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Robert Kennedy's Granddaughter Dies; Democrats Near Impeachment Milestone; Obama Allies Exasperated by Criticism; Finns Health Care System Model; NFL Pre-Season Kicks Off. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 2, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:27] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello leaves office at 5:00 p.m. today. But there is uncertainty about who his successor will be. Lawmakers delayed a vote Thursday on his hand-picked secretary of state nominee. The woman currently next in line, Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez, says she does not want the job. But, she says if forced, she will assume the responsibility as the island's constitution calls for.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we are learning this morning new developments about a new tragedy inside the Kennedy family. The death of Robert Kennedy's granddaughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill. She died at the family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. She was just 22- year-old old.

CNN's Jean Casarez is live with the very latest.

Jean, what are you learning?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the local fire lieutenant tells CNN that it was yesterday about 2:30 in the afternoon that medical responders were summoned right here to the Kennedy compound. And they transported a victim to Cape Cod Hospital where that individual was deemed to be dead upon arrival.

Now, the Kennedy family does tell CNN that that victim was Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the granddaughter of Robert Kennedy, who was the attorney general for 9the United States, presidential candidates for the United States, and she is the granddaughter of Ethel Kennedy, who is still surviving. Her mother was one of 11 children from that couple. And the family has released a statement saying, our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse. Her life was filled with hope, promise, and love. She cared deeply about friends and family, especially her mother Courtney, her father Paul, her stepmother Stephanie, and her grandmother Ethel, who said, the world is a little less beautiful today.

And it was in 2016, during her experience as a student at Deerfield Academy, that she wrote an op-ed about her struggles. And she said in that op-ed, my depression took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life. Although I was mostly a happy child, I suffered bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest. Many people are suffering, but because many people feel uncomfortable talking about it, no one is aware of the sufferers.

And we do not know the cause of this young 22-year-old woman's death. Her family said she loved life. She loved to volunteer. She was helping to build homes for the indigenous in Mexico.

[06:35:06] And, Alisyn, this family has had so many tragedies and perils. And this is just another.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Jean, it is so, so sad. I mean I think it was just 20 years ago this summer, right, that John Junior was killed. It's just -- it's horrible to see you there again covering another tragedy.

Thank you very much.

So, to politics.

House Democrats are about to reach a milestone that could increase the pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on impeachment. What happens next?


BERMAN: New this morning, by CNN's count, 117 House Democrats are now calling for an impeachment inquiry to President Trump. Why is that number significant? It's math. Because if one more Democratic number joins them, that would mean that half of all Democrats in the House support an impeachment probe. So, will that change the calculus for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

[06:40:01] Joining us now is Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH."

Michael, first of all, it was great to see you in person when we were in Detroit for the debates. Even -- it is even nice to see you by remote, if that's how it has to be.

Look, half the caucus. It's going to be more than a majority of the caucus within 24 hours. It just will be. The math is headed that way. Nancy Pelosi's going to have to deal with the fact that half of her members want an impeachment inquiry.

So will that move her, do you think, Michael?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me try and tie that together with our time together in Detroit because I -- I think what it's highlighting is the divide within the Democratic Party, in this case on matters of impeachment. In Detroit it was on ideology and tactical ways of going about defeating the president and how Nancy Pelosi is able to manage between the two is going to be very, I think, outcome determinative.

Here's my question. What do those 40 or so moderate Democrats, who won House seats in 2018, what do they want because heretofore she's been protecting them because they have to stand for re-election in 2020. If they are the ones who are now making the difference, I think it will sway the House speaker. But if they're not, I don't think anything will change.

CAMEROTA: Isn't also the question of, if they can do two things at once? So if people believe it is their constitutional duty to impeach the president because they have seen high crimes and misdemeanors --

BERMAN: Or investigate him. Just investigate him with an inquiry, which is what they're calling for.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's what they're already doing, they would say.

BERMAN: Some, yes.

CAMEROTA: They would say they've begun that and they would say that an impeachment inquiry actually like kicks it into a higher gear.

BERMAN: It does.

CAMEROTA: But is the argument that they cannot -- that somehow that will cut into their legislating time and they really can't do two things at once and they have to make a choice because obviously that's a much harder choice than the people who have come on here, the lawmakers who have said, look, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We should do both.

