Return to Transcripts main page


Global Strike, Masses Take to Streets Over Climate Crisis; At Least 4 Dead, 30 Injured in Tour Bus Crash in Utah; Sudden Uptick in Rivals Attacking Biden And Warren; What's Behind Kamala Harris' Struggle in The Polls; "Wall Street Journal" Says Trump Repeatedly Pressured Ukraine President to Investigate Joe Biden's Son; "Friends", 25 Years of Laughter" on Saturday At 9pm ET. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 20, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Greta Thunberg, the Swedish girl who inspired so much. She said she was in a deep depression when she understood the warnings of science but turned that depression into action. You see the result here today.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Quite a number of folks out there, Bill, appreciate it in Seattle, as we mentioned Scott McLean is out there on the West Coast, what are you seeing, what are you hearing from folks on the ground there?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Erica, I'll let you have a look at the crowd. Organizers say there are 1,700 Amazon employees here at minimum. A lot of these folks don't work for Amazon. So the number is probably higher than that. Just talking to some folks in the crowd, some people have the blessing of their boss to be here, many have taken vacation days and some say they are just taking a really long lunch.

There's one sign over there that says, "Amazon, big footprint equals big responsibility." And the reality is, that Amazon is a massive polluter. It takes a lot of carbon in order to move things all across the country. One employee told me that she believes that the planet would be better off without Amazon in it. That said, the company just announced a pretty ambitious climate plan yesterday involving buying 100,000 electric delivery vans and to try to become carbon neutral by the year 2040.

But some employees especially the folks here say that is still not good enough. They want the company to stop donating to politicians who deny the climate science and they also want the company to stop using their technology to help oil and gas companies, something that CEO Jeff Bezos said flat out he will not do -- Erica.

HILL: All right, Scott McLean there live for us in Seattle. Thank you both.

Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at a climate protest today in Greensboro, North Carolina, not just talking about climate though, he's also on the attack against Joe Biden. This is other candidates we're are really seeing them go after Elizabeth Warren. So what does this all tell us about the 2020 race? That's next.



HILL: We are getting some new information on this breaking news involving a tour bus crash in Utah. CNN's Sara Sidner following it for us. So Sara, what more are you learning? A picture of the scene?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a picture of the scene. We are now learning that this bus was filled with Chinese- speaking tourists. If you look at that picture there, it looks as if, and this is not confirmed by authorities yet, but it looks as if that the tour bus may have flipped at some point when you consider the damage there to the top of the tour bus.

We are told from a health care facility that is in the area, that is somewhat nearby, that indeed 30 people have been injured. We're now hearing from the Highway Patrol there in Utah that there are 12 to 15 people who are in extremely critical condition at this hour, and that four people have been confirmed killed.

A terrible bus crash there in Bryce Canyon. That is out in the beautiful wilderness of Utah, which the state has been encouraging people, of course, to come see some of their spectacular views in the outdoors. Bryce Canyon has millions of people coming every year to see the beauty of the place, but this is a horrific accident on State Road 12 there about four hours from Salt Lake City.

HILL: And as you point out, that bus really, that image, does paint quite a picture. Sara, thank you.

Turning now to the 2020 race. As the Democratic primaries draw closer some of the lower polling candidates really sharping attacks on the front-runners. Senator Elizabeth Warren rising in the polls, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are both taking shots at her for dodging questions about how she'll pay for her Medicare-For-All plan.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND, IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Warren is known for being straightforward and was extremely evasive when asked that question. It's puzzling that when everybody knows the answer to that question of whether her plan and Senator Sanders plan will raise middle class taxes is yes. Why you wouldn't just say so and then explain why you think that's the better way forward.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you are tired of the extremes in our politics and tired of the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me. We've be got a lot of great people running, but some of these ideas are better left in the college faculty lounge than right here at this port.


HILL: Longtime front-runner Joe Biden also under fire from Bernie Sanders for holding fundraisers with wealthy donors.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The overwhelming, overwhelming majority of our contributions comes from the working people of this country and I'm very proud of that. I would contrast that with how my good friend Vice President Biden is raising money today. We are not going to make the changes that we need in this country when you go to three fundraisers in Chicago sponsored by multi-millionaires.


