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CNN NEWSROOM

Source; Trump Pressed Ukrainian President to Investigate Biden's Son; booker Issues Plea to Donors for $1.7M by End of Month; Dem Contenders Speak at LGBTQ Forum in Iowa; U.S. to Send Troops to Saudi Arabia and UAE after Oil Attack; Patriots Cut Antonio Brown Amid Sexual Misconduct Claims; At least Four Chinese Tourists Killed in Utah Bus Crash; Preview of Primetime Emmy's. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 21, 2019 - 11:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:00:25]

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Martin Savidge, in for Fredricka Whitfield.

And we are going to begin this hour with the growing questions surrounding President Trump who is caught up in an expanding whistleblower scandal over his dealings with a foreign government. Sources telling CNN that Trump pressed Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden's son, Hunter, during a call earlier this summer.

The President is defending his conversation tweeting today "Nothing was said that was in any way wrong." Former vice president Biden is now accusing the President of quote, "abuse of power", releasing a statement that reads in part, if these reports are true, then there is truly no bottom to President Trump's willingness to abuse his power and abase our country.

We've got team coverage of this story. Matthew Chance is in Ukraine. But we're going to begin with Sarah Westwood at the White House.

And Sarah -- the President was talking more about this call today. What's he saying?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right -- Martin.

President Trump continuing to defend himself this morning calling this conversation a perfectly fine and routine discussion with the Ukrainian president. Also labeling this entire situation a Ukraine witch hunt. A source tells CNN that in a July 25th phone call between Ukrainian President Zelensky and President Trump, Trump asked the Ukrainians to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of vice president, Joe Biden.

There's no evidence though that Trump offered anything in return. But that call is now the subject of a controversial whistleblower complaint, one that an unknown person made to the intelligence community's watchdog on August 12th.

House Democrats are trying to get their hands on that complaint right now but they are facing some roadblocks put up by the Trump administration. Sources tell CNN that the White House counsel's office and the Department of Justice have gotten involved in concealing details of that complaint from lawmakers.

President Trump is lashing out also at the whistleblower whose identity is still unknown, yesterday speaking next to the prime minister of Australia. President Trump called this person partisan and then admitted he did not know who the person actually was. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party.

But I don't have any idea, but I can say that it was a totally appropriate conversation. It was actually a beautiful conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, the intel community's watchdog met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week behind closed doors but said he was not authorized to release details of the complaint. So lawmakers still in the dark about whether this is the extent of the whistleblower's concerns and the exact nature of the conversation, but they could get more answers later this week, Martin, when Acting Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire appears before lawmakers for a hearing.

SAVIDGE: All right. That sets up the view from the White House this morning. Sarah -- thanks very much.

Let's bring in CNN international correspondent Matthew Chance. He is in Kiev. And Matthew -- just what are the Ukrainians saying about all of this controversy?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin -- they are being extremely tight-lipped about it. It's not surprising because they really feel they're caught between a rock and a hard place.

The United States, remember, is the single most important strategic ally that Ukraine has. Kiev depends on Washington for military assistance, economic aid, diplomatic support, its ongoing confrontation with Russia, particularly in the eastern areas of the country and over Crimea. And they don't want to jeopardize that relationship. They don't want to jeopardize the relationship with President Trump, he's the current U.S. President, of course.

But they are also mindful of the fact that, you know, there's an election in 2020. It might be Joe Biden that becomes the next president of the United States. And so they have got to sort of have a longer term view as well. So they're in this very difficult position and they are walking a tight rope.

At the moment the policy officially coming from the presidential administration here. And I've been in touch throughout the course of the day with people very close to President Zelensky of Ukraine to try and gauge what their thinking is and how they're going to handle this. Their policy is to be tight-lipped. Their official statement is that we're not making any comment at all.

But I have been told that they are working out what their strategy is going to be moving forward. They have to come up with something quickly, Martin, because in just a few days time, next week, President Zelensky of Ukraine will be meeting face-to-face with President Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. General assembly. He wants that meeting to be about the strategic alliance between the United States and Ukraine, about diplomatic support, about how to confront Russia.

What he does not want but unfortunately what I'm afraid he's going to get is that meeting being totally overshadowed by this latest controversy. So they're working out how they can get ahead of that and front foot it. We may hear something from them later.

