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Alex Jones Ordered To Pay 2 Sandy Hook Parents $4 Million In Damages; OB-GYN Who Provided Abortion To 10-Year-Old Rape Victim Joins New Day; 4 Officers Face Federal Charges In Breonna Taylor's Death. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 05, 2022 - 07:30   ET



S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Got the last remaining stopgaps out of Congress. So, color me cynical, Democrats, when you talk about folks like Meijer being the last thing remaining between the civilization and the Visigoths, which I agree, and then you don't do exactly what you could to help him stay there.

Yes, folks like me to go ahead and cross party lines and vote for Biden, which it did. Lots of us did because we put country over party.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: It made the difference in some swing states.

CUPP: The favor has not been returned. It's sad.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: As you said, with my shield or on it.

CUPP: Yes.

KEILAR: On it --

CUPP: On it.

KEILAR: -- right? All right, so that's the story. But if you have a lot of people like Peter Meijer -- a lot of Republicans who are going to be on it rather than with it, now you have an army that's a MAGA army.

CUPP: That's right.

KEILAR: What's the effect then of that being just this very siloed place where you don't have the Kinzingers, you don't the Meijers, you don't have these people offering this alternative point of view for the Republicans?

CUPP: This has been increasingly the project of both parties. It's asymmetrical -- I see it far more on the right but you see it on the left as well -- this moving everything to the extremes.

And like you said, John, it's leaving a lot of us -- a majority, in fact, unrepresented, orphaned. I'm in the majority on almost every issue -- abortion, guns, climate, immigration -- and I feel unseen, unheard. It's bizarre.

But, you know, our political system of these two parties isn't rewarding comity -- coming together.

AVLON: It's a total market failure in our politics.

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: If a two-party system is to work you can't have pluralities of Americans feeling unrepresented --

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: -- when they represent majority positions.

CUPP: Well, exactly right.

AVLON: S.E., I want to get your take on our colleague Kasie Hunt's interview -- Kasie Hunt's interview with Liz Cheney because it's fascinating and it's going to make some news. Don't -- I'm sorry -- I got my wrong --

KEILAR: (INAUDIBLE) an ad -- that's right.

AVLON: -- my wrong Cheney. This is actually a Dick Cheney ad --


AVLON: -- for Liz Cheney where he talks real tough about Donald Trump. Take a listen.


DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In our nation's 246-year history, there has never been an individual who was a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump. He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him. He is a coward. A real man wouldn't lie to his supporters.

He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it, and deep down, I think most Republicans know it.


CUPP: Listen, he is --

AVLON: What say you?

CUPP: It's a weird ad, I'm sorry. I --

AVLON: Really?

CUPP: No. I like everything he said and I don't begrudge a dad for sticking up for his daughter. He's right, but it's weird. There's no real nostalgia. I say this as a conservative. There's not a lot of nostalgia for Dick Cheney. And I'm not sure this helps him even in -- helps her even in Wyoming.

I think --

AVLON: You really don't think it helps her in Wyoming?

CUPP: No. I don't -- I don't think anything could really help her in Wyoming. I think she's doomed and that's -- I don't relish saying that. But I think someone like George W. Bush might be even more helpful than Dick Cheney. I don't disagree with anything he said, it's just a weird -- it's weird to me.

AVLON: Dick Cheney, the tough-talking voice of reason. Welcome to 2022.

CUPP: I guess. I mean, OK, yes.

AVLON: All right.

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: S.E. Cupp, thank you very much.

CUPP: Sure.

AVLON: All right.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones ordered to pay the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victim millions of dollars in damages. You'll hear why he's claiming victory.

KEILAR: And the officers involved in the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor's home now charged.



KEILAR: Right-wing talk show host Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, will have to pay the parents of a Sandy Hook shooting victim a little more than $4 million in compensatory damages. The award from the jury is far less than what the plaintiffs wanted, which was $150 million.

The family's lawyer, though, says Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis "...are thrilled with the result and they look forward to putting Mr. Jones' money to good use. Mr. Jones, on the other hand, will not sleep easy tonight. With punitive damages still to be decided and multiple additional defamation lawsuits pending, it is clear that Mr. Jones' time on the American stage is finally coming to an end."

But Alex Jones, by the way, is also claiming victory here.

Joining us now is a writer for The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson. She has been in the courtroom for this trial. And she is also the author of a new, very important book called "Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth." And it's that battle for truth that is so important to talk about here, Elizabeth.

I do want to ask you first, though, starting with these damages, what are the implications --


KEILAR: -- of $4.1 million in compensatory damages for this one family?

