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Felicity Huffman Sentenced in College Admissions Scandal; Bahamas Threatened by Another Tropical Storm; Latest on Attempts to Tighten Gun Laws; O'Rourke's Gun Confiscation Comments Examined; Tentative Settlement Reached in Purdue Pharma Opioid Case; Examining the Potential Health Issues from Flavored E-Cigarettes; Preview of Israel Election. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired September 14, 2019 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actress Felicity Huffman reports to jail October 25th to serve a 14-day sentence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Essentially the judge saying this wasn't about college reputations being tarnished or the test-taking process being compromised. This was about privileged kids having a leg up on other college applicants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tropical storm is heading for the parts of the Bahamas ravaged by Dorian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the potential to stall the relief efforts that are ongoing across this area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people here have an incredible spirit, and for the ones who survived, they're not going to let this stop them.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good Saturday morning to you. Top of the hour now. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: New details this morning on the push for stronger gun background checks. CNN is learning that talks between the Justice Department and Congress, they are slowing almost to a almost a full stop.

WALKER: That's right Attorney General Bill Barr signaling that hopes for President Trump-backed gun bill are dimming. Meanwhile the president's stance on the issue remains incoherent at best. Let's get to CNN's Sarah Westwood in Washington with more. Sarah, where exactly does President Trump stand on background checks?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Amara and Victor. Yes, the president's position still really unclear and that's giving republicans and democrats on Capitol Hill pause. Republicans have given the president a remarkable amount of latitude to chart the course on a gun bill but the president is still not offering a lot of clarity about what exactly he will support. But CNN has learned that high-level calls between Justice Department officials and Capitol Hill have indicated that the president is not at this time likely to support an expanded background check bill; this despite the fact that after a meeting with senior advisers this week President Trump emerged saying he'd made progress on background checks. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a big meeting today on guns and a lot of progress was made I believe on the background checks but we're always protecting our Second Amendment. S


WESTWOOD: And meanwhile comments at the democratic primary debate this week from candidate Beto O'Rourke about a mandatory gun buyback program has riled up conservatives. Vice President Mike Pence responded to it yesterday in comments to the house GOP retreat in Baltimore. Take a listen to that.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When they weren't talking about higher taxes, they were talking about gun control. And not just gun control, you had leading candidates for the highest office in the land talking about taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens. Well, the American people deserve to know this president, this vice president, and these House republicans will always stand for the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.


WESTWOOD: Now, some democrats have expressed concerns that Beto O'Rourke's position could actually make it harder for republicans and democrats to get behind some kind of consensus bill that moves the ball forward on gun reform and some advisors to the president and conservative allies had actually advised President Trump not to back any kind of expanded background check or anything that was perceived as gun control by his base.

They had showed him polls that showed that such measures would not be popular among the president's supports. Now we know the menu of options, the things that the White House is considering and it includes Red Flag laws, the death penalty for mass shooters, improved mental health services. But Amara and Victor, as long as President Trump doesn't clarify his position on guns, republicans really in a holding pattern waiting to see what he will support.

WALKER: All right, yes, it seems like hopes for any action on gun control is just fading. Sarah Westwood, appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: With us now, Daniel Lippman, White House reporter for "Politico." Daniel, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So let's start here, the president has been on both sides of this issue since El Paso, since the Dayton shooting as he was after Parkland last year. We've hear and we read that the Attorney General Bill Barr is urging the president to support some broader background checks. Are there indications that some in the White House see incentives - those aids close to the president for backing background checks?

LIPPMAN: Trump loves to get competing voices and positions from many different aides and he loves to have them battle out in front of him so he can kind of make up his own mind, but you have people like Michael Williams who used to work for the NRA and then later served as the general counsel for the American Suppressers Association who is in some of these meetings on gun control. And that American Suppressers Association is basically another pro-gun organization. And so there aren't that many people who are in favor of gun control in these types of meetings on the White House side, and so that has made it much harder for them to get through to the president and he doesn't want to be seen as being told by democrats, including Joe Manchin, what to do.


BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the fallout from former Congressman O'Rourke's comments on Thursday night. For republicans who have been trying to convince voters at least that democrats are coming to take their guns. They now have a democrat who says, "Hell, yes we're going to take your AR-15 and AK-47." Is this enough to change the 2020 playbook? I mean does the White House, the campaign, do they believe that this moves enough voters who were already outside that camp into their numbers?

