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Witness Says He Personally Heard Trump Demand Biden Investigation; Democrats Accuse Trump Of Witness Intimidation After Twitter Attack; Obama Warns Dem Candidates Not Go Too Far Left; Police Fire Tear Gas On Anti-Government Protesters In Paris; Texas Appeals Court Blocks Rodney Reed Execution; NFL Arranges Private Workout For Colin Kaepernick; Prince Andrew: I Let The Royal Family Down Staying With Epstein; Bleacher Report. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 16, 2019 - 08:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Testimony continuing with a closed-door deposition by an American embassy official, who overheard the President talking with the U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. about investigations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I then heard President Trump's ask, so he's going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied that he's going to do it, adding that President Zelensky will do "anything you asked him to." And Ambassador Sondland stated that the President only cares about the "big stuff" like the Biden investigation.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying the President is attacking you on Twitter. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?


REPORTER: Sir, do you believe your tweet - the words can be intimidating?



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND, with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We have learned significant new information from this closed-door testimony and impeachment inquiry. For the first time a witness says he personally heard President Trump demand Ukraine investigate the Bidens.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And on top of that the State Department official says he was told that the President didn't really care about Ukraine. He only cared about the big stuff.

Democrats are accusing the President of witness intimidation, after he insulted the former Ambassador to Ukraine on twitter and he did this as she was testifying. The President slammed her and her job performance and then said he had a right to defend himself.

BLACKWELL: Now we could learn more today about the Congress' approved military aid to Ukraine, specifically when it was put on hold and when and why it was released. The senior budget official has been subpoenaed to talk about that.

PAUL: We're covering this from all angles for you, Kristen Holmes on Capitol Hill and Sarah Westwood at the White House. We want to start with Kristen Holmes who is at Capitol Hill.

We know several key details coming out of David Holmes' closed door testimony have been pretty significant. Talk to us about what you're learning this morning.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. Well many Democrats are saying that this is critical testimony. That they believe it advances the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, because it moves him closer to this Ukrainian pressure campaign.

So I want to take a step back here on - talk about who is David Holmes and how did we get here. Holmes is a staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. And earlier this week during that public testimony it was revealed that he overheard a conversation between President Trump and the Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland in which President Trump talked specifically about the investigations into the Bidens.

I want to set the scene here as Holmes did in his closed door testimony. He says the reason he was able to hear this call is that they were having a meal together. It was him, Sondland and two other staffers and they were outside. It was quiet. And Sondland placed this call to President Trump.

Holmes says that while it wasn't on speaker that President Trump was so loud that he could hear him distinctly hear what he was saying, hear his voice. So loud actually in fact that Sondland had to move the phone away from his ear at one point.

Now according to Holmes this is what he heard. He says, "Then I 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 ends there. But the conversation between Sondland and Holmes does not. Holmes said that he then asked Sondland is it true that the President doesn't care about Ukraine? And here's what Sondland said back.

He said, President Trump only cares about "big stuff that benefits the President, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing." So, again, this moves President Trump closer to that campaign - that pressure campaign.

But what it also does is raise a lot of questions about Gordon Sondland who testified behind closed doors, never mentioned this phone call. And, of course, they're going to be a lot of questions about this when he testifies publicly next week.

PAUL: All right. Kristen Holmes, appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to the White House now and CNN Reporter, Sarah Westwood. Sarah. What's the White House saying about this.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, President Trump and White House allies are continuing to attack the impeachment inquiry process and to try to undermine the credibility of some of the witnesses that we've seen testify.

So far that pattern continued yesterday with President Trump tweeting an attack on former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch while she was sitting in the chair, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.

Now Chairman Adam Schiff was conducting the hearing. At the time he gave Yovanovitch the activity the chance to respond to the President's words in real time, as we just saw, and she said, "She did feel intimidated by what the President had said."


Now some Republicans, not all, were defending the President's decision to tweet about Yovanovitch, some chalking it up to the President's frustration with the impeachment proceedings. Although, some Republicans, including Elise Stefanik who sits on the House Intelligence Committee said she did not agree with the President's decision to tweet.

