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New Day

Williams Sisters Lose in Round One; Scranton Reacts to Student Relief; NYPD Opens Probe; Biden Pressed to Decriminalize Marijuana. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 02, 2022 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: In its own way because, what, they have 14 grand slam doubles titles for them. And it was nice to have that moment about what they've accomplished together.

PATRICK MCENROE, ESPN TENNIS COMMENTATOR: And they've never lost in a doubles final, including in a couple of Olympic gold medal matches. They've won a few Olympic golds together as well. So, it was a great moment. Venus, I think, is going to continue to play. But, obviously, this entire tournament, John, has been about Serena.

It started off as a coronation. You know, nobody expected her to look like the player that she was that dominated tennis for so long. We were expecting, oh, we're going to do a celebration for her, we're going to send her out in style. Now all of a sudden you're thinking, hmm, she could actually win this thing. I mean that's how good she looked the other night against the number two player in the world.

BERMAN: She could actually win this thing, which is a total shift in mentality from what it's been the last several days because this may be the first tournament she's played in, in decades where she's an underdog. And that's just different.

MCENROE: And I think that's what she said on the court the other night after she beat Anett Kontaveit, the number two seed, was that she's the one who's had the x on her back for her entire career. She's has had to carry that pressure, carry that intensity every time she went out and the opponent was always looking, OK, this is my opportunity to beat Serena Williams.

Now she's like, hey, I'm playing with house money. This is not supposed to happen. The crowd is totally -- John, I've been lucky enough to have been in that stadium for some of the all-time great rivalries and matches. Sampras/Agassi, Venus against Serena, obviously both of them in their times, Djokovic/Federer, Djokovic/Nadal. I've never heard it the way it's been these last couple of nights. Never heard the volume that I've heard this year in this tournament.

BERMAN: Yes, electric I don't think even begins to cut it.

The whole world is behind Serena Williams. The whole stadium is behind Serena Williams. I'm a bit of a sensitive soul. So, when I've been watching, I have wondered every once in a while, what's it like to be the other person on the court. And I recall, you know, in 1991 you played a very famous match against Jimmy Connors when he was 38 at the U.S. Open.

MCENROE: Thirty-nine.

BERMAN: Thirty - I'm sorry.

MCENROE: But who's counting.

BERMAN: He came back -- you were up two sets. I don't want to remind you, but you were up two sets.

MCENROE: Thank you.

BERMAN: He came back, won three sets in a row, and the place was going wild. So, you have a sense of what it's like to be that other guy.

MCENROE: Just for the record, I was up two sets, love 3, love 40 with Connors serving, which my daughter likes to remind me of, by the way. It - you feel it's you against the entire stadium. And that was a match, when I lost to Connors, that was the beginning of his epic run to the semi-finals. It was late night. There was a couple thousand people there. But it felt like there were 40,000 people.

So, I feel for those other players. I - you know, I'm a New Yorker. I'd like to see the New York crowd, you know, cheer once in a while when the other player makes a great shot and not cheer their double faults the way they've been doing.

But this is what it is. This has become just this run that is just unbelievable. And the fans are responding. The ticket prices are through the roof. The ticket sales are through the roof. This is all about Serena.

BERMAN: But, you know, they always end up saying, oh, it's an honor just to be here. Does it really feel like that when there's 40,000 people cheering against you.

MCENROE: You know, her opponent, Ajla Tomljanovic, who she's playing tonight, I'm already worried because her press conference after her last win, she said, oh, it's going to be a moment for me no matter what happens. Well, if you're going in with that attitude, I don't like your chances. Serena was the underdog in the last match. Interestingly, the odds makers have Serena as the favorite now.

BERMAN: Part of it is because of how she's played.

MCENROE: How she's looked. How she's moved. The serve came back as well.


MCENROE: That final set she played in the last round, John, was some of her vintage tennis. But the movement all of a sudden seems to have come back. It's incredible to watch. BERMAN: And if she can serve like this, there's just no reason to

think she doesn't have a shot.

Patrick McEnroe, great to see you in person.

MCENROE: and thanks for the reminder of that match, John.

