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21 Democratic 2020 Candidates Descend on South Carolina Courting African-American Voters; Severely Abused Army Vet Questions Biden on Abortion Rights; Protesters Challenge Buttigieg over Fatal Shooting of Black Man in South Bend; Trump Delays ICE Immigration Raids for 2 Weeks; Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) Discusses Trump Cancelling Iran Strike, Endorsement of Biden, the Biden/Booker Spat over Segregationists. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired June 22, 2019 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:02] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.

A few weekends ago, it was Iowa. Today, South Carolina is the place to be if you're a Democratic running for president in 2020. We have live pictures from Columbia, South Carolina, where 21 of the 23 candidates are speaking today.

Next up, Congressman Tim Ryan. Also this hour, Congressman Seth Moulton and Senator Michael Bennet are scheduled to take a turn behind the mic.

Why the full court press of Democratic hopefuls? South Carolina only has nine electoral votes and usually swings Republican in the general election, but it is an early an important indicator of which candidates have support among African-American voters.

CNN political reporter, Arlette Saenz, is there.

Arlette, Bernie Sanders learned the hard way in 2016 about just how crucial support of black voters is, right? How did he try to make his case today?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Ana, you had many of the candidates here today, Bernie Sanders being one of them. And one thing that Bernie Sanders often speaks about when he's out on the campaign trail is trying to solve economic and inequalities.

Here at the South Carolina Democratic Party's convention, he made that argument about economic inequality, and also tied it to racial inequality when it comes to income and other economic issues.

You'll remember, South Carolina, the black vote is very important in this state. Last time, in 2016, black voters made up 61 percent of the economic primary electorate. So you've seen candidates here in the past two days trying to court black voters, both at this convention along with last night at Congressman Jim Clyburn's -- he calls it the world-famous fish fry. He had 21 of the 23 candidates out there last night. Later this afternoon, we're going to hear from a few more of the 2020

contenders, like Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, Joe Biden. They're slated for the final hour here -- Ana?

CABRERA: I understand, Arlette, there was a stunning moment, moments ago, when Joe Biden talked about sexual assault? What happened there?

SAENZ: That's right. There was an event in conjunction with this weekend held by Planned Parenthood down the street from where I am now. This woman asked Biden a question about the Hyde Amendment. She revealed that she is a sexual assault survivor, both in the military and from her previous spouse, and that she also underwent three abortions.

I think we may have a piece of sound from her conversation with the former vice president I want to have you listen to.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vice President, how are you going to expand access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, to ensure that people like me, veterans like me get access to the care that they need?

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea we still have, in the military, the failure to deal with sexual assault and rape is outrageous. That's what Barack and I tried to do --



BIDEN: -- number one.

Number two, your former husband should be in jail. Your former husband should be in jail.

The idea that there's a notion anywhere in the world a woman raped under any circumstances can be denied access whether you're in the military or anywhere else is absolutely bizarre. It's wrong. It is simply wrong.

So what we have to do is provide access to increase funding which we have to do for Planned Parenthood.


SAENZ: Biden said after that exchange that he wanted to meet with that woman privately, try to connect with her. We are told by Planned Parenthood staffers that they did get to speak one on one off stage after the event, after that powerful moment -- Ana?

CABRERA: All right, Arlette Saenz, thank you for that update from South Carolina. More on how Mayor Pete Buttigieg has to confront his relationship with

African-American voters. It was already an issue before a police officer in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana, fatally shot a black man last weekend.

Yesterday, protesters confronted him head on.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D), SOUTH BEND MAYOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not have evidence that there has been discipline for racist behavior in the case.


UNIDENIFIED PROTESTOR: And you're running for president? You want black people to vote for you? You know?


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: You running for president? You want black people to vote for you?


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: That's not going to happen.

BUTTIGIEG: I'm not asking for your vote.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: You ain't going to get it neither.


CABRERA: CNN political reporter, Dan Merica, has more on what is shaping up to be a big challenge for the Buttigieg campaign.

It was hard to hear the dialogue, Dan. Didn't sound good for Buttigieg. Fill us in.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: The mayor went to the march knowing he was going to catch heat from the community, who was very angry, emotional and raw over the officer-involved shooting that happened about a week ago that left one man dead.