[11:05:06]

SAVIDGE: All right. Matthew Chance -- no question there is going to be a lot of focus on that meeting between the two presidents in New York. Thank you.

Joining me to discuss the fallout from the whistleblower claim, CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd and CNN political commentator David Swerdlick.

David -- George Conway, a conservative lawyer and the husband of White House counselor Kelly Ann Conway, co-authored an op-ed in the "Washington Post" arguing quote, "It is high time for Congress to do its duty in the manner the framers intended. Given how Trump seems ever bent on putting himself above the law, something like what might have happened between him and Ukraine, abusing presidential authority for personal benefit was almost inevitable. Yet if that is what occurred, part of the responsibility lies with Congress, which has failed to act on the blatant obstruction that Mueller detailed months ago."

So, David -- what are Congress' options here?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Good morning -- Martin.

So I think, first of all, it's worth pointing out that the words "might have happened" were used in that op-ed and I think it's important to say that we don't know all the facts yet in this case.

That being said, if what is suggested had happened did in fact happened, if that's what we find out, that there was some sort of suggestion by the President of the United States to the president of Ukraine that he wanted him to dig up dirt on a political rival, former vice president Joe Biden, then Congress' option potentially is impeachment.

We don't know that any laws were broken here and we don't know all the facts. But this is exactly the type of scenario, if true, that was contemplated by the founders when they put the impeachment provision in the Constitution that even if a statutory law is not violated, congress can determine that certain conduct by the President meets the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors.

We are not there yet but this is the situation that was contemplated and they do have that option.

SAVIDGE: All right. Samantha -- let's listen to the President's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, when he was pressed on this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP LAWYER: No. Actually I didn't. I asked the Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election of 2016 by the Ukrainians for the benefit of Hillary Clinton for which there already is --

CUOMO: You never asked anything about Hunter Biden? You never asked anything about Joe Biden --

GIULIANI: The only thing I asked about Joe Biden is to get to the bottom of how it was that Wuschenko (ph) who was appointed dismissed the case against --

CUOMO: So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.

GIULIANI: Of course I did.

CUOMO: You just said you didn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: All right, Samantha -- so does this admission, 100 percent confirm that the President is soliciting another country to help him win the election?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it does confirm that Rudy Giuliani is moonlighting as the President's personal investigator and blurring the lines between the official U.S. government business and the President's personal business.

So regardless of what President Trump may or may not have said on a phone call with the Ukrainian president, Rudy Giuliani is trying to dig up dirt on one of President Trump's rivals. And the reason that that's an issue from a national security perspective is that it sends a confusing signal again about what's official U.S. Government business and what the President's latest political itch is.

And the question is whether there has been some kind of implicit or explicit quid pro quo set up by the President of the United States, by Rudy Giuliani, and whether the Ukrainian government feels like if they don't do President Trump's political bidding, there are going to be repercussions. We know that security assistance was put on hold to Ukraine and the Ukrainians may fear retaliation if they don't answer the President's political agenda items.

And I really have to say this. That is a national security risk for the United States. If foreign governments pick up the President's call and think that it's going to be some kind of campaign 2020 reelection call, they are going to fear that if they do not answer his political bidding, that there will be some kind of cutoff in funding, that there will be some kind of repercussions. And that means that national security work is taking a back seat to the President's political agenda.

SAVIDGE: David -- Biden, as we know, Joe Biden has already responded to this. We read it at the beginning of the program. But how should the other candidates seize on this?

SWERDLICK: Look, I think the other candidates would be wise to wait for more facts to come in. They all have a case, a political case to make for themselves and against vice president Biden in the Democratic primary that has nothing to do with this.

Look, reporters from the "Washington Post", the "New York Times", from the New Yorker, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal are all looking into this as they should. It's separate and apart from what is going on with Congress and the Director of National Intelligence. They're obviously linked.

[11:09:59]

SWERDLICK: But two things can be done -- we can walk and chew gum at the same time -- and find out what is going on with vice president Biden and find out what's going on with President Trump at the same time. I think the candidates, politically speaking, should proceed as they are proceeding and not get ahead of the facts.

SAVIDGE: Samantha -- you mentioned the potential international repercussions dealing with other nations. What about the repercussions for the whistleblower here in the intelligence community?

