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Trump and Allies Attack Romney; Cruise Ship Quarantined with Coronavirus; Chinese Living and Working Under Quarantine; Trump's Pick for Medal of Freedom; Bryant Shares Emotional Posts. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 6, 2020 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[06:30:00]

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yesterday morning about -- and talking about ripping up her speech. But this was sort of the one good thing for them, and that was that they were able to stick together in the Senate and they were surprised by Mitt Romney.

I was in the chamber when he gave his speech. I think that if people knew he was going to come out and say that Trump was guilty, I think more Democrats were going to be -- would have been on the floor to watch that speech.

There were maybe two or three senators in the chamber, Brian Schatz, one Democrat, had actually come to the chamber just to watch Romney and hoping for that moment. And after he heard him, he walked off the floor with tears in his eyes, he was so grateful. So I think that, you know, it was a -- it was a victory for Democrats. They won sort of the final skirmish of impeachment. But, you know, Republicans will say they still won the war.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I'd just say that not getting removed from office isn't a good day for any administration no matter how they spin it. And we'll hear what the president has to say from his own words today.

But we know from the White House press secretary's statement that they're still persisting with that denial that the president -- the president was completely vindicated and totally exonerated, which wasn't true. I mean Romney followed the facts. And that's the problem. We seem to have a lot of Republican senators acknowledge that, OK, fine, he did something, it was wrong, it's just not impeachable, which good people can disagree about.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, by the way, Romney followed the facts as best he could.

AVLON: Without witnesses.

CAMEROTA: But according to "The Washington Post," he tried to fill in the blanks himself personally. He wasn't satisfied with the facts that the White House had put out. And so he personally contacted the White House to ask them what it was that Mick Mulvaney knew, what it was that things -- where things weren't answered in this trial and they didn't get back to him.

AVLON: Huh, wonder why.

CAMEROTA: So he wanted -- in other words, he didn't want to vote this way.

AVLON: Yes.

CAMEROTA: He tried lots of ways around it, and they didn't help him.

AVLON: They didn't provide evidence. So either they just don't -- aren't good at returning messages or they don't have any evidence to give that would exonerate the president. So they reside -- they rely on group think to make their argument for them. That's a failure of the deliberative democracy. But Mitt Romney set a positive example in the other direction yesterday.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, John and Rachael, thank you very much.

Twenty people have now tested positive for coronavirus on a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo. What does that mean for the thousands of people on board? We have a live report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:36:29]

BERMAN: Developing overnight, three people are dead and dozens hurt after a passenger plane skidded off the runway in Istanbul causing the jet to split in half. We have video that shows the moment the plane went sliding before finally breaking apart. Nearly all 183 people on board were sent to the hospital with injuries ranging from severe head and leg trauma to broken bones. Weather radar did show thunderstorms in the area at the time of the incident.

CAMEROTA: Just incredible pictures there and the recovery efforts.

A developing story on the coronavirus now. Twenty passengers on a quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for the virus, including two Americans. The ship is docked off the coast of Japan, and CNN's Will Ripley is live near where that ship is docked.

What's the latest, Will?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, you know, that number of 20 patients, that's more coronavirus confirmed cases on this cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, behind me than in all of the United States. So imagine if you're one of the 400-plus Americans who are on that ship, aside from the two who tested positive, feeling healthy, but you're quarantined on the ship, breathing in the same air, in the same spaces, as people who are sick.

And, you know, we're talking to people who are on the ship who say they want out. They're hoping that the United States can airlift them out, much like the people who were in Wuhan, China, the Americans that, you know, that the U.S. sent in flights to bring them home because these people feel, frankly, unsafe. They feel like they're being quarantined in a petri dish.

And cruise ships, if you've ever been on one, you know that it is not a pleasant experience to spend a lot of time in your cabin. Even if you have one of those fancy balcony room or a room with a window. But there are thousands of people, or at least hundreds of people who have interior rooms with no windows and people have not been allowed to leave their cabins now for a couple of days.

