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Sanders Disavows Attacks on Culinary Workers Union; Roger Stone Faces Sentencing; Edie Falco is Interviewed about NEW DAY and Acting. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 20, 2020 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Lightly. The Culinary Union is part of a national organization that represents 300,000 basically hospitality workers across North America. So who will they endorse?

Their president, D. Taylor, joins us now.

Good morning, Mr. Taylor.

D. TAYLOR, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, UNITE HERE: Good morning.

CAMEROTA: I know it's extra early there. Thank you for waking up to talk to us.

TAYLOR: No problem.

CAMEROTA: So why not endorse a candidate at this point?

TAYLOR: Well, the local here decided that they were just going to give the facts to the members. The members will make that decision. A very democratic process. They're actually very excited that at the center of this Democratic debate you have housekeepers, cooks, food service, cocktail waitresses whose voice is being heard. That's exciting. And all the candidates are being exposed to that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, I guess I'm only asking why the difference this year. I know, as you well know, in 2008 you all did endorse Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton ended up winning that state. And so is it a feeling of being afraid to get it wrong?

TAYLOR: Oh, no, actually, we were the first union to endorse Barack Obama. We were very proud of that. Looking back, we were geniuses since he won the nomination.

We never -- the local here never gets afraid of a fight. I mean we've had a six-year strike here before. That was not -- the idea of being fearful is just fiction.

What we wanted to do, because there were so many good candidates, give them -- our members the facts. Let them decide. And we think the local here felt very strongly about that. And that's what they've done. CAMEROTA: Since you don't like Bernie Sanders' Medicare for all plan,

why not go in the direction of one of the candidates who also don't like it? I mean people who have -- for instance, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, who seem to be more in line with that thinking?

TAYLOR: Well, for one thing, when you characterize they don't like Medicare for all, I think that's incorrect. I think that the local here has said, listen, we think health care should be a right in this country, not a privilege. Everybody should have good health care. The local here just said, we think workers should have a choice. No matter what worker it is, people should have a choice.

We're not a one trick pony, for example, here. We look at the overall record. The overall record of all the candidates is quite good on labor issues. So we're not going to get boxed in by one issue only. It's an important issue, but also another important issue is this theme that we have is one job should be enough. We think that -- we want to know how good jobs are going to be created in this country for everybody so they can sustain their families and comprehensive immigration reform.

I actually think the health care debate has really gotten off track. No one's talking about the price of health care. Not the cost, the price. For example, I wish last night in the debate they had talked about how -- what is your solution to fix the cost of prescription drugs? You know, when you go and have to get insulin that's gone up 400 percent over the last 25 years, insulin has been around for 90 years. There's only three manufacturers that control that market. Why is that? Why aren't we dealing with issues today that have to do with Americans' struggle on health care.

CAMEROTA: And, I mean, you all, I think, have pointed out that the people that you think are really hurting health care are President Trump and the Republicans.

But I want to move on to something that came up last night in the debate, and that is that your -- some of your workers have felt, I think the word is viciously attacked by some of Bernie Sanders' supporters because of some of this. And so I want to play for you what Bernie Sanders said last night about this very topic.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I saw some of those tweets regarding the Culinary Workers Union. I am the -- have a 30-year, 100 percent pro-union voting record. You think I would support or anybody supports me would be attacking union leaders? It's not thinkable.

If there are a few people who make ugly remarks who attack trade union leaders, I disown those people. They are not part of our movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Does that go far enough for you?

TAYLOR: Well, for example, they attacked the head of the Culinary Union, Geoconda Arguello-Kline. She's an immigrant from Nicaragua. They attacked Bethany Khan, who's a communications director, who is African-American. Two women of color. We take those attacks and what was said to them, their home addresses were posted online, their home phone numbers, the words that they used, et cetera, et cetera.

You know, my mother used to say, you're judged by the company you keep. I take what Senator Sanders at face value. No question about that. But this has been a pattern in his campaign. When the Workers Family Party endorsed Elizabeth Warren over Senator Sanders, the vicious attacks on those people there.

[08:35:07]

When Senator Sanders pointed out that what Senator Sanders had said that a woman couldn't be president, the attacks on her. So I don't doubt what Senator Sanders says, but I think he has to condemn this repeatedly. I think it has to be -- I think he should investigate it. I mean that's why you have forensics.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

TAYLOR: This kind of nasty, crude Trump-esque attacks have no place in the Democratic Party.

CAMEROTA: OK.

