Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

CNN Reports, Biden to President Framework of $1.75 Spending Bill to Democrats; Sheriff Says, Alec Baldwin Fired a Live Round from Rust Set; Wall Street Journal Slammed for Publishing Trump Letter Full of Election Lies. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired October 28, 2021 - 07:00   ET


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Or any sort of explanation about his firing and was replaced by two women, a white woman and a black woman.


But according to court documents, Novant Health says that Duvall lacked leadership skills and that often delegated many of the tasks to one of the women who replaced him.

Now, the jury found otherwise, determining that they thought that his race and gender were motivating factors in his firing. In a statement from his attorney, they said, quote, we believe the punitive damages award was a message that an employer cannot terminate and replace employees simply based on their race or gender in order to achieve target for greater diversity in the workforce. It is plainly unlawful and harmful and it was obvious to the jury.

Now, CNN has reached out to Novant Health. We have not received any comment back from them. But, Brianna, John, they did release a statement to local media saying that they disagree with this ruling and do not believe the evidence supported the verdict and they plan to look into their legal options and pursue anything that they can, including an appeal in the near future.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Yes. And will we see other cases following suit here? Very outstanding question there. Dianne, thank you so much, live for us from Charlotte.

And New Day continues right now.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Thursday, October 28th.

And there's still no deal as Democrats are racing against the clock, trying to save President Biden's multitrillion dollar social agenda. We are now hearing though that President Biden is on the verge of presenting Democrats with the framework of a potential deal. So, what is that going to be?

The president here is desperately trying to bring moderates and progressives together. He's hoping to have something finalized before he leaves today for Europe and the G20 summit. He's delayed his departure. He put it off here by a few hours so that can meet with House Democrats on the Hill this morning.

Earlier on New Day, we spoke with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about the 11th negotiations and the prospect of a deal.


REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): Legislation is the art of compromise. Compromise isn't a dirty word. You bring everybody to the table. You listen to their perspective. You've heard the old Will Rogers saying, which I think is probably (INAUDIBLE) that I've ever heard, people with weak stomachs shouldn't watch sausage or laws being made. I don't think I've quite seen the sausage-making this difficult for this -- making you sick to your stomach. But we're not done. We don't know what's in it. Let's hear what the president says.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Well, we're now hearing that the president is going to the Hill with something. The White House has something that they obviously hope gets Democrats over the finish line. And this is all happening right now. This is developing as we speak. In the next couple hours, we could know whether Democrats have a deal to pass this or not.

So, let's go right to Capitol Hill. CNN's Lauren Fox is there. And I know Democrats are waiting for the president's arrival. They are waiting to hear what he says. They're waiting to see if he gives them something that they can agree on today.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, such a consequential moment and a big gamble for the president as Democrats are awaiting his message this morning. The expectation, according to sources that CNN is hearing from, is that the president will come and present a package that could be the contours of a deal, a framework.

Now, this is not completely finished. This is not going to have every single detail or legislative text delivered to the House Democratic Caucus this morning. Instead, this is an effort by the president to make his case that this is where we are headed. This is the contours of a major legislative deal. And his message is going to be, I need the Democratic Caucus to be with me on this.

Now, the president is going to be asking them to really trust him on whether or not he can sell this bigger social safety net agenda to the Senate. Remember, there have been so many moments in this negotiation that have really laid bare the differences between progressives and moderates in the Democratic Caucus.

And the president's challenge this morning in this meeting is to make it clear to his members that, yes, progressives, this may not be everything you want. This may not include paid family leave, a huge, huge, landmark piece of legislation that Democrats have really been campaigning on for years. But the president is trying to encourage progressives to remember that something is better than nothing right now. And I think that is going to be the key message here.

But it's obviously going to be a huge test of whether or not the president can sell this. Because right now, walking into this meeting, there are dozens of progressives who may not be willing to go ahead and vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill until they have legislative text or a vote even on that bigger social safety net bill. That is not something that's really going to be possible in the next 48 hours right now.


So, the effort under way is to walk into this meeting and sell a framework that still may have some pieces of it that are in a work in progress but is really going to present to the caucus where this agenda is going. Is that going to be enough for the Democratic caucus? That is the major outstanding question this morning and something that this meeting is really building to in the next couple of hours. John?

BERMAN: Lauren, am I reading this right? I mean, he is going to walk in there and say, this is the day that I need you to say yes. This may not be everything you want, this may not be all the details of everything you want, but today is the day where you get together and say you will support this.

