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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Autopsy Complete in Death of Music Icon Prince; Entertainers Recall Working With Prince; Tributes Pour In For Prince; Ditch Pennies And Nickels To Fix The Debt; Obama: EU Membership "Strengthens" Britain. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired April 22, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For our generation, he was the song book and the narrative for some of the greatest moments in our individual lives, much like Elvis Presley and Ira Gershwin before him.
This is something that we take very seriously and we appreciate the dignity and respect and outpouring of support that everyone has shown not only to his family but to the law enforcement officers working on this, to the state of Minnesota that so proudly claimed him and adored him and this is something that is very gravitas for everyone involved. So, we appreciate the respect that has been shown by everyone in this situation.
SHERIFF JIM OLSON, CARVER COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Thank you very much, everybody.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You were listening to local Carver County, Minnesota officials, addressing what they could so soon after his death about the mysterious death of entertainment icon Prince at the age of 57.
The sheriff, as you just heard, said the death is still under investigation. He did say there was no obvious trauma to the body and they have no reason to believe that this death was because of suicide. He said that Prince was last seen alive around 8:00 Wednesday night, the night before he was found. People at his estate had not heard from him. They went to check on him Thursday morning. They found him collapsed and unresponsive in the elevator at his estate. His body has now been turned over to his family.
Let's go right to CNN's Ryan Young who was at the news conference. He joins me live.
Ryan, there were a few Prince-like moments there, such as when the sheriff acknowledged that they didn't know if he was wearing pajamas or street clothes because of the rather unique way, unique style that Prince had.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think you could also tell there was a lot of respect in this community for Prince, so, there's a lot of the -- just to keep this information private as long as the family wants to keep it private. We were talking to some of the officials before they started and said
they were going to start on time and try to answer as many questions as possible but one thing people wanted to know about the circumstances surrounding the death, we have a little more information. That Prince was by himself and staffers became worried, made several phone calls and once they arrived to that house they found Prince on the first floor in that elevator in some sort of dress, of course, didn't explain exactly what that was. You heard some of the other questions being asked and he kept saying, look, this is under investigation and we talked about how many agencies were involved in this. They said several agencies were involved in this.
But I can tell you, just to the side as we have been talking to the folks who work here and live here, they have so much pride in Prince, the idea that he decided to stay here in this community. So, a lot of people are making sure that the family's wishes are responded to, in terms of keeping as much private as long as possible.
So many people trying to ask those questions because so many rumors surrounding this, that people want to know the next step. This is an open investigation. They are keeping a lot of things obviously quiet.
TAPPER: That's right. The sheriff kept saying that the case is only 29 hours old.
Also notable for the fact that the medical examiner actually at one point started editorializing about how important Prince's work was and asking the reporters gathered before them, were they fans of Prince, obviously this is a death and a loss felt deeply in that community.
Ryan Young, thank you so much. As we just learned, getting results the Prince's autopsy will take some time.
CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta joins me now to talk more about this part of the case.
Sanjay, obviously, this is a time of mourning for many people still but his death was also so unexpected and many people want to know how this happened. What could the autopsy and toxicology report tell us?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it could tell us a lot. It could give us a clear answer obviously in terms of what caused his death. The sheriff, as you heard, Jake, was very careful to say, look, there are certain things that he just can't talk about today.
I think the inference is that there may be some clues already that they have but the want to piece it together with everything else. The autopsy, the toxicology reports and also just what had been going on with Prince over the last several weeks. A couple things that I should point out, Jake, you know, you heard that -- the timeline from yesterday morning, 9:43 they get this call. That's when they found Prince's body I guess slumped over in an elevator.
It took just 24 minutes before they actually declared time of death. So, you know, it's important a lot of times if there's any signs that possibility of taking someone to the hospital, paramedics will often do that. They did not do that in this case. So, it's unclear how long he was in the elevator but the sheriff said, look, it wasn't just minutes. This sounds like he had been there for some period of time at least.
Also, he also described that the autopsy was a very complete autopsy. It was the word that the medical examiner's PR representative used. Very complete autopsy.
[16:35:00] It took about four hours. And again, what you can deduce from that, there wasn't an obvious anything obvious in terms of signs of death here. There wasn't sort of anything that they zeroed in on. So, it looks like there was a lot that they were sort of looking for with a lot of things a possibility here.
Weeks, days at least, but weeks probably before we get some sort of final answer and I will tell you, Jake, that sometimes even that final answer may not be as definitive as a lot of people would like. Sometimes you just don't know absolutely with certainty what happened here.
TAPPER: Prince said in a 2009 interview, Sanjay, that he had epilepsy and seizures when he was younger. Potentially could that be a clue into how he died?
GUPTA: I think it's something that they would look at but if I had to say, I think that would be an unlikely sort of thing. First of all, so much time has passed. Unlikely that it would be the epilepsy because it sounds like those had resolved. The seizures had resolved. Could it be medications that he was still on?
Look, it was -- you know, decades had been in interval. Why he would have a problem with some of those medications, even if he was still on these medications, it just seems unlikely.
