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Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch Testifies in House Impeachment Hearings; Office of Management and Budget Official to Testify to Congress regarding Delay in Providing Military Aid to Ukraine; Diplomatic Official Claims to have Overheard President Trump Speaking with Ambassador Gordon Sondland on Potential Ukraine Investigation into Bidens; President Trump Gives Pardon to U.S. Service Member Convicted of Murder; Analyst Examines Democrats' Case of Impeachment against President Trump; Trump Political Adviser Roger Stone Convicted on Seven Counts; President Obama Warns 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates of Political Extremism; New Technology Uses DNA to Create Facial Imaging. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired November 16, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning to you, Saturday, November 16th at 10:00 a.m. We're glad that you're up with us. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. You are in the CNN Newsroom.
PAUL: So just moments ago, Mark Sandy, seen there, an official with the White House Budget Office, arriving on Capitol Hill. He's complying with a subpoena to answer questions about military aid to Ukraine.
BLACKWELL: Lawmakers are looking for a timeline here. When was the aid put on hold, when was it released?
PAUL: Today's testimony follows an explosive day in the impeachment inquiry yesterday, though. For the very first time a witness says he personally heard President Trump demand Ukraine investigate the Bidens.
BLACKWELL: And even more here, this State Department official says that he was told that the president didn't really care about Ukraine, only, quote, the big stuff that involved the president.
PAUL: And Democrats are accusing President Trump of witness intimidation after he insulted the former ambassador to Ukraine on Twitter. He tweeted as she was testifying.
BLACKWELL: President Trump slammed her and her job performance, and then said he had a right to defend himself.
PAUL: We're covering this from all angles for you. Rene Marsh in Washington, Sarah Westwood at the White House, Kristen Holmes on Capitol Hill.
BLACKWELL: Let's start with Kristen. Kristen, good morning to you.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, Victor. That's exactly right. So essentially what we just saw was Mark Sandy going behind these closed doors. He is a career official with the Office of Management and Budget, and they're hoping to get that timeline, as you said, to see what he knew about withholding that funding from Ukraine.
And I want to talk about that testimony that happened last night behind closed doors, because we're hearing from a lot of Democrats here who are saying that this was really critical testimony, that they believe it advanced the impeachment inquiry. And here's why. This is about a man named Dave Holmes. He is a staffer at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, and we learned through public testimony earlier this week that he overheard a conversation between President Trump and the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. And I want to set the scene here just like Holmes did in his testimony. He says he was able to hear this conversation because they were out to a meal. It was him, Sondland, two other staffers, when Sondland placed this call to President Trump. President Trump, speaking so loudly that Holmes was able to hear him. At one point, Sondland actually had to move the phone away from his ear, that's how loudly he was talking.
And so this is what Holmes says that he heard in this conversation. He said "I then heard President Trump ask so he's going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied he's going to do it, adding that President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to." Now, the phone conversation ended there, but the conversation between Sondland and Holmes did not. Holmes asking Sondland is it true that President Trump doesn't care about Ukraine? And Holmes says that Sondland replied that the president only cares about, quote, "Big stuff that benefits the president, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing."
Now, this raises a lot of questions. First of all, it brings President Trump closer to this pressure campaign. But it also raises questions about Gordon Sondland, who testified behind closed doors and never mentioned this phone call. So he will be testifying in public next week, and obviously, this is going to be a question that these lawmakers have.
PAUL: Kristen Holmes, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
I want to bring in CNN's Rene Marsh here as well, because we've heard from ambassadors, Rene, we've heard from diplomats and policy experts. People might be wondering why are we hearing from an official from the Budget Office?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Right. So this has really become central, the Office of Management and Budget, also known as OMB. Essentially, for people who don't know, this agency doles out money that Congress approves. They make sure that agencies don't overspend. And they also make sure that the money that's been approved is spent. And that's why this agency has become so central, because this is where the freezing of that aid occurred.