FOX: That's exactly right, John. And in many ways, right, the White House has been having conversations behind the scenes where they have been making the case that this moment was coming, that the time was coming to a close when they needed to find an agreement that everyone was going to just finally say yes to. That moment is coming today.

Whether or not the president is going to be able to actually convince his Democratic Caucus that they are going to get on board, that's another question entirely. That's why this is always a gamble. He is walking in, giving it everything he has. Is it going to be enough? We're going to have to wait and see.

BERMAN: You don't often see this. You don't often see a president not know the outcome of a gamble like this. This is very interesting to watch over the next few hours. Lauren Fox, thank you very much.

KEILAR: All right. Let's talk now with CNN Chief Political Correspondent and co-Anchor of State of the Union, Dana Bash. I mean, Dana, the president, as John said, is going to go up and say today is the day you need to say yes. It is also the day for progressives that Joe Manchin killed family leave from this bill. Where are they going to be on this?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're not sure. We're not sure. And, John, the way you framed it is so accurate, that he is about to go on a foreign trip, these meetings that he has are all precooked. And what he's going to do today is the opposite of precooked. He really is going to have to use all of those skills that he has touted for decades, somebody who can bring people together, who can rally support an agenda and use it for his fellow Democrats.

You are right. There are a lot of details that have fallen out of this package that make progressives very upset. The gut punch was yesterday finding on it for sure that paid family leave was gone. And although the sort of public line is we still have a lot of really important things, and that is true, but not having paid family leave, which is so incredibly popular, much broadly beyond the Democratic base, is very difficult.

But I had a senior Democrat say to me point blank, we just couldn't convince Senator Joe Manchin. He doesn't want to do it as part of this package. And if we want this package, we had to let it go.

BERMAN: Again, I mean, we're all watching this right now. This is one of the very rare cases where we don't know which way this will go. This will develop the next few hours and we haven't seen anything quite like it. I can think of a time when we have seen anything quite like this where the president is going to sell something and he or we don't know which way it is headed. So, stand by for this.

Dana, in the meantime, you guys are both veterans of the softball team.

KEILAR: I didn't saw we're good players but we're spirited, spirited veterans.

BERMAN: It's the effort that matters here.

BASH: Very enthusiastic.

KEILAR: Whatever, our team won all the time. We didn't even need to be that great.

BERMAN: Part of the media softball team that plays against members of Congress, there was the game last night, Dana, which is also awesome. But you also had a chance to speak with Senator Amy Klobuchar about her battle with cancer. So, I want to listen to that.


BASH (voice over): On this Capitol Hill ball field, a bipartisan team of female lawmakers face off against a team of female reporters, at the Annual Congressional Women's Softball Game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We now have runners on first and second.

BASH: Announcing the game with yours truly and NBC's Andrea Mitchell is Senator Amy Klobuchar.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Now it's time to play ball. Let's go.

BASH: For ten years, Klobuchar has been calling the fame and helping with its core mission, raising money to combat breast cancer. This year is different. It's personal.

KLOBUCHAR: I was in D.C. in my apartment by myself. I got the call. They just said it's actually stage 1a cancer.

BASH: Breast cancer diagnosed in the spring. KLOBUCHAR: I was scared because I was so surprised. I had always felt good. But, boy, did I learn a lot about don't put off your exams.

BASH: She put it off for a couple of years.

KLOBUCHAR: I was going to have an exam and then the pandemic started. They closed things down, right? And so I then couldn't get it.


BASH: After a lumpectomy and a round of radiation, her prognosis is very good.

KLOBUCHAR: Thousands of women have undetected breast cancer and I'm a living example, that if you -- yes, I put it off, so I'm an example of that. But if you catch it early enough, the treatment may be easier. And certainly your chances of success are greater.

BASH: Now, she is co-sponsoring legislation to promote preventive health care screenings.

The women's softball game was started by Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2009. It benefits the Young Survival Coalition, an organization dedicated to issues unique to young adults with breast cancer.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ (D-FL): This woman was the first person I went to outside of my family to tell them -- tell her that I had breast cancer. Little did I know 13 years later that I would be standing here with us, both of us being survivors.

KLOBUCHAR: That's one of the reasons we do this game is that there are so many survivors out there that got help when they should and they go on to live incredible lives.


BASH (on camera): So, all for such a good cause. And, Brianna, I know you want to know what the big number was on the check.

KEILAR: I purposely -- what was it?

BASH: I am going to tell you who won of course. But, first, the number on the big check, $500,000, which brings over the past 13 years, about $2 million raised for breast cancer awareness and YSC, this incredible organization. You want to know who won?

