARTUNG: But unlike her fellow Democrats across the country, Abrams rarely invokes the president's name.

ABRAMS: We are in a divisive moment and there is a great deal of concern about whether we're going to continue to stand for the values that have made us a strong country.

HARTUNG: Unspoken or not, there's no avoiding the president's imprint on the race.

If we're talking the first Wednesday in November and this state has turned blue, who will be responsible for making that happen? Who in the electorate?

BLUESTEIN: It will be -- well, Donald Trump will be partly responsible, either way.

HARTUNG: Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: A military show of force today in North Korea but something was absent this year. The "Weekend Presidential Brief" is next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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[19:45:00]

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HILL: A military show of force today in North Korea, the military parade the 70th annual. In all the pomp and circumstance, though, there was something missing today and it's important to point out.

The intercontinental ballistic missiles believed to be capable of targeting the U.S. glaringly absent in this year's parade, which brings us to your "Weekend Presidential Brief," a segment we bring you every Sunday night, highlighting some of the most pressing national security information the president is going to need when he wakes up tomorrow.

He's also welcome to take the information right now. Joining us now, CNN national security analyst, former National Security Council adviser, Samantha Vinograd.

No ICBMs; obviously, there's a reason for that and a message, one would imagine.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: There is but there was no raining on Kim's parade today. He didn't display his 60-plus nukes, thousands of tons of chemical weapons but he doesn't need to parade them or even test them for us to know they're there. He's already proven that they work.

While Kim celebrates his power, he's transitioned from dotard tweets -- remember those? -- to Dear Donald letters. It's a security blanket. The more invested President Trump is in this penpal correspondence, the less likely it is that he's going to look at, for example, a military option.

And we know that Kim Jong-un is really focused on his economy right now but to quote James Carville, it's the economy, stupid. A quarter of North Korea's GDP goes to its military. So the stronger the North Korean economy is, the stronger we should assume Kim Jong-un's military and weapons programs are.

HILL: Which is fascinating. As all that's playing out, we also learned this weekend that the U.S. may have been open to a coup attempt in Venezuela to overthrow Maduro.

Was that surprising at all?

VINOGRAD: We got out of the business of regime change supposedly and coups a long time ago, partially because they turned out so poorly in countries in Latin America.

This whole story, though, is going to add fuel to Maduro's fire. He likes to blame us for everything that's wrong in Venezuela from their million percent inflation to the humanitarian crisis that's underway.

Now we can say, well, the United States was trying to foment dissent; it's their fault, I have nothing to do with this, which is quite dangerous. And the truth is, we have not dialed up sanctions as far as we could in Venezuela.

So before going to supporting a coup, we could do things like sanction their state-run oil company. Oil accounts for over 90 percent of their export revenues. We've been wary to do that, I think, because we're sanctioning Iran's oil company for bringing supply off-market. And perhaps we're worried about the complete state collapse in Venezuela.

HILL: Do you see a scenario where it could happen, where sanctions could come to the table?

VINOGRAD: I think they could, I don't think the president will do that while he's asking countries like China and India to wean themselves off of Iranian oil. He probably wants to focus on that and not add this other element.

HILL: As all of this is playing out on the international stage, there's also what's happening at the White House itself. We know there's still this obsession with who wrote this anonymous op-ed; Bob Woodward's book comes out on Tuesday. All of this chaos that we're seeing, is this a White House in crisis?

Or is this just another day, business as usual?

VINOGRAD: This is a Russian troll's dream come true because it strikes so many of Putin's boxes We know Putin wants to undermine the credibility of our democracy. I don't know anyone who's read that op- ed or the first few pages of the Bob Woodward book and walked away with a real sense of confidence in the president's mastery of information or his capability to lead a team that actually listens to him or doesn't talk negatively.

The Russians want to sow divisions. There's a resistance underway within the president's policy establishment. That counts as a big division to me So we should assume the Russians want to make this the never-ending story.

They're going to tweet out every bit of content they can related to the Woodward book and "The New York Times" op-ed, particularly because they know how distracted the president and his cabinet are with these letters of denials.

The more distracted they are by these new pieces of American literature, the less time they're spending on real issues like, for example, countering Russia.

HILL: Oh, my goodness. Here we are again. Always good to see you, my friend. Thank you.

