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Trump Denies Trying To Fire Mueller, Says McGahn Lied In Report; Family Plans To Sue Phoenix P.D. For $10M Over Police Brutality; Cuba Gooding Jr. Accused Of Groping Woman At N.Y. Nightclub; Former NFL Star To Be Re-Tried After Rape Conviction; Iranian Boat Fired Missile At U.S. Drone Prior To Attack; Notre Dame Opens Doors To Worshipers For The First Time Since Blaze; Prosecutors Drop Criminal Charges In Flint Water Scandal; Island Leaders Blame Climate Change For "Sinking Planet". Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 15, 2019 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody who like that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an attempt at damage control after sounding curious about collusion.

TRUMP: I think I said I'd do both. But how are you going -- if you don't hear what it is, you don't know what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody should ever, ever take any foreign intelligence or any information from any foreign government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tanker still smolders in the Gulf of Oman. While a U.S. official tells CNN's Barbara Starr, Iran is trying to prevent it from being towed.

TRUMP: They're a nation of terror. They were unstoppable. And now they're in deep, deep trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another strange twist in the investigation into the shooting of David Ortiz, the alleged trigger man, Rolfi Ferriera Cruz, yells to reporters Ortiz was not his intended target.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a potential organization here. It is not just a case of mistaken identity.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the weekend! So glad to have you here. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: So, (INAUDIBLE) are now admitting that the president handled the questions on election interference "poorly." The president tried to walk back his statement earlier this week about what he'd do if given dirt on an opponent from a foreign government.

SAVIDGE: Here's CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta with more on the president's words and his walk back.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump has caused some collusion confusion. Now saying, he would inform the FBI if a foreign government tried to offer political dirt on an opponent. The president has been all over the place on this issue, appearing to say he was pro-collusion after claiming for months there was no collusion.

President Trump is doing some collusion cleanup, insisting he would go to the FBI if a foreign power handed him damaging information about a political rival. Though, the president seems to leave some wiggle room, conceding he might look at it first.

TRUMP: Of course, you'd give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that. But, of course, you do that. You couldn't have that happen with our country. Everybody understands that. And I thought it was made clear, in fact, I actually said at the beginning, I think I said I'd do both. But how are you going -- if you don't hear what it is, you're not going to know what it is.

ACOSTA: Still, it's an attempt at damage control after sounding curious about collusion.

TRUMP: I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening. It's not an interference. They have information. I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI. If I thought there was something wrong.

ACOSTA: One Trump aide sees the president's comment as a directive.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: The president's directive, as he said, a case-by-case basis; he said he would like do both, listen to what they have to say, but also report it also to the FBI.

ACOSTA: As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to dismiss Mr. Trump's remarks.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): They just can't let it go. I said weeks ago, case closed. We got the Mueller report. The only objective evaluation that will be conducted --

ACOSTA: But some Republicans are taking issue with the idea of accepting foreign dirt.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Nobody should ever, ever take any foreign intelligence or any information from any foreign government. If that's not the law, and I think it is, if that's not the law, we need to make that expressly clear.

ACOSTA: The president also got testy with the notion that he evaded questions on obstruction during the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: I answered a lot of questions. They gave me questions, I answered them in writing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not an obstruction.

TRUMP: Look, George, you're being a little wise guy, OK, which is, you know, typical for you. Just so you understand, very simple -- it's very simple, there was no crime, there's no collusion.

ACOSTA: And Mr. Trump rejected former White House Counsel Don McGahn's claim that he was asked to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

TRUMP: I don't care what anyone says. It doesn't matter. That was should show everyone what a good counsel he was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would he lie under oath? Why would he lie under oath with Robert Mueller?

TRUMP: Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.

ACOSTA: The president is standing by White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway after a government watchdog recommended that she be removed from her position, for accusations of violating Hatch Act, by engaging in political activity in her official capacity.

TRUMP: It looks to me like they're trying to take away her right of free speech and that's just not fair.

