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Politico: Trump Leaves Open Possibility of Investigating Biden; Trump Lawyer Giuliani Makes U-Turn on Ukraine Trip; Trump Goes on Twitter Spree, Rants about Don Jr Subpoena; Source: Don McGahn Declined White House Calls to Say Trump Didn't Obstruct Justice; Fear of Being "Hillary-ed" Driving Anxiety for Female Voters; U.S. Hits China with Higher Tariffs; Utah Mother Sues after Bus Driver Dragged Son 150 Feet; Teacher Battling Cancer Forced to Pay for Substitute; U.N. Study: 1 Million Animals & Plant Species at Risk of Extinction. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired May 11, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:23] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alex Marquardt, in this afternoon for Ana Cabrera.
We start in Washington with one person close to President Trump who has decided getting help from another foreign government gotting into an election cycle might not be the best idea, at least for now. That's the president's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who announced late last night that he has called off a trip to Ukraine where he was planning to push for an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe and to dig up dirt on his boss' potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden.
Of course, this is after the Mueller report found the Trump campaign welcomed from Russia to get dirt on Hillary Clinton in 2016.
While Giuliani's trip to Ukraine is now off, that's not to say that he's done going after Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS HOST: You're not going to Ukraine. Are you going to try to influence those investigations in any way or are you just stepping back completely?
RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I'll play it by ear.
GIULIANI: I'll see what is going on. I am actually quite confident that the facts with regard to vice president -- former Vice President Biden are so compelling that there's no way you get from here to the election without this being investigated.
GIULIANI: And he would be better off getting investigated now, where it really isn't going to affect the election. It is 17 months away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House for us.
Sarah, the president also focusing on Joe Biden, telling "Politico" that he could raise the possibility of an investigation by the Attorney General Bill Barr into Biden and possibly his son, right?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alex. The president telling "Politico" he believes he would be within his rights to go to Attorney General Bill Barr and ask him to look into the situation with the Bidens. Keep in mind, this is all based on events that took place in 2016, when then-Vice President Joe Biden was among a number of leaders asking Ukrainian's top prosecutor to step down. That prosecutor around that time was looking into a Ukrainian energy firm in which the former vice president's son, Hunter Biden, had a financial interest.
Here's what President Trump told "Politico." he said, "Certainly, it would be an important thing to speak about, but I haven't done that as of yet. It could be a big situation."
That's President Trump referring to speaking to Attorney General Bill Barr.
As we mentioned, Biden was among a handful of Western leaders pushing for the ouster of the Ukrainian official. There's no evidence it was done as a result of his son's business activities. But nonetheless, this is something that conservatives have seized on. Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, now backtracking on that trip to Ukraine to speak to Ukrainian officials about the investigation.
In that same interview with "Politico," Alex, the president acknowledged that, at the moment, Biden seems best positioned in the Democratic primary to run against him.
MARQUARDT: Sarah, we should note that Biden at the time, in 2016, wasn't the only foreign official calling for the removal of the prosecutor. There were other Western governments doing the same thing.
Sarah, we saw also this morning, as we often do on the weekends, a Twitter spree from the president. What has he been saying?
WESTWOOD: Even by Trump's standards, Alex, this was a prolific Twitter spree. This morning, the president re-tweeting or tweeting 62 times in just one hour this morning. He's been continuing since. He's been focusing on messages though that have to do with the origins of the Russia investigation, a favorite topic of his, but also on the subpoena that the Senate Intelligence Committee issued to his son, Donald Trump Jr, this week. This is something that sources tell CNN has really upset the president's inner circle because of a Republican chairman of the committee signing off on the subpoena for the testimony of Donald Trump Jr, even after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor this week to declare case closed on Russia investigations in Congress. That handed Democrats an opening to question McConnell's declaration, that the case is closed. This is something that took the president by surprise and has caused frustration for his allies -- Alex?
MARQUARDT: They certainly don't see it as closed.
Sarah Westwood, at the White House, thanks very much.
Joining me now is CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein.
Ron, thanks so much for joining us this afternoon.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Alex.
MARQUARDT: Do you think it dawned on Rudy Giuliani after he saw this firestorm of response, after everything that happened with the Russia investigation, maybe the president right now might want to avoid the look of getting help from a foreign power?
