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Missouri Abortion Clinic Lawsuit; Stocks Drop After Tariff Threat to Mexico; Warren Vows Law for Indicting Presidents; Women Sue For Discrimination at FBI Academy; National Spelling Bee History. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired May 31, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] ALEXANDRIA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the status right now, Poppy and Jim, is that we should hear a decision by the end of the day from the judge, but you really can't overstate the importance of what's happening here because by the end of the day women across Missouri could lose access to abortion entirely and that could happen without any laws having to change whatsoever.

This is a regulatory issue, a routine licensing issue, an annual license for the only clinic that still provides abortion in this entire state. Planned Parenthood is saying that the state is essentially trying to tie them up in red tape and regulate abortion out of existence. They say that's why they are currently the only provider of abortion in Missouri.

The state has a different take on it. They say that there have been health violations. They say that there's an ongoing investigation into medical records. Planned Parenthood sees this as part of a war on abortion, but now it's up to a judge to decide whether or not that clinic can stay open, whether or not abortions will be provided tomorrow and next week.

Poppy. Jim.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Alexandra Field, thank you very much. Please keep us posted.

Again, a decision expected by that judge by the end of the day.

All right, let's take a look at the market, folks. We've got the Dow off 260 points almost here, off 1 percent. Of course, this is a reaction to the president saying he's going to slap really significant tariffs on a huge trading partner of the U.S., and that is Mexico, Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: It's a big drop in just the minute and five seconds of trading.

CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik with us now.

You've been speaking to folks on the floor there. This is all about tariffs. ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is all about tariffs,

Jim. You know, disaster is how one trader reacted when he heard that President Trump was imposing this 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports one week from Monday. This really blind-sided investors simply because it was announced on Twitter, seemed to come out of nowhere, and you know how Wall Street does not like surprises.

Auto makers are taking a direct impact because Mexico is really one of the world's biggest car production markets. General Motors has a huge presence in Mexico with three assembly plants. It built 800,000 cars in Mexico just last year. We are seeing shares of GM, Fiat Chrysler and Ford down anywhere from 3 percent to 5 percent.

And these tariffs come at a really tough time for the auto market when you're seeing all of these layoffs in the auto industry and you're seeing sales down. These tariffs also coming at a delicate time in the financial markets already reeling from the tit for tat tariff war going on between the U.S. and China. The big worry that this is going to mess with the economy even more, it's going to continue to hurt business and consumer confidence. You know, I know President Trump likes to call himself the tariff man, but I'm not so sure that this is the outcome he was looking for.

HARLOW: Can I just note one thing, Alison, I mean, looking at what -- what we're on pace here for, this is the last day of the month for the market. It's going to be the first monthly decline of this year. The first decline for the month of May since 2012. And now you've got a sixth week of declines for the Dow unless it turns this thing around by the closing bell in a row. Six weeks of declines in a row for the Dow. We haven't seen that since 2011.

KOSIK: Yes, so we are seeing stocks take a turn. We are seeing the markets now react to the piling on of tariffs. You know, once again you do see this six-week losing streak for the Dow. You're seeing especially the impact of tariffs in earnings reports, and that's why you're now seeing it in the stock market as well because you're seeing companies affected by these tariffs, Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes. Yes. OK.

SCIUTTO: And people, right? We were saying earlier 1,300 bucks to the price of a car coming to the U.S. from Mexico. That's easy to notice on your bottom line.

Alison Kosik, thanks very much.

KOSIK: You've got it.

SCIUTTO: Senator Elizabeth Warren says that if Donald Trump were not president, he would be in handcuffs. And if elected, she has a plan that would allow, unlike today, sitting presidents to be indicted for crimes. That's coming up.


[09:38:16] SCIUTTO: 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the senator, is making a mark on this race with these six words "I've got a plan for that," and this morning she has another one. The senator says that if she wins the White House, she will pass a law allowing, unlike today, for sitting presidents to be indicted for possible criminal wrongdoing.

HARLOW: Yes, very interesting. But, Jim, as you note, Eric Swalwell, the congressman also running for president, I think he was first out of the gate with this as well. We'll see if others get on board.

Let's talk about it. CNN's senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson joins us now.

It's really interesting to watch, Nia, how this sort of "I've got a plan for that" has seemed to turn in Elizabeth Warren's favor, whether you look at her polling numbers, you know, bumper stickers, she's wearing that badge. People were sort of trying to shame her, I think, at the beginning for a plan for everything, and now it seems to be working in her favor.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I think that's right. And in this -- the sort of shaming in the beginning was, oh, she's sort of like Tracy Flick in some ways, right?

HARLOW: Right.

HENDERSON: And in some ways it's a gender shaming.

But, yes, I mean she has very much played this to her advantage. In a field of 23 people, you need to figure out a way to break out. You need to figure out a way to brand yourself, and she has done that and done it to, you know, to a level that no one has been able to do it. And she, in some ways, except maybe with this -- with this plan she announced today with the whole, you know, law about indicting a sitting president, she has been setting the pace. It's been people who essentially come behind her on any number of issues, particularly something like breaking up the big banks. She is -- is having the others respond to her plans, and that's been very interesting to watch because the other candidates sort of have to scramble and figure out where they are vis-a-vis Elizabeth Warren.


HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

SCIUTTO: How to distinguish themselves.


[09:40:00] SCIUTTO: I should note, we've been watching the markets there. The market down now nearly 300 points. This largely responding to the president's vow this morning to impose tariffs on Mexico, another of America's largest trading partners.

Back to Elizabeth Warren, Nia-Malika. So she's been rising in the polls up to 15 percent in one. Of course Biden far ahead. But as she moves up, she outpaces, for instance, a Bernie Sanders as a likely number two.

I wonder what her rise means for Sanders since both of them occupy this space in the progressive wing of the party, but also for Joe Biden, as a credible challenger to him.

HENDERSON: No, I think it's right and it's been something of a surprise to see Sanders' numbers decline. I was with Sanders earlier this week talking to former supporters and, listen, they are shoppers at this point. They were diehard Sanders folks in 2016 and now they feel like there are other people who sort of embody the revolutionary spirit, the revolutionary policy that he outlined in 2016. So that's why I think you see Warren doing much better. She's sort of a better version of Sanders in some ways because she has so many policy prescriptions.

And even if you remember back to 2016, Elizabeth Warren was sort of Bernie Sanders before Bernie Sanders. She was the one who was going viral. She was the one who progressives really wanted to draft in 2016. She, of course, passed on that. Bernie Sanders did run. But you see, even with his sort of crowd size, it's a little smaller. He's much more interested in sort of doing the kind of selfies that he's seen Elizabeth Warren do. So, you know, Elizabeth Warren, I think, is one to watch in this campaign.

HARLOW: Your piece on the incredibly shrinking Bernie Sanders this week is great.


HARLOW: My favorite line, to some of his former supporters, he's just another candidate, the revolutionary front man who launched a thousand cover bands. That was my -- that was the line that stood out to me.

HENDERSON: Thank you. Yes.

HARLOW: Can I just ask you about this, the challenge that she is going to face, though, Nia, on fundraising by swearing off super pack money, by swearing off these big fancy fundraisers that bring in a lot of money --


HARLOW: That is already proving to be a challenge in her numbers in the first quarter.

HENDERSON: Yes. And we'll see what her numbers are going forward. We'll have some reports in a couple of weeks. She wasn't that strong a fundraiser if you compare her to Bernie Sanders, you compare her to Biden. He is doing those sort of high dollar fundraisers. He's letting cameras in, which is a little different spin on those.

But, yes, I mean, that's something to watch because what does money allow you to do? First of all, it's sort of buzz. It shows you're a contender.

HARLOW: Sure. HENDERSON: But it also allows you to hire staffers, right, put folks on the ground in these early states. So she's got to sort of -- she's got to figure that out, whether or not this kind of stark refusal to do those big money fundraisers is going to impair her long term ambitions in clinching the nomination.

HARLOW: Right. Because once you swear off those you can't go --

HENDERSON: That's right. Yes.

HARLOW: You can't -- you can't turn the ship around on that.

HENDERSON: That's right.

HARLOW: OK, Nia, good to have you. Thanks so much.

HENDERSON: Thank you all.

HARLOW: Still to come, more than a dozen women who have attended the FBI's training academy say they were sexually harassed or discriminated against because of their sex. Now they're suing the FBI. We'll speak to two of those women, next.


[09:47:39] HARLOW: All right. Important story. Sexual harassment, harsher scrutiny, a hostile work environment, that is how the more -- how more than a dozen women are describing conditions at the FBI's training academy at Quantico. Now those women are suing the agency for gender discrimination. They say the disadvantages are a result of the good old boy network at the facility.

SCIUTTO: So in response, the FBI has released a statement saying the following in part, while we are unable to comment on litigation, the FBI is committed to fostering a work environment where all of our employees are valued and respected.

Right now we are joined by the attorney representing the women in the case, David Shaffer, as well as two of the plaintiffs. They are Clare Coetzer and Ava -- and we're now going to share Ava's last name, that at the request of her attorney for both legal and safety reasons.

Clare and Ava, thanks in particular to you for coming here and talking about this in public.

Clare, if I could begin with you. You're a licensed social worker. You attended the FBI's training academy last year. You were dismissed after getting four demerits, according to the FBI, given a warning that the FBI calls a suitability notice. You allege you were given fewer opportunities to succeed by the FBI. Tell us about your experience at the academy.

CLARE COETZER, PLAINTIFF IN DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST FBI TRAINING ACADEMY: So when I began the academy, the first about four months were absolutely fine as far as training. I passed all 11 of the required performance tests. That included firearms, fitness, defensive tactics, legal, academic, you made it. You know, first time, no issues whatsoever.

And then I get to the tactical training portion, and suddenly I'm realizing that I'm being very singled out by my tactics instructor, Paul Haren (ph). He would pull me aside very frequently during exercises and give me very vague feedback. He would say things like, you're on the bubble. You are behind the curve. And he wouldn't give me any constructive feedback or anything specific whatsoever.

