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Epstein Not Checked for Hours, Guard was Substitute; Trump Administration's New Rule Could Limit Legal Immigration. Aired 6- 6:30a ET

Aired August 13, 2019 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Epstein was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. He was left alone for hours.

[05:59:34] WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: This case will continue on. Any coconspirators should not rest easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We ought to be all very concerned. The victims of his crimes will not see full justice, won't have their day in court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The virtues of self-sufficiency laid the foundation of our nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: U.S. Immigration Services will factor in whether the immigrant receives public assistance. The government will consider those negative factors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He sets out a chilling effect. It certainly is not the way America should run.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, August 13. It's 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn off. Erica Hill with me once again this morning.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning.

BERMAN: Great to have you here.

All right. We're getting new information into CNN this morning about the serious irregularities at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein died. According to one source, one of the two people assigned to monitor Epstein in his cell was not even part of the regular correctional force. This person was just filling in as a guard.

What's more: Epstein had not been checked for hours before his apparent suicide. HILL: These stunning failures have lawmakers united in their demand

for answers. The attorney general saying he is appalled and angry, vowing to fight for victims.

So where does it all go from here? CNN's Kara Scannell is live in Washington with all of these developments this morning.

Kara, good morning.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erica.

That's right, we're learning these new details about the circumstances in the hours before Jeffrey Epstein's death. And one of the most troubling ones is that one of the guards that was guarding Epstein was not actually trained as a correctional officer, according to a source familiar with this investigation.

Now, it's not clear what that person's job was, but a representative for the union that represents employees at the Metropolitan Correctional Center -- that's the jail where Epstein was being held -- said that this is a problem due to understaffing.

And that all relates to budget cuts and a hiring freeze that was put in place across law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for overseeing that correctional facility, at the start of the Trump administration. And that -- that freeze was lifted in April, but officials say that the damage has been done.

Now, in addition to a person not being trained as a guard who was there looking over Epstein, we're also learning that, in fact, there was -- they were not looking at Epstein for hours. Under the conditions of the facility he was in -- he was in a special housing unit at that jail -- he was supposed to be monitored every 30 minutes. And sources tell us that he had not been checked on for hours.

So two significant shortfalls that have really drawn the ire of attorney general, Bill Barr. Here's what he had to say yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARR: We will get to the bottom of what happened, and there will be accountability. But let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any coconspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCANNELL: And in a sign that the investigation is continuing despite Epstein's death, FBI agents were in the Caribbean yesterday. They were at Little St. John, the island that Epstein owned, doing a raid on that compound and grabbing more evidence, as part of their investigation is continuing -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Kara Scannell for us. Thank you for that reporting.

Joining us now is CNN legal analyst Elie Honig. He's a former federal prosecutor here in New York.

Elie, I know you spent a lot of time in the special housing unit as a visitor, not a resident. This reporting this morning, it suggests this morning that there's a stretching, that the staff there is a bit stretched thin, overworked, but how much of an excuse is that, really?

HONIG: It's not an excuse at all in this situation, John.

Staffing shortages are a fact of life in prisons across the country. But this is the special housing unit. It's the SHU. It's the SHU for a reason, because the inmates who are housed there are the highest priority, highest sensitivity inmates. They are usually there because they're in some kind of danger: to themselves, from others, to others.

And John, as you said, I've spent a lot of days in or near the SHU, talking to potential witnesses. And I can tell you, it's not a physically big space. It doesn't require an army of guards to patrol it effectively. Two, to me, seems awfully light, especially if one of them is not a full corrections officer, as has been reported.

But you can adequately and fully staff the SHU with, really, not too heavy an expenditure of resources. So this is really an inexplicable failure.

BERMAN: And again, but small enough that they'll be able to get to the bottom of it, I suspect, very quickly. Elie, you say you're watching for the autopsy results very closely. Why?

HONIG: Yes. So autopsies can tell us a lot. They can't necessarily tell us everything. There's two things that people should look for. First of all, cause of death. That is the sort of objective scientific factor that led directly to the death. And here I think the expectation is that it will be asphyxiation from hanging. If it's anything else or it's indeterminate, then there's going to be questions.

The second thing is manner of death. And the options there are homicide, suicide, accident or undetermined. And again, I think that's going to be very important.

