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CNN NEWSROOM

The White House Says Trump Calling Omarosa a "Dog" is Not About Race; Trump, Omarosa Clash Over Whether She Signed NDA; Grand Jury Found 300 Priests Abused Hundreds of Children; Aretha Franklin is in Hospice Care. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00]

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Though I have an undergraduate degree in economics, but I know that economists are cringing when they here Donald Trump talk about all of the jobs that he's created for African-Americans in the way that he disparages -- makes these disparaging remarks about President Obama. So, I would just say to Sarah Sanders, get some black people in this White House. Then we can have a real conversation about these inflammatory statements you continue to make, her boss makes about black people.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Gloria, go ahead.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Brooke, just listening to that video you just played of Omarosa saying, you know, Donald Trump shouldn't be President of the United States. Having listened to Omarosa for years talk about how marvelous and how wonderful Donald Trump is, it makes me think that they deserve each other. I mean, they are very much the same people in many ways. Each of them is ruthless in its own way. Each person has a strange relationship with the truth. She's out to make a buck here. She will do whatever she has to do. Donald Trump's organization will sue her back.

But I think that the thing that has always united them is this sense of false flattery that they did for each other. I mean he would flatter Omarosa falsely. And she would flatter him falsely. And they both loved it. So, they're two peas in a pod here. And the fight that they're having, all I can say is, you know, they deserve each other. Let them you know let them go at it. But understand that neither one of them has, is a hero here, has any kind of that clean slate when it comes to this.

ANUSHAY HOSSAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTING WRITER: And, Brooke, can I quickly say something? It's easy for to us get kind of fixated on Omarosa's credibility and Trump's credibility. Neither of them really has such a great credibility. But the larger issue here is not about Omarosa, it's the fact that we have a really big race problem in this White House and yes, it's a gas lighting White House, and I feel we are also gas lighting ourselves. The most recent Quinnipiac poll from July said that 49 percent of Americans think Trump is racist. And 47 percent of Americans think that he isn't. And I want to know, what's wrong with us? I mean, why are we still debating this issue? The article I wrote for CNN today, front page of CNN right now, was all about this. Why are we still questioning, if Donald Trump -- we're still pondering, is Donald Trump racist? Is Donald Trump sexist? Yes, he's both. And this is one more example of his racism.

BALDWIN: So, what do we do about it, Errol?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What do we do about it? Look. It's less than 90 days until the mid-terms. That's the first obvious spot people can step up. But now I think, look, people need to ask themselves first and foremost, what do you believe? What do you stand for? Because what Donald Trump is going to do, what his administration is going to do, is really out of our hands. What we do, though, is extremely important. How we talk to one another. What groups we choose to join. How we choose to express ourselves. Whether it's social media, letter to the editor, your local civic groups, and of course, at the ballot box. It's a tremendous importance.

And people have to I think sort of figure out where they stand and stand there. That's the most important part, not to be swayed. Not to be sort of talked into it. There will be a lot of scare tactics. There's going to be a lot of advertising. There's going to be a lot of, you know, what if Nancy Pelosi, what if Hillary Clinton, what if this or what if that. What about the Supreme Court, and so forth. These issues don't really go to that. This is really about what you believe, who are you, what values you hold. Presumably if you hold those values, you hold them regardless of who the President is or whose party is in charge. And I think that's the starting point for putting together something that's going to really sustain us through some really awful weeks that lie ahead of us between now and the election.

BALDWIN: If anything, perhaps through this, people feel more firm in their beliefs, whichever side of, you know, it that they are. Leah, I want the give you the last word.

LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, AUTHOR, "THE LONELINESS OF THE BLACK REPUBLICAN": Sure. So, I agree with what the panelists have said. But I also want to point out that Omarosa, especially of late, has been making some very serious allegations, that don't necessarily just go to the root of, you know, throwing shade or you know, saying things like, you know, pointing out Donald Trump's racism or pointing out sexism. But instead, it's hard making the argument that she has evidence of rampant corruption and that she has talked to the authorities and is willing to talk to the authorities and turn over information that she has.