[15:05:01] RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The impunity in which he was originally considering this was breathtaking. A reminder of how, day by day, almost yard by yard, we have drifted so far into, you know, uncharted waters here. The idea that a close ally of the president would openly go to a foreign country, looking for dirt on a potential 2020 opponent, and at the same time, the president would say there's nothing wrong with him asking the Justice Department to open an investigation. I mean, just imagine this five, seven, 10 years ago. By itself, it would have been the dominant story for a long time. Yet, there's so many kinds of holes in the rule of law that have been punched, and in the traditional ways that the presidents comport themselves, that we are becoming a little bit inured to it. This, however, was beyond the pale. Doesn't seem he is giving up on the idea, however.
MARQUARDT: No, no. It is something he is considering for further down the line.
Also joining us in this discussion is former federal prosecutor, Gene Rossi, who served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Gene, Giuliani is saying that there are legitimate questions about Biden's efforts in 2016, as we were discussing with Sarah, to remove the top Ukraine Ukrainian prosecutor who, years earlier, had investigated a gas company that is -- or was, rather, connected to Biden's son, Hunter. We can't ignore that Biden, for right now at least, is at the top of the Democratic polls and could very well, in the end, be Trump's opponent.
Let's listen to Giuliani and what he said before cancelling his -- excuse me. This is what he said before cancelling his trip: "We're not meddling in an election. It is we're meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do. There's nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it's improper."
MARQUARDT: Gene, what is your reaction to that?
GENE ROSSI, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: What is amazing, Alex, is this is what the president and his personal lawyer and others do in open. Can you imagine what they must do behind closed doors, privately? I am absolutely disgusted the president of the United States is using his personal lawyers, his new Michael Cohen, to dig up dirt against Joe Biden. This, arguably, violates the Logan Act. It, arguably, violates the Foreign Agent Reporting Act. It just smells of abuse of power. If this had happened under Bill Clinton's administration, Bill Clinton would have been impeached in 1998. Case closed.
ROSSI: But now, things are different.
MARQUARDT: It is not just Giuliani going to Ukraine to dig up dirt. The president is also telling "Politico" it would be appropriate, as he said, for him to speak to Attorney General Bill Barr about launching an investigation into Biden or his son, Hunter.
Ron, do you see that as a sign that the president is growing more and more worried about Biden's chances possibly running against him in 2020?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, yes. I think, you know, the president has kind of put his heart on his sleeve, in the sense of giving you what he thinks on Twitter, that they are concerned about Biden, particularly his ability to win back the three blue-wall states in the Midwest and the Rust Belt. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin. What is striking to me about these kinds of suggestions from the Republican -- from the president is the crickets from Republicans in Congress. We're in this month, 45 years, the 45-year anniversary of the Senate Watergate hearing, in which there was a commitment by both parties to investigate the truth and to upholding the rule of law. I think we have seen Republicans in Congress almost completely abdicate any interest in holding the president accountable, understanding exactly what happened in the Mueller report and so forth. I think one of the things we'll learn in the next few months is whether it is possible, not only for one chamber of Congress, but one party within one chamber to effectively sustain such traditional ideas as limits on presidential authority, separation of powers when you have one party that's completely stepped outside and abdicated any institutional responsibility to do that.
MARQUARDT: Switching gears a little bit. CNN has also learned from an administration official that the White House has asked former White House counsel, Don McGahn, to state publicly that the president did not obstruct justice. McGahn did turn him down. McGahn has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress.
Gene, do you see we'll see it happen?
ROSSI: Are you talking to me, Alex?
MARQUARDT: Yes, Gene, do you think we're going to see Don McGahn testify in front of Congress?
[15:09:48] ROSSI: Yes, yes. First of all, the answer is, yes, we'll see him testify in Congress. But, Alex, the president, through his agents, basically, White House officials, are asking a witness, Don McGahn, to essentially change his opinion of certain events. It is crystal clear from Volume Two of the Mueller report that bad stuff happened by the president of the United States. And Don McGahn, who has a moral and ethical compass, was disgusted. They're trying to get Mr. McGahn to now say, oh, everything was all right. You know what that is, Alex? That's witness tampering. It is terrible.
MARQUARDT: What's strange about this, McGahn refusing to say so, is in the Mueller report, it says he did not believe that the president obstructed justice.
Ron, to you, except for Robert Mueller himself, do you see McGahn is the biggest witness that congressional Democrats would like to try to get in front of them?
