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New Trouble in Spending Bill Debate; Senator Warren Fights Pro- Wall Street Deal; Bill Cosby Sued For Defamation; Battle Over Biggest T-Rex Ever Found

Aired December 11, 2014 - 07:30   ET


TAMARA KEITH, NPR: It seems entirely likely, and if it doesn't pass, it won't be because of the Republicans; it will be because of the Democrats.

The Congressional Republicans, House Republicans, somewhere in the neighbhorhood of maybe 70, 80 of them, are going to peel off and not vote for it. 30 of them would never have voted for it, no matter what it did. Democrats are upset, too, though. They don't like provisions that were tucked in about campaign finance, the Dodd-Frank consumer -- the financial reforms that were -- are being pulled back.

So there's something for everybody to hate in this. But it seems like they're right up against this deadline and they're going to find a way to cobble together the votes.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": And so I guess to that point if there's somebody for everybody to hate. Molly Ball, is there enough for everybody to like to get it through? Is that the idea?

MOLLY BALL, "THE ATLANTIC": Yes. I mean, depending on how you look at it, this is either the definition of compromise, something for both sides to hate, or it's one of these you know, Washington typical goody-filled bills on things that have nothing to do with the actual proximate goal, which is to get the government funded.

And that's the kind of thing that everybody hates about Washington is every senator and representative gets to throw their little thing into the bill as it gallops across the deadline and nobody can muster the will to object because we've got to get the government funded.

But the leadership does believe they will be able to cobble together the votes as Tamara said, some Republicans will peel off. Nancy Pelosi is opposed to the bill because of the provisions that Tamara mentioned.

But she is not whipping actively against it it's expected enough Democrats will fill the gap that it will get majority in the House.

KING: Enough Democrats think I don't like this, I don't like this, but we have to keep the government up and running.

You mentioned Dodd-Frank was the big financial reform bill that was passed after the financial collapse in 2008. Set new rules on banks, supposed to protect the little guy, put the banks under more of a watchdog status. Nancy Pelosi doesn't like the proposed changes to that.

Neither does Elizabeth Warren, who took to the floor of the United States of the Senate yesterday blaming the House of Representatives even though this bill starts in the House. It will come to the Senate. Listen to Elizabeth Warren saying no way.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful. The House is about to vote on a budget deal. A deal negotiated behind closed doors, that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money.

And get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system. These are the same banks that nearly broke the economy in 2008 and destroyed millions of jobs.


KING: She's obviously a rising star in the Democratic caucus in the Senate. Some liberal groups are begging, pushing, pleading for her to run for president on the Democratic side in that sound bite is a little bit of everything. That behind closed doors, deal that helps the rich bankers, screws the little guy, powerful speech, but not enough to stop this?

KEITH: Well, she's very good at that populism thing and she's sort of pulling a Ted Cruz here. She's standing over in the Senate and telling the House, stop this thing, don't do it. The reality is that her colleagues in the Senate actually negotiated this. And so, she can stand on principle, but it looks to be pretty hard to stop.

KING: You've had a lot of liberal groups raising money off Elizabeth Warren with these polls. You know should Elizabeth Warren run for president, move on says it's going to spend $1 million to encourage her to draft her to run for president.

Guess what? They're hoping to raise more than $1 million. They're supposed to get their money back by having that out there and pushing it around. But is there any reason to believe that because something she objects to profoundly is about to happen, that she would change her thinking?

BALL: Well, the problem with the Elizabeth Warren caucus is it's too small. Whether you're talking about in the Senate, in the House, or in the base of the Democratic Party, in real polls, Elizabeth Warren is not getting anywhere near the support that Hillary Clinton is even among the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, where Hillary tends to do very well.

So I have yet to see any reason to believe that the, that the Warren percentage is more than a minority at this point. It's just a very loud vocal and angry minority.

KING: Another thing tucked into the spending bill, the goal is to keep the government up and running, but because the train is likely to make it to the president's desk and he's likely to sign it everybody wants to attach their caboose to it.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, soon-to-be the majority leader has long oppose the limits put in place on campaign finance. A lot of this goes back to McCain-Feingold law a few years ago.

Listen to this. Under current law individual donations in a campaign are capped at $32,400 a year. The new cap, $777,600 that's an adjustment more for inflation, I would say or if you look at it over a two-year election cycle, you can currently give about $1.5 million as an individual.

As a couple, I'm sorry, your cap, you would be able to give $1.5 million in a two-year election cycle. A couple could give more than $3 million so more money into a political system that a lot of people complain has too much money.

KEITH: Yes. And, and it's in there. You know, three powerful words in Washington "must-pass bill." The interesting thing is a lot of people don't really want to claim credit for sneaking this one in. But the parties will be perfectly happy to get that money. It gives them a little advantage in the fight with super PACs over influence in politics.

KING: A little irony as it plays out. We're talking about rich people getting to put more money or people with wealth. Put more money in the process, Elizabeth Warren saying this deal in Congress is going to screw the little guy and help the millionaires.

