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Justice Thomas' Influence on the Court; Peloton Burning Through Cash; Omicron Variant is Very Contagious; Brady Gets Deal with Fox Sports. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: After four decades on the Supreme Court, this might be the moment for Justice Clarence Thomas. In a new piece for, CNN chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin, looks at what's behind his rise on the court and where things go from here. He writes, quote, Thomas began his career as a justice, as a near outcast, an ideological fringe figure and a scarred veteran of a brutal confirmation fight. Today in contrast, he's a revered figure in the conservative movement and he is watching ideas he championed from the margins turn into the law of the land.

Jeffrey Toobin, the writer of this article, joins me now.

I think I gave him ten extra years on the Supreme Court, Jeffrey, but he's been there for a long time.


BERMAN: You write about how influential he's become over these three- plus decades. You know, why is that?

TOOBIN: Well, the issue with influence on the Supreme Court is, who are your colleagues? Do you have people who agree with you? So, let's look at the transition.

This is the Supreme Court that Clarence Thomas joined in 1991. And it was a pretty evenly divided court. 1992 was the Casey decision. Casey was, of course, the big decision that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade. And the three moderates here, O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, joined Blackmun and Stevens to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. And that's -- that's -- that was the law of the land in 1991 and 1992.

Let's look at the Supreme Court now. We have three liberals, five conservatives, and John Roberts arguably a moderate, arguably a conservative as well. So, this is why Thomas is so important. It's in part because his ideas are -- have some intellectual heft, but it's mostly because there are people now who agree with him.

BERMAN: Of all the cases that will be coming before the court, where do his priorities sit?

TOOBIN: He has been outspoken on all these issues, often in dissenting opinions or concurring opinions from the outside. You know, he has not written many important majority opinions during his 32 years on the court, but he has spoken out against Roe v. Wade. Now, if this draft opinion becomes law, his view will be vindicated.

In gun rights. You know, when Thomas joined the court in 1991, the court had never held that there was an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. He started writing dissenting opinions in the late '90s saying there is an individual right to bear arms. And in 2008, Justice Scalia's famous opinion for the court in the Heller case said there is a -- there is an individual right and this term, it's very likely that they're going to expand the individual right, contract the right of states to pass gun laws.

Church and state issues. Thomas has been very outspoken that the -- that the so-called wall of separation between church and state is -- is -- should be -- should be torn down. People may remember, there's a case this term, hasn't been decided yet, about a football coach offering prayers at the 50-yard line. Very likely that that will be upheld as not a violation of the First Amendment.

And the death penalty. Clarence Thomas has been a vigorous supporter of the death penalty. A big supporter of allowing executions to proceed. That view seems to be ascending (ph) at the court as well.

BERMAN: With the Supreme Court in the news so much, everyone all of a sudden is a Latin expert. And satire decisis is a phrase that people have become familiar with, which basically is the importance of precedent. Thomas has got a very interesting view on this.

TOOBIN: And so important now with the court changing so dramatically. Clarence Thomas even disagreed with his colleague, Antonin Scalia, about this. Justice Scalia was a -- had a fairly conventional view of precedent. He said, look, it's important for the stability of the court, it's important for people's respect for the rule of law, for the predictability. All those arguments in -- are in favor of honoring the rule of precedent.


Thomas repeatedly has said, we should not honor precedent if we disagree with the result. And so that means he is much more willing to overturn precedent than other justices. He will now have this opportunity because the Supreme Court today is very much his court.

BERMAN: And again, at 73 years old, he's a young man in Supreme Court terms.

Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much for being with us this morning. We appreciate it.

TOOBIN: OK, Berman.

BERMAN: So, Peloton collecting dust in your house and burning through cash to stay afloat.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That'll do, piglet (ph). That'll do.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Why actor James Cromwell glued himself, yes, glued himself to a Starbucks counter.



BERMAN: So, while you burn the calories, they burn the cash. Peloton was raking in money during the pandemic as people tried to stay fit at home, but the company's fortunes have now changed now that things are returning more to normal.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the details.


CHRISTINE ROMANS CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, making investors sweat, John. Sorry, had to do it.

Peloton burning through cash and borrowing money just to stay in business. Peloton sales in the quarter tumbled 15 percent from last year. It lost $757 million in the quarter. It's burning through cash, which Peloton acknowledges leaves it thinly capitalized for a business of our scale. Ouch.

