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Russia Blames Radioactive Exposure on Fukushima Crabs; Navy SEAL Commander Says We've Drifted from Our Core Values; Justice Ginsburg Treated for Pancreatic Cancer; Op-Ed Says Trump Is Accidental Catalyst for Progressive Change; "Halston" Premiers This Sunday. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 23, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] EDWIN LYMAN, SENIOR SCIENTIST, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: And this doesn't tell us very much about the actual explosion.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, well, Edwin, oddly enough this is not the only nuclear headline to come out of Russia today. That kind of country just launched the world's first floating nuclear reactor in the Arctic. It's part of plan to bring electric power to one of Russia's most remote regions. But Greenpeace is calling it floating Chernobyl are you concerned about this?

LYMAN: I'm concerned about it. I think floating Chernobyl is probably an exaggeration. It's a different type of reactor that has different safety characteristics than Chernobyl. But I am concerned about the push for building small transportable reactors and sending them all around the world.

It's not just Russia that's doing it, but the United States wants to do it as well. The Department of Defense is looking at building small reactors for deploying military bases overseas. Because they're small and transportable. They don't have the containment structures that are needed to really contain radiation in the event of an accident. And that's a problem.

BALDWIN: Edwin Lyman, thank you very much, nice to have you on.

After several incidents of bad behavior and scandal, the commander of the Navy SEALs with a blistering response. New CNN reporting there next. Plus, more on our breaking news, the Dow still plummeting as the President warns businesses after China retaliates.

And, of course, as the President sent out a tweet joking about all of this and his joke involves a U.S. Congressmen and veteran who served this country in Iraq.


BALDWIN: Just into CNN, the admiral overseeing the Navy SEALs has ordered a series of immediate changes to address what he refers to as a drift from Navy core values. Senior Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has this reporting that you will only first see here. What does this stem from and what are the charges? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke. You will

remember there have been a number of very high-profile cases of misconduct in the elite Navy SEALs organization, allegations of alcohol use, sexual assault, cocaine use, misconduct on the battlefield, a whole slew of events.

And that led Rear Admiral Collin Green, the head of Navy SEALs, to write a memo a couple weeks ago saying, we have a problem. That got worldwide attention actually, and Green ordered fixes within days. And now today we have Admiral Green's new memo about just how very unhappy he is about what's going on and what he wants to do about it.

Let me start with him saying right off the top. He says, our force has drifted from our Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment, and he says it's due to a lack of action at all levels of leadership. He goes on to say, the drift stops now, it doesn't get much tougher than that.

The actions Admiral Green is ordering, there will be more direct oversight over any allegations of misconduct. More attention paid to issues of like misconduct involving sexual assault, alcohol abuse, more attention paid to issues like suicide, discipline action will be very heavily regulated. Even grooming standards that SEALs have to show up to work on base in their uniforms with the correct haircuts and grooming standards.

He's trying to re-instill, we are told, discipline. It is one thing for Navy SEALs to be the commandos who operate fairly secretly around the world, the toughest of the tough, doing the jobs that are so difficult that nobody else can do. But what Admiral Green is saying to the Navy, and saying to the Navy SEALs, you are not that special, you have to adhere to discipline, you are part of the military community.

And your duty -- this is really his message -- your duty is not to your teammates, not to protect them, but your duty is to the country. Honor, duty, courage, commitment, he's trying to re-instill this, the SEALs know they have a big problem, Admiral Green knows he has to do something to fix it -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Barbara, thank you very much.

Coming up next, a fascinating take on why the Trump presidency may be good for progressive change in this country. The author of a CNN opinion piece, entitled "Trump is doing what Obama couldn't" joins me to explain his argument next.


BALDWIN: We're staying on this breaking news today that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has once again undergone cancer treatment this time for her pancreas. Let's get to right to Dr. Diane Simeone. She's a director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at NYU. She's on the phone with me. And Dr. Simeone, thank you so much for calling in.

I know you've read the statement. It said that Justice Ginsberg underwent this 3-week course of radiation therapy on this tumor, localized malignant tumor, and that no further treatment is needed at this time. Is she OK? What do you make of that?