VINOGRAD: Well, I think unfortunately what we're starting to see, and David -- you just mentioned this, what we're starting to see is pieces of this whistleblower complaint leak out to members of the media. Instead of the whistleblower process following the statutory outlined steps whereby the Director of National Intelligence provides this complaint to the congressional committees, we're seeing various bits of information make their way to the "Washington Post" and the "New York Times". The public is obviously thirsty for information, as is Congress as it deals with considerations like potentially impeachment.

The reason that's so dangerous is because, A, in the first instance some of what is being discussed may be classified, including parts of a presidential conversation. And we have the whistleblower's identity to protect here. That's why this process is supposed to be private.

President Trump's comments yesterday that this whistleblower is partisan even though he doesn't know the whistleblower's identity is creating some perhaps superficial image of who this person may or may not be. This could easily be solved if the Director of National Intelligence followed the statute and provided the complaint to the Congressional committees.

What I fear is that while Congress perhaps sues the administration to try to get access to this complaint, withholds funding to try to get access to this complaint, that more pieces of it will leak to the media and frankly that's not in the best interests of the intelligence community or of the national security or whistleblower processes more generally.

SAVIDGE: I was just going to ask you how much of this is going to weigh on the confidence of voters in a fair 2020 election? Of course we've been talking so much about foreign government influence.

SWERDLICK: Right. By the time we get to the election in November, or next year November, hopefully voters will have a lot more information and voters will have a weighty decision on their hands, Martin.

I want to go back to something Sam said and underscore two points. I agree with what she said. One is that, yes, we as journalists will continue to dig on this.

On the other hand, there are reasons why from the point of view of the executive branch there may be information that is too sensitive for the general public. That being said, I think one of the issues at play here, and I think Sam alluded to this, is that there's no reason why the Director of National Intelligence could not have made this information available sooner to the Gang of Eight, the top eight leaders in Congress and to the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Schiff.

And I think that's part of the push and pull right now between the executive and the Democrats in the house.

I will also just say that we're in a situation here where regardless of whether congress proceeds with more formal proceedings or impeachment or anything else like that, you know, citizens are going to have to take this seriously and decide for themselves who they believe and not just treat this as just typical Washington banter. There are serious issues at stake and that's what elections are all about.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Next week is going to be huge with both the visit of the president of Ukraine and the anticipated testimony.

David Swerdlick -- thank you very much. And Samantha Vinograd -- good to see you both as well.

VINOGRAD: Thanks.

SWERDLICK: Thanks -- Martin. SAVIDGE: Still ahead, an urgent plea from Democratic candidate Cory Booker. His appeal to voters to keep him in the president race.

And things take an awkward turn when Vice President Biden is pressed on his past comments regarding LGBTQ issues and his praise of Vice President Pence.

[11:13:45]

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SAVIDGE: This morning a political buzz is building in Iowa as more than a dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls descend on the caucus state. Huge crowds are expected for the Polk County Democrats' steak fry in Des Moines where 17 candidates will make their pitch to voters. They've got just 135 days to convince Iowans that they can lead the country.

For some the timeline is much more dire. Democrat presidential candidate Cory Booker laying out what he calls a transparent appeal to voters. In a series of tweets, Booker makes it clear that the next ten days are critical for his campaign and that he needs to raise $1.7 million by the end of the month to remain competitive in the race for the Democratic nomination.

CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz is in Des Moines, Iowa. Arlette -- Booker rather, is saying that if his candidacy is going to survive, he needs the money and he needs it fast.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, he sure does -- Martin.

Cory Booker and his team issuing this dire warning right now about the state of the campaign, saying that these next ten days could make or break his candidacy. They're urging their supporters to get out and donate, specifically $1.7 million in order to make sure that he could actually remain in the race.

We're reaching this critical point for many of these campaigns as they are trying to raise more money to make sure they have long-term viability in this campaign. Pretty soon the DNC is going to be raising the threshold for forthcoming debates, requiring potentially more donors and also potentially higher polling.

So it's really critical for some of those lower tier candidates right now to show that they do have the strength and the operation to be able to continue going forward -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Arlette -- the candidates are holding several events in Iowa there. Front-runner Joe Biden is about to hold a rally. And I'm wondering, where does he stand in the eyes of Iowa voters?

SAENZ: Well, Joe Biden has been leading here consistently in the state since he entered the race back in April, but he's closely trailed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. And later tonight CNN and the "Des Moines Register" are going to be releasing a new poll which will give us the latest snapshot into the current state of the race here five months before the caucuses.

