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CNN NEWSROOM

White House Aide Shaken after Trump's Crazy Ukraine Call; Offensive on U.S. Allies Underway after Trump Stands Down; Fourteen Times The Whistleblower's Claims Have Been Corroborated; Matt Drudge Sours on Trump As He Faces Impeachment; Warren Stands by Her Story of Losing Teaching Job Over Pregnancy; Kamala Harris Asked about Alleged Assault at Husband's Firm; Two Killed in Suspected Anti-Semitic Attacks at And Near Synagogue; NBA's Pre-Season Games in China in Doubt Amid Tweet Uproar; Dennis Rodman Offers to Help in NBA-China Fallout. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 9, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

KORI SCHAKE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR-GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES: -- the President, that's not OK either. So, it's not clear to me just how much culpability that NSC staffers have.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And then just before I let you go, I know you co-wrote a book with General James Mattis, right, the former Secretary of Defense and just given the news that Turkey has now launched this offensive in the wake of Trump withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria, this was reportedly, was the last straw. Right? For General Mattis to resign from his post. Where do you think his mind-set is on this today?

SCHAKE: Well, Secretary Mattis can speak for himself, but I think his resignation letter makes very clear that he thinks the President writing off the forces that have fought by our side to defeat ISIS and encouraging a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq and the forcible repatriation of more than a million Syrian refugees, which is the Turkish plan. And all of that without consulting the 80 other countries that are fighting along the United States in the anti-ISIS coalition, that that's a terrible way to try and protect America's interests. In fact, it puts our interests as risk. It will make it harder for countries to choose to ally with us in future counterterrorist operations and it scares our allies like Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan.

BALDWIN: Kori Schake, thank you so much, nice to have you on.

SCHAKE: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Any moment now President Trump is said to appear at the White House, if he answers any questions on impeachment, of course, we'll bring that to you live. Also ahead new details on how any influential figure in conservative media seems to be turning on Trump.

[15:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: As the President and Republican loyalists continue to insist the whistleblower cannot be trusted most of the claims at the center of the complaint have actually already been corroborated by the very federal officials involved. By CNN's count ,14 times. Let me run through just some of the most glaring examples for you.

So the whistleblower accused the President of pressuring a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election. The corroborating fact, Trump walked out on the White House lawn and encouraged a probe from Ukraine and also China.

The details of that phone call, the whistleblower claims that the President asked Ukraine to investigate Biden. Well, when you look at the White House transcript it shows he indeed asked them to investigate Joe Biden.

The whistleblower accused the White House of locking down records of the call, the White House then put out a statement admitting exactly that.

And then this one, the whistleblower claims two ambassadors provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to, quote, navigate the President's demands. Those ambassadors then gave Congress text messages that dictate how Ukraine should publicly announce they're investigating Biden.

And finally, here's one more, the whistleblower accuses the President of withholding military aid from Ukraine. Just days after the whistleblower complained, the President once again publicly confirmed that he did indeed freeze those funds. So, corroborated 14 times over.

As the evidence continues to mount just into CNN, one of the President's biggest defenders in all of conservative media is reportedly turning on him.

CNN's Oliver Darcy has been following the changes on the "Drudge Report." And as you and I were just chatting at commercial break, I mean, Matt Drudge, Drudge has been hammering him at a level we have never seen the last couple of weeks.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Right. And this important because Drudge is considered to be one of the more powerful people in conservative media.

BALDWIN: Yes.

DARCY: So goes Drudge, so goes the conservative media, and to see him hammer the President repeatedly day after day on this impeachment inquiry, on this Ukraine call it has really been remarkable. Now, we don't know yet is whether he's going to be able to pull the rest of the conservative media to his narrative. That's something he's been successful in doing over the years when he sets a narrative other sites hoping to get linked on his page so they can get large volumes of traffic, will kind of go towards his narrative, write stories that are framed based on what Drudge is linking.

And so, it's not clear yet if that's going to happen and if you're going to see other conservative news organizations sort of frame their stories in ways that Drudge might like and then link to. That's something to pay attention to, that's what's made Drudge one of the more powerful members of conservative media universe for some time. But even regardless of that, he gets a lot of traffic on his websites and so it's really stunning to see him one of the President's biggest supporters early on turn on him.

BALDWIN: Oliver, thank you.

DARCY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Oliver Darcy. Still ahead here, Senator Elizabeth Warren standing by a story that she tells on the campaign trail about how she was discriminated against for being pregnant early in her career.