Mark Sandy, who we just arrived on Capitol Hill for his closed-door deposition, he will be the first OMB employee to testify behind closed doors. He's a long-time career employee. He's worked under administrations of both parties. And so far we have had very little visibility on the behind-the-scenes workings for how this all played out. Democratic investigators are really hoping that Sandy will shed some light on those internal conversations when the administration was taking this very unusual step of freezing this $400 million in military aid that Congress, by the way, had already approved for Ukraine.
Now, he will likely be asked several questions, including did the freeze raise any alarm for him. Was he told why it was happening? How involved was he in this process, or was he cut out of the process at some point, and we do know that political appointees signed some of the documents freezing this aid, and that in itself is very unusual, according to sources who have spoken to CNN. Back to you guys.
BLACKWELL: All right, Rene Marsh for us. Rene, thank you.
PAUL: To the White House and our own Sarah Westwood here. Sarah, have you heard a reaction from the White House this morning to all of this yet?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Christi, all through yesterday the White House was continuing to attack the impeachment inquiry, the Democrats who are leading it, and they've been trying to undermine the credibility of the witnesses that we've seen testify so far. And that pattern continued yesterday with the president tweeting out that attack on former ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, as she was sitting in the chair testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.
Chairman Schiff gave Yovanovitch a chance to respond to the president's attacks. She said she felt intimidated, and even some Republicans said publicly after that that they did not degree with the president's decision to tweet an attack on the witness as she was testifying.
Democrats are saying they might consider this witness intimidation. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn even saying that they could possibly consider it as a potential article of impeachment when the inquiry reaches that point. President Trump yesterday defending himself, said he was just exercising his free speech rights, and he didn't think he was intimidating anyone. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you trying to intimidate Ambassador Yovanovitch?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to have a total -- I want freedom of speech. That's a political process. The Republicans have been treated very badly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, do you believe you tweets --
TRUMP: Quiet. Quiet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, do you believe your tweets or words can be intimidating?
TRUMP: I don't think so at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Campaign sources tell CNN THAT many privately believe it was a mistake for the president to attack Yovanovitch as she was testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, with one source telling CNN that it allowed Democrats to control the narrative surrounding yesterday's hearing, so putting the president and his allies at a messaging disadvantage as they were trying to combat what was an emotional day of testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday, Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: We saw certainly a few Republicans push back against the tweet from the president yesterday. Sarah Westwood for us, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Sarah.
So the president ignores the advice from his most senior military commanders by intervening in three highly consequential war crime cases. That's coming up.
BLACKWELL: Plus, former president Barack Obama issues a warning to the 2020 Democratic candidates. We'll tell you what that is.
PAUL: Take a look at your screen as we're showing you video we just got moments ago. Mark Sandy, an official with the White House Budget Office, arriving on Capitol Hill. He is complying with a subpoena to answer questions about military aid to Ukraine. The aid was approved by Congress, remember. It was placed on a temporary hold roughly one week before President Trump spoke with the Ukraine leader on July 25th. It, of course, was eventually released. CNN political analyst, Margaret Talev, is with us now, she's politics and White House editor at "Axios," and Asha Rangappa, former special agent with the FBI and CNN legal and national security analyst.
Listen, let's listen together here real quickly to somebody else we're hearing from, Representative Jim Jordan, who is talking about these closed-door hearings and what he thinks of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): You've got some guy overheard a phone call. I'm sure he's going to be a witness next week. We'll have him in an open hearing, and we'll get a chance to question him there. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it will be appropriate if it's true
what the president was saying --
JORDAN: We'll get a chance to question this guy. I'm sure the Democrats -- well, I'm betting they'll bring him in for a hearing. And we'll get a chance to question him in the open. We can't really even talk about what he had to say because he didn't release his transcript, I understand.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
JORDAN: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: All righty. So, Margaret, Republicans' argument up to this point has been that none of the witnesses spoke to President Trump. But David Holmes overheard President Trump. He heard his voice on this phone call. Is this a game-changer?
MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Well, Christi, it's an important turn of events, and based on what we learned yesterday about what he said in that deposition does seem basically certain that the Democrats will bring him forward for public testimony. Remember, what's going on now is this sort of two-track where people are deposed, and then there is a public portion of the testimony. So I think that will be important. Of course, we're going to hear from Gordon Sondland himself.
