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CNN NEWSROOM

CNN Probe Raises Questions About James Brown's Death; Trump Delivers First Address Before Democratic-Controlled House; 2020 Democrats Face Litmus Test of Medicare For All; Federal Prosecutors Seek Interviews with Trump Organization Executives; Interview with Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA); Actor Liam Neeson Admits Contemplating Racist Revenge. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 5, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: So, Thomas, thank you so much for coming to D.C. and talking me through this incredible, incredible investigation and this journey you've been on for the last two years. Let's just start with why won't these questions of his death go away?

THOMAS LAKE, CNN SENIOR WRITER: Here's what I learned in my reporting, there are at least 13 people who knew James Brown who think there should be an autopsy, a criminal investigation or both and his wife says this, his manager, the doctor who signed the death certificate, Dr. Marvin Crawford gave CNN an exclusive interview and he still wants to know what went wrong in James Brown's hospital room just before he died.

BALDWIN: He was 73 years old. This is a man who had a history of drug abuse and health problems. Does that not that explain his death?

LAKE: You might think so. Except the doctor told me Brown was almost ready to go home. He had been treated. He had a concert tour scheduled. He was going to get in the studio with Aretha Franklin and suddenly he took a drastic turn for the worst and died and people still want to know why.

BALDWIN: There wasn't an autopsy done at the time.

LAKE: No autopsy. The doctor says he wanted one but Brown's daughter, Yamma, declined to have it done. It is her right. But twice since then I have asked her why she declined, she has not given an answer.

BALDWIN: If the authorities get involved, then I understand one of your sources has some items that might interest them.

LAKE: Right. The woman whose phone call that first set me off on this investigation, Jackie Hollander, came into possession of a black duffle bag. It contains evidence from Brown's last days. We had an item from this bag set off for forensic testing. It came back positive for marijuana, cocaine and a prescription drug. We don't know yet what that proves but it's one more data point investigators may want to examine.

BALDWIN: Wow, your series examines the death -- it was 1996, James Brown's third wife, Adrienne Brown, was 45, recovering from plastic surgery in Beverly Hills. Investigators found no sign of foul play back then. So why raise this now?

LAKE: We've got new information on that death. In 2017, the same woman, Jackie, she was a friend of Adrienne and she told me I should call this detective now retired who looked at Adrienne's death at the time. She said he was suspicious about her death too. So, I find this guy, I call him. And he has this notebook that an informant gave him in 2001, a reliable informant he says but at the time he didn't read all of it. After I reached out to him, he goes back and reads the rest of it and what he finds there is amazing. It is an allegation from this informant that a doctor confessed to her that he had sneaked into Adrienne Brown's recovery room and murdered her with a fatal drug overdose.

BALDWIN: What?

LAKE: This notebook contains such phrases as, "make it look like an overdose" and "murder for hire."

BALDWIN: CNN is not naming the doctor because he has not been charged with a crime, yes?

LAKE: That's right. And I did find this doctor. I interviewed him, he denied the allegations, denied killing Adrienne Brown.

BALDWIN: You have spent nearly two years on this entire project. You've interviewed close to 140 people, reviewed thousands of pages of documents. You've identified some disturbing similarities, between these two deaths, Adrienne Brown in 1996 and James Brown in 2006.

LAKE: That's right. Both times the wife of James Brown try to separate him from a group of associates she believed to be controlling him. Both times she told others she feared for her life and both times someone went in for medical care and didn't come home alive.

BALDWIN: And we can find your entire piece on CNN.com. This is the three-part investigative series on James Brown. It is live on CNN.com. Thomas, thank you so much.

LAKE: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Good to see you.

When President Trump walks into the House chamber tonight, he will be surrounded by Democratic women wearing white to show their solidarity, one of them is freshman Congresswoman Katie Hill who is already selected her candidate to challenge Trump in 20. We'll talk to the Congresswoman live next.

