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Trump Calls for Ceasefire After His Move Sparks Chaos in Syria; Hunter Bidens Says I Did Nothing Improper, But Had Poor Judgment; 12 Democrats Face Off Tonight in Crucial Ohio Debate; Giuliani Expected to Defy Subpoena As Scrutiny Grows; LeBron James Accused of Undermining Pro-Democracy Values; NBA's Enes Kanter Trolls Lebron James on Twitter; Ex-Cop Charged with Murder After Black Woman Shot in Her Home. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 15, 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]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- a different kind of a force we want to bring our soldiers back home. And we're being very tough on Turkey and a lot of others. They have to maintain their own properties now. They have to maintain peace and safety and we'll see what happens. The delegation, we're asking for a cease-fire. We put the strongest sanctions that you can imagine. But they get a lot. We have a lot in store if they don't have an impact including massive tariffs on steel. They ship a lot of steel to the United States and make a lot of money shipping steel. They won't be making so much money.

I just want to tell you that the stock market is way up today, because of probably the trade deal that we made with China, we made a fantastic --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: That's President Trump there calling for a cease-fire amid Turkey's operation in Syria against then U.S. ally, the Kurds, after his move to pull U.S. troops, sparking chaos involving the allies, our former allies there.

Meantime, since the very first time since the Ukraine controversy began, we are hearing from Joe Biden's son Hunter. Biden in this new ABC interview, he compares President Trump's conspiracy to a circus and says he did nothing wrong while serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNTER BIDEN, SON OF JOE BIDEN: No. In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part. Is that I think that it was poor judgment because I don't believe now when I look back on it, I know I did nothing wrong at all. However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is a -- it's a swamp in many ways? Yes. So I take -- I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No. Not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: With me now from the site of tonight's debate, CNN's Arlette Saenz who covers the former Vice President and his campaign, and also with us, CNN's MJ Lee. Who has been covering Senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign. So ladies good to see you both. And Arlette, let's just start with, you know, Hunter Biden and the timing of this interview this morning, certainly noteworthy. The same day as his dad's big debate there in Ohio. Is the Biden campaign prepared if opponents inject his son into any of their, you know, arguments tonight?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, it remains to be seen whether any of the Democratic opponents of Joe Biden will decide to raise concerns about Hunter. But as he's been preparing, the former Vice President has been preparing for tonight's debate Hunter is certainly, been in the spotlight, really giving his most in-depth comments so far on his business dealings in Ukraine and China. And as you heard him say he acknowledges that perhaps it was poor judgment to sit on that board of that Ukrainian natural gas company. But he insists that there was nothing improper, no ethical lapses in doing so. And that's something that you've heard from the former Vice President out on the campaign trail insisting that there was nothing improper or wrong with sitting on those boards.

We're going to see tonight whether anyone will take the risk or potentially going after Biden and his son. So far Democrats have really defended the two of them as they've been attacked by the President.

BALDWIN: Meantime, MJ, over to you. Elizabeth Warren, this is her first big debate with front-runner status. We know Biden has already been hitting her, you know, as, maybe we don't need a planner, right? Because she always has a plan for that. Talk to me about what's at stake for her tonight.

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Brooke, as you know, at every single one of these debates the stakes are obviously very high for all of these candidates. But I think the unique position that Warren finds herself in tonight, is exactly what you said. That for the first time she is taking the debate stage as a front-runner alongside former Vice President Joe Biden. And the thing about being a front-runner is that when you take that position, when you are taking the lead, you end up with a target on your back in a way you haven't before.

And I think it's clear just based on the last month or so that the other Democrats in the race have been increasingly more eager and willing to take on Senator Warren, whether it's on the issue of health care, raising a lot of questions about her support for Medicare For All. How it's going to be paid for? Is it going to raise taxes on the middle class? And also, just in the big picture, too. Right? Some of these candidates saying, well, maybe her ideas are too far to the left to make her electable, to have sort of that broad appeal that's necessary to take on President Trump in a general election.

So I think these are the kinds of questions that she is certainly going to face from some of the rivals on her stage. And also, I think even though Senator Warren herself has, for the most part, made clear that she isn't really interested in taking on some of the other candidates onstage, she could end up presenting sort of a challenge to the other Democrats tonight, especially on the issue of campaign finance.

