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Washington Football Accusers Demand To See Reporter After Emails; "Jeopardy!" Champion Ends Streak Of 3 Consecutive Wins; Paul McCartney: John Lennon Instigated The Beatles Breakup. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 07:30   ET



JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: -- we've seen vaccination rates increase by more than 20 percentage points to well over 90 percent in many big businesses, like United Airlines and Tyson Foods, to name just two. Even the parent company of Fox News -- that bastion of COVID misinformation -- has hit 90 percent by either requiring vaccination or daily testing.

Now, this isn't that surprising, really. It's self-interest with a deadline.

Now, bear with me here. Remember that really weird news cycle a few weeks back when everyone was talking about Nicki Minaj's tweet about her cousin's friend's testicles? Good times. But what really jumped out at me besides Trinidad's health department confirming the story was nonsense, was this aside.

In the pop star's tweetstorm, quote, "A lot of countries won't let people work without the vaccine. I'm sure I'll be vaccinated as well because I have to go on tour." Totally relatable, right? I mean, not the global touring part but admitting that she'd probably get vaccinated to go on tour because she'd have to.

Fear and doubt tend to fade away when they face a forcing factor, like vaccine requirements. There's no right to get other people sick -- just like the right to swing your fist ends at someone else's nose. And while there is a place for legitimate religious or health exemptions, there's no right to go on tour or go to work during a pandemic if you're not vaccinated or tested.

And this isn't some revolutionary new concept. This has been a settled constitutional question for over 100 years, as Justice Amy Coney Barrett reinforced when she declined to stop Indiana University's mandate.

And this can't be said enough. Vaccine mandates have been a totally normal part of American life for decades. Only in our current fever dream does partisan politics twist our ability to see this.

As a recent epic letter to the editor in "The New York Times" stated, "I have to confess being a one-time anti-vaxxer. I was adamantly opposed to the vaccines against measles, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, and polio that I was mandated by the states to take. But I later realized it was a good thing. Kindergarten changes a person."

And that's your reality check.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And extra points for working in cousin's friend's "Testiclegate" there, John.

Thank you --

AVLON: A daily double.

BERMAN: -- very much for that -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: So, this morning, we are now getting a sense of just how Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden's homophobic and misogynistic emails came to light. His toxic commentary was discovered in a separate investigation by the NFL into allegations of harassment and workplace misconduct by former employees at the Washington Football Team, which he was not obviously a part of at the time.

Joining me now is Lisa Banks. She is the attorney for former employees of the Washington Football Team, and an employment and whistleblower attorney. Lisa, thank you so much for talking with us about this.

You have a number of clients who are asking for more here. What do they want to happen when it comes to releasing not just obviously these Jon Gruden emails but a number of other ones in the about- 650,000 that were part of this investigation?

LISA BANKS, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER EMPLOYEES OF WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM, EMPLOYMENT AND WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY (via Skype): We've been asking for about a year now to have the findings of the report conducted by the independent attorney to be released, whether it is the underlying emails, the witness interviews, or the report itself.

And although the commissioner of the NFL didn't receive a report, we have reason to believe that one was drafted along the way. And we had been asking for this to be released, and we're still asking for it to be released. After 10 months and 650,000 documents, and 120 witnesses, we've heard nothing. They essentially buried the findings of the investigation.

KEILAR: The team was fined $10 million, which seems like a lot of money but, of course, it's a drop in the bucket when you're talking about a team like this.

Why do you think that findings -- written findings were not delivered to the commissioner?

BANKS: Well, based on my knowledge, based on my 40 clients and what they provided to the investigators, I know that there's a lot of damning information about the Washington Football Team and about its owner, and I'm sure that there was going to be embarrassing information in that report. And for whatever reason, the league decided that it was going to protect the owner and ignore the women. KEILAR: The -- what was found was that it was a highly unprofessional environment at the team, especially for women. Now, from these Jon Gruden emails, we've learned it goes beyond that. Some of what he said was about women. And now, the question is are there emails from other people as well?


What do you think -- what do you think is in there?

BANKS: Well, there's a lot more in there than information that reflects an unprofessional environment. I mean, this was 20 years of harassment and abuse at the Washington Football Team at all levels of the organization. And so, I'm sure that among those 650,000 emails there are a lot of terrible emails. The Jon Gruden emails were terrible. But I have no doubt there is other information in there that reflects very badly on other members of the Washington Football Team leadership.

KEILAR: Do you think he's just a fall guy here?

