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FDNY Suspends Nine For Racist Messages Mocking George Floyd's Death; Hospital Worker Wearing Body Armor Shoots And Kills Nurse; Brady Sets New Record For Most Career Passing Yards. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 07:30   ET



MATTHEW DOWD (D), TEXAS LT. GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: All of these things that have happened -- bad policy and things that have hurt people have all come out of that spread of that lie, including, as I say, an insurrection at our U.S. Capitol.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Matthew, you're well aware you are being attacked by Republicans and Fox for deleting thousands of tweets. How many tweets did you delete?

DOWD: I don't know. I think what I did was -- and this was long before I -- this is funny about Fox, who looks for anything to sort of come up with some conspiracy theory, as they do.

Earlier in the summer, I thought I have 270,00-260,000 tweets that have just been accumulated. I just decided to go through and delete all of my old tweets, whatever it happened to be. So there's no conspiracy thing here. It's just --

KEILAR: But why?

DOWD: -- cleaning up my files long before I even thought about running in this race.

But again, it's a typical Fox thing to turn to some conspiracy, thinking it has more meaning than it actually does.

KEILAR: Why did you do it, then?

DOWD: I just said, Brianna, I did it because I just wanted to clean up all of my files and get rid of all of the stuff that had accumulated over time.

KEILAR: I mean, I am --

DOWD: There's no reason. As you know --

KEILAR: I understand that, but this isn't like emptying your e-mail inbox, to be clear. Getting rid of all your old e-mails.

DOWD: Well, I empty my e-mail inbox every single day and I'm a -- I'm a person that empties the e-mails and trashes all the stuff. There is no reason, Brianna. You can Google Matthew Dowd and find out everything you possibly want to know about my history and everything I've said. So, everything I've said has been public for the last 20 years. It's not a problem. It's been completely -- everybody knows who I am, what I've done, and what I've said because I've said it on national television over and over and over for the last two decades.

KEILAR: Then why delete them because you know that is going to raise eyebrows? That's going to illicit scrutiny. I mean, in the age of when anyone deletes anything or isn't forthcoming with, say, e-mails -- I mean, look, we know where this goes. You know that it's going to grab attention.

DOWD: So, what I think is happening, Brianna, and I think it's unfortunate, is Fox News does this, which is dreams up some conspiracy theory, as they always do, which is obviously not -- has nothing to do with anything of what we're talking about. And then people begin to repeat it.

Again, I cleaned up my inbox in, I think, it was May or June -- just deleted all my old tweets. I have -- I think I have 5,000 sitting there. And so, I just think we shouldn't play into Fox's new sort of conspiracy theories

KEILAR: I mean, I think it's an important question to ask, which is why I'm asking it.

DOWD: Well, you asked it and I answered it. You asked it and I answered it three times.

KEILAR: I do want to ask you about something that you wrote in 2018. You said, "I would humbly suggest that we as white male Christians take it upon ourselves to step back and give more people who don't look like us access to the levers of power. As a white male Christian in America, I am part of a dwindling subset that has held the levers of power politically and economically in nearly every field for the entire history of the United States."

So, obviously, you were expressing sentiment that there needed to be more representation in representation, and now you are running for lieutenant governor. How do you -- how do you square these things?

DOWD: I think they're completely squarable. I have said it and I mean it. And I think, actually, the table should be made bigger. That the only way to do that and to have access for people of color, for women, and all that is to create a bigger table. And for people that have held power and held sway and stood up, and to step back.

I think it would be great if people of color, women run for offices, which they will do in Texas along the way. So I hope that happens. I'm encouraging that to happen. I don't think there's any sort of misalignment between those two things. I believe that.

And I believe that we should make the table as big and as broad as possible to fill everybody so it looks as diverse as America does. KEILAR: Matthew, I want to thank you for coming on this morning. Obviously, you have quite a race ahead of you and so much going on in Texas, and we appreciate your time.

DOWD: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Just ahead, the racist scandal that is now rocking New York City's fire department.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And breaking news. Disturbing details about a gunman who opened fire inside a Philadelphia hospital. What he was wearing and carrying.



BERMAN: "The New York Times" is reporting that the New York City Fire Department suspended nine firefighters after discovering racist messages and memes about George Floyd's death.

This is a quote from the report. "White firefighters shared racist messages and memes on their phones mocking Mr. Floyd's dying moments. They gloated about how police could legally shoot Black children. And lieutenants discussed turning fire hoses on protesters, prompting debates about whether the tactic would work because wild animals like water."

Joining me now is one of the reporters who broke the story, Astead Herndon, a national politics reporter for the "Times," and a CNN political analyst.

Astead, it's all written down.

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, yes. It was very -- the big shocking part in terms of reporting this, we knew that there was a culture of this in firehouses. That has been true for years.

But what we learned in the process of this reporting is just how ingrained it is, not only socially and culturally in firehouses but actually in the written training manuals of the firehouse. One of the FDNY training materials for management and supervisors literally says that team building would suffer as new members who are minorities or females come in. And that wasn't changed until 2019.

