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CNN: Trump Pressed Ukraine's President To Investigate Biden's Son; Democrats' Calls For Impeachment Grow After Ukraine Revelations; Dems Demand Transcript From Trump's Call With Ukrainian President; Warren Surges In Iowa, In Tight Race With Biden; Police: Three Dead, Four Hospitalized In Apparent Drug Overdose; President Trump To Skip This Week's U.N. Climate Summit; Man Dies During Underwater Marriage Proposal; Atlanta-Area Officers Go All-Out For Boy With Special Needs. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 22, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:00]

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN HOST: As the White House continues to resist, Democrats demands to release a transcript of the conversation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement a short time ago to all House members saying if the administration persist in blocking the contents of the whistleblower complaint, quote, it will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness, unquote. Some Democrats in Congress now say impeachment may be their only option if the administration refuses to make the contents of the call public.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I don't know whether the whistleblower complaint is on this allegation, but if it is, and even if it isn't, why doesn't the President just say release the whistleblower complaint. If the President is essentially withholding military aid at the same time that he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader into doing something illicit, that is providing dirt on his opponent during a Presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is co-equal to the evil that conduct represents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Today, the President once again defended his call with the Ukrainian leader, describing the conversation as perfect. And he denied trying to pressure the government into investigating Biden's son.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be OK with the Ukrainian government releasing their version of the transcript?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well I think their version would be the same as our version. I mean, it would be identical. But they did. They put out a major statement last night, and in the statement they said it was a very, very fine conversation and there was no pressure, no nothing. There was no pressure. That was not pressure. I know when I give pressure, and that was not pressure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: President Trump did admit he raised questions about Biden and his son and said the Ukrainian leader promised to fight corruption. We should note there's no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden, a fact the Ukrainian prosecutor also clearly stated.

For more in this, let's bring in CNN White House Correspondent, Boris Sanchez. He's traveling with the President where he spoke at a rally for India's Prime Minister. Boris, the President and his administration they're certainly under growing pressure. Any indication that the White House is going to release the transcripts of this call?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: None at this point whatsoever, Martin, even though President Trump when he departed the South Lawn of the White House and spoke with reporters before getting to Texas, told us he would be interested in a transcript potential reporting of that call being put out there. The President notably, as you said, also mentioned that there was talk of corruption during that conversation with the Ukrainian leader.

Let's not forget, the White House actually put out a readout of that conversation soon after it took place. There was no mention of any talk of corruption in that readout, certainly no mention of Joe Biden or his son Hunter. The President Trump seems intent on some form of transparency though despite that of his administration don't like that idea. Listen what his Secretary of State and his Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and Mike Pompeo had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: With all of that being said, we had a very great conversation, very straight, very honest conversation. I hope they can put it out.

STEVE MNUCHIN, SECRETARY OF TREASURY: I think that would be a terrible precedent. Conversations between world leaders are meant to be confidential. And if every time someone for political reasons raised a question and all of a sudden those conversations were disclosed publicly, and when you disclose them to Congress, lots of times they leak into the press then why would world leaders want to have conversations together.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We not release transcripts very often. It's the rare case. Those are private conversations between world leaders and it wouldn't be appropriate to do, so accept (ph) in the most extreme circumstances. There's no evidence that that would be appropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Now the President departed at this event at Houston just moments ago and now he's heading to Ohio where he's going to tour a factory with the Australian Prime Minister, and then he heads to New York to take part the United Nations General Assembly where he is expected to meet face to face with the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Of course I know you've been talking to Republicans about this situation. What are you hearing?

SANCHEZ: I actually spoke with Senator John Cornyn who was here for the event honoring Prime Minister Modi of India. I asked Cornyn specifically if he wanted to see that complaint from the whistleblower handed over to Congress. He said he was optimistic about it, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: The whistleblower complaint, a number of Democrats have demanded access to that complaint, do you believe it should be handed over to Congress?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Well I think we'll get access to that information in due course, but I am a little troubled that apparently some of the initial reports came from somebody who didn't have firsthand knowledge and then it sort of took off like a wildfire. A lot of speculation. I prefer to wait until we can get access to the real information to make a judgment, but I'm on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and I'm sure as part of our oversight responsibilities, we'll get access to the information and find out what the facts are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:05:05]

SANCHEZ: Now I also asked Cornyn if he though it was appropriate for the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to try to lobby the Ukrainian leadership to investigate a potential rival for President Trump in 2020, Cornyn said he didn't want to speak for Rudy Giuliani and he wanted to wait until all facts were in, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Boris Sanchez down there in Houston. Thanks very much.