BANKS: Oh, yes. I mean, obviously, what he did and what he wrote was terrible and he probably deserved to lose his job, but it's telling that the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders is the only one to lose their job after a 10-month investigation into the Washington Football Team and its culture.

KEILAR: The Players Association is -- in a way, you have an ally here, right? The Players Association is requesting that the NFL release its findings. That it make these findings public -- these findings that you want as well.

Where does that put you having the Players Association requesting this?

BANKS: Well, I think they're building momentum here. There has been a lot of pressure on the league to release the findings along the way -- not just from me and my clients but from a number of other organizations and policy groups and now, the NFLPA.

And I expect that sooner rather than later we're going to hear from corporate America, too. We have a lot of large sponsors that support the NFL who cannot be in favor of sweeping these types of allegations and this investigation under the rug.

KEILAR: Lisa, I want to thank you very much for being with us to talk about this.

BANKS: My pleasure.

KEILAR: "JEOPARDY!" champ Matt Amodio's epic 38-game winning streak coming to an end.


MAYIM BIALIK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": You have $10,600. What was your response? What is Poland? Unfortunately, that's not correct.


KEILAR: Oh! We're going to speak live with him about why the final jeopardy question stumped him.

BERMAN: And first, Mick Jagger went unnoticed at a bar. Now, Paul McCartney is dissing The Rolling Stones. The McCartney interview that has music fans' tongues wagging.




BIALIK: It all comes down to this -- the category, "Countries of the World." Here is your clue. "Nazi Germany annexed this nation and divided it into regions of the Alps and the Danube; the allies later divided it into four sectors." You have 30 seconds.

You have $10,600. What was your response? What is Poland? Unfortunately, that's not correct. What's that going to cost you? Five thousand dollars.


BERMAN: The correct answer was Austria.

Matt Amodio's impressive 38 consecutive wins came to an end Monday night. This 38-day winning streak second only to Ken Jennings' record- breaking 74 consecutive wins 17 years ago. Amodio walked away with more than $1.5 million.

Joining me now, now-former "JEOPARDY!" champion Matt Amodio. Matt, congratulations on your achievement. It is just phenomenal.

I have to ask, what was it like when you were in the middle of the streak? What did it feel like?

MATT AMODIO, WON $1.5 MILLION ON "JEOPARDY!" AFTER 38 CONSECUTIVE WINS (via Skype): Oh, it was just so great. I always wanted to call myself a "JEOPARDY!" champion and I got a really long time where I was able to do that. So, it was just so much fun.

BERMAN: You know, Ted Williams, when he used to bat, used to say the ball would get bigger when it crossed the plate. For Ted Williams, it slowed down and got bigger. Was that what it was like for you? Did time just slow down and you felt like you'd get everything right?

AMODIO: Yes. When you're in a groove, just -- you want them to keep coming and you're feeling like you can do everything right. But then, there were some times when I was winning but I wasn't feeling so confident. And so, it comes and goes.

BERMAN: So, this last game. What was the moment where you knew you were in trouble?

AMODIO: Yes. I had several of those moments, unfortunately. So, the entire second round, Double Jeopardy, was kind of just a freefall downward for me where I saw it crumbling as I went.

BERMAN: Is it hard to dig yourself out when you see things going south?

AMODIO: Yes, and -- I mean, so much of the game is some luck, so they place those big daily doubles in different places and then you have this buzzer thing that you don't really always have control over. And so, when I see that happening, I always knew it was possible and I'm kind of surprised that it took as long to come as it did.

BERMAN: I don't think people realize "JEOPARDY!" is as much a dexterity contest as an intelligence contest. It's how quickly you can press the buzzer.

AMODIO: Absolutely, but not too quickly. You have to wait until the question is completely read. So, yes, it's -- it brought back a lot of my sports training in terms of hand-eye coordination and timing.

BERMAN: So, listen, you've always talked about how Ken Jennings was an idol of yours. And he had to play it cool during this streak because he works for "JEOPARDY!" now, but he finally did tweet out "Whoa" after one of your victories.


So, what was it like to get that affirmation from Ken Jennings?

AMODIO: Yes -- to impress your idol, it doesn't get any better than that. When I first saw that he had said that about me I just fell to the floor. It meant so much to me. I hope that he knows how much that meant to me because it's just -- he didn't have to do it and he did. And I just -- I'm so grateful for him.

