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Howard Stern: Trump Ran for President as a Publicity Stunt; From Oreos to Arguing, Ben Carson's Tough Week of Testimony; Sentencing for Man Who Kidnapped Teen, Killed Her Parents; Deployed Dad Surprises Daughter at High School Graduation; Supreme Court Puts Gerrymandering Rulings on Hold. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 24, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWARD STERN, TALK RADIO HOST, THE HOWARD STERN SHOW; -- secured the nomination and now he was thinking about the convention. I think he wanted some show biz there. He picked up the phone and he called me personally. And it was like, oh, gosh, you know, for about a split. Can you imagine if I was all in. I would be the head of the FCC. I could be on the Supreme Court. I think Donald would give me anything.


STERN: Oh, I believe it, 100 percent, that -- if Ben Carson can get in there and I think Donald would have appointed me. Regardless of whether I know what I'm doing or not.

ANDERSON: Do you think he wants to get re-elect re-elected? Do you think --

STERN: I don't think -- I think psychologically, if he really got under the hood, I think you'd say, what am I doing? I'm in my 70s.

ANDERSON: You haven't spoken to him since you turned down the RNC.

STERN: No. When I turned down the RNC was the last time he spoke and said to me, you know, what are you doing? I explained to him in the nicest way that it would be difficult for me. I said, I'm not really actually comfortable being a public speaker, which I'm not. I don't like going up -- I never was a standup comic. I don't like getting up in front of audience. This radio studio suits me just fine.

You know what struck me as even odd, I knew he was a Hillary Clinton fan. He was a supporter of hers. So the whole thing was weird. I am -- I have been a Hillary Clinton supporter way back before even when Obama, when she was --


STERN: Yes. I think she's a terrific public servant. I thought her husband was the best President we ever had.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: My colleague, Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH" is with us this afternoon. Michael, Stern says this all started as a publicity stunt. Your reaction.

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, SMERCONISH: So, full confession, I have been a Howard fan for 30 years. He is the preset in my car and has been all that time. It's interesting because in the book -- which, of course, I bought -- you get to read the partial transcripts of years of Donald Trump interviews with Stern. And it becomes obvious when you read them that it's always been about building the brand.

So I think it makes perfect sense that this began as a branding exercise, but with one twist. And that is, Ana, that I think that the 2011 White House Correspondent Dinner was the point that flipped the switch. I think that when the now-President was sitting there and being ridiculed by President Obama relative to "Celebrity Apprentice," and I'm sure people remember it as you're showing it, what transpired. It was blistering and it seemed like now-President Trump sat there and was just seething. And I imagine that in his mind at that moment, he said, I'm going to show those SOBs. That was probably when he decided I'm going to get into this thing when I have the shot.

CABRERA: And I'll show you kind of moment and here he is. President. Apparently, he showed them. I want to ask you about HUD Secretary Ben Carson while I have you. Especially because you worked in that department under President Bush 41. Carson had a bad week in the hot seat on Capitol Hill. He was first asked about reports that the agency may eliminate the equal access rule. That's a rule that bars housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. So let's listen to that exchange first.


REP. JENNIFER WEXTON (D-VA): And can you ensure the committee that you will not make any -- that HUD does not have any current or future plans to eliminate the Equal Access Rule in rule making?

BEN CARSON, HUD SECRETARY: I'm not going to say what we will do in the future about anything. We don't know what we're going to do in the future.

WEXTON: Are you currently anticipating doing that?

CARSON: I'm not currently anticipating changing the rule.


CABRERA: The very next day, HUD did, indeed, eliminate the Equal Access Rule. And now that Congresswoman who you just heard there is calling for his resignation. That's not all. There were these gaffes that got a lot of attention this week. Watch.


REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): I'd also like you to get back to me, if you don't mind, to explain the disparity in REO rates. Do you know what an REO is?

CARSON: An Oreo?

PORTER: R -- no, not an Oreo. An REO. REO.

CARSON: Real estate --

PORTER: What's the "o" stand for?

CARSON: Organization.

PORTER: Owned. Real estate owned.



REP. JOYCE BEATTY (D-OH): Are you familiar with OMWI and what it is?

CARSON: With who?


CARSON: Amway?

BEATTY: OMWI. Come on, Mr. Secretary. Now I asked you this when you were here last year. And you asked me to be nice to you. Office of Minority Women and Inclusion. Do you have an OMWI director? Do you work with the OMWI director?

