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CNN NEWSROOM

Pepsi Ditches Aspartame From Diet Soda; Donald Trump: Put American ISIS Supports In Gitmo; Driver Fatigue Blamed in Tracy Morgan Limo Accident; Girls To Be Tried as Adults In Slender Man Stabbing Case; EPA Accidently Dumps Mining Waste in River; Jets' Geno Smith To Miss Games After Locker Room Punch. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 11, 2015 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00] MARTHA PEASE, BRANDING EXPERT & AUTHOR: And if you change it, we're less likely to choose some other soda. We're more likely to stay with Pepsi. That's the message that we're getting.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Quickly, because I was curious, I was talking to my team this morning because I swore off soda years ago, although if you hand me a bag of Sour Patch Kids, you won't be getting them back. That's another story.

(LAUGHTER)

As far as people drinking soda, the average American drinks 25 percent less than years ago. Do you think, though, with Pepsi doing, this despite what you're saying about aspartame, do you think other soda manufacturers will follow suit?

DR. PHILIPPA CHEETHAM, CANCER SPECIALIST, WINTHROP UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: I think they probably will and the sucralose is perceived to be safer. Huge numbers of studies have been done on that as well. It's a big issue. The perception is that aspartame, studies have looked at the cancer effect, the reproductive effect, the neurological effects on nerve function and brain damage. We know it's safe but the perception is aspartame is out and sucralose is perceived to be better. I think they will follow suit.

BALDWIN: My executive producer has just started drinking quite a bit of Diet Coke, would like to know how much is too much of diet soda per day?

CHEETHAM: It's a great question. We know with aspartame, the safe limits are if you are drinking less than 21 can as day, that's what the FDA --

BALDWIN: Less than 21 cans?

CHEETHAM: That's absolutely crazy, so --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Give me a real number.

CHEETHAM: We know that everything in moderation is important. But you're going to have to drink a lot of diet soda to exceed what is deemed the safe FDA levels.

BALDWIN: I think later, I might have to tell him that you really said two.

(LAUGHTER)

Dr. Philippa Cheetham and Martha Pease, thank you both very much. Really appreciate it.

Next, what would Donald Trump do in the Oval Office? How about a plan to send more people to Guantanamo Bay, including Americans? Would that be legal? We'll talk about it.

And an investigation into the crash that badly injured comedian, Tracy Morgan. We're learning just how long the truck driver was awake before crashing into his limousine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:36:24] BALDWIN: Donald Trump may be the front runner right now, but his policy plans are virtually unknown. We're getting a little insight into the Guantanamo Detention Center in Cuba. Trump says he would detain American ISIS supporters there.

Let's go to our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.

I know that he said he would take away the passports of those who fight for ISIS and put them in Gitmo. Is that even possible, Jim Sciutto?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Not on current law. There's already been established legal practice for dealing with Americans accused of terrorism and every other week we're seeing the Department of Justice, the FBI arrest Americans, sympathizers, et cetera, who they then process through the U.S. court system. This is something that goes back even in the Bush administration, if you remember the American Taliban, as he was known, captured during the first days of the war in Afghanistan.

He recognized as a U.S. Citizen and was processed through the American system. Even people accused of terrorism, if they are Americans, they have rights and they are taken to court. They are not sent to Guantanamo. The only case of an American sent to Guantanamo was a detainee who they did not realize was born in the U.S. Until after they got him to Guantanamo. It was built, in effect, for foreigners and enemy combatants and not for Americans who -- one trouble with the constitution, right, is Americans have rights, legal rights.

BALDWIN: This is something that President Obama talked a lot about when he was closing Gitmo. Where does that stand now?

SCIUTTO: It's something that we're reporting out today. There have been delays over the course of years. One is the number of Gitmo attorneys who returned to court, one in four. The other is when those are not returned to their home countries, where do you put them? The president says that they will have a plan that they will show to Congress. One thing they are considering now, Brooke, is putting some of the detainees into military facilities here in the U.S., military brigs as opposed to civilian prisons but they are still working on the plans and there have been a lot of delays.

BALDWIN: Jim Sciutto, thank you so much in Washington for us today on Guantanamo Bay.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Now to this. We're getting chilling new details about the deadly limo accident involving Tracy Morgan in New Jersey from last June. The result of that investigation has been released. They revealed exactly how long the truck driver had been awake moments before he slammed into Morgan's limousine from behind, killing comedian, James McNair, and seriously injuring Tracy Morgan.

