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Private Burial Today at Naval Academy for Senator McCain; Tibbetts' Dad: Don't Exploit Death to Fuel Racial Hatred. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 2, 2018 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] ANGEL MORE, SWAM ACROSS LAKE TAHOE: So I think once I'm at the 15 hour, I just become a water animal.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Angel, congratulations. We are pulling for you again this morning. You're doing some pretty incredible things for children international. Thank you for taking time for us today.


PAUL: Take good care.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We gather here today to honor an American patriot and served a cause greater than himself.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is one of the bravest souls our nation has ever produced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain, I think, really represented the best for our country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Didn't always agree with him politically but I respect the man. There was nobody as heroic as he was.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: He would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need people to step up and to follow that model that he set.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you want to help the country, be more like John McCain.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Sunday to you today.

Senator John McCain will be laid to rest at the naval academy cemetery in Annapolis. PAUL: Yes, the burial at McCain's alma mater, it's going to be a very

private farewell for the man who lived so much of his life in the public eye.

Yesterday, more than a thousand people crowded into Washington National Cathedral for this memorial service that McCain planned in great detail. The funeral seemingly built to show this unified message but excluding the current leader of the country.

Here is CNN's Jeff Zeleny.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington paid tribute and bid farewell to John McCain an American patriot and politician. At the Washington National Cathedral, a living tableau of history, a who's who of leaders from all stripes, assembling to say good-bye to war hero and veteran Republican senator. McCain's daughter Meghan overcame with grief and emotion throughout the week spoke passionately about his father.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege.

ZELENY: Inside the cathedral, it was the first of several references to President Trump and his own brand of politics, her father reviled.

MCCAIN: The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.

ZELENY: The funeral unfolded as a parting lesson and civility from McCain himself. To eulogize him, he invited two men who extinguished his own dreams for the White House, George W. Bush who won a bitter primary fight in 2000 and Barack Obama who prevailed in 2008. Amid moments of humor.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: From trouble making plea to presidential candidate.

ZELENY: Praise for McCain's core believes.

BUSH: At various points throughout his long career, John confronted policies and practices that he believed were unworthy to his country, to the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist we are better than this. America is better than this.

ZELENY: But the personal tributes came with a sharp critique of today's tribal politics.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Trafficking of bombast, and insult, and phony controversies and manufactured outrage, the politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but, in fact, is born of fear. John called us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.

ZELENY: While President Trump's name was never spoken, his absence was an unmistakable undercurrent. McCain made it clear he didn't want him there. The two men strained relationship goes back to the 2016 campaign when Trump insulted McCain's military service, saying real American heroes aren't shot down. Yet, several of the president's advisers were on hand, including his daughter Ivanka, son in law Jared Kushner, chief of staff John Kelly, and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

The senator was sent off in scripture and son, with opera star Renee Fleming's gripping rendition of "Danny Boy."

(on camera): Now, his final resting place will be on a grassy hill at the U.S. Naval Academy cemetery next to a lifelong friend, Chuck Larson, another veteran of the Vietnam War -- Victor and Christi.


BLACKWELL: Jeff, thank you very much.

Now, you saw there that Washington's power players were at the funeral.

[07:05:00] The president, he spent the day tweeting and playing golf at his course in Virginia.

Let's go now to CNN's Sarah Westwood who is joining us from Washington.

Sarah, good morning to you.

Also, what is the White House saying about these obvious swipes at the president? Anything?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So far, Victor, the White House is not even saying whether President Trump watched the funeral yesterday, but in the evening, President Trump did tweet a single line "Make America Great Again", and that is widely perceived as a direct response to what Meghan McCain said about the America of her father not needing to be made great again because it has always been great. And this has been a difficult week politically for the White House because many have criticized President Trump for what's been widely perceived as an inadequate response to the passing of Senator McCain.