Nonetheless, House Democrats are now accusing the President of witness intimidation and saying that potentially this could be a new article of impeachment if they can gather more evidence at this. And meanwhile President Trump yesterday, defending himself, as simply exercising his free speech rights. Take a listen.


REPORTER: Were you trying to intimidate Ambassador Yovanovitch.

TRUMP: I just want to have a total - I want freedom of speech, that's a political process. The Republicans have been treated very badly--

REPORTER: Sir, do you believe your tweet--

TRUMP: Quiet, quiet, quiet. Please.

REPORTER: Sir, do you believe your tweet - the words can be intimidating?

TRUMP: I don't think so at all. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now campaign sources tell CNN that they believe it was a mistake for the President to attack Yovanovitch during her testimony. One source telling CNN they believed it was even idiotic for the President to just give Democrats an advantage in the emotional narrative surrounding the hearing yesterday, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood, thank you.

PAUL: CNN Political Analyst, Lisa Lerer. She's also the National Political Reporter for "The New York Times" with us now; as well as Guy Smith, a Former White House adviser to President Clinton. He served, by the way, as a special adviser to the President during his impeachment. Thank you so much both of you for being here.

Lisa, I want to read - we haven't done this yet this morning - a statement from Stephanie Grisham, White House Press Secretary, after Ambassador Yovanovitch's testimony saying that, in fact Ambassador Yovanovitch testified under oath, she was unaware of any criminal activity involving President Trump. She wasn't on the July 25th phone call. She had no knowledge about the pause on aid to Ukraine. Trying to make a point that her testimony was not significant of what value did she bring to the inquiry?

LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's really important to remember that when we talk about impeachment it is a political process. This is something that is heavily determined by politics, that depends on congressional votes.

And so these emotional moments, like the like the one that was created when the President tweeted while she was testifying, can have a big influence on how public opinion shapes and the kinds of arguments both parties are able to make.

I think the particular weakness with the President tweeting about Yovanovitch while she was on the stand was of course that it raised questions about witness tampering and potentially opened other avenues for investigation.

But it also played into what Democrats see as one of their strongest political arguments going into 2020, which is one of mismanagement and that the President is not up to doing the job. That he hurts himself with self-inflicted wounds. And that's really what we saw - and what even some Republicans were saying on and off the record yesterday.

PAUL: Guy, I'm wondering do you see that tweet as she was testifying - that tweet from the President as President Trump kind of sabotaging himself?

GUY SMITH, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I think what it is - and the media miss this, because he does outrageous things and it's a distraction. But what happens is when he does this it distracts the Republicans from their strategy of the day, which was also a distraction. But it shifted even Fox News in real time, reporter that shifted the mood, the tone of the Yovanovitch hearing. And now what we have from more from Holmes is one more of the Republican talking points is removed. And what we - and this is only was day two of the hearings.

I mean, if they go back when the whistleblower nobody knew about Ukraine. And here we are day one we get this big revelation about the phone call with the President's actual voice and the Republicans kept saying its hearsay, its hearsay, well, that's no longer hearsay. It's the real thing. Imagine where we're going to be next week. We've got eight more witnesses - fact two witnesses and Sondland is coming back and he is in a just a world of trouble.

PAUL: So President Clinton spoke with Jake Tapper earlier this week on Thursday talking about what his message to President Trump would be in this case. Let's listen to that.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My message was - would be, look, you got hired to do a job. You don't get the days back you blow off. Every day is an opportunity to make something good happen.


And I would say, I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry and they should just have at it. Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people. That's what I would do.


PAUL: That's a stark difference. Bill Clinton did not - was not out there talking about impeachment a lot. What do you say, if you could advise President Trump right now? Should he be defending himself?

SMITH: Be quiet and run the country. And let the staff and the lawyers and the political people run the impeachment. I mean, President Clinton actually ran the government and at the end of the day he would say to me or Joe Lockhart or one of the other guys on the impeachment team, okay, well what happened today?

