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Bernie Sanders Unveils New Policy Plan; Another American Tourist Dies In The Dominican Republic; Tempers Flare At Town Hall With Residents Taking Aim At Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg. Aire 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 24, 2019 - 06:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: And he has a plan as college debt that does not go as far as this one. CNN's Jessica Dean is live in Washington. And Jessica, all of this was supposed to be released from Senator Sanders at 7 AM but the details started leaking out overnight, what are they?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well John, this is very interesting. This goes, as you alluded to, farther than any other plan that any other presidential candidate or really anyone, for that matter, has put out there.

Senator Bernie Sanders saying that he would cancel student debt for everyone within the United States. Let's take a look at this, we'll (ph) break it down for you. So it would cancel all student debt no matter who you are that covers approximately 45 million people, as Alisyn said.

And there are no eligibility limits, which means this would cover everyone and it would go into effect the second this legislation was signed into law. So that would go away immediately.

So how do you pay for it? Well, Bernie Sanders says he's going to pay for it with new taxes on Wall Street. That's a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades, a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives. That's how he says he's going to pay for all of this.

And we're going to hear more from him later today when he talks about all of this. But as you can imagine, the timing as you've said, also very important here as all of the 2020 candidates head into this week where we seem them on a -- the debate stage for the very first time down in Miami.

In the meantime, last weekend they were all in South Carolina or most of them were in South Carolina this weekend. Seeing them all in those t-shirts together at the Fish Fry on Friday. We know that Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Cory Booker did speak to one another.

We saw them interacting with one another. The back story there of course, is that Former Vice President Biden coming under fire for those comments about working with segregationist and that Booker had -- had a lot of words to say about that as well.

But Biden's saying this weekend, no one should apologize and that Booker's saying there's no hatchet to bury. So everybody looking to move forward. And Alisyn and John will hear more from Bernie Sanders. We'll also hear more from all the candidates this week Alisyn. Of course they're going to be on those debate stages and we'll see what they have to say there.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Looking forward to that. Jessica, thank you very much. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, facing the biggest leadership challenge of his presidential campaign, a deadly police shooting in South Bend, Indiana; forcing him off the campaign trail for most of the last week.

Tempers flaring at this town hall with residents taking aim at the presidential candidate. So CNN's Jason Carroll was there. He is live for us in South Bend. What happened Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Alisyn, the mayor said that the town hall was painful; painful for the community, painful for him. But he said it was a necessary step in order to try to fix the problems facing his city.



CARROLL: It may have been one of Mayor Pete Buttigieg's most challenging moments in office. It came during a town hall as he faced a hometown crowd that was angry and out of patience.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the racists off the streets. It's disrespectful that I wake up every day scared. It's disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach today what to do. Get them off the streets.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, MAYOR, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If anyone who is on patrol is shown to be a racist or to do something racist in a way that is substantiated that is their last day on the street.

CARROLL: The mayor organized the town hall to address community concerns over the shooting of Eric Logan, and African American man by a white police officer last weekend. Police say the office confronted Logan while he was breaking into cars. Officials say the officers shoot Logan after he pulled a knife. Logan later died from the gunshot wound. The office was wearing a body cam but it had not been turned on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Millions of tax dollars went to those police cameras right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, they failed. And we don't get our refund. But you know what; I am raising a seven year old grandson that when he sees the police, he is afraid. That is not what's supposed to happen in America, in Indiana, in 2019.

BUTTIGIEG: Hopefully when he's old enough to be mayor he will look back on these moments as when we found a way to start moving toward a day where a black child and a white child or a black adult or a white adult when they see or hear a police officer or vehicle, feel the exact same thing and feel safety.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't care about you (ph).

BUTTIGIEG: And we're just not there.

CARROLL: The mayor acknowledged he had yet to make on assurances he would diversify the police department.


A source of continued frustration among members of the African American community who are angry the department is still predominantly white and does not reflect a community where some 40 percent of the residents are people of color.

The mayor broke from the presidential campaign to attend the event. He became emotional when reflecting on holding the town hall and how to fix the problems facing his city.

BUTTIGIEG: I don't know if it's smart or not. I don't know if it's strategic or not. But this is my city and I have a relationship with everybody in this city who looks to the city to keep them safe. I'm sick of these things being talked about in political terms, in theoretical terms like it's a show or something. Its people's lives.