ACOSTA: But that's not exactly true, as the law does limit political advocacy for federal employees. The president also talked up Vice President Mike Pence, but not enough to guarantee he'd support him in 2024.

TRUMP: I love Mike. We're running again, but you know, you're talking about a long time. So, you can't put me in that position. But I certainly would give it very strong consideration.

ACOSTA: The president's re-election campaign is now acknowledging that it's seen polling numbers from back in March that showed former Vice President Joe Biden leading Mr. Trump in some key states. In the statement from the campaign, aides argue a lot has changed since March, adding "these leaked numbers are ancient in campaign terms." Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


[07:05:06] SAVIDGE: Thank you, Jim. Well, it wasn't just the president's handling of the interview.

PAUL: No, a source close to the White House said before it was announced that she was leaving, frustration was growing inside the White House with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. We want to go to CNN White House Reporter Boris Sanchez now. So, Boris, good morning to you, happy Saturday, what are you hearing?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Hey, good morning, Martin and Christi. Yes, we're hearing from several sources inside the White House that there is frustration over this controversy and this interview that President Trump gave to ABC News. With questions swirling about just why this amount of access was given to the president. One source suggesting that was not the brightest thing to do. And you're right, it falls along the same time line as Sarah Sanders announcing that she's departing the White House toward the end of this month.

However, sources have indicated that she's not leaving because of this interview. And ultimately, the decision to have that interview and to have that much access to the president is the president's decision. As we've heard from the very beginning of this administration, the president does what he wants. He follows his own winds; he often does not listen to the advice or counsel of his most trusted advisers. So, even if somebody tried to stop him, if was set on doing this interview, he would.

There is some concern about the potential fallout among Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, but officials here at the White House don't believe that the president's base is going to shift their support because of this. One source telling us they do not take this literally. So, essentially, any criticism is baked in. The president's allies have suggested that this is further evidence of some of the president's critics in the media. And Democrats trying to go after him over very basic issues. Despite that, you heard the president himself try to walk this back on Fox News, saying that of course, he would call the FBI if he were in that kind of situation, being offered dirt on an opponent by a foreign power, Martin and Christi.

PAUL: So, I want to get back to Sarah Sanders, because there are a lot of rumor out there right now that the first lady's Director of Communication, Stephanie Grisham, is on the short list to replace her. What have you heard about that?

SANCHEZ: Yes. Well, the president was asked about this. We've asked sources from the White House about this. He essentially had kind things to say about her. She appears to be a potential candidate. However, at this point, it's unclear who would fill Sarah Sanders' shoes, and the interim, it will be Hogan Gidley, the Deputy Press Secretary. What we can tell you is that, no matter who winds up being the press secretary, it will likely be a diminished role. After all, the president himself weighs in on Twitter constantly, therefore the press office effectively relegated to responding and being reactive to what the president says. Often, we get the sense that (INAUDIBLE) is hesitant in trying to put their perspective on things out there before the president does. Because he may come around just a few minutes later and contradict them on Twitter, Martin and Christi.

PAUL: Yes. And with the lack of press briefings that we've seen in the last what, six, seven, eight, nine months.

SANCHEZ: 95-ish days, yes. PAUL: Yes, something like that. I don't know. Boris Sanchez, we

appreciate it so much. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Joining me now to talk about this: Daniel Lippman, he's a White House Reporter for Politico and Co-Author of "Political Playbook." Good morning, thanks for joining us.


SAVIDGE: Not a good week, it would seem, for the president. Clearly, he is now attempting to walk back some of the remarks that he made. How well do you think he's doing in that?

LIPPMAN: Well, I think he had this whole controversy that was totally needless. All he -- he should have been prepared for this question. And Republicans on the hill really slammed him for saying this, because it seemed to open up the president to charges of inviting foreign interference in our elections. And so, the fact that he had to clean it up on Friday indicates that this is not a headache that they needed, given that their own internal polling has shown them down to Biden, you know, in a number of key states.