Peloton forced to borrow a significant amount of money from Wall Street just to keep running. It's a sign the pandemic bubble, John, has burst. Peloton was a big winner when everyone stayed home. Its instructors became household names. Its product, a fixture in pop culture, even making a cameo in "Sex and the City" and in "Billions."

It spent like that pandemic behavior would last forever. It hasn't. Gyms have reopened. Bike and subscription sales are stagnating. Peloton has too much inventory.

Now, to help, they brought on a new CEO, cut prices for treadmills and bikes, but also plans to sell Peloton to third party retailers.

But the turnaround is slow, at least by Wall Street standards. Peloton shares, John, fell nearly 9 percent, hit a record low. The company's value now just $4 billion. That's a 90 percent drop from the high last year when it was worth $47 billion, John.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you very much. KEILAR: He had us glued to the screen as the nice farmer in "Babe,"

right, and the evil cop in "L.A. Confidential," but James Cromwell literally glued himself to a Starbucks counter in New York. PETA posted live video of its Facebook page of the succession actor protesting Starbucks' practice of upcharging for plant-based milk.


JAMES CROMWELL, ACTOR: Stop this practice of charging customers more for something that should be available to everybody! And it saves the planet, that does not harm animals, and will make a difference!


KEILAR: Cromwell eventually pried his hand off the counter. It is unclear if he will face charges.

In a statement, Starbucks said, customers can customize any beverage on the menu with a non-dairy milk, including soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk for an additional cost, similar to other beverage customizations, such as an additional espresso shot or syrup. Pricing varies market by market.

What do you think of that?

BERMAN: He superglued himself to the counter? I mean that's commitment. I'm not sure I've heard that as a protest before.

KEILAR: I'm surprised he got his hand off because I actually superglued my finger to something trying to fix a child's toy this week, and I'm telling you, it's -- it's difficult to fix.

BERMAN: I was going to say, anyone with kids knows that, you know, prying the hand off is no easy task and leaves some skin behind. Just saying.

KEILAR: I know. It definitely does.

All right, so The Late Show" says Stephen Colbert may be experiencing a recurrence of Covid just weeks after having it. We're going to ask Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the chances of something like this.

BERMAN: And the new dash cam footage that shows the moment escaped Alabama inmate Casey White is captured by police.



KEILAR: I know they're the words that make you cringe. A new Covid variant. And it has doubled in prevalence over the past two weeks according to the CDC. It's already become the dominant variant in parts of the northeast.

And joining us now to talk about it is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. OK, Sanjay, what do we need to know about this one?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, everyone knows omicron. I mean this is the one that caused the significant winter surge. But there's been two sort of subvariants since then that people have really been paying attention to here in the United States. And what we know is that these subvariants are getting increasingly transmissible. So, again, omicron caused that winter surge. Ba.2 became the dominant strain sort of by March. And now we have this Ba.2.12.1, which is about 25 percent more transmissible than the previous ones.

And these are -- even though they're all subvariants, they're very different from one another as well. So that's an important point. But if you look at sort of the trajectory overall of these two new variants, what you see is that this new one, Ba.2.12.1 is sort of crowding out the previous one. So, it's becoming increasingly dominant, and at the same time the previous subvariant is sort of coming down in numbers.

So, that's what happens. We've seen that before. We saw that with delta, for example, last summer. We saw that with omicron when it initially sort of came on the scene. And this is happening again.

I will point out, it's interesting, with this particular one, we usually see these variants in other countries first and sort of get an idea of their trajectory. This new one is sort of more dominant here in the United States, and South Africa, for example, where omicron initially emerged. There's Ba.4 and Ba.5 already there that are becoming the dominant strains. So we're still collecting data specifically on this one.

But it's clear that it's becoming dominant in New York and the northeast, where you guys are, it's probably about two-thirds of the cases now of Covid in that particular area of the country.

BERMAN: So, Sanjay, U.S. health authorities investigating why some Covid patients are relapsing after taking Paxlovid, which is the antiviral pill. What evidence are they seeing?


GUPTA: This is a -- still a bit of a mystery here. I mean they saw some evidence of this during the trials, that someone would have a positive test, they would be symptomatic, they would take Paxlovid, which is an antiviral, feel better, and then about 10 to 14 days later, start to have symptoms again, test positive again, and sometimes with even higher viral loads than before. So if you imagine like what rebound is. You got the virus here. You put these antivirals on it, push it down. You think that it's squelched, but ultimately it sort of pops back up. That's the sort of rebound effect.

In the trials with this, they saw that happen in about 1 to 2 percent of patients who were taking this, but they also saw the same thing happen in the placebo group. So, people's whose own immune system was sort of pushing the virus down, they saw that sort of rebound effect again.