Sources tell CNN that the White House aides drafted a statement for the president to release after McCain's passing, that did not happen. The president opted for a perfunctory tweet shortly after news of his death was publicized. There was confusion about whether the flag would remain at half-staff, it was raised in response to criticism from all corners of the political spectrum, and President Trump chose to spend yesterday at the golf course. It was his 153rd day on the links of his presidency and he spent the service tweeting, not in memory of Senator McCain but about the Russia controversy, about NAFTA renegotiations. Now, President Trump has yet to respond directly to any of the

criticism that Washington leaders leveled at him yesterday, but as we know, Victor, this is a president who often does not take criticism lying down.

BLACKWELL: That is true, indeed. Sarah Westwood for us in Washington, thank you.

PAUL: There are so many takeaways from Senator McCain's funeral and the response from his fellow Republicans.

We want to bring in CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer.

Julian, do you get sense at all that the respect that was shown yesterday and the decorum that people were talking about, is there any sense that that will linger in political realms?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think most people suspect that it won't, unfortunately, that the realities of Washington and politics are very different than the spirit that was conveyed at his memorial and all of the services of the week. And in some ways, that's, you know, Senator McCain's last wish. But the forces of polarization and partisanship are much deeper than any of this ceremony could erase.

PAUL: So, at the end of the day, what's the takeaway from this funeral?

ZELIZER: Well, it's still an important message and to hear two presidents from different parties convey the same themes. Not about whether the right or the left is right, but about the importance of our institutions working well and the importance of being committed to governance. I think that is still an important message and you have to hear it again and again, even if the forces of politics move us in a different direction.

PAUL: We know Ivanka and Jared Kushner were there as we saw Jeff Zeleny point out. Do you expect we will hear from since they were there, they heard it face-to-face?

ZELIZER: Well, maybe there will be a few comments but it's hard for them to get any space relative to the president of the United States who has made his voice loud and clear throughout the week. So maybe they will say something but I think the weight of the response at this point or the positions are coming from the president of the United States.

PAUL: I want to ask you about this moment. There has been a lot of talk in our newsroom about this moment because some people think if they had just passed some gum, people. However, people online were moved by, do we have the video of this moment? Where, apparently, President Bush pass a mint or something to First Lady Michelle Obama. She said, thank you.

And then Brenna Williams tweeted this. She said, I'd like to think a moment like this between W. Bush and Michelle Obama are what McCain was hoping for. What is it about this friendship between these two that is so endearing to people?

ZELIZER: Well, it shows some humanity in our political system and I think people like to see that. They hear and watch and read so much about the divisions and the fighting that they almost become caricatures. And here you see a very human moment. One person passing a mint or a candy to another, different administrations, different parties. But they could still share something like that.

So there is value. As small as this is for people to see something like this, especially in our current era where everything has really moved in such a different direction.

PAUL: Yes, because you're talking about people, as you said, who are on two completely opposite sides of the political spectrum. Absolutely.

I want to ask you real quickly about some politics today. Sam Patten, this Washington lobbyist, he has a plea deal in the Mueller case.

[07:10:00] He paid $50,000 for tickets to President Trump's inauguration, and he did so, we know, on behalf of Ukrainian oligarch.

With that said, why is this so significant?

ZELIZER: It looks like it's a piece of a puzzle that Mueller is putting together about supporters of Russia and parts of the Ukrainian political world who are trying to sway the election, who are trying to sway the administration. On its own, it doesn't implicate the president or anyone directly in his orbit but my guess is, this is part of a bigger portrait that Mueller is trying to put together and figure out what the connections were.

PAUL: Yes, there is no indication, we need to point out, absolutely no indication that the president himself was involved in this but it is a moment because this is the first instance that we can see where the DOJ has publicly charged someone for helping a foreigner funnel money to an event.

ZELIZER: To the campaign.

PAUL: To an event, certainly.