The Ukrainian President has yet to comment on the whistleblower complaint, but he is still expected to meet with President Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly which is going to be this week.

Senior CNN International Correspondent, Matthew Chance who's in Ukraine for us. And Matthew, while the Ukrainian President has so far remained silent, you are hearing from the foreign minister, right?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. The foreign minister here spoke to a major (ph) outlet. But first of all, let me just say that the Ukrainians are absolutely mortified that they find themselves in the middle of this raging political scandal in the United States.

The U.S. is by far the most important strategic ally that Ukraine has. It's provided of military aid, of economic assistance and diplomatic support in its battle against pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country. And he absolutely wants to keep a great relationship between K.F. (ph) and Washington.

So, it is walking a very delicate line indeed. In this mounting political scandal in the U.S., most officials, as you mentioned, including the presidents of the country are remaining absolutely tight-lipped. They're not even responding to our request beyond that press flacks saying looking we're not going to comment on it. But the one individual who has spoken to Ukrainian media is the country's foreign minister, and he has been choosing his words very carefully indeed. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VADYM PRYSTAIKO, UKRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translation): Our President has a right to talk to another president the way this conversation remains confidential. If someone believes that our President is being put under pressure, they have to prove it. I know what the conversation was about, and I think there was no pressure.

There was talk. Conversations are different. Leaders have the right to discuss any problems that exist. This conversation was long (ph) friendly, and it touched on a lot of questions, including those requiring serious answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHANCE: Long friendly and with no pressure. Somewhat reflecting, you know, the kind of language we've heard President Trump come out with -- of the past several hours with his characterization of the telephone conversation. Just one thing from here, Martin. The issue of corruption, it was discussed in that telephone call which took place on July 25th, and the reason we know that is because the Ukrainians issued a readout shortly after the call, and they said this. The U.S. President is convinced that the new Ukrainian government will complete the corruption cases which have been inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and United States. So possibly was that a diplomatic coded reference to a call for a Biden probe.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Very interesting. Matthew Chance, good to see you. Thanks very much for that.

Here now to discuss all of these developments in the whistleblower scandal is David Rhode, he is the Executive Editor to the New Yorker Web site and a CNN Global Affairs Analyst. David, nice to have you here.

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: All right. Let me ask you this, do you think it's likely that the transcript of this phone call, I mean the one in the U.S. , is going to be released, or do you think that the White House is pretty much going to keep a lid on this?

ROHDE: I think that the White House will try to keep a lid on this. But this is an extraordinary circumstance. Secretary Pompeo said it wasn't extraordinary. Congress should receive that transcript. There are committees create in Congress, the Intelligence Committee that Senator Cornyn of Texas is on and their job is to respond to a whistleblower complaint about an improper act by the President, and that's what this is.

So this should absolutely be given to Congress. Right now, President Trump's hand-picked Attorney General, Barr, has blocked the release or whistleblower complaint to Congress. This is about the separation of powers and Congress's ability to oversee the President in a way to sort of check a president, to reign (ph) in a president and make sure and proper things aren't happening.

SAVIDGE: Just a short time ago, Republican Senator Mitt Romney send out a tweet saying, "If the President asked or pressured Ukraine's president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out." So David my question, are Republicans key here to deciding that this information becomes public?

ROHDE: They are. I mean, that quote critical from Senator Romney. Democrats, you know, won't -- you know, can't do this on their own. And again this is a very vulnerable country as Matthew Chance talked about it.

[15:10:02]

It's the President of the United States withholding $250 million from Ukraine, a country that's under tremendous military pressure from Russia, and at the same time pressuring them to smear, you know, the leading Democratic contender for president.

There's no proof of any wrongdoing by Vice President Biden. And this is an outrageous in sort of an extraordinary situation. So there will be pressure on Republicans I think to speak out. The question is, you know, how many of them will do that.

SAVIDGE: That always tends to be the question. The President clearly is upset about this whistleblower complaint and today he said he's not worried about how this could impact his presidency, but he's also said it that he fears it will hurt his interactions with other foreign leaders. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: While there's whistleblower or whoever it was, because it sounds like it's not a whistleblower, you can't have that happen to a president of the United States, but you can have people doing this, and you can have people doing false alarms like this. And, you know, when a president speaks to the head of another countries, he has to be able to speak to those people.