BROWNSTEIN: I think so. During the Watergate hearings, certainly the president -- it was John Dean's testimony at the Watergate hearings a year before impeachment began in 1974 that really put the nation on the road toward that outcome. It was so compelling. Don McGahn, I think, is an important figure. Certainly, he has maintained enough independence to testify extensively to Robert Mueller, and also to deny this request from the White House, you know, to, ex post facto, exonerate the president. He hasn't gone the next step yet. We don't know that he wants to testify, that he wants to honestly tell his story to the public. I mean, I think he understands what an important moment that would be and understanding exactly what happened. He is someone who has been a supporter of the president. He's been a loyal soldier in the conservative legal movement. Important in moving all the judges onto the bench. What does he feel is his highest obligation? Is it to Donald Trump, to the Republican Party, or to the country in terms of giving us a fuller understanding of all the events that raise so many red flags in the Mueller report?
MARQUARDT: Ron Brownstein, Gene Rossi, thanks so much for joining me.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
ROSSI: Thanks for having me.
MARQUARDT: Coming up, the fight for 2020. A record six women seeking the Democratic nomination. But are they being held to a higher standard, or, as some are saying, getting "Hillary-ed?"
Caught on camera, a student dragged by a school bus after the doors closed on him. Why his mother is now accusing the bus driver of doing it on purpose.
Plus, a haunting new reporting warning that a million plant and animal species, a million, could be gone in just a few decades.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [15:17:05] MARQUARDT: In the fight for 2020, Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, those are the three names that topped poll after poll, including the latest from New Hampshire. We have a record number of women running for president on the Democratic side. Why is it the men who are always in the lead?
CNN's M.J. Lee spoke to female voters who fear a female nominee could get, quote, "Hillary-ed" in 2020.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): That's all anyone wanted to talk about, what I was wearing, what my haircut was.
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Six women seeking the presidential nomination for president is a historic election, four Senators, one congresswoman, and a spiritual writer.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): As a young mom, I'll fight for your children as hard as I would fight for my own.
LEE: Female voters across the country telling CNN that it is time for a woman to finally take the White House.
KELLY GREF (ph), FEMALE VOTER: We make up, I think, 51 percent of the population.
DEBORAH HADEE (ph), FEMALE VOTER: I don't think a man could ever handle the pressures of that office any better than a woman.
LEE: But there's another darker sentiment, frustration about sexism, fueled by flashbacks to Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling. But someday, someone will.
LEE: Democratic voters describing a lingering trauma from the last election.
UNIDENTIIED FEMALE: Some have voiced concerns about you getting Hillary-ed in the election, meaning that you get held to a higher standard than your opponent for a potentially arbitrary or maybe sexist reasons.
LEE: And concern that nominating a woman again will hand Donald Trump a second term.
TERESA JONES, FEMALE VOTER: I think most people didn't vote for her because she was a woman. I think that they ended up voting for Trump because he was a man.
JULIE SWYGET (ph), FEMALE VOTER: I worry about the old boys' club.
LEE: Nine months out from the Iowa caucuses, some of the women who want to see a women president leaning towards one of the men. HADEE (ph): I would love for Joe Biden because I think he has the
best chance of winning the presidency.
LEE: On the campaign trail, the female candidates making a forceful case for why women are just as electable as men.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): People tell me, it cannot be done. They're not ready to see you. It's not your time. And I ran. And we won.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Someone once said, and I agree with part of this but not all of it, that women candidates should speak softly and carry a big statistic.
OK, so I think you know I don't always speak softly.
WARREN: It's going to be fun when I say, and I won, because that's what girls do.
LEE: A recent CNN poll showing no indication that women are overwhelmingly supporting the female candidates over the male candidates.
This man telling CNN he does have a gender bias.
KEITH KUPER, MALE VOTER: If there were equal candidates, one was male and one was female, I would support the female. It's high time we had a female president.
LEE (on camera): As the 2020 election heats up and we start entering the next phase, remember, the Democratic debates begin in June, electability is a word we'll probably hear much more often from all of the candidates as they start looking ahead to next November.
Back to you.
[15:20:14] MARQUARDT: Our thanks to M.J. Lee.
Joining me now to break this all down are "Time" magazine contributor, Jay Newton-Small, and CNN political analyst and national political reporter for the "New York Times," Lisa Lerer.
Thank you both for joining me.
JAY NEWTON-SMALL, CONTRIBUTOR, TIME MAGAZINE: Thanks.
LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: Jay, let's start with you. This is something we heard in the last presidential race, the questions about women. Does it surprise you that, in 2019, we're still hearing from voters, women voters specifically, who are not convinced a woman can win?
NEWTON-SMALL: Alex, it doesn't surprise me at all. The one demographic in 2016 that swung was actually non-college educated, white women voters. Every other demographic was set in stone. That demographic swung 40 percentage points back and forth from different points during the election. That's the demographic I think Democrats have to figure out how to either vote for them and to stay home and not turn out in droves. They voted, in the end, for Donald Trump by a historic margin of 27 or 28 percentage points. But you saw big Democratic gains in 2018 when you saw the margin limited to just six percentage points. I think part of the problem is that they look at the female candidates and don't see themselves reflected. They're not relating to the female candidates. They don't see themselves making these powerful decisions to become leaders, who would run for office. They can't relate to those decisions and, therefore, don't consider voting for them or supporting them.
MARQUARDT: We see it in the early polls of the Democratic field that the top two or three positions are almost always taken up by men.
Lisa, do you think it is because of gender or are these male candidates, who are at the top of the heap, for now at least, are they running more effective campaigns at this point?
LERER: Well, I think it is still very early. Part of what we're seeing in these polls is a reflection of who voters know. They're familiar with Joe Biden, the former vice president. They're familiar with Bernie Sanders. He, of course, ran a strong primary campaign against Hillary Clinton last time around. I also think something else is at play. When you look at the polling, when you're out there talking to voters, what you hear from every Democrat, the first thing they always tell you is, I'm looking for someone who can beat Donald Trump. A lot of this race is focused on this electability term. That is somewhat of a gender term. When we think about electability, we think of who has won in the past. For the vast majority of American history, the people who have won have been white men. I think what needs to happen is the female candidates need to prove they could, in fact, beat Donald Trump. And they will have plenty of opportunities to do that as attention focuses more squarely on this race. There will be debates. There will be more and more campaign events. They need to prove they can cross that bar. It is, in fact, a higher bar, we know from the research, than the men have to cross.
MARQUARDT: Zeroing in on Elizabeth Warren, she is featured on the cover of "Time" this week, with the phrase that's become her campaign slogan. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I've got a plan.
I have got plans. I've got a plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: She's got plans. For everything, it seems. She's put forward more than a dozen complex policy proposals or everything from affordable housing to student debt.
Jay, in this race, when so many Democrats just want someone who can beat Donald Trump, do you think it will be substance, which Warren is pushing, that is going to win out over style?
NEWTON-SMALL: I mean, we'll see. It's certainly a strategy that's unique, I think, for this particular group of candidates. You see her putting out these incredibly detailed 30-page plans on everything. You see other candidates, you know, sort of much -- putting on maybe one plan. I think, right now, you have somebody like Beto O'Rourke, who put out one plan on climate change and nothing else. Is just now starting to say, OK, I'll roll out more policies. I think Warren is driving the field in that. I think it's a healthy thing. These are debates Democrats should have. It shouldn't just be who can beat Trump and take Trump on. It should be about the issues. This is a complex set of times. The fact of the matter is, the electorate on the whole hasn't focused on issues during the Trump presidency. To debate what the issues are, what the Democrats stand for, at this point, I think, is a healthy and good thing.
MARQUARDT: Warren has also gotten the "SNL" treatment recently. I want to play a clip from a recent episode that speaks to her candidacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE MCKINNON, COMEDIAN: I'm over here working around the clock to give you free college. Oh, look there, Beto O'Dork on a table in a Starbucks.
MCKINNON: Whoops. I just figured out universal pre-K. What's that over there? Mayor Pete be-Judge-Judy --
MCKINNON: -- playing the piano and speaking fluent Klingon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[15:25:06] MARQUARDT: Lisa, Kate McKinnon there having fun at Elizabeth Warren's expense. But there's a serious point to take away from that, how female candidates are judged, as Hillary Clinton was so famously in both her presidential campaigns, how they're judged about likability. Is that fair?
LERER: Look, likability is another gender term that tells to hit women harder. Women are judged on a higher standard. They have to be relatable and ambitious. They have to be both, you know, strong leaders but also, like, warm and fuzzy. It is a very tough sort of double bind for them to walk. I think what Warren's people would tell you is that this race is, as everyone says, around electability. They are putting out a theory of electability, which is that voters will rally around this strong economic message she's putting out. Proposals like free college, like Medicare-for-All, which are more closely associated with the left wing of the Democratic Party. Polling shows they are fairly broadly popular. Whether her theory that case is right, we don't know. It is what the primary will test. What you see a lot of the candidates doing now in the field is trying to show that there are other ways to win the general election, rather than just rectifying the mistakes of last time and, you know, winning back the Rust Belt voters. That there may be other ways to get to where you need to go to beat Donald Trump.