LIPPMAN: I think a lot of people are in their camps already. You know, people are kind of, you know -- the battle lines are pretty well defined, and so if you support gun control, you're thrilled by Beto O'Rourke's remarks. That kind of indicates that this is going to be a big issue if a democrat wins in 2020. Along with climate change, you'd have to see something like gun control, you know, happening in front of -- you know, to kind of mollify the base. This is what they would be wanting. Maybe they don't go as far as Beto O'Rourke, but there's a ton of things that democrats support to try to prevent these massacres which seem to be growing every year; there's more of them. In terms of republicans, the people who are against gun control, that's a small minority but they're very vocal and they care a ton about this issue and that's their number one issue.

BLACKWELL: You know we've talked about the NRA and its struggles on this - this program before. The internal struggles, slipping membership -- does this moment from Congressman O'Rourke give them the resurgence potentially that they needed in an election year, that the Charlton Heston "cold dead hands" moment now that you have a candidate for president saying that we're coming to take your long guns? LIPPMAN: Well if Beto O'Rourke was number one or number two in the polls then I could see the NRA be - you know taking advantage of this but he's in the bottom tier that doesn't look like that's going anywhere and so eventually people like him are going to have to drop out. And then 2020 is a long year and so I can't see the NRA capitalizing too much if you have a moderate democrat like Joe Biden or even Kamala Harris take the nomination because they're not going to come out as stridently in favor of gun control like Beto O'Rourke. I think the NRA still has a ton of internal deliberations and fights that have to be involved to be able to be more effective, and so a lot of republicans have kind of -- the NRA for them, they are on the sidelines.

BLACKWELL: All right. Daniel Lippman, thanks so much.

LIPPMAN: Thanks, Victor.

WALKER: Right now the Bahamas are bracing for a new tropical threat. Tropical Storm Humberto is approaching the northwestern Bahamas and it will bring rain and wind to Abaco and Grand Bahama areas where thousands are still missing and displaced by Hurricane Dorian.

BLACKWELL: Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking this storm from the CNN Weather Center. Allison, this is the last thing that the people of the Bahamas need. What should prepare for? What's coming?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, so they should prepare for some very heavy rain and even some gusty winds. Now the good news and I want to emphasize this. This is not expected to be a category 5 storm like Dorian was. But at this point you have so many of those buildings that are structurally compromised, even some stronger gusts up around 60 to 70 miles per hour can still cause some damage.

This the look at Tropical Storm Humberto. Sustained winds of about 40 miles per hour. It's moving to the northwest at just 7 miles per hour. It's going to continue to the northwest before making a sharp turn back out into the Atlantic Ocean and head over towards Bermuda. When it gets back over the open Atlantic, it is expected to intensify to a category 1 storm but as of right now it's entirety as it pushes through portions of the Bahamas is just expected to be a tropical storm.

So much weaker than Dorian was, and oddly enough we have Dorian to thank for that because Dorian actually ended up churning up all this water here around the Bahamas making it much colder than normal which is making it more difficult for that storm to intensify to anything really stronger than a tropical storm as it is now. With that said, there are still tropical storm warnings out for various islands in the Bahamas because of those gusty winds, because of the fact that you will have very intense rain bands that will start to push in off and on throughout the day today and really even into portions of tomorrow. But this other system over here, Victor and Amara, this is something we're going to have to keep a close eye on in the next couple of days. Right now it only has about a 20 percent chance of potentially developing into something tropical in the coming days.

WALKER: Way too busy out there. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.


BLACKWELL: Right now USAID is standing by on Abaco to help people still in those hard-hit islands.


The agency handed out tarps and covered up structures damaged by Hurricane Dorian. Their teams are there waiting out the storm and have shelter supplies ready for any negative impacts from this new storm.

WALKER: CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Nassau with more. Diane, I can't imagine they're ready for yet another storm. They just started the recovery and rescue process and they're still in it.

DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are. And, Amara and Victor, the biggest part for them is that this is putting a pause on relief efforts there. They're not expecting intense impact, especially nothing like we saw two weeks ago when Hurricane Dorian hit. But the fact that the exact same islands, the exact same areas are going to be feeling those same affects right? You're going to have the heavy wind, that howling sound. You're going to have that driving rain, and there is a triggering effect. It's retraumatizing people who have already survived so much and there are still people who have stayed inside those homes and what's left of those homes. So yesterday USAID and other organizations went out. They passed out tarps. They passed out what they call fix-it kits which allow them to sort of protect their homes as much as they can.

