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Trump Questions Obama's Response to Russian Meddling; Five GOP Senators Balk at Own Party's New Bill; GOP Senator: Nothing in Bill Will Lower Premiums. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired June 24, 2017 - 06:00   ET


[06:00:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A news report reveals Russian President Vladimir Putin they direct orders to defeat Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump as President.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is as close to a bombshell internal coo if you will.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election. And he did nothing about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not like we have an immediate clear snapshot if what the Russians were up to.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, CONTRIBUTOR TO THE PRESIDENT: There is no evidence of collusion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another Republican Senator says he cannot support the Healthcare Bill.

SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEVADA: I cannot support a piece of legislation. There is interest away from tens of millions of Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cuts to Medicaid are very specific and they're the most traumatic.

TRUMP: I think that they'll probably get there. We'll have to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "New Day" weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're so glad to have you with us on a weekend. Good morning to you.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Let's start with the big stories that President Trump is juggling this morning. First, Russian hacking allegations now pointed directly at the Kremlin and the vote also on his signature Health Care Bill that seems to be maybe drowning in the Senate.

Now, in about two weeks the president could be standing face to face with the Russian president at the G-20 meeting in Germany.

PAUL: This is a stunning lesson since those reports suggesting President Obama knew about Moscow's attempt to hack the U.S. elections but didn't do enough to stop them. President Trump quick to jump on that, listen.


TRUMP: Well, I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election. And he did nothing about it, but nobody wants to talk about that. The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even, you know, before the election. And I hardly see it.

It's an amazing thing to me, you know, in other words, the question is if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it.


PAUL: Meanwhile, more skeptical senators, you see them all here on your screen weighing in on the Republican health care plan right now does not look like it has enough votes to pass the senate. A Fifth GOP senator now, Dean Heller, has come out saying "it's simply not the answer."

First, however, we want to begin with the allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin may have ordered hacking of the U.S. elections. CCN Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski walks us through what happened.


MICHELLE KONSINSKI, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A bomb shell report starkly laying out the U.S. intelligence community's case for Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. And revealing it was directly ordered by Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Post detailing that intelligence sources had captured Putin's own instructions to disrupt and discredit the Presidential race with the goal of defeating or hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump.

The CIA delivered the intelligence by courier to President Obama in August. The post interviews with Former Senior Obama administration officials revealed the frustrations now among some of them that more was not done to punish Russia. "One, it's the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend. I feel like we sort of choked."

They say the administration was worried about appearing to try to influence the election themselves as well as provoking Russia. One official explained our primary interest in August, September, and October was to prevent them from doing the max they could do.

And after the election, some of the harsher options for punishing Russia like a matter of cyber attack on them. We're sweeping sanctions to ease concerns and roadblocks from a number of corners.

Former Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken defended the Obama administration.

TONY BLINKEN, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Maybe the judgment was wrong. Maybe we should have acted differently maybe we should have done certain things that we didn't do. But given everything we were dealing with, given first of all, again, the perception that Russia's main objective was to undermine competence in the elections. That was really one thing that motivated us to be careful about how we play this in public.

KOSINSKI: The Obama administration did such of all roles and for secret program to infiltrate Russia's infrastructure with cyber weapons, controlled remotely like digital bombs that could cripple Russia's systems. But Obama left office while we still on the planning stage.

The White House says Trump stands by his January comment that he thinks Russia was involved in a hacking. And has no plans to fire the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation Robert Mueller despite Trump in an interview expressing worry over Mueller's friendliness with fired FBI Director James Comey.

TRUMP: And which is very bothersome but he is also -- and we're going to have to see it.

KOSINSKI: And that same interview on Fox, Trump also addressed why he alluded to possibly having recordings of his conversations with Comey when in fact, he had none.

[06:05:07] TRUMP: But when he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there whether it's governmental tapes or anything else. And who knows, I think his story may have changed. I mean, you'll have to take a look at that because then he has to tell what actually took place at the events.

