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Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren Is Now Officially Running For President; Allegations Of Extortion And Blackmail For Escaped Photos, Secret Texts And The Richest Man In The World; Acting A.G. Testified on Capitol Hill in Contentious Hearing; Deeper Look at Trump's Health after 2nd Physical in Office; New Questions Raised Over Death of Godfather of Soul James Brown; Questions Raised about Death of James Brown's 3rd Wife; A Preview of This Year's Grammy Awards. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired February 9, 2019 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera here in New York. Thanks so much for being here.

A big announcement today.


CABRERA: She is now officially running for President. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren today launching her campaign for the White House in 2020.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible and America that works for everyone. And that is why I stand here today to declare that I am a candidate for President of the United States of America.


CABRERA: Senator Warren and an enthusiastic crowd in Lawrence, Massachusetts today. She promised to fight corruption, calling it quote "a cancer on our democracy." And she took aim at the current President.


WARREN: The Trump administration is the most corrupt in living memory. But even after Trump is gone, it won't do just to do a better job of running a broken system. We need to take power in Washington away from the wealthy and well-connected ad put it back in the hands of the people where it belongs.


CABRERA: Warren is trying to move past an earlier controversy. She has apologized several times, recently for claiming to be of native- American descent. And now she is joining a number of Democratic candidates or hopefuls crisscrossing the early voting states today. Among them, three other U.S. senators, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Sherrod Brown.

And joining us now, former Hillary Clinton campaign manager and CNN political commentator Robby Mook, and Emily Tisch Sussman, a Democratic strategist and former staffer on President Obama's 2008 campaign.

I will start with you, Robby. No surprise Elizabeth Warren laying out a very progressive agenda. She is walking out on to the stage as we showed, announcing her candidacy to Dolly Parton's 9-5. Would this roll-out effective? Do you think she resonated?

ROBBY MOOK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I certainly think she is raising the issue that is on the core of many Democrats concern right now, which is the deep corruption of this administration, and how right now when you look at what the Republicans were doing when they were in office unchecked with, you know, all three branches of the executive and legislative parts of government, they were passing massive tax breaks for billionaires and millionaires, huge tax breaks for corporations and pass through entities.

So I think that she is pegging her candidacy to the right issues. I think the struggle for any Democrat running right now in this big crowded field is how do you break out and how you distinguish yourself?

You know, I think she is pushing a little bit harder on certain pieces of this than other candidates. We will have to see if that's enough. But you know, I think her focus was right in the right spot today. That speech was all about the voters and their lives and what she's going to do for them.

CABRERA: And Emily, we are seeing Elizabeth Warren is wasting no time hitting the road. She is in New Hampshire. These are live pictures from her next event that she is at currently. Meantime, President Trump, his reelection campaign is already going after Warren today with this statement.

Elizabeth Warren has already been exposed as a fraud by the native- Americans. She impersonated and disrespected to advance her personal career. And the people of Massachusetts she deceived to get elected. The American people will reject her dishonest campaign and socialist ideas.

Why do you think the Trump campaign feels the need to respond to Warren? Because we haven't seen this with the other Democrats who have jumped in so far and she is one of eight now.

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, FORMER STAFFER ON OBAMA'S 2008 CAMPAIGN: Yes. Uplifting Warren is actually probably the best in the Trump administration and Trump campaign could do to have her break out. Any attack at any candidate is kind of pursue does the public - by the public as then being a threat to him. That is who tends to go after in the higher visibility that he can give her, the better it is for her, honestly. I would imagine the reason they are trying to - that he is thinking

about tweeting in the way that he goes after her. It is because he is the one that ended up bringing up this native-American history. And it actually stuck in a way they probably shouldn't have. So I imagine they feel like there's blood in the water to keep going after her.

Something I think it's interesting about her campaign and the stump she has been on so far is that she actually is going after Trump directly, much more so than the other candidates. I think Robby makes a good point. And that her rollout speech today was more about the people and the economic issues and the day to day issues which is really where her strength lies. The more she talks about - you know, she is really running like the nerd lane. So the more that she can talk about understanding people's day to day struggles and having that economist background is stronger for her.

