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Trump's Former Rivals Predicted His Presidency; Ivanka & Kushner Missing in Action Amid Trump's "Disloyal" Trope; 1st Titanic Dive in 14 Years Reveals Ship is Disappearing; Fertility Doctors Used Own Sperm on Unwitting Women. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 22, 2019 - 14:30   ET



[14:32:44] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brook Baldwin.

Just to sum up what's been going on at the White House, let me quote this from the piece: "The president had a tantrum at NATO ally Denmark only because it wouldn't sell him Greenland, doubled down on an anti-Semitic trope, basked in the praises of a right-wing conspiracy theorist, helped advance Russian foreign policy, joked that he would like to award himself a Medal of Honor, endorsed a comparison of him to a king, and defined himself as the chosen one."

His actions may not be a surprise to some of his political rivals, especially when you remember what they said about him during the campaign. It turns out hindsight is 2016, meaning some of them predicted what the nation is witnessing now.

For that, let's go to Chris Cillizza, our CNN politics reporter, editor-at-large.

Talk to me.


Let's go through. There's a bunch of them. So let's go through. We have a lot of sound here about things that people Donald Trump ran against told us about him back then.

Let's start, Ted Cruz, out of all things, Denmark.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-AZ): We need someone with judgment and the temperament to keep this country safe. I don't know anyone who would be comfortable with someone who behaves this way, having his finger on the button. I mean, we're liable to wake up one morning and Donald, if he were president, would have nuked Denmark. That's not the temperament of a leader to keep this country safe.


CILLIZZA: Nuking Denmark.

OK, let's move on. Ted Cruz again, this time on how Donald Trump attacks people.


CRUZ: You know, Donald can't defend his own records. Whenever you point out what he's actually said, he just screams liar, he insults you, he attacks you, he makes it personal. And he gets very rattled. He doesn't like anyone pointing to his actual substantive records. But I think that's ultimately a sign of weakness.


CILLIZZA: There's lots of examples of Ted Cruz being right about this, about Donald Trump. One I'll point. Yesterday, in his press conference, before he flew to Kentucky, someone asked him whether the whole dual loyalty thing, questioning Jews who vote for Democrats, whether that in and of itself was anti-Semitic. He said it's only anti-Semitic in your head. OK.

All right. Moving on, Jeb Bush on what Donald Trump's presidency would look like.


[14:35:10] JEB BUSH, (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: He's a chaos candidate. And he'd be a chaos president. He would not be the commander-in-chief we need to keep our country safe.


CILLIZZA: I mean, look at this week alone. Jeb Bush was right. People may have wanted more chaos than they thought they were getting. Did they want this much?

Then, remember, a lot of Trump's former rivals are now his buddies and are in the administration.

One is Rick Perry. Here's what Rick Perry said about Donald Trump back during the campaign.


RICK PERRY, (R), SECRETARY OF ENERGY & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He offers a barking carnival act that can best be described as Trumpism. A toxic mix of demagoguery and mean spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.


CILLIZZA: That's your secretary of energy currently, Brooke, in the Trump administration, which is a remarkable thing.

One last one. Don't worry about that. One last one. Hillary Clinton, remember her? She ran against Donald Trump in the general election. She made some predictions about his presidency, too. Let's play that.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't want to rip families apart. I don't want to be sending parents away from children. I don't want to see the deportation force that Donald has talked about in action in our country.


CILLIZZA: I mean, talk about predicting Donald Trump's child separation zero-tolerance policy, continuing to be a massive humanitarian and political problem.

So we knew, and his opponents knew, and I would argue that a lot of the American public knew what they were getting with Donald Trump.


CILLIZZA: All of their concerns were overwhelmed, Brooke, by the fact that they wanted radical change and he was the only candidate who represented him. What 2020 is about, is this kind of change they wanted.

BALDWIN: Stunning listening to the sound bytes now.


BALDWIN: Hillary Clinton, as the exception, as you point out, and now how they're all supporters --


BALDWIN: -- now.

CILLIZZA: Some even in his cabinet.


Chris Cillizza, thank you so much for that blast from the past.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: While those former rivals may have predicted the president's recent decisions, two of his advisers are noticeably absent.

CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, has new reporting about Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Kaitlan, we know they've been on vacation. It's the summer. But what are your sources telling you?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This is a pattern, Brooke, that has emerged throughout this administration. When there are particularly controversial weeks in the Trump White House, his top-two advisers, who are also his family members, are usually out of the public eye.

This has been one of those weeks where the president has been rotating between these controversies, whether it's uncertainty over the economy, questions about what he's going to do, if he's going to do anything, on pushing for background checks, gun control overall. And various other things, retweeting conspiracy theorists, whatever.

You've seen Ivanka and Jared Kushner remain under the radar. Yes, they went to Wyoming over the weekend for a family vacation, something the president tweeted out, saying he was surprised they weren't at work because they were on vacation.

Then they went to a Trump fundraiser on Monday night. But other than that, they really had this limited presence here back at the White House, even as the president and his aides have been handling and dealing with the firestorms, some of his own making, including the feud he's had with the Danish prime minister over the last several days.