SMERCONISH: Well, I had that conversation in Detroit with a number of Democratic leaders and it's -- it's not only the way you framed it, Alisyn, but it's also, is it worthwhile if you know in the end, barring some major revelation, you'll never be able to get the necessary votes in the Senate. And as you just said, the response from many Democrats is to say, hey, we shouldn't be focused on where it ends. Our question is one of, are we obligated by the Constitution if we think there have been high crimes and misdemeanors to go through the process. We shouldn't be focused on some calculous at the end of the tunnel. And therein lies a debate that has not yet been resolved.

BERMAN: And will continue. And we will wait to hear what Nancy Pelosi says about these new numbers over the next few day.

The Democratic debates in Detroit, millions and millions of people watched. One of them was the president of the United States. The current president of the United States, Michael. Listen to what he said about the debates overnight.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was watching the so- called debate last night, and I also watched the night before. That was long, long television. And the Democrats spent more time attacking Barack Obama than they did attacking me, practically.


BERMAN: There were a lot of people left with that feeling, Michael. And we have reporting that people within Obama world were a little bit upset that that was the case. And Joe Biden yesterday seized the moment to say he was surprised that his competitors were attacking Barack Obama, or they weren't attacking Barack Obama, they were criticizing aspects of the Obama record. I'm not sure Biden was as surprised as he meant to be. I think he's using that. But it is an interesting new dynamic in the race.

SMERCONISH: I think that Detroit crystalized some of the issues that are lurking for the Democratic Party, but I don't think it lent any focus to how this divide is going to get resolved.

You may remember when the three of us were together, I said, keep your eyes on the fringe of the stage. I forecast that de Blasio would be someone who would try and make himself an issue. And this specific point, it was deportations. It was him trying to get Vice President Biden to essentially apologize for the 3 million deportations that had taken place on the Obama watch.

Here's what I think is driving this. De Blasio, to a lesser extent, Julian Castro, they're fighting for oxygen to make sure they come back on the stage in September. How do they do that? They need a viral moment. They've got to boost fundraising. They've got to increase their structure in the polls to 2 percent, otherwise they go home. And so the size of the field and the pressure to try and keep yourself alive is, I think, the underlying cause of what's making this an issue.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, as Rahm Emmanuel, who, of course, was the former chief of staff to Barack Obama, he -- he was, I think, stunned or critical of the approach of that strategy that Democrats are using because what's the end game if you're -- if Barack Obama, who's the most popular person -- and Michelle -- in the Democratic Party, if you're taking him down instead of Donald Trump, here's what Rahm Emmanuel said. We have seen this movie before. Democrats need to wake up. I would not treat the Obama years as something to be air brushed out of history. Every one of these things needs to be built upon.

[06:45:10] He wasn't the only one. I mean it's just an interesting strategy. And not sure that it doesn't do more harm.

SMERCONISH: It may -- it may end up rendering a nominee who's unelectable. And, listen, the issues that drive this, immigration, all this talk about Medicare for all and distinguishing it from the Affordable Care Act. We really haven't seen yet what we're going to get in the fall, which is going to be Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden on the same stage. This issue, I think, gets worse for the Democratic Party before it gets better. Biden, in the meantime, continues to be the presumptive frontrunner, but not with any strong standing. I mean there's a great vulnerability about this race. I think that's the most you can say about it.

BERMAN: You know, Michael, I know you'll want to listen to this later on in the show. Henry Enten will make a numeric case, a data-driven case, that tie Joe Biden to Barack Obama helps Joe Biden, that maybe going after the Obama years is a good thing for Biden. And he'll smiling that all this is going on. So we'll look at those numbers coming up.

And be sure to watch "SMERCONISH" tomorrow morning because presidential candidate John Delaney is his guest. He was a big player in the first debate this week. That's at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

CAMEROTA: OK, meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders has cited Finland's health care system as he tries to sell his Medicare for all plan. He's held up Finland as the model.

So how is it really working in Finland? CNN goes there to find out.


[06:50:34] CAMEROTA: Bernie Sanders is a big proponent of Medicare for all, and he has pointed to Finland's health care system as a model of what Americans should follow. But how well is the system actually working in Finland?

