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House to Access Eastman Emails; Nassar Victims File Claim; Dr. Andrea Cercek is Interviewed about a New Cancer Drug; Rock and Chappelle Team up for Show. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 08, 2022 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This just in to CNN, tonight the January 6th committee will get access to 159 new emails from right wing attorney John Eastman, who helped draft plans to help Trump overturn the 2020 election. And this comes as the committee, of course, is set to hold its first televised primetime hearing tomorrow evening.

Let's bring in CNN political correspondent Sara Murray and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Why is this significant?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's significant because the House is going to get 159 new emails from this right-wing attorney who was working with Trump just to sort of try to block the certification of the 2020 election results. At least one of those emails the judge said could be evidence of a crime.

But it's also significant because of how far back the judge is looking into these emails. You know, he -- the judge said that as far back as December of 2020 it was clear there were already steps in place to try to block the certification of the election results. The judge also said that Eastman was talking to high level White House staff and sympathetic state legislators as they tried to figure out this sort of alternate elector plan, one that we now know is under investigation by the Justice Department.

KEILAR: What does this tell you, Jeffrey?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is really important because, you know, we've known a lot about the riot in the Capitol. I mean hundreds of people have been arrested. But what was actually going on at the White House? And what was Donald Trump's precise role in terms of fomenting this insurrection? That - you know, there's not a lot of specific evidence.

Eastman was at the center of those efforts. And emails don't lie. They're not the testimony of people about what went on. They are contemporaneous records of people -- what they were thinking and doing at the time. And that's why it's important to find out what they say. KEILAR: Could it be a smoking gun?

TOOBIN: It could be. It could be not. I mean, that's why it's important to look at the - look at the emails themselves.

MURRAY: Yes, I think the other thing my colleague Katelyn Polantz, who reported on this, is pointing out is, we know who these high-level White House staffers were that Eastman was emailing. But, you know, we know that there's a lot of information the committee hasn't gotten out of, say, Dan Scavino or Mark Meadows, for instance. And so it - you know, we - it's possible that some of these emails could shed light on the -- what was going on in the White House from witnesses who did not cooperate fully with the committee.

TOOBIN: And Eastman was not a peripheral figure.

KEILAR: That's right.

TOOBIN: I mean he was the brains of the operation. He was giving them the legal justification. All of it seemingly wrong. But he was giving them what legal justification they had to do what they were doing. That's why he's so important in this.

KEILAR: Yes, it's a very good point.

Let's talk about Steve Bannon now because while fighting contempt of Congress charges for defying a subpoena, he is now subpoenaing members of Congress, Sara.

MURRAY: Yes. His legal team is subpoenaing 16 members of Congress and staffers. The entire House Select Committee. Staffers on the House Select Committee. Nancy Pelosi. Others in Democratic leadership.

Steve Bannon wants to put on a defense that essentially says, you know, I am being unfairly targeted. These lawmakers had a nefarious motive for targeting me. The House Select Committee isn't even a legitimate committee. This isn't even a legitimate subpoena. And so that is why he wants to try to haul all these lawmakers to testify at his trial and hand over documents.

The odds of this happening are extremely low. There is something called the Speech and Debate Clause. It protects lawmakers who are doing their legislative activity from having to go and then appear in court and explain what they were up to. So, when I was talking to legal experts about this, they said there's very, very slim chance any of these lawmakers or any of these documents are going to be appearing at Bannon's trial.

TOOBIN: Yes. The key legal concept here is circus. Steve Bannon wants to turn his trial into a circus, where he puts Nancy Pelosi on trial. As you say, the Speech and Debate Clause is one reason why this will fail.

The other reason is just relevance. I mean the issue in Steve Bannon's trial is, did he get a subpoena and did he show up? It should take two days as a trial. I mean there is just no factual issue if this is a normal trial because the facts are just so clear. But Bannon, perhaps, understandably, given who he is and what his perspective -- he wants to try to put the Democrats in Congress on trial. It's just inconceivable to me that any federal judge would allow it.

KEILAR: But just real quick, presumably his lawyers are aware of the Speech and Debate Clause, right?

TOOBIN: Right. But - but --

KEILAR: So what they're trying for is actually just --

TOOBIN: Having us talk about it on cable news.

KEILAR: Got it. OK. Well --

TOOBIN: And then I think - so that's -- the motion has won in that respect.

KEILAR: There you are.

All right, Jeffrey, Sara, thank you so much to both of you.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this just in, former and current Olympic gymnasts, including Gold medalist Simone Biles, are among dozens of sexual assault survivors who are seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for failing to stop the abuse by sports doctor Larry Nassar, adding that investigators could have ended Nassar's predation and protected other victims had they not mishandled the case.

Joining us now is CNN's Jean Casarez, who has been on this story for so long.

