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Tom Steyer (D) is Interviewed on his Campaign and Politics; Escape after Jet Catches on Fire after Takeoff; Florida Victim's Girlfriend Testifies in Trial; Traces of Manmade Chemicals in Bloodstreams. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 22, 2019 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Blue-state audiences tempted to how at this should try to understand this phenomenon, because it speaks to a legitimate problem that Democrats have. The average American likes meat, sports, money, porn, cars, cartoons, and shopping. Less popular, socialism, privilege-checking, and the world ending in ten years.

Basely he's saying that perhaps you and others are underestimating the power of President Trump.

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Alisyn, can I make a -- can I respond to that, please?

CAMEROTA: Yes, please, please.

STEYER: Let me say this. The biggest fact in American politics is that four out of five Americans believe that corporations have bought the democracy. I don't think Americans are responding to Mr. Trump's taste in meats. I think what they're responding to was his attack on the establishment for disrespecting and paying no attention to them. And, in fact, that is what four out of five Americans across the spectrum, Democrats, Republicans and independents, believe. That's the whole point of my campaign.

The government has failed in Washington, D.C. And what we -- it's been bought by corporations. Mr. Trump had the right analysis, but his solutions are absolutely terrible. You started this section --


STEYER: By quoting him as talking about somebody else's trade war. Let's face it, it's his trade war. He's a failed president. His actual policies are disastrous. But that doesn't mean that his original analysis and his ability to relate to people and talk about that is disastrous.

I don't underestimate him at all. He was absolutely on point, he just didn't know what the heck to do about it.

CAMEROTA: Tom Steyer, really interesting to get your perspective on all of this. Thanks so much for being on NEW DAY.

STEYER: Thank you, Alisyn.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So ten people managed to get out alive from this burning plane. The story behind their incredible escape, next.


[08:35:57] BERMAN: Terrifying moments for ten people aboard a small jet attempting to take off. It burst into flames in northern California.

CNN's Scott McLean live, Scott, with really an incredible story of survival.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the video here is stunning, John. And what is more remarkable is that all ten people onboard managed to walk away without any injuries.

This plane was traveling from Orville, California, to Portland, Oregon, late yesterday morning when, for some unknown reason, the takeoff was aborted, the plane slid off the end of the runway.

Initially, the first pictures show that the plane looks intact, just a small grass fire burning beside it. But then by the time fire crews got there and by the time this video was taken, obviously, it was nearly fully engulfed.

But the NTSB and the FAA are investigating, though neither are releasing the names of those onboard.

Now, this plane is a Cessna Citation. And according to the FAA registry, it can hold up to 12 people and can fly up to 2,000 nautical miles. When you think of a private jet, this is probably the type of plane that comes to mind. It was also the same type of plane that Dale Earnhardt Junior, the Nascar legend, was in when his plane crashed less than one week ago. In that case, his plane actually bounced twice while it was landing before plowing through a fence and ending up on a highway in flames. Earnhardt was onboard with his daughter and his wife, along with two pilots. Everyone escaped without serious injury. In fact, Earnhardt is planning to race next weekend.


CAMEROTA: That is another incredible development.

Scott, thank you very much.

All right, there were raw emotions inside a Florida courtroom as testimony gets underway in a stand your ground manslaughter trial in Florida. Markeis McGlockton and his girlfriend went to a convenience store last July. Surveillance video shows a confrontation with an armed man who shot and killed McGlockton. Now McGlockton's girlfriend is sharing her side of the story.

CNN's Natasha Chen joins us live with what she just told the jury. Natasha, what happened in there?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, she was very stoic as she spoke in court yesterday, talking about this incident. She was pregnant at the time with their fourth child. She was in the car with a couple of their kids when Drejka, the defendant, approached. She said that she told him, when my family comes back out, I will leave. But that apparently didn't satisfy him because he allegedly told her people who park in this spot, I give them problems.

Here's what she said to the court.


