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Hunter Biden Under Scrutiny Amid Dad's 2020 run; Protesters Break Into Hong Kong Legislature Building; Pregnant Woman Shot in Stomach Indicted in Death of Fetus. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired July 1, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:33:14] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A life under a microscope, a father running for president, a not-so-picture-perfect personal life, a long-time battle with addiction. And now business deals that have caught the attention of the Trump campaign.
We're talking right now about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's only surviving son. Hunter Biden is the subject of a new profile in the "New Yorker" titled this: "Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father's Campaign?"
The author and reporter behind this extensive piece, Adam Entous, is joining me right now.
It's great to see you, Adam. Thank you for being here.
ADAM ENTOUS, NEW YORKER: It's a pleasure. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: It's an interesting piece. In it, you say that you talked to Hunter Biden for weeks to put all of this material together.
Why did he want to speak out now, especially on so many personal -- I mean, these are some of the most personal things that he really was kind of getting into, addiction, his love life, his relationship with his father. Why now?
ENTOUS: Well I think, you know, after his father announced that he was running for president, there have been kind of a reprising of some of these -- in some cases, kind of old controversies, if you will, about his personal relationships. There have been slices of the story of his drug abuse in the media.
And I think he wanted to be able to basically tell his story rather than having other people tell it in ways that I think he thought would be misleading. So over a period of several weeks, he decided to open up.
Initially, he wasn't talking to me about the more personal things involving drug use in particular. But I think he just decided that, you know, it's a story that affects many families around the country and one that, frankly, when you look closely at it, you realize there's a lot of explanations for some of his activities and sort of what he went through. [11:35:04] BOLDUAN: I found it fascinating because I was really
struck by the detail that he went into about his struggle with addiction. The years at various attempts at rehab and also just opening up on how bad it got at times.
One account he gave to you, from 2016, that he was recounting, he said -- you wrote, "Soon after his arrival in L.A., he asked a homeless man in Pershing Square where he could buy crack. Hunter said that the man took him to a nearby homeless encampment, where, in a narrow passageway between tents, someone put a gun to his head before realizing that he was a buyer. He returned to buy crack a few more times that week."
I was struck by the detail. Were you surprised by that?
ENTOUS: I was surprised. A little bit earlier in the story, there was a scene where he's holed up in his apartment in Washington going out to buy vodka, otherwise, not leaving his apartment. And a yoga instructor, who befriended him in yoga class, comes to his apartment and knocks on his door and asks him, you know, come out, you know, what's going on. And Hunter hid behind the door and pretended like he wasn't there.
I think, frankly, a lot of us have either dealt with this ourselves, with depression and loneliness, or we know people that have gone through this.
In some ways, I was struck my kind of the finality of what he went through in some way.
Except, like you said in your opening, you know, he's living this under a microscope, where, unlike normal people who are addicts, if you will, and they just sort of suffer anonymously, he had this additional burden of going through this and knowing that, with each leak to the press, it was damaging not only his reputation, but also his dad's reputation. So that's kind of an added burden, I think, that he was going through.
BOLDUAN: And what does that burden mean now? Right? What is the relationship like between Hunter and his father? You go into great detail about kind of what life was like Hunter as a child. He lived a life running around Joe Biden campaign events. And now he's nowhere to be seen. He wasn't at the Philadelphia launch rally for Joe Biden's campaign.
To the question, is he a liability? Does he see himself as a liability?
ENTOUS: Well, I think there's a line in the story where, you know, he says that he wants to go to these things and that his father wants him to go to these things and Jill Biden, his mother, wants him to go to these things. But he has to make this calculation, which is, if he does attend, is he just going to, you know, inflame the criticism or the scrutiny and distract from his father's message.
And so, you know, his calculation, and this is his personal calculation, is that, at this point, it makes more sense for him to keep his distance and not be there.
You know, he didn't attend the debate the other night. That's the first time in his life that he hasn't attended a debate that his father has participating in. His father calls him before the debate.
His father was calling him all the time when we were doing our interviews. Joe Biden was on the phone with him, calling him. He would have to put me on hold and take the call from his dad. They're incredibly close.
One thing that I took away from working on the piece was just, you know, how kind of typical, frankly, a relationship can be. Any parent --
ENTOUS: -- really wants to put everything aside for their kid. And you really get a sense of that here to an extreme, I think, with the relationship between Joe Biden and his son.
BOLDUAN: And, Adam, Hunter Biden has also caught the attention of the Trump campaign in terms of they started to zero in on business deals that he's done and had in Ukraine and China.
One quote from Hunter Biden to you is, "Was it worth it? Was it worth the pain? No, it certainly wasn't worth the grief." He went on, "I would never have been able to predict that Donald Trump would have picked me out as the tip of the spear against the person they believe can beat them."
BOLDUAN: What did you take from that?
ENTOUS: You know, I think there was an anecdote earlier in the story which talks about Hunter and his brother, Beau, and how, if they're trying to jump into a watering hole, Hunter will kind of race to the edge and want to jump in right away and Beau would say, we've got to make sure there aren't any rocks down there.
Hunter is -- he does things maybe without fully thinking through, you know, all of the implications. And so he was acting based on hardened emotion sometimes with these business deals. He wanted to make money. He had an expensive lifestyle that he was supporting, and he took some of these deals. And he basically doesn't -- at the time when he was doing it, he thought he was making the right decisions for himself and his family. He didn't realize how it would be presented down the road.
