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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Judge Sentences Actress Felicity Huffman To Two Weeks In Prison; Gun Talks Grinding To A Halt Behind The Scenes; Pence Slams 2020 Democrats Over Gun Control Debate; Northern Bahamian Islands In The Path Of Looming Storm; CDC Confirms 380 Cases Of Lung Disease Linked To Vaping; Otto Warmbier's Parents Will Dine With President Trump; Joe Biden To Release His Medical Records Before Iowa Caucuses; White Couple Gives Birth To Asian Daughter After IVF Mix-Up. Aired 7- 8a ET

Aired September 14, 2019 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. 7:00 here on the East Coast. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul. Oscar-nominated actress, Felicity Huffman, is heading to prison next month.

BLACKWELL: A tearful apology. A Boston judge afterward then handed her a 14-day sentence for taking part in the college admissions scam.

WALKER: It's largest scheme of its kind in the U.S. history with $25 million allegedly paid by parents to get their kids into college. Huffman pleaded guilty to paying the scheme's ring leader to boost her daughter's SAT scores. CNN's Brynn Gingras with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Felicity Huffman remained stoic when the judge handed down her decision, essentially the judge saying this wasn't about college reputations being tarnished or the test- taking process being come compromised. This was about kids -- privileged kids having a leg up on other college applicants. And that's partly why she handed down the punishment she did.

Actress Felicity Huffman sentenced to 14 days in federal prison, ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, and serve 250 hours of community service. Huffman telling the court: "At the end of the day, I had a choice to make. I could have said no. I take full responsibility; I will accept whatever punishment you give me." In a statement released shortly after the hearing, she added, "I broke the law. There are no excuses or justifications for my actions, period."

Prosecutors urged the judge to impose the harshest penalty saying: "Most parents have the moral compass and integrity not to step over the line. The defendant, did not." Prior to today's sentencing, Huffman wrote a letter explaining how she legitimately worked with the scheme's ring leader, Ring Singer, for a year before she agreed to cheat. Huffman allowing Singer to hire a proctor who changed answers on her oldest daughter's SAT, boosting her score. She says she considered using the services for her youngest daughter

but backed out. Huffman explaining in the letter how her poor decision damaged her relationship with her daughter. "When my daughter looked at me and asked with tears streaming down her face, why didn't you believe in me, I had no adequate action for her. I could only say I'm sorry, I was frightened, and I was stupid."

In the courtroom, Huffman was joined by her husband, actor, William H. Macy. He was one of 27 people who sent letters to the judge supporting the actress. Macy wrote Huffman rarely goes outside, usually bombarded by the paparazzi but their oldest daughter "paid the dearest price when her first-choice school denied her application two days after the scandal broke. Do something, please, please, do something," Macy said, she begged her parents.

Huffman is the second to be sentenced but the first to get prison time in the country's largest college admission scandal which ensnared more than 50 college coaches, administrators, and wealthy parents. Nineteen parents are still fighting the federal charges, including actress, Lori Loughlin and her husband fashion designer, Massimo Giannulli. The couple are accused to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits even though neither rowed. Both turned down a plea deal from the state earlier this year, and they're scheduled to go to trial.

And remember those who didn't take a plea deal were handed down another charge in this case. So, it will be interesting to see how the sentencing possibly could affect them in the future. Now, Felicity Huffman, her attorneys asked that she serve her 14 days in a prison near her home in California. Of course, that will be up to the bureau of prisons, but she reports to that sentencing on October 25th. Brynn Gingras, CNN, in Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALKER: All right. Brynn, thank you for that. CNN Legal Analyst, Joey Jackson joining us now with his take. Good morning to you, Joey. You wrote a piece on CNN.com that Felicity Huffman is "a role model for how to own up to your crimes." With that in mind, did you think this sentence was fair?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Amara, good morning to you. You know, this case, of course, vexed me and vexed the country, right? You figure, you look at all people who have college-age kids and who will have college-age kids who teach them to do things the right way, who tell them you're not going out tonight because, guess what, you have SAT preparation, and right after your sports tonight or on Saturday, you're coming home. So many arguments, you know, for kids who are following protocols, the rules, sitting through things. And so, yes, it's really disturbing.

That having been said, you know, in this process, you have to reward contrition, you have to reward remorse, you have to reward a defendant who says, you know what, I did it. Every day, Amara, there are people who are defendants across this country. You're entitled to a defense. Of course, that's what I do. And many have defendants have meritorious defenses and we push those. But for those who don't, right, there's so much deflection and misdirection and back flips and somersaults and I didn't do it, and you did it, and he did it, and she did it.

