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John McCain Diagnosed with Brain Cancer; O.J. Simpson Parole Board Hearing Today. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired July 20, 2017 - 11:30   ET



[11:33:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The sad news that is still sinking in this morning, Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer. The doctors discovered it after he had undergone surgery to remove a blood clot over his left eye. The Senator made his first remarks moments ago. Here it is, "Thanking everyone for their support." And fiery as always, telling his partners in Congress he'll be back soon.

CNN's chief medial correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is joining us now.

Sanjay, this came as a shock to everyone. It's wonderful to see he is fiery, if just on Twitter. He's still putting that out there. You spoke with Senator McCain's doctors. What did they say? How is he doing?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORERSPONDENT: He's recovering extraordinarily well. That's not just a platitude, Kate. He had brain surgery last Friday, he's 80 years old, and he had general anesthesia. Doctors told me as soon as he woke up in the recover room he was cracking jokes and was doing well. He spent the night in the intensive care unit last Friday, but was discharged to home Saturday, which is speedy, by any account, especially given the fact he's 80 years old. He's recovering well.

What happens, Kate, typically, it takes a few days to be certain from the pathologist exactly what caused this bleeding. And they found out over the last day or so, in fact, it was this brain cancer, as you mentioned, a type of cancer known as glioblastoma. It's a tumor that bled. That's what caused the bleeding. It's a brain cancer, meaning it comes from the brain itself as opposed to elsewhere in the body and spreading to the brain. That was a surprise, I think to everyone. The doctors I spoke to, they thought it might be a blood collection from a trauma or a blood collection from melanoma spreading to his brain. He's had melanoma in the past. But this was a surprise. Now, they are basically in discussions as to what to do next, how to proceed.

BOLDUAN: Sanjay, this is about as serious as it gets. What are the options the McCain family is weighing right now?

[11:35:08] GUPTA: This is an aggressive brain cancer. You know, if you look at the literature, Kate, the data, the stats, which everyone is reluctant to do because every patient is different, but if you look at those, the average or median survivals around 14-14.5 months. About 10 percent of the people who have this live five years or more. He has shown he is able to fight and overcome cancer in the past.

But the options, to your question, now that he's had the operation, are really around chemotherapy and radiation, basically, what we call additional adjutant therapies. The indications are he is going to proceed with that. You need to wait a little bit of time before starting those therapies to let him recover completely from the operation. The incision, which is in the eyebrow on the left, you have to let that incision heal. Probably a few weeks from now.

But, in the interim, you have heard, Kate, you have been saying, he's been up and about. He's fiery on Twitter. He's been making lot of calls. He had a quick recovery after the operation.

BOLDUAN: We can only wish he continues to recover and gets back to work, what he loves, gets back to that soon.

Sanjay, thank you for laying it out. I appreciate it.

This morning, Senator Lindsey Graham says his long-time friend, as we were just discussing with Sanjay, is trying to figure out the next steps, and that includes when McCain could return to work in Washington.

It is moments like these that remind us how many close friends this one man, this Senator has on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. You remember, of course, this moment about friendship during a CNN town hall back in March.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R), ARIZONA: Congressman Graham with the most solemn occasion said, you know where I come from, any man calling a woman at 2:00 a.m. Is up to no good. I knew then Lindsey Graham was a man I wanted to spend time with.


Because he's entertaining. He's dedicated. And, by the way, his beginnings were rather humble, as many of you may not know, including the fact he raised his sister after his parents died. It's quite a -- quite a great American success story.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He is loyal to his friends. He loves his country. If he has to stand-up to his party for his country, so be it. He would die for this country. I love him to death.



BOLDUAN: That's a very nice note to end on.

Joining me now, another friend of John McCain's, CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro. She worked on his 2008 presidential campaign.

Ana, you reached out and said we have to talk about this. We have to talk about this man. What did you think when you heard the news?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was shocked. He's 80 years old, but he hasn't gotten the memo yet that he is 80 years old. He has boundless energy. He traveled like the Energizer bunny. I was talking to Lindsey Graham this morning. John McCain is older than Lindsey, older than I am, and he would tire us out. He is in physical pain never day. He can't bend his knees or bend his arms over his shoulder because of the broken bones suffered in Vietnam. I have never heard John McCain complain once, or seen him not reach for his own bag, carry his own bag, be his own staffer.

For everybody who is part of the extended McCain family as I am, he is so much more than Senator McCain. He is a friend. He is a mentor. He is a buddy. He is an adviser. He is a confidant, a critiquer. He is honest. He is blunt. He will open doors for you and tell you when you are making a mistake. I'm honored and proud to be part of that extended McCain family.

I have so much faith in John. I know, if there's one word he stands for, it's fight. He has never given up in his life. He has seen death in the eye so many times. I know John McCain is not afraid of death. I suspect he hates all this conversation going on.

BOLDUAN: Oh, I'm sure.

NAVARRO: I suspect he hates this tone.

And, you know, what he needs to do is get back in the game. He needs to get treatment and needs to get back in the game because every day that he is in the game, every day, he can make a difference, a difference in people's lives, a difference in this country's life.

[11:40:03] BOLDUAN: You have a quick-turn phrase yourself, Ana Navarro, just like John McCain. What are you going to say to him next time you speak with him?

NAVARRO: Really? Did you really need this much attention? Couldn't you have done it a better way?

You know? His mom -- I was thinking last night, when he was running for president in 2008, there was a big question of should he only commit to running for one term because of his age. You know, I thought what a ridiculous question that was then. His mom is 105 years old, and until recently, was so vibrant and such a spark plug herself.

