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Gun Control & the 2016 Race; Bad Week to Declare Support for Trump; Orlando Massacre: Inside the Mind of a Madman; What Trump's Golf Games Reveals; Philadelphia Passes Soda Tax to Fund Pre-K. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired June 18, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:06] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish.
It's been a tough week but when the grieving ends, will anything have changed?
The Orlando massacre inspired a filibuster about gun violence. I'll speak to one of those senators who proposed new legislation. The Senate will vote this week on several gun bills. Maybe the courts will have to do what Congress has not done. One of my guests won a landmark lawsuit against a gun store for selling a murder weapon and now Sandy Hook families, they are seeking similar justice. Can it happen?
Meanwhile Donald Trump's reaction was to brag about his foresight, blame President Obama and ban the "Washington Post." When criticized by GOP leaders, he threatened to go it alone. So what can the party do?
And 1.4 million people have petitioned to remove the judge who gave a light sentence in the Stanford sexual assault case but have they read his sentencing file? I have and I want to share some surprising details.
First, despite so many horrible mass killings it took a 14 plus hour Senate floor filibuster to finally get gun control legislation even discussed. Monday they're actually voting on gun amendments, about the terror watchlist and expanded background checks but because of war and partisan concerns in an election year, none are expected to pass. Can any headway be made?
Joining me today, Senator Bob Casey, he spoke three times during the filibuster even though he originally ran for the U.S. Senate as a pro- gun candidate and Helen Ubinas, a writer for the "Philadelphia Daily News" who discovered how alarmingly easy it is to buy a deadly automatic weapon and Patrick Dunphy, a lawyer who successfully sued a gun seller for providing the gun that shot two Milwaukee police officers.
Helen Ubinas, I want to talk to you about your daily news column, the self-explanatory title "I bought an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle in Philly in 7 minutes." Is that true, how difficult was it, Helen? HELEN UBINAS, "PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS" COLUMNIST: It was extremely
easy. I walked into a gun shop in Philadelphia and, you know, it's - it should be said I could have done this in any gun shop and within minutes I walked out. The seven minutes was the amount of time that I ballparked between the time I gave him my driver's license and when I realized I was eligible to buy this gun. But it was mere minutes between the time I walked in by the time I walked out.
SMERCONISH: I know from reading your cover story that when you walked in you were nervous that you were going to be nearly interrogated. Did you have to answer any questions?
UBINAS: Not many. I mean, as I said in my column I was driving over there and I was very uncomfortable because I'm not a gun person and I haven't done anything like this before and I was trying to come up with certain stories if they asked me questions why I wanted this particular gun especially this particular gun, the day after the massacre when we all thought it was still the AR15. But other than a couple of questions that I answered as minimally as I could I really wasn't ask many questions.
SMERCONISH: I want to underscore as you said, this was one day after the massacre in Orlando. So you would think perhaps there would have been some heightened attention paid to an individual who wanted to acquire the type of assault rifle that you did, but that wasn't the circumstance.
UBINAS: It wasn't and to be honest with you, I was a little - I would think suspicious looking. I was nervous, I was sweating. I didn't look comfortable. I was asking for this particular gun that at time we all thought was used in the massacre. The gun was one that was in the window. Individuals there were talking a little bit about the incident, about how horrible it was but I was being sold the very gun that we thought was being used in the massacre.
SMERCONISH: Helen, how much?
SMERCONISH: And so after spending nearly $800, I assume, of the newspaper's money, what did you do with it?
UBINAS: I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it. I ended up going to the police department and trying to - or turning it over. That took much longer than it took me to buy the gun. Probably because I, you know, I mean, it's not every day you have a reporter sort of stumbling in asking, can somebody please take this off my hand? They did.
I turned it over.
SMERCONISH: Seven minutes. I think that says it all. Helen Ubinas, thank you so much for being here.
UBINAS: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Joining me now is Senator Robert Casey.
Senator, we both come from a state with a real gun culture and you have talked recently about a conversion that you went through after the events at Sandy Hook. Explain.