Now, they've been negotiating with Japanese authorities. Maybe tomorrow they'll be able to go outside wearing masks the whole time and having to stand about three feet apart from other people for a few hours as Japanese officials are watching to make sure they don't break the rules, otherwise they're all going to have to go back to their rooms. So, really, this luxury cruise, people spending thousands of dollars for this vacation, you know, a week ago they were eating lobster at the buffet.

Now they are locked essentially in their small cabins being served breakfast at 2:00 in the afternoon or later by staff members in full protective gear and goggles eating, you know, what they describe almost like prison food. These are the conditions that these passengers are having to endure right now. And, frankly, they expect the number of cases to continue to grow on that ship. It went from 10 to 20. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, John.

BERMAN: It has to be both uncomfortable and, frankly, terrifying for the people on that vessel.

Will Ripley, thank you very much for that.

So at least 565 people are dead and more than 28,000 infected with coronavirus around the world. That's if the Chinese are telling the truth about the numbers they're reporting. And there are experts raising questions about whether those numbers are accurate.

Now, CNN's David Culver has been under quarantine for 14 days in Beijing since he reported from the epicenter of Wuhan. He joins us now live.

David, this has been, I know, a trial for you, journalistically and personally.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No question, John. And, you know, it's been two weeks to the day that we returned from Wuhan. And folks that have asked us, you know, why is it that you felt the need to go there?

[06:40:00]

Well, the reality is, you don't know the story until you're on the ground. And, yes, there are risks, but the folks that we met there have proved invaluable as we return to Beijing and continue to tell the story, staying in touch with them. They've been able to give us what's really happening on the ground.

Meantime, folk who came along with us, many of you, you came through Instagram and FaceBook, we took you along. And you've asked the question, well, how is it that you were able to come back to Beijing and continue reporting? Shouldn't you be in quarantine?

Well, as hundreds of Americans and thousands really around the world are beginning their 14-day quarantine, my team and I just finished ours.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CULVER (voice over): Fourteen days in, and we were headed out.

CULVER (on camera): Checking out after two weeks of quarantine. The whole team feeling good. Continuing on.

CULVER (voice over): How the three of us, CNN photojournalist Natalie Thomas, producer Yong Xiong and I ended up here is because of where we were two weeks earlier, a far more stressful hotel checkout.

This was our 3:30 a.m. scramble to the train station. We'd planned for a few days in Wuhan. But 29 hours in, the phone rang, the city was going on lockdown, and we needed to get out. In the moment, we really could not imagine how big this would get.

Millions under lockdown restrictions, rapidly rising death tolls, tens of thousands infected. And mainland China essentially isolated from the rest of the world. And we were at the epicenter.

CNN decided we should return to Beijing and immediately limit our exposure to others. But we still wanted to tell the story. And we have 350 square feet to do it.

CULVER (on camera): So not a bad commute from my bedroom to the living room, or our studios essentially. Can even do it in slippers.

This is the backdrop that we've got over here. Snowing today.

We, in between live reports, have been doing a lot of research. Yong, our producer, has been on the phone a lot working his sources in Wuhan and Hubei province in particular in between some of our reports. Natalie, behind the camera there, doing the same.

CULVER (voice over): When we weren't on air, we were consumed with getting the story right. But truthfully, we were still feeling a bit guilty that we had walked away from the people of Wuhan. It especially weighed on Yong and Natalie. Yong being Chinese and Natalie having called this country home for nearly a decade. For them it was personal.

So we worked all hours, either video chatting or calling dozens of people still in Wuhan. Yong focusing his efforts on a doctor who tried to sound the alarm early on. Natalie, learning from health care workers about the dire need for supplies. Our meals? Room service. But just to be safe, for the entire stay, we didn't let hotel staff come into our rooms. And, well, they seemed good with that. As soon as they knocked, we opened and they bolted down the hall.

