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Lawmakers Blast Syria Decision; Sanders Health after Heart Attack; Royals Honor Princess Diana's Memory; Remembering Elijah Cummings. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 17, 2019 - 08:30   ET



SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Think there is a cynical, perhaps, but perception on the part of Republicans that the American public doesn't care that much about foreign policy, that it's essentially a faraway conflict and that makes it easier for them to speak out in a way that they would like.

Number two, I think there's a sense that they might actually influence the president on foreign policy moves because they've done it before. Remember, he threatened to pull out of Syria before. They walked him back. Obviously, it's too late for that to happen now. But -- so I do think they think they can influence him on foreign policy.

And, number three, it underscores the extent to which Republicans never actually endorse Donald Trump's America first version of foreign policy. They are just not with him. Many people inside his own administration do not support this policy. And so I think you're seeing Republicans actually say what they think for a change.

CAMEROTA: While we have you, I do want to ask you about this letter that President Trump released. This was his letter to President Erdogan of turkey. And he released it. It's -- the language is just striking to attempt to parse. Here's just the last paragraph. I'll read you the last couple of sentences. He's trying to say that Erdogan doesn't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people.

Then he says, it will look upon -- history will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen. Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool! I will call you letter. Sincerely, Donald Trump.

You are steeped in global affairs. What is your take on this letter?

GLASSER: Well, consider the reaction that we received this morning when we woke up here in Washington from Turkey and its leader, President Erdogan, he said that he threw it in the garbage. And whether he metaphorically threw it in the garbage or actually did so, the letter was dated the exact same day that Turkey's leader ordered the invasion of Syria. In other words, utterly disregarding the president of the United States. It's just such a devastating blow to America's standing and authority

in the world. And it's got to be humiliating for these Republicans who are out there today. You have the secretary of state and the vice president in Ankara, the Turkish capital. You know, is this the policy that they want to represent? They can't even articulate what it is.

But people are treating this as an outlier. I think it's important to note as well that this is very consistent with how Donald Trump has operated on the world stage and represented the United States of America since day one of his presidency. Remember how he talks all the time about the beautiful letters that he exchanges with Kim Jong-un. We can only imagine the contents, but I would suspect that they're quite similar in tone and content to this letter that we've just seen.

What I find amazing, Alisyn, I'm sure you do, too, is that Trump and his White House apparently leaked this because they thought it was a positive document for him. That's the part that's really just stunning. Who could read that objectively and say, well, gee, we get this out there and the president's going to look great?

CAMEROTA: I mean particularly since it was disregarded and thrown in the trash.

But, Susan Glasser, thank you very much for your perspective on all of this.

GLASSER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders is back on the campaign trail. We saw him at the debate following his heart attack. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us with a closer look at his health and possible concerns going forward.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Sanders, I want to start with you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to start -- we're moving on, senator, I'm sorry.

SANDERS: I'm healthy. I'm feeling great. But I would like to respond to that question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I -- SANDERS: Let me take this moment, if I might, to thank so many people from all over this country, including many of my colleagues up here, for their love, for their prayers, for their well wishes. And I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I'm so happy to be back here with you this evening.


BERMAN: And that was Senator Bernie Sanders back on the debate stage just two weeks after having a heart attack. The 78-year-old was on his feet for about three hours in this high stress live television event. It's the type of thing that a lot of perfectly healthy young people couldn't do, but he seemed to have no problem with it.

Let's bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent.

Sanjay, you know, what did you see when you watched him in that debate?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and, you know, it's worth pointing out as well, even in the commercial breaks, my understanding, there wasn't any chairs and it was relatively short commercial breaks, so it really was a long time of just sort of standing there.

I mean, as you say, John, he looked good. I mean he clearly talked about how he felt. He sounded good. And I wasn't really that surprised, I think, John, as you and I have spoken about, even -- despite the fact that he had a heart attack, he was released from the hospital in two and a half days. That was a clue. He was -- this was not open heart surgery that he had. This was a procedure that is done through a -- through a blood vessel.


And, you know, the big question has been, how -- just how serious was this heart attack? We have some clues, but I asked him about that directly when we were in Burlington together.


GUPTA: An echocardiogram tells the function of the heart, how well the heart is beating, and can also give some indication of how severe the heart attack was.

SANDERS: Right. Right.

GUPTA: What did they tell you?

SANDERS: Well, what they told me is that -- that we are on the road to a full recovery. There was some damage, but what happens is, as within the next month, we'll see what happens. But so far, so very good.


