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President Trump Returns Home After Surprise Afghanistan Visit; Survivor Of Brock Turner's Sexual Assault Speak Out; Former Obama Speechwriter Uncovers The Truth About His Family History. Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired November 29, 2019 - 07:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, you know that that invitation to Camp David was so controversial that even Republicans in Congress who are often loathed to speak out against the president felt the need to criticize that back three months ago when it happened.

But let's move on to the rest of some of the chaos that's been happening between the Department of Defense and the president this week.

So, the firing of the secretary of the Navy -- do your members -- do veterans know what to make of this?

BUTLER: I think a lot of people are just confused.

I mean, I think that one of the biggest, most frustrating things is that there's so much that our country, our administration, the V.A., Congress that they all need to be focused on to support our military and our veterans. There are so many other issues, not the least of which is military and veteran suicide, but this is yet another what seemed to be distracting and divisive issue.

You were talking with Gen. Marks earlier. The UCMJ is an incredibly organized military justice system that our servicemen and women really rely on and have a lot of trust and confidence in.

So to have these conversations where we're talking about potentially undermining the system, changing the decisions that were made by peers of those that -- you know, the service members that were in discussion on these were judge by -- for the president to come in and potentially change some of those outcomes can be very difficult for a lot of veterans and a lot of military members to deal with because it shows a potential distrust in a system that we really rely on to provide good order and discipline.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, speaking of distrust, the president also said something this week about sort of who he thinks, I guess, is running the military complex. He talked about it using the term "deep state." So listen to this moment.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state. People can sit there in air- conditioned offices and complain, but you know what -- it doesn't matter to me whatsoever.


CAMEROTA: So, Jeremy, is that how veterans see the Pentagon? Do -- I mean, is there a feeling among veterans that there is some sort of deep state at work?

BUTLER: I don't think they do. I think most veterans understand that the military, the Department of Defense, and the Pentagon, which is not a monolithic organization, you know -- that is a building that comprises the leadership of all five branches of the government.

So, for one thing, to say it could be a disorganized deep state I think is misleading and is troubling because it characterizes what is a civilian-led leadership organization structure as potentially a negative thing, when the reality is that it's made up of good men and women -- Americans, all of them -- that are serving the individuals.

Most of them are former service members -- veterans, themselves -- certainly deeply connected to the mission. And so I think most of our veterans understand that the leadership that's at the Pentagon is looking out for their best interest and is doing the best thing for the veterans and for the military, and that's really where the focus needs to be.

I think, again, what our veterans tell us, what our membership tells us is that they want the focus to not be on these incredibly divisive issues but really, on the day-to-day issues that so many of our veteran and military communities are dealing with. Everything from financial distress to suicide to unmet medical needs, that's where the focus really needs to be -- not on these divisive issues.

CAMEROTA: That's such a great reminder. I mean, I don't think that we can talk enough about the suicide that's happening among veterans and in the military.

And we really appreciate you coming in, Jeremy, with your perspective on all of this. We'll talk again.

BUTLER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

BUTLER: Appreciate it -- thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, a sexual assault survivor talks about her decision to come forward and reveal her true identity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHANEL MILLER, SURVIVOR OF BROCK TURNER'S SEXUAL ASSAULT, AUTHOR, "KNOW MY NAME": I was so worried that the assault would overshadow who I was. That no one would allow my identity to be seen or that even if I revealed myself they would say we don't care, but that's so far from the truth.


CAMEROTA: You may not know her name but you definitely know her story, and she tells it in her own words, next.



CAMEROTA: You've probably heard about the case of Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer who was given only six months in jail after sexually assaulting a young woman while she was passed out.

For four years, the victim in the case was known only as Emily Doe, even after her gripping victim impact statement went viral. But now she has come forward revealing her identity in a new memoir.

In it, she writes, "My name is Chanel. I am a victim. I have no qualms with this word, only with the idea that it is all that I am.

However, I am not Brock Turner's victim. I am not his anything. I don't belong to him."

