'This Week' Transcript 11-26-17: Sen. Tim Scott and Adm. Mike Mullen

PHOTO: Sen. Tim Scott in Oxon Hill, Maryland, March 3, 2016. | Admiral Michael Mullen in New York City, Jan. 31, 2014.PlayGetty Images
WATCH How Congress can combat sexual harassment

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This Week with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.

MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: Capitol Hill now under intense scrutiny as allegations surface against the longest serving member of the House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEAMLE: The kind of abuse i suffered was awful, but I won't say that it is unique.

RADDATZ: And more women accuse Senator Al Franken of sexual misconduct.

UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE: He pulls me towards him and then he moved his hand to my butt.

RADDATZ: Offenders in congress can't be easily fired and can use taxpayer money to resolve harassment claims. So, why is it OK for politicians to play by different rules? We ask a former member of the congressional ethics committee and two of the Congresswomen combating harassment on The Hill.

And the president's defense of Roy Moore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is an accused child molester better than a Democrat?

TRUMP: Well, he denies it. Look he denies it.

RADDATZ: What message does that send? We ask Republican Senator Tim Scott.

Plus, who's in charge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did we get here where we are depending on retired generals for the stability of our system?

RADDATZ: A stark warning from this former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about his fellow officers. Admiral Mike Mullen joins us for an exclusive live interview.

From the White House to your house, we take on the moments that matter, This Week.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's This Week. Here now, co-anchor, Martha Raddatz.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RADDATZ: Good morning. And thank you for joining us this holiday weekend. President Trump is waking up at Mar-a-Lago, where he's been spending his working Thanksgiving tweeting about his accomplishments in office so far while taking on the NFL and TIME magazine, and taking in a round of golf with Tiger Woods.

But starting tomorrow, Washington, like the rest of America, heads back to work. Congress facing a daunting to do list after its holiday break, avoiding a potential shutdown, determining the future of the DREAMers and the Children's Health Insurance Program, not to mention tax reform, which Trump has promised to deliver by Christmas.

On Tuesday, Trump will be traveling to The Hill to rally Senate Republicans, his second visit to the Capitol in as many weeks. And he'll be meeting with the big four: Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Paul Ryan, and Nancy Pelosi.

But hanging over it all, the steady, perhaps unprecedented outpouring, of sexual misconduct allegations. Each week, more individuals going public with their stories. Each week, more household names stripped of their powerful positions after accusations of misconduct.

But as more accusers come forward against those powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill, we're seeing a different reaction, a slower response. Senator Al Franken, and Representative John Conyers, both now facing multiple accusations and congressional investigations, but both are also still holding on to their positions.

Representative Jackie Speier has said she knows of two other members of congress who have engaged in sexual harassment, still unnamed, and as of now, facing no consequences.

Then there's Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexual misconduct against minors. President Donald Trump defending him this week saying that Moore denies it and implying that his denial is enough.

But according to a report just out overnight in The New York Times, that defense of Moore infuriating Trump's Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill who had been trying to distance the party from those misconduct allegations.

And I'm joined now by a Republican in congress, Senator Tim Scott. Good morning, senator. And Senator, let's take a look at what President Trump said about Roy Moore earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones. I've looked at his record.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is an accused child molester better than a Democrat? Is an accused...

TRUMP: Well, he denies it. Look, he denies it. He says it didn't happen. And you know you have to listen to him also. You're talking about, he said, 40 years ago this did not happen. Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. He denies it. And by the way, he totally denies it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: And the president tweeting just moments ago, doubling down on this, saying, quote, "the last thing we need in Alabama and the U.S. Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet who is weak on crime, weak on the border," and saying Jones would be a disaster.

So, Senator, you have said that it's in the best interests of the country that Roy Moore find something else to do rather than run for Senate. But you saw the president's take on Moore. You've listened to Moore. Has the Alabama Republican said anything recently that has made you change your mind?

SEN. TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: No, ma'am. It is pretty clear to me that the best thing that Roy Moore could do for the country is to move on.

The reality of it is that the allegations are still very strong and credible, and the denial has been weak. It has gotten a little stronger, but it's still fairly weak.

So, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many Republicans' and conservatives in the senate, it is time for us to turn the page, because it is not about partisan politics. It's not about electing Republicans versus Democrats, this is it's about the character of our country. I want to be on the side of right when the history writes this story.

RADDATZ: So, is President Trump on the side of wrong?

SCOTT: Well, the president will have to make his own decisions on where he thinks he is and why he's there. Partisan politics is very important in Washington. It's how your get your job done on either side of the aisle.

From my perspective, I'm not taking it from a Republican perspective or a Democrat perspective, I'm thinking about those folks who have been negatively impacted by these allegations. I'm thinking about the long-term health of the country from a personal perspective that leads me to one conclusion.

I've been there. I'm staying there. And I am looking for ways for us to heal this devastating wound in our country.

I think Peggy Noonan said it really well over the weekend, it is time for sunshine to hit this offensive behavior and for us to clean up this act.

RADDATZ: Well, let's go back to President Trump. Jeff Flake said that the president made a big mistake supporting Roy Moore. Do you agree it's a mistake for President Trump to do this?

SCOTT: I really can't say what the president should or should not do. I will tell you that the judge and the jury in this case will be the voters of Alabama. And they will weigh in very soon about two weeks in a couple of days from now we'll hear the outcome of the voters who will be the judge and the jury for this case as it relates to Roy Moore.

RADDATZ: But I want to stay with President Trump who certainly sets a tone. In the aftermath of Charlottesville and the president's response, you said his moral authority was compromised. Is his moral authority compromised because of these comments about Roy Moore?