Julian Zelizer, thank you so much for being here, sir.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We are learning more about attempts to attempts to turn a Russian oligarch to an informant. According to "The New York Times", between 2014 and 2016, the FBI and the Justice Department worked to recruit Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska. Now, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and former British spy Christopher Steele were involved in the effort. "The Times" reported that investigators were hoping for information from Deripaska on Russian organized crime and collusion with the Trump campaign, but Deripaska told the investigators their theories were, quote, preposterous. PAUL: When we come back, how Mollie Tibbetts murder is being

exploited. There are now racist robocalls being used, some say, to push their hateful agenda. We are talking about illegal immigration here, of course. Stay close.


[07:16:01] BLACKWELL: A road spray painted with the words "deport illegals", a reported robocall saying America should be white only.

PAUL: This is what is happening in and around Des Moines, Iowa. And it's happening because of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old college student allegedly killed by an undocumented immigration. Her family is joining the city of Des Moines to fight back.

CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval is with us now.

Polo, this is exactly what the family has asked people not to do.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is exactly what they did not want to see happened here, Victor and Christi. There's certainly a sense of nervousness, particularly among members of the Latino community in around Brooklyn, Iowa, which is where Mollie Tibbetts death occurred.

Look at what happened in nearby Des Moines. City officials there tweeting #notinourcity, along with images of officials there removing racist graffiti over the weekend. Also, new reports of robocalls from an out of state white supremacist group that called the alleged murder of Mollie Tibbetts, quote, an invader from Mexico.

And then on the political side, conservatives and also President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed Mollie Tibbetts' murder on the nation's immigration laws. Don Jr. calling Mollie a casualty of the left's love for open borders and their word, calling the reports that the death of this young woman being politicized absurd. However, Don Jr. urging Democrats to be voted out in this situation.

So, what does the Tibbetts family have to say about all of this, of course? They are the ones who not only are still mourning the loss of their daughter but now have to deal with this. Rob Tibbetts, the father of this young woman, writing an op-ed over the weekend, "The Des Moines Register", basically asking that Mollie not be the victim of anybody in this case. I want to read you a portion of what he wrote. Rob Tibbetts saying, I encourage the debate on immigration. There is great merit in its reasonable outcome, but do not appropriate Mollie's soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.

Mr. Tibbetts had requested this after the discovery of his daughter's body, asking the politicians and pundits simply not make -- not politicize his daughter's death. And here he is again, Victor and Christi, so it's certainly something that the Tibbetts family had to deal with in the past and here they are again pleading to the public, politicians and pundits as well to not include his daughter's memory in the immigration debate. PAUL: Yes. He said -- he actually wrote the person who is accused of

taking Mollie's life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacist are of all white people. I mean, it was a really profound op-ed.

Thank you so much, Polo Sandoval.

SANDOVAL: Thanks, guys.

BLACKWELL: A suspect in a knife attack on two U.S. citizens at an Amsterdam train station is expected in court Tuesday. Authorities in the Netherlands say the 19-year-old Afghan man had a terrorist motive but it does not appear that the victims were targeted. Now, they were seriously injured but not in critical condition. Now, police shot that 19-year-old after the attack. He is still in the hospital.

PAUL: The reporter at the center of a fight with the president over leaked comments says he has been forced to talk about it now, to stop ethical journalists who are being smeared. We've got him. He is talking about it in his own words when we come back.


[07:24:15] PAUL: Thank you for sharing part of your morning with us. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you this Sunday.

PAUL: So, when world leaked that president said he planned to be tough on Canada during NAFTA renegotiations. The president didn't deny the comments but he did say that he made them off the record in a Bloomberg interview and then he called for an apology, even though Bloomberg said they had nothing to do with the story.

Well, now the reporter who wrote that story is backing Bloomberg. This is an unusual move. Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the "Toronto Star", is with us now.

Daniel, thank you for being here.

It is a rare move to speak up about a situation like this. Why did you feel compelled to do so and what do you want to say?

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, TORONTO STAR: Well, I made a commitment to my source that I would protect their identity, and of course, I continue to do so and I always will.

