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Poll: Trump Approval Drops To 36 Percent Amid Stalled Agenda; New Special Counsel Appointed To Handle White House Response; Trump Names Ty Cobb As White House Special Counsel; Fired FBI Director James Comey Writing A Book. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 16, 2017 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No legal violation for the media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a story that keeps eating away at the credibility of the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you clean, come on clean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ty Cobb is a powerful Washington, D.C. defense attorney and he is expected to now oversee the White House response to the Russia investigation.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to repeal and replace Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Republican Senator John McCain recovering from eye surgery will not perform any official duties all next week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Donald Trump was in Paris this week, he met the French president's wife, Brigitte Macron, and he said you are in such good shape. If he said that to you, would you flattered or offended?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd be taken aback. I wonder if she could say the same of him.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Always good to see you even this early on a Sunday morning. Thank you for being with us.

New this morning for you, Republican health care bill on hold yet again. Overnight, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell putting the brakes on this week's planned vote after word that Senator John McCain is recovering from surgery. He had to have a blood clot removed.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: That means the senator will not be returning to Capitol Hill this week, and one of the president's big agenda items will not be moving closer to his desk for signature. It's the president's stalled agenda leading to dropping approval numbers in this new poll from "The Washington Post" and ABC News. It's down to 36 percent. Sixty percent now say they disapprove.

PAUL: Also this morning, the president's reelection campaign paying big money to his son's legal team. The $50,000 payment coming just days after Jared Kushner disclosed his secret meeting with the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

Plus from FBI director to author now, James Comey writing a book about his public service. What else will this meticulous memo taker say about his role in the 2016 election and his oval office interactions with President Trump?

PAUL: So plenty to discuss. With me now, CNN political commentator and political anchor at Spectrum News, Errol Louis, and White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Sarah Westwood. Good morning to both of you.

Want to talk about these poll numbers that we are seeing first and foremost. The approval rating as we saw dropped to 36 percent. It was 42 percent back in April.

We are hearing that part of that may be that 48 percent of the people only see President Trump's leadership in the world weaker since the inauguration and that they are also seeing an inability to progress some of his policy. That is what is citing some of these low numbers.

Errol, what is your initial reaction to the numbers we are seeing coming out this morning?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: These, apparently, are some of the worse numbers in decades and so you have to go back almost to like the Ford administration, I think to see the level of disapproval quite so high, quite so early in a president's term.

So that causes some problems for the White House. My sense of it, though, I got to tell you, Christi, is that I think that some of the -- the distrust of whether or not the administration is doing the right thing on the world stage ties back to some of this uncertainty about the financial dealings of the Trump family, Donald Trump in particular, the lack of the tax returns.

Never quite knowing whether or not it's the country's interest or some private financial interest that is being advanced. Because if you probe into the poll, what it says is that people are not trusting this administration to do the right thing when it comes to sort of deal making and negotiation internationally. That level of uncertainty, I think, accounts for a lot of those negative numbers.

PAUL: Sarah, do you expect that President Trump will address these numbers? Because I mean, nobody likes negative numbers, of course, but you have to wonder if seeing what we are seeing this morning will drive him to act in any way?

SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, I think President Trump is famously mistrustful of polls so I don't know that seeing any particular number will have an effect on him just because we know from our experience on the campaign that he discarded any number that portrayed him unfavorably.

And then he embraced any poll that shows that he had a lot of support, but I think if you look at his poll numbers, and you watched the way they fluctuated throughout his presidency.

It has really not been tied to any one incident that Washington has labeled as catastrophic. The numbers have sunk more than anything because President Trump has not been able to advance his agenda, either on Capitol Hill or even when he tries to go it alone, the courts have stopped him.

And so you have seen the numbers drop not sharply after something controversial happens or emerges about the Russia controversy but steadily and slowly as his agenda continues to be gummed up on Capitol Hill and in the courts.