And part of what's important about what Mr. Holmes had to say is that it, again, changes kind of the known world of facts and adds information that Ambassador Sondland had not come forth with before, so I think he's going to be pressed very hard, at least by the Democrats on the committee, to explain why the story keeps changing.
PAUL: Margaret, you brought me into my next question for Asha, because I want to talk about why Holmes' testimony was important. He heard the conversation between President Trump and Ambassador Sondland. He confirms Bill Taylor's testimony about President Trump's focus on himself and not on Ukraine, and he contends that Sondland told him President Trump only cares about big stuff that benefits him as opposed to Ukraine itself, and that he was pushing the Biden investigation that Giuliani was actually pushing as well. What does all of this mean when we look ahead to the space that Sondland, Ambassador Sondland, is in and what he's going to say on Wednesday?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, so Holmes is really important because he has firsthand knowledge of this call. He was sitting there and he heard -- he overheard this conversation. So I just want to emphasize that because one of the big objections that the Republicans have had is that everything has been hearsay. And so we are getting closer to getting firsthand corroboration and information. As far as Sondland, he's in a little hot water because his previous
testimony, even after he amended it once, said that he never had any direct communications with anyone at the White House about the investigations into the Bidens or 2016 election.
This directly contradicts that. He would have had a follow-up call, if this is true, the day after Trump spoke with President Zelensky. So he has a little bit of explaining to do there.
And then for President Trump, of course he's not under oath, but he did say publicly that he barely knew who Ambassador Sondland was, and this would obviously cast doubt on that claim as well.
PAUL: All righty, so, Margaret, I wanted to ask you about something that Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary, released after Ambassador Yovanovitch's testimony yesterday. She said "she testified under oath that she was unaware of any criminal activity involving President Trump. She wasn't on the July 25th phone call, and she had no knowledge about the pause on aid to Ukraine," basically saying she didn't add anything to the conversation. What value did Ambassador Yovanovitch bring to the inquiry, and how, might I ask you, did President Trump's simultaneous tweet about her change the narrative or the takeaway of it?
TALEV: Yes. Yesterday's testimony certainly had a different flavor than day one because Ambassador Yovanovitch was willing to talk sort of extemporaneously about her concerns about the shock value of being a career service -- Foreign Service and ambassador, and have the president turn against you to a foreign leader. So she was able to kind of give us a world view and a look inside the ranks of the State Department and the Foreign Service to understand how deeply shaken U.S. foreign policy and the people who carry it out have been by all of this.
But it was perhaps the president's own action with that tweet that gave kind of like the clearest picture, like unfiltered picture of how this is happening in real-time, and it caused a lot of the Republicans on Capitol Hill a great deal of concern and discomfort. They thought that was sort of an unforced error that the president ended up revealing what he's been trying to deny about making this personal or being heavy-handed or being more concerned about how this all affects him than he is about the good of the country. All those kinds of arguments that the White House has been trying to tamp down, the president ended up elevating them with that tweet yesterday. And there were a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill and inside the White House who thought that was a big mistake.
PAUL: Asha, before I let you go, President Trump's personal attorneys are asking the Supreme Court now to block this House subpoena for President Trump's personal financial documents, aka, of course his taxes. Jay Sekulow, his attorney, filed the papers yesterday, and he's arguing that allowing the subpoena to go forward, the House subpoena that means Congress is now free to investigate every detail of President Trump's personal life. Is that what's at stake here, or does the president just not wanting to release his taxes?
RANGAPPA: Well, the president definitely doesn't want to release the taxes, but this is essentially a separation of powers argument. The White House wants to claim that if Congress exercises its oversight powers and that they're essentially -- they're suggesting that Congress is on a fishing expedition to find evidence of a crime or something like that. The House has broad oversight authority to request these, and I think it's going to be up to the court to decide how to balance that with the executive branch. And so far the White House has lost both at the district court and in the appellate court, but this will be a pretty serious decision in terms of the balance of powers between Congress and the executive branch.
