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Bill Clinton Admitted to ICU for 'Non-COVID-Related' Infection; Union Chief to Chicago Officers: Defy Mayor's Vaccine Mandate; January 6th Panel Moves to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt; Appeals Court Keeps Texas Abortion Ban in Place; 'Cosby' Actress Sues Bill Cosby, Alleging He Drugged & Raped Her; Teachers Told to Balance Holocaust Books with 'Opposing' Views. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Friday, October 15. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.


And breaking overnight, former president Bill Clinton hospitalized. Admitted to the ICU on Tuesday for urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Let's head now to CNN's Sara Sidner. She is live outside of the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, which is where Clinton is being treated -- Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, former President Clinton is being treated here. We are told by his aides that he is feeling good, that he has been making jokes, and that he, though, is still in the ICU area. That is more because of privacy and security than it is that he needs to be in the ICU.

We know that on Tuesday he was here. He was here, because he was having a dinner and reception for the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit organization created by the Clintons, and he was -- started feeling fatigued, according to his aides. They brought him here to the hospital. It turned out that he indeed, had some kind of infection in his blood, which turned out infection.

But again, they say he's doing well. The 75-year-old is not completely out of the woods, though. He is still here in the hospital, but he is on the mend, according to his aides.

And this is something, by the way, that doctors say does happen to people who are older. It's not uncommon. They want to stress that this was nothing to do with coronavirus, which as you know, also causes fatigue. They wanted to make that clear to the public, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Sara, thank you so much. We know that you'll keep us updated here throughout the morning.

BERMAN: Want to bring in Dr. Chris Pernell. She's a public health physician and a fellow at the American College of Preventative Medicine.

Sepsis from a urinary tract infection. What exactly does that mean, and how serious can that be?


Everyone should know a little bit about sepsis, because physicians need to have a high risk of suspicion in order to treat it quickly so that a person does not progress to more severe stages of the disease.

So basically, what happens is that any type of infection, if that infection continues to brew, it grows, it gets into your bloodstream. Once you have that infection in your bloodstream, then your immune system responds. And it's that hyper response of the immune system that causes that widespread inflammation, which can lead to organ damage and ultimately, unfortunately, death.

BERMAN: It can be very serious if not caught, if you don't detect it early on. Dr. Pernell, what role does the president's heart condition or what role might that have in it and how much more complicated does this make it?

And let's face it. I mean, Bill Clinton does not appear as strong as he did 20 years ago. People get older, and people have health conditions. And he does seem a bit more frail than years ago.

PERNELL: Yes, John. So if you have underlying medical conditions, like President Clinton has an underlying heart condition, and you are an older age, you will be at increased risk of potentially developing sepsis.

That's why I can't emphasize enough, even as a family member and physicians alike, we want to have a higher index of suspicion. Because the quicker that you can get on top of sepsis, the better that a person does.

Look, I struggled with sepsis personally, seeing both of my parents go through it. You notice that a person is fatigued. You notice that a person has altered mental status. A personal usually has an ongoing infection that is known, and that their heart rate can spike while their blood pressure is dropping. That's why they need to be in a hospital and receiving emergency care.

BERMAN: He is. He's receiving the treatment we're told he needs and is progressing nicely. He'll be monitored for a bit more time. Doctor Chris Pernell, thank you for helping us understand all this.

PERNELL: Thank you.

KEILAR: Here in just a few hours, an FDA advisory committee meets to consider approving a Johnson & Johnson booster shot. There will also be discussion about a study that suggests it might be possible or even advantageous to mix and match booster shots with different vaccines.

The committee voted unanimously yesterday to recommend emergency use authorization of a booster dose of Moderna's vaccine for some people in a reduced dose.

BERMAN: This is deadline day in Chicago for city workers who must show they have been vaccinated or stop getting a paycheck. The head of Chicago's police union is telling rank-and-file cops to defy the vaccine requirements. The mayor's response?


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: My expectation is that people who swore an oath to serve and protect the city are going to honor that oath. And they're going to show up. They're going to report for duty, and they're going to comply with a legal directive from the city and an order from the police department. Anything less would be insubordination.