Now, right now I'm at something that's called Bidenfest just ahead of the Polk County steak fry. As you can see they have gathered supporters. They have a bouncy house that supporters can come and play in for a little bit. They even have an ice cream truck, which ice cream is one of Joe Biden's favorite things.

[11:20:02]

SAENZ: These are all just some of the tiny flairs that Biden and other campaigns as well are trying to bring to the steak fry. It's really a must-stop for the Democratic contenders. The county party here has sold over 12,000 tickets, so this gives the candidates a chance to show off their organizational strength but also to court and try to convince those voters to come out and caucus for them come February -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Arlette Saenz -- looks like a good day. Thanks very much. Appreciate the reporting.

Last night ten 2020 contenders took part in an LGBTQ forum hosted by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, among them Joe Biden. During his time onstage, Biden shared a rather uncomfortable exchange with the moderator who pressed the former vice president about calling Vice President Mike Pence a decent guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, let's talk about other legislation, because in 1994 you did vote for Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And in 1996 you voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. You did vote to repeal both of those, but you have also praised Vice President Mike Pence as a decent guy.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're a lovely person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just asking the questions that people want to know.

BIDEN: All right, fire away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: And now I am joined by Sarah Kate Ellis. She's CEO and president of GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Good morning -- thank you very much for joining us.

SARAH KATE ELLIS, CEO/PRESIDENT, GLAAD: And thank you for having me. Good morning.

SAVIDGE: You have said that you felt that the LGBTQ issues have largely been left out of the primary so far. And I'm wondering why do you think that is?

ELLIS: Well, I think if you look at the first five debates, there was only one question about LGBTQ. It was to Tulsi and it was about her past record. Otherwise LGBTQ people have largely been left out.

Even -- you know, some of the candidates have included us -- Amy Klobuchar, Booker in some of their other answers to other questions.

But then you look at a recent study that just came out from real Clear Politics, it came out a couple of days ago and it says that LGBTQ people have virtually -- coverage of LGBTQ people has virtually fallen off a cliff since the Trump administration came into -- was inaugurated.

And so I think what we're looking at is both of these issues at hand, is that we're being left out of the discussion and that -- and that the media coverage has been very little on the issues affecting our community.

And so we felt our job is to be the voice of our community. And so we wanted to gather the candidates and there was no better time than right now. And I think that we did have really lively conversations.

And just to point out, if you look at 2007 was the last time the main Democratic candidates gathered to talk about LGBTQ issues. At that moment in time, none of them were supportive of marriage equality.

And here you had last night ten of the top candidates all talking about their policies, what they're going to do within their first hundred days. So I think that you can see we've come a long way, but the issues discussed last night clearly pointed out we have a long way to go.

SAVIDGE: Well, this is obviously the most diverse presidential field that we have seen, including a member of the LGBTQ community, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Let me ask you first -- what does his candidacy mean to the LGBTQ community? And also, does it give him an advantage amongst LGBTQ voters?

ELLIS: I think his candidacy is very meaningful to the community. One of our challenges as a community has been visibility. And he's such a wonderful person who's out there speaking about -- or running for president.

The other thing that has been vital about Pete Buttigieg is that he also is a Christian. And Christianity -- religion has been weaponized towards LGBTQ people. He speaks so eloquently about how you don't have to be one or the other, that you can actually live as both.

I mean we're looking at October 8th in front of the Supreme Court, there are going to be a couple of cases that are very important for the LGBTQ community where they're going to be talking about whether or not we can be fired because of being LGBTQ from our jobs.

[11:24:56]

ELLIS: And the Trump administration has clearly come out and said that they think we should be fired or can be. That the room -- there should be room for that. And a lot of that is built around this false idea of a religious exemption. And so someone's beliefs should then be used to weaponize and discriminate against me and my wife. And so I think that --

SAVIDGE: But my question was do you think that --

(CROSSTALKING)

SAVIDGE: -- the candidates, you know, Candidate Buttigieg gets an edge with LGBTQ voters?

ELLIS: Well, you know, I can't speak for the LGBTQ community on that. I think we're holding him as accountable as we'll hold any other candidate accountable.

SAVIDGE: Ok. Fair enough. Let me ask you -- we're going to run out of time here real quick and I do have to get this in. HUD Secretary Ben Carson, he is facing a backlash about the comments that he made last week about quote, "big, hairy men" entering women's shelters. The "Washington Post" reported that Carson made fun of transgender people in meetings before in Washington.