CARROLL: Buttigieg is asking the Department of Justice to step in and conduct an independent investigation into that controversial shooting. As for his schedule, he's claimed to head to Miami later today for that debate but plans to be back here in South Bend at the end of the week. John


BERMAN: All right. Jason Carroll for us on the ground in South Bend. Jason, thanks very much. Much more on that and how the democratic race is really shaking up this week in just a bit. Also any minute this morning we could learn that the president follows through on its promise to impose new sanctions on Iran.

That promise came after the president abruptly called off a military strike in response to Iran downing a U.S. spy plane. CNN's Joe Johns is live at the White House this morning. Joe, were officials giving any details on these sanctions yet?


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No details so far and we've been looking for information about that since Friday. But look, what we are getting this morning is a little bit more on the presidential decision tree. How the president decided not to take the shot in retaliation against Iran after they shot down that unmanned U.S. drone.

And the take away the president's putting out there is that it was not nearly as erratic or dramatic or even last second as the president, even himself, suggested on Twitter.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: I'm not looking for war and if there is it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before.

JOHNS: President Trump defending his abrupt reversal of a military strike against Iran saying his advisors did not provide enough good reasons for initiating the strike.

TRUMP: I said how many people are going to be killed. They said -- came back said sir, approximately 150. And I thought about it for a second and I said you know what, they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it and here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead. And I didn't like it. I didn't think it was -- I didn't think it was proportionate.

JOHNS: This morning the White House is planning to impose new sanctions on Iran hoping the economic strain will bring the country to Trump's negotiating table and pull back from developing nuclear weapons.

TRUMP: I think they want to negotiate and I think they want to make a deal and my deal is nuclear. Look, they're not going to have a nuclear weapon.

JOHNS: Vice President Mike Pence and national security advisor John Bolton sending stern warnings to Tehran.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF U.S.: Iran should not mistake restraint for a lack of resolve. All options remain on the table.

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East. As President Trump said on Friday, our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go.

JOHNS: Democrats blaming the lack of a decisive strategy on the different voices in the president's ear.

ADAM SMITH, (D) CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I think the National Security Adviser John Bolton has one idea of what the policy in Iran ought to be. I think the president has a different one and that, I think, leads to the tension and this sort of last minute decision we all heard about.

JOHNS: Meanwhile, as the Trump administration continues to roll back Obama era regulations to combat the global climate crisis, the vice president is refusing to acknowledge it's a problem at all.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think human induced climate emergency is a threat to the United States?

PENCE: Well, what -- what I will tell you is that we'll always follow the science on that in this administration.

TAPPER: The science says it is.

PENCE: But what -- but ...


TAPPER: Do you think it's a threat; manmade climate emergency is a threat?

PENCE: I -- I think the answer to that is going to be based upon the science.

TAPPER: Well, the science says yes. I'm asking you what you think.

JOHNS: So again, those sanctions against Iran that the administration is threatening is the question of the day. No clear guidance so far from the administration or the treasury department on what they have in mind. Back to you Alisyn.


CAMEROTA: OK. Joe, thank you very much. Iranian leaders rejecting calls to negotiate with the U.S. as long as sanctions continue. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is live for us in Tehran, Iran with more. Fred.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (Inaudible) remains with the Iranians today saying -- or with the Trump administration saying they are going to sanction Iran until the Iranians come back to the table, whereas the Iranians are saying it's precisely the sanctions that are preventing them from coming back to the table.

Here's a senior advisor to President Hassan Rouhani saying Americas claim to negotiate without preconditions is unacceptable while threats of sanctions continue. They say that to them sanctions and war are part of the same coin, as they put it.

And a senior Iranian law maker putting it in even stronger terms saying, Mr. Trump, until sanctions are suspended from Tehran, only military forces will talk to you and certainly Iranian military forces are talking to the Trump administration and they're talking tough.

A senior Iranian commander saying today that they shooting down of that American drone was as he put it, a crushing blow to the U.S. and is something that they say can be repeated. Now there were some more moderate words coming from Iran's foreign minister, for instance.

He seemed to even be praising President Trump in a certain way. Javad Zarif put out a tweet late yesterday saying that he believes what he calls the B Team was moments away from trapping @realDonaldTrump, President Trump, into a war. The B Team is something that he refers to people who are close to President Trump around National Security Adviser John Bolton. But then he goes on to saying prudence prevented it. Obviously saying that he sort of respects President Trumps decision to not retaliate for that. And then says but economic terrorism brings tensions. That's again the Iranians talking about the -- about the sanctions.