BERMAN: I know. I felt so -- I asked - I asked permission before I brought it up.

MCENROE: Yes, you did. Appreciate it.

BERMAN: Very nice to see you.

So, in what could be the scariest video you will see all morning, a loaded gun pointed just inches away from the vice president of Argentina. What happened when the would-be assassin pulled the trigger.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And CNN heads to President Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to talk to voters about his plan to wipe out student debt for millions of Americans.


TOM DEPEW, RETIRED BANKER: All this giveaway and all this free money, it's - somebody's going to pay the price.




KEILAR: New CNN reporting this morning, some Republicans are working on a legal strategy to overturn President Joe Biden's plan for student loan forgiveness that could wipe out up to $20,000 in debt for certain borrowers.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has been talking to voters in Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to see what they think of the plan. And he's with us live now.

What are they telling you, Miguel?


Look, we came up here expecting that Republicans across the board would be 100 percent against student loan forgiveness. But what we discovered is that a lot of people are affected by student debt and some Republicans aren't exactly against forgiveness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to the farmers market in beautiful downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania.

MARQUEZ (voice over): The market here, the real deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) the polka (ph) from Pennsylvania.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. It's called "Pennsylvania Polka."

MARQUEZ: Farmers from the area selling what they grow.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What kind of season you having?

JIM SCHIRG, OWNER, JIM'S FARM PRODUCE: We're having a fair season. It's been dry. It's hurt us a lot on our second crop.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Jim Schirg has farmed here for 50 years. Like many Republicans, he says if one borrows money, they should pay it back.

SCHIRG: It's a loan. It's a loan.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Right.

SCHIRG: Whether I take a loan to buy the farm, I have to pay it back. They're taking a loan to get an education, they should pay it back.

MARQUEZ (voice over): But some Republicans --

PHILLIP ROSIASKI (ph): Well, it seems like the country right now is moving towards socialism.

MARQUEZ: Phillip Rosiaski (ph) voted for Trump twice. Doesn't like the direction of the country. But on student loans --

ROSIASKI (ph): Myself, I still have a lot of student loans to take of for my children.

MARQUEZ: Rosiaski (ph) says he is not against student loan forgiveness and will see if he or his kids qualify.


TOM DEPEW, RETIRED BANKER: There has to be some change. And that's what I'm voting for, change.

MARQUEZ: Eighty-four-year-old Tom DePew, a moderate Republican and former banker says, debts should be repaid, but views student debt differently.

DEPEW: My daughters all went through college. They have student loans. I'd like to see it. It helps them, you know. But all this giveaway and all this free money, it's - somebody's going to pay the price.

TOM DEPEW, RETIRED BANKER: A sentiment resonating with working class voters. For decades they've drifted toward the GOP.

From the early 2000s exit polls indicate Republicans typically want about 60 percent of white non-college educated voters, Democrats about 40 percent. That split widened for Obama and Trump. Biden halted it, performing a few points better than Clinton in 2016.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're almost in heaven. We're almost in Scranton. Almost.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He left. He abandoned Pennsylvania. He abandoned Scranton.

MARQUEZ: Both parties competing for votes here in battleground PA.

MARQUEZ (on camera): How big a piece of your own personal economy are student loans?

TYLER CHULVICK, PAYING OFF STUDENT LOANS: Oh, that's a huge part of my economy, student loans. I mean, that's why I'm looking at get -- hopefully get taken care of.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Twenty-eight-year-old Tyler Chulvick graduated in 2018. He works downtown Scranton at a local pharmacy. He says today he's caring about $36,000 in student debt.

CHULVICK: Starting a business down the road is something that I'd be very interested in. And, I mean, my current debt situation has made that significantly more difficult.

MARQUEZ: Student debt a factor for just about everyone.

MICAH WOODARD, CO-OWNER, LAVISH SCRANTON: If you're saddled with this unbelievable amount of debt, it's going to set you back.

MARQUEZ: Local business owner Micah Woodard, 40 years old, recently paid off his student loans. His wife is still paying and their son has just started college and is taking on debt.

