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FOX News Mending Relations with Donald Trump?; White House Staffer Arrested; State of Emergency Remains in Effect; Rpt: 3 Million Gallons of Toxic Sludge Spread. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired August 11, 2015 - 09:00   ET



[09:00:07] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now in the NEWSROOM.

Face-off in Ferguson, again. More arrests as rocks and frozen water bottles are thrown at police. Has anything changed?

And did FOX News cave to Donald Trump? First the phone call, then the tweets. But what about Megyn Kelly? CNN talks to Trump this morning.

Plus, a state of emergency in Colorado after this river turns a ghastly orange. Is drinking water at risk?

Let's talk. Live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

We begin this morning with Donald Trump. He's speaking on CNN's "NEW DAY," a day after he had a tough conversation with FOX News. And it appears -- how would you say it? He convinced Roger Ailes to be much more fair and balanced.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Let me ask you something about what's going on at FOX. This situation seems curious from the outside. You talked to Roger Ailes. He says he cleared the air. And Megyn Kelly goes on her show, doesn't come at you, says that you're successful. Did you make a deal with FOX?

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Roger Ailes has been a friend of mine for a long time. He called me yesterday. We had a great --

CUOMO: He's a good man.

TRUMP: He's been a very good friend of mine. And he's somebody I have great respect for. I was angry with the way I was treated and -- you know, perhaps justifiably. I think justifiably but Roger Ailes, who's an amazing guy and an amazing executive, frankly, he called me yesterday and as far as I'm concerned I'm fine with it.

CUOMO: So you're over it. Was part of the deal that Megyn Kelly wouldn't go on her show and attack you and keep it going?

TRUMP: No. I don't care that. I mean, I -- we didn't even discuss that. It's not about Megyn Kelly.

CUOMO: She didn't come up at all when you were talking with Roger Ailes?

TRUMP: Yes, we -- it's not about that. Look, there was a misinterpretation of what I said. And look, what I said was obvious, there was nothing, unless you're a deviant you don't put words in. I mean, you know, a couple of people, they tried to make a big issue out of it. That's not it.


CUOMO: But you know --

TRUMP: Roger is --

CUOMO: You know what it was.

TRUMP: Roger has done an amazing job at FOX. He called me and I have no problem.


COSTELLO: So Roger Ailes himself released a statement, quote, "I assured him," Trump, "that we will continue to cover this campaign with fairness and balance. We had a blunt but cordial conversation and the air has been cleared," end quote.

So we were curious. We watched Trump's appearance on "FOX and Friends" this morning. Zero tough questions and not one question about Megyn Kelly and the blood from wherever comment, although Kelly did address the matter briefly last night.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Mr. Trump did interviews over the weekend that attacked me personally. I've decided not to respond. Mr. Trump is an interesting man who has captured the attention of the electorate. That's why he's leading in the polls. Trump, who is the front runner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism. So I'll continue doing my job without fear or favor.


COSTELLO: All right. Let's talk about this. Sabrina Schaeffer is a Republican and the executive director of the Independent Women's Forum and Hilary Rosen is a Democratic strategist.

Welcome to both of you.


COSTELLO: So, Sabrina, did FOX News cave to Donald?

SCHAEFFER: You know, I'm not really sure what happened, you know, behind closed doors. But -- you know, the best thing to make this Trump debacle go away, and I really hope it does, is for another candidate to step up and start talking about real policies. I think Carly Fiorina did a little bit of this over the weekend when she engaged directly on issues like paid leave mandates. But I think what we need is to see other candidates step up, start talking about energy policy and health care and education, and college tuition. All of these things that actually matter to especially women voters.

COSTELLO: Hilary, what do you think?

ROSEN: Well, I do think the Republicans need to talk about things that matter to women voters. I think that Carly Fiorina is out of touch, actually, with what most working women are looking for in terms of wanting paid leave. But clearly when it comes to the Donald Trump syndrome, just like just happened now with our guest, they really don't want this to be about Donald Trump. He's totally leading in the polls.

He's captured, you know, a conservative Republican's imagination and they don't know what to do with him. But Roger Ailes wants him back on FOX TV. He doesn't want him on CNN. He wants him back on FOX with the rest of the Republican candidates fawning all over FOX. And that's clearly what that conversation was about and that interview this morning was about.

COSTELLO: Sabrina?