And those people don't want to know that they're being recorded or that you have a stenographer working. You don't want to have to hear that. You can't do that to a president and you can't do that to other countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: David, do other leaders of other countries expect total privacy when it comes to contents of their phone calls and their conversations with the President of the United States?

ROHDE: I think it's, you know, it's fair to say that and then they do expect it. But, again, there's a mechanism for releasing this to Congress. The members of the Intelligence Committee, the leaders in Congress knew, for instance, of the location of bin Laden's house before that raid took place and that did not leak. So if the President has something to hide, he can release, you know, a redacted transcript to Congress.

The problem is the President. I mean, the report in the "Wall Street Journal" was that the President raised this pressure for an investigation to Biden, you know, at least the half dozen times during that phone call. That's Donald Trump's action. He chose to make those statements. And, you know, the thing is, you know, let's examine this whistleblower complaint, let's let Congress, Republicans and Democrats, let the separate branch of government examine what happened here.

SAVIDGE: David Rohde, thank you very much for joining us today.

ROHDE: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, Elizabeth Warren, she's surging in a new CNN Des Moines register poll. Can she challenge the dominance of former Vice President Joe Biden heading into the next Democratic debate?

Plus, ask and you shall receive. Senator Cory Booker makes an urgent plea for campaign donations and his supporters respond in a big way.

And then a tragic ending to what was supposed to be an underwater marriage proposal.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:16:33]

SAVIDGE: A new CNN Des Moines register poll shows that Senator Elizabeth Warren is surging among her Democratic presidential contenders in that very key political state. She is neck and neck with Vice President Joe Biden, although really neither one of them is a clear frontrunner at this point. The new poll finds them well ahead of the rest of the Democratic field.

CNN Political Reporter, Rebecca Buck is following these developments. And we are, last time I checked, 134 days out from the first-in-the- nation caucuses which of course there in Iowa. And Rebecca, what kind of clues this poll really offer about how voters are feeling? REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right Martin. Well, it's going to be a very interesting three or four months ahead until the Iowa caucuses. The poll from CNN and the Des Moines register makes that much clear. Of course, the headline from this poll is, as you mentioned, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden in the top tier of the race in Iowa.

No clear leader at this point, but this story of this campaign, at least for the past few months over the summer and healing into this fall has been the rise of Elizabeth Warren. And what makes her rise in this race so interesting and so unique is that it hasn't been a moment for Elizabeth Warren.

It's really been building a movement. She's been very deliberate, very methodical laying the groundwork for her campaign. They can go the distance and establishing a clear message and case for her candidacy than most of the other rivals in this race.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, essentially the opposite story over this summer. We've seen his support in Iowa gradually eroding. It hasn't been a total collapse. He's eroded roughly seven points over the past few months in Iowa since March in this particular poll, and his favorability at the same time going from 81 percent to 66 percent, and so you can really see how this primary process is taking a toll on his support.

Meantime, though, we're seeing other candidates getting a very serious look from Democratic voters, not necessarily reflected in the polls yet, but extremely high favorability in this poll for Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend. Also Kamala Harris, the Senator from California, she said memorably this week that she is moving to Iowa. Not literally, but she's going to be spending a lot of time there over the next few months. She sees an opportunity to really make an impact in this state. She sees it as crucial to her chances in this primary.

So one more key thing in this poll that we're going to be watching over the next few months, only 20 percent of Iowa Democrats say they have made up their mind in this primary. That leaves the vast majority of voters in this race totally up for grabs. And so, a lot can change over the next few months and you can be sure there's going to be a flurry of activity in Iowa with these Democrats going after those undecided voters.

SAVIDGE: Yes. I think we could see more ups and downs from different candidates. Rebecca Buck --

BUCK: No question.

SAVIDGE: -- thank you very much for the insight.

BUCK: Thanks, Martin.

SAVIDGE: So, let's dig down into these new numbers further. And for that, I'm joined by former Illinois Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Mark McKinnon, the Campaign Media Advisor for President George Bush. And in the last four presidential elections, in which there was no Democratic incumbent running the winner of the Iowa Democratic Caucuses went on to become the nominee. So there is no clear leader in the poll. There is still a victory, or is it really still a victory for the Warren camp, Luis?

