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Whistleblower Alleges Cover-up; Johnson and Johnson Settles Lawsuit; Prince Harry Sues British Tabloid; Midweek Grades with Chris Cillizza. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 2, 2019 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That the secretary of state would listen in on those phone calls and his experience if it had something to do, obviously, with their area of expertise.

So, again -- so, Susan, who knows. I mean that's one of the questions that we have, obviously.

And, you know, Jeffrey, just about that phone call, just from a 30,000-foot view, you know, I have President Trump supporters who say to me, that's how he talks. You know, he's a New York City wheeler -- real estate wheeler dealer. He says, do me a favor to people. That's how he talks. It's his colloquialism. And maybe, if you listen to the sausage being made on every president on a -- what's supposed to be a private phone call and you hear their colonialisms, maybe it would look -- sound messy and be awkward too.

Legally speaking, is it that, do me a favor thing that's the real problem?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is -- it is the real problem.

But, remember, we're in the impeachment area now. We're not in the law enforcement area.


TOOBIN: And the -- an impeachable offense is what Congress decides it is. So, you know, it may be well and good that he talks colloquially, but so do members of Congress and they know what a, you know, what a quid pro quo is. They know what pressure is. And they know that Donald Trump wasn't talking about the American national interest. The only thing he was asking for was dirt on a political opponent. That's the problem here.

You know, Trump supporters can talk about hearsay. They can talk about, you know, there -- this is the problem that they have not come to terms with, that you have the president of the United States with a foreign leader asking for dirt on a political opponent. That is something that, first of all, not all presidents do, and, second of all, if that's how, you know, a real estate developer talks when he's president of the United States, maybe he gets impeached for it. I mean, you know, there are consequences to the way you talk.

BERMAN: Again, legally speaking, which is how you asked the question, may not be the right framing here because it isn't a legal matter, it's an impeachment matter, which is a political matter and we see the president asking the president of Ukraine to talk to Bill Barr and to Rudy Giuliani about investigating Joe Biden. It's all right there.

Susan, one of the audiences here, Republicans in Congress. Obviously, we're not seeing a mass stampede of people coming forward and saying we're going to remove the president from office. But every day you have a different Republican saying something in a different way that makes you raise your eyebrows. Now, over the last 24 hours it was Chuck Grassley who has championed whistleblowers in the past, basically telling the president too much, too much on going after the whistleblower. The whistleblower here followed the procedures and whistleblower rights need to be protected.

What do you see from Senator Grassley's comments?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, look, I think, first of all, he's been a long standing advocate of the whistleblower protection act and so, you know, the fact that he's advocating for it -- I should note that Chuck Grassley has also been encouraging the administration in another direction in there campaign to investigate the investigators. So, you know, he's not exactly what I would consider a likely vote for conviction in a Senate trial regardless of his willingness to stand up for the whistleblower.

In fact, I -- in many ways this whole whistleblower conversation has become a kind of Trump-generated distraction. You have the president demanding to face his accuser and other things that, you know, of course don't make any sense in the context of our whistleblower protection statute.

But, really, it's gone far beyond the whistleblower at this point. We don't know one -- the whistleblower's evidence actually is not crucial to moving forward with the impeachment investigation because the administration itself has already released the transcript of the phone call and, you know, there's a lot more evidence and witnesses that can be used to supplement this.

So, you know, I think Trump is talking about the whistleblower because he doesn't want to talk about the facts.

CAMEROTA: Susan Glasser, Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much for all of your insight.

OK, next to this, Prince Harry revealing his deepest fear. Details in a live report, next.



BERMAN: All right, developing overnight, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $20 million settlement with two Ohio counties to avoid being part of a landmark opioid trial later this month.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now with more.

This makes them, what, the fourth company to reach some kind of settlement?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does, and this could certainly be a sign of more of what is still to come, John. That's why this is so significant.