SCHAEFFER: Well, I think Hilary is right to some extent that this has turned into a circus. And I think it's disgusting, frankly. I mean, I think this is really important that we have a real conversation between Republicans and Democrats and independents and all Americans about how we want to move forward.

COSTELLO: Yes, but here's the thing, Sabrina.

SCHAEFFER: So I agree.

COSTELLO: Because some of the Republican candidates are talking about women's issues, but mostly they're talking about the abortion issue and while that's very important, it's not at the top of most women's agenda.

[09:05:08] SCHAEFFER: Right. Yes. No, Carol, I'm 100 percent with you. I mean, you know what I'm thinking about today is that I have work, I have to get my kids to gymnastics. I have to figure out dentist appointments and back-to-school papers. This is what most women are thinking about, right? They're not thinking about Donald Trump and they want to know that there's a candidate out there who emphasizes with what they deal with everyday, who recognizes their successes and who has practical policy prescriptions for how they can, you know, make their lives easier without growing government.

And I think there's a real opportunity for the GOP to come in and state some of that. But right now it has become a circus and I'm as disgusts as -- about it as you are.

COSTELLO: Well, and no one could be happier about that than Hillary Clinton because she jumped into the fray, mentioned Donald Trump by name. Here's what she had to say.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And while what Donald Trump said about Megyn Kelly is outrageous, what the rest of the Republicans are saying about all women is also outrageous.. They brag about slashing women's health care funding. They say they would force women who've been raped to carry their rapist's child. And we don't hear any of them supporting raising the minimum wage, paid leave for new parents, access to quality child care, equal pay for women or anything else that will help to, you know, give women a chance to get ahead.


COSTELLO: So you do get the sense, Hilary, that Hillary Clinton has been waiting for this moment and she jumped on it.

ROSEN: You know, Hillary Clinton has been working on these issues her entire professional career. And the fact that these are the things now that have come to sort of the culmination of the fight between Republicans and Democrats will only help Hillary Clinton.

I agree that abortion is not a primary issue for most women today as they go through their daily lives worrying about how to feed their kids or make -- you know, get a job out of college or the like. The reason why it continues to matter is it becomes a respect issue. And the way that men talk about it, when Scott Walker talked about, you know, threatening the life of a woman to protect the -- you know, a fetus, when Marco Rubio says that about a rapist and the impact on women.

That's for many women just a -- you guys don't get it. We just want to be in charge of our own bodies. And so that becomes like a base issue and all these other issues on top of it are things that end up tilting the vote in their favor. And so I think Hillary Clinton is exactly right.

COSTELLO: I have to leave --

SCHAEFFER: Can I jump --

COSTELLO: Really quickly, Sabrina, because I've got to go.

SCHAEFFER: Yes. Well, the good news is that neither party has sort of a -- neither party's economic favorability is better than one or the other. There's a lot of opportunity here for the GOP to explain how micro managing wages and mandating benefit packages and a lot of these things that are sort of pushed out here as good for women are actually going to hurt women's chances and will hurt women's success. And so now is the chance to actually jump on that opportunity. So we'll see what happens.

COSTELLO: Yes, we will. Sabrina Schaeffer, Hilary Rosen, thanks to both of you.

On the Democratic side, thousands were feeling the burn in Los Angeles Monday night.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We began this campaign about three and a half months ago. And the momentum as you can see tonight has been extraordinary.


SANDERS: Tonight with the overflow crowd we have more than 27,000 people.


COSTELLO: He's not kidding. Bernie Sanders continuing to draw in massive crowds. This is at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Look at all those people. It comes as Sanders scored a key endorsement, the nation's largest union of nurses, with 185,000 members endorsing him for president. We should note the L.A. crowd is still smaller than the 28,00 who showed up for Sanders in Portland the night before. That was the largest political event of the 2016 campaign so far.

Are you listening, Hillary Clinton?

One of President Obama's staffers is out on bond this morning after police say she tried to shoot her lover. Barvetta Singletary was arrested Friday morning. Police say she was feuding with her lover who was a Capitol Hill police officer. Moments after a tryst they say she grabbed his gun, pointed it at him and then fired off a round. He wasn't hurt. But authorities now hint another woman may have sparked the violence.

Michelle Kosinski is on Martha's Vineyard following this story for us. Good morning.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Carol, yes, definitely not the kind of White House story we expected to be covering. This is a special assistant to the president. Paid $125,000 a years. A legislative affairs liaison at the White House who spent three nights in jail. I mean, this happened on Friday and she was just let out yesterday on $75,000 bond.