[07:05: 08] She said, you know what? It was me. She owned it and I think she owned it to the extent that everyone can learn from, and I think the judge rewarded that. Let's not also forget, the prosecutor recommended one month; he guideline sentence was up to six months. Judges do what they want to do. At the end of the day, the judge could have said, you know what, Mr. and Mrs. Prosecutor, love your argument, she's getting six months in jail. Judge didn't do that, and I think it was in large measure due to Felicity Huffman's ownership of her crime.

WALKER: Well, speaking of ownership and contrition, you're not seeing that from Lori Loughlin. I mean, if you are her, and her lawyers, and her husband, would you be shaking in your boots right now, especially considering the fact that they've pleaded not guilty and Felicity Huffman was accused of paying $15,000 as opposed to $500,000 for, you know, in this admission scandal?

JACKSON: Great question. Here's the answer. Yes, I'd be very concerned and here's why: look, everyone as I mentioned is entitled to a defense. In the event you think that you did nothing wrong, you avail yourself for the court system to this country, which are very adept at hearing claims and having juries adjudicate those claims and say guilty, not guilty.

The problem is, and of course, the attorneys have all the discover and are far more knowledgeable as to the details and specifics of the case than any of us are, to be sure. But based upon indications of what I've seen, boy, is that an uphill battle. And the fact is, is that, to your point, right, there's a distinction: $15,000 and a half a million dollars are worlds apart.

Going into court and saying I did it, I'm sorry; and saying I didn't do a thing given my trial are worlds apart. And so, ultimately, if you avail yourself of that trial also, Amara, be ready to avail yourself of the consequences and I think the consequence here is absolutely jail.

If you're seeing jail for a person who prosecutors say, look, she's on the low end, we only want a month, and the judge says you're doing two weeks, only imagine the distinctions in Lori Loughlin's case and how much time she'll get in the event that she's found guilty.

WALKER: Yes, that's going to be my next question to you. But I mean, what kind of defense do you think Lori Loughlin's lawyers are preparing? I mean, $500,000 allegedly paid to Rick Singer. I mean, are they just going to feign ignorance and say, we didn't know the money was being used to bribe officials at USC?

JACKSON: Well, that's your only way out, right? The fact is, is that I think what they're going to say, Amara, is that, you know, every day there are people who donate to colleges and worthy causes and there are legacy donors and they do that, right, for the intention of getting the good will of the college and perhaps it leads to the admission of their children or family members. That's what was done here. They had no knowledge whatsoever of a scandal, no knowledge whatsoever of a fraudulent type of charity, and they were doing what many parents do all the time.

The problem with that, Amara, is what about the pictures? Explain to me why you're sending pictures in alleging that your children are involved in a sport that they did not participate in? Was that just part of your ignorance as well? So, yes, I think they will say that they didn't know, certainly that this was -- Mr. Singer was up to his shenanigans. I just don't know that that argument carries the day in light of other evidence, and those pictures, why do I mention them? Exhibit A, Exhibit B -- very powerful.

WALKER: You know, we're talking about how this is such a vexing issue to you, to me, to, you know, people who play by the rules in America, and it really seems like people with money and privilege, they feel like they have a different set of rules that they have to -- that apply to them. When you talk about legacy donors, you know, I don't know. I mean, it seems like a lot of people have a problem with that as well because there's a fine line between legacy donors and perhaps bribing, some would argue.

JACKSON: You know, that could be the case. I see it differently, and here's how and here's why. The fact is, people contribute to colleges and as a result of those contributions, students benefit. They have libraries that are built, there are sports programs that are built and better, there are computers. All of the students who are in that school based upon donations are participating in the good will of those who have contributed. When you look at bribery, who benefits from that? The person who gets the money from the bribe and the person who paid the bribe based upon doing what I'm asking you to do.

And so, yes, we can talk about the fine distinctions between people who donate, but my view is that those who donate are doing so for the benefit of a world of students who perhaps are yet unborn where those who are bribing and doing it for my benefit and guess what, the money I give you, benefits you too. So, I think, there is a distinction.

WALKER: Yes, but should the legacy donors have a leg up when it comes to getting their children into colleges because of the money they donated. But that's a different discussion. Joey Jackson, I appreciate you joining us, thank you so much for that.