But again, it sounds like they are leaving, as you heard the sheriff say, no stone unturned. So, I'm sure that will come up as part of the investigation.
TAPPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. Appreciate it as always.
GUPTA: Thank you.
TAPPER: There's been a nonstop stream of fans going to Paisley Park in Minnesota, since news of Prince's death. This is the complex that Prince called home right outside Minneapolis.
And let's go to CNN's Stephanie Elam who is there now.
Stephanie, how are fans paying tribute as they go to Paisley Park?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, they have been coming out here all day long. I'll step out so you can take a clearer look. They have been coming out since the sun came up today leaving notes, messages, artwork, balloons, flowers, so many people, different generations showing up in purple to show their love for their home town icon because he's from Minnesota and he never left.
So, obviously, this was a big loss for them to feel the fact that he is gone. Yesterday his sister coming out, greeting fans and hugging them as well while she was out here. Just a lot of people here trying to digest the fact that he's gone.
And you're talking about a man who, yes, a superstar but really felt at ease here. He could, so to speak, let his hair down and could be seen out doing different things with the community, going to the store. And people here allowed him to breathe and have that sort of privacy and the mayor telling me that he believes that's part of the reason that he actually enjoyed life here, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Stephanie Elam at Paisley Park, Minnesota, thank you so much.
Coming up, Cedric the Entertainer and Chuck D. from Public Enemy, both of them will join us to remember their friend, Prince. This as tributes to Prince come from around the world. That's next.
[16:42:06] TAPPER: Wow. What a great memory that was. Welcome back to THE LEAD.
We've seen Prince command a lead like that one. We know he didn't particularly care for interviews. In fact, he described himself as shy.
But in the last day or so, we're learning quite a bit about another side of Prince. Many of his friends described as hilarious. They say if he hadn't been a singer, he would have made an incredible comedian.
One of my next guests found that out during a show of his own, Cedric the Entertainer joins me on the phone. Also with us, Chuck D., part of the legendary hip hop group, Public Enemy.
Thanks to both of you for joining me.
Cedric, let me start with you. Tell us how you came to know Prince. I understand, you told a joke about him during one of your shows.
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER (via telephone): Yes. He was a guy who loves all kinds of entertainment and so I was in Minneapolis early in my career, you know, smaller venue and I'm doing a joke about, you know, like how your relatives borrow your clothes and I said, Prince has got a nephew or niece, maybe get something out of your closet? He said, I have these pants with the butt cheeks out and he's like, nah, you can keep those.
Everybody was laughing and it was a funny joke and then later on in my dressing room, Prince heard that joke and they sent this note and said he invited me out to Paisley Park. It was like crazy, like I couldn't believe he was sitting in the audience in the corner like -- and saw it and so since then I've been invited to the house several times.
I was on stage with him in Los Angeles singing "Raspberry Beret" and stopped the music and said, do you know the words? I said, I know it my way. I worked at five and dime. My boss was Mr. McGee. I do it the way black people sing it. Any way that makes sense to them, we put it in the song.
TAPPER: Chuck D, you collaborated with Prince on an album and you perform together. What was it like to work with him?
CHUCK D, MEMBER, PUBLIC ENEMY: Maestro, like when you put it in the same vernacular, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, I mean, he made everything in the last 50 years for us, because he signified past, present and future. And I recorded with Prince in 1999 at Paisley Park and he had a garage sale on the lawn of Paisley Park. That's how community oriented Paisley Park was to the community.
And I'm like, are you having a yard sale? Yes, I'm selling guitars and I'm like, dude. And basketball rims up in there. So, it was a mind-blowing experience and any time that he was on stage and I was in the audience, he would call me up to do what I do and I'm like, OK, I'm awe struck but I better get my head focus and do the thing.
TAPPER: So incredible.
Cedric, in recent years, we've lost several icons, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, David Bowie earlier this year --
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER (via telephone): Maurice White.
CEDRIC: I mean, you think about it, just losing so many people that mean -- their music lives on, though. It's the thing about everybody has a great first story how it touches you, how his music made something very specific for you, you know.
And I remember the song that came out and I lived in St. Louis and it was such a big hit. I remember that I radio played it like eight times in a row and nobody complained.
Like people just -- people just let the radio play the song over and over again one night. It was just -- nobody worried about. We just loved that song when it came out and remember, you know, that was the effect that he had on people like that with his songs and his music.
TAPPER: I think I played "When Doves Cry" six times on my way to work six times today. What about you? What have you been playing, Cedric?
CEDRIC: I'm doing dance music, "Sex for Romance," "Holding my Mead" and all those in the last few days and "Erotic City" is for the deep- voice brothers. That's a song I can actually sing in my range.
TAPPER: What about you, chuck?
CHUCK D.: Yes. My radio rap station, "Dan Mr. Man," Sign of the Times," did a song called "Undisputed," "Let's Go Crazy." You know, another thing about Prince, remember the time recently that he revolutionized the MP3 movement and digital music and we ran toe to toe in trying to liberate music.