SEN. ROBERT CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I think the evidence is pretty clear, this killer would have killed hundreds of children if he had the time and I had asked myself as a senator, as someone who was going to cast a vote and we ended up casting votes - three major votes a couple of months later.
Are you telling your constituents I was kind of asking myself, that there is nothing that the United States of America can do other than enforcing existing law to prevent the murder of 20 children in a classroom or nine people in a - in Charleston or 49 in Orlando. So I had to confront the - the question because I knew I had to vote on it and up to that point in time in the Senate we really had not voted on it in many years.
SMERCONISH: What are you prepared to support perhaps on Monday that you previously perhaps would not have supported?
CASEY: Well, Monday - or I should say Tuesday probably a background check, we don't know exactly which version on the Republican side, but I - I'll support both of the democratic bills both on the background check and a new measure that Senator Feinstein has developed to help prevent an Orlando type situation to give the Justice Department increased authority to deny a firearm to someone that they believe is a known or suspected terrorist and they have a reasonable suspicion or reasonable belief that that individual would use a firearm in connection with terrorism.
SMERCONISH: You participated this week - I think you spoke three times in a very emotional filibuster. In fact I want to show a moment of your colleague, Chris Murphy and part of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D) CONNECTICUT: It takes courage to look into the eye of a shooter, instead of running, wrapping your arms around a six- year-old boy and accepting death as a trade for just a tiny little piece of increased peace of mind for a little boy under your charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: So I guess here's the question. If nothing should pass this week, will the filibuster have been for naught?
CASEY: No, I don't think so, Michael. First of all I want to commend what Chris Murphy did. It was a remarkable testament not just a fortitude but to a willingness to finally say look, I'm drawing the line here, I'm going to stop activity in the Senate until we at least have a vote but we have to start passing legislation. We have to start taking a new approach to this, because I think Michael, with the same urgency that we had after 9/11, no one said, after 9/11, just enforce the existing laws and if a terrorist wants to fly an airplane into a building there's nothing we can do, we just have to enforce existing law. We didn't say that. We said we need new policy. We need the Department of Homeland Security. We're going to do whatever it takes to stop terrorists from doing that. We need the same approach on gun violence.
SMERCONISH: Sen. Bob Casey, thank you for your time.
CASEY: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Now, if Congress won't take action over guns, maybe our courts will. Families of victims from the Sandy Hook massacre that claimed 26 lives are seeking to hold Remmington, the manufacturer of the AR15 used by the shooter civilly responsible for that massacre. On Monday, they are going to learn whether the case will proceed in Connecticut State Superior Court.
The theory of that case is that it's unreasonable for a gun manufacturer to market to civilians a weapon developed and manufactured for war. Joining me now to talk about this is Patrick Dunphy. He is a trial lawyer from Wisconsin and using the same law that is issued in the Sandy Hook case, last year, Dunphy was successful in getting Milwaukee jury to hold responsible a gun store that sold a weapon used to shoot two policemen.
Patrick, thank you for being here. What is the theory of negligent entrustment?
PATRICK DUNPHY, ATTORNEY WHO WON CASE AGAINST GUN STORE: Negligent entrustment means that if you have reasonable cause to believe that the person you're selling the gun to may use it to harm somebody, may misuse it, then you can't sell it. That's an exception to the immunity that gun manufacturers have been given and it was a theory that I used in my case in Milwaukee.
SMERCONISH: And it's the same theory that will be used in the Sandy Hook case. Correct?
DUNPHY: Absolutely. I think it's a viable theory. You talked about them (INAUDIBLE) Remmington, being a manufacturer, but under the gun control act they're also a seller. And as a seller, they have the same responsibility as a dealer does, not to negligently entrust a firearm to people likely to misuse it and my thought is that after all the mass killings that have been - that have happened as a result of this type of weapon being manufactured, sold and distributed to the general public, that Bushmaster Remmington they have to know and expect that it's likely to be misused.