JACKSON: Thank you, Amara.

[07:10:05] BLACKWELL: We're learning this morning that the push for stronger gun background checks may be falling flat. Overnight talks between the Justice Department and Congress nearly slowed to a stop.

WALKER: Yes, Attorney General Bill Barr signaling that hopes for a President Trump-backed gun bill are (INAUDIBLE). Meanwhile, the president's stance on the issue remains incoherent at best. Let's get to CNN's Sarah Westwood outside the White House with more. Are you getting any clearer indications as to where President Trump stands on background checks? SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Amara, we still

don't know where exactly President Trump stands not just on background checks, but on a menu of options that the White House is considering to address mass shootings. Now, more than a month after President Trump promised action gun reform, but CNN has learned that high-level calls between the Department of Justice and Capitol Hill took place last night in which lawmakers learned that perhaps President Trump not inclined at the moment to background an expanded background check bill.

This, despite the fact that privately, sources tell CNN that Attorney General Bill Barr was nudging President Trump to support some kind of expanded background check package and that Ivanka Trump supported that kind of proposal. President Trump emerging from meeting with senior advisers earlier this week had said that he'd made progress on background checks but he declined when asked directly whether he would support background checks to offer any clarity and Republicans, they've offered the president just remarkable latitude to chart the path forward on this personally, but he has not signaled where he stands. So, creating a lot of confusion on Capitol Hill.

And meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is riling up conservatives with a comment he made at the Democratic primary debate this week in which he talked about a mandatory buyback program for AR-15s, a popular rifle; and AK-47s. Conservatives using this to argue the Democrats want to take away all guns. Vice President Mike Pence responded to Beto O'Rourke's controversial comments at the House GOP conference in Baltimore yesterday. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When they were 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, some advisers to the president had encouraged the president not to support some kind of expanded background check proposal. They showed the president, polling that suggested anything that could be perceived as gun control by the president's supporters would not be popular with the base.

The president also has been in contact with the NRA, with conservative lawmakers making those same arguments. Now, on the menu of options that the White House is considering, that includes Red Flag Laws, improving mental health services, death penalty for mass shooters, but it seems at the moment that the momentum behind expanded background checks may be stalling, Victor and Amara.

BLACKWELL: All right. Sarah Westwood for us there at the White House. Thank you.

WALKER: A new threat to the Bahamas. We will get a live report from the ground as residents still reeling from Dorian, brace for a new tropical storm.

BLACKWELL: Also, how former Vice President Joe Biden plans to silence some critics who are concerned about his age.

WALKER: And imagine carrying a baby in your womb for nine months only to be told that she's not yours. It happened to a New Jersey couple, and now they're taking action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard, and it hurts every time. And it just gets to the heart. It keeps stabbing, and stabbing, and stabbing, every day. You can't run from this. You can't run.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:17:03] WALKER: Welcome back, everyone. The Bahamas are bracing for a new tropical threat set to hit the devastated islands today. Tropical Storm Humberto, is approaching the Northwestern Bahamas and will bring rain and wind to Abaco in Grand Bahama.

Right now, the forecast calls for three to six inches of rain and tropical storm force winds throughout the day. Hundreds are still missing in the aftermath of the powerful Category 5 hurricane that struck the same region two weeks ago. Relief teams have been providing help to those who plan to ride out this new storm. And in the meantime, the Bahamian government is telling people to evacuate to shelters?

BLACKWELL: You've seen the pictures. You know that this storm could not be coming at a worse time for the Bahamas. Recovery efforts are on hold and there's also this emotional toll because now, people who are already displaced who survived the first storm, they're now evacuating to shelters again. CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Nassau. Dianne, what's the concern primarily for people who see another storm on the way?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, the biggest concern in the immediate future here as we're speaking, you and I right now, is those structures that remain on Abaco that were damaged in Dorian that may not really be able to withstand the tropical storm at this point. And the fact that there are still people who stayed in those homes, stayed in what was left of those homes, making sure that they either got to a shelter or put up some kind of fixtures on their homes that was able to shelter them in some bit from the storm.

The longer-term concern, is just this re-traumatizing of the people who have already been through what they did on that island there. The evacuees, the emotional toll of even tracking a storm coming back to those islands, the stress that it has created for people who really have nothing at this point. They're still in the middle right now of those recovery and relief efforts, and they've had to put them on pause yesterday and today. They're hoping to resume them tomorrow. But they weren't able to bring supplies back over.