SAVIDGE: To your point which you make and that is that it appears to sort of put the White House up for sale when it comes to outside government agencies. I want you to listen to former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta. Here's what he had to say if the president -- when asked, if the president was a security threat.


LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, he's a national security threat in the sense that when he says things like that, he is inviting Russia, and China, and North Korea, and Iran, and other adversaries to find ways to be able to directly influence our election process in this country. And by doing that, there's no question that he undermines our security.


SAVIDGE: Do you agree with that? Do you think that is a legitimate portrayal of the president?

LIPPMAN: Well, I think, you know, if you look at the track record of President Trump in meetings with Vladimir Putin, where they really don't have other aides in the room to kind of get a sense of what they're talking about, that raises a lot of questions. And so, remember, house Democrats have tried to haul up the interpreter who was actually in the room taking notes. But the Trump administration tried to block that.

[07:10:27] And so, I think if you're a foreign country, and you want to get on the president's good side, then offering something of value such as opposition research on Joe Biden that they think he might want, then you could get a chip with the president. But, of course, those foreign governments have to -- they're looking at the same polls as well. And so, if, you know, they offer something, and then a Democrat wins, they don't want to be caught on the wrong side of that either.

SAVIDGE: Yes, interesting point. As far as the president himself moving forward on this issue, do you think he's learned a lesson here? And more importantly, I suppose, do you think his base is worried about it?

LIPPMAN: His base is going to be there until, you know, the cows come home. They're not -- you know, they're pretty rock solid. It's those independents, those moderates, who may not watch every show, or may not read Politico, but they do catch glimpses here and there. And, you know, most Americans would not want a foreign government interfering. But that's not to say that Democrats should keep focusing on this issue for 2020. Pocketbook issues like health care and the economy. We had bad jobs report last month -- those are much more important for Americans when they're deciding who to vote for. The Mueller report and Russia as an issue in general, that has not caught as much attraction, at least, among, you know, average voters.

SAVIDGE: Well, it remains to be seen. I mean, how this plays out. Daniel Lippman, great to talk to you. Thanks very much. And I can't believe you said that not all moderates are reading Politico.

LIPPMAN: We want all of them, though.

SAVIDGE: I'm sure they will eventually come around. Thanks very much.

LIPPMAN: Thanks.

SAVIDGE: And be sure to watch Ana Cabrera's full interview with former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta today on CNN "NEWSROOM". That will be at 3:00 p.m. Eastern, of course, right here on CNN.

PAUL: I don't know if you've seen this video, but we are going to take it piece by piece. This Arizona family planning to sue the City of Phoenix now over an arrest that a lot of people online are just outraged about. What we're learning about that case?

SAVIDGE: Plus, it was nearly destroyed just two months ago. Today, the Notre Dame Cathedral will hold its first official mass, since that devastating fire.

PAUL: And nearly four years since the City of Flint declared a state of emergency over the state of its water, prosecutors have dismissed all cases against officials and essentially, they're planning to start all over.


[07:16:11] PAUL: 15 minutes past the hour. So grateful to have you with us here this morning. I want to tell you about this Arizona couple that plans to sue the City of Phoenix now after officers pulled a gun on them and their two young children. Now, we're going to see this video together. I want to warn you: this is hard to watch. There's a lot of language in it, so you're going to hear a lot of bleeping. But take a look at what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your (BLEEP) up! Get your (BLEEP) up! Get your hands up! (BLEEP)!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you recording it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm recording it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up.


PAUL: So, the couple says officers approached their vehicle with guns drawn after their young daughter accidentally walked out of a dollar store with a doll. The video shows a woman who's five months pregnant struggling to comply with the officers' commands. All of this time, the officers are heard in the video, as you heard there, they're cursing at the couple, they're making violent threats. So, I want to discuss this with Federal and Constitutional Attorney Page Pate. You just saw that video with us, what stood out to you, first of all?