SCOTT: Well, there's certainly -- I don't think so. I think the reality of it is that while I have read through as many stories as I could get my hands on, I think the issue in the case is compelling, I have reached the conclusion. I think there are many Americans who disagree with me vehemently. I don't necessarily understand how, but they do.

I look forward to addressing and following this issue as long as we can. We'll know more about the outcome of this election on I think it's December 12th.

So, when Americans disagree with me, whether it's the president or other folks, it doesn't change my opinion. But I'm certainly unable to change theirs.

RADDATZ: OK, The New York Times piece also says that the president not only doubts Roy Moore's accusers, but has been telling people he now doubts the authenticity of the Access Hollywood tape. Here's a quote from The Times. He sees the calls for Mr. Moore to step aside as a version of the response to the now famous Access Hollywood tape in which he boasted about grabbing women's genitalia and the flood of groping accusations against him that followed soon after. He suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently.

Your reaction. Do you believe the Access Hollywood tape is authentic?

SCOTT: Well, I'll tell you what I do believe. Number one, I believe that the voters of this country had the information before the election of 2016. They had a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they chose Donald Trump with all of the evidence -- all the information before them.

Number two, I think we have to be very careful not to try to make this into a partisan issue when those who are liberal want to fight those who are conservative and where those who are conservative want to fight the liberals on the issue.

I think the issue that we should focus on is that sexual harassment is an offense that is so deplorable, so disgusting that we as a country need to fight against it tooth and nail with everything we have. Ultimately, the voters will be the decision makers in some of the cases, but we, as a nation, whether you're in politics, media, sports, we have to tackle this issue. And we have not done a good job of it so far.

RADDATZ: Well, let's talk about this. The president said he'll wait until this week to decide whether he goes to campaign for Roy Moore. What kind of signal do you think that would send women if he does?

SCOTT: Well, I think the president will have to make the decision on whether or not he thinks that the risks -- the benefit outweighs the risk in this case. From my perspective, I have made my decision, and you won't find me in Alabama.

RADDATZ: OK. I want to move on to the NFL. President Trump once again tweeted angrily while at Mar-a-Lago this Thanksgiving week. He began by continuing his criticism of Lavar Ball, the father of one of the UCLA players who was arrested for shoplifting in China and later freed. He said, "Lavar, you could have spent the next five to ten years during Thanksgiving with your son in China, but no NBA contract to support you. But remember, Lavar, shoplifting is not a little thing, it's really big deal, especially in China. Ungrateful fool."

That tweet was followed by this, "the NFL is now thinking about a new idea, keeping teams in the locker room during the National Anthem next season. That's almost as bad as kneeling. When will the highly paid commissioner finally get tough and smart? The issue is killing your league."

And Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent said the president's tweets are part of a larger trend, writing, "Trump's rage tweets about Lavar Ball are part of a pattern. Trump regularly attacks high-profile African-Americans to feed his supporters' belief that the system is rigged for minorities."

Do you to think the president has a habit of unnecessarily singling out minorities?

SCOTT: It certainly is -- the president is a good counterpuncher. He doesn't seem to discriminate from my perspective. I think he attacks anyone he believes or perceives is attacking him or the country whether it's right or wrong.

I will say as it relates to the Lavar Ball incident as it relates to China, I think there's a segment on ESPN called Come On, Man.

Here's my thought, if you're going the steal, and you're going to steal in China, and someone gets you out of that, you ought to saw thank you. They should say welcome.

The reality of it is, for a high-profile athlete to go the China and steal, and then the president of the United States, who obviously has a very precarious and provocative relationship with sports completely, to bail you out, I think, deserves a thank you without having to be asked for it.

So, the truth of the matter is...

RADDATZ: Not singling out minorities? You don't thing he's singling out minorities? From the UCLA players to the NFL players?

SCOTT: I will tell you that from my perspective, the answer is no. There is no doubt that if he were singling out minorities in the basketball situation, he singled them out in a positive way. The reality is, having the president of the United States step in to help you out when you're in China, that is a powerful move that likely brought those fellows home without having to miss Thanksgiving with their family. Because truth is, there could have been some really negative consequences to those young folks.

RADDATZ: OK, Senator, I want to move on. This holiday week when we're all giving thanks, and we think of those less fortunate than us, I wanted to talk about poverty and income inequality. Your background, raised by a single mother in a low-income home. You said that the Republican tax bill will help the poor. How?

SCOTT: A couple of ways that we do that. Number one, if you look at the -- on the personal income side, there's not $1 trillion, $370 billion of personal income taxes paid in 2014-2015. Out of that amount, the folks at the lower end, received about $2.4 billion in refunds, in other words they did not pay actual tax in the aggregate. Our plan increases that refund by about 40 percent.

We also increase the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. We continue to work for areas -- Deb Fisher, a senator from Nebraska, has led the charge on family leave, providing a tax credit for family leave, which is included in our legislation.

I have included in the tax reform legislation the investing in opportunity act, which targets 50 million Americans living in poverty in distressed communities, bringing back over $2 trillion of capital gains back into those communities, long-term, to solve some of the serious problems that are endemic in some of the communities where I grew up.

RADDATZ: OK, but about 45 percent of Americans don't pay income tax, and many of those are the working poor. So, how does it help them?

SCOTT: Well, if you don't pay income taxes and we increase your refund by 40 percent, that is a direct dollar impact. In other words, you'll have more money to use to keep those ends together, those single mothers like mine, who are working paycheck to paycheck, they will now not get a $9,300 deduction, we're doubling that almost to $18,000 for a dual-parent income household, we're going from around $12,700 for the standard deduction to around $24,000.

What we focused on is making sure that those folks who are struggling to get ahead in life have more of their own money so that they can take care of the needs of their families and perhaps everyone to have a night out.

RADDATZ: And you see a bill passing by Christmas?