CABRERA: The nerd lane, I like that. I would like to think I'm in the nerd lane as well.

She does have to answer these questions about claiming native-American heritage, like it or not. And she has continued to address this issue on multiple occasions, let's listen.


[16:05:10] WARREN: I am sorry I extended confusion about tribal citizenship and tribal sovereignty and for harm caused. I am also sorry for not being more mindful of this decades ago.


CABRERA: Emily, the latest polling numbers show she is facing a 32 percent favorable rating. It's not great obviously. Can you see her unfavorables are actually a little higher. Do you think she can get past this controversy or will it continue to haunt her campaign?

SUSSMAN: I think it will go on as long as we keep talking about it, honestly. Like she is going to run a campaign that is going to talk about -- it is going to be in the nerd lane. She gets very specific in the details. She rose to power under the potential, the CFPB. Like she really knows this stuff.

And so, the more that she can talk about it, the bigger platform that's given, it's not sound-bytes. It is not tweets. But the more we talk about that, the better off she will do. It is interesting that she went back to New Hampshire today. She is actually been in New Hampshire through the entire last cycle. And has more visibility there than any other primary candidate.

It's really Iowa, South Carolina where she needs to make a little bit more in roads. So the fact that she is going back there, I guess, it really just - it shows where she is doubling down.

CABRERA: Robby, let's talk about the ever important young voter base? Remember this attempt on Instagram that unleash the wave of mockery?


WARREN: My husband is now in here. You want a beer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will pass on the beer for now.

WARREN: Are you sure?


WARREN: Ok, save one. So this is my sweetie.


WARREN: He is the best.


CABRERA: So can Warren connect with younger voters, Robby?

MOOK: I absolutely think she can. I think she is raising a lot of really important issues that, you know, younger people care about. We think about student debts. She is really been a leader on that issue. We think about jobs and minimum wage for young people entering the workforce. I think so.

Look. I think Warren's had it really tough, Emily is absolutely right. I mean, you know, and I went through this on the Clinton campaign. People decide to harp on something. They won't give it up. Hillary got attack for not being quote-unquote "relatable on social media."

I think what Democrats need to do is take a deep breath, step back, really listen to what these candidates have to say, really think about what is in it for them and give her a chance. And I think, you know, people are on different sides of what Warren believes. Some people think she is pushing the envelope too much. I'm sure there are some people don't think enough.

But I think as Democrats, we want to have a better primary. That's not about drama. That is not intrigue. That's what the Republicans got caught up in 2016. I think that's how they got Donald Trump as a nominee. I would like to think that, you know, we are not going to be, you know, judgey (ph) about social media. We are going to judge people on the merits.

CABRERA: Emily, I'm finding it a fun time to be an anchor on the weekends because so many of these events are happening during my hours. And tomorrow we are expecting here Senator Amy Klobuchar to announce her 2020 plans.

When you look at who is officially announced so far, at least, it is quite a diverse field. What effect would that have on Democrats chances of taking back the White House?

SUSSMAN: I think very strong. Look. It's an exciting time to be a Democrat. There's great candidates out there, as a party, as a country. We should be looking for any one of these people to be our nominee.

I think for everyone who has, which is everybody, who lived through the 2016 primary does not want to relive that and does not want to get so hard into camps that you actually don't feel ready to go into to the general.

So look. People are choosing their candidates. People are picking their camps. But really, the thing they are looking for most is who can beat Donald Trump in the general election. And people are preferring who they thing has electability over their own personal choice even.

So the fact that there's going to be a big primary, an exciting one, one that people will be able to put forth. Different, but not wildly different visions for the country. I actually think it's good in getting the entire base to move forward with one candidate once we get to the general.

CABRERA: Robby, you know Senator Bernie Sanders' message and strategy better than a lot I imagine after campaigning against him in the 2016 primary. Where do you think his mind-set is right now when it comes to 2020? He obviously has not made any announcements yet about whether he is going to run.