[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: My next guest will be wearing white tonight. She's Katie Hill. She'll be joining dozens of her colleagues following the call to show solidarity inside the House chamber. It represents the suffragettes who fought for women's right to vote. That's not the only message this freshman Congresswoman plans to send. Her guest is an air-traffic controller who according to hill, says should not endure another government shutdown working without pay. So, Katie Hill is with me now. Congresswoman, nice to meet you.

REP. KATIE HILL (D), CALIFORNIA: Nice to meet you too. Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: You have said you would vote for some kind of border barrier of the have you implored your party's leadership to cut any kind of deal?

HILL: I don't even have to implore them. There's a great deal of desire to come to some kind of agreement. We don't want to have another shutdown. I --

BALDWIN: To build a barrier, I don't know if Speaker Pelosi is --

[15:40:00] HILL: So much of this is around semantics which is really frustrating.

BALDWIN: You do?

HILL: There's a lot of agreement that border security's necessary, that sometimes that's going to include money for barriers of some kind. What's frustrating for me is that people are upset about this 2,000-mile concrete wall. That's where it started. We've moved on from that and we need to see that as a victory and say just based on recommendations, based on the best security experts that we know, what do we really need? And in some cases that will include --

BALDWIN: I wanted to ask because I had a Republican Senator Kennedy on last week and he was like, Brooke, you can call it a wang doodle. Call it what you want. It is the word "wall", so you think it is the word "wall" that is --

HILL: People are getting very hung up on wall. Trump is gone away from the wall.

BALDWIN: He was into fencing.

HILL: And back to it and then you know, I just feel like we've got to stop it which is just ban the word "wall" from the dictionary and we'll be in a much better place.

BALDWIN: I want to play a moment from new world order in Washington, a lot more women in Congress, Speaker Pelosi, back up on the dais this year, so I want to remember -- when she was first up there, this was Bush 43 when he first introduced her in 2007.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of my own as the first President to begin the State of the Union message with these words, madam speaker. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Obviously, the President now and Speaker Pelosi had their own differences. Do you think that President Trump tonight will acknowledge her presence with the same amount of grace?

HILL: That's a great question. I hope he does and I hope he also acknowledges the historic significance of how many women are in the House right now and I do think it's unfortunate that we are largely concentrated on the Democratic side of the House, but hopefully that will change over time too.

BALDWIN: Looking ahead, 2020, so many people are already running. You have thrown your support no surprise behind Senator Kamala Harris also of California, but with so many more people potentially jumping in in the months to come, do you ever have buyer's remorse? Could there be someone better?

HILL: What I feel like is, I believe in her and I support her wholeheartedly, but I think we have an incredible group of candidates that are running. I just feel really excite that had no matter who makes it through the primary, I think we'll have a really amazing opportunity and I believe in so many of them. I've gotten to know so many of them over the course of my campaign and since I got here. This is where we need to let the Democratic process play out. Somebody said to me I saw on twitter that someone said, oh, you're a super delegate and I had no idea I was a super delegate. It's weird for me to think that now I'm part of the establishment, but also whatever -- we can get into that later.

BALDWIN: Yes. You are and people also care. We know it's Senator Harris. She was on our CNN "TOWN HALL" two Mondays ago out of Iowa and Jake was asking her about, do you support Medicare For All and she sort of clarified the next day, if they want that option, where are you on Medicare For All?

HILL: I've always said, like, Medicare For All is the place we want to go, but how we get there is really important and I'm somebody who worked on the Medicaid expansion in California to a significant degree. We have to have the right process to get there --

BALDWIN: Would you eliminate private insurance?

HILL: That's where I have a hang-up. I have a problem eliminating private insurance. That's one of the reasons I haven't dived in on the newest bill. I need to look at it fully. People do like options. I get the argument on both sides. But I think that that's where we have to explore it. We have to have this debate. I'm excited to be having this debate within our caucus and outside of it. Hopefully this Presidential election will let us flush this out further and really see where the American people are.

BALDWIN: What a first couple months in Congress for you, President Trump, State of the Union, government shutdown, here's hoping we're not back where we are in ten more days.

