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Marianne Williamson Qualifies For First Democratic Debate; Four More Climbers Die On Mount Everest This Week; Howard Stern On President Trump: "I Can Assure You He's Been Traumatized." Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 27, 2019 - 07:30   ET



[07:30:52] JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: The first Democratic debate of the 2020 election cycle less than one month away. Democratic candidates must get one percent in three polls or 65,000 unique campaign donors.

Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, a best-selling author about spirituality, just met the qualifications to make that first debate and she joins us now on NEW DAY. It's good to see you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sixty-five thousand dollars, by the way.


CAMEROTA: Sixty-five thousand dollars.

WILLIAMSON: No, donors -- unique donors.

CAMEROTA: You need 65,000 --

AVLON: Sixty-five thousand donors.

WILLIAMSON: Unique donors.

CAMEROTA: -- donors? I thought you needed $65,000 from 200 unique donors.

WILLIAMSON: No. You need 200 from at least 20 states, and we got 41 states. And then I said you need 65,000 unique donors. So, for instance, if somebody gave $20.00 a month --


WILLIAMSON: -- for three months, that only counts as one.

AVLON: Right.

WILLIAMSON: And then they said because of so many, you also need one percent in three major polls and we did.

AVLON: So you cleared that hurdle --

WILLIAMSON: Yes, I cleared it.

AVLON: -- when some of your -- some of your colleagues out of the 23 haven't yet met that threshold.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, you have leapfrogged established governors and mayors. How have you done it?

WILLIAMSON: Well, you know, the founders didn't say that it only has to be a small group of people. I think the American people know that.

You know, when you're actually in Iowa, when you're actually in Nevada, when you're actually in South Carolina, when you're actually in New Hampshire, people aren't thinking when they're listening to you as a candidate -- well, are you a senator or are you a governor. They are listening to our ideas about America. And I think that the voters know that what matters is the conversation you're having about America, your vision of this country, and what you would do differently.

AVLON: But, I mean, experience in government traditionally helps, particularly executive experience.

In some ways, did Donald Trump's success inspire you to make this run?

WILLIAMSON: Well, I wouldn't say it inspired me. I think it --

AVLON: Opened the door? Made it possible?

WILLIAMSON: Definitely because I think that I, like millions of other people, have been in a deep conversation within myself, how might I best serve? But I see myself with millions of other people who feel the same way.

As far as qualifications are concerned, I feel as qualified. There are different kinds of qualifications.


WILLIAMSON: I'm not saying I'm more qualified but I feel that my 35- year career working very up close and personal with people, particularly so many people whose lives have been affected negatively by what I say to be irresponsible public policy. I have some deep insight into what bad public policy does and what I think -- how I think public policy needs to change.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about some issues.


CAMEROTA: Particularly on this Memorial Day, let's talk about what's going on overseas and where some of our troops are in danger.

So, North Korea has just, once again, tested missiles. And, President Trump says no big deal -- he's not bothered by it, though his national security adviser John Bolton says it violates a U.N. resolution.

What would you do about North Korea?

WILLIAMSON: Well, I think some diseases you can cure and some you have to manage. And clearly, North Korea is one that you have to manage.

You know, I'm not going to play dog and pony politics with something as serious as North Korea. I do not fault the president for talking to him. I don't see where it was working to have no conversation.

And I do believe -- and you know this as well as I do -- so what the president says -- I'm not bothered by it -- is sort of different than what might be happening behind. And for him to say that, he's saying I'm in a process.

I don't understand when they went to Hanoi and Kim Jong Un said here's the framework and he walked away. So this is a negotiation going on between these two guys --

AVLON: Right.

WILLIAMSON: -- and I assumed that this thing that has just happened is Kim Jong Un saying let's go back into conversation. And then, notice that Trump said I'm not in a hurry.

So I think behind the dog and pony show of the president actually saying that is the deeper reality of what's going on there.

