Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Biden Relaunches Cancer Moonshot Aimed At Cutting Death Rate; Former Dolphins Head Coach Sues NFL, 3 Teams For Alleged Racism; Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby Discusses 3K Troops To Poland, Romania, Germany Amid Russia Fears; CNN President Jeff Zucker Resigns Effective Immediately; ABC Suspends Whoopi Goldberg Over Holocaust Remarks. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 02, 2022 - 14:30   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all for meeting here. I appreciate it.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, we've been listening to President Biden relaunching this cancer moonshot initiative.

Joining us now for context, we have CNN White House correspondent, John Harwood, CNN senior political correspondent, Abby Phillip, and Oncologist Dr. Zeke Emanuel. He's also the vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Emanuel, I want to go back to you.

So do we have the science and the know-how right now to do what President Biden wants in the next 25 years where he says we can cut cancer deaths in half?

DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, ONCOLOGIST & VICE PROVOST OF GLOBAL INITIATIVES, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Twenty-five years is a long time. That's why I think this is definitely doable.

I would emphasize one of the most important things to do is to make more cancer drugs affordable. Right now, they're $10,000 a month for many drugs and people often don't take drugs because they can't afford them.

We also have a lot of other instruments, like the vaccine against human papilloma virus that can prevent cervical cancer. That's all cervical cancer really in this country. We have to deploy that despite many young women still dying of that illness.

So I think it's definitely doable over the course of the next 25 years.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Abby, the president started his remarks by thanking a doctor who was in attendance, who worked for 18 months to try to save Beau Biden's life. Beau Biden died in 2015 of brain cancer.

The vice president talked about her mother who was a breast cancer researcher who died of colon cancer in 2009.

These stories are personal. This investment is personal as well.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the way that the White House sees it -- and this also happens to be a fact -- so many American families are touched by cancer, just like the president and the vice president themselves.

And so this is not just a personal mission for Joe Biden. It's also something that they know has impact on millions and millions and millions of Americans.

And I just want to add one other thing. You heard Dr. Emanuel talking about the cost of cancer drugs. There's a huge equity component to this as well.

Not just the fact that whether or not you can afford a drug that might save your life bears greatly on whether or not you might be able to survive a cancer.

But also, as we know, there are some cancers that black people and black women are more likely to have bad outcome from. And finding out more about that, preventing that from happening, that's a piece of this.

So for the White House, this issue, it has so many different impacts beyond just the personal.

It's about equity. It's also about saving lives, frankly, on something that's killing hundreds of thousands of people every single year.

CAMEROTA: And, John, the president, you know, who is such a natural optimist, said this is a mission that could unify the nation.

And you know, we've had a global pandemic and that somehow didn't serve to unify the nation. Maybe cancer could do that?

Is it fair to say that if COVID hadn't swept in, this would have been his top health priority?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No. I think expanding, deepening the elements of Obamacare was his top health care priority.

And he's achieved some of that in the American Rescue Plan. And now he's trying to make it permanent in Build Back Better.

But I do think the unity point is the correct one. As Abby said, almost every family is touched by cancer.

There's nobody who is against cancer research. There's nobody who is against preventive care, screenings, to try to prevent, keep people from getting cancer. Coordination of care to try to make sure that using the knowledge we

already have produces better outcomes. These are things that are not divisive issues.

And to the extent that, as Dr. Emanuel just mentioned, we've got 25 years to build on the research that's already been done. There's a lot of progress that can be made. MRNA vaccines are also relevant to this.

So this is something that showcases Joe Biden, not just the optimist, but somebody who's empathetic and somebody who does have the capacity on some issues to bring people together.

BLACKWELL: The president calls this a cancer moonshot, a presidential White House priority. We'll see what the next steps are.

John Harwood, Abby Phillip, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.


Well, former Miami Dolphins coach, Brian Flores, files an explosive class action lawsuit accusing the NFL of racial discrimination. He tells CNN what pushed him over the edge,, next.


CAMEROTA: Former Miami Dolphins head coach, Brian Flores, is suing the NFL for what he says are racist hiring practices.

BLACKWELL: Among other allegations, Floes claims he showed up for what was a sham interview for the Giants aimed only at satisfying the league's diversity rules.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is following the latest.