[07:25:00] But this is an extremely unusual case in that we have the president of the United States using this leak to smear the reputations of the Bloomberg reporters, he's publicly calling them unethical, basically calling them liars, accusing them of violating their commitment to him when they didn't do that. So, I didn't want to let my story be used to smear journalists, my colleagues. I never met them but they are ethical. I thought I could still protect my source while also making clear the Bloomberg reporters had nothing to do with this. PAUL: Have you heard from anybody at Bloomberg?

DALE: No. I asked them for comment originally and they said we respect our off-the-record promises. But I don't know these people personally and I haven't heard from them since.

PAUL: Sure. We did talk with Margaret Talev of Bloomberg yesterday about how this off-the-record remark was publicized and here is what she told us.


MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS: I have no idea. Bloomberg did not have any off-the-record information, and when Bloomberg enters into an agreement with anyone, Bloomberg agrees, if I agree as a reporter to have an off-the-record conversation with someone, off-the-record is off-the-record and we honor that. And as you can tell from Bloomberg's reporting, Bloomberg has released the transcript from our on-the-record interview with President Trump and Bloomberg has only reported on on-the-record comments that the president made.


PAUL: So, the president had tweeted out that he can't believe Bloomberg violated a firm off-the-record discussion. Will they put out an apology? You're taking heat off them, saying, look, this wasn't Bloomberg. This was a source of mind. Do you think an apology is necessary somewhere?

DALE: I can't really say honestly. I mean, all I can say about the sourcing is that it wasn't anyone at Bloomberg who head a promise to Trump that this would not be released.

PAUL: So you're saying that the person that he talked to, it was not made clear that it was off the record?

DALE: No. I'm saying Trump did make clear that these comments were off the record. I'm saying that Trump is accusing the people who made that promise to him, that it would be off the record, of violating that promise and I'm saying that none of those people who made that promise to him was my source.

PAUL: OK. President Trump did tweet this, because at the end of the day, this is all about NAFTA. He said no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal if we don't make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out. Congress should not interfere with these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely and we will be better off for it.

Any indication of how all of the public threats of pulling out of this deal may affect the private conversations that are being had?

DALE: Well, the Canadian strategy has been to ignore Trump's threats. He has been threatening to terminate NAFTA since his campaign and repeatedly, you know, at various moments in the talks. The Canadian strategy is basically to pretend Trump isn't president and continue to engage constructively.

But I think it does have an impact when, you know, the Canadian government finds out that he is saying privately that he is not going to compromise at all, and at the very least he makes it harder for the Canadian government to believe the U.S. side is negotiating in good faith and it also makes it harder, I think, for the Canadian government to sell a deal to the Canadian public when the president is bragging that he didn't give any ground to Canada.

PAUL: OK. So what is the future of this deal?

DALE: It's so hard to say, honestly. I think there is still a lot of optimism in the business community and the Canadian side that something can get done. They are down to quite few issues, although they are significant issues so anything is possible with Trump on any subject. He could blow up the deal, he could try to proceed only with Mexico, but it's, you know, all hope is not lost. It's still very possible that they will come to some sort of agreement.

PAUL: All righty. Daniel Dale, appreciate your time. Thank you.

DALE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Up next, CNN gets a rare look at life inside a detention center which human rights activists call a black hole for the immigrants being held there.



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: They -- the last -- let me start this over. They last saw their parents at the border two months ago, but according to court papers now, nearly 500 immigrant children are still in U.S. government-funded shelters. At least 22 of those children are under the age of five.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Yes, this is all coming as activists are condemning the conditions that immigrants face when they're detained. CNN correspondent Nick Valencia has more for us here.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Human rights advocates have called the Stewart Detention Center the black hole of immigrations facilities in America. After years of repeated requests to go inside, CNN was finally granted access, to our surprise, this year.

This is rural Georgia, home of the Stewart Detention facility, one of the largest immigration detention centers in the country, with over 1900 detainees. We were given rare access inside the facility, but for security reasons on the outside, we're not allowed to film beyond this point. Only inside the interview room where we're about to meet a detainee.