[15:20:03]

LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), FORMER ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: Well I think Elizabeth Warren is surging because her message really resonates, right? Income inequality. I remember she was talking about -- she was kind of the first to kind of be very succinct about health care saying, you might love your doctor, right, you might love the medical professionals that take care of you, but do you really love your medical plan?

I mean, I have a great medical plan that costs me $500 a month, right? $2,000 before I can access it and lots of money that I have to pay for health care and for prescription drugs. And to see my doctor, I have to pay $25. I don't think Americans are enamored with their health care plan. I think they want a good health care plan. And she is the one that's been able to do that.

So she is, to me, Martin, she's pretty succinct, and she's been a fighter against wall street way before it became popular to fight against wall street. She was there when President Obama appointed her to have Oversight, right? The Chair of the Oversight of TARP.

The over $17 billion that was given to the industry, to the banking industry, the financial industry to bail them out. And what did she do when she was there? She fought so that that TARP money and those banks could help consumers that were underwater on their mortgages and keep themselves in their home.

SAVIDGE: All right. But let me bring Mark McKinnon in the conversation a little bit. Mark, you know, we're getting some insights here when it comes to what voters see as perhaps the most important quality for the winner of the Iowa caucuses. 63 percent value beating Trump, over 31 percent value of the candidate who shares their positions. So the question is, you know, Warren has been on the trail making her case for electability. Does this appear to say it's working for her?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER BUSH CAMPAIGN MEDIA ADVISOR: Sure. And it's more of a problem where the electability issue is more of a problem for Joe Biden because that's what he was hanging his campaign on until now, that he was really the only guy who could beat Donald Trump. And increasingly we're seeing in, just in Iowa polls but national poll, it not just Joe Biden beats Donald Trump in the head to head in general election, but Bernie Sanders does, Elizabeth Warren does and even some of the second tier candidates.

But the keys is, you know, there's numbers here that 20 percent haven't made up -- only 20 percent have made up their mind. I was famous for the late-breaking voters. It's interesting historically to think about the fact that Bill Clinton had not even announce at this point in the campaign, he didn't announce until October. So there's a lot yet to happen, but Elizabeth Warren has got the momentum, she's got the heat, you know, in a primary that's all about diversity and women and movement politics in a primary that's polling more and more progressive.

Elizabeth Warren has been a very disappoint candidate. And the interesting thing to me about her, she has kind of a macro narrative that's not unlike Trump's in the sense that she's telling voters that the system is rigged and you're getting screwed. She just has a different cause and a different prescription. It's not migrants and others and outsiders coming across the borders and we should build a wall. It's those greedy capitalist who are stealing their wealth and we should redistribute some of it to people down the ladder.

SAVIDGE: I'm following, OK. Luis, let me ask you this. There are -- and I'm switching subjects here. There are renewed calls from the Democratic candidates for impeachment after President Trump's phone call with Ukraine. Listen to this.

GUTIERREZ: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has made clear that he does not respect the rule of law. Congress has one responsibility on this and that is to initiate (INAUDIBLE).

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to absolutely right away begin impeachment proceedings. He's got to go.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no way to defend the lack of progress on impeachment especially what we have just learned about this President. If ever there were a time to impeach and hold the President accountable, it's now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a mistake not to impeach this President.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Depending on what the House finds, there could be impeachment. I'm not making that judgment now. The House should investigate it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: So, Congressman, first of all, do you think invoking impeachment is a winning strategy, and if so, why?

GUTIERREZ: Well before I was a commentator here working with you, I called for the impeachment of the President of the United States of America, so I should be at least consistent on that level. Look, wow, what a week.

The President of the United States gets on the phone and it's been reported and it hasn't really been contradicted that at least six or eight different times he asked that the government of Ukraine investigate the Vice President's son, Biden's son? And we know that Rudy Giuliani was doing the same thing with the minister for foreign affairs and other officials of the Ukraine? Wow, to use the Oval Office -- and I just want to say this. Martin, if you found out, if the public found out that I grabbed my phone in my congressional office when I was a member of Congress and picked that phone and asked someone for money, much less asked them using my official capacity as a member of Congress, to hurt my opponent, God, it would be the end of my campaign.

[15:25:12]

Look, release the transcript of the conversation, and the whistleblower complaint should be given according to the law. All we're asking this President to do is follow the law. The law is very clear. You got to give it to the Intelligence Committee. That's the law. Hand it over to the Intelligence Committee and follow the law. If not, I think the candidates and the American public need to really say it's time to impeach the President of the United States of America.