D. Taylor, we really appreciate your time this morning. Thank you for explaining all of that to us.

TAYLOR: Thank you very much.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Roger Stone will learn his fate today when a federal judge sentences him. That is if a federal judge sentences him and the president doesn't pardon him first. We have a live report outside the federal courthouse in Washington.

CAMEROTA: But first, the story of a young father in the prime of his life told he has only six months left to live. Brian Wallach (ph) has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. And two years after that diagnosis, he's now launched a non-profit aimed at finding a cure. We follow Brian in today's "Human Factor."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN WALLACH (ph): Before I was diagnosed with ALS, I was a 36-year- old federal prosecutor. I was married and had one beautiful daughter and a second on the way.

I will fight for every single day that I can get because I love this life and I don't want to leave it.

The day I was diagnosed was the same day that we bought our second daughter home. I had seen a primary care physician, who sent me to a neurologist. Within 10 minutes of seeing that neurologist, he told me I believe you have ALS, and I believe you have six months left to live.

Given that, I'm about two and a half years into my fight. I'm pretty lucky.

I AM ALS is a non-profit that's dedicated to raising awareness of ALS.

One of the goals is to raise $100 million in new funding to speed the treatments that are in the pipeline right now. If we don't find treatments and cures, I will be in a wheelchair at some point in time, not be able to speak. It will ultimately kill me.

I'm hoping my legacy will be me sitting on a beach in 20 years looking back on this moment, saying, we were told that curing ALS was impossible and we did it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:42:11]

BERMAN: One hour from now, longtime trump ally Roger Stone will be sentenced on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. Overnight, the president floated the idea of a pardon of Stone by tweeting a Fox TV host suggesting that he do it.

CNN's Sara Murray is live outside U.S. District Court in Washington with the very latest.

The clock is ticking, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The clock is ticking, John. Today the judge will decide what kind of punishment Roger Stone deserves for his crimes.

Now, Stone and his attorneys have said he does not deserve any jail time, whereas the original prosecutors on this case said he deserves seven to nine years behind bars. But, of course, there was extraordinary intervention in this case. Then the Justice Department leadership, Attorney General William Barr, weighed in and overruled prosecutors' recommendation to the judge, calling it excessive and suggesting Roger Stone deserves less jail time. That prompted the four prosecutors who were on this case to resign. So there will be new prosecutors in court today for this sentencing. And it is up to the judge, ultimately, what she wants to hand down for the punishment for Roger Stone.

Now, will Roger Stone ever end up serving any jail time, even if that's what the judge decides? That remains to be seen. Donald Trump has weighed in on this case over and over again, saying Stone has been treated unfairly, suggesting the judge in this case is biased and suggesting Roger Stone deserves another trial. And he did it yet again where he pinned a tweet from a Fox News host to the top of his Twitter feed saying that Stone was treated unfairly and that he deserves to be pardoned. So we'll see if that's ultimately what happens, John.

CAMEROTA: OK, thank you very much, Sara, for that. We will be watching very closely.

OK, up next, you're about to witness a peak moment for the Berman and me. This -- and I'm not talking about a peak career moment, a peak life --

BERMAN: Life.

CAMEROTA: Life moment. We have just found out that a badass woman loves us both. Oh, she's also directing our show. She's directing our show right now. She can do it all. This is a woman of many hats. It's Edie Falco. And wait until you hear who her favorite TV stars are.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:48:02]

BERMAN: So, Emmy award winner Edie Falco has played many roles, including an iconic mob wife on "The Sopranos," and a drug addicted ER nurse in "Nurse Jackie." Now she's taking on a new role.

And joining us now is Edie Falco.

CAMEROTA: Oh.

BERMAN: But enough about you, OK. Seriously.

EDIE FALCO, EMMY AND GOLDEN GLOBE WINNING ACTRESS: That's what I say, enough about me, let's talk about you guys.

BERMAN: Enough about -- enough about you. Enough about you. Because we were reading "The New York Times" a couple weeks ago.

CAMEROTA: Actually, Jake Tapper sent us a text.

BERMAN: Yes.

FALCO: No.

BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE). Jake Tapper.

BERMAN: All right.

FALCO: The Jake Tapper?

CAMEROTA: The Jake Tapper sent us a text.

BERMAN: And this is what it said. Do you want to read it out loud?

CAMEROTA: Yes, I do, because this is a peek moment. BERMAN: I left my glasses on the table, so you're going to have to read it.