KOSINSKI: But when CNN pressed.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But my question for you is what is the White House, what is President Trump now doing to prevent Russia from doing this again?

CONWAY: This report is new and we'll discuss within later.

KOSINSKI: Again and again.

CAMEROTA: I mean, against Russia, what is he doing specifically to try to stop this?

CONWAY: Alisyn, I've realize that we just like to say the word Russia, Russia to mislead the voters. And I know that CNN is aiding and abetting this none sense as well but that's in the same question three times now and I'm not answering it.

CAMEROTA: And you're not answering it Kellyanne.

CONWAY: Yes I am. He's the President of the United Sates.

CAMEROTA: And what he's doing?

CONWAY: He has said very clearly that he wants the voter integrity and the ballot integrity to be protected.

KOSINSKI (on camera): So, on the investigations at the end of day, Friday, which was supposed to be the deadline. The house intelligence committee was still waiting for James Comey's memos as well as any official word from the White House that they don't have recordings of the conversations between Trump and Comey.

And as we see the investigation evolved, now the Senate Judiciary Committee wants information from President Obama as former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to see if she might have improperly influenced the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. Michelle Kosinski, CNN, Washington.


BLACKWELL: All right. Michelle thanks. Let's bring in now CNN Politics Reporter Eugene Scott and CNN contributor Jill Dougherty. Good morning to you.

And Eugene, I want to start with you with the President's comments to fox in which -- I wonder does this now suggests that the President acknowledges Russia's meddling in the 2016 election but only if he can blame president Obama for the lack of action?

EUGENE SCOTT, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Well it certainly looks like it. I mean, the question I think people would need to know is what is the President going to do moving forward?

It's easy to blame former President Barack Obama about how his own administration admits that they did not do all that they could do. But we had Republican Lawmaker Adam Kinzinger on us. CNN yesterday saying that if the Republicans don't do something about what Russia has done immediately, then the Republican Party could find itself on the receiving end of attacks from the Russian government in upcoming elections.

And so, there's a lot of forward leaping that needs to happen according to even the lawmakers and the President's own party.

BLACKWELL: Jill, President Obama's Ambassador Russian told the Washington Post as part of the story that the punishment did not fit the crime. So, let's talk about the effectiveness of those sanctions that were announced at the end of 2016.

Have they deterred Russia I guess jeopardized their willingness or ability to interfere in 2018, 2020 potentially?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think that you can say that directly they've had any influence on Vladimir Putin's decision to influence elections, et cetera. It's a different type of thing. It just put financial pressure, there's certainly proof of that in the Russian economy. But oil prices have been very significant too. So, that's one step. I think the more interesting step -- and that's the question -- is that second part about the cyber weapons that program that President Obama authorized and apparently began to be developed but wasn't fully developed and certainly wasn't implemented against the Russians.

And those cyber weapons that were apparently ready kind of like it has been described, just kind of bombs within the Russian system not having been used. What will President Trump do? Will he continue to have that developed? Will he perhaps use it as a bargaining chip with Vladimir Putin? These are all very serious questions.

And as we pointed out at the beginning of this segment, President Putin and President Trump are expected to meet very soon at the beginning of July in Germany at the G-20 meeting. So, there's a lot riding on this on many, many levels right there.

BLACKWELL: Eugene, let's turn to Tony Blinken, President Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor. And he says that there are many who are judging the administration in mid 2017 on information they had back in 2016. Let's watch.


TONY BLINKEN, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: When you go back, this was a moving picture. It's not like we had an immediate clear snapshot of what the Russians were up to. It evolved over time. At first, we thought they were simply trying to do. What they always do which was pull information. See if they could get something then use later down the road. Then it looked like they were trying to basically interfere in the election mostly by creating doubt about our institutions.

The more we played this up in public, the more we played our game. We actually create even further doubt by making this into a big public matter.


[06:10:07] BLACKWELL: Now the administration has been criticized since this report came out yesterday about injecting politics here when on its face they I guess seem really tried not to inject politics but the opposite actually happened.

