Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Bob Saget's Death; Senator Lindsey Graham Against Senator Mitch McConnell; Boris Johnson Questioned After Garden Party; Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R), CA, Stiff-arms January 6 Committee. Aired 7:30-8:00a ET

Aired January 13, 2022 - 07:30   ET





BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Bob Saget's widow breaking her silence, saying that she is completely shattered, mourning the death of her husband and beloved actor and comedian.

Saget's family is also still awaiting autopsy results.

CNN's Chloe Melas is live for us in Miami with more on this. So many questions. So much sadness around his death, Chloe.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Good morning, Brianna. Also, a lot of speculation. A lot of people connecting the fact that Bob Saget had had COVID and recovered from it. And some now claiming that perhaps it was his booster or his vaccine or something that led to his death.

We know that the family, I spoke to multiple people close to Bob yesterday, who said that they are just waiting for this autopsy report, that will not be back for weeks.

And in the meantime they don't want to speculate, that he would not have gone on tour, he would not have taken the stage if he was not feeling healthy. That he was healthy, in good spirits and that's why he decided to perform in Florida. That he had no underlying health conditions that anybody was concerned about.

And Bob actually spoke about having COVID in a podcast just a few days before his death. Take a listen.



BOB SAGET, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: It is not good. It does not feel good. I had it.


SAGET: And I don't know if I had Delta or -- I might have had a combo. Maybe at one point they were working together. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deltacrom (ph).

SAGET: I think at one point Omicron was opening for Delta, but then Omicron got so big Delta's opening now for Omicron.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they switched ...


MELAS: He always had a sense of humor. But obviously, you know, COVID is no joke. And he talks about the fact that it was a difficult time and we know from sources close to Bob, Brianna, that he had COVID in December.

There's been a lot of questions about the timeline of when he had it. But, he talked about having had his booster, having been vaccinated.

But again, family members close to Bob and people who worked with him say, we don't want to speculate about what caused his death. That he was in good health. And they will have the answers -- we will all have those answers in just a matter of weeks.

KEILAR: All right, we'll be staying tuned for that. Chloe, thank you.

MELAS: Thank you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now, former Senator and host of the Al Franken Podcast, Al Franken.

Senator, nice to see you this morning. And, of course, you've got, you know, a foot in the political world and a foot in the comedy world still.


BERMAN: You've got a Bob Saget story.

FRANKEN: Well, I -- I've known Bob for years. The comedy world is -- is fairly small. Lovely, lovely guy. I saw him just a few months ago, not long after Norm McDonald died. I was the -- at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village, New York. And Bob came in and I was going to go on, but Bob wanted to come in and talk about Norm. And that's what he did. And he was very close to Norm. Very good friends.

Bob, lovely guy, you know, you can -- you it from all the people who work with him. When you do a show but, you know, like -- like he did, that lasted for years, everybody becomes a family and you know each other very well.

And, from what I'm hearing from everybody they just loved Bob and that you just heard him talking, the way he used Omicron opening for -- for Delta. He was really funny.

And, of course, one of the stories that may have heard is that he became friends with my parents. My parents and I had bought a place in St. Thomas and my parents, you know, spent a lot of the winter down there. And they met Bob and they became friends. And totally different generationally. But, he really loved my parents and they loved him.

BERMAN: Can I ask you -- my -- my wife asked this question to me. Because, the way that people are talking about Bob Saget, it's just different that I've really almost ever heard about anyone else. People loved him. There was something about the way that he interacted or treated people that made them love him. What can we learn? How can I treat people the way that Bob Saget did?

FRANKEN: I think you do.

BERMAN: That's kind. But seriously, I mean, what did he -- what did he do? What did he do?

FRANKEN: Well no, I mean, there's a lot -- I mean, yes, he was good to people. He was good to the people he worked with. He was a nice guy. But there's a -- there are a lot of people like that.

And, you know, I think -- I meet them all the time and I meet them in all walks of life and -- but he was just a good guy. And really funny. And also, had this unbelievable dichotomy, which of course, in his TV show he played America's dad. And then he was one of the filthiest comics on tour.

BERMAN: Let me ask you -- and he liked mom and dad to boot.


BERMAN: All right, I'm going to change gears here. You say everyone's like that. I'm not sure everyone's like that in the U.S. Senate.

FRANKEN: Not everyone. But, there -- there are a lot of people --

BERMAN: Some people. Senator Lindsey Graham --


BERMAN: -- let's talk about Senator Lindsey Graham, your former colleague from the state of South Carolina. Listen, Donald Trump has picked a fight with Mitch McConnell. He really doesn't want Mitch McConnell to be the Republican leader anymore. And last night it seemed that Lindsey Graham, he picked sides in this. Listen.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump.