VALENCIA: Death followed 28-year-old Hector nearly his whole life in Honduras. Now, in the United States, he still so scared of being killed, he asked not to be shown on camera. He says, back home, his sister was raped and later murdered. One day after witnessing a random murder himself, he feared he would be next.



VALENCIA: Hector fled north, crossing through Mexico into San Diego where he asked for asylum. He was detained and sent to Philadelphia. Once released, he settled in North Carolina with his family. Fitted with an ankle monitor, Hector was told he would have regular home visits from ICE agents, but he missed a visit. In January, he landed back in detention, this time at Stewart. Conditions here have broken his spirit.






VALENCIA: He says he's lost close to 10 pounds because of the pour diet at the medium security facility. According to him, not only are his basic needs not met, he alleges the guards discriminate against the mostly Latino detainees.





VALENCIA: While Hector navigates the daily challenges of life inside detention, on the outside, he has advocates.

DAN WERNER: This is working in the trenches.

VALENCIA: Dan Werner is with the Southern Poverty Law Center and provides pro bono legal work, but it's an uphill battle. The approval rate of asylum claims at Stewart is in the single digits.

WERNER: People are just churned through the system and spit out the other end as quickly as possible.

VALENCIA: Unfortunately for him, Hector's future has already been decided. A judge at Stewart denied his asylum request. Soon he will be deported.

HECTOR: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) VALENCIA: The detainee that you heard from in that report made a lot

of claims, so we went to CoreCivic, the organization that runs the Stewart Detention Center to ask them to respond and here's what they said in part. Any claim of a detainee being denied food at Stewart is patently false. There is not circumstance where food would be withheld from a detainee. We take such allegations seriously and we are not aware of any information such as a detainee grievance to support that claim.

They go on to say, CoreCivic cares deeply about every person in our care and we work hard to ensure those in our facility are treated respectfully and humanely. We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and cultural and ethnic sensitivity education is part of every employee's training. But for Hector, the detainee you heard from, he says at Stewart he was treated like an animal. Nick Valencia, CNN Atlanta.

PAUL: Nick, thank you so much. Listen, she may only stand 5'1'' but Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a towering figure on the Supreme Court. A look at her life, her decisions, and what she's done to the legal landscape.

BLACKWELL: Plus, just days before confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, one Democrat is calling the latest move by the White House a Friday night document massacre. We'll explain after the break.



BLACKWELL: Litigator, role model, dissenter, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has earned lots of titles and accolades during her groundbreaking career. Well, now, the new CNN original film RBG takes an intimate look at the personal and professional life of Justice Ginsburg, who has developed, yes, this impressive legal legacy but also has become an unexpected pop culture icon. Here's a look.

BILL CLINTON: I'm proud to nominate this path-breaking attorney, advocate, and judge to be the 107th Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG: We may be in trying times, but think how it was in those days. The judges didn't think sex discrimination existed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ruth knew what she was doing in laying the foundation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And put women on the same plane as men.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The goal was equality and civil rights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg quite literally changed the way the world is for American women.

GINSBURG: What has become of me could happen only in America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's become such a rock star.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is really the closest thing to a superhero I know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is known to fans the world over as the notorious RBG.

GINSBURG: All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN Supreme Court Ariane de Vogue. Ariane, good morning to you.

ARIANE DE VOGUE: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: So you've covered Justice Ginsburg in the Supreme Court for years now and as you watched the promotion for this documentary -- for this film, I should say, calling her a superhero and a trailblazer, she deserves it, but why do you think she is such a trailblazer?

DE VOGUE: Well, you know, Victor, she might be one of the rare justices who's known more for the work she did before she took the bench even more so than the opinions she issued, because as this young lawyer for the ACLU, she attacked laws that discriminated on the basis of gender. And she was very methodical, she would find good plaintiffs and bring the case much like Thurgood Marshall did earlier on race.

And she really changed the landscape for women as a young lawyer coming across.