DR. DIANE SIMEONE, DIRECTOR, PANCREATIC CANCER CENTER, NYU LANGONE HEALTH (via telephone): I think it's hard to make any definitive conclusions with the amount of information that we have. But certainly for locally confined pancreatic cancer, radiation can be an effective treatment for local control. I think knowing more of the details about the extent of the tumor. Whether that involves any of the major blood vessels in the area, would help us put things in more context.

[15:45:00] It does sound that the tumor was blocking her bile duct. Which is not uncommon when there are tumors located in this location. According to reports, she's had a biliary stent put in place, which should relieve any blockage of the bile duct at the current time. So sounds like this is a reasonable approach based on the information we have on hand, but obviously we'll await more details.

BALDWIN: Yes. We know that she has beaten cancer several times over, and just to quote one line out of this statement from SCOTUS, that the tumor was treated definitively, and there's no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body. That is the latest we have on Justice Ginsburg. Dr. Simeone, thank you so much.

President Trump has brought plenty of chaos and change to his first term in office. And some are now making the case that Trump has become this unintentional catalyst for progressive change in America by angering and energizing the left with his tweets, racially tinged words and hardline policies. And some argue that Trump is actually inspiring that progressive change. The kind of change that President Obama could only hope for.

John Blake is a CNN senior writer for CNN digital and wrote this article for And, John, I mean, you know, when you get into the beginning of your piece, you make this point that it's Trump that's bringing more hope and change than Obama ever could. And you note that some people are looking at that and thinking, well what, that may be blasphemy. State your case.

JOHN BLAKE, CNN DIGITAL SENIOR WRITER: Well, when I first had the thought myself, it made me uncomfortable. I thought it was blasphemy too. But I thought about it, because I'm a student of history. And when I look at significant change in our country's history. It almost always comes through some sort of crisis or chaos. The New Deal reforms would have never happened without the Great Depression. Civil rights laws would have never been passed if people had not died in places like Selma and Birmingham.

So I think people took the wrong lesson from President Obama's election. I think some people thought, well, change comes through the better angels of our nature. But I don't think that's how it works, and I think in an unintentional way, President Trump has galvanized so many progressives, that they're doing things that they should have done but they didn't do when President Obama was in office. BALDWIN: I want you to give specific examples. And when you talk

about galvanizing progressives, you use this term Trump-lash. What is that?

BLAKE: Well, the Trump-lash is what you see when you see so many people that showed up in the midterms. For example, the so-called Obama coalition, they evaporated in the midterms in 2010 and 2014, they were nowhere to be found. But you look at what happened in the last midterm, all these young people who typically vote during midterm showed up.

All these women that ran for office, record number of Muslim Americans, Latino people being energized. I mean, Trump is like a great friend to the Democratic party in an odd way by mobilizing these people to get involved. One of my big things is that I think apathy and cynicism is the big enemy. And when you have somebody that mobilizes people, even if it's anger, the fact that they're involved. That's good.

BALDWIN: You get into racism. And a lot of folks said, we have had a black President. America is post racial. And then along came Donald Trump. So you explain how the 45th President has performed what you call a public service when it comes to racism?

BLAKE: Yes, well, I think the phrase I use is that before -- under Obama and even before President Obama, people had what I call plausible deniability. They could say, well, racism is no longer a pervasive problem we have a black President. Well, when you have a President Trump in office with the tweets, with the statements out of Charlottesville, we have to face race now in this country. We have to deal with issues we that could have ignored or denied before.

So in a sense, you can't -- President Trump has performed a public service. I think also one of the problems with President Obama when he was in office, he could not talk too bluntly about race. What I said before, he was a black President who couldn't be too black. And, you know, I think it would have sparked too much of a backlash.

But now we have all these ugly issues and questions we have to deal with and I think that's why you see a lot more white conservatives who are saying, like Max Boot of "The Washington Post", I never knew how bad racism was until President Trump came into office.

BALDWIN: Yes. We have Max on all the time, and you cite all these examples of how the Trump-lash has galvanized progressives. You pointed women in the midterms. You talk about how we're face to face with racism. And I was left thinking, all right, what do we do about it? Right, so there are these two possible futures for America, in the end you quote this June Jordan apartheid era poem. Where she wrote, we are the ones we have been waiting for.

[15:50:00] BLAKE: I love that poem. And I was thinking we live in a time where people love comic movies like Marvel comic books and The Avengers. We're always looking for this hero. On the left it's President Obama, on the right it's President Trump. We're looking for that person to save us. BALDWIN: But we are the heroes.