That's just part of the things that we saw here in addition to the text messages, in addition to the jokes about hosing protesters that really enraged some of the Black firefighters who decided that enough has been enough.


BERMAN: We'll come back to the text messages in a second. I just want to follow up one more time on this training manual because this was staggering. HERNDON: Yes.

BERMAN: This was a manual written in the 90s.


BERMAN: It's not like this is from 1950. It was written in the 90s and it wasn't disused until two years ago?

HERNDON: Exactly. So, it was written in 1999, which already is shocking that would be an explicit request of management and supervisors in terms of how they are supposed to think about team building.

But the department said that it was cleaned up and reviewed in 2019. That means for all of those years it was quite literally in the ways that they were teaching supervisors in the firehouse about how they should think about team building. That they should be wary of minorities, about women coming in the department.

Now, we know that the firehouse -- fire department in New York has been 90 percent white men until only about 2013-14. That number is down into the 70s now. But that culture still persists among the rank and file even as they're bringing in new recruits.

BERMAN: And the types of discussions that were going on via text after George Floyd's death -- just talk more about that.

HERNDON: Yes. So we found some of these group messages between white firefighters that were happening in the -- in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. They were making jokes about it. We published some of those. There were some that were so graphic we decided not to publish.

But what happened is that some other firefighters got ahold of those and were so enraged and shocked by what they saw, some went to the Vulcan Society -- the Black firefighters' group. Others went and came to media and said look what we -- look what we saw.

And so, we were able to use some of that sourcing to go back to the department. And we should say that the department did act. There was nine firefighters suspended, one of which will leave the department. In total, the department says it adds up to the largest suspensions in their history. However, the question is these folks will still return to the job -- most of them -- and what does that say about the culture and about what is accepted among the FDNY.

BERMAN: Well, what does it say? I was going to ask you what it -- how did the department respond to you? You just told me they suspended them.


BERMAN: And what are they going to do about this going forward?

HERNDON: Yes. We had an interview with the commissioner, who very quickly admitted fault here. They said that they had failed their Black firefighters. That they still had not rid the department of some of their bad apples.

We know that the -- I mean, the department has tried to create new instructions, new policies that kind of outlawed some of this behavior. The problem is when that comes from the top there's still no guarantee that filters down to the day-to-day members of the firehouse.

So what they need is that gap of enforcement. That's what the commissioner said and that's what he said they're trying to focus on.

The problem -- he told -- he said that his message to Black firefighters was keep the faith. However, we know that some people -- that's just too much for. They're experiencing that harm day-to-day. And we talked to some firefighters who had left the department because in the wake of George Floyd's murder it became too much.

BERMAN: Astead Herndon, people should go read the story. It is really important. Terrific reporting. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

HERNDON: Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: Up next, terror inside a Philadelphia hospital. What police are now saying about a gunman with body armor.

KEILAR: And, Tom Brady's historic and triumphant return to New England.



KEILAR: We have some breaking news. Police say a nurse at a Philadelphia hospital was shot and killed by a co-worker this morning. Officers observed the suspect wearing body armor and carrying several weapons, including a rifle and a semiautomatic handgun.

CNN's Brynn Gingras with us now on this. What can you tell us about this terrible incident?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, some terrifying incident here happening, Brianna, and police are still actually waiting for some daylight to search for evidence where the suspect had a standoff with officers.

That was after the police commissioner said earlier in the night, around midnight, he had walked into Jefferson Hospital, located in the center of Philadelphia. And reports are, as you said, he was wearing scrubs and carrying multiple weapons and body armor as well. The commissioner says he shot a 43-year-old nursing assistant while that person was working. And then the suspect took off in a U-Haul van.

It's believed that the two men knew each other. They worked together. Police are still trying to go through the history of their relationship to find out how this victim was targeted and why. As for the suspect, police caught up with him near a Philadelphia high school. And we're told the 55-year-old man started shooting at police. The commissioner says at least two officers were shot -- one in the elbow. A bullet grazed the nose of the second officer. Both are expected to be OK, so that's good.

Here is more, though, of what the Philadelphia police learned about him overnight.


COMMISSIONER DANIELLE OUTLAW, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: The offender struck by the officers was struck in the upper body and in the neck. We learned that he was wearing body armor and was carrying multiple weapons in addition to the long gun, which was believed to be an AR- 15, and was also carrying some form of a handgun -- a semiautomatic handgun.


GINGRAS: Commissioner Outlaw saying the suspect is expected to survive. No question, Brianna, that they are going to try to be talking to him later this morning -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Brynn. Thank you for that report.

Just ahead, the Facebook whistleblower is now speaking out. What she says was going on at the company in the weeks before the January sixth attack.

BERMAN: And, Tom Brady's dramatic return to Foxboro. Live reaction from someone who won two Super Bowls with him, next.




NFL ANNOUNCER: Fans, with that last completion, Tom Brady has become the NFL's career passing yards leader with more than 80,000 career yards.