PAUL: All right, Margaret Talev, Asha Rangappa, we appreciate both of you being here. Thank you.
TALEV: Thanks, Christi.
BLACKWELL: President Trump has ignored advice from his defense secretary and Pentagon officials and cleared three U.S. service members accused of war crimes. CNN was there when one of those men, First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, reunited with his family. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, Lorance was convicted of murder after ordering his troops to fire on three people in Afghanistan. The president personally called Lieutenant Lorance after he was released, and the young lieutenant was appreciative of the call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FIRST LIEUTENANT CLINT LORANCE, U.S. ARMY: I'd like to say thanks to President Trump. I had the opportunity to talk to him today on the phone with Vice President Pence. He sounds just like he sounds on TV, on the phone. He's actually pretty funny, too, when you talk to him on the phone. It's very clear to me that Vice President Pence and President Trump are very much in support of our military. And I just appreciate the whole country for everything that all of you have done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and other senior military leaders, have told the president that a presidential pardon could potentially damage the integrity of the military judicial system.
PAUL: A White House Budget official is on Capitol Hill as we speak here getting ready to testify in the impeachment inquiry. We're going to talk about the history of impeachment with author Frank Bowman, who can really walk us through what to expect here and how significant it is. Stay close.
BLACKWELL: Right now, White House Budget official Mark Sandy is on Capitol Hill. He's expected to testify behind closed doors and explain what he knows about the president's decision to hold up aid to Ukraine.
PAUL: This morning we're learning new details, in fact, from a witness who said he personally heard President Trump demand an investigation into the Bidens. He says the president was told that the Ukrainian president would do, quote, anything you asked him to, and told lawmakers that the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. confirmed the Ukrainians were going to, quote, do the investigation.
The impeachment hearings into President Trump are obviously historic. This is a moment for the country. It's only the third time in 45 years that Americans are witnessing this process.
BLACKWELL: Joining us to talk about the history of impeachment is Frank Bowman. He's a Floyd R. Gibson Missouri endowed professor of law, and the author of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors, A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump." Good morning to you.
FRANK BOWMAN, AUTHOR, "HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS": Nice to be here.
BLACKWELL: OK, so let's start here with process. Republicans have complained so much about process. You've seen some complaints during the testimony yesterday of Ambassador Yovanovitch. And this morning this was what we heard from Congressman Jim Jordan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: They can keep having secret depositions down here in the basement of the capitol, but I think the American people see through this whole thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: See through this whole thing. Is there something to see on the other side of this? Is this something that's uniquely abnormal?
BOWMAN: No, there's nothing abnormal here, at least in terms of taking depositions of witnesses in private before you put them on before the national audience. This is certainly something that Republicans themselves did in previous times when they were investigating, for example, Hillary Clinton and Benghazi. But more importantly, any sort of investigation, whether it's a criminal investigation, whether it's civil litigation, whether it's an impeachment investigation, the first thing you're going to do before you bring a witness in front of a public forum is you're going to depose them in advance. There's nothing abnormal about that at all. PAUL: So there are some Republicans who say the president, he has not
met the criteria for impeachment, that, yes, what he did was wrong, but it's not impeachable. Do you agree with that?
BOWMAN: No. The Constitution says, of course, that presidents and other officials are impeachable for treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors. One of the principal high crimes and misdemeanors that traditionally has been impeachable is an abuse of power. And the narrative that is being laid out in increasing detail up on Capitol Hill is one of abuse of power, the president of the United States using the great power of the United States, the great power of his office, to extort from a vulnerable front line state threatened by Russian aggression, investigations or at least announcement of investigations that are favorable to his private political interest. That's a classic abuse of power, and certainly it would be impeachable.
Now, the other thing that is being spoken of a great deal now is bribery. It's one of the specific items that can be impeachable. And it's notable, I suppose, that House Democrats seem to be speaking in terms of bribery. I'm not sure that's entirely wise, but I understand why they're trying to do it, because they think, I gather, that explaining bribery is somewhat more -- somewhat simpler for the average person than explaining high crimes and misdemeanors and the concept of abuse of power. But frame it how you will, the narrative that's emerging fits into either category.