GUPTA: So not an exactly straight answer there, John. But, you know, the language is important. He says we're on the road to a full recovery. He didn't say doctors have told me to slow down. Now, you know, if that's what the doctors told him, that, obviously, is boding well that they're telling him a full recovery is possible.

BERMAN: What does that mean when you're talking about full recovery in the time frame he gave there is a month. And isn't it possible, if he'd been living with some sort of blockage, you put the stent in, in some ways you could be even better off, right?

GUPTA: Yes. Exactly. I mean, you know, think about a muscle. If you're not getting enough blood flow, it hurts. The heart happens to be a muscle. But think about your own body. Once you restore that blood flow, people feel better.

And in terms of recovery, what that really means, at the end of the day it's less about the blood flow to the heart or even whether or not someone's had a heart attack, it's how well is the heart pumping. How well is the heart pumping. We know that there was some damage to the heart. That probably affected how well the heart pumps. Does it get back to normal pumping capacity. That's what he's suggesting.

BERMAN: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks for helping us understand this as we continue to watch Bernie Sanders out there in public just weeks after this heart attack.

Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it.


There were emotional moments as Prince William and Kate Middleton continued their official visit to Pakistan. Later today, they will honor the memory of William's mother, Princess Diana, by touring a cancer hospital that she had visited.

CNN's Max Foster is traveling with the royal couple.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: John, Alisyn, welcome to the spectacular wall city in Lahore. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge coming here to find out more about interfaith dialogue. Something that Prince Charles has long championed.

They're also finding out more about this spectacular courtyard. They've already played cricket. They've already been to a children's home today. A really busy trip. And this afternoon they'll go to hospital made famous by Princess Diana. He famously had pictures taken of her there holding very ill children.


FOSTER (voice over): The first visit to Pakistan by a member of the British royal family since 2006. And the first time Prince William has met Imran Khan since he was a boy. Khan told him at the time that he would be prime minister one day, so this was quite a moment for both of them. Away from the capital, high up in the Hindu Kush, the couple fly in to

witness a glacier melting.

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: Do the glaciers flood at any other time of the year?

FOSTER: Going on to meet villagers who now live in fear of flash flooding.

PRINCE WILLIAM: (INAUDIBLE) felt it was really important to come into Pakistan and one again see all the different range of environments there are in Pakistan and really trying to get a feel of a country, but also to use our voice, to lend our position and our visit to kind of talk about issues like climate change, issues about the environment. And we've seen around the world now the young are getting very engaged in what's going on.

FOSTER: William, in particular, has found his stride on this world tour. Even outshining his wife in the fashion stakes at times, according to Pakistani media.

The future king defining his own brand of monarchy and unafraid of throwing himself in.


FOSTER: This is really spectacular images coming out from this tour. Very well received here in Pakistan and back home in the U.K. Can tell you, Alisyn and John, later on CNN will have a very rare, exclusive interview with the Duchess of Cambridge, get her thoughts on it, too.

CAMEROTA: Fantastic.

BERMAN: All right, Max Foster, we're very much looking forward to that.

Now here is what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:30 a.m. ET, President Trump departs White House for Texas.

10:45 a.m. ET, Speaker Pelosi news conference.

2:50 p.m. ET, Joe Biden speaks in Washington.


CAMEROTA: All right, so all morning long we've been getting reaction to the death of Congressman Elijah Cummings. So we will speak with a friend of his, a fellow Baltimore native who knew all about his life, his career and legacy.



CAMEROTA: Sad, breaking news. This morning, Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, the chair of the House Oversight Committee and civil rights champion, passed away a few hours ago. He served Baltimore for nearly four decades, two of those in Congress. His passion for defending his beloved hometown was on display after the death of Freddy Gray and the violence that followed.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): I am (INAUDIBLE). I want them to have better. As simple as that.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What can you do for them? What do you do for them, Congressman?

CUMMING: What I can do -- what I can do is fight for them. And I've got to make sure that we'll hear them. See, they feel as if nobody hears them. And I think we're beginning to get that.

But I'm telling you, Baltimore can happen anywhere. And you've got people looking at us right now saying, oh, that will never happen in my community. But, yes, it will. But you've got to have people that listen and you've got to begin to act on it.


CAMEROTA: And, John, I know you were there. You were present for that really emotional moment.

BERMAN: I gave him my handkerchief to wipe off his tears, which he kept because he told me he was going to need it again that day given what he was doing. He was keeping the young people of Baltimore safe, putting his body on the line to keep them safe so they would have a future. And I think he would look at that as just part of his job and his calling.