Even with just a few hours of sleep each night, we were fueled by adrenaline to keep on. To be honest, Natalie and Yong motivated me. Admittedly, we did take one night to relax. It was Chinese new year eve and it was really important to Yong.

But then, back to work, until our time was up, day 14.

All right, everything back to the way it was. And we now head out into snowy Beijing. But masks on this time.

Stepping out into the frigid Beijing air, hopping in the car, and continuing our pursuit of this story.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CULVER: And that's where we are right now, back at our office, our Beijing bureau here. The reality, John and Alisyn, is, yes, we had it good. I mean we were in a hotel. A lot of folks there are in the midst of the lockdown, they have little resources. Their accommodations may not be as comfortable. But it is a moment where you're able to kind of be in a space and reflect a lot.

I should also say, you know, when we came back to Beijing, it was not yet mandatory by Chinese law to have gone under quarantine. That was a decision our bosses made and we, of course, went along with it. It was a few days in that then they said anybody who's been to Hubei, 14 days in mandatory, and that's still in place.

CAMEROTA: David, I am so grateful -- we are so grateful that you shared that behind the scenes look because, obviously, our viewers have been wondering about you and how this has all worked. And we have been wondering.

CULVER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: I mean, I just so appreciate that it was -- yes, you had a cushy quarantine as they go, but being trapped in a hotel room for two weeks is still crazy making.

CULVER: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And the fact you guys have been reporting and breaking all these stories is just a testament to you and your crew. And we're really grateful for you being on the ground there.

BERMAN: Did every time you sneezed or sniffled, how stressful has that been?

CULVER: We didn't reflect on it too much while we were there. We didn't want to think about it. We were in the grind of just wanting to get the next story, the next story, the next day, the next live shot. But the reality was, we also did say, hey, Yong, how you feeling today? Natalie, you all right? Checking in on each other. And every day was another day passed and then we felt good. You know, you felt like, all right, we're OK, things are good. And then you have 14 days over and still feeling good.

[06:45:01]

CAMEROTA: David, I know that you and your crew are eager to go back to the zone, to talk to people and keep reporting, but just please be careful. We can't learn all of this without you. So thank you so much for all that you're doing on the ground.

Just remarkable.

BERMAN: It is.

CAMEROTA: Remarkable.

OK, we are also, this morning, remembering a Hollywood legend. A look back at the life and career of Kirk Douglas, who died yesterday at age 103.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: The world lost a legend yesterday. Actor Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103.

CAMEROTA: That's quite a life.

BERMAN: For decades, Douglas was one of the biggest stars on the planet. He made nearly 100 movies. One of the most notable and memorable was that of rebellious Roman slave in 1960's "Spartacus."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Spartacus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Spartacus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Spartacus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Off-screen, Douglas led an open revolt against Hollywood's infamous blacklist. He was nominated for Academy Awards three times in his career. He received an honorary Oscar in 1996, the same year he suffered a stroke. His son, actor Mike Douglas, posting this tribute to his father on social media. He says, quote, to the world he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.

[06:50:09]

But to me and my brothers, Joel and Peter, he was simply dad. I am so proud to be your son. Kirk Douglas leaves behind a big family, including his wife Ann. They

married in 1954.

BERMAN: He called himself a ragman's son. His father basically sold remainders on the streets of Amsterdam, New York. Kirk Douglas, the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant. His birth name was -- I can't even pronounce it, Issur Daniellovitch.

CAMEROTA: I did not know that.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: I did not know that.

BERMAN: And he changed it to Isador Demsky because -- the first one and then he changed it from Isador Demsky to --

CAMEROTA: Kirk Douglas.

BERMAN: Kirk Douglas.

CAMEROTA: I think the last one makes more Hollywood sense on a marquee.

BERMAN: It is, but it tells -- a sign of the times that he grew up in.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

OK, now to this.