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They completely overreacted. I mean, this is not a situation where police arrive on the scene, they think someone maybe armed, there's been a report of a violent crime and armed robbery, a murder. This is a shoplifting call. And they arrive on the scene with what appears to be the intent to take these folks down. And when the people don't immediately respond to the commands which seem unreasonable from the beginning, then they really go over the top. So, I think it's definitely excessive, and really no justification given the circumstances.

PAUL: So, the parents have a case for their $10 million.

PATE: Well, they have a case. I didn't say $10 million. I mean, I think that number is certainly high -- normally in a situation like this, when no one lost their life. Fortunately, there wasn't a shooting. The cops didn't completely lose their mind and fire their weapons. I think $10 million is basically to grab the attention, perhaps, of people saying look this is serious and we're going to pursue it. But to say that it's worth $10 million, in this case I think is excessive.

PAUL: I only have a couple seconds left on this one, but what we're seeing here is very different than what we saw in the police report. It was a very one down report, comparatively. PATE: This is what happens now that we have video. I mean, I can't

count the times I've been in court and I've questioned an officer about apprehending a suspect, and it's always been: I approached him in a calm demeanor. I asked him to politely get out of the car. Now, we actually see what happens and it is very different from the police report.

PAUL: All right. I want to talk to you about another piece of video that has made its way online. Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., he's pleaded not guilty to a charge of forcibly -- a forcible touching after allegedly groping a woman at a New York bar. I want to show the surveillance video, there it is. And we point it out who's who. There's Cuba Gooding Jr, right here. His girlfriend is sitting next to him. The accuser comes up and sits next to her. Gooding's attorney says, you know what, this video is actually going to vindicate our client. Can you tell anything in this video, Page?

PATE: Christi, it looks to me like Cuba Gooding Jr. does actually touches the person who's making the accusation. It's hard to tell because there's a distance there. But it appears that there is some touch. Now, the question is: was it consensual? I mean, we saw the accuser sit down very close to Cuba Gooding Jr.'s wife, close enough, where she could certainly reach out. And when he makes this touch, as it appears on the video, she doesn't react to it. She doesn't get up. She doesn't push him away. So, I think his lawyer is saying: look, maybe, a touch occurred but it was consensual, therefore no crime.

[07:20:10] PAUL: Or it was unintentional.

PATE: Or it was unintentional, but it appears that he's reaching over to her in some way. A hand does at least go towards her leg. I don't see the hand touched the breast. I think maybe a closer examination of the video may show that. But either way, it doesn't appear to be the kind of forceable touching that we normally see as the basis for a criminal --

PAUL: So, other than this video, what would have to be proven for her to win this case?

PATE: Well, first, you have to have her statement. She has to say, look, in no way intended for him to touch me. It was not consensual. I never suggested that that was OK. And that's going to be difficult to say watching the video, because I think most people, and eventually a jury will look at that and say, wait a minute, if that was not consensual, why didn't you get up and move away? Why didn't you push his hand away? We didn't see any physical or verbal reaction from the accuser once that touch apparently occurred.

PAUL: Again, we're in a situation where video could make or break this case?

PATE: Absolutely, yes. Because what we see here is perhaps a touching but the absence of any sort of reaction to it that would suggest it was not consensual. Now, a lot of people think -- you know, they hear he's charged with sexual abuse --

PAUL: That's what I wanted to ask you about. I think there are images of what sexual abuse is.

PATE: Right.

PAUL: How would you -- as an attorney, how would you hear this woman 's story, see this video and say that's sexual abuse?

PATE: Well, different states call it different things. In Georgia, it's called sexual battery. All it has to be is a touch. It can be a very light touch; I could brush up against you. But if that touch was non-consensual, in other words, you didn't want it to happen, and there was a sexual purpose to it -- either I'm touching an intimate part or I'm doing it for sexual gratification. That's all it takes. It doesn't have to be persistent. It doesn't have to happen more than once, as long as it's intentional, sexual, and without consent, then that's a crime in Georgia and in New York as well.

