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U.S. Women's Soccer Team Fighting for Equal Pay after World Cup Win; Biden Apologizes for Comments on Segregationists; Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein Due in Court to Face Sex Charges. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 8, 2019 - 07:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- water and unclear cells. None of those have been substantiated.

[07:00:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What world are they living in? From every direction, you see that the children are being treated in a horrific manner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They come up big. Rapinoe and Lavelle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. wins another World Cup.

MEGAN RAPINOE, CAPTAIN, USWNT: Amazing. I don't even have words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They defend their crown. This is a dynasty, my friends.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: What a moment that was. So exhilarating.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I watched -- I watched the goal replays, Rose Lavelle's goal, like 10 times back-to-back-to-back-to-back.


BERMAN: It was awesome.

CAMEROTA: We did, too. It was just amazing.

And so the question is now what? Where do they go from here? Not literally. Figuratively. And we'll get into that.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

The U.S. Women's Soccer Team World Cup victory turned into a game of political football. Late last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended an invitation to the team to visit Capitol Hill. President Trump also tweeted his congratulations after the win. He invited the team to the White House a couple of weeks ago. But after some players said, "No, thank you," he now sounds like he may retract that invite or pretend it never happened.

BERMAN: So one of the most amazing things that happened after the game, as the fans were standing and cheering, they weren't chanting, "USA." They were chanting, "Equal pay," which is a reference to the team's ongoing fight to be paid the same salary as the men's team.

The World Cup champions, they are heading to New York for a ticker- tape parade through the Canyon of Heroes. That will be Wednesday. Alisyn Camerota, our own personal hero, will be there along with them.

Joining us now, Laura Barron-Lopez, national political reporter for "Politico"; David Gregory, CNN political analyst; and Bianna Golodryga, CNN contributor.

First of all, congratulations to the champions. They are awesome.

CAMEROTA: For sure.

BERMAN: And second of all, I'm really curious where this goes. And it is literally, to a certain extent, literally.

CAMEROTA: Yes, great point. Where will they show up to celebrate? Capitol Hill or the White House?

BERMAN: Or both? We know that the president claimed yesterday that he hasn't thought about whether to issue a White House invitation. Let's play that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you invite the women's team to the White House, the soccer team?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Haven't really thought about it. We will look at that, certainly.


BERMAN: You know how I know that he's thought about it?

CAMEROTA: He announced it?

BERMAN: He announced it. He actually had officially invited them to the White House two weeks ago. In his fight with Megan Rapinoe, he said, "I'm now inviting the team win or lose."

So Bianna, what's going to happen here? We know from Ali's interview, Ali Krieger, and other soccer players the team doesn't want to go to the White House.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, we should all just be celebrating this huge historic accomplishment, right, from the Women's Soccer Team. And now, of course, like everything else, it's turned political.

You would think the president, when it comes to issues like this, where we're celebrating this great win as a nation, should just take the higher road. Invite the team. If they show up, they show up. If they don't, they don't.

I mean, I wonder even if he had a tweet stored in a draft form as to how he would respond, whether or not they won or lost.

Given the fact that they won; given the fact that the entire country is celebrating; given the fact there are so many issues to be talking about when it comes to women in sports, when it comes to equal pay, this just does not seem like a presidential issue to get involved in. And you already heard from Barack Obama, congratulating the team. I think the president should just swallow this one and invite them as a whole, so we as a nation can celebrate together.

CAMEROTA: And by the way, Laura, when you're invited to the White House, even if you have a disagreement with the president, it's still exciting. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And maybe some on the team would want to go, even though some of their high-profile players have said that they will not.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": I mean, it would actually put the team in more of a pickle if he just invited them. Maybe we'll see that.

That's right. There may be a number of players that potentially want to go. But again, as we've mentioned before, there is the issue of solidarity. And it appears as though so far a number of Rapinoe's fellow players want to stand beside her. And she has made clear that she doesn't want to go.