Brock Turner was found guilty on three felony counts. He was released after spending only three months behind bars.

The author of "Know My Name," Chanel Miller, joins us now. Chanel, great to see you here and great to have you here.

MILLER: Thank you for having me, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Before I get to your book and everything that's in it, I do want to talk about that victim impact statement because so many people remember that and the impact it had on them.

I'll just read a little portion of it. You wrote in that victim impact statement that was published in BuzzFeed on June third, 2016 -- "Your damage was concrete, stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment." That was about Brock Turner.

"My damage was internal, unseen. I carry it with me. You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today."

Did you have any idea when you released that victim impact statement just how viral it would go and how many people it would speak to?


MILLER: Absolutely not. I thought it would appear on the local news, maybe on the Palo Alto weekly Web site and a few people would click on it, give a few likes, and that would be it.

CAMEROTA: Eleven million people saw it within just, I think, three hours. I mean, truly, the viral nature of it -- people were sharing it worldwide.

How do you explain the impact that it had on people?

MILLER: That's a wonderful question. I think people detected the urgency and the desperation in it that I was someone who was struggling to be heard. I yelled that statement inside the courtroom. I needed somebody to acknowledge that I even existed.

CAMEROTA: And when it was going viral, what was your experience? What was it like at your house or your apartment as you were watching?

MILLER: In my world, for the past year and a half, I had slowly learned that I had nothing to offer in court. I was constantly reminded that I had no memory, so I felt like my testimony was constantly useless. So to pour everything out and to have it be put on television for people to give it the space and time that it deserved really retaught me about what I deserved and how much I was worth.

CAMEROTA: Were you afraid that your identity was going to get out?

MILLER: I was extremely worried about my identity. At the same time, I was watching people inquire about who I was and watching other people say leave her alone -- give her time to rest and heal.

CAMEROTA: It is actually remarkable that your identity did not come out during all of that.


CAMEROTA: How were you able to contain it?

MILLER: I -- honestly, just people being selfless and wanting to protect me, making it clear that they wanted nothing from me. All the cards just said we wish you healing.

CAMEROTA: And when you say all of the cards, you were getting cards sent to you from the district attorney and it was just -- it wasn't made out to any name. People just wanted to connect with you even though they didn't know who you were.

MILLER: They would come up with names for me. So they were calling me victor or they would say you are me, also. It was really incredible.

CAMEROTA: So let's talk about the night of the crime. You just mentioned that you had had so much to drink. You admit that you had had too much to drink and that large swaths of the night are gone for you -- they're missing. You blacked out.

Brock Turner also admits he had too much to drink. And I know that you are frustrated when the narrative is that this is about binge drinking on college campuses. Why does that narrative frustrate you so much?

MILLER: Because we should expect more. If your son is found humping an unconscious body, it is not enough to say you had a misstep in judgment. That's not what it is.

CAMEROTA: What do you want the larger conversation to be?

MILLER: I just want people to know that it's not happening in a vacuum in the neat perimeter of college campuses. It is not young people being too silly and too reckless.

This is a widespread issue. It is happening in offices everywhere you could imagine. There are greater patterns of male sexual entitlement playing out.

CAMEROTA: And your point is that it's not just happening when people are intoxicated.

MILLER: Correct.

CAMEROTA: Tell us about the process of writing the book and how you did come around to wanting people to know your name.

MILLER: It took me an extremely long time to even be willing to write about my family or my past. But over time, I learned that everything I've experienced is universal. Every feeling I've had is human.

There's no shame in that. I need to be able to disclose personal anecdotes in order to humanize myself, and so I finally did.

CAMEROTA: And was there a moment where you decided I'm ready to say my name?

MILLER: Only when the book was completed was I at peace with the idea that I could emerge. That I could be seen as a writer, not only his victim.

CAMEROTA: And about that victim impact statement that you first wrote where you talked about all of the emotional damage that was done to you -- the internal damage, physically and emotionally -- how are you now with all of that?