We are told to the islands that were damaged because of winds, the impending storm, being afraid they weren't going to get back. Now, I spoke with USAID, they kept their teams there through the storm. They're going to weather it out there.

They have search-and-rescue teams as well just in case the rain reaches flooding levels and they need to go out and start rescuing people who did stay on the islands. They've been passing out these large heavy plastic tarps to assist people who stayed with their homes at this point, but really what the government of the Bahamas wishes that they would have done was go to shelters.

And again, we talk about that emotional toll of evacuating once and then going home and then evacuating again and what they've gone through at this point. The fact is, they're still 1,300 people on the official missing list. They're still trying to locate people here.

And so, even though this is a tropical storm and it's not going to create any of the kind of damage that Dorian did, it's just, as one man put it to me here in the Bahamas -- it's the cruelty of mother nature showing her face again and people feel victimized once again here.

The good news in those trying to stay positive here is that this isn't another Dorian, this isn't another hurricane, and that people who are in the worst areas are hopefully are either in shelters or are able to evacuate those islands to begin with, but they're having to pause relief efforts for today and then come tomorrow they're hoping to bring those back on there. I was on a plane leaving from Atlanta where they had a bunch of supplies, they were taking with them and those supplies likely weren't able to get onto those islands because they cut off those flights by the time, they were able to get them there.

So, they're hoping they can get back on track. Even a short pause in this type of relief effort can cause -- can cause trouble for them. But for the most part, the aid workers in the Bahamians have tried to stay positive.

WALKER: My goodness. It's a tall task to stay positive in these times. Dianne Gallagher, thank you for your reporting.

BLACKWELL: American college student, Otto Warmbier, died after North Korea sent him home in a comatose state. You remember, earlier this year, President Trump said that he did not hold Kim Jong-un responsible. So, why are Warmbier's parents about to have dinner with the president? Will Ripley is standing by live in Hong Kong.

[07:21:33] WALKER: Plus, President Trump says he wants to ban all flavored e-cigarettes but also says he likes vaping as an alternative to smoking. Can you really have it both ways? We're going to ask a doctor about that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:25:27] BLACKWELL: President Trump appears to be backing off the hard line he took earlier this week on vaping and e-cigarettes. So, last night, the president tweeted: "While I like the vaping alternative to 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: 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.

BLACKWELL: Well, the CDC on Thursday said there are now 380 confirmed cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarette use or vaping. In response, the CDC, American Medical Association, and other major medical organizations are telling people to not use the devices, at least until they can determine what is causing the disease.

WALKER: And we've learned about a teenager in Illinois who now has the lungs of a 70-year-old from vaping for over a year. Is this proof that vaping may be worse for your health than cigarettes? Joining me now is Dr. Vin Gupta.

He is a critical care physician with the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. Doctor, first off, I just want to get your reaction to what the president has been tweeting. It sounds like he's obviously softening his tone on this issue that he actually came out strong against with this ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and he's suggesting that vaping is safer than traditional cigarettes. Do you agree with that?

DR. VIN GUPTA, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF HEALTH METRICS SCIENCES, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: So, I think the president is onto something when he's suggesting that vaping can have a role in American public health. What we do know about vaping is that amongst people that are addicted to conventional cigarettes, those who have been smoking cigarettes for years and years, we know that vaping potentially, could be more effective to help people quit cigarettes, conventional cigarettes than other things like nicotine -- or nicotine lozenges, nicotine patches. Having said that, the way that we are currently regulating, the way that we're currently thinking about safety of e-cigarettes is unacceptable. The FDA has not reviewed a single e-cigarette on the marketplace for health or safety impacts. So, we can't have it both ways right now. Potentially, could we in the future? I think that's an open discussion.

WALKER: I mean, that to me is just astonishing. I mean, how is it that these products that can be, I mean, damaging to your health -- if there's nicotine in there, that could be damaging to your health, that's a fact. How could they not be regulated? I mean, what's -- what are the standards right now? Victor and I were just talking about this during the break, you can walk into any drugstore and get, you know -- you can't get razors, some of the shaving razors are locked away, and yet you can get e-cigarettes much more easily?

GUPTA: Yes. Pretty much yes. It's shocking. I mean, to think that now -- we have over 400 cases of people with severe lung illness probable or confirmed. Six deaths, likely to rise. We have a chronic epidemic of over 20 percent of high schoolers are using these flavored e-cigarettes nationwide. This is a problem across a range of levels.