So those are the two things to look for when the autopsy comes out: cause of death, manner of death.

BERMAN: All right, Elie. "The New York Times" published a sort of "Are you kidding me?" interview with Jeffrey Epstein. It was done by James Stewart. It was down a year and a half ago or so when Epstein was alive on background, which means at the time, Stewart couldn't name Epstein.

[06:05:07] Since Epstein died, Stewart now felt like he could publish the results of it. And it contained this graph, which is just horrifying. Stewart writes, "Epstein said that criminalizing sex with teenage

girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world, and he said he'd witnessed prominent tech figures taking drugs and arranging for sex."

But that first part, talking about decriminalizing sex with teenagers, that really does give you a sense of Jeffrey Epstein's mental state years after he'd already been convicted for crimes.

HONIG: You know, that article gives you a look right into the grotesque twisted mind of a serial predator. And the article, I think, is a great example of what goes on in the minds of serial predators, child predators like Jeffrey Epstein.

They view their victims as not even human, just as objects there to serve them, and I've seen it before in this type of person. And in fact, as you see in the article, ultimately, Epstein almost comes to view himself as a victim of our system of laws, of our morals. And it's just -- it's completely inexcusable, and I think it gives us an insight into, really, what kind of a monster Jeffrey Epstein was.

BERMAN: Indeed. An important window there. Elie Honig, thank you so much for joining us and helping us understand all of this.

HONIG: OK.

BERMAN: I appreciate it -- Erica.

HILL: The Trump administration is moving to clamp down on legal immigration, announcing a new public charge rule which would make it more difficult for people who rely on government assistance. We're talking about things like Medicaid, subsidized housing, Food Stamps. More difficult for those folks to get a green card.

BERMAN: All right. Here to discuss now, Andrew Gillum, former mayor of Tallahassee and a CNN political commentator; Angela Rye, CNN political commentator; April Ryan, CNN political analyst; and Bakari Sellers, CNN commentator, who has also endorsed Senator Kamala Harris for president, in case that comes up.

Mayor Gillum, I want to start with you here. These new legal -- legal -- immigration rules. This is for people who are here in the United States legally and applying for a green card to stay and work legally. A whole bunch of new criteria which will make it harder, including, you know, if they've used public benefits, Medicaid, before. Other forms of public benefits: Food Stamps, housing vouchers. Also will take into account their age, wealth, education and English-language skills. What do you see going on here?

ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, the -- I come from a pretty culturally diverse state, the state of Florida, third biggest in the country. I'm very, very concerned about the implications of what this administration is attempting. So a couple of things. One, the president appears to be very, very

clear about the instrument at his disposal: to create the kind of America that he wants. He's already told us the countries that he determines to be S-hole countries, which all happen to be countries, frankly, where the majority is people that are black and brown.

We saw them attempt to use the census and the census count as an instrument for creating, again, I think a whiter America. And I don't say that to be toxic in any way or sensational. But this president has said that he doesn't value people of color. He doesn't value folks who come from poor place.

These are the people who, part of the founding and foundation of this country were folks who came here from, quite frankly, rough circumstances, and came to this country, built this country, a saying that Angela is used to using. And now we're trying to turn our backs on them. I think it's an embarrassment. But I think it also shows this administration is intent on creating, I think, a whiter America.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: And I think the number that people point to as 2042 when, for the first time, white individuals in this country will not be a majority of individuals in this country. Stephen Miller has pointed to that number before. And I think everybody would recognize this has Stephen Miller's fingerprints all over it.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Most definitely.

SELLERS: And to Andrew's point, I think what you're attempting to see the curbing of the browning of America. And people are afraid of diversity, and what Donald Trump has played into perfectly, which is why he's in the White House, is that there is this view by a large group of individuals that somehow people will replace them.

RYAN: But you know, try as they might, they can't make America white. That's the bottom line. And -- and you're right. Stephen Miller, the president's immigration guru, is behind this 100 percent. And I never thought I'd say this, but going back to Omarosa's book, "Unhinged," you know, this is that racist --

SELLERS: You read that?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Lord, I didn't know you would go there either. Move to strike. Move to strike.

RYAN: OK. Anyway, we're going back, going back. Let me take it back, OK. But

BERMAN: Omarosa's the most surprised person.

