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"Law & Order" Crew Member Killed In Street, Manhunt Underway; Doctor In 10-Year-Old's Abortion Case To Sue Attorney General For Defamation; Uvalde School Police Chief's Termination To Be Decided Soon. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 20, 2022 - 07:30   ET




TREVOR NOAH, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": And look, I know many people are angry, saying like I can't believe the Secret Service isn't handing over these texts. But, it could also be a much simpler answer. You know, maybe they just don't want people to see the texts that they were sending about their boss -- yes. Like, I know I wouldn't want that.

Can you imagine being at the congressional hearing and Liz Cheney is like, so Agent Johnson, what did you mean when you texted "President poop emoji is baby crying emoji in car emoji? Uh, I'd rather go to jail, ma'am.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": It's so hot right now in the U.S. that this is a real heat map of the state of Oklahoma. It is never a good sign when your state looks like a close-up image of an STD.

One theater chain is offering Britain's redheads free movie tickets to dodge extreme heat. Though, of course, the best way for British redheads to dodge extreme heat is moving to America.

SETH MEYERS, HOST, NBC "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS": Elon Musk was photographed over the weekend aboard a luxury yacht in Mykonos, Greece. And all I can say is wow -- he is -- he is so white the sun had to put on sunscreen. He looks like the page in the coloring book you haven't gotten to yet. Is he partying on that yacht or is he haunting it?


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: That was -- that was pretty good.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Try to describe that in 140 characters.

COLLINS: I'm not on a yacht though, so I can't say.

BERMAN: No, exactly. He's --

COLLINS: I won't really say much. BERMAN: No matter how he looks he's on the yacht, right?

COLLINS: And we are in-studio.

BERMAN: And partially, I was still recovering from Stephen Colbert talking about the close-up of the STDs, so that was sort of morphing my view of the rest of that.

And anyway, on the subject of Elon Musk -- not skin tone -- new details on his legal battle with Twitter. The social media giant and the world's richest man had their first day in court as Musk is trying to back out of his $44 billion deal to buy the company.

CNN's Alexandra Field with the latest.


ELON MUSK, BUSINESS MAGNATE AND INVESTOR: And we want to go find out what the heck is going on.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is it a case of buyer's remorse for the richest man on the planet or was Elon Musk misled in his bid to buy Twitter for $44 billion? The trial, centered on those questions, now set to start in October.

The social media giant winning round one in a Delaware court with its motion to fast-track the trial this fall that will determine whether Musk must buy it or pay a billion-dollar breakup fee. A judge agreeing the longer the delay in determining whether the deal closes, the greater the risk of irreparable harm to the publicly held company.

Twitter arguing in court, "What we have here is a buyer looking to conjure an exit ramp for a deal that doesn't have one." Their attorneys adding that drama surrounding the deal is already creating undue risk and uncertainty for shareholders and chaos in the company, saying, "He's doing his best to run Twitter down. He's doing his best to create exposure for Twitter."

The plaintiffs suing Musk to close the deal say the would-be buyer is, instead, attempting to sabotage it, pointing to a series of tweets from Musk that they view as an attack against Twitter literally on Twitter, including a post seemingly trolling the company with this emoji.

Musk inked the takeover deal in April and said he was pulling out earlier this month after, Twitter points out, the market turndown sent its shares tumbling. Also falling in the same time period, Tesla's stock value, shares of which Musk planned to use, in part, to finance the takeover.

CHRIS STOKEL-WALKER, WIRED CONTRIBUTOR: I think that's exactly what we're seeing. We're seeing Elon Musk's bluff being called here. He offered to buy Twitter at a premium of 38% over what it was trading at, at the beginning of April. We've seen since then the price essentially cratering. FIELD (voice-over): In a July 8 letter to Twitter, Musk said he was dumping the deal, citing lack of information from the company on the number of fake accounts on the platform and obfuscation, his attorneys allege, on how Twitter arrived at the estimated 5% fake user figure it reported in its SEC filing.

Musk's attorneys argued to hold the trial in 2023, saying they needed more time to investigate the fake accounts that they say are key to the trial, stating, "When Mr. Musk came into the company and started asking about that, the answers that he got were alarming. And frankly, the runaround he got from the company was alarming."