SCOTT: Absolutely. And I think Blinken also worked hard to try to defend the idea that the Obama administration did absolutely nothing which is what President Donald Trump suggested. We know there was the warning at the G-20 summit. We know that there were economic sanctions. We know that diplomats were dispelled from their compounds in the U.S.

But I think the question, again, looking forward is even if the Obama administration was fully knowledgeable of the full extent of Russian's involvement, the question becomes what is the current administration going to do to take them and what Russia is currently doing or planning for 2018 elections and further. BLACKWELL: So, Jill, in response to this reporting, there was the response from the Russian government the show must go on. What did you make of that?

DOUGHERTY: You know, I think basically it was just saying the show is in kind of the circus goes on in the United States. I mean, that is what the Russian administration has been saying now for quite some time that essentially this is all a lie. Russia did nothing of the kind. Show us the proof. And by the way, you have, as President Putin himself said, this kind of political schizophrenia drummed up by the media to bring down Donald Trump. And so I think that that Spokesperson Maria Zakharova probably meant that, but it's a big circus. It means nothing.

But I think there's a broader thing here, Victor, that when you look at this reporting and what it says that it was kind of incremental. It was happening slowly and awareness was growing. It would appear now that you had not only the individual tactics like let's say hacking or this or that specific things.


DOUGHERTY: But there is a big confluence, a big program of a whole lot of different things that they were using. Hacking which is given to Wikileaks, Wikileaks spreads it around the world. Then you have fake news that's been generated in various places including in the United States. That gets sucked up into the vortex of social media around the world.


DOUGHERTY: And it -- and also the use of PSYOP, Psychological Operations as was just noted to diminish faith in the American system. So it's much broader and it does continue.

BLACKWELL: And directed according to the Washington post reporting by Putin himself. Jill Dougherty s there for us in Moscow and Eugene Scott, thank you so much.

PAUL: Well, the math just got tougher for Senate Republicans in their new bill to replace Obamacare. Another GOP Senator now said he cannot back this bill in its current form and he's got some harsh things to say about it.

BLACKWELL: Plus, more than 120 people are missing after a landslide in China. We'll take you to the desperate search underway for survivors right now.

PAUL: And a confederate flag is flying over a South Carolina restaurant. The business owner says he cannot take it down even though it's dividing his community.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never stopped there and don't plan to as long as that flag is still up there. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not bothering anybody, it's not hurting anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It definitely needs to come down.



[06:17:53] PAUL: So less than one week to go before the Senate hopes to vote on their bill to replace Obamacare.

GOP leaders though have an uphill climb to get those votes, because there are now five Republican senators who say they just cannot just support it. Here are those faces that are saying that. Some opposing, some expressing simple concern, but they can't support this in its current form. GOP leaders only can afford to lose two members of their caucus in order for this bill to pass.

BLACKWELL: Now, the latest to oppose this bill, Senator D. Heller of Nevada, a Blue State Republican facing a tough re-election in 2018. He talked about these issues with the bill in a news conference yesterday. And watch this.


HELLER: I'm telling you right now, I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.

You have to protect Medicaid expansion states. That's what I want. Make sure that we're taken care of here in the state of Nevada.


PAUL: CNN Politics Reporter Eugene Scott with us now and Washington Bureau for the Chief for the New York Post Gabby Morrongiello, thank you both for sticking around. Good to see you.

So who, Eugene, does Majority Leader McConnell focus on swaying, moderates or conservatives?

SCOTT: Well, it seems like right now the number of conservatives who are backing away from the bill seems to be slightly larger. I think there are at least three on that list. But the expressing concern piece I think is the big question mark. We have three senators there, why they have expressed concern hasn't been focused on as much as the fact that there are five already saying no.

I think that what we are experiencing and witnessing is something that we saw earlier this bill and what we should have predicted before Donald Trump came to the White House.