SMERCONISH: It would seem to me -
DUNPHY: Therefore they're going to be liable under negligent entrustment. SMERCONISH: It would seem to me that if discovery proceeds in this case the way in this which weapon was marketed will become significant. Let me show you something that I found at the Cabella's website with regard to this Remmington weapon.
It says "This addition to the semi-automatic R15 family brings big bore power capable of taking any North American big game down." What do you think they're referring to when they talk about North American big game?
DUNPHY: Well, I don't know that they're necessarily talking about moose. I think they're talking about the fire power that's associated with this weapon and it's the fire power and the man up approach that they're taking. The man card that you get when you buy this particular weapon, they're marketing it to people that are likely to misuse it.
SMERCONISH: And take a look at the ad. Hopefully you can see what I'm putting on the screen right now. "Consider your man card reissued" with a depiction of the weapon.
DUNPHY: I can't see your screen, but I have seen that ad and I just find that appalling. They are appealing to somebody to take this weapon and to use it in a military fashion in a civilian setting. It's not used for (INAUDIBLE) tin cans off the wall or target shooting when they're advertising it that way.
SMERCONISH: So let me hit you with a criticism that I know you had to deal with in your case on behalf of those Milwaukee police officers. People will listen to this segment and they'll say, wait a minute, you're trying to hold the gun seller, you're trying to hold the gun manufacturer, you're trying to hold everybody responsible except for the guy who pulled the trigger. Respond to that.
DUNPHY: Well, that's not just true at all because the criminal courts take care of the person who pulled the trigger, but that's after the fact. So if you want to enforce the laws against the criminal do it, then you should. But that's after the fact, that's after the carnage, that's after it's all happened. The importance thing about this law, about negligent entrustment is you take care of the problem before the trigger is pulled.
SMERCONISH: A final point, you as a trial lawyer have to (INAUDIBLE) horn into this theory of negligent entrustment. Here's something I remember, the very day you won a $6 million award on behalf of those cops, I was at a CNN presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders - I think it was in Vegas that night and they were debating this law because they had disagreed over it. So my point is, this also has some significance and relevance for the presidential race.
DUNPHY: Absolutely, it does. I mean you cannot walk away from the gun violence in this country and the slaughter that's occurring in our cities, in our clubs, in our schools. It has to be part of the presidential debate. The thing that discourages me the most is I don't know that legislators will ever be able to agree on anything so I think it may be to courts that are the only option left for the American people to get some kind of justice and get some kind of change.
SMERCONISH: And that's why I wanted you here. Because if they can't do something this week in the aftermath of 49 civilians being slaughtered then maybe it's going to be left to individuals like you and the court system to sort it all out. Patrick Dunphy, thanks so much for being here.
DUNPHY: Thank you very having me, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Up next, Florida had a rough week with shootings, the gator attack in Orlando. So did candidate Donald Trump. I'll talk to a Florida congressman who's going gator hunting this weekend, who just endorsed Trump. He might be thinking looks like I picked the wrong week to endorse Donald Trump, which reminds me of this classic running gag from the comedy "Airplane."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED MALE: It's like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking. It looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.
It's like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: This was a tough week to stick out your neck and endorse Donald Trump. He did many things to alienate his own party and when criticized by leaders, he threatened to go it alone. But Congressman Ted Yoho, took a stand for Trump right before the massacre in his home state of Florida.
Yoho represents the Gainesville area. In 2012 he pulled off one of the state's biggest upsets when he beat a 24-year incumbent in the GOP primary. He then helped lead the charge against Speaker John Boehner's reelection and he joins me now.
You, I should mention at the outset, you are a big animal veterinarian. I'd be derelict if I didn't ask you about that gator tragedy. As one who vacations in your state, congressman, I think we get lulled into thinking that they don't pose a danger.
REP. TED YOHO (R), FLORIDA: Michael, I tell you what, the gators are everywhere in Florida and we see them everywhere and the rule of thumb I tell people when they come into Florida, if you see a body of water in Florida just assume there's an alligator in it and that's kind of a common knowledge around here.