WILLIAMSON: I think for Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, Brianna, this is sort of a moral victory. They felt like they needed a symbolic judgment against him. But as they said in court, this is really a victory for truth and also a message sent to others who might be tempted to harm vulnerable people by spreading lies of this nature.

KEILAR: So, has this really -- is this really going to stop Alex Jones? As you've watched him, even doing his show throughout the trial, what do you think?

WILLIAMSON: No. I mean, for someone like Alex Jones, as we know, there's really no bottom. He was on his show claiming victory, saying that this family loves him now and that their lawyers are using them as pawns. If anyone has used these families as pawns it's been Alex Jones who, for 10 years, has fomented this lie that the shooting was a pretext for gun control planned by the government and that these families were complicit in the plot.


He has -- he has been responsible for a lot of damage here. And, you know, he's more symbolic -- he's really emblematic of the sort of spread of disinformation and false narratives over the past decade since Sandy Hook. He has part of every one of the most pernicious myths that have caused confrontation and violence in this country, from Pizzagate to Charlottesville, to coronavirus myths, and the Stop the Steal lie that started the 2021 January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

KEILAR: That's what -- that is why your book is so essential. I think if people are looking at your book it's not just about Sandy Hook.


KEILAR: It's about the origin story of all of these conspiracy theories that are just polluting the discussion and really just polluting the nation.

I do want to play the bombshell moment because you've been watching this trial there. I want to play the bombshell moment where Alex Jones realizes that the prosecution has all of his text messages, including about Sandy Hook, that he had said in a deposition didn't exist. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK BANKSTON, PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: Mr. Jones, did you know that 12 days ago -- 12 days ago your attorneys messed up and sent me an entire digital copy of your entire cellphone with every text message you've sent for the past two years, and when informed did not take any steps to identify it as privileged or protected in any way? And as of two days ago, it fell free and clear into my possession and that is how I know you lied to me when you said you didn't have text messages about Sandy Hook. Did you know that?

ALEX JONES, RIGHT-WING TALK SHOW HOST, "INFOWARS": See, I told you the truth. This is your Perry Mason moment. I gave them my phone and then --

JUDGE MAYA GUERRA GAMBLE, 459TH DISTRICT COURT: Mr. Jones, you need to answer the question.

JONES: No, I --

BANKSTON: Did you know this happened?

JONES: No, I didn't know this happened. But, I mean, I told you I gave them the phone.


KEILAR: Elizabeth, what was it like watching that moment?

WILLIAMSON: You know what really struck me, Brianna, is that Alex Jones is used to controlling his own narrative on his show. As the judge pointed out to him more than once, this is not his show. She runs this courtroom.

And moreover, the justice system is not conducive to a personality like -- it's not a favorable environment for a personality like Alex Jones. He can't just fill the atmosphere with guano and expect people to believe it. He tried to interject his opinion into virtually every one of his answers and was shut down.

A court of law is not -- is not a favorable place for someone who purveys lies like Alex Jones.

KEILAR: No, it certainly is not.

Elizabeth, thank you so much for the work that you have been doing as you are wading through all of these efforts by these families to come to some resolution that they so deserve. Thank you.

WILLIAMSON: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: I spoke to the Indianapolis OB-GYN who provided a medication- induced abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. Her reaction to an abortion bill in her state. It is one step closer to becoming law there in Indiana.

AVLON: And the Biden administration declaring monkeypox a public health emergency. What that means for you. (COMMERCIAL)


KEILAR: A bill that would ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with exceptions, is one step closer to law in Indiana. The version that passed in the Senate provides exceptions for rape, incest, and for when the life of the pregnant person is at risk. As of now, the House bill maintained those exceptions. A final House vote is expected to happen today before the bill goes back to the Senate to approve or deny any changes.

Earlier, I spoke to Indianapolis OB-GYN, Dr. Caitlin Bernard. She is the doctor who provided a medication-induced abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.


KEILAR: Doctor, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Obviously, you're watching this bill in Indiana move to the full House where it is relying on exceptions, including for rape. Exceptions for the life of the mother as well.

You've treated many patients who would fall into these categories. What, to you, is the problem with relying on those exceptions?

DR. CAITLIN BERNARD, PROVIDED ABORTION TO 10-YEAR-0LD RAPE VICTIM: Yes, thank you so much for having me.

You know, medicine is not about exceptions. I can't even begin to tell you how many patients I see in very unique situations that can't fit into those exceptions -- that can't have a list of what I can and can't do. They can't wait to check with their lawyer. I can't wait to check with my lawyer. I need to be able to take care of patients when and where they need that care.

You know, the other part of this is this is going to exclude 98 percent of people who need abortions in Indiana. This is going to be very, very restrictive and it's going to hurt Hoosier women.