[15:05:09] The protesters, activists included members of the man's family, so there were multiple moments throughout that protest. It was a smaller group but very fiery, very direct.

I can't tell you how different that interaction was to what other candidates experienced in South Carolina last night, where there were jovial moments, people were joking together, where there was a lot of camaraderie between candidates. At the Clyburn fish fry, they all stood there, all 21 of them, together.

Pete Buttigieg was having a much different night. He acknowledged it when he spoke behind me at the South Carolina Democratic Party's annual convention, acknowledging that this has been a very tough week for him. Take a listen.


BUTTIGIEG: I'm thankful to be with you. I'm with you after a challenging week back home.

I have been off the campaign trail helping my community move through a tragic shooting of a resident of our community by a police officer. It is as if one member of our family died at the hands of another.

And even as an outside process works to determine what happened, we already know why such deep wounds are surfacing, why our whole community hurts.


MERICA: So this has been a unique for Buttigieg personally. He was on a meteoric rise for the last three months. We haven't seen him challenged in this way, to this degree. This is somewhat stunting his momentum over the last week, pulled him off the campaign trail, pulled him away from fundraisers and events he was set to do.

It will be telling to see how he responds to this going forward. He is set to have another town hall meeting in South Bend tomorrow afternoon, we're told -- Ana?

CABRERA: Bigger picture, Dan, we had eight years of Barack Obama administration and, yet, here we are today, in 2019, the racial divide exists, it is in the spotlight right now. How do you think it is going to play in the Democratic primary?

MERICA: It's crucial. In a state where I am standing now, in South Carolina, 60 percent of the electorate is African-American.

It may be less important in states like Iowa, New Hampshire, the first two nominating states that are predominantly white states. But here in South Carolina, it is central.

You'll hear that when candidates come here, see it at events where they speak, and they focus on issues that all Americans care about, but tailor them to those that directly impact the African-American community.

For Pete Buttigieg, in particular, it is an issue he has to confront. South Bend is a relatively diverse city. He has been mayor for eight years.

But a lot of African-Americans don't know him. When we go to the events, they say, I've heard from him, seen him on the news, kind of like what he said. But they know people like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, far better than they do Pete Buttigieg. That's his biggest issue, it appears.

One thing holding him back, he doesn't have a robust infrastructure in South Bend. There isn't a huge campaign staff. You saw at the fish fry, there were volunteers from Senator Harris' campaign, Senator Booker, Warren, Sanders. There were a number of volunteers chanting, shouting outside the venue, building up the excitement around each of their candidacies.

There were only a few Buttigieg supporters. Those that I talked to say the lack of infrastructure is an issue for me. And this was somebody motivated enough to come out to the fish fry and stand and hold signs for Pete Buttigieg.

If that person is impacted by lack of infrastructure in the state, you better believe somebody less engaged is feeling it as well -- Ana?

CABRERA: OK, Dan Merica, in South Carolina, thank you.

We have breaking news just into CNN. Those 10 city immigration raids planned tomorrow are delayed.

The president tweeting this just as we were in that last segment, writing, "At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the illegal immigration removal process, deportation, for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border. If not, deportations start."

CNN's Boris Sanchez is at the White House for us. We also have CNN's Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles and Polo Sandoval here in New York.

Boris, you first.

Give us the latest. How did we get here?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This goes back to last Monday, where the president made a vague statement about an attempt to start an operation that would deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

The president sort of surprising administration officials with that tweet, not only because of the scale but also because of those kinds of movements are not broadcast the way he was telegraphing them.

We later learned from senior administration officials it would be approximately 2,000 undocumented immigrants in about 10 cities with court ordered removal.

[15:10:07] The president, though, defended the idea of moving forward on this just before he left for Camp David a couple hours ago, essentially saying they had to go, they were here illegally.

Important thing to point out, we heard from two senior administration officials pointed out that Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of Department of Homeland Security, was hesitant moving forward with this kind of operation, specifically because he felt it could hurt ongoing negotiations in Congress.

And there's the potential or rather there was the potential that Democrats would pull potential supplemental funding for the border for some of the areas where migrants are being held and for more enforcement which we know the president has long desired. The president here essentially giving more time for negotiations to

move forward. It is unclear there will be a breakthrough. Ana, these two sides are far apart on immigration.