Close but no cigar.

[19:50:00]

HILL: The Cleveland Browns' opportunity to break their 18-game losing streak dashed, sort of. You have to stick with me to see this ending.

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HILL: The Cleveland Browns can't buy a break so they technically snapped their 17-game losing streak today but they still didn't win. Today Browns-Steelers game ended in a tie. This doesn't happen very often in the NFL.

Browns fans held their breath all the way into overtime, only to watch their first chance for a win since December of 2016 evaporate in a missed field goal attempt. The final score --

[19:55:00]

HILL: -- Cleveland 21, Pittsburgh 21. So, hey, there's always next Sunday when the Browns will try against the Saints.

The Arizona Cardinals making Cindy McCain an honorary team captain today. The wife of the late senator John McCain meeting with players and she joined in at the coin toss before the Cardinals' game against the Washington Redskins today. This is Ms. McCain's first public appearance since her husband's funeral.

Afterwards she tweeted her thanks to the team and for their tribute to the late senator, adding, quote, "Support for our family has been overwhelming."

Professor, litigator, role model, dissenter: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has earned countless titles and accolades during her groundbreaking career on both sides of the bench.

Now the new CNN original film, "RBG," takes an intimate look at the professional and personal life of Justice Ginsburg, who has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while also become an unexpected pop culture icon. Here's a preview.

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RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: When I graduated from Columbia Law School in 1959, not a law firm in the entire city of New York would employ me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She captured for the male members of the court what it was like to be a second-class citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ruth knew what she was doing in laying the foundation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So help me, God.

GINSBURG: So help me, God.

Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Joining me now, CNN legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer Joan Biskupic.

Joan, always great to have you here with us.

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks.

HILL: What I think is so remarkable about Justice Ginsburg is this pop culture moment that she's having. We see some of it in the film. These young women who are there, maybe with their copies of the "Notorious R.B.G.," but they are just enthralled by her and what she has done.

What is it specifically that's made her this pop culture icon now, for a woman who is in her 80s?

BISKUPIC: Who doesn't like someone who challenges the system and lives to tell about it into her 80s?

That's what she was doing in the '70s, when she was a women's rights advocate. She was winning more than losing in those years. And that's what she's doing now, although, as we know she's losing more than winning. But she's firing up a lot of people with those dissents.

HILL: She certainly is. Listen, you have covered her for years, as we know. But there was this interview that you did during the 2016 campaign that obviously made a lot of headlines. She said then candidate Donald Trump was a "faker."

She got a lot of blowback for that, too.

Did it damage her reputation at all, even on the court?

BISKUPIC: I don't think so. I think there are some people who felt she shouldn't have gone that far and she herself regretted it, Erica. She couldn't help but speak her mind and then she thought that she was wrong to do it and she walked it back.

You know, it came up in the Kavanaugh hearings from both sides, so it's still out there but it's part of what she's all about, challenging the system.

HILL: She shows no signs of slowing down, although there has been plenty of discussion, plenty of speculation about whether she would perhaps retire. She said she's there for another five years.

What do you think those five years will look like for her?

BISKUPIC: A lot of dissents definitely, a lot of challenges to the majority. You know, what some people don't remember is that the "Notorious R.B.G." was born of a dissent that she wrote in 2013, just after she had turned age 80, in a Voting Rights Act case, where she came out swinging.

The interesting thing, Erica, is that she was always known for her women's rights passion but she's becoming more and more known for her civil rights passion more broadly. And I think we'll see more those kinds of dissents.

HILL: As we see more of that, she has had this remarkable legal career, as we said, on both sides of the bench.

BISKUPIC: Yes.

HILL: What do you think her biggest legacy is at this point?

BISKUPIC: You know, I think people will regard her as someone who, in her earlier quiet way, challenged the system, went at it in a counterintuitive way, representing men who were bringing sex discrimination cases -- as people will see in the movie -- hung in there, was in the trenches and now is having her moment.

So I think she will be remembered for both legacies, one so much for women's rights and now for broader civil rights.

HILL: Joan, always great to talk to you. Thank you.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

HILL: And you can learn more about the inspiring life and career of Justice Ginsburg. "RBG," a CNN film, starts right now.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Erica Hill in for Ana Cabrera.

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