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Trump Accused of Assault; Revolt over Border Bill; Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying; Storms Through Plains and Midwest; Warren's Policy Factory; 9/11 Responders Funding Fight. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 25, 2019 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Because we've heard him say these things before. Perhaps we're inert to the shock value, David?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, unfortunately, I think that's the case. I mean we keep coming back to the same place, which is, people have made a decision about Donald Trump and his activities. And even amid all of these accusations of sexual assault, and worse, and rape in some case, although she doesn't use the term "rape" as she experienced it in this particular allegation, people have kind of moved on in a way that they've moved on from so many other aspects of his behavior.

The question for me about something like this, a very serious allegation, and again an example of how he treats it that is so offensive, that you can start there without getting to the substance of the allegation, is where does it get further resolved? Where do we get more questions about it? Where does it go? As opposed to being in a column of yet another accuser. And that becomes an overall question for women, if there's any kind of tipping point where they say, enough is enough, I just can't stand by or whether they just say, well, we don't like the whole package, we're going to ignore this piece of it.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, Abby, you cover the White House. Where does it go? That's a good question from David Gregory. Is there any sense inside the White House that they think this is a story that lingers for days?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, the fact that the president put out a statement in his own name to respond to these allegations, it was a lengthy statement, and it was one that was, you know, in our business we read White House statements as two types. There's the White House statements that come directly from President Trump's brain, and then there are the White House statements that go through the press office. And in this case, the vast majority of this lengthy statement they put out came straight from President Trump. Those were his words, his thoughts and he strongly denounced them and accused Ms. Carroll of being part of some kind of Democratic conspiracy against him. So, clearly, President Trump views this as something that he has to personally push back on, that he has to personally fight back on.

But -- but, you know, I do think that Sarah's right in the sense that there are a lot of women out there who are disenchanted by this president, who have been turned off by him, by his behavior, by the allegations against him for years at this point. And those women are -- this is only going to calcify that view of President Trump in their minds. But there is also another problem for President Trump, which is that the world actually is a little bit different in 2020 than it was in 2016. We've had the Me Too movement. Things are different. People are viewing these kinds of situations different and the obligations of people who are accused to -- to -- to answer for them are different. So I think that remains to be seen whether or not this will affect President Trump.

But I think President Trump has learned from a couple of big things in his life. First of all, his own allegations in 2016, but also the Kavanagh vote. He thinks he's got to push back on this as hard as humanly possible. The Republicans believe they won in the Kavanaugh case. I think President Trump is looking at this situation and thinking, if I don't push back on this forcefully, it's going to get legs. And -- and that's why I think we've seen the way that the White House has reacted to that.

GREGORY: And -- and we've seen this playbook from him over and over again. He said it in the -- he said it to other people in the situation, which is, all you do is deny. You fight back and you deny everything and you do that all the time.

I mean one of the questions will be, who challenges him in the political context in these allegations. Is there a Democratic nominee, male or female, who makes a big issue to push him on how he speaks about women, how he handles accusations of any kind of sexual assault, and really makes that an issue for people to consider.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's really interesting, David, because we'll get to see that play out in real time this week at the debate ifs that comes up.


CAMEROTA: Sarah, I -- we have to talk about what's happening at the border with these children who are unbathed, who are sick, who are not sleeping in beds and, you know, obviously we keep hearing from Border Patrol protection that they are overwhelmed.

So, Human Rights had some of their researchers go. They have written an op-ed about it. I'll just read you a little paragraph of what they found. So, a bracelet on a second grader's wrist had the words "U.S. parent" and a phone number written in permanent marker. We called the number on the spot and found that no one had informed her desperate parents where she was being held. Some of the most emotional moments of our visit came witnessing children speak for the first time with their parents on an attorney's phone.

That seems like the easiest thing in the world, if somebody has the number on there, we would think that officers could have connected the parent and the child, but apparently they are so overwhelmed that they can't even make those connections. And so the Senate and the House are trying to figure out what to do about this and sending more money. Though, obviously, there's questions about how that would help this situation. So what's going to happen today?

[06:35:00] SARAH ISGUR. CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's a big question for Nancy Pelosi, but you're also seeing her in the same position that Paul Ryan was in in 2015 and 2016. You have so many people running for president, and that's really where the focus of the political party has been. And in a primary, with so many people, without a single leader of that party, you're left with the speaker of the House trying to meld together a policy position with the extreme side of the party having no reason to come to the table really and none of the 20, 24 candidates running for president really having a need to support that compromise.