CABRERA: Boris, thank you. We'll get back to more reporting on this.

Paul, you were there with an activist in Los Angeles. How is the news being received there?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is being received well, but predictable. Many activists, people we talked to on the ground in Los Angeles said they feel Donald Trump uses the threats of sweeps as a political tool.

And I'll bring in Armando Carmona.

Armando, you were planning for raids, informing people of their rights. Now your reaction?

ARMANDO CARMONA, ACTIVIST: Donald Trump's agenda is driven by politics of fear and spectacle. He is clearly -- he announces raids against millions of immigrants the day before his campaign for president. And a couple days later, he cancels it. It is clearly part of larger political strategy to terrorize immigrants, to terrorize immigrant communities across the country.

VERCAMMEN: You have done a lot of leg work. You had been ready to set up the sanctuary network. There would be free legal counseling on the streets, et cetera. Are you going to continue with this strategy anyway? What are your plans now that he called off the threatened sweeps?

CARMONA: After the announcement, organizations here in Los Angeles started organizing, started coordinating, started preparing know-your- rights workshops for the community, legal clinics. We're on high alert. That's what we're going to continue to be doing.

We'll use this as opportunity to educate our community, educate everybody about their rights because the reality is that ICE is not only going after immigrant communities but there's been reports that they've gotten citizens, arrested U.S. citizens, green card holders.

They're really being used as a political arm of the Trump administration and we're on high alert. We're going to continue to be organized.

VERCAMMEN: Thank you so much, Armando.

Also, you should note, it was said by the mayor of Los Angeles and other police agencies throughout California they would not cooperate in any way with the threatened ICE sweeps -- Ana?

CABRERA: Paul, thank you for that reporting.

Polo Sandoval is in New York with me as we go coast to coast.

Polo, a number of mayors were preparing to fight this. The pressure was building on the president to do what he has done.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The pressure was building and also that chorus of critics was getting louder and louder.

Just a little while ago, we heard from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who criticized the president's proposed action, which we know he is backing off of for at least two weeks.

Nancy Pelosi saying the president's action doesn't make a distinction between status violations, which is many of the men, women, children, who supposedly didn't show up to court dates prompting the warrant, and people that committed serious crimes in the country illegally.

Remember, we have seen ICE raids for many years. I've been on some of these before, where ICE officers are specifically targeting people in the country illegally but have committed a serious crime here, so they're prioritized.

What we saw Monday, after the president's tweet, is a shift of gears. Potentially, these men, women, children that only committed a civil violation now on the fast track to deportation, up to 2,000 people.

And finally, I should note that this is an important context, Ana. This is the third time the president makes a threat in the last three months, quickly backs off on it.

I was looking back on my notes. In April, he threatened to shut down the border if Mexico didn't do more to stem the flow of people and drugs. He gave that a year.

Late last month, threatened tariffs if Mexico didn't do more to curb that flow of undocumented people. He is now saying he is seeing some action, he backed off from that.

Now here we are, the threat we saw this month, President Trump threatening to deport some of the families. And now --

CABRERA: Threatening to deport millions, initially.

SANDOVAL: Exactly.

CABRERA: And then specifying in the first round it would be a couple thousand, now backing off that even.

SANDOVAL: So 2,000 people, 160, 170 in New York alone.

[15:15:09] Now as you mention here, he says, according to the tweet posted a short while ago, backing off on that, giving Republicans and Democrats another two weeks to try to deal it out.

But as we just heard from Boris Sanchez, on the White House lawn, a deal is very unlikely right now.

CABRERA: I thought also very interesting, he said, at the request of Democrats, he is going to hold off on raids.


CABRERA: We'll continue to develop this story and dig into the back story in terms of what may have changed the president's mind. We'll bring you that in new developments as soon as we get them.

Also, a quick note, I will be speaking with Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti, in the 5:00 hour on CNN. Stay tuned for that.

President Trump also saying he is not looking for war. This, as we learn new details about what led to his last-minute decision to call off a missile strike against Iran. A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee joins us next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: Minutes ago, President Trump announced the U.S. will impose additional sanctions on Iran starting Monday after this week's shoot down of a U.S. drone. He says he looks forward to the day the sanctions come off and Iran becomes a productive and prosperous nation again.