MOOK: Yes. I think Bernie comes in with strengths and some challenges, right. I think the obvious strength, he has universal name recognition, has, you know, a big list of supporters, a big political network that he built over the last cycle. I think the challenge for him is going to be that he was in a two person race as Emily was just talking about. And in many respects his candidacy was define to be in contrast to Hillary Clinton. So the real question to me is, who is Bernie Sanders now, and how does he distinguish himself in this field.

He can't just be anti-Hillary, he can't just be anti-establishment broadly because you could make that argument about a number of these candidates. He needs to be something a little bit different this time. And, you know, I think we saw in some of his comments. He is getting pushed harder to be more responsive on issues like structural racism in this country, implicit racism. And so I think some of the challenges that maybe were masked or easier to navigate last time are going to be tougher. That doesn't mean he can't be successful. But if I were with his team, those are the things I would be really thinking about really closely.

[16:10:39] CABRERA: All right, Bobby Mook, Emily Tisch Sussman, you see the polling right there and where people's heads are out right now in the Democratic side. Thank you very much.

It is the blog post that triggered a federal investigation. The world's richest man says he was blackmailed by the "National Enquirer." And now a popular connection to a close U.S. ally.


[16:15:04] CABRERA: Allegations of extortion and blackmail for escaped photos, secret texts and the richest man in the world. Federal prosecutors are now investigating claims by Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, that executives who run the "National Enquirer" tried to extort him.

But all dates back to earlier this year. Remember this, when a magazine exposed Bezos' affair around the same time he and his wife announced they were getting a divorce. Well, Bezos then launched a private investigation into how that information got to the "National Inquirer," and whether it was a political hit job because he owns the "Washington Post" and has been a frequent target of President Trump.

CNN's Alex Marquardt has more.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The "National Enquirer's" parent company hitting back at stinging allegations and revelations by Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos. Saying, in a statement, it believes fervently that it acted lawfully, that it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with Bezos.

American media Inc. or AMI also promising to launch an internal investigation into Bezos' long list of claims against him, including what he called extortion and blackmail, when Ami threatened to leak risky photos of him. Sources telling CNN, federal prosecutors are also looking into his accusations.

In his blog post, Bezos alleges the AMI had a cozy relationship not just with the Trump White House, but with Saudi Arabia, also alleged in published reports. Last year, AMI put out a 97 page glossy magazine heralding the kingdom's crown prince and his vision ahead of his trip to the U.S. The Saudi embassy in Washington claimed they had no involvement or knowledge of the AMI publication with Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the cover, a man the CIA has concluded ordered the violent murder of Jamal Khashoggi of the "Washington Post" which Bezos owns. The Saudis have called the finding false.

But the "Associated Press" reported that according to sources, embassy officials got an electronic copy of the pro-kingdom magazine about three weeks before it came out. The top Saudi official says he has no idea of any relationship with AMI, adding, it's like a soap opera. And told CNN that as far as he knows, the Saudis did not press AMI to publish negative stories about Bezos.

The biggest of which was the expose on Bezos' extra marital affair which people around him believed was a political hit job, alleged payback for his newspaper's dogged at reporting of President Trump and of the Saudi crown prince's role in the Khashoggi murder.

Trump and Pecker have a well-documented history. The tabloid paying a so-called catch and kill fee to Karen McDougal once before the 2016 election, for her story about her alleged affair with Trump which he denies.

Pecker then flipped, cooperating with Robert Mueller's team in exchange for immunity to detail those payments made by Trump's lawyer. That Turn didn't dumped in the President's rejoicing in the Enquirer's flashy story about Bezos' infidelity, calling the Amazon CEO Jeff Bozo on twitter and saying this about his looming divorce from his wife of 25 years.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wish him luck. It's going to be a beauty.

MARQUARDT: No doubt this is a complex web of allegations and personal history. But what Bezos without proof is saying here is clear that AMI had reasons to protect and to promote Saudis at his newspaper, the "Washington Post," and their relentless coverage of the Khashoggi murder, anger AMI's friends driving home the point that this expose of his affair and the attempted was blackmail were politically motivated.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


CABRERA: Joining us now is CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson.