[15:35:00]

She released a new plan just this morning on sort of how she thinks other Democrats should be raising money in this race. And she called on them specifically to sort of join her in the more grass roots model and rejecting sort of the big dollar donor model that has been more traditional in politics.

BALDWIN: We will be watching. MJ and Arlette, ladies, thank you very much, let me just remind all of you watching at home the debate tonight airing here on CNN at 8:00 Eastern. Do not miss it.

We are getting breaking news right now as we learn Rudy Giuliani is resisting calls to hire a criminal lawyer. We're now getting word he is expected to defy today's subpoena deadline. What that means? We'll talk about it next.

[15:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: More breaking news on the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. CNN is learning he will defy a subpoena. Let's go straight to our senior Congressional correspondent Manu Raju with the news. So defying the subpoena. Tell me more.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Rudy Giuliani's attorney has sent a letter to the committees that are leading this impeachment investigation informing them that Giuliani will not comply with the subpoena deadline for today to turn over documents that they have demanded.

Now, Democrats, of course, are investigating Giuliani's role in pushing for an investigation by the Ukraine government into the Bidens. Everything surrounding that. His communications with the White House. How the President was involved with that as well? But Giuliani makes very clear through his attorney that he will not be complying with the subpoena.

This is the latest effort by not just the President's personal attorney but others in the administration not to comply with some of the Democratic requests. But there are others who are complying with subpoenas including right now today, George Kent, a senior State Department official still behind closed doors testifying about Ukraine because he also got the subpoena -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: So what are the next steps for House Democrats if he's not complying?

RAJU: That's going to be a question for the Democrats. They could potentially hold him in contempt. But more than likely, Brooke, they are going to cite this as an article of impeachment against the President by arguing that he is obstructing justice and cite this as well.

BALDWIN: Got it. Manu Raju, thank you very much.

We continue on, LeBron James under fire after finally speaking out on the NBA's drama with China. We'll discuss next.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: NBA mega-star LeBron James igniting a firestorm after criticizing Huston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for his controversial tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters. Here was LeBron James.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEBRON JAMES, PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: We all have do have freedom of speech but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you're not thinking about others and only thinking about yourself. I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand and he spoke, and so many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and we say and what we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So after he said that he tried cleaning it up with this on Twitter. Quote, let me clear up the confusion, I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I'm not discussing the substance. Others can talk about that. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others, could have wait add week to send it.

So with me now, Sopan Deb, cultural writer for "The New Tork Times," also covers the NBA. And LZ Granderson, who ESPN host and sports and culture columnist for the "Los Angeles Times." So gentlemen, a pleasure. I have been waiting to hear from these players, I've been waiting to hear from LeBron. Sopan, first to you, when you heard him say that, you thought what?

SOPAN DEB, CULTURE WRITER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": It was surprising to say the least. I mean LeBron James has branded himself for years as someone who will speak out about social issues. He's talked about police shootings. He headlined a rally for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He's someone who has really taken pride in modeling himself after Muhammad Ali, who was, of course, a famed activist. For him to come out and essentially say that Daryl Morey was in the wrong here was very surprising for someone who has used his platform for very similar things. So I was just very taken aback by the comments.

BALDWIN: LZ, you and I were just talking about this, what, a week ago. When they were all over in Shanghai, they yanked the news conference. We didn't get to hear from players then. Lebron's had a week to figure out what to say and you've called him a social warrior. Is he a social warrior now?

LZ GRANDERSON, ESPN HOST: Yes, still. You know, there's a confusion that believes because someone or an entity speaks out against something that's wrong that means they're always right. You can still fight for what you believe in, you can still fight for what's right and not make every single step correctly. You can misstep. And that's allowed. That's all part of being human. You mentioned Muhammad Ali. You know, Muhammad Ali said some very racy insensitive things about his opponents. That wasn't right and admitted so later in life. So just because you're a social justice warrior doesn't mean that you're flawless.

BALDWIN: On all of this, I know you and I have been looking at the Twitter page of Enes Kanter, he's now with the Boston Celtics. He is someone who, you know, has been very outspoken on his home country of Turkey and the regime of President Erdogan. He can't go home. He can't see them, and because he's been making that point over and over on Twitter, and retweeting this "Boston Globe" op-ed.

