This is a rush transcript for “This Week” on November 12, 2017 and it will be updated.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS: For more, let’s bring in counselor to the president and one of his top advisers, Kellyanne Conway. Her voice among those advising Donald Trump as he decides whether to reject Roy Moore.
And good morning, Kellyanne. The Washington Post story is now three days old. You have had time to digest it, time to look through it. Do you have any doubt about the veracity of those accusations?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I said very early in this process that the conduct as described should disqualify anyone from serving in public office. And I’ll stand by that.
The president and others in the Republican Party have made clear that if the allegations are true, this man should step aside. But I’ve gone farther than that, and I’ve reflected something the vice president said as well which is everybody should know that conduct is disqualifying. And Mr. Moore has denied that conduct. I think you’ve got other people are out there talking about what did or did not happen many years ago.
RADDATZ: But that goes back to that if, if. If we prove this conduct, then he should leave. What is it that has to happen now for you to go into he should step aside?
CONWAY: Well, the one thing I will say is that the president also is not as focused on this as he is his major 13-day trip abroad. And so he made a statement. He’s sticking by that statement. But he’s not being briefed on this bit by bit because he is very focused new trade agreements. He is very focused on global cooperation against a nuclearized North Korea. He is very focused on combating terrorism.
RADDATZ: And we’ll get to that…
RADDATZ: And we’ll get back to that. But let me ask you again, do you have any doubt about the veracity of the accusations?
CONWAY: Martha, I only know what I read. And I take very seriously allegations like this, particularly when they involve somebody who happened to be one of my daughters’ ages. I take this seriously. I have tried to be a very loud voice for a very long time against sexual…
RADDATZ: So you believe the accusers?
CONWAY: … impropriety. I know what I read. I don’t know the accusers. And I don’t know Judge Moore. But I also want to make sure that we as a nation are not always prosecuting people through the press. He has denied the allegations. I have read the stories. I have heard not the testimony and the evidence, but what people are saying publicly.
And, I think that the — what we have all said stands. I came out very — I was probably the first person in the administration to come out because I happened to be interviewed on a different network about a different topic, tax cuts. And I said this conduct should be disqualifying.
I mean, I look around and I say, is this the best we can do?
RADDATZ: But we’re still — I mean, Roy Moore says that too, that conduct like that should be disqualifying. He’s just saying he didn’t do it. So what is the standard of proof here? It’s one thing to say this is terrible conduct. It is terrible conduct. I’m not sure anyone would disagree with you. But the question is, and you are an adviser to the president, you have been following this, what is your standard of proof here?
I mean, you either believe the women or you don’t. And this isn’t a trial.
CONWAY: Well, you said it best. It’s not a trial. What do you mean the standard of proof and the evidence?
RADDATZ: But what I mean, what does it take for you to say, he should resign? What has to happen before you would advise the president to say, Roy Moore should step aside?
CONWAY: The president said he should step aside if the allegations are true.
RADDATZ: If, if, if. So where does the if lie?
CONWAY: But, Martha, hold on, I want to broaden this conversation. It would be a very dangerous precedent for any of us, for any person in this country to just be cast aside as guilty because of press reports. This is a democracy with a constitutional system that allows us to have a process. So if — we’re not in trial here. I only know what I read.
And what I read is very disturbing. And what I read offends me greatly as a woman, as a mother of three young girls.
RADDATZ: Understood. But you’re — what you’re saying essentially is maybe those four women are lying?
CONWAY: No, I didn’t say that.
RADDATZ: You have four women who The Post talked to.
CONWAY: I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. OK, I didn’t say that. But I also know that credibility has not been imbued on other people when they’ve tried to raise issues like this based on their political affiliation and based on who they work for. And we know that. There were many accusers over the years, there was much evidence against a former president, and very little coverage of that, respectfully.
The fact is that on this particular issue, we need to have a serious conversation. But on this one, you’re talking about decades-long conduct, allegations in the press. And we already, in this conversation, have probably spent more time talking about Roy Moore and this than we have talked about a Democratic United States senator who is sitting in a federal courthouse as a criminal defendant in a trial, has been indicted on some serious criminal counts. And we
can’t get any coverage on it.
RADDATZ: And we will be talking about that. We will be talking about that.
CONWAY: I want to be very clear. I want to be very explicit here. I denounce that conduct. And if the allegations are true, he should step aside. And if the allegations are true about a lot of people, they ought to step aside. And some of them are probably holding office right now.
RADDATZ: Let me tell you what Mitt Romney tweeted this Friday. He said: “Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”
So let me ask you one more question on this. Do you believe Leigh Corfman?
