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Antonio Brown's Accuser Met With NFL For 10 Hours; Violent Robbery Videos Go Viral As Minneapolis Faces Police Shortage; President Trump Weighs Action To Combat Homelessness In California. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 17, 2019 - 07:30   ET

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


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[07:32:15]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, new reporting just in to CNN. A source tells us that the woman accusing Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown of sexual assault and rape, Britney Taylor, met with the NFL for 10 hours until late last night -- 10 hours.

This comes as a new claim of sexual misconduct has surfaced from an unnamed woman in a "Sports Illustrated" report.

Now, Brown denies both sets of allegations.

Joining us now to discuss, CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan, and "Boston Globe" sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy.

Christine, I've been asking you this every day. Where we are this morning, Britney Taylor met for 10 hours -- 10 hours with NFL investigators where presumably, she told them everything we've heard in public and much more about her allegations against Antonio Brown. And yet, as of this morning, Antonio Brown is still an active player for the New England Patriots.

So what message does that send?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST, SPORTS COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: It's not a good one if, in fact, that she -- that if Britney Taylor, John, said what we believe she said for 10 hours -- that's a long time -- then it becomes a he said-she said, which is what we thought all along. And so far, anyway, it sounds like they're not acting on what she said.

Now, I will say the positive here for women, for Me Too, for the culture in general believing women is that five -- well, six years ago this would never have happened.

The Ray Rice punch, which was five years and one week ago -- the video that we saw that horrified so many people did lead the NFL to know that it needed to investigate itself, and so we saw that today. That's the positive.

The uncertainty yet is what will happen. Obviously, it's only Tuesday morning. They play Sunday.

There's a long time yet to go to see if, in fact, Antonio Brown is put on the commissioner's exempt list, which is, I believe, exactly where he belongs. But right now, as you said, he's not there.

BERMAN: Dan, I want to read to you from your column on this where you really talk about the Patriots and their role in all of this.

You say, "Better than any team in the history of professional sports, the Patriots know what to do when they are charged with cheating or ethical bankruptcy.

Just win, baby. Take no prisoners. Fire all your guns at once. Deny, deny, then accuse.

Give everybody the finger and march toward another Super Bowl Sunday. Unleash members of your fanboy nation as born-again civil libertarians, righteous in their pursuit of touchdowns or everything else."

You write, "Deny, deny, then accuse." In this case, the Patriots aren't denying the substance of the allegations. They say they've heard them.

But what they are denying is any agency or responsibility to take action. What they're saying is it's not up to us, it's up to the NFL.

So what message does it send to you in Boston when the Patriots are just saying hey, it's not for us to decide? Couldn't they step in here and take action on their own?

[07:35:03]

DAN SHAUGHNESSY, SPORTS COLUMNIST, THE BOSTON GLOBE: No, they're running out the clock here. They will do nothing until they are told they have to do something by the NFL, which we know they already hate. They hate the league telling them what to do. But in this case, the league is doing them a favor by taking it into their lap.

The Patriots have done nothing. Coach Belichick, when they acquired the player -- when he was asked did you know about this baggage -- that this lawsuit was coming -- he said -- he said he would not answer that. I'm not answering that.

And then he said we need to gather more information. Well, you don't need to gather more information to tell us if you knew or not. That's not a gathering information item. It's yes or no.

He won't answer that and nothing else to say about Antonio Brown regarding his off-the-field stuff.

The owner has been completely silent and this is after a lifetime track record of Bob and Jonathan Kraft talking about their family. I mean, I could read stuff from you here -- all the stuff they've said about Albert Haynesworth. We're different, it's our family name.

Bob Kraft, after his latest charges in Florida last January -- it's I treat women well. I let my actions speak for themselves.

Now he's standing there and saying and doing nothing but having his media cartel put the word out that had Bob known about these charges they wouldn't have taken on the player. Well, what's stopping you now?

BERMAN: That's a good point. There is nothing actually stopping them now from taking action. The Patriots could have cut him the minute the story came out of they had wanted to. They could say they weren't going to play him.

But, Dan, what are you hearing from Boston fans because I have to say, I heard a lot of cheering from the stands in Miami, which was filled with New England fans during the game on Sunday?

SHAUGHNESSY: Well, you read my words after the game there and that's what I'm -- you know -- Patriot fans, if you're on this, it's the laundry. If you're on their team they love you and that's that. The same guy they were trashing 10 days ago they now love.