KEILAR: Yes. I actually purposely avoided it so you could tell me.

BASH: The score was 5-1. The winners were the Press Corps. As they're called the bad news babes, 5-1, it was a really great game, incredible athleticism. Really, it was I think it of the best game that we've had so far.

KEILAR: That's great. BSAH: Yes. It was last inning, bases loaded. As I said, it was 5-1, bases loaded. And there was a pop up to left field and an incredible catcher caught the ball, and it was over. And it could have been tied up but it was over. And it was (INAUDIBLE).

KEILAR: So amazing. I actually came up with that name, The Bad News Babes, my sole contribution because my softball skills are not really that great.

BASH: That's not true. You're good. Well, I stopped playing. I was the original captain of the team. And then after I had my son, I used it as an excuse to announce from the sidelines.

BERMAN: You are like retired old ball players reminiscing about the games you played. I got that triple. Remember that when I was there? It's a great cause.

BASH: It is a great cause. And thank you to Amy Klobuchar for sharing her story.

KEILAR: Yes, it's so important. Dana, thank you so much.

BASH: Okay.

BERMAN: All right. New details emerging this morning into the deadly film set shooting New Mexico. The assistant director of the film, David Halls, acknowledged to investigators that he did not check all the rounds loaded in the weapon. This as we are hearing from investigators that it was a bullet, a live round that was fired.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov live in Santa Fe with these details. Lucy?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this was the first update that we heard from officials and investigators since that shooting took place. The sheriff, the Santa Fe County sheriff, saying there appeared to be complacency in how weapons were handled on that set. As you point out, he acknowledged that they believe a real gun and a suspected live round is what may have killed that cinematographer, and that chilling admission from the assistant director about failing to check the gun.


KAFANOV (on camera): From the Rust movie set, an update on the investigation, as officials say they are one step closer to learning what killed Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins a week ago.

SHERIFF ADAN MENDOZA, SANTA FE COUNTY: The facts are clear, a weapon was handed to Mr. Baldwin. The weapon is it was functional and fired a live round, killing Ms. Hutchins and injuring Mr. Souza.

KAFANOV: Now, a stunning admission from the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun that fired the fatal shot. Dave Halls telling detectives he failed to check the firearm properly. A search warrant saying he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised he should have checked all of them but didn't. The armorer responsible for handling guns on set also speaking to authorities. In the same search warrant, Hannah Gutierrez saying she checked the dummies and ensured they were not hot rounds. The armorer also telling detectives no live ammo is ever kept on set.


But according to the Santa Fe sheriff --

MENDOZA: We suspect that there was other live rounds that were found on the set. I won't comment further on how they got there.

KAFANOV: Two crew members also alleging Gutierrez mishandled weapons on a previous film project with Nicolas Cage. In allegations first reported by The Wrap, Key Grip Stu Brumbaugh telling CNN she just fired off her round. It sounded like she fired at the ground and that's when Nic really laid into her. That when I said she needs to be let go. She is the most inexperienced armorer I have ever worked with.

STU BRUMBAUGH, KEY GRIP, THE OLD WAY: When a gun goes off on set, it is just not a good thing without being an analyst (ph). Nobody has ear protection in and, unfortunately, in that scenario, Nic was walking by and got pretty upset.

It happened twice on our set. So, the second time, that's why I kind of stepped forward and asked her to be removed. And that's when I found out it was her first movie.

KAFANOV: CNN has reached out to Gutierrez, Nicolas Cage and the film's production company for comment.

Meanwhile, authorities seizing three gun on set and also 500 rounds of ammunition, including blanks, dummy and suspected live rounds. Investigators working to determine just who real bullets made it on to the production location and into the gun.

MENDOZA: That's going to be the basis further investigation. We need more interviews and that's going to be the million dollar question, is how a live round ended up in the revolver that Mr. Baldwin fired.

KAFANOV: Investigators also turning over evidence from the set to the FBI for further review, including the projectile removed from Director Joel Souza's shoulder after he was shot during the incident.

MENDOZA: We also believe that we have the spent shell casing from the bullet that was fired from the gun. The actual lead projectile that was fired has been recovered from the shoulder of Mr. Souza.

Until it's proven by the crime lab, it's a suspected live round that was fired.

KAFANOV: The Santa Fe County district attorney again saying criminal charges could be on the table but still too early to know if they will be filed.

MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, SANTA FE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The way that I was sort of thought was you treat a firearm like a live snake. And so it's a terrible tragedy. We don't know how those live rounds got there. And I think that that will probably end up being kind of the linchpin for whether a decision is made about charges.


