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Study Shows North American Bird Population In Rapid Decline; Disturbing Rise In Hate Crimes Against Transgender Community; Montgomery, Alabama Elects First Black Mayor. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 10, 2019 - 07:30   ET



JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And he makes very clear that this letter from the White House counsel to the House is a political letter. He calls it garbage and trash.

You know, it reminded me of times when I was in the White House where I'd run up to the Counsels' Office because I needed something to push back politically, and say, why can't we write a letter making this argument? And they'd laugh and say because there's no basis in the law for that argument and they'd tell me to go back to my office.

In the Trump administration, it appears that the inmates are running the asylum and the White House Counsels' Office has become a political arm of the president. And, I think Conway calls them out on that.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is interesting -- that last bite we just heard there that he thinks Republicans will live to regret their support for the president.

If that's true, wouldn't you start to see some people on the inside -- I know there's the whistleblower, who seems to have Democratic leanings or political bias in the report -- but wouldn't you have Republicans who are concerned that the president is starting to come forward offering testimony, offering witness accounts?

LOCKHART: You know, you -- one would think there would be, but I think a lot of those people are already gone.

And the people who are there are the core loyalists who for -- whether it's a personal commitment to the president or whether it's -- you know, they don't want to seem disloyal or they look to what their next thing is and don't want to seem to be jumping ship. There doesn't seem to be anyone around to take the president on.

Just taking the decision he made on Syria over the weekend. That is a great example of the White House -- the entire government had a strategy on this. He blew it up in one phone call.

And you don't see anybody standing up and saying well, I have to resign on principle. Principle left a while ago in this administration and we're left with Trump and people who are just happy to be there.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But, of course, in that example that you just gave, you are hearing congressional Republicans --


CAMEROTA: -- Lindsey Graham, et cetera, speaking out very vociferously -- Liz Cheney -- about how one wrongheaded they think that decision was. And that's just notable because that's so different to hear them criticize the president's decision.

Joe, unless you have something to say about that I know that you wanted to talk about all these analogies between what President Trump is facing in terms of impeachment and what President Clinton faced which, of course, you know very well. You think that there are also some stark differences that you think -- you'd like to point out.

LOCKHART: Yes. Listen, I think there's a -- there's a natural negotiation for -- in any investigation over what the scope will be, what the rules will be. And we fought the Hill very aggressively on how impeachment would play out.

But the big difference is the impeachment of President Clinton -- all the investigative work was done. The facts were on the table, the evidence was on the table. It was just a question of arguing and prosecuting a case and defending.

What's going on now is all of the facts haven't been uncovered. The House committees are an investigative arm right now. And the stonewalling and the back-and-forth between the White House and Congress is about keeping information from Congress, from the American people, and that's very different. So I think the comparisons that people are making are flawed.

And I think Nancy Pelosi has done a good job, but she's -- this fight is going to on and she needs to find a way to test the White House. And my guess is in the next couple of days there will be some movement on this vote, but it won't happen without a commitment or at least asking for a commitment from the White House to cooperate with the subpoenas and the document requests.

So again, there's a lot of jockeying going on but there isn't a lot of evidence that the Trump administration is acting in good faith and that they are trying to cover up significant pieces of information.

CAMEROTA: Yes, this is still the fact-finding portion of the process. And I really appreciate you saying that because sometimes it sounds like where -- you know, the Republicans make it sound as though we're well beyond that, but they're not yet.


BERMAN: The impeachment hearings under Clinton were bringing in Ken Starr to read out loud what he had already reported and everyone already knew. So it was already a done deal.



CAMEROTA: -- thank you very much for all of that.


CAMEROTA: OK, there is another significant warning sign about the climate crisis. A new troubling report about birds.



BERMAN: So, a new report -- an alarming report by the National Audubon Society just released to CNN reveals that climate change is threatening two-thirds of North American bird species with extinction. Now, we already reported that in the last 50 years, the bird population plummeted by three billion, but this new report looks forward and it's deeply troubling.

CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir here to explain -- not good.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: The birds try to tell us things, right, in their movements and how they -- where they nest. And, right now, the Audubon Society, one of the oldest conservation groups in the world, really, is declaring a bird emergency.


WEIR (voice-over): From the Baltimore oriole to the golden eagle, from the songbirds in your backyard to America's rarest heron fishing in Tampa Bay, our fine-feathered friends are in deep trouble.

MARK RACHAL, SANCTUARY MANAGER, FLORIDA COASTAL ISLANDS SANCTUARIES, AUDUBON FLORIDA: At this site, there used to be 50 to 60 nesting piers. This was only about 15 years ago. And now, we're down to about five to eight piers.