At the same time officials on the eastern part of the island were asking anybody who stayed there to go to shelters that they had set up, going so far as to say we'll come and get you and drive you. Please stay in these shelters here. There are 2,000 people just here in the Nassau area who are coming from those islands who are staying in shelters right now. So there is that concern about the emotional, the mental effect of just reliving through something like this. Definitely not to the same degree, but being revictimized so soon after what's happening in Dorian. There are still 1,300 people officially missing at this point, and they're still counting the number of dead right now. They're still working it through things, trying to do basic things, get people off islands, figure out what their next steps are. So the relief effort here they've told me is going to be briefly paused. They didn't fly out there yesterday. They flew in extra supplies on Thursday instead. They're hoping to resume tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: Dianne Gallagher for us there on Nassau. Thank you so much, Dianne.

Actress Felicity Huffman is going to prison for trying to buy her daughter's way into college. Her message to the judge before she was sentenced.

WALKER: Also ahead, Joe Biden's plan to prove to his critics that his age is really just a number. BLACKWELL: And a pretty big breakthrough for people suffering from peanut allergies. We'll have the details ahead.



BLACKWELL: Police in Seattle are looking for a man after three people were shot overnight inside a train station; one person was killed.

WALKER: Police say it started as a fight in the street and then spilled into the downstairs light rail station. The suspect fled on foot, ran away, and is still on the run.

Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Huffman is heading to prison next month after a tearful apology. A California judge handed her a 14-day sentence for her part in a college admissions cheating scandal that has rocked America's university system.

BLACKWELL: Huffman pleaded guilty to paying the scheme's ringleader to boost her daughter's SAT scores. CNN's Miguel Marquez has more.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Felicity Huffman hand in hand with her husband actor William H. Macy entering a federal court house in Boston to learn her fate. Huffman addressing the court through tears. She apologized to the judge, her daughters, and husband, saying she's ashamed of her behavior recounting how one of her daughters told hers, "I don't know who you are anymore, mom."

She also said she was driving her daughter to the testing center. She thought to herself, turn around, just turn around, and to my eternal shame she says, "I didn't." Huffman concluded by saying she takes full responsibility. Prosecutors wanted her to spend a month in prison. Her lawyers wanted probation for a year. In sentencing Huffman to 14 days in prison and a $30,000 fine, the judge saying despite Huffman taking responsibility, the outrage isn't the harm to the colleges. The outrage is a system that is already so distorted by money and privilege in the first place. In may the "Desperate Housewives" star pleaded guilty to one count of fraud for paying $15,000 to Rick Singer who got her daughter extra time on a college entrance exam and bribed the administrator at the location where she took it.

In a three-panel letter to the judge explaining herself, Huffman wrote, "In my desperation to be a good mother, I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot. I see the irony in that statement now because what I've done is the opposite of fair." Huffman is the first parent sentenced in a sprawling federal investigation into the college admissions cheating dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues." Dozens of wealthy prominent and connected parents, coaches and administrators have been charged in the scheme masterminded by Rick Singer.

His front charity Key Worldwide Foundation purported to help disadvantaged kids in the U.S. and abroad. Singer, who is cooperating with investigators, has since confessed to taking tens of millions of dollars for helping kids of wealthy parents cheat on college entrance exams and bribing coaches to falsely designating students as athletes paving the way for their admissions.




MARQUEZ: Also caught up in the scandal, "Full House" actress Lori Laughlin whose two daughters were admitted to the University of Southern California as competitive rowers even though they never participated in the sport. Prosecutors say she and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli paid Singer $500,000 and even sent photos of both of their daughters on rowing machines to bolster their false claims. Laughlin and Giannulli have both pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering. The charges carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Huffman has been ordered to report to prison on October 25th. It's not clear where she will do that time. She asked for California. It's not clear that she'll get it. The judge at the end of the sentencing said she thought it was the right sentence. She said to Huffman, "You can rebuild your life from here on out. You have paid your dues." Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.


BLACKWELL: And New York officials say they found roughly $1 billion in wire transfers from the family behind Purdue pharma where the company is accused of fueling the opioid crisis.