BERMAN: All right. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus live in Chicago this morning. Adrienne, any sense of who's showing up and who isn't?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we could see those numbers, John, in the coming days. But today is the day the city is requiring its employees to disclose their vaccination status. Those who do not comply with this mandate will be placed on unpaid leave.

Also, those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to undergo COVID testing at least twice per week, and those tests, John, must be separated by three to four days.

By contrast, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police is telling his membership to defy the mandate, and he warns there could be a staffing shortage of up to 50 percent. Let's listen in.


JOHN CATANZARA, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: If we suspect the numbers are true and we get a large number of our members who stand firm on their beliefs that this is an overreach, and they're not going to supply the information in the portal or submit to testing, then it's safe to say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend coming up.


BROADDUS: By contrast, in a news conference yesterday, Mayor Lightfoot expressed she's not concerned about a staffing shortage. She did say there's a contingency plan, and that plan requires leaning into state resources.

Also, I want to underscore, COVID-19 killed four Chicago police officers in 2020. And earlier this month, the former president of the union was also killed by COVID-19 -- John.

BERMAN: That is interesting. Also interesting, there's an out here. There's a testing out, and it is curious that there could be a philosophical opposition to testing. Worth watching.

Adrienne Broaddus, thank you very much.

KEILAR: A House committee investigating the Capitol Hill riot has announced that it will officially move forward to hold Steve Bannon, the president's former top aide, in criminal contempt.

This decision follows Bannon saying that he won't provide testimony to the committee until it reaches an agreement with former President Trump over Trump's claims of executive privilege or until a court weighs in. The committee's chairman, Congressman Bennie Thompson, saying this.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): If he refuses the subpoena, like we expect him to continue to do, then we're left with no other choice than to ask the Justice Department, lock him up and hold him in contempt. And clearly, that might send enough of a message that he will agree to talk to us.


KEILAR: Joining us now is Stanley Brand. He was general counsel to the House the last time that a criminal contempt made it to court back in 1983. So I think, Stan, that really tells us something. But I just wonder if you can tell us what the next step is in all of this.

STANLEY BRAND, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL TO THE HOUSE: The next step will be the vote in the committee. That will be referred to the full House, assuming the full House approves the vote.

It will then be certified by the House, by the speaker to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and that begins a whole 'nother process, which requires the U.S. attorney if he decides to take the case, to put it in front of a grand jury. And then if there's a subsequent indictment, the case will be tried in federal district court in the District of Columbia.

KEILAR: How difficult would it actually be to convict someone or to convict Steve Bannon of criminal contempt?

BRAND: Well, it's rare that, as you mentioned, that this has happened, the last time in 1983. Rita Lavelle, who was the deputy administrator at the DPA, was cited for contempt by the former John Dingell Committee.

We referred the case to the U.S. attorney. It was tried, and she was acquitted. That's the last example we have.

Now, there are other cases where there have been convictions, but many a times there are appeals from these cases, and the courts of appeals have reversed the convictions on technical constitutional or legal grounds. So it's not a foregone conclusion that this case would end in a conviction. KEILAR: So, you actually said when Lavelle was acquitted that not only

was it a setback for the House enforcing subpoenas, but they really just needed to arrest people and try them in the well of the House. They have technically the ability to do that. I think a lot of people wonder why they don't.

BRAND: There's a couple of reasons why. I think the prospect of the House sending the sergeant at arms out to arrest people strikes -- strikes the public as an unseemly use of its power. It certainly is a constitutional legal way for them to proceed. They haven't in over 80 years.


And that doesn't change the legal requirements that the House has to meet to obtain a conviction. There would still be a legal proceeding. It would just be a different kind of legal proceeding via what's known as a habeas corpus, where the person incarcerated would file a motion and the case would be litigated just as the statutory contempt would be.

KEILAR: Is there anything, Stan, that you think the House should be doing just to make this process more effective?

BRAND: Well, it's very hard. The courts haven't really helped along the way. There was a case involving Don McGahn, where the House went to court in a civil process, and attempted to enforce its subpoenas. And that was litigated for 18 months, almost two years.

And so there's no -- there's no short way to resolve these inter- branch disputes or disputes with witnesses. It's cumbersome, but that's the legal process.