[06:05:09]That is one of the major reasons why we are seeing the numbers stagnate and it's really difficult to see how he gets around that as long as the controversies are still raging.

PAUL: And in all fairness, polls weren't exactly accurate going into on this election either. So there is a lot of question about the accuracy of them. So let's talk about what you were just talking about when we look ahead to policy and the fact that health care is now put on hold again.

Errol, he said it's delayed. Help me. They didn't reset it. We are in kind of a waiting game now, aren't we?

LOUIS: Yes. And look, the fact of the matter is if somebody like John McCain if anyone one of the yes votes that the Republican majority has, Senator McConnell can't afford to lose even one senator.

The pause may turn into a long-term pause because they just don't have any wiggle room here. You have already got Senators Paul and Collins saying that they are going to be hard-nos even on the procedural question of whether or not it should be allowed out onto the floor for a full vote.

You've got the Republican senators including Sandoval in Nevada and certainly Kasich in Ohio, important states who are saying that this is going to harm them and their states and they are urging no votes.

So the White House hasn't quite figured out the politics on this and as long as that is the case, both the White House and the Republican leadership are going to decide to sort of keep this on ice until they have got something approaching a decent chance of getting a yes vote.

PAUL: That would be problematic, though, when you look ahead and how they want to tackle taxes. In fact, Vice President Pence talked about that yesterday. Let's listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PENCE: We are talking with members of Congress and senators every day on our tax cut plan. Discussions will continue. Details will be worked out, but I'll make you a promise. With the leadership of President Donald Trump, we are going to pass historic tax relief and we are going to pass it this year.


PAUL: So, Sarah, the problem, as I understand it, is they were hoping the health care numbers were going to drive what they do with taxes. If they don't have the health care numbers, how do you move forward with taxes if health care isn't reconciled?

WESTWOOD: Republicans haven't answered that question. That's why you haven't seen any substantive plan emerge so far about what direction they are going to take tax reform. The closed door conversations, these meetings with stake holders and conservative groups and people who are helping to shape the policy have been going on for months now since the early spring.

But yet we haven't seen anything more than just broad top lines of what that policy might look like emerge because they are waiting on that health care bill. And that is why delaying this health care bill indefinitely is so much more consequential for Republicans because the rest of their legislative agenda sort of depends on that health care legislation.

So they were hoping to get tax reform passed. They are hoping to even maybe take a look at getting its infrastructure package done this year, but none of those items can get done as long as health care is consuming all of the oxygen on Capitol Hill.

They are running out of time. The legislative calendar does not have very many days left on it for this year. So as long as health care is in limbo, it's not clear that they are going to be able to pass anything else.

PAUL: It makes you wonder how health care may become a stop light from any other policy moving forward until that at least can be figured out. Thank you so much, Errol and Sarah. We appreciate it.

Wouldn't hit pause here for a moment, though, because I know that you're staying with us. We want your voice in a couple of other things coming up here.

Also a heads up to you on "STATE OF THE UNION" today, Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Maine Senator Susan Collins and Jay Sekulow, attorney for President Trump joins Jake Tapper at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Plus the White House beefing its legal team amid a PR crisis. How this new White House attorney will have maybe the toughest job of all -- controlling the messaging coming out of the White House in response to the Russia scandal.

PAUL: Also the FBI director who was fired by President Trump is writing a book and a lot of publishers apparently are interested.

And a close U.S. ally has some choice words for President Trump, let's say, after he told the first lady of France that she is in such good shape.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wonder if she could say the same of him.




BLACKWELL: The White House adding another lawyer to its team. This time, a high profile white collar crime defense attorney.

WHITFIELD: His name is Ty Cobb. Who is he you may ask? The question too is how will he shape the administration's response to the investigation? CNN's Boris Sanchez has been looking into that. Boris, what are you learning?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The name of the new attorney added to the White House's legal team is Ty Cobb. He is a powerful Washington, D.C. defense attorney who has handled some pretty high profile clients in the past, including defending two officials with connections to the Clinton White House.