WOODARD: And we had that conversation of, if you go to Temple, this is how much debt you're going to have to take on. If you go to Westchester, this is how much debt, this is how much we can help pay, but this is how much debt, you know. So, those were very large parts of the conversation.

MARQUEZ: For many here, the spiraling cost of college outweighing its benefit.

PATRICIA SPALLETTA, RESTAURANT HOSTESS: I have kids. Some of them have student loans. We're not wealthy. And you can pay and pay and never touch the principle. It wasn't that way when I was young.

MARQUEZ: Here in the electric city, and across the country, the accumulation of student debt touching just about everyone's life.


MARQUEZ: And, look, no one on the left or the right that we spoke to here thought that the student loan forgiveness program was really going to affect voters one way or the other. For the midterms, for instance, they didn't think it would make much of a difference. But in a tight state like Pennsylvania, where races can be so tight, a few votes on the margins could make all the difference.

Back to you guys.

KEILAR: Miguel, what about people who don't have student debt, are they supporting this?

MARQUEZ: This was one of the most maybe surprising things. We spoke to a lot of people, elderly people, who either didn't go to college or they're -- that's their long beyond them or they didn't even have debt when they got through college. Their kids, their grandkids, they're seeing them struggle with it and it affects them. They are even for some level of student loan forgiveness as well.


KEILAR: You know, Miguel, I think Scranton should charge like a journalism tax. We see -- they see so many journalists going there, trying to get the vibe of the nation. It's so interesting to hear people talk about how this has had a direct impact on their lives. But what you just said, I'm a little bit surprised by that because from what I've been hearing, if this - if you - if this is good for you, you like it, and if it's not, you take a step back and say, well, is this the right thing. But you're saying there are generations of people there who are looking at this and saying it may make a difference.

MARQUEZ: Yes. That it just might make a difference. That it affects everyone, whether you're a grandparent and you have grandchildren who have debt. And clearly both parties are fighting for voters here. You know, the president was here a few days ago. He's been in Pennsylvania now, what, three times this week. Donald Trump is coming here tomorrow -- to this area tomorrow. Both sides are fighting for voters, you know, these white working class voters very hard. And across the board I was really shocked to see that a lot of these voters, even if they don't carry student debt, are concerned about it and willing to give some forgiveness.

KEILAR: Yes, really interesting.

Miguel, thank you for that report, live for us from Scranton.

MARQUEZ: You got it.

KEILAR: Holding on to highly classified documents. It's just like having an overdue library book. That new argument from former President Trump's lawyers in court.

BERMAN: And an investigation underway after an NYPD officer is seen shoving a woman to the ground during an arrest. The video just ahead.


[06:48:49] BERMAN: This morning, the NYPD launching an internal investigation after police body camera video shows the moment an officer shoved a woman to the ground during an arrest on Tuesday.

Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your problem.





BERMAN: Nineteen-year-old Tamani Crum is now being charged with a misdemeanor for governmental obstruction.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now.

So, what's the story? What are the facts surrounding what we just saw?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's so important there, John.

Police were trying to arrest a man who they say was wanted for murder and allegedly had a ghost gun on him when you see that 19-year-old step in. She strikes one of the arresting officers, who then tries to fend her off, hitting her, and that's when you see her fall to the ground.

Now, this altercation, as you can see, obviously, was caught on cellphone video. But then the NYPD released body cam footage as well. That teen was arrested, as John said, and police did recommend that she be charged with assaulting a police officer, harassment and resisting arrest. But prosecutors charged her instead with a misdemeanor, and she was released from holding.

That officer is now under internal review and the mayor of New York City is defending his actions this morning.



MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY: But let's be clear, they were arresting a person who was being pursued for attempted murder, he was armed with a ghost gun in his belt and people got in and interrupted while police were taking action. That just can't happen.

JAIME SANTANA, JR., TAMANI CRUM'S ATTORNEY: You mean to tell me that a grown man, more than twice her size and weight, could not handle a 19- year-old female in a different manner? This was unnecessary. And it's unacceptable.


GINGRAS: The teen is due back in court next month. That officer has had complaints against him. That's important to note. But one expert tells CNN that his actions do appear lawful.