FALCO: You have to hurry up, there's going to be a breaking news story in about three seconds, I have no doubt.

CAMEROTA: Jake Tapper sent us one with just the caption, whoa!, OK, exclamation point, exclamation point. And here was the link. I turned on CNN on 9/11, and I don't think I've turned it off. I've been in some state of high alert internally. The way things are right now, I certainly don't trust that the government has my back in the way that I used to. So I feel like I just need to stay on top of what's happening and be sure I'm prepared for storms, missile launches, floods, whatever. They are my celebrities, John Berman, Alisyn Camerota, Jake Tapper. If I saw them on the street, I'd get all googly-eyed.

FALCO: Which is what's happening right now.

CAMEROTA: OK.

FALCO: I'm a nervous wreck.

CAMEROTA: OK. We -- the feeling -- the reason we were so tickled is that the feeling is mutual. And after that text we got from Jake Tapper, the text that went back and forth said things like this. I can die now, my life is complete.

FALCO: Oh, no.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

FALCO: Oh, no, no, don't do that.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

FALCO: That would be antithetical to the whole reason for doing this.

CAMEROTA: That's right, now that we're besties.

FALCO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Well, you're a news hound. You're a junky.

FALCO: Yes. Yes. I didn't ever think that that would be the case. I never meant for that to be the case. But it has happened. Lo and behold. And it is true that I do feel like I need to stay on top of what's happening. I'm raising two kids in New York City at this time in our culture.

[08:50:03]

I've got to --I've got to know what's going on.

BERMAN: So no one forced you to say that? That wasn't said under duress? FALCO: No. No, it wasn't. I mean I don't remember saying it, but I'm

sure I did at some point.

BERMAN: I can understand how you feel about Alisyn and maybe me, but what do you see in Jake? I mean, seriously, I've known him for a long time. What do you think --

FALCO: Well, the thing is, all of you guys, like, I've watched all of you, you know, little gray hair come in. I mean for like over the period --

CAMEROTA: Not me.

FALCO: No, not you, nor me.

CAMEROTA: This -- you're not seeing anything happening here.

FALCO: I feel like I've grown up with you guys. I mean, seriously. I was -- on 9/11, later in the day, living in the west village, walking through the streets, I ran into Jim Gandolfini who said, go to my house. He lived a few blocks from me. And I went to his house surrounded by half the "Sopranos" cast and everybody else in the neighborhood and all of us sat there watching 9/11 happen on CNN. And, seriously, I don't believe I've turned it off since then.

CAMEROTA: Before we get to what else you like about us, which I -- which we will get to, believe me, I do want to ask you about the "Sopranos." And I don't know if that's an obnoxious question --

FALCO: No, no, no, no, no.

CAMEROTA: Because, look, some people, and I think sometimes you get this from like the cast of "Friends" or something, a show that is so iconic, that so many people identified with at some point, some stars say that was the past. I now have a new show and I want to move on. But I personally just missed the "Sopranos." You were my family all those nights.

FALCO: Oh, I know.

CAMEROTA: It was appointment viewing. And so how -- do you miss it, and what was that moment like for you?

FALCO: No. I don't miss it. I mean I don't -- I don't miss making it. I mean, of course, it was great fun and I would do it again in a heartbeat. But I do actually go on being an actor. You play lots of different parts. But never for one second does it escape me, the gratitude I have for having fallen into this experience. It was an audition. You know, I could have easily just said, you know, yes, I can't go to that thing today, I'm too busy. I was busy on that day. But I went and I was on this thing that people still stop me and ask about. Usually they ask about the last episode, but they'll say like what you just said, and it is a huge honor for an actor to feel like they've had that kind of impact. I never tire of talking about it.

BERMAN: You tried to go back and watch it from the beginning and couldn't do it?

FALCO: Me and Aida Turturro, who played Janice, Aida's one of my dear friends, thought we'd sit down and watch them. And we got four episodes into the first season, I -- and we couldn't do it.

CAMEROTA: Why?

FALCO: Well, we were watching at night. And it's just too evocative. It brings up too much. Like I remember shooting that day. It was raining. Jim was in a bad mood or, you know, then -- even just seeing Jim is hard. He was -- we were all so young and it's not like watching it for fun. It was too -- it was too emotionally provocative.

CAMEROTA: I understand that.

FALCO: Who needs that before bed.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, I feel that way. If I were to see it now, I too would miss Jim Gandolfini and I don't know him --

FALCO: Yes. Yes.