Joey, Bezos says what these email show, what he posted on his blog post on medium is blackmail and an extrusion. Does he have a good case?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Ana, good to see you. Good afternoon.

I believe he does. And here is why I believe he does have a good case. And I know some in different legal minds can disagree, that's fine. But here is what I say.

The essence of extortion, is when you are looking and threatening someone and you are threatening them not only physically, but let's be clear, it could be a threat that's injurious to the reputation as well. Also as it relates to extortion, again, not only physical, but reputational, and that is what they are doing, it doesn't have to be an extortion related to money. It can be a thing of value.

And keeping your eye on the prize here, what did they say? They said to him, hey, you better go on record saying, that what we did in terms of posting that expose about you and your affair, was not politically motivated. So if you do that, then we won't post these other pictures that we intend to post which are compromising and scandalous as to you and as to Ms. Sanchez who is, you know, the person that you are involved in. And certainly, if he went on record and did that that is an exchange of something of value.

So I do believe that it meets the definition of the extortion statute, Ana. And I think that prosecutors will be well advised to take a look at it. Part of the reason people prosecute prosecutors do, not only, you know, obviously things that violate the law, but you want to send deterrent message that this is not the conduct that you really should be subscribing to. And so to the extent that they are, I think that there is some real exposure here for AMI and, of course, Mr. Pecker. [16:20:19] CABRERA: One thing AMI argues in the email, at least, that

Bezos posted, is that they could legally publish a private photos writing this. Quote "with millions of Americans having a vested interest in the success of Amazon, an exploration of Mr. Bezos' judgment as reflected by his texts and photos is indeed newsworthy and in the public interest. Is that a sound legal argument if AMI were to then go and publish these private photos?

JACKSON: Here's where I don't buy that. Now, you can always have -- a person could always have a legal basis to do something. So let's relate this to the President again, to the Comey firing. Hey, I had a legal basis to fire Jim Comey, therefore, what I did was proper.

It's not only the fact that you have a legal reason to do it, it's your intent for doing it. You know, if remember Rod Blagojevich (ph), right, the governor who was exchanging money for a Senate seat. And the fact is, as a governor, you can appoint to senator. Well, if someone is paying you to do that, obviously, even though you have the right to do it, it calls into question the basis, the motivation, for which you are doing it.

And so, to hear, Ana, I say that yes, they can legally do it, otherwise. But here, they clearly talked about their motivation for doing so. And so, when you look at the actual foundation for which they are doing it, I just don't buy this whole public interest issue. Nor do I buy the fact that hey, since they are press, you know, prosecutors shouldn't get involved or since lawyers are involve, the prosecution should be involve hogwash.

Lawyers have an obligation if they advise them to advise your client properly. And if you want to defend yourself on this saying, well, it's the advice of counsel defense. My lawyers said I can do it. Well then, that is an affirmative defense but it is not a bar to prosecution.

So I just think there's all types of exposure here. I think this was the wrong call on AMI on Pecker's part. But I certainly think it was the right call and an act of courage by Jeff Bezos to say, you know what, I will reveal it myself, come on, this is wrong what you are doing.

CABRERA: You are talking about the motivation on AMI's part. And I wonder what that's all about, given there was a big reason for them not to go after Bezos in this way. And that is this agreement with the SDNY that was contingent on Pecker and AMI's staying clean because they were part of this investigation and to Michael Cohen in this whole hash money scheme. What could this mean for him now?

JACKSON: You know, that is a great question, Ana. And it strikes at the core of what the problems are. So let's remember a couple things.

