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Cassidy on Trump for President; Jon Stewart asked about Trump; Harris Stumps for McAuliffe; Gail Saltz is Interviewed about Bad Behavior in the U.S.; COVID Making Infertility Worse. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 18, 2021 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is this just a case of Steele realizing in this new era, you just never -- you never give in, just never admit being wrong about anything?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That does -- that works -- may work for Donald Trump in Donald Trump's mind. It should not work for anyone who says they're in the intelligence business. You make a mistake, you own up to it. It adds to your credibility.

BERMAN: And, again, so now, as we sit here this morning, having this be released, do you think Steele's in even worse territory than he was before?

AVLON: Ain't looking better, unfortunately.

BERMAN: All right, I want to ask about Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, who did an interview with "Axios" that was published last night. There's been a lot of talk about former President Trump being the Republican front-runner for the 2024 nomination. Frankly, the polls say that he is and, frankly, there's ever reason to believe that he is, except if you're Bill Cassidy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he runs, he wins the nomination. If he --

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): I don't know that. President -- President Trump is the first president, in the Republican side at least, to lose the House, the Senate and the presidency in four years. Elections are about winning. So --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's super interesting. You think that if he ran he could lose the nomination?

CASSIDY: Well, if you want to win the presidency, and hopefully that's what voters are thinking about, I think he might.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's clear you ain't voting for him? CASSIDY: You -- you -- I'm not.


BERMAN: Who's going to beat -- who's going to beat Donald Trump in a primary if he runs?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Who's running? I mean the RNC is putting up no alternatives. They are fully behind Trump. And I have not heard from a lot of Republicans that they are definitely getting in. In fact, they're doing the opposite. They're saying, if Trump runs, I won't.

You need a Ron DeSantis or someone -- I mean I don't want Ron DeSantis, but you need, you know, a Nikki Haley or an Adam Kinzinger or some alternatives to start coming out to show that there could be plausible alternatives to Trump. So far the GOP seems entirely and curious about that.

AVLON: Yes, look, at least -- what Cassidy is talking about is that actually there is an opening for someone who has the stones to stand up to Donald Trump and tell the truth.

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: He, you know, he may have been able to intimidate everyone who's thinking about running because they will think they can magically triangulate and win over Trump voters if he doesn't run. But what people need to do is stand up and speak and say this guys was disastrous for our party from the perspective of winning and there is an opening and the polls show that. But unless someone stands up and starts speaking the truth, no, that's not going to materialize. Is there an opportunity, yes, But, you know, straighten you spine for God's sake.

CUPP: And the time is now.


CUPP: You need that much time before 2024 to really condition the environment.

AVLON: Chris Christie think he is that person.

CUPP: He is not.

BERMAN: And yet --

CUPP: Breaking news, he is not.

BERMAN: And Chris Christie, you know, is -- thinks he's that person by himself in a room alone right now.

Jon Stewart thinks that we shouldn't have had this discussion about the future of the Republican Party and Donald Trump. And a lot more than that. He had a fascinating discussion with Jake yesterday. AVLON: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: I want to play some of it right now.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE PROBLEM WITH JON STEWART": I think it's a mistake to focus it all on this one individual and not to focus it more on, you know, the idea that power is its own reward. Whether it be in the financial industry or in government. Like, power doesn't seed itself. And unless we can figure out a better way to balance that power for, you know, for workers and voters and different groups, we'll be vulnerable.

I think our focus unhealthily on this one individual comes at the price of systems and dynamics that have been in place long before this cat ever learned how to surf those waves.


BERMAN: So media critic Jay Rosen put out a tweet overnight after that interview, which, again, people should watch the whole thing. It really is interesting.

CUPP: Yes.

BERMAN: Rosen writes, many of you will probably disagree, but to me he, Stewart, sounds lost. Surprisingly inarticulate, no clear POV, dismissive of the asymmetry in our politics, and a minimizer.

AVLON: I don't think he's a minimizer, although I do think that, you know, he seemed, you know, to be like blogging (ph) heads. I mean his lack of ability to just focus on the camera I think perhaps was a visual issue, not an intellectual issue.

What -- what Stewart's trying to say this this, our fixation on Donald Trump ignores the larger structural issues that help give birth to Donald Trump. And unless we deal with those structural issues, we could have another Trump by another name. In that he's right, you know, there are structural issues that need to be fixed that allow Donald Trump to capture the Republican Party.

CUPP: Sure.

AVLON: And whether it's open primaries, and rank choice voting, ending the rigged system for redistricting, all those things would help. Those things are necessary. That doesn't mean you ignore Donald Trump. But to ignore those is to -- is to not deal with the underlying problem.

CUPP: Yes, I don't think they're mutually exclusive. And I think one comes before the other. If you want the opportunity to address the systemic failures that he's absolutely right proceeded Trump, you've got to get rid of the -- the -- like the biggest barrier to doing that, which is the immediate threat that Donald Trump holds an immense amount of power and sway with the Republican Party, could grab power again and begin dismantling democracy some more. And unless you deal with that, you're --


AVLON: It's like it's like a buffet of some kind.