KEILAR: How often do you see patients who are -- would fit under these umbrellas for rape or for incest, or their health or their life being in danger? Is this -- is this pretty regular?

BERNARD: Absolutely. Every day I get a consultation for a patient who has a condition that fits into those exceptions.

KEILAR: How do things change when it comes -- or how do you worry things may change when it comes to enforcing those exceptions?


BERNARD: That's a really good question that we honestly do not know the answer to yet.

It's very scary for physicians to have a patient in front of you that you know exactly what they need, you know how to treat them. You know how to prevent hemorrhage. You know how to prevent infection. You know how to save their lives. And yet, you're wondering well, who is going to -- who do I have to check with? Who is going to second-guess me?

Do I call my lawyer? Do I call the county prosecutor? Is this going to go to the state attorney general, which we know can be incredibly dangerous for physicians, as I've experienced? And we don't know the answer to that, and that's one of the things that's making this such a difficult process for patients, right?

The impact on the physicians means that they can't take care of patients the way that they need to be able to and patients will be hurt.

KEILAR: In Kansas, where we just saw voters with record turnout say no -- they do not want to pave the way for there to be restrictions on abortion -- for there to be a ban on abortion -- to eliminate access there -- what is your reaction to seeing how that shaped up?

BERNARD: I think it's showing the truth, which is that people want to be able to make private medical decisions exactly that -- privately with their physician or medical provider, their family, whomever it is that advises them.

Politicians have absolutely no space in making medical decisions or in instructing people how to make those medical decisions and Kansas showed that. And we know that that's also true here in Indiana and we think that the legislature should listen to that.

KEILAR: How do you think the issue of abortion is going to animate voters coming up? We have midterm elections here. We've seen what's happened in Kansas. How do you think it's going to animate them?

BERNARD: You know, again, I think people are beginning to realize that the Supreme Court took away a fundamental right -- not just the right to abortion but the right to make private medical decisions. And when that happens people begin to realize that is not something that they want for themselves. That is not something that they want for their families, their daughters, their wives.

And I think people will begin to realize that the right to privacy is something that every person should have. It has nothing to do with party. It has nothing to do with red-blue divisions. It's something that everybody needs for their own health and safety. And so, I hope that people will begin to realize that legislatures, politicians who stand up for that -- those rights -- the right of privacy in your medical decision-making is something that they want to preserve and people that they will vote for.

KEILAR: President Biden signed an executive order that paves the way for Medicaid to actually pay for the expenses of those who do travel out of state for abortion services. What else does the Biden administration need to do, in your opinion?

BERNARD: I think there is nothing that they can do in executive orders or other actions that will be able to bring back the right that the Supreme Court has taken away for us to be able to make private medical decisions. Physicians need to be able to take care of their patients when and where they need that care, and no amount of executive order is going to be able to bring that back right now.

KEILAR: Dr. Caitlin Bernard, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

BERNARD: Thank you.


KEILAR: Four current and former police officers from Louisville are now charged in the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor's home. What the Department of Justice is saying about falsified records.

AVLON: And ahead, we'll be joined by Sen. Angus King after Democrats secured a key vote for the massive climate and health bill.



AVLON: This morning, four current and former Louisville police officers are facing federal charges in the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor, of course, was killed in a botched raid as she slept in her home on March 13, 2020. The officers charged in Taylor's death are accused of civil rights violations among other charges.

Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval with the details -- Polo.


Breonna Taylor's family saying that they have been waiting for over two years now to see these federal charges filed against the officers involved in that botched raid in Louisville back in March of 2020.

The Justice Department alleging that two of the officers falsified an affidavit that was used to obtain a search warrant of Taylor's home. Agent Merrick Garland basically explaining here that former detective Joshua Jaynes and detective Kelly Goodlett intentionally included information in their paperwork falsely claiming that the target of their drug investigation had received packages at Taylor's address that night, attempting to justify the raid. And that is what the Department of Justice maintains is basically what set in motion the events that led to the death of the 26-year-old E.R. technician's death.

All four officers charged with violating Taylor's civil rights, obstruction, and unconstitutional use of force.

I want you to hear directly from the Taylor family's attorney Benjamin Crump as he describes what this means for their fight to get justice.


BENJAMIN CRUMP, TAYLOR FAMILY ATTORNEY: It's about Breonna and all the other Breonnas across America that Black women who have been denied justice throughout the history of this country -- they can't say we were crazy --


CRUMP: -- because we said it was a conspiracy to cover up the death of this innocent Black woman.


SANDOVAL: And prosecutors have previously said that as police entered the home that night, Taylor's boyfriend fired a single shot believing that they were intruders, injuring one of the officers.