BRITTANY JACOBS, MARKEIS MCGLOCKTON'S GIRLFRIEND: I just wanted this man to just leave me alone. Just leave me and my babies alone. I told him, do you want me to go get my man. He said, yes, if you want him to fight.

I seen Markeis down there, fighting for his life. So I grab a t-shirt and I put it toward his wound and stopped the -- the bleeding.


CHEN: Now, Drejka initially was not charged when the county sheriff cited the stand your ground law, but in this court case the defense is actually using a general self-defense argument.

Now, you saw surveillance video there. The -- both sides agree on the main fact of the case, but they are debating the nuances, especially debating whether it matters that McGlockton took a few steps back before the shots were fired.

In court we also heard from a witness who said that Drejka seemed very calm after the shooting, walking back to his truck to put away the gun, as well as a truck driver who said just five months before this incident he also had an altercation with Drejka over a handicap spot in the same store.


BERMAN: All right, Natasha, thanks for staying on this for us. We really appreciate it.

So you may not know it, but you probably have traces of manmade chemicals in your bloodstream. Most Americans do. For most of us, it might not cause any issues. But in high amounts it has been linked to a long list of diseases not regulated by the government.

CNN's Rene Marsh has the stories of two families who say they have been devastated by these chemicals.



MARSH: Very high levels.

WYNN-STELT: Very high levels.

MARSH (voice over): Sandy Wynn-Stelt never suspected the water that flowed through her pipes may be poisoning her.

[08:40:04] WYNN-STELT: There's a good chance this will be what ultimately kills me.

MARSH: Sandy's water is tainted by PFAS, a class of chemicals that studies have linked to kidney and liver cancer, thyroid problems, high cholesterol, birth defects, and pregnancy complications. It's in most products that are water, heat and grease resistant, like non-stick pans, food containers, and fabric protectant.

And Belmont, Michigan, where Sandy lives, has some of the highest levels in PFAS in the nation. The groundwater was contaminated by a nearby shoe factory, Wolverine Tannery, which dumped waste materials covered with Scotchguard for years according to state officials.

WYNN-STELT: This is what I drink out of, brush your teeth out of, cook with.

MARSH: Sandy is suing Wolverine and 3M, which makes Scotchguard, over her contamination and the death of her husband Joel. He died of liver cancer in 2016, one year before she found out the water was tainted, so he was never tested for PFAS.

WYNN-STELT: Every night you try to fall asleep and you wonder, is that what did it? Is -- should I not have had him drink so much water?

MARSH: The state of Michigan is also suing Wolverine, which in a response to CNN said it blames 3M and that some of the lawsuits against it include misleading and unsupported allegations. 3M told CNN it regularly and proactively examines the environmental impact of our products and has invested more than $200 million globally on PFAS remediation efforts.

MARSH (on camera): Is this the largest environmental crisis that this state has seen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In terms of residential water drinking impacts, I -- yes.

MARSH: Thirteen hundred miles away, every day dairy farm Art Schaap milks 1,800 cows on his New Mexico dairy farm, and every day, for nearly a year, he dumps it all down the drain.

ART SCHAAP, DAIRY FARMER: That would be about 12,000 gallons a day of milk.

MARSH: The milk is contaminated according to FDA tests and his milk license suspended. Cows lie dead from old age on his farm because no one will buy their beef.

SCHAAP: We have no income. For our family, it's been devastating.

MARSH: Firefighting foam used in training exercises at a nearby military base contaminated the ground water on Schaap's property.

PFAS contamination sites are everywhere. Seven hundred and twelve locations in 49 states have been discovered according to the Environmental Working Group, an activist non-profit.

Manufacturers like 3M and DuPont have stopped making two of the chemicals in the class, but they're still shipped in on products from overseas. They're so prevalent, CDC scientists believe PFAS chemicals are in the bloodstreams of nearly all Americans.

Despite all that, the chemicals are unregulated.

SCHAAP: I almost feel like we live in a third world country when we see a problem like this that's polluting the ground water, we have proof from the test, but yet everybody's standing -- sitting on their hands.