Ideologically the Republican Party is more diverse on issues related to health care than some people think. Getting all of them on the same page is appearing to be a lot more difficult than many people thought it would be.

PAUL: Gabby, Dean Heller from Nevada had a lot more to say about this and it got very pontiff. Let's listen here.


HELLER: This lie in health care in the last ten years was if you like your doctor you can keep him. That was the biggest lie in health care. Here's the second biggest lie. This bill passes, second biggest lie is your premium to going down. And there isn't anything in this piece of legislation that will lower your premiums.


[06:20:16] PAUL: A Republican senator saying it is a lie that this bill will lower premiums. Any chance that they're going to get him to flip or any of these folk who are saying no right now?

GABBY MORRONGIELLO, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, NEW YORK POST: Well, I don't anticipate that Dean Heller is going to come to the table on this or even be one that McConnell is going to be focusing on swaying, because he's the most vulnerable Republicans in terms of the upcoming 2018 elections.

I mean he really finds himself on a difficult position here coming from a state where the very people who elected him are those who he promised that he would help repeal Obamacare. One Republican stepped back to the senate when they had an opportunity to do so.

So it puts him in a difficult position if he chooses now to walk away from a bill that would partially do that. But at the same time if you follow through on this and, you know, based on those comments that he made in that press conference he's really going to give Democrats plenty of ammo come 2018 to attack him on. Particularly if this bill which is already fairly unpopular with most Americans does end up leaving millions of Americans uninsured and does lead to skyrocketing premiums.

PAUL: Yes. Which brings to light that the whole controversy of if it's political, or is it about the content in this bill and the people that it affects.

So I want to listen to, you know, well I want to say McConnell obviously -- Leader McConnell characterizes this bill as a discussion draft. Those are his words saying it will stabilize the markets. It will make Medicaid stronger that consumers will pay less. But let's talk about Medicaid specifically.

This is a plan that shows a more gradual face out of the Medicaid expansion and the house bill. Conservatives want to shrink the coverage. Moderates want the coverage. This obviously affects on of a lot of people, Eugene, is there any flexibility here for middle ground?

SCOTT: Well, I can imagine that there is with certain law makers. I mean you have people like Ryan Paul and people like Ted Cruz who would like to see this bill look as different from the Affordable Care Act as possible. But like we said we just had Heller who is from this Blue State that was devastated by the economic downturn and saw the need for Medicaid increase.

Look at Obamacare far more favorably than some conservative law makers did. And so they're really coming from such different value systems and world views in terms of what their constituent's desire most when it comes to health care coverage.

PAUL: All right. Gabby, let's talk about pre-existing conditions. The plan requires insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions. However, it give states an opt out options so to speak. So, is it fair to say those of preexisting conditions aren't particularly safe with this plan at is?

MORRONGIELLO: You know, I hesitate to say yes or no on that, just because this is such a complicated issue as we saw with the house passage of the health care bill.

I mean, preexisting conditions is certainly something that a lot of Republicans realize the importance of ensuring that, you know, Americans with previous medical history preexisting conditions are able to get health insurance. And if they're not paying extraordinary cost to get that health insurance when healthier individuals aren't forced to pay that same cost.

And so I think that that's certainly something that's taken under consideration here and one that will be discussed going forward. I mean next week we're likely to see a number of measures introduced especially by these conservative senators who came out opposing this bill last week.

I know that Senator Lee is working on something that propose allowing insurers who are offer plans on the Obamacare exchanges to also offer on unregulated plans. I know that Ted Cruz's office is working on something that would -- work on amending parts of the health care bill that was proposed last week.

So the bill that was released last week, this draft discussion is likely to undergo changes next week before it reaches the vote which McConnell is obviously pushing for before that July 4th holiday.

PAUL: Not only that, Eugene, but, you know, the CBO is releasing their score as well. How might that influence what happens?

SCOTT: Well, certainly I think the Democrats are going to hop on it. Particularly if the member is larger than what the previous estimate was. And we know that Republicans are probably going to say that the CBO got it wrong with the Obama administration and it's an over exaggeration.

