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Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Holds Campaign Kickoff Rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders Campaigns in South Carolina; Democratic Presidential Candidates Criticize Joe Biden's 1994 Crime Bill; Report Finds Ohio State University Failed to Adequately Investigate Claims of Sexual Abuse against Doctor; States Passing Antiabortion Bills Draw Controversy; Tiger Woods Misses Cut for PGA Championship; Former U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Bill Richardson Interviewed about U.S. Tensions with Iran. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 18, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:09] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. So grateful to have you with us here. I'm Christi Paul on this Saturday, May 18th.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. You are in the CNN Newsroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I'm going to be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it's going to happen here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A campaign headquarters and kick off rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
BIDEN: The best way to change it, and I'm not joking, is to get Donald Trump out of that office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Joe Biden is making his strategy pretty clear. To win the White House he will have to win the rustbelt battle ground states.
PAUL: And that's why in a few hours he's holding a major rally in Philadelphia. This is the home of his new campaign headquarters, a Democratic stronghold in a state that Donald Trump to cement his 2016 win. We're talking of course about Pennsylvania. And this is the final leg of his three-week campaign kickoff. It's happening as he opens an even wider lead in Democratic polling.
BLACKWELL: CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz joins us live in Philadelphia. Still a few hours out from the start of the event, but you're seeing some movement around here.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, some folks are starting to arrive for the event here. In a few hours Joe Biden will be holding his first major official kickoff rally of his campaign. And a short while ago we received some excerpts of his remarks that he's going to make with a central message of unity. Biden will say that if Americans want a president who spews hate, they don't need him saying that the current president does just that. And Biden is saying that he's going to present a different path for Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
SAENZ: With the first three weeks of his 2020 run behind him, Joe Biden turning to a new phase in his campaign.
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll be president for all America, not just the base.
SAENZ: First, a campaign headquarters and kickoff rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a state Democrats lost to Donald Trump in 2016, and one where Biden sees an opening. A recent poll found Biden beating Trump at a head to head matchup there by 11 points.
BIDEN: If I'm going to be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it's going to happen here.
SAENZ: In the early weeks of his campaign, Biden enjoying his stronger than expected frontrunner status, topping national polls, lining up endorsements in key early states, and raking in more money in the first 24 hours than any of his Democratic rivals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to see you again.
BIDEN: Good to see you again.
SAENZ: And he's taken his brand of politics to six states across the country, from an ice cream shop in Iowa to fielding voters' questions in a New Hampshire backyard.
BIDEN: Folks, we can change this again, and the best way to change it -- and I'm not joking -- is to get Donald Trump out of that office.
SAENZ: Biden framing his campaign as a showdown with President Trump, a move that's drawn the president's ire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How will you beat Joe Biden?
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we beat him easily.
SAENZ: The former vice president also facing friendly fire from his Democratic opponents.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagree with him. That crime bill, that 1994 crime bill, it did contribute to mass incarceration in our country. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don't think
that Joe is the most progressive candidate in this race.
SAENZ: Biden largely aiming to stay above the fray.
BIDEN: I will not speak ill of any of the Democratic candidates. I will not do it.
BLACKWELL: We thank Arlette Saenz for that report. Joining us now to talk about this, Symone Sanders, senior adviser to the Joe Biden presidential campaign. Symone, hello to you.
SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISER, JOE BIDEN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Hello, Victor. How are you?
BLACKWELL: Very well, thank you. First, obvious question, you were the 2016 spokesperson for Bernie Sanders campaign. Why are you now on team Biden?
SANDERS: Look, I think Vice President Biden is going to show everyone today exactly why I decided to join the campaign. We are in a fight for the soul of this nation, and I believe that this is a pivotal point just not in American history but in the world history. We have to make a decision about who it is that we want to be, where it is we're going to go. And I believe that Vice President Biden has the right vision to take us there. So I'm very excited to be on team Biden, I'm excited to be here in Philadelphia, Victor, OK. We are kicking off officially our campaign today. And I really think what you're going to hear from the vice president is a bookend on the things that you've been hearing from us since he first announced that he is running.