And for instance, one of her plaintiffs, she decided to choose a male and she thought that maybe that would resonate with mostly male judges and justices who would hear this and they would recognize that the issue of gender discrimination hurt women, but also hurt men. That was her strategy, and she was a brilliant person in order to think broadly on how to bring these kinds of cases, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So she received really broad support during her confirmation. In the context of what we're going to see this week with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, we're not expecting those numbers anymore. We don't see those numbers for nominees anymore.

DE VOGUE: Well, you're absolutely right. Think about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a lawyer for the ACLU and I think she got through something like 96 to 3. It's going to be a whole different story for Brett Kavanaugh. Democrats are ready to pounce here because for -- remember that Kavanaugh is taking the place, if he's confirmed, of Justice Kennedy, and that's going to really cement the conservative majority on this court for years to come.

And Democrats are ready. They want to fight this as best they can. They say two things. They say, look, he has had said that he believes in a strong executive and he has also said that he doesn't think a sitting president should be indicted. So some Democrats are saying, well, then given what's going on with President Trump, he should agree to recuse himself from any issues stemming from those investigations that'll come to the Supreme Court.

They're going to push on that, but that's not going to happen. Supreme Court justices all the time rule on issues that are important to the people that put them on the bench. But the other issue the Democrats are also going to seize on are documents.


DE VOGUE: And Kavanaugh has -- he has hundreds of thousands of documents from his time at the Bush administration, and the Democrats say that while they're getting a lot of them, they're not getting everything. And they want a chance to see everything and to go through it, and they think that the hearing should have been delayed. So those are going to be two lines of attack we're going to see this week.

BLACKWELL: We have 100,000 -- a little more than 100,000 documents being held back under executive privilege. We got that letter from the White House supported by the Department of Justice sent over to the Senate at the end of week. Let me come to this. The CNN poll, only 37 percent of respondents to this poll want the Senate to vote in favor of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination.

That's the lowest since Robert Bork back in 1987 taking even in Harriet Miers who in October of -- I believe it was 2004 it was when he pulled her nomination. Four days later, she was at 42 percent. Does it matter, the approval rating of this justice and what are his -- what's his likely that he'll get through?

DE VOGUE: Well, the way things are, it looks like he might get through. Democrats are going to try as hard as they can. But what that poll also reflects, Victor, is how this whole issue has become so politicized. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg, going back to her, she says in her speeches, she wishes that confirmation hearings were like they were in the old days when she was able to get through.

But she notes that in recent years, look at Elena Kagan, Justice Sotomayor, they're becoming more and more closely divided and the hearings are really turning into these big political fights, and I think that that's what that poll reflects.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ariane de Vogue. We'll be watching it closely. We know you will be as well and Harriet Miers' nomination was in 2005 just to correct that. And be sure to catch the CNN film RBG: Hero, Icon, Dissenter. That's tomorrow night at 9PM Eastern here on CNN.

PAUL: I know you're looking forward to this long weekend but tropical weather may ruin the long holiday for a lot of people in certain part of the country. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar has the details. Good morning.

ALLISON CHINCHAR: We're watching not one but two tropical systems. We'll talk about what impacts to the U.S., coming up.



BLACKWELL: So we're in the middle of this long Labor Day weekend...

PAUL: Well, you are.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Yes, we're at work. People are planning to get out. One more summer cookout, I've got an afternoon dance party, I'll post pictures. But it could be ruined by a tropical weather system.


PAUL: First of all, his dance party will not be ruined, he will post pictures, it will be good.

BLACKWELL: I'm going to dance anyway.

PAUL: Absolutely. Allison Chinchar though, what are we looking at here?

CHINCHAR: Right. Yes. So here's a look at what we have for the latest. These numbers just came out. We have an 80 percent chance of development for this tropical wave over the next five days, a 50 percent development into a tropical depression in just the next two days. Here's why, as this system crosses over the Cays and goes into the Gulf of Mexico, it's going to enter much more favorable conditions and especially much warmer water temperatures that will allow this to develop more.