I like Senator McConnell. He worked will with the President Trump to get a bunch of judges, including three -- three Supreme Court Justices on the bench that got the tax cuts past, working together.

But here's the question. Can Senator McConnell effectively work with the leader of the Republican Party Donald Trump? I'm not going to vote for anybody that can't have a working relationship with President Trump --



BERMAN: He's picking sides there.

FRANKEN: So, is he -- is he saying he's not going to vote for Mitch for leader? That's what it sounds like. That's kind of ridiculous. Well, in so far as Donald Trump's a horrible person.

And I think pretty much everyone in the Republican Senate Caucus kind of knows it. And he's been selling this huge lie. Mike Rounds of South Dakota finally said, come on everybody we've got to stop playing this. Chris Christie has said that. A number of people said it.

So, I think what -- this is too cenacle on Lindsey's part. Lindsey knows. Lindsey knows the election was stolen. And I don't -- you know-- I don't know why he's doing that other than he maybe thinks its good for Lindsey.

BERMAN: I do want to ask you about President Biden's push for voting rights. He gave that speech in Atlanta that some -- and he compared Bull Connor and George Wallace and Jefferson Davis, he said do you want to be on the side of Martin Luther King or all those people.

Dick Durbin, your former colleague, said maybe it went too far. Listen.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: Perhaps the president went a little too far his rhetoric. Some of us do. But the fundamental principles and values at stake are very, very similar.


BERMAN: What do you think?

FRANKEN: I -- I agree with -- with both of them. I agree with the president and with Dick. And I think it was maybe a little over the top. There's no question that what the Republicans are trying to do is suppress vote. And can I give you just a number of examples?

BERMAN: A few.

FRANKEN: For example, OK, try them real fast. Texas, in Texas they made a law that you only get one drop box per county. There is 4.7 million Texans in Harris County, that's where Houston is. They get one drop box.

A county that has 200 people in it gets one drop box. Well, who -- who's in the country with 200 people? Those are -- tend to be white, rural, Republican voters. Who's in Houston? That tends to be more minority voters. Look, it -- McConnell voted for the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and that

included preclearance. This -- this is about preclearance. That's a big part of what this is. And when they got rid of preclearance after Shelby County what happened? Boom. In North Carolina they just wrote the laws that the -- a Fourth Circuit said, targeted black with almost surgical precision.

There is no question that the Republican Party is -- is trying to tamp down, suppress the vote of people who vote for Democrats, including not just black people, but students and poor people. It's -- it's pretty clear what they're doing. And it -- and for them to deny that is just intellectually dishonest. But that's who they are now.

BERMAN: Al Franken, appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

FRANKEN: You bet.

BERMAN: Former First Lady Melanie Trump selling some of her historic stuff. Does anybody still wear a hat? The question is, why?

And Boris Johnson facing questions over his boozy COVID bash, which is totally fair to face questions about that. But, I'll tell you what isn't, next.




BERMAN: A huge moment of crisis for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, facing withering questions about the propriety of hosting a garden party while the rest of his country was in lockdown.


IAN BLACKFORD, U.K. MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Does the Prime Minister now realize that's it's clear to all that while he might not understand that he can be socially destined from others, there is no doubt that he is moderately destined from the rest of us across the nations. And the best thing he can do now is go present (ph) prime minister.


BERMAN: So facing questions not just about holding the party, but his honesty surrounding it.


KEIR STARMER, LEADER OF LABOUR PARTY OF U.K.: Can't the prime minister see why the British public think he's lying through his teeth?


(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So, it's a serious moment with serious implications that we have covered at length. But what many Americans noticed that is that it all came to a head with the prime minister there in the House of Commons answering questions from members of Parliament.


BLACKFORD: What's so galling (ph) about that response is that the prime minister feels now shame for his actions.


BERMAN: So it's a quaint tradition called Prime Minister's Questions. I call it quaint because they still have princes and princesses. More on that in a moment.

Every week, Wednesday usually, the prime minister has to go toe-to-toe with M.P.s and face the music. Not that the Brits are known for their music.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: I want to repeat that I thought it was a work event.

STARMER: Well, that apology was pretty worthless wasn't it?

JOHNSON: By bitterly (ph) I regrettably it and wish that we could have done things differently.

STARMER: This just isn't working Prime Minister.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think somebody will be going for an early cup of tea --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think somebody will be going for an early cup of tea as well.


STARMER: The party's over, Prime Minister. The only question is, will the British public kick him out? Will his Party kick him out? Or will he do the decent thing and resign?