BERMAN: You say he's your idol. Do you have any opinion on "JEOPARDY!" hostgate? Are you hoping that maybe it'll end up being Ken Jennings or Mayim Bialik? Who would you prefer?

AMODIO: You know, I worked with Mayim and she was fantastic. I haven't had a chance to work with Ken but I'm sure he's fantastic. I know that whatever they decide that there are no bad choices.

BERMAN: How much did that factor into your stretch of play, which people need to know I guess it was really only over nine days. It felt like months and months, but you play five games a day. But it came in the wake of all the host controversy. So, how much of a factor was that?

AMODIO: You know, I was surprised at how little that affected me because there is a whole crew. "JEOPARDY!" is not just one person; it's a team. And, sure, one host was changing all the time but there was so much that was the same -- really, my days felt pretty consistent throughout this whole thing. BERMAN: So, $1.5 million. What are you going to do with it?

AMODIO: Oh, my goodness -- boring answer, but I'm going to save it. My goal is to not need to touch a penny anytime soon.

BERMAN: Boring, but sensible, like a nice pair of slacks.

Mark Amodio -- Matt Amodio, I should say, congratulations to you. Your work was terrific. It was a pleasure to watch you and to watch the joy that it brought you, more than anything. So nice to talk to you.

AMODIO: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

BERMAN: So, who broke up the Beatles? That is a question that Amodio surely would have gotten right on "JEOPARDY!" It is one of the biggest questions in music history and it is finally answered.

KEILAR: I know you would save that money, too, Berman. I know you would.

Plus, a short time from now, Captain Kirk, also known as William Shatner, will become the oldest person to travel to the final frontier -- well, at least, sub-orbitally. We're going live to the ground in Van Horn, Texas.



BERMAN: Paul McCartney is making headlines with some of his recent comments on a number of topics. Among the most controversial, the 79- year-old legend seemed to take a shot at The Rolling Stones in a profile by David Remnick in "The New Yorker."

Remnick writes, quote, "McCartney isn't above suggesting that the Beatles worked from a broader range of musical languages than their peers -- not least the Rolling Stones. I'm not sure I should say it, but they're a blues cover band. That's sort of what the Stones are,' he told me. 'I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.'"

Joining me now to discuss this wonderful piece is David Remnick, the editor of "The New Yorker." David, it's an honor to get to speak to you about this. The piece is wonderful and I have a lot of questions for you.


BERMAN: But first, let me just ask about that -- that controversial moment where Paul McCartney chose to throw down with you on the Rolling Stones. It almost seemed as if you were surprised he said it.

REMNICK: I was a little bit surprised and I think Paul was a little bit surprised. I think -- you know, look, after all these years -- the Beatles have been broken up, after all, for a half a century and sadly, John is gone and George is gone -- but there's a little bit of a competitive edge.

And I think that Paul feels that the Stone -- you know, a group that he loved and they were contemporaries -- were basically and are basically a blues band, which is probably simplifying matters a little bit, but that's true. That's what the Stones did. They took Black music -- Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry -- and they played it and became famous on it, and then elaborated on it.

The Beatles were working from a different foundation -- not only that kind of music. R&B and rock and roll, but also English music halls music and skiffle and Rodgers and Hart, and Rodgers and Hammerstein all figure into the Beatles over time.

So, it's -- they were quite different and I think Paul, even after all these years, is a little bit competitive with -- in terms of legacy.

BERMAN: It seemed like a lot competitive because people always say Beatles or Stones, the great feud. And his answer was basically, really, really? You're even going to discuss this?

REMICK: Yes. Well, I let him speak for himself. But there is that little bit of an edge, but I think it's mainly in good fun. But this is a 70 -- this is a guy who is 79 and who is still touring and doing three-hour concerts when COVID allows, obviously. And he still feels it.

And he's become the kind of conservator of Beatles history. And as a result, he's still trying to straighten out, in his view, all kinds of questions, including who broke up the Beatles.

BERMAN: Well look, that's what struck me most about this entire piece. If there is anyone on earth who has nothing to prove it's Paul McCartney.


BERMAN: Yet, it seems as he was speaking to you and as he's been speaking publicly the last few weeks and months, he does have stuff he wants to prove or get off his chest.

Let me just play for you this interview with BBC 4 where he said something he's sort of alluded to before, but he was talking about how the Beatles broke up -- listen.


PAUL MCCARTNEY: 'I'm not the person who instigated the split.

JOHN WILSON, BRITISH JOURNALIST AND BROADCASTER: You brought the lawyers in, though, didn't you?