We saw the invitation from Pelosi. And also, I believe a week or so ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez invited Rapinoe. And it appeared as though she was going to take her up on that offer to go to Capitol Hill.

But again, it's a question or whether or not these players decide to go to one or the other or to both.

BERMAN: And again, just to be clear, the president did congratulate the team on Twitter yesterday. Congratulations.

CAMEROTA: Yes, very graciously.

BERMAN: "Congratulations to the U.S. Women's Soccer Team on winning the World Cup. Great and exciting play. America is proud of all!" Which America is. I mean, incredibly proud of the whole team there.

But David, once again, I don't understand what the controversy is. He has invited the team. At least, he did officially on Twitter. And I think this just goes to show what can happen to the president when he engages all the time in back-and-forths like this. He can get himself backed into a corner.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there's no question about it. But you know, I think they've got -- they've got bigger opportunities than worrying about the White House invitation, frankly. [07:05:02] I mean, for sports figures not to want to come to the White

House, that's nothing new. I don't think the Toronto Raptors are going to come in large numbers to the White House either. And that's just because of who Trump is and how he uses the office.

You know, I think what's -- what's so great for this team is their excellence on the soccer pitch, their -- their standing as role models for the country, and as a team to be celebrated gives them tremendous opportunity to be celebrated and to also use this platform they've been given.

And they'll do it. They'll do it for good. And I think they -- you know, it's important for any team, you know, to be gracious, to use this opportunity to -- to speak their minds and to stand for something, which they've already been doing in their own style.

And whether they go to the White House or not is, frankly, I think, a really small issue. You know, they'll be on the Hill. They're going to be in New York. They're going to be around for a while with good reason as a kind of cultural touch point. And this example of excellence.

So they'll run with it. And the president, you know, will look small in all of this at the end of the day.

CAMEROTA: OK. Let's talk about what's happening in 2020 on the Democratic side.

So former V.P. Joe Biden is taking a new tack in terms of his campaign. We've seen a couple of examples.

One, he sat down with Chris Cuomo of CNN for a wide-ranging interview. He had been reluctant to do that or hadn't agreed to be interviewed like that before.

And second, he is apologizing, which might even be more rare, Bianna. That's not something that we often hear from Joe Biden when you look back through Anita Hill, when you look back through the personal space issues, et cetera, et cetera. So this weekend, he apologized for the way some people perceived his comments about the segregationist senators and having worked with them in the '70s.

So listen to his apology.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Was I wrong a few weeks ago to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again? Yes, I was. I regret it. And I'm sorry for any of the pain or misconception that I may have caused anybody.


CAMEROTA: Well, sounds like the crowd liked hearing that. GOLODRYGA: Well, look where that was also. South Carolina. He knows

not to take the black vote for granted. Right? He knows that they -- he has them on his side for now. Hillary Clinton was in a similar position in 2008 until they went with Barack Obama.

This is a vice president now who has seen himself through the eyes of a public and a nation that has changed in many regards. We've described them in the past as stubborn. Many of those advisors of his have described him as stubborn. He's clearly listening to them after the debates.

Perhaps he went into these debates, into these primaries thinking things would be easier and focusing on a general election, getting Obama -- getting Trump out of office. That's clearly not where things are right now. The country has shifted. And for him to apologize while still holding onto all of his accomplishments seems to be a position that he's wanting to take right now.

BERMAN: Is it working, David Gregory? And again, you've interviewed Biden many times before. You've seen him out there. Is he handling this well?

GREGORY: I don't think particularly well. I don't think his first foray into the debate or his readiness to run is on display here. I think he hid out for a long time, trying to cruise in this frontrunner strategy, which has never been a role that he's been in. No, I don't think he looks really good right now.

I don't think this is a huge issue. Because it's not like these are revelations that's showing you who he is when you thought he was somebody else. I think people know who Biden is. He's got a long career of public service as a politician and public servant. So I think his record on civil rights will stand up just fine.