Rush Limbaugh is, as you know, a conservative firebrand and a radio talk show icon. Now he is battling advanced lung cancer. Limbaugh is at the center of a new controversy after President Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more on this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: As long as you're here Monday, I will tell you what happened.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Rush Limbaugh rose to fame with his gift for political gab on talk show radio, and later online.

LIMBAUGH: Somebody to stand up for you.

SIDNER: The conservative talk show host's words reached millions, including the ear of the man who has become president.

As Limbaugh faces a deadly battle with lung cancer, President Trump has awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country. SIDNER: Limbaugh has lived the American dream, but at the same time

he's used his words to make a mockery of that dream, sometimes sharing xenophobic, misogynistic, and racist sentiments with the masses. This is how he chose to speak of a New York Yankee icon the day he died in 2010.

LIMBAUGH: Steinbrenner has passed away at age 80. That cracker made a lot of African-American millionaires.

SIDNER: In 2011, Limbaugh decided to mock the Chinese president during his visit to the United States.

LIMBAUGH: Hu Jintao was going (INAUDIBLE).

SIDNER: Limbaugh attacked those who didn't share his political ideas with a fervor and harshness that stood out amongst his talk show peers.

MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR: As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research.

SIDNER: When actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, did this ad for a Democratic candidate who supported stem cell research, Limbaugh pounced.

LIMBAUGH: This is Michael J. Fox. He's got Parkinson's disease. And this -- in this commercial he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act.

SIDNER: After outrage over his comments, Limbaugh apologized the next day saying, I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong.

In 2012, when a Georgetown law student spoke to House Democrats to support mandating insurance companies cover contraceptives, Limbaugh called her a slut and a prostitute and then this.

LIMBAUGH: So, Ms. Fluke, and the rest of you femina-nazis (ph), here's the deal, if we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.

SIDNER: He later apologized for that too. But he reserved a great deal of his racist comments for one man, Barack Obama, both as president and as a candidate. In 2007, as Obama campaigned on hope and change, Limbaugh debuted a racist parody of "Puff the Magic Dragon," sung by a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack the magic negro.

SIDNER: Then Limbaugh defended his decision to air it.

LIMBAUGH: Every one of you out there that think you've got something here on Barack the magic negro, I'm going to try to help you and save you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIDNER: His adoring fans believed he was saving them from liberal bias. But his critics recognize he also delivered hateful rhetoric that helped usher in a new era of extreme political polarization.

Alisyn. John.

BERMAN: All right, Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

An emotional tribute from Vanessa Bryant to her late husband and daughter. We will tell you what she said, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:58:49]

BERMAN: Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa posting a series of pictures and videos on Instagram to remember her husband and her 13-year-old daughter Gigi.

Andy Scholes with us now with the "Bleacher Report."

Andy.

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

You know, tributes continue to pour in for Kobe and Gigi Bryant. Vanessa Bryant posting a series of videos from Gigi's middle school, which held a ceremony retiring her number 2 basketball jersey. Gigi's coaches and teammates, they spoke, sharing their favorite memories of her during the ceremony. And one of Vanessa's posts showing Gigi's number 2 in roses with red balloons with the caption, my Gianna, God I miss you. I've been so lucky to have woken up to see your gorgeous face and amazing smile for 13 years. Wish it would have been until my last breath. Mommy loves you to the moon and back.

Another one of Vanessa's posts is of Gigi's jersey with the caption, my Gigi, I love you. I miss you. You've taught us all that no act of kindness is never too small. Mommy is still and will always be so proud of you. Momacita (ph).

Now, Vanessa also posting this picture of Kobe with the caption, my best friend, hash tag the best daddy. Miss you so much.

The tributes for Kobe and Gigi are going to continue next weekend at the NBA all-star game. John, the team, LeBron All-stars are all going to be wearing Gigi's number two for the game, while Team Giannis, they're all going to wear Kobe's number 24.

[07:00:06]

BERMAN: It doesn't get easier, Andy, but thank you very much for that.