CARSON: I cannot give you the name.


CABRERA: Michael, Secretary Carson's comments are more alarming than funny. He's been on the job for two years.

[15:35:00] SMERCONISH: He's awfully fortunate that "SNL" has taken a summer break, otherwise, I'm sure at 11:30 Saturday night, we would all be watching this done in a humorous way. Look, here's my take on it. Poor staff work, for sure. But I'm not letting Ben Carson off the hook. He should have known what an REO was in this context. I debated with my radio audience whether there was some gotcha form of questioning here. Most people were not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But, Ana, my bottom line is this. He's not a dope. He is a pediatric neurosurgeon recognized as having saved countless lives but he's probably ill-suited for that job, right? If he wanted to serve in the administration, my God, perhaps he'd be better suited to run the V.A.

It showed a lack of engagement with the department of housing and urban development. You're right. I worked in a fairly high-level capacity back in the Bush 41 era in that department. If I didn't know the basic terminology, I would have been ridiculed for it. CABRERA: And here we are. All right, Michael Smerconish, thank you.

And don't miss his show tomorrow morning, 9:00 a.m. Eastern here on CNN.

Up next, we're live at a Wisconsin courthouse where a judge is about to sentence the man on the left, the man who admitted to kidnapping Jayme Closs and killing her parents, and she just sent an emotional statement through her lawyer. Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to even see my home or my stuff because the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life. He took them away from me in a way that will always leave me with a horrifying memory.



CABRERA: Emotional and tense moments in court today for the man who kidnapped a teenager and murdered her parents in Wisconsin. Family members of 13-year-old Jayme Closs relived the horror while reading impact statements directed at Jake Patterson.


JENNIFER SMITH, AUNT OF JAYME CLOSS: We live in fear every day. Watch our backs. Have home security systems. We don't feel safe. I will say I won't let you destroy my family no more.



MIKE CLOSS, UNCLE OF JAYME CLOSS: And because of this monster, Jayme won't have her mom and dad at her dance recitals. Won't have her mom and dad at her prom. Homecoming dance. My brother won't be able to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. Just -- sorry. And my parents, they raised us just to be good hardworking people, treat people fair, your honor. Do the right thing. Jim and Stacey were doing the right thing. And Jim didn't get treated fair that morning. We ask you impose the maximum sentence. Do the right thing.


CABRERA: CNN's Jean Casarez was inside that Barron County courtroom and we actually heard from Jayme through a lawyer, Jean. What were her words?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's remember, Jayme Closs is 13 years old. She's not in that courtroom. The sentencing hearing continues right now. The prosecutor described in great detail how in October of last year, that Jayme woke up, her dog was barking because someone was coming to the front door. And she and her mother huddled in the bathroom in the bathtub and they heard a shotgun blast and they realized that her father had been shot dead.

And then he went into the bathroom. Jake Patterson. And he opened up the shower curtain and there was Jayme and her mother. He made Jayme get out. He duct taped her. He fired one shot into the head of her mother, Denise, in front of Jayme Closs. So today an attorney representing Jayme Closs sat and gave an impact statement that had been written by Jayme, herself. Listen.


CHRIS GRAMSTRUP, ATTORNEY READING STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF JAYME CLOSS: Last October, Jake Patterson took a lot of things that I love away from me. It makes me the most sad that he took away my mom and my dad. I felt safe in my home and I loved my room and all of my belongings. He took all of that, too. I don't want to even see my home or my stuff because the memory of that night.

But there are some things that Jake Patterson can never take from me. He can't take my freedom. He thought that he could own me, but he was wrong. I was smarter. I watched his routine and I took back my freedom. I will always have my freedom and he will not. Jake Patterson can never take away my courage. He thought he could control me, but he couldn't. I feel like what he did is what a coward would do. I was brave and he was not.


CASAREZ: And Jayme Closs escaped this January after being held for 88 days by Jake Patterson. And Ana, Jayme also said in that letter to the court that she used to love to dance, that she loved the things in her bedrooms and she can't go back now and she can't dance. Because she just doesn't have it in her and she cannot even face this community as she stays in seclusion -- Ana.

[15:45:00] CABRERA: Be strong, young lady. Jean Casarez, thanks for bringing us that.

Still ahead, President Trump firing back in what's becoming a series of very personal attacks between him and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. So where do we go from here?