Because he didn't talk to the media about impeachment unless it was very planned. It was a highly disciplined operation where there was an impeachment team separate. And then there was - everybody else was told, run the government.

People were not even - and the White House staff wasn't even allowed to talk about impeachment in staff meetings unless it was the impeachment team. That was the extent of the discipline. And we see no discipline. And now what we're seeing is a lot of things are coming out that are more and more damning and we're going to see more things come out.

PAUL: Wondering where the Democrats stand as we look ahead to 2020? We've got Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg who in the last week have jumped into this race at a time when people are probably thinking we should be narrowing down this race, Lisa.

I know that President Obama spoke yesterday to the Democratic Alliance, a group of very wealthy donors last night. Here's what he had to say about the Democratic Party.


BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. They like seeing things improve, 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.


PAUL: Lisa you were there. What is the strength of his influence still?

LERER: Well, President Obama's extremely influential when it comes to Democratic voters and donors and strategists. And part of his message last night was really to tell the establishment Democrat types, the strategists and the party officials and the big donors, to calm down. It's going to be fine. Tough primaries are OK. And in fact, they can - he argued that, in fact, they can make the nominee stronger.

But what was so interesting about his remarks is while he was trying to deliver that message he really revealed some concerns he has of his own, because he started talking about how President Obama is concerned that maybe some in the party are moving too far to the left on policies like health care, like immigration and putting Democrats in a place where they will - it will be hard for them to win certain areas of the country in a general election.

And while he didn't name any candidates specifically, it was pretty clear that his remarks were aimed at Senator Warren and Senator Sanders. So even as he was telling - trying to tell people to calm down, he was really revealing some of his own concerns at this event.

PAUL: Really interesting. Lisa Lerer, Guy Smith, thank you both. We're grateful that you both were able to be here with us today.

SMITH: Thanks for having.

LERER: Thanks.


BLACKWELL: All right. Just getting these in from Paris, just a few minutes ago here, take a look at your screen. We're going to give you two shots here. Police there have been firing tear gas to scatter protesters after they started lighting fires. Now this is the anniversary of those so-called "Yellow Vest" anti-government movement.

You could see a few of them there. They got their name from the highly visible yellow jackets they wore during a week of rioting at the height of this movement. There are more than 300,000 people on the streets of Paris. You see the fires here. And Reuters is reporting that more than 30 people have been arrested today so far. We'll continue to watch this and get you any updates.



PAUL: Well gunshots at a high school football game left two people seriously injured last night. It was a chaotic moment. And we've got all captured on camera.

BLACKWELL: Plus he was set to be executed in just a few days, but after more than 20 years on death row, Rodney Reed's case is getting a second look. What happens now in his fight to prove his innocence?





SCHIFF: --people had any doubt about it. They should do what the President asks - read the transcript. And what they'll see in that transcript is the President praises the corrupt. He praises the corrupt - Lutsenko. He condemns the just - you, and then he asks for an investigation of the Bidens. There is no camouflaging. That corrupt intent. We are adjourned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, I speak on a condition.

SCHIFF: Please allow the witness to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, you disparage - you disparage those members on this side of the aisle. We should have a chance to respond to your disparaging remarks. Mr. Chairman I demand her seat. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman



BLACKWELL: Well, that's how the public testimony of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch ended yesterday with a round of applause from the folks there after nearly seven hours before lawmakers. Still the White House is calling the second day of hearings in the impeachment inquiry useless and inconsequential.

Now there was also the deposition of David Holmes. Now we got his opening statement. He said that he personally heard President Trump demand Ukraine investigate the Bidens. Holmes also said they were surprised by how specific the request was that the Ukrainian President personally commit to an investigation of the Bidens on a cable news channel. Joining me to discuss is Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, also a

candidate for President running for the Democratic nomination, also sits on Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. So, Senator good morning to you.

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning, Victor. How are you?

BLACKWELL: Very well, thank you. I want to read for you a portion of David Holmes opening statement to get your reaction to it and for folks who have not heard this. This is what he said.


He overheard between the conversation - this is U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland speaking with President Trump. This is after the July Trump-Zelensky call. This is from his opening statement.

