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Feds Raise Concerns About White House Plan to Police Social Media; Giuliani Says He Met With Ukrainians to Discuss Biden; Inslee Leaves Race, Vows to Continue Climate Change Crusade; The Risks And Rewards of Candidates Going on Big Single Issues; Amazon Fires Burning at Record Rates, Humans to Blame; Fisherman Says His Pitbull Saved Him from Shark. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 22, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: -- be unconstitutional. So let's bring in CNN tech reporter Brian Fung who is breaking the story. And so Brian, what are you hearing from federal officials about their major concerns regarding this plan?

BRIAN FUNG, CNN TECH REPORTER: Well, the big concern here is that this proposal could be a violation of the First Amendment. As one legal expert told me, he said, having the government essentially look over the shoulder of tech companies as they try to moderate the content on their platforms would essentially be -- have the government intervene where it doesn't belong, into the internal decision making of a company that tries to edit or curate its platforms.

And there are other concerns here too here. You know, for example, the FCC has historically been very wary of regulating individual websites or internet companies. Instead it's historically regulated companies like Comcast and Verizon which are simply providers of internet access. This would be a very big change for the FCC if it decided to go down that road. And could open the door to regulation of the internet more generally, if this does end up becoming a thing and survives legal scrutiny. As you can imagine there might be inevitable lawsuits about this.

It's important to point out here, none of the officials from these agencies are actually speaking out publicly at the moment. These remarks were made in confidence and in a closed-door meeting at -- with Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission. And a branch of the Commerce Department, officials getting together to talk about this about a month ago. But so far, you've only had one FCC Commissioner, a Democrat, Jessica Rosenworcel commenting on this publicly. In a tweet on CNN's reporting on this previously, she simply had one very shocked response to it, which was simply what?

Which kind of gives you a sense of how out of left field this proposal is among some people.

BALDWIN: Yes, what with a lot of t's, Brian Fung. Thank you, thank you very much for the scoop there.

President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has apparently not given up his mission to dig up dirt on Joe Biden who is at this point the frontrunner to take on Donald Trump in 2020.

Giuliani originally floated a plan to travel to Ukraine last May, but later cancelled the trip. And now, Giuliani tells CNN that the State Department reached out to him, alerting him that a man who Giuliani says is the lawyer for the Ukrainian President wanted to meet.

Giuliani added that he spoke twice with that man over the phone before the two agreed to meet last month in Madrid. CNN political correspondent Sara Murray is with me now. And so, we know that Giuliani thinks Biden had a Ukrainian prosecutor fired. Tell me more about the back story.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, in some ways, Joe Biden did. Look, he was the Vice President and he essentially said he threatened to withhold U.S. aid from the Ukraine unless they ousted this prosecutor who was widely viewed as corrupt. And this was a larger crackdown on corruption in Ukraine at the time. Again at the time, Joe Biden was Vice President.

The thing that is riling people up, is that his son, Hunter Biden was sitting on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, had ties to this company. And at that point this prosecutor had been investigating this Ukrainian this gas company. And so that is what is sort of igniting the idea that there is some conspiracy at play here. And that the only reason that Joe Biden perhaps wanted to get rid of this prosecutor is because they were investigating a company that his son had ties to.

So that's the sort of conspiracy theory there, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Got you so, we know other Western governments also called for the dismissal of said prosecutor, and there is no evidence that the former Vice President did anything wrong. So why is Giuliani so focused on this?

MURRAY: That's right. I mean, I think that the reason that Giuliani is focused on this, is because they believe it could cause problems for Joe Biden, and we know that Joe Biden is one of President Trump's top concerns when it comes to 2020.

I mean the other thing is if you look at it on its face, it just kind of looks bad. Even if nobody did anything wrong here, they're hoping that Americans at home will look at something like this, and make it look like Joe Biden was doing things to protect the interest of his son.

Again as you pointed out there is no evidence that that's why Joe Biden did this. And the calls for this prosecutor to step aside were very widespread and the corruption was very well known about at that time -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Sara Murray, thank you very much.

In the race for 2020, why Joe Biden told workers that his party stopped listening to them.

Plus, for some reason Niki Haley felt she had to shoot down rumors that really weren't there about potentially being the President's running mate next year.


BALDWIN: Well, another Democratic candidate decides to pull the plug on his Presidential campaign. This time it is Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Inslee who made climate change the single issue of his campaign acknowledged that he would not be carrying the ball for Democrats in the Presidential race. And although he had reached the donor threshold to qualify for the third Democratic national debate, he just couldn't quite get the traction he needed in the polls. And this morning, Governor Inslee announced he will seek a third term as governor instead.