BERMAN: It really is quite a spectacle. It can all seem irregular to the American viewer. But what is regular, like Big Ben regular, is some American cable commentator rejoicing in how glorious the British system is. And it is great, especially if pompous is your thing. But, it's important to note in the gushing adoration for British

democracy, it's actually a monarchy. The prime minister takes questions but you know who doesn't? The Head of State or anyone in the Royal Family, the dukes and earls and marquess', not that I even know what a marquess is. Am I even saying that right? Marquess?

Although I do know that none there has a better career OPS than Marquis Grissom. I digress. So yes, questions are great. And Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a lot to answer for. But I think of some others who do as well.

KEILAR: Such a good point. It is such a good point. And I will say, spoken like a true son of Massachusetts.

BERMAN: I -- you know, you can understand my accent. Some -- some of the ones there not so sure.

KEILAR: I do enjoy question time. But, you know, it is a very good point you make, which is the protection right now, especially it's so current, of what is happening when it comes to questions about Prince Andrew and I mean I would love to hear those answered.

BERMAN: Look, there are conventions about what you can and can't ask the royal family when they're in public. There are rules about it. I --


BERMAN: -- you know, just saying.

KEILAR: And if you refuse to be in public, you especially can't be answered -- or you can't be answering questions.

Kevin McCarthy is stiff-arming the January 6 Committee. Could he now get slapped with a subpoena?

BERMAN: And former First Lady Melanie Trump cleaning house and cashing in.

KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST: She was an enigma in the White House, and so she's selling bits of herself from a really unhappy time in her life.




BERMAN: Happening now, bidding active for personal items belonging to former First Lady Melanie Trump. The minimum bid $250,000?

CNN's Kate Bennett joins us now.

And Kate, you know, look some first ladies have sold stuff for charity before. Is that what's happening here? KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well John, it's interesting. There

is a small part on Melanie Trump's website where she's announcing the sale of this hat and another NFT that says a portion of the proceeds is going to help foster children. But, we've asked many times what portion and to which foster children and please define the breakdown. We have never gotten an answer.

But what is clear is that this is a former first lady who will profit personally from items she is selling that happened during her tenure as first lady. And that money is going to go straight into Melanie Trump's pocket.


BENNETT (voice over): A year out of the White House and Melanie Trump is stirring controversy.


MELANIA TRUMP, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, it has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as First Lady of the United States.


BENNETT (voice over): An honor that apparently has a price tag. Melanie Trump announcing she is auctioning off her white hat, the wide-brim number she wore for the first state visit during the Trump administration back in April of 2018.


BENNETT (voice over): The hat made headlines. And now Melanie is attempting to cash in. Autographing it and putting up for auction to her fans along with a watercolor of her wearing the hat and a non- fungible token or NFT, a piece of digital artwork or collectible all for sale via cryptocurrency. Opening bid, $250,000. A money play unheard of for a first lady.

BROWER: From Michelle Obama to Laura Bush, nobody has sold any gowns that they've worn. Nobody's sold pieces of their time in the White House, because there is the sense that it belongs to the American people.

BENNETT (voice over): Most former first ladies catalog important items of clothing and donate them either to a presidential library or to a museum. Something Melanie did in 2017, with her inauguration gown, designed by her stylist Herve Pierre. Giving it to the First Lady's Exhibit at the Smithsonian's Museum of American history. Pierre, incidentally also the designer of the white hat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sold for $400,000.

BENNETT (voice over): There have been auctions of former first lady items. But those have taken place after they have died. Most notably the auction of Jacqueline Kennedy's possessions in 1996, two years after her death and three decades after her time in the White House.

Arguably, one of the most popular first ladies in American history, renowned for her style, the auction made the Kennedy Estate millions of dollars.

But Melanie Trump is very much alive, living in Palm Beach, not doing public events. And as of last month, dabbling in the world of Bitcoin, selling digital drawings of her eyes and now this.

BROWER: For her it's always been about image. And she was enigma in the White House. And so, she's selling bits of herself from a really unhappy time in her life.

BENNETT (voice over): Perhaps the most confounding part of the sale is the personal profit Melanie Trump is hoping to make, while a small paragraph at the bottom of her website notes a, quote, "Portion of the proceeds will go to help foster children." Numerous attempts by CNN to get clarity from Trump's spokesperson on just how large or small a portion and to which charity have all gone unanswered.


TRUMP: No words can express the depth of my gratitude for the privilege of having served as your first lady. To all the people of this country, you will be in my heart forever.


BENNETT (voice over): But her fashion moments, with the right fitter, might not stick around that long.


BENNETT: Now, this auction is set to close on January 25th. So, if people want to bid on these items they can. And I want to say, John, former first ladies have made profit.