First of all, let's remember the "Washington Post" who is behind it and how they are covering Trump, and how Trump is just hates the coverage because they are exposing what's going on. Let's also remember Pecker's connection to Trump and the fact that they are closely aligned, to the core of your question when you have a plea agreement, right, and we know that AMI or Pecker, they weren't prosecuted. But we also know that they admitted to $150,000, Karen McDougal helping Trump, Trump apparently had an affair with her. They caught the story. They killed the story. They didn't publish the story, thereby helping the President. Thereby contributing to his campaign. Thereby being in violation of campaign finance. They said, hey, we violated it, but under this agreement, you turned states evidence, you help the feds, you cooperate, you are good.

Now, what happens is, is that part of their agreement is not to commit any crime. So if this is found to be a crime and they in fact are looked at and prosecuted for threatening Mr. Bezos as a very well could be, that unravels the entirety of that agreement. Subjects them then not only to the underlying campaign finance issue for which the feds said you get a pass, help us. But it subjects them to new liability as it relates to this new potential crime. So the direct answer to your question, the actual ramifications are huge in the event prosecutors decide to pursue this act.

CABRERA: Joey Jackson, I'm sure this is not the end. We will have you back to discuss further. Thank you very much. Always good to have you.

JACKSON: Look forward to it. Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Major fireworks as the President's acting A.G. goes toe to toe with newly empowered Democrats in the House.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you come from, and how the heck did you become the head of the department of justice? Hopefully you can help me work through this confusion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Whittaker that was a statement not a question. I assume you know the difference.



[16:28:55] CABRERA: In what can only be called a showdown on Capitol Hill between House Democrats and acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, the question today is, what did we learn?

The firing hearing essentially comes down to this, Whitaker repeatedly refused to answer questions about his conversations with President Trump. No matter how much the Dems phrased, how much they pressed, how they phrase their inquiries, but there was at least one exception.

CNN Jessica Schneider brings us some of the key moments.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This hearing highlighted the partisan divisions on Capitol Hill. Republicans calling it unwarranted. All Democrats dug in. And now, after hours and hours of questioning, the committee chair, Jerry Nadler says he is still not satisfied and even not sure he believes all of Whitaker's testimony after several back and forth testy exchanges.

Acting attorney general Matt Whitaker making his first appearance before the House judiciary committee.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R), RANKING MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: This hearing is pointless. If this is the way we are going to go, then we will have plenty of stunts. We are going to have plenty of theatrics.

[16:30:00] Bring your popcorn. I'm thinking about maybe we set up a popcorn machine in the back because that is what this is becoming.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Igniting a federal firestorm.

REP. JERRY NADLER, (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It's my understanding at least one briefing occurred in December, before your decision not to recuse yourself on December 19th and Christmas day. Is that correct.

MATTHEW WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: What's the basis for that question, sir?

NALDER: Yes or no?

WHITAKER: Mr. Chairman, again, what is the bases for your question? You say it's your --


NADLER: I'm asking the questions. I only have five minutes. Please answer yes or no.

WHITAKER: No, Mr. Chairman, I'm going to -- you are asking me a question, is it your understanding. Can you tell me where you get the basis --

NADLER: No, I'm not going to tell you that. I don't have time to get into that.

SCHNEIDER: Whitaker, at one point, trying to cut the chairman off.

WHITAKER: I see that your five minutes is up, and so --


WHITAKER: I'm -- we, we -- I'm here voluntarily. We have agreed to five-minute rounds. And --


NADLER: Committee -- UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: I think that's a fine place to end the five- minute rule.

NADLER: The committee will end -- will come to -- I will point out that we didn't enforce the five-minute rule on Acting Attorney General Whitaker.

SCHNEIDER: Whitaker denied any conversations with the president or other White House officials about the special counsel's investigation, which Whitaker oversees, either before or after he took over the top spot at DOJ.

WHITAKER: At no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation.

I'm sorry?

NADLER: It's a yes or no question. Have you communicated anything you learned in that briefing about the investigation to President Trump, yes or no?

WHITAKER: Mr. Chairman, as I've said earlier today in my opening remarks, I do not intend today to talk about my private conversations with the president of the United States. But to answer your question --


WHITAKER: -- I have not talked to the president of the United States about the special counsel's investigation.