It's a public health emergency, and it's been enabled by our politics. Essentially what's happening is the vaping industry, and their associated lobbying groups have lobbied the FDA, the Trump administration to say: delay the rules that require you to assess the health and safety impacts of these products. It's unacceptable. These should be reviewed before they go onto the marketplace.

WALKER: You were talking about the popularity of these e-cigarettes, especially amongst the youth, amongst teens and high school, and maybe even in some middle schools. And I was reading about how some teenagers are even sleeping with their e-cigarettes under their pillows, because they're so addicted to it.

As soon as they wake up, they need to take a few puffs. Tell us about marketing, because I did read a government report that said, I think 80 percent of teens who admitted to vaping, said that they were attracted to e-cigarettes because of the flavors like mint and mango, and you know, what have you.

GUPTA: So, if you're a youth between 12 and 17 and you use an e- cigarette, 70 percent of those youths use a flavored e-cigarette. 70 percent of these youths say that they started using these flavored e- cigarettes because they're flavored. They like cotton candy. They like the taste of it.

The markets strategies of Juul, of the vaping industry writ-large. They know what they're doing; they're not naive. They know that kids like these types of flavored products. That's why 50 percent of their social media followers are youths. They know exactly what they're doing. This is big tobacco mutating its strategies from the 1960s to the modern age.

It's effective, they need to stop doing what they're doing from an industry marketing standpoint. They need to ban -- we need to ban at the federal level all flavored e-cigarettes, and we need to do that now.

[07:30:22]

WALKER: So, you think that ban will be effective. But what about the youth who are already addicted to e-cigarettes? What happens to them?

GUPTA: Well, I think you're raising a point that myself as a pulmonologist, everybody in the public health community is worried about that exact fact. This is a chronic epidemic and you nailed it.

What we're -- what we're having here is individuals that are addicted to e-cigarettes, 20 percent of all high schoolers. This is a gateway drug because they are now addicted to nicotine, to conventional cigarettes. That's a huge problem. And so, that's a larger question that we in the public health community have to really wrestle with.

WALKER: Glad to have you on, Doctor Vin Gupta. Thank you for your time.

GUPTA: Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: President Trump, says he's still considering a third summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Maybe the fourth, depending upon how you count the meeting at the DMZ.

But his administration just hit the dictator with a new round of sanctions. We'll tell you about those.

WALKER: Still ahead, a white couple is taking legal action after giving birth to a baby with Asian features. How did that happen? Up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:35:35]

WALKER: The U.S. has slapped more sanctions on North Korea because of the country's alleged attempts to hack global financial institutions.

BLACKWELL: The Trump administration, says it's sanctioning three North Korean state-sponsored cyber groups for malicious activity intended to help fund the country's illicit weapons and missile programs.

And the backdrop of all this President Trump is still considering another summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

WALKER: Meantime, CNN has learned, the parents of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. college student who died shortly after he returned home from a North Korean prison will meet with Mr. Trump.

Administration sources say Fred and Cindy Warmbier are scheduled to have dinner at the White House tonight.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Will Ripley is in Hong Kong with details of tonight's gathering. Will, it's the president, it's the Warmbiers, it's the Ambassador to Germany. How did this group come together? What's this about?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's uncertain exactly how the pieces came together for this dinner at the White House. But the players involved certainly are interesting.

I've spoken with Fred and Cindy a number of times over the last few years, and sadly, the circumstances went from when they were hoping that Otto would be returned to them and would have stories to share about his time in North Korea, of course, we know what happened instead, he came back and died less than a week later because he was in a vegetative state, a state that he went into, and North Korea kept it a secret from the U.S. for a long time.

So, the Warmbiers have been pretty frustrated with President Trump when he's lavished praise on Kim Jong-un. Because in their view, he is someone who they've called evil, who they say tortured and killed their son.

They sued North Korea, they got a half a billion-dollar judgment. They're still trying to collect on that going after seized assets and whatnot.

So, the Warmbiers are going to be very direct when they speak with President Trump about Kim Jong-un and what they think the United States approach should be with North Korea. They certainly don't like this talk of friendship and whatnot.

Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany, he's one of the people who's being floated as a possible replacement for National Security Advisor in North Korea hawk John Bolton.

So, that's an interesting dynamic. I know that the Cindy Warmbier actually met with Ambassador Grinell in Germany last month. And perhaps, this dinner we're told was actually scheduled before Bolton was let go.