AVLON: OK. I just want to press you on this because this is a matter of war and peace --

WILLIAMSON: Of course, it is.

AVLON: -- and it sounds like you're almost saying the president's process may be good. It almost sounds like you're backing the conversation.

But what I really want to press you on -- if you were president, would you press North Korea to denuclearize?

WILLIAMSON: Absolutely.

AVLON: Yes or no? And if so, how?

WILLIAMSON: Absolutely, absolutely. But this is an example -- if you look at what has happened previously, there's been a lot of conversation with some administrations of just accepting that that's going to happen.

[07:35:01] So I believe that the president -- my God, listen, I'm trying to become the president -- the candidate that would run against this president --

AVLON: Right.

WILLIAMSON: -- so it's not like I'm bending over backwards here wanting to say nice things about the president.

In this one particular case, I believe that there is an effort here. There is an effort at negotiation. Whether we agree about being tough -- he's still got the sanctions on. I'm just saying I don't feel at this moment that I can say this man has been reckless.

You want to talk to me about Iran, I can tell you -- I can tell you how terribly reckless I think he's being. Or if you want to talk to me about --

AVLON: Let's see it. Let's go to Iraq.

CAMEROTA: What about Iran? So, 1,500 troops --


CAMEROTA: -- are being deployed to the Middle East and President Trump says it's, I guess, connected to trying to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran's hands.

Your thoughts?

WILLIAMSON: I think that the -- that the policy with Iran is deeply irresponsible. I think it was deeply irresponsible to leave the Iran deal. I think trying to go through this alone -- you know, he says Iran called me.

And you know you're in trouble when the leaders of Iran sound more sober about the situation than the president. And when they say well, we can't trust you. You reneged on the last deal. Why would you not renege on this one?

I feel the saber-rattling towards Iran is deeply troubling. It's the United States, which canceled this last range of exemptions.


WILLIAMSON: I don't believe that by making life really tough for people that this is good foreign policy. And that's my problem with sanctions. I don't think the average American really understands what sanctions mean in the lives of people.

AVLON: Let me make -- let me clarify one thing. You've proposed a Department of Peace.


AVLON: You've called yourself a peace activist. First, are you a pacifist -- do you consider yourself one? And two, what are the circumstances under which you would go to war as president?

WILLIAMSON: No, I do not consider myself a pacifist. We are -- we are, this weekend hopefully -- mindfully, as well as some mindless holiday celebration, there should be mindful reflection.

My father fought in World War II. AVLON: Yes.

WILLIAMSON: I certainly think World War II -- we were right to enter that war.

When your allies are directly threatened, when the humanitarian order of the world is threatened, and when your homeland is threatened -- that's when you -- that's when you use military force, absolutely.

AVLON: So, Afghanistan after 9/11?

WILLIAMSON: Absolutely. In fact, it was averting our attention from Afghanistan to Iraq that I think was the big mistake, clearly.

CAMEROTA: Marianne Williamson, we have so many more questions for you but we're out of time. Great to have you.

AVLON: Thank you for joining us.

CAMEROTA: Come back anytime.

WILLIAMSON: Thank you. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Obviously, we'll be seeing you in the first debate.

WILLIAMSON: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: Sure, great to have you here.

OK. It is the deadliest year in decades for climbers on the world's tallest peak. How overcrowding makes Mount Everest even more dangerous. We have a special live report for you from Nepal about what's happening there, next.


[07:42:36] CAMEROTA: OK, it's time for "CNN Business Now."

President Trump says he's in no rush to strike a deal with China and, once again, falsely claims that Americans are not paying the bulk of newly-imposed tariffs.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now with her take on all of this -- Christine.


Almost a year into the trade war with China, no resolution. President Trump in Tokyo this morning.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They would like to make a deal. We're not ready to make a deal. And we're taking in tens of billions of dollars of tariffs and that number could go up very, very substantially very easily. But I think sometime in the future, China and the United States will absolutely have a great trade deal and we look forward to that.