SCHNEIDER: Whitaker has come under fire for denouncing the Mueller investigation as a commentator before he joined the Justice Department, which Republicans quickly pointed out was not the reason for the hearing.

REP. DEBBIE LESKO, (R) ARIZONA: It is nothing but character assassination, harassment of a witness.

SCHNEIDER: Whitaker, who said he has been fully briefed on the Mueller investigation, declined to specifically condemn the label witch hunt used by the president to describe the Russia probe.

WHITAKER: I have not interfered with the special counsel's investigation.

REP. STEVE COHEN, (D), TENNESSEE: Are you overseeing a witch hunt?

You would stop a witch hunt, wouldn't you?

WHITAKER: Congressman, it would be inappropriate for me to talk about an ongoing investigation.

SCHNEIDER: Whitaker giving no specific indication how much longer the investigation will last. WHITAKER: We haven't received the report. Bob Mueller is going to

finish his investigation when he wants to finish his investigation.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): This isn't the end of the inquiry. Committee Chairman Nadler read a list of questions he still wants written answers to, including when Matthew Whitaker was briefed on the special counsel investigation. And whether Matthew Whitaker had conversations with the president after those briefings. Nadler says he doesn't find Whitaker's insistence that he didn't have conversations with the president completely credible. Of course, the chairman, Jerry Nadler, is once again threatening a subpoena if it's necessary to get those answers.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Fast-food lover and exercise avoider, President Trump, just had his second physical in office. What does it say about his health? Dr. Sanjay Gupta has that for us, next.


[16:37:29] CABRERA: The president's annual physical is complete and President Trump has a clean bill of health. The president's physician released a statement last night saying, "Trump is in very good health," without giving any specifics.

CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, takes a deeper look into the president's health.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, it's the last sentence of the statement that everyone's going to pay the most attention to: " I'm happy to announce the president of the United States is in very good health, and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency and beyond."

That's from Dr. Sean Conley, the physician to the president. Obviously, very encouraging. Four hours of physical exam, 11 different consultants. It's a pretty thorough exam it sounds like. The question they're trying to answer is, is he fit to lead?

You remember, Ana, last year, Dr. Ronny Jackson was the physician to the president. He was asked the same question and he gave a very enthusiastic yes.

DR. RONNY JACKSON, FORMER PHYSICIAN TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: In summary, the president's overall health is excellent.

GUPTA (voice-over): A remarkable scene last January in the White House briefing room. Dr. Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor at the time, enthusiastically endorsing the health of President Trump.

JACKSON: All clinical data indicates the president is very healthy and he will remain so for the duration of his presidency.

GUPTA: Here's what Jackson told us: The president was 63 inches tall and weighed 239 pounds, just one pound shy of being clinically obese. Resting heart rate 68. Blood pressure 172 over 74. Total cholesterol 223, a little high. Triglycerides 129. Good cholesterol 67. Bad cholesterol 143.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you tell me how a guy that eats McDonalds and all those Diet Cokes and never exercises is in as good shape as you say he's in?

JACKSON: It's called genetics. I don't know. Some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he may live to be 200 years old. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He does have heart disease?

JACKSON: He does not have heart disease.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He had calcium in his coronary --

JACKSON: He does. He had a -- so, technically, he has nonclinical atherosclerotic pulmonary coronary sclerosis.

GUPTA: That is heart disease.

President Trump coronary calcium score last year was 133. According to the Mayo Clinic, a score of 100 to 300 is associated with a relatively high risk of a heart attack over the next three to five years.

[16:40:00] President Trump doesn't smoke or drink. As of last year, he was taking five medications daily: Ten milligrams of Crestor to lower his cholesterol, 81 milligrams of aspirin for heart health, one milligram of Propecia for hair loss, a daily multivitamin, and cilantro cream as needed for rosacea.

Dr. Jackson also said he administered a cognitive exam to the president.

JACKSON: The reason we did the cognitive assessment is, plain and simple, because the president asked me to do it. He came to me and he said, is there something we can do, a test or some type of screen that we can do to assess my cognitive ability.