And he doesn't get the credit that he deserves to make everybody get the music out or whatever and people also tend to forget when they say he was making too much music, that's impossible because now it's like Picasso.
It's not enough and they will be minding his music for the next 50 to 100 years as long as they have players or ears to listen. Prince was always in the future.
If you want to talk about anything from the past, I know you kind of remember this, Ced, being from St. Louis, Prince selling out eight in a row Jo Louis arenas on a concert in Detroit. I'm like, eight in a row?
CEDRIC: Dude, he could sell out a show. He was so magical. Prince could sell out a show the day he's coming. You wouldn't even know he's coming.
CHUCK D.: Right.
CEDRIC: That's how quickly, it's gone, like everybody --
CHUCK D.: Before the internet, right? It was like, Prince was already on the internet before the internet took hold. How do people know about this gig? Prince sent it out.
CEDRIC: And he would play these great late-night parties that everybody would talk about. He would have somebody cooking and people at his house, and Adam Levine singing and just crazy, like you had to be like breakfast and food and he would be walking around cool just like a regular dude. Amazing.
TAPPER: Chuck, was he like -- go ahead, Chuck.
CHUCK D.: Well, another thing, Prince in the last 20 years was saying everything is very relevant to the environment and the world and social status thing, everything up to the last minute with a song called "Baltimore."
And he's always liberating women to be musicians and it's like a world is missing a note when he actually, you know, transitioned. We salute him. We salute him with the utmost respect.
TAPPER: Such an honor to listen to you two. Such an honor to listen to you two, Chuck and Cedric, thank you so much.
CEDRIC: Thank you, Jake. I appreciate it, man. Long live Prince.
CHUCK D.: Yep. Thanks, Jake. Thanks a lot, Ced.
TAPPER: Thanks, guys.
TAPPER: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life, it means forever and that's a mighty long time, but I'm here to tell you there's something else, the afterworld.
[16:50:04]Powerful world from Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" being felt now perhaps more than ever.
TAPPER (voice-over): The world has got a look of Prince today. Emotional tributes unfolding across the performer's front gate in Minneapolis and coloring the world's landmarks thousands of miles away.
In London, President Obama prepared for a meeting with the British prime minister by listening to a little bit of Prince.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It so happens our ambassador has a turn table and so this morning we played "Purple Rain" and "Delirious" just to get warmed up.
TAPPER: Back home in the states, Niagara Falls roared into a new hue. At first, for the birthday of Queen Elizabeth and then for Prince.
From the great wheel in Seattle to landmarks in San Francisco and Los Angeles, America turned to the color of rock royalty. New Orleans superdome alight, Baltimore beaming. The rapper, "The Gain" penned a new song in Prince's honor, "Rest in Purple" was posted on Sound Cloud mere hours after the news broke. Not only paying tribute to Prince but to the other icons lost.
The song's title, a shared expression among Prince's fans who left flowers and messages at Paisley Park where Prince performed just a few days ago.
Fans took Prince with them into the streets as well. Celebrating his life at iconic First Avenue in Minneapolis where he got his start.
In Brooklyn, Spike Lee orchestrated a block party for the purple one, it drew thousands.
SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today for this thing called life.
TAPPER: And for a star this bright, Broadway did not dim its lights. Instead, the cast of "Hamilton" concluded with a dance.
And Jennifer Hudson in the cast to sing "What Else."
TAPPER: We'll be right back.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. It was big news earlier this week when the U.S. government announced that President Andrew Jackson will lose his spot on the $20 bill to Underground Railroad hero, Harriet Tubman.
While Jackson, a slave owning, treating violating Native American killer had his share of detractors, he is, one might note, the only U.S. president ever to pay off the national debt.
And many critics are saying one change that would make a lot of sense for our soaring debt today would be to get rid of some of the change in our pockets. We look at that in our segment, "America's Debt and The Economy."
Did you know that pennies and nickels, besides by being by far the worst trick-or-treating prize cost more to make than they are actually worth? A penny costs 1.7 cents to make, a nickel, 8 cents.
So basically, the government is paying $100 million every year to make coins that others would not bend over to pick up. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has reportedly said he wants to stop making the penny, but there's a lot of resistance to ditching the coins.
Including from lobbying groups for metal producers and from the company, Coin Star, which is behind those machine you see in the front of the supermarket, which literally make money from gobbling up the change that you haven't counted yourself.
In our World Lead today, President Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama are visiting the U.K. today. Normally the first couple being in town steals the show, but not necessarily when Prince George is in around.
While visiting Kensington Palace for dinner with the duke and duchess of Cambridge, the president and Mrs. Obama with their old pal, George, in his tiny bathrobe on the rocking horse that they gave him as a present when the 2-year-old royal was born.
It was not all fun and games. Earlier today, the president had a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss Britain's potential exit from the European Union as well as the two nations' partnership in the fight against ISIS.
Don't forget to tune in this Sunday at 9 a.m. Eastern for "STATE OF THE UNION." Among my guests, Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump Jr.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Brianna Keilar who is filling in for Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Have a great weekend. I'll see you Sunday morning.