I think the reality though is that people who are depending on the government for health care should just be paying attention and reading up themselves and taking responsibility for trying to understand what this bill will or will not do and not depending solely on the lawmakers that represent them to tell them how it will not harm them. PAUL: All right. Eugene Scott, Gabby Morrongiello, always appreciate you being here. Thank you.


SCOTT: Thank you.

[06:25:02] BLACKWELL: A new report explains just how much former President Obama knew about Russia's attempt to meddle in the 2016 elections. Next you'll hear from the Washington Post reporter behind that report on finding evidence of Vladimir Putin's direct involvement.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is as close to a bombshell internal coo if you will for an intelligence service and for CIA as ever.



PAUL: Well, welcome back on a Saturday morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell, good morning to you.

President Trump, he has I guess a full plate this week. He probably has a full plate every week. First the Washington Post report linking the Vladimir Putin directly to the hackings of the 2016 elections, also the GOP health care vote that seems to be struggling in the senate.

President Trump is taking aim at Former President Obama questioning why his characterization here. The former president did not act on the Russia information.

He tweeted this, "Just out the Obama administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. Why?"

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also, the GOP may be voting on their health care plan in the Senate Thursday. The numbers are not in their favor at the moment. There's a fifth GOP senator threatening to vote no right now.

BLACKWELL: Well, Anderson Cooper spoke with the reporter who broke this latest story on the Russian hacking and here's Adam Entous of the "Washington Post" says this discovery was different.


ADAM ENTOUS, STAFF WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: What happened in this case is that the Russians, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, not only were doing what they always do, which is basically snooping around in the computer systems of all political parties, but in this case they made a decision to basically take e-mails that they knew would be harmful to one side and inject them into the public through WikiLeaks in this case in order to try to shape the outcome of an election.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And Jeh Johnson, Obama's former Homeland Security secretary, mentioned this in his testimony yesterday. But you also report that it was Vladimir Putin himself who in fact signed off on these attacks and they have evidence of that.

ENTOUS: Right. I mean, I think that was really the most remarkable, dramatic moment, if you will, that we discovered which was basically the CIA in either late July or very early in August gets very sensitive intelligence from a very reliable source of information. It's very rare for the CIA, despite a popular perception that they have information on everything, it's very hard for them to get Putin himself, him providing an instruction.

That is as close to a bombshell internal coupe if you will for an intelligence service and for the CIA as ever. So for the CIA itself to get this from such a reliable source of information was a turning point for the administration as it was trying to decide how to respond.


BLACKWELL: Now when asked by CNN if she had any comment on the "Washington Post" story, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry responded with a text message. Just four words. "Show must go on."

PAUL: Representatives Steve Scalise has been released from the intensive care unit of a Washington Hospital after he was shot in the hip last week at a practice for the GOP baseball team. A statement from the hospital says Scalise is in fair condition now. Earlier medical reports have said he was shot in his left hip and suffered significant damage to his internal organs. Another Alexandria shooting victim, Matt Mica, also in good condition and has been discharged from the hospital as well.

BLACKWELL: An early morning landslide that has buried dozens of homes in a village in China and now hundreds of rescuers are there hoping to find survivors.

PAUL: Also conflicting stories as jurors in the Bill Cosby sexual offense speak out for the first time. Why women screams their outrage over Cosby's next moves. We'll discuss it.


[06:37:10] BLACKWELL: There's a desperate search happening right now in China. More than 120 people are missing after a landslide there. This started near the top of the mountain buried part of a village there in central China. Emergency responses have been activated and the Chinese president called for an all-out search to find people who may be buried under all this. Nearly 800 people are there digging through the mud and the muck there. They were able to find just one couple and their newborn baby so far. That happens just a few hours ago.