BLACKWELL: I don't have much time with you and I wanted to get that out of the way because I'm sure the viewers have that obvious question. But let me talk about the vice president here. And we heard from Senator Harris in that piece from Arlette about her refuting the claim that the vice president made this week that the 1994 crime bill that he wrote did not contribute to mass incarceration. I want you to listen to former president Bill Clinton. This is President Clinton, who signed that into law in 2015.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:05:10] BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I signed a bill that made the problem worse, and I want to admit it. In that bill there were longer sentences, and most of these people are in prison under state law, but the federal law set a trend. And that was overdone. We were wrong about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: President Clinton says they were wrong about that. Senator Harris has said it contributed to mass incarceration. Why isn't Vice President Biden admitting what we're hearing from the former president?
SANDERS: Well, look, I think we can go back to Vice President Biden's comments at the National Action Network breakfast in January where he noted that the crime bill by way of this disparity cracked and powder cocaine trapped an entire generation of people. I think many people will tell you across the country, Victor, black folks included, that the crime bill and the reaction to what was happening in the early '90s, I was only about three or four, but I'm a student of history, what was happening in the early 90s, the reaction was an overcorrection to a very real issue. But we are going to see some policy rollouts from our campaign very soon, Victor. I know folks have questions about what is Vice President Biden's criminal justice policy. And those are going to come.
BLACKWELL: Is it now the campaign's position that the crime bill did contribute to mass incarceration?
SANDERS: Victor, I think the vice president, his comments speak for themselves. What is very clear is this, that he --
BLACKWELL: What his comment was that it did not contribute to mass incarceration. The former president who signed it said it did.
SANDERS: Look, Victor, if we play the whole clip, what he also said was, his comment was, what he also said was that the majority of folks that are incarcerated were incarcerated at the state level. And that incarceration is due to --
BLACKWELL: And there's a reason for that. Let me put up the truth in sentencing --
SANDERS: There is a reason for that.
BLACKWELL: But there's a reason. Let me put it up. Put it up on the screen, guys, the truth in sentencing section of the 1994 crime bill. This is page 21. It incentivized -- it offered billions of dollars to build new correctional facilities if states would increase the percentage of convicted violent offenders, increase the average prison time, increase the average of the sentences there. Did this bill not incentivize putting more people in jail and keeping them there longer?
SANDERS: Victor, I'm not going to sit here and tell you the crime bill was perfect. There were some really great preventative things that it did, it took on the NRA. And then there was an overcorrection. What you're describing was an overcorrection. There was a reach. Some folks went too far. The bill wasn't perfect. Republicans fought to put a lot of things in that bill. Democrats fought to get a lot of things out of the bill.
But at the end of the day, Victor, at the end of the day no one is suggesting that what has happened, what has ravaged communities over the last 27 years does not need to be fixed. No one is suggesting that there's not a real problem or a real issue. And I'm here to tell you that Vice President Biden will rollout -- you'll see a criminal justice policy soon. We are going to continue to have to have this conversation about the crime bill all throughout the campaign trail. But we're also going to put forward some policies, Victor. So just wait and see. Give us a minute. Wait and see.
BLACKWELL: We will look forward to those. Symone Sanders, thanks so much.
SANDERS: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Joining me to discuss now, Nancy Gibbs, managing editor of "Time" magazine. Nancy, let's start there with the crime bill of 1994, again that now vice president, then senator wrote. We heard from President Clinton admitting that it made mass incarceration worse. Biden denies it. Is this a significant vulnerability for the vice president?
NANCY GIBBS, MANAGING EDITOR, TIME MAGAZINE: We've seen one after another in his long history in public life, whether his managing of the Anita Hill hearings is going to be a liability, whether his early position on choice will be an issue, and the crime bill is just the latest. This is just the reality of someone who was elected to the Senate at such a young age and had a great many votes and a great many speeches in the past. I think the challenge for Democrats is going to be by what standards from what era are they going to be judging candidates when you have a range of candidates from Pete Buttigieg to Vice President Biden with such a dramatic range of difference in their experiences and the votes that they've taken and the positions that they've held.
BLACKWELL: So let's look broadly at this, the primary first and then the general. The primary -- Vice President Biden now has a two to one lead in the latest poll over Senator Sanders and no one else is in double digits, 35 percent nationally among primary voters, 17 for Sanders. Is this still name recognition or is this something else now that Biden is officially in the race?
[10:10:00] GIBBS: Well, certainly you can't discount name recognition, especially at this stage. Remember the portion of the electorate 534 days away from Election Day that's paying close attention is not at all representative of the people who are going to be turning out and voting. So name recognition is important.