RYAN: Anyway, moving on, moving on.

RYE: You should have -- maybe you should have said that in her intro, because I don't know. You done threw the whole panel, April. There it goes.

RYAN: No. No, but she said that Stephen Miller was promoting these racist policies, and that is where we are.

RYE: She worked there voluntarily.

RYAN: Yes, she did, and she was complicit, but moving on. But now what's next? So the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, along with the Congressional --

RYE: Asia Pacific.

RYAN: -- Asia Pacific Caucus, are trying to figure out what they're going to do. They're looking at all the legalities of what they can take and go after this. They're trying to get the numbers. They're pressing this White House about the numbers as to what's going on and what they can do.

RYE: Here's the thing, and as much as I want to put all of this at Stephen Miller's feet, we have to put this on the president. The bottom line is, even before your girl was in the White House, he announced --

RYAN: Not my girl anymore. But go ahead.

RYE: Whatever. He started his campaign, we've said this a gazillion times on air and in speeches and everything else, calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists. We knew what it was from the very beginning. He knew what he was tapping into from the very beginning. He knew what he was tapping into when he was questioning Barack Obama's citizenship. This has never been a secret. People coming out as surprised right now, I just want to shake somebody, because I'm like how are you surprised? It's always been this.

I remember being on CNN for the first time and saying that Donald Trump was racist, and being like, "Oh, we can't really say that." It's like, yes, we can. How many more facts do we need? What else do we need to see? Please help me, because my voice is gone.

SELLERS: Yes, but it's OK. It still sounds soothing at 6 a.m. in the morning.

RYE: I don't know about that.

SELLERS: But I think what people don't realize -- and there's a direct correlation between his policies and what's going on in the United States census. I mean, the census, especially for those of us in the south, where you -- where you are having an opportunity to win some of these seats, when you go through that -- that Bible Belt, when you go through the Georgias, the Alabamas, the Mississippis, the South Carolinas, you're going to have people afraid to be counted. I mean, this is a campaign of fear.

RYE: And that's not anything new, either.

RYAN: But there's always been an undercount in this nation. People have always been afraid to come out.

RYE: Yes. RYAN: Particularly immigrants. And I'm going to say this. Joaquin Castro, the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said to me. He said, "Look, this is not -- we're saying this is not about legal versus illegal. This is about discrimination now."

RYE: Yes.

BERMAN: You are looking at some numbers here. Right?

HILL: Right, so one of the things I was looking into this morning, because this is dealing with legal immigration, right?

RYAN: Legal.

HILL: And you see in a lot of these rights that have been done in the last, whatever, 12 to 18 hours, people are looking at the direct impact. And the concern is that more people will not go for the services that they need and they may need temporarily. A perfect example of this, to me, is WIC. So half -- about half the babies born in this country.

RYAN: Women, Infants and Children, yes.

HILL: Exactly. Rely on some sort of WIC assistance, right? Maybe it's formula. Maybe it's food staples just to get them through.

In a "Politico" piece from earlier this year, about six months ago, nearly 2/3 of WIC providers from 18 different states -- they went through them all -- reported they've noticed a difference in immigrant WIC access in the wake of the news about potential changes to the public charge rules. That came from a March survey of the national WIC Association. "Politico" went through those numbers. They put this out in September.

So they were already seeing an impact of people afraid to go to WIC, is essentially what they were saying, because they were concerned of the blowback, even though they were here legally.

GILLUM: Yes. Not surprising. I mean, the president is -- We saw what he did in Mississippi. He's literally terrorizing communities, and I don't use that word lightly.

If our children go to school with the expectation that they go home and their parents are going to be there, and this president are forcing these folks to go in and preregister so that they can determine whether or not everyone has appropriate documentation, only so that they could then go and directly go after those families, those individuals when their kids are away at school. And kids are literally orphaned during the day.

And now we've got the same administration using the instrumentalities of power, the instruments of government, to prosecute a political agenda.

RYAN: And more people are going to go into the shadows because of this, and it's going to affect the economy. This is not just about WIC. It's about housing vouchers and so much more. You're going to have people afraid to go out, and there's going to be more poverty. This is going to directly affect this economy that the president says is so overwhelmingly great.