SAVIDGE: Mark, on another set to the Republican Party in Alaska, I believe now is the fifth state to cancel primaries or caucuses. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Bill Weld and Mark Sanford and of course Joe Walsh, they're all challenging Trump for the party's nomination. You spoke to Sanford about why he is running. Let's just listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK SANFORD (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are walking away toward a financial hurricane. The Fed did not have room to lower the rate five points, and on the fiscal side we're running trillion-plus-dollar deficits going forward. I would argue it's going to be worse than what we saw in 2008. It could well be on the likes of a great depression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: So, Mark, what do you make of the states cancelling these primaries? What are they doing?

MCKINNON: Well, it's obviously a power play from the Trump forces to try and keep at any competition, which I would argue really counter reflects weakness. The better play to me is go ahead and welcome the competition and vanquish them which, you know, arguably Trump would do in any of those side states including South Carolina where Mark Sanford is from.

But Sanford is making the argument that he is running on these fiscal issues which have been abandoned by Trump Republicans on debts and deficits and free trade and that's a powerful argument for a lot of people. So, I learned in a campaign there's only two ways to run, on a post or scared. So it looks like they're running scared by trying to shut down these primaries is what's happening.

SAVIDGE: And correct me if I'm wrong, that interview is going to air on Showtime at 8:00 Eastern tonight?

MCKINNON: We're back for our full season, 8:00 tonight on Showtime, thanks you very much.

SAVIDGE: OK. Mark McKinnon, great to see you. Luis Gutierrez, you as well. Thank you both.

GUTIERREZ: Thanks, Martin. Thank you, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, three people have died, several others were hospitalized in what place you're calling a drug-related overdose situation. What we know about the connection between the victims, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:31:27]

SAVIDGE: In Pittsburgh, police are trying to piece together clues after three people died and four others were hospitalized from an apparent drug overdose. CNN's Polo Sandoval is tracking the story for us. Polo, I'm wondering, the investigators believe this is isolated?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is isolated. That's how authorities are describing this mart (ph). It was a very busy overnight for paramedics here in Pittsburgh. They were initially called out to a scene at about 2:30 this morning to reports that unconscious individual, a man, and then they received a call that was coming from a short distance away of another individual in a very similar situation that was unconscious.

They were able to trace those two individuals to an apartment complex on the city's south side where they found those additional patients. In the end, three of those individuals were pronounced dead, four of them are still hospitalized where their condition is unknown. We don't know a whole lot about these seven individuals, Martin, only that they shared a commonality, which is they were all wearing bright orange bracelets, something very similar to what you might have to wear to get admission to a concert or venue. It would be similar to that.

However, authorities are saying that this was not some sort of health scare that could have originated from a concert like venue. Another concern in the initial stages of the investigation that it's possible a bad drug, a tainted drug was being passed around. Authorities can now say with almost complete certainty that that was not the case. They say that they likely would have seen more than seven cases if that would have happened.

At this point, all indication is that this was simply an overdose case, albeit a very tragic one here. Authorities are certainly using this to tell the public that these are the risks obviously of consuming these kinds of narcotics. We should finally mention that the apartment complex there where the four individuals were found, their corporate officers speaking to CNN saying that these seven people were not -- they did not reside at their location, instead they were acquaintances of one of their residents that was in good standing. So this is where they latest from this investigation, this incident that took place in Pittsburgh overnight, Martin. SAVIDGE: Right. And so at least, fortunately, it didn't involve more, but still, no less tragic for the families involved.

SANDOVAL: Yes.

SAVIDGE: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

World leaders will meet to discuss this week the climate crisis. But once again, President Trump will not be among them. All of this coming as people around the world march to demand action on climate change before it's too late.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:38:02]

SAVIDGE: If you think it's been hotter than usual, it turns out you're right. The world meteorological organization says that we are in the midst of the warmest five-year span on record. The news comes just two days after people in cities all around the world took to the streets to draw attention to the impact of climate change. And this week, world leaders will meet at the United Nations to tackle the climate crisis head on. But there's going to be one glaring absence.

President Trump is giving the U.N. climate summit to hold his own session focused on worldwide religious persecution. It is the second time in less than a month that the President will not attend a climate meeting. He also skipped out on the G7 summit in France.