SCOTT: Well, I do believe in prayer. Number one. And I hope that we can get it done by Christmas. If not, we'll be here through Christmas looking at the end of the year so that we can make sure that we provide tax relief for those working families, like the one I grew up in.

RADDATZ: OK, thanks so much for joining us, Senator Scott.

SCOTT: Yes, ma'am. Have a good day.

RADDATZ: You, too.

So let's get back to the question we have been asking, are powerful men in politics getting a free pass? And is there a double standard? One Democratic congresswoman says there is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATHLEEN RICE (D), NEW YORK: Why are the rules for politicians in Washington different than they are for everyone else? And the list is endless. Compare what happened to Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Mark Halperin, all appropriate consequences. And yet, once we start getting into the realm of politicians, well, let's get the Ethics Commission into it, and, you know, let's investigate this. People are sick and tired of the rules in Washington for politicians, like me, being different than they are for regular people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: For more, let's bring in California Democrat Jackie Speier, one of the co-sponsors of the Me Too Congress Act, who has shared her own story of sexual harassment. Republican Barbara Comstock of Virginia and co-sponsor of a resolution mandating anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for both members and staff during each session of Congress. Former Congresswoman and member of the House Ethics Committee, Donna Edwards. And Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International.

Welcome to all of you. And I want to start with you, Congresswoman Speier. I want to first get your reaction to your colleague Kathleen Rice, who we just heard. She is the first Democrat calling for Representative Conyers to resign. Here's what she said in a statement. "I've reviewed the allegations against him and they're as credible as they are repulsive. If men who engage in this behavior suffered real repercussions, more victims would speak up, and maybe other men would decide to act like decent, civilized adults and not prey on women who work for and trust and admire them.

Do you believe the allegations against Representative Conyers, and agree that he should step down as a result?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: I think that the allegations are very serious, and that's why the Ethics Committee needs to move very swiftly, not wait years, but very swiftly. Staff up if necessary to determine whether or not those allegations are accurate. And if they're accurate, I do believe that Congressman Conyers should step down.

RADDATZ: So you can't say at this moment whether you believe them?

SPEIER: Well, I don't think we know. I think that that's why the Ethics Committee needs to be brought in. I think we are presumed innocent until proven guilty. And while this is not a court of law, it's the court of public opinion. I do think that they are very serious.

RADDATZ: OK. And, Representative Edwards, you sat on the House Ethics Committee. The settlement payment came from Conyers's office account, not that $17 million in settlements of the Office of Compliance. How difficult will it be to determine the scope and cost of those settlements?

DONNA EDWARDS (D), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think it's incredibly difficult. And keep in mind that the Compliance Office was not part of the ethics process. And I'm not really sure the ethics process, as it exists right now, is appropriate to deal with these issues because I think that there has to, at least for this time period, be some process set up where staff and members can come forward.

It will help to get to the bottom of this in the Congress. And it will also help to set up a process by which these things don't happen again.

RADDATZ: Congresswoman Comstock, you began as an intern on Capitol Hill, then a staffer, you're now a congresswoman. You have talked about some of the harassment you've heard about on the Hill. But does the scope of this surprise you?

REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK (R), VIRGINIA: Well, the truth is we don't know what the entire the scope of it is. I do agree with Kathleen Rice in that there needs to be one standard for members. And that's why this week we're going to pass a resolution, that you mentioned, that I introduced with my colleagues. It will mandate training for all members and staff.

But that is just a small beginning. What we're then going to do is have more hearings on best practices, have in-person training, so it's much more interactive, so our youngest staffers, interns like I was, are going to know what their rights are, and know maybe some of the dangers that are out there. We're going to say, no more secret payments, no taxpayer payments for any of this. And we need to know a lot more about that. That's what we've now asked for, more details on what type of harassment is really going on?

We don't know at this point. We're hearing anecdotes. People are coming to us. But that's why one of the things that's in Congresswoman Speier's bill, and something that we've -- I think we all have consensus on is having a survey from staff so you know what are the ongoing issues.

But we know when you have strong training, zero tolerance, and you start enforcing it, if you look, the media and corporate America has been firing people. Charlie Rose. Here at ABC, Mark Halperin. You have Roger Ailes at FOX. We have to have the same kind of standards. When credible people come forward, and the Peggy Noonan piece that Tim Scott talked about, this was detailed reporting. Predators do things over and over.

So when you do that detailed type of reporting and these stories come forward, yes, I believe them, because they have details. There are patterns. This is what predators do. And we need to understand, as do the staffers, who the predators are and what they do.

RADDATZ: I want to talk a little bit -- I want to talk about a little bit with you, Congresswoman Speier, about the process they now go through, which is quite extraordinary. If a victim would like the to report sexual harassment, they have 180 days to do so with the Office of Compliance. Once that claim is processed, victims are required to undergo 30 days of counseling, then 15 days to decide if they would like to pursue mediation, that is another 30-day process that is confidential and will either result in a settlement or yet another 30-day period. You get the idea. At a minimum, you're looking at a two-month process once the claim is processed.

How did this happen? How did this convoluted system happen? And what do you do next?

SPEIER: You know, I would agree, Martha, it's convoluted. But more than that, I think it was a system set up in 1995 to protect the harasser. This is not a victim-friendly process. And, one victim who I spoke with said, you know, the process was almost worse than the harassment.

So, this is absolutely a priority that we must focus on in terms of fixing the system. Doing the sexual harassment prevention training is one step. It's a good step, but it's a small step. The whole system needs to have a comprehensive shift. And that's why my legislation would, first of all, have it also apply to interns and fellows, which, right now, they have nowhere to go.

