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Antonio Brown Accused of Rape; Desperation Grows in the Bahamas; Vaping-Related Deaths; America's 9/11 Amnesia. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Deciding to speak out has been an incredibly difficult decision. I have found strength in my faith, in my family and from the accounts of other survivors of sexual assault. Speak out removes the shame that I have felt for the past year and places it on the person responsible for my rape. I will cooperate with the NFL and other agencies. However, at this time, I respectfully request the media please respect my privacy.

Laura, as a legal matter, what do you see in this case? And explain the discrepancy between this lawsuit and the fact that no criminal charges were ever filed, and as far as I know, no complaints, criminal complaints, ever made.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, sexual assault victims and alleged sexual assault victims have a very uphill battle, John, they already have the inclination of the public oftentimes to disregard and disbelieve them, number one. You add to that the element that this is not, so far as we know, a criminal prosecution. We have no idea if she went to the police officers first. We have no idea if she sought that route. Instead, she sought the civil rights -- as far as we know. And the difference to that is, if it's a civil matter, that means that money is going to be the result of any sort of conviction, the equivalent in the civil world, which means that people think to themselves, is this something of looking for a payout? Is somebody trying to somehow exploit financially? That's a hurdle.

Also it's delayed. Delayed reporting can often be extraordinarily influential for anyone deciding these cases. This is at least a year or two removed from the alleged incident.

BERMAN: '17 and '18, yes.

COATES: "17 and '18. Also, you have that idea that according to Antonio Brown's statements, where he has now come out to list a whole number of issues about perhaps a consensual, sexual relationship.

BERMAN: He says. He claims that.

COATES: He says. He claims that.

Also the idea that she has come to him before asking for money for an investment in some sort of company that failed. And you had the notion of this text message scandal that's going on about whether or not he truly was admitting to guilt in this instance or about a lot of bizarre, disturbing claims, or whether he was disputing it. All of these factors will come into play. But it's very, very difficult for all those reasons to really look at this as a slam dunk case for any reason for this woman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And one more thing, Laura, before we get to -- to Joe, she's very explicit in what she says happened. And it is deeply disturbing.


CAMEROTA: But in terms of the delayed reporting, 2017, 2018, that's not that delayed.


CAMEROTA: I mean we've seen, in the Harvey Weinstein case, 15 years, 20 years. And so this is still -- the statute of limitations hasn't passed.


CAMEROTA: She could actually prosecute this. But, of course, we know how complicated that is.

OK, turning to the NFL.


CAMEROTA: What do they do?

LOCKHART: Well, in the -- in the aftermath of Ray Rice, and everyone remembers that story where he hit his fiance, now wife, and knocked her out. The NFL set up a process whereby they would no longer rely on the judicial system, law enforcement, they'd look and investigate these things themselves. So they have a unit now that investigates. And they've had -- you know, they've suspended a series of players over the years, generally for around six games.

So they will launch an investigation. They will look at -- the advantage they'll have here is that the alleged victim wants to cooperate. She has said that. The big problem the NFL has is when law enforcement and victims don't want to cooperate with them. And then they're -- without subpoena power, they're at a loss sometimes. But the NFL will look at it.

The team is going to look at it. You know, Robert Kraft --

BERMAN: Let me read the statement.


BERMAN: The statement from the team is, we are aware of the civil lawsuit that was filed earlier today against Antonio Brown, as well as the response by Antonio's representatives. We take these allegations very seriously. Under no circumstances does this organization condone sexual violence or assault. The league has informed us they will be investigating. We will have no further comment while that investigation takes place.

This is not a short investigation, necessarily, though, is it?

LOCKHART: No. The -- you know, this -- it takes time, you know, it's -- and the contest for all of this, I mentioned Ray Rice, is -- let's not forget Ezekiel Elliot. That was a bruising process for the NFL. Jerry Jones -- Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft are the two most powerful owners in the NFL. Jerry Jones tried to get Roger Goodell fired over the fact that he prosecuted and suspended Ezekiel Elliot.