WEIR (voice-over): After a recent study found that the U.S. and Canada lost nearly three billion birds just since the 70s, Audubon scientists took the latest climate models and looked into the future of over 600 species.

WEIR (on camera): So this is not a development comes into a grassland and ruins the nesting grounds. This is that places on earth get too warm for these species, so they have to either move or go extinct.


BROOKE BATEMAN, SENIOR SCIENTIST CLIMATE, NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY: Exactly. So, it's a combination of changes in temperature, precipitation, and vegetation.

WEIR (voice-over): Brooke Bateman was the lead scientist and found that if humanity keeps warming the planet at the current rate, almost two-thirds of the North American birds they study could be driven to extinction. And as they try to survive, many species, like the common loon, will fly north and never come back.

BATEMAN: This is a bird that I just -- I went home, in my second grade, and I wrote a report about it. And to this day, it's been a special bird for me.

Last year, I brought my 5-year-old daughter and we went and we sat on the lake and she got to hear the loon for the first time. And it's like magic -- you see it on her face.

And its range is going to completely shift out of the U.S. in the future, with climate change. So you'll no longer be able to go to that same place and hear that bird call anymore.

WEIR (voice-over): But more alarming than a loss of pretty songs and colors is what birds like the common robin are telling us about the speed of climate change.

BATEMAN: People usually think of robins as the sign of spring -- oh, the robins are back -- but robins are actually overwintering in a lot of places more frequently than they used to and not leaving at all.

WEIR (on camera): So it's a different kind of harbinger now.


WEIR (on camera): And if the robin is hanging out in December --


WEIR (on camera): -- something's wrong.

BATEMAN: Something's wrong. And that's the thing. Birds are indicators, birds tell us. They're the ones that are telling us what's going on in the environment.

WEIR (on camera): Yes.

BATEMAN: And so, we say, at Audubon, that birds tell us it's time to act.

WEIR (voice-over): And if humanity can act fast enough and somehow hit the carbon-cutting targets of the Paris accord, she says 75 percent of the most vulnerable species could survive.

WEIR (on camera): You have kids, do you?

RACHAL: I do, I have three young girls.

WEIR (on camera): Do you think these species will still be around when they're your age?

RACHAL: I do, I do.

WEIR (on camera): You do? RACHAL: I think -- I think the habitat may be a little bit different but I'm hopeful.

WEIR (voice-over): Mark has been working at Tampa Bay for over a dozen years and has seen firsthand how even a casual love of birds can inspire positive action. Even the managers of that coal-fired power plant are Audubon supporters, he tells me.

But while it was the canary that warned coal miners of invisible doom back in the day, these days it seems that birds of all shapes and sizes are being forced to do the same.


CAMEROTA: I really appreciate you injecting some hope into that piece at the end about what can be done because sometimes --

WEIR: I do.

CAMEROTA: -- I'm left despondent when you hear about the -- just the vastness of the problem.

WEIR: Absolutely, absolutely -- but you can't lose that, you know? You've got to rush into that burning building and not run away from it.

And you never know what's going to motivate folks. For some folks, it could be fish or polar bears or birds, as John Berman loves.

BERMAN: I do, and it's real-time feedback.

WEIR: It is.

BERMAN: People who may not be into birds don't realize that we are seeing it before our eyes from one year to the next. This is not something you need to study 100 years to see the changes.

WEIR: Right.

BERMAN: The changes -- it's happening at a staggering pace.

WEIR: They're talking to us. We just need to listen.

CAMEROTA: John Berman, noted loon expert. It comes in handy.

Thanks so much for the report, Bill.

WEIR: My pleasure.

BERMAN: All right.

A second day without power for hundreds of thousands of people in northern and central California. Pacific Gas and Electric is expanding its forced power outages as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of wildfires sparked by downed power lines. U.C. Berkeley is canceling classes today due to the outages. Nearly two million people in half of California's counties could see their power go out.

CAMEROTA: And a disturbing rise in hate crimes against the transgender community. At least 18 transgender people have been murdered so far this year in the U.S., mostly minorities, mostly in Texas. The attacks unfolding in the shadow of the Supreme Court arguments that could have a lasting impact on gender identity rights.

CNN's Sara Sidner joins us live with more. This is horrible, Sara.


We spoke to Daniela Calderon Rivera. She was in the hospital recovering after being shot six times. Her attacker, she says, told her he hated transgender people and then he followed her.

She spoke to us for a couple of reasons for her first time on national television. She says she just wants people to know that she's a human being that deserves a life.