SMERCONISH: I understand you are a gator hunter?
YOHO: No, I'm not. I'm going for the first time tomorrow, in fact. I'm going to take my son and we - in fact, we did a tour today through central Florida and went through some cattle farms and they took us for an airboat ride on one of the lakes out there and that they said the state FWC, Florida Water Commission, Wildlife Commission was doubling the amount of gator permits they're putting out this year because there's such an abundance of them.
SMERCONISH: How will you hunt them?
YOHO: Well, you'll go out on an airboat, you'll shine a light and you'll find them and then you locate them and you go ahead and harpoon them and bring them to the surface and then you'll use something like (INAUDIBLE) --
SMERCONISH: Are you motivated to do that - if it's your first time, Congressman, are you motivated to do it, because of this tragedy or were you already planning to do this?
YOHO: No, I was already planning to do it. I want a pair of boots.
SMERCONISH: And so you intend - the gator that you will harvest will be one that you will turn into a pair of boots.
YOHO: Yes, that's our goal.
SMERCONISH: It's hard to express any sympathy for a gator during a course of a week where a two-year-old lost his life in Disney World but they're just doing their thing. Right?
YOHO: Well, they are and they found that gator - I think it was a week or two ago, they had a body in it and about three months ago in Florida, there were two guys that robbed someplace and one of the guys jumped in a lake and he got eaten by a gator and even in my hometown of Gainesville, we had a curator of one of the botanical areas, parks in our area and he got his arm taken off by an alligator. They're everywhere. They're dangerous. People, they're not pets. They're not a lizard that you want to go up and pet. They'll eat you and it's such a tragic thing about this young person from Nebraska that was killed by this alligator.
SMERCONISH: I don't know how to do this. It's going to be awkward. Let me switch it and talk politics.
YOHO: Yes, sir.
SMERCONISH: To go from one to the other, it's not easy. There's a verbiage in there somewhere but I'm not sophisticated enough to know it.
YOHO: I tell you what, politics is a lot like alligators, someone is always snapping at you.
SMERCONISH: Fair enough and some will say I'm snapping at Donald Trump because I want to walk through what's been a really tough week for him. You endorsed him before last weekend. Then came the tragedy.
YOHO: I did.
SMERCONISH: Many think that he handled it poorly. Among other things, he wanted everybody to know that he was prescient, he wanted people to know that he appreciated his congratulations on his forethought. Respond to that.
YOHO: well, you know, we - first off, we endorsed Mr. Trump probably about three weeks ago and then we came out again last weekend when he was down here in Tampa, and I got to meet him and talk to him. He has just been like a lot of us saying that our - our foreign policy, our national security policy and our immigration policies, they're broken and I sit on foreign affairs and I see a lot of stuff and I can tell you firsthand that our national security policies as far as immigration, they're setting up the stage for these kind of things to happen more so in the future. And I think that's what he was talking about.
SMERCONISH: Second, what thing that he did that got a lot of attention, he blamed the president. I mean the word choice that he used when he called into Fox News was "he's got something else in mind," which I thought was inappropriate. Did you?
YOHO: Well, you know, you'll have to ask Mr. Trump on that. You know, I look at the rise of ISIL or Daesh as failed foreign policies from this administration and Hillary Clinton. I've been in Congress for three years and I've seen the policies that have been dictated against their military advisors that have led for the uprising of ISIL.
SMERCONISH: It sounds to me, congressman, thus far as I work through the list that you don't think Trump had a tough week this week? How about number three on my list when he revoked the credentials of the "Washington Post"?
YOHO: Well, Mr. Trump, you know, he speaks what's on his mind and he's not shy about that and you know, I'll let you ask him about what he intended on that. I'm not going to speak for him. But I - you know, being in politics for three years, I see a lot of times, sometimes in the press things don't get printed accurately and I know you guys do a good job and - but I've had that experience myself when I say something and it shows up in the press differently and it's just - you know, sometimes you wonder are people playing politics just to sell media and I hope not.