CUPP: I mean it's all the things. But -- but you have to address that barrier to get where Jon Stewart wants us all sort of esoterically to be. Until then, Democrats remain distracted by Trump because instead of spending all their capital on these issues, they have to deal with Donald Trump. Republicans are out there saying, none of these issues are real. Racism is fake. All these issues that I'm sure Jon Stewart wants to fix --

AVLON: Elections.

CUPP: Are -- are made up by Democrats. So Republicans can't address. Trump is the problem. And if he -- I mean, I think he's describing a world that he wants to live in. This is the world we do live in. Focus on Trump. Then, and only then, can we start dealing with these other big problems.

BERMAN: Stewart did seem to diminish -- and I don't know if that's the right word -- the severity of the insurrection, the severity of the effort to overturn the result of an election.

CUPP: Yes.

BERMAN: And when Jake, who asked some terrific questions in this, basically said -- you know, Jake said, am I being naive or have -- has shame gone away in politics? Have all the norms that govern politics, have they disappeared? And Jon Stewart said, yes, you are being naive. And I just don't think so. I think that if you -- I think Stewart's being naive in this case.

CUPP: Wow (ph).

AVLON: Yes, there is -- in these shameless Olympics, nobody is in the particular arena as Donald Trump. And to diminish anything resembling the January 6th attack and the insurrection, which I don't believe Donald -- I don't believe Jon Stewart was -- was doing exactly, is a huge mistake. Just because you're cynical about the underlying structures doesn't mean you can't say, that is a new low that threatens the republic and must be covered like unflinchingly. I don't think Jon Stewart is being an apologist for that or trying to normalize it in any way. But to say, don't solely -- don't pay attention to that is to ignore the searing violence that was visited on our system with an aim to overturn the election.

CUPP: We cannot afford not to pay attention to -- singularly to this threat staring us in the face right now.

AVLON: Oh, yes.

CUPP: Unless you want this all repeated. Because he wasn't done. He didn't finish the job. And I think he'd like to.

AVLON: He wants to.

BERMAN: What do you call a failed coup? Practice.

CUPP: Right.

AVLON: Geez.

BERMAN: John Avlon, S.E. Cupp, thank you both very much.

So top Democrats rallying behind Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. Vice President Harris recorded a video to be played in churches. What is the significance of that?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, a missing woman found dead in the back of a police van. So what happened here? We'll have the latest explanation from police and other questions, ahead.



KEILAR: Democrats are pulling out all the stops for Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor's race. Stacey Abrams, First Lady Jill Biden, they all campaigned for McAuliffe here in recent days. Between now and election day, more than 300 black churches across the state will be hearing from Vice President Kamala Harris in a video message that will air during morning services.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Virginians, you deserve a leader who has a vision of what is possible and the experience to realize that vision. Terry McAuliffe is that leader.


KEILAR: Let's bring in CNN's Eva McKend on this story.

She's a lightning rod, it seems all the time, but for this as well.


Good morning, Brianna.

You know, this election is the first year Virginians will be able to vote on Sunday. And so the McAuliffe campaign is taking advantage of that with these Souls to the Polls event. They are block party style events featuring top campaign surrogates after church near polling locations to drive voter turnout.

Now, this video of Vice President Harris was distributed to 300 churches. And I'm told that they either aired on Sunday or will air on upcoming Sundays before election day on November 2nd. McAuliffe has just been barn storming black churches across the state, a recognition of how critical this constituency is. Black Virginians make up roughly 20 percent of the state's population.

This video, though, from the Vice President not without criticism. We've seen the right seize on this, raising concerns about churches getting involved in politics and should they be able to do so and maintain their exemption on income tax. But we've seen all types of churches, whether it be black churches or largely white evangelical churches for years welcome elected officials of both parties to speak to their congregations. It's not necessarily an endorsement of any particular candidate.

KEILAR: And, meantime, black Senate candidates have been really just crushing these fund-raising expectations. Can you tell us about the numbers that we're seeing?

MCKEND: Yes, it's been truly incredible on both sides of the aisle. In Georgia, incumbent Raphael Warnock has raised $9.5 million in the last quarter. His Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, has raised an impressive $3.8 million as well. Incumbent Republican Tim Scott in South Carolina hauled in $8.4 million. And Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings has raised $3.8 million in her attempt to unseat Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

So the tight 50/50 Senate in the Senate is fueling a lot of this enthusiasm. And this is where the energy in the Democratic Party is coming from. That's how I explain the fundraising there. I spoke to a professor out on the campaign trail yesterday at the Stacey Abrams event with Terry McAuliffe and she talked about how she was excited to be a part of a party that feels as though it's championing diversity and inclusive. And so by that logic, it doesn't surprise me that candidates of color are crushing fundraising expectations because this is where the enthusiasm is in the Democratic Party right now.


And black women, in many ways, have delivered so resoundingly for the party that it makes sense now that donors are seeing that black women are worth this type of investment and that they can't only be sort of the backbone of the party, they also need to be supported when they want to have front-facing roles, including running for elected office.

KEILAR: Yes, it's real -- I mean these numbers are incredible. So we'll see what continues to happen.

Eva, thank you so much.

MCKEND: Thank you.

KEILAR: Coming up, some new details about the gang that officials believe is responsible for kidnapping 17 missionaries, most of them Americans, in Haiti this weekend.

BERMAN: Bottles, golf balls and who knows what thrown at the field at the end of a huge game. What led to this and what does it say about what's wrong with people right now?


BERMAN: Ugly behavior in Tennessee after a home loss to rival Ole Miss. Fans showered the sidelines and part of the field with bottles and other debris. This came after a controversial call in the final minute sealed the win for Ole Miss. Their head coach, Lane Kiffin, who used to coach at Tennessee, was seen getting hit with a golf ball. He said after the game that it was not the only thing thrown at him.


LANE KIFFIN, HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI: There's some -- number of bottles with some brown stuff in them. So, I'm not sure. Probably not moonshine. I don't think they'd waste the moonshine on me.

I think that's one of the most passionate fan bases in America. And you've got 100,000 of them together. And things don't go their way, when all that energy is going, and, you know, they got upset.


KEILAR: Now, bad behavior isn't only hitting the sports world. Countless examples of people acting out has been captured and shared millions of times, like this man who was taped to his seat after having an outburst on an airplane.

As America continues to reopen, we're seeing a lot of this bad behavior. So what exactly is causing it? Let's discuss with psychiatrist and psycho analyst Dr. Gail Saltz.

Dr. Saltz, thank you so much for talking to us about this phenomenon that we're seeing.

Do you think that there is more of this going on? Is it just a factor of social media? Or is this actually real, this phenomenon?

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST, PSYCHOANALYST: I think it's both. I mean social media has been around a long time. And what we've seen is many more incidents occurring. And, statistically, more incidents are occurring, particularly in the last year or two.

I think we're seeing people having rising anger, which is a natural emotional response to the kinds of things that people have been dealing with for the past two years. Chronic high levels of stress. Many people have endured trauma having to do with the pandemic. We've seen this rise, this pandemic essentially of mental health issues just following with the pandemic. High levels of anxiety, high levels of depression. And those things cause for many people high levels of anger and impulsivity. So the ability to control your behavior when you're feeling tremendously angry may be impaired for some people.

KEILAR: In some of these cases we know alcohol plays a factor. I suspect that does not surprise you.

SALTZ: Not at all. I mean alcohol is a disinhibitor. It's not that you're doing something you would never in your wildest dreams do but you are disinhinting your ability to control that impulsivity in the moment do what I would really normally be telling everybody to do, which is take a beat. Take a moment and think, is this -- is this how I would want to be treated? It's impaired if you're disinhibited.

So, yes, if places that serve alcohol or make it available could not do so, that might help, at least some people, for example, in an airplane where you're in a closed, tight space and you can't escape. You can't -- so, look, when you have anxiety, right, it triggers your flight or fight response. That's what we call it literally in medicine. And that's what's happening. People who are not -- they're not -- they're feeling so overwhelmingly angry and anxious like there's something dangerous going on. Instead of turning around and leaving the situation, they're fighting. So anyplace that's contained, a sporting event, a plane, it's -- it's -- alcohol is not a good mix

KEILAR: Yes, take yourself out of the situation to the best of your ability.

Dr. Saltz, thank you so much.

SALTZ: My pleasure.

KEILAR: The trial for the white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery is beginning today and we have a preview of what we can expect.

BERMAN: Three Texas deputies ambush outside a nightclub, killing one, leaving two wounded. The fiance of one of the injured officers joins us ahead.



BERMAN: This morning, a startling statistic. Female doctors experience a much higher rate of infertility than other women. In fact, it's double. And being on the front lines of the COVID fight can complicate an already challenging situation.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen is back with us.

It is a struggle, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It really can be, John. COVID-19 has impacted so many things over the past two years, including doctors who are desperately trying to get pregnant.


COHEN (voice over): Dr. Christina Yannetsos loves her job working at the emergency room at the University of Colorado Hospital. The training that got her here was arduous and not very family friendly.

DR. CHRISTINA YANNETSOS: (INAUDIBLE) medical school you're doing rotations that are long hours of the day. I didn't meet my partner until later on in life. And we were both focusing on our education and our careers at the time. But obviously still very much wanting to have a family.

COHEN: Dr. Yannetsos got married when she was 34 and tried to have a baby for a year, but couldn't. Since female physicians are training during their prime reproductive years, it's not an uncommon problem.

In the U.S., in fertility affects an estimated one in eight women. But for female doctors, it's one in four. Dr. Yannetsos' situation got worse because of COVID-19. She was scheduled to do an in vitro fertilization procedure in March of last year, but then the procedure was canceled because of the pandemic. Finally, eight months later, she was allowed to start IVF, but then --

YANNETSOS: We did our pretransfer COVID test, which came back positive the day before transfer. So I was heartbroken. I probably was absolutely devastated with what was going on.


COHEN (on camera): COVID has made a tough situation even worse, it sounds like.