PAUL: Well, not even a week after a mistrial in the sexual offense case and with a second criminal trial spending in the future, Bill Cosby planning on hosting a series of town halls -- listen to this -- to teach young people about how to avoid sexual assault charges.

There are a number of women's advocacy groups, as you can imagine, who have criticized the idea, calling it outrageous and, quote, disgusting. This as conflicting jury stories have started to emerge about what really happened inside that jury room.

Here's CNN correspondent Jean Casarez.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The male juror that spoke out to CNN did so anonymously but told us that within that jury deliberation room, it was a 7-5, 5-7 split almost continually deadlocked from the beginning. And the issue was understanding the law.

They didn't know how to define reckless behavior on the part of Cosby or unconsciousness on the part of Andrea Constand or unreasonableness. He said it was a small room and the emotions started to build. And near the end, there were a lot of tears. And then, of course, there was deliberation on the facts.


UNIDENTIFIED JUROR: This thing was closed in '05. The district attorney over there was enough evidence that the incident supposedly happened in '04 with Andrea. It took her over a year to contact the hometown police up in Toronto. And then no wonder she wouldn't remember. And the fact that he supposedly gave her pills, which she took without asking any questions, an adult woman, 31 years old, it's unbelievable.


CASAREZ: Trial testimony shows that Andrea Constand's good friend was beginning to sell bath salts and that's why she took them, at his request. And that Cosby had said in the past he liked incense and that's why she took it to him. She also did say on the stand that her top was showed a little bit of her midriff, and that allowed Cosby to touch her. And then she leaned forward so he couldn't go any farther.

And this juror says that a retrial is not worth the time or the money, that a lot of money was spent treating the jurors like royalty and the taxpayers just shouldn't have to pay for that again.

Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.


[06:40:08] PAUL: CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson with us now.

Joey, first of all your reaction.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. My reaction is, is that I think we need to do a better job -- we, lawyers, the system of justice -- in two respects. I think number one, in defining the law and in giving examples about what the law means.

What is reckless? OK. The conscious disregard of a risk. What? Well, what exactly does that mean? Well, when you're driving and weaving in and out of traffic you don't mean to hit anyone but you consciously disregard the risk you could. Give jurors examples of what the law means.

The second thing we could do, Christi, is we could encourage, and many judges do and of course it's part of the legal instructions, to say hey, do you guys have questions about anything? Come back and speak to us, not only about factual issues, about what Miss Constand might have said, what Bill Cosby said, about the law, too, and they did ask for reasonable doubt, but now we come to find, Christi, it wasn't only reasonable doubt they wanted answers to, but they wanted answers to all the other issues that Jean talked about.

And so I think as a system we need to do that. The legislature of course defines the law and the law is what it is but in terms of explaining it to laymen that have to figure it out I think that we need to do that.

PAUL: So, Joey, what do you think the prosecution learned in this case that it may do differently a second time around?

JACKSON: You know, ultimately what happens is the facts are what the facts are, but there's something in law, it's called primacy and recency, and that means that you start out with a bang and you end with a bah-boom. And so I think what the prosecution will do is perhaps they might restructure the manner in which they presented their witnesses. Clearly, you know, Miss Constand and her story, there are some things to overcome when she reported it, the inconsistencies which she initially said to the police, which she later said on the witness stand and later told other authorities in Philadelphia.

So they have some issues that they have to deal with. I think the manner in which they present it will be perhaps differently and I also think that both lawyers, the defense and the prosecution, will spend a little bit more time explaining the legal concepts. Now clearly that's the judge's job and oftentimes when we lawyers say, ladies and gentlemen, you learn about reckless. And this is the judge saying, that's for me.

But I think both sides will ask the judge to instruct the jurors as to what the law means, and not only, Christi, what it means, but how it applies to the facts before them and I think, you know, they'll spend a lot more time on that. That's not to suggest that another jury might view it differently. You may have another hung jury or, in fact, perhaps we'll have a jury this time that reaches a verdict.