"I heard President Trump ask, "So he's going to do the investigation?" Ambassador Sondland replied that "he's going to do it," adding the President Zelensky will do "anything you ask him to do." He goes on in the statement and says "I asked the Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the President did not give a blank about Ukraine."

Ambassador Sondland agreed that the President did not "give a blank about Ukraine." "I asked why not?" and Ambassador Sondland stated that "the President only cares about big stuff." I noted that there was big stuff going on in Ukraine like a war with Russia and Ambassador Sondland replied that "he meant big stuff that benefits the President like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing." Your reaction to that.

BENNET: It's entirely consistent with all the evidence that we've seen since the whistleblower complaint first came out, and it's entirely consistent with who we know Donald Trump is. He doesn't give a blank about anybody but himself.

And the idea that we've got a President of the United States who's asking foreign leaders or demanding foreign leaders to investigate his political rivals and withholding aid to, in this case, Ukraine that the Congress has approved to allow Ukraine to defend itself against Russia is unfathomable and we cannot allow it to become the new normal of our politics.

BLACKWELL: So we've only seen two days of hearings, three witnesses thus far. Have you seen anything that you expect will shift or convince any of your Republican colleagues in the Senate?

BENNET: I hope so. I mean I think yesterday was a good day for America, because it reminded people, among other things, of the incredible patriots that work for the Foreign Service.

I was born overseas because my parents were working for the United States Embassy in New Delhi and to see people standing up for the nonpartisan work that the men and women of our foreign service agencies, our intelligence agencies, our Defense Department are doing every day, notwithstanding the insanity of this President in the White House.

I hope that the Republicans will stand up as patriots as well and defend the Constitution and defend people that are trying to do their jobs under incredibly difficult circumstances - circumstances that President Trump has only made more difficult.

BLACKWELL: Should the House consider an additional Article of Impeachment considering the tweet that the president sent out while Ambassador Yovanovitch was testifying.

BENNET: I absolutely believe that. It was outrageous for the President. Here's a career ambassador with an unblemished record as far as we know, testifying that she had basically been intimidated and thrown out of her job by a President who had complained to a foreign leader who doesn't have the best interests the United States at heart. And in the middle of her testimony, he tries to intimidate her with tweets giving further evidence that of what she said to begin with.

And, Victor, this isn't just about this moment. Last weekend the guy spent the entire weekend on Twitter and I guess watching cable television, because that prompted his Twitter. If anybody else in America had put the stuff out that he put out on Twitter last week, he would have been in the H.R. department of his law firm or his insurance company. And they would have said, if you keep doing this, you're going to be fired.

And if his answer to that was, "don't worry about it. I'm a stable genius where I have unmatched wisdom." He'd be fired. But the tragedy is this guy is our President, which meant, while he was on Twitter all weekend, Iran was doubling the number of centrifuges they're using to enrich uranium. And China was signing a trade deal with enough other countries that it represented half the GDP of the world and America was nowhere. That's the cost of this.

BLACKWELL: Well, Senator, let me get in here, because I want to talk - I want to talk about 2020 - we don't have much time left.

BENNET: Sure, sure.

BLACKWELL: You have been critical of Senator Warren's Medicare for All plan, her approach to implementing that. Yesterday she published on Medium a plan - about 35 pages - not 35 pages, the 35 minute read there.

Were she says that she'll pass within the first 100 days an expansion that will cover all children and families that max out at two times the poverty rate. But she'll get Medicare for all passed by the third year of her administration. Does this transition now make this more plausible for you? What do you think?

BENNET: I don't think that a transition of two years is any transition at all, not for the American people who want to have the choice for their families whether to have private insurance or public insurance.


Sometimes you hear Bernie or Elizabeth say that people like me are protecting the insurance companies. Far from it. I could care less about the insurance companies.

The question is, who should make the choice about what people's insurance is? Should it be Bernie and Elizabeth? Or should it be the American people? Clearly, the American people think it should be the American people since only a third of Democrats support Elizabeth's plan.