SIDNER (voice-over): Daniela Calderon Rivera recounts the shots hitting her body. Six shots, each one riddling her with entry and exit wounds. Police say she was shot by a man who didn't know her but she says he hated her because of who she is.

RIVERA (SIDNER TRANSLATING) (voice-over): He said, why is your voice deep? I said I'm transgender.

SIDNER (voice-over): She says her attacker thought she was a pretty girl. He wanted to pay her $80.00 for an hour of sexual acts. She agreed. It how she makes a living.


SIDNER (on camera): What did he say to you?

RIVERA (SIDNER TRANSLATING) (voice-over): He said today is the day you will die.

SIDNER (voice-over): She says she got away from him. He followed her in his red pickup. She hid in a store.

She eventually headed to the bus stop. She had no idea he was hunting her.

RIVERA (SIDNER TRANSLATING) (voice-over): He stopped and he started shooting -- one, two. I don't want to remember this moment. This is the worst memory I will have for my entire life.

SIDNER (voice-over): Shot four times in the abdomen, the arm, the hip, she says she said her goodbyes, prayed to God, called out for her family, and closed her eyes, waiting for the end. But she survived.

Police say they arrested her attacker who confessed to shooting her because she was transgender.

SIDNER (on camera): The attack against Calderon along this street is just the latest in a string of attacks and killings of transgender people here in Dallas. One of the most brutal attacks was caught on camera.

SIDNER (voice-over): Blow after blow, the cell phone video reveals the brute-force Muhlaysia Booker endured after being involved in a fender-bender in Dallas. She survived this brutality.

A month later, though, her mother was mourning her death from another attack. Police made two arrests -- one for the beating, another for the killing.

The Human Rights Campaign says the number of transgender attacks in recent years is alarming. Booker was the 18th person identified as transgender to be killed in the U.S. this year. The majority of victims are black. Texas leads the nation in trans murders.

STACEY MONROE, LATINX TRANSGENDER ACTIVIST: The transgender community in Dallas is being attacked.

SIDNER (voice-over): Stacey Monroe became an activist because of her own struggles as a transwoman. She lives in greater fear now than ever.

MONROE: Am I going to wake up to another killing, another attack? What's next?

SIDNER (voice-over): Monroe says the dangers for trans people have a lot to do with laws. She says she lost a job because she was trans. In Texas, that's legal.

PROTESTERS: Trans lives matter! Trans lives matter!

SIDNER (voice-over): The Supreme Court is currently taking up a case to decide whether gender identity is protected under the Civil Rights Act.

Monroe says when she heard what happened to Calderon, she rushed to be by her side. But as they bonded, they learned the man suspected of shooting her was free after posting bail.

RIVERA (SIDNER TRANSLATING) (voice-over): In the moment, my biggest fear is that soon, I will be out of this hospital but this person is also out. I'm afraid that he's going to finish what he started.


SIDNER: Calderone Rivera has been praying that she is going to be alright. Once she leaves, she is terrified that her attacker is going to come back and actually kill her.

We should also mention we tried to speak with him. We went to his address. He did not respond to our request for comment.

Back to you.

CAMEROTA: That is really scary. No wonder she is so frightened right now.


CAMEROTA: Sara, thank you very much for that report.

So, tonight, CNN partners with the Human Rights Campaign to present a groundbreaking town hall event, "Equality in America." Join 2020 candidates as they discuss issues facing the LGBTQ community in a night of back-to-back town halls. Again, that's tonight starting at 7:30 Eastern.

BERMAN: I'm really looking forward to that.

All right, we have a rare interview with George Conway. We don't usually hear his voice. He, of course, is the husband of top White House adviser, Kellyanne Conway. His message to those in the president's inner circle, ahead.



BERMAN: This morning, global markets -- they are jittery ahead of today's U.S.-China trade talks in Washington. And prospects for a sweeping trade deal between the two countries -- a sweeping trade deal -- prospects for that appear to be dimming.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now with the latest -- Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Yes, I'd be shocked if the U.S. gets everything it wants here. You know, officials familiar with the talks say that the American trade team is setting their expectations low here. There's negativity inside the administration that the Chinese are unlikely to make major concessions that the president wants.

Tensions between the U.S. and China high this week, you guys. The administration blacklisted more than two dozen Chinese firms, put visa restrictions on Chinese officials.

And there is speculation both sides may try to reach a smaller deal, like maybe buying U.S. farm products in exchange for not escalating tariffs on the U.S. side.

Now, the U.S. has some leverage here, right? The president delayed raising tariffs to 30 percent on $250 billion in Chinese goods until October 15th. So there's that deadline.