Twitter says the number of fake accounts, first described by Musk as a reason for the takeover and now his reason for turning it down, have nothing to do with the deal itself. Their attorney says, "Musk knew all about false accounts when he signed the merger agreement" -- adding, "Nothing in the negotiations leading to the deal or merger agreement are at all contingent on that."


Alexandra Field, CNN.


COLLINS: Also this morning, a manhunt is underway for the suspect in the deadly ambush of the crew members of NBC's "LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME." Police say that the 31-year-old Johnny Pizarro was saving parking spots for the show in Brooklyn when the gunman shot him and ran away.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now. And, Brynn, this is obviously devastating, but do we know more about what happened?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, that's still not clear because the gunman is still out there. They're looking for him.

But saving parking spots, as you guys just said -- that was his job. He was employed at FOUR Production Company, working for the show "LAW & ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME." And that's what he was doing, police say, early Tuesday morning when a gunman opened the car door he was sitting in and shot Pizarro in the neck and head. And this happened in Brooklyn where scenes for the NBC show were being filmed. Pizarro was rushed to the hospital and that's where he died.

And police haven't given any more detail on a possible motive for this or if the victim even knew his killer. So, was this a targeted attack? We really just don't know yet for sure. That's because, again, authorities are still looking for the gunman. They've collected surveillance footage from the area and that will hopefully help with those efforts.

NBC and Universal Television released a statement saying it's working with law enforcement and asking the public, quite frankly, to just respect the privacy of this victim's family while they still continue this investigation. And this, though, guys, as you know, yet another violent crime happening in a major city. We've seen these spike throughout the summer months, not necessarily with homicides across major cities but certainly violent crime.

COLLINS: Yes, absolutely. It's a huge concern.


COLLINS: So we'll look to see more of what happened.

Brynn, thank you so much.

GINGRAS: Yes. Thanks.

BERMAN: The Indiana doctor who helped a 10-year-old alleged rape victim from Ohio get an abortion is now taking the first legal step toward a possible defamation lawsuit against Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.

In an appearance on Fox News, Rokita said that Dr. Caitlin Bernard was, quote, "An abortion activist acting as a doctor with a history of failing to report," and suggesting that she may have committed a crime in failing to report the abortion in Indiana.

Attorneys representing Dr. Caitlin Bernard filed a Tort Claim notice against Rokita for making, quote, "false and misleading statements about alleged misconduct" about the doctor.

Joining me now is the attorney for Dr. Bernard, Kathleen DeLaney. Counselor, thank you so much for being with us.

This is a necessary step you have to take toward a defamation lawsuit. What are you alleging?

KATHLEEN DELANEY, ATTORNEY FOR DOCTOR WHO PERFORMED ABORTION ON 10- YEAR-OLD RAPE VICTIM: We're alleging that Mr. Rokita made false and misleading statements about our client and accused her, wrongly, of misconduct in her profession, which constitutes defamation per se.

BERMAN: What do you allege the consequences of this have been?

DELANEY: The consequences have been unbelievable. There's been this incredible firestorm kicked up. Mr. Rokita's comments incited people to make hateful phone calls and leave hateful messages. There have -- so it's been kind of a whirlwind for Dr. Bernard over the last few weeks.

But she's been very emboldened and appreciative of also an outpouring of support that we have received from around the country from OB-GYN doctors and from lawyers and legal professionals, all of whom are horrified by Mr. Rokita's conduct.

BERMAN: What, specifically, do you say was defamatory?

DELANEY: Well, he -- it's all spelled out in the letter, which I hope you have a copy of. But it's basically that he accused her of failing to report child abuse, which is false. She absolutely did that and complied with the law.

He accused her of being an activist acting as a doctor, which suggests that she was pretending to be a doctor without a license, which is a crime, when it's obviously readily available to him just looking up her license that she's actually a doctor in good standing.

So those are two examples.

And then, these recent statements from him that he's doing an investigation are also unsubstantiated. I have written to Mr. Rokita twice. He knows that I represent Dr. Bernard. He has not contacted me about any investigation and has not requested any information as part of any investigation.

So, as each of his unsubstantiated claims gets debunked in the news media, he seemingly is making up a new one.