But so is this fascinating circular theory about electability, which is an internal problem of people covering politics. If you have people who very much want to see the Democrats prevail, who whether or not they agree with Biden, they like his positions, the know much about him, if they believe that he is the most likely to prevail in a general election, then that has a self-reinforcing mechanism, which is why you're seeing Biden targeting President Trump far more than any of his Democratic rivals as though he already has the nomination. It's a very understandable strategy that he thinks that the perception of electability will be self-sustaining.
BLACKWELL: And the importance of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a microcosm of the question that we're asking nationally. Unemployment there down to 3.9 percent, but the latest polls show that Vice President Biden in a one-on-one in Pennsylvania is up 11 points, 53 to 42. The question, why isn't President Trump able to, I guess, keep this state or make the sell, and does this not go to the central narrative of a the vice president's candidacy for president?
GIBBS: It does. And the image of Scranton Joe as someone who is able to speak to the voters who flipped from voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 12 to voting for Trump are obviously a key target. This is not just in Pennsylvania. It's true in Michigan. It's true in Wisconsin. It's true in North Carolina. It's true in a bunch of state that the Democrats would have to take back in order to have a chance of prevailing in 2020. So I think it's very natural that you're seeing Biden focusing on Pennsylvania. It's familiar territory to him. It's his home state. And in a city like Philadelphia where his dramatic popularity with African-American voters is also a distinguishing feature compared to other Democratic candidates.
BLACKWELL: The vice president will be there today. President Trump will be there on Monday. They're both focusing heavily on Pennsylvania. Nancy Gibbs, good to have you.
GIBBS: Nice to be here.
PAUL: Now, listen, as Victor just pointed out, Joe Biden is not the only one out there trying to get some votes. Democratic candidates are spread out across the country today, at least 10 of them campaigning in half-a-dozen states. Bernie Sanders is wrapping up a tour of the south in South Carolina and Georgia, Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire, Pete Buttigieg in Iowa. We're going to bring you coverage of these weekend stops right here on CNN as of course the 2020 race is getting into high gear.
BLACKWELL: Senator Bernie Sanders is on day two of a four-day swing through the south. Ryan Nobles is in South Carolina.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Victor. Bernie Sanders set to unveil a comprehensive education policy here in the next half-hour. The headline that he's calling for a complete ban on for-profit charter schools. We'll hear more of the senator coming up a bit later here on CNN.
PAUL: And the debates on the abortion issue, they're heated, they're personal, they're sensitive. The president of Planned Parenthood talked to us about the new bans we're seeing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. LEANA WEN, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Stigmatizing women's health is a tool of misogyny, and we will be holding all of these anti-women's health politicians accountable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Plus a new report finds that Ohio State University was aware of complaints that a school doctor sexually abused students and failed to adequately investigate the claims. Details on the reports findings, ahead.
PAUL: And this video is just something. Getting new shots here from this tornado outbreak in the Midwest. We're going to show you more and tell you where it's headed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bro, in front of us. Semi over in the road. Good night. Look at that. It just now knocked the semi over. We're going to check on this driver.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, so, yes, this semi just ran smack right into the tornado. And there's a lot of people trying to help him outright now. And you folks in Mineola, this thing is headed right in your direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Do you believe those pictures? Imagine yourself being there. This is Oklahoma-Kansas border moments after that tractor-trailer slammed into the tornado. You see the semi over, tipped over. The driver was trapped. Fortunately, storm trackers and bystanders, as you heard there, were there. They helped free him. And the thing is, look at that. We know there's more storms to come to, today, so we'll be talking about that.
Listen, we want to tell you about an independent report found that Ohio State University had knowledge that a late doctor sexually abused students dating as far back as the late '70s.
BLACKWELL: Dr. Richard Strauss, who killed himself in 2005, is believed to have sexually abused at least 177 students while he worked at the university. The report also finds that Ohio State personnel were aware of the complaints but failed to adequately investigate about the allegations. CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval reports.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A message of deep regret and apologies coming from Ohio State University President Michael Drake. He said the independent report commissioned by OSU contained findings that were both shocking and painful to comprehend. The redacted document shows the school failed to investigate or act after being told Dr. Richard Strauss sexually abused male student athletes. The finds detail acts of sexual abuse believed to have been carried out against at least 177 students while Strauss worked at the school between 1978 and 1998.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could not get the image of the predator's face out of my head, him standing over me while he sexually assaulted me in that clinic.