SMERCONISH: I'm trying to drill down on the substance of it. You endorsed him, I get it, three weeks ago and again just a week ago and I was curious to know in what I perceived to have been a very rough week for the presumptive Republican nominee.
I just wondered if anything had taken place that have given you pause for concern. I mean, the fourth thing on my list and renewed his call for the Muslim ban. The Muslim ban would have had no impact on this American who's been in the country 30 years and killed those 49 people.
YOHO: I agree on that. I agree 100 percent with that but I also came out months ago saying that we need to suspend immigration into this country from countries from the Middle East that we can't properly vet. Again, I sat with the director of Homeland Security, the director of the NBI, Mr. Coome. And again, they have told us that they can't properly vet these people in an expedited time fashion.
So if we can't do that, the number one goal of the federal government is to provide for the common defense of this nation. I think it would be prudent to put a pause on that and this is not anti Muslim. This is anti terrorism and 100 percent national security and that's where our focus should be.
SMERCONISH: At the end of the week there was talk among some Republicans, you know, this has been a consistent source of conversation among some that at the convention maybe there will be an 11th hour effort to remove him as the nominee. You put any stock in that talk?
YOHO: You know, you hear all that kind of stuff and I think it's just talk. No, I mean he's the one clearly hands down throughout the nation, a resounding victories over and over again against 16 seasoned veteran politicians, and the American people have handed this to him and I think the wisdom of the American people speaks loudly and that's why I stand with him and I look forward to seeing him the White House as the next president of the United States.
SMERCONISH: Congressman Yoho, thank you so much for your time.
YOHO: Yes, sir, I appreciate it.
SMERCONISH: Up next, the mind of the mad man. What drove the Orlando killer to massacre dozens of people in a gay nightclub. It has to do with his own sexuality.
[09:30:06] SMERCONISH: The Orlando shooter was a radical Islamist with a wife and he allegedly patronized the nightclub that he shot up. Was he trying to hide his own homosexuality? And what else was at play?
Joining me now, forensics psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Welner, who's been involved in examining some very relevant cases, mass shootings like Aurora, bias crimes, terrorism cases, including some of the prisoners at Guantanamo.
What's a vanity mass killing? I've heard you to refer to this as that?
DR. MICHAEL WELNER, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: It's a thread in mass killings, a number of mass killings in which strangers are targeted is the killer wanting to transcend, to become larger than life, for us to talk about him, for us to write about him, for him to become someone who gets redefined as someone he's not. A marginal character that because there's so much attention focused on him, he becomes a notorious anti-hero and this may happen to someone who's psychiatrically ill or may just happen to someone who's a dead-ender but who's making a choice to be someone else.
But it's all about him. Holmes, the great example. Someone who is at a dead end point and really preparing, even referring to a website that he took out as a social branding destination. And that part of the planning isn't just to carry out a mass killing, but for the notoriety and the profile that comes with it.
SMERCONISH: But, Dr. Welner, here's the oddity of a case like this in which you're so expert. He's no alive to, I don't know if the word is right, enjoy his notoriety.
WELNER: Well, that's true, but -- but the payoff for him is responding to carry out a mass killing targeting Americans during Ramadan, and if something like that is executed for someone who follows the teachings of ISIS, which is all about Islamist supremacy -- in other words, these are the laws we want you to follow, then he's forgiven and he gets an express ticket to the paradise.
SMERCONISH: OK, but what is he getting --
WELNER: The better payoff than --
SMERCONISH: I'm questioning whether this is the guy looking for the 72 virgins, based on what I'm hearing and based on the clubs that he was patronizing. Is this all about him seeking atonement because he was closeted?
WELNER: I think we need to appreciate the utopias more than virgins. It's virgins for some. For others, it's a spiritual utopia.
We need to appreciate and fast that people who are drawn to ISIS in particular, because they're a different Islamist movements, ISIS is selling utopia. This is precisely why women get involved. This is the signature of how Orlando ties to San Bernardino.
