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Harris on Health Care Plan; Remembering Justice John Paul Stevens; Reason behind the Baton Rouge Killing. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired July 17, 2019 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:30:36] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so you just heard Senator Kamala Harris attempt to clear up her own plan for America's health care system.

CNN's Kyung Lah sat down with Senator Harris and she's back with us. Also joining us to talk about it is Toluse Olorunnipa.

So, Kyung, Erica and I are still a tad confused actually about her health care plan and you really pressed her to give specifics.

Why does she seem to be sort of tripped up when you ask her whether or not people are going to keep their own private insurance or not and when this transition could happen?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Because she is trying to explain it as a transition. And that the way she sees that transition happening is, you know, you start to move very slowly. That this could take, as you heard her say, more than four years.

Now, she's been caught a couple of times publically, from the CNN town hall to the last debate, the very first Democratic debate, where at least publicly we weren't quite sure exactly where she stood. So there's been a bit of mixed messaging. But what she has said is that she does favor keeping insurance, some type of supplemental insurance, but eventually moving everyone after those four years or so into some sort of single payer system that is the next step she believes in the expansion of Obamacare.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: What's fascinating, too, as we listen to this interview -- which is a fantastic interview, Kyung -- Toluse, what she was talking about, at least I think this was the answer that she gave when Kyung pressed her repeatedly on how you're going to pay for this. It's not going to be though a middle class tax cut, it can't just be Wall Street, what's the answer there, her sell on this seemed to be that the cost of not doing anything is far greater than whatever the cost of it will be, Toluse. And yet there wasn't a firm answer on where the money is ultimately going to come from.

[06:35:26] This is the number one issue for likely Democratic voters in this new poll out of New Hampshire. Does she need to get a better answer on this, Toluse? TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'll be very interested in

seeing how the debate stage lineup plays out tomorrow when we hear who she's going to be on the debate stage with next week. It will be very interesting because we've already started to see Joe Biden start to take some shots at Senator Harris, basically saying, you know, she has not been up front enough about how this will be paid for, whether or not there will be a middle class tax cut or tax hike to pay for these types -- this type of health care transformation. Obviously Senator Sanders has said, yes, we will have to raise taxes on people, but we will be replacing the money that they're spending on premiums so most people will be better off.

But Senator Harris seems to be saying, you know, this is a move we can make and just sort of count in the growth and the extra money that we're going to save by not having people going to the emergency room or delaying their coverage. And that's kind of a hard sell to make, telling voters that, you know, we're going to find these trillions of dollars in saving by cutting some of the waste in the system. It's something that she might be pressed on even further, not only by the debate moderators, but also by her rivals who are trying to show that she has a weakness on this issue because, as we've heard, she's gone back and forth. She hasn't been necessarily as clear as possible in terms of talking about how this transition would take place, how she would pay for it, and whether or not people would be able to keep their private insurance.

So this could be an area of weakness or an area of clarification for her on the debate stage. She seemed like she tried to move towards -- in that direction during this interview, but there are still a number of questions that are yet to be answered.

CAMEROTA: Kyung, it was also a little bit confusing about whether or not she wants to preserve Obamacare. And, again, you pressed her and you said Joe Biden says you want to get rid of Obamacare and she said, not at all, but this isn't what she's describing isn't Obamacare.

LAH: Well, what she's pointing to is that, remember, when we first started talking about the Affordable Care Act, it was including a singer payer option. That did not get through Congress. And so what she's saying is, looking at the original intent of Obamacare. And that what we have now, as she described, it was a starter home. She wants to expand it.

So she sees that what she is simply doing is building on that starter home, adding on to it, improving it, bringing more people into that home. That's how she is interpreting that this is still Obamacare. It will be a larger, more inclusive and more adorable Obamacare ultimately for the American public. That's the sell that she's making.

HILL: We have two -- I mentioned this poll out of New Hampshire, this new CNN polling out of New Hampshire about issues. It also takes a look at, of course, Democratic candidates. And we can put up the results there.

Kamala Harris with 9 percent. Joe Biden still leading the pack at 24 percent, who has been, of course, Toluse, a major focus for the president. You cover the White House.