Look, this landmark federal case involves claims from some 2,000 different cities, counties, municipalities, all across the country, all of them looking to hold drug manufacturers and distributors responsible for fueling the opioid crisis.

But the first federal trial will focus on just two counties in Ohio, Cuyahoga and Summit. And now Johnson & Johnson giving us some indication of how this all could go because this trial is really the bellwether for how the rest of these claims could shake out.

So, Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a $20 million settlement. That means $10 million to Cuyahoga and Summit counties, $5 million to reimburse legal and other expenses, and also 5.4 million to non-profit groups.


On top of that, Johnson & Johnson is saying that they don't admit any liability. They've put out a statement saying the settlement allows the company to avoid the resource and demands and uncertainty of a trail as it continues to seek meaningful progress in addressing the nation's opioid crisis. The company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need.

And, look, John and Alisyn, this comes after Johnson and Johnson was in court in Oklahoma back in August. In that opioid trial, a state judge ordered them to pay some $572 million for opioid abatement. It also comes at a time when other drug makers are looking at the possibility of a global settlement that could resolve many or all of the many, many claim now against them.

Alexandra, thank you very much for that important report.

Now to this. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are suing a British tabloid. Prince Harry accuses the paper of a ruthless campaign against his wife and he invokes the memory of his mother, Princess Diana's trouble with the tabloids.

CNN's Max Foster is live in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more.

So what's this about, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, I've been speaking to a royal source here. The couple are here and the staff are here at this event, another event of this ten-day tour. And what they are telling me is this case hinges on a letter that was sent by the duchess of Sussex to her father, which was unlawfully published. And, actually, misrepresents her view in the way it was edited. The paper denies that and they say they're going to contest this case vigorously.


FOSTER (voice over): In a strikingly powerful statement, Harry speaks of his deepest fear of history repeating itself.

I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they're no longer treated and seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.

This as the royal couple continue on a tour of Africa that's been littered with Diana references. Just a few days ago, he retraced his mother's footsteps in these iconic images of the Angola minefield in 1997.

His statement singles out "Mail on Sunday" for a claim that it unlawfully published one of his wife's private letters, but he also slams the British tabloid press generally for what he calls their ruthless campaign against the duchess. The positive coverage of the past week from these same publications exposes the double standards, he says.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color and as your sister.

FOSTER: That was right at the beginning of the tour and the first time we've heard the duchess identify herself that way in public since she married into the royal family. Each of her engagements has spoken to the same themes of female empowerment and diversity, and everyone whom she met appear to come away inspired. Several images went viral, including this one showing her at a memorial for a female student raped and murdered in a brutal event which has shocked South Africa. And this one of baby Archie meeting anti-apartheid legend Desmond Tutu.

FOSTER (on camera): Congratulations on the tour so far, your royal highnesses.

FOSTER (voice over): The couple had been upbeat and positive throughout.

MARKLE: You know, I think what's so amazing about being here today, as you can see, there's so much good happening in the world.

FOSTER: This as the royal couple dancing to their own tune. Intimately involved in every aspect of the tour, which is why they came across as so genuine, and that was reflective in glowing media coverage. But the relentless propaganda of the U.K. tabloids, as Harry sees it, that led up to this tour hasn't been forgotten.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FOSTER: And I'm told that Harry wrote this statement himself. It went out unedited. The queen and Prince Charles have been informed. So, Alisyn, it looks like we're heading for a big showdown in court between the royal family and the U.K. tabloid press.

CAMEROTA: That is the way it looks.

Max, thank you very much for sharing all of that and those pictures, those images with us.

All right, here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:45 a.m. ET, Nancy Pelosi press conference.

2:00 p.m. ET, Trump joint press conference.

8:30 p.m. ET, Pence Senate rally in Arizona.


BERMAN: All right, we have some wild video to show you of what appears to be a woman taunting a lion at a New York zoo. She could be in serious trouble for this. We'll explain, next.