The president is at Camp David this afternoon where he says there will be a series of meetings about Iran.

He talked a lot about Iran with reporters as he left the White House. But the president did little to clear up confusion of how close he was to ordering a military strike over the shoot down over the Strait of Hormuz.

[15:20:11] Keep in mind, the president said yesterday he called off the strike with only 10 minutes to spare after learning 150 Iranians could be killed.

But now is rejecting the idea it wasn't discussed earlier and that the attack was planned without him knowing how many casualties there might be.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They brought me a great plan, but I wanted to know at the end, I wanted an accurate count. They gave me odd numbers. I wanted an accurate count just how many people would be killed, how many Iranians would be killed.

And when we met, they gave me a rough estimate earlier, but I wanted a more accurate estimate.


CABRERA: Now, the president didn't rule out a strike, while saying he is not a hawk or a dove, just a man of common sense.

With us now, Democratic Senator Chris Coons, of Delaware, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, good to have you with us this after.

I want to start talking about Iran. We'll also talk about Biden. I know you're a big supporter of his, and there has been news around the former vice president this week.

But first, the president making this decision about whether to strike Iran on his own, we learned, without consent from Congress. Does he need a new Authorization of Military Force and would he get one should military action be in the foreseeable future?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Ana, first, thanks for the chance to be on.

I do think the president needs a new authorization. Efforts that have been made by the administration to stretch the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force even further emphasizing their argument that al Qaeda, which did carry out the 9/11 attacks against the United States and is covered by that authorization, somehow is in close cahoots with Iran, really stretches the truth.

We will have a fight on the floor of the Senate about this this coming week. There's an amendment that I support that Democrats are advancing for the defense authorization bill that would require the president to come and get specific authorization before spending money in any military action against Iran.

Of course, if American troops are attacked, the president, under the Constitution, has power to defend them.

I am encouraged, if the president is taking some time to step back from escalating into military conflict with Iran and is instead going to try sanctions.

I would encourage him to try working with our allies as well. He will have a chance at the upcoming G-20 meeting. We should be using military conflict, military action against Iran as last resort, not a first resort.

I am hopeful actions in the Senate this week around an authorization will help the president focus on giving us a clear strategy and on moving in concert with allies.

CABRERA: I want to share some of CNN's inside reporting on this. National security adviser, John Bolton, and other officials told the president that failing to punish the regime for downing of the drone would be viewed as "permission for Iran and other countries to continue behaving badly."

Is that a fair point, and does this new round of sanctions get the job done?

COONS: Well, you know, there's a lot of tools in the tool kit, both diplomatic and military. The sanctions that have been imposed by this administration against Iran are having a very real effect. They're harming their economy, putting real pressure on them. Their designation of the IRGC as a terror organization, not something that was fully supported or recommended by everyone in the national security community, is putting real pressure on them.

I frankly think National Security Adviser Bolton was pressing for military action before that was the last option. So if the president has stepped back from that precipice for now, that's helpful.

But you do have to wonder how it got into the last 10 minutes before he got an estimate of casualties. It leaves me concerned, once again, about decision making in the White House about something as important as executing a military strike against Iran.

CABRERA: Let's turn to the race for the White House. You endorsed your friend, Joe Biden.

COONS: Yes, I have.

CABRERA: Last night, after saying Cory Booker should apologize for recent criticism, here is what Biden told CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why should Cory Booker apologize?

BIDEN: No one should apologize.


CABRERA: Now saying no one should apologize. Booker had initially called for an apology. He slammed Biden for comments about working with segregationist Senators in the past.

Couldn't Biden himself say look, I'm sorry for the remarks because they offended some people, here's the point I was trying to make?

[15:24:55] COONS: You know, Ana, I was encouraged that Congressman John Lewis, who is a personal hero and friend, and was one of the great leaders of the American civil rights movement, has followed up this kerfuffle, this series of exchanges between Senator Booker and former Vice President Biden saying he perfectly understands what it is the vice president was saying.

That in the midst of the civil rights movement, he worked across some of the vast gulfs of difference, that he was never willing to give up on anyone. But even Klansmen he was willing to seek reconciliation with.

I think the larger point that Joe Biden is making is that he has experience working with people, even people he really disagrees with.

