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John Feal is Interviewed about the 9/11 First Responders Fund; Judge Decides Epstein Bail; CNN Holds Debate Drawing Tonight. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 18, 2019 - 08:30   ET



[08:33:08] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): We're adding debt at about a trillion dollars a year and therefore any new spending that we are approaching, any new program that's going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable. We need to, at the very least, have this debate. I will be offering up an amendment if this bill should come to the floor. But, until then, I will object.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so that was Senator Rand Paul blocking an attempt by Democrats to unanimously pass a bill funding 9/11 first responders health care for decades to come. He was talking about fiscal responsibility there.

Senator Mike Lee also objected for a different reason. Lee's communications director tells us that the senator wants to ensure the fund has, quote, proper oversight to prevent fraud and abuse.

With us now is 9/11 first responder John Feal. He has been working tirelessly for years to get this bill passed.

John, great to have you, as always.

What did you think of Rand Paul and Mike Lee's explanations for why they blocked it?

JOHN FEAL, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: Thank you for having me again.

And I -- God, I hope I come on this show with good news one day.

Rand Paul and Mike Lee, what do I say about those two? The day before, Senator McConnell had Senator Thune from South Dakota, the majority whip in the Senate, do a Rule 14 unanimous consent. And that was to go around these guys. And then yesterday Senator Gillibrand did her unanimous consent and that was to expose who would be against this. And we found out who it was (ph). And it's the usual suspects. But they're hypocrites at best because -- no, not only are they hypocrites, they're bottom feeders. They're opportunists. These are men that voted for the trillion dollar tax cut and that -- CAMEROTA: So here's -- so they're claim -- so Rand Paul's claim of

fiscal responsibility you called B.S. on because he's proven that he is willing to run up the deficit.

FEAL: Well, he was -- he was the 51st vote on that bill, remember that, and he was given everything by the president and Mitch McConnell to be that 51st vote. But you cannot cherry pick and choose when you want to be a fiscal conservative. That's -- shame on him. That -- that's -- that's not even about politics any more. And we're talking about being a good human being. And senator jello from Utah, who made a resolution for jello in the state of Utah, I mean, these are -- this is -- if this is their biggest agenda, you know, again, enough -- enough with the -- the -- the political crap that spews out of Washington, D.C., to mainstream America.

[08:35:30] Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Johnny Isakson, all of the others who were against this, they work for us. And what we're doing now is making the process work.

What we always wanted, Alisyn, we always wanted a straight up and down vote on the floor. We didn't get that in 2010 and we didn't get it in 2015. Now this bill heads to the floor. Rand Paul and Mike Lee can make their amendments and they're going to get shot down. We have 73 co-sponsors. We have a two-thirds majority. Nobody's going to support their amendments. Nobody even likes them. Their own colleagues don't even like them. I'm pretty sure their own family doesn't like them.

And not for nothing. Rand Paul got $580,000 for getting his ass whipped by his neighbor. That's $580,000 for a broken rib or two. Ray Pfeifer, Luis Alvarez, John McNamara, they got $250,000 for dying from cancer. That's an insult. That's a joke.

So for them to come up with these amendments that are ludicrous, Mike Lee in May, his staff said, we promise we won't get in the way of this bill. That is a flat out lie. Utah, Mike Lee is lying to you and he's lying to the American people and he's lying to the 9/11 community. Shame on them.

You know, everybody told me before I came on here today, be nice, be in a good mood, be pleasant, don't say anything mean that's going to upset anybody. You know, when you attack these men and women, they go into a defense posture. Yesterday we had Mike Lee's phones blowing up. He called Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell called Chuck Schumer. Chuck Schumer called Kirsten Gillibrand and they told me that to tell everybody to stop blowing them up. They were getting about 2,000 or 3,000 phone calls an hour. An hour. The American people support us. The American people, like us, are fed up.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Let me -- let me actually play you what Mitch McConnell just said about the timing of how all this will go. Listen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think the short answer is, we're going to pass -- we're going to pass the 9/11 emergency bill. We always deal with this tragedy and we will do that and we will do it shortly. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Shortly.

FEAL: Yes. Well, listen, I've been in constant contact with Mitch McConnell's office ever since we've had that meeting and I -- I don't agree with Mitch McConnell's politics, but he's probably been the most honest person and most sincere person to me since that meeting. And I actually take him at his word right now that we're going to get this done and that we're going to have a clean bill. And nobody's going to add any crap to it, nobody's going to take any crap from us and we're going to walk away the victor.