BLACKWELL: Does in this case a firsthand account -- what's the value of that? Because what we've heard from Republicans for, I guess the first month of this, was that this is all secondhand, that the whistleblower didn't have any firsthand information. There is now this statement that CNN has from David Holmes who says he heard the phone call between Gordon Sondland and President Trump. But is that necessary here? This is a political, not a criminal proceeding.
BOWMAN: I think it's helpful in that it tends to diminish the effectiveness, if any, of the Republicans claiming that there's no firsthand testimony of exactly what Mr. Trump said about Ukraine or about the aid. Of course, there's always the irony of the fact that, to the extent that there are any missing links between the president and the conduct, it's because the president has refused to allow the people that know the most about that link, people like Mick Mulvaney and others, to come down and testify. I think that having someone who actually overheard the president speak is certainly helpful, because it eliminates that quibble, if you will. It diminishes that component of the Republicans' argument.
The other thing that's notable about all of this, again, is the fact that the Republican congressmen in that proceeding seemed to view their role as being the president's defense lawyers, not as being congressmen who are representing not only the country but also the institution of Congress in the very serious enterprise of investigating the impeachment of an American president. What they're doing, the role that they're presuming to take here is really quite unprecedented in American history, certainly in the history of recent impeachments. [10:30:00]
In both Clinton and in Nixon, the president's party, while they certainly weren't happy about having a president of their party being impeached, they were insistent that the facts be produced. They then argued the implications of those facts, but they were insistent the facts be produced, and they didn't venture into wild conspiracy theories or diversionary tactics the way that I fear the Republicans are doing now.
PAUL: All right, Frank Bowman, thank you for sharing your perspective with us. We appreciate it.
BOWMAN: My pleasure.
BLACKWELL: Coming up, former president Barack Obama wades into the 2020 political debate with a warning for the 2020 Democratic candidates.
BLACKWELL: Former president Barack Obama has mostly stayed out of the political fray since leaving office, but he's now weighing in on the 2020 presidential race. This was in a room full of liberal donors. He cautioned the candidates about the dangers of leaning too far to the left.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. They like seeing things improved, but the average American doesn't think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it's important for us not to lose sight of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: All right, well, he didn't name anyone. He also raised issues, though, with some of the candidates' robust ideas on health care and immigration. He said some policy proposals have gone further than public opinion. Here with me to discuss is former Ted Cruz communications director and CNN political commentator Alice Stewart, and Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator Maria Cardona. Ladies, welcome back and good morning.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Victor.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: Maria, let me start with you. Is he right?
CARDONA: I think he is right. And I think that a lot of people will listen to him. He has been somebody who has not been quick to weigh in into the Democratic race. He did that just now. I think that his comments will travel far and wide.
But look, this is what primaries are for. I have been incredibly impressed with Elizabeth Warren's rise with the excitement that she brings, with the support that she brings, especially among the progressive Democrats. And I think that's a great thing. And if you see what she has done recently, I think she is heeding exactly what President Obama is saying in that she is offering a little bit more tempered policies, a transition to Medicare for all.
So I think all of these things are things that are going to be robustly discussed, have been and will continue to be during the Democratic primary. That's what they're for.
BLACKWELL: Yes, that transition plan came out published on Medium yesterday. But the president saying don't go too far left, don't go past public opinion, pace yourself. Is that in conflict with this man from 2008?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people. Yes, we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Is this his own cynicism and doubt?
CARDONA: I don't think so. I think in fact that is exactly what he is saying. Yes, we can change things. Yes, we can improve things. But you have to do it in a way that brings the American people along. And frankly, for the Democratic primary, that brings the majority of Democratic primary voters along, which are a little bit more moderate than what the progressive left would have you believe. Now, that doesn't mean that we can't talk about bold ideas and bold ways to really change things, especially for those for whom the politics of the usual haven't worked. And again, I think that's what a robust Democratic primary is for.