I think you know one of the things that we saw particularly with the emergence of the arbitration claim that came out of the White House today, is that emerged in tandem with all of these claims from Omarosa talking about I have evidence of corruption that runs through the White House. I have seen some things and I've heard some things and I have proof. So that's the thing we need to keep in -- you know, we really also need this in minds.

[15:35:00] You know, even thinking about things like being locked in room, signing NDAs right and left. How money was spent. These are things that also matter going forward, particularly when we talk about Omarosa and her book.

BALDWIN: We'll have a whole conversation about NDAs coming up, I want to thank every one of you for a fantastic discussion, a much-needed discussion. Thank you, everyone.

Coming up next the White House is threatening legal action against Omarosa -- as Leah pointed out -- for breaking this non-disclosure agreement with her new book. In the secret recording she has released, my next guest says the idea of an NDA in the White House is simply unconstitutional. Let's talk about why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:40:00] BALDWIN: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. And whether you believe the claims being paid by a former Trump aide Omarosa or not, there is one thing she has revealed not in dispute, the existence of a non-disclosure agreement. What is in dispute is this, the White House says Omarosa signed it and is now violating it. But Omarosa says she never inked such a deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: I signed a non-disclosure agreement back in 2003 for "The Apprentice." I also signed 14 the campaign. I never signed that draconian NDA that they presented to me when I walked into the White House, because I knew from my prior time in the White House. This was my second tour of duty working in the White House. I worked for the Clintons prior, that this was not something that was acceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Mark Zaid says he seen both the White House NDA and a Trump Corporation NDA. He's a national security attorney and he's with me. As is Kim Wehle, former assistant U.S. attorney. So, welcome to both of you. And Kim, let me start the conversation with you. The White House says NDAs are common in the government. We heard that from Sarah Sanders. Is that true?

KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Not in my experience. I had a top-secret security clearance when I was at the Department of Justice I worked for the Whitewater investigation. Which was obviously, had highly sensitive information about the then president of the United States. I've never seen personally a non-disclosure agreement. And I think the reason is it's because one, there are plenty of laws that limit the sharing of classified information, because you have access to that as an employee. And two, I think it's against public policy.

That is, you know, one of the ways that we make sure our government is accountable is through transparency. And there are a lot of laws, statutes and regulations that govern transparency, including the Freedom of Information Act. Which is how we as Americans find out what's happening with our government. So, I think in a lot of reasons it's not done, and I certainly haven't seen it.

BALDWIN: OK, and Mark you compared both. You tell me what you found.

MARK ZAID, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Well, there are with respect to, as Kim said, classified information. We all sign secrecy non- disclosure agreements in that context. But the courts have made it incredibly clear there is no legitimate constitutional interest in the U.S. government prohibiting publication of information of anyone that used to work for the government that's unclassified. Now, looking at what I have seen from the White House. And there seems to have been a number of versions for sure. Is that the Trump corporation took its non-disclosure agreement and tried to force it into a government context, and it simply won't work in that context. No way, shape or form.

BALDWIN: And you say that it is unconstitutional to even have this sort of NDA in the White House. Correct?

ZAID: Yes. At least as it goes beyond classified information.

BALDWIN: Right.

ZAID: Now, Omarosa may be in a little bit more trouble because of this alleged 2016 campaign NDA. The campaign is not a part of the government. The transition wasn't part of the government. So, we're going to have, you know, what a surprise with this administration, a novel issue and arbitration could be like the wild, wild west as to how it's adjudicated. We're going to have a situation where apparently, if she signed it, the 2016 NDA says she can't disparage the Trump family during the time of your service with the campaign. But then all the times there after. And how that conflicts or interacts with the constitutional limitations on prohibiting her speech for the time she served in the government from January to December, is going to be very interesting. I think the constitution wins out. At least with respect to the period of time she's in government service. But before that, I don't know.