SANDOVAL: Strauss were allowed to retire from the university in 1998, two years after sex allegations led to his firing from a student clinic and the university's athletic department. He was never prosecuted and took his own life in 2005. His death left behind dozens of survivors encouraged to speak out in light of the recent investigation. In November some pleaded with university officials to institute change.
[10:20:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question isn't did this or did this not occur. It is irrefutable with hundreds of lives negatively affected. The real question becomes what would it say about OSU if it turned a blind eye again.
SANDOVAL: Another accuser, Michael DiSabato, reacted to the new findings, saying in part "Now the truth is being told. I feel vindicated, but I have mixed feelings. Although a weight has been lifted off my back, I am deeply saddened to hear the stories of so many others who suffered similar abuse by Dr. Strauss while Ohio State turned a blind eye."
The report found Strauss' behavior was an open secret to more than 50 staff members in Ohio State's athletic department. Not appearing in the redacted reporter, Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, a former OSU assistant wrestling coach. Several victims have come forward with claims that he stayed silent about Strauss. On Friday Congressman Jordan's spokesperson wrote "Investigators concluded what we have said from the beginning -- Congressman Jordan never knew of any abuse." The report says investigators "could not conclusively determine each and every allegation made about a particular coach's knowledge."
Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
BLACKWELL: The president of Planned Parenthood firing back against the recent abortion bills, saying women will not stand for the changes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. LEANA WEN, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Women in this country are paying attention. We are outraged. We know who is standing up for us and our health care, and who wants to take away our rights. We know that keeping people unhealthy is a tool of oppression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:25:22] BLACKWELL: Another state has passed anti-abortion legislation, Missouri this time. And Governor Mike Parson says he plans to sign it into law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe Roe versus Wade should be overturned.
GOV. MIKE PARSON, (R) MISSOURI: Yes, I do. I believe Roe, and I think there will be a day come we may see that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Missouri joins a list of several Republican governed states that have passed or enacted anti-abortion laws this year, setting up a showdown over the fate of Roe versus Wade. And abortion rights groups say they've seeing a spike in donations as 2020 candidates and activists weigh in on the issue.
BLACKWELL: So here's what's in the bill. It bans abortion after eight week with exceptions for medical emergencies but not from pregnancies that result from rape or incest.
PAUL: I spoke to Brian Westbrook. He is the director for the Coalition for Life in St. Louis, and he told me he supports the anti- abortion bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WESTBROOK, DIRECTOR, COALITION FOR LIFE ST. LOUIS: Organizations like Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider really only provides one choice. And we know there are three choices if you become a parent. It's parenting, adoption or abortion. And so we want to make sure that woman is 100 percent educated on her different options.
PAUL: When you go talk to them, do you talk to them about all three of those options, or just about the two?
WESTBROOK: Yes, absolutely. We walk through each one of them. We help them to rate those different options, and we ask them to pick one word that they would describe each one of those different options. And many times once we get to abortion, their word is "regret."
PAUL: There are other. Infant care for a single child takes 11 percent of the income. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says child costs are unaffordable when they exceed seven percent. That's four percent higher. The Pew Sesearch says only half of Alabama's 67 counties, half of them, obstetricians. There are no maternity leave, no family leave laws in Alabama. The CDC said Alabama has the highest state of infant mortality. It seems like there is a hypocrisy from Alabama that they're saying to women we're going to take away your abortion rights but we're not going to help you take care of your children. If they believe that life begins at heartbeat, at that point that that heartbeat is detected, should life insurance be available? Should affordable health care be available for that mother? These things are missing in Alabama.
WESTBROOK: These are all incredibly important questions, and so these are specific things that we're addressing in Missouri. Part of the legislation that was put forward in Missouri also allowed tax credits for pregnancy centers. I mentioned earlier we had 80 different pregnancy centers around the entire state of Missouri. And so we're first and foremost addressing all these different issues.
PAUL: There was a woman who's older now who wrote an opinion piece in "USA Today" this week. She was 12 years old when she was repeatedly raped and became pregnant. She is against this bill because she was saying, listen, at 12 years old children should not be having children. To that you say what?
WESTBROOK: Well, again we're talking about a little innocent child who is inside the womb of --
PAUL: But a 12-year-old is also an innocent child.
WESTBROOK: I agree, a 12-year-old is also a very innocent child. Absolutely, I agree with you.