As a group, how do you deal with that kind of behavior from someone who is in the President's camp?

ELLIS: We fight back. I mean we're used to this unfortunately at this moment in time. This is the 125th attack by the Trump administration against the LGBTQ community in both policy and rhetoric since they came into office.

And so this is a consistent thing that's been happening. They have been rolling back our rights and they've been putting out false narratives around our community. And so we're continually out there.

He's not fit to serve, but neither is the President and his views on LGBTQ people and immigrants and people of color. And so we are continually fighting back here.

And so the one thing that I do want to say, because you said we're running out of time. If you did not see the forum, over a million people did last night, you can go to glaadwithqas.org/forum. It's really important that we get the messages out there and that people can judge for themselves where these candidates stand on LGBTQ issues.

SAVIDGE: Appreciate that. Sarah Kate Ellis -- thank you very much for joining us this morning.

ELLIS: Thank you. Thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, the U.S. is deploying more troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in response to the attack on Saudi oil facilities. The implications this show of force could have on our military, next.

[11:27:14]

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SAVIDGE: The U.S. says it is sending more troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, that's following the attack on Saudi Arabia's main oil field. The White House is blaming Iran for that attack, a charge that the regime has denied.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the attack a dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression but added that the U.S. does not want conflict with Iran. Esper also explained the scope of the mission of the U.S. troops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: What we would be deploying to the theater would be what would be necessary to help support and contribute to the Kingdom's defenses. And at the same time we are calling on many other countries who would also have these capabilities to do two things.

First of all, stand up and condemn these attacks and secondly look to also contribute defensive capabilities so they could defend those things that I outlined in my remarks -- whether it's the infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and then the broader issues with regard to freedom of the seas, navigation in the strait and then the international rules and norms that Iran is clearly violating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: This comes after President Trump imposed new sanctions on Iran's central bank and its global investment funds.

With me now is General -- Major General Spider Marks. He's a former commanding general in the U.S. Army intelligence. Good morning. Good to see you -- sir.

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Hey, Martin -- good morning.

SAVIDGE: First off, let me ask you this. Is it just a simple show of force by the U.S. or is there a bigger overall strategic value here?

MARKS: Well, there's tremendous strategic value. I mean it's a great question. This attack by Iran against Saudi Arabia is not solely bilateral. It's not just Iran against the Kingdom. It is Iran's aggression, continued aggression striking out.

And so the United States has an obligation, in my mind has an obligation to try to calm things down, but most importantly the Saudis reserve the right to strike back in some way. And I guarantee you they will.

The United States is not positioning itself to facilitate the Saudis' ability to strike back aggressively and immediately. What they're trying to do, what the United States is trying to do is to provide those resources that are necessary to ensure that Saudi Arabia does not increase its vulnerability based on any type of action -- military action that it might take.

Look, there are multiple elements of power at play here. Clearly what the Iranians did was a military action that had tremendous economic impact. What the Saudis will do probably will look quite similar, but it will be a strike against targets that are not only in Iran but I would probably anticipate targets against proxies that we might -- that are present, such as the Houthis in Yemen.

But the United States presence -- the United States always reserves the right and should stand up to participate and engage with partners and allies globally that are at risk because this has more to do with global stability than it does exclusively an Iranian/Saudi issue.

SAVIDGE: All right. I got you.

Let me ask you this. I got to say I was surprised that the Saudi's key oil field was so exposed.

MARKS: Right.

SAVIDGE: And I'm wondering, do they need help with their defenses?

MARKS: Well, let's flip the narrative just a little bit. The proliferation of technology, in this specific case the use of drones, is really -- we're conflating both commercial capabilities and military capabilities. And so with drones as well as cruise missiles flying low but flying very precisely, you realize and the Saudis realize that their vulnerability is incredibly high. The United States shares that vulnerability.

[11:35:02]

MARKS: Let's think about it.

Do we have a capability right now with the amount of drones that are available to fly without any type of registration or establishing a flight plan below a certain altitude of 400, 500 feet. The answer is no.

So we're as vulnerable as the Saudis. And also you look at the Gulf Cooperation Council states right there across the Persian Gulf from Iran, they have forever looked at Iran as a threat.