I think you'll see this as a huge issue in the debates this week. And the question is, will those Democratic candidates present solutions, will they harp on the problem? They've been asked before, do you think this is a crisis? They actually don't all agree on how to answer that question. So this could be a really wedge moment in these debates.

BERMAN: All right. Sarah, Abby, David, thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: All right, they risked their lives in the moments and days after the terror attacks on 9/11, so what will they say today to the Senate majority leader in their battle for funding? Two of the 9/11 heroes are here.


[06:40:12] BERMAN: New accusations being hurling back and forth this morning between the United States and Iran. The president's national security adviser says he does not trust Iran's word and Iranian leaders are suggesting the White House suffers from a mental disability. Ambassador John Bolton is in Jerusalem speaking right now.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is there live.

Oren, you've been listening. This tense situation doesn't seem to be improving.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly not. John Bolton is a hawk on Iran and he took a hard line once again in his statements here just a short time ago saying that this meeting between the Russia, the U.S., and Israel was all about containing Iran, initially just about Iran in Syria, now what he calls Iran's malign activity across the region.

When I asked him, Iran has said they'll negotiate if there is sanctions relief. He said he doesn't trust Iran's word. He says they've broken the nuclear agreement, which President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from, and he says he doesn't trust them because of that in other circumstances. If they want negotiations, he essentially says, they have to make the first move, verifiable elimination of their nuclear program, as well as curbing their ballistic missile program and what he calls ending their malign activity across the region.

Bolton did acknowledge the meeting here was a big one. Russia, the U.S. and Israel all meeting under the auspices of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Russia was always essentially the odd one out. Russia is close to Iran, considers Iran an ally, and sees Iran's presence in Syria as legitimate. And those differences came up in a -- in a press statement a short time ago from Bolton's Russian counterpart, when it was Nikolai Patrushev who said actually in the hotel next over where he spoke that, in fact, the U.S. drone that was downed by Iranian forces was in Iranian airspace, not as the U.S. claimed over international waters. So that tension coming out with the Russians taking a very different line, Alisyn, on how events over the past week have played out.

CAMEROTA: OK, Oren Liebermann live for us from Jerusalem, thank you very much for that update.

Back here in the U.S., intense storms will make their way through the plains and the Midwest.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast.

What's going to happen today, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: More weather when it comes to flooding, also the potential for some wind damage. We had 163 reports of severe wind damage yesterday, trees down, power lines down and the like. A little bit better than the weekend, but still a lot of weather out there.

This weather is brought to you by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, packed with goodness.

So let's get right to it. There will be weather in New York City. In fact, it's there right now, slowing down some airplanes in LaGuardia and Newark. The rest of the country, though, doesn't look that bad this morning. I think all airplanes should get out of their locations pretty well.

There's your weather right now. It moves up toward Boston later on today. And also more weather for Houston later on this afternoon. Like you need more rain down there. There's already been enough flooding. The ground is saturated. But more rain is coming.

The most severe weather will be centered around Kansas City later on today. But this is what we're worried about, two to three inches of rainfall across the Gulf Coast. Heat index is somewhere over 100 all across the Gulf Coast. And even for you, John, all the way almost 90 degrees by Friday. The heat is on. Here comes summer.

BERMAN: All right, thank you very much, Chad. We're ready for it. Appreciate it.

MYERS: I know.

BERMAN: So they have a powerful ally in Jon Stewart. Now 9/11 first responders are on their way to Washington today for a high stakes meeting with Mitch McConnell. What will they tell him? They join us, coming up.


[06:47:04] CAMEROTA: Senator Elizabeth Warren is steadily rising in the polls as she presents a series of plans on hot button issues. Twenty of them so far.

MJ Lee has an exclusive look at how those plans come to life.


MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At Elizabeth Warren's campaign headquarters in Boston, every day is policy day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we've got our plan rolling out tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're calling it the Small Business Equity Fund.

LEE: On this day, the team behind the ideas candidate is preparing for another policy rollout, already their 22nd plan this year.


Warren's substance heavy campaign has helped catapult the senator to the top tier of a crowded Democratic field. From student debt cancellation, to the wealth tax, to breaking up big tech, her top advisers say Warren's ideas are endless.

