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Tropical Storm Dorian Forecast; Purdue Pharma Opioid Settlement; Barr Books Trump Hotel for Party; Trump's Tax Returns at Banks; Midweek Grades with Cillizza. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 28, 2019 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And into (INAUDIBLE) area and into the eastern half of Puerto Rico. That's what was hit so very hard the last time by Maria.

And here's what you're talking about, this category two event that could occur anywhere from Jacksonville to Miami. The cone is wide. Five days away. The cone is 200 miles on either side. And even one of the models that I've been looking at, the American model, actually takes this thing and misses Florida altogether, a lot like Matthew. So we have a lot more options here and 120 hours away in a model is a long, long time.

The storm is 60 miles per hour. Gusts of 70. Hurricane hunter just left Curacao. They are now on the way to the storm to check for lower pressures and to check to see how the wind has been doing in the overnight hours. There are the models. And there are the ones that miss the U.S. altogether. Let's hope that's the answer.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Chad, you have your work cut out for you. Days of concerns here.


BERMAN: Stand by. Keep us posted.

MYERS: Yes. We'll do.

BERMAN: All right, we have more breaking news for you this morning.

Numerous reports that the Sackler family, who joins the drug maker Purdue Pharma, could give up ownership under a proposed settle to end lawsuits related to the opioid crisis. The settlement could cost the family billions of dollars of their own money.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now with all the breaking details.

You just got back from Oklahoma where there was a judge who ruled on this case. Now it seems like the Sacklers may see the writing on the wall.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And what we're learning, John, is that the Sacklers could be paying as much as $3 billion of their own money according to reports from "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," and NBC News. NBC also reporting that that number could be part of a much larger settlement to the tune of some $10 billion to $12 billion. That's money that would go towards resolving thousands of state and federal claims against the drug maker, all alleging that they have fueled the country's opioid epidemic. This fall, a federal trial is set to kick off involving some 2,000 cities and counties who all say that pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue, should be held responsible. Purdue has, of course, been facing these kinds of allegations for years. Video obtained by ProPublica shows Dr. Richard Sackler's deposition from a 2015 lawsuit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know how much the Sackler family has made off the sale of OxyContin?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But fair to say it's over a billion dollars?

SACKLER: It would be fair to say that, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if it's over $10 billion?

SACKLER: I don't think so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know if it's over $5 billion?

SACKLER: I don't know.



FIELD: That suit was resolved with a settlement. As for the latest talks about a proposed settlement, Purdue has put out a statement saying this. While Purdue Pharma is prepared to defend itself vigorously in the opioid litigation, the company has made clear that it sees little good coming from years of wasteful litigation and appeals. The people and communities affected by the opioid crisis need help now.

And, John and Alisyn, as you point out, all of these details about a possible settlement breaking just on the heels of that important decision in Oklahoma in which a judge decided that Johnson & Johnson needed to be held responsible for the opioid epidemic, telling them that they should pay the state some $572 million. Johnson & Johnson --

BERMAN: All right, Alexandra Field, stay on this for us. It seems like it's developing very quickly.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, this is far from over. Thank you very much, Alex.

BERMAN: All right, the attorney general of the United States, William Barr, is hosting a 200-person holiday party at a Washington, D.C., hotel. He's paying $30,000 out of his own pocket. Guess who's going to get it? The Trump family. We'll discuss, next.


[06:37:36] CAMEROTA: Attorney General Bill Barr is planning a big holiday bash for about 200 people at a price tag of $30,000. Now, his choice of venue is important because that will make a lot of money for that venue. And it's the Trump International Hotel.

Back with us is Joe Lockhart, Elaina Plott, and John Avlon.

Man, Bill Barr loves himself some Donald Trump stuff, doesn't he? He wanted to work for him. He, you know, auditioned in that unsolicited statement. He has, you know, mischaracterized facts for the president. And now he wants to give the president's family $30,000.

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and he's joining a long list of foreign governments, Republican operatives that, you know, have lined the pockets of the president.

It's not the $30,000 number that's important. It's the idea that the attorney general of the United States is supposed to be above politics. And since he's taken the job, he's acted like the president's defense attorney. And the optics of this are awful. It just sends the message that it's OK to go ahead and line the pockets of the president. And, you know, he had no credibility, so I guess this doesn't hurt him much. But it's just -- it just stinks.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's about much more than optics though.