[09:10:09] But the police report says the 37-year-old Barvetta Singletary who worked at the White House since last year invited her boyfriend, the Capitol Hill police officer, to her house. When they were in his car, she was able to get hold of his cell phone and the gun that he uses at work. The report says that he refused to tell her what was on his phone. She accused him of cheating on her. And he refused to give her his password so that she could check herself.

The report says she took the gun in the house. She followed him. That's where she threatened him, pointing the gun at him, saying, you taught me how to use this, don't think I won't use it, and then fired a single shot in his direction. He fled, called 911.

The White House isn't saying a whole lot about this or about her job. Just that they have now put her on unpaid leave and revoked her access to the White House while this is still under investigation -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Michelle Kosinski, reporting live from Martha's Vineyard this morning. Thank you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, more violence, more arrests. We'll take you to Ferguson, next.


[09:15:15] COSTELLO: Right now, Ferguson, Missouri, remains on edge after yet another night of unrest. The state of emergency is still in effect after dozens of arrests. This is what it looked like last night, angry protesters flooding the street, some even shutting down traffic earlier in the day.


COSTELLO: According to police, some protesters hurled frozen water bottles and rocks at them, forcing them to push crowds back with riot gear, all of this mirroring what we saw one year ago when unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer.

So, let's get to CNN's Ryan Young. He's on the ground in Ferguson.

Good morning, Ryan.


Really, a conversation going on here within the community right now. You talked about those scenes just from overnight. Of course, 23 people getting arrested. But the crowds are a lot smaller than what we've seen in the last year or so.

But, of course, there were those tense moments as protesters took to the highway and some drivers just drove right through 'em.


YOUNG (voice-over): Overnight, several arrests made as rocks and frozen water bottles were thrown at police.

Protesters taking to the streets, blocking traffic.

Authorities earlier declared a state of emergency in Ferguson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us some room, give us some room. Back up.

YOUNG: As protesters continue for a second night surrounding the anniversary of Michael Brown's death. Armored police vehicles on the streets, police lining up in riot gear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People that run towards danger instead of from it.

YOUNG: Around 2:00 a.m., a puzzling scene, a small group of heavily armed men walked into a group of protesters, calling themselves the Oath Keepers.

"JOHN", OATH KEEPERS: Everybody has the right to be safe and secure in their person and things.

YOUNG: The men say they're protecting rioters with Info Wars, a site run by a conspiracy theorist. They say police are leaving them alone.

Earlier on Monday, protesters shut down an interstate in St. Louis.

WESLEY BELL, FERGUSON CITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Many of the people who have their own agendas, who do wish to escalate violence; they mix in with a lot of the peaceful protesters. It is difficult. And particularly for law enforcement, who has no idea, oftentimes, who is who.

YOUNG: Tensions growing after a reported four shootings Sunday night. Eighteen-year-old Tyrone Harris remains in critical condition after being shot by police late Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please get him some help!


YOUNG: Of course, Carol, there's a real conversation going on within the community about what's next. So far, we don't know of any planned protests, but after last night, there are some people saying, they want to take to streets again because they want to test that line between them and police.

COSTELLO: All right. Ryan Young, reporting live from Ferguson, Missouri, this morning.

So, let's talk about all of this with former commissioner of the Boston police department, Ed Davis, and Traci Blackmon. She's a member of the Ferguson Commission.

Thanks to both of you for being here.



COSTELLO: Good morning.

So, I'd like to take a look at the bigger question or the bigger picture rather. And according to "The Washington Post," unarmed black men are seven times more likely than whites to be killed by police. So far this year, they say, 24 unarmed black men have been shot and killed.

To put that into perspective, that's one every nine days. So, Ed, are we making any progress at all? What do the numbers tell us?

DAVIS: Well, the numbers are troubling. My colleagues or my former colleagues across the nation have been meeting and trying to work on plans to reduce these numbers. Chuck Ramsey chairs the president's commission. He is the police commissioner in Philadelphia. He and all of my former colleagues are really trying to work on the training side of things and the cultural issues that are involved here to stop violence on both sides of this equation.

COSTELLO: And I want to put up some more statistics from this "Washington Post" article. "The Post" also points out of the 60 unarmed deaths, 40 percent were black men. Sobering number, right?