ROMANS: But this morning, China's Foreign Ministry is criticizing the U.S. for being inconsistent. Quote, "Sometimes they said a deal was within reach and sometimes they said it was very difficult to reach a deal."

In Japan, the president again falsely claimed that Americans pay only a small percentage of tariffs.

And he said American farmers are patriots who support his decision to get tough on China. But, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst says the trade war is hurtful to farmers.


SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): It is hurting in the Midwest. It's hurting all over the country with the tariffs.

The president has called our farmers patriots. That doesn't pay the bills. It doesn't pay the bills.


ROMANS: The Iowa Republican says one in five jobs in Iowa is directly related to trade, mostly agriculture.

And last week, the Ag Sec. Sonny Purdue announced $16 billion in aid for farmers. And he repeated the president's false claim that it would be paid for by China.

On the campaign trail, Democratic hopeful Beto O'Rourke on Trump's trade contradiction.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And what we see right now is yet an example of President Trump being both the arsonist who created this problem in the first place, and the firefighter who wants the credit for addressing it through this bailout.


ROMANS: It is planting season in the Midwest, you guys, and no talks are currently scheduled.

AVLON: Thank you, Christine.

Well, it's been a very deadly week on Mount Everest. Four climbers have died trying to reach the world's tallest peak. Nine climbers have been killed this year alone.

CNN's Arwa Damon is live in Katmandu, Nepal with more. ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. And it's worth noting that the climbing season is actually just a few weeks long and every year there are about four to five deaths.

[07:45:01] But this year it seems that the risks have been aggravated by what many are describing as a backlog for that final push towards the summit.

And some of these photographs we're seeing on Instagram and social media showing this incredibly long line of people are quite striking because that location that they're in as they're trying to push towards the summit is known as the Death Zone. It's called that because of the low oxygen levels. In fact, just a third of the oxygen that you would get a sea level is what you have when you are this high on Mount Everest.

And it seems that some climbers were aware of the risks.

In fact, one man, a British man who is among those who died most recently, Robin Haynes Fisher, had posted on his Instagram, saying, "With a single route to the summit, delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal, so I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people. Unless, of course, everyone else plays the same waiting game."

Now, the vast majority of those who have died on Everest died because of altitude sickness. When you don't have enough oxygen circulating through your body you are -- basically, your organs are slowly ceasing to function. It's a very painful, very difficult way to go.

And this, Everest, is one of the most physically and mentally challenging summits that exists out there.

And there are great concerns about how Nepal is handling this -- how it's handling the numbers. And one expert mountaineer we have been talking to said that unless something changes, John, we're going to see these deaths continue to rise every single year.

CAMEROTA: Arwa, that picture is incredible. To see gridlock at the top of Mount Everest is so -- I've never seen anything like this.

I mean, as I was saying, so many people read into thin air. It was so a compelling account of the other -- there was another record year where there were lots of deaths. In fact, there are many record years.

And that described frostbite. That described hikers falling off the mountain.

But the idea that they are dying because of altitude sickness because they can't get up fast, that seems like a problem that they could fix.

So, Arwa, what's the --


CAMEROTA: -- solution the government is proposing?

DAMON: Well, the government is saying, first of all, that these allegations that the deaths are because of this backlog are absolutely baseless. And they are saying that over the last few years they have been trying to regulate those who go in the sense that an individual needs to prove that they have a certain level of experience before they're even allowed up on the mountain.

But a lot of mountaineers that we've been talking to are saying that, quite simply, is not the case. And the reason why there have been so many deaths is really a number of factors. It's that backlog, it's the number of inexperienced climbers.

But it's also the number of companies that are out there -- they're really trying to push their climbers forward to make it to the summit. That there is a certain level of lack of diligence of care.

So all of these factors put together are proving to be quite fatal for so many.