AVLON: I mean it's about more than incredibly bad judgment. It's about undercutting the independence and the credibility of the Justice Department from the top. The Justice Department right now is engaged in a series of lawsuits defending the Trump hotels against charges that it's breaking the emoluments clause. And so for the president and for the attorney general of the United States to choose to give the Trump Organization $30,000 of his own money so his guests could have a $100 a head buffet --

BERMAN: Pigs in a blanket.

AVLON: Pigs in a blanket. But when there were dozens, if not hundreds of other hotels in Washington, D.C., that sends an intentional message and it undercuts the independence and the integrity of the office. All this talk about Bill Barr being an institutionalist coming in has proved to be just -- just a dumpster fire.

BERMAN: And, Elena, if you're still with us out there, inside "The Washington Post" story, William Barr's people say they checked other hotels first. They couldn't get into the Willard or the Mayflower because --

CAMEROTA: So what's wrong with the Trump Hotel that it's available? BERMAN: Exactly. Those may be the only other two hotels in Washington. And Walter Schaub, who used to run the ethics off, says probably not illegal, but that's not the issue here as our friends have been pointing out, it just sort of smells.

[06:40:04] ELAINA PLOTT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm old enough to remember when Rudy Giuliani tried to say on a Sunday show, I believe it was, that even if President Trump had ultimately colluded with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 election, that wouldn't necessarily be illegal. So I think this is another case where, yes, it is about more than optics. But optics is not just a banal term. As John pointed out, this is a very clear case where Bill Barr, right now, is tasked with presiding over cases in which others have said quite clearly they have issues with this president and his willingness to host in an official capacity foreign governments and others throughout this administration.

So, yes, is this an official party for Bill Barr? No. But I do think it's a case where even, I don't know, a judge back home in Alabama where I'm from at the county level might say, I'm not going to go to this bed and breakfast because I'm currently involved in a case which, you know, might preclude me from doing that because it just doesn't look great. The fact that we're having this conversation about the attorney general of the United States really is, I think, a bit astonishing.


BERMAN: No bedbugs at the Trump International Hotel, by the way.


AVLON: Strange segue.

BERMAN: Well, no, I'm just saying --

CAMEROTA: I mean I --

BERMAN: I'm just saying the president's been tweeting -- one of the things he's most concerned about is the idea there are no bedbugs at Doral in Florida, where he wants to host the G-7. I just --

CAMEROTA: Plus there have been claims of bedbugs at Doral. And I think a lawsuit from somebody who stayed there who said that there had been an infestation of bedbugs.

But why is the Trump Hotel the only hotel available for a holiday party if that's what Bill Barr is claiming?

BERMAN: No bedbugs and proximity to the Justice Department.

CAMEROTA: Those are two good things.

LOCKHART: But it's -- but it's -- but it's the same -- the same concept when you have -- it's Bill Barr is the micro, Donald Trump is the macro example, where, for the rest of the world, he wants to showcase one of his properties. He wants to bring the leaders of the major democracies and industrial countries around the world to one of his properties.

AVLON: And we are defining deviancy down.


CAMEROTA: OK, now to the least satisfying story of the day.

AVLON: Well, I can't wait to get to that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, prepare yourself.

President Trump's taxes.


CAMEROTA: Does Deutsche Bank have them or not? Deutsche Bank has something, but it's so redacted that we can't exactly tell what information Deutsche Bank holds.

AVLON: Right. And they needed to be subpoenaed to admit they may even have something, which shows they're either really -- they're concerned about giving forward the information they have, is to put it mildly, but it raises a lot of questions about what might be on these pages and what it could show because that private bank that was loaning to him, when no one else would, whose money were they giving, who were the cosigners? Interesting questions we're going to need to find the answer to.

BERMAN: Eliana, it seems to me the story here isn't that Deutsche Bank is saying without saying that they actually have the tax returns, it's that it had to go through an entire court process for them to even admit without saying that they had the tax returns. This just shows how every inch of this is going to be litigated and delayed as much as the White House can possibly make it happen.