JON DONENBERG, POLICY DIRECTOR, ELIZABETH WARREN CAMPAIGN: We will get e-mails at all hours of the day, what do you pick first, right?

LEE (on camera): Right.

DONENBERG: And what do you pick next? And what's the most important? And how would you prioritize them? And how much detail do you go into? Because there's only so many hours in the day.

LEE (voice over): CNN got an exclusive behind the scenes look at the team that helps Warren's policies come to life.

ROGER LAU, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, ELIZABETH WARREN CAMPAIGN: This is all mobilization here. This is our data team.

LEE: Warren's policy team has four full-time staffers, but for a campaign that's constantly turning out proposals, a single policy plan from the conception of an idea to its public rollout requires input from nearly every corner of the organization, from the social media and mobilization teams, to the political and communications shops.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we get feedback, I think we'll start to figure out like, OK, how is this going to look and feel on the ground.

KRISTEN ORTHMAN, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ELIZABETH WARREN CAMPAIGN: How do we put it in simple terms? How do we make anyone understand them, understand how they will affect their lives, how they will change their lives for the better and how we communicate that.

WARREN: I believe this is how --

LEE: On any given policy plan, advisers telling CNN that Warren herself weighs in at every step of the process, through memos, phone calls and in meetings, and that it's the senator who ultimately signs off on all major details of a proposal.

And helping fuel Warren's policy factory, the real life stories from voters on the trail.

LAU: Some of it's from the selfie line, some of it's from meetings and town halls that she's done. She listens and she remembers. And, you know, if she hears enough, she wants to make sure that she does something about it.

LEE (on camera): How many more policy plans can we expect?

DONENBERG: Well, there will be a -- there will be a lot.

LEE (voice over): MJ Lee, CNN, Boston, Massachusetts.


BERMAN: That's a rare inside look at a campaign. And she got the access, a, because she's a great reporter, but, b, because the Warren team wants to have that story told.

CAMEROTA: Yes, being a policy factory is seen as a very good thing at the moment.


[06:49:46] All right, 9/11 heroes heading to Capitol Hill in just a few hours in a funding fight. What they plan to tell the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when they meet. They are here in person to tell us. That's next.



JON STEWART, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS ADVOCATE AND COMEDIAN: In terms of getting the 9/11 bills passed, Mitch McConnell has been the white whale of this since 2010.

This has never been dealt with compassionately by Senator McConnell. He has always held out until the very last minute.


BERMAN: Comedian and advocate Jon Stewart taking on the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, pushing him to authorize funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Senator McConnell will meet face to face with first responders today who say they're ready to fight to get the funding that they need. Here with us now, John Feal and Michael O'Connell. Both were 9/11

responders and both will be heading down to Washington as soon as we're done with this interview to meet with Mitch McConnell.

Guys, thank you for being here with us today. It is always a pleasure and our honor to get to speak with you.

John, you've met with Senator Mitch McConnell before and his people. How has that gone in the past?

JOHN FEAL, 9/11 RESPONDER: Well, today I'm going to have an open mind. And I'm going to pray for the best, be prepared for the worst. But our previous meetings, they -- they weren't as -- well, they weren't good. I don't --

CAMEROTA: Why? What happened during those?

FEAL: We have different views on what humanity is. We have different views on how politics actually helps people. And we have different views on life. And I'm hoping today that we challenge his humanity. And Mitch McConnell has a chance to show America that Republicans and Democrats can come together for -- for truly a bipartisan issue here.

[06:55:12] CAMEROTA: What did you guys think when Mitch McConnell said he didn't know why Jon Stewart was so bent out of shape about this?

FEAL: Well, what was he going to say? We -- we ambushed him in that hearing. I took Jon's testimony away from him, and I made him wing it. I'm never going to apologize for that because we wouldn't be here today if Jon would have gave a written statement.

CAMEROTA: You think that what we saw in that hearing moved the needle, that got Mitch McConnell to the table?

FEAL: Yes, absolutely. Yes. You know, everybody says it's too soon, let's wait, September, October, November, December. I say BS. We have a -- we have people's awards getting cut, 500, 600, 700, 800 a month. And the longer we wait, the more people suffer.

And Washington's mindset is not that of ours. And we want this done as soon as possible.