BALDWIN: Let me underscore your last point. Because we here at CNN, we've gotten our hands on the language from that. That 2016 campaign NDA that Omarosa said that she signed. And again, you said, and you are correct. It says during your terms of service and at all times thereafter. So, Kim, I'm also wondering, all times thereafter would that then hold for the duration of her time at the White House?

WEHLE: Yes. I mean, the difference here is that we are not talking about two private parties enforcing a contract. We've got the President now would be enforcing this contract. He's attempting to enforce this contract. That, itself, is the restraint on speech. It's the government make an attempt to quiet speech. In the Supreme Court has held that when it comes to political speech, your point of view about who you would or would not vote for. What people in office that you believe should stay in office.

That is the most, the highest most highly protected form of speech that there is. One of them, anyway, under our constitutional system.

So, in addition to having deep constitutional problems now with the sitting President attempting to enforce this. [15:45:00] There's also a question as to what harm, even as a matter

of contract law, if there aren't any damages -- we saw this with the Stormy Daniels NDA -- if this is information that is widely out in the public points of view that are shared, we don't know what she would say. But he has to demonstrate that it's reasonably related to some actual harm to him. And then as was mentioned, this gets a little tricky, because now at this point it's a harm to him personally or now that he's sitting, would it be the harm to the United States government or the American people, I think the second one is tougher for reasons I talk about. That is, we want to know what our elected leaders are doing. Because that way, we can as voters make a decision as to whether to keep them in office or not.

BALDWIN: Of course, of course. We'll stay on this Kim and Mark, thank you so much for both of you and weighing in on these NDAs.

Let me move on, we got breaking news out of Pennsylvania where a grand jury reports. Details credible allegations of child sexual abuse against more than 300 priests. And the number of victims is estimated number at well over 1,000. Stay with me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Here's the breaking news out of the Pennsylvania where a grand jury report is exposing jaw dropping numbers about child sex abuse by priests. It found credible allegations exist against more than 300 priests and that more than 1,000 child victims were identifiable. What is worse because of lost records or fear of coming forward, it is likely the true number of victims is deep into the thousands. So, Jean Casarez has been working this for us. And Jean, tell me more.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Massive investigation and it was with countless numbers of law enforcement, prosecutors, other attorneys within the office of the attorney general and of course, the grand jurors. Officials are saying that this report is the largest, most comprehensive document into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church that has ever been produced in the United States. This report took two years, it was written by 23 Pennsylvania grand jurors who listened to dozens of witness testimonies and witnesses and studied documents about alleged child sex abuse in six dioceses which is about 54 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.

The report states that the testimony was heard from dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of internal documents were subpoenaed. It also states that there were credible allegations found at least over 300 priests, over 1,000 child victims were identifiable.

[15:50:03] But it's believed that the true numbers are in the thousands. The report states that most of the victims were boys but girls were also victims. Some were teens, some were younger, some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography. They were raped in various forms and fashions. And grand jurors found church leaders in every part of the state preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above everything else they say. Because the cover-up was most important of all. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH SHAPIRO, PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: These petitioners and for a time some of the diocese sought to prevent the entire report from ever seeing the light of day. In effect, they wanted to cover up the cover-up. They sought to do the same thing that senior church leaders in the diocese we investigated have done for decades. Bury the sexual abuse by priests upon children and cover it up forever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: The report states that because of the cover-up, almost all of the abuse is too old to be prosecuted. But the grand jury has issued presentments against two priests who allegedly assaulted children within the statute of limitations. But there may be many more indictments in the future. Because, Brooke, the investigation continues. And one more thing, the attorney general said, you know, there's so many redactions in this over 1,300-page report. We don't like the redactions. We want everything to be public so they're working legally to try to make that happen.

BALDWIN: Good. Good. Jean Casarez, stay on it for us. Thank you so much.