CABRERA: Now to an unforgettable embrace. Years overdue but timed just right. It happened to a Florida student on her graduation day this week. She got her diploma and then 18-year-old Kayla Tillman was suddenly told to return to the stage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- you and your family for the sacrifices you have made to defend our freedom. All the way from Korea, please welcome U.S. Staff Sergeant Anthony Tillman, Kayla's dad.

CABRERA (voice-over): OK, so watch what happens next. That hug lasted 40 seconds. Kayla says she has not seen her father in person since she was in the eighth grade. The divorced dad is a tank commander in the army who has been on multiple deployments our affiliate, WSVN caught up to the staff sergeant and his daughter just moments after that reunion. Reunion.



STAFF SGT. ANTHONY TILLMAN, U.S. ARMY: It was overwhelming. I don't know who was crying harder, me or her. But I know who was squeezing harder. I could hardly breathe you were squeezing so tight. But it's very emotional. I'm just the happiest person in the world right now.


CABRERA: That made me want to cry, Kayla. Kayla Tillman is with us now from Miami. First, congratulations on the diploma. Walk me through what was going through your mind at that moment. What was that moment like?

KAYLA TILLMAN, SURPRISED BY DEPLOYED ARMY DAD AT GRADUATION: Honestly, I was shocked. I couldn't even feel my body. At that moment, I just wanted to embrace my father, because I haven't seen him, after all of those years, it was such a joy.

CABRERA: When was the last time you saw him in person? Tell us about that.

TILLMAN: The last time I saw him?

CABRERA: Yes, in person.

TILLMAN: It was the summer before eighth grade, I believe.

CABRERA: And of course, you're a military family, and that has to be difficult. What has that sacrifice been like, not to be able to see your father very often, I mean, for years.

TILLMAN: Honestly, not seeing him throughout all of those years, it's like a part of me was missing. Because me and my father, before he went off into the military, we used to spend a lot of time together and hang out a lot.

CABRERA: So during the few moments you had with yard dad, talk to me about what your conversation was like?

TILLMAN: He just kept telling me how proud he was of me, of getting my diploma, and to keep going and achieve high goals in college.

CABRERA: What did it mean to have him there with you?

TILLMAN: It meant a lot, because, honestly, I thought he was going to miss that special moment and I'm glad he was able to make it.

CABRERA: What are your plans now that you've graduated?

TILLMAN: I plan to attend college in Louisiana in the fall and major in biological sciences.

CABRERA: Well, good luck. Congratulations, thank you for sharing your special moment with us.

TILLMAN: No problem. Thank you for sharing my story.

CABRERA: Kayla Tillman, we appreciate your time. Have a great weekend.

Up next, new details about President Trump's state trip to the U.K. and which members of the Royal family he'll be visiting.


CABRERA: On this Friday, I want to take a moment to honor this week's CNN hero. Mary Robinson lost her dad to cancer when she was 14 and struggled with depression for more than a decade. But now she has created a nonprofit called Imagine to help other children cope with their grief. And she provides free year-round help to hundreds of families.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Bella and my dad died.

MARY ROBINSON, FOUNDER OF IMAGINE, A CENTER FOR COPING WITH LOSS: Kids in grief are kids at risk. Time does not heal all wounds. Time helps, but it's what you do with that time. And what you need to do is mourn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you hear other people's stories, it kind of brings comfort.

ROBINSON: So that's why a place like Imagine exists to give children a place to mourn their loss and find out they're not alone.


CABRERA: To nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero, go to

We have this just into CNN. The Supreme Court has put gerrymandering rulings on hold in Ohio and Michigan. It says those states don't need new Congressional maps at the moment. They'll have to wait and see how the Supreme Court rules on cases this summer on cases for Maryland and North Carolina. Democrats are hoping for new Congressional maps, because they say some districts are unconstitutionally drawn to favor Republicans.

Now to our exclusive news concerning President Trump's upcoming trip to Britain. A Royal source is telling CNN's Max Foster that Prince Harry will attend a private lunch that the Queen is holding at Buckingham Palace on June 3rd for the President and Mrs. Trump. Prince Harry's wife, American Meghan Markle remains on maternity leave and will not attend the luncheon. The source also says, going forward, Prince Harry and his wife plan to participate in more state events.

I'm Ana Cabrera. Thank you so much for being here on this Friday. I'll see you right back here tomorrow afternoon. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.