Speaker Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, they should be moving this bill out of the House. We have 325 co-sponsors in the House. Nobody gets that in D.C. anymore. Just get it out of the House, give it to the Senate, let's see what the Senate majority leader is going to do with it. Let leadership work out the nuances of the bill, negotiate, then let's see if we agree with what they negotiate on. Let's put a bill on the floor.

BERMAN: And, Mike, you've got a message about this to anyone who says, look, they're doing it in their own time. This is how Washington works. It takes time. That gets frustrating for you to hear after a while? MICHAEL O'CONNELL, 9/11 RESPONDER: It does. I mean we're here 18 years

later still fighting. I mean that day we were fought -- we fought to bring this country back, and you didn't think you'd be fighting 18 years later. So these people need to realize that they work for the American people and there's American people suffering out there.

BERMAN: And that's one of the main messages you want here is that this needs to be, in your mind, a permanent reauthorization. Just get the money out there so you don't have to be going -- driving down to Washington every year or two years to go begging.

O'CONNELL: Yes. We see the suffering. You know, we sit next to high school students from (INAUDIBLE) high school that are sick. We sit next to widows. We see the suffering that they don't, and we're down there to fight for them.

FEAL: We're not begging. We're demanding. In 2010 we begged. In 2015 we asked nice. We're not that little engine that could. We are the engine that did already and we've done it once, twice, three times. And we're a formidable adversary. And we're not taking this lightly. There are people sick and dying that are going to die in the very near future that are going to leave their families in financial ruins and Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate, Lindsey Graham and others, need to sense our urgency because these men and women in uniform and non-uniform, the people of lower Manhattan, they need this now, today, right now, as yesterday, and it's going to be stressed today.

CAMEROTA: President Trump was asked about this, this week.

FEAL: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Let me play for you what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I liked what Jon Stewart did. I actually did. And I actually have a meeting on that subject next week. Well, when you say Congress, billions of dollars has been paid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand that.

TRUMP: OK, billions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. But the fund is about to run out.

TRUMP: Memorials have been -- have been built. Tremendous amounts of money. But there are still people that are sick. I have a meeting on it next week.


CAMEROTA: So that would be this week. What's the meeting that he has?

FEAL: I'm privileged to pretty much everything. I know of no meeting. I don't know how else to say that. CAMEROTA: You've heard of no meeting --


CAMEROTA: That would involve anybody on your side --


CAMEROTA: On your team with the president?

FEAL: No, ma'am. There's no meeting yet. And, frankly, the White House isn't even needed yet. Let them deal with that when we get past the Senate and let the president sign this bill into law. Right now we're focused on meeting with Mitch McConnell, and then anything that happen after that, then the White House can get involved. But right now there's no meeting. If there was a meeting, it would have been somebody on the Republican side, a Peter King or a Lee Zeldin, and there's no meeting.

BERMAN: You think he's making it up?

FEAL: I can't speak for the president. I can only speak for me and my team that we have a meeting with Mitch McConnell today, and we're hoping that good things happen today.

CAMEROTA: You guys brought us some awesome gifts.

FEAL: Yes.


CAMEROTA: The Feal Good Foundation, which is your foundation. Tell us what it does.

FEAL: We're professional pain in the butts, right? I mean --

BERMAN: Yes, look -- look at the back here. Look at what the back here says (INAUDIBLE).

CAMEROTA: You are relentless.

BERMAN: Relentless.

FEAL: Well, I mean, you know, we've been doing this for 15 years, and Mike's been with me for over five now. And, you know, not only do we advocate, but we've also donated $6 million. We've built a memorial on Long Island. I donated a kidney. We give. We give of ourselves.

You know the old saying, you only live once. That's not true. You only die once. You live every day. And hopefully after today they understand that. We want to live the rest of our lives, but we want to be left alone. And we -- we don't want to keep going back to D.C.

BERMAN: And I like what you had to say, you're not going down there to beg, you're going down there to demand.

FEAL: Correct, sir.

BERMAN: I stand corrected.

CAMEROTA: We have a small gesture of our appreciation for you guys, too. We know you're fans of the baseball cap.

FEAL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Our NEW DAY baseball caps.

[07:00:02] FEAL: Well, you know, hopefully tomorrow's a new day, and we have good news because, I mean, that's what we're all banking on. And, you know, this is going to be the first of several.