And I'm with President Obama. We should not be going into this election nominating somebody who's genuflecting to the Twitter base of the Democratic Party. It is not focused on the living, breathing human beings who - and all they want is to know that if their - their kids' education is not defined by the income their family has. That if you work hard you can make a decent living and you can retire with security.

You know this stuff is never going to pass. And I don't know whether Elizabeth knows that or not. But I as a progressive Democrat I do not want us to spend the next 10 years in a losing battle for Medicare for All when what we need to be focused on is driving economic growth for everybody - this economy.

BLACKWELL: Senator--

BENNET: --and decent education and decent health care.

BLACKWELL: Senator let me get in here pretty quickly. You're in New Hampshire. You said you're going to stay in this race, no matter what, until the New Hampshire primary. We know that former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, he's filed in the New Hampshire primary.

He agrees with a few of the elements that you talk about Medicare for all. He says he doesn't appreciate the way that potentially - and I'm paraphrasing here that Senator Warren wants to implement it. Does he crowd you out?

You've got Biden at the top of the latest poll out of New Hampshire, Buttigieg in a crowded second place cluster. How does he complicate your plan to get a foothold there in New Hampshire?

BENNET: I actually don't think he does. I think what it reflects is how unsettled this polling is and how instead of the field is. And that's certainly what I'm getting from people in New Hampshire.

I mean, last night I was with people who said by, now we usually have people living in our houses - campaigns that we've decided to support and we just haven't made those decisions yet.

The way I look at this Victor is that I'm the only candidate in the race that's won two national races in a swing state. No one else has done that. And if we're going to win the presidency and win the Senate we're going to have to win purple states. And to do that we've got to galvanize the Democratic base and win back some of the 9 million people that want voted for Barack Obama twice and for Donald Trump, and I think I've put forward an agenda that can unify those folks.

BLACKWELL: Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, thank you so much.

BENNET: Thank you Victor. Thanks.

PAUL: We're hearing from Prince Andrew for the first time since associating with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, what he said in his own words.



BLACKWELL: We're following the latest from a shooting. This was at a high school football game in New Jersey. Two people have been seriously injured in the chaos of the terrifying moments when those gunshots erupted. Look, we've got the video. Watch this.


PAUL: Can you imagine being there? Several players described the scene to a CNN affiliate, saying gunshots were fired towards the end of the game. Some initially thought there were fireworks. But players and people in the crowd there just took off, trying to avoid everything. According to police, two people were taken to a hospital. But that incident is still being investigated.


PAUL: A Texas appeals court is blocking the execution of a death row inmate whose case united lawmakers and celebrities and millions of people who signed an online petition asking the state's governor to spare his life.

BLACKWELL: His name is Rodney Reed and he's been on death row for more than 20 years. He was set to be executed on Wednesday. He was sentenced for assaulting, raping and strangling 19 year old Stacey Stiles. This was 1996.

The stay means that the lower court where Reed was convicted will be allowed to consider his claim that the state presented false testimony and that there is new evidence and that witnesses can exonerate him.

Now, Kim Kardashian West, she visited Rodney Reed last night in prison, and that's where he's being held with a stay of execution was issued and she tweeted this. "So grateful for the commitment and passion of everyone who voiced their support, The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for their recommendation to issue a 120 day reprieve and the courts for issuing a stay."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: So while his wife was meeting with Rodney Reed. Look at that, Kanye West there in Houston, meeting with and performing for inmates at the Harris County Jail. West is a guest at Joel Osteen's Lakewood megachurch. Tomorrow he's going to be performing there.


BLACKWELL: Later today former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick will take to the practice field, hoping to show teams that he's ready to get back into the league. But, critics are saying the NFL is just trying to clear away a problem. We'll talk about it next.



PAUL: So this took a lot of people by surprise. Today, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is getting a chance to prove to NFL teams he is ready to get back to work.

BLACKWELL: Yes. He hasn't played in three years. He says the league and its teams conspired to keep him off the field because of his refusal to stand during the national anthem. He and other players knelt during the anthem to protest police shootings of African- Americans and other social injustices.