The president also pushed back tariffs on $160 billion of consumer- facing goods to December 15th. Those tariffs are on goods like laptops, smartphones, shoes, clothes.

Now, trade wars, by the way, it turns out, are not easy to win and they are expensive. It has cost U.S. importers $34 billion since February 2018. That's a number from a coalition made up of trade groups and businesses that impose these tariffs.

In August alone, Americans paid $6.5 billion in tariffs. That's a 48 percent increase from August of last year.

And policymakers at the Federal Reserve now, they are worried the trade war could hurt consumer spending and hiring.


Alisyn, a lot on the line here. Expectations are low but I'm telling you, my sources close to this are saying anything could happen this week in this 13th round of U.S.-China trade talks.

CAMEROTA: OK, Christine. Please keep us posted. Obviously, everyone's waiting to hear what happens. Thank you.

Montgomery, Alabama making history this week, electing its first black mayor since the city was founded 200 years ago. Steven Reed, a probate judge, got 67 percent of the vote in a runoff election.


STEVEN REED (D), MAYOR-ELECT, FIRST BLACK MAYOR OF MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: Let this go far beyond Montgomery, let it go far beyond Alabama, and let it go far beyond this nation that we made a statement here tonight.


CAMEROTA: Reed's win made headlines around the world.

Joining us now is Montgomery, Alabama's mayor-elect, Steven Reed. Good morning, Mr. mayor-elect.

REED: Good morning. How are you?

CAMEROTA: I'm doing well.

Let me read some of those headlines for everyone after your election.

"USA Today" said, "A historic day. Montgomery, Alabama elects its first African-American mayor."

An NBC affiliate says, "Steven Reed makes history as Montgomery's first black mayor."

BBC says, "Steven Reed: Civil rights birthplace Montgomery elects first black mayor."

"The New York Times," "Montgomery, a Cradle of Civil Rights, Elects Its First Black Mayor." So, Mr. mayor-elect, Montgomery has been waiting two centuries for this. What took so long?

REED: You know, I think there have been a number of factors that took a while. Montgomery has a complex history as it relates to race and struggle in this country, and so it's been a number of issues.

But I think that the community wants to move forward and where we are right now is a place where we've been unified on the message of opportunity and the message of creating an environment where people can live, learn, and earn. And I think that message and that vision resonated across lines in this city like no other candidate had before.

And I just think that right now, we're at a great point in our city's history where we are looking to have new ideas and new approaches to solving some of our issues that we face as a community.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and -- well, let's talk about that because obviously, Montgomery has so many historical connotations for so many people, some of them quite negative. And so, what is Montgomery like today?

REED: Montgomery is not like the place I believe that most people read about in the history books. We're like any other city our size.

We're the state capital of Alabama. We have Maxwell (Gunter) Air Force Base here. We have a great conglomerate of universities -- Alabama State University being a historically black college here and university. So we have a great sense of talent and resources here.

And we're a city that's facing some challenges regarding our public schools. We're facing challenges about where does our economic future lie and how do we recruit and retain talent and resources here. How do we grow the economy?

And certainly, we're trying to deal with issues around criminal justice and how we kind of balance the toughness and the justice here, like any other city.

But it's a city that really has a lot of love. And I believe that the best assets here are the people, and they are the people who really want us to prosper and the people who are really looking for different things that we can do that are going to improve outcomes in the lives of others that live here.

We want to be seen as a -- as a part of the new south. We want to turn the page and we want to change the narrative, and I think that's what this election was about.

CAMEROTA: We have less than a minute left. What is your first order of business?

REED: My first order of business is to get with the mayor and his administration to ensure a smooth transition and after that, we'll put together a 100-day plan. And we want to look at ways that we can better support public education from the city side. And we also want to take a look at how we can build trust between our

police and our community to have a better impact on the lives of everyone that are living here and make sure that we're ensuring a safe city for all that are here.

But we want to let everyone know that this is a new Montgomery, this is a new day, and we're going to be a great part and a great asset to this country in ways that they can't imagine right now.

CAMEROTA: Well, Mr. mayor-elect, Steven Reed, thank you very much for explaining Montgomery's new day here on NEW DAY. Great to talk to you.

REED: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, and thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM WITH MAX FOSTER" is next.

For our U.S. viewers, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway is speaking out in a rare interview. NEW DAY continues right now.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, October 10th, 8:00 now in the East.

New this morning, we have this rare new interview with George Conway. And, of course, he's significant for a couple of reasons. First, he's the husband of top presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway. And next, he's a noted conservative attorney and a fierce Trump critic on Twitter.

So listen to what he says about people who continue to serve and support President Trump.