HILL: Aisha Moodie-Mills is a CNN political commentator. I'm actually going to pick up on what Bernie Sanders was saying there. Right, because I get it on one hand. You know, where your money, this kind of says a lot about you. How much do voters really care about whether the majority of your money is from a big donor or if it's $10 here, $10 there online?

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. I think that what voters really care about is are you in bed with special interests that clearly are using their money to buy their own way through America? And to slight the little man, frankly? Or are you actually in bed with the people? And that's the contrast that all of this donor conversation is trying to make. And so when Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or whomever says look at me, I have all of these donors that are giving me $20, all of these individual Americans who I am fighting for that's who I'm beholden to.


And I that that's a real conversation. Because at some point Joe Biden is going to have to answer for the fact that a lot of his money is coming from the very corporations that are doing harm to communities. And so when you are taking your money from and in deep conversations with and feeling beholden to people who are doing regular American's harm you going to have to figure how you navigate that.

HILL: How do you navigate that? Elizabeth Warren taking a lot of hits as we saw. Some of them, look, there are a lot of questions. She is not answering that question about how Medicare For All is getting paid for as Buttigieg pointed out. Is she, though, in becoming a target, is this a sign -- I mean it might be good news for her campaign, right? Is this a sign that those other candidates are getting worried?

MOODIE-MILLS: I would imagine that her campaign is really you know happy that people are coming for her. Because the only time candidates really start to pick at someone is when they're on the rise. Elizabeth Warren has the momentum in the race, in fact she's had the momentum in this race for several months now. Out of all the candidates she's the only person who is surging. Everyone else is either staying flat or they're declining. And so of course, the people who, especially those who are at the bottom, who are the ones who are scrambling, and have the most to gain are going to try and topple the person who has the most momentum.

Now I am not a campaign messaging strategist for any of these folks. But one thing that I would say is that at some point she is going to have to actually answer the question. And I would bet my money that the way that she answers that question is going to be to talk about, like, the devil in the details how great her plan is. And so I'm not sure that attacking her and saying you didn't answer this particular question is going to derail the overall message of why she thinks her plan is the best one.

HILL: Speaking of messaging, take a quick listen to what Kamala Harris had to say.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got very little sleep last night trying to figure out where my sweaters and boots are because I'm packing to be here as much as I can. I cannot only be in Iowa, because South Carolina is also a state that is very important that I care about. You know it can be frustrating, frankly, to have to make these decisions that feel like a trade-off but I plan on spending as much time as I can here.


HILL: Her campaign manager says she needs to finish in the top three in Iowa. That's a pretty high bar. If she doesn't reach it, do you think she's done?

MOODIE-MILLS: Well, I think they think she's done. And so we should listen to what they're saying. It's very bold for them to put that out there this early. Like here's the thing, Kamala Harris has an authenticity challenge right now. Folks like her, like we see her perform but they don't quite know who she's going to show up as at any point in time. I think where we really takes off is when she shows up as a tough prosecutor. We want to see her take down Donald Trump and prosecute this administration and certainly prosecute the Republicans.

But she's got to be really in that. And so I think that because she hasn't been on the ground in Iowa so much people haven't really been able to connect with her, to touch her, and feel her. So it is smart she's doubling down on Iowa. I also think that it's interesting they're putting it out there now and saying she's got to be one, two, three. So it will interesting to see what happens in February by their own metrics.

HILL: We will watching and we'll also be talking about it until then, so don't worry. We'll revisit this. Always good to see you. Thank you.

MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you.

HILL: We would like to honor this week's CNN Hero. A Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles doing his part to battle the homelessness in that city. Three times a week Craig Mitchell gets up at 3:30 in the morning in an effort to help change people's lives through running. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDGE CRAIG MITCHELL, FOUNDER, THE SKID ROW RUNNING CLUB: Lawyers, social workers, people from all different walks of life, running with people who are recovering from addiction and homelessness.


MITCHELL: We affirm. We listen. We support. It chose what open- minded people who really care about each other, how they can treat one another, and it's a lesson in and of itself.