So this will be a test for the NFL. But, you're right, there's nothing that's going to happen overnight. And it will be put to the Patriots. And I think they've signaled here that they're going to say, let's see what the NFL does and we'll abide by what they say.

BERMAN: That means he plays? That means he plays?

LOCKHART: That -- I think it means that he plays. The question is whether they really will abide by it. These -- this system -- all the owners are for investigating players unless they're on their team. And as you -- as you've seen in the past, they'll say, you know, we're all for this, but then they'll go in and file a federal lawsuit to try to block it like Elliot. So this -- this will be a very stern test for the NFL on how they (INAUDIBLE), but don't expect anything to happen overnight.

CAMEROTA: All right, Laura, Joe, thank you very much for all of your expertise in this.

So desperation is growing in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian. We'll speak with CNN's Patrick Oppmann, who, as you know, has been there through the powerful hurricane.


All of his reporting has been so extraordinary. What he has to say today.


CAMEROTA: The humanitarian crisis is growing in the Bahamas as people become more desperate in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. Tens of thousands of people are homeless and the death toll is climbing.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann has been on the ground many the Bahamas for nearly two weeks. That's where he rode out the storm and has been reporting for us ever since. He's live in Freeport with more.

What's the situation today, Patrick?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, amazingly now, a week after this storm hit the Bahamas,

officials here say they still are not any closer to knowing the true toll of the damage here, of the loss of life. There is now a system for people to report their missing relatives and neighbors and friends.

You know, the death toll officially still remains at 50, but we know from our reporting from going out into the hardest hit communities that number is going to be well into the hundreds. So many people have so many names that we've talked to of relatives they just cannot find, they believe were swept out to sea.


Some good news, though. USAID has teams working around the clock here trying to go town by town to identify the damage, to look for the dead and the missing. Yesterday, we were in a field hospital here that has been set up. So important because it will take the pressure off the main hospital here in Freeport that has been devastated by flooding, allow officials there to rebuild. And the group that has set up this field hospital, Samaritan's Purse, say they expect to be here for three months. They have everything they need to keep this hospital going, as well to treat the need that we see here.

Already, even before they opened, there was a line around the block, Alisyn. There's just so much need everywhere you look here.

CAMEROTA: Oh, Patrick, and it's just not going away anytime soon. Thank you very much for all of your reporting from there.

For more information about how you can support the non-profits that are working to help the Hurricane Dorian victims, please go to

BERMAN: All right, this morning, there are major developments concerning vaping. This is something I know parents around the country are so concerned about. The CDC and several medical groups now warning the public to stop vaping immediately. So what has caused all this alarm? That's next.



CAMEROTA: A sixth person has died in the U.S. from vaping-related lung disease. This comes as the CDC, the American Lung Association, and the American Medical Association are warning against using e-cigarettes.

CNN's Tom Foreman is live in Washington with more.

Tom, do they know what's causing these deaths?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the problem, no, they don't exactly know. Worry about this health impact of vaping is just erupting everywhere amid these reports of people getting seriously ill and even dying soon after using e-cigarettes. And the idea promoted by many that this is a safer alternative to smoking is now under enormous scrutiny.


DR. DAVID PERSSE, HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENT: It needs to be thought of as an injury to the lungs by -- caused by something in the vaping. And it is very severe.

FOREMAN (voice over): In Houston, doctors are sounding the alarm as three people are hospitalized after using e-cigarettes. In New York, the Bloomberg charity is giving $160 million to fight what's being called an epidemic of vaping.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Kids are dying. People are dying now and getting addicted. The timeline is yesterday, not tomorrow.

FOREMAN: And in Washington, the first lady herself has tweeted, I am deeply concerned.

Why is the worry exploding now? In just the past few days, the Centers for Disease Control reported a huge jump in the number of people developing mysterious lung illnesses after vaping to over 450. At least a half dozen are believed to have died. The American Medical Association has now come out urging people to avoid the use of all e- cigarette products. And the Food and Drug Administration has warned Juul Labs, the leading manufacturer, about misleading advertising and statements, especially to school kids, where vaping is growing exponentially.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the presenter call Juul, quote/unquote, totally safe more than once?