MILLER: You know, for a while, I felt like I didn't recognize myself. There was so much that I was experiencing that felt out of my control. I felt like I had no hold on when my emotions would decide to show up.


Now I wake up really happy with what I'm doing. I feel like I'm able to finally absorb all the love that was coming in toward me and that I will continue to strengthen myself because that's what people want for me.

CAMEROTA: My gosh, what a transformation.

I also heard you say that every night you got to bed saying thank you. How did you get from this point of so much pain at the beginning to that?

MILLER: Because every day I wake up excited. People have laid out so many options for me -- so many futures to grow into.

I was so worried that the assault would overshadow who I was. That no one would allow my identity to be seen or that even if I revealed myself they would say we don't care, but that's so far from the truth.

I have been so embraced and people have so valued my safety, and my voice, and my creativity. Witnessing that has restored faith in humanity. And like I said, just -- I don't want to go to sleep because I feel like I have so much to do now.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, what a wonderful message for people everywhere.

And the book, again, is "Know My Name" by Chanel Miller. It's a wonderful book. Your story is fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

MILLER: Thank you, Alisyn. It was wonderful to sit with you.

CAMEROTA: You, too -- John.


A new NFL halftime show short-circuited. See what happens, next. Plus, a young bulldog stands a breed apart at the National Dog Show.


CAMEROTA: Adam Frankel, a former speechwriter for President Obama, was trying to find out more about his family's history, from his grandparents surviving the Holocaust to his parents' divorce, and that's when he stumbled upon a secret that made him question his entire identity.

Adam Frankel joins us now and his new book, "The Survivors: A Story of War, Inheritance, and Healing" is out now. Adam, great to have you here.

AVLON: Great to have you.


CAMEROTA: Funny to have you on Thanksgiving weekend because a lot of families get together at Thanksgiving weekend, as mind did yesterday, and lineage comes up and people talk about their family histories.


CAMEROTA: And what you find out often -- and particularly with the new genetic testing of, like, 23andMe --


CAMEROTA: -- is that families have secrets.


Look, all families have secrets and I learned an extraordinary secret a few months before joining the Obama campaign in 2007. I learned that my dad is not my biological father and that this was a secret that my mother kept from me, from my dad, from our whole family. You know, I kept the secret from my dad for another 10 years because I was so scared of telling him, so I held onto this.

And when I went to go be a speechwriter for Obama in that campaign, in the White House I held onto it and finally mustered the courage to talk to my dad about it almost a decade later.

CAMEROTA: And what happened when you talked to your dad about it?


FRANKEL: You know, what he said to me was I -- you know, I'd been fearing this moment for so long. I went up to see him and I'm bawling. You know, I could barely get the words out as I'm starting to tell him the story.

And I say, you know, many years ago, mom told me this -- that I'm Jason Black, as I call my biological father in my book, as I -- as I tell him that I'm his son. I'm a puddle of tears and I hear my dad -- through the tears, I hear him say uh-huh, uh-huh, I know, I know.

And I -- you know, I'm -- you know, you know? And he said yes, Adam, I've always known it was possible and I made a decision a long time ago that it doesn't matter one way or another. You're my son and you always will be.

And, you know, I went up and I gave him the biggest hug that I've ever given anybody. And then he said, is that all? Is that all you wanted to talk about?


He knew how to lighten the mood.

AVLON: And so, he'd had his suspicions but he'd made peace with it.


AVLON: And that's such a powerful moment in the book because it says so much about the real nature of love. It's not necessarily about the biology; it's about -- you know, love is a verb.


AVLON: It's how we act. FRANKEL: Yes.

AVLON: But the biology plays such a key part in your story as well because a lot of it is about the inherited trauma that comes from this. In this case, your grandparents surviving the Holocaust and how that's expressed in your mother.


AVLON: And you write a bit about an emerging science that says that basically, trauma can be passed on genetically.

FRANKEL: Yes. Yes, we know it's an emerging science called epigenetics. The epigenome is a layer of information that sits on the gene and is subject to external factors like chronic stress and trauma.