BERMAN: But -- but -- but the president swears that he wants people to come here legally. Listen.

RYAN: Yes, he swears. Yes.

RYE: Don't listen. Don't listen to that lie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want people to come in, but they have to come in legally. They have to come in legally.

We need people to come into our country, but they have to do it through the system. They have to go -- they have to do it legally.

We want people to come in through a legal process.

I want them to come into the country, but they have to come in legally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Angela.

RYE: He has a preferred group that he caters to. He does want people to come in legally if they're rich and white. He's fine with that group of immigrants.

When we're talking about health care, he wants that available to the privileged few. When we're talking about voting, he wants that available to the privileged few.

RYAN: White few.

RYE: Of course. But I'm just saying there's a consistent pattern here, and there's no secret. We don't have to pretend like we don't know exactly what this is.

SELLERS: Even more so, I think that we also have to take this time to point out the president's hypocrisy, somebody who has made their career on being a businessman, and someone who has himself has their own problems with immigration or running afoul of immigration laws. I think that it's somewhat rich for him to be using undocumented workers throughout Mar-a-Lago and all of his other enterprises, be able to evade or avoid -- I mean, not say evade but avoid any consequences.

RYE: They, too. We haven't seen the tax returns.

SELLERS: To any consequences for that, and now he wants to persecute people. [06:15:04] But again, I think that we all agree. I mean, this is a

campaign of pure terror. This is a campaign of pure fear. This isn't what -- and I hate to go back to this, because it doesn't, I mean, it rings hollow now, because Donald Trump is the president. But we've all been raised to believe that this is not what our country was built upon, that we're --

RYAN: That's right.

SELLERS: -- that we're better than this.

RYE: That is not true.

SELLERS: Well, it definitely ain't true now. I mean, I think that -- When you talk about young people, even in El Paso. We did -- we did a story that people were afraid to go and identify --

RYE: Well, let me say, I don't know who "we" is. When was this country better than this?

SELLERS: It's what we were taught.

RYE: Yes, that's what I was saying.

SELLERS: That's what we were taught.

RYE: Well, I agree with that.

SELLER: So can I give people something aspirational in the morning before they go to work?

RYE: We could be better than this, but we never have been.

RYAN: Let me say this. But you're talking about what a campaign is. This is a campaign of pure racism, and the NAACP defines racism as power and prejudice, the intersection of power and prejudice.

RYE: Better have a citation.

GILLUM: Well, I can -- can I just say not just racism but also the persecution of poverty.

So the one thing that is extremely clear about this administration is they want to correlate folks who need assistance as being lazy, not working, not achieving for the American dream. And the truth is that even working people are on these assistance programs. In fact, the revision and the law in the Clinton administration required folks to be working folks --

RYAN: That's right.

GILLUM: -- who are in pursuit of a job in order to get access to -- to these poverty programs.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to continue this discussion in just a moment. Before we go to break, I want to leave you with this tweet from Paul

Waldman, a "Washington Post" opinion writer, senior writer at "The American Prospect." He goes, "A note on the administration's new 'public charge' rule. Donald Trump's grandfather Frederick came to the U.S. at 16 with no high school diploma, almost no money, speaking no English. Under this rule, he would certainly have been rejected."

So just think about that.

Some Democratic hopefuls seem to be adopting a strategy we have seen from none other than President Trump: going after a familiar scapegoat. Who exactly is it? We'll reveal the secret after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:21:40] HILL: Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign and Senator Bernie Sanders taking a page from the Donald Trump playbook. Take a look at a target for these two candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISOR, BIDEN 2020 CAMPAIGN: I want to be really clear. This is a press narrative, not a voter narrative. If you want to look at the coverage in Iowa this weekend and juxtapose the local newspapers and and local television coverage to national media coverage, you would have thought these reporters were at two different events.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anybody here know how much Amazon paid in taxes last year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing.

SANDERS: I talk about that all the time, and then I wonder why "The Washington Post," which is owned by Jeff Bezos who owns Amazon, doesn't write particularly good articles about me. I don't know why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Back with us now, Andrew Gillum, Angela Rye, April Ryan, and Bakari Sellers.

GILLUM: Who has endorsed Kamala Harris.