CAMEROTA: OK, for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, money matters, only for them, not for the rest of us.

Money matters in the third quarter fundraising numbers are in. There are a few surprises. So let's get the midweek grades with CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza.

Good morning, professor.



Let's start at the top. Who are you giving an A to?

CILLIZZA: OK, A, Elizabeth Warren. And I know I sounds like a broken record because every time I do this she gets an A. But, honestly, she is the candidate who has had the momentum now for about two months in this race, Alisyn, polling in Iowa, polling in Nevada, polling in New Hampshire, national polling, all suggests she is right there with Joe Biden in Iowa, honestly. She may be ahead by a point or two and she's got the best organization in the state as well.

So we haven't seen her money yet. My guess is it's going to be very, very strong given how much momentum she had over the last few months and given how much people like to give to candidate they think are going to win.

BERMAN: Obviously money is important to you, Cillizza.


BERMAN: Obviously you can be bought.

CILLIZZA: Critically.

BERMAN: Which is maybe helps explain why you give an A-minus to?

CILLIZZA: OK, Pete Buttigieg. Now, if I told you, John Berman, knower of all things about politics, if I told you a mayor of South Bend, Indiana, would raise $44 million over the first six months of 2019, you would probably say, yes, I knew that.


BERMAN: Yes, I know.

CILLIZZA: But if you were me --

BERMAN: Never.

CILLIZZA: You would be surprised by that.

Buttigieg raised $19 million in these last three months. They announced it earlier this week after $25 million in the prior three months.

Look, money isn't everything. It really isn't. If it was, Jeb Bush would be president. But it does help build organizations and it does show momentum.

Buttigieg is going to have both, plus he's got poling in Iowa. I think he may be the Iowa dark horse here for a top three finish.

CAMEROTA: And if money was everything, Bernie Sanders would be getting an A from you --

CILLIZZA: That is exactly --

CAMEROTA: Because he pulled in a lot of dough.

CILLIZZA: That is exactly right. I gave him a B. And I don't -- I went back and forth on this, Alisyn, because he raised $25 million in the -- in the last three months. He's raised over $70 million so far this year. We knew he could raise money. He raised over $240 million when he ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016. And that's not an easy campaign to raise money in given how sort of established she is.

But it looks to me like the race right now is Biden, the establishment pick, versus Warren, the liberal populist fighter. That leaves Sanders out. And I don't know how he gets back in. And that's why I give him a B, despite the fact that money is remarkable and probably -- see what Warren brings in, see what Biden bring in, but probably going to be the highest total.

BERMAN: All right, slipping this week, Senator Kamala Harris.

CILLIZZA: Yes. I just -- I gave her a C minus, John. And the reason here is her money was not as bad as I think some people thought it would be, about $11.5 million raised over the last three months. But she's really fading. We have a campaign reorganization this week. That's never a good thing. If you remember, about a month ago, her campaign was pushing the reset button. That didn't work. This feels like trying to restart something that is dead in the water.

Now, still a decent chunk of time before Iowa votes. Still time to come back. The money is not terrible. But, gosh, she looks a little bit lost.

CAMEROTA: I think you're being too tough a grader on some of these, including the next one.

Cory Booker made his self-imposed financial marker.

CILLIZZA: OK. All right. Here's why I'll tell you why that I'm not impressed by that, Alisyn. If I say, all right, folks, I'm going to dunk on an eight-foot hoop --

BERMAN: That's right.

CILLIZZA: And I'm 6'3".


CILLIZZA: If I can't -- of course I can dunk on an eight-foot hoop, although, honestly, at my age I might like blow an Achilles out.

But the point is, you're seeing a marker that you know you can meet and then declaring victory. He raised $1.7 million in basically the last 10 days of the filing period. He only raised $6 million total. It's just not enough. It's a feel good story for Cory Booker that he got the money he wanted. But I still think that is a self-created narrative. It's like clearing a very low hurdle while your other opponents are clearing much higher hurdles.