Let's bring in our Rene Marsh, our CNN aviation and government regulations correspondent.

What did the NTSB find?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION & GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: The NTSB is blaming driver fatigue for this deadly chain reaction accident that happened on the Jersey Turnpike last year. His name is Kevin Roper. He had been awake for more than 28 hours before he rear-ended that Mercedes limo that was carrying Tracy Morgan. The truck slammed into the limo at a speed between 47 and 53 miles per hour. That is pretty fast. It flipped the limo on its side and set off a chain reaction crash involving 21 other people in six other cars and Roper drove his personal vehicle 12 hours overnight from his home in Georgia to his workplace in Delaware and that was a roughly 1800-mile trip. Immediately, he reported for duty. Investigators say that the driver didn't apply the brakes when he was on the New Jersey Turnpike until he was within 200 feet of the limo. They say that the delayed reaction was because he was sleepy.

[14:40:] BALDWIN: Rene Marsh, thank you.

MARSH: Sure.

BALDWIN: Next, the Slender Man case. Two girls accused of attempted murder for trying to kill a classmate when they were only 12 years of age, preteens. We have now learned that they will be tried as adults. Let's get Nancy Grace's take on this one.

Also, a sucker punch in an NFL locker room means one linebacker is out of job and a quarterback is going to be on the bench.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:45:40] BALDWIN: Two girls in Wisconsin not even old enough to see a PG-13 movie on their own accused of committing a real-live horror so bloody that prosecutors are charging them as adults. Now this judge has agreed, he's decided to keep the attempted murder case in adult court. Both were 12 years of age when police say they stabbed their friend who was the same age, stabbed her 19 times, leaving her to die. She survived and soon investigators learned the girls were trying to take a life, according to police, to save their own lives from this fictional character called Slender Man.

Listen to their interviews with police.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: When you guys were walking, you thought you saw Slender?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After Morgan had stabbed her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he has tendrils that are very sharp.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Do you see him in your dreams?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I see him in my dreams.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: According to affiliate WTMJ, the judge is keeping the case in adult court to prevent the release of the girls when they are 18.

With me now former prosecutor and HLN host, Nancy Grace.

Nancy, we talked about this case before. Now we know they'll be tried as adults. Do you think this was the right call?

NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST, NANCY GRACE: Well, absolutely. And it sounds much more harsh than it is. And I'll tell you why. And the judge set it out very plainly. If these two girls, now 13, were tried as juveniles, their sentence and their supervision and medical treatment, basically it would be a dormitory and they would live there until they are 18, which is five years and then they would walk free. They are going to be treated in the adult justice system, which means after they do their time, they will stay in juvie jail with other children until they are 18 and, at that point, they'll move to adult jail. But when they get out, which I would guess would be between five and seven years, they will still be monitored and treated if they show a mental instability.

BALDWIN: Why do you think -- just on the flip side, what would defense attorneys say? How would they argue that being tried as adults wouldn't be fair?

GRACE: Other than the usual blah, blah, blah, they are going to say that they are going to be subjected to inhumane treatment behind bars with adults. But the reality is -- and I've had to do this myself many, many times, Brooke, treat a youth, you try them as an adult so their sentence will go on after they reach adulthood. Nobody wants to see children put in jail with grown people, grown men or women. You don't want that. And that's not what is going to happen. That is a misconception. Defense attorneys are going to argue that they are children and should be treated in juvenile court. And the law provides for this. BALDWIN: What considerations -- I'm just wondering, you have these at

the time two 12-year-old girls. What considerations are made for young people and whether they are even mentally mature enough to realize what it is they did?

GRACE: Interesting thought. Because that is one of the main contentions by their defense, is that their brains are not fully formed and I agree with that. I agree that you would do things at 10, 12 years old that you wouldn't do when you're 35 years old. Of course.

BALDWIN: That's right.

GRACE: Because you are not fully an adult. However, the crime of murder in this case, attempted murder, is so heinous, 19 stab wounds and not just stab wounds, they told her to lie there and go get help when in fact they did that so she would bleed out. Their words, not mine. So they would not be detected. OK? That is heinous.