CAMEROTA: But that would be emotional.

FALCO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: OK, so tell us about the new show coming.

So I play an ex-New York Police Department cop. And I've been hired to run the police department in L.A. The police chief. So I'm a transplanted New Yorker in Los Angeles. And we shoot it in Queens. Go figure.

CAMEROTA: Perfect, because --

FALCO: I know.

CAMEROTA: I mean for your family, too. You're raising two kids.

FALCO: I can't -- well, it was a non -- it was a non-starter. I read the pilot script. I thought, this is great. But it's in L.A. And I just moved on. And then my manager said, well, what if they shot it in New York? I thought he was kidding.

BERMAN: You're so important now that they move L.A. to New York.

FALCO: You know, I -- whatever -- whatever you want to use as the tag line in that. Whatever the case may be. They carried around palm trees and we shot in front of bodegas and stuff and we'll see if people buy it. We'll see.

BERMAN: You're kind of a big deal which is why --

FALCO: For my kids.

BERMAN: When you said nice stuff about us in "The New York Times," we decided that we just had --

FALCO: I will say nice stuff about you to "The New York Times" any day.

CAMEROTA: That's great. So what else do you like about us?

FALCO: Well, you're funny. You're so funny. You play off each other. Even when you're talking -- see. Even when you're talking about very serious stuff, which is really all there is to talk about these days.

BERMAN: Right.

FALCO: And you're great. You keep it light and you're smart and you tell the truth.

BERMAN: How do you feel? You watch the news clearly a lot, which is great for us.

FALCO: OK.

BERMAN: OK, I encourage everyone to do it. But normally when I talk to people who have it on all day they say oh it stresses me out. How do you deal with that?

FALCO: Well, I am a Buddhist. I meditate. I have all kinds of things to counteract it. So I basically walk around like a normal person because I'm doing really good things for myself but I watch the news all day. So it kind of --

CAMEROTA: Wow, that is an interesting combo.

FALCO: Seriously.

CAMEROTA: You meditate every day.

FALCO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: For how long.

FALCO: Twelve hours. No, for a half hour.

CAMEROTA: Is that right?

FALCO: Yes, I'm part of --

CAMEROTA: And do you find that that keeps you sane during this crazy making --

FALCO: It changes everything. It changes everything.

BERMAN: You've thought about it.

CAMEROTA: I have?

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Meditating?

BERMAN: Yes. We were --

CAMEROTA: Are you considering that nap? Is that synonymous with napping?

BERMAN: Exactly, the nap you take in the office every day.

CAMEROTA: Every day, that's how I self-prepare --

FALCO: Well, I do sleep during meditation. I don't know if that's against the -- no, I'm kidding.

CAMEROTA: Oh, you do? I mean I -- oh, no you don't. Oh, you're kidding. OK.

FALCO: You know, you get -- it takes a while because your brain's going all over the place. You learn how to do it, it changes everything. It changes everything. It really does. And I didn't make that up. The Buddhas, you know, 3,000 years ago.

CAMEROTA: Yes, no, it's -- it's just great to have you here.

BERMAN: I hope you -- I hope you don't, you know, it's -- look, in this news environment, we hear a lot from people and most of it isn't nice.

[08:55:05]

FALCO: Really?

BERMAN: So --

CAMEROTA: I don't think that's true. I mean I think -- I don't think that's true. Obviously, it's a polarized time --

FALCO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And people feel very strongly about their news channel, obviously, right now.

FALCO: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And, you know, we also hear from people who say that it's just too much. It's too crazy making and they --

FALCO: It's a weird time where we have this 24 hour news cycle. But it is what I've grown into adulthood with. So I'm used to it now.

BERMAN: So because you're now part of our family.

FALCO: Good.

BERMAN: We would like you to toss to break.

FALCO: Oh, God. We have breaking news. CNN NEWSROOM continues after this quick break.

CAMEROTA: Oh, masterful.

BERMAN: Awesome.

CAMEROTA: Masterful. That was perfect.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

Washington's balance of power faces an unprecedented test. One hour from now, President Trump's longtime friend and ally Roger Stone is going to be sentenced for lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering, all of this during the course of the Russia investigation. And this comes amid fierce controversy as the Justice Department faces accusations of caving to political influence.

SCIUTTO: Attorney General Bill Barr facing backlash for intervening in prosecutor's sentencing recommendation just hours after the president lashed out.

[09:00:07]

All four prosecutors then quit --