They have seen it as, you know, they look north, they look east and they see the Shias that intend them harm and totally want to decimate them. They now, you know, UAE, the Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain -- they see this as a challenge as well.

So I would anticipate that they would be a part of a coalition that the Saudis try to build in order to go after the Iranians.

SAVIDGE: Real quick -- we're almost out of time --

MARKS: Sure.

SAVIDGE: -- do you think that American soldiers in Saudi Arabia could find themselves in the line of fire?

MARKS: Well, they certainly are at risk. Wherever you deploy in the world you're at risk. That's why the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman have made it very clear that they're not going to -- you know, we reserve the right, we as soldiers reserve the right of forced protection. So they're going to deploy with the capabilities to take care of themselves.

But the Iranians understand that the United States is increasing its presence. They have to think twice about choosing targets if they were to retaliate.

SAVIDGE: Yes, that would have a huge impact on U.S. public sentiment.

MARKS: Sure.

SAVIDGE: General James "Spider" Marks -- thanks very much. Good to see you again.

MARKS: Thanks -- Martin. Appreciate it.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, he is one of the NFL's most talented receivers. Now Antonio Brown is out of a job again, amid allegations of sexual abuse. We'll have the very latest on his ongoing saga. That's up next.

[11:36:47]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: You may have already known this but it's a huge story in sports, a huge story in general.

The New England Patriots have cut Antonio Brown amid new allegations of sexual misconduct and intimidation.

CNN's Nick Valencia is following these latest developments. And Nick -- the Pats sent Brown packing just after 11 days, was it?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just after 11 days. And this may not come as much of a surprise to those of us that have been following this closely -- Martin.

In every player's contract in the NFL there's something called a clause "conduct detrimental to a team". So essentially all the Patriots had to prove was that Antonio Brown and his agent may have known about these allegations prior to signing with the Patriots. That would have given them enough authority to cut Brown.

From what we know from a source close to this investigation, we know that there were pre-suit settlement discussions between representatives for Brown as well as representatives for his accuser Brittany Taylor. Brittany Taylor accusing Antonio Brown of sexual assault, sexual misconduct as well as rape.

What may have played into the decision for the New England Patriots is what happened earlier this week. A second accuser came forward to accuse Antonio Brown of sexual misconduct. Essentially this accuser said that she was hired by Brown to paint a mural in his home. At one point Brown emerged from his how, naked, only holding a small towel over his genitals.

Now, it is important to note that in neither of these cases there's no criminal charges that have been filed or pursued. Brittany Taylor is pursuing a federal civil lawsuit, and in the case of the second accuser, she says that she doesn't want to be known for this so she's not pursuing anything at all.

But this is far from over. The NFL is conducting their own separate investigation and they released a statement late last night to tell us where things stand. They say, quote, "We have as yet made no findings regarding these issues. The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously as long as Mr. Brown is a free agent placement on the commissioner's exempt list is not appropriate. If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate any time depending on the status of the investigation.

And just real quick, Marty -- just to explain a little bit about this commissioner's exempt list. It would keep him from playing. It would keep him from practicing. He would still have to get paid. It's hard to imagine any other team in the NFL was going to take a chance that he might be put on this list having to pay out Brown while he wouldn't even play for them at all.

SAVIDGE: Yes. In addition to the negative PR.

VALENCIA: And he misses out on a ton of money, you know. He had $30 million guaranteed with the Raiders when he signed with them. He gets cut by them. Then he signs with the New England Patriots. He's not going to get any of that money either. Remarkable story.

SAVIDGE: Money most of us can't fathom.

VALENCIA: That's right.

SAVIDGE: All right. Thank you -- Nick. Thanks very much.

Coming up -- a tour to one of Utah's most idyllic attractions turns deadly. We're going to hear from a man who rushed to the scene as soon as that bus crashed.

[11:43:27]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: A terrifying experience at a mall in the Chicago suburb. Video of the incident has gone viral. You can see as a black SUV suddenly drives into the mall, crashing into kiosks.

Shoppers could be heard screaming as they jump out of the way. Thank goodness nobody was injured and bystanders were able to hold the suspect until police arrived. Investigators say they're looking at the possibility that a medical issue may have been the cause. Authorities say at least four people were killed in a tour bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. At least 30 people, many of them tourists from China, were onboard the bus yesterday afternoon when it crashed into a guardrail.