BLACKWELL: So, Alice, let me come to you, and we're using this conversation to talk about things other than impeachment that maybe didn't get as much coverage in the last day or so. The president's longtime political advisor Roger Stone was convicted on seven counts. Several sources say the president in the lead-up to a verdict had considered whether or not he would pardon him. Do you think he will? Do you think he should?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He absolutely positively should not. Whether he will or not remains to be seen. Nothing would surprise me.
But let me just say this, no one should be in prison more than Roger Stone based on the dirty tricks that he has done to Democrats and Republicans. And he is getting exactly what he deserves. The prison door couldn't hit him on the rear fast enough in my opinion. He has engaged in tactics that are simply criminal. And, finally, he is paying the price. He has what he calls the Stone's rules where he acts as though he is above politics and above the law. And one of the things that he has said often is Stone's rules exist because the truth is too painful and lies will land you in prison. Well, there you go. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, and bye, Felecia.
STEWART: This is something that should have happened all along because of the way he has engaged, as I've said, to Democrats and Republicans. And I'm sure he will do and say anything he can to avoid a long prison term, but no one deserves to be in prison in politics more than Roger Stone.
BLACKWELL: Alice, I appreciate the "bye, Felicia" effort, but the emphasis, on "bye," "bye," and then "Felicia." So you've got to hit the "bye" first.
CARDONA: That was great.
BLACKWELL: That was a nice try.
Let me stay with you on this. "The Washington Post" reporting that the president's Doral resort was not one of the early contenders to host the G7, that's according to some Secret Service emails they have obtained. Now we have learned that Republican National Committee, this from "The New York Times," they will hold their winter meeting there.
I don't remember your view of Doral as a G7 pick, but is this again self-dealing, now just the RNC's money?
STEWART: I -- look, I think they can choose where they want to hold these events regardless of who owns the property.
BLACKWELL: It's $600,000 last year alone to the president's properties.
STEWART: I have said all along I wish there would have been more separation between the president's business dealings and events that are political. I wish they would have completely severed all business ties when he took office. However, that did not happen. But we can all agree that this is not a surprise that this type of activity is happening. I wish there was a further separation, but at the end of the day the RNC is -- they get money from donors, and their money -- they can spending that money exactly how they want to spend it. And if it happens to be with a Trump property, there's nothing folks can do about it because this money comes from donors and this is where they choose to hold these events.
BLACKWELL: Speaking to donors, Maria, let me come to you. This new super PAC promises to spend $1 million to get Senator Booker, Cory Booker, on the December debate stage. He's rejected super PACs but now he has one. Former Vice President Joe Biden rejected super PACs, and now he has one. Governor Patrick says he'll likely need one. The president and the RNC have $300 million they have raised for this election. Is there a consequence for candidates who reverse or turn the other way when Democrats' primary objective is just to win?
CARDONA: No, I don't think so. Because Democrats' primary objective is just to win, that is exactly how important it is not just for Democrats but for the country to get Trump out of office. Now, in an ideal world, most Democrats would want to have money out of politics, right? They've always talked about that. That has not changed. But they also know that they need to be able to compete with a president who is bringing in the type of money that Trump is bringing in.
And so I don't think that it will be a consequence for them moving forward because, again, what Democrats wanting most of all is to keep their eye on the ball, and that is to elect a candidate who is going to be the best equipped to get the most corrupt president we've ever had in our history out of office in 2020.
BLACKWELL: Alice Stewart, Maria Cardona, good to have you again.
CARDONA: Thank you so much, Victor.
STEWART: Thanks, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Have a good weekend.
PAUL: Tums Ultimate Tailgate time. You know who's in the middle of this. Coy Wire.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you, Christi. The Florida A&M University perched atop the highest of seven hills here in Tallahassee is the perfect place for our first HBCU Tums ultimate tailgate. They play Victor's alma mater, Howard today. So stay tuned for some serious, serious trash talking.
PAUL: A little bit later today former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is taking a practice field, hoping to show teams he is ready to get back into the league.