MARSH: Environmentalists have been trying to get the EPA to act for years. The Obama administration took some steps to address PFAS issues. But there's little confidence the Trump EPA will move quickly to make new regulations.

Betsey Southerland worked at the EPA for 33 years before leaving in 2017.

BETSY SOUTHERLAND, FORMER EPA OFFICE OF WATER EMPLOYEE: They are solely devoted to deregulating, to appealing public health protections.

MARSH: Internal government e-mails show the Trump administration wanted to suppress a CDC study that showed the chemicals were dangerous even at levels the EPA had deemed safe. A White House aide wrote in an e-mail they could not get the CDC to, quote, realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.

After mounting public and congressional pressure, the study was released. The EPA did put out an action plan in February, but critics say it's just promises with no real movement.


MARSH: Well, the EPA is responsible for regulating these chemicals. And in a statement the EPA said it was a top priority for the administrator. And it will decide whether to set a limit for the chemicals by the end of the year. But members of Congress say that the EPA simply is not acting with enough urgency, so there is a bipartisan move to force the EPA to act within two years.

Back to you guys.

CAMEROTA: Yes, at least. This sounds urgent. Thank you, Rene, very much for all that reporting.

MARSH: Sure.

CAMEROTA: All right, so what is really behind President Trump's whiplash of a week? We get "The Bottom Line" with David Axelrod, next.


[08:48:18] BERMAN: So "The New York Times" reports this morning that former Trump administration officials are concerned with what they see as the president's new round of erratic behavior.

So let's get "The Bottom Line" with David Axelrod. He's the host of "THE AXE FILES" and a CNN senior political commentator.

So, David, big picture here in a way looking forward with the president, what do you see going on here? If this week is a sign of anything, what do you see it as a sign of?


I think that what really upset the president, and he was very vocal about it, was the Fox News poll. You know, he considers it his home station, state TV. And the poll was very, very down beat for him, showed him losing to the top four Democratic contenders by margins of 12 for Biden, down to 6 for Harris. And I think that set him off because, you know, that combined with economic numbers suggests that his path to re-election isn't going to be as perhaps as easy as he thought it would be. And he feels threatened. And when he feels threatened, he lashes out. And he's lashed out in many different directions. And it's not going to get easier. It's going to get harder. So, I anticipate more of this.

John, let me make one point about that Fox News poll. The number in there -- and I don't know if he read it, but he should, that he should be concerned about is, non-college educated white women. He won that group by 27 points in 2016. In the Fox News poll, they gave him just a plus two approval. And if -- and in the vote against Biden, he only carried that group by 4 points. Four points with Biden, 27 against Clinton.

[08:50:03] You know, if those numbers hold up, he has deep, deep problem. And I think the more erratically he behaves, the more he's driving those voters and other voters away.

CAMEROTA: That's a really interesting analysis, David, because we talk a lot about suburban women and how concerned and scared and freaked out they are as they send their kids back to school next week with this spate of gun violence and mass shootings --


CAMEROTA: And thwarted mass shootings. Every single day we are reporting on some sort of new cache of weapons that thank God at the 11th hour the police have found. But the non-college educated white women, it's hard to know what they're souring on with the president amidst --

AXELROD: Well, I think --

CAMEROTA: I mean there's so much news amidst all of these different things.

AXELROD: Yes, I don't think it's any particular issue. I think it's his style. I think it's the tweets and the tantrums and the chaos that reins around him. It is -- it is disturbing, his tone, you know, the nastiness of it all. I really -- if he doesn't tone it down, he's going to have a big problem with voters that he has counted on, both in the suburbs and in -- among this particular group of voters.

So, yes, I -- he has reason to be worried.

BERMAN: So, David, for your big "AXE FILES" episode this weekend, you spent time out in Iowa at the Iowa State Fair talking to the Democratic candidates.