PLOTT: Well, you have to remember, too, John, that the person, you know, leading the defense for the Trump Organization and these inquiries from congressional Democrats is the former deputy counsel of the White House under Don McGahn. This is somebody who has, you know, been aligned with this administration from the beginning. And according to a source who has been directly involved in these proceedings has told me that they, you know, ultimately see this going to the Supreme Court. The timeline being, however, one that they believe will be wrapped up ahead of 2020.

So, as reluctant as Deutsche Bank and the president's accounting firm may be now to confirm or reveal any details about the president's business dealings or tax returns, it may ultimately be that we know more about this ahead of 2020, which is when it could matter most.

CAMEROTA: Why have 10 seconds. Why are they slow rolling this? Why would Deutsche Bank slow roll this information?

LOCKHART: Because they're looking after their own interests. They've been accused of money laundering. They're protecting their interest. What -- I mean the -- the bombshell in this could be that Donald Trump was a player in this -- with the Russians at Deutsche Bank in laundering money. We don't know. But they are not protecting Donald Trump, they are protecting themselves.

CAMEROTA: Friends, thank you all very much.

BERMAN: So how do you get a good graded from Chris Cillizza in your political midweek grades?

CAMEROTA: I guess I think you just butter him up with lots of cookies and pizza I think is what he likes right now.

BERMAN: All right, there's been a lot of developments on the campaign trail over the last week. One candidate earns an A.


BERMAN: We're not to be (INAUDIBLE) which one this is.

CAMEROTA: What did that --

BERMAN: Oh, we just sort of did tip you off.


BERMAN: We just did tip you off.

CAMEROTA: What did Elizabeth Warren give Chris Cillizza?

BERMAN: That's next.


[06:48:44] BERMAN: What a week on the campaign trail. For some candidates it might be the last or close to the last. And other candidates, it could be the beginning of some new momentum.

So who's getting the good grades from the most important professor in America? Chris Cillizza joins us now.


CAMEROTA: He just -- he takes on that title with pride. (INAUDIBLE).

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN: Yes, John, thanks for that. The check's in the mail.

CAMEROTA: Well done.

All right, so let's start at the beginning, professor. Who earns an A this week?

CILLIZZA: OK, I always like it when we start positive, Alisyn. Yes, A for Elizabeth Warren. I just don't think you can see it any other way. Fifteen thousand people in Seattle over the weekend, 6,500 in St. Paul earlier last week. She had 4,000 in L.A. at a town hall earlier last week as well. Plus, polling that shows her across the board moving upward, passing Bernie Sanders in some places, challenging Joe Biden in other places. She has the best organization in Iowa. She's going to be very well funded. And she has the most important thing in a campaign, momentum.

BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: It's your turn now.

BERMAN: All right. Who's next?

CILLIZZA: OK, this is in -- sort of a -- I went back and forth on this a couple times in terms what to give him. But Joe Walsh is now in the Republican primary presidential race. He joins Bill Weld in it. I give him a b minus and I'll tell you why.

[06:50:01] I think his approach has been strategically smart. Get on as many cable TV shows as you can and talk as much as you can about your willingness to get in Donald Trump's face. Trump responded last night.

BERMAN: Right.

CILLIZZA: You know, he basically called his opponents the three stooges. Any time you can provoke a response, that's a win.

Now, why doesn't he get a higher grade? Because he's just not going to win. I -- you know, this campaign, I think, is about annoying Trump and providing alternative -- an alternative message to Trump. It's not really about winning.

BERMAN: But I will say -- I will say, the fact that he got Trump to respond overnight is a big deal.


BERMAN: Because there are people around the president saying, don't pay any attention to him, but he couldn't resist.


CILLIZZA: Yes. And Bill Weld -- Bill Weld and Mark Sanford, who are -- Mark Sanford's not announced. Bill Weld has been in since April. Neither of them got Donald Trump to mention them. So, you know, he engaging. But prior to now he hadn't.

CAMEROTA: That's great. I mean we're in upside down world when being called a three stooge is a win.

CILLIZZA: I know. That's a win.

CAMEROTA: But, OK, let's move on.

The next grades that you are not kind to our friends Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet, and Gillibrand. CILLIZZA: No.

CAMEROTA: What is happening here, Chris?

CILLIZZA: Yes. All right, so here's the problem. As John mentioned in the open, Alisyn, today is a big day in that view -- by midnight tonight, if you haven't raised 130 -- if you don't have 130,000 individual donors and 2 percent in either four national or early state polls, you're not making the September 12th debate in Houston, Texas. None of the three of those people you see on screen have any chance of making it now. And that's two United States senators and the governor of a state. The state of Montana.