He has also defended major corporations and ex-CIA officer. He's someone with a lot of experience defending white collar crime. He is actually a former federal prosecutor. Up until taking this job at the White House, he was a partner at Hogan and Lovells, a powerful D.C. law firm.

He is expected to now oversee the White House response to the Russia investigation and not only legally but also in the press. He is trying to manage the White House response to a story that has created quite a cloud, an impediment almost to the Trump agenda.

Now friends of Ty Cobb including CNN legal analyst, Michael Zeldin, say that he is a shrewd, smart attorney. Listen.


MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: One is they are bringing in Ty to try to replicate in some sense what Clinton did during his problems, which is to create a legal war room in the White House Counsel's Office to deal with this on a day-to-day basis.

[06:15:04]And you see Abby Lowell coming in to represent Jared Kushner. Abby is a well-known criminal lawyer represented John Edwards recently in his problems. So you see the shifting in legal representation.

Jamie stays in as the ethics person and Abby comes in front and center on the criminal side. So people are becoming more sensitive to the fact that this is a criminal investigation. It is not a hoax. It is not a witch hunt.

It is a serious legal matter and they are beginning to take the first steps, steps they should have taken months ago probably to recognize the jeopardy that they are potentially in.


SANCHEZ: In another bit of legal news related to the White House and the Trump family, according to an FEC filing, the committee to reelect President Trump paid $50,000 to the legal firm that is now representing Donald Trump Jr. about two weeks before that "The New York Times" story broke regarding a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower.

CNN has not been able to confirm whether or not that payment was made specifically for legal representation for Donald Trump Jr. In fact, the filing cites that it is for legal consulting. Now CNN has reached out to the Trump family and to that law firm, but we have yet to hear back. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Boris, thank you very much. Our panel is back to discuss all of this, Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, and Sarah Westwood, White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner."

Errol, to you first, on this $50,000 paid to this law firm in New York, as Boris said, they could be unrelated the Russian probe and Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting and this payment.

But with the ambiguity, the lack of clarity surrounding the chronology and who knew what when, could this have been preparation for the oncoming controversy?

LOUIS: Well, yes, there's a range of reporting that suggest that there were White House officials and legal talent that knew weeks ago that this was coming. So yes, this is just kind of more in that direction.

I think, though, the other question, Victor, that comes with this is if they are paying for Donald Trump Jr. through the campaign going forward, for the real act, and then look back at this meeting in June of 2016 when he is there with the campaign chairman, the question is, you know, is he -- was he a campaign operative?

Was this something that, you know, instead of simply acting as if this was the meddling of a novice who is trying to help his dad out, maybe this was official to the campaign and something that the campaign has to answer for?

If you're going to pay the legal bills of Donald Trump Jr. and have him sit in at the highest levels when the campaign is in full swing, then, you know, his actions, while he may characterize them as just a son trying to help his father, maybe they are official campaign actions and that triggers an entirely different set of legal and regulatory questions about what was proper.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about another angle of this legal -- the growing legal teams, Sarah, as we heard from Boris, Ty Cobb, being added to the team. His job now to shape the message, the response to the Russia probes from the White House.

He may have the toughest job of all on the White House staff. But it may be less about what he can do and this shrewd smart attorney, as his colleague described him, but the president's willingness to imply. The president's discipline as it relates to a message. Is there any evidence that Ty Cobb will be able to keep the president off Twitter?

WESTWOOD: Well, I think that the hiring of Ty Cobb and bringing him into the White House is sort of an acknowledgment by the Trump aides and maybe the president himself who signed off on this decision that is becoming a more serious legal issue.

And that even if they disagree with the basis for this investigation, that it could still yield criminal charges for folks if they don't comply with document request, if they lie to investigators, if they obscure what happened.

So this is a recognition that the situation is becoming more and more serious every day. Also I don't know that referring reporters to Mark Kasowitz and trying to brush off all questions.