PAUL: Joey, we understand that the count was 10-2. Ten to convict, two hold-outs. Page Pate, another attorney, had said it can't be he said-she said if he doesn't say anything, and that he believed that he needed to take the stand. How plausible do you think that is that Bill Cosby will get on the stand?

JACKSON: I know Page, wonderful attorney. Outstanding individual by the way. I do have a disagreement. Number one the jury did hear from Bill Cosby. They heard from him because he gave a statement to the police initially, one of which were investigated in the case. That statement was read to the jury. So Cosby did testify.

Number two, Cosby gave a deposition. That was read to the jury and so indeed, Cosby testified again and I think if Cosby takes the stand, anything that he says on the witness stand that runs afoul of what he told police initially in 2005, Christi, I can't remember what I did last week. You're going to ask me what I said in 2005 or anything that he said in a deposition is going to be used against him to say, you're lying because you're inconsistent.

And we never say the same thing quite the same way twice. So I think it would be a horrific idea for him to take the stand and final point, the defense needed to do what they had to do. Why? Because their client is not in jail. He's walking free. And it's a hung jury.


JACKSON: So I like Page, I just disagree with him.

PAUL: Before I let you go, I have to ask you about this tour of town halls as it's being characterized that Cosby is going to go on as we understand it from one of his PR folks who said that he's going to go teach young people about how to avoid sex assault charges. Smart thing to do? How would you advise him when we know there is a second trial pending?

JACKSON: That is not going to happen, Christi. Not the second trial, I think that will. But in terms of this tour. There's oftentimes a distinction between what your public relations people think is in your best interest than what your lawyers believe to be in your best interest and I would have to think that his lawyers are saying, are you kidding me right now, to have him do that? You're going to taint the jury because there are going to be protesters there.

You're going to have victim advocates who are going to be there. You're going to have the pushback of them saying, are you really the most credible and best person to do that? Anything he says is going to be written and recorded down by the prosecution. So from a public relations' perspective, I think it's a disaster.

[06:45:04] From a legal perspective it's even worse and I think they'll have a meeting of the minds and they'll say, you know what, this may have been a trial balloon, let's just move on, let's get to that other trial and let's see if we can get an acquittal this time.

PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, always appreciate to have your voice in this. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: A jury has convicted a former Vanderbilt University football player in the gang rape of an unconscious woman. Brandon Banks was found guilty on two charges in this 2013 assault.

You may remember there was a group of football players who attacked a female student in a campus dorm room. The detectives found cell phone photos and videos showing the men laughing during the assault. Banks now faces up to 15 years in prison.

PAUL: And in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, will pay more than a million dollars over the death of Michael Brown. The city's attorney says they settled the wrongful death lawsuit with Brown Stanley for $1.5 million. A police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, remember, in 2014. That officer was not charged after an investigation. The shooting set off weeks, though, of protests across the country.

BLACKWELL: Well, it is a divisive symbol flying high above the parking lot a restaurant in South Carolina. Next, why the owner of that business wants it gone but cannot take it down.


TOMMY DARAS, RESTAURANT OWNER: The flag needs to be moved and if there's any possible way that I can do it it's going to be done.



[06:50:34] BLACKWELL: Welcome back. I was in central South Carolina this week where there's a Confederate flag that's flying high above a restaurant in the town of Orangeburg. Now some customers hate it. Others revere it.

Question, what does the owner of the business think about that flag? Turns out it doesn't matter. Here's why.


BLACKWELL (voice-over): This broad stretch of John C. Calhoun Drive is flanked by two unambiguous landmarks. And each in its own way signifies exactly where you are.

On the right a sign welcoming you to Orangeburg, South Carolina. Population roughly 13,000 and more than three quarters black. On the left, a Confederate flag. The flag flies atop this pole, right next to the sign for the Edisto River Creamery. By now you know the flag's divisive history and seemingly everyone in Orangeburg has an opinion about the flag at the ice cream shop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It needs to come down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never stop there and don't plan to as long as that flag is still up there. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not bothering anybody, it's not hurting


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It definitely needs to come down. I think it will get more business, honestly, if they do take it down.