ISIS in America, something where the woman draws the men in. There's a place for a woman. There's a place for a man. But what they're seeking alive or dead in the next world is utopia.
So, they're selling something idealized and this is how you achieve it. And if you believe, you buy into it. And that's how it all comes together. We may not relate to it, but that's how he relates to his faith.
SMERCONISH: But lacking your credentials, I'm looking at this and I'm seeing a case that reminds me of the minister who rails against homosexuality and then you find out he himself is closeted. I mean, is that part of what might be driving this?
WELNER: There are several possibilities and it's tricky unless we know more.
Let me break it down quickly. First of all, with a mass killing, and this is just for future reference, because these is discussions will happen. First thing you have to ask always is, were acquaintances targeted or were strangers? Once you establish that they were strangers, is it vanity or ideology?
The best way to distinguish it is that the ideological killer will not act alone. Nobody joins a vanity killer. He didn't act alone. Once that's established --
SMERCONISH: Wait, you mean the wife?
WELNER: I think the wife was involved at the very least. There's no way that what we know about the wife that she did not play a support and encouraging role. Keep in mind, this is a woman who was going to lose her husband and the father of her child. And this was the man who was going to lose his wife and his child.
And so, the handlers that we've seen in suicide bombers in other countries, they have that function. They don't blow themselves up, but they move someone along and they encourage them and they get them ready. What her role was, whether it was subtle, she wasn't killing herself and we don't know the extent of the entire plot, but she had to have been involved.
My point is this: when it comes to ideological mass killing, the key is the body count more than anything, because if you don't create spectacle, no one will pay attention. And in the spectacle ideological crime, the killer doesn't hide the ideology. He makes it clear for all to see.
SMERCONISH: Thank you for your expertise.
Everything you need to know about Donald Trump can be learned from what he likes on a golf course. What he is like on a golf course. Meaning, does he cheat? Does he lower the score? Does he move the ball?
Some interesting insight from someone who's played with him is coming next.
[09:39:24] SMERCONISH: This weekend, the 116th U.S. Open is being played at Pennsylvania's famed Oakmont Country Club. You know, the Scots say golf undresses a man. Well, if that's true what can we learn about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, a great fan and player of the sport from the way that he golfs?
Michael Bamberger knows the answer. He's the senior golf writer at "Sports Illustrated". He's hit the links with the Donald on at least nine occasions in the last 15 years, and he's written about those experiences. He joins us now from Oakmont.
All right, Michael. How's hi game, what's his handicap? [09:40:00] MICHAEL BAMBERGER, HAS PLAYED GOLF WITH TRUMP SEVERAL
TIMES: Well, he's a very good golfer. He's not as good as he thinks he is, but he's a very good golfer.
There's two different types of golfer. There's a golfer with the pencil in your hand where you actually keeping a proper score card, and then there's the way millions of other people play that you just sort of wing it and you go along as you care to. But he's probably an 82 shooter if he were playing legitimately, and he cites his golf skill as one of his qualifications for the presidency. So I guess it's a purview that we're talking out it.
SMERCONISH: Sure. Well, that and the size of his wallet.
So what's the strength of his game?
BAMBERGER: The strength of his game is that he's very effective at making the teams and the conditions of the match on the first tee. Once he's chosen the best partner of the three that he might choose and he assigns the handicaps in a way that suits him. It's almost a guarantee that four hours and 18 hours later, Trump will be victorious.
In addition, he's a big large man. He hits it long and in play. He's got a very lungy kind of swing. He played baseball and other sports as a kid. It's semi athletic, it's a lunge, he -- and then he putts very well, and I think one of the things he's proud of to take Donald Trump's golf serious for a moment here, he's a good short putter under pressure and he takes a lot of -- he takes a lot from that.
SMERCONISH: To borrow a line from "Caddyshack", does he keep things fair?
BAMBERGER: Keep it fair, keep it fair. Well, he's kind of -- he's not going to be like the Randy Dangerfield character, handing out 20s left and right. I think he's actually personally very frugal that way.