GUPTA: This is what the Montreal cognitive assessment looks like. Jackson said the president got a 30 out of 30, a perfect score.

(on camera): And, Ana, that was just a simple statement that was released this past Friday. There's going to be more blood work results and diagnostic testing results that come out early in the week.

Keep in mind, as well, that Dr. Jackson, who you just saw in the piece, had some specific recommendations for the president: lose 10 to 15 pounds, improve the diet by cutting back on carbs and fat, and lower the cholesterol.

Ana, we'll see just how good a patient the president has been -- Ana?


CABRERA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.

Coming up, did the Godfather of Soul really die of natural causes? Questions now being raised after a CNN investigation two years in the making into the death of James Brown. Will there now be an investigation into his death?

Plus, be sure to join CNN's Laurie Segall as she talks exclusively with Facebook insiders. What is really going on inside the most powerful social media company on earth? The CNN special report, "FACEBOOK AT 15, IT'S COMPLICATED," airs tomorrow night, at 9:00 p.m., here on CNN.


[16:46:13] CABRERA: Now an explosive story, exclusive to CNN, it's about the Godfather of Soul James Brown. He passed away in 2006. Ever since then, several people close to the singer say they never believed the official count of how he died. James Brown's widow, son, manager, even the doctor who signed the death certificate, they all want a full criminal investigation.

And those questions about Brown's death are the subject of a fascinating new CNN investigation. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: This morning at 1:45 a.m., Mr. James Brown passed away.

THOMAS LAKE, CNN DIGITAL SENIOR WRITER (voice-over): The Godfather of Soul died Christmas morning 2006, 41 years after his signature song hit the billboard charts.


LAKE: Officially, the cause of death was a heart attack and fluid in the lungs.


LAKE: Officially, the only person with him when he died was his personal manager.

BOBBIT: And he sighed very, very quietly and gently. Then he closed his eyes and he was dead.

THOMAS LAKE: Until recently, I had no real reason to doubt the details.

But that was before I learned that, if it involves James Brown, you should always question the official story.

Two years ago, I got a phone call from a woman who sang in the circus. She had some surprising things to tell me.

JACQUELINE HOLLANDER, FORMER CIRCUS SINGER: I just kept it quiet. It was a need to know. If someone didn't ask me, I didn't tell them. James Brown was murdered.

LAKE: I know, it sounds insane. And that's not the half of it. In the years that followed, as I listened to Jacque and met others who knew James Brown, the story kept getting stranger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why in the world has James Brown not been buried yet.

UNIDENTIFIED DAUGHTER OF JAMES BROWN: I don't need an autopsy. I'm his daughter. I'm his blood.

LAKE: The story has never been told before in the mainstream press. You won't find it in any of Brown's biographies.

HOLLANDER: Nobody wanted to hear the truth. Nobody wanted to print the truth.

LAKE: I spent two years checking out Jacque's story. I traveled through nine states, interviewed more than 140 people, analyzed more than 113 pages of text messages from her iPhone, and sent a mysterious item from a black duffle bag for testing at a forensic lab. In two years, I found out a lot of things Jacque didn't know when she called me.

Pull up a chair and let me tell you the story of the circus singer and the Godfather of Soul.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The king is dead. Long live the king.



CABRERA: The man who you just heard in that promo, CNN digital writer, Thomas Lake, is joining us now.

This is an incredible investigation. I'm hooked. So, apparently, a lot of other people. Your three-part investigative piece is getting so much attention all around the world.

Thomas, James Brown died 12 years ago. He had a history of drug use. He had health problems. Why all these persistent questions about how he died?

LAKE: This is because we've never had a full investigation into his death. At least 13 people have raised the question and said they would like to have an autopsy or a criminal investigation. And it simply hasn't happened yet. Here he is, he goes into the hospital just a little before Christmas

2006. And his doctor, Dr. Marvin Crawford, told me he was getting well. He was almost ready to go home. He was going to go out on tour, get into the studio. There was a duet where he might work with Aretha Franklin. And then, all of a sudden, late on Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning, he died. He took a drastic turn for the worse and died, and people still want to know why.