Looking at this poll, what's your take on where it stands right now and what this could mean?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, one of the most important numbers I saw in the poll was that about two thirds of New Hampshire voters have not fully made up their mind. So this is a very fluid race, even though Joe Biden is sitting at the top, he is not a lock to win New Hampshire or any of these early states because a lot of voters are still waiting to hear from various candidates. Some candidates are still trying to introduce themselves to the American people. And it's clear that this race is going to shift in a number of different ways. It already has been shifting after that first debate in several days. And with the second debate coming up at the end of the month, it's -- there's an opportunity for other candidates to rise in that poll as well.

CAMEROTA: One last thing before we go. There was another poll that shows likely GOP voters. The top issue for them in New Hampshire, this is interesting, is immigration, far and away above health care, above even jobs and the economy. And so it's at 39 percent, OK? You can see why the president every day talks about immigration, even over the economy. And back on the Democratic side, health care is the number one. And so you can conclude that Democrats would be wise to talk more about health care than they do about immigration. But they get roped into the immigration conversation very often.

Kyung, Toluse, thank you both very much.

Up next, we want to remember a titan of the Supreme Court. What Justice John Paul Stevens said about his legacy just weeks before his death.

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[06:43:54] CAMEROTA: The third longest serving Supreme Court justice in history, John Paul Stevens, has died. Stevens was nominated by Republican President Gerald Ford, but ended up being a liberal voice on the bench.

And our John Berman recently interviewed retired Justice Stevens and asked him how he wanted to be remembered.

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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What do you think your legacy is on the court?

JOHN PAUL STEVENS, FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Well, I don't know. I'd really like more people to think I was right on the important decisions than think right now.

BERMAN: You want more people to come around to your views eventually?

STEVENS: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: I think that's what we all want in life. Do you think about that? Do you think about the fact that in some ways

your dissents may have had more impact or you might be better known for your dissents than your decisions?

STEVENS: Well, I -- and apparently that's true, but I wish it weren't.

BERMAN: The District of Columbia versus Heller, which is the -- the gun regulation or gun control case in Washington, D.C.

STEVENS: Right.

BERMAN: And you say Heller is unquestionably the most clearly incorrect decision that the court has announced or announced during my tenure on the bench. It represents the worst self-inflicted wound in the court's history.

[06:45:02] STEVENS: I really think that's true. It's really, as a matter of history, and as a matter of what the court should do with the settled law, it was just a really atrocious decision.

BERMAN: So Bush versus Gore --

STEVENS: Yes.

BERMAN: Which is a decision that everyone remembers. You wrote, again in dissent, although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.

STEVENS: Yes. I really think that's true. And I think it damaged the court ever since then. I think the court has been adversely affected by that case.

BERMAN: The third case that you say you were most disappointed by during your tenure was Citizens United. In your life, that was a key moment because it was in reading that dissent out loud you noticed you were slurring some of your words.

STEVENS: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: And you'd had a stroke.

STEVENS: Yes. A mini stroke, I guess.

BERMAN: And you decided -- why did you decide then that that was the moment to retire?

STEVENS: Well, I -- I thought there was a question of whether I'd be able to continue to perform my duties. And as it turns out, I was not -- I was -- my health was better than I thought it was. But I think it was a wise thing to do anyway.

BERMAN: I mean you know Justice Ginsburg is 86 and there's a lot of pressure on her from people in the Democratic Party on the left who desperately don't want her to retire while there's a Republican in the White House.

STEVENS: Yes. No, I -- well, I think that's right. And I think she's really in better -- better health than people generally -- generally assume, because she survived both the cancer and some similar episodes some years ago. And she -- apparently she has a trainer too.

BERMAN: In a perfect world, in Justice John Paul Stevens' perfect world, what's the role of the judiciary?

STEVENS: What's the role? To decide cases as best they can. To follow the rule of law, yes.

BERMAN: And do you think that's happening today at the Supreme Court?

STEVENS: Well, I think they're trying to do it, but their views are a little less faithful to precedent than I think they should be.

BERMAN: You were a cryptographer during world War II.