John, of course, we'll stay on top of this.

BERMAN: All right, thanks for the reporting and context there. Brynn, appreciate it.

In a new development, the January 6th committee wants to speak to former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich about his role promoting false election claims.

KEILAR: And a majority of Americans support decriminalizing marijuana. So, why hasn't President Biden acted on it yet? Your "Reality Check" is next.



KEILAR: New calls for President Biden to decriminalize marijuana now echoed by Democratic Senate hopeful John Fetterman in Pennsylvania. Fetterman's campaign says he will speak with Biden when he makes a stop in Pittsburgh on Labor Day. This will be Biden's third visit to the key swing state in a week.

So, where does the country stand on this issue? John Avlon with your "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: It's the final days of summer, so let's talk about pot, because there's something in the air, right, like the new Gallup poll showing that for the first time more Americans admitted to smoking marijuana than smoking a cigarette in the past week. Somewhere in Texas, the Marlboro man may be crying but Willie Nelson is smiling.

Seriously, though, that's a sea change from a few decades ago and the green martini isn't even a culture war dividing line anymore with a record 68 percent of Americans telling Gallup last year they want to make like Peter Tosh and legalize it.

And check out the partisan breakdown, right? That's 50 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents and 83 percent of Democrats.

Now, we've seen voters move to legalize recreational marijuana use in 19 states plus D.C. They've done it in red states, like Montana, purple states like Colorado, and blue states like Connecticut.

But right now we've got a separate problem, a total disconnect between federal and state law. And that's why we've seen a new push in Congress for action this session towards decriminalization, or at the very least removing pot from the schedule 1 controlled substance designation. Now, the calls have come from left and right, both within and outside

Congress, from Democratic Pennsylvania Senate Candidate John Fetterman, to the more libertarian-leaning podcast host Joe Rogan, to Republican Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina. Now, the House voted to decriminalize and tax pot earlier this year. And in late July, Senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker and Ron Wyden introduced their Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would legalize marijuana at the federal level while creating FDA oversight. But there is still a long way to go before enough Republicans support it to pass.

Now, here's the thing also. While Americans are cool with decriminalizing pot for consenting adults, there's still a lot of debate about whether it's actually a good idea for society at large. In fact, we're almost evenly divided on the subject, according to a new Gallup poll, with a slight edge saying it's better for individuals than society, which makes a lot of sense if you ever watched college students macrame (ph) into the couch, zoning out for hours.

But if pot's not exactly ambition fuel, neither is it inherently dangerous or addictive. Certainly compared to truly soul destroying drugs, like heroin. And that's why there's at least one federal action we should all be able to agree on, it is way past time to remove marijuana from being classified as a schedule 1 controlled substance, which places it alongside heroin as one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs with a, quote, high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

But you might think that whoever approved that designation back in 1971 must have been high because it's absurd on its face, especially now after 37 states have legalized medical marijuana.

Now, the patchwork of differing state and federal laws not only creates confusion or transporting legal marijuana across state lines, it causes problems with banking, enabling money laundering and slowing down industry growth. And we've also seen a spike in federal arrests for pot-related offenses, while businessmen invested dispensaries and edibles on the outside.

So, it's time to fix this cannabis contradiction. You don't have to smoke pot to recognize that it's an arbitrary extension of a Nixon-era panic over reefer madness. And at least with regard to the schedule 1 classification, that's something the Biden administration could and should remove while also pardoning anyone still in prison for marijuana offenses. Because whatever political risk is left, it's far outweighed by common sense or, as Matthew McConaughey's character in "Dazed and Confused" might say --


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR, "DAZED AND CONFUSED": It would be a lot cooler if you did.


AVLON: And that's your "Reality Check." KEILAR: Wouldn't it be, though.

Thank you, John Avlon.

NEW DAY continues right now.

President Biden saying our democracy is under assault and it's clear who he thinks is to blame, Donald Trump and the extreme MAGA wing of the Republican Party.

Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It's Friday, September 2nd, I'm Brianna Keilar, with John Berman.