[16:50:18] CABRERA: Your series also examines the death, in 1996, that happened to his wife, his third wife, Adrienne Brown. She was 45, recovering from plastic surgery in Beverly Hills. Investigators found no sign of foul play back then. Why is her death of interest now as well?

LAKE: We have new information about the death of Adrienne Brown. The same circus singer, who called me to talk about James Brown's death, she was a good friend of Adrienne Brown. And she told me -- she all along suspected that Adrienne Brown had been murdered. In 2017, when I was just starting the reporting on this story, Jacque, the friend of Adrienne, told me I should call up the detective who looked into Adrienne Brown's death, this Beverly Hills police detective, since retired. She thought he had some information about Adrienne Brown's death.

I reached out to this detective. It turned out, he did have some information. What he had was a notebook. It was from this confidential informant, someone he had worked with quite a few times in the past. And she had told him something. He thought she knew something about Adrienne's death. This is one of the strangest parts. At the time, she gave him the notebook, it was shortly before she died. He looked through the first few pages. It was a bunch of names and phone numbers, and so he was confused, didn't know what it was, didn't read the whole thing.

In 2017, shortly after I reached out to him, this detective went back, flipped deeper into the notebook, read the whole thing, and he was astonished. This informant, someone who he believed to be reliable, told him that a doctor had confessed to her that he killed Adrienne Brown with a fatal drug overdose. There were phrases written in the notebook, "Murder for hire" and "Make it look like an overdose."

CABRERA: Wow! Wow! We leave that cliffhanger for all of our viewers to now go to and read more for themselves.

Thomas Lake, great to have you with us. Incredible piece of reporting. We're proud to call you a colleague. Thank you so much for being here at

Where you can read it. And the title of his piece there -- say it for us.

LAKE: It's called, "Lost in the Woods with James Brown's Ghost." We asked the doctor about these allegations, he denied them.

CABRERA: Thank you again, Thomas Lake.

It's the music industry's biggest night. Women will be front and center this year. The preview of this year's Grammy Awards is next.


[16:57:21] CABRERA: It's music's biggest night. Get ready for the glam, the glitz and the highly coveted Grammy trophies. This year, women are gaining momentum.

CNN's Stephanie Elam has a preview of the 61st Grammy Awards.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Cardi B. and her monster jam --


ELAM: -- to Brandy Carlisle and her evocative vocals --


ELAM: -- women are front and center in the big Grammy categories.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's momentum behind them based on what happened last year, the lack of female representation. In the winners, the lack of female representation in the industry.

ELAM: While the main categories were expanded this year from five nominees to eight, the most nominated artists are still men. Kendrick Lamar is up for eight Grammys.


ELAM: Followed closely by Drake with seven nominations.


ELAM: The four of them are up against each other for album of the year, along with her, Janelle Monae, Casey Musgraves and Post Malone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hip-hop, R&B are so big, it seems like those categories are going to carry every award.


ELAM: Post Malone's "Rock Star" is also up for two Grammys, including record of the year.

While Post is expected to perform, he'll likely have to do it without 21 Savage, who was featured on the hit song. British-born Savage was taken into ICE custody a week before the Grammys. Officials say he is in the country illegally.


ELAM: Other contenders for record of the year are Zed, Marin Morris (ph) and Gray for "The Middle," Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's "Shallow" from "A Star is Born, and Childish Gambinos --


UNIDENTIFIED: I feel like, if there's one song that captured the zeitgeist for 2018, in both the best and the worst ways, it's "This Is America." You've got that incredible video with so much meaning.

ELAM: Posting this year, a woman with 15 Grammys of her own, Alicia Keys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's exactly the right person. On the one hand, you very much have the establishment but, on the other, she's got hip- hop in her blood.

ELAM: More women on stage and among the nominees and perhaps more female Grammy winners.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Hollywood.


CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.

It's the race for the White House, and the field of Democratic hopefuls is now bigger.