Plus, Senator Bernie Sanders scales back his campaign schedule after he is recovering from a heart attack. We'll talk about what that means for the 2020 race.

[15:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: It is a story that seems all too familiar. Sexism in the workplace, but it's also a story even a Presidential candidate is being forced to defend. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing back on a story that she tells often on the campaign trail. This what she wrote on Twitter, when I was 22 and finishing my first year of teaching, I had an experience millions of women will recognize. By June I was visibly pregnant and the principal told me the job I'd already been promised for the next year would go to someone else.

[15:45:00]

This was 1971, years before Congress outlawed pregnancy discrimination but we know it still happens in subtle and not so subtle ways. We can fight back by telling our stories. I tell mine on the campaign trail and I hope to hear yours.

Maeve Reston is our CNN national political reporter. And so listening to the Senator's story, why the criticism?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, you're seeing all of this questioning of Elizabeth Warren's story about what happened to her on right-wing media sites. You know, there's conspiracy theories. People questioning it. And of course, it's our job as reporters to check out every story as we do. But you know this is so much a part of the different treatment that female candidates often get on the campaign trail. And Elizabeth Warren is right that, in fact, this is still something that's happening to a lot of women out there in the workplace once they become pregnant, they worry about losing their jobs. Between 2010 and 2015, Brooke, almost 31,000 pregnancy discriminations

cases were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. And so we know this is happening. It's a story that she wants to relate to other voters but she's being questioned once again by people on the right and her opponents about whether she's telling the truth on this -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Wow. So that is Senator Warren as far as other females on the trail, Senator Kamala Harris just this week, another Presidential hopeful, right? She was pulled into a case of the law firm, DLA Piper, which is a place where her husband works, a junior partner there alleges that one of the company's higher ups, not Kamala Harris's husband, sexually assaulted her. And Harris's only connection to the firm is that here husband is one of the hundreds of partners but she is still asked to comment on all of this. Is that fair?

RESTON: Well, I mean, I think she's so distanced it's not even a place that she works. It's confusing about you know why she would be asked the question beyond to speak more broadly to the issue of these incidents happening and certainly that's a big part of her campaign. Remember after the hearings with Christine Blasey Ford, Harris was one of those people who was out on the campaign trail having young women come to her and tell them their stories, and you know she's been seen as a champion for young women in that sense.

So it's really interesting and it also I'm sure made you think of the way that Hillary Clinton was treated often in 2016. There were issues that were brought up about her health, for example, that we just aren't --

BALDWIN: When she stumbled that day at the 9/11 memorial. Right?

RESTON: Exactly. And you know, she -- she was then subjected to all kinds of conspiracy theories on the right about whether this concussion that she had had led to a brain injury and you think back about how that went on for many months and how differently Bernie Sanders' heart attack is being treated in this campaign and --

BALDWIN: So true.

RESTON: -- there's just such a huge double standard there that's kind of baffling and tells us that it's still is pretty hard to run as a woman for President in this country - Brooke.

BALDWIN: I just wanted to have that conversation and wanted to go through those examples just making people aware and talking about it out loud is so important. Maeve Reston, thank you very much.

RESTON: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Still ahead here on CNN, a deadly attack today near a synagogue on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. We're live in Germany as we learn the suspect may have recording the entire attack on a helmet camera. Plus, former Vice President Joe Biden explicitly calling now for the

impeachment of Donald Trump. This happening for the first time this afternoon, it only took moments for the President to fire back at him on Twitter.

[15:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: More on the breaking news out of northern Syria. Now, U.S. allies are currently under attack just days after President Trump announced that he would pull U.S. troops back as Turkey begins its planned military offensive. We are now getting word from Turkey that it has launched a land operation in the region. We'll keep you updated as soon as we get word on what Lindsey Graham calls a disaster in the making.

Now to the holiest of days on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur has been marred by deadly gunfire in Germany. Police say two people, a man and woman, have been killed following a shooting at and near a synagogue in the eastern German town of Halle. Eyewitnesses captured video of the suspected gunman and police say there may have been at least three people involved. CNN's Melissa Bell is there in Germany. And Melissa, tell me what you know.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, it is just behind me. The synagogue just behind my shoulder here that continues to be a subject of this investigation tonight. What we have now beyond that eyewitness footage that you mentioned, Brooke, is a tape that is now -- a recording that is now the subject of this anti-terror investigation right at the heart of it which is believed to have been worn by the gunman on his helmet as he carried out this attack, Brooke, 30 minutes of it caught on camera and now being thoroughly investigated.