Lauren Steinbrecker from CNN affiliate, KSTU reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERT DRIEDONKS (PH), GOOD SAMARITAN: It sounded like a war zone, big explosion. I saw the bus and I went oh, no.

LAUREN STEINBRECKER, KSTU REPORTER: Robert could see something happening from his deck. He rushed down the highway from his business and came upon this. People and belongings scattered across the highway.

DRIEDONKS: I just went to the people who was worst. And of course the people that were still laying to the side of the bus, I think the bus rolled on them.

STEINBRECKER: The first three people he checked on were dead -- all women, Robert says. He found one of the husbands who didn't speak English. They couldn't talk to each other, so they just sat there and hugged.

DRIEDONKS: He kept holding his wife's head and hugging her. He was just looking for his glasses. And I was just trying to hold him. He was doing a prayer and I tried to hold him.

STEINBRECKER: Robert says he pulled someone off the bus and looked around at who else needed help.

DRIEDONKS: I said are you ok? And he said yes, that's my father. His father was next to him and he was hurt pretty bad.

STEINBRECKER: He says everyone began to go into shock. Some stayed silent, others let out cries. It stunned everyone. It stunned Robert.

DRIEDONKS: I was scared and emotional. So I just kind of pray for the ones that are alive and their families.

STEINBRECKER: No matter the language, the prayer is the same.

DRIEDONKS: I don't care what country you're from, we're all human beings. I don't think nobody in life should go through something like that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: And thanks to Robert and thanks to our affiliate KSTU for that report.

Coming up, the stars, they're getting ready to walk the red carpet at Sunday's Emmy awards but there's one major change that's coming to the stage. We'll tell you about it, next.

[11:49:52]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: Some of television's biggest stars are going to come together tomorrow night for the 71st primetime Emmys. The show is the last chance for fan favorite shows like "Veep" or "The Big Bang Theory" and "Game of Thrones" to snag top honors.

Here's CNN's Stephanie Elam with a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Emmy question this year -- can anyone take the throne from "Game of Thrones". Last year's winner is once again the drama front runner with a record number of nominations for it's final season.

MATTHEW BELLONI, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Even though some of the reactions to "Game of Thrones" were negative this season, the show is such a juggernaut and changed television in so many ways, voters were going to go for it.

JULIA LOUIS DREYFUS, ACTRESS: I just want to be president.

ELAM: Also in its final season, HBO's "Veep", our favorite for best comedy and actress, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

BELLONI: It had to take a year off because Julia Louis-Dreyfus was undergoing cancer treatment so there is a lot of goodwill associated with the show. But the nice new shiny thing on the block is "Fleabag".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are my coasters, I've been wearing this all day.

ELAM: "Fleabag" a British comedy, is Amazon Prime's new entry following last year's winner, the "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", a nominee again this year. But "Fleabag" has momentum led by stars Phoebe Waller Bridge; also a writer and producer for drama contender, "Killing Eve".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think I'm a bad person, Mr. (INAUDIBLE)?

ELAM: Bill Hader's "Barry" is another comedy favorite. Overlooked in the category last year, voters could be looking to make amends.

[11:55:01]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Chernobyl is on fire.

ELAM: "Chernobyl" leads a spate of real life stories making up the best limited series category, including tough competition from Ava DuVernay's "When They See Us" about the Central Park 5.

BELLONI: It is just -- it's nothing like it on television.

ELAM: This Emmys will be hostless this year emboldened by the success of the Academy Awards without a host.

BELLONI: I personally like having a host. I think it sets a bar and give you some thing to look forward to when you tune in. But the Oscars had no host, the ratings were up and the reviews of the show were generally positive.

ELAM: Without a host, the star power of the Emmy's will be left to the winners.

Stephanie Elam, CNN -- Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: And then there's this. Today people all over the world are honoring D.C. Comics' iconic masked superhero, yes now you know -- this year mark's "Batman" 80th anniversary. To celebrate, cities worldwide are beaming up the infamous bat signal. In Tokyo, fans dressed up as their favorite Batman characters. Other places participating include Europe, Los Angeles and of course, Gotham headquarters New York City. D.C. Comics and CNN are both part of the Warner Media family.

Still ahead, an urgent concern of national security -- a mystery whistleblower complaint dealing with the President's conversations with Ukraine. It has caught the attention of Congress.

[11:56:30]

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SAVIDGE: Hello -- thanks for --