BLACKWELL: Coy Wire has that and more in the Bleacher Report, live from Tallahassee, Florida. Coy, good morning to you.
WIRE: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Kaepernick says he's been working out every day for three years waiting for a chance to get back into the league. Well, today that time has come. A league statement Thursday said that 11 team reps will be at a session, and it's reported that more have confirmed since that time. Now, Kaepernick, he'll be put through drills and an interview at the Atlanta Falcons facilities indoors. The session will be closed to media, but everything will be recorded, so any team that's interested, they can get that footage.
Former Browns head coach Hue Jackson and former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin will be running the session. A league source tells me that it will be NFL free agent wide receivers who will be there to catch Kaepernick's passes. So we'll keep our eye on that today.
It is a big college football Saturday. We're here at Florida A&M University where the Rattlers are eight and one. They have a record- setting quarterback. Victor's alma mater, Howard, is the opponent. They're only one and eight. And the venom pom squad has a very special message just for you.
CROWD: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, October 3rd, 1887!
BLACKWELL: That was nice, but I don't think you all are going to stand up to the Bison. That's just my feeling. Good luck, though. All HBCU love.
PAUL: You know none of them can hear you yet?
BLACKWELL: Coy will tell them.
PAUL: Coy will tell them, yes.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy.
PAUL: Good luck, everybody. We're back in a moment.
PAUL: In this week's Missing Ahead, learn now genetic genealogists are teaming up with law enforcement to help crack cold cases.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Our DNA carries a specific instruction set for an individual's physical characteristics. With a small sample Parabon NanoLabs can create a facial composite called a phenotype that predicts what a person looks like. It's technology that can help break criminal cold cases wide open.
It's the kind of stuff from a sci-fi movie, you know what I mean?
ELLEN GREYTAK, PARABON NANOLABS: The phenotyping is definitely very sci-fi.
CRANE: After being brutally beaten, 17-year-old Brittani Marcell was put into a coma. She lost all memory of the attack, leaving police with just a one piece of physical evidence, a single drop of blood. For the next 10 years the case went unsolved until Marcell recalled a name, Justin Hansen. With that drop of blood Parabon NanoLabs produced this facial composite linking Hansen to the crime, a suspicion confirmed later with an additional DNA match. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
GREYTAK: Going forward the number of cold cases will decrease and also active cases can potentially be solved more quickly. Cases won't have to go cold.
CRANE: It costs about $3,000, but the results can mean authorities spend less time and manpower to solve a case. DNA can't reveal a person's age, though, so Parabon estimates what a person would look like based on how long ago the crime was committed.
GREYTAK: So basically, we're predicting where the face falls on different facial dimensions in what we call face-space.
CRANE: By generating leads from DNA left at a crime scene as opposed to matching it to a database, Parabon is giving law enforcement a powerful new crime fighting tool.
BLACKWELL: For the first time, Prince Andrew is answering questions about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
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PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: The problem was the fact that once he had been convicted, I stayed with him. And that's the bit that, as it were, I kick myself for on a daily basis, because it was not something that was becoming of a member of our family.
And we try and uphold the highest standards and practices, and I let the side down, simple as that.
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BLACKWELL: Prince Andrew's full interview will air tonight, and we'll play that for you tomorrow morning right here on NEW DAY.
PAUL: More than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the world's oceans every year. A lawyer in India now is taking on this global problem, and he is one of this year's CNN's Top Ten Heroes.
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AFROZ SHAH, CNN HERO: The whole beach was like a carpet of plastic. For the first time in my life I didn't want to be in the water because the garbage was like five-and-a-half feet. The problem of pollution is created by us. And with this in my mind I started to clean the beach. And I told myself it will be difficult for a single man to do it, so I said why not take this personal journey to others. If this huge ocean is a problem, we have to rise up in huge numbers. When you have a complicated problem, sometimes solutions are simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: To vote for your favorite Top Ten Hero, go to CNNheroes.com, and thank you for doing so.
Listen, we hope you make good memories today. Thanks for being with us.
BLACKWELL: There is much more ahead in the next hour of CNN's Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.