WALKER: Yes, earlier this week thousands of small governments and nearly two dozen states reached a tentative settlement with the Sackler family, but officials say as recently as a year ago, the family sent money overseas to keep it hidden. Mortimer D.A. Sacker, a former Purdue board member, is tied to quite a few of the transfers.

BLACKWELL: In a statement to CNN Sackler said there is nothing newsworthy about these decade-old transfers which were perfectly legal and appropriate in every respect. This is a cynical attempt by a hostile A.G.'s office to generate defamatory headlines to try to torpedo a mutually-beneficial statement - settlement rather that is supported by so many other states and will result in billions of dollars going to communities and individuals across the country that need help.

WALKER: Forbes has estimated that the Sackler family fortune is worth $13 billion.

BLACKWELL: Well days after calling for a ban on nearly all flavored vaping products, President Trump changes his mind. Why he's now saying that he's in favor of some vaping.

WALKER: Plus the rescue mission underway to save dozens of dogs left behind in the Bahamas and reunite them with their owners who evacuated from Hurricane Dorian.



WALKER: Everyone, welcome back. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

President Trump appears to be backing off the hard line he took earlier this week with vaping and e-cigarettes. OK, so last night the president tweeted this. "While I like the alternative to vaping cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is safe for all. Let's get counterfeits off the market and keep young children from vaping."

WALKER: Well on Wednesday, Trump said he wanted to ban all flavored e-cigarettes including mint and menthol and that the FDA was working on plans to do just that. Here's our chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you've been following the vaping story, you realize that there's sort of two separate but related stories going on at the same time. With regard to the news out of the White House this week, this was really about addressing the flavorings in these products, the concern being that's those flavorings, you know, target children and that children are more likely to vape. We see the numbers. You've shown the numbers: 2017 around 11 - 12 percent of kids vaping and now you've got closer to 27.5 percent of these kids that are vaping. The numbers may be even higher because you know you ask people if they vape or not, they're not always honest about this. It's certainly extraordinary how much this has grown.

But I want to share another stat with you that I think is important and that is if kids start vaping, what is the likelihood then that they'll go on to smoke actual cigarettes, combustible cigarettes. Take a look there. This is from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this is probably one of the biggest concerns I think as a parent. Even if you think vaping may be not as bad as traditional cigarette smoking. I think you could make that argument. If they then go on - 30 percent of them do go on to smoke combustible cigarettes, that's obviously a big concern and that's something that needs to be address and I think that's what in part prompting this action coming out of the government, out of the White House and HHS.

Separate issue really is this mystery illness, you know? Hundreds of people across the country, people, these deaths now associated with vaping. That's a real concern. That's an ongoing investigation. So far it looks like a lot of these products have come from these black market oftentimes THC-containing products. People vaping that, possibly getting one of these components that is sort of broken down into its molecules and then absorbed into the lungs causing this inflammatory reaction. It is hard to correlate that directly with these - these nicotine products that are sold with the vaping devices. That is an ongoing investigation but both of these things are really what's driving the concern around vaping right now. I should point out again as we've talked about before, the Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association, other big medical organizations say for the time being at least, people should not use these e- cigarettes; should not use these devices. They got to complete this investigation before maybe they would give the all clear on this but that could be some time away.

BLACKWELL: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us. Thank you.

WALKER: On Tuesday, Israelis will vote in elections which will determine the next prime minister but neither Benjamin Netanyahu or his rival former Army Chief Benny Gantz appear to have a clear path to victory. Both men would have to make deals with smaller parties to get a 61-seat majority in Parliament. Losing the election would end Netanyahu's reign as Israel's longest-serving prime minister. Winning would protect him from prosecution possibly of corruption charges. I'm joined now by Aaron David Miller a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment and former Middle East negotiator for the State Department. Aaron, a pleasure to have you on.

First off, how do you think things are going to shake out this coming Tuesday considering that the final round of polls show a really tight race, neck and neck, neither Netanyahu or Benny Gantz will have an outright majority. Are we going to see similar results we did in the last election?

AARON DAVID MILLER, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT AND FORMER MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR: You know Amara, it's very possible. In fact the April elections were a surprise. People assumed that Mr. Netanyahu, because he leads a coalition which had in the past dominated Israeli politics. Thirty-one out of the last 42 years would have an advantage, and yet one party headed by an a Moldovan immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Avigdor Lieberman, gained five seats and denied Mr. Netanyahu a government. Now you have a do over election and it's - Israel has not formal constitution but if in fact you get the same result as you did in April with no government, Israel will face in its own way a profound constitutional crisis.