There are a lot of really damning accusations in this lawsuit. What more can you tell us?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor and Alisyn, I think it's important to start with the text message that is laid out in this lawsuit.

It is an exchange between the Patriots, Bill Belichick, as well as Brian Flores.

Let's walk you through what went back and forth between the two.

In it, Flores is congratulated by Belichick, saying, "Congratulations." Then Flores says, "Do you know something I don't?" He replies, "Giants." Flores makes him aware he hasn't interviewed yet.


And then comes this. This is a key part. Belichick says, "I hear from Buffalo and New York Giants that you are their guy."

At that point, Flores goes on to tell him that he still hasn't interviewed yet. And questions if he realizes which Brian he's speaking to, Brian Flores or Brian Dable.

That's when Belichick comes back and says, and I quote, "I F-ed up." He was confused about which Brian he was speaking to.

That is what Flores points to, to make the point that, in the lawsuit, that the Giants had already made up their mind before he ever went to interview.

And he believes he was being interviewed because the rule, which is a rule in the NFL that has teams interview external as well as minority candidates.

Flores says that made him fuel humiliated. He was feeling disbelief.

And in doing this lawsuit, in laying it all out there, he acknowledges he may be ending his career.

But he feels if he can bring about change in the NFL, a league he compares to being operated like a plantation in this lawsuit, he said it would be well worth it.


BRIAN FLORES, FORMER HEAD COACH, MIAMI DOLPHINS: This isn't about me. And I understand that. This is bigger than me. This is bigger than football.

Many have come before and done a lot to create change in this country for people of color.

And I just felt like, in this instance, you know, it was my turn to step up and be an agent for change. And I'm proud to do that.


SANTIAGO: And I want to read to you a statement from the NFL.

The NFL says, "The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organization" -- Alisyn, Victor?

BLACKWELL: Leyla Santiago, thank you so much.

The secretary general of NATO said he welcomes the new U.S. deployment to Eastern Europe. The Pentagon says it's a show of support to allies feeling threatened by Russia's military moves near Ukraine.

But military leaders have made it clear these troops will not fight in Ukraine. Roughly 2,000 will deploy from the U.S. to Poland and Germany. Another 1,000 or so troops, currently based in Germany, are going to Romania. New satellite images show Russia is continuing its military buildup

along the Ukraine border as well as in Belarus, Crimea, west Russia.

Joining us now, Pentagon press secretary, John Kirby.

Admiral, good to have you back. Thanks for your time.


BLACKWELL: So what triggered this decision? Is it what has changed or what has not changed?

KIRBY: I think maybe it's a little bit of both, Victor.

We continue to see Mr. Putin add to his military capabilities in the western part of his country and in Belarus. He continues to have maritime forces in the Mediterranean and north Atlantic.

He has shown no signs of deescalating.

And we've been watching this for weeks. And we've been in conversations with our NATO allies for weeks about what we're seeing and not seeing out of Russia, no effort to deescalate.

These decisions were very much done bilaterally with these nations and in full cooperation with them at their invitation. But these decisions were sort of accumulated -- based on accumulation of concern we've had over these many weeks.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the information and concern.

You made it clear these forces will not fight in Ukraine. They are going to allied countries.

Is the concern that this will spillover that Putin will turn his aggressions to NATO members or is this primarily about beefing up NATO forces there to try to deter Putin?

KIRBY: It's difficult to know exactly what's in Mr. Putin's head. Obviously, we don't know. And we don't think he's made a final decision one way or another with respect to military action in Ukraine.

But it is because he has shown no sign of deescalating that has led to concerns amongst our NATO allies, particularly on the eastern flank bordering Russia, that sort of prompted these decisions to move these forces.

This is very much, to your question, very much about deterring aggression against the NATO alliance, but also shoring up our defenses on NATO's eastern flank.

Mr. Putin says he's concerned about NATO, a strong NATO on its eastern flank and his western flank. Well, he's actually going to end up with that as a result by the uncertainty and the destabilizing activities that he's been causing. BLACKWELL: You mentioned the acute concern in nearby NATO countries.

Does the U.S. share that concern, that fear that is in Romania, in potentially Bulgaria?


KIRBY: I don't know that I'd describe it as fear. We've had some pretty practical, pragmatic useful conversations with our NATO allies, particularly those on the eastern flank.