HILL: To see more about how his running network helps people get off the streets just log into



HILL: We want to get to some breaking news now in this whistleblower complaint against President Trump. The "Wall Street Journal" now reporting President Trump repeatedly pressured the President of Ukraine to investigate the son of Democratic Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us on the phone.

So Jeff, I just want to point out for people what's in the piece. And again, this is from the "Wall Street Journal." Murdoch outlet. Right? This is not from "Washington Post" which the President loves to rail against. So they are reporting that on call with Selenski, who was then President-elect, that President Trump about eight times urged him to work with Giuliani on a probe. Now it's Important to point out here, too, they say that there was not a mention of a provision of foreign aid on that call to Ukraine.

This is fascinating, though. Especially based on what we heard from the President today, when he was asked directly this morning, if he asked the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden, the President said, quote, it doesn't matter what I discussed. Does it matter if he discussed, perhaps, as many as eight times urging him to work with Giuliani on a probe?


JEFFERY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST (via telephone): Well, I think it depends on whether the House of Representatives thinks it matters. Certainly, there will be people. There will be many Democrats who believe that if this story turns out to be true and presumably a tape of this phone call exists, but if this is true, there will be people who will assert this was a classic abuse of power. That the President of the United States is not supposed to use the foreign policy of the United States to advance his electoral prospects, is supposed to be using the power of the presidency to advance the nation's prospects. And if he was using American foreign policy for the sole benefit of

his campaign, there will be certainly people who will claim that is an abuse of power. Is it a crime? I don't know. It's hard for me to conceive how that could be a criminal offense but it might be an impeachable offense.

HILL: It certainly would not be a good look in many ways.

TOOBIN: Because that's an understatement, yes.

HILL: As we look at what we do know here, right, we're also still trying to piece together, so we're hearing different things about this phone call. So initially in the read-out there was no mention the U.S. read-out about this phone call, of discussion about investigations into corruption. But the Ukrainian read-out did mention that that was part of the discussion. That was coming into question earlier today certainly now hearing this, it sort of raises that to a new level.

TOOBIN: Well, it does but I do think it's important to point out that there is no obligation on the part of the White House to have a complete or detailed read-out of the President's phone calls with foreign leaders. This administration has been particularly stingy in the detail provided in recounts but that is certainly something that is within the discretion of the White House.

The issue here is the President's behavior, not the P.R. strategy of the White House. The issue is, is the President abusing his power if he is using the influence of the -- of the American government on foreign powers for the sole purpose of trying to get re-elected. That is the issue here.

HILL: Right.

TOOBIN: And the first thing that, of course, everyone needs to think about and be accurate is what was said in the phone call and the facts are going to matter a great deal.

HILL: Indeed they do. The facts matter as we know, facts first. That is the most important thing. Jeffrey Toobin, thank you. I do want to point out to the "Wall Street Journal" reporting that both the White House declined to comment and the Biden campaign did not respond to its request for comment. Our special coverage continues right after this short break.


HILL: This Sunday night "Game of Thrones" poised to break its own record for the most Emmy awards in a single year. The HBO show which is of course shares a parent company with us here at CNN already won ten awards at the creative Emmys for things like casting and costume. So if it wins just three of the 14 total nominations it is up for this weekend, well, there you go. It is a clear favorite for many when it comes to the category of best drama. When we look at best comedy, "Veep" is the front-runner. Also HBO. Production on the final season had to be delayed for a year while its star, Julia Louis Dreyfus, underwent treatment for breast cancer.

It is hard to believe the 90s hit TV "Friends", sitcom turns 25 this Sunday. Everybody Thursday night viewers tune in to watch Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Monica And Joey get together and drink coffee. There were songs about Smelly Cat of course, and there was the haircut. "Friends" ran for ten seasons. It show is owned by Warner Brothers TV, which is part of CNN's parent company, Warner Media. And joining us now the Creators and Executive Producers, Marta Kauffman and David Crane.


Great to have you with us, happy anniversary. It's been a bit of a whirlwind for you guys over the past couple of weeks.

MARTA KAUFFMAN, CO-CREATOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "FRIENDS": It certainly has. It is overwhelming and quite wonderful.