But I think, as Bianna said, he looks out of touch. He looks older. He looks out of step with the times. I don't think there's any good excuse for him not being ready for that first debate on these issues. Are you kidding? I mean, Kamala Harris previewed all this stuff. She had criticized him on this before. Now he says he was unprepared? That's just really bad. And there's a lot of good, strong, experienced people who know better who are around him.

But again, I think people know who he is, and that will stand. But there's going to be other tests down the line here.

And the other piece of this, too, I mean, like, when he said to Chris, as well. He's like, "Oh, well, the Russian interference, it didn't happen on our watch," when that's exactly whose watch it happened on, it just shows -- and I've seen this first-hand. When he gets into interviews and he gets going, he can make lots of mistakes. And I think, you know, we may have just seen the beginning of it.

CAMEROTA: Laura, we want to move onto some of your great reporting for "Politico" in which you're talking about what's happening within the Democratic caucus. And some of the more liberal members of the Democratic caucus are threatening to present and, I guess, support primary challengers to some of their more moderate Democratic colleagues. The DCCC is quite concerned about this. They're pushing back on it.

So what's going to happen here? How does this look going forward?

[07:10:03] BARRON-LOPEZ: Right. So a number of progressives, I mean, especially outside group progressives -- we're talking about groups like Justice Democrats, Democracy for America, even Indivisible, in certain cases, have really been frustrated with the most recent votes.

So the border aid vote that occurred right before the July Fourth recess, they were upset that it didn't include standards for hygiene and nutrition for migrants, or more oversight standards that Congress could exact on where exactly that money was spent. And they felt like it was a really big failure on the part of Nancy Pelosi and also on the part of more moderate Democrats, vulnerable Democrats who won the House majority.

And so the issue at hand is that we've seen an increase in primary challenges; and a number of members who could potentially be challenged told me that, yes, they're nervous. They're also frustrated about internally, whether or not the more liberal members are going to support those primary challengers, which they feel is inappropriate to do against one of your colleagues.

And so I spoke to -- we spoke to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And while she said that she still isn't ready to weigh in on a few of those specific primary challenges, that a vote like the border aid one definitely, you know, quote, "ground her gears." And that was pretty much a veiled threat at her colleagues.

CAMEROTA: Friends, thank you very much for covering these wide range of issues with us.

All right. Meanwhile, the next Democratic debates will take place in three weeks. I can't believe it's so soon. On July 30 and 31 in Detroit. It will air here on CNN in the U.S. and around the world. And these debates will be hosted by Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Don Lemon.

BERMAN: This is breaking news. We are telling you all of this for the first time.

Other news here, the 20 candidates vying for the White House will participate, with ten taking the stage each night to face off against each other.

Before that, CNN will conduct a live draw to determine which night each candidate will appear in. The draw to determine the participants for each debate will air live on July 18 in the 8 p.m. Eastern hour on CNN. So July 18 during "ANDERSON." Tune in to watch which candidates will be in which debate.

CAMEROTA: That's very exciting to have a live drawing of who's going to be on what stage. And by the way, there are more than 20 candidates, so obviously, some of them are still vying to make sure that they make one of those stages.

BERMAN: Yes. And there will be, I think, some culling of the field before then. I don't know for sure, but Eric Swalwell, congressman from California, has got an announcement later today. He was at the debates the first time. Will he hang on to see if he gets on this debate stage, because he's right on the barrier? That could happen, too.

CAMEROTA: All right. Meanwhile, the World Cup is not enough for the U.S. Women's Soccer Team. They want the same pay, of course, as the men's team. Why not more? OK? How they plan to get it, next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Equal pay! Equal pay! Equal pay!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Equal pay! Equal pay! Equal pay!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Equal pay! Equal pay! Equal pay!