I'm joined now by Nathaniel Keohane -- Keohane, I'm sorry, the Director of the Economic Policy and Analysis for the Environmental Defense Fund. Thanks for being with me. Did I say it right?

NATHANIEL KEOHANE, DIR. OF ECONOMIC POLICY & ANALYSIS, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND: Keohane, you did. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Thank you.

KEOHAN: And thank you for having me.

SAVIDGE: It's a pleasure. Let me ask you this, the U.N. Secretary General asked leaders to come with concrete plans for reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and I'm wondering what is the message when the President of the United States shows up -- well, he doesn't even show up with a plan, he doesn't show up, period. What is that message?

KEOHANE: Well, as you say, this is not a new thing for President Trump. He has said he's going to pull the world -- he's going to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement that the rest of the world is going ahead with. As you say, it was an empty chair for the U.S. at the G7 summit just several weeks ago.

And this is a couple of things, it's an absence of U.S. leadership, of course, and that hurts efforts to move forward internationally. But more importantly, it's a lost opportunity for America because this means we're stepping back from the opportunity to lead on -- not only the global climate crisis but to lead on the new clean energy evolution that's going to happen in all of our economies. And that means we're losing out on all the jobs and economic growth that can come with that leadership.

[15:40:04]

SAVIDGE: The President has argued that, you know, it doesn't matter what they do because countries like China are not making similar changes. And let me thoughts on this. What is your thinking on that? Because I will say there are probably a lot of people who might agree with the President on that.

KEOHANE: Well, the truth is that other countries around the world are already doing much more. You've got Europe, which is making major strides in reducing carbon pollution. You've got countries around the world that are taking steps. And China, to the point you raised, China is actually probably within striking distance of peaking its emissions and having them start to fall within perhaps a decade.

China leads the world in wind and solar technologies. They're now looking at leading the world in battery technology and electric vehicles. So they are moving on this and they are doing it because they see an economic opportunity. So, you know, 20 years ago maybe it was the case that the U.S. would be moving alone, but now we're the ones who are falling behind.

SAVIDGE: Friday we saw millions of people that were protesting around the world, demonstrating, I should say, to bring attention to this growing crisis. And then we saw 16-year-old Greta Thunberg who, I think, has really become the face of these protests. And she had this to say about why young people were out there demonstrating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA THUNBERG, 16-YEAR-OLD CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Why should we study for a future that is being taken away from us? That is being stolen for profit. We need to do this now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: I understand, of course, why young people are concerned, because it is mostly their future that is going to be impacted. But it cannot be just young people that try to bring about this change, can it?

KEOHANE: Well that's right. But I do think their voices are an incredibly powerful source of urgency and passion.

SAVIDGE: Absolutely.

KEOHANE: I've got two daughters who were at that strike. My oldest daughter, she will be my age in 2050. That is not that long from now, and when you think about it that way, it puts into perspective this has always felt like something, maybe it's going to be way off in the future, but the climate crisis is happening now and it's going to affect these young people, their lives, their children's lives if we don't do something about it.

And you're right, those of us who are maybe the older generation or two, it is on us to do much more to solve this problem. Those strikes were loud. I hope they were loud enough to reach into the corners of Washington, D.C. and other capitals where much more needs to happen to take us into a clean energy future and to address the climate crisis that we're seeing.

SAVIDGE: Nathaniel Keohane, I hope you're right. I hope that this week in New York at the U.N. brings about some good first steps. Thanks for being with us.

KEOHANE: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, a tragic ending. To what was supposed to be a very romantic moment. How one man ended up dead shortly after proposing to his girlfriend.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:47:06]

SAVIDGE: A memorial service will be held today in South Carolina to celebrate the life of Emily Clyburn, the Civil Rights activist and wife of Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn died Thursday morning at the age of 80. Her funeral will be tomorrow morning in Charleston. The Governor has ordered flags flown at half-staff tomorrow in her honor.

What should have been a romantic marriage proposal ended in tragedy for an American couple vacationing in Africa. They were staying in a cabin with a bedroom submerged beneath the ocean off the coast to Tanzania. The man swam underwater holding a handwritten proposal but he never made it to the surface. Farai Sevenzo reports.

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tragedy struck for an American man who died while he was proposing to his girlfriend underwater. He wrote in a note, "I can't hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you, but everything I love about you I love more every day. Will you please be my wife?" Sadly, he didn't resurface.

