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Army and Navy Investigate Hand Gestures; Footage of Bengals Filming Released; Aides Leave Rep. Van Drew's Office; Polls on Impeachment; Hallmark Apologizes for Ad. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 16, 2019 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, the Army and Navy opening investigations into whether cadets and the midshipmen flashed white power hand signs on live TV during this weekend's Army/Navy game.

CNN's Ryan Browne live at the Pentagon.

You know, a lot of people saw this as it was happening in real time, Ryan. Very serious questions.

RYAN BROWNE, CNN REPORTER: Well, that's right, John. The Army's Military Academy at West Point and the Navy's Naval Academy at Annapolis. They're launching formal investigations into this issue. Obviously there was a lot of media attention on this once these images first came out. And it -- and the images showed cadets and midshipmen flashing an OK symbol with their hands, which some interpret as a white nationalist symbol. The Anti-Defamation League saying it can be a hate symbol in some cases. But others perhaps saying that it might just be an innocent game known as the circle game.

So one of the things that these formal investigations are going to try to ascertain is whether or not -- what was the intent behind the flashing of those symbols during that event. Obviously it's not the kind of attention either the Naval Academy or West Point would like to have given the game, given that all the positive press that had been surrounding the game, they definitely did not want this. But they're trying to find out, get to the bottom of it.

In fact, West Point's superintendent, Lt. General Darryl Williams actually issuing a statement about the investigation, saying that they try to teach cadets Army values. And so this is something that they want to get to the bottom of, what exactly happened, what was the motivation behind this. Was it innocent or was it something more sinister, a shout-out to white nationalism. It's something the investigation will hope to ascertain.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, troubling. We'll be looking for more on those investigations. Ryan, thank you.

We are also getting our first look today -- and this is a tough one for John -- at the video at the center of the Patriots' latest filming scandal.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

It's going to be OK.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Erica and John.

You know, Fox Sports obtaining this video shot by a Bengal's security guard of the confrontation between him and that Patriots video crew. And here's a portion of that video that they played on "Fox NFL Sunday."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is a piece you're filming on your advanced scout?



Come on, guys.

I don't see the advance scout in this footage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's not. We were trying to get some field perspective. My bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not the field.


SCHOLES: Yes, that's not the field. My bad. The Patriot's video crew then said that they could delete the eight minutes they shot of the sideline, but the Bengal's security said the damage was done. The Patriot's independent video crew was credentialed at the Browns/Bengals game last week to do a special on their scout.

In a statement the Patriots videographer said, while they were shooting the field to show what the scout would be looking at through his binoculars. Bill Belichick has insisted that the coaching staff and himself had nothing to do with this. The NFL says they continue to investigate.

All right, the fans at MetLife Stadium haven't had much to cheer about this season, but they did yesterday.


Giants fans giving Eli Manning a standing ovation as he left the field for what likely will be the final time as a Giant. Eli's parents, they were also in the stands cheering him on. The two-time Super Bowl MPV throwing two touchdowns as the Giants got a win over the Dolphins.

You know, Eli has not said whether or not he plans to retire yet, guys, but that certainly seemed like a farewell.

John, what do you think, Eli a Hall of Famer?

BERMAN: Absolutely. I mean absolutely. The duration of his career and also the high points, which happen to be some low points for me.

SCHOLES: Two Super Bowls.

For you.

BERMAN: No, he's definitely a Hall of Famer. And I'm glad to see him getting the respect he deserved as he left that field.


HILL: Andy, thanks.

SCHOLES: All right.

HILL: I noticed Andy didn't ask me that question.

BERMAN: You think so? I know you think so. You're a big Eli Manning fan.

HILL: For Eli? I actually -- you know what, my family adores the Manning family. My kids', their favorite book is this book, "Family Huddle," that the Manning family wrote. You know, my husband's from Indianapolis.


HILL: So it's like they bow down to the Mannings. So, there you go. My kids would definitely say yes.

BERMAN: All right, the Democrats' most vocal impeachment opponent lonely this morning. Why six staff members from this Democratic congressman walking away. That's next.



BERMAN: Breaking overnight, six aides to New Jersey Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew announced they are resigning over Van Drew's expected decision to switch parties and become a Republican.

Now, Van Drew is against impeaching the president and he's been losing support with Democrats in his district as a result.

Joining us now, Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "SMERCONISH." Let me read you, Michael, this resignation letter from the office of Congressman Jeff Van Drew. Sadly, Congressman Van Drew's decision to join the ranks of the Republican Party, led by Donald Trump, does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office.

There have been polls that show that Democrats in his district would flee from Van Drew if and when he opposes the impeachment of President Trump.