BERMAN: This is a statement from the attorney general's office. It says, quote, "This is part of a divisive narrative and an attempt to distract from the important work of the office, including the duty to determine whether practitioners have violated the standards of practice in his or her profession, as well as federal and state laws. We will defend against baseless claims."

What do you say to that statement?


DELANEY: Well, there are a number of problems with that statement.

First of all, Indiana's attorney general has no power or authority to investigate federal law, period. So his allegations of HIPAA violations are completely beyond his purview and he shouldn't be talking about that at all.

Second of all, he's accusing -- making accusations of so-called criminal wrongdoing. And the Marion County prosecutor, our local law enforcement, has already confirmed that they are the agency that would have any ability to consider any criminal charges, not Mr. Rokita, who has no criminal prosecutorial authority. So that's the second big problem.

But maybe even more fundamentally, the licensing statute that they are referring to where the attorney general actually does have some authority spells out that the attorney general is to keep any investigations confidential unless and until a decision is made to actually file formal charges. So he's literally violating the statute that he is supposed to be enforcing by talking about an alleged investigation.

BERMAN: What do you want the consequence -- or what do you think the consequences should be for the attorney general?

DELANEY: Well, there has been a disciplinary complaint -- at least one disciplinary complaint filed against him by the former dean of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, and that should trigger an investigation by the Indiana Disciplinary Commission. So Mr. Rokita's license could be in play here -- his license to practice law, which is a necessary requirement for his role as the attorney general. So that process is underway.

And then, with our Tort Claims notice, we've put him on notice that we are considering filing a formal lawsuit against him 90 days from now. He's required to investigate the allegations in our Tort Claim notice and it's an opportunity for him to try to resolve this dispute or to investigate it, or to ignore it. That -- those are his three options.

But we certainly hope that he will get some good legal advice because he should not continue to defame my client, but he still has defamatory statements up on his website. He still has not taken down Twitters, as of the last time I checked, that we think contain defamatory statements. So we -- first and foremost, we want him to stop smearing Dr. Bernard.

BERMAN: Kathleen DeLaney, thank you for joining us this morning and explaining the process that you're going through right now. Appreciate it.

DELANEY: Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: So, discrimination or a misunderstanding? The mother and aunt of these little girls say this snub at Sesame Place was intentionally racist. The theme park is now responding.

COLLINS: Plus, Netflix is losing nearly a million subscribers in the last quarter, but it hasn't seemed to scare off investors.




Clip from Netflix's "STRANGER THINGS."


BERMAN: Season four of Netflix, which was pretty awesome, helped deliver some relatively welcomed news for Netflix. I say relatively because they reported a loss of 970,000 subscribers at the end of the second quarter. But investors were happy because the forecast was for them to lose two million. So as a result, the stock price went up as much as 8%. Netflix now predicting it will add one million subscribers back in the next quarter.

COLLINS: We'll wait to see if they actually do.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, all eyes are going to be on Capitol Hill as the January 6 committee's primetime hearing is going to get underway. Some Republicans, though, might be looking away.

John Avlon has our reality check.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: In the series "STRANGER THINGS" kids can get sucked into a dark alternate reality they call the upside down. It's got all the trappings of their town, Hawkins, Indiana, but it's a twisted mirror -- a different dimension devoid of reason where fear infests everything.

The upside down is one way to understand the palpable strangeness of the election denial hivemind that's been exposed by the January 6 hearing. Because virtually every Trump administration figure who we've seen testify under oath said they knew the ex-president lost a free and fair election. Some of them even confronted Trump and his cronies about that fact. But team normal could never convince team crazy living in the upside down.

The history -- historians will struggle to understand how a cluster of once-accomplished people, from former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to Gen. Michael Flynn, tried to overthrow our democracy based on a crazy quilt of conspiracy theories that even the cracking queen herself, Sidney Powell, had to admit in a court filing no reasonable person would ever believe.

But it was always that stark and surreal. I mean, the slogan they rallied around was a self-owned "Stop the Steal." They were accusing their opponents of what they, in fact, were trying to do -- steal an election. The talk of fraud was itself a fraud.

But the delusions are everywhere in the details that have come out. Take the title line of a newly-unearthed memo to Trump on how to overturn the election written by lawyer William Olson. The one where he warns it could be called martial law. The memo subject header is actually called "Preserving Constitutional Order."