BLACKWELL: And what does the owner of this restaurant have to say?

DARAS: That flag needs to be moved and if there's any possible way that I can do it, it's going to be done.

BLACKWELL (on camera): But right now you can't?

DARAS: Right now we're gridlocked.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): To understand why Tommy Daras cannot remove the flag you need to know about this man.


BLACKWELL: Maurice Bessinger. Politician, activist and founder of Maurice's Piggie Park, chain of barbecue restaurants across central South Carolina.

In a 2008 interview with "Newsweek," Bessinger showed off his collection of Confederate memorabilia that filled his restaurants. He was a fierce defender of state's rights and segregation. In his 2004 autobiography, Bessinger called the Civil Rights Act unconstitutional and the Supreme Court ruling that integrated public schools a really bad decision.

Then in 2000, when this happened at the South Carolina state capital --

BESSINGER: I raised the flag out here on the big pole. To protest the taking down of our heritage flag.

BLACKWELL: Maurice Bessinger died in 2014. Of the flags outside his stores, Bessinger wrote, "There they will stay. I will fight on because this is what God wants me to do."

A year after his death, Tommy Daras and his wife bought the Orangeburg location from Bessinger's children but not all of it.

(On camera): Before Bessinger died, he sold the tiny bit of land surrounding this flagpole, a little more than three-thousandths of an acre for just five dollars to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 842.

BUZZ BRAXTON, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS: We've been trying ever since to honor, honor the Confederate soldier.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Buzz Braxton who is commander of the group's Eighth Brigade and member of Camp 842. BRAXTON: He put it in the hands of people that he trusted because he

loved his Confederate ancestors and his Confederate history just like we do. So there was nothing sinister.

BLACKWELL: Initially Daras accepted the flag and the nearby marker. But that changed weeks after his grand opening. The group flew a larger flag in the aftermath of the 2015 church shooting in Charleston. Dylann Roof killed nine church members after calling for a race war.

DARAS: From that day forward, all hell broke loose for me because, you know, my windows were broken out, by phone was ringing off the hook, my employees were harassed. I was fist-fighting with people in the parking lot. Everyone in town assumed it was my property because it looks like it's attached to this building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it's unfortunate for him. But me personally and a lot of people I know will not shop here because of this flag.

BLACKWELL: Maurice Bessinger's battle for the flag rages on. Daras has hired a lawyer.

DARAS: That flag needs to be moved.

BLACKWELL: The Sons of the Confederate Veterans say they're ready.

BRAXTON: As long as we're alive.


BLACKWELL: Well, the attorney for that ice cream shop's owner says that the corner is really zoned for commercial use so the flag pole and the market should be moved because they're violating zoning rules. Well, just a couple of days ago the city rejected that approach. The attorney says they plan to appeal.

And there's also the question of who actually owns the land because Daras' attorney says that the land sell records show no exception for the roughly 130 square feet that Bessinger sold to the Sons of Confederate Veterans 10 years earlier. So it's deed versus deed and this could end up in court.

[06:55:03] PAUL: All right. Hey, Victor, thank you.

Up next, a Republican senator says it's a lie that the GOP health care bill will lower premiums. Tough words adding to the tough math this morning for GOP leaders looking to lock in votes before next week's decision. We're going to dig into the policy and the politics. Stay close.


PAUL: Well, this week's "CNN HERO:" has a real passion for helping adults with disabilities get jobs. Take a listen.


AMY WRIGHT, 2017 CNN HERO: People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world. And yet they're an invisible minority because most of them are so used to being in the shadows.

Our 40 employees, they're proud to be employed by Bitty and Beau's coffee and they will shout it from the rooftops. It's given them a sense of being valued and respected in ways that we take for granted.


BLACKWELL: To find out how Amy is making this happen, go to, and while you're there nominate someone who is changing the world to be 2017 CNN Hero.