So I think it's virtually - you know it's hard to predict even in American politics what's going to happen next Tuesday. I don't think it's possible, frankly, to predict at this point whether or not Netanyahu will pass the 61-seat majority or whether his opponent, Benny Gantz, would do better than expected and be in a position to be asked by the President of Israel to form the next government.

WALKER: Although as you said, it looks like Avigdor Lieberman will emerge as a potential king-maker in this coalition forming for a new government. You know, obviously there's a lot at stake for Israel and also for Netanyahu himself. You know, he's obviously battling for his political survival and we saw some of these moves that were quite divisive, making these promises to annex more portions of the West Bank, what are your thoughts on that? I mean that would effectively end any hopes of a two-state solution, right?

MILLER: It would. The Jordan valley, which is what Mr. Netanyahu has promised to an extent, and this is not new. He's done it in the past although not in this proximity to an election. It's 30 percent of the West Bank. It would virtually make it impossible for any sort of contiguous Palestine state to emerge. And while the peace process is far from the agenda frankly, and most - for most Israelis right now, this would clearly foreclose. Particularly if the Trump Administration acquiesced in the actual act, assuming Mr. Netanyahu became Prime Minister.

It would close the possibility of separating Israelis and Palestinians through negotiations which frankly, is the least bad option and I would argue the only option that has a chance of resolving these really Palestinian conflicts.

WALKER: And we we're also mentioning in the intro that Netanyahu may be able to avoid prosecution if he wins. Tell us how he might do that and how he might get the Knesset if he gets it to pass legislation to get immunity.

MILLER: Yes, I mean if he, in fact, gets 61, there's no question they'll introduce legislation granting sitting members of Knesset. Which frankly, much of the legislation already exists to grant immunity to the prime minister. The problem is that the Supreme Court -- an, again, Israel has no formal constitution -- can often intercede and intervene to overturn that law if it's deems it to be a threat to the political order or to Israeli democracy. But with 61 votes, it's possible that Netanyahu could even amend a basic law to make it impossible for the Supreme Court to intercede. Not only are the prospects of any kind of future peace at stake in this election, but so are the prospects for Israeli democracy and it really is perhaps the most consequential election in Israel's political history.

WALKER: Yes, absolutely. The stakes are extremely high. Aaron David Miller, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you for that.

MILLER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well if you suffer with a peanut allergy, some good news for you, especially if you're between 4 to 17. First of all, if you're four years old, what are you doing watching CNN at 6:30 on a Saturday? That's the first question. Second, good news from the FDA, a potentially - a government approved treatment could be just months away.

WALKER: Plus the connection between dating and depression that parents of high school students may be surprised to hear.



WALKER: Welcome back everyone. Former Vice President Joe Biden says he'll release his medical records before the Iowa caucuses in February. Biden had previously committed to releasing them before the general election next year. This move is seen as a response to the age factor that's becoming an issue among democratic presidential candidates. In Thursday's debate, Biden's younger rival, Julian Castro suggested that the 76 year old was confused about his own policies.

BLACKWELL: Now the top three democratic candidates, Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are all in their 70s. President Trump is 73 years old.

Now to today's health check. There's a new drug on the horizon for people who suffer with peanut allergies. We're also talking about the increase in the number of women suffering from high blood pressure during pregnancy and about a new report about high schoolers and dating.

WALKER: Jacqueline Howard, writer for CNN Health and Wellness is joining us now. Jacqueline, first tell us about this drug to help treat peanut allergies. I'm sure a lot of ears are perking up.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH AND WELLNESS WRITER: That's right and this drug is a big deal because it will be our first ever treatment for peanut allergy if it does get FDA approval. Now we're told that the FDA has until January to make that decision. You can marriage that's a lot of anxious parents out there waiting to see what will happen. How this treatment works, it comes in little capsules and in those capsules there's peanut protein powder. You sprinkle the powder on your food each day and the idea here is that it can help you build tolerance to consuming peanuts. It's not a cure, but it could lower your risk of anaphylaxis and that's what parents are really excited about.