Also today, another 2020 drop-off. Former Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, is taking his next political steps, he will be challenging Republican Cory Gardner for the U.S. Senate seat, but it is another crowded field.

[15:40:00] Gardner is seen as one the most vulnerable Republican Senators in 2020. And so far, at least 10 other Democrats have signed up to try to take him out.

Back to Jay Inslee. And one thing he's certainly not giving up on is his mission to push for meaningful action on climate change. How has his passion impacted the overall conversation? Let's chat? Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator Aisha Moodie-Mills is with me with more. Welcome to the family by the way,


BALDWIN: Nice to have you on.

MOODIE-MILLS: Great to be here.

BALDWIN: Governor Inslee, do you think -- that was his issue, right. The climate crisis. Do you think he moved the needle at all on the conversation among these candidates? I'm looking at your face like --

MOODIE-MILLS: Well, I mean, here's the thing, our friends who have been doing work around climate change for decades have done a great job, I think, in building a movement. And so, it's wonderful that he was the voice and the face of the movement in this primary process.

I don't know that he necessarily kicked the ball over anywhere. But I think that it's great that there is a conversation that's going to be had. There's obviously CNN is about to have a conversation about climate.

I think that that's powerful and it matters. I'm not sure and this why he left the race, right. I'm not sure that he was the person to really carry the conversation forward. But it will be interesting to me to see, how conversations like the Green New Deal start to play out on the campaign trail.


MOODIE-MILLS: Will they start to play out on the campaign trail?

BALDWIN: What about issues regarding women and family. Because one of the candidates who's just in the lower tier, is New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. And we were talking a couple days ago on the show and I was just sort of asking her, like, why does she think she's not really connected with voters so far?

She hasn't qualified for this next Presidential debate, and in this era of me-too, where everyone's -- these issues should be in the forefront and out in the open and she's really prioritized them. Why do you think she hasn't resonated?

MOODIE-MILLS: You know, I am just not sure. What's interesting to me is that the midterm elections were really won through this energy of resist, that came off of the Women's March, right?


MOODIE-MILLS: And so now, we're in this Presidential debate where it seems like even though we have a backdrop of me-too, those conversations aren't actually dominating this political cycle, period. And so Senator Gillibrand who has been super authentic since day one as a champion for women and girls, it's been interesting that she hasn't been able to breakthrough.

But generally in this conversation that we're having in the Democratic side, we're not having enough talk about women's issues, and it's interesting to me too, because everyone wants to talk about black women, black women, black women as it relates to the vote. But not necessarily having a broader conversation about women's issues even I say a Planned Parenthood --

BALDWIN: What is the conversation we should be having in?

MOODIE-MILLS: I mean I think that we should be always talking about the fact that Donald Trump is a philanderer. Donald Trump has a lot of accusations against him. Donald Trump certainly is not a guy who cares at all about women. And I think that is something given that so many women voted for Donald Trump, we have to keep that conversation in the forefront. And give women an option to say, hey, let's talk about this. What are your values? Who represents you? Who reflects you? And not give him a pass at the way he has treated women. I think that Senator Gillibrand has been trying to do that. But I don't know why it's not breaking out.

BALDWIN: Yes. Well, the guy who is putting himself out there as the one and only to beat Donald Trump is of course the former Vice President Joe Biden. And so I want to play a clip. This is what he told some Iowa voters about a big mistake that Democrats made in the last election cycle.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not being critical, but some of you voted for Donald Trump because we stopped talking to you. My party stopped talking to you a lot. My dad used to have an expression, half of winning, Joe, is showing up. Just showing up and asking, asking for help. We sort of stopped talking to our base. High school educated Americans.


BALDWIN: Is he right? Did the Democrats stop talking to the high school educated Americans?

MOODIE-MILLS: Here's what I think. I think if you look back at the 2016 campaign, 9 percent of the folks who voted for Barack Obama ending up going and voting for Donald Trump. And then you had about 7 percent of people who voted for Barack Obama who stayed home.

Out of those people who stayed home, 51 percent of them were people of color. And about 30 percent of them were about like young people essentially, kind of under 30. The conversation that I think Biden is trying to have around why he's

electable is him saying, I'm going to try to get back some of that 9 percent.

The truth is that if Democrats focus on really simulating their actual base of people of color, of young people, of getting that Obama coalition back together, given that Biden constantly touts his Obama bona fide.

BALDWIN: He does, he does.

MOODIE-MILLS: If we focus on those folks in getting turnout maximized, that's how we ultimately win. And frankly, I don't think an electability argument that says, hey, I'm going to talk to this small slice of people is what excites and animates the base that really needs to turn out in force, in order to take Trump out of the White House.