And, again, we're not going to celebrate when we get this bill passed. You know, we lost two people in the last two days. We continue to --

CAMEROTA: In the last two days you just lost two more people?

FEAL: Yes, we lost a firefighter. We lost a firefighter and a -- and a detective from the NYPD. This is constant.

You know, I keep track in a calendar year, from September to September, in how many people we lose. We're at 161 people since September 1st of last year.

BERMAN: So can I ask you that. When Rand Paul and Mike Lee, people might say there's no effect here because the bill's going to pass eventually anyway, but does it have an effect because they keep delaying it?

FEAL: Well, I mean, there are people at home watching the news right now, there are people at home waiting for a check to come in the mail, there are people at home that got a check that was cut 50 percent to 70 percent. Yes, it has an effect. Not only do they deal with their illnesses, like cancer and pulmonary fibrosis, they were diagnosed with post traumatic. And now these people are at home worrying about their future. They're wondering if the United States Senate, where bills go to die, if our bill is going to make it out alive. Which it will. And I'll make sure of that. Jon Stewart will make sure of that. And the 35, 40 people that I bring to D.C. will make sure of that.

Here's one thing, we have bail money. We're not afraid to -- we are not afraid any longer of what the outcome would be if this goes south. We -- you know, yesterday Jon Stewart said we had to beg. We're not begging, we're demanding. We don't beg for anything anymore. They work for us. They should be begging for forgiveness for being assholes for the last 15 years. Excuse my language.

CAMEROTA: I'm not sure that advice for you to be kinder and gentler this morning is working, John Feal, but we really appreciate you coming on with your unvarnished candor, as you always do.

FEAL: You know, Alisyn, people need to take this serious. People -- men and women, our greatest resources, from that horrific Tuesday morning, are sick and dying and are suffering. Everybody knows somebody. And we're dying. And Congress and the Senate are -- are playing games. They're using us as a political football right now, and that's unacceptable.

BERMAN: Every day counts.

John Feal, everything you're doing counts also. Thank you so much for being here with us.

[08:40:01] FEAL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, John, great to see you.

BERMAN: All right, next, an ominous warning about a popular app that has gone viral. What you need to know if you have downloaded FaceApp.


BERMAN: In just hours, a federal judge will decide whether financier Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender, will be granted bail or stay behind bars. He is awaiting trial on new charges that he ran a sex trafficking network of young girls.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live at the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

This is an important day, Shimon.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: It is a big day here for both the government and for his defense team. Jeffrey Epstein has been in jail since his arrest almost two weeks ago and he's been begging essentially the judge to let him out, let him go spend time at his upper east side Manhattan mansion that the government estimated is worth about $77 million. And what the defense team has been asking the judge to do here is release him, let him go spend the time while this case works itself out. He's asking that the judge allow him to spend time at his mansion under home confinement. They want to create a jail-like atmosphere. They're going to higher private guards, have electronic monitoring. Of course this is all what the defense team is asking. They're saying they're -- in total they're willing to put up about $100 million to secure his release.

Now, the prosecutors have been arguing that he's a flight risk. That Jeffrey Epstein, with all his wealth, with his access to private jets, with his access to people outside the United States, they are concerned that he could flee and they would not be able to bring him back to stand trial.

[08:45:11] The other thing we learned here on Monday was that the government, during the search warrant at his mansion, they found a passport, a foreign passport, which is expired. However, there is concern that the government says, because of his access to possibly foreign passports, he could escape outside of the United States. And they're asking the judge to make the decision to keep him in jail as he awaits trial.

The judge is expected to take the bench at about 11:30, which is around when we'll get a decision on whether or not Jeffrey Epstein will be released.


CAMEROTA: OK, Shimon, thank you very much for that update.

All right, meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling for a federal investigation into the popular Russia based app called FaceApp citing concerns about privacy and national security. So millions of people are using this app, and it ages people's faces, including a number of celebrities, as you can see on your screen.

CNN first reported yesterday that the Democratic National Committee warned 2020 candidates not to download this app. They fear the artificial intelligence technology could spur a repeat of Russia's 2016 hacking campaign against the Democrats.

I don't need an app to see myself aging. I have videotape, you know what I mean? I don't need this.

BERMAN: Are the Russians -- are the Russians behind it?

CAMEROTA: Yes, they must be. They must be. There's no other explanation.

BERMAN: There is no other explanation.

Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 1:30 p.m. ET, POTUS meeting with Netherlands PM.