They don't entirely know why that is happening. It's something that they're still investigating. But I think the overall benefit of Paxlovid, it was tested in unvaccinated people and they found that it was about 88 percent effective in terms of keeping them out of the hospital. And even in people who rebound, typically they have milder symptoms.

So, there's no guidance change here on whether or not to take Paxlovid. If you're at high risk, especially if you're unvaccinated, it can be a very effective drug. But they are still trying to understand why those viral loads pop back up in a small percentage of people.

KEILAR: Yes, quite an important tool for unvaccinated folks who get Covid. I'm glad you point that out.

Sanjay, thank you so much. Great to see you.

GUPTA: You bet. Thank you.

KEILAR: Key Republican primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska put the power of former President Trump to the test. We're going to break down the results.

BERMAN: And Tom Brady is about to make more money on television than he did playing football over the course of his entire career.



BERMAN: Big news for quarterback Tom Brady and Fox Sports and me. "The New York Post" is reporting the seven-time Super Bowl champ will receive a whopping $375 million deal to become the lead NFL game analyst for Fox Sports once he retires, which could be 20 or 30 years from now.

Joining us now is Cari Champion, former ESPN anchor and the host of "Naked with Cari Champion."

$375 million. I mean, Cari, what can you say except wow?

CARI CHAMPION, HOST, "NAKED WITH CARI CHAMPION": I -- you know -- well, first of all, I'm not surprised because I know for years -- and you know this as a Tom Brady fan -- he hasn't necessarily been a friend of the media, but it would take a contract that large to get him to actually come out and play ball with us on this side of the camera. More money than he's made as a quarterback. Just imagine that for just a second. Although you said the best part, when his -- he actually retiring. That's the big question, when is he actually retiring?

KEILAR: Is he going, though -- this is my question, is he going to even like this job? I know it's so much money and we think, oh, well, that will make up for it, but he already has tons of money. CHAMPION: Yes.

KEILAR: So is he even going to enjoy this, do you think?

CHAMPION: Yes, I don't -- I don't think they're hurting for cash. I do believe that for Tom, everything is a challenge. And if you know anything about Mr. Brady, he's competitive, even when it comes to playing cards. So, I know that there was talk that when Tony Romo became head of the class in terms of being the best in the business and making all of the money as a quarterback turned analyst, I hear that Tom may have felt a way and that he wanted to prove he could do the same if not just as better.

Now, again, I don't know how this is all going to play out because there are the rumors of where he could possibly go, will he be actually playing for the Bucs, will he try to retire, do a switch and bait and then immediately go into the booth? I'm still waiting to see how this all plays out. With him, as you know, there was the retiring, the unretiring. Anything could happen, you guys. And I'm pretty interested to see how he's going to do this analyst thing because he was always very critical of people who had something to say about him.

BERMAN: Yes, look, you're talking about the money. It's hard to think he's doing this just for the money. Because you know who has made more money than Tom Brady? His wife. His wife. He's the second biggest earner in that household, not the number one earner.

You know, if we could put up on the screen again, there's been this huge shift in terms of personalities in the booth with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman going from Fox to ESPN, Al Michaels going to Amazon, you have Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth are now going to do the Sunday night football on NBC. You know, there's a lot of -- a lot of movement here.

And Brady is not starting this year, as far as we know. And as you said -- look, and his best asset, his face, most people won't even see it when he's in the booth, Cari. So, like, I just -- is he going to be good at this job?

CHAPMAN: I think he'll be excellent. I think that he's so competitive that he will be excellent.

And you mentioned his face as -- I mean not bad to look at. Gisele's husband is handsome. However, I'm sure that Fox has put a camera -- or will put a camera anywhere that Tom Brady will be just so that we can see some of his face because that's what's going to be the selling point for this $375 million contract.

And, I mean, not for nothing, I'm not angry that these men are making all this money, but there are women who talk sports and I simply am available for $375 million over ten years. I mean I may not have played the game that way, but, I mean, don't you think that would be fair? Only fair.

BERMAN: I think they can have both of us for a mere fraction of that price. I'll go -- all three of us. KEILAR: I know. I'm available for far less. Far less.

But I'm really interested, actually, Cari, to hear what he says because, you know, as he was retiring before he unretired, there was so much exploration about the kind of player that he is. And he really put so much thought into it. Someone who maybe wasn't always the best in his mind, he had to build over time.


And I wonder what he would bring to analyzing games.