[11:40:03] And so that's what he's getting across with that comment. He's explaining that 20/20 in hindsight is one thing, but when he was doing these deals, frankly, he thought he was doing what he considered to be the responsible thing.
And from my investigation of this, I can see why there are questions being asked. But you can also -- if you look at the details, you see that there were precautions that were taken to kind of separate his activities from his father. And I see no credible evidence backing up these allegations that are made that his father somehow used his office in order to advance or protect his son's interests.
BOLDUAN: It's a really interesting read. And it really gets into really personal issues that, as you said, a lot of families struggle with and deal with. Not so much on such a stage that the Bidens do, but really interesting.
Thanks for bringing the conversation, Adam. I really appreciate it.
ENTOUS: Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us still, a red alert issued by authorities in Hong Kong. Protesters smashing their way through a key government building. An intense situation still unfolding right now. We're going to take you there, next.
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[11:45:47] BOLDUAN: Violence in Hong Kong overnight. Thousands of protesters smashing their way into the parliament building. They're storming the equivalent of the U.S. capitol building. The protests have been going on for weeks but it has never reached anything like this. So what is happening right now?
CNN's Nic Robertson is in the middle of it and has been. He's joining me now.
Nic, you're with some of the protesters who are still occupying parts of the parliament building. What are you seeing? What is happening?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Right now, there are still protesters in the legislative chamber itself. They have been debating amongst themselves whether or not or how they would respond to a police demand that if they don't get out of the building, don't clear the area, then the police were going to come in and use force when they came in.
The protesters were talking about evacuating the inside of the government building, everyone leaving by midnight, which is about 15 minutes from now. Talk of this whole area, all these protesters here, also leaving the area. None of that seems to be happening. There's no concrete evidence that a firm decision has been reached by the protesters. Remember there's no leader of this protest organization. They are making it up as they go along.
In the last few minutes, they've been listening to a pro-democracy legislator here saying that he has demanded a meeting with the chief executive here, Carrie Lam, to debate the next moves about this protest. So far, he said he's calling for an important meeting on an incredible day for this country, that they have not yet had a response from the chief executive.
So the mood here is sort of effervescent still. You feel it could change. A minute ago, the protesters were sitting down relaxing. Now the mood has sparked up a bit. And it's really not clear if the police are going to come in here hard, how the protesters will handle it.
What we've seen them do is move the barricades that were up against the side of the building here, move them further away as if to provide themselves a perimeter of protection from a police advance if it comes from outside.
The mood here is still very strong. People, these young people, believe that their future, that their democratic rights, that their freedom of expression is all under threat at this moment.
This is a huge day for Hong Kong. It's witnessed nothing like this before.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely nothing. It really is remarkable. As you're saying, something is going to have to give. It seems a very sensitive moment right now, particularly to figure out what that's going to be.
You have been in the middle of it, Nic. We've been watching your reporting all day. It's really been remarkable. Thank you so much. We're going to stay close with this.
Nic Robertson, in the middle of it all for us.
[11:48:30] Still to come for us, she was shot in the stomach, her unborn baby killed. So why has an Alabama grand jury indicted her in the baby's death? More right after this.
[11:53:38] BOLDUAN: It's a tragic story that has sparked a highly charged debate about reproductive rights. A pregnant woman was shot in the stomach in Alabama. Now she faces manslaughter charges for the death of her unborn child. Indicted by a grand jury based on the fact that police say she started the fight that ended in the shooting. What happens now is all up to the district attorney at this moment.
CNN's Martin Savidge is in Alabama with much more on this.
Martin, what are you learning?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, right now, as you say, it's the district attorney that may have the final say.
We already know that, last month, or actually May, the grand jury came down with a manslaughter charge against the mother, the woman who lost her unborn child after being shot by another woman. You would have thought perhaps that the other woman would have been charged with some kind of an offense here. But, no, that wasn't the case. The grand jury decided that was self-defense. It was all triggered by an argument, according to authorities.
So now the district attorney in this case is essentially saying, well, she appreciates and respects the grand jury's recommendation but she's not bound by it. So in other words, she could prosecute Marshae Jones for manslaughter or she could prosecute her for a lesser offense or she could decide not to prosecute her at all. The district attorney says they will have some kind of an answer on that matter within a week.
Now, there's other action that's taking place today and that is the defense attorney for Marshae Jones has now filed a motion to ask that there be a -- basically to have the charge thrown out. And we're waiting to hear what judge may get that case and also a time frame, so it's a matter of which one will come first here.
[11:55:19] But so controversial and so complicated in this case. Of course, in this state they believe, or many people believe, that a fetus is a person. In other words, a human that has all rights. And it was the rights of that unborn child that was violated because of actions by her own mother that started the fight that ended with the child's death.
Huge, huge debate on this one -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Huge debate. The other woman involved who actually pulled the trigger, not charged with anything.
Thank you, Martin. I appreciate it. Much more to come here.
Still ahead, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with a very big announcement on the future of his campaign. It's that he's not going anywhere, folks. Announcing a major fundraising haul this morning. What that says about the state of the race. That's coming up.