KAFANOV (on camera): You heard the district attorney there. She should my colleague, Josh Campbell, that involuntary man slaughter charges could be considered pending the outcome of the investigation, of course. Although involuntary slaughter cases are simply not common in the state of New Mexico, she also said while no charges have been filed yet, all options are on the table and no one has been ruled out, John.

BERMAN: Yes. It's a high bar. It's a high bar in New Mexico, especially a high bar for this. But questions remain about who put the bullet in the chamber, who was required to check if it was a live bullet. Those are such key questions. Those are the people who are undoubtedly nervous this morning. Lucy Kafanov, thank you very much.

The Wall Street Journal under fire for publishing an op-ed from former President Trump -- it wasn't op-ed -- for publishing a letter to the editor full of lies from President Trump, the former president, about the election.

Plus, stuntmen on Capitol Hill as Republicans attack Attorney General Merrick Garland. See what happened there.

KEILAR: And we have an exclusive interview with several of the jurors from the Derek Chauvin trial, what they say was the key factor in the guilty verdict over the murder of George Floyd.



BERMAN: New lies from the former president about the 2020 election. He continues to lie about the outcome this time in a letter to the editor printed by The Wall Street Journal.

Now, despite the clear seriousness of what he is saying and the falsehoods there and the lack of evidence he provide, The Journal doesn't fact check this. They just printed it.

Joining us now is a Republican and the city commissioner of Philadelphia, Al Schmidt. Al, you were a key election official in Pennsylvania during the election. This letter to the editor that the former president wrote is about Pennsylvania specifically. I'm not going to put up on the screen what it says because so much of it is either from outer space or provably false. But what was it like for you to read this?

AL SCHMIDT (R), PHILADELPHIA CITY COMMISSIONER: Well, it was incredibly frustrating, because as soon as I saw it, I sat down to prepare a rebuttal for each item. And for many of them, I have no idea what they're even talking about because they clearly have no idea what they're talking about. It's prepared by some -- it looks like he just copied and pasted some figures from some goofy website that's advocating for an audit in Pennsylvania. I think this is very similar to what we saw in Arizona and there's an effort to repeat that here.

BERMAN: Again, I'm not going to put on the screen the different things he says. But an example of something that's provably false, he complains that people who are 17 registered to vote and suggested somehow that's outrageous. What is the law in Pennsylvania?

SCHMIDT: In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you can register to vote provided that you turn 18 on or before the next Election Day. So, a 17-year-old who turns 18 on or before can register to vote. Once they reach their birthday, their voter registration is activated. So, these are 18-year-olds casting votes. There's nothing controversial about that. It is the way the law is written.

And, you know, I'm sorry, sometimes I'm a little speechless trying to combat these things because they're so loony.


BERMAN: The attempt to mainstream it, though, to see The Wall Street Journal just print this, in your mind, what does this do to truth?

SCHMIDT: That's really the irresponsible part about what they did. I had no idea that they didn't fact-check letters to the editor at all. They clearly couldn't. Because if this is what I do for a living and I can't figure out what they're talking about, I'm sure The Wall Street Journal can't either. And we're not just talking about the damage it does to the faith in our democracy, but it is getting to the point where it damages the functioning of our democracy. When election officials and administrators across the country are having to combat all of this, all these lies, and it's driving many of them away from their jobs.

BERMAN: And it puts people at risk. It has put you at risk, physical risk. I want to play some testimony from you on that subject just this week. Let's listen.


SCHMIDT: Cops can't help you, heads on spikes, treasonous Schmidts. You betrayed your country. You lied. Perhaps cuts and bullets will soon arrive at, provides my address, names my children, RINO stole election, we steal lives.

And let's be clear, this is domestic terrorism. The whole point is to terrorize, to intimidate and to coerce and to prevent our democracy from functioning as it should.


BERMAN: To be clear, these are threats that have been issued to you and your family. Why was it important for you to call it domestic terrorism? SCHMIDT: Because that's really what it is. Election officials across the country really need to give it their all to combat these lies at every turn and to call them what they are. And it is really not helpful at all when an institution like The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page prints this stuff because it is giving it to some sort of credibility that it just doesn't have and just doesn't deserve.

BERMAN: Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, I appreciate you being with us this morning.

SCHMIDT: Thank you.

KEILAR: An alarming video from a right-wing event showing the threat of real life violence spawning from Trump's election lies.

BERMAN: And it was their hard work that saved countless lives, the scientists who helped develop the Moderna COVID vaccine, they will join us.