And his girlfriend went on to post in her Facebook posts, "You never emerged from those depths, so you never got to hear my answer. Yes, yes, a million times yes, I will marry you." But of course he had already died. She went on to say, we never got to embrace and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together as the best day of our lives turned into the worst in the cruelest twist of fate imaginable.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that a U.S. tourist had died in Tanzania. And of course, this has touched many people across social media. Farai Sevenzo, CNN, Nairobi.

SAVIDGE: And it has indeed. There's a lot more ahead of the NEWSROOM, but first a quick programming down for you. Lisa Ling, she is returning for another provocative season of "This Is Life." From swingers to gangs, it's all going to begin though with porn. What is it teaching our kids? Now, that will be Sunday, September 29 at 10:00 p.m. on CNN.

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[15:52:37]

SAVIDGE: A heartwarming birthday party surprise for a really special young boy. The Georgia Police Department going all out, lights, sirens and more. CNN's Robyn Curnow shows just how they went beyond the call of duty.

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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A surprise birthday party for Tye Clinner. One that he and his mother, Crystal, will never forget.

CRYSTAL CLINNER, TYE'S MOTHER: Wow. That's the first word that comes to mind. When all of this started, we were just planning on having him a little tiny birthday party and when he we got in touch with Lieutenant Forman, she just took it.

CURNOW (voice-over): Brandy Forman, a 15-year veteran of the Smyrna Police Department helped to plan the party and bake the cake which has three tiers covered in fondant with a Disney pirate theme.

LT. BRANDY FORMAN, SMYRNA POLICE: I'm a baker, as a hobby. I volunteered my time as a baker for cakes for medical kids or kids with special needs.

UNINDENTIFIED SPEAKER (in unison): Happy birthday dear Tye.

CURNOW (voice-over): Lieutenant Forman was asked to bake a cake for Tye, but she wanted to give him much more.

FORMAN: It was an opportunity to do something good. To make something small into something grand and big for him that he wouldn't always have the opportunity for.

CURNOW (voice-over): Tye suffers from cerebral palsy and celebrating each birthday is a real gift to his family. Tye uses a wheelchair and requires round the clock care.

CLINNER: It's so hard to put into words like how much this means.

CURNOW (on camera): Has today been wonderful?

TYE CLINNER, KID WITH CEREBRAL PALSY: Yes.

CURNOW (on camera): That's great. All these policemen came out for you. Isn't that fabulous?

CLINNER: Yes.

CURNOW (voice-over): Lieutenant Forman called in a SWAT team, literally. They gave Tye a chance to play with their normally off limits gadgets. And they promoted him to sergeant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've even had a Smyrna Police Department's shirt made up for him with sergeant stripe. So he doesn't start at the bottom, he starts at as a sergeant.

CURNOW (on camera): Why do you think it's important to do what you did today?

SGT. LOUIS DEFENSE, SMYRNA POLICE: It's about community relations. This was more than a birthday party for Tye. It was a community event. We have to find alternative ways we're connecting with the people that we serve. If not, we're failing our community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here you go. Are you ready?

[15:55:01]

CURNOW (voice-over): Sirens blaring. This party was also a loud and happy send off for Tye and his family who've also been gifted a trip to Disney World by the charity, Give Kids the World. Tye's there right now after a week that started with a giant cake and a heartfelt happy birthday from this group of caring cops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got some other cool stuff they'll let you check out here in a minute.

CURNOW (voice-over): Robyn Curnow, CNN, Smyrna, Georgia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: From the podium to the dance floor, nobody puts spicy in a corner. That's his week's State of the Cartoonian.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to salsa his way back from political exile this week on "Dancing with the Stars."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think I'm in my comfort universe.

TAPPER (voice-over): But his dancing got such scathing reviews, Spicer might be tempted to seek out his favorite hiding place behind the White House bushes. For future performances, we suggest that the President's former dissembler in chief should draw from his experience. Do the twist, as when he twisted the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. TAPPER (voice-over): For all those times Spicer was not willing to admit the President had told a straight up lie even when we all knew the truth, he could do the chicken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the largest audience to ever witness in inauguration period.

TAPPER (voice-over): Maybe given all the attention President Trump had has given to Korea, Spicer could embrace a dance craze from that peninsula. Then there's this propose show stopper, which really sums it all up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)