You would not have a mandatory mediation if you don't want to pursue it. And you will not be subject to a mandatory non-disclosure agreement. Beyond that, we would have a climate survey to make sure that we know moving forward what the climate is, much like we do in the military now to determine whether or not sexual harassment and sexual assault continues to be a serious issue.

We say zero tolerance, but I don't believe that we put our money where our mouths are.

RADDATZ: And I want to follow up with you, Zainab. Congresswoman Comstock mentioned this. Obviously Charlie Rose fired from PBS, from CBS. What is really at the root of this? We talk about power. Is it power or is it more than that?

ZAINAB SALBI, FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL: Well, it is power. But I think it is a culture at large that has been complacent in the discrimination against women. The way I see it, one American woman still getting paid 78 cents to every dollar, it's related to men feeling that they're allowed to touch women, or date women, or do whatever with women in inappropriate ways.

We have to look at the larger cultural issues, otherwise, what I'm hearing right now is that we're addressing the head of the issues. We're cutting the heads off, which is important, because deterrence and fear that I will lose my job and power and all of that is important enough to actually stop men from doing. But we need to look at the body. And the body includes women who are in lower ranking positions, who could be the waitresses.

The body allows for the sexualization of women and the discrimination, and not treating women equally.

RADDATZ: But when you talk about the sexualization of women, and I have heard you say this rather provocatively, that women are responsible for the culture as well in the way they dress, and that sounds...

RADDATZ: Congresswoman Comstock, you began as an intern on Capitol Hill, then a staffer, you're now a congresswoman. You have talked about some of the harassment you've heard about on the Hill. But does the scope of this surprise you?

REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK (R), VIRGINIA: Well, the truth is we don't know what the entire the scope of it is. I do agree with Kathleen Rice in that there needs to be one standard for members. And that's why this week we're going to pass a resolution, that you mentioned, that I introduced with my colleagues. It will mandate training for all members and staff.

But that is just a small beginning. What we're then going to do is have more hearings on best practices, have in-person training, so it's much more interactive, so our youngest staffers, interns like I was, are going to know what their rights are, and know maybe some of the dangers that are out there. We're going to say, no more secret payments, no taxpayer payments for any of this. And we need to know a lot more about that. That's what we've now asked for, more details on what type of harassment is really going on?

We don't know at this point. We're hearing anecdotes. People are coming to us. But that's why one of the things that's in Congresswoman Speier's bill, and something that we've -- I think we all have consensus on is having a survey from staff so you know what are the ongoing issues.

But we know when you have strong training, zero tolerance, and you start enforcing it, if you look, the media and corporate America has been firing people. Charlie Rose. Here at ABC, Mark Halperin. You have Roger Ailes at FOX. We have to have the same kind of standards. When credible people come forward, and the Peggy Noonan piece that Tim Scott talked about, this was detailed reporting. Predators do things over and over.

So when you do that detailed type of reporting and these stories come forward, yes, I believe them, because they have details. There are patterns. This is what predators do. And we need to understand, as do the staffers, who the predators are and what they do.

RADDATZ: I want to talk a little bit -- I want to talk about a little bit with you, Congresswoman Speier, about the process they now go through, which is quite extraordinary. If a victim would like the to report sexual harassment, they have 180 days to do so with the Office of Compliance. Once that claim is processed, victims are required to undergo 30 days of counseling, then 15 days to decide if they would like to pursue mediation, that is another 30-day process that is confidential and will either result in a settlement or yet another 30-day period. You get the idea. At a minimum, you're looking at a two-month process once the claim is processed.

How did this happen? How did this convoluted system happen? And what do you do next?

SPEIER: You know, I would agree, Martha, it's convoluted. But more than that, I think it was a system set up in 1995 to protect the harasser. This is not a victim-friendly process. And, one victim who I spoke with said, you know, the process was almost worse than the harassment.

So, this is absolutely a priority that we must focus on in terms of fixing the system. Doing the sexual harassment prevention training is one step. It's a good step, but it's a small step. The whole system needs to have a comprehensive shift. And that's why my legislation would, first of all, have it also apply to interns and fellows, which, right now, they have nowhere to go.

You would not have a mandatory mediation if you don't want to pursue it. And you will not be subject to a mandatory non-disclosure agreement. Beyond that, we would have a climate survey to make sure that we know moving forward what the climate is, much like we do in the military now to determine whether or not sexual harassment and sexual assault continues to be a serious issue.

We say zero tolerance, but I don't believe that we put our money where our mouths are.

RADDATZ: And I want to follow up with you, Zainab. Congresswoman Comstock mentioned this. Obviously Charlie Rose fired from PBS, from CBS. What is really at the root of this? We talk about power. Is it power or is it more than that?

ZAINAB SALBI, FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL: Well, it is power. But I think it is a culture at large that has been complacent in the discrimination against women. The way I see it, one American woman still getting paid 78 cents to every dollar, it's related to men feeling that they're allowed to touch women, or date women, or do whatever with women in inappropriate ways.

We have to look at the larger cultural issues, otherwise, what I'm hearing right now is that we're addressing the head of the issues. We're cutting the heads off, which is important, because deterrence and fear that I will lose my job and power and all of that is important enough to actually stop men from doing. But we need to look at the body. And the body includes women who are in lower ranking positions, who could be the waitresses.

The body allows for the sexualization of women and the discrimination, and not treating women equally.

RADDATZ: But when you talk about the sexualization of women, and I have heard you say this rather provocatively, that women are responsible for the culture as well in the way they dress, and that sounds...

RADDATZ: Congresswoman Comstock, you began as an intern on Capitol Hill, then a staffer, you're now a congresswoman. You have talked about some of the harassment you've heard about on the Hill. But does the scope of this surprise you?

REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK (R), VIRGINIA: Well, the truth is we don't know what the entire the scope of it is. I do agree with Kathleen Rice in that there needs to be one standard for members. And that's why this week we're going to pass a resolution, that you mentioned, that I introduced with my colleagues. It will mandate training for all members and staff.

But that is just a small beginning. What we're then going to do is have more hearings on best practices, have in-person training, so it's much more interactive, so our youngest staffers, interns like I was, are going to know what their rights are, and know maybe some of the dangers that are out there. We're going to say, no more secret payments, no taxpayer payments for any of this. And we need to know a lot more about that. That's what we've now asked for, more details on what type of harassment is really going on?

We don't know at this point. We're hearing anecdotes. People are coming to us. But that's why one of the things that's in Congresswoman Speier's bill, and something that we've -- I think we all have consensus on is having a survey from staff so you know what are the ongoing issues.

But we know when you have strong training, zero tolerance, and you start enforcing it, if you look, the media and corporate America has been firing people. Charlie Rose. Here at ABC, Mark Halperin. You have Roger Ailes at FOX. We have to have the same kind of standards. When credible people come forward, and the Peggy Noonan piece that Tim Scott talked about, this was detailed reporting. Predators do things over and over.

So when you do that detailed type of reporting and these stories come forward, yes, I believe them, because they have details. There are patterns. This is what predators do. And we need to understand, as do the staffers, who the predators are and what they do.

RADDATZ: I want to talk a little bit -- I want to talk about a little bit with you, Congresswoman Speier, about the process they now go through, which is quite extraordinary. If a victim would like the to report sexual harassment, they have 180 days to do so with the Office of Compliance. Once that claim is processed, victims are required to undergo 30 days of counseling, then 15 days to decide if they would like to pursue mediation, that is another 30-day process that is confidential and will either result in a settlement or yet another 30-day period. You get the idea. At a minimum, you're looking at a two-month process once the claim is processed.

How did this happen? How did this convoluted system happen? And what do you do next?

SPEIER: You know, I would agree, Martha, it's convoluted. But more than that, I think it was a system set up in 1995 to protect the harasser. This is not a victim-friendly process. And, one victim who I spoke with said, you know, the process was almost worse than the harassment.

So, this is absolutely a priority that we must focus on in terms of fixing the system. Doing the sexual harassment prevention training is one step. It's a good step, but it's a small step. The whole system needs to have a comprehensive shift. And that's why my legislation would, first of all, have it also apply to interns and fellows, which, right now, they have nowhere to go.

You would not have a mandatory mediation if you don't want to pursue it. And you will not be subject to a mandatory non-disclosure agreement. Beyond that, we would have a climate survey to make sure that we know moving forward what the climate is, much like we do in the military now to determine whether or not sexual harassment and sexual assault continues to be a serious issue.

We say zero tolerance, but I don't believe that we put our money where our mouths are.

RADDATZ: And I want to follow up with you, Zainab. Congresswoman Comstock mentioned this. Obviously Charlie Rose fired from PBS, from CBS. What is really at the root of this? We talk about power. Is it power or is it more than that?

ZAINAB SALBI, FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL: Well, it is power. But I think it is a culture at large that has been complacent in the discrimination against women. The way I see it, one American woman still getting paid 78 cents to every dollar, it's related to men feeling that they're allowed to touch women, or date women, or do whatever with women in inappropriate ways.

We have to look at the larger cultural issues, otherwise, what I'm hearing right now is that we're addressing the head of the issues. We're cutting the heads off, which is important, because deterrence and fear that I will lose my job and power and all of that is important enough to actually stop men from doing. But we need to look at the body. And the body includes women who are in lower ranking positions, who could be the waitresses.

The body allows for the sexualization of women and the discrimination, and not treating women equally.

RADDATZ: But when you talk about the sexualization of women, and I have heard you say this rather provocatively, that women are responsible for the culture as well in the way they dress, and that sounds...

(CROSSTALK)

SALBI: No, I didn't say that. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all. But I'm talking about the systems. When you talk about the fashion industry, for example, or the modeling industry, or the Hollywood industry, yes, women have played a role. We played a role in our silence, first of all, in seeing some of the things that are wrong behaviors and staying silent about it, in our own sense when it has happened to us, and seeing it in front of others and did not happen, and sometimes, sometimes, in how we co-created a culture that is sexualizing ourselves.

RADDATZ: Congresswoman Edwards -- former Congresswoman, I want to get your take on that.

EDWARDS: Well, I mean, look, I think that, you know, when I look at where we've had these allegations, we've largely focused on them in the public, in the white collar industries and fields, in the Congress and politics. And I worry about the woman who is on the the manufacturing floor, who is the waitress in a restaurant that if we don't deal with this straightforward in Congress and politics, then they will feel powerless, even more powerless than they are right now.

RADDATZ: And I just want you to have the last word, quickly here. Does President Trump's defense of Roy Moore hurt this?

COMSTOCK: Well, I think we have a lot of -- there's so much support, bipartisan support, that's going to be a political issue but I've already said that I think Roy Moore should step aside, the way Tim Scott did. But it's important for us to focus on these victims. I wanted to mention the whole process you just talked about with Jackie Speier, there's a broad consensus to get rid of a lot of that so it's much more victim-friendly.

The first woman who was impacted -- who brought a suit, Dorena Bertussi, she recommended we have an ombudsman, or a victim's counsel. So those are the kind of things that we need to focus on so the focus is on the victims, not all on the men, and it is largely male offenders, let's focus on these women so they feel like they -- these recent stories that have come forward have come forward in torrents. And, you know, 35 victims of Bill Cosby, dozens of all of these people.

When this comes forward, we need to respect it and we need to protect the women to make sure it doesn't happen anymore, and there are consequences.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks. Thanks to all of you.