KEILAR: Yes, look, that time line that you describe would take us into, you know, into a new Congress, right? Where potentially you would have Republicans in charge and not Democrats in the House. So we'll be -- we will certainly see you there. Stanley Brand, thank you.

BRAND: You're welcome.

KEILAR: Legal whiplash in Texas. Most abortions there on hold again. We'll have all of the breaking developments ahead.

BERMAN: Bill Cosby facing a new lawsuit just months after he was released from prison.

And a season over on a controversial call. One of the great rivalries in sports, Dodgers and Giants ends on a moment that will be remembered for years to come.



BERMAN: Breaking overnight, a federal appeals court in Texas siding with the state, allowing the nation's most restrictive abortion ban to remain in force, for now. Laura Jarrett is here.

Laura, who could have seen this coming? You. You saw it coming.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: You, as well. You know what's going on here.

And the upshot is that nearly all abortions are still banned in Texas. And this fight now appears headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

So let us walk through the maze of how exactly women's rights have bounced around over the course over the last week. Last Wednesday, a federal district court judge, a trial court judge, found that the Texas law was likely unconstitutional. He blocked it. That's Judge Pitman there on your chart.

Remember, the law bans abortions as soon as a doctor finds a fetal heartbeat. And it gives private citizens the right to sue abortion providers, something that Judge Pitman was really disturbed about.

So after Pitman's decision, several clinics in Texas then restarted abortion services. But they knew it was likely a short-lived victory, because then Texas would appeal the case to the Fifth Circuit, which leans traditionally more conservative.

Then last Friday, right on cue, the Fifth Circuit, that middle rung of your ladder here, put Judge Pitman's decision on hold, which meant abortions had to stop immediately once again.

Now, the Justice Department tried to fight that order from the Fifth Circuit, but in a 2-1 ruling last night, the Fifth Circuit officially granted Texas's request to put the ruling on hold.

So now what? What does all this mean? The case is now currently still in the Fifth Circuit. It's still in that middle rung. And DOJ can either now try to get the full Fifth Circuit. Only a three-judge panel had heard it. So now they can try to get the full court to hear it, or they can try to go straight to the Supreme Court.

And remember, abortion providers had sued the state of Texas last month, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block the abortion law before it went into effect on September 1.

But now DOJ may get a second bite at the apple here. And the case is teed up in a different way.

Now with all these lower court rulings, you have an opinion from Judge Pitman that's over 100 pages. And you have a documented record of harm. You have a record of women crossing state lines to try and get abortions now both in Oklahoma and Louisiana, which really affects interstate commerce. And that's one of the arguments that DOJ persuasively made to Judge Pitman.

BERMAN: You did a really good job laying out there all the twists and turns.

JARRETT: All the steps. BERMAN: I think the important thing for women in Texas to know is that Roe versus Wade, for all intents and purposes, doesn't exist in Texas right now. Upended. No protections.

JARRETT: Constitutional right does not exist in the state of Texas.

BERMAN: Laura Jarrett, thank you very much.

KEILAR: Bill Cosby is facing a new lawsuit just four months since his release from prison. Actress Lily Bernard alleges that she met the comedian on the set of "The Cosby Show" and that he drugged her and raped her in Atlantic City in or around August 1990.

CNN's Jean Casarez joins us now.

Jean, tell us about this and what this means for Cosby.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, Lily Bernard's story begins when she was a young actress. And her dream was to be on "The Cosby Show."

She told me that she met Bill Cosby, and then she was able to get to know him. He wanted to become her mentor. He invited her to his apartment in New York, the one he shares with his wife.

He then invited her to Atlantic City, where he wanted her to meet a producer, to Las Vegas, where he wanted to meet a producer. She alleges there was never a producer.

Right before Bill Cosby's second trial in 2018, we did a documentary on the case and accusers. We profiled lily Bernard. What she said at that time to me is exactly the same as her civil complaint today.


LILY BERNARD, SUING BILL COSBY: He asked me to tell him everything about myself. I did not know that he was just trying to find my vulnerabilities so he could exploit them. I just thought he cared so much about me.