CNN's Melissa Bell traveled there to find out.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To Bernie Sanders, Finland has long led the way.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to thank the Finnish people for giving us a vision and a model that we in the country can attain to as well.

BELL: Take health care. Having a baby in the United States, tweeted Senator Sanders recently, costs an average of $12,000, as opposed to just $60 in Finland.

SANDERS: We have a dysfunctional health care system.

BELL: But just how functional is Finland's health care? In March, the Finnish government fell the second in a row to fail at reforming the country's unsustainable health care system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finns are getting less and less children. People are getting older. We need taxpayers. If we think of sustainability, either we have to get more people to Finland or we have to cut the cost.

BELL: But that's easier said than done. This northern sliver of Europe, a country with roughly the same population as Minnesota, has vast expanses of nothingness and no one, making its decentralized system expensive and increasingly unmanageable.

HEIKKI HIILAMO, SOCIAL PARTY ANALYST: Normally what we show people is the sunny side of the street. The health care is on the dark side of the street. So we do have a problem.

BELL: But Sanders points to Finland's direct patient care results as evidence that the system is working despite needing improvement. On key health indicators like infant mortality, for instance, Finland has a lower rate than the U.S. According to the U.N., when it comes to under fives, Finland has 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the U.S. has nearly three times that with 6.6. And access to good health care makes people happy, tweeted Sanders, linking to a Finnish journalist who agrees that Fins are happy to pay higher taxes for health care that is both better and cheap to run than in other countries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Often the government will negotiate the prices of medicines or treatments with the companies developing these treatments. And, because of this, it can bring the costs down.

BELL (on camera): But the system is creaking at the seams. It can take weeks in Finland to get a doctor appointment, not for the wealthiest who can always turn to private care, or for those who live here in the capital Helsinki, but for the poorest and those who live in the most remote parts of the country. It is for them, say analysts, that the system needs to be fixed.

HIILAMO: It's a really urgent matter. If we're not going to be able to deliver on this reform, we're going to have even more unequal system.

BELL (voice over): So change Finland must with few Finns seeing their 130-year-old system as a model for any country looking to change its own.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Helsinki.


BERMAN: Very important context there. Our thanks to Melissa Bell for that.

Up next, the baseball improvement that may have just saved fans there. Look at that. I think we can say more than just a fan. I think it saved a player.


[06:58:01] BERMAN: All right, the best news of the morning, football is back. The NFL pre-season kicked off with the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.

Andy Scholes with the "Bleacher Report."

Good morning, Andy.


Well, we made it. We made it to football season. We're not -- we're not going to have another week without football until February. And the Broncos and Falcons, they kicked off the season last night in Canton, Ohio. And Ed Reed (ph) among the Hall of Famers honored on the field before the game. And he opted not to wear the Hall of Fame polo, instead wearing a t-shirt with images of people who have died during police or interactions with police, including Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.

And now as for the game, we saw a pass interference challenge for the very first time. Coaches can now throw the challenge flag on interference calls thanks to last year's NFC championship game. It didn't work. The call was still upheld. But get ready, you're going to see this in pretty much every game this season.

All right, baseball. Mets taking on the White Sox. And the new protective netting down the lines at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago coming into play on this one. Mets right fielder Jeff McNeil, on a dead run, make the catch. And then, watch, he just uses the netting to slingshot himself back onto the field. You know, the netting was put into place to protect the fans, which it probably did in that instance, guys. But it also probably saved McNeil from getting some bumps and bruises, because it probably would have hurt where he was going to land if not for that netting.


CAMEROTA: OK, that's a win/win. That is a win/win for the spectators and for the players.

BERMAN: Fantastic.

All right. Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

CAMEROTA: OK, there's a lot of breaking international news this morning, so let's get right to it.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

There is important, breaking news.

[06:59:45] One of the most significant and for a time successful nuclear treaties in history is dead this morning. Moments ago, the United States announced it has officially withdrawn from the INF treaty. This is a treaty that banned and removed and destroyed intermediate range missiles. That's weapons with a range of about up to 3,340 miles. This was a treaty negotiated by Ronald Reagan. It is