Up next, that deadly crash, a Navy plane falling into the Sea of Japan. It's the sixth major incident involving the the Seventh Fleet this year. How is the Navy responding to make sure this doesn't happen again? We'll ask retired Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

And coming up, it's back to business for Congress, from the fate of the Dreamers to the the future of the tax overhaul. They're facing a daunting to-do list. And with funding for federal agencies set to run out in under just two weeks, can they avoid a government shutdown. Full analysis from the powerhouse "Roundtable."

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MULLEN: How did we get here to a point where we are depending on retired generals for the stability of our system? And what happens if that bulwark breaks, first of all?

I have been in too many countries globally where the generals, if you will, gave great comfort to their citizens. That is not the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: That was former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen. And he joins us now.

Good morning, admiral. Good to see you.

MULLEN: Good morning, Martha.

RADDATZ: What do you mean by that? What are your concerns?

MULLEN: Well, I have talked with people across the country since President Trump came in that actually take great comfort in the fact that three generals, General Kelly, Generaml McMaster, and General Mattis, all serve this president in what has been a pretty chaotic first year. They are dependent on those three individuals for stability, calmness, reasoned views for the future.

And the worry that I have actually is they're also really, for the first time in their lives, inside the White House and inside this political environment, which I certainly grew to understand over four years as chairman. It's a very difficult environment. It's a foreign environment to all of them and so they're trying to get their job done while operating in a political environment that they're adjusting to.

So, I have concerns with respect to how that outcome, how good outcomes come out of that.

RADDATZ: And this civilian military divide, I know, few people realize this that General McMaster is still active duty. So, do you he should be supporting policy publicly?

MULLEN: I think the role of the National Security Adviser is to really just present options, almost be neutral in that regard. I think General McMaster got out a little early on policy. In recent weeks and months, I think he's been much more subdued in that regard.

His main job is to tee up options for the national security apparatus and the president to make decisions.

RADDATZ: And John Kelly is, of course, retired. But he seems to be all-in, supporting policy. Does that bother you?

MULLEN: I think that's true. I mean, certainly what happened very sadly a few weeks ago when he was in a position to both defend the president in terms of what happened with the gold star family and then he ends up -- and John ends up politicizing the death of his own son in the wars.

It is indicative of the fact that he clearly is very supportive of the president no matter what. And that, that was really a sad moment for me.

RADDATZ: And, of course, Mike Flynn, also is a retired general and didn't last very long. Is the Mike Flynn you're seeing now under investigation the same Mike Flynn you knew as an intelligence officer?

MULLEN: No, I don't know the Mike Flynn that I have seen since he made a decision to endorse very strongly and publicly President Trump.

I was very concerned about him speaking at the Republican convention, as I was with John Allen speaking at the Democratic convention. I think it sends the wrong message on the American people in terms of politicizing the military, and actually undermining the institutions they care so much about.

RADDATZ: So, do you think they shouldn't be in the White House right now? Do you think that not a good move for them?

MULLEN: Well, they're great Americans.

RADDATZ: For the country?

MULLEN: They're great Americans and they're great citizens, and I know that each of them are serving to try to do the best for their country. And certainly when the president asks you to serve, the response is the vast majority of times, you go do that. So, from that standpoint, I am strongly for them in terms of their service and what they can bring. I do worry, though, that, one they have limits, based on their backgrounds. So, they're going to be learning. And two, from the standpoint of what it represents in terms of the civilian control of the military and the possible politicization of the military is a big worry for me.

RADDATZ: And explain what you mean by that. You mean it damages, in many ways, the military itself?

MULLEN: You know my view, assuming you're not pitched in as a politician, is that we never take the uniform off. It's very difficult to move away from our background and from who we are in that regard. So, it's made that much more difficult.

That doesn't mean generals and admirals can't serve. They certainly have in the past. But it's particularly difficult right now because of the politics of the town. And there's nothing that seemingly is not able to be politicized in the current environment.

RADDATZ: And I want to talk about something else the president has done in terms of the rules of engagement and terms of conflicts around the world. He has given the authority to commanders on the the ground that didn't exist before. Do you think this has made a difference in the fight, or are there risk there is there?

MULLEN: I think most commanders on the ground would support that delegation, if you will. I think we have to be very careful with it. We're living in a time right now where I think the interaction between those on the ground and certainly our leaders in our country has to be almost continuous. So, it's clearly different from the previous administration in that regard.

I think it's too soon to tell how much difference it's really making.

RADDATZ: And we had you on the show about one year ago to the day, you said at the time that North Korea, more likely than any place else in the world, could potentially create an explosive outcome. What is your assessment of how President Trump has handled that since?

MULLEN: Well, I still worry about the peninsula and the potential outcome there. I worry there is more uncertainty than there was a year ago, in principle because of the rhetoric that is there. I know that the Trump administration has addressed this issue from day one, so they're very serious about creating options and have created options. It's still a very difficult place to know what's actually going on. I think Kim Jong-un is going to -- is -- really working hard to achieve the nuclear capability. And I think he'll get there short of some deterrence.

RADDATZ: Do you think it's possible we'll see the use of nuclear weapons in the future?

MULLEN: I don't know. I think it's more probable than I it used to be. And it scares me to death, quite frankly. They're the most dangerous weapons in the world. And certainly if we have someone in North Korea that has a lethal legacy, is very, very unpredictable, and sees this as a way to solidify his future, that he could well not just attain them but potentially use them.

RADDATZ: And there's been a lot of talk on The Hill this week about President Trump and a preemptive strike and comments saying they wouldn't follow an illegal order. Did you used to talk about that possibility when you were in the White House?