We know it will end up into the Gulf. The question is, from there, where does it go? Does it end up taking the heavy rain closer to say, Mobile or Pensacola, closer to New Orleans or even further west towards say, Galveston and Houston? Here's the thing though. Because it will be entering all of this warm water here in Gulf, we know the system itself is going to get stronger.

So the end of the day, the takeaway I want you to get from this is a lot of rain is going to dumped, not just for portions of Florida, although that's where it's going to start. Two to four inches widespread across Miami perhaps even higher than that and some isolated spots. And then for areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, portions of Texas, also looking at widespread amount of say about four to six inches.

But we also have this other system, okay? This is tropical storm Florence. Right now, not really much of an impact just a fish storm that we call because it's sitting over the open water. The question is what does it do from there?

In the short term, it is expected to stay over open water but we will have to watch this say about five to seven days from now to see where that turn starts to take place and whether or not it will bring it closer to the U.S. The question, is this usual for this time of year? And the answer is yes. In fact, this time of year a lot of systems actually come off the coast of Africa but you also have some that develop in the portions of the Gulf.

Those are the areas that really have a lot of concern going forward this time of year. And also keep in mind, Victor and Christi, right now, we are just now starting to enter what we consider peak hurricane season. In fact, the peak date is actually coming up. It's September 10th.

BLACKWELL: Allison Chinchar. Thanks so much.

PAUL: And there's a lot more to the late Senator John McCain than politics.

BLACKWELL: Yes. He's also being remembered for his sense of humor, including live pranking as CNN reports. CNN's Jeanne Moos has some of his funniest moments.


JEANNE MOOS: He called his campaign bus the Straight Talk Express.

JOHN MCCAIN: Why are we heading...

MOOS: But a lot of what he expressed was humor, whether it was poking fun at his opponent, then presidential candidate Obama.

MCCAIN: Maverick I can do, but Messiah is above my pay grade.

MOOS: Or getting nabbed on camera playing poker on his phone during a Senate debate.

MCCAIN: Occasionally I get a little bored.

MOOS: Just a year and a half ago, Senator McCain was horsing around like a teenager, making devil ears...

MANU RAJU: Laying out a series of demands...

MOOS: ...behind CNN reporter Manu Raju, McCain then tweeted out the moment, "After all these years, revenge." More devil horns behind his fellow senator from Colorado.


MOOS: And then there were all those SNL appearances never funnier than when...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: McCain sings Streisand.

MOOS: He said Streisand had tried to do his job talking politics, so he decided to try hers.

MCCAIN: Pretty annoying, huh?

MOOS: Barbara wasn't annoyed. After his death, she referenced the SNL act in a tweet and called him a good man, a good senator. He even let SNL joke about his then-running mate going rogue...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Available now, we've got a bunch of these...

MOOS: Senator McCain's attempts at humor sometimes blew up on him. Remember this? Senator McCain did when someone asked him about punishing Iran...

MCCAIN: That old Beach Boys song Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb, bomb...

MOOS: He made movie and TV cameos playing himself...

MCCAIN: Excuse me, I just to need to get my coat here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you give me a minute here please?

MOOS: He made fun of himself.

MCCAIN: I wish the guy would shut up.

MOOS: No wonder he laughed so easily, he considered himself to be one of...

MCCAIN: ...are the luckiest people...

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN. New York.


PAUL: I interviewed him a couple times in Arizona and I can't tell you what that was about either, because it's a little too much.

BLACKWELL: The turtleneck really sold it. It was good.

PAUL: It was so good. Listen, I just have to say, we have one second. I have to say happy birthday to my Sadie lady, it is her birthday. I don't think the picture came through. I posted it. You can see it there.


PAUL: Nine.

BLACKWELL: Oh, nine.

PAUL: The last single digit.

BLACKWELL: Happy birthday, Sadie.

PAUL: Sadie lady, I love you. And hey, thank you so much for sharing your morning with us. We always appreciate it. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: Inside Politics starts now.