But obviously, I would expect, if I were a fly on the wall, it'd be a very direct conversation and messaging from the Warmbiers that they still want justice for their son, Otto.

BLACKWELL: All right. Will Ripley, for us there in Hong Kong. Will, thank you very much.

Joe Biden is not the only candidate in his 70s running for the White House, but he wants to make his age a non-issue here. His plan to silence critics ahead of the Iowa caucuses. We'll talk about this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:42:36]

BLACKWELL: Former Vice President Joe Biden, says he will release his medical records before the Iowa caucuses in February. Now, Biden have previously committed to releasing them before the general election next year.

WALKER: 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, they're all in their 70s. Let's bring in CNN Political Analyst, Margaret Talev.

Margaret, good morning to you.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Victor.

BLACKWELL: OK, so, let's start here. This is super early for medical releases. Let's look at the history, the presidents here. President Trump released that dubious letter from his personal physician. That was September of 2016. Secretary Clinton released her medical summary the same month well into the general campaign. Romney released them September of 2012 before the general election there. Then-Senator Obama released them in May of 2008, John McCain, May have of 2008 as well.

Still 14 months before the general, five months before Iowa, there must be some real concern that this narrative is sticking.

TALEV: Well, yes, I think, Joe Biden, probably understands that it doesn't do you any good to release your medical records, you know, at the normal time if you -- if it obscures your ability to be the nominee.

But what you are seeing is, yes, is you're seeing a group of candidates including the president who were all in their 70s at a time when they're like obviously major medical revolutions, but they're still questions about age and this would be a new thing -- you know, sort of we're entering kind of a new time entry for presidential candidates, you know.

And so, the former vice president understands this as something he's got to deal with. So far, the attacks on Joe Biden really haven't stuck. His rivals are looking for kind of a way to get to him and the Castro performance during the debate was kind of largely seen to have backfired on him. But nevertheless, I think, the former vice president is probably trying to get ahead of things.

You know, what's interesting is that when now President Trump, the infamous Dr. Bornstein letter they were talking about.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

TALEV: That was later --

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: All positive.

TALEV: Right.

BLACKWELL: Which is not a good thing in tests usually, but go ahead.

[07:45:01]

TALEV: And as you remember like, it what later turned out that Dr. Bornstein said that Donald Trump had dictated that letter to him. And I think at the time it raised a lot of questions about like what is this kind of another norm that Trump will test that will then shatter and will anyone ever like -- you know.

BLACKWELL: You know, I wonder -- I wonder, Margaret, why is this and I should say that Senator Warren has said that she will release her medical forms as well -- her medical records.

TALEV: That's right. BLACKWELL: Senator Sanders has not fully committed to that. Why is this potentially resonating or sticking to former Vice President Biden at 76, but not with 78-year-old Bernie Sanders?

TALEV: Well, because Bernie Sanders is not the front-runner right now. I mean, it's really part of it. And I think, I do think that when you look back at 2016, there were -- there was a question about is this still going to be like, do presidents or presidential candidates still have to release their tax records? Are they still going to have to have a medical exam?

And what we're seeing so far with Biden and Warren's commitments is that, at least, inside the Democratic PAC, there is a commitment to continuing these norms of having your medical records released, and saying these are legitimate questions and I'm -- you know, happy to answer them.

Now, we'll see what -- how detailed that release is. And same with President Trump. But President Trump's most recent physical exam are, at least, the portions that were made public were released back in February. So, we're now in a track where it seems, at least, like voters for whom this is important.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

TALEV: Or going to be able to get some basic information about all of the candidates or at least the major front, the frontrunners at this point.

BLACKWELL: So, all the reporting from people who are following Trump 2020 campaign is that they see Vice President Biden as the most formidable opponent heading into the general election.

I want you to listen to Vice President Pence in Baltimore. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: I heard -- I heard my predecessor said that he was answered a question about his years in the White House. And he said, "I'm the vice president of the United States." So, let me be clear, I am the vice president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Trying to get a cheer line, they out of maybe casting former vice president speaking of the wrong tense, if you watch the debate, it would have made a little more sense.

But, Margaret, do they see these flubs or meandering answers like the one with Maduro and the record player making him less formidable that this may be an entry for them?