Mark Kasowitz, President Trump's current representation who is outside of the White House has been an effective strategy because it still leaves a lot of unanswered questions and loose ends in the sense that the White House is not addressing these questions head-on.

So having a lawyer in the White House able to shape the White House's response to these types of questions could help the west wing appear more transparent and it's not clear that Mark Kasowitz ever sought or obtained a security clearance.

So it's important to have an attorney that is able to access classified information given that this investigation has to do with material that is so sensitive, so bringing someone in-house who has that capability could also help sharpen the legal defense.

[06:20:06]BLACKWELL: But Errol, even with a security clearance for Ty Cobb, the president, even yesterday, called this the probes into the Russia potential cooperation or collusion a hoax.

Is the president on the list of people as Attorney Zeldin said a few moments ago starting to realize exactly how serious this situation is?

LOUIS: I'm not so sure about that. I mean, you know, I don't know if Donald Trump -- I don't know if the president thinks that he can sort of pardon himself and most of his team if everything really goes south.

But just as you suggest, there's a really difficult task that Ty Cobb or anybody else is going to have in trying to create a coherent protective legal strategy for this White House, which is that you've got somebody in the form of the president who, on a whim, can sort of throw out a statement on Twitter or throw out a statement to the press that up-ends the entire strategy.

And you know, it's not just Twitter, by the way. You know, when Donald Trump Jr. went on Fox News this week and gave a series of less than credible, less than truthful statements less than complete at a minimum statements about what happened in that June meeting, he, too, is sort of creating legal exposure for multiple people within the campaign and now the White House.

So you know, Ty Cobb is going to have his hands full trying to get a coherent legal message and strategy in place as long as the Trump's, father and son insist on sort of creating their own strategy and kind of winging it as they go along.

BLACKWELL: All right, Errol Louis and Sarah Westwood, stick around with us. We have one more segment with you and we have to talk about some of the other issues that are coming out of Washington. We will be right back with you -- Christi.

PAUL: It's been past nine years that O.J. Simpson has been behind bars, but expectations are very high that he is going to be released soon. Right now, he is getting ready to meet the parole board and that happens this week and our legal experts have a few things to say about that.

Also, Kid Rock's tweet! That run for the Senate, apparently, it's no joke for Democrats.



PAUL: Welcome to Sunday. We are always grateful to have you here. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. If you're just waking up, the big news, the Senate vote on the Republican health care bill has been delayed again. This time because Senator John McCain is in Arizona recovering from surgery.

PAUL: As President Trump's agenda stalls and the Russian controversy swirls, a new "Washington Post" poll showing the president's approval rating dropped to 36 percent.

BLACKWELL: We are also learning the president's re-election campaign paid $50,000 to the law firm that is now representing Donald Trump Jr.

PAUL: Also new this morning, former FBI Director James Comey writing a book about his experiences in public service. So a lot of people are curious about this, what is this going to reveal perhaps about the 2016 election or his dealings with the president before he was fired.

Errol Louis and Sarah Westwood back with us. Sarah, want to get your take on that. What is the expectation for this book and what may or may not be revealed? WESTWOOD: Well, I think we just don't have any idea what James Comey is looking to put forward in this book. I think any account of his public service would be incomplete if he didn't include some details how the 2016 unfolded and his final days with the FBI before he was dismissed by President Trump.

But certainly we are hearing that if he is willing to include some of the juicier details from his time in office particularly over the last two years that he will be receiving an enormous pay-out for that book.

I think it will be an instant best-seller and I'll certainly want to read it if he includes some of those very interesting and still unknown details from those last very controversial couple of years of his service.

So this is going to be one of those rare books that kind of unites Washington. Everybody wants to read it. One of those potentially explosive accounts. We just don't know how much he is allowed to or willing to include in it.

PAUL: Errol, do books like this, tell-alls may be it, really have any effect on a current or a past president or administration?

LOUIS: Well, I don't know if it will affect this or any other administration. I mean, the question is, is it going to be a tell-all or a tell some, right?