It's adding to this pattern you've see, where even the White House has insisted they've been involved in certain talks, certain discussions. You saw them leave town on certain occasions like when they were trying to get rid of Obamacare, when the government was shut down. You've seen them conveniently be out of the loop when the president is facing controversy or backlash over certain topics.

BALDWIN: In addition to them, we know earlier this week the president said that Jews who don't support Democrats are disloyal or ignorant. With regard to Jared and Ivanka, we know they are modern Orthodox Jews. Have they spoken to the president about what he said?

COLLINS: That was another thing that highlighted their absence this week, at least for people who work back here at the White House.

Some of those aides who thought that the president's fight with the four Democratic congresswomen was a good idea but conceded they think he took it too far when he not only made this remark but then late doubled down on it, saying yesterday, repeating that accusation that many groups have condemned as anti-Semitic.

Typically, in events like this, there will be people who privately advise the president maybe not to say something. We've asked the White House if Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have spoken with the president about this remark he's made. They did not get back to us.

Typically, Ivanka Trump doesn't weigh-in on the advice publicly that she gives her father. There will be instances, like this one, where there will be selective leaks of what she's said to her father privately. Something typically about background checks, family separation.

This has not been one of those instances where it's leaked out about the advice that Ivanka Trump has given her father about the comments he's making about Jewish people that support Democrats.

[14:40:12] BALDWIN: Kaitlan, thank you.

A disturbing concern for women across the country. Doctors accused of using their own sperm for artificial insemination. Why horrifying new cases of fertility fraud are just now coming to light.

Plus, the stunning discovery that divers found on their first trip to the Titanic in 14 years.


BALDWIN: Ten people on board a private jet that crashed in California walked away uninjured. The pilot had to abort takeoff Wednesday because of complications causing this plane to slide off the runway.

Graphic Packaging International, which is a paper products company, confirms that eight of its employees were on that plane. This is the same type of aircraft that crashed last week with Dale Earnhardt Jr and his family onboard. Of course, both crashes are being investigated.

[14:45:22] Also brand new today, stunning video revealing the Titanic's shocking state of decay on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Look at these pictures with me, as we look at this dramatic video of this manned dive to the famous wreckage, the first dive in 14 years.

Divers discovering the Titanic's remains are being quickly devoured by the ocean itself, by metal-eating bacteria. The Titanic wreckage now disintegrating into powder form and on track to fully disappear within two decades.

The diving team making five expeditions to the Titanic wreckage earlier this month.

With me now, underwater explorer, Tim Taylor, who knows the diving team that shot this new Titanic video.

You have some pretty stunning explorations and stories you can tell. First, looking at that video and seeing the decay, does it surprise you?

TIM TAYLOR, UNDERWATER EXPLORER: It doesn't surprise me. The submarines that we've found in recent years all have the same type of decay. Mother Nature claims things back, and that's what happens. This just happens to be a unique bacteria that eats metal or iron.

BALDWIN: Before we get into should they take it back up to the surface or can they, what are the challenges of going that deep, 12,500 feet?

TAYLOR: The challenges are pressure. You're dealing with large -- tremendous amounts of pressure. Typically, in today's submarine and exploration world, there's very few submersibles that can do that.

The new one these guys are using was built by Patrick Leahy and his team in Florida. It goes full ocean depth. It doesn't just do it once like past expeditions have done it. It's repeated it 30-plus times now. It's a real tool to get down to ocean depths. It's expensive. It takes time.

There's risks because you're using manpower. I use robotics mostly in my work. When you put a person in there, there's a whole other element of safety and things you want to consider because of the consequences.

BALDWIN: When you look at the remainders of this precious ship and the story and the history, how do they bring it back up or preserve it?

TAYLOR: It's an archeological site. If it's terrestrial or underwater, archaeology is a destructive force just as grave robbing is a destructive force. What archeology is it brings back knowledge and baseline data back to the preserve for people to see what was there for years.

So it's a big debate in the world, do you leave it --


BALDWIN: Some people see it as grave robbing. You would argue archaeology is all about protecting it, preserving it.

TAYLOR: Exactly. Telling the story for posterity and the future.

There's two camps to that. Some families want to see the remains up, some don't. As time wears on and less direct decedents are involved, it tends to be more of an archeological -- swings that way.

BALDWIN: What do you think? Is it possible that one could eventually see the Titanic above ground somewhere?

TAYLOR: I don't think it will ever be raised. But I think I see some importance of bringing back, properly, artifacts and having them available.

But that costs. Companies that go out to do this kind of work, they have to fund it somehow. Usually, it's in museums or presentations, things of that nature.

BALDWIN: Yes. How about that?

Tim Taylor, thank you very much.

TAYLOR: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

A manhunt is underway for a sniper who shot a sheriff's deputy from the building of a mental institution. We have those breaking details. We'll get those for you after the break.

And also, I'll speak live with a Republican columnist who says the president's recent behavior is not the madman theory. He's just, quote, "Madman president."

[14:49:07] And the Amazon Rainforest veers toward a potential disaster as it burns at a record rate.