CNBC released a poll yesterday. I'm sure Hillary Clinton loves to be in the lead of every poll. But the timing of this one, a little cringe worthy, I guess, 31 percent of millionaires think Hillary Clinton should be the next president of the United States, 18 percent say Jeb Bush, 14 percent say Chris Christie.

Maybe this is the one poll you don't want to lead, at least at the timing right here, poll of millionaires?

BALL: I do think that this is a perception that clings to Hillary regardless of whether this polling existed. I don't think it's a secret that at least among Democrats she is the one that Wall Street would favor.

She has very good relationships with the so-called 1 percent. There are plenty of things to be skeptical about this poll in particular. From the way the sample was put together to the candidates that they selected, you know.

If you put the Republican candidates together, there's a lot more millionaire support for them than there is for Clinton. But you know, I do think that there are a lot of things about Hillary that are going to cause her to be branded as a sort of corporate Democrat.

And you know that might be more harmful to her if there was an actual Democratic primary, which we're not quite seeing so far. But even in a general election, think her Republicans get better at sounding those populist themes that Tamara was talking about.

KING: You question the methodology. So it's a fun poll to talk, about I'm not sure it's terribly scientifically valid, I guess, is the best way to put that.

Molly and Tamara, thanks for coming in. Alisyn, as we get back to you in New York, watch the debate play out in the House, the tone of the House debate will determine whether the Senate gets this done tomorrow before the weekend or whether they have to do a temporary spending bill to keep the government open. These guys want to go home. I suspect they get it done.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I like that you can watch all that so we don't have to.

KING: I'll be there for you.

CAMEROTA: OK, very good. We will check in with you of course throughout the day and tomorrow. John, great to see you.

One of Bill Cosby's accusers wants to take him to court, but she is using a different strategy than we've seen before. Will her case hold water? We'll ask Mark Geragos. We'll be right back.


CAMEROTA: A new lawsuit has been filed against Bill Cosby by one of his accusers, Tamara Green says she was drugged and sexually assaulted by the comedian in the early 1970s. And she is now suing Cosby, not for assault, but for defamation. We spoke with Green's attorney earlier.


JOSEPH CAMMARATA, ATTORNEY FOR TAMARA GREEN: We advised her that this was an avenue that was appropriate. To be followed and pursued to have her day in court. To have a forum where truth can be tried, where both sides can be heard on the issue of whether or not there was a sexual assault.

If there was, she wins, if there wasn't, Mr. Cosby wins. Each side will be able to get their witnesses and their evidence and present it to a jury and a jury will decide.


CAMEROTA: So does this lawsuit have merit? Let's bring in Mark Geragos, a CNN legal analyst and defense attorney. Great to see you, Mark.

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good to see you. CAMEROTA: What do you think of this unconventional route of going after Bill Cosby for defamation not sexual assault?

GERAGOS: Well, the problem here is it's an end-run around the statute of limitations. Unfortunately, you have a very short period of time for statute of limitations in sexual assault cases although some states allow to you go for a longer period of time. This may not, notwithstanding that little speech by the lawyer. This may not ever get in front of a jury. There are --


GERAGOS: There are all kinds of problems with this case. First of all, you've got freedom of speech. Second of all, you have what's called a litigation privilege. So something that's in contemplation of litigation. You can respond to that.

When she starts giving, and if you read the complaint, she's giving interviews and then they're responding. There's going to be a lot of litigation before you ever see a jury in this case and it may not get there.

CAMEROTA: She is saying that because he's called her a wrecking ball and because he called her a liar, that he has defamed her. Does she have to prove that her life was damaged somehow by this?

GERAGOS: She has to have some kind of damage. She doesn't have to show extreme emotional distress, but in this case, the bigger problem really is the freedom of speech issue.

CAMEROTA: So will a judge let this go forward?

GERAGOS: I have my serious doubts that a federal district court judge, and this is filed in the district court, is going to let this go to a jury trial.

CAMEROTA: If a judge does let this go forward, does that mean that Bill Cosby has to show up in a courtroom and answer all of these even sexual assault charges?

GERAGOS: Well, specifically as to her. Not as to others.

CAMEROTA: But the sexual assault would come into the defamation case, if this goes forward?

GERAGOS: That's why this is kind of a creative end-run around the statute of limitations because what you're trying to do is get to the substance of the allegations in the first place.

CAMEROTA: As you know, there are many women who have come forward claiming this same thing, that they, too, were drugged and sexually assaulted in the'60s and the '70s, there are now according to CNN's count, 22 women with similar claims.

Here is what this accused victim, Tamara Green says about how she believes her lawsuit will open Pandora's Box. She said, "My attorney has also not just provided a forum for me and a day in court for me, but the equal opportunity for other women who have similarly situated, who have been raped or sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby and thereafter have been re-savaged as a defamer and a liar. Do you think that other women will follow this route?

GERAGOS: Well, I think you've seen already some Gloria Allred, for instance, did the press conference, I'm sure Gloria has considered that. I think it's a creative device. I mean, there's no getting around it. The problem is that you run smack-dab into the first amendment in these cases and this idea of litigation privilege.