And we now know that trauma can leave a genetic imprint on DNA. We know that. Now, how it is passed from one generation to another is a subject of a lot of debate, and controversy, and scrutiny.

But we know that trauma can be passed on both in this genetic way -- it manifests from one generation to the next -- and we also know that traumatic experiences can have impacts on families in other ways.

And so, in the -- in the case of my family in the Holocaust, we know that the -- not the experience of the survivor, but the kind -- the way they process that experience, the kind of family that they raise, the patterns they set as parents can affect the likelihood that their children may develop mental health issues or others.

And so in my family -- look, I write about Holocaust trauma. But everyone has trauma of one sort or another in our own lives or families, whether it's addiction, abuse, racism, any number of things. And I think understanding the way this trauma can play a role from one generation to the next can help us move forward.

CAMEROTA: I mean, what you're saying is mind-blowing -- it's mind- blowing.

It's an entirely different paradigm through which to look at trauma because we all know, I think, that there are subconscious patterns. If somebody is traumatized as a child, they subconsciously can pass that on -- along to their children.


CAMEROTA: But what you're talking about is on a cellular level.


CAMEROTA: And so, just say more about that.


CAMEROTA: I don't think that a lot of people know about that. What do you mean the DNA gets imprinted from a trauma whereby somebody two generations later --


CAMEROTA: -- might still have some sort of imprint of that?

FRANKEL: Yes. Well, look, so the epigenome is subject to a variety of factors. I mentioned chronic stress but it's other things -- pollution, diet, and other things.

There's a -- there's a researcher who I -- and a physician who I interviewed for the book named Rachel Yehuda at Mount Sinai, who has found that children of Holocaust survivors are three times as likely to display PTSD when confronted by a traumatic event as demographically-similar Jews who are not children of survivors. And so we know these things.

Children of women who were pregnant at or near Ground Zero in 9/11 displayed similarly low levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone, as their mothers, which -- and that's associated with PTSD. So we know these things.

Now, as I say, how it gets from one generation to the next -- very early signs. We don't know. Third generation removed, it's even trickier because you need many, many generations to prove -- four generations to prove genetic inheritance. But we can see these things appear from one generation to the next and it's very powerful.

AVLON: And 9/11 is the most recent example, but one of the things the doctor talks about in studies at Harvard University is the impact of slavery, on the genocide against Native Americans --


AVLON: -- and how that gets transferred and leads to a very different sort of experience for folks from these different cultural backgrounds. It's a -- it's a troubling legacy but it's fascinating there's a scientific imprint.

FRANKEL: Yes, that's exactly right. I interviewed a professor at Harvard Medical School who writes about post-traumatic slavery syndrome. There is something in Native-American communities, the soul wound. The legacy of the genocide and the impact that's had on the wrath of social and economic and health issues in Native communities.

And, you know, I think we just need to realize that all communities face these -- many communities --


FRANKEL: -- face these sorts of traumatic experiences and they manifest themselves in many ways over generations and we need to grapple with that. We need to grapple with the soul wound if we want to handle the other -- the other issues as well.

AVLON: The soul wound.

CAMEROTA: It is really fascinating stuff and we appreciate you diving into all of it and sharing your personal story.

FRANKEL: Thank you.

AVLON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Adam Frankel -- the book, again, "The Survivors: A Story of War, Inheritance, and Healing." Thanks so much for being here.

FRANKEL: Thank you for having me.


CAMEROTA: OK, severe storms are causing power outages all over Detroit. They're even interrupting the halftime show at the Lions game.


BROTHERS OSBORNE (Singing when power goes out).


CAMEROTA: All right, that was the Brothers Osborne. They had barely started their set when the power blew out. After a brief delay, the lights came back on and the show resumed.

The Lions might have preferred a blackout, John. They lost to Chicago 24 to 20.

AVLON: All right, and a Thanksgiving baby boom at a hospital in Kansas City. Get this -- 12 sets of twins were born on Thursday at Saint Luke's Hospital --


AVLON: -- in Kansas City.