That's a remarkable thing that people like these three, sound resumes, no scandals in their campaigns, aren't going to make a debate stage. I think it speaks to, number one, the field is, yes, huge, but that people, at least at some level, are looking for something different. Remember, Andrew Yang, who no one knew anything about when this campaign started, is going to be on that debate stage. These three not. It's hard to keep your campaign going I think if you can't make the debate.

CAMEROTA: Well, they might make the October debate.

CILLIZZA: They might, but you have to last through that desert between September and October.

BERMAN: You're throwing out some incompletes this week, Chris?

CILLIZZA: Yes, so two incompletes again, John, to your point, related to today's qualify deadline for the debate. So Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Steyer are the only two who have a chance -- actually, I did this last night. Tulsi Gabbard, woop (ph), not a chance because two polls were coming out today. One, "USA Today"/Suffolk comes out. Gabbard did not get 2 percent. She needed two qualifying polls. There's only one other big poll left to come out, Quinnipiac University later today. So Gabbard out. Put her in the "d" category if you'd like.

Steyer really is the incomplete at this point. He has all the fundraising numbers and he has three qualified polls. Basically he needs 2 percent in this poll that comes out later today by Quinnipiac University -- shout-out to my people in Connecticut -- to make it into the next debate. If not, we have ten candidates. If so, we have 11 and that would make for an awkward, do we do six and five? You maybe add an extra podium. It could be interesting.

BERMAN: We should note, that poll that you're talking about comes out at 8:00 a.m. live. We'll cover it live.

CAMEROTA: We will have breaking news.

CILLIZZA: I will be watching.

CAMEROTA: And only because we raised this scandal during the tease, Chris, I have -- I feel I have to address this. Are you bribable for these grades? CILLIZZA: No, of course not.

CAMEROTA: Oh, I said you were.

CILLIZZA: I am -- I am -- I am a pure academic. I'm not the coach of some random team.

BERMAN: Chris Cillizza, not bribable and no bedbugs.

Thank you so much for being with us.

CILLIZZA: No way. Absolutely not.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Chris.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, gentleman. Thank you, lady.

CAMEROTA: All right. Puerto Rico is bracing for a direct hit. Tropical Storm Dorian is gaining strength at this hour and posing a much bigger threat to Florida now. So we have the very latest on the storm's track for you, next.


[06:57:44] CAMEROTA: Now to a story you'll see first on CNN. CDC officials say there is, quote, a reasonable chance that the U.S. will lose its measles elimination status. What does that mean?

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (December 11, 2000): The incidence of diseases such as measles, mumps, and rubella are at an all-time low.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): So low that in the year 2000 the World Health Organization declared that measles was eliminated in the United States. Now CNN is first to report that the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there's a, quote, reasonable chance that the U.S. will lose its measles elimination status as early as October 1st.

Dr. William Schaffner is a longtime adviser to the CDC on vaccine issues.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Losing the elimination status of measles is an embarrassment. Public health will be embarrassed. It's like having a black eye.

COHEN: So why did measles return? In part because some ultraorthodox Jews in New York refused to vaccinate their children. Outbreaks in this community have been going on for nearly a year now.

SCHAFFNER: If that continues to the one-year cutoff point, bang, they take back the elimination card. COHEN: And that could cause trouble world.

SCHAFFNER: I'm concerned it will reduce the motivation of other ministers of health around the world in trying to eliminate measles in their countries because they'll say, gee, if the U.S. couldn't maintain it, why should we work so hard on this?

COHEN: And that could lead to more deaths. Already tens of thousands of people, mostly young children, die of measles each year globally. Doctors hope that once the current outbreak ends, the CDC and others will do a better job of combatting anti-vaccine propaganda on social media, lies that encourage parents to ignore science and could cost the United States a great public health achievement.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN reporting.


BERMAN: That's an important moment.

OK, we get some breaking news overnight. Tropical Storm Dorian, which will be a hurricane soon, has changed its track. Direct impact twice in the United States.

NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: All right, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And we do begin with big, breaking weather news for you.

[07:00:06] Puerto Rico is now bracing for a direct hit from Tropical.