Because if you want to get into a bidding war, if he is talking with a book agent or with publishers, one of the things they will tell him right away is that to the extent that you can put a bombshell in there, something that nobody else knew, you know, it really could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions.

And so it's a really serious but he has to get to it. I suspect a lifelong public servant like in Comey doesn't really even quite understand how explosive the information he takes for granted is, how badly the rest of us want to know what was going on. I'll certainly be cued up just like everybody else to see if I can get an interview with him if and when this book appears.

WHITFIELD: All righty. Let's talk, real quickly, about what happened in France and the Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop's reaction to it that has really garnered some attention this morning. Let's look at what happened when President Trump met there in France with France's first lady.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he said that to you, would you be flattered or offended?

JULIE BISHOP, AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: I would be taken aback, I think. It's an interesting comment to make. I wonder if she could say the same of him.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Errol, I saw you flinch for a second when you --


PAUL: Yes. Yes. What was your reaction to her reaction?

LOUIS: You know, I have to say by the "Access" -- the standards of the "Access Hollywood" tape and the (INAUDIBLE) comments we've heard from Donald Trump over the years, I didn't think very much of his comment to the first lady in Paris in the first place.

And once in a while we get a reminder, I think this is one of them that, we just elected our oldest president ever and he has got to -- he's going to have to get used to the standards of a world in which there are a lot of female heads of state, foreign ministers, others who are expecting a different kind of even if even he sort of well intentionally wants to offer a compliment there are new standards now. He's going to have to get used to that.

PAUL: Sarah? What about you?


PAUL: What about -- I mean, I understand what -- what Errol is saying, no doubt about it. This is a man that has been in office -- or not in office, but in big business for many, many years. It did seem out of the ordinary.

WESTWOOD: It did, but I think that this comment, while it was a little off key, it wasn't significant in the context of his trip. It didn't seem at all to impact his relationship with the Macrons. It was an otherwise very successful trip from the perspective of the White House.

PAUL: Yes.

WESTWOOD: The comment sort of went viral on social media and got a lot of attention but overall I don't think that it was a big deal.

A lot of President Trump's critics like to focus on any and all flaws in the administration that they can find but certainly this is like Errol said, pretty tame by Donald Trump's standard and I don't think that it had any kind of effect on his trip to France.

PAUL: Yes. Yes. Yes. No doubt about it. And he said, you know, she looked beautiful.

Errol Louis, Sarah Westwood, always appreciate your voices. Thank you for being here.

WESTWOOD: Thank you.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats are taking Kid Rock Senate run plans seriously. The singer also known as Robert James Ritchie, because that's his real name, took to Twitter this week to announce his intentions, responding to questions about what appears to be his campaign Web site. His tweet insisting that this is not a joke, which many still believe it is.

Now, we put potentially what this may be aside. Senator Elizabeth Warren responded to the announcement in an e-mail to her supporters saying, "Well, maybe this is all a joke but we all thought Donald Trump was joking when he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced his campaign too."

PAUL: The White House under fire perhaps from "FOX News"? "FOX News" host Shepard Smith launched a blistering attack on Friday after the revelation that as many as eight people were in that controversial meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in 2016 at Trump Tower.


SHEPARD SMITH, HOST, FOX NEWS: Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you clean, come on clean, you know? My grandmother used to say when first we practice to -- oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling. And there are still people who are out there who believe we're making it up. And one day they're going to realize we're not and look around and go, where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?


PAUL: Shepard Smith has always been a popular journalist there at FOX. (INAUDIBLE) rant though didn't go over well with some of their viewers who take into the internet now calling for him to be fired.

BLACKWELL: All right. O.J. Simpson is set for a crucial date with the parole board on Thursday.

We're going to check in with our legal analyst expert who says that Simpson should be released without question.

PAUL: Also, scientists say three-quarters of all species could disappear in the coming centuries. Any way that we can reverse this course?