CAMEROTA: -- impossible.

AVLON: That's believed to be the most being cared for at any one time in the hospital's history.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh.

AVLON: It's got to be a record.

All of the twins were born around the same time. They all arrived between five and 14 weeks early and are being treated in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that is a twin-splosion.

AVLON: I mean, that's just -- God bless them all. Welcome to the world, guys.

CAMEROTA: All right, a bulldog named Thor hammers the competition -- AVLON: Ah.

CAMEROTA: -- at the National Dog Show --

AVLON: That was a Thor joke you just made.

CAMEROTA: -- in Philadelphia.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Best in Show tonight is the bulldog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness, wow -- look -- oh.


CAMEROTA: I don't think Thor wanted a hug right there.


CAMEROTA: I don't think that that's how Thor was feeling.

AVLON: I mean, he's the man of thunder.


AVLON: He doesn't --

CAMEROTA: Yes, he doesn't hug people.

AVLON: Please.

CAMEROTA: Thor beat out more than 2,000 dogs to take Best in Show to the obvious surprise of his handler.

More than 20 million Americans tuned in to the annual dog show in its 18th year now. It airs right after the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

AVLON: All right. And a Photoshop picture shared by President Trump almost broke the Internet.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Looking at this, you may see a president tossing Keep America Great hats, but maybe President Trump sees a Greek Olympian hurling a discus. After all, he tweeted out this doctored image of his own head attached to the chiseled torso of Rocky Balboa. Here's the original.

Instead of doing sit-ups or pumping iron, President Trump tends to just pump his fists. Critics compare the president to Homer Simpson checking out his reflection and imagining impeccable pecs. MOOS (on camera): It's as if I looked in the mirror and saw this.

MOOS (voice-over): Yikes.

There's nothing like a flattering presidential Photoshop to inspire tons of unflattering Photoshops. When you order something online versus when it arrives, perception versus reality, you're delusional.

The president's son, Don Jr., joked, "I've heard from reliable sources that it's not doctored."

The Daily Wire doggedly doctored the already-doctored photo by adding Conan, the hero dog.

MOOS (on camera): The president, at the moment, seems to have his chest on the brain.

MOOS (voice-over): At this latest rally, he railed at the press for supposedly saying he'd had a heart attack and went to Walter Reed Hospital the other day.

TRUMP: They said he wasn't wearing a tie. If the first thing they do is say take off your shirt, sir, and show us that gorgeous chest.

MOOS (voice-over): That gorgeous chest on a guy who once told Reuters, "I get exercise. I mean, I walk, I this, I that."

Fake-torso Trump was compared with real bare-chested Putin -- who wore it better? Some critics rubbed it in. Hashtag #ObamaDidntNeedPhotoshop."

President Clinton's former press secretary tweeted, "Now we know what they did to him at Walter Reed."

In that case, I want what he's having.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. My mother showed me that doctored photo yesterday at Thanksgiving and she was like, do you think this is real? I said, mom, put down the vino.

AVLON: Do you think it's real?

CAMEROTA: Put down the wine. What are you doing?

AVLON: And then, the Trump campaign even gas lit and trolled the post by saying there's no evidence that was doctored.

CAMEROTA: Except your own eyes.

AVLON: Except everything.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Max Foster is next.

For our U.S. viewers, President Trump is back from his surprise visit to Afghanistan. NEW DAY continues right now.


BEST BUY EMPLOYEES (Chanting): We are Best Buy. Who are we? Best Buy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Thanksgiving Black Friday and all the excitement and it's rocking right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: Some video games, some shoes, clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm trying to get some sales. Thanksgiving is the best time to go.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president making this unannounced trip to Afghanistan.

TRUMP: There's nowhere I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: President Trump says he thinks the Taliban are ready for a ceasefire.

TRUMP: The Taliban wants to make a deal. We'll see if they make a deal. If they do, they do and if they don't, they don't.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Friday, November 29th, 8:00 in the east.