5:00 p.m. ET, Apollo 11 astronaut panel.

8:00 p.m. ET, CNN debate drawing.


CAMEROTA: All right, so which candidates will face-off against each other during the second Democratic debates? We will find out tonight in a live drawing. We have a preview of the most exciting potential match ups, next.


[08:51:26] BERMAN: We are just hours away from CNN's live drawing to determine the line-up for the upcoming Democratic presidential debates.

Joining us now, CNN political director David Chalian.

This all takes place at 8:00 tonight, David. It will be super exciting, and also very different. Explain to us how we're doing this.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, we haven't seen anything like this. And, listen, first and foremost, we're doing it, as you just noted, on live television. This should be full transparency for people to see. What we have here is a very crowded Democratic field, as you guys

know. So there are 20 candidates who qualify for this debate and the DNC had setup rules that cap the debate stage at 10. So this will be a debate taking place over two nights, two different debates, July 30th and 31st. And tonight we will learn which ten will be on which stage and we will do that, John, in three separate draws.

So there will be the first draw that has the ten candidates more towards the bottom of the polling range. You see them there on the screen right now. They'll split evenly and randomly five and five between the two nights. Then you have the second draw, that's the next six contenders, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke and Andrew Yang. They'll split evenly three and three. And then the final draw, the top four contenders, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will divide two and two across the nights.

CAMEROTA: And it's so -- I think that that sounds like a really smart way of doing it because if all -- if randomly those four were in just one debate, then there would be an undercard debate so-called. But this way all of the, you know, top polling people are divided.

So who do you think people will be watching for the matches against each other? Which ones of those will be most compelling?

CHALIAN: Well, you know, I think people are interested in a potential Biden-Harris rematch from Miami, right, where Senator Harris really took it to Vice President Biden. I think that's one thing people are looking for. But, as you've seen over the last several days, this health care debate inside this Democratic nomination race has been fully engaged. And I would, you know, imagine that if Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were on the same stage, that would be a very healthy debate there as well.

And, remember, what you said, Alisyn, in Miami, when they did the draw, you are right, four of the top five ended up on one stage and Elizabeth Warren sort of had a night to herself in terms of the front running candidates. So we haven't seen her mix it up yet with one of the other three. And so it will be interesting to see who Elizabeth Warren gets paired with.

BERMAN: And with Warren specifically, I could make a compelling case for any one of the three who would be dramatic or why it would be dramatic. That would be very, very interesting.

Who do you think she wants to differentiate herself most from?

CHALIAN: You know, that's a great question, John. She clearly, as you know, courting a lot of similar voters to Bernie Sanders. So I am sure that she would relish the opportunity to be side by side with Senator Sanders. They are simpatico on many philosophies. But she is clearly digging into some of his support and I'm sure she'd like to end that going forward. So that -- that would be one matchup.

But you've -- you know, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden have a long history too -- BERMAN: Oh, yes.

CHALIAN: Over issues like bankruptcy, and I'm sure she'd be eager to battle that out with -- with Biden.

CAMEROTA: OK, last, here are the new debate rules, or at least the CNN debate rules that I think are really interesting.

Colored lights will help the candidates manage their response times. I'm sure that will solve the problem.

[08:55:03] CHALIAN: Yes, good luck with that.

BERMAN: Exactly. It works with us.

CAMEROTA: Yes, exactly.

A candidate attacked by name will have 30 seconds to respond. We've seen that before but we've seen it go awry as well.

No show of hands, David, or one word down the line questions.

Why not? I like those.

CHALIAN: You do? What do you like about them?

CAMEROTA: I like the show of hands because what was interesting was, you know, that -- that moment where they said, how many of you would support health care for undocumented immigrants and you saw Joe Biden not know where to exactly put his hand. And I think that's telling.

CHALIAN: Yes, but don't you also want the fuller debate around the issue rather than just a snapshot moment of a hand raising? I --



CAMEROTA: Ultimately. But we can do --


CAMEROTA: All right. Well, and, anyway, that's the rule, so I'm out of luck.

A candidate who consistently interrupts will have time reduced.

Questions will appear on the bottom of the screen for viewers. I think that's really great.

David Chalian, thank you very much.

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: We'll be looking forward to the drawing tonight.

BERMAN: And tune in tonight for the CNN drawing for the next debates. It's at 8:00 Eastern Time.

CAMEROTA: OK, President Trump's plan to win re-election is clear. CNN's coverage of it picks up right after this break.