BLACKWELL: OK. I mean there are those people who are so allergic that even the dust creates a reaction but the FDA knows more than I do about this. OK. Let's move on to something else here. We talked about the dramatic rise in the number of cases of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Do we know why this is happening?

HOWARD: We do have some ideas. What's interesting, this rise in high blood pressure appears to correlate with a rise in the age of women having children so that might be playing a role here but overall the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy is important. It can raise your risk of complications. Thos include potential stroke, low birth weight, preterm birth. That's why this is really important to keep an eye on your blood pressure whether you're preparing to get pregnant or you're already pregnant and if you do have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage it, control it and you're not alone.

We see high blood pressure in about 12 to 17 pregnancies. That's why it's important to really keep an eye on this and if you can, even monitor your blood pressure at home during a pregnancy.

It's so bad they're even allergic to dust.

WALKER: OK, I think you just answered the question I was going to ask because it's funny - I mean not funny but interesting. I have a lot of girlfriends who all dealt with high blood pressure during pregnancy, but maybe it's because all of my friends like me, we're old and we're having babies later and we're seeing a lot of these kinds of cases. All right, turning now this new study that shows high schoolers who don't date are less depressed than their counterparts who do. I mean this kind of goes against the idea that dating can be important for teen development and wellbeing.

HOWARD: That's right it does and it is a really interesting study. So this study was conducted in a group of tenth graders and it found that those who said they were not dating or they were not in romantic relationships showed lower rates of depression symptoms and according to their teachers, they had better communication skills.

So you're right, it kind of contradicts the idea that dating during your teen years can help improve your social skills but overall this study is really just good argument material for parents out there who want to keep their kids from dating.

WALKER: You can't date until you're 40.

BLACKWELL: I didn't have a real date until well after I graduated from high school.

WALKER: Really?

BLACKWELL: Like not a single like date until I went after...

WALKER: Late bloomer.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you know.

WALKER: I can appreciate that.

BLACKWELL: And I was happy during high school.

WALKER: A happy person, yes.

BLACKWELL: So maybe that worked out.

WALKER: I was always depressed, if you know what I mean. Always depressed. Thanks so much, Jacqueline.

HOWARD: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: New England Patriots receiver Antonio Brown being sued for sexual assault. The question, will he play tomorrow or not. Carolyn?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Well, with a little more than 24 hours to go at this point, there's not too much time left. What his coach Bill Belichick has to say about Brown's status for Sunday's game next.



WALKER: New England Patriots' wide receiver Antonio Brown appears more likely to play this weekend amid a sexual assault lawsuit filed by his former trainer.

BLACKWELL: Carolyn Manno is live from New York today. Carolyn, what are the Patriots and the NFL, what are they saying?

MANNO: Good morning Victor and Amara. Still no official statement from the NFL since the allegations broke on Tuesday although the league has opened an investigation into the wide receiver's behavior. The Patriots are saying as little as possible. Brown's former trainer and college classmate, Britney Taylor filed a civil lawsuit on Tuesday accusing Brown of multiple sexual assaults and rape between 2017 and 2018. Brown has been practicing with the Patriots all week and has not been placed on the commissioner's exempt list as this is not a criminal investigation meaning he is eligible to play. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was guarded when discussing whether the receiver will be used against the Dolphins tomorrow.


BILL BELICHICK, PATRIOTS COACH: We'll do what's best for the team, Mike(ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will it be best for the team to have Antonio Brown play?

BELICHICK: Yes, well, we'll determine that. I'm not going to hand out a copy of the game plan here. We'll do what we think is best for the team.


MANNO: The NFL is expected to interview Britney Taylor next week. If Brown does play on Sunday, the helmet that he will be wearing is up in the air. Again, the helmet company, Zenith, ended its relationship with Brown yesterday, just a few weeks after signing a deal with the high profile receiver. This after Brown lost two appeals with the NFL to allow him to wear a different helmet that is no longer certified by the league.

Meanwhile the Justice Department has several ongoing investigations into sexual abuse within the U.S. Olympic organizations. That is according to "The Wall Street Journal." The "Journal" specifically names USA gymnastics and USA Tae Kwon Do as the programs that under investigation for failures to respond to widespread child abuse. The Justice Department and U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment to CNN on the report. SafeSport, the U.S. Olympic agency that handles sexual misconduct allegations tells CNN its providing information to investigators both USA Gymnastics and USA Tae Kwon Do tell CNN they are committed to keeping their athletes safe. News of these investigations coming less than two years after former Dr. Larry Nassar was given life in prison for sexually assaulting more than 180 gymnasts under his care.