And hey, he played great. We know he's a good football player. That was never in doubt.

Now he's their good football player and they're taking on the college town atmosphere, twisting themselves into pretzels to make this -- like I said, they're all now civil libertarians in search of touchdowns.

BERMAN: You noted -- so, Christine Brennan, you noted it's only Tuesday. Sunday's a long time away.

If you were a reporter in that press room with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, heading into Sunday, what would you be asking each and every day when they decide they are going to take questions?

BRENNAN: Well, Dan and his fellow colleagues at "The Boston Globe" will -- I'm sure will do a great job on this as they always do.

I would ask -- I would pepper them with questions about this -- exactly what Dan said. If you weren't going to sign him then why do you just -- why don't -- why do you still have him on the team?

Of course, there's this "Sports Illustrated" reporting, which alleges another incident of sexual misconduct -- different woman, different place, different time.

So there's a lot there. I would just ask these questions. They don't want to answer them, I keep asking. And it doesn't look pretty sometimes when you do that as a journalist but that's our job.

I will say this. Dan is right. I mean, I don't see any -- and Dan, you probably don't either -- see any season ticket holders throwing their season tickets into Boston Harbor or burning them in downtown Boston. There, right now, are no repercussions for the NFL to do -- to continue to do what they're doing. But let's see, there is also the march of history and the conversation of our culture, and Me Too. And that is the larger view is how will history look back on these moments and will Roger Goodell do what I believe he should do and put Antonio Brown on the commissioner's exempt list.

BERMAN: And we should note there's no question that Antonio Brown will also have his opportunity to answer questions before the NFL. He has, so far, denied all of these allegations.

Christine Brennan, Dan Shaughnessy, great to have you on this morning. Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you.

SHAUGHNESSY: Thanks.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John. Coming up, a brutal robbery spree caught on camera. Dozens of victims have been beaten. Why police say they are having a hard time stopping these crimes.

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[07:42:51]

CAMEROTA: We're about to show you very disturbing video of vicious robbery happening in broad daylight in down Minneapolis. Court documents say this group assaulted this man for his cell phone. They threw him to the ground, repeatedly jumped on him, and even ran him over with a bike.

This is just one of dozens of robberies reported in downtown Minneapolis over a three-week stretch last month.

CNN's Omar Jimenez joins us live with more. What's happening in Minneapolis?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn.

At this point, the Minneapolis Police Department would not go as far as to call it a crisis but did say a shortage in officers that they've been seeing, at the very least, has contributed and could be a factor, I should say, in the spike in robberies we've been seeing in the city.

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JIMENEZ (voice-over): Daylight robberies, some of them violent, according to the Hennepin County, Minnesota attorney's office. One victim jumped on, even run over with a bike in the aftermath of a robbery.

For nearly nine months in one downtown Minneapolis precinct, there were 240 robberies. That's up nearly 54 percent from the same time last year. Now, over the course of one week in August alone, 23 robberies. Police say they followed a similar pattern. They finessed the victim

looking for an easy target -- someone intoxicated, alone, looking at their cell phone at times.

But these incidents, as shocking as the video may be, aren't happening in a vacuum. It's within the context of the police department saying they need more officers. Over the summer, the police chief said it's hard to even keep the slots they've filled.

CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: Because our staffing needs have not been properly addressed over many years it has resulted in our current MPD resources being strained to capacity and, quite frankly, we're hemorrhaging.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): According to the police department, between July first, 2018 and June 30th of this year, there were 6,776 times when someone picked up the phone and called 911 for a priority-one call, which includes robbery, homicide, and rape, and there wasn't an officer available to immediately respond.

The department admits recruiting is down. It's part of why the police chief and mayor are working to add 14 more officers to next year's budget.

[07:45:06]

ARRANDODO: Through trust accountability and professional service, the MPD's daily goal is to provide for the public safety of all of our city.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): It's something the City Council is currently wrestling with; not all of them receptive.

The Council president arguing they have to look at more than just policing, tweeting, "MPD is only one way we support public safety."

While another councilman, writing in an op-ed for the "Star Tribune" -- "Now is the time for our city to insist that we expect better before we fund more," arguing the system could be more efficient.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JIMENEZ: Now, regardless of the solution they end up working toward there's no mistaking what's passed. Between two incidents in August alone there were 20 arrests and 18 people charged. And it should be noted that after some of those arrests, robberies did drop to three during one week earlier this month.