I think he keeps it fair in his mind but in actual fact, he's creating rules that have very situational. If he wants to take a mulligan wherever it might be, he takes a mulligan. If he wants to take a gimme from four feet, he takes a gimme. He just sort of does what he wants to do.
But bear in mind, every time I played Trump has been on a golf course that's Trump's name on it. So membership has its privileges and ownership has its privileges. He's not truly playing competitive golf like we're going to be seeing played at Oakmont, of course, this week. He's playing a very casual part of the game.
SMERCONISH: So, let me ask you a question that sort of spans his business prowess and his apparent love for golf. You know, many are saying that golf is on the wane right now. And there's a lot of talk about how there needs to be a campaign to say you can go just play nine, and yet he seems to have invested against that trend. Comment on that. BAMBERGER: Well, he's a bottom feeder buyer. I mean that was true in
his casinos as well. He sees the golf market is depressed and he's bought up courses, as you're saying, Michael, left and right including the Turnberry Resort, a beautiful, spectacularly beautiful golf resort in Scotland, and the Doral Resort in Miami which for years had a PGA tour event, but will no longer the 2016 event was the last time that they're going to have it.
And I talked to Trump at length about this very subject and he feels that golf's an aspirational sport and the rich and super rich to whom he caters almost exclusively are always going to want to play golf and he wants something he can turn over to his kids and he's said if he becomes president of the United States, his kids will run his golf empire.
He sort of belittles it, but it's actually a very significant part of his portfolio.
SMERCONISH: I've learned from you that at Westchester, his locker mate right next door is Bill Clinton. That's a twosome I would love to see out on the links, Michael Bamberger.
BAMBERGER: Yes, they've played together a number of times. In fact, Trump gave -- as I understand the story, Trump gave a membership to Clinton at this Trump Westchester course. Clinton didn't want to accept the membership as I'm hearing this story because he didn't think it looked appropriate or what the reasons might have been, but Trump was insistent and -- and regardless of how it happened, the fact is that Clinton hasn't resigned his membership. He must know that there's a locker bearing his name there.
And if you go right down on the road, there's Joe Torrios (ph) has a locker, one of the Manning brothers has a locker, and Trump's guy Lou Rinaldi also has a locker there.
SMERCONISH: Michael Bamberger, enjoy the weekend and thank you so much.
BAMBERGER: Delighted to, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Coming up, against many odds my hometown just became the first major American city to pass a new tax on soda. Was this the fight against obesity or something more and will other cities now follow suit?
[09:49:00] SMERCONISH: Philadelphia has just become the first major city to impose a tax on all sugary and artificially sweetened drinks. Forty other cities, including New York, have tried and failed, but only Berkeley, California, has previously done what Philadelphia has just accomplished. The tax 1.5 cents per ounce would add 18 cents to a 12 oz can, $1.01 to a 2 liter bottle, $2.16 to a 12-pack. It's anticipated to bring in $91 million per year.
Now, what further distinguished the Philly fight was the way that the city's mayor, James Kenney, framed the issue. He made it all about early education and not obesity. Revenues will be used for universal pre-K and other community programs.
So, has he just created a playbook for other cities to do likewise? The mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, joins me now.
Mayor, you graciously gave me 15 minutes for an interview about a month ago to talk all about this issue. You never once used the word "obesity".
JIM KENNEY, MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: Well, I mean, I think that that -- we tried twice before in Philadelphia, by using health concerns and health issues and it failed twice. We recognized that through polling and through the pre-K commission in Philadelphia, people wanted quality pre-K for as many children as possible.
The community school model was something that was attractive to people and everyone wants their recreation centers, libraries and parks to be in tip-top shape and ours sadly aren't. We have some facilities that are 80 years old and haven't been repaired in 40 years in a holistic way.
SMERCONISH: I mean, there were ads being run. People were going to movie theaters, in addition to previews of coming attractions, you would see a commercial put forth by groups opposed to this.
Have you created now the playbook as to how this might take hold across the country? Which is to say, identify a particular program that needs funding, don't talk about health, and then let them have at it.