And then a specific example is when myself and a male classmate went to go meet with him, voluntarily with my instructor, to, you know, discuss progress and how to improve. I was told that there was nothing I could do to improve. And he looked to my male classmate in front of me and he said, so you have four suitability notations, is that correct? And my classmate said, yes, sir. And Paul Haren told him, you're going to be fine, keep working fine. And then he excused him.

[09:50:13] And then he turned to me and he said, Clare, you have four suitability notations, is that correct? And I said, yes, sir. And he said, I'm not going to lie, that's a lot and people don't frequently graduate with four suitability notations.

HARLOW: So in response to all of this, guys, the FBI won't comment on the lawsuit. I know we noted that at the outset. They say they're committed to fostering a work environment where all employees are valued and respected. That's not what you both say you experienced.

And, Ava, to you, you know, this lawsuit talks about passive tolerance, right, of this, and it being sort of systemic within the FBI. Can you give us a sense of just the toll that it took on you?

AVA, PLAINTIFF IN DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT AGAINST FBI TRAINING ACADEMY: I mean it took an extreme emotional toll on me. A lot of my experience there was actually sexually harassment based and retaliation both from instructors, the unit chief, Kelly Holland (ph), even blamed me for this attention. She told me I was nothing but a distraction to her agents. That my entire personality was a character flaw and that I just wasn't cut out for the FBI, even though the day I was dismissed, my picture was still hanging on the wall for having perfect marks.

SCIUTTO: Good to see.

And, to be clear, you say retaliatory in what sense?

AVA: For instance, I had been told by a few of my close friends who were also trainees there that instructor Charles Rowe (ph) would repeatedly inquire and talk about my personal life, my marital status, my sex life, and eventually I very politely approached him about it and, you know, kind of asked and said, you know, could these things please be kept private? And he, you know, to my face said, absolutely I did not in any way bring those things up. And then about a week or ten days later, I received a suitability for challenging him. And that suitability even included things like, I had my hands in my pockets, which meant that I had an attitude.

HARLOW: Obviously, you have both named individuals. We don't have them on the show to respond or to defend themselves, but they are welcome to join us at a later date if they -- if they would like to respond.

David, to you as the attorney, one thing I found interesting in the reporting on this is that apparently you went to the FBI twice, asked them to sit down with you to talk about your clients before you filed this lawsuit, is that right?

DAVID SHAFFER, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING FEMALE FBI TRAINEES IN CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT: That's correct. I asked them twice to sit down and discuss these issues short of litigation, and I was ignored. And the only response I got was, thank you for your inquiry.

And I also heard from a woman this morning who notified the inspector general about this conduct as early as 2001. And our clients notified the director, Director Comey, again, in 2015. He also did nothing about it and denied it existed.

HARLOW: And CNN has reached out to Director Comey. We haven't heard back yet on the allegations in this lawsuit.


SCIUTTO: Well, David, thanks to you. And Clare and Ava, we know it can be difficult to come out and make allegations like this in public.


SCIUTTO: With possible consequences. We appreciate you sharing your story with us.

Thanks to all of you as well.

We'll be right back.

SHAFFER: Thank you.


[09:58:04] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROHAN RAJA: Odylic, o-d-y-l-i-c, odylic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are correct.



HARLOW: I don't even know what that means and I am not ashamed to admit it. The world of sports celebrating a very different elite eight this morning, Jim.

SCIUTTO: I use that word every day, Poppy. I mean --

HARLOW: What does odylic mean?

SCIUTTO: Well, I have no idea.

HARLOW: You're on national television, Jim.

SCIUTTO: I have no idea. I have no time to Google it so -- so we'll leave it at that.

The annual Scripps National Spelling Bee came to a surprising and record setting finish ending in an eight-way tie for first place.


SCIUTTO: Coy Wire joining us now.

Coy, how did they end up with eight winners?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good old fashioned hard work. The spelling bee short on words this season, but not short on kids who worked their tails off to be crowned champs.


RISHIK GANDHASRI: A-u-t, auslaut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are correct.

ERIN HOWARD: E-l-a-s, erysipelas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are correct.


WIRE: The contest has been held for 92 years. They have never had an ending like this, though. Eight co-champions. There have never been more than a two-way tie before this. The bee was stopped after midnight on the East Coast. Twenty rounds in total. There were no mistakes in the last five rounds. So the judges were forced to bend the knee. Merriam-Webster tweeting, the dictionary concedes, adding that they are so proud of the winners. Each of these kids receives $50,000 as champions. They get a trophy, trips to Hollywood, New York. Most recently they were stars on CNN's NEW DAY.

Listen to how long these kids prepared for this moment.


ABHIJAY KODALI, NATIONAL SPELLING BEE CO-CHAMPION: I studied like four to five hours on weekdays, but when -- when like the competition came near, like, I ramped it up and like I studied as much as I could, maybe like an extra one or two hours. And like ten hours on the weekends. A little more. Just depending on if I had any homework.


[10:00:06] WIRE: (INAUDIBLE) to these kids. A testament to what is possible when you outwork