I'm really going in and out of consciousness, but I opened my eyes. The room is spinning. Everything's dizzy. I see Bill Cosby's face here. I see his broad chest over here. I was lying on my back, and he was on top of me.

And I made a conscious decision right there, this didn't happen. I totally blocked it out. I know this is hard for people to understand. Unless you're a trauma survivor.



CASAREZ: In a statement, Cosby spokesperson Andrew Wyatt responded to the lawsuit, writing, this is just another attempt to abuse the legal process by opening up the flood gates for people who never presented an ounce of evidence, proof, truth, and/or facts in order to substantiate their alleged allegations.

"Mr. Cosby continues to maintain steadfast in his innocence and will vigorously fight alleged allegations waged against him and is willing to take the fight to the highest court in the United States of America" -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Jean, thank you for that report.

A Texas school district suggesting that there are two sides to the Holocaust. The secretly recorded audio from inside a teacher training session, next.

BERMAN: Plus, a Republican rally in Virginia, where they pledge allegiance to a flag from the January 6th insurrection. Now, the Republican candidate for governor there in a bind tries to distance himself. The impact on this huge race ahead.



BERMAN: Developing overnight, a school district superintendent in north Texas apologizing after one of the district's administrators told teachers during a training session last week to balance books taught about the Holocaust with others that have a, quote, "opposing perspective."

Audio of that exchange, first reported by NBC News, was secretly recorded by a staff member and obtained by CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hired you as professionals. We trust you with our children. So as you go through, just try to remember the concepts of 3979, and make sure that, if you have a book on the Holocaust that you have one that has opposing -- that has other perspectives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you oppose the Holocaust? What?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Believe me, that's come up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, "Number the Stars"?


BERMAN: So while the administrator did not single out any one book, the book mentioned at the end of that clip, "Number the Stars," was published more than 30 years ago and has been used in schools as a literary introduction to the Holocaust for children for years.

The book's author, the wonderful Lois Lowry, joins me now.

First of all, as a parent, and as an avid reader, thank you for all you've done over the years and thank you for the joy you brought me and my children. What was it like for you to hear that discussion about the Holocaust? LOIS LOWRY, AUTHOR, "NUMBER THE STARS": You know, at first, I

chuckled. It seemed silly. But the more I thought about it, I realized it wasn't laughable. It was ignorant. And ignorant can -- ignorance so easily morphs into evil.

One of the reasons kids love this book, and it's been in schools in the United States for 32 years, and it's in 28 other countries for all that time. And one of the reasons kids love this book is because good triumphs over bad. And kids want to hear that that happens.

I recently did an interview with a town in Italy in which they asked whether a writer for kids feels a sense of responsibility? And I said my responsibility is to be honest and to be optimistic.

How can you come up with an opposing perspective where evil triumphs over good? There is no opposing perspective to a book about the Holocaust. "Number the Stars" is about Denmark, what happened there in 1943. That's 78 years ago, and the anniversary is coming up. It was the last week in October.

And that was the week that the German army, under orders from Hitler, planned to take -- to arrest every Jew in Denmark. There were 7,000 of them. And take them to the extermination camps.

And the Christian population of Denmark, rose up with an amazing collective integrity, and prevented that from happening. They hid their Jewish population, smuggled them to safety in Sweden, which was a neutral country.

And kids love reading about that because it's real. Because it's true. Because good triumphs. Because good people rose up.

My hope is that the decent people -- and Lord knows there are many of them -- of Texas, of wherever, will rise up and put an end to this kind of ignorance.

BERMAN: The book is about a Danish girl who escapes to Sweden from Nazi-occupied Denmark. What's the opposing view to that? That she doesn't get out? That she gets killed? It's appalling even to think of what that means.

And just so people understand, this is all based on how this new Texas law, House bill 3979, is being interpreted, which requires schools to provide opposing views to what they call widely debated and currently controversial issues.

What does it even say that that could somehow be considered widely debated and currently controversial?

LOWRY: You know, if I had written a book called "The New England Patriots: The World's Best Football Team," I would understand if school libraries in Texas in particular would like to have a book that says the Dallas Cowboys are the world's best team.

That's -- that's a subject on which there are different viewpoints.