What do I think? I think John McCain is going to fight till his last breath. None of us know when we may go. We are all a phone call away from bad news. This should be a reminder about how fleeting life is and how important it is to work as hard as we all can, to be happy, to make a difference, to make this a better world, and leave it a better world. John McCain has already made this a better world. He has served this country in a way that none of us can express gratitude for. I am so grateful for being part of his life.

BOLDUAN: Well said, Ana Navarro.

And I'm always struck in these moments, remember, after 2008, he came back to Capitol Hill. Every one of us were struck by he didn't have a single aide walking with him. No detail, no nothing. He had gone through a grueling campaign. He is a worldwide figure. John McCain walking through the halls.

NAVARRO: When he had to get -- when he became the nominee and was forced to get Secret Service, it was a big to-do. It was a big fight. He did not want Secret Service. He drives around like hell on wheels, but he drives himself around. I remember, Cindy had to talk to him strongly about the need for Secret Service, which he obviously needed. He is such a self-sufficient guy. He's a guy that likes to be surrounded by his friends. He likes debates. He likes to fight. You don't have to agree with John McCain on everything, maybe not on anything, to be his friend. Just as long as he knows that there are shared values, shared convictions and a shared love for this country.

BOLDUAN: We all share in our hope he gets back to that fight and gets back to work.

NAVARRO: Get back to it, Mack. The country needs you too much. Get up, get back, get treatment, and get back in the game, buddy.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Ana. Great to see you.

We'll be right back.


[11:46:57] BOLDUAN: O.J. Simpson back in the news and back in court today, hoping to be a free man, soon. A short time from now, Simpson goes before the Nevada parole board to make his case for early release. He served nine years in prison after the conviction in 2007 in the kidnapping and armed robbery.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is live in Nevada, near the facility where Simpson has been locked up.

Paul, what are we expecting today?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, behind me, O.J. Simpson will make an impassioned plea for his freedom. He's going to tell the commissioners what he also told them in about 2013 when he had another parole hearing that did not lead to his release, on other charges. What Simpson will say is he's been a model inmate. He's called himself a peacemaker in the facility behind me, Lovelock, a medium security facility. Also testifying for him, the only surviving victim of the armed robbery in Las Vegas. Bruce Fromong has told, repeatedly, that he thinks O.J. Simpson did too much time for the crime. He's going to go into that room with Simpson, and man-to-man, he says, say that Simpson deserves to be released.

Now, these commissioners rely heavily on a grid or a set of guidelines that rates the risk assessment of criminals after they are released. O.J. Simpson scores very low on the guidelines, Kate. If he is granted parole, he would be out in early October.

BOLDUAN: Early October. As soon as October.

Paul, thank you so much.

Everyone keeping an eye on that.

The man who literally wrote the book on O.J. Simpson is joining me live next on more of what to expect from today. Stay with us.


[11:52:33] BOLDUAN: Just a short time from now, O.J. Simpson will learn whether he will be a free man when he steps before a parole board. Looking at live pictures of the room.

Jeffrey Toobin is back with me. And, of course, he literally wrote the book on the original O.J. Simpson trial.


BOLDUAN: There she is. And he's been coving legal issues ever since, whether he likes it or not.

The likelihood that O.J. will get parole, what do you think?

TOOBIN: Very likely, because there are rules. And even though, it's the O.J. Simpson case, the rules are supposed to apply. He is old, by prison standards. He's 70 years old. He has a good disciplinary record. He served the minimum sentence. And also, it's a non-trivial sentence, nine years. As I understand the general procedures in Nevada, he should be released.

BOLDUAN: Of course, when everyone hears O.J. and anything regarding, getting anywhere near close to a courtroom, they're going to wonder, can -- this is about the 2007 robbery. Can the past -- can O.J.'s past, anything that anyone may think about it, play into this at all?

TOOBIN: Well, under the law? No. In fact? Of course. The whole 2007 case, as far as I'm concerned, was just a matter of payback for the acquittal. That was a ridiculous crime. I mean, it was not something that would have been investigated and prosecuted had O.J. Simpson not been involved.

And the most important thing to remember about that 2007 case is that there were people with guns in that room. O.J. Simpson was not one of them. The people with guns got probation and very short sentences. O.J. Simpson got this gigantic sentence of nine to 33 years. Why? Not because of what went on in the hotel room. It was because the legal system was paying him back.

BOLDUAN: It's hard to know, but if he gets parole and is out in early October, what will it be like for him? TOOBIN: Like life between 1995 and 2007. He was really a pariah.

His old life was gone, celebrity pitchman, sportscaster, actor, all gone. Moved to Florida where they have rules to allow him to protect his assets protected from the very large judgment against him and it was really a seedy life of memorabilia, signing autographs.

BOLDUAN: The Goldman family is still looking for, trying to get the money from the --


[14:55:03] TOOBIN: Absolutely, $33 million. It's a lot of money. But Florida has laws that, the so-called Homestead Law, that allows people to protect their assets in a way that you can't, as much in California. And so I don't -- I think it will be a pretty seedy existence. He'll be trying to make money off what's left of his fame. It's mostly infamy now, not fame.

BOLDUAN: That is the truth.

Great to see you quickly.

TOOBIN: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Let's see what happens to --


TOOBIN: Back to the '90s.

BOLDUAN: Back to the '90s.


BOLDUAN: So quickly.

Stay with us for our special live coverage of O.J.'s parole hearing. We'll have much more.

And also, on the break news of Attorney General Jeff Sessions responding to the president's harsh criticism, basically making clear he regrets appointing him as attorney general, and Jeff Sessions saying whether he will stay at the Justice Department. That's next.


[12:00:12] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks for sharing --