BALDWIN: And then one of the little girls I guess had a picture of her family. She really believed she wasn't going home. What a case. What a case.

Nancy Grace, thank you so much.

GRACE: Thank you.

Be sure to watch Nancy weeknights on our sister station, HLN, 8:00 eastern.

Thank you very much.

[14:59:59] Next, millions of gallons of toxic waste dumped into this Colorado river. It looks like orange sludge. What is this? People are worried their drinking water could be poisoned. We're talking about that, coming up.

Also, Donald Trump, he opens his mouth, not quite sure what will come out. His take-no-prisoners approach to politics seems to be paying off. We have new poll numbers in with great news for Trump's campaign. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Colorado's government just wrapped up a visit at the Animas River where mining toxins were accidently spilled. It doesn't look good.

Let's go live to Dan Simon who is live in Durango, Colorado.

Dan Simon, talk to me about how bad this really could be.

[14:55:00] DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First of all, Brooke, the EPA is usually in the business of responding to emergencies, not causing them. But that's what happened in this case. That's why this river, the Animas River, still remains closed. Much of the river looks OK, in other words, the color has returned to normal. There are still remnants of this nasty looking mustard color. We're talking about high levels of arsenic and lead, things dangerous to wildlife and humans. I put some of this in a bottle that you can see. That said there are positive signs that the threat may be waning.

This is what the governor said a short time ago. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: We're grateful and happy that the water levels appear to be back to normal. Looking at the fish that pat here put into the water before the search came through, out of that 108 fish were put in cages at several spots along the river. Only one died and that died right in the very beginning. Could have died from -- that's not an unusual number when you transfer fish. So the other 107 fish appear fine. That implies that the level of toxicity was not at a dangerously high level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: So just to put that in better context for you, what state officials did was put fish in the contaminated water and all but one of them lived. The evidence that there's a huge danger to wildlife. That said, they are still keeping a close eye on things and they haven't really fully disclosed what is in this water.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: That's what I wanted to know, what the heck is in there.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I mean, what is it that turns the water so bizarrely orange?

SIMON: Well, what we're talking about is a 100-year-old gold mine. The EPA was trying to clear out some of the water that was spewing and then all of a sudden, all of those chemicals, if you will, spilled into the water. We know that, again, there is lead in here, arsenic, some aluminum. We need to get a full accounting of what is in there. I think that's what the EPA is trying to do and state officials are trying to do and at least what authorities in Colorado are saying, that there's a chance that this river could open perhaps in the next day or two -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Dan Simon, we'll keep a close eye. Thank you very much. Very important to watch that.

Also, just in, some pretty big news out of the NFL, another fight involving a big-named quarterback. The Jets quarterback, Geno Smith, will miss games after a sucker punch by a teammate in the NFL locker room.

Rachel Nichols is on the phone.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR (voice-over): This is unusual, unless you're a fan of the New York Jets. Normally, NFL starting quarterbacks don't get in the words of their head coach and hit by a teammate in a locker room. They had an argument. We don't know what it was about. The head coach, Todd Bowles, told us it was nothing to do with football. He says, it was very childish. He said he would leave it to the parties involved to say if the players wanted to tell the media what was going on. But he did say Geno Smith got sucker punched. He has a broken jaw. Geno Smith needs surgery. He's sent a photo saying, I'll be back, a terminator reference there. We won't see him back until week three or maybe even as late as week seven of the NFL season.

BALDWIN: Rachel, this comes a day after the whole Cam Newton incident. What happened there?

NICHOLS: Well, again, it is unusual for starting quarterbacks to get involved in a tussle but it was a much more usual thing that we're used to seeing. Their emotions are high and they are hitting against their teammates, which is not something that they do during the regular season. And on the field, we often see at training camps in one spot or another, teammates going at each other.

And in Cam Newton's case, he was throwing a cornerback, intercepted a pass, and in a way that he didn't like. They got him chased down on the field and they got into it. We're used to seeing that. We're not used to seeing something in a locker room when tempers are much more relaxed and going up and punching the starting quarterback. This is huge.

BALDWIN: Rachel Nichols, thank you so much.

NICHOLS: Talk to you soon, Brooke.

[15:00:08] BALDWIN: OK.

And we'll continue on.

Top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.