The inversion of reality was commonplace with this crew. Take a closer look at the signature line on Ginni Thomas' emails, which the right- wing activist and wife of the Supreme Court justice used to lobby state legislators to overturn the election. It's a quote from George Orwell -- "Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."

The self-deception is mindboggling but presumably sincere, which makes it truly spooky. Now ultimately, tone comes from the top and as president, Trump had even more responsibility than his lackeys.

The upside down double-speak was always key to his communication but it was especially evident on January 6. So when he said this --


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections.

(END VIDEO CLIP) AVLON: When he said strong he meant weak. What he was really looking for were weak members of Congress willing to abandon their integrity. And when he told the crowd this --


TRUMP: We will not be intimidated into accepting the hoaxes and the lies that we've been forced to believe.


AVLON: It was just more projection because Trump was the one trying to intimidate folks -- most notably, then-Vice President Mike Pence -- into accepting his hoaxes and lies.

And finally, infamously, at 2:24 p.m. when Trump tweeted that Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution, that was just another dispatch from the upside down. Because it was Pence's courage at that moment that did protect our country and our constitution.

Now, the real tragedy is that so many people believe these lies, and some still do. But there are signs that the January 6 hearings, especially the testimony of Trump administration officials, have started to reassert the value of facts across party lines. And the more difficult question is how this hothouse of unreality took hold of so many people's minds -- so many families and friends.

Now, at least in part, it gets the downstream effect of hyperpartisan media and disinformation grifts. It's an ecosystem that promotes confirmation bias and conspiracy theories because anger and anxiety is great for monetizing engagement.

But this steady stream of alternative facts leads to a total loss of perspective. It made superfans think that Trump couldn't possibly lose an election despite having never been above 50% job approval in Gallup's polling. It made them demonize Democrats to the extent that they could not accept defeat, causing self-styled patriots to rally around lies culminated in the attack on our Capitol.

Now, there's no quick fix for getting out of the upside down, but it's clear that we need to defend facts against all forms of groupthink, especially from our political allies. For added perspective and context, we need to invest in civic education again and social media algorithm reforms so that conspiracies can't always outrun reality online. And finally, Congress needs to pass Electoral Count Act reform so no future coup attempt can succeed.

Yes, we've lived through a strange dystopian time but we don't have to live there forever.

And that's your reality check.

COLLINS: John Avlon, thank you as always.

Also this morning, the fate of the Uvalde school police chief that you've come to know so well, Pete Arredondo, is hanging in the balance, but it could be decided as soon as this weekend.

BERMAN: And NBA star Miles Bridges now facing felony domestic and child abuse charges after an alleged assault on his partner.



COLLINS: This morning, Uvalde School District officials are trying to decide whether or not to remove the embattled police chief Pete Arredondo. Sources say that a vote to terminate him for his role in the failed response to the elementary school shooting is expected this Saturday.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live in San Antonio with more. And Rosa, this has become someone whose name has been at the forefront of this issue -- not in a good way, of course. And so, what are we expecting to happen over the next few days.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kaitlan, good morning.

According to sources who have been talking to my colleague Shimon Prokupecz, the Uvalde school officials have informed Pete Arredondo that they plan to meet on Saturday to determine his fate. And further, that the school board plans to vote to terminate him. Now, again, according to sources speaking to my colleague Shimon Prokupecz.

Now, there's been a lawmaker who from the get-go has been calling for accountability and now he says finally, we might see it. Take a listen.


ROLAND GUTIERREZ, (D) TEXAS STATE SENATE: It is time for accountability in this community and accountability would mean actually getting rid of people. People that screwed up need to leave. They need to resign. They need to quit. They need to be fired. And I think that you're going to start to see that happen from my part at the state level.


FLORES: Now, I've reached out to Pete Arredondo's attorney and have not heard back -- Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Well, of course, this is going to be an interesting few days for them. We'll be waiting to see these updates. I know the parents are paying close attention as well.

Rosa Flores, thank you for that update.

And NEW DAY continues right now.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday, July 20. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is with us this morning.

COLLINS: Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: All right, here's a question. Can you count to one? One.


BERMAN: Just one. One text message. Our colleague Jamie Gangel breaking the news overnight that the Secret Service was able to provide just one text exchange to the January 6 committee.

COLLINS: It's remarkable.

BERMAN: Just one.