CAMEROTA: But you said money isn't everything to you.

CILLIZZA: And we'll remind you, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, raised $19 million in the same period.

CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE). You said money wasn't your deciding factor, and now you're changing --

BERMAN: Well, it's not the polls --

CILLIZZA: It's not the deciding factor, but if you --

BERMAN: Cory Booker, with all due respect, it's not like he can point to the polls and say it's so much better over there.

CILLIZZA: That's --

CAMEROTA: I'm basing it on NEW DAY appearances.


CAMEROTA: And he's willing to come on in studio.


CAMEROTA: So I give him an A.

CILLIZZA: OK, that's fine with me.

Can I do another one quick grade?

BERMAN: Very quickly.

CILLIZZA: A plus, plus, plus, plus, plus, plus, plus, five more pluses. Washington Nationals, come from behind victory.


CILLIZZA: Look out Dodgers. Taste that, Berman.

BERMAN: Stephen Strasburg should have started last night. No, no, the Nationals are -- the Nationals and the Astros are my two teams in this. The two teams that --

CILLIZZA: Oh, really? Not the Astros and the Yankees, you frontrunner.

BERMAN: Yankees, please.

All right, stick around, professor, because we want you to weigh in on this.


BERMAN: This is video, which a lot of people are talking about this morning, of a woman apparently taunting a lion at the Bronx Zoo here in New York. The zoo says she climbed over a safety barrier, which is separated by a mote. The Bronx Zoo called it a serious violation. She put her life in danger. The New York Police Department says the zoo has filed a complaint for criminal trespass. So police are now trying to find her.

Taunting -- entering an enclosure, Chris, and taunting a lion. What kind of grade do you give on that?

CILLIZZA: OK. So that's an F-minus. I would say two things.

One, my favorite part is how the lion was looking around. Like, are you guys seeing this?

CAMEROTA: Me too. I agree.

CILLIZZA: Because -- and, two, it -- CAMEROTA: He's like security. The lion is literally like, security, can I get some help over here?

CILLIZZA: And, number two, it remind me a lot of "Anchor Man" when Ron Burgundy jumps into the bear pit. It ended well in both occasions. But I don't understand people.

BERMAN: Period.


BERMAN: Why is she waving at the lion? You guys are not friends.

CAMEROTA: I -- yes, seriously, the lion gets an A here.


CILLIZZA: I mean she can't be more than like eight or ten feet away, right?


CILLIZZA: That's terrifying.

BERMAN: All right, the lion gets an A. I think he's (INAUDIBLE).


CILLIZZA: Lion A, humanity F.

BERMAN: Chris Cillizza, thank you very much for that. Appreciate it.

CILLIZZA: Thanks, guys.

BERMAN: "The Good Stuff" is next.



BERMAN: It is time now for "The Good Stuff."

A Florida Army veteran who died with no family to claim his remains received a hero's sendoff. More than 1,000 people showed up yesterday after 80-year-old Edward Pearson's online obituary went viral.


MELANIE LYNCH, ATTENDED EDWARD PEARSON'S FUNERAL: I traveled about an hour to get here because I read about this story on FaceBook yesterday and it just touched my heart. I just knew that I had to be here.


BERMAN: A lot of people posting on FaceBook and Twitter. Jake Tapper, who works very, very hard on veteran's issues, I want to note, he sent out a tweet about it yesterday. Workers at Sarasota National Cemetery said their phones kept ringing off the hook because complete strangers wanted to honor and thank a man they didn't know.

And this has been happening in city after city around the country where people are coming to honor veterans who may not have anyone. And I think it's wonderful.

I will only note, you can also go thank a veteran in person when they're alive too.


CAMEROTA: That's right.

BERMAN: Maybe take the chance to say thank you.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. That is also a wonderful gesture. But it is so great that 1,000 people.