BERMAN: Do you hear that? That honestly is stunning. That as the U.S. team wins the World Cup. What are the chants in the stadium in France? Not "USA, USA" but "Equal pay, equal pay." That in and of itself is a sign that the U.S. women are winning the battle that they have been waging.

They set the bar so high for themselves, not just to win the World Cup, but to also fight this larger battle against gender discrimination. Every player on the team part of this lawsuit against U.S. Soccer to be paid the same amount that their male counterparts are, that same male team that did not qualify for the last World Cup.

Joining us now, CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan.

Christine, thank you so much for being with us this morning. And honestly, when you hear the chants all the way across the ocean in France for equal pay, that shows you the influence of this team.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Right. If I'm the lawyers going into mediation in a couple weeks after the ticker-tape parade and whatever happens here in Washington, John, I'm showing a video of that, among other things. I'm -- if I'm on the players' side on this one with the mediation, I'm bringing stacks of clips, front pages of newspapers, everything you can to show what an incredible four weeks this was for the U.S. women's team.

I could make the case that, if you are planning a strategy to get to the bargaining table, this would be exactly what you do, including having the president involved. In other words, this couldn't have been a bigger story. It's still a big story. And I think that actually helps the players' case very much. CAMEROTA: Christine, they generate more revenue than the men. They

get better ratings than the men. Oh, and they win more often than the men. What could possibly be the Soccer Federation's rationale at this point for not paying them the same or better than the men?

BRENNAN: I guess, Alisyn, it would be that there is already a collective bargaining agreement in place that the players signed and agreed to. And so why go back into the bargaining agreement?

I think the pressure of this moment is going to change that. But that would be their argument.

And I think that U.S. Soccer would also say that they're doing better than everybody else in the world. And they are. But that is faint praise, because socks [SIC] are -- soccer is probably the most sexist organization. FIFA is. We've seen some of the ridiculous things, including scheduling not just one event yesterday -- of course, it should have been the women by themselves -- but two other big international competitions. So I don't think that that holds much weight.

Frankly, I don't think any of this does. I think the women win here, because I think this has been such a massive P.R., wonderful turn of events for them.

BERMAN: And the way that the women and the men get paid is different also. I think the Soccer Federation would make that case. Again, I'm not sure it's a compelling case at all.

And they would also say that the World Cup -- the men's World Cup generates exponentially more revenue than the Women's World Cup, and they're paid differently. Again, I don't find any of those arguments compelling.

What I do find compelling, Christine, is how high this team set the bar for itself. Not just on the field but off the field. Megan Rapinoe really leading the way by making this fight so public and taking it on so publicly. It was a huge risk. Because if you don't win, you look really, really bad.

[07:20:08] BRENNAN: Right. You have to back it up, John. You're right. And she did. And I think when people look back on this -- on this the way they look back -- we look back on 1999 and what that meant 20 years ago, in terms of the Women's World Cup -- I think that they will talk exactly about that. And she will be in the same conversation with those other athletes like Billie Jean King or Muhammad Ali, who did exactly that same thing, who took a stand and had everyone, or many people against them, including in this case, the president of the United States against this one particular player who happens to be -- overseas at that moment, representing the red, white, and blue.

And what does she do? She blows the doors off of the competition. And not only has great games, but she becomes the focal point. She becomes the player, the best player in the tournament, winning all the trophies, the team captain. You couldn't write a better script if you're Megan Rapinoe.

CAMEROTA: And she talked about what she thinks she is going to have happen next and moving forward. So listen to her comments on this.


RAPINOE: I think everyone is ready for this conversation to move to the next step. I think we're done with the "Are we worth it? Should we have equal pay? Is it, you know -- is the markets the same?" Yes, yes. Everyone's done with that.

I mean, we put on, as all players I'm saying, every player at this World Cup put on the most incredible show that you could ever ask for. We can't do anything more.