BALDWIN: We're going to have more conversations, Aisha Moodie-Mills, thank you very much.

MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, the Amazon is burning. Stunning images from Brazil as an unprecedented number of fires have broken out. We have details on what it all means for the air you breathe. We'll be right back.


[15:50:00] BALDWIN: We are following the breaking news out of Brazil where the The Amazon Rainforest is burning at record rates. And experts say

humans are likely to blame. Environmentalists argue that many of the fires currently burning were set by ranchers and loggers who want to clear the land. And they've been emboldened by the country's right- wing President. Wow.

With me now is CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray. And I mean, I can't -- these images are stunning and alarming. How bad is the situation? And what does this mean for the air we breathe?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It means everything for the air we breathe. In fact the Amazon is responsible for 20 percent of the world's oxygen. In fact it's why the rainforests are called the world's lungs. Now if the Amazon was completely lost, then the amount of carbon that would be emitted into the atmosphere would be equivalent to 140 years of all human-induced carbon emissions. So think about that.

That would mean many of the big cities along the coast would be completely lost and under water. A lot of the animal species that we have now would be lost. You wouldn't be able to recognize the planet at all. That's why everyone is so up in arms and screaming to the rooftops about this, which they should be.

Here are all the fires burning and as we zoom down, you can see even more. No fires should be burning right here. That's the problem. That's the Amazon, the rainforest. That where we should not see any burning. And you can see all of the smoke, all of the fires that are currently burning. And we found about this on Monday, because the smoke was spilling so far down to the south, ash was actually falling from the sky. We saw the images from NASA and we traced them back to the Amazon. And it was just completely heartbreaking.

Of course, over 74,000 fires year to date in this area, 85 percent more than 2018.In fact, 9,000 new fires since Monday alone. And so, the ranchers and the loggers, that is just a very small portion of this. You can see from some of these maps that actually aren't agriculture related. And that is the huge problem that this is being allowed to go on. Of course, in the Amazon such a valuable resource to the entire world -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: I'm just sitting here wondering, how, I mean with all the fires on your map, how do they even begin to put it out? We'll watch, I guess, how it develops in the coming days. Jennifer Gray, thank you very much, with the update there on Brazil.

Right now, a manhunt is underway for a possible sniper that shot an L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy, we'll take you there with an update.


BALDWIN: A California man has his 1-year-old Pitbull to thank for rescuing him from a shark. It all started when James White went fishing a couple of weeks ago. His dog, Darby, was in the truck, when James caught something heavy on the line. And he told me, he didn't know it was a shark until he reeled it in.


JAMES WHITE, RESCUED FROM SHARK ATTACK BY HIS DOG: One I brought it onto the land, I was taking the hook out, what it did, is it pivoted its head and grabbed on side, the inside of my ankle. And as soon as it bit down, I immediately saw blood. So I thought, OK, this isn't going to be good. So there were a couple other fishermen around me, about a hundred

yards away. So I'm yelling to them to come and try to help me. And they really couldn't hear me. So I'm trying to get the shark off my --

BALDWIN: But your dog heard you. Darby saved the day. What did Darby do?

WHITE: What he did was -- he heard me yelling for help. So what he did, he didn't jump through the open window. He somehow opened the door. Because I turn around and I see him coming down the side of the embankment, which was only about ten feet away from me.

And what he did is, I'm trying to grab the head, I felt him grab the shark behind the gills with his mouth and he bit down and he tried pulling it with his head. So I told him, I said, no, no, I said back off because when he was biting down, the shark was biting harder.

So then I got him to back off. I told him, stay there, it will be OK. Then he grabbed it by the tail and ran the opposite direction up the hill towards where the jeep was to remove it from my leg, which the shark then released its grip. And I was able to put it back in the water. And have it swim off.

BALDWIN: How are you doing? I'm such a dog person asking about your dog. You're OK?

WHITE: No. I'm fine.


WHITE: Yes. I'm good. It just punctured an artery, not too severe, a couple cuts and scrapes. But Darby is fine. Right after it happened, he sat right next to me. And he knew he did good.

BALDWIN: Yes. Darby gets a big old treat after that. I'm glad you're OK, James. That is mighty frightening, James White.

WHITE: He got a steak. Yes.

BALDWIN: You bet he did. Nice big juicy steak for Darby.

WHITE: Yes, definitely. Barbeque. Yes.

BALDWIN: Thank you very much.


That's it for us today. I'm Brooke Baldwin. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.