BLAKE: Right, in a democracy that's how it works, ordinary people have to do it. It's not up to them. It's up to us.

BALDWIN: We. We are the heroes here. John Blake, your piece is phenomenal. Again, please, everyone, read it, go to Thank you very much.

BLAKE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We are ten minutes away from the closing bell. The Dow is down now 650 points after China threatened another $75 billion in tariffs. We're waiting to see if President Trump retaliates before he leaves for the G-7 summit tonight. Waiting for that response from the White House.

But first we want to honor this week's CNN Hero, a high school student by the name of Zach Wigal, set out to prove that gamers can also be do-gooders and today, he's making video games a part of recovery for children in more than 200 hospitals nationwide.


ZACH WIGAL, FOUNDER, GAMER'S OUTREACH: Sometimes people believe that video games are corrupting the minds of America's youth, but video games are incredible tool for helping kids find a source of fun and relief during stressful and difficult times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To people who think that games are just games, they are so much more than that.

WIGAL: That's all you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have to talk about me being sick. We can play the game, because that's way more cool than having to talk about me being sick.


BALDWIN: To see Zach's team in action go to


BALDWIN: During the height of his fame in the '70s, the name Halston was synonymous with fashion and style and glamour. And now a new CNN film looks at the iconic designer's meteoric rise to fame and his status as a ground-breaking stylist to stars like Jackie Kennedy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was dealing with the creme de la creme of women in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you the person who put the pill box on Jackie Kennedy? ROY HALSTON FROWICK, AMERICAN FASHION DESIGNER KNOWN AS HALSTON: Yes,

I was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That hat was genius. If you look at the inauguration, most of those ladies wore a mink coat. Jackie was in a cloth coat, and a cloth hat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll never forget the impact that hat had. It was even out in Montana, where I was sitting at the time.

HALSTON: It was a very funny story. It was a rather windy day and she put her hand on the hat and it ended up to have a dent in it, and so when doing all the ceremonies it had a dent in the hat, and everybody copied it put a dent in it, which was so funny.


BALDWIN: The film also follows the ultimate loss of his fashion and lifestyle empire that mystified both industry insiders and the general public alike. And Lisa Zay was Halston's assistant for nearly ten years at the end of his career. She also, we know her, we love her at CNN. She works with us here at CNN. So good to have you on.


BALDWIN: Let's talk about your past life with Halston. What was he like behind the scenes?

ZAY: He was demanding. He was a perfectionist, and he was very generous.

BALDWIN: What was it in terms of his designs? What was so special about them that made them so glamorous, yet also so approachable?

ZAY: The simplicity of it. I mean, they weren't fancy. I mean, you had the beads, of course, but they weren't fancy. They were very simple. They were timeless. Could you wear them forever? I mean, I still have a couple of items that if they fit, I could wear them.

BALDWIN: How special is that?

ZAY: It is very special. Yes.

BALDWIN: At some point he sold his company to the Norton Simon corporation and was eventually pushed out completely unable to design under his own name. What kind of toll did that take on him?

ZAY: It was very hard. It was very hard. It was his life. He was sad. He was angry. You know, maybe did a couple things that maybe he shouldn't have done, but --

BALDWIN: Business wise?

ZAY: Yes, maybe choices.


ZAY: But you know what? He was always positive. He was trying to get back in the saddle, so to speak. He was looking to start another company under his initials that, you know, that wouldn't have the Halston name but would have the Halston style. That's what he was working on before he died.


BALDWIN: That was Lisa Zay. We love you, Lisa, thank you for that. Again just a reminder, to all of you "HALSTON" airs this Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific only here on CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" thanks now.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: I hereby order a margarita on this desk at 5:00 p.m. I wanted to see if that could actually work. "THE LEAD" starts right now.

President Trump tosses a grenade into the market, sending an order fit for a communist leader. And says that China's President might actually be a safer choice than the head of the fed.

Breaking this afternoon, news from the Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg treated for pancreatic cancer. The latest on the 86- year-old icon's recovery and what it could mean for the court.

Plus a scam almost as old as the internet itself. Still costing many vulnerable elderly women millions. A massive FBI bust and why you should just delete any message asking you to help smuggle diamonds.