FOREMAN: Juul says that school outreach program was ended in 2018 and the company will fully cooperate with probes into their marketing and products.

JAMES MONSEES, JUUL LABS: We never wanted any non-nicotine user, and certainly nobody underage, to ever use Juul products.

FOREMAN: But that's not enough for the governor of New York, who is launching a state investigation complete with subpoenas.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, NEW YORK: This is a frightening public health phenomenon.

FOREMAN: Even as reports of more serious problems keep rolling in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He passed out. And he would not wake up. Fifteen, 16 years old, you don't want to start doing that.


FOREMAN: It is not yet clear how or even if vaping is definitively causing these illnesses or deaths or if maybe some additive is to blame. But the anecdotal evidence is mounting so rapidly right now, many health officials clearly want to slam the brakes on this runaway industry until investigators have time to figure out if there really is a link.


CAMEROTA: OK, Tom, thank you very much for all of that reporting.

Laura Coates is back with us.

This was supposed to be the kinder, gentler smoking experience, basically, but it's not proving to be that. I mean people don't -- aren't dying this quickly from just taking up cigarettes. And so something has gone wrong. And, legally, what's the situation for these makers -- these makers?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean they're going to have to track the records of what the tobacco industry had to go through, right? The notion that, first of all, it's not like not obvious to people that inhaling smoke is going to cause some sort of physical ailment to one's body. The idea whether this is an additive that it's been added, if it's tampered with, that could be a criminal prosecution for whoever's doing it if they're adding a chemical, trying to cut it in some way to make it more potent and, of course, less (INAUDIBLE) supposed to be, that's a criminal prosecution.

If there's something about it, however, that, as an industry behind vaping, they are well aware of what the tobacco industry had to perform to show that they -- what they knew, that smoking was bad for people and acted anyway and encouraged children to do so and use it as part of a new-found version of the Marlboro man, then they have to answer for that as well.

But, you know, you look at this and say, regardless of whether or not we have a direct link, the fact that children and teenagers are smoking, thinking there's a kinder, gentler alternative to actual tobacco use is a real big shame and needs to be stopped because, again, doesn't matter if there's a direct link, they're smoking. It is still smoking. And we already know that's not what you're supposed to do. What's going on?

BERMAN: Two things. Number one, this is largely the tobacco industry.


The companies that have a lot of money in some of these manufacturers are the same ones who made cigarettes as well. Number two, they'll tell you it's not smoking exactly. What you're inhaling there isn't the smoking that causes lung cancer, they say. But we don't know what the chemicals --

CAMEROTA: But it's causing death --

BERMAN: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: That's a distinction without a doubt. BERMAN: Absolutely. And just politically it was fascinating to me is

you have Melania Trump, you had Mitt Romney yesterday, you have Dick Durbin, the Senate number two --

CAMEROTA: Who we'll be talking with.

BERMAN: Who's going to be on the show with you later on, concerned about vaping.

Plus, all the federal agencies concerned.

COATES: Right.

BERMAN: There's going to be some severe restrictions on this industry. The question is how quickly.

COATES: And, of course, remember, when you said it perfectly, people don't realize, big tobacco and vaping, these are synonyms. They're not somehow so far removed that people say, oh, it must be people who know better and are now going to do better things for us. They have to be known as being synonymous terms.

And so because of that they'll be held to an even higher standard because, remember, they can't profess ignorance and say, oh, I had no idea where there are things I had to be accountable for in some way, shape or form because they knew better, because there is science behind it, because we have length to actual internal, physical ailments, et cetera, they know how to prevent it, which is why the (INAUDIBLE) will have to start.

The problem is, as you know, bureaucratic red tape can lead to very lengthy processes and trying to do even the right things. You've got powerful lobbying. And big the tobacco, they're one of them.

CAMEROTA: Laura, thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right, 18 years since the attacks on September 11, 2001. So what has changed in America's fight against terror? We have a reality check, next.