PAUL: All right, Page Pate, thank you so much for walking us through it all. As always. Martin.

SAVIDGE: California prosecutors say that they're going to retry a former NFL player who was just convicted of raping a 59-year-old woman. They plan to now go after him on the other charges that the jury was deadlocked on. That's Kellen Winslow II, was convicted, Monday, of raping the woman. But the jury was deadlocked on eight other counts, those include kidnapping, elder abuse, and battery against an elder. Winslow was once the highest paid tight-end in the NFL. With the rape conviction, Winslow faces up to nine years in prison and life in prison if he's convicted on the remaining counts.

Still to come, a U.S. official says that Iran tried to shoot down a U.S. drone, shortly before that attack on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran is strongly rejecting those accusations. We'll have more details, next.

PAUL: And in just a few hours, people are going to gather for mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris -- just two months after it was nearly destroyed in a fire.


[07:26:51] SAVIDGE: A U.S. official says that Iran tried to shoot down a U.S. drone flying over the gulf hours before that attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The missile missed and fell into the water.

PAUL: The drone was able to capture images of Iranian boats. Take a look at them here. Closing in on the tankers, the official did not say whether they were actually seen carrying out the attacks. But CNN Senior International Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen has more details, Fred.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys. So far, the Iranians have not commented on those allegations that allegedly Iran shot at a U.S. drone flying other the Persian Gulf area and also hasn't commented on that video that was released by the U.S. military allegedly showing an Iranian patrol boat going up to one of those stricken tankers and seemingly taking something off the side of that tanker which the U.S. said could be an unexploded mine.

However, the Iranians is very much sticking by their story -- adamantly sticking by their story, that they had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks on the tankers. One of the things that's playing out really big here in Iran is the fact that the company that owns one of the tankers, in fact, the one in that video is apparently saying that its sailors are saying that they don't believe that the ship was hit by a mine. In fact, some of those sailors apparently saying they believe that it was projectiles that were fired at the ship.

Of course, unclear how much situational awareness those sailors would have had in the moment leading up to the explosions and then as those explosions were occurring as well. The Iranians, however, firing back at the U.S. the Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, accusing the U.S. of trying to destabilize the situation of trying to undermine diplomacy in the Middle East. Of course, we also have to keep in mind that the attacks to place as Iran's Supreme Leader was meeting the prime minister of Japan. But one of the things the Iranians are also very much making clear, which something that they've said in the past as well; is that they say if this confrontation escalates, they're not going to be the ones who are going to back down, Martin and Christi.


PAUL: Fred, thank you so much. Now, we're hearing from prosecutors in the David Ortiz shooting this morning as well. And they say, they're hoping to release details on the motive in the case as soon as next week. Nine suspects are in custody at the moment after the baseball legend was shot in the back at the night club in the Dominican Republic. Dominical police are looking for a possible tenth suspect now.

SAVIDGE: Accused gunman says that Ortiz was really not his intended target, and that he got confused by Ortiz's clothing. According to Dominican media outlets, Rolfi Ferriera Cruz told reporters that he was hired to carry out a hit, but he was only told the color of his victim's clothing which Ortiz happened to be wearing that night. Prosecutors say that he is making all of that up. Cruz is also wanted in New Jersey on armed robbery and other charges. Ortiz is recovering from his injuries. He's in Boston.

And in just a few hours, the Notre Dame Cathedral will hold its first mass -- that is two months after destroyed in a fire.

PAUL: Now, we know this service going to be small. Only 10 or 20 priests are allowed to attend due to safety concerns as you can imagine. CNN International Anchor Cyril Vanier has more.


[07:30:09] CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It was a moment that no one in Paris or even the world expected that evening back in April. France's beloved 850-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral bursting into flames. Bits of embers flying off its roof and singeing the ground below.