CAMEROTA: Among those grieving this morning, his longtime friend and our CNN friend and analyst, April Ryan.

April, so sorry for your loss as we all wake up to this really shocking news.

APRIL RYAN, CNN ANALYST: Good morning, Alisyn and John. How are you?

CAMEROTA: April, tell us about your long friendship with him.

RYAN: Well, as you know, I'm Baltimore through and through. And so was the late Elijah Cummings.

I knew him when he was a lawyer, when he was a delegate in the state of Maryland. And it was wonderful seeing him on that unique perch as a fighter in Washington for Maryland and the nation and even the world, sitting at Government Oversight and Reform as the head of that. He replaced then Congressman Ed Towns from New York in that position.

And you know him from that, but I know him as someone who I would see in church on Sunday. He would go to church every Sunday in Baltimore when he could, when he wasn't traveling.

He was a very compassionate man. Someone who was very spiritual. And someone who was a fighter until the very end.

I talked to his widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, this morning, who happens to be a friend as well, and she said she wanted people to know that this is a critical time, and Elijah wants everyone to look at things critically and be a part of the process. Even if you aren't into politics, she said, get into it because this is such a critical time. This is what she wanted. And she said, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the widow of late Congressman Elijah Cummings, said that he fought for the American people until his last breath.

So we -- here in Baltimore, people are broken up. I mean I've talked to the former mayor, Kurt Schmoke, who said he lost it, you know, when he was doing the interview with "The Baltimore Sun." I talked to Ben Cardin, U.S. senator, who said, you know, he's going to take his moment later this evening, because right now what Elijah would want us to do is talk about him and his fight.

This was a man, I mean, who was a fighter, who had heart. And it's so interesting remembering him and some of the things -- you know, you were lucky to get a text from him. And, you know, even though we knew each other, like, wow, Elijah's texting me. He would text me with things -- I heard you talking about me on the air. I was like, uh-huh. You know, or he would -- he would send encouraging words, or he would say, you know, April, for us to come from whence we've come and to be where we are, and that meant so much to me from him. He was like a big brother to me, as well as a politician, as well as a friend.

You know, I mean he found spirituality in the little things. You know, I remember a conversation about "The Lion King." He found -- he found the essence of the spirit in love in that the words, you know, of circle of life and --


RYAN: Shadow land. I mean he was a people's fighter. He was someone who understood. He found the greatest pleasure in the little things.

BERMAN: And there were so many people who took pleasure in knowing him. It's not just reporters and it's not just Democrats. And I think that's important to know, it's Republicans too.

And we have a new statement from his friend, very close friend, Mark Meadows. Very conservative Republican. And I want to read this. He says, there was no stronger advocate and no better friend than Elijah Cummings. I'm heartbroken for his wonderful family and staff. Please pray for them. I will miss him dearly.

And you were talking about his passion. And I want to play another moment of it so people can see, because he wanted people to take up the fight. Whatever fight you wanted to take up, take it up now basically.

In the hearing with Michael Cohen in February, I want you to listen to how he put it.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): We're dancing with the angels. The question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact.


Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing.

And we have got to get back to normal.

With that, this meeting is adjourned.


BERMAN: Elijah Cummings, not someone who ever stood on the sidelines, April.

RYAN: Yes. Yes. As his body failed him, you know, we knew that he had heart issues and there were multiplicity of complications from that. But when he was in the walker and the wheelchair, he was still fighting. When they smeared his name, he was still fighting for the American people.

You know, I think about Mark Meadows. I think about that first meeting with President Trump that he had over prescription drugs. And how he said that the cost of prescription drugs were killing his people. And how he went into the Oval Office to help people. It didn't matter, black, white, Jew, Gentile, protestant or catholic, whether it was Baltimore or whether it was Appalachia, he went to fight for people. And, again, he fought for the American public until his very last breath.

And people were saying, oh, well he had oxygen. Oh, he had this. That shows that he was concerned about people.

So what's next in Baltimore, what's next for the state of Maryland, that seat that Congressman Cummings had will remain vacant until a special election probably in January or February.

CAMEROTA: You know, that --

RYAN: And may he rest in power. May he rest in power.

CAMEROTA: That sound bite that we just played, I think, perfectly captures what April is talking about. He believed it was God's work. He believed that protecting the democracy was God's work and that when we're all dancing with the angels, you know, what will we be proud of for having done.

BERMAN: Elijah Cummings was 68 years old. We'll be right back.