PAUL: Kaepernick began his protest in the 2016 preseason, kneeling for the first time during the anthem on September 1st, 2016. In March of 2016 he became a free agent, opting out of his contract with the 49ers.

In October of 2017 he filed a grievance against the NFL, accusing the league of collusion. Last February, he and former teammate Eric Reid settled their suits with the NFL. And Tuesday of this week, the league announced, there'd be a private walkout today here in Atlanta and guess who showed up?

BLACKWELL: Yes. This really isn't something that happens often. Or maybe it's happened before. Reportedly caught team officials and Kaepernick by surprise, and there are questions about the NFL's motives in offering this workout.

With us now to talk about this is CNN Sports Analyst and USA Today Columnist Christine Brennan. Christine welcome back.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Well, thank you. Great to be with both of you. Let's start here with just how unusual - I mean the day of the week, how it's organized, who can and cannot be there, that this workout is.

BRENNAN: It is very strange and yet it's a ray of hope for those who would like to see Kaepernick have a chance to play in the NFL once again. But, yes, Saturday afternoon is not the best time for NFL teams. They play on Sunday. It's in Atlanta at the Falcons practice facility, so I guess, you can fly through Atlanta, stop in. It will be videotaped, so that's a positive - if teams aren't there. We're hearing various numbers of teams. But quite a few are going to show up or send their representative. Who will it be? Will it be someone who can make instant decision or will it be just a scout that shows up?

But either way, the fact that teams will be represented, the fact that it will be videotaped, I see this as a positive. Maybe I'm a little bit too optimistic for those who would like to see Kaepernick have another chance. Maybe it's a publicity stunt.

But we have heard, my colleague, Mike Jones at USA Today reported that the league was getting inquiries from other teams. Is he available? What should we do? We might be interested in Kaepernick. This has been going on during the season, Victor.

And then you also have Jay-Z of all people.


Jay-Z who's part of the NFL's Social Justice Initiative, who's also been talking to Roger Goodell, the Commissioner, saying, hey why not try to do this? Goodell has been speaking to others as well.

So I think it looks like it's legit. Obviously, we'll find out if Kaepernick ends up signing with the team.

PAUL: Well, we want to listen to Kaepernick's former teammate what he had to say about it, because you highlight some of the questions that people have, apparently so does he.


ERIC REID, FORMER KAEPERNICK TEAMMATE: My gut feeling is again is disingenuous. They want the appearance of they're giving Colin a chance. But they're giving two hours' notice and they telling it has to be on a Saturday when they know that decision makers on teams are travelling. So is this real? We'll see.


PAUL: How expansive is that thought maybe among the league and beyond that maybe this is - the NFL is just trying to clear away a problem?

BRENNAN: Christi, that's certainly a viable and valid thought, obviously players have that thought. It's clearly valid. And when you look at the history over the last three years of Kaepernick not being signed, of course, he was - he's been kneeling. He did kneel back in 2016 during the national anthem to focus and protest of police brutality and social injustice. Very controversial. We know that.

And it was he blacklisted by NFL teams? Certainly looks like he was. Because consider this. There have been 51 men who played quarterback this season alone in the National Football League. 32 teams, 51 players have actually played quarterback for teams this year. And Kaepernick who just six years ago took a team to the Super Bowl, only 32 years old, and he has said throughout this process that he is staying in shape, that he is ready to go and he proved it, because within a couple hours' notice he said, yes, he would show up to this kind of bizarre request.

So it is strange. It is weird and it may well be a publicity stunt. But what if it's not? What if it's not a publicity stunt? And what if a team, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, some other teams - Carolina might need a quarterback. And I don't think anyone's expecting he's going to start - well, not tomorrow, but start next week.

I think the idea is to bring him on. If you do, if a team does bring him in and have him as a backup or have him the idea may be starting next season, but have him there towards the end of this season and next.

And I think the chance, it's either or, that there is a chance that Kaepernick can play is actually progress in a three month long stalemate - or three year long stalemate.

PAUL: Christine Brennan, always grateful to see you. Thank you.