They're essentially saying that in their book, those big sanctions by the United States amount to economic warfare or economic terrorism guys.

BERMAN: Frederik Pleitgen for is in Tehran. Fred, please standby when we get word on what those sanctions are. We will want to get the Iranian reaction. Thanks so much. New this morning, we're getting word that another American tourist has died in the Dominican Republic.

And this comes at the same time as a CNN exclusive. A woman says (inaudible) and nearly killed her. The startling details she and her husband are now sharing, that's next.



CAMEROTA: A New York man is now the 10th American tourist to die while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. New 12 Long Island reports that the victim is 56 year old Vittorio Caruso. His family was told that Caruso died after suffering repertory distress and a possible heart attack. The results of an autopsy are expected today.

BERMAN: So this news comes on top of a CNN exclusive this morning. Tina Hammell says she still feels the effects of her visit to the Dominican Republic. She says she fell ill shortly after arriving and is still suffering. CNN's Drew Griffin has the story.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN REPORTER: Their story sounds similar to others, a dream trip to the Dominican Republic that ends in serious illness. The trouble for Tina and John Hammell started when they were woken from a nap by a powerful chemical smell in their hotel room

TINA HAMMELL: It was so strong that I was burning and -- and -- and coughing and it was -- it was very upsetting. But just panic sets in because you don't where this smell's coming from.

GRIFFIN: Tina lost her voice, felt nauseous. The couple moved rooms but Tina's health kept getting worse.

T. HAMMELL: I just remember saying something's not right, something's not right. I don't -- and he said do I call the doctor. And I said I think so and after that it just quickly, quickly progressed. I'm on -- I'm on the bed and I remember ...


T. HAMMELL: I remember my muscles -- my hands all turned in and my legs came up. I just was spasmming and I lost consciousness. GRIFFIN: She spent four nights in a hospital in the Dominican Republic where doctors found lesions on her lungs, according to hospital records.

J. HAMMELL: My wife's still is having a hard time basically breathing and staying alive.

T. HAMMELL: My muscles, my muscles.

J. HAMMELL: She just kept having these convulsions and -- and they just kept sticking needles into her. You don't want to lose anybody, especially your wife or your children. And there was nothing I could do.

T. HAMMELL: You got me there. You got me there.

GRIFFIN: It's been three years now but Tina says she still has lingering effects. She doesn't know what made her sick. All her doctors in Canada can tell her is something she encountered in the Dominican Republic could have poisoned her.

T. HAMMELL: I never had a breathing problem before. I never had asthma. I never smoked. I -- you know we were healthy.

J. HAMMELL: The first doctor in Berry (ph) was adamant that she's been poisoned. He just said to us in the room your wife's been poisoned.

GRIFFIN: The Grand Bahia Punta Cana hotel where the Hammells stayed is run by the same company that operates the Grand Bahia La Romana, where the recent mysterious deaths of three American tourists are under investigation.

And CNN has spoken to dozens of tourist like the Hammells who've gotten extremely sick while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Many who spoke to CNN believe their symptoms go beyond typical travel related illnesses.


But it's unclear what caused them. Several reports smelling a strong chemical odor in their rooms before getting sick. Many say they suffered stomach cramps, diarrhea, and malaise that lasted after they returned home. CNN previously reported the case of Kaylynn Knull and her boyfriend, Tom Schwander, who both fell ill after smelling chemicals in their room at Bahia La Romana in 2017.

According to medical records, their doctors in Colorado think they were exposed to organophosphates, toxic chemicals found in pesticides that poisoned them.

TOM SCHWANDER: The abdominal cramping and the GI upset lasted for a couple -- a few weeks.

GRIFFIN: And you said drooling?

SCHWANDER: Yes, drooling.


SCHWANDER: Bad sweat, tearing.


SCHWANDER: Dizzy, nauseous. Yes. And the abdominal cramping was the worst. That was the hardest symptom to deal with. It was just so much pain.