This is a big development, Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a very big development. And I think it's highly unusual also. It is called the Federal Tort Claims Act. And according to John Manly, the attorney for these Olympians and world champions and other gymnasts all over the country, the FBI should be receiving this administrative filing any minute now. And what it says is that you let us down, FBI. You knew that our Olympians, that our gymnasts across this country, for Team USA, knew -- were being abused by Larry Nassar. You were told in July of 2015. And you actually interviewed some of them, including McKayla Maroney, who pulled her heart out. And the inspector general's report showed that what you did with that information was you put it in a drawer, you made a few phone calls, you didn't write a lot of notes, and that is why we had the congressional hearing last fall. You might remember that, highly emotional, where McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols, they testified of what they went through. And they pleaded. They begged for the Department of Justice to investigate this. They wanted criminal charges.

Well, it was just weeks ago that the Department of Justice said they would bring no criminal charges against their own FBI agents. And, John, what this is doing here is that they are asking for monetary damages. And this is really notice. It's not a filing. It is a notice. And the FBI, you harmed us. And they're especially concerned about the young women who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar between the time that the FBI knew about it, did nothing, and then finally he was brought to justice.

So, they are asking for actually probably over a billion dollars in total, about 90 claimants.

BERMAN: This gives them a civil route. Now that DOJ has sort of closed the criminal route on the FBI.

CASAREZ: That's right. But it is against the FBI, saying you wronged us.

BERMAN: All right, a big development, as we say. It will be interesting to see how the FBI responds.

CASAREZ: And we are speaking out to them. And they should be receiving it shortly.

BERMAN: OK, so stand by for that development to come.

Jean Casarez, terrific reporting. Thank you.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

BERMAN: Six members of the Haitian delegation are missing from the Special Olympics in Orlando. We have the latest on an investigation ahead.

KEILAR: And in an unprecedented breakthrough, a cancer drug sees a 100 percent success rate in trial patients. We're going to speak to a doctor involved, next.



KEILAR: A small cancer drug trial is showing just extraordinary results. The trial, which was led by researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering's Cancer Center treated patients who had rectal cancer with an experimental drug called Dostarlimab. And in all 14 cases, the cancer vanished. Every single patient now in remission.

Joining us now is Dr. Andrea Cercek, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She was a part of the research team that conducted this study.

I should mention, this sample size, it's not huge, but have you ever seen anything like this in the history of cancer research?

DR. ANDREA CERCEK, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST, MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER: No, we've never seen consecutive, complete responses like this before in the -- really in the history of oncology, you know, that we can remember, where every single patient that received this drug had a complete response, meaning the tumor completely disappeared with the drug alone. So that's what's most remarkable is the fact that although it's small, it's every single person, you know, in a row, consecutively, that's getting the same response.

KEILAR: Yes, it's really amazing. And, obviously, you have more research to do.

But tell us a little bit about this drug, which I'm not sure I pronounced correctly, so please correct me if I pronounced it incorrectly. It's an immune checkpoint inhibitor. What does it do?

CERCEK: So it essentially takes the brakes off of the patient's natural immune system. So, this subset of rectal cancer that we treated is what's called mismatch repair deficient. And basically they lack a gene that repairs DNA. And so their tumors look very, very unusual. They have a lot of mutations, which effectively kind of act like flags for the immune system to recognize the cancer.

So, the patient's immune system is already interested in fighting this cancer. And when we give a checkpoint inhibitor such as Dostarlimab, which is the drug that we used, it takes the brakes off of the immune system, it recruits a lot of immune cells and they start fighting the cancer. And, in this case, they fought it so well in every single patient that the cancer was completely gone just with the checkpoint inhibitor alone.

KEILAR: So - and they don't need surgery, which can be incredibly debilitating in the case of rectal cancer.

CERCEK Typically for rectal cancer, treatment, we do chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. And both the radiation and surgery can be very debilitating. They change bowel habits. They change - they affect sexual function, fertility. And then about 30 percent of patients, because of the location of the tumor when they have surgery, need a permanent colostomy. So that's very disfiguring and really changes the patient's life and survivorship.

KEILAR: Yes, this preserves their lifestyle.

CERCEK: Exactly.

KEILAR: What does this mean, Doctor - what does this mean for other cancers? Could this mean something positive potentially? Is this a breakthrough that isn't just maybe for rectal cancer but could be helpful for fighting other cancers?


CERCEK: So, this gene is present in about 3 percent to 4 percent of other solid tumors that are early stage. And so what we hope to do is we hope to be able to replicate these findings in other tumors that are mismatched or repair deficient, such as stomach cancer, pancreas cancer, bladder cancer. And if -- if it works, then we could potentially spare patients surgery or radiation in those tumors as well. KEILAR: Tell us about these cases. Were these caught pretty early or

were these advanced?