[15:55:00]

What it shows is one man going from this synagogue behind me and then killing a woman there and on a rampage that takes him on to the kabob shop where another man is then killed. One arrest has been made and clearly this was quickly linked by the interior minister himself to anti-Semitism. Indeed, on that video recording you could hear a number of anti-Semitic ramblings from the gunman. So yes, of course, this on the holiest days of the Jewish calendar. There was of course also worth mentioning, Brooke, ten Americans who were inside the synagogue praying at the time of the attack. We understand all of them are now safe but clearly one could imagine very shaken.

BALDWIN: Awful. Melissa, thank you very much in Germany for us reporting that out.

In the meantime, the backlash in China for the NBA is worsening. The Lakers and Nets are supposed to tip off tomorrow in Shanghai in this blockbuster pre-season match-up but so many people are now asking will the game even happen? It's because of scenes like this, NBA posters and ads are being taken down. The traditional pre-game player news conference that should have happened today got canceled, and so were a number of pre-game fan activities.

This pro-Hong Kong tweet from Huston Rockets GM Daryl Morey started this whole thing setting off a collision course between the NBA and its lucrative but communist country league partner in China. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was forced to come out and reiterate the league's position supporting free speech while many of its Chinese business partners jumped ship.

Don Riddell is our CNN sports anchor and correspondent. And he's with me now. And so I mean I can't stop reading about this story. Like this is getting so serious. You've got the banners coming down, news conferences canceled, I want to hear from the players. Are these games in jeopardy?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: I would have to say, Brooke, that they're in pretty serious jeopardy. Yes, I meant the Lakers and the Nets are supposed to be playing on Thursday in Shanghai, on Saturday in Shenzhen. And given all of the things that you've just said, the posters coming down, the press conferences being canceled, the fact that none of these NBA global games, pre-season games are being screened or broadcast in China, that decision has already been made. Given that the whole point of these games is to grow the game in China, you wonder in the midst of a blackout, what is the point of playing these games? At the moment they're still on but we'll see.

BALDWIN: So, guess who's jumped into all of this? Dennis Rodman, former L.A. Laker, you know, retired NBA Hall of Famer. He says he wants to help. This is his message for Adam Silver. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS RODMAN, FORMER NBA STAR: Commissioner Adam Silver, I know a thing or two about diplomacy. Book me a ticket to Shanghai with you and ambassador Rodney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Adam Silver arrives in China today. He's supposed to meet with Chinese government. Could Rodman help?

RIDDELL: Brooke, I guess we could have a separate conversation about what Dennis Rodman actually has achieved in North Korea but what you could argue for sure is that is before --

BALDWIN: True.

RIDDELL: -- before he got involved there wasn't much of a relationship between North Korea and the United States. The same cannot be said for this situation between the NBA and China. The NBA has been in China for decades now. Adam Silver has been the commissioner of the NBA for the last five years. He has been intimately involved in every deal that has been done with China. So if he wants to fix this, he knows who to call. The question is how can he fix it? I think he has been really taken aback by the fact it has become so personal. Because the other day when he basically took that position and said the NBA would choose principles over profits, he then became the lightning rod for the whole thing from a Chinese perspective and he's really been quite taken aback by how he's now the bad guy.

BALDWIN: What about the players, though, Don? I mean so far radio silence and you think of someone like a LeBron James who is front and center on social issues here in America. And so here he is over there and you know had there been a news conference he would have been asked about it. I've seen nothing on Instagram. I mean do you expect any sort of comment. How do you think they'll handle it?

RIDDELL: I think the players are just hoping that they're not going to be put in the position where they will be asked about it. I would imagine that none of the players were disappointed that these press conference didn't happen. I mean you look at say for example the Warriors coach Steve Kerr, so outspoken back in the United States about social justice issues, gun violence, racism, the whole thing. He was asked about this directly this week, no comment. You have players like LeBron James, if you follow their social media, Twitter, Instagram feeds, they are a hive of activity. Crickets right now. Absolutely nothing.

I mean LeBron James a social justice warrior at home but also the face of Nike, the face of the NBA. He's got his own business interest in China. I mean what is he supposed to say? But if you were to follow him on Instagram today you will have seen two posts on his video feed. One complaining about the jet lag, he can't sleep. And the other is a picture of his daughter eating ice cream. That is all he's got to say.

BALDWIN: We'll keep watching and if we get them, we'll ask the questions we'll see if the games go on. Don Riddell, good to see you, thank you very much, thank you.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me these last two hours. Let's send it to Washington. "The Lead" starts right now.

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