There's no doubt about his strong record on civil rights, the ways in which he successfully fought for reauthorization of bills, like the Voting Rights Act that John Lewis fought so hard for.

Joe was just down in South Carolina yesterday at Jim Clyburn's fish fry, had a chance to be there in the mix with two dozen other Democratic candidates.


COONS: Ana, as we head to the Miami debates this week, my hope is we will focus more on laying out a positive, clear agenda for the country, than on endless back and forth over who did and didn't apologize over particular statements.

CABRERA: I hear you.

COONS: I think every minute we spend --


CABRERA: But this issue could haunt him through the campaign. There are other issues that have come up time and again not just for him but other candidates. It would have been an easy opportunity to put it to bed by saying, I'm sorry, this is what I meant. Is he afraid saying I'm sorry is a sign of weakness?

COONS: You know, I can't speak to that, Ana.

What I can say is he has a strong record throughout his entire career in the Senate and as vice president, now a candidate for president. A very strong record on civil rights, on fighting for LBGTQ rights, fighting for reproductive freedom, on being someone that has been a strong voice on access to health care. He has a genuinely progressive record that I'd put against any of the other candidates.

I am hopeful that on the debate stage in Miami, Ana, our candidates will take five minutes and focus on laying out their positive vision for the country.

Every minute the candidates spend attacking each other over exchanges like this is a minute that's great for Donald Trump.

Every minute they spend helping the American people understand why they should give us back the keys and why they should let Democrats move our country forward is a good minute for the 2020 election to lead to a Democrat in the White House.

CABRERA: Senator Chris Coons, good to have you with us. Thank you very much.

COONS: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: New allegations against President Trump. This time, from a magazine columnist who says he sexual assaulted her in the '90s. What she said happened, and how the president is reacting, next.


[15:31:26] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Imagine being eight years old, being torn away from your family, and being given a toddler, and told, take care of him, soothe him, but no bed to put him to sleep in. Bathe him, not enough soap to go around. As first reported from Associated Press, lawyers say that's what's going on at a migrant detention facility in El Paso, Texas. As CNN's Nick Valencia reports conditions could get even worse.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I find it inconceivable that the government would say that's safe and sanitary.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A contentious court hearing on the awful conditions in which some migrants are held. Conditions described by one inspector who this week visited this Texas Border Patrol station as "unconscionable," calling it "a pervasive health crisis" where toddlers are, quote, "left to fend for themselves."

One walking around in only a diaper, another in a filthy Onesie. Teenagers not faring any better. Older kids are taking care of the babies, an inspector tells CNN, adding there doesn't appear to be childcare there.

CLARA LONG, SENIOR RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: It makes my heart hurt to think about what kind of lasting damage these experiences might have for these kids.

VALENCIA: Before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, a Justice Department lawyer was put on the spot about those conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is within everybody's common understanding, you don't have a toothbrush, don't have soap, a blanket, it is not safe and sanitary. Wouldn't everybody agree to that? Do you agree with that?

UNIDENTIFIED JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's -- I think there's -- there's fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not maybe. Are a part.


CABRERA: That was our Nick Valencia reporting.

We're continuing to follow breaking news that has to do with the migrant crisis and immigration. The president now saying he will not enforce the raids in 10 cities across the country. We're working that story. Much more when we come back.


[15:37:02] CABRERA: Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission when humans set foot on the moon for the very first time. The new CNN original film, "APOLLO 11," takes you inside one of humanity's greatest feats with never-before-seen footage and audio from NASA's most celebrated mission. The success of Apollo 11 was a victory for all of humanity, but the

mission was run mostly by white men. The only woman in launch control during takeoff was JoAnn Morgan. She shared memories of her groundbreaking NASA career with CNN's Randi Kaye.



JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they're easy but because they are hard.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The space program in the early '60s was dominated by men. During the historic launch of Apollo 11, on July 16, 1969, one woman stood out in a sea of men in the control room, 28-year-old JoAnn Morgan.

JOANN MORGAN, FORMER NASA ENGINEER: MORGAN: I was instrumentation controller. The instrumentation controller needs to know, is there a problem, if so, I need to tell the right people and the test team.

KAYE (on camera): How did you end up the only woman in the firing room during the launch of Apollo 11?