And three months after winning their first NBA championship, the Toronto Raptors are making a different kind of history this time around, becoming the first NBA team to sell hijabs. The team created the design with the help of Nike and the Hijabbi Ballers, a Toronto- based group that advocates for women who are Muslim to play sports. Victor and Amara.

BLACKWELL: All right, thank you, Carolyn.

WALKER: Plus actually dozens of dogs are lost in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and now a Florida rescue team is on a mission to reunite them with their owners.



WALKER: Survivors of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas are not only desperate to find missing loved ones. They're also looking for pets they were forced to leave behind.

BLACKWELL: And thanks to a Florida rescue mission, several dog owners who made it to the U.S. are getting their pets back. Alex Finnie from CNN affiliate, WPLG, has more for us.


KATHLEEN GARTLAN, REUNITED WITH DOGS: I've been calling people, asking for help forever.

ALEX FINNIE, WPLG NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Kathleen Gartlan went to Marsh Harbour today to bring back her dogs.

GARTLAN: I went on social media and Big Dog Rescue came - Lauree came to my aid. They just said, we'll do anything -- anything for you to get those dogs back.

FINNIE: And they did. Big Dog Ranch Rescue chartered a flight this morning, made possible through donations. They touched down in the Bahamas and with the help of volunteers went to work.

LAUREE SIMMONS, FOUNDER, BIG DOG RANCH RESCUE: There are so many dogs over there that on the streets with collars on, and we want to go back. We're going to go back many times. We wish we'd had more time today.

FINNIE: But they were racing against inclement weather coming into the Bahamas this weekend. Meet the ones BDRR was able to save, Border, Scrappy, Skippy, Roxy and Blackie set to be reunited at some point with their owners who had to evacuate most of which have nothing now.

SIMMONS: What happened over there is like a bomb went off. I spent many summers in Marsh Harbour and it's just unrecognizable. So sad.

FINNIE: As for Gartlan, they were able to only save two of the three dogs. The other one ran away out of fear.

GARTLAN: They're going to go back. We're going to get her.


BLACKWELL: That was WPLG's Alex Finnie. Big dog Ranch Rescue has been able to save 90 dogs so far. The next run is next Tuesday. WALKER: All right now for some proof that politics can still be

civil, on their way to this week's big debate, democratic presidential contenders Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar ended up on the same flight just one row apart.

BLACKWELL: So it turns out there have been a few of these strange political encounters in airports. Jeanne Moos explains.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This may be the plane every democratic presidential candidate dreams of flying on, but for the moment they're flying mostly commercial and guess who's in the next row? Pette Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar found themselves a row apart on a United flight headed for Houston, scene of Thursday's debate. At least they didn't behave like this Commander in Chief.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off my plane.


MOOS: Klobuchar and Buttigieg were all smiles. "Very funny at United," tweeted Buttigieg and the debate begins. "Good sitting by you," tweeted Klobuchar. At least one passenger couldn't resist selfies with both candidates. Note the seating pattern; democratic candidates sitting over the left wing. Same goes for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren when a journalist spotted them back in June and imagine Bernie wondering, is she going to kick my chair. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller once shared a departure gate with Don, Jr. in the hat and a week after Ted Cruz beat Beto O'Rourke, the two shook hands then posed with passengers at an airport gate. Forget "Snakes on a Plane."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had it with these [ bleep ] snakes on this [ bleep ] plane.


MOOS: These days the planes are crawling with candidates. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

BLACKWELL: Oh, I love that line from "Snakes on a Plane."

WALKER: What was it again?

BLACKWELL: Nope. Job security. Sometimes I just shout it out in my living room.

WALKER: All right, the next hour of "New Day" is up after this quick break.


(BEGIN VIDEO) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actress Felicity Huffman reports to jail October 25th to serve a 14-day sentence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Essentially the judge saying this wasn't about college reputations being tarnished or the test-taking process being compromised. This was about privileged kids having a leg up on other college applicants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tropical storm is heading for the parts of the Bahamas ravaged by Dorian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the potential to stall the relief efforts that are ongoing across this area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people here have an incredible spirit, and for the ones who survived, they're not going to let this stop them.