What do you see as happening here, Michael?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was proud to have worked for United States Senator Arlen Specter, who for 30 years represented the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As a matter of fact, our longest serving U.S. senator.

And you'll remember, John, in 2009, after being a Republican for three decade, he became a Democrat. Was not embraced, by the way, by the Democratic leadership. Harry Reid would not restore his seniority. And he went on to lose a 2010 Democratic primary to Joe Sestak, who then lost to Pat Toomey.

My point is, it's not always easy to make a change like this especially in election season. And sometimes the voters of your new party are not as accepting as you would think they would be.

HILL: We'll be watching to see how that all turns out.

I also want to get your take on this. We've been talking so much about the president's place in history when it comes to impeachment. But you've noted that the president's legacy on another front was really cemented this week, and that is with his appointment of judges and conservative judges and what this has done in just three years what we've seen.

SMERCONISH: The -- the most awesome responsibility of a president, in my opinion, beyond being commander in chief, is his or her responsibility to appoint members of the federal judiciary, and those are lifetime appointments. I maintain that through that function, a president has more impact on our lives than arguably anything else except at a time of war.

And the milestone to which you refer is that last Wednesday, the same day that we were all paying attention to Michael Horowitz's testimony, the IG in the Senate, the Senate was ratifying President Trump's 50th appellate pick. And just to put that in some frame of reference, he has selected 50, and they've been confirmed in three years. Barack Obama picked only 55 by comparison in eight years.

So it's not an issue that gets a lot of media attention, although it should. But it's taking place right now and the president is reconstituting that federal judiciary with solidly conservative picks.

BERMAN: And let me tell people that there is an impeachment tie-in here, which is Mitch McConnell, who will be coming up with the rules for the Senate trial, it is the basis of the marriage, the political marriage between Senator McConnell and Donald Trump. This is the cause for which McConnell has decided he is willing to work with Trump and really, I think, subjugate everything else.

Listen to how McConnell described this the other day.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Barack Obama did 55 circuit judges in eight years. We've done 50 in three years.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I was shocked that the former President Obama left so many vacancies and didn't try to fill those positions.

Senator --

MCCONNELL: I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why.

HANNITY: Yes, sir.

MCCONNELL: I was in charge of the -- what of we did the last two years of the Obama administration.

HANNITY: I give -- and I will give you full credit of that and, by the way, take a bow.


BERMAN: So that letter is -- that laugh you just heard from the Leader McConnell there is a point of pride for Republicans, but will send chills down the spines of Democrats around the country.

And McConnell's right, he did this. He manufactured this. But it is for this reason that I think he has his loyalty to President Trump. And one of the primary reasons many Republicans do, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Right. And so let's bring it all full circle now because you've been talking about impeachment this morning and you look at the underlying facts that have been presented and many wonder, why hasn't this moved the needle with more Republicans, more conservatives?

One explanation is, they are willing to excuse, to overlook a tremendous amount because they're getting what they want from the federal judiciary. So the lesson, the takeaway is, let's not focus entirely on the Supreme Court when we think about a president's responsibility as we go into the 2020 cycle.


Remember, whomever gets elected in 2020 is going to have this responsibility to single handedly make lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

BERMAN: Michael Smerconish, always a pleasure to have you on. Have a terrific Monday.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, guys.

BERMAN: And be sure to tune into "SMERCONISH" every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

HILL: Up next here, stunning, new comments from disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. How he says he should be remembered. That's next.


HILL: Two new polls about impeachment out this morning after weeks of public hearing. So the big question, of course, what do they show?

CNN's senior politics writer and analyst Harry Enten is here to break down the numbers for us.

This Fox poll especially getting a lot of attention this morning.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes, you know why, obviously. The president loves Fox and the Fox News poll doesn't necessarily love him.

Look, Trump's impeachment standing, impeach/removed from office, 50 percent. a slight plurality says, yes, 46 percent say no. But just on impeaching him, just on impeaching him, forgetting the removal part, 54 percent say yes, 41 percent say no. So a pretty clear majority in this particular Fox News poll on impeaching him.

BERMAN: And there's also a CBS poll which says roughly the same thing.

ENTEN: Roughly the same thing, right? So, impeach him, that slide we had before, 46 percent say yes, 39 percent say no. So, again, a clear plurality there.

Impeach -- if impeached, and the Senate remove, again, much closer number there. Convict and remove, 42 percent. Don't convict or even don't hold a trial, 42 percent. So on that particular question, the removal much, much closer.

BERMAN: So two notable things here. One is you point out very static.