They're watching this with great concern, as they should, but I don't know if I'd describe it as fear.

What they do share is our concern over these increasing military capabilities that Mr. Putin has and what he might do with them.

And so it's out of that mutual concern about what we're seeing him do and what're seeing him not do that's led to these decisions.

BLACKWELL: Ambassador Thomas Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, this week, detailed the increase in forces along the Ukraine- Russia border, the additional forces going into Belarus, as well just north of Ukraine.

But we heard from the White House that they will no longer describe potential invasion as imminent.

Even though we're seeing an increase in forces, why the rhetorical shift?

KIRBY: Well, I think there were some issues about how that word translates in Ukraine literally.

The bottom line is we believe that -- and you've heard Secretary Austin say this last week, Victor -- we believe that he, Putin, has a lot of military capability.

He continues to add to his options. And he could execute any number of options, pretty much on very short notice. So we're watching this seriously.

We know that he's got capabilities. If he wants to invade again very, very soon, he could do that.

Our focus is on trying to make sure that diplomacy still has time and space, and we believe it does, so that he doesn't make that kind of a decision.

And if he does, that we have in place both economic consequences for him and plans and ability to shore up NATO's eastern flank.

BLACKWELL: One more on the rhetoric then I want to move on.

You said it's more about how that word translates in Ukraine. We know the President Zelensky asked to tone down some of the, as he called it, "tomorrow is war" talk. Is that what this is about? The U.S. does not believe that an invasion

is any more likely, any less urgent than it was 24 hours ago?

KIRBY: Look, I'll just tell you, here at the Pentagon, we watch this every single day. And every single day, we see him add to his capability, his options.

We're treating those additions with great concern. And, again, that's what led to these decisions that we made to shore up NATO's eastern flank.

And I think, quite frankly, Victor, as we continue to watch this, we may make future decisions to add more forces. Probably some coming from elsewhere in Europe to NATO's eastern flank. We're not going to close off that option.

As for timing again, only Mr. Putin knows the timing is here. And Mr. Putin has a chance to not execute on any time frame, whether it's near or far. He still has a path to diplomacy.

We've been very serious about laying out diplomatic paths forward that we're willing to discuss with him. And that's really the preferred option.

BLACKWELL: All right, Pentagon press secretary, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, thanks for your time.

KIRBY: You bet, Victor.

CAMEROTA: OK, now to this. Whoopi Goldberg suspended from "The View" despite apologizing for her Holocaust remarks. So what her "View" co- hosts are saying about this, next.



BLACKWELL: Now so some big news involving us here at CNN. Network President Jeff Zucker resigned today, effective immediately, because he failed to disclose a consensual relationship with a colleague when it first started.

CAMEROTA: Jeff was a visionary leader for CNN during the last nine years of what can be called a challenging news cycle.

Joining us now is CNN chief media correspondent and "RELIABLE SOURCES" anchor, Brian Stelter.

Brian, it's a tough day here at CNN.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": It is. This is a huge surprise. And it leaves a leadership void that now Warner Media is rushing to fill.

Here is the statement from Jeff Zucker from around 11:00 a.m. this morning announcing that he is leaving. He said, "As part of the investigation into Chris Cuomo's tenure at

CNN, I was asked about a consensual relationship with my closest colleague, someone I worked with for more than 20 years."

"I acknowledge the relationship evolved in recent years. I was required to disclose it when it began but I didn't. I was wrong," he says. "And as a result, I'm resigning today."

That relationship was with Allison Gollust, the chief marketing officer here at CNN. Someone that worked with Jeff for more than 20 years.

Here is Gollust's statement also acknowledging they didn't disclose the relationship at the outset.

She says in the statement that, "I've worked and Jeff and I have been close friends and partners for over 20 years. Recently, our relationship changed during COVID."

She writes, "I regret we didn't disclose it at a right time."

And then she went on to indicate that she will remain at CNN and that she is proud of her colleagues here at the network.

So Gollust and Zucker, this romantic -- this professional relationship that turned Romantic was not disclosed at the outset.

And Warner Media has a clear-cut policy saying that sort of thing has to be disclosed. It's something that's true for all employees.