CERCEK: Yes, so all of these cases were early stage. So, we staged tumors one, two and three, those are considered early stage. And then stage four is considered advanced or metastatic. So, all of these tumors were early stage. And this was the first time that this treatment was used for mismatch repair deficient rectal cancer in the early stage. And we saw such incredible responses, really much, much more profound than what we saw in advanced disease.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, I know you have more research to do, but it's so incredibly exciting to be talking to you about this potential breakthrough. And we certainly wish you luck ahead in the additional research you're going to do.

Dr. Cercek, thank you.

CERCEK: Thank you so much.

KEILAR: Comedians Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock joining forces weeks after both were attacked while on stage.

BERMAN: And Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says Russia is essentially starving the world, calling the blockade on grain a threat of global magnitude.



BERMAN: Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle teaming up for a joint comedy special after both men were recently attacked on stage during performances. The big show called "A Night of World Class Comedy" is set for September 3rd in London.

CNN's Lisa France joins us now.

What's going on with this show? What have you learned?

LISA FRANCE, CNN SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, this is what we call making hay while the sun shines. They both are taking the opportunity of getting so much publicity behind these attacks, they're really good friends, they're going to join up and do this show. They've already kind of done like a trial run of this. They reportedly both appeared at The Comedy Store in Hollywood where they joked about their attacks. And so seeing them come together, I think, is a great idea. I'm going to go ahead and put it in the universe and say we need a tour, not just a special. If they called it slapstick, I think it would be hilarious. And so I think it's really, really smart of the two of them. They're already two of the biggest names in comedy. It's really smart for them to join forces together and to do this special in London.

BERMAN: Look, as you said, they're friends. They've also both had some controversy in their career, although very different. FRANCE: Very different. People may not remember, back in the 1990s,

that Chris Rock got into a bit of trouble when he did a bit about black people versus the n word during one of his really famous comedy specials. And, of course, Dave Chappelle has been -- come down hard upon because of his jokes about the trans community. So, the two of them are no strangers to controversy. And they both have been supportive of each other's careers in the wake of not only the controversy, but also the attacks. So, it's great to see them getting together and doing this for the fans. People are so excited about it.

BERMAN: It will be interesting to see.

Lisa France, thank you very much.

FRANCE: Thank you.

BERMAN: Phil Mickelson speaking out this morning after his decision to join the controversial Saudi-backed golf league. How he is explaining it.

KEILAR: And new this morning, from Moderna, the company says its booster shows a stronger response targeting the omicron variant. We'll have that next.



BERMAN: All right, time now for the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

CNN has learned that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell privately has expressed openness to raising the age limit to buy a semi- automatic AR-15 style weapon from 18 to 21, but he will not say it publicly, and it is not likely to be part of any agreement on gun safety as talks heat up on Capitol Hill.

Pro-golfer Phil Mickelson says he does not condone human rights violations while speaking at a news conference for the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational. Mickelson also confirmed his plans to play the U.S. Open next week, saying he has earned the right to participate.

BERMAN: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the Russian blockade of its grain is a threat of global magnitude. The Turkish foreign minister is meeting with his Russian counterpart on creating a secure food corridor to transport grain products from Ukrainian ports to markets around the world.

KEILAR: Authorities are searching for six members of Haiti's special Olympics delegation who have mysteriously gone missing from the games in Florida. A news release says they turned in their room keys but left behind their belongings. Officials say foul play is not suspected.

BERMAN: New this morning from Moderna. The company says that its updated Covid-19 vaccine booster that targets the omicron variant showed a stronger immune response against the variant than the original vaccine.

KEILAR: Those are "5 Things To Know for Your New Day."

We have more on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Go to And you can also find it wherever you get your podcasts.

BERMAN: So, just moments ago, attorneys for Johnny Depp speaking out for the first time since more or less winning the multimillion-dollar defamation case for the actor against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Camille Vasquez and Ben Chew, they were in the spotlight as the trial gripped social media attention during the six-week proceeding in Virginia. You know, which is significant considering the jurors were not isolated during the trial.


BEN CHEW, ATTORNEY FOR JOHNNY DEPP: I don't think there's any reason to believe that the jurors violated their oath.

CAMILLE VASQUEZ, ATTORNEY FOR JOHNNY DEPP: They were admonished every single night. And they had a tremendous amount of respect, I think, for the court and the process and they were doing the best that they could.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you see any larger message beyond the case you tried?

VASQUEZ: No. I mean, frankly, we don't. We're here to talk about the case that we tried, right? We encourage all victims to come forward, have their day in court, which is exactly what happened in this case.


BERMAN: Vasquez's law firm, Brown Rudnick, also announced Tuesday she has just been promoted to partner. Pretty high profile success to be sure.

KEILAR: Certainly she got a lot out of that. I think a lot of notice out of that. It is interesting, though, she said that this is just about the case that they prosecuted.


Obviously, a lot of people looked at this and said they thought that this was a step back for the Me Too movement. She's basically saying this is one case that should be judged on its merits.

BERMAN: All right, CNN's coverage continues right now.