MORGAN: My director of information systems called me in and said, you're our best communicator, we're going to have you on the console. Later, I found out he had to convince the center director that it was going to be OK.

KAYE: Do you think it had to go up to the top for men in the firing room?

MORGAN: Oh, heck no.

KAYE: Exactly.

MORGAN: No, no, i don't think so.

KAYE (voice-over): Growing up, JoAnne had a love for science and learning.

JEAN HELMS, SISTER OF JOANN MORGAN: JoAnn was an insatiable reader. She skipped first grade. She wouldn't want a doll for Christmas. She would rather have a chemistry set, or an erector set.

KAYE: At 17, JoAnn interned at the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency, and went on to be the first female engineer at Cape Canaveral.

(on camera): What was it like when you first started at NASA?

MORGAN: It was pretty intense. It was all men. And a lot of buildings I worked in, a lot of them didn't have ladies restrooms.

KAYE (voice-over): Just like the women in the movie, "Hidden Figures," JoAnn had to go to a different building or use the men's room.

MORGAN: Sometimes during tests, the guard was just great. He would say, you need a break, I'll police the men's room.

KAYE: When JoAnn first started working in the firing room, she also got some obscene phone calls.

MORGAN: One time, when one of them came through, I slammed the phone down, and one of the television operators from the station downstairs came up and said, is something wrong, is something wrong. I said, yes, an obscene phone call.

[15:40:10] I never let myself feel like an object. I was not going to be an object. I had too much fearlessness in me to let that be any kind of deterrent.

KAYE: Roy Tharpe sat next to JoAnn in the firing room.

ROY THARPE, FORMER NASA EMPLOYEE: We're all men. JoAnn was there. And you know, she was a looker. You could never pull anything over on her because she would take it, and cut you to pieces because technically she was extremely competent.

KAYE (on camera): Were there some men, though, that didn't want her in there?

THARPE: Right, but there was no doubt about it, she had the moxie of what it took to be in a position of being the only woman in the firing room for Apollo 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have engine start. Four, three, two, one, zero, liftoff.


MORGAN: I got to feel the launch, the vibration of the liftoff once the shock wave hit the building. The false floor shook, my console shook. The ascent was so slow. You just think, oh, god, it will never get off the ground. It creeps and creeps. And once it is gone, it is like, come on, engine, you can burn perfectly for me.

KAYE: Where did you watch the actual moon landing?

MORGAN: My husband is a schoolteacher. He was wanting to go on a fishing trip. That evening, we had a great dinner, a bottle of champagne, went back to watch it on TV with everybody else.

UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: Base here, The Eagle has landed.

UNIDENTIFIED NASA EMPLOYEE: We've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.

MORGAN: We're sitting there watching, it was just so dramatic.

NEIL ARMSTRONG, FORMER ASTRONAUT: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. MORGAN: And my husband looked at me, and he said, you are going to be

in the history books.

KAYE (voice-over): After Apollo 11, JoAnn's career took off. Over 45 years, from 1958 to 2003, she continued to break barriers and became the first female senior executive at the Kennedy Space Center.

THARPE: When you looked at JoAnn and the way she worked the politics and the way she did things, she had greatness.

KAYE (on camera): Do you think you would be where you are today without someone like JoAnn Morgan?

SUZY CUNNINGHAM, NASA STRATEGY & INTEGRATION MANAGER: No, I don't. She was a champion for me. She's a huge inspiration to all of us to say that you can do this.

KAYE: You have been described as fearless. Where does that come from?

MORGAN: I think it comes from that tiny little child, seeing my dad go off to war, and my dad turning around, saying, Little Jo, you're in charge, saluted, and off he went.

And my grandmother said, I saw you get your bossy on.


KAYE: Did you get your bossy on at NASA?

MORGAN: Yes, I did. I had to get my bossy on sometimes.


MORGAN: I always played piano. For many years, I thought I would be a piano teacher. My track changed after my dad moved us to Florida and I saw the rocket launches.


KAYE: You're retired now in Montana. But there was a point you wanted to retire on Mars.

MORGAN: I thought they should have a geriatric program. If it would have happened 15 years ago, I would have been a volunteer.


KAYE: So as you come outside and you look at the moon at night here, what do you think?