PAUL: So when she's saying that the abortion was necessary for her, that she couldn't live in that way, there were so many factors in it, do you -- I just want to be very clear about this, do you support the bill the way that it is in Alabama?
WESTBROOK: So I've not read the bill in Alabama. We're talking about the legislation that's in Missouri.
PAUL: In Missouri. It's the same. Rape and incest would not be --
PAUL: -- would not be, yes. You would not be able to get an abortion in those cases.
WESTBROOK: Correct, correct. So I would support the legislation as it's written in Missouri. One of the things we want to see is any incremental improvement in pro-life legislation is always going to help save more lives.
PAUL: I also spoke with President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Dr. Leana Wen, and here's what she had to say about the viewpoints.
DR. LEANA WEN, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: The idea of forcing someone whom is a child and the victim of rape to carry a pregnancy that she does not want to term is emotional trauma, it's physical trauma.
[10:30:00] And I just hope that we can imagine if it were our own daughter, is that the decision we would want imposed by the government on them? They don't know whether our health centers are open, they don't know whether they need to move up their appointments, they don't know whether they can keep coming to us for lifesaving care.
And I want to say to the women who are calling us and all those who are listening, this extreme ban in Alabama has not gone into effect. There are a lot of steps, including that we will be suing and our partners will be suing to prevent this unconstitutional, illegal law from going into effect. We need our patients to know that our doors are open and we are here to care for you.
We work with our partners, and we sue. We fight in the courts. We fight in the ballot boxes. We fight in the legislatures. I have a mentor who worked in the E.R. in the 1960s, and he talks
about an entire ward of the hospital, the sepsis ward, that was filled with young healthy women, previously young healthy women, who were dying from infections, kidney failure, because they did not have access to safe legal abortion. We will never go back to that time.
Banning abortion will not stop abortions. It will stop safe, legal abortions. It's unbelievable to me that Missouri is having the highest rate of congenital syphilis in nearly two decades, that five counties face a 1,000 percent increase in syphilis. And instead of working to improve public health outcomes, these so-called pro-life politicians are instead taking away health care access, endangering the health and well-being of women and families.
And you know what? I have a message for them. Women in this country are paying attention. We are outraged. We know who is standing up for us and our health care and who wants to take away our rights.
PAUL: At what point do you believe life begins?
WEN: There is no medical or scientific consensus about when life begins. I have my personal views on this. You may have your personal views on this. But I believe that it is not appropriate for me to impose my personal views on anyone else.
PAUL: I know it's a sensitive topic. It's very personal to people, and we ask for your thoughts on the abortion battle. And we're surprised -- I cannot believe how many of you tweeted this back and are very passionate about what you think. First of all, I want to read this from Pam who says "This is unbelievable. I value all life and wish this world was a safe place for the born and unborn alike. But it's not. And I will always support and defend women and their right to make choices about their bodies, hearts, and souls. #NewDay."
BLACKWELL: This is from Christine, "I believe that whether you believe in abortion or not, no one has the right to make that choice for anyone but their self."
PAUL: And Valette says "The laws being proposed in states limiting abortion should contain a provision forcing fathers to support a child to adulthood. No allowance for the obligation from father's rights, our tax dollars, who have monetized children in custody by being paid to be fathers."
We want to hear from you about this. We know that this is an ongoing situation. We know that it's important to a lot of you. So go ahead and tweet us. I'm @Christi_Paul
BLACKWELL: And I'm at @VictorBlackwell. Be sure to use the #NewDay, and we'll share the thoughts that we get in throughout the weekend.
PAUL: And thanks for doing so. BLACKWELL: So Tiger Woods out at golf's second major, but he's not the only one who once apparently had a rough time on the course. It was a rough day. Why President Trump's golf scores have shot way up all of a sudden.
[10:37:39] PAUL: Well, if you're sitting back at home watching the PGA championship today, guess who else is going to be watching from a TV somewhere? Tiger Woods. I would not have guessed this after seeing the Masters. I really would not have.