Much of the bustling city coming to a standstill as hundreds of fire trucks roared through the streets. Just a couple of hours later, the cathedrals iconic spire burned to a blackened shell, then finally toppling. Thousands of Parisians watching from below in horror.

It all started when a fire alarm rang out interrupting mass. A police officer running in telling everyone to evacuate. Three rescue workers were injured, but no worshippers were hurt.

Authorities ruling out terrorism, but the investigation into the fires caused continues. Nearly two months after the blaze, the church once again opens its doors Saturday evening for mass. The first time since the tragedy. Only about 20 to 30 people will be allowed inside out of safety concerns.

The church remains under construction. Within days of the inferno, donations were pouring in from all over the world. The Notre Dame Foundation reports that as of Wednesday, it has received over $17 million and an additional $425 million has been pledged.

Saturday's mass, a small step in not only rebuilding the structure itself but the faith of those who will step inside. Cyril Vanier, CNN.


PAUL: All righty, stay with us because Beto O'Rourke is making a swing through the south today with campaign staffs in South Carolina. And today's hot-button issue, he's talking about reparations. The latest on the 2020 race, coming up.


[07:35:35] SAVIDGE: People in Flint are still waiting for justice it has been -- if you can believe in nearly four years since that city declared an emergency over the state of its water. And three years since the first criminal charges were filed against government officials.

PAUL: And I think this really jolted everybody because, now prosecutors have dismissed all of those cases that they plan to start the investigation from scratch. Here's CNN's Jean Casarez.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The attorney general for the state of Michigan, Dana Nessel has actually dismissed all of the remaining criminal cases in the Flint water crisis.

All of those officials or former officials allegedly responsible for what happened in the tainting of the water for the residents of Flint, Michigan. The attorney general in doing this is saying that the investigative approach under the former Office of Special Counsel appointed by the former attorney general was flawed, the legal theories were wrong, and the cases were built on flawed foundations. Here is where the investigation stood before those cases were dropped. 15 state and local officials were originally accused of crimes as serious as involuntary manslaughter. Seven officials took plea deals and eight officials, including some of the highest ranking for the state of Michigan, they were awaiting trial. And it is those eight cases which were dismissed.

But here is the caveat, the attorney general tells me they have found 20 million more pages of documents and official papers that they want to go through that were never looked at before. She said that because of this, she can refile charges against these officials and even more people. Listen to what she said.


DANA NESSEL, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MICHIGAN (via telephone): And what I expect to see the criminal team do is after they've done a comprehensive review of all these new documents. They will make a decision as to whether or not there are -- you know, whether these same cases need to be refiled or whether or not there are perhaps additional defendants that need to be charged and never happened before.


CASAREZ: The state of Michigan will have to work fast because Attorney General Nessel tells me, the statute of limitations will actually run out next year on these alleged crimes. And it was yesterday that a circuit court judge out of Flint was set to rule on a defense motion to quash all the cases, dismiss them outright.

Nessel told me that entered into the decision to do this on their own because based on the principle of double jeopardy, they would never be able to bring the cases again. Now, the former attorney general from Michigan, Bill Schuette, issued a response to all of this saying, "During my tenure as Attorney General, the department initiated three major investigations. Nasser, the Catholic Church and the Flint water crisis.

All three were staffed and conducted with the highest level of professionalism and expertise. Residents of Flint Michigan tell CNN, they are horrified. They cannot believe that these criminal cases, at least, for the short term have been out-and-out dismissed. Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.

PAUL: And we'll keep you posted on that. Now, some of the top 2020 Democratic hopefuls in Charleston today for the Black Economic Alliances Presidential Forum. Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, they're all going to be there.

SAVIDGE: And Beto O'Rourke has got a head start. He kicked off a campaign swing through South Carolina yesterday. Pledging support for reparations for descendants of slaves and addressing climate change at a Town Hall. Here is what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The answer is yes. The path there though has to come through telling, learning, and sharing this American story with everyone. Then I think we define what reparations look like and how we begin to make that repair.