BERMAN: In case it comes up.

HILL: Just in case. I don't think she was in the montage. So we're good at the moment.

SELLERS: I'm just used to seeing it in there.

HILL: At the moment, for what we'd like to cover. RYAN: At the moment. At the moment.

RYE: That's why he said that.

HILL: April, I'm going to let you tackle this first, since you're a member of the press corps. Right? It is interesting to see this shift, and it is a little bit of a Donald Trump playbook.

RYAN: Well, you know, it's unfortunate. We've seen the shift totally in how we cover politics, how politicians now offer their spin or their way of speaking.

But I'm going to say this. You know, people are looking, the majority of people are sick of Donald Trump as the president is watching us this morning to see what we're going to say. They're sick of Donald Trump. And they don't want candidates being Donald Trump.

But at the same time, it is a good point, because it's a real point.

RYE: Yes.

RYAN: Yes, pat myself on the back.

SELLERS: I like that ounce of humility.

RYAN: No, but we are now in the element of the clapback. We're now in the element of "I can hit you before you hit me," and it's unfortunate.

But I'm going to say this. When it comes to what we're seeing, I'd rather -- with Symone and what she was saying about Joe Biden, I'd rather have a president who would have a gaffe than would lie to me.

So we're now in that element of lies versus gaffes, versus the clapback, versus "I'm going to stab you before you stab me." This is ridiculous. It's about people. It's about politics, and it's about humanity. And we've got to get off of that reality show mentality.

SELLERS: This also ain't new for Bernie Sanders. Now, I have a problem with this part of his shtick. But this isn't new for him. I can see if this is something where he just found this new "I'm going to rail against the press and media in 2000. I'm going to run for president in 2020.

One thing we can say about Bernie Sanders that is impressive is that he has been very, very consistent his entire political career. I mean, this is the -- this is the same Bernie Sanders.

I just fundamentally have a problem with attempting to erode trust in our establishments. Because I think that's what Donald Trump did very well. And when you -- with that statement that Bernie Sanders made, literally, we have to come back and say, without fact, he casts aspersions, somehow looping his bad media press to Jeff Bee-zos owning "The Washington Post."

BERMAN: Anybody who works with "The Washington Post" will tell you, it's Bezos.

SELLERS: I don't have billions either.

BERMAN: But anyone who works at "The Post" will tell you he has nothing to do -- he has nothing to do with the coverage. Most of the people who work at "The Post" say they have never even heard his name mentioned anywhere near an article.

RYAN: They are good reporters at "The Washington Post." I work with many of them.

RYE: I just want to try our -- to change the perspective a little bit. I think that it is fair to criticize press coverage that you don't like.

[06:25:11] The leaps that Bernie Sanders was trying to make in connecting the dots there were a little --

RYAN: Far-reaching.

RYE: Yes, but I guess that the thing that I want to say in Symone's defense, who is an alum of this network and a good sister friend.

RYAN: And our friend, yes.

SELLERS: I love Symone.

RYE: Is that -- is that I think that it's more than fair to say, "I don't appreciate this coverage, and it's not in alignment with what we heard on the ground." I think that's very fair.

As someone who, you know, was the executive director to the Congressional Black Caucus, I know what it's like when there are reporters who their beat is trying to beat down your members, beating down your candidates. That's frustrating.

BERMAN: But --

RYE: But --

RYAN: But going after the press was wrong.

BERMAN: -- what's wrong with actually telling voters and viewers or showing them what a candidate says?

RYAN: No.

BERMAN: It's not likely made up what Joe Biden said. He said that stuff.

RYE: But I don't take issue with that part. Go ahead.

GILLUM: I have just come out of a statewide election.

RYE: Yes, talk to us, Governor. GILLUM: In the sense that it was extremely difficult when you had -- you know, you had an experience on the ground with voters every single day. And I think that was part of the shock of my winning the primary, because the press was covering something different than what was actually happening on the ground.

RYAN: They covered the white candidates but not the black man who came up, who shot up.

RYE: No, they negatively do.

GILLUM: Well, that may be the case, but the point being -- and I'm sensitive to this for a lot of reasons. These folks are out there busting it every single day, trying to give their very, very best and earning their way to the White House.