BERMAN: This morning, America honors the victims and the heroes of September 11th, 18 years after the attacks.

So, this morning, how has the battle on terror changed since then?

John Avlon here with a "Reality Check."



It's been 18 years since 9/11. So children born on that day are now old enough to serve and fight in America's longest war. In New York City, there are 13 members of the next graduating class from the fire academy who lost their fathers in the destruction of the World Trade Center.

But for many Americans, there is an absence of memory about 9/11. But for others it persists because of the memory of absence. Even this year we've seen first responders have to fight for health benefits they were promised by politicians who swore they would never forget. Aided by a comedian who's just trying to give back a fraction of what they sacrificed for us.

And we've seen a president from New York float the truly awful idea of hosting the Taliban at Camp David for withdrawal talks within days of the 9/11 anniversary.

9/11 amnesia is naive in the extreme because terrorism is always one bad day away from being the number one issue in America. But we've been able to forget not simply because of the passage of time but because of the success of law enforcement and intelligent services who have stopped so many would-be attacks that they've become background noise.

In the past year alone, we've seen the conviction of a Bronx resident scoping out targets for Hezbollah, two Chicago men and a women woman for trying to support ISIS, a former U.S. soldier from California charged with trying to set off a bomb at Long Beach, while a Pittsburgh resident was charged with planning an attack on a church in the name of ISIS.

Now, these are just some of the foiled jihadist plots that we know about. But in the past year we've also been forced to confront a growing threat from another form of violent extremism, white nationalist terrorism. We've seen the deadliest attack targeting Latinos in recent U.S. history at a Walmart in El Paso. We've seen an attack on a synagogue near San Diego which followed the Tree of Life attack in Pittsburgh, the largest massacre of Jewish Americans in our history.

These terror suspects echoed white supremacist talk about replacement, hatred towards Jews, immigrant, refugees. And that's not including the would-be attacks we've seen thwarted by law enforcement, like the arrest of an Ohio man who police say threatened a Jewish community center, and the arrest of a Coast Guard officer with a massive weapons cache, accused of plotting to kill Democrats and journalists.

Here's a startling statistic. Since 9/11, right wing terrorists have killed more people in the United States than jihadist terrorists. That's according to "New America." There are some folks for who their -- for their own political purposes would like to keep the focus on only one form of political violence over another, but that would be unwise because we don't have the luxury of choosing what threats we face. And there's a case to be made that these threats actually echo each other. As our colleague Jim Sciutto and others have argued. They're weaponized versions of tribalism, motivated by fear and finding identity in their hatred of the other. As Max Fisher of "The Times" wrote, in both there's the apocalyptic

ideology that predicts and promises to hasten a civilizational conflict that will consume the world.

To mark the 18th anniversary of 9/11 is to reflect on how we're all the children of 9/11. That attack unleashed destructive forces that we're still wrestling with. But to truly learn the lessons of 9/11 is to resolve not to let hate win, or fear define us.

And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: And, John, I know this day is indelible to you. You were working in the mayor's office 18 years ago this morning. And those memories will be with you, as they will be with all of us forever.

AVLON: Absolutely true.

CAMEROTA: You know, I remember that morning, obviously, as everybody does, so vividly. And I remember thinking, we will never recover. I remember that that was my main feeling was, we will never be happy again. We will never recover from this. And I underestimated humans -- the human spirit to recover that day.

BERMAN: Well, I think you can see the human spirt within the very first few minutes and hours and it was a beacon of hope.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. I mean, you know, I -- everybody remembers back to that day and being so riveted by everything that was happening on TV and watching people in their grief and their despair, but helping each other. Well, it's indelible for all of us and we're thinking of all of the thousands and thousands of people who lost someone that day.

There are warning signs for President Trump after a narrow victory in North Carolina.

So NEW DAY continues right now.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Republican win and the president will say, a Republican win thanks to his last-minute visit and his last-minute help in this race.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you and the vice president committed and came down here, we've won this race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans should be relieved, they should be worried, and they should