GRIFFIN: Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts says it can't comment on specific allegations but did send a statement to CNN saying the safety and comfort of our guests and staff stand at the core of our company values and that we regularly audit all hotels in respect to health and safety and consistently receive high certification scores for hygiene. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


CAMEROTA: Obviously we will continue to follow that. Meanwhile, a huge game for the U.S. women's soccer team at the World Cup today. This at the same time as a major development in their quest to get equal pay. Andy Scholes has more on our Bleacher Report. Hi Andy.


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Good morning Alisyn. Yes, team U.S. sits to take a pitch against Spain at noon eastern today. No more margin for error. We've reached the knock out stage of the Women's World Cup.

And while the team is playing they have attentively agreed to go to mediation after the World Cup ends over their pay discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation. The players are suing for wages more in line with the men's national team.

A spokeswoman for the players says we hope their pledge to submit a proposal to solve the ongoing gender disparities is genuine. The world is watching. Now the U.S. Soccer Federation told the Washington Post that they welcome the opportunity to mediate after the World Cup.

And they were actually disappointed that this news was shared while the tournament was going on as it could create a distraction. The players meanwhile say there is no distraction and they can handle their business on and off the field.

ALI KRIEGER, TEAM USA DEFENDER: Bring it on. You know we're not listening to any of the noise. We're here to win and we're here to do a job and do it well. And you know you work your entire life for this moment so nothing is going to get in the way of that.

SCHOLES: All right. It happened again yesterday. A fan at Dodger Stadium, a young woman struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat of the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger. She was sitting just beyond that protective netting that extends to the end of the dugouts. Bellinger who was visibly upset, he went over to check on her between innings.

At first the fan stayed in her seat and was given an icepack but then she was taken to the hospital for precautionary test. And you know the White Sox and Nationals; they have announced that they're going to be extending the netting down the foul poles as soon as possible, guys.

So it's going to interesting to see if more teams follow suit because we just don't want to continue to see fans getting hurt ...

CAMEROTA: I mean why not? What would be the argument not to do it at this point?

BERMAN: its -- its obstructed view but -- but that's not enough of an argument anymore and I think Andy's right. I think you will see more teams doing this. The teams have been discussing this for some time, just this year there have been so many major issues right before our eyes. Thank you Andy, appreciate it.

SCHOLES: Got it.


BERMAN: We got more on our breaking news. We're getting new reaction to Bernie Sanders plan to wipe away all student debt. The big move for the race of president, that's next.



All right, breaking news in the 2020 race. Senator Bernie Sanders very shortly will unveil legislation to eliminate all student debt, all of it as far as I can tell, for every American. That is every American who has to pay it now or going forward. Not those of us who paid it in the past.

CAMEROTA: You want a refund is what you're saying. You actually want your money back.

BERMAN: I actually think that's a serious political issue. His plan to pay for it is by taxing financial transactions on Wall Street. Here to discuss, John Avlon, CNN's senior political analyst; Errol Louis, CNN political commentator; and Jess McIntosh, former director of communications outreach for the Hillary Clinton campaign. She is a CNN political commentator.

John, let's just first talk the politics of this and then the policy. Let me throw it up on the screen so people can see exactly what this is. It -- it cancels $1.6 trillion of student loan debt. It covers 45 million people. It's a lot of money, a lot of people.

No limits on eligibility for income. This covers everybody and it will be paid for by a 0.5 percent tax on stock trades and a 0.1 percent fee on bond trades. JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think its smart politics for democratic primaries. He's -- he's trying to seriously outflank Elizabeth Warren's proposal, which was more focused on lower -- lower and middle income folks.

This is everybody, for everything, for all time potentially. But I think it also, you know, runs into the major problem of, you know, you think something's expensive now; wait till it's free.

Stock transfers are -- taxes are a pretty good way to pay for it both politically and you know probably out the alternatives practically. But this is a massive new entitlement with no end in sight. And -- and that's going to be -- just be (ph) a practical problem.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean our candidates can say anything that they want. They can promise anything, Errol. And then obviously the Devil is in the details. So -- but you could certainly Bernie Sanders younger supporters, even in the crowds, I mean going crazy with enthusiasm for it.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Look, you could talk with your younger staff members here and I'm sure it'll be very popular. You know we did a little, you know, mini sample in the green room.

And it's, you know, thumbs up from anybody who's got student debt. On the other hand, just as John says, what problem is it that we're trying to solve here? You know I mean ...

CAMEROTA: The student debt problem.