In fact, it happens in newsrooms, as we all know, from time to time. You have an anchor and a producer or two reporters who end up dating and they go to bosses and disclose it.


So Warner Media here is saying, because Zucker and Allison Gollust did not disclose it, that Zucker is out.

Now, you wonder, he says he resigned. My sense, from some sources, is he was facing termination if he did not resign.

Furthermore, he said to his leadership team today that he wanted to stay on for a transition period to help make a smoother transition but, instead, Warner Media said, no, you're out today.

CAMEROTA: Who are the interim leaders?

STELTER: There are three co-heads of CNN as of today. Michael Bass, Amy Entelis and Ken Jautz are the new co-heads of CNN.

These are all senior executives who have been running the network for years. In fact, Entelis and Jautz were both here before Zucker arrived. So we have a senior leader team to keep the network running and humming.

But I think what you don't have, Alisyn and Victor, I think we all recognize this is, Zucker was larger than life leader.


STELTER: And that can come with positives and negatives. He was a larger-than-life leader. Which is why this is big news not just for CNN but the news industry at large.

CAMEROTA: Obviously, we know Michael and Amy and Ken. We love them. We'll be in good hands.

I want to say something personal for a moment, if I may.


CAMEROTA: That is, I feel it deeply personally. But I think I speak for all of us in and our colleagues, this is an incredible loss. It's an incredible loss.

Jeff is a remarkable person and an incredible leader.

He has this uncanny ability to make, I think, every one of us feel special and valuable in our own way, even though he is managing an international news organization of thousands of people.

I just know he had this unique ability to make us feel special. I don't think that comes around all the time.

And I think, again, it's an incredible loss. I just think it's so regrettable how it happened.

If what you're reporting is true, these are two consenting adult who is are both executives. They can't have a private relationship? It feels wrong.

STELTER: Well, I think there's two layers I would add to that.

Number one is the Chris Cuomo reference. Cuomo was fired in December. He's not going out quietly. He was fired. There were reports he was not going to get paid the millions of dollars on the remainder of his contract.

As a source said to me earlier today, he was trying to burn the place down. He was going to court, trying to burn the place down, and claiming he had incriminating information about Zucker and Gollust.

If this is the case, this is a domino effect that begins with Andrew Cuomo going down in the governor's office, and then Chris Cuomo being fired from CNN, and then Jeff Zucker losing his job at CNN.

That's a remarkable domino event, a chain of events. I think that's part of the story.

I also want to point out, there may be elements we don't know.

But for now, what we do know is that, through that Cuomo investigation, Zucker was asked about his relationship, he acknowledged it, said he should have acknowledged it earlier.

And that was the reason that Warner Media says he's out.

BLACKWELL: It's certainly a clarity of mission and a clarity of vision for this network that will be missed.

All right, Brian Stelter, thanks so much.

STELTER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Brian.

All right. ABC News suspending Whoopi Goldberg as co-host of "The View" for two weeks over these remarks she made about the Holocaust on Monday's show.


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": The Holocaust isn't about race.




GOLDBERG: But it's not about race. It's not about race.

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": What is it about?

GOLDBERG: It's about man's inhumanity to man.


BLACKWELL: Goldberg has apologized but the network says her words were wrong and hurtful and they would like her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments.

Joining us now is Rabbi Joesph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

Thank you so much for your time today.

I said that the executives there wanted her to take some time. She's on a two-week suspension.

Considering her comments, then the subsequent apology, do you think that suspension is appropriate?

RABBI JOSEPH POTASNIK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NEW YORK BOARD OF RABBIS: Firstly, thank you, Victor and Alisyn, for having me on.

I'm a child of Holocaust survivors. My parents lost five children during that horrific period. So this resonates very painfully with me.

I think the real issue is not the length of the suspension, the sincerity of the apology.

I think the question remains, where do we go from here? How do we take a moment that's so controversial and turn it into something positive? Which means I think we should be advocating.

Whoopi Goldberg would be great advocate for mandatory Holocaust education in our country.


The depth of Holocaust ignorance is shameful. When you see a statistic that two-thirds of America's youth don't about the death camps, two- thirds of Millennials don't know what Auschwitz is, we have failed.

In terms of providing young people today, and adults as well, with an education that is necessary if we're going to combat the hateful challenges of our time.