But in regards to the overall issue of police numbers, the president of the police union says they're likely to get even smaller before they start trending in the opposite direction -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Omar, thank you very much for explaining that crime spree. Let's hope they get their arms around it.

BERMAN: But the video is shocking. CAMEROTA: Oh, God, it's appalling.

BERMAN: All right.

Republicans canceling state primaries left and right, all to smooth the road to the nomination for President Trump. The president says nothing to see here and parties do this for incumbent presidents all the time.

CAMEROTA: But is that really true? John Avlon knows. He has our reality check this morning. Hi, John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, guys.

So look, no president likes getting a primary challenger, but President Trump's Republican Party has taken the unusual step of trying to block his challengers from even getting in front of voters.

Now, to date, Republicans in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas have decided to cancel their primaries entirely, while Michigan changed its rules to make it virtually impossible for any challenger to get a delegate.

Now, team Trump says this is all perfectly normal. The president's trying to dismiss his three challengers -- former Gov. Bill Weld, Mark Sanford, and one-term congressman Joe Walsh as nothing but a publicity stunt -- a laughing stock.

But the fact is there are plenty of times where challengers to incumbents got on the ballot. And when primaries had been canceled in the past it's often due to a lack of anything resembling credible opponents.

So, in 1976, Ronald Reagan famously challenged President Ford from the right. He suffered a series of defeats until the Gipper pulled out a win in North Carolina and went on to win 10 more primaries, including Texas, Georgia, his native California, taking the fight all the way to the convention.

Ford, of course, went on to lose narrowly to Jimmy Carter. Four years later, President Carter faced his own primary challenger. Again, the fight went to the convention with Sen. Ted Kennedy conceding defeat in a famous speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D-MA): The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: And in 1992, President George H.W. Bush faced a primary challenge from former Reagan staffer and CNN host Pat Buchanan.

Buchanan ran a conservative populist campaign and won 40 percent in New Hampshire. Not enough to win overall but enough to continue his campaign, gaining almost three million primary votes and scoring a prime time speech at the convention, which columnist Molly Ivins memorably criticized as probably sounding better than the original German.

You can see a pattern here. Presidents who got primaries between 1976 and '92 lost the general election. But, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama didn't face any serious interparty opposition. And so, while several states did cancel their primaries in those years it was because there were no credible candidates running against them.

Barack Obama got a brushback in the West Virginia primary but it was from a Texas felon who finagled his way onto the ballot.

And this year, President Trump is facing three credible challengers, all of whom have held elected office. They're long shots, to be sure. Trump is very popular among Republicans. But because of that, you'd think he wouldn't shy away from a fight he's likely to win.

On the flip side, these candidates can make a credible case that Trump has abandoned core conservative principles on things like free trade, fiscal discipline, and foreign policy.

The conservatives who cheered on these primary challengers against Ford and Bush in the past now seem to want to shut down debate because they've got a populist in power.

The irony is that in 2016, candidate Trump complained about rigged primaries and now that he's in power he seems to be doing the rigging.

So don't believe the hype that all this is normal. But shutting down primaries Republicans aren't follow precedent, they're revealing a discomfort with democracy.

And that's your reality check.

CAMEROTA: Very important context.

BERMAN: Discomfort with democracy.

AVLON: There's a pill for that.

BERMAN: Right, there is a pill.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, John, for all of that.

BERMAN: All right.

There is a book that is at the center of all kinds of controversy this morning. It reveals a new allegation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh that did not come out during his confirmation hearings. But the way this book and the new reporting has been released is equally controversial.

The reporters behind this book -- they join us, coming up.

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[07:54:27]

President Trump heads to California today where he is expected to call attention to the state's homeless crisis. A quarter of the country's homeless population lives in California with nearly 60,000 homeless in Los Angeles County alone.

CNN's Dan Simon joins us live from San Francisco with a very closer look -- very much of a closer look at this plague, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey, John.

No question, California is experiencing a major homeless crisis. President Trump apparently wants to crack down. And as officials debate what he may or may not do it's important to not lose focus of the people directly impacted by these issues.

[07:55:06]

I spoke to a guy on the streets of Los Angeles who is a living case in point that the roots of homelessness can be complicated.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON (voice-over): Ever since he was a young boy in Texas, Shawn Pleasants had promise. A valedictorian in high school, he got into Harvard but chose Yale, majoring in economics. Wall Street beckoned, then came his own business.