CAMEROTA: Here's what Bill Cosby's publicist has said about this. This is a 10-year-old discredited accusation. That proved to be nothing at the time and still is nothing. Would you -- if you were Bill Cosby's attorney, would you recommend that Bill Cosby ever speak out and address these things or should, has his strategy of complete silence worked?

GERAGOS: Well, I think, look, Marty Singer is a great lawyer and I know him and I respect him a great deal. Part of the problem he has in a case like this, is when you have Bill Cosby out there and he's doing interviews and somebody asks this question, and he just goes radio silent, that's a problem. And as a lawyer, that puts new a tough position.

CAMEROTA: So what's the answer?

GERAGOS: Actually while this is going on, you're in kind of a triage mode. I mean, Marty has got to deal with 22, by your count people coming out of the woodwork and that presents a real problem for him. I don't know that saying anything at this point is helpful to his cause. Giving interviews and not discussing it, I think is a negative and so --

CAMEROTA: Also not helpful to his cause.

GERAGOS: That isn't helpful as well.

CAMEROTA: Mark Geragos, great to see you, thank you for coming into NEW DAY.

GERAGOS: My pleasure.

CAMEROTA: Let's go over to Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Another legal battle, fossil fight, the largest T-rex skeleton ever uncovered named Sue. It's just the beginning of the story. Why did the find of a lifetime, trigger a lifetime of conflict? That's the premise of "DINOSAUR 13," a CNN film. We'll take you through it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He called up and said, Neil, I need you to bring a lot of plaster 2x4s. I came up and I got up there with all these materials and he took me over to this big cliff and he said, "Take a look." I looked at it and I looked at him, I said, is that t-rex? He said yes, and I think it's all here.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A scene there from the new CNN film "DINOSAUR 13" airs tonight, it tells the story of one of the greatest discoveries in history, the largest, the most complete t-rex ever found.

Tyrannosaurus Rex was nicknamed Sue after one of the paleontologists in the field had found it and it soon became a center of a fierce tenure battle over who own Sue.

Joining us now is the director of "DINOSAUR 13" Todd Miller. It's amazing to think, Todd, that this film traces what was supposed to be this great amazing discovery, but quickly turned into a nightmare.

TODD MILLER, DIRECTOR, "DINOSAUR 13": It really did. They thought they found, and they did find the greatest find of a lifetime, as we say in the film, but the FBI showed up two years after along with the National Guard and other government agencies and seized the dinosaur in behalf of the U.S. government.

And what they thought was going to be this momentous occasion in their lives their professional and personal lives turned into a living nightmare and played out in the series of civil case and also a criminal trial.

PEREIRA: It's interesting because one of the things that is part of this film is this community that was very much part of the film. I'm curious about the effect it's had.

I don't want to give away because we always wanted to point people to the film tonight. It's an intriguing tale. This community played such a part in this. It wasn't just the backdrop for this story.

MILLER: Yes. They really did. In fact, when the dinosaur got back, we're talking about a town back then, 700, 800 people. In a small town this was a giant deal and to the region and to the surrounding communities.

So the institute in which it was brought back to actually was going to put it into their own museum, they were going to build a museum so the town for two years as they were prepping the dinosaur were hoping that this would not only get some tourism in there.

PEREIRA: Right, revitalize the community.

MILLER: Yes, put it on the map and they got a knock on the door.

PEREIRA: They got that knock on the door. It's interesting, because you tell the story. You're very much invested in it. I know you had ideas what was at stake here. You go into it as a documentarian with one idea. Did your view of things change in the making of the film in terms of what you discovered about the story?

MILLER: Yes, definitely. I mean, you know, the film is based on the book, and they gave me the latitude when we optioned the book to go out and research it, spent years researching, talking to everyone involved in the case.

And I really did approach it more as a journalist to go out there and vet all the sources, make sure that I had people corroborating all the information or the facts that we uncovered so I feel confident and everything that we put in the film.

PEREIRA: I'm going to quote Taylor Swift, haters are going to hate, hate, hate, hate, and they have. You know how that is. You make a film, you make an offering and there are always critics.

Interesting though, the criticism leveled at the film specifically from the National Park Services senior geologist also from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, even "The Washington Post," coming out calling the film "one-sided."

I want to give you a chance, not often does a filmmaker get to rebut criticism. I'm curious what your thoughts are.

MILLER: Well, the society of vertebrate paleontology, SVP is a curious case. They released a press release yesterday against the film like sea world going up against "BLACKFISH" from last year.

There were things that we did not put in the film that would I think clear it up quite quickly as to this kind of vocal minority within awe professional organization like SVP and what they're trying to do, discredit the film their bias against one paleontologist.

Some of the statements in the press release are absolute lies. They're just not true. One of which was that there were three felonies that there were convictions on. Peter Larson was never found guilty of felonies related to fossil collecting.

He was found guilty on two that had nothing to do with fossil collecting so people just need to watch the film and decide for themselves.

PEREIRA: It airs tonight, "DINOSAUR 13" right here on CNN, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Todd, really a pleasure to have you with us. Thanks so much -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, Michaela, that CIA torture report making waves around the world, but what is the White House saying? Will the CIA's feet be held to the fire somehow? We have a live report ahead.