NEWTON-SMALL: Alex, if I could --
MARQUARDT: Go ahead, Jay.
NEWTON-SMALL: If I could add to that, I want to know that women who run for executive office actually face a very unique and different challenge than women who run for legislative office, which is viewed as collaborative kinds of roles. They have to prove they are capable enough to take that call at 3:00 in the morning, to be a commander-in- chief. And it is a thin line between being tough enough and also being, I think, unlikable, being too tough. I think that's a really hard challenge and a thin line for a lot of women.
MARQUARDT: Hard line to walk.
Thanks for the great discussion, Lisa Lerer and Jay Newton-Small.
MARQUARDT: Coming up, no deal. The United States and China fail to reach a trade agreement, and it could cost you more on everything from toys to TVs to toilet paper. The real-world impact on your wallet.
[15:30:57] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump has escalated the trade war with China significant way. On Friday, the U.S. raised tariffs on Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. The tariffs affected around 6,000 products in all.
The president said that -- I'll tweet out the full list from my account so you can find it there. But here are a few examples of what you'll end up paying for more. Fish, including tuna, trout, salmon, and shrimp. Other food products including eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and spices. Also processed foods, like peanut butter, jelly and juices. Building materials, including roof shingles, plywood, pipes, carpeting, and wood flooring. Natural products such as granite and marble. Electronics like computers, Smartphones, and televisions. Chemicals like pesticides, chlorine and rat poison. And everyday products like toilet paper, makeup, clothes, and even dog and cat food. I should note, that is our list at CNN.
Now, in total, a family of four can expect to spend almost $800 more a year. Nearly one million Americans could lose their jobs.
I want to bring in CNN global economic analyst, Rana Foroohar.
Rana, is this how we'll feel it? Is this how we're going to feel the impact? Raises on items, 50 cents here, $1 there?
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Yes, for sure. This round of tariffs is really significant. The last time around, you saw businesses really taking most of the hit. They didn't pass the price increases on to consumers. This time around, there's a broad impact. You named a partial list of things we're going to feel. Also, the pinging back and forth with potential retaliatory tariffs from China.
FOROOHAR: We'll see about that next week. That $800 could be rising in the future.
MARQUARDT: Is this the best way to strike a trade deal in the end with China?
FOROOHAR: In a word, no. You know, take this back even two years, when the president was first elected. We should have -- we have legitimate trade gripes against China. I will say that. We should have gotten allies on board. We should have gotten the Europeans with us. We shouldn't have been taking on the entire world while trying to fight with China. That was a big mistake. I think what's dangerous now is tensions are so high in both countries. You even have some Democrats saying, you know, hey, continue to get tough on China. Pelosi, Schumer, coming out and backing the president. It feels you're at a point where nobody is going to back down, and that's dangerous.
MARQUARDT: I want to read to you something the president tweeted this morning. He wrote, "Such an easy way to avoid tariffs. Make or produce your goods and products in the good old USA. It's very simple."
Is it as simple as that?
FOROOHAR: Well, I think the president would like it to be that simple. It's not. I mean, we have had 40 years of building up the system that we have now. That can't be unwound so quickly. I will say, almost every CEO I talk to has, over the last year, been rethinking their supply chains. A lot of people are saying, what can we move to Mexico? What can we move to Vietnam, Australia, other parts of Asia? I think it is going to take a long time for anybody to say, can we make everything in America? That's a big lift.
MARQUARDT: The president has made a very -- he's made the point very clearly, in his mind, that tariffs will make the country, quote, "stronger, not weaker." Is that what we've seen in the past? Is that what we can expect to see in the future.
FOROOHAR: Well, no. I think, in the short term, it is going to make consumers very unhappy. They're going to be paying more. What's interesting to me is it's really kind of -- the president is shooting himself in the head in a way. Out of the top-10 states that are going to be most affected by tariffs, a lot of them agricultural states, farm states, southern states that do a lot of manufacturing, those are the states that voted for him.
MARQUARDT: Right. Right.