BLACKWELL: Thirty-eight minutes after the hour now.

O.J. Simpson will go before a Nevada parole board this week. He is still in prison after his conviction for kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced in 2008 for trying to steal pieces of sports memorabilia at gun point.

Here is CNN correspondent Paul Vercammen on the factors that could lead to Simpson's release. What are they?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A factor in O.J. Simpson's favor the Nevada parole board leans heavily what is are called risk assessment guidelines to make a decision on letting prisoners go. The lower the score the better chances for parole.

Because of Simpson's age, now 70, because he has stayed out of trouble, according to prison officials and records, the former football star is expected to score a mere two or three out of at least 12 points, another huge coup for Simpson?

The victim of the armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room vows he'll testify for Simpson. Memorabilia dealer Bruce Fromong has repeatedly told me he will travel to the Lovelock prison so he can see Simpson face-to-face and then tell the parole board he thinks the former football star did too much time for the crime.

And worth reminding the 1994 slayings of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman will not be considered by the commissioners. Simpson was acquitted of those murders.

At that parole hearing a family friend says Simpson's daughter Arnelle will likely testify for her father. And then the drama will ramp up when Simpson, himself, tries to convince the parole board that he deserves freedom.

In a past hearing, Simpson described himself as a model inmate who has been a prison diplomat of sorts. The commissioners will watch and ask questions via video conference from Carson City and come up with a decision that day.

If Simpson is denied parole, the commissioners would set a rehearing date typically from one to three years out.


If Simpson is freed he would not get out of prison until early October. And where would he go? Well, his good friend Tom Scotto says that the West Coast of Florida a likely destination, that is where Simpson's adult children live.

BLACKWELL: All right. Paul Vercammen, thanks so much.

Questions, did Simpson's punishment fit the crime or was something else at play? Was the -- the murder trial acquittal at play in this sentencing?

Joining us now to discuss CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson. Joey, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So we had an interesting tease coming into this block of the show that you believe he will be released in early October by this parole board without question. Why?

JACKSON: I do believe that. And I think if the parole board is acting in good faith that there is no reason to believe why they would not be acting that way, I think he is sprung loose. And there is a basis for that. Now, you know, when you look at and examine the underlying offense, I don't think there is anyone within reason who would say based upon what O.J. Simpson did -- you know, look. He break into a hotel room, he gets and retrieves his own sports memorabilia.

He did it, yes. They had guns allegedly with them. Well, I won't say allegedly.

He was convicted of it, OK? And he takes his own equipment back.

Did people really believe that he was going to execute or injure someone there? Was it a crime of stupidity? Absolutely.

Was it a crime of arrogance? Without question.

Was it technical a crime under the law? It was.

But do you deserve nine to 33 years for doing that? When you have -- the person, the very victim that says you know what? Mr. D.A. -- Madam D.A., it's worth one to three years and then he gets sentenced to nine to 33, that is telling within itself.

And so I think ultimately, again if the board acts with good faith and taking into consideration punishment and deterrence and rehabilitation, O.J. Simpson will be loose.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, you know, Joey, that there are people who going back to the first O.J. trial, the murder trial, believe that in this case, O.J. got what he deserved after his acquittal in the other case. They are not and should not be connected.

But do you believe that this nine to 33 years sentence is any residual or has any residual impact from the earlier case?

JACKSON: Well, let me say this, Victor. I believe in our system of justice, OK? As an officer of the court having been a prosecutor and now as a defense attorney, I have to put my faith in that system.

That is the system that we have no matter what state you're in, it's designed. It's democratic. We have jurors. And so we need to believe in it.

Having said that, it's hard to imagine that the sentence that was imposed here was not in any way some retribution or payback for what he did. Now, everyone has an opinion upon O.J. Simpson. Everyone has an opinion about it.

Did he do it? Did he didn't do it? Is there a real killer out there?

Most people you talk to, Victor, say, he did it. He got away with it.