And, Traci, I want to put up another graphic so you can parse it out. According to "The Washington Post", those 24 deaths are part of nearly 600 overall. In fact, the majority of those killed were white or Hispanic and the majority of victims were indeed armed.

You can read statistics so many ways. What do you make of this, Traci?

BLACKMON: What I make of this -- and also you mentioned the killings that have happened of black males, the shooting killings.

[09:20:02] But we also have a rash of black women who are being found dead in police custody. And I don't want to let that go under the radar as well. Recently, we have highlighted Sandra Bland. But there are many more, Kimberly King being one. There are several others.

So, what I make of the statistics is that we have a crisis of humanity in this nation. It doesn't matter what the color of the skin is. What we have are law enforcement offices who are acting extremely aggressively against people that they are supposed to be protecting and serving. And whether they're doing that because of a cultural disconnect or whether they're doing that out of aggression of some other kind, it has to be addressed and stopped.

COSTELLO: So, Ed, you see there is an important conversation going on among very important people. So, is there any consensus? Six hundred people killed by police. It seems like a lot. What do you think?

DAVIS: Well, Carol, I think that it is a lot. And my colleagues have recognized that and are working with their police departments to try to reduce those numbers.

But you have to remember, we're a very unique society here in the United States. We have almost unlimited access to firearms. We're asking officers to walk into these very violent situations.

Just in Ferguson the other night, within earshot of an interview that was going on, a group of men produced firearms and started to shoot back and forth at each other. That's emblematic of the problems that we're seeing, as anything else. And I think that that has to be factored into the conversation. We need to reduce the number of guns out there. We need to reduce the number of people that are willing to utilize guns.

And it's a violent, dangerous job we're asking the police officers to do. Can the police officers approve the way they do it? Absolutely. Is it troubling and unacceptable to see unarmed young men being shot? It certainly is.

But there are thousands and thousands of calls every single night in this nation of active gunfire occurring. And that's an issue that is underlying this whole problem that we have to address as well.

COSTELLO: Traci, is that an underlying the issue in Ferguson?

BLACKMON: Well, that's an underlying issue nationally. But there's also another underlying issue.

As you know, as a result of the killing of Michael Brown and the unrest that emerged from that, there was a DOJ investigation in Ferguson. And that DOJ investigation found blatant racism all through law enforcement. And there were some actions that were -- that Ferguson was held accountable for. It is interesting that even in this era -- and I wanted to say this because to me this is indicative of the larger problem.

One of the people who was fired because of racist e-mails from within the police department -- she was a clerk. She was not an officer. But it speaks to the spirit of the police department. She was fired for racist e-mails and now she has been hired in a neighboring municipality.

So, what we're dealing with is intrinsic racism that must be called out and rooted out. Certainly, guns make it easier for people to kill and that is something we need to address across this nation. But it cannot be the only thing that we address. We must address the criminalization and the marginalization of people of color in this country. We must do that.

And the idea that someone would be fired because of a DOJ report and their active racism in the execution of their job on job computer, sending racist e-mails through the department and then be hired by a neighboring municipality is unconscionable to me.

COSTELLO: And that indeed happened. That is absolutely true.

Traci Blackmon, Ed Davis, thanks to you both. I appreciate it. Still to come in the NEWSROOM, toxic water, a river full of pollutants.

And this isn't even the whole story. We'll talk about that, next.


COSTELLO: We're waiting to hear from the Colorado governor who's expected to hold a briefing on the millions of gallons of toxic sludge that was accidentally dumped into the Animas River. So far, officials have provided few details about the potential environmental disaster. They haven't warned of health risks facing locals or whether or not the drinking water is in peril. But answers need to come soon, because those pollutants that have turned this river orange are spreading and cities in New Mexico are now at risk.

CNN's Dan Simon live in Durango with more for you this morning.

Good morning, Dan.


Well, the EPA is usually in the business of responding to emergencies, not causing them. But that is exactly what happened in this case. You can see signs like this along the river saying it's closed. And, Carol, let me show why exactly that is.

You can see along the shore here this toxic sludge. Some people have described it as looking sort of like a mustardish color. I would agree with that. In other parts, you can't really see it, but that doesn't mean that the danger has passed. It simply means that this material is very heavy and it has sunk to the bottom.

Let me show you some of the water we have collected. You can see it right here. And this is just some nasty looking stuff.

This all happened when the EPA was trying to clean up that abandoned gold mine. And it completely backfired. You have three million gallons of this toxic water spilled into the river, the river is closed.