MULLEN: Well, I think any senior military officer always approaches it from the standpoint of we're not going to follow an illegal order. That said, the president is in a position to give a legal order to use those weapons. And the likelihood that given that order that it would be carried out I think would be pretty high.

RADDATZ: And just very quickly, if you will, on the navy, the sixth accident. Do you have concerns about the navy's readiness?

MULLEN: Broad, broad concerns with respect to what's happened certainly with the accidents and those -- and the sailors that we have lost. I think this accident last week -- and this is an incredibly safe airplane historically. It goes back to 1973 since the last accident.

But I do have a concern about the readiness of the navy and actually the readiness of our armed forces to -- that are pressed very hard to do an awful lot right now. So, we need to stay focused on that.

RADDATZ: Thanks so much for joining us this morning. It's always great to see you.

MULLEN: Thanks, Martha.

RADDATZ: Up next, can man accused of sexual misconduct against minors really be elected to the U.S. Senate? Analysis from the Powerhouse Roundtable right after the break.

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RADDATZ: The roundtable is standing by. And for breaking news alerts on politics, the White House, and President Donald Trump download the ABC News app now.

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RADDATZ: OK. Let's bring in The Roundtable. Our political director Rick Klein; senior political writer for Fivethirtyeight Perry Bacon; Anna Palmer, senior Washington correspondent for Politico and co-author of the Politico playbook; and ABC's Cokie Roberts.

And President Trump just tweeting again this morning saying I endorsed Luther Strange in the Alabama primary. He shot way up in the polls, but it wasn't enough. Can't let Schumer/Pelosi win this race. Liberal Jones will be bad.

Rick, it sounds like he may be going to Alabama.

RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It's going to have this siren call to him down there.

I talked to a White House official just this morning who says there's still no plans to go to Alabama. But that's still to the ruling it out.

RADDATZ: That was before these tweets.

KLEIN: That's right. And in the back of his mind the idea that he was burned once in Alabama, and the possibility over these last two weeks that he could deliver a senate seat, maybe deliver that critical vote for tax reform, it might be just too much for him to avoid. And he's listening to that base that says they don't really believe or really care about what Roy Moore's accusers say, and he might just be beckoned down there.

RADDATZ: Cokie, he doesn't mention Roy Moore by name in either of the two tweets.

COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I know. It's just Doug Jones and Pelosi and Schumer.

But, he is clearly...

RADDATZ: But he doesn't have to mention it.

ROBERTS: He doesn't have to. And he also doesn't have to go to Alabama. He's done plenty for Roy Moore now. And Roy Moore can put it all in his ads, which he's doing. And he's clearly got the endorsement of President Trump, and without the endorsement of President Trump, he won the primary. I think with the endorsement of President Trump, it is going to be very hard to defeat him in the general election.

RADDATZ: And, Anna, so you think this could make a real difference?

ANNA PALMER, POLITICO: Yeah. I mean, I think clearly Trump is on an island here where the rest of the Republican Party is somewhere else.

But I think he's looking to tax reform. He's looking to some of these things where he is going to need a conservative in his back pocket. And he believes that Roy Moore will be that person for him.

RADDATZ: And Perry we have seen the ad that Doug Jones is running looking at all the accusers one after another. Is that the tack he should be taking?

PERRY BACON, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: I think so. The polls have show -- my colleague Harry Enten wrote about this this week, that Moore has lost about 9 points amid these scandals. I think that's the right argument for him.

For Jones you want to make this race about sexual harassment, if you're Moore -- I think Moore and Trump needs to be smart, make it about -- this is a Republican, Republican, Republican; liberals versus Republicans. Alabama is a very conservative state, so the more this is about -- this is an R/D race the better off for Moore.

RADDATZ: Is the support -- let me just go to you, is the support softening that you're seeing?

BACON: Yeah, he definitely went down. Moore has definitely went down. But still, even though he's lost nine points, the polling average is about 45-45, so Moore had a lead. He's lost.

The key thing to note is, what will happen in these next two weeks as Moore, this story sort of sinks in with the voters. Do the voters, does this become a race where the voters go even further from him or does Moore sort of stabilize? Has Moore already lost all he can lose or can he lose more?

ROBERTS: One of the things to keep in mind is in the base even women are suspicious about the sexual harassment claims. And part of the reason for that is that women who are not in fancy white collar jobs often have really awful thing happen to them on the job. They are assaulted. They are raped. They have horrible things happen to them. And so when they hear women say he talked dirty to me, or he came on to me, they think, big deal.

That's not what happened to me, what happened to me is so much worse. And so, there's not that same sense of affinity.

RADDATZ: But, it -- it's teenagers.

ROBERTS: I get it. Trust me. I have 14-year-old grandchildren. I mean, I'm horrified by that.

RADDATZ: What goes through their heads in that? That doesn't seem to work as an analysis in this particular case?

ROBERTS: I think that they decide that the kids are telling a lie.

KLEIN: And it is remarkable here that the president is standing alone, that we have this national cultural moment, the societal moment, that he's make into a partisan political moment. He's really the only one doing that. It's making his colleagues in the Republican Party uncomfortable. It stands apart from how Democrats are handling scandals in their own party. And that, I think, think is a potential game-changer here. If this is remembered as a broader moment, we'll look back on this and remember where people lined up.

ROBERTS: And Anna, if Roy Moore is elected, Mitch McConnell has said there would be an ethics investigation. Is that what Republicans need right now? How does that...

RADDATZ: With all the other things they have to go...

PALMER: This is exactly the opposite of what Republicans want to be talking about right now. They want to you can that about tax reform. They want to be talking about trying to figure out government funding. They want to be looking toward the midterm election and having something to win on, not to be talking about...

ROBERTS: They could be making a big mistake there, too.