DAVID CRANE, CO-CREATOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "FRIENDS": It is amazing. A show that has been off the air for 15 years and here we are.

HILL: And here you are. And Marta, what has surprised you most about some of the conversations surrounding this anniversary?

KAUFFMAN: You know, I think what surprises me the most is that we're discussing it at all. That we're still here. That probably surprises me the most. And that and hearing the stories about people who learned English from watching the show. That's pretty awesome.

HILL: Wow! David anything that has really surprised you in terms of what you've heard over the last couple of weeks with this milestone?

CRANE: Just the number of younger people like people who were 10 and 11 and 12 and who just discovered the show now, that's fantastic. You know, you would think just the enormous cell phones would turn them off. But no. It's -- we're very lucky.

HILL: Maybe they're intrigued by the idea of people actually sitting together at a coffee shop talking to each other instead of staring at their phones.

KAUFFMAN: Absolutely. I think there is a big element of that, where people -- it is aspirational. You have those kind of friends that you can talk to.

HILL: Yes, it's aspirational, I mean for me as a parent of nearly teenager, I hope they see that and they get that you can have real conversations. So there are so many moments. I know you've talked about your moments, you've talked about the guest stars. Was there anybody who you really hoped would be a guest star on the show who said, no?

CRANE: No. I don't think so. We never wrote for specific guest stars. We would write characters and then the casting people would come back and say, oh, so and so wants to do it and it was just a name that just you couldn't believe it. And so, no, we were always just thrilled and amazed at who did want to do it. I don't think there was ever a time we went after someone and didn't get them.

HILL: And did people come to you and say, you know, I would be really great on this episode?

KAUFFMAN: Yes. Not all of them famous.

CRANE: Some family members.

HILL: Some family members. Did you say yes to any of those family members?

CRANE: Actually, yes. My father in an episode has one line. So that was pretty great.

HILL: That's fantastic.


HILL: I love that. That is such a great moment. You know, I'm curious, as we look at all of this and you know I think back to different episodes that I watched and where I was watching them, I'm always curious, how much time did either one of you spend in coffee shops before writing this?

KAUFFMAN: Almost none.

CRANE: None. I don't think so. I think Marta was driving past one in L.A. and went, oh, that would be a good place to have them hang out. Because you know "Seinfeld" had their coffee shop and "Cheers" had the bar, and so we needed someplace you hadn't seen before.

KAUFFMAN: I mean it wasn't about us being in coffee houses when we were younger but we were part of a group of six people who lived in New York whose friends were their family.

CRANE: And we sort of were drawing on that more than the caffeine.

HILL: Yes. Which there was so much to relate to. You know, being at that point in my life, I have to say when the show came out, I could certainly relate to that and when your friends are your family. I know you said no need to do a reboot. People ask you about the -- where do you think the characters would be? What I'm curious about is there was so much attention on the Rachel, do you feel like some of the guys were kind of robbed about the attention on their haircuts?

CRANE: I don't -- did anyone worry about their hair?

KAUFFMAN: I don't think so. I can't remember any complaints from the guys about not having the Rachel.

CRANE: Yes. For us, all that stuff, like the hair and the clothes and whatever, it was great but we were mostly trying to go, OK, does everyone have enough jokes.

HILL: Any squabbles about the number of jokes?


CRANE: Never. No, no. The cast was amazing. And amazingly democratic and supportive of each other and, no, there was never any of that.

KAUFFMAN: And they were a true ensemble in the best sense of the word.

HILL: Which is so great to hear. I remember just an interview when it was wrapping in the last season, they were talking about how hard it was going to be to say good-bye. And I think a lot of people could relate to that. It is great to have you with us. Thank you for coming back and chatting with us again and congratulations on 25 years. And you know here's to even more audiences picking it up in the next 25. Marta Kauffman, David Crane, thank you.

KAUFFMAN: Thank you, Erica.

CRANE: Thank you.

HILL: And you could see more of their behind the scenes insight in CNN's Special Report "Friends Forever, 25 Years of Laughter" it airs tomorrow night at 9:00 only on CNN. Thanks for joining us. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.