FOROOHAR: These are the voters that are going to be feeling a lot of pain. Really going into an election cycle, it's a very risky gambit here.
MARQUARDT: A fragile moment.
FOROOHAR: It is.
MARQUARDT: Rana Foroohar, thank you so much for joining me.
FOROOHAR: Thank you.
MARQUARDT: Coming up, shocking allegations against a school bus driver who is accused of intentionally closing the doors on a student and dragging him 150 feet. What the boy's mother said he did.
[15:35:02] Plus, the frame-by-frame play out of how it happened.
MARQUARDT: A murder suspect is in custody after a wild high-speed chase in L.A. that ended in a gunfight and standoff. Police say the man who was a passenger in this Toyota Prius opened fire at least twice during the pursuit on Friday. At one point, you can see him leaning out of the window and pointing a gun at the police officers who were chasing him. It all came to a dramatic end when the Prius was cornered by law enforcement. The female driver eventually surrendered. A robotic officer and police canine were both sent to check out the car until the man was finally pulled out. He was shot multiple times and taken to a nearby hospital. No police were injured.
The mother of a teenager says she's thankful her son is alive after a terrifying incident caught on camera. This is the moment here her son stepped off of his school bus, catching his backpack in the door. The driver didn't stop the bus until after the boy was dragged 150 feet. The 14-year-old wasn't seriously hurt, but his mother believes this was no accident.
CNN's Stephanie Elam has more.
BRENDA MAYES, MOTHER OF CHILD DRAGGED BY SCHOOL BUS: My initial thoughts were, I was glad he didn't kill him. I was glad he didn't go under the wheel.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Children lined up, getting off the school bus when, suddenly, the doors close just as a 14-year-old boy is exiting. His backpack is caught in the door, then the bus starts to move. For about 20 seconds, the boy's body is dangling outside the bus, held up only by the straps of his backpack.
[15:40:16] MAYES: As the driver is driving, he looks over three times, as he's going forward. He's driving forward. He's looking, looks. He looks over. So he knew what he was doing. The children were very animated. He knew exactly what he was doing.
ELAM: Brenda Mayes is the mother of the seventh grader. She says her son called her after the February 4th incident, sounding, quote, "terrified and embarrassed."
MAYES: And he said that he felt pressure across his chest, but he didn't have, like, injuries. He could tell where he had been pinched there.
ELAM: Mayes believes this was no accident but was done on purpose by the bus driver, John Naisbitt. In a lawsuit that names the Davis School District, its transportation director, Dave Roberts, and Naisbitt as defendants, Mayes claims the bus driver has a history of targeting biracial students.
ROBERT SYKES, ATTORNEY FOR BRENDA MAYES: All this was based upon race, OK? It was racial discrimination, racial assault. And it was unconstitutional conduct. And Davis School District suborned it. They passively approved it because they did nothing, OK, until this event.
ELAM: In a statement, the school district said, quote, "When issues of discrimination are raised at any time, they are investigated thoroughly. The Davis School District takes any claims of racial discrimination seriously and does not tolerate any form of racial discrimination in our schools."
Roberts had no comment.
But Naisbitt, who the lawsuit claims had to retire soon after this incident, had this to say to CNN affiliate, KSTU.
UNIDENTIFIED KSTU REPORTER: Would you say you're racist?
JOHN NAISBITT, SCHOOL BUS DRIVER: Not at all, no. Look at my dog. He's as black as can be. ELAM: Mayes says a criminal investigation into Naisbitt's actions is
Stephanie Elam, CNN.
MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Stephanie Elam.
Coming up, a California teacher battling breast cancer is being forced to pay for her treatment out of her own pocket and for a substitute teacher to fill in for her. The growing outrage around that case.
[15:46:20] MARQUARDT: Imagine this, you've been diagnosed with cancer. In order to get treatment and focus your energy towards recovering, you have to take time off from your job. That's normal. In order to make sure that you don't lose that job, you then have to pay someone else to cover for you.
Dan Simon has the story of a California teacher that's sparking outrage all across the country.
DAN SIMON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's a popular second-grade teacher at San Francisco's Glen Park Elementary, and she has breast cancer. Now on extended leave, she's having to pay money out of her own pocket for a substitute teacher. Parents are outraged.
UF: She's a beautiful, lovely, great teacher. She's one of the best teachers. It's terrible.
UF: It makes me worry, like later on, if that were to happen to me, you know, I have to plan accordingly. That's not fair.