He had Johnnie Cochran, a smooth attorney. He had the dream team.

And did he get away with murder? Most people will answer that question, yes. Should that have factored in to the issues that occurred in this case, the answer is resoundingly no. Cases have to be about what they are about.

Any crime that you're allegedly -- that you allegedly committed, the jury has to weigh and evaluate what you did here. Now I'm not suggesting the jury did anything but that because technically the elements of the crime were met.

When you good into the room and say, no one leaves, it is false imprisonment, it is kidnapping. OK? When you have guns that are with you that you could potentially use and you put them in fear you're guilty.

But a sentence of nine to 33 years based upon a crime of stupidity? It's hard to imagine that that didn't have anything to do with retribution and payback. I do believe that.

And I also believe that this board will base their decision not about that, all right?


JACKSON: Not about that crime, but about this crime and if they do, and they factor in the conditions that they need to, the safety of the community, will he be a recidivist offender and come back or will he get out there and live his life in peace in 70? I think that we will see "the Juice," Victor, being sprung loose.

BLACKWELL: All right. Joey Jackson, we will see if it happens this week. We will be watching.

Thanks so much.

JACKSON: Thank you.

PAUL: You know that is coming back this week "the Juice" is going to be sprung loose.


PAUL: Joey Jackson always one for a good comment there.

Scientists say that there is new evidence that nearly one-third of animal species are disappearing from earth. We are going to talk about that. Stay close.



PAUL: Well, scientists say it is clear earth is entering its sixth mass extinction event.

BLACKWELL: So this means three-quarters of all species could disappear in the coming centuries. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN D. SUTTER, OPINION COLUMNIST, CNN DIGITAL (voice-over): All around the world, from the savannas of Africa to remote islands in the pacific there is a mass extinction brewing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Start counting. Elephant, seven.

SUTTER: Species are vanishing at roughly 100 times the normal rate. If current trends continue, African elephants could be extinct in as few as 20 years, and coral reefs gone soon after that. The insects that pollinate our food are in trouble as are these plastic-filled birds.

In all, biologists fear the unthinkable. Three-quarters of all known species could disappear in just a couple of centuries.

We have never seen anything like this in all of earth's history, there have only been five mass extinctions events one of which killed the dinosaurs. Now the biologists say we are on the verge of the sixth. What are we doing to cause this and is it too late to stop?


PAUL: OK. So that is the key question.

CNN digital opinion columnist John Sutter with us now whose voice you just heard there in that report. John, thank you for being here.


What are -- are we -- are we causing this?

SUTTER: Yes. Scientists are pretty clear that humans are causing this and there are a few factors.

One of them is climate change. Is the way that we produce our energy by burning fossil fuels.

Another is poaching. As you saw in the video there are certain species like elephants, like rhinos, like giraffes even -- that are being sold -- their body parts are being sold on this black market and that's causing species to crash.

And it's how we use land all around the world as odd as that sounds. About 40 percent of all of the surface -- the land surface of the earth has been converted into agriculture and the farms. And that basically leaves no room left for a lot of species to flourish.

So there was a new report that came out last week that was looking not at like the numbers of species that have gone extinct but the numbers of creatures just all around the world and it found these (ph) dramatic declines that researchers say are incredibly troubling and are evidence that this extinction event which we're either entering or seeing the very beginning of is worse than scientists had thought previously. BLACKWELL: So what can be done to prevent it or slow it? Because, I mean, we need farms to feed the world's population, right?


BLACKWELL: What realistically can be done to avoid this mass extinction or at least some of it?

SUTTER: Yes. I think, it's important to underscore that we're tied to what's happening here too.

Like we depend on these natural systems. We depend on a lot of these creatures and so I think their fate is very tied to ours.

But, you know, looking at those key problems is changing the way that we produce energy is one big part of it. Switching to, you know, renewable sources like solar and wind as opposed to fossil fuels like coal and oil. And scientists are saying that shift needs to be probably more dramatic than most people realize.

