Return to Transcripts main page


New Book on 9/11; Battle for North Carolina House Seat; Apple to Unveil New iPhones; Turning Points Story of Kevin Hines; Anti-trust Investigations into Google and FaceBook. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 10, 2019 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He is the author of "The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11."

And, Garrett, I have to say, this book is gripping and it is a triumph of editing and curating. You've collected so many stories from people in their own words from that day. It's sort of a 360-degree walk through, minute by minute, of September 11th.

Why is it important to have that perspective?

GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR, "THE ONLY PLANE IN THE SKY: AN ORAL HISTORY OF 9/11": I think the importance of hearing that day in people's own voices is that we're 18 years removed from this. And what we now remember are sort of the facts of the day. And we remember it as this very clean, neat story in some ways. You know, the attacks began at 8:46 in the morning with the first crash, ended at 10:29 with the second collapse of the second tower.

That's not how any of us experienced it that day. It was a day of confusion and fear and trauma. We didn't know when the attacks had begun. We didn't know when they were over. There were fears well into the afternoon of more hijacked planes, of second wave attacks, sleeper cells in the days and weeks ahead.

And to really understand all that has unfolded after 9/11, up to and including this week with the collapse of the Taliban peace talks, you have to understand, I think, the way that America experienced and lived that day.

BERMAN: From the very top, to the very bottom. I mean from the White House and the inner sanctum there, I think, to the people who were walking on the streets of Manhattan.

And let's just go to one clip here that's been getting a lot of press. This has to do with Commander Anthony Barnes, the deputy director of the president contingency programs. He was the one who wanted the order for the OK to shoot down the hijacked planes, if they needed to.

Let me read a clip here.

The Pentagon thought there was another hijacked plane, and they were asking for permission to shoot down an identified hijacked commercial aircraft. I asked the vice president that question and he answered it in the affirmative. I asked again to be sure. Sir, I am confirming that you have given permission? For me being a military member and an aviator, understanding the absolute depth of that question was and what the answer was, I wanted to make sure that there was no mistake whatsoever about what was being asked. Without hesitation, in the affirmative, he said, any confirmed hijacked airplane may be engaged and shot down.

You were the first person to get this interview with him. That's an incredible moment.

GRAFF: Yes, and the way that he understood, in that moment, the immense power of what he was asking. I mean this was the request to shoot down a civilian, domestic airliner over American air space, and he went right back to Cheney and asked again to confirm. And Cheney actually was quite annoyed to be asked a second time. Cheney had made his decision. He knew it was the right thing to do, and he wanted to move on.

BERMAN: You also have stories from pilots who were flying with planes that didn't have weapons on them but discussed, if it came to it, they would ram one of the hijacked planes.

GRAFF: We were totally unprepared for this attack on 9/11. And many of the first fighter jets launched into the air that day were launched, scrambled without weapons aboard. And the pilots, as they were taking off, knew that if they had to confront a hijacked plane, they might actually have to ram it themselves in a kamikaze mission. That this was the only tool that was available to them was their own fighter.

BERMAN: You talk about the confusion. There was a big part of the day, everything felt big. It was probably no more than 45 minutes or an hour where they actually thought the plane that crashed in Shanksville was much closer to Camp David. And that influenced decisions for a long time.

GRAFF: That was one of the main reasons actually why the president did not come immediately back to Washington. You know, the president was at Emma Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, rushed aboard Air Force One, and the plane eventually sort of spent the day flying around the southeastern United States, first to Louisiana, then to Nebraska, finally back to Washington.

And throughout it -- and this, again, goes to the confusion and the trauma of that day. You know, this was 2001. No e-mail. No cable TV. The president is picking up rabbit ear antennas, local TV coverage as he's flying around the country. And so for most of the day the president of the United States, on 9/11, less informed than the average American sitting at home watching CNN.

BERMAN: And I remember how hard it was to get anyone on cell phone that day or anyone because all the signals were jammed.

Garrett, you make the point in the forward here, when we talk about 9/11, those of us who were alive that day, those of us who experienced in different ways, whenever we begin the conversations, most people gravitate toward wanting to tell you about where I was and what I was doing, how I experienced that.

Why is that important?

GRAFF: Well, this was in some ways the first global catastrophe that the world had ever experienced before or since. I mean we all watched this unfold actually on many of the morning shows that day. We watched that first crash and then the second crash live on TV.


And so the attacks rippled across the country in a way that we have never really experienced. And so, you know, when part of the power, I think, of this book, in telling this story, coast to coast, morning to night, is this realization of just how many lives were touched and affected by 9/11.

BERMAN: I have to say, I think historians will owe you a debt of gratitude for this book. This will, I think, impact generations in the way they study September 11th.

Garrett Graff, thanks so much for coming on and congratulations.