TALEV: Well, they have some time now to test and kind of shadow box with where Biden is the weakest. And that they have the advantage of a Democratic primary to watch his rivals engage with him and see where he's weak, and they can see some of those areas and they're testing them right now.

But I think, for the Trump campaign, the question is -- you know, who is the most formidable candidate, it's going to depend on how Democrats play in individual states and some of those crucial key states as well as nationally. But also, just kind of what those national perceptions are of -- are they quick on their feet, are they strong, are they're able to talk about the future?

Those sort of things. But when you look at polling, when you look at general voter attitudes, these tend to be national polls. And as we all know, this is -- you know presidential elections depend on the Electoral College and how voters in -- how key blocks of voters in key states feel is really it sounds nuanced, but it's really the difference. It can make a difference in who the ultimate winner of next year's election is going to be.

BLACKWELL: All right, Margaret Talev, always good to have you.

TALEV: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Amara.

WALKER: A grandma got sick of all the speeders on her street. So, she did something about it. Find out how it's working and who's supporting her efforts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:53:09]

WALKER: All right. So, imagine carrying a baby for nine months only to find out it's not yours. Well, that happened to a white New Jersey couple who gave birth to an Asian baby.

BLACKWELL: So, they say a DNA test revealed that he was not the father. They are now suing their fertility clinic. And their fertility clinic responded by suggesting it may be the result of an extramarital affair. CNN's Erica Hill has their story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Six years ago Kristina Koedderich and Drew Wasilewski welcomed a baby girl. Conceived via IVF using what they thought was Drew's sperm and Kristina's egg.

KRISTINA KOEDDERICH, MOTHER: When she was born, all my friends said, "Oh, she looks Asian, she looks Asian." But you just figure every baby like looks different when they're born.

HILL: As she got older, the physical differences were clear.

KOEDDERICH: I'd go to a restaurant and they're like, "Oh, did you adopt her?"

HILL: Shortly, after their daughter's 2nd birthday, they say DNA tests confirmed Drew had a zero percent chance of being her biological father.

DREW WASILEWSKI, FATHER: It shook my world. That was like the final thing that destroyed everything around me.

HILL: Now divorced, the former couple is united in their fight to learn the identity of her biological father, suing the clinic where she was conceived.

A director with the facility in a March deposition maintains there was no mix-up.

In a statement to CNN, that facility, the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science, said it cannot comment on individual patients. But says they're taking this very seriously and are thoroughly examining the alleged incident.

DAVID MAZIE, ATTORNEY FOR THE FAMILY: They have known about this since 2015. And they haven't provided any information, any clarity. The only thing they say is, "We did everything right."

[07:55:02]

HILL: Then last month, a judge ordered the clinic to turn over records on all the men, both donors and those hoping to be parents, like Drew, who gave specimens around the same time. And all the women whose eggs were fertilized when Kristina's were. They have until September 27th.

WASILEWSKI: And it hurts every time. It just gets to the heart, just keeps stabbing, and stabbing, and stabbing. And every day, you can't run from this. You can't run.

Hi, daddy. Hi, sweetie. How are you? And, you know, you see that and she's adorable, and it breaks your heart, but the whole scenario is just like to sucks.

HILL: Did it change in any way how you feel about her?

WASILEWSKI: No. Everybody is wondering, what are you going to do? What are you going to do? What do you mean I'm going to do? I'm going to take her and throw her like a piece of garbage and throw away? You go she didn't do anything.

She's my daughter. I watched her born.

KOEDDERICH: Yes, yes.

WASILEWSKI: She's the most adorable little kid. I want to be there as long as I can, but still, it doesn't make it right.

HILL: Erica Hill, CNN, Livingston, New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: It's just heartbreaking.

WALKER: Horrific. Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Well, listen, a grandmother in Montana. She's trying to scare drivers into slowing down using her hairdryer. Her name is Patti Baumgartner.

WALKER: Right. That's a hairdryer.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Patti. She says that people are just speeding through her neighborhood far too often. So, she's sitting there in her porch chair with the hairdryer like a radar gun.

WALKER: It looks like one.

BLACKWELL: Yes, fairly it's working.

WALKER: Patti's grandson tweeted a photo of her to Montana Highway Patrol, and they said, they loved the idea and gave her the honorary Montana trooper title.

She looks serious.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

WALKER: She means business.

BLACKWELL: All black with the glasses. All right.

WALKER: That was scary.

BLACKWELL: More news to tell you about this morning.

WALKER: The next hour of NEW DAY continues after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)