And the truth is, is that Donald Trump can send out a tweet and change the news cycle for everybody. So that many times, these folks feel that their work is largely in vain.

And what I think we have to do is, this weekend, not chasing this whole narrative of the Clintons that was pushed out by -- by Trump and basically saying, "We're going to -- we're going to draw a line in the sand here that we're not going to chase every single conspiracy theory, just because this president decides that he wants to lob something so that we would be distracted from the damage that he's causing every single day as he serves as president."

RYAN: It's not appropriate for these candidates nor the president to go after the press. There's something called freedom of the press. We -- wait a minute, Angela. We're Fourth Estate. We were put in place by the Founding Fathers. When all else failed, when Washington fails, and it's failing now.

RYE: Sure.

RYAN: When checks and balances are not there, we're supposed to put in front of the American public what's going on.

RYE: But did you hear me?

RYAN: No, no. But you said you can criticize the press. Let me say this. Be very careful about doing that, because what you do when you start criticizing the press, we all get things wrong; but we get it right most of the time.

RYE: No, no, no.

RYAN: But then you criticize the press, you start eroding the --

RYE: April, that's not real.

RYAN: -- form of democracy and trust.

SELLERS: This is what -- this is -- So there's the difference --

RYAN: Don't be Donald Trump.

RYE: We're not -- Come on, April, there is a space between where Donald Trump --

RYAN: I'm very sensitive about that, because the press has been under attack.

SELLERS: I know.

RYE: Because I'm saying that, yes, like you should not -- under no circumstance should Donald Trump tell you to set up a meeting with the CBC or should he target you enough to where you are personally subject to any harm. You know I haven't played about that with you.

RYAN: Right.

RYE: There is a very big difference.

RYAN: You've been with me, and I love that.

RYE: There's a very big difference in what Symone was saying about the types of coverage. There is a very big difference in me criticizing the types of coverage that Andrew was getting when he was running for governor.

RYAN: There's hit coverage, but there's also mainstream coverage that is real.

RYE: There are -- there is hit coverage, and I want to acknowledge the difference.

RYAN: No, I do. I do. And some of that is at the White House.

SELLERS: But also --

RYE: That's all I'm saying.

RYAN: But there are mainstream that are being lumped into that.

RYE: Mainstream can be hit pieces, too.

RYE: One of the things that Symone was highlighting, which I agree with, which is where he spin fell dead on. Symone -- Symone spun that perfectly in one sense, is that we have to start highlighting and uplifting a lot of our local newspapers.

And what Symone was simply saying is that the press coverage out of Iowa was vastly different than the press coverage she saw nationally, for better or worse. And what she's saying is "The Des Moines Register" in Iowa's starting line, et cetera, may have gotten some stories right where others did not.

BERMAN: I do want to bring up one thing, because you guys have been piling on President Trump quite a bit. And I think there's an opportunity --

RYE: I'm going to pile on him every time.

BERMAN: I think there's an opportunity for you to give praise to him, which is his campaign web site has gone after these plastic straws. And I know this sounds trite, but "The Washington Post" --

RYE: Somebody come get me off this set.

BERMAN: "The Washington Post" has this --

HILL: It's going to be good.

BERMAN: -- whole article about the cultural touchstones. Here are some plastic straws here. You know, it goes back --

RYAN: They're going in the trash.

BERMAN: It goes back to Sarah Palin drinking the Big Gulp and other things. Is this something that's smart? Is the Trump campaign --

RYAN: They don't believe in global warming, but they want to stop straws. What is that about? Come on. If you're going to do it, go all the day.

SELLERS: What is this campaign doing? I don't even know. I thought I did.

BERMAN: It's going to -- it's raising money.

RYE: But why does John want us to give him some kudos for this?

BERMAN: No. Do you like paper straws or plastic straws?

RYE: I don't mind paper straws, but I prefer the biodegradable plastic ones. I get frustrated putting them in my two (UNINTELLIGIBLE) latte and it kind of deforms a little bit.

GILLUM: Listen, this is first-world conversation right here. Clearly, we're not going to get --

RYE: Are you just -- are you calling me an elitist?

GILLUM: I'm not calling you a liberal elite. I'm simply saying --

RYAN: And then he added to it.

RYE: He added some stank on it. You added some stank on it.

END