SHAWN PLEASANTS, HOMELESS, LIVING IN LOS ANGELES: I own all my decisions and choices, the good and the bad.

SIMON (voice-over): Today, he is homeless, living on the streets of Los Angeles.

SIMON (on camera): It means it can happen to anybody.

PLEASANTS: It can happen to anybody. No one is -- it's not someone else's problem, it is a problem we all could face.

SIMON (voice-over): Amid squabbles with his cofounders, the income dried up. And then he lost his rock, his mother, and the problems got worse.

He is one of 60,000 homeless in the county of Los Angeles.

PLEASANTS: You'll find musicians, you'll find -- you know, there's -- the photographer over there. The problem is with the cost of housing.

SIMON (voice-over): They all live in a small tent city in L.A.'s Koreatown neighborhood, dwarfed by gentrification that has taken over the area.

A quarter of the nation's homeless now live in California, from L.A.'s Skid Row to the streets of San Francisco. Drug needles litter the sidewalks and crews are routinely dispatched to clean up human waste mere blocks away from some of the biggest tech companies in the world.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What they are doing to our beautiful California is a disgrace to our country.

SIMON (voice-over): President Trump may be on the verge of a major crackdown. According to "The Washington Post," he is considering a directive to have the tents swept up with the homeless moved to an unused government building. Critics point out that such an action would not only be illegal but counterproductive.

MIKE DICKERSON, COFOUNDER, K-TOWN FOR ALL: The idea that we're going to force people into a facility that's probably located in a very remote area is not a solution.

SIMON (voice-over): Mike Dickerson cofounded a homeless advocacy group. He says a better solution for Trump would be figuring out how to build more affordable housing and providing better services, whether it's mental health or connecting people to jobs.

DICKERSON: Often, it is not framed as an issue of compassion -- of trying to get people housed -- but more of an issue of we need to get these tents off the street.

SIMON (on camera): How would it strike you if all this stuff was just kind of removed and you folks were taken to some other place?

PLEASANTS: Then I would -- I would leave that other place immediately.

SIMON (voice-over): Shawn, 52 years old and married to another homeless man, doesn't want to be confined by the rules of a shelter.

SIMON (on camera): You just stretch your body.

PLEASANTS: Exactly.

SIMON (on camera): This is where you sleep.

SIMON (voice-over): He has both a laptop and a cell phone. He's been occupying this space in Koreatown for six years and has been homeless for a decade. He admits to being a regular meth user.

But spending just a few hours with Shawn, he still possesses that intellectual curiosity that took him to the Ivy League.

PLEASANTS: I would prefer to be somewhere where I can still go to the library when I want to, and go there and do the things I need to do.

SIMON (voice-over): But then there's the reality of life on the streets.

PLEASANTS: Every time you sleep, that's when you lose. That's when people come and take your things. I'm a heavy sleeper. I lose a lot.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIMON: Well, I spoke to Shawn Pleasant's family. They have repeatedly tried to help him over the years but he has rebuffed those efforts. It just shows you what a complicated situation this can be for both the homeless and their families.

Now, John, in terms of federal officials intervening, what state officials will tell you is that they welcome those efforts -- they welcome resources. But simply cracking down and not adding more housing, they say, is not a tenable solution.

I'll send it back to you.

BERMAN: It's going to take compassion. It is going to take compassion.

Dan, thank you for that look and introducing us to people who are suffering. I really appreciate it.

And thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM WITH MAX FOSTER" is next.

For our U.S. viewers, we have breaking new details on the attacks on the Saudi oil fields. NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, September 17th, 8:00 now in the East.

And we do have breaking news for you because a source tells CNN there is, quote, "a very high probability," end quote, that this weekend's attack on a Saudi oil field was launched from an Iranian base using low-altitude cruise missiles fired from the north.

U.S. weapons experts are on the ground at this hour with the Saudis, investigating the origins of those missiles, the technology, and who possesses that type of cruise missile.

BERMAN: And just hours from now, what is being billed as the first impeachment hearing into President Trump begins. The House Judiciary Committee is investigating whether the president obstructed justice.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is set to testify. But the White House is trying to limit what he says, exerting a kind of privilege even though Lewandowski never worked in the White House.

We're going to begin, though, with the breaking news on the Saudi oil field. CNN's Nic Robertson joins us in the Saudi capital of Riyadh with all the new details. Nic, what have you learned?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, John.

What we're hearing from a source familiar with the investigation gives us some understanding of.

END