AVLON: Extraordinary to see those pictures and the death toll just horrific. And to think that some of it's avoidable.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

Arwa, thank you --

AVLON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: -- very much for reporting for us from Katmandu. This is just a story -- I don't know. I find that story really haunting.

AVLON: That photograph is just --

CAMEROTA: The photograph and also hearing from one of the hikers who was just killed and him knowing that there was going to be danger as he headed up there.

All right.

Meanwhile, Howard Stern says that therapy saved his life and he says it could help President Trump, too.


HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST, "THE HOWARD STERN SHOW": You know, Donald -- you know, is level of narcissism is so strong. He has trouble with empathy -- we know that -- and I wish he'd go into psychotherapy.


CAMEROTA: All right. We have much more of Anderson Cooper's revealing interview with Howard Stern, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:52:31] CAMEROTA: Howard Stern has known Donald Trump for decades. He calls Mr. Trump one of the top five guests to ever appear on this radio show. He also believes Donald Trump was traumatized as a child and that he would benefit greatly from therapy.

Here's more of Anderson Cooper's interview with Howard Stern.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": You talked about therapy and a lot of people do not talk about therapy --

STERN: Right.

COOPER: -- and you had been very upfront -- you didn't just do therapy, you did psychoanalysis.

STERN: Psychoanalysis, yes.

COOPER: And therapy, did it save your life?

STERN: It did -- it really did. It wasn't as if I was suicidal or something along those lines, but when I say it saved my life it made me recognize all the good things that I have.

And it also taught me how to be a man and how to relate to my children. How to be more involved in a conversation with you. How to be appreciative of you for giving me that interview.

COOPER: You had said that were a selfish jerk, I think it was.

STERN: Selfish jerk.

COOPER: Yes, sorry.

STERN: But I was also naive. It wasn't like I was intentionally going out to be a jerk. I don't think people would say I was a jerky guy.

But what it was is I had no notion of the world around me and I think a lot of my self-protection was closing down my emotion and that kept me very well-protected as a child. And the only way you can grow out of that --

COOPER: Which is trauma. I mean, that's --

STERN: Trauma.

COOPER: -- the reaction to trauma is closing yourself down.

STERN: Yes, and I was one of the most closed down people.

COOPER: You talk about trauma and you've talked about it in relationship to President Trump.

STERN: Yes. COOPER: That Donald Trump is a person who experienced a lot of trauma early on.

STERN: Yes. From what I know of Donald and his relationship with his father, it sounds traumatic. It sounds like the father was very domineering, the father expected a lot of him, and the father -- I don't know. There was military school. You know, you read this drips and drabs and you go, wow.

I can assure you he's been traumatized because Donald -- his level of narcissism is so strong and he has trouble with empathy -- we know that -- and I wish he'd go into psychotherapy. I'd be so proud of him if he did and he would flourish.

COOPER: He would -- but he -- I mean, he never would.

STERN: There's no way -- I do not believe he's ever done psychotherapy because he's demonstrating a lot of the -- a lot of the behaviors that I recognize.

COOPER: Do you think he's the same person that you interviewed now?

STERN: Yes, I do. I think he's the same exact person. I think the only way you really change is to do analysis. So, yes, I think he's the same guy.

[07:55:05] COOPER: Are you worried about the country?

STERN: Oh, yes, of course. Listen, I have three daughters. I am worried about the country.

This notion, particularly about immigration -- I'm a guy who -- both sets of grandparents came over and they were fleeing horrible situations. They --

If they had had to take a test, one of my grandfathers never learned to speak English. He couldn't master the language. He came here too late in life.

This is the greatest country in the world. I thank God for this country and the opportunity -- listen, where else could I have had my kind of career.

COOPER: So there would be no Howard Stern if there had been a test for your grandparents?

STERN: There would be no Howard Stern. And the point is, with our country -- you know, that Statue of Liberty, I took that for real. Give us your tired, your poor.