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And why do you think he's doing that? Do you think this is his way of speaking out and showing his disappointment in how LeBron James handled this?

DEB: No, I think Enes Kanter, I don't think he needs the motivation of LeBron James to speak out. He's spoken out about Turkey for years, well before the Daryl Morey row. Well before any of this started. But this is just who Enes Kanter is. And actually I should note that this is also who LeBron James is. LeBron, just because, you know, this misperceived step happened, it doesn't mean that it wipes out a career full of speaking out.

However, it should be noted that LeBron James has also been kind of selective, you know. Early on in his career, you know, in 2007, Ira Knuble who was then a Cleveland Cavaliers teammate asked him to sign a letter denouncing China for its support of the Sudanese government in relation to the Darfur genocide, James declined. But a year later he came out and then spoke about human rights, and he said I don't care about money, I don't care about contracts. So LeBron James' history in activism is very mixed. You know, there have been times when he's been very vocal and there have been times when he's chosen activism -- or sorry, silence, excuse me.

BALDWIN: And LZ, I remember you also making a point about wanting to hear from other owners or other GMs. Like who do you want to hear from in this whole story now? What matters to you?

GRANDERSON: Well, at this point, I think what LeBron James was able to do is remind everyone that this wasn't something that was brought on by the players themselves. This is the players trying to talk about something that was brought on by an executive. And they were also placed in a position to sort of represent the league before the Commissioner spoke on this.

It's really interesting that, you know, a lot of people are calling LeBron James a hypocrite, a lot of people are upset over his words, when in fact there's so many aspects of this story that we don't talk about. For instance, the NBA and FIBA recently announced that they wanted to start a league in Africa. Well, guess who holds all the debt in Africa? China. When you look at Latin America, one of the most popular countries in terms of financial support is China.

So, LeBron James, yes, I'm sure he is looking at his money but he's also is the face of a league that is trying to agree his sport globally and realizes that China's influence stretches way beyond its own borders.

BALDWIN: Gentlemen, we're going to leave it. LZ and Sopan, thank you so much for talking about all of that.

We're going to continue on here. More on breaking news. Rudy Giuliani will defy a Congressional subpoena as he resists calls to hire a criminal lawyer amid growing scrutiny. We'll be right back.

[15:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer who fatally shot a woman in her home has been charged with murder. Aaron Dean shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson through a window with little warning while conducting while conducting what was supposed to be a simple welfare check. Dean was arrested Monday and immediately posted a $200,000 bond. Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew Saturday night when she was shot. This officer never announced nor identified himself as a member of law enforcement.

Cheryl Dorsey is retired sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department and she is with me now. She's the author of "Black and Blue, The Creation of a Manifesto." So Cheryl, thank you for being with me, and there are so many questions here. You know, that the Police Chief said today these officers were responding to what he referred to as an open structure call. And not a welfare check as we'd first heard, right. The neighbor had called, neighbor was worried because the front door was open. What's the difference there and does that change how officers would approach the home?

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT (via Skype): Listen, what the Police Chief needs to do is stop trying to minimize and mitigate what happened. It doesn't matter what they call it, officers are taught and trained, rely on your training. Use a little common sense. You respond to something like that, if you are not sure what is going on, there is never any urgency, freeze frame and get additional units, take your time. Bottom line, officer violated policy, violated protocol with regards to use of force, there was no imminent threat of death to him or anyone else, and he should not have discharged his firearm.

BALDWIN: The family said they are encouraged by what they've heard from this Police Chief but still say they are just words. The Chief said he wants to bring in a third party to review the department's policies and practices. What's your take on the department's reaction so far?

DORSEY: Listen, they're saying what they need to say to a bank of cameras. Because why did it take six deaths on that department allegedly this year before they decided that they have a problem and maybe they need to do something different. I think he's being intellectually dishonest. We will see when everything is said and done whether or not this officer is convicted and whether or not he gets a slap on the hand with regards to a penalty -- sentencing.

BALDWIN: Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, thank you very much. I appreciate having you on. We will continue to follow that story. Not only the family but the huge, huge community reaction there.

And as I close, Andrew Yang one of those Presidential candidates who will be on that stage at 8:00 taking a look at the podium, getting ready, getting comfortable ahead of our big "New York Times"/CNN Presidential debate tonight. I will leave it there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper live from that CNN debate site in Ohio starts right now.

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