CAMEROTA: Christine, I mean, I know that you've said you believe that they are going to win. The time is right. It's so high-profile. But if somehow, they are denied equal pay, what is their recourse? Could they all quit en masse?

BRENNAN: Yes, they could. They could strike, for sure.

And this is interesting, Alisyn, because of the calendar. You've got the Women's World Cup. So now we're saying, "Oh, it's over." Well, it's only over for a few months, because next up is the Olympic games. And the Olympics is the second most important event in women's soccer. It's a very, very big deal.

And so just in a year, they'll be competing again in Tokyo. Probably many of these same players. I'm guessing even Rapinoe will try to stick around for that.

So it's this one year and the next. And that's why I think their bargaining power is increased. Because U.S. Soccer does not want to have a problem with this team going into this very important Olympic season.

BERMAN: Can't imagine having more bargaining power than they do now. And a strike has come up as a very real possibility in the past.

We played it before. I don't know if we can re-rack it again, after Megan Rapinoe scored that P.K. in one of the previous games with her arms outstretched there afterwards.

To me, Christine, that is one of the images of this tournament. And I just wonder if that picture of Megan Rapinoe with her arms out like that that so offended Piers Morgan and other people, if that could become as iconic as, you know, Michael Jordan, the Michael Jordan dunk that Nike has used all the time. Just look at that. Look at this right there. You know, that right there.

CAMEROTA: Why is that offensive?

BERMAN: Well, it offended many people, including Piers. CAMEROTA: Why?

BERMAN: But it might be the most iconic message of this tournament, Christine. And I wonder if that, in and of itself, could be used as something going forward.

BRENNAN: Oh, I think we'll see that for years to come. Marketing and -- and all kinds of products and whatever of Megan Rapinoe is smart. And if U.S. Soccer is smart, I think -- and they are -- I think that's for sure the case.

And I do think that this team has transcended sports. And it's very much -- I don't think it's a reach, John, to have this conversation against the backdrop of equality for women, political issues. Politicians, obviously, are involved with this team. Who's -- If Megan Rapinoe endorses a candidate, oh, my goodness. This is where this story is headed. We're not done with this team at all. They're not done with us. Now it leaves the soccer field and goes into the -- our culture, and I think that's a great place for them to go.

CAMEROTA: Christine Brennan, thank you very much for giving us such an important perspective this morning.

BRENNAN: My pleasure. Thanks.

CAMEROTA: All right. Now to this. There was this controversial plea deal more than a decade ago. So why is this American billionaire back in court today over sex trafficking charges? What we know and the major questions that linger over this case, next.


[07:28:28] CAMEROTA: All right. Just hours from now, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein is expected to appear in a New York courtroom. Law enforcement sources tell CNN he has been indicted for allegedly engaging in sex trafficking crimes involving minors.

A decade ago, Epstein faced similar charges in Miami. "The Miami Herald" reported last November that Labor Secretary -- current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, then a U.S. attorney in Florida, cut this plea deal with Epstein to avoid a federal trial.

Joining us now with the history and with what's happening now is Paul Callan, CNN legal analyst; and Casey Frank, senior editor for investigations at "The Miami Herald."

Great to get both of you here since you both know so much about the history of this case.

Casey, I want to start with you, because it's impossible to talk about the arrest this past Saturday of Jeffrey Epstein without rewinding the clock to what happened more than a decade ago, where there were something like 36 minors involved in these accusations and this case against Jeffrey Epstein. And then he got a very unusual -- some would say unprecedented deal from the person who is now the labor secretary o basically avoid being prosecuted. So just explain what your paper uncovered about all this.

CASEY FRANK, SENIOR EDITOR FOR INVESTIGATIONS, "THE MIAMI HERALD": Well, what we uncovered is that Mr. Epstein was able to hire a very powerful group of lawyers who engaged in behind-the-scenes negotiations with the U.S. attorney's office, where they really were able to stage manager the non-prosecution deal that.