We're not going to get the intelligentsia, necessarily. We are a country of immigrants -- poor immigrants who came over here and got a chance. And to -- you know, to cavalierly say we're closing those doors down and we're going to give you a test, and if you pass that test then maybe we'll let you in. Boy, that's a pretty heavy statement. And I know -- listen, not everyone's been lucky economically and it's easy to blame a poor immigrant coming over, but that's what they did when my grandparents came over. It's the same old, same old, you know?

And I certainly --

COOPER: It's what was done with Catholics and Jews. Everybody --

STERN: It went on with everybody. Italians came over --

COOPER: At one time or another.

STERN: -- they were the enemy. The Chinese came over, they were the enemy.

We got a lot of stuff that went on in our country. And I hate when people start talking about how black people -- poor blacks do not deserve some kind of shot through equal opportunity or something like that. Well, how many whiteys are sitting there and getting a shot at college or getting a shot at a better education because they have so much more and there hasn't been this inherent racism?

There seems like sometimes we have to right the wrongs. And I'm not -- I'm not some ultraliberal. I'm really not. I've voted for Republicans, I've voted for --

COOPER: Pataki.

STERN: Yes, I voted for Pataki. I voted for Giuliani. I voted -- you know, I've voted for Republicans and are friends with many Republicans.

But there used to be a civility between Democrats and Republicans and it seems like it's all-out war now, and I don't know what's going on right now.

COOPER: Do you think that's just the president or more -- it's more than that?

STERN: Well, I -- you can't just blame Donald Trump, but there's a lot of seething anger.

And I'm concerned about the Supreme Court -- the idea that we're even discussing Roe v. Wade. I would say to people listen, you don't want to have abortions.

My wife is against abortion but she's not against your right to get one. She wouldn't have an abortion but she wouldn't close down that opportunity for anyone else.

The people who are alive now, we've got to worry about. Do we need more unwanted children on this planet?

And these same people are screaming about abortions and they shouldn't be allowed, I don't see them adopting anyone necessarily. I don't know how they're going to take care of these unwanted children in these horrible situations, and mothers who commit suicide because they weren't ready to have a kid. Stop and take a breath.

And to see a more harsh ruling come out on the Supreme Court, it would be a disaster. We both remember the days of women with coat hangers and going in back alleys. That stuff's not made up.

And who was getting abortions during those days? The rich. So, you know, this would only affect the poor. And so, look, there's got to be some compassion here.

I also don't like our foreign policy and where it's going. Iran is a dangerous situation. North Korea is a dangerous situation. I see this pulling away from our allies and NATO -- it's all very disturbing to me.


CAMEROTA: There you go. I mean, we were just saying --

AVLON: It's just fascinating.

CAMEROTA: -- Howard Stern calling for civility. I mean, the most potty-mouthed, obscene, lewd person.

But I think always -- well, I don't know. I haven't listened to all of his radio shows but compassion -- I mean, I don't know if he was ever mean -- a mean-spirited shock jock or just an obscene shock jock.

AVLON: Well, he's certainly obscene. I think what's fascinating in his talk with Anderson, he has made sort of a leap to deeper empathy.

But to hear him talking about how concerned he is about U.S. and NATO and Roe v. Wade and being a voice talking about -- harking back to a bygone era of civility -- Howard Stern, folks? You'll remember we're in the twilight zone. That's a good way to do it.

CAMEROTA: I just like the lack of pretense that he has always had.


CAMEROTA: There's just no pretense.

Be sure to watch --

AVLON: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- Anderson's entire interview with Howard Stern tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

AVLON: Meanwhile, President Trump making lots of headlines overseas. NEW DAY continues right now.


TRUMP: We've come a long way. It has been no rocket testing. SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Some of the activity that's taken place, as you can see from the president's Twitter, isn't something that's bothering the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Japan said that these were in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. John Bolton said the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He seemed to voice confidence in Kim Jong Un while slamming Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump trying to deal with it in.