SIMON: It's all part of a little-known state policy that dates back decades. Here's how it works. California teachers get 10 sick days a year. If they need more, they can take an additional 100 days of extended sick leave. But there's a catch. The teachers have to pay for their own subs. The money gets docked from their paychecks, about $200 per day in the case of the San Francisco teacher who wishes to remain anonymous.
UF: She's an incredible teacher. That's not fair. That's, like, crazy.
SIMON: It falls under a 1976 provision in which teachers don't pay into the state's disability insurance program, so they don't get those benefits.
In a statement, the San Francisco Teachers Union says it is "consulting with our members on the priorities for contract negotiations next year. As always, we look forward to making improvements in this and other parts of the contract." Educators say it is part of a larger issue about the lack of money in
ERIC HEINS, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: We need to fix funding in California. We're the fifth-largest economy in the world, and we pay 42nd in rankings per state in what we spend on pupil for education. It is not right.
SIMON: It not clear how many times this happened, but it was a GoFundMe page that brought this issue to light. The teacher being fully reimbursed and beyond.
(on camera): It is going to take California lawmakers and the teachers unions to come up for a fix for what everyone seems to acknowledge is ridiculous. A cancer-ridden teacher with all the stresses and worries associated with an illness, having to pay for her own substitute.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
MARQUARDT: Ridiculous, indeed.
Thanks to Dan Simon.
Now to this week's "CNN Hero." She's 75 years old. She owns a small diner in San Diego and makes home-cooked meals for sick people who are unable to feed themselves. Meet Ruth Hendricks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUTH HENDRICKS, CNN HERO: There's a special connection when you're feeding people.
Let's do the veggie burgers.
In the beginning, our mission was feeding people living with AIDS. Now, we have added people living with other chronic illnesses. A lot of them are bed bound. Many times, they don't have the money to shop. It's kind of a desperate thing, when they don't have any food in the house.
Nice to see you.
It's bringing that love. It's bringing that dignity to them. This is the assignment that I feel that I've been given.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: Bravo to Ruth Hendricks. You can nominate your own hero here on CNN heros.com.
[15:49:47] We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MARQUARDT: There's an alarming new report just released by the United Nations that says roughly one million species are on the verge of extinction, more than at any other time in recorded history.
As CNN's Bill Weir reports, experts are warning that it could have grave impacts on humans as well.
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not just the howling lemurs of Madagascar that could disappear forever, not just the cute kiwis in New Zealand. It could be the tigers in India, and all the lions in Africa, the bees and butterflies that pollenate billions-of- dollars-worth of crops every year, and the fish stocks that feed billions of people every day.
(on camera): According to a sweeping new stud,, there are now one million species on the brink of extinction, many of them doomed to blink out in coming decades, everything from plants and corals to creatures great and small.
And while it was asteroid strikes or super-volcanos that caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. Today, the biggest threat against nature is human nature.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What my colleagues have shown is that we have recon figured dramatically the fabric of the life of the planet.
WEIR (voice-over): To feed the appetites of over seven billion humans, the study finds that over three-quarters of land on earth has been plowed or paved, dammed or mined.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is all mining pits that are filled in.
WEIR: Plastic waste and pesticide runoff have created over 400 ocean dead zones while heat-trapping pollution fills the sky as record levels, making earth's climate more unpredictable by the year.
[15:55:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's many that like gross domestic product as an economic measure, but this is not a measure of the wealth of the world.
WEIR: The authors are calling for a seismic shift in how humans consume and how economies work, starting now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Biologist ask, what is the urgency? The urgency, I wear cuff links. These watches and cuff links show me and remind me we have no time to waste. The time for action is now.
MICHAEL J. NAVOCEK, U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE STUDY AUTHOR: It's not -- climate change is very important, but the number-one driver for all of this land conversion, the destruction of habitat, changes in habitat. Second is over-consumption and overhunting. These are more immediate and on urgent problems and they could be more directly attacked than some of the other ones.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we would like, at the end of this report, is to really give the world a real message of hope. We don't want people to feel discouraged that there's nothing that can be done, that we have lost the ballots, because we have not lost the battle. And if given a chance, nature will reconquer its rights and will prevail.
WEIR: That would mean putting nature over profit motive for the first time in centuries, deciding that the Amazon is worth more than amazon.com and that life as we know it, can only exist on a planet in balance.
Bill Weir, CNN, New York.