BRENNAN: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Good to have you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: All right, still ahead, Prince Andrew. He is speaking publicly for the first time about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and about the woman who claims she was forced to have sex with the Royal. How the prince explains it all. Next.



BLACKWELL: For the first time Britain's Prince Andrew is talking about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. He tells the BBC that he'd let the royal family down. Epstein died by suicide while awaiting trial for accusations of sex trafficking and abusing underage girls.

PAUL: Now the Duke of York found himself facing serious allegations, as you know, from one of Epstein's accusers. She says Epstein forced her to have sex with the prince while she was under age. And the prince denies all the claims. But here's how Prince Andrew, for the first time in his own words, recounts his relationship with a convicted sex offender.


PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK, ROYAL KNIGHT OF THE GARTER: The problem was the fact that once he had been convicted...


PRINCE ANDREW: 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 the Royal Family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that.


BLACKWELL: Well, Prince Andrew also said that he has no recollection of meeting the woman accusing him of sexual assault. She spoke to CNN's Vicky Ward just last month. Here's what she says about coming forward with the allegations.


VIRGINIA ROBERTS GIUFFRE, EPSTEIN VICTIM: And Epstein had always told me, he'll never go to jail for this. He owns the Palm Beach Police Department. He's blackmailed tons of his very wealthy friends. In terms of Prince Andrew, he hides under Mommy's skirt.

So will there ever be a day that he's held accountable? Probably not. But it doesn't stop me from saying the truth--


BLACKWELL: Well for almost two decades now Vicky Ward has been reporting on Jeffrey Epstein. Go beyond the headlines to hear a one of a kind account of Epstein, "The Jeffrey Epstein I knew" is a new podcast from CNN. New episodes start November 26th.

PAUL: All righty here it is, Ultimate Tailgate time. Really special weekend too, so who did they send? Coy?

BLACKWELL: Of course.

PAUL: Coy Wire? There you go.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. We're here at Florida A&M University founded in 1887, on top the highest of Seven Hills here in Tallahassee with a Spanish moss and a smiley faces. It's a special place. And we'll tell you about that and more sports coming up after the break.



PAUL: So the NFL has issued some severe penalties as a result of that Browns versus Steelers melee on Thursday.

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire has that and more in the Bleach Report live from Tallahassee, Florida. Coy, good morning.

WIRE: Good morning Victor and Christi. Nine years in the NFL I played and I have to say guys this is one of most ridiculous, awful sequences of events that I've seen at any NFL game ever.


WIRE: Myles Garrett of the Browns ripping the helmet off a Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and hitting him on the head with it. Now the NFL has suspended him indefinitely without pay. He's not going to be able to apply for reinstatement till after this season. That means a minimum of six games he'll miss. That's the longest suspension in league history for a single on field incident.

Prosecutors say there are no plans to file criminal charges against Garrett. Two others were suspended in this as well. Both teams fined a $0.25 million. Remember, these two teams play each other again in two weeks. They're bitter rivals. It'll be interesting to see how much bad blood will carry over to that game.


All right. It is college football Saturday and it's going to be a huge Saturday right here in Tallahassee. We'll get to that in a second. You have fourth ranked Georgia though going against 12th ranked Auburn. It's the longest running rivalry in the south. You also have that big matchup in the Big 12 between Baylor and Oklahoma.


But I am here at Florida A&M University where the Rattlers are ranked in the FCX Polls for the first time in a decade. This is a special place. They bring good energy. They bring good enthusiasm. We have a broadcast journalism major here. What do you love about FAMU?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I love about FAMU is the experience. It's nothing but the experience. It's one that you'll never forget.

WIRE: I love that experience. And they always talk about something here, FAMULY they say, and I have to say it is. You can feel it right? When you come back - when the alarms (ph) come back they say Welcome home. Victor, Christi, it's going to be a great day here in Tallahassee. Back to you.


PAUL: Have fun.

WIRE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Spending a lot of HBC you love, but I'm sorry their hearts are going to be broken by my Howard Bison. Sorry. We're back in one hour with CNN NEWSROOM.

PAUL: "SMERCONISH" is with you next.