SAVIDGE: On the subject of climate change, we'll have an interview coming up because there are countries that say that they are facing extinction as a result of what is going on in the atmosphere. We'll talk about that right after this.


[07:43:50] SAVIDGE: A village in Fiji once the home of 100 people had to be abandoned entirely, and later says because of climate change overrun for us of rising sea levels have made that town basically a ghost town now. And it's only really the beginning. The prime minister of Fiji says that he'll have to move 40 Fijian villages to try to save the public here.

What we're talking about is raising awareness to the very vulnerable states, not only to Fiji, but also the Marshall Islands. And they have launched an international campaign, and they've had tremendous impact on much larger nations.

So, let's talk about that now. And joining me is Justin Worland. He wrote about all of this in a new piece for Our Sinking Planet. And what's interesting about this here is that everybody is sort of talks about what climate change could mean in the future. But these nations are facing it right now, and the sequences are dire.

JUSTIN WORLAND, ENVIRONMENTAL WRITER, TIME: Yes. That's absolutely right. It's amazing to go there to be on the ground and to see a town that was once -- you know, a vibrant town of more than 100 people that is a ghost town. And it's -- these are effects happening now, not just in Fiji, but across the Pacific, and really in across vulnerable countries, island countries around the world.

[07:45:10] SAVIDGE: And you also point out how the leaders of these nations -- and let's face it, these are very small countries that normally would not have much in the way of political clout. And yet they were able to influence such things as the Paris Accords when it came to climate change.

WORLAND: Absolutely. I mean, one of the interesting things before the Paris climate negotiations happen, President Obama met with President Xi, he met with Prime Minister Modi, a couple of others. But he met with them and then he met with leaders from five island countries.

And after the negotiations, it's -- he said it was them that sort of made the difference that allowed this to happen. They did it with the force of their story. I mean, when you hear what's happening to them, and you visit them and you see what's happening, and then, you have to come up with policy that really directly impacts their lives. It's a moving thing, it's something that, you know, as I said, President Obama talked about and others on the ground talked about. I mean, it's a -- it's a very moving story that helps -- has helped shape policy there. And they've really found other ways to insert themselves sense.

SAVIDGE: The problem for many of these nations these island nations is that they only have a couple of feet when it comes to any kind of elevation. And the water is rising very quickly as we know. Do you -- do they believe that they can be saved or is it that their extinction is a lesson for other nations?

WORLAND: Yes, it's an interesting question. There is sort of a diversity of opinion, and I think there are some folks, one country (INAUDIBLE), where the president -- the former president bought land in Fujian at a higher elevation to -- essentially, as a place where people from his country could relocate. And there was a big backlash to that because a lot of people in the Pacific feel they shouldn't have to move, they shouldn't have to relocate -- you know, that they should still -- they should still be a very vibrant aggressive effort to cut emissions in time to save them.

That the truth is that the science is such that sort of action would be very difficult. But it's still possible but very difficult. So, there is an interesting debate there about whether they should try to relocate or whether they should -- you know, focus on getting other countries to really cut emissions.

SAVIDGE: Real quick. There is a message not only to these small islands but say to a big city like Miami, right?

WORLAND: Absolutely. I mean, one of the things in this -- the village I visited in Fiji, I was walking through and I thought about, well, it really -- I mean it wasn't built well, it wasn't built in a place where they probably should have built a village.

And then I thought about -- you know, Miami, where you have the exact same situation with a limestone subsurface in Miami is porous, it allows water to seep in. We probably shouldn't have built a big major city in Miami, but we did. And so, we have to figure out how to adapt or how to move, and that's exactly what they faced there. They just have fewer resources, and it's a little more urgent. But that's a soon.

SAVIDGE: Right. Yes, it's a fascinating piece. Thank you very much for writing it. It puts a human face on what is something that sometimes we don't always see. So, appreciate (INAUDIBLE).