PALMER: Potentially. If you look at what happened in 2010 with Senate Republicans, they lost when they were talking about some of these similar issues on women's reproductive rights and other things. This is not what they want to be talking about.

And this is -- an expulsion and ethics hearing -- that will take weeks if not months to actually get done.

RADDATZ: But they probably will be talking about.

And what about Conyers and Franken? Nothing's happened since. What happens to them?

BACON: It's not clear that any Democrat so far have said they should resign. You saw Kathleen Rice. Other than that, you haven't seen a lot of them.

I'm curious. My question of this whole process is, saying it should go to the ethic committee a real thing or is it just a stalling tactic? And that's what we don't know yet. They've set up a process, but does the process matter, and is the process going to the lead -- like it's hard for me to see...

ROBERTS: It's like rehab, you know -- he's going to rehab.

BACON: ...going to do anything other than the obviously. We know what happened, essentially. So, does that lead to a resignation, or does that just lead to a stalling process? And that's what I don't know yet.

KLEIN: Can they weather the storm, right? One of these happens, another one happens. And if it just becomes noise, then maybe they can hang on.

ROBERTS: And you know they are so used to it. I mean, the culture of Capitol Hill for so many decades was men being bad. And...

RADDATZ: So, we talk about that. We have talked about it weeks and weeks. But does anything really change?

ROBERTS: No.

RADDATZ: We ask that question. I mean, this seems unprecedented how many. But do you think people are really talking about it as if things will change?

PALMER: I don't think that the culture has -- we haven't seen major shift, right? And I would also just point out, members policing themselves, a very bad track record of it, whether it's about these kind of scandals, whether it's about how they use their finances. There is -- nobody is saying that they're going to change the whole process by which this is done, that they're going to throw out members if they actually have sexual harassment cases. This is a big problem for them.

ROBERTS: The fact that people are willing to be public can change things. I mean, we all talked about for years.

RADDATZ: A little bit at a time.

ROBERTS: Don't get in the elevator with him, you know, and the whole every female in the press corps knew that, right, don't get in elevator with him. Now people are saying it out loud. And I think that does make a difference.

RADDATZ: That's a change. OK. Thanks very much.

We'll be right back with more from the Roundtable after this short break.

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RADDATZ: And we are back again with The Roundtable. And let's talk a little bit more about congress. Cokie, they're to-do list is really pretty incredible: avert shutdown, finish tax overhaul, fund children's health insurance, determine Dreamers' fate, reauthorize warrantless surveillance. And that's just a little bit of what they want to get done.

Can they get it done?

ROBERTS: Actually they get a lot done with Christmas coming. It's remarkable. I have been in the chambers on Christmas eve when they're just doing one bill after another because Christmas is coming.

So, it is possible that they can get it done. It's going to be very, very hard.

PALMER: I mean, I think that...

RADDATZ: Always so optimistic.

PALMER: Optimistic side. Yes, they could definitely....

RADDATZ: That Cokie always so optimistic.

PALMER: I mean, I think the X factor here beyond just the normal politics is what does President Trump want to do? What does he want to get done? He cut a deal with Democrats in September. Does he go back to the table with them? They're going to meet on Tuesday.

I think that we are heading very closely to a government shutdown.

KLEIN: And you have the pace of the Russia investigation...

RADDATZ: Wait, wait, wait, very close to a government shutdown...

KLEIN: Oh, they're going to be right up against the brink, there's no question.

And the thing is, there is often said in Washington, that bigger deals are easier than smaller deals. I don't think that is the case in the Trump era, because he'll cut so many little side deals along the way. And you try to pack all of these things in, and it's really hard to see how it lands.

And, yeah, you have the Russia investigation mixed in. You have Roy Moore's election in two weeks. You have this widening sexual harassment scandal in congress. Many, that's a lot even for the Trump era.

RADDATZ: And Perry, he is going to The Hill on Tuesday. So, what do they need to hear from him? He's been up there before.

BACON: To be honest, I don't think he matters that much. This tax bill, I would watch Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, John McCain. The Republicans only need -- don't really need Trump to move the tax bill. This is a bill between their members. And right now, by my count, nine of the members are wary of this tax bill. They have got to get that number down to two for it to pass.

ROBERTS: They need to be wary of it. It is a tax bill that is going to come back and bite them if they pass it. And that's what they have to calculate as they go into this Christmas season.

RADDATZ: And what do you think they need? Do you think President Trump's irrelevant at this point?

ROBERTS: Yeah, I think he's pretty...

RADDATZ: Does he need to go up there?

ROBERTS: No. He wants to go up there and he wants to take credit for it. But it's a deal to be worked out on The Hill.

But, as I say, it's a deal they better be careful about.

RADDATZ: And what do you think the odds are that there will be a shutdown?

BACON: 20 percent. I'm not sure. I don't think there will be a shutdown.

RADDATZ: You can see this clearly worries me.

BACON: I'm not sure about the shutdown.

RADDATZ: And I just want to quickly, and with you, Rick Klein here, on the Russia investigation. Michael Flynn's lawyers are not speaking to Donald Trump's lawyers anymore. And people have surmised that's because he's cooperating. Any sense of that?

KLEIN: Yeah, this is a very bad sign for the White House. Michael Flynn is the one guy that can take you from the inner circle in the campaign to the inner circle in the White House, those tumultuous first couple of weeks. So, if you're trying to look for cause and effect, something that's said or done during the campaign that carries over into an official action he can be your guy. And the pressure he could put on other members of the inner circle, like the Trump family, that could be considerable.

I think the fact you have got some additional interviews coming up with inner circle members, it all points toward Mueller getting very serious, very fast.

RADDATZ: OK. And thanks, all of you, for coming in on a holiday weekend. We hope you had a great holiday.

That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News tonight. And have a great days.

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