CONWAY: I don’t know Leigh Corfman. I believe that both sides are alleging different things here. You’re asking me…
RADDATZ: So, that means it goes nowhere?
CONWAY: No, that’s not true. That is not true.
RADDATZ: How does it go somewhere?
CONWAY: But you’re also asking me on behalf of the White House and the president to make a judgment about something when he’s on a 13-day trip and spoke very explicitly as has the vice president as have I, and as have other top advisers.
Let me say it one last time, the conduct as described is not just offensive and disgusting, it disqualifies anyone who has done it from holding public office. So let me go a little step farther, if there’s anyone currently in public office who has behaved that way to any girl or any woman, maybe they should step aside, because in a country of 330 million people, we ought to be able to do better than this.
I tried to raise this issue a year ago on October 9th. I said explicitly that I had been a victim of
people in power. And nobody took me seriously. And you know why? Because of who I work for, of whose campaign I was managing. I tried to have this conversation a year before everybody else. YOu want to have this conversation everybody? Let’s have it. But let’s be honest about it.
It goes far beyond one article in a newspaper. It’s in most…
RADDATZ: Let me just — I want to move on to Russia, Kellyanne, but — let me say again, there are four women who were named and 30 women who have corroborated it.
CONWAY: And they should have their day. They should speak up.
RADDATZ: I think they did speak up.
CONWAY: They should speak up. And they should have their day.
The rest of it, you’re asking me about political strategy and ballot access in the state of Alabama. That’s up to Alabama. I can not emphatically say enough what I think of the conduct. It’s hard to even read these articles.
RADDATZ: I know, but you also can’t say whether you believe the accusers or not. You’re not going to go that far.
So let’s move on to Russia. I want to get clarity on President Trump’s position on Russia and election interference. He said Saturday on Air Force One that every time he sees Vladimir Putin, Putin says, I didn’t do that. And I believe, I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. He tried to clarify that in a press conference overnight. Let’s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Those two statements seem to contradict each other. Which is it?
CONWAY: No, it’s what I — I can’t imagine the president could be more explicit. He said yesterday as he said today that when President Putin says it, President Putin means it. He means that they didn’t interfere. What the president said…
RADDATZ: So, he thinks he’s just delusional, President Putin?
CONWAY: No, he didn’t use that word. He said that President Putin believes it. What the president believes is most important here. He believes the assessment of the intelligence communities. And he stands by that. He’s very respectful of that. Director Pompeo of the CIA said the same thing.
And so this president has formed his judgment about that issue based on the intelligence communities in this country.
And he also — you know, the president is not the chairman of the board of elections in this country, he’s the president of the United States. He wants to deal with President Putin and other world leaders as he has for two weeks right now, Martha, on major issues like global security, on trade, perhaps, on — in other countries, on combating ISIS, on a nuclearized North Korea.
Most Americans watching this show and everywhere in this country now appreciate having a strong leader who is willing to take his counsel from the — along with the international community and put the case right to North Korea and say to Putin, and say to Xi, and say to Abe, and say to others — and then Moon, join with us in making sure the nuclearized North Korea…
RADDATZ: Let’s talk about what else he said about North Korea. President Trump tweeted this yesterday from Vietnam: “why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat,” which is apparently trending on Twitter right now. “Oh, well I tried so hard to be his friend. And maybe some day that will happen.”
How is that helpful?
CONWAY: I think the whole trip is very helpful. I believe that…
RADDATZ: How is that helpful? How is that helpful?
CONWAY: Martha, what’s helpful in full context is a 13-day trip where the president is very focused on global security and combating terrorism, and most importantly containing a nuclearized North Korea.
North Korea is everyone’s business. This man has been on the job for nine or ten months. We inherited a mess, including a nuclearized North Korea, including the Iran deal, including many hot spots around the globe that he is trying, when he’s here at his desk and when he’s abroad on these trips. He’s trying to make better on behalf of everyone.
RADDATZ: And you think name-calling is helpful? Calling somebody short and fat?
CONWAY: I think that that was a — the president just responding the way he does to somebody who insulted him first, but I look at the full context of his entire trip and everything that he’s trying to do. I think it’s been an incredibly successful and inspiring trip for those who care about North Korea not being nuclearized, for those who care about free trade in this country, for those who care about trade agreements that don’t keep screwing Americans and American workers, for those who care about Syria and what happens with China.
I mean, what this president has been able to do with leaders around the world, the cooperation is up. They have announced big new deals here, which affect American workers and American interests. And that, plus the tax cuts that we’re going to get very soon, I think it’s why you see the stock market and consumer confidence at all highs. People like what they see.
RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much, Kellyanne for joining us.