MCCARTNEY: Oh, no, no, no, no. John walked into the room one day and said I'm leaving The Beatles. And he said it's quite thrilling. It's rather like a divorce. And then we were left to pick up the pieces. But I didn't instigate the split. That was our Johnny.


BERMAN: OK, what's going on there.

REMNICK: Well, what's going on there is that he's being accurate. And the Beatles were breaking up in little bits and little cracks and fissures for a good while, ever since Brian Epstein died, certainly -- their manager. George Harrison wanted to get more songs on albums. Even Ringo walked out during the "White Album" sessions, as you might remember.


But finally, it was John, in a meeting, who said I'm done, I'm out. I'm going off with Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band and that's it. But they kept it secret for business reasons for a while.

And then it was Paul McCartney who, when he put out his first solo album, included a kind of interview in the record sleeve saying we're broken up. So, Paul took the hit in a certain way.

And, of course, very sadly, they feuded for a while and they wrote songs about each other that were kind of nasty. In British terms, they were taking the piss. They were -- they were insulting each other. And then, their relationship got a lot better. And then, of course, John was killed in 1980.

But it had been very up and down, their relationship. They were so close. There was no -- there was no creative collaboration that was more important to popular culture after the war and also one that was more complicated.

BERMAN: Complicated, to say the least. And somehow --

REMNICK: Like brothers.

BERMAN: -- reputationally after their breakup, it was always Paul who was depicted as less cool -- maybe less hip. Part of that was John Lennon doing that interview with Jann Wenner and the "Rolling Stone" establishment magazine deciding that they loved John most of all.

But how has that affected Paul over the years for, somehow, he came off as less cool?

REMNICK: Well, you know the old saying that all happy families are alike and all unhappy families are alike, themselves, each in their own way. And, Lennon and McCartney loved each other like brothers and they fought like brothers. And when they broke up, they broke up and argued publicly in the pages of "Rolling Stone" or in songs, or in the rest. They did reconcile, though.

So, Paul is left to struggle with that, and struggle with that with historians and journalists, and himself. And he answers these questions I think truthfully, but as we all do, from his particular point of view.

And so, it's just interesting to see somebody who was arguably one of the most famous people on the planet still trying to sand the edges of this history. And you see it in his new book, "The Lyrics," where he's -- he reverses the order of the byline where it says, now, by Paul McCartney and John Lennon and songs that he wrote the dominant part of.

And there will be a new movie soon. It's a kind of remake of the old "Let It Be" documentary. It's called "Get Back." And in this edit, you see the Beatles -- I don't know, they get along a lot better than you remember. There is more brotherly love and collaboration than that old movie seemed to suggest.

It's all in the editing, and historians know that and journalists know that, too. It's what you include and what you don't include. And Paul wants his story told the way he saw it.

BERMAN: Look, you've interviewed God knows how many people -- impressive people -- over the years and been in the same room with all sorts of people. But Paul McCartney is a -- is a different type of character -- a legend.

What was it like for you to get this time with him? To be with him like this?

REMNICK: Well, it was very interesting because, on the one hand, he's just about the most charming person you'd ever meet in your entire life. And on the other, he's very shrewd. You'd have to be to get where he got.

And just remember what the origins of Paul McCartney and John Lennon were. Paul McCartney is a working-class kid from Liverpool who banged away on a guitar and within a very few years was the most famous person on earth, arguably, along with -- I don't know, Muhammad Ali or some other -- a few other people and presidents and the like.

And the path of the Beatles was something very short -- relatively, in historical terms, very short. We didn't really know who they were until '63 or so. And then they were gone by 1969-1970. And yet, we're still talking about them and how they got along and who said what to whom.

I found it very interesting that he is so deeply concerned with the details of this history. And at this point, you've got a historian named Mark Lewisohn who is putting the attention to the history of the Beatles which after all, lasted a very short time, with the same energies that Robert Caro is doing with LBJ. It's that level of research. It's -- the obsession never quite fades away.

BERMAN: And I want both of them to hurry -- Caro and Lewisohn. I need volumes two and three from Lewisohn.

David, I've got to let you go, but favorite song? Favorite Beatles' song?

REMNICK: Well, I guess Paul would like this. I think "A Day in the Life" is just an astonishing accomplishment, but there are so many. There are so many. BERMAN: He did the bridge for "A Day in the Life."

Mine's the medley on "Abbey Road."