WORLAND: We have -- thank you.

SAVIDGE: Thanks for joining us.

WORLAND: Thank you.

PAUL: So President Trump showing off mock-ups of his very own redesign of Air Force Ones paint job. Funny how much it looks like his personal plane some say. Jeanne Moos has her take next.


[07:52:42] PAUL: So, two questions for you. Do you sit a lot at work, at home, and do you have back pain because the two can be connected. So, this week's "STAYING WELL", looks at the right way to take a seat. And apparently it's not how you sit. It's how you sit down.


CHELSEA VARGAS, ENTREPRENEUR: Finding a way to sit down properly has been huge. I had been having sort of lower back pain off and on for years at that point.

JEN SHERRER, OWNER SPINEFULLNESS STUDIO: How you sit down is important because that's usually the moment where you decide how to place your pelvis, which is the foundation to your spine.

But all the bend into the hip socket so that the tail was out and free. And then, allow the knees to bend without changing the tail position, and placing your pelvis down. All your fold is in the hip socket and then you basically just relax your chest down.

This is a good sitting position because you're holding your body weight in your bones and not in your muscles.

DR. TIN-NA KAN, ANESTHESIOLOGIST, THE PERMANENTE MEDICAL GROUP: When the structures of your back -- your back bones, which are supposed to be holding your body up. When they're in the proper place and properly aligned and doing their job and the rest of your body can relax.

SHERRER: Go ahead and now start bending your knees.

VARGAS: Now, I think once I kind of can sit down well I can basically maintain that posture so I can stay comfortable that way for the whole -- you know, stretch of time which is -- which is really great.


SAVIDGE: And you may want to sit down for this next story because President Trump says he wants to ditch the current Air Force One color scheme, and go for something a little more mellow red, white, and bluish.

PAUL: So, Jeanne Moos reports the revamp looks bit of familiar.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Air Force One, declaring emergency.

MOOS: A makeover emergency. Now, the country's going to fight over what colors to paint Air Force One. ABC got the sneak peak. TRUMP: As you knew Air Force One, and I'm doing that for other presidents not for me.

[07:54:53] MOOS: Two new planes won't be ready until 2024. President Trump, says the color scheme is his own red white and blue patriotic design. People started noticing it looks familiar. Sort of like his own plane but inverted. Someone helpfully turned the Trump plane upside down to make the point.

Others came up with their own designs. "I like it," tweeted someone else. "We are not a light blue country. A current blue over robin's egg blue where'd that come from? Here's a hint, "Do not touch Jackie Blue."

It said that Jackie Kennedy preferred blue working with one of the best known industrial designers of the time, who said JFK called blue his favorite color. Since then, it's become an iconic backdrop. What else will the revamped Air Force One feature?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Everyone wants to know is there a pod or not?

TRUMP: A pod?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Seen the movie, Air Force One?


STEPHANOPOULOS: The famous pod that flies out of the back?

MOOS: You know, when Harrison Ford playing the president as hustled into the pod as the plane comes under attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), this is Air Force One. Emergency pod is redeploy.

TRUMP: There are a couple of secrets. I don't think was supposed to be talking about here.

MOOS: But when they opened the pod, Harrison Ford had stayed on the plane to fight the bad guys.

But the president's design may not pass with flying colors. Not if congressional Democrats have their way. The House Armed Services Committee voted to limit changes to Air Force One without congressional approval. Probably leaving President Trump fuming --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off my plane.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


PAUL: All righty. That's a good scene.

SAVIDGE: Yes, that's a good scene. PAUL: So, it's still ahead. Listen, we have some disturbing video to show you. A Phoenix police threatening to shoot a pregnant woman after her daughter reportedly stole a doll from the dollar store. What police are saying about that incident this morning?

SAVIDGE: Also, coming up next. We'll have an interview with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney on the fight to extend funding for 9/11 victims and their families. The next hour of NEW DAY starts right after this break.