ENTEN: Very, very, very, very static. You could set your watch to this. Keeps a licking keeps on ticking. Look at this.

So, impeach and remove of Trump from office, I took an average of the polls, November 16th to December 15th of this year, 4 percent say yes. October 16th to November 15th, 48 percent say yes.


September 16th to October 15th, 47 percent. I guess a little bit of a difference there. Not really. All of these in the high 40s. The noes, right nearby, 45, 46, 47. So, again, pretty clear -- very evenly split on impeach and remove.

BERMAN: The second thing, we don't have a number for, but you can write it on the screen if you want. I asked you earlier this morning, what was the high water mark for impeaching and removing Bill Clinton.

ENTEN: Yes, so the high water mark on that one, let's see if I can do it, 38 percent. That was the high water mark in impeach and removal polling on Bill Clinton. This is obviously significantly higher than that, consistently running about ten points ahead.

BERMAN: I just think people need to keep that in mind here. We talk about these polls not moving, but they're not moving from a very high point historically speaking.

ENTEN: That's -- that's exactly right. The only person who ever had impeach and remove numbers like this was Nixon. Obviously then he got higher and then he got removed from office.

HILL: There's also the question about -- so it was very broad, right? Impeachment. What should be done? Should he be impeached and then what should be done afterwards? Now we're talking more specifically about what the president -- about the president's conduct, what has happened here, and the articles of impeachment.

ENTEN: Right. So in that Fox News poll they asked, has Trump done the following? Has he abused his power of office? Obstructed justice? Obstructed Congress? Committed bribery? Fifty-three percent say, yes, he abused the power of his office. Fifty percent say he obstructed justice. Forty-eight percent said he obstructed Congress. Forty-five percent say committed bribery.

And then all of those, the yeses are significantly larger than the noes. So even if on the question of impeach and remove it's more split. On the underlying factors that led to it, clear pluralities, if not in the case of abused power of his office, a clear majority.

HILL: I think that's remarkable.

BERMAN: They decided on the president's conduct. They don't like it.

The Republicans will suggest, to an extent, that Democrats are on trial here for how they're handling this process. And the verdict says?

ENTEN: And the verdict says, so this, you know, this is an interesting one. Who is better at Washington gamesmanship? Remember, they asked this back all the way in January when there was that government shutdown. They asked it again today, December. Is it Pelosi or is it Trump? And, again, Pelosi is beating Trump on this measure, 41 percent to 37 percent. Again, a Fox News poll. Not what the president wants to see. So against his main rival in Washington, Nancy Pelosi, she is beating him.

HILL: Although you know what I think is interesting, too? You could spin this another way. And you could have people say that's right, the president isn't as good because, you know what, he's an outsider, and so he's learning to do this a different way. So there's always something in there.

ENTEN: Look, there's always something the president can go after. But, you know, one other way I sort of would put it, this, you know, this is all about why did the president get in trouble? I think we can all agreed, because he's afraid of Joe Biden.

And so in the 2020 general election, the Fox News poll has been asking this question, would you vote for Biden, vote for Trump, all the way since March? In every single one of these polls, look how small this font is because there have been so many polls that Fox News has asked, every single one of them, Joe Biden has led the president of the United States by at least seven points in every single one of them. When you have a lead like this that's so consistent, it's very clearly indicative that Joe Biden would beat Donald Trump most likely in a general election if it were held today.

BERMAN: I'd say the Trump campaign would rather have the seven point margin than the 12 or 16 where it's been in other polls.

ENTEN: Well, maybe so. You know, it's a little bit lower here for Biden than it was. But, again, that's within the margin of error. And we had that exact same thing just before Joe Biden jumped in.

BERMAN: And, you know, it's a Fox News poll, which does seem to be a source of particular concern for President Trump.

ENTEN: You know he's like these polls are so inaccurate. Oh, my goodness.

You know, we can go back and check. Are the Fox News polls accurate or not? 2018 House, the final poll had the Democrats winning that national House popular vote by seven. What'd they win by? They won by nine. An error of two points.

Back, 2016, president. National poll, which is what we're talking about here, folks, final poll said that Hillary Clinton by four. She won the national popular vote by two. And error of just two points. That is some pretty good polling, folks.

BERMAN: Yes, two points, well within the margin of error.

ENTEN: Well within the margin of error. I wish I could be that good in terms of attire, but I'm just --

BERMAN: You're better.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: You're well within the margin of error on most days.

ENTEN: Thank you so much. Isn't he so nice?

BERMAN: Harry, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HILL: I love your bromance. It's beautiful.

BERMAN: So breaking overnight, the Hallmark Channel is now apologizing and reversing its decision to pull ads showing a same-sex couple kissing at the altar.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've helped a million couples plan their weddings.