MORGAN: I helped put 12 people to walk on the moon. And I love telling everybody about it, too.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Big Fork, Montana.


CABRERA: Make sure you don't miss it, the award-winning CNN film, "APOLLO 11," premiers tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.

[15:44:17] New allegations against President Trump. This time, from a magazine columnist who says he sexual assaulted her in the '90s. What she said happened and how the president is reacting, next.


CABRERA: President Trump is hitting back hard, slamming an allegation of sexual assault against him by an author who says Trump forced himself on her in the 1990s.

CNN's Sara Murray joins us now.

Sara, what is the latest?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This author's name is E. Jean Carroll. She has a new book out. In the book, she writes about an incident in 1995, 1996, where she encounters Donald Trump in a Bergdorf-Goodman in New York and she accuses him of attacking her in a dressing room, and even penetrating her before she can escape.

She spoke to NBC about this incident. Here is what she said.


E. JEAN CARROL, FORMER MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: So he was like this. I walked in. He shut the door behind us and threw me up against the wall and kissed me. I couldn't believe it.


MURRAY: Now, President Trump is vehemently denying this. He denied it today from the White House, insisting he doesn't know E. Jean Carroll, that he's never really met her, and that she's making up these claims as part of a publicity stunt.

Here is what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a totally false accusation. I have absolutely no idea who she is. There's some picture where we're shaking hands ,it looks like, at some kind of event. I have my coat on. I have my wife standing next to me. And I didn't know her husband, but he was a newscaster. But I have no idea who she is, none whatsoever.


MURRAY: You can see President Trump there talking about actually a photo that E. Jean Carroll provided of the two of them seeming to encounter each other at a party. He is denying they met really. He's denying that he assaulted her. [15:50:06] I actually spoke to E. Jean Carroll earlier. She said, of

course, he says that. She didn't seem surprised that Donald Trump was denying this.

Remember, he also faced sexual assault or harassment or generally inappropriate behavior allegations from 15 other women, which surfaced when Donald Trump was running for president.

When I was speaking to E. Jean Carroll about this interaction she had with Donald Trump about this alleged incident, I asked her why she doesn't refer to this assault as a rape. Here's what she said. "Yes, it was an attack. Yes, it was against my will. And, yes, it hurt. But i can't put myself on the level of other women, who are young, who have children, who are victims of sexual violence for most of their lives."

And, Ana, when I spoke to her, she said she was actually surprised at the amount of attention that these allegations have received. She saw the allegations that emerged during the 2016 campaign and her worry was that they actually made Donald Trump more popular in some corners and boosted his standings.

And, of course, Ana, as you know, even in the face of the allegations and even in the face of the "Access Hollywood" tape that emerged where Donald Trump being able to grab women by their genitals because he's famous, he still won the presidency.

CABRERA: That's right.

Sara Murray, thank you.

MURRAY: Thank you.

CABRERA: A courtroom surprise. A witness confesses to murder, the same murder that his Navy SEAL buddy is on trial for.


[15:55:02] CABRERA: Welcome back.

Some live pictures right now from the South Carolina Democratic convention. Any moment now, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and 2020 hopeful will be taking the stage. So we'll continue to watch and bring you highlights.

And a quick reminder, as well. Former Vice President Joe Biden will speak in the 5:00 hour. And we'll bring that live to you on CNN.

Our latest "CNN Hero" has developed a loyal fan base among cat lovers on Instagram for feeding and trapping New York stray cats. Meet Paul "The Cat Guy" Santell.


PAUL SANTELL, CNN HERO: My main focus is trap, neuter, return, TRN, and rescue and grabbing cats off the streets, saving lives. That's one.

With TNR, this is the last generation that has to suffer outside.

Come on, come on.

Now I've probably fixed and returned at least 1,000 feral cats in about four and a half years.

A lot of times people ask me, do you love cats.


SANTELL: I like them. But that's not really why I got into it. You want to save lives. And this is the greatest feeling in the world.


CABRERA: To see how Paul does his work and to see more adorable kittens go to CNN And while you're there, nominate your own hero.

First, the president told us he was mere minutes from launching an attack on Iran. Today's message from President Trump? Make Iran Great Again. No joke. We'll tell you how he got here, next.


[16:00:05] CABRERA: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us this weekend. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.