BALDWIN: Every year, as many as 60,000 babies are born in the United States who were conceived through artificial insemination. Donor sperm may be used by couples dealing with infertility or an LGBTQ couple or single women.

It is a fairly straightforward process. Clinics provide a list of donors, a patient makes a choice, the doctor transfers the sperm to the patient and, if all goes well, a baby results.

By now, thanks to widely available DNA testing, some children have grown up to discover their biological fathers are actually their mother's fertility doctors. Yes.

In the Netherlands, DNA testing revealed that one fertility specialist fathered 56 children who went to his clinic.

Here in the U.S. 61 people have claim that, based on DNA testing, Dr. Donald Klein, of Indianapolis, is their biological father.

And these are examples coming from this stunning "New York Times" article written by Jacqueline Mroz.

And she is here with me with more.

As I told you yesterday, when I hear this, I said we have to talk to her.

You start your piece, and I want you to begin by telling the story of Eve Wiley. How did she discover her father was her mother's fertility doctor?

JACQUELINE MROZ, CONTRIBUTOR, NEW YORK TIMES: So Eve thought she knew her donor. He was donor 106 from California's cryo-bank. And they had developed a relationship. Her kids called him papa and he had been to her wedding.

[14:55:03] When her son was 4 years old, he had celiac disease, which is hereditary. She did a DNA test and found that donor was not her biological father.

She found a couple of cousins and one of them told her that their uncle lived in the same town as her. It's small town in Texas. It was her mother's fertility doctor. So she put two and two together.

BALDWIN: Wow. So she discovered the person that she thought was her biological father was not. Not only that, it was her mom's doctor.

MROZ: Right.

BALDWIN: It seems like a profound violation in so many ways for a family. You quote a bioethicist, Dov Fox (ph), who says, "In a word, gross. In a couple more: shocking, shameful. The number of doctors sound like a few bad apples and a generalized process of deception, largely hidden until recently by a mix of low-tech and high stigma."

Why would doctors want to do this?

MROZ: In the '70s and early '80s, there wasn't very much frozen sperm available. So they had to use fresh. And fresh works a lot better than frozen in getting somebody pregnant if you think about sperm moving around. So for some of them, I think it was easier. They had the supply right there.

Some of them, it might have been a God complex. Some of them were known to be very religious, may have wanted more children. It's not clear.


I want to talk about the law. Three states have passed laws criminalizing this, including Indiana, California and Texas. The Texas law goes the furthest. "If the health care provider uses human sperm, eggs or embryos from an unauthorized donor, the law identifies the crime as a sexual assault. Those found guilty must register as sex offenders."

Can you just talk to me about the importance of stat toot of limitations in these cases?

MROZ: Indiana is the only one who lifted the statute of limitations or sidestepped it. There, you can still sue up to five years after you discover the deception, not after it happened. Most people find out when they're adults. That way, they're able to sue the doctors.

BALDWIN: Just thinking about all the people who do this, right? Freezing eggs is one thing, but embryos, and you think you know who your donor is.

You have written quite a bit about this. So I found this quote from the reproductive law attorney, who told you, "Donor anonymity will suffer the same fate as the cassette tape."

In other words, it doesn't exist anymore.

MROZ: Right.

BALDWIN: If anonymity is gone, what will that mean for donors, for all the people out there who need a donor to have a baby?

MROZ: I think donors need to know there's no more anonymity. Even though some of the fertility banks will still guarantee it, they really can't. Somebody will find you eventually.

It could go the way of England, which does have limits of 10 families per donor. And there's a little bit of a shortage there of sperm donors. But the flip side is that people will actually know who their biological father is. BALDWIN: Especially with all these commercial DNA tests and detective

work --

MROZ: Right.

BALDWIN: -- we just discussed.

It's fascinating.

Jacqueline Mroz, thank you very much for coming on and sharing.

MROZ: Thank you very much for having me.

BALDWIN: I appreciate it.

Just into CNN, the White House has dropped its attempt to eliminate up to $4 billion in foreign aid. A source tells CNN it was President Trump's decision to abandon the plan in the face of opposition from lawmakers in both parties and policy advocates.

The administration had hoped to make foreign aid more conditional on support of U.S. policies. A similar plan was scrapped last year as well after bipartisan backlash.

You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Top of the hour here.

We begin with troubling new signs that the economy may be weakening. For one, America's manufacturing sector just shrank for the first time in a nearly a decade. That index hasn't contracted since 2009.

We're also learning about a major adjustment to the bedrock of the nation's economy. The strong jobs numbers. The Labor Department is now saying, between April of 2018 and March of this year, there were half a million fewer jobs created than we originally thought.

And it's all adding to the worries of a slowdown. Just as new government deficits show that the federal deficit is ballooning faster than previously expected.

When you look at this screen, at this graph, you see that orange line. That's now on track to hit $1 trillion in the fiscal year 2020. That's several years earlier than the CBO first projected.

[15:00:00] The economy has, of course, been President Trump's strongest bragging point as he tries to win re-election. So his recent erratic behavior in which he retweeted himself as the --