BLACKWELL: Andy Scholes live from the course in New York. Andy, what went wrong?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Guys, Tiger just couldn't find a fair way yesterday in round two. He only hit three fairways all day long. And this course here at Bethpage Black is known as one of the toughest, hardest courses in the entire country, and you're just not going to have much success here unless you're doing well and hitting that ball well-off the tee. Tiger's day went south on his back nine. He bogeyed 10, 11 and 12. And this is just the fourth time in his career that he's going to miss the cut at the PGA championship. Tiger said after the round, it is definitely disappointing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Well, I'm not playing the weekend. That's all. It's disappointing, and just didn't quite -- just didn't quite have it. I've enjoyed being the Masters champion again, and the PGA was a quick turnaround. And unfortunately, I just didn't -- I just didn't play well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: The reining champ Brooks Koepka, Meanwhile, nearly putting this tournament away yesterday after a record-setting first round. Koepka shooting five under in round two. He's now at 12 under for the tournament, and that's the lowest two round score in Major Championship history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKS KOEPKA, SEEKING BACK TO BACK PGA CHAMPIONSHIPS: I'd like that lead to grow as large as it possibly can. I'll still got to go out there and do what I am supposed to do, keep putting the ball in the right spot, and I should have a good chance of winning the championship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Koepka has a seven shot lead heading into today's third round. He's looking to make some more history here this weekend. He's the reining PGA champ, the reigning two-time U.S. Open champ. And guys, no one has had back-to-back major titles at two different Majors at the same time. He keeps playing like he has been it looks like it's going to be pretty easy for him. Right now, guys, the only two guys in contention trying to make a push to challenge Koepka are Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth.
BLACKWELL: All right, Andy Scholes, mayor of New York, thank you, Andy.
[10:40:01] So President Trump plays plenty of golf, and it looks like someone had a little fun at his expense. Look at this. Hackers got into the president's online golf profile and started putting in bogus scores.
PAUL: Oh, my gosh.
BLACKWELL: So a few numbers there, over 100, there's a 68 there. The U.S. golf association which runs the website says those are fake. The USGA also tells CNN that it is taking corrective action to remove the scores and they're partnering with their allied golf associations and their member clubs to determine the origin of the issue. Now today, the president is spending his 188th day of his administration at one of his golf properties. That's one in five of his presidency.
All right, Senator Bernie Sanders making a swing through the south today. He's courting voters in the key 2020 primary state of South Carolina. We're going to take you there next.
BLACKWELL: Welcome back. Two U.S. officials tell CNN they have new intelligence, including photos that appear to show some Iranian ships back in port.
[10:45:00] Earlier this week U.S. officials said it believed those ships were carrying missiles. Meanwhile North Korea is now calling for U.N. intervention as they call the U.S. a gangster country for seizing cargo ship.
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson joins us now. Mr. Ambassador, welcome back.
AMB. BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Thank you, Victor. Nice to be with you.
BLACKWELL: So let's start here with Iran and try to get through China and North Korea. Iran first. Are you any more convinced at the end of the week than you were at the beginning of the week that there would be or would not be some military conflict between the U.S. and Iran?
RICHARDSON: Well, I think tensions have lessened a bit with the president saying he hopes we don't get into war. But I'm still very concerned, Victor. The aircraft carriers moving in. We put more sanctions on Iran, the Revolutionary Guard. I don't have a problem with economic pressure on Iran. They help
terrorists, they're against Israel. They threaten American prisoners. They have prisoners there. But I worry with the administration's approach to North Korea, to Iran that it's all sanctions. It's gunboat diplomacy. It's fiery rhetoric, it's aircraft carriers. Where's the diplomacy. Where's the dialogue. I want tensions around the world to lessen, with China, with North Korea, with Venezuela. Get a little diplomacy in there. I think we're on the right side in Venezuela, but let's find ways to practice what we've always been good at, and that's diplomacy, dialogue, negotiation. Instead we've got all these tense areas around the world.
BLACKWELL: So let's talk about diplomacy and North Korean specifically. The North Korean ambassador to the U.N. sent this letter to the secretary-general in which he says "This act of dispossession," speaking about the seizure of the ship, "has clearly indicated the United States is indeed a gangster country that does not care at all about international laws." Of course, all interactions between the U.S. and North Korea are put into the context of denuclearization, and you advocated for not starting with denuclearization but starting at the level of reunification, return of soldiers' remains. Would you suggest a lessening or a lifting of sanctions for those non-nuclear related issues on the way to denuclearization?
RICHARDSON: Well, I would suggest the lessening of sanctions if there was some progress, some dismantlement of missiles, of nuclear weapons, of return of our soldiers, which has been stopped. Yes, I think we need to alter our negotiation strategy so we're not going to get complete denuclearization from North Korea. They have at least 40 nuclear weapons, missiles. There's tension.