The Paris agreement on climate change calls for, you know, the world basically to be carbon neutral by about mid century. That means no more fossil fuels, not just a little bit less.

It is changing the way that we use the land. As you mentioned, you know, people do need land to grow food. But are there ways that we can do that more efficiently and can we choose the locations in a way that allows biological system to still function?

So what is really hard about this problem is it is truly global and it is truly bait into the way that we can --

PAUL: We live.

SUTTER: We live. Yes. And the way that we consume resources.

So it's a tricky one to solve.

PAUL: What is the most endangered species when you talk about all these species and how would that one extinction affect all of us globally?

SUTTER: So this -- interestingly, this paper that came out last week highlighted a couple of species that probably no one has heard of or gone extinct the past few years.

One was a bat on an island off of Australia. Another was a species that was in Mexico, a type of fish. And I think that what these scientists are saying is that this is almost the wrong way of thinking about the problems in terms of which species are completely disappeared.

These are often sort of odd creatures in one location. They don't have a very big population so they are extremely vulnerable. But when you step back and look at very common species like elephants like we saw in that video, those populations have declined enormously when you look in the big picture and if the trends, with poaching continue, you know, we could be looking at Africa elephants being gone within 20 years.

So there are I think 400,000 elephants in Africa right now so not like two are left but trends are alarming.

BLACKWELL: But there are people doing preservation work but, obviously, not enough to turn the tide on what we are seeing, unfortunately.

PAUL: On what we're seeing.

BLACKWELL: All right. John Sutter --

PAUL: Thank you so much, John. Good information.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much for being with us.

You can watch the full documentary, John's full documentary "Vanishing Sixth Mass Extinction" on

We could see a bit of history on Wimbledon's Centre Court. Roger Federer going for a singles title record but it will not be easy obviously. He has had some troubles with his opponent.



PAUL: All right. You want to see some history today? Well it could happen on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Roger Federer is going for an eighth record singles title on the grass court. That would be his 19th grand slam championship overall.

CNN's tennis contributor Ravi Ubha is live at Wimbledon. And this will not be a cake walk.

RAVI UBHA, CNN TENNIS CONTRIBUTOR: You're exactly right, Victor.

It's not going to be a cake walk. The match is going to start at around just over two hours' time.

He is playing someone called Marin Cilic. Cilic is a tall Croatian. He is six foot six.

He has a very big serve which could be very effective on the service on the grass. He has actually beaten Federer before at a grand slam tournament at the U.S. Open in New York in 2014.

And last year when they met here at Wimbledon in the quarterfinals he actually had three match points on Federer before Federer rallied to win that in five sets.

So it's not going to be a cake walk as you mentioned, Victor. I think it's going to be pretty hotly contested match.

BLACKWELL: All right. So Federer is 36 next month. How is he still able to play at this level?

Thirty-six isn't old. Let me just say that before Twitter attacks me.

PAUL: Yes. Let's just make that very clear.


BLACKWELL: But for tennis singles, maybe.

UBHA: Yes. I mean -- and of course for tennis it is.

It is very old. That is certainly true. He will be 36 next month.

The way that he has been able to do it is because, number one, he is such a tremendous, tremendous player when you think about the greats of the game arguably he is the best of all time.

Number two he has been very smart with his scheduling. He has taken little break throughout the season, throughout his career.

And then last year, he made a very tough call for himself. After Wimbledon he said, I'm not going to play for the rest of the season, have to recover from a knee injury so he took a six-month break, came back, won the Australia Open in 2017, ending a four and a half year drought (INAUDIBLE). Then he took another break. He didn't play the French Open so that is how he is able to do it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ravi Ubha for us there in Wimbledon. Thanks so much.


JAY SEKULOW, MEMBER, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM (ph): No legal violation for the meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a story that keeps eating away at the credibility of the president.


SMITH: Why is it lie after lie after lie? If you clean, come on clean.