BERMAN: What's the feeling out there? What did you pick up? As someone who has run and won key races in Iowa --


BERMAN: What was the vibe you were getting?

AXELROD: Yes, I wasn't just talking to the candidates. I also was eating fried Twinkies, I want to tell you that, and they were excellent.

CAMEROTA: Oh, boy.


AXELROD: But, you know, look, my -- you know, it's interesting. We went to Iowa because when you look at these national polls of Democrats, but they really don't mean anything, John. Barack Obama was trailing by 30 points in national polls in September of 2007. This is a sequential process and it begins in Iowa, and I wanted to see what Iowans were thinking. And what I found was, the top tier is the top tier. You know, the same five names that appear on the top of most polls. But they're -- I think there's a great deal of fluidity there.

Elizabeth Warren is doing very well in Iowa. Sanders has a solid core of support. Joe Biden is leading in polls in Iowa, but you don't sense a great deal of enthusiasm for him. So I think there can be a lot of shuffling within that top tier. It's going to be very interesting.


Thanks so much, David.

You can watch "THE AXE FILES" with David Axelrod from the Iowa State Fair Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

BERMAN: All right, "The Good Stuff" is next.

CAMEROTA: But, first, here's a look at the CNN film premier of "Halston," America's first big name fashion designer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is success fun?

HALSTON: Oh, sure, it's fun and it's not fun. And as my mother says, it's the price you have to pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most successful individual in the history of American fashion, Halston.



HALSTON: I'm Halston.

I made it in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His clothes danced with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halston felt that he had to design everything.

HALSTON: Rugs, sheets, perfume, shoes, bags, gloves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came like a king.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He now how to get publicity. The problem was he began to believe it all.

HALSTON: I'm the all-time optimist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took Halston to Studio 54.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He fell in love with it right away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lived out a lot of their fantasies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drugs, sex, and rock 'n' roll.



[08:58:03] BERMAN: All right, we have an extra special "Good Stuff" this morning. It involves one of our beloved colleagues. Maybe most beloved. Senior producer Chandra Whitt. Today is Chandra's last day here at CNN. And, honestly, that's no small thing. She's been here for 32 years.

CAMEROTA: That's incredible. Hey, listen to this --

BERMAN: Oh, look at that. Look at that.

CAMEROTA: She got her start at the company as an intern.

BERMAN: That's her actual intern photo.

CAMEROTA: That's her internship card. That was in the summer of 1987.

BERMAN: She never was powerful enough to have that destroyed, which is interesting enough.

CAMEROTA: Why would you, she looks fantastic.


CAMEROTA: A few months later, she was hired as a video journalists operating the studio cameras, then floor directing and running our teleprompter.

BERMAN: Which, as we all know, is the most important --

CAMEROTA: The most vital thing you can do.

BERMAN: The most important job in television.

Chandra worked as a line producer. You can see pictures of that right there. She oversaw coverage of the Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Oklahoma City bombings, basically everything that happened over the last 32 years.

And then there was this. She was the executive producer leading CNN's coverage on the morning of September 11, 2001. This is a picture from inside the control room that day. She so calmly guided the network through that horrific day.

CAMEROTA: That is incredible.

Chandra has been with us since the launch of NEW DAY and "EARLY START" here in New York. It's hard to imagine working at any one place for 32 years. But Chandra did it. There she is with Jeff, our boss. She made us better every day. She led our staff with incredible grace and her signature southern charm.

So here's to you, Chandra Whitt. Happy retirement. We will really miss you around here.

BERMAN: You know what's interesting, Chandra works often in the overnight hours when we're at our worst.

CAMEROTA: Oh, indeed. Yes.

BERMAN: Right, because to talk to us during that time --

CAMEROTA: Right. BERMAN: It's just always --

CAMEROTA: We're sometimes grumpy --


CAMEROTA: Occasionally. But she is not.

We're really going to miss her around here. So best of luck to you, Chandra, and please stay in touch. This will always be your home.

[09:00:02] BERMAN: All right, time now for "NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto.