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Bob Woodward is Interviewed about "Peril"; Trump Faces New Criminal Probe; Carmen Bolden Day is Interviewed about her Son's Death; College Athlete at 63-Years-Old. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired October 21, 2021 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump on January 6th.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Yes, I mean I speak -- I spoke with the president last week. I speak with the president all time. I spoke with him on January 6th. I mean I talk with President Trump all the time. And that's -- that's -- I don't think that's unusual. I would expect members of Congress to talk with the president of the United States when they're trying to get done the things they told the voters in their district to do. I'm actually kind of amazed sometimes that people keep asking this question. Of course I talk to the president all the time. I talked with him, like I said, I talked with him last week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On January 6th, did you speak with him before, during or after the Capitol was attacked?
JORDAN: I'd have to go -- I -- I -- I -- I spoke with him that day after. I think after. I don't know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don't know. I'd have to go back and -- and -- I mean I don't -- I don't -- I don't know -- know that -- when those conversations happened. But -- but what I know is I spoke with him all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And a month later, after having even more time to consider his answer, the infamous, I don't recall, made an appearance twice. Quote, look, I definitely spoke to the president that day. I don't recall. I know it was more than once. I just don't recall the times.
Let's talk about this with Bob Woodward, co-author of "Peril."
Why, Bob, is this such a hard question for Jim Jordan to answer?
BOB WOODWARD, CO-AUTHOR, "PERIL": Because the whole goal here was -- is Steve Bannon is quoted in our book saying to strangle the Biden presidency in the crib, to subvert the process of certifying the Biden election.
Remember, at this time, Trump is president. He's talking to Bannon. He's talking to Jordan. He's talking to Giuliani. He's talking to people we probably don't know about. He had come back from Mar-a-Lago, avoiding, reluctantly, that New Year's Eve party so he can work the phones, so he can make -- we report in our book about his meeting with Pence saying, don't you think it would be cool if you had this power to decide who's going to be the next president? And Pence says, to his credit, at that point, no, I don't think one person should have that power. And the Constitution and the law make that very clear.
But Trump is pushing it. Bannon is pushing it. Giuliani is pushing it. There are others involved in this. And if somebody really looks at it, as I think you almost are required to do, as a criminal conspiracy, just like Nixon, to destroy a process of, oh, this is going to be the next president.
KEILAR: And do you think that if Jim Jordan is pinned down on those conversations, that his conversations will reveal that he knew that and that Trump was clear about it?
WOODWARD: I don't -- I mean, no, I wouldn't speculate. But, again, Trump is really working hard on this. This -- he comes -- you know, this is his weak project. He's going to retain the presidency. It turns out it's a project that is going on to this day where he says, oh, the election was stolen. And I -- Robert Costa and I think he -- there's a lot of evidence that he's going to run again. He's running -- his rational for the candidacy is, they stole the election from me and so I'll run in 2024 and get elected, in his words, three times. That time he should -- he thinks he was elected in 2020, and he was, in fact, elected in 2016. But that's the only time.
So there's a lot of work for reporters, the committee in the House, the January 6th committee is making a big effort there. They don't -- as Ben Bradlee, the editor of "The Post," used to say, they have a low pair. But the Justice Department could take the high pair in this.
KEILAR: So speak to that a little bit because as -- during your history changing coverage of Watergate, you covered, obviously, what the DOJ did and you covered what Congress did. And they were able to achieve quite a lot. I know your expectations are a little lower for what this House committee can achieve.
WOODWARD: Well, what -- and Nixon made mistakes. He thought he -- he first invoked executive privilege before the Senate Watergate committee and then he thought his top aides, Attorney General John Mitchell, Bob Haldeman, chief of staff, could testify and rebut John Dean, who had turned prosecution witness.
And he was -- John Dean, of course, was Nixon's counsel in the White House. And Dean laid out this devastating case. And then we discovered that they had a secret taping system and there was a one-year battle on that. So -- and that was disclosed by Alexander Butterfield, a top Nixon aide. And I think now everyone is in search of the Alexander Butterfield who -- is there evidence, are there tapes? A lot of work to do.
KEILAR: A lot of work to do. Bob, always wonderful to have you.
WOODWARD: Thank you.
KEILAR: Bob Woodward, thank you.
Coming up, the Trump golf course is now the target of a criminal investigation.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And the demand for answers in the mysterious disappearance and death of Jelani Day. His mother joins us live.
KEILAR: Mounting legal trouble for former President Trump and his family business is under yet another criminal investigation.
The Westchester County New York District Attorney's Office is investigating whether the Trump Organization misled local tax officials about the property value of a Trump golf course. This is the third known probe of Trump's business dealings by prosecutors in Trump's home state of New York.
And joining us now to discuss is CNN contributor an Donald Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio.
Michael, thank you so much for being with us.
This new probe is obviously not welcome by the former president. You say the public office has been very bad for his fortunes. Can you explain this?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Sure. Well, you might remember that Michael Cohen said that Donald Trump originally ran for president as a publicity stunt. That he thought that this would benefit his companies, but he never imagined winning. So he wins, and he finds himself in office. And during that period of time, from 2016 to 2020, his fortunes decline precipitously. So this is a man who always said that he measured himself in dollars and cents and that his self-worth was really all tied up in how rich he was. And during that time period he went from claiming $10 billion to $12 billion net worth to "Forbes" determining that he's now at $2.5 million. So he's fallen off the "Forbes" list of richest Americans and he's now facing in Westchester County another assault on his claims to his wealth.
In that case, he's -- when he likes having a lot of money, he says the golf course is worth $50 million. When he doesn't want to pay his taxes, he says it's worth $1.4 million. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all inflate our assets when we want to claim to be very rich, and deflate them when it comes to paying our taxes?
KEILAR: Yes, it would be lovely. My house is worth $10.
So, how is the financial industry viewing Trump properties? D'ANTONIO: Well, his properties have actually been on a watch list
among lenders who are concerned that the revenues have fallen so fast that he won't be able to make payments on the loans he's taken out. And earlier this year his partner in the two most effective developments he's ever made, (INAUDIBLE), is saying that they're considering getting out of this partnership. So that would drain him of the remaining cash flow that's keeping him afloat.
So the presidency has been very bad for Donald Trump's businesses in the same way that it's been pretty bad for the rest of the world.
KEILAR: Very fascinating.
Michael, thank you so much for taking us through this.
D'ANTONIO: Thank you.
KEILAR: And here's what else to watch today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:45 a.m. ET, Pelosi holds news conference.
2:00 p.m. ET, White House press briefing.
8:00 p.m. ET, Biden speaks at CNN town hall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: New details on the fate of the Biden agenda as he is set to answer questions tonight in a CNN town hall.
BERMAN: Plus, Jelani Day's mother joins me live, just days after burying her son. How she's demanding answers in his mysterious death.
BERMAN: The mother of Jelani Day, the 25-year-old Illinois graduate student who went missing in August, finally buried her son this week. But she still has many questions about the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, the cause of his death, all of it still unknown.
Joining me now is the mother of Jelani Day, Carmen Bolden Day, and the family's attorney, Hallie Bezner.
Thank you both for being with us.
Carmen, once again, we are so sorry for your loss. I know these last two months, they have to have been excruciating for you. And Tuesday had to be a painful day as well. What was that like for you?
CARMEN BOLDEN DAY, MOTHER OF JELANI DAY: It's undescribable what that was like for me. I just had to lower into the ground one of the best things that God has blessed me with. So, I can't tell you what that was like. I can tell you this, if you have children, it's something that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
BERMAN: I do have children. I can't imagine it. I just can't imagine what you've gone through after all this time.
And now you're calling for an FBI investigation into the death of your son. Why?
DAY: Because I need answers. I don't know why I lowered Jelani into that ground or what happened to him to cause him to be -- for me to have to lower him into the ground. So now I need answers. I need answers because the police departments that were involved in searching for my son and looking for my son and finding answers for my son failed me. They failed my child. And so now, because of my lack of trust, I can't trust them, I need an agency that can come in and help us, which I was pleading for before we even got to this point.
BERMAN: What are the local investigators telling you? How much contact do they have with you now?
DAY: Now? Let's say they have done 25 percent better than what they were doing initially.
They said they were going to make daily contact with me. They have not made daily contact with me. I do find out sometimes they have spoken to my attorney. My attorney is not me. I need to know what happened with my son.
I need them to do more than what they have done. And now it appears that they are doing things that they should have done from the onset. And now I have to also do things to check behind them because I don't trust what they did. And since they have to go back and check themselves, I now have to check them, which resulted in to me not only getting a second autopsy, independent autopsy, but also a third, and me also wanting my own DNA test done. So I had to do those things because I don't trust anything that they have said to me or told me because nothing makes sense.
BERMAN: You called your son Jelani the best thing that ever happened to you. One of the best things that ever happened to you. Just tell us -- tell us about your son.
DAY: Jelani, if you would have met him, anybody under the sound of my voice that would have met him, ya'll would have loved Jelani. Jelani was very driven, outspoken, but also he was the most caring, compassionate, protective son, grandson, brother, friend, cousin, nephew that you would have wanted to have. Jelani was one of a kind. And like I said, I have -- God blessed me to have five children. Those are my five gifts. And now one of them has been taken away from me. One of them was robbed. I was robbed of one of them.
And so now I need to know why. Why somebody thought it was a good idea to take my son away from me.
BERMAN: We're so sorry. I just can't say it enough. I'm so sorry for your loss. And also for the lack of answers that you're getting here.
Hallie, if I can ask you, Carmen said that you're hearing from local authorities. What are they telling you?
HALLIE M. BEZNER, ATTORNEY FOR JELANI DAY FAMILY: Yes, I am. I have been in communication with several of the officers. The investigation is ongoing. There's new developments coming every day. But like Carmen said, it's -- it's been 59 days now and we're still asking questions every day and we don't have any answers. We ask more and more questions and it seems like every question that we ask leads to three more questions.
BERMAN: Well, I hope at some point --
DAY: And --
BERMAN: Go ahead, Carmen.
DAY: I'm (INAUDIBLE) interject. We -- it's ongoing. There's new developments -- there's not new developments every day. There is new developments, but there's not new developments daily.
So, I can't agree with what Hallie is saying right -- when she says there's new developments daily. However, they are finding -- they have just recently gave her some new information, but we still don't have answers. We still haven't had what we're looking for.
So, I need them to come in. I need the FBI to come in and do what Peru and Bloomington and Lasalle have not done for us, and that is to find the answers.
BERMAN: I hope you get those answers, Carmen.
Carmen Bolden Day, Hallie Bezner, thank you both for being with us.
We're back in just a moment.
KEILAR: For the most part, Debbie Blount is like your average college undergrad. She is a member of her school's golf team. She carries a 4.0 GPA, and was nominated homecoming queen. But did I mention she is 63 years old.
CNN's Martin Savidge has her remarkable story.
DEBBIE BLOUNT, REINHARDT UNIVERSITY GOLFER: Fifty to 55 minutes to get here. I come up three days --
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As a sophomore at Reinhardt University in Georgia, Debbie Blount is living the dream.
SAVIDGE (on camera): You're the first person in your family to go to college.
BLOUNT: Yes. Yes.
SAVIDGE: That's a tremendous achievement.
SAVIDGE (voice over): So is how Debbie got to college, as a student athlete.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Do you mind if I ask how old you are?
SAVIDGE (voice over): Back in 1976, after high school, there was no money for college. She became an x-ray technician, a ski instructor, a wife. One love introduced her to another, the game of golf.
SAVIDGE (on camera): So you got good at it.
BLOUNT: I was a little driven.
SAVIDGE (voice over): Life was great, until the heart-breaking death of her husband, followed by her father, leaving Debbie, for the first time in her life, she says, feeling lost.
Then the idea, why not join a college golf team as a full-time student?
SAVIDGE (on camera): When you first heard that, that -- there must have been a bit of a pause?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably just a second.
SAVIDGE (voice over): She tried out and got accepted on the Eagles, Reinhardt's women's golf team. But would her much younger teammates accept her?
SAVIDGE (on camera): You think there might have been some doubts in their mind initially?
BLOUNT: Oh, yes.
SAVIDGE (voice over): Twenty-one-year-old Lauren Welte says she thought it was a joke.
LAUREN WELTE, REINHARDT UNIVERSITY GOLFER: And I was like, oh, no. I was -- I was so against it. And I feel -- I feel so bad saying that, but I really was.
SAVIDGE: Then came a difficult day on the course, just Lauren and Debbie, lugging their golf bags on foot around 18 holes in the pouring rain.
WELTE: Just being able just to talk to her and hear her story and just see how incredible she is as a person, like that really changed everything.
SAVIDGE: It's not just her story.
SAVIDGE (on camera): How good is she?
WELTE: She's awesome. She hits it the straightest out of all of us.
EVANS NICHOLS, GOLF COACH, REINHARDT UNIVERSITY: She's committed to doing the best she can through and through until there's no more holes to play.
Oh, yes. Oh, yes. So you get to pick.
SAVIDGE (voice over): Debbie's real contribution is something her teammates are too young to have, so she passes it along. Wisdom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understanding how to mentally get back if something doesn't go well.
SAVIDGE (on camera): What is it that draws us to this story of hers?
MARK ROBERTS, PRESIDENT, REINHARDT UNIVERSITY: Well, isn't the American story about renewal and about reinventing yourself and seeing new ways of being who you are?
SAVIDGE (voice over): Debbie Blount is living her dream and teaching others they can too.
SAVIDGE (on camera): You've made an impact on people's lives. I mean that's why we're here. I mean you're an inspiration.
BLOUNT: Well, I -- just doing what I want to do. And I -- you know, if that's the case, then awesome.
SAVIDGE: As the student athlete on a golf scholarship, Debbie has a simple plan, keep her scores down, keep her grades up. On the course, she's pretty consistent.
In the classroom, she's got a 4.0. And she has been nominated homecoming queen.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Waleska, Georgia.