GRAFF: Thanks for having me for this discussion.

BERMAN: Bianna.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: John and Garrett, it really is something that 18 years later we continue to learn more details about that day that really changed the country and the world. Fascinating.

Well, coming up, Apple's big event is just hours away. What we know about new iPhone and more. It's coming up next.



GOLODRYGA: Today, a special election in North Carolina's Ninth District could give us our first real window in President Trump's re- election strategy.

John Avlon explains in our "Reality Check."



So while you've been paying attention to 2020, it might surprise you to know that 2018 isn't over yet. And that all ends today with a high drama special election in North Carolina's Ninth. And this story's got everything, back room deals, son turning against fathers, even a shady political operative who almost took his secrets to the grave.

And the stakes couldn't be higher. Just ask President Trump, who parachuted into the district last night to throw reinforcements behind Republican Dan Bishop, while accusing Democrats of being, quote, not big believers in religion.

Bishop's opponent is Democrat Dan McCready. He's a Marine and small business own. And yet he's being painted as a radical socialist. And that tells you a lot about the campaign Republicans are planning to run in 2020.

But, first, a little back story.

So Trump won the Ninth by almost 20 points. It's a safe Republican seat by design. A classic example of the rigged system of redistricting which politicians choose their voters instead of the other way around.

But apparently it wasn't quite rigged hard enough because when this guy, Republican Mark Harris, (INAUDIBLE), he got a tiny victory over McCready in 2018. The state elections board refused to certify it.

Now, remember Trump's closing argument about fearmongering and voter fraud? Well, it turns out that the only significant incident was engineered by North Carolina Republican operatives accused to -- of offering to collect and then lose absentee ballots, mostly from voters who looked like this.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: When the names were picked, do you want this guy or that guy, this gal or that guy, was that you picking them?



AVLON: It was so bad that not only was a new election called, but they ran it all the way back to the primary.

Now, Harris dropped out citing his health, but he might as well have been citing embarrassment after his own son testified that he knew about potential fraud. So Republicans elevated this guy, State Senator Dan Bishop. A climate change denier who sponsored North Carolina's infamous bathroom bill that led to a boycott of the state.

But Bishop's been calling McCready the radical, even saying that he really admires socialism, something "Politifact" called "pants on fire."

Now, polls show this race is too close to call, but Republicans should have an edge because they drew the map that way. And if you doubt redistricting is dirty, folks, take a look through the files of a recently deceased Republican operative who specialized in this stuff. "The New Yorker" published some of his internal maps used to rig elections in North Carolina. And this guy went so far as to split up a historically black college in North Carolina right down to the dorms just to dilute the black vote. His files indicate that voter ID was designed to depress the Democratic vote, particularly among young people and minorities.

So, yes, today's special election matters in North Carolina. It's a test of the Trump re-election playbook, tarring all Democrats as radical socialists. It's also a test of whether Democratic enthusiasm can overcome gerrymandering in a crucial swing state. Make no mistake, Republicans should have the edge, but if Democrats carry McCready over the line, it could be a bad sign for Trump in 2020.

And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: And, again, look at the results, but also look at the margins here. If the Republican wins by 12 points, maybe this strategy for the president and Republicans will work going forward. It's one or two points, a different story.

AVLON: Exactly.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, John.

All right, time for "CNN Business Now."

Apple's big event is now just hours away. CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us with what to expect.


Yes, this happens at 1:00 Eastern Time. You know, don't hold your breath, though, for an iPhone that's foldable, 5G capable or even radically different from last year's models. Here's what Apple we think is likely to announce instead. Three new high-end phones, the iPhone 11, 11 pro and 11 pro max. New features like a faster processor, improved face ID and a new camera. The Apple Watch is also expected to get a refresh with built-in sleep tracking, something I need. Some of its competitors are launching innovative and riskier concepts like, you know, Samsung's foldable smartphone and its two 5G devices. But Apple is expected to stay the course here.

But that may be risky. The iPhone business, you know, is still Apple's single biggest moneymaker. It's been lackluster lately. Customers are waiting longer to upgrade their phones and the trade war is denting demand in China, which was once one of Apple's most promising markets. Apple could also announce updates to other hardware products, including the iPad and MacBook's.

What not to expect from today's event? A 5G iPhone. Guys, that won't likely come until sometime in 2020.

GOLODRYGA: But you're right, all the focus is on those iPhone sales. Three straight quarters of declines. A lot riding on them.


GOLODRYGA: Thanks so much, Christine.

Well, almost every state in the nation is now investigating Google for possible anti-trust violations. We'll talk to one of the attorneys general who just launched the probe coming up next.

BERMAN: First, a survivor who has dedicated his second chance at life to suicide prevention. This week's "Turning Points."



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For Kevin Hines (ph), the sight of the Golden Gate Bridge is an emotional one. On September 25, 2000, then 19-year-old Hines struggled with mental illness and jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.

KEVIN HINES: I hit the water and the impact reverberated through my legs and it just shattered my T12, L1 and L2. The very millisecond my hands left the rail, and my legs cleared it, instant regret.

GUPTA (on camera): This is the place where you jumped?

HINES: Yes. This is the place where I lived.

GUPTA (voice over): Over the last two decades, the suicide rate in the United States has gone up 33 percent, making it the number two cause of death in this country for people aged 10 to 34. Hines has spent the last 16 years as an activist for suicide prevention. His goal, to get a net attached to the Golden Gate Bridge, a barrier to stop someone from dying. And his fight meant something. The net is finally going up.

GUPTA (on camera): There it is.

HINES: That's the net. It's going up on the Golden Gate as of 2021. This is one of the most special days of my life.

GUPTA (voice over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.




GOLODRYGA: Google and FaceBook are both now the targets of major anti- trust investigations. Fifty attorneys general are examining whether Google harmed competition and consumers through its search and advertising businesses. Eight states and the District of Columbia are also investigating whether FaceBook stifled competition.

Joining me now is Ohio's attorney general, Dave Yost, who is involved in both investigations.

You're a very busy man, Mr. Attorney General. Thank you so much for joining us.

DAVE YOST, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you. GOLODRYGA: Given that these investigations have bipartisan support, can you talk about what it is exactly that you are concerned about with regards to these companies' practices?

YOST: Well, the question is, are their practices stifling competition? Are they hurting innovation? And we're just at the very beginning of fact collecting about that, looking at the evidence. But there's plenty of reason to be concerned, I think.

GOLODRYGA: And these were investigations and lawsuits that we've seen Google, for instance, involved in, in Europe.

What, if anything, have you taken away from how European governments, in the EU in particular, has approached this particular dilemma?

YOST: Well, obviously, it's a different environment over there, different legal environment, different legal questions. But the record in the proceedings in Europe are going to be very valuable to us in our investigation in guiding our questions and our work.

You know, ultimately, anti-trust is really about power and constraining power. Money, and after the industrial revolution, was the means by which monopolists tried to control society and to limit freedom. But it was fundamentally about power.

Today, data is the new money. And that's what is going on in big tech.

GOLODRYGA: Let me ask you about FaceBook in particular. They've got over 2 billion users worldwide. Obviously, they own WhatsApp and Instagram as well.

Are you specifically concerned with this company having too much of a hold on social media in general?

YOST: As the attorney general in Ohio, I'm very concerned about that. Look, FaceBook has got 70 percent of the social media market by one estimate. And they control a huge quantity of information. Both the information that flows outward into our society, but also information about us integrated between the different things that they -- that they -- the different apps that they have.

And there's some real concern that they are able to use that to gain competitive -- competition stifling advantages. Those are good questions that we need to be having a debate about here in 2019.

GOLODRYGA: But couldn't you argue that it's ultimately up to the users? Nobody's forcing people to log on to FaceBook. Nobody's forcing people to search on Google. Couldn't, in terms of talking about a free market system, couldn't it be left up to users as opposed to attorney generals inquiring about certain practices?

YOST: So free markets require competition. Without them, they're not free markets. We might as well just as well ask -- nobody -- or say nobody's forcing anyone to use Cornelius Vanderbilt's railroads. The idea is when one group, one company, one individual is able to control an entire market segment, or so much of it, that it stifles competition, we no longer have free markets. And attorneys general are here to make sure that the rules of the road, if you will, allow everybody an opportunity to compete.


GOLODRYGA: Will you -- will you be pushing to hear from heads of these organizations, in particular Mark Zuckerberg at FaceBook?

YOST: Well, we are at the very beginning stages of this investigation, and there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, a lot of information that needs to be gathered. So, you know, predicting the course and comparing precedence, we'll have to wait for the future to get there.

GOLODRYGA: Well, and in addition to the state's investigations, we know there's a federal investigation as well into some of these practices. So, obviously, this is a story that has nationwide attention and implications.

We want to appreciate -- thank you and we appreciate your time for joining us. Thank you.

YOST: Thank you.

BERMAN: And it's so interesting. This is something that does have some bipartisan support there.

GOLODRYGA: Of course. It's rare.

BERMAN: Democrats in the House who are pushing for these investigations and regulations, as is the administration.

CNN is getting some brand-new reporting. This is Jim Sciutto's reporting on the CIA spy asset the U.S. pulled out of Russia. Well, Jim's got some new reporting this morning. This time about President Trump's views on foreign intelligence and the use of spies in general. That's next.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.


We do begin this morning again with new reporting on the president and the U.S. intelligence community.


After your remarkable exclusive reporting yesterday, there have been a lot of developments. This, of course, was about that.