KENNEY: Well, first of all, people should understand when you buy a beverage in a movie theater, it is so overpriced to begin with. So, the profit margin on these products, have been legendary and the profits that the soda companies have been making is legendary. What we're saying is basically you have marketed this product to poor people for generations.
All we're asking for is for a tax to let some of the money stay in struggling communities so that kids can have a better chance. It's clearly shown that 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds who have quality pre-K have a much better chance of being successful citizens than those who don't.
SMERCONISH: You know the criticisms. People will say, you just referenced the poor. People will say, well, this is a regressive tax.
KENNEY: Well, it isn't a aggressive tax. What's regressive is the way the big soda companies have treated the poor over generations by marketing in an unbelievable amount of marketing efforts in poor and in minority communities. I mean, the single-most achieved disease in African-American community is diabetes, if you're born with it, that's one thing. But if you acquire it through years and years of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages that are totally absorbed into your system, you're more likely to get diabetes than not.
SMERCONISH: Mayor Jim Kenney, thank you for being here.
KENNEY: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, 1.4 million people have signed a petition calling for the removal of the judge who gave a light sentence to the Stanford student convicted of three sexual assault felonies. You may not have heard what his decision was based on. Advice from neutral people involved in the case, and I will explain in a moment.
[09:56:40] SMERCONISH: Finally, a word on the case that the Orlando tragedy knocked out of the headlines. Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer who was convicted of three counts of sexual assault. I think there's a little bit more to this story.
The firestorm surrounding Turner's sentence, well, that continues. More than 1.4 million people have signed a petition calling for the removal of Judge Aaron Persky. And last Tuesday, a Santa Clara County prosecutor initiated the removal of the judge from hearing a sexual assault case that involved a male nurse and a sedated female patient. Plus, 16 jurors have now refused to serve in Judge Persky's courtroom because of his ruling in the Turner case.
The former Stanford swimmer faced a maximum of 14 years in state prison. The prosecution sought a sentence of six years, the judge gave him just six months.
So, this week, I read the 98-page sentencing file that was supplied to the judge by the probation department. That report is based on an investigation of the case. It includes interviews with the victim and the defendant. And it makes recommendations to the judge.
I was curious to see whether any of the contents could supply justification for the judge's slap on the wrist. The judge has been publicly charged with sexism. So I was surprised to see that the probation officer who conducted the investigation was a woman. Monica Lassettre, a deputy probation officer and both she and her supervisor, Frank Nessi (ph) signed the report which called for quote a moderate county jail sentence. Translated, that means four to six months.
The report cited the defendant's age, lack of criminal record, expressed remorse, sympathy toward the victim and the role of alcohol in the assault. Among the observations, quote, "This case, when compared to crimes of similar nature, may be considered less serious due to the defendant's level of intoxication."
The report also noted the desire of the victim, writing, "Perhaps just as importantly but sometimes overlooked, are the victim's wishes as to the potential outcome." Wait a minute. The victim's wishes?
The victim, you'll remember, read a 7,000 word letter to the rapist in the courtroom, that made her anger pretty clear. But according to the probation report, she earlier told the probation investigator, quote, "I want him to be punished. But as a human, I want him to get better. I don't want him to feel like his life is over and I don't want him to rot away in jail. He doesn't need to be behind bars."
She was later understandably upset to learn that her words were used to imply that she didn't want the defendant to be punished at all for his actions and she claimed they were distorted, and taken out of context.
Let me be clear about too, think that six months was too lax for three felony convictions and the buck plainly stops with Aaron Persky. He's the judge. But I just wanted to point out that he didn't make this decision in a vacuum. And he actually exceeded the neutral sentencing recommendation of the county probation department.
Plus, we have to worry about the chilling effect that his removal might have. You'd hate to be a defendant awaiting sentencing if judges suddenly think their job's on the line unless they throw the book at everybody.
That's it for today's program. Please tweet me, @Smerconish. I'll see you here next week.