Now, I reject what the U.N. ambassador said to the secretary-general. North Korea has been violating sanctions, oil, coal sanctions that the U.N., Russia and China, U.S., Britain, and France voted for. So North Korea is in violation. They're playing hard to get, but I think we have to meet them halfway. It doesn't make sense for this tension and non-negotiation by both countries and this machismo by both countries to continue.
BLACKWELL: Our last minute here, let's talk about China and this trade war. At the 8:00 hour this morning we had on a farmer out of Virginia who grows soybeans, and the price has dropped in half from a few years ago, didn't sell the ones from last year. For those farmers across the country waiting for this to end, the companies that are importing and paying these tariffs, has the president misjudged Chinese President Xi? Is this a miscalculation here? And what should happen next? Not what should he have done heading into this trade war, but what's the next step to get some relief for farmers like John Boyd and the ones we've been speaking with this week?
RICHARDSON: Well, the next step is relief, is a trade deal. But both sides are right now fiery rhetoric, we're not going to talk. I think both sides -- I think the president's been criticized in the past for not being tough on China, tough enough, and Xi of China, his economy is not doing well, but the Chinese want to save face, and if they came into the U.S. right now on something very legitimate. At the very end of the negotiations we almost had a deal, but the Chinese moved ahead and left some of the negotiating components they had agreed to -- intellectual property rights, transfer of technology, stealing a technology. They were backing off.
BLACKWELL: So do you believe the president is doing right thing here? You think he's right?
RICHARDSON: Yes, yes, I think he's doing the right thing.
[10:50:00] But let's end this machismo, let's end this fiery rhetoric. Let's see if we can reach an agreement, because farmers and many other manufacturer jobs are at stake.
BLACKWELL: When you say he's right, you support the increase of tariffs?
RICHARDSON: No. What I support is him backing off the deal when the Chinese did not complete what they said they would do on intellectual property. More tariffs, no. From 10 to 25 percent, no. Find a way to come together, that's what I say. Now, what we did with Mexico and China, we took the metal tariffs off. So what's the consistency?
BLACKWELL: That's also with a trade deal on the table that they have to get ratified by Congress. Of course, we're in the opposite quarter here. Former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson, thanks so much.
RICHARDSON: Thank you, Victor.
PAUL: Well, right now Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders courting voters in the key 2020 primary state of South Carolina. The education policy proposal that he's making during this swing through the south, we'll take you there.
BLACKWELL: Right now Senator Bernie Sanders is making his first of two stops today, talking to voters across the south.
PAUL: And Ryan Bobles is live in the key primary state of South Carolina with him. Hi, Ryan.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi. Bernie Sanders just beginning his remarks right now where he's unveiling this comprehensive education plan. This is a 10-point plan. The big headline that Sanders is going to unveil here in the next few minutes is a plan to completely ban for-profit charter schools, and also he's going to call for the stopping of funding for the expansion of public charter schools across the country. That's something that we reported yesterday.
He also had a couple of other important highlights that he's going to point out, including calling for a $60,000 a year floor for salaries for teachers. Of course this is Sanders attempting to take a step out on education, which of course is a key, key policy issue for Democratic primary voters across the country and especially here in South Carolina.
[10:55:06] And as we hear Sanders talking right now, a special focus on how this impacts the African-American community, especially on the 60th anniversary weekend of the Brown versus Board of Education decision. So key day here for Sanders, part of a four-state swing through the south. Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Where's he headed next?
NOBLES: He's going to go from Orangeburg to Denmark, South Carolina, which is about 20 minutes from where we are now. At that event he's going to talk about water quality issues in that particular area which has had a serious issue with that. So he's talking about a lot of different issues across the tour of the south. And of course he's going to end in Alabama, Victor, which of course is at the center of this big controversy regarding abortion. So Sanders hitting on a number of big, important issues in the Democratic primary.
BLACKWELL: And we have seen several Democrats candidates start to talk about these anti-abortion laws. We saw Kirsten Gillibrand in Georgia this week. Ryan Nobles for us live there in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Thanks so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Ryan. And thank you so much for spending some time with us here. Don't forget to tweet us. We want to know what you're think about stuff. @Christi_Paul, @VictorBlackwell. And we hope you make good memories today.
BLACKWELL: There's much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield picks it up after the break.