HILL: Could not agree more.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Hill.

HILL: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Nice to meet you.

HILL: You too.

BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news. The federal prosecutors in New York have been trying to interview executives in the Trump organization. We have details on what they want to know.

And actor Liam Neeson in a bit of trouble for telling a story how he once contemplated racist revenge and what happened on live television when he was confronted about it.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Members of Congress are inviting one guest to the President's state of the union tonight. They typically invite someone who serves as a real-world example of a lawmaker's passion or policy. My next guest got national attention for confronting a very important lawmaker during the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:50:00] ANA MARIA ARCHILA, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR POPULAR DEMOCRACY: You have children in your family, think about them. I have two children. I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

That was Ana Maria Archila. After that confrontation, Republican Senator Jeff Flake moved to delay the Kavanaugh confirmation vote and until that FBI investigation was complete. Ana Maria will be attending tonight's state of the union as the guest of freshman Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ana Maria is with me now. It's so nice to meet you.

ARCHILA: So nice to meet you.

BALDWIN: Still incredibly gripping to watch it so many months later. Take us back What possessed you and the passion?

ARCHILA: Women were trying to help senators understand what this moment meant for us, for the country. I had told my story a few days before I saw him in the elevator in front of his office as part of a protest. I went back to the senate building on the morning when the supreme court was supposed to vote and met this woman that was there for the first time. The woman in the elevator. She was there. They won a protest because she heard the testimony. She said let's go to Senator Flake's office.

BALDWIN: Still, a Congresswoman tells you are her hero. What does that mean for you?

ARCHILA: It's -- she gives me so much hope because she embodies the kind of moral clarity I think we really need in a moment like the one we are living now where we have a President that is instilling so much fear and hate and fanning the flames of hatred and telling lies and I think it's so important to have someone that has moral clarity like her and that has urgency about how essential it is for us to change the course of history.

BALDWIN: She is clearly super popular on the left. I was hearing how some Republicans admire her. I was reading a quote from Steve Bannon that said, "you either have it or you don't. And she has it big league."

But so many people on the right cannot stand her. She has a massive target on her back. Why do you think that is?

ARCHILA: She is the future. She represents the country that is here.

The Republicans and President Trump are trying to resist by trying to define who we are as a nation by saying that immigrants do not belong here. By saying that we need to build walls instead of building bridges and creating infrastructures that allow people to have health care and education. That's what we should be having and we should be inviting this idea that we can actually see each other in each other's faces even when we are different even when we come from different nations and have different genders. When we speak different languages, we can't see each other.

BALDWIN: You're wearing your white. Who is the one person you're most excited to lay eyes on this evening?

ARCHILA: There are so many guests coming.

BALDWIN: Pick one.

ARCHILA: I'm a big fan of Omar from Minnesota. I think she represents the spirit of the people that have been fighting for the last two years in this country.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

ARCHILA: Nice to meet you.

BALDWIN: Enjoy your evening here in Washington.

Federal prosecutors looking and it comes one day after the Trump Inaugural Committee was served with a subpoena. We will break down what that means for President Trump. That's coming up.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: He says he once contemplated racist revenge. And he is expressing regret for it now. Neeson tells British newspaper, "The Independent," that this happened years ago but he did not say when or where. He took to the streets after learning a loved one had been raped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:00:00] LIAM NEESON, ACTOR: I asked did she know who he was? No. What color? She said it was a black person. I've gone up and down areas with a cosh hoping I would be approached. I'm ashamed to say that. I did it for maybe a week hoping some black [bleep] would come out of a pub so that I could kill him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

He told ABC he is not racist. I'm not racist. This was nearly 40 years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you have had the same reaction if it because white man?

NEESON: If she said Irish or Scott or Brit or Lithuanian, I would have had the same effect. I was trying to show honor for -- stand up for my dear friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: He said he is now ashamed of his horrible behavior and he did seek help from a priest. Thanks for being with me. Let's go to Jake Tapper. "THE LEAD" starts right now.