STEVENS: Yes.

BERMAN: What impact do you think your service had on the way that you implemented justice and your views of America and American justice?

STEVENS: Of course I always considered my service during the Navy a very important part of my life. And it must have had an influence on me because you go through a war and you form some pretty important views.

BERMAN: Obviously when you were sitting on the Supreme Court, you were making history. But for all the years before that, you were such a witness of history. Growing up in Chicago. You met Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. You were at game three of the 1932 World Series.

STEVENS: Yes.

BERMAN: You saw Babe Ruth in the called shot there.

STEVENS: That's right. Yes.

BERMAN: Do you reflect on what it was like to see so many key moments?

STEVENS: They just came along one after another just as -- just fortunately happened to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Great interview. Good to see more of that again. Justice John Paul Stevens.

A man arrested in the death of a Baton Rouge civil rights activist. Why police now believe the suspect killed her.

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[06:52:27] HILL: Police have arrested a suspect in the murder of civil rights activist Sadie Roberts Joseph. The possible motive? A late rent payment.

CNN's Josh Campbell is live in Baton Rouge this morning with more.

Josh, what more have you learned?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hey, good morning.

Residents here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, telling us they are grappling with two competing emotions today following the death of Sadie Roberts Joseph, a civil rights icon in this community, someone who was well regarded, was responsible for founding the African- American Museum behind me. She also took part in annual Juneteenth Day celebrations.

Residents here telling us that although they continue to grieve her loss, they are also breathing a bit of a sigh of relief today after authorities announce an arrest in her murder. The suspect is a 38- year-old local resident, is believed to have been a tenant at one of her rental properties. He's a convicted sex offender. He's now been charged with first degree murder.

Now, in the end, this investigation came down to three things, which included tips from the public, as well as forensic and DNA evidence. Just last Friday a member of the community called 911 after discovering Miss Sadie's body in the trunk of a car just about three miles from her home. Now, surveillance footage from that area led them to the suspect. They found DNA on his body. The actual motive remains unclear at this point. But, as you mentioned, they did indicate to the public that he was behind in rent payment, somewhere upwards of $1,200. Again, he has now been charged with first degree murder.

Now, just yesterday, here at this museum, members of the community gathered together for a candlelight vigil in her honor. There was singing. There was dancing. There was reading of scripture. Really celebrating her life. And we're told here by her daughter in her own words how ironic it is that in her death she actually brought about the goal of her life, which was to unite this community, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: That is obviously a silver lining, but the rest of it is just so tragic. I mean I'm glad they have answers this morning, but it's so tragic -- what a tragic end.

Josh, thank you very much for all of your reporting there.

So the congressional squad is speaking out this morning about President Trump's racist attacks on them and the tension with Nancy Pelosi. That's next.

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[06:58:35] CAMEROTA: All right, late night hosts taking on the House vote condemning President Trump's tweets. Here are your "Late Night Laughs."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Republicans said Pelosi violated House rules forbidding personal attacks against the president or another lawmaker. Well, what are you going to do it's in the congressional rule book? As opposed to the presidential rule book which evidently these days is just a signed head shot of Kid Rock that says, go hog wild, brother.

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": That's right, Congress is officially condemning Trump's racist tweets. And I got to say, it must be cool to be in Congress because you don't just have an opinion, you get to officially proclaim your opinion. Yes, just come out like, by a majority vote, Congress hereby declares that Diet Coke and Coke Zero are basically the same thing! I don't even understand why they call them different things!

COLBERT: A shred of spine was shown by Utah Senator Mitt Romney, seen here ordering a flavorless seltzer, hold the bubbles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you go as far as to say racist comment?

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): That's -- that's all I got. Thanks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

COLBERT: Wow, what courage. He's like Gandalf in "Lord of the Rings." You shall not -- that's all I got. OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Well, I'm glad we found some levity in all of this.

HILL: Always important to find a little levity.

CAMEROTA: It really is.

All right, NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Every single member of this institution, join us in condemning the president's racist tweets.

[07:00:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I request the gentlewoman's words are unparliamentary and request that they be taken down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House Republican leaders called the resolution a.

END