Just in to CNN, a public utility spokesperson in Puerto Rico says power has finally been restored to every one of its clients affected by hurricane Maria. Keeping in mind hurricane Maria 11 months ago. Now they're saying power's on for all their clients. Today's declaration applies to people depending on service in Puerto Rico's electric power authority.

Coming up next, prayers going out for the undisputed queen of soul, Aretha Franklin as she is in hospice care. Don lemon joins me live with details on her condition.

Prayers and love are pouring in for the legendary iconic queen of soul miss Aretha Franklin. She is in hospice care. Don Lemon joins me live with details on her condition.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Prayers and love are pouring in for the legendary iconic queen of soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin. The 18-time Grammy award winner is said to be, quote, gravely ill. At last night's Beyonce, Jay-Z concert a concert in Franklin's hometown of Detroit, celebrity DJ Khaled led the crowd with Franklin's signature classic "Respect."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(Aretha Franklin song "Respect")

DJ KHALED: Make some noise for Aretha Franklin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Don Lemon is with me, my friend and colleague. You know, you're the one who received the news she is, in fact, in hospice care and we were talking in commercial break. It's like everyone's talking about her because we're hearing how she's doing and it's almost like we're sad already.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

BALDWIN: You know? And you were saying you have become such friends with her that Aretha Franklin texts you.

LEMON: She texts me. I always think it's got to be from a Blackberry because of the odd punctuation and is very blackberry-ish. Yes. But we became -- I spoke with Aretha Franklin I think first on CNN. The first time I met her -- and this was via satellite -- was when Ed Bradley died. And I was anchoring the coverage and she called in and we talked about it. And she said, oh, I watch you. I like you. When you come to Detroit I'm going to have some greens, I'm going to make you some greens. And I said, OK. I'm going to hold you to that. I never got the greens because I never got a chance to be in Detroit with her. But we became friends and I would -- gone to her last few birthday parties.

BALDWIN: I'm sorry. What's an Aretha Franklin birthday party like?

LEMON: It is the most surreal out of body experience. Because you're sitting there with someone who's legend, who's an iconic. And then you have other folks in the room --

BALDWIN: All wanting to honor her.

LEMON: -- all wanting to honor her and people performing and talking her, and she was just very gracious and beautiful. The last party I went to, her last birthday party.

BALDWIN: Do tell.

LEMON: It was here. It was at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City. She invited me, and I said, of course, I'm going to go. And so, I went with Aretha and my friend Tamron Hall, as you know, was there. And Tamron and I -- Eric Holder was there I think, and Reverend Jackson was there, Reverend Sharpton. A number of different luminaries. And we just sang "happy birthday" to Aretha Franklin. This big cake, Clive Davis was there of course. And one of the parties Lee Daniels. Just a whole host of people.

BALDWIN: Sure.

LEMON: And we just, you know, every year we would sing "happy birthday" to her and help her blow out the candles. And I think the last big party that she had was for the 74th birthday which is in 2016.

BALDWIN: She is 76 right now.

LEMON: Yes, I think so. She didn't do one in 2017. And then this year, of course, she didn't have a party.

BALDWIN: I have you for another minute. Can you just tell us anything you know about her situation, family members?

LEMON: Hospice care at home. They have been giving her notes and telling -- you know, people reaching out. Holding her hand. Talking to her. Of course, praying for her. I'm not sure how much of it she's aware of. I don't know because, you know, she is on medication.

BALDWIN: Sure.

LEMON: Let's put it that way. And you know, she is not doing great. But Aretha is not gone. And so, we should still -- I'm listening to her music.

BALDWIN: Have you nonstop?

LEMON: All day long. I had it on Aretha radio. My favorite is "You Send Me." Which is a Sam Cooke song, but she made it her own. That's my favorite song. I've been talking to her, you know, people close to her and they're -- she's in our prayers.

BALDWIN: Get offset and listen to some more Aretha on Spotify or something. Don Lemon, always a pleasure to have you, thank you so much. Of course, this guy on CNN each and every night at 10:00 here. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.