BERMAN: So Hallmark pulled the ads after a conservative group launched an online petition.

CNN's Polo Sandoval here with the latest on this.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, a tough position is the Hallmark Channel put itself in when it killed a series of commercials showing a pair of lesbian brides kissing. Now, the sharp reversal in Hallmark stance, this is coming after a weekend of backlash and a social media call to boycott the channel. Hallmark President and CEO Mike Perry saying last night that the company made the wrong decision in pulling the Zola (ph) ads and now he wants to reinstate them. Zola (ph), by the way, is a wedding registry and planning website.

All of this starting last week. A conservative group posting complaints that it claimed were coming from Hallmark viewers saying that the ads weren't family friendly. So Crown Media Hallmark -- or Crown Media, which is actually the Hallmark Channel's parent company, explaining that the ads were eventually pulled because it became a distraction.


And then last night this from Mike Perry. Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts for this purpose is not who we are.

Now, in addition to the heat on social media, the competition also upping the ante yesterday by telling advertisers that it's not how they do business. There's this from Netflix, actually promoted its -- some of their content -- some of their so-called titles featuring lesbians joyfully existing and also, it's Christmas, can we just let people love who they love. And then, of course, Freeform, a Disney platform, calling -- saying call (INAUDIBLE) Zola.

Guys, back to you.

HILL: All right, Polo Sandoval.

Polo, thank you. Harvey Weinstein is speaking out weeks before his sex crimes trial. The disgraced film producer telling "The New York Post" he is a forgotten man and claims he's been a pioneer for women in the film industry.

Twenty-three women accusing him of sexual misconduct responded in a statement which reads, he says in a new interview he doesn't want to be forgotten. Well, he won't be. He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing.

BERMAN: His comments were astounding.

Hundreds gathering to remember Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors at the park where she was fatefully stabbed. A 14-year-old boy questioned in connection with her murder has been released. But a 13- year-old suspect is expected to face murder and robbery charges. According to "The New York Times," the suspect told police he watched his two friends grab Majors and robbed her before one of them fatally stabbed her.

HILL: Jamaica's Toni-Ann Singh is the new history-making Miss World.




HILL: And the Internet is going wild over the way Singh's friend and fellow contestant Miss Nigeria celebrated her win. Singh's victor marks the first time in history women of color hold the titles in all five of the world's top beauty pageants. And three of them will join us live in the next hour.

BERMAN: Fantastic.

So, "Saturday Night Live" tackling the political divide at the dinner table. These are your "Late Night Laughs."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is almost Christmas. And folks in Americans seem more divided than ever. Now we can listen because I hacked into three Nest home cams.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so happy everyone flew here for the holidays. And I'm even more happy that they did it, they're impeaching Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they did it, they're impeaching Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, it's a disgrace. What crime did he even commit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I guess the crime of being an alpha male who actually gets things done.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just asking. Y'all think "Bad Boys 3" is going to be good or not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate to say this, but could we please talk about politics instead?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you mean how Trump is definitely getting impeached and then definitely getting re-elected? I'm good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't understand who on earth could vote for Trump after this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could anyone not vote for Trump after this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you think's going to get voted off "The Masked Singer" next week?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After yesterday's vote approving articles of impeachment, President Trump could become the first president to face impeachment while also running for re-election, because only Democrats could figure out a way to lose twice in the same year.


BERMAN: All right, along those lines, Senate Democrats ramping up or -- and amping up the pressure on Republicans over the impeachment trial.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The House of Representatives is poised to vote to impeach Donald Trump as soon as Wednesday.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I am confident this is a real vote of conscience. The real question is, why won't the Republicans do their constitutional duty?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will be fair in the Senate. I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Mick, Rick Perry, and many other people testify. But I don't want them to testify when this is a total fix.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people deserve the truth, not political theater.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I think this whole thing is a crock. You're weaponizing impeachment. And I want to end it. I don't want to legitimatize it.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): That's a violation of the oath that they're about to take and it's a complete subversion of the constitutional scheme.


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

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me.

Good morning.

HILL: Good morning.

BERMAN: Welcome to this week in history. And this will be an historic week. All signs indicate that Donald J. Trump will become just the third president ever impeached Wednesday. Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and now Donald Trump. Already he's just the fourth to have articles of impeachment approved against him, along with Richard Nixon.

And breaking overnight, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are making the case for President Trump's impeachment in this new 658-page report. It lays out the decision to charge President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.


And it lays out the evidence that the president asked a foreign government to investigate a political rival, basically jump into the 2020 election.