BERMAN: So with that, Tom Brady became the NFL's career passing leader. It happened during the most highly anticipated regular-season football game ever. It was Tom Brady's first game back in New England since he left the Patriots for Tampa.

The Pats had a chance to win it -- about 35 minutes ago when I was still watching -- with a 56-yard field goal, but --


Missed field goal by New England Patriots. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I really thought it had a chance. I really thought it might have been going in off the upright. The Bucs won 19 to 17.

Joining me now is Christian Fauria. He is a former --


BERMAN: -- New England Patriots tight end who played with Brady from 2002 to 2005. He's currently the host of "Merloni and Fauria" on WEEI, which I love to listen to whenever I get close to the Nation, as it were.

So, how did this game live up to the hype, would you say?

FAURIA: I mean, I think as far as the points go, I think everyone thought it was going to be a blowout. The fact that the Patriots actually had an opportunity to win this game in regulation -- I don't think anyone thought that was going to be possible based on all the firepower that the Bucs had. Brady returning home.


So I think everyone got their money's worth. I mean, I still think they're a little bit conflicted emotionally. That's probably the one thing that people that are waking up going was I really rooting for Brady in a different uniform? But ultimately, the game was great.

BERMAN: Look, one thing you know is that being a Boston fan means being an emotional wreck all the time, anyway. So, I don't know how you tell the difference between this emotional conflict and every other one that I've had over the Boston sports teams for the last 49 years.

Listen, how do you think Brady did?

FAURIA: I think he -- I think he was just OK. I thought he missed a lot of passes that he probably should have made. I think there was some communication issues. I feel like the guys dropped a lot of passes. They weren't -- they weren't very good in the red zone. They had to settle for field goals.

But when it mattered and they needed to actually get down there and get some points -- I mean, that one thing is consistent. That isn't changing. As bad as he played, as much as he wishes he had some other opportunities back again, when it mattered, he did what he needed to do.

And the score was 19-17. You know, he didn't pass for a touchdown at all. I mean -- so ultimately, either the outcome was -- really should have been inevitable -- like, regardless of the score.

BERMAN: Do you think -- this guy played in 10 Super Bowls, or has played in 10 Super Bowls, right, and won seven of them. Do you think somehow the moment got to him? Is that possible?

FAURIA: You know, a lot of people are saying that. I don't see it that way. I mean, the very first pass that he threw, I actually thought was going to get picked. It didn't even look like -- it was three New England Patriot defenders right there.

But, no, I don't think so. I think -- you know, listen, he was missing Giovani Bernard, he was missing Rob Gronkowski. And I just felt like there was some miscommunication as far as where guys should be, and the red zone was an issue.

Now, let's give the Patriots credit, though. Let's give Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Belichick -- let's give those guys some credit for putting together an unbelievable game plan. Like, they bent but they didn't break.

The Patriots won the time of possession. They had more yards than you (ph). But when they needed to score, they couldn't score a touchdown. I mean, they were one for four in the red zone.

So the defense ultimately gave the Patriots an opportunity to stay in this game and win this game. I mean, Nick Folk missed a field goal -- made a 56 --


FAURIA: -- yard field goal in the -- in the rain. And if it's one inch to the right, it clanks in after hitting the goal post. I mean, that's --

BERMAN: I thought it was going in. I thought it was going in. I have to say --

FAURIA: So did I.

BERMAN: I mean, granted --

FAURIA: So did --

BERMAN: -- I hadn't slept in 30 hours at that point, so I couldn't see straight.

Listen, Christian, Belichick went into the Buc's locker room and talked to Tom Brady for 20 minutes after, and neither is saying what was discussed there. But you know both guys, so recreate that conversation for me.

FAURIA: You almost got me on that one blitz zone. No -- I mean, I -- you know, we have been talking about that -- we've been talking about the game for two weeks now. So the fact that they found some time to kind of reminisce and kind of see how each other was doing, you know.

What were they talking about? I don't know. How is your family? How is your kids? You know, how are the grandkids doing?

What's it like in Florida? Is it really that sunny all the time? I mean, maybe they were talking about the game.

Bill has already been on our station and he's already talked about it. And he's never going to allow anyone to get into those conversations. He's going to keep those private.

But, I mean, I can -- I can't imagine them really having a long sit- down discussion since Tom left. Now, maybe they did. But 20 minutes after the game is a substantial amount of time.

BERMAN: Christian Fauria, it's a thrill for me to get to talk to you. I appreciate all the work you did for those first two Super Bowl wins. Great to see you. Be well.

FAURIA: All right, guys. Have a great morning.

BERMAN: All right, NEW DAY continues right now.

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman, and it is Monday, October fourth.

The faceless Facebook whistleblower now revealing herself, coming forward to say that the social media giant is largely to blame for the spread of content designed to push hate, and then lying to Americans about its efforts or lack thereof to curb incorrect and even violent information.

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, appearing on CBS's "60 MINUTES." She released tens of thousands of pages of internal documents